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Hate crimes: Spike in antisemitic incidents prompts new security …

Posted By on March 31, 2023

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The recent rise in antisemitic incidents in the greater New York City area has sparked a new collaborative effort to protect the Jewish community.

Eight organizations serving area Jewish communities announced Tuesday that they are banding together to form the Jewish Security Alliance of NY/NJ.

The new partnership "formalizes existing relationships, establishes a streamlined process for information sharing on credible threats, and establishes mechanisms that will help bolster the safety of the entire community," organizers said.

The group consists of five area Jewish Federations in New Jersey and New York; ADL (the Anti-Defamation League); the Community Security Initiative (CSI) of New York, a joint program of UJA-Federation of New York and JCRC-NY; and the Community Security Service's Northeastern Division (CSS).

"The past year has seen multiple, serious threats against Jewish communal institutions in New York and New Jersey, some of which could have proven far more lethal had it not been for the diligent joint work of our community partners and law enforcement," Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. "These threats serve as a reminder that we must remain vigilant against future attacks, which is why it is so important for our communal organizations to be working as closely together as possible on issues of security."

Last week the ADL released a report showing a 39% spike in antisemitic incidents in New York in 2022.

New York and New Jersey came in first and third, respectively, among states having the highest number of reported antisemitic incidents.

Antisemitic incidents in New York increased to 580 in 2022, according to the ADL. Assaults rose to an alarming 72.

The Jewish Security Alliance says it now has dozens of analysts.

"And they may also be connecting dots, there may be incidents in Rockland or Nassau County and Southern New Jersey and because of the geography and different jurisdictions, no one law enforcement agency will necessarily know about it," said Mitch Silber with the Community Security Initiative.

Also among the embedded analysts is one from GLAAD. The Jewish security alliance shares intel with the LGBTQ community and the Asian American Foundation because they say all different forms of hate are all interconnected.

RELATED | Anti-Defamation League reports 39% spike in antisemitic incidents in New York in 2022


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American Pravda: The Leo Frank Case and the Origins of the ADL

Posted By on March 31, 2023

About a week ago both theNew York Timesand theWall Street Journaldevoted considerable space to the coverage of Parade, the revival of a 1998 Broadway musical on the 1915 killing of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager in Atlanta, Georgia, arguably the most famous lynching in American history.

Frank had been convicted and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a young girl in his employ and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was founded in an effort to save his life. After numerous legal appeals failed, the states governor eventually commuted Franks sentence and a group of outraged citizens responded by hanging Frank. The incident was portrayed in both the musical and the associated media coverage as a particularly horrifying example of American anti-Semitism.

However, the actual facts of that case were quite different than that and in 2018 Id discussed them at considerable length as part ofa longer article. Given the recently renewed spotlight on the issue and the fascinating implications of the true story, Ive decided to extract and republish my analysis in hopes of bringing it to wider current attention.

Although I had long recognized the power and influence of the ADL, a leading Jewish-activist organization whose officials were so regularly quoted in my newspapers, until rather recently I had only the vaguest notions of its origins. Im sure Id heard the story mentioned at some point, but the account had never stuck in my mind.

Then perhaps a year or two ago, I happened to come across some discussion of the ADLs 2013 centenary celebration, in which the leadership reaffirmed the principles of its 1913 founding. Theinitial impetushad been the vain national effort to save the life of Leo Frank, a young Southern Jew unjustly accused of murder and eventually lynched. In the past, Franks name and story would have been equally vague in my mind, only half-remembered from my introductory history textbooks as one of the most notable early KKK victims in the fiercely anti-Semitic Deep South of the early twentieth century. However, not long before seeing that piece on the ADL Id read Albert Lindemanns highly-regarded studyThe Jew Accused, and his short chapter on the notorious Frank case had completely exploded all my preconceptions.

First, Lindemann demonstrated that there was no evidence of any anti-Semitism behind Franks arrest and conviction, with Jews constituting a highly-valued element of the affluent Atlanta society of the day, and no references to Franks Jewish background, negative or otherwise, appearing in the media prior to the trial. Indeed, five of the Grand Jurors who voted to indict Frank for murder were themselves Jewish, and none of them ever voiced regret over their decision. In general, support for Frank seems to have been strongest among Jews from New York and other distant parts of the country and weakest among the Atlanta Jews with best knowledge of the local situation.

Furthermore, although Lindemann followed the secondary sources he relied upon in declaring that Frank was clearly innocent of the charges of rape and murder, the facts he recounted led me to the opposite conclusion, seeming to suggest strong evidence of Franks guilt. When I much more recently read Lindemanns longer and more comprehensive historical study of anti-Semitism,Esaus Tears, I noticed that his abbreviated treatment of the Frank case no longer made any such claim of innocence, perhaps indicating that the author himself might have also had second thoughts about the weight of the evidence.

Based on this material, I voiced that opinion inmy recent articleon historical anti-Semitism, but my conclusions were necessarily quite tentative since they relied upon Lindermanns summary of the information provided in the secondary sources he had used, and I had the impression that virtually all those who had closely investigated the Frank case had concluded that Frank was innocent. But after my piece appeared, someone pointed me to a 2016 book from an unexpected source arguing for Franks guilt. Now that I have ordered and read that volume, my understanding of the Frank case and its historical significance has been entirely transformed.

Mainstream publishers may often reject books that too sharply conflict with reigning dogma and sales of such works are unlikely to justify the extensive research required to produce the manuscript. Furthermore, both authors and publishers may face widespread vilification from a hostile media for taking such positions. For these reasons, those who publish such controversial material will often be acting from deep ideological motives rather than merely seeking professional advancement or monetary gain. As an example, it took a zealous Trotskyite leftist such as Lenni Brenner to brave the risk of ferocious attacks and invest the time and effort to produce his remarkable study of the crucialNazi-Zionist partnership of the 1930s. And for similar reasons, we should not be totally surprised that the leading book arguing for the guilt of Leo Frank appeared as a volume in the series on the pernicious aspects of Jewish-Black historical relations produced by Louis Farrakhans Nation of Islam (NOI), nor that the text lacked any identified author.

Anonymous works published by heavily-demonized religious-political movements naturally engender considerable caution, but once I began reading the 500 pages ofThe Leo Frank Case: The Lynching of a Guilty ManI was tremendously impressed by the quality of the historical analysis. I think I have only very rarely encountered a research monograph on a controversial historical event that provided such an enormous wealth of carefully-argued analysis backed by such copious evidence. The authors seemed to display complete mastery of the major secondary literature of the last one hundred years while drawing very heavily upon the various primary sources, including court records, personal correspondence, and contemporaneous publications, with the overwhelming majority of the 1200 footnotes referencing newspaper and magazine articles of that era. The case they made for Franks guilt seemed absolutely overwhelming.

The basic outline of events is not disputed. In 1913 Georgia, a 13-year-old pencil company worker named Mary Phagan was last seen alive visiting the office of factory manager Leo Frank on a Saturday morning to collect her weekly paycheck, while her raped and murdered body was found in the basement early the next morning and Frank eventually arrested for the crime. As the wealthy young president of the Atlanta chapter of Bnai Brith, Frank ranked as one of the most prominent Jewish men in the South, and great resources were deployed in his legal defense, but after the longest and most expensive trial in state history, he was quickly convicted and sentenced to death.

The facts of the case against Frank eventually became a remarkable tangle of complex and often conflicting evidence and eyewitness testimony, with sworn statements regularly being retracted and then counter-retracted. But the crucial point that the NOI authors emphasize for properly deciphering this confusing situation is the enormous scale of the financial resources that were deployed on Franks behalf, both prior to the trial and afterward, with virtually all of the funds coming from Jewish sources. Currency conversions are hardly precise, but relative to the American family incomes of the time, the total expenditures by Frank supporters may have been as high as $25 million in present-day dollars, quite possibly more than any other homicide defense in American history before or after, and an almost unimaginable sum for the impoverished Deep South of that period. Years later, a leading donor privately admitted that much of this money was spent on perjury and similar falsifications, something which is very readily apparent to anyone who closely studies the case. When we consider this vast ocean of pro-Frank funding and the sordid means for which it was often deployed, the details of the case become far less mysterious. There exists a mountain of demonstrably fabricated evidence and false testimony in favor of Frank, and no sign of anything similar on the other side.

The police initially suspected the black night watchman who found the girls body, and he was quickly arrested and harshly interrogated. Soon afterward, a bloody shirt was found at his home, and Frank made several statements that seemed to implicate his employee in the crime. At one point, this black suspect may have come close to being summarily lynched by a mob, which would have closed the case. But he stuck to his story of innocence with remarkable composure, in sharp contrast to Franks extremely nervous and suspicious behavior, and the police soon shifted their scrutiny toward the latter, culminating in his arrest. All researchers now recognize that the night watchman was entirely innocent, and the evidence against him planted.

The case against Frank steadily mounted. He was the last man known to have seen the young victim and he repeatedly changed important aspects of his story. Numerous former female employees reported his long history of sexually aggressive behavior toward them, especially directed towards the murdered girl herself. At the time of the murder, Frank claimed to have been working alone in his office, but a witness who went there reported he had been nowhere to be found. A vast amount of circumstantial evidence implicated Frank.

A black Frank family servant soon came forward with sworn testimony that Frank had confessed the murder to his wife on the morning after the killing, and this claim seemed supported by the latters strange refusal to visit her husband in jail for the first two weeks after the day of his arrest.

Two separate firms of experienced private detectives were hired by Franks lavishly-funded partisans, and the agents of both eventually came to the reluctant conclusion that Frank was guilty as charged.

As the investigation moved forward, a major break occurred as a certain Jim Conley, Franks black janitor, came forward and confessed to having been Franks accomplice in concealing the crime. At the trial he testified that Frank had regularly enlisted him as a lookout during his numerous sexual liaisons with his female employees, and after murdering Phagan, Frank had then offered him a huge sum of money to help remove and hide the body in the basement so that the crime could be pinned upon someone else. But with the legal noose tightening around Frank, Conley had begun to fear that he might be made the new scapegoat, and went to the authorities in order to save his own neck. Despite Conleys damning accusations, Frank repeatedly refused to confront him in the presence of the police, which was widely seen as further proof of Franks guilt.

By the time of the trial itself, all sides were agreed that the murderer was either Frank, the wealthy Jewish businessman, or Conley, the semi-literate black janitor with a first-grade education and a long history of public drunkenness and petty crime. Franks lawyers exploited this comparison to the fullest, emphasizing Franks Jewish background as evidence for his innocence and indulging in the crudest sort of racial invective against his black accuser, whom they claimed was obviously the true rapist and murderer due to his bestial nature.

Those attorneys were the best that money could buy and the lead counsel was known as the one of the most skilled courtroom interrogators in the South. But although he subjected Conley to a grueling sixteen hours of intense cross-examination over three days, the latter never wavered in the major details of his extremely vivid story, which deeply impressed the local media and the jury. Meanwhile, Frank refused to take the stand at his own trial, thereby avoiding any public cross-examination of his often changing account.

Two notes written in crude black English had been discovered alongside Phagans body, and everyone soon agreed that these were written by the murderer in hopes of misdirecting suspicion. So they were either written by a semi-literate black such as Conley or by an educated white attempting to imitate that style, and to my mind, the spelling and choice of words strongly suggests the latter, thereby implicating Frank.

Taking a broader overview, the theory advanced by Franks legion of posthumous advocates seems to defy rationality. These journalists and scholars uniformly argue that Conley, a semi-literate black menial, had brutally raped and murdered a young white girl, and the legal authorities soon became aware of this fact, but conspired to set him free by supporting a complex and risky scheme to instead frame an innocent white businessman. Can we really believe that the police officials and prosecutors of a city in the Old South would have violated their oath of office in order to knowingly protect a black rapist and killer from legal punishment and thereby turn him loose upon their city streets, presumably to prey on future young white girls? This implausible reconstruction is particularly bizarre in that nearly all its advocates across the decades have been the staunchest of Jewish liberals, who have endlessly condemned the horrific racism of the Southern authorities of that era, but then unaccountably chose to make a special exception in this one particular case.

In many respects, the more important part of the Frank case began after his conviction and death sentence when many of Americas wealthiest and most influential Jewish leaders began mobilizing to save him from the hangman. They soon established the ADL as a new vehicle for that purpose and succeeded in making the Frank murder case one of the most famous in American history to that date.

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American Pravda: The Leo Frank Case and the Origins of the ADL

Mordechai Nisan: In Israel, we are witnessing the post-Zionist left trying to unravel the Jewish state – National Post

Posted By on March 31, 2023

Mordechai Nisan: In Israel, we are witnessing the post-Zionist left trying to unravel the Jewish state  National Post

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Mordechai Nisan: In Israel, we are witnessing the post-Zionist left trying to unravel the Jewish state - National Post

The African American & Jewish communities share stories of liberation at their joint Freedom Seder – WKBW 7 News Buffalo

Posted By on March 31, 2023

The African American & Jewish communities share stories of liberation at their joint Freedom Seder  WKBW 7 News Buffalo

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The African American & Jewish communities share stories of liberation at their joint Freedom Seder - WKBW 7 News Buffalo

Berber Jews – Wikipedia

Posted By on March 31, 2023

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Berber-speaking Jewish people in North Africa

Berber Jews are the Jewish communities of the Maghreb, in North Africa, who historically spoke Berber languages.Between 1950 and 1970 most immigrated to France, the United States, or Israel.[1]

Jews have settled in Maghreb since at least the third century BC.[2] According to one theory, which is based on the fourteenth-century writings of Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldun and was influential during the 20th century, Berbers adopted Judaism from these arrived Jews before the Arab conquest of North Africa.[2][3] For example, French historian, Eugne Albertini dates the Judaization of certain Berber tribes and their expansion from Tripolitania to the Saharan oases, to the end of the 1st century.[4] Marcel Simon for his part, sees the first point of contact between the western Berbers and Judaism in the great Jewish Rebellion of 66-70.[5] Some historians believe, based on the writings of Ibn Khaldoun and other evidence, that some or all of the ancient Judaized Berber tribes later adopted Christianity and afterwards Islam, and it is not clear if they are a part of the ancestry of contemporary Berber-speaking Jews.[6] According to Joseph Chetrit, recent research has shown weaknesses in the evidence supporting Ibn Khaldun's statement, and "seems to support scholars' hypothesis that Jews came to North Africa from ancient Israel after a stay in Egypt and scattered progressively from East to West, from the Middle East to the Atlantic in the Hellenic-Roman Empire".[2]

Besides old settlements of Jews in the Atlas mountains and the interior Berber lands of Morocco, strong periodic persecutions by the Almohades most probably augmented the Jewish presence there. This hypothesis is reinforced by the pogroms which happened in Fes, Meknes and Taza in the late 15th century and which would have brought another wave of Jews, including amongst them Spanish Jewish-descended families such as the Peretz, and this wave would have even reached the Sahara with Figuig and Errachidia.[citation needed]

Some claim the female Berber military leader, Dihya, was a Berber Jew, though she is remembered in the oral tradition of some North-African communities as an oppressive leader for the Jews, and other sources claim her to be Christian. She is said to have aroused the Berbers in the Aures (Chaoui territory) in the eastern spurs of the Atlas Mountains in modern-day Algeria to a last, although fruitless, resistance to the Arab general Hasan ibn Nu'man.[citation needed]

Following the 1948 ArabIsraeli War, the tensions between the Jewish and Muslim communities increased.[7] Jews in the Maghreb were compelled to leave[by whom?] due to these increased tensions. Today, the indigenous Berber Jewish community no longer exists in Morocco. The Moroccan Jewish population rests at about 2,200 persons with most residing in Casablanca,[8] some of whom might still be Berber speakers.[9]

In the past, it would have been very difficult to decide whether these Jewish Berber clans were originally of Israelite descent and had become assimilated with the Berbers in language and some cultural habits or whether they were indigenous Berbers who in the course of centuries had become Jewish through conversion by Jewish settlers. The second theory was developed mainly in the first half of the 20th century, as part of the quest of French colonial authorities to discover and emphasize pre-Islamic customs among the Berber-Muslim population since such customs and ways of life were believed to be more amenable and assimilable to French rule, legitimizing the policy that the Berbers would be governed by their own "customary" law rather than Islamic law.

Consequently, the main proponents of this theory were scholars such as Nahum Slouschz who worked closely with French authorities.[10] Other scholars such as Andr Goldenberg and Simon Lvy also favoured it.[11]

Franz Boas wrote in 1923 that a comparison of the Jews of North Africa with those of Western Europe and those of Russia "shows very clearly that in every single instance we have a marked assimilation between the Jews and the people among whom they live" and that "the Jews of North Africa are, in essential traits, North Africans".[12]

Haim Hirshberg, a major historian of North African Jewry, questioned the theory of massive Judaization of the Berbers in an article named "The Problem of the Judaized Berbers". One of the points that Hirshberg raised in his article was that Ibn Khaldoun, the source of the Judaized Berbers theory, wrote only that few tribes "might" have been Judaized in ancient times and stated that in the Roman period the same tribes were Christianized.[6]

The theory of a massive Judaization of the Berber population was further dismissed by a recent study on mtDNA (transmitted from mother to children). The study carried out by Behar et al. analysed small samples of North African Jews (Libya (83); Morocco (149); Tunisia (37)) indicates that Jews from North Africa lack typically North African Hg M1 and U6 mtDNAs.[13] Hence, according to the authors, the lack of U6 and M1 haplogroups among the North Africans renders the possibility of significant admixture, as between the local Arab and Berber populations with Jews, unlikely. The genetic evidence shows them to be distinct from Berber populations, but more similar to Ashkenazi Jewish populations.[13]

Originally posted here:

Berber Jews - Wikipedia

Hasidic Judaism Rules & Customs | What Does Hasidic Mean? |

Posted By on March 28, 2023

How Hasidic Judaism Began

In today's troubled world, we may often watch a news report and feel disillusioned and fearful about what the future may bring. The gap between rich and poor is widening, while conflict and division seem to be everywhere. People seem to have lost their sense of priority, and confusion reigns. However, this isn't the first time in human history that this has happened. In fact, in seventeenth century Poland, there was a similar time when the Polish Jews found themselves in the midst of similar conflict, division and even persecution. It was during this time that Hasidic Judaism began.

Hasidic Judaism is a branch of Haredi Judaism, which itself is a branch of Orthodox Judaism, or conservative Judaism. It originated in Poland around 1740 and was founded by the Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer, who was also called Besht. Those who followed Hasidic Judaism were dedicated to following the laws of the Torah, which is the Bible of Judaism. They were also dedicated to living life according to this law and to bringing God into every aspect of life. Hasidic Judaism is not just a faith but is instead the basis for a whole unique sort of community in which every member is first a servant of God.

The Torah is, technically, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, or what's known among Christians as the Old Testament. This is considered to be God's teachings and guidance for humanity. However, Hasidic Judaism also incorporates much of the mystic tradition of the Kaballah. This is a more oral tradition that encompasses ideas about how people can raise their consciousness and develop a more clear perception of reality. Being a Hasidic Jew doesn't just mean following the scriptures of the Torah. It also means being a joyful servant of God, spreading kindness and respect for the world that God created. In Hasidic Judaism, an emotional or heartfelt understanding of God is more valued than a simple technical knowledge of the scriptures.

In Hasidic Judaism, the rebbe is a spiritual leader of the community. This is analogous to the rabbi in more modern Judaism. The rebbe is also considered to be a tzaddik, or righteous man. Members of the Hasidic community come to the rebbe for advice, for prayers when they are ill, or for help with developing a closer relationship to God. Various Hasidic communities are led by different tzadikim, and people look to these leaders as examples of the way to live a pious life.

The Shabbat is the Hasidic Jewish day of rest and the seventh day of the week. It's a dedicated day of prayer, and begins on Friday night, going into Saturday and ending Saturday evening. On the Shabbat, activities are restricted and the focus is on family get-togethers rather than study and work.

Hasidic Judaism doesn't necessarily consider the modern world to be a friendly place. Hasidic Jews don't follow conventional Western fashion trends, but instead have their own dress code, which emphasizes modesty and identifies them as followers of Jewish law. The men wear black suits with a white shirt and wide black hats over a traditional skull cap. Women don't wear miniskirts or show cleavage, but instead dress with great modesty, sometimes even wearing head coverings. Hasidic Jews do use technology as needed, but don't use the Internet or television for entertainment. They're also careful about protecting their spirituality and psychological well-being.

Hasidic men and women are generally kept separated throughout much of their lives until marriage. They worship separately and are educated separately. Although marriages are not often arranged nowadays, the parents may still rely on a matchmaker and may try to bring a couple together if they think the match is suitable. When it's decided that there will be a marriage, a contract is signed.

Among Hasidic Jews, the emphasis of the role of women has traditionally been to serve as wives and mothers. However, just prior to the Holocaust, women were beginning to participate in Hasidic education. The extent to which women are allowed to participate in this education varies by Hasidic sect, as some sects are more progressive than others. For example, the Lubavitcher sect of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, is known for its women activists and its progressive policies.

A Hasidic school is called a yeshiva, and the focus of learning is the teachings of the Torah. Hasidic boys and girls are educated separately from pre-school onward. When the boys are older, their school hours are longer, and they spend most of these hours studying the Talmud, which is an extensive book of Jewish law. Hasidic Jews generally do not favor higher education as they believe it jeopardizes their culture. Instead, they take technical training or become involved in business or a skilled trade.

Hasidic Judaism has been criticized by many for its restrictive and socially isolating policies as well as its patriarchal structure. However, Hasidic communities are still widespread even today, with almost half a million Hasidic Jews living in North America and also with large communities in Israel, and smaller communities in parts of Europe. Perhaps this is because such a tradition is respected for giving structure and meaning to life during times that are once again challenging and often chaotic.

Hasidic Judaism was founded in Poland around 1740 by the Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer during a turbulent time of conflict and division. The holy book of Judaism is the Torah, which is the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Hasidic Judaism also incorporates the mysticism of the Kaballah, which is an oral tradition with teachings that are designed to help people experience clear perception of reality and an insightful understanding of God.

In the Hasidic community, the rebbe is a spiritual leader and is also a tzaddik, or righteous man. Community members see him as a counselor and advisor. The Shabbat is the Hasidic holy day, which begins on Friday night and goes into Saturday evening.

The Hasidic culture has its own mode of dress along with many customs regarding marriage, the role of women, and education. A Hasidic school is called a yeshiva. Hasidic boys have extended school hours and spend many of these studying the Talmud, which is a book of Jewish law. There are still many Hasidic Jewish communities in existence around the world today.


Hasidic Judaism Rules & Customs | What Does Hasidic Mean? |

She says she was fired for being Jewish. A jury agreed. Now her former boss wants that ruling overturned. – WCPO 9 Cincinnati

Posted By on March 28, 2023

She says she was fired for being Jewish. A jury agreed. Now her former boss wants that ruling overturned.  WCPO 9 Cincinnati

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She says she was fired for being Jewish. A jury agreed. Now her former boss wants that ruling overturned. - WCPO 9 Cincinnati

Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism launches ‘Stand up to Jewish Hate’ blue square campaign – CBS Boston

Posted By on March 28, 2023

  1. Robert Kraft's Foundation to Combat Antisemitism launches 'Stand up to Jewish Hate' blue square campaign  CBS Boston
  2. Robert Kraft launches 'Stand up to Jewish Hate' blue square campaign  CBS Boston
  3. New campaign fighting antisemitism premieres on NBC  WBAL TV Baltimore

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Robert Kraft's Foundation to Combat Antisemitism launches 'Stand up to Jewish Hate' blue square campaign - CBS Boston

On the brink of a rift in the nation: Rabbi Pinto calls for the strength – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on March 28, 2023

On the brink of a rift in the nation: Rabbi Pinto calls for the strength  The Jerusalem Post

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On the brink of a rift in the nation: Rabbi Pinto calls for the strength - The Jerusalem Post

Israel news: What’s behind the strikes, protests and escalating Israeli …

Posted By on March 28, 2023

Criticism of Israel's new far-right, ultra-religious coalition government continues to mount amid a backlash to its judiciary reform plans and spiraling violence between Israeli security forces and Palestinians. Below is the latest on what's happening, and why.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu announced a delay Monday in implementing controversial reforms to the nation's judiciary. Thousands of Israeli workers had gone on strike Monday after a weekend of massive protests over the plans the latest demonstrations against the proposed changes.

Critics say the changes being pushed by Netanyahu's far-right coalition government would allow the executive branch to reverse decisions made by Israel's Supreme Court and undermine the country's system of democratic checks and balances.

Tens of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets over the past two months to demonstrate against the changes being sought by Netanyahu's government, and the protests ramped up dramatically over the weekend when the premier fired his defense chief for calling for a halt to the planned judicial reforms.

The strike action, called by Israel's biggest umbrella labor union group, saw workers in sectors from transport to diplomacy walk off the job, heaping pressure on Netanyahu.

Israeli reservist Air Force pilots joined the protests against the proposed reforms earlier this month. In a letter sent by dozens of reserve pilots to their chief of staff, which was published by Israeli media on Sunday, the reservists said they would not attend an upcoming scheduled training. Military reservists are often called to take part in limited periods of training each year in Israel, where military service is compulsory.

"We will continue to serve the Jewish and democratic State of Israel at all times and across borders... [but] we have decided to take a one day break to talk about the disturbing processes the country is going through," they said in their letter.

Despite meetings between Israeli and Palestinian officials in Jordan to try to maintain the increasingly fragile peace, violence and anger may be on the brink of boiling over. Tension often increases in the heart of the Middle East as Jews mark Passover and Muslims observe the holy month of Ramadan.

Since the start of the year, a series of Israeli army raids have killed and injured scores of Palestinians in the West Bank. Seven Israelis were killed, meanwhile, in an attack outside a synagogue in east Jerusalem that was the deadliest attack of its kind in years.

After two young Israeli men from a nearby settlement were killed in the West Bank city of Hawara, Israeli settlers rampaged through the area, torching homes and cars in what has been described as a "pogrom."

Netanyahu recently began his sixth term as Israel's prime minister a return to power made possible by the veteran politician forging a coalition with members of extremist, far-right and ultra-religious political parties that had long existed on the fringes of Israeli politics.

After returning to office, Netanyahu appointed some of these controversial figures to leadership roles within his government, including finance minister Bezalel Smotrich, a self-avowed "proud homophobe" who was once arrested on suspicion of organizing an attempted terror attack.

After the rampage in Hawara, Smotrich called for the Israeli government to "wipe out" the Palestinian village. His remarks brought a stark rebuke from U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price, who called them "irresponsible, disgusting and repugnant."

Smotrich later backtracked on his remarks, and Netanyahu over the weekend said he "wanted to thank Minister Bezalel Smootrich (sic) for making clear that his choice of words regarding the vigilante attacks on Harrawa following the murder of the Yaniv brothers was inappropriate and that he is strongly opposed to intentionally harming innocent civilians."

Another controversial government minister is Itamar Ben-Gvir, a radical ultra-nationalist who has chanted "death to Arabs" in the past and was convicted of inciting racism and supporting a terrorist organization. As the new Minister for National Security, Ben-Gvir is now in charge of Israel's police.

Mounir Marjieh, an advocate for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, told CBS News that Palestinians living in the occupied territories expected more violence at the hands of Israeli police and military forces, and a further curtailing of rights under the new extremist coalition.

"Palestinians are coping with a system that is built on the premise of Jewish domination, hegemony and superiority," Marjeih said. "It's a daily struggle to live here, to stay here."

In February, Israel's parliament passed legislation that allows the government to strip Palestinians with Israeli citizenship or residency of those rights and deport them to the West Bank or Gaza if they're convicted of nationalistic attacks and they receive money from the Palestinian Authority. Critics call the legislation racist and say it violates international law.

One of Ben-Gvir's first acts in his new role was to visit the highly sensitive site in Jerusalem that Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call Haram al-Sharif, the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. His visit was seen by many inside and outside Israel as a challenge to the status quo arrangement under which the site has long been managed to maintain peace. The visit drew a warning from the U.S. State Department against "any unilateral actions that undercut the historic status quo."

"What Ben-Gvir has done is very risky in so many ways," Marjeih said. "We are speaking about one of the most volatile geographic locations in Jerusalem There is a very clear arrangement that governs that place. Breaching that arrangement has an explosive potential."

Ben-Gvir has already banned the Palestinian flag from being flown in public spaces. He's seeking to amend gun laws to make it easier for Israelis to procure firearms, and has pledged to accelerate settlement building in the occupied West Bank. New settlement construction undermines any eventual two-state solution that would see an independent Palestinian nation created alongside Israel. He has also vowed to loosen the rules of engagement for police and soldiers, and pledged tougher treatment of Palestinian prisoners.

"I think there is enough reasons after the appointment of that Israeli politician to feel constant, to feel constant fear," said Marjeih.

Boaz Bismuth, a member of Israel's Knesset, or parliament, from Netanyahu's Likud party, told CBS News that Ben-Gvir had "made mistakes in the past but he told me, 'I made mistakes. I have changed,' and I believe him."

Bismuth said Ben-Gvir "detests terrorists but doesn't detest or hate Arabs."

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visited the regionin January and met Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He voiced America's continued support for a two-state solution, but said ending the conflict was "fundamentally up to them. They have to work together to find a path forward that both defuses the current cycle of violence and, I hope, also leads to positive steps to build back some confidence."

When asked if he supported a two-state solution, Bismuth said, "No."

"My message to America is, thank God that we are friends," he said. "We share the same values. Yet we can also disagree."

Some Americans who have made their lives in Israel expressed deep concern over the new government and the direction in which the country is headed. Tens of thousands of Israelis have gathered on the streets of Tel Aviv for weeks to protest the proposed judicial reforms, as well as proposed changes to anti-discrimination legislation that could see the rights of women, LGBTQ+ people, liberal Jews and other minority groups curtailed, in some cases for religious reasons.

"Americans have to know that this is not just a continuation of other right-wing governments. This is a dramatic change," Moshe Chertoff, who grew up in California and moved to Israel in the 1970s to live on a socialist kibbutz, told CBS News. "I don't understand what kind of extreme Judaism that is. It's definitely not the Judaism that I knew or that I'd say 75% of American Jews know."

Some prominent Jewish Americans in the U.S. also have concerns about the changes Israel's new hardline government may usher in. Last month, nearly 170 prominent American Jewish leaders published an open letter calling for "a critical and necessary debate about Israeli policies."

"Our criticisms emanate from a love for Israel and a steadfast support for its security and wellbeing," the letter said. "Some will try to dismiss their validity by labeling them antisemitic. We want to be clear that, whether or not one agrees with a particular criticism, such critiques of Israeli policy are not antisemitic. Indeed, they reflect a real concern that the new government's direction mirrors anti-democratic trends that we see arising elsewhere in other nations and here in the U.S., rather than reinforcing the shared democratic values that are foundational to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and the former leader of the Anti-Defamation League, told CBS News that if the new Israeli government undermines civil rights or democracy in Israel, it could leave many American Jews with some serious questions.

"The escalation in violence makes it more urgent for the Netanyahu government to make compromises in some of the proposed legislation to maintain the support of allied democracies and the diaspora Jewish communities," Foxman said. "The Jewish community, especially in the United States, is a liberal community. Judaism has liberal values. If the values in the state of Israel change vis--vis relationships with the LGBT community, the non-Orthodox, Arabs, etc., it will impact the relationship. ... I want this government to know that if it tampers with democracy, if it tampers with the basic relationship between Israel and the Jewish people, it will have consequences. The consequences will be: it will be more difficult to defend Israel."

Opposition Israeli Knesset member and Reform rabbi Ghilad Kariv told CBS News that only half of Israelis had voted for the new government, and a majority are not ultra-religious.

"Our duty is not to give up. Our duty is to remember that many Western democracies are facing major challenges in the last few years, and today," Khariv said. "We are part of a global wave of ultra-nationalism and the rise of the far-right. You see it in Europe. You also see it in America. And our duty is to remember that there are millions of Israelis that are fully committed to the core democratic and liberal values of Israel."

Haley Ott is a digital reporter/producer for CBS News based in London.

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