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Alex Bregman wants his community to believe in progress: I want Jewish kids who dream about playing baseball to believe that they can" -…

Posted By on January 3, 2023

Alex Bregman wants his community to believe in progress: I want Jewish kids who dream about playing baseball to believe that they can"  Sportskeeda

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Alex Bregman wants his community to believe in progress: I want Jewish kids who dream about playing baseball to believe that they can" -...

Where are the Gulf Arab tourists? Israel’s hopes fall short

Posted By on January 3, 2023

JERUSALEM (AP) When Israel struck an agreement with the United Arab Emirates to open diplomatic ties in 2020, it brought an electrifying sense of achievement to a country long ostracized in the Middle East.

Officials insisted that Israels new ties with the UAE, and soon after with Bahrain, would go beyond governments and become society-wide pacts, stoking mass tourism and friendly exchanges between people long at odds.

But over two years since the breakthrough accords, the expected flood of Gulf Arab tourists to Israel has been little more than a trickle. Although more than half a million Israelis have flocked to oil-rich Abu Dhabi and skyscraper-studded Dubai, just 1,600 Emirati citizens have visited Israel since it lifted coronavirus travel restrictions last year, the Israeli Tourism Ministry told The Associated Press.

The ministry does not know how many Bahrainis have visited Israel because, it said, the numbers are too small.

Its still a very weird and sensitive situation, said Morsi Hija, head of the forum for Arabic-speaking tour guides in Israel. The Emiratis feel like theyve done something wrong in coming here.

The lack of Emirati and Bahraini tourists reflects Israels long-standing image problem in the Arab world and reveals the limits of the Abraham Accords, experts say.

Even as bilateral trade between Israel and the UAE has exploded from $11.2 million in 2019 to $1.2 billion last year, the popularity of the agreements in the UAE and Bahrain has plummeted since the deals were signed, according to a survey by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an American think tank.

In the UAE, support fell to 25% from 47% in the last two years. In Bahrain, just 20% of the population supports the deal, down from 45% in 2020. In that time, Israel and Gaza militants fought a devastating war and violence in the occupied West Bank surged to its highest levels in years.

Israeli officials say Gulf Arab tourism to Israel is a missing piece that would move the agreements beyond security and diplomatic ties. Tourist visits from Egypt and Jordan, the first two countries to reach peace with Israel, also are virtually nonexistent.

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We need to encourage (Emiratis) to come for the first time. It's an important mission, Amir Hayek, Israeli ambassador to the UAE, told the AP. We need to promote tourism so people will know each other and understand each other.

Israeli tourism officials flew to the UAE last month in a marketing push to spread the word that Israel is a safe and attractive destination. The ministry said it's now pitching Tel Aviv Israels commercial and entertainment hub as a big draw for Emiratis.

Tour agents say that so far, betting on Jerusalem has backfired. The turmoil of the contested city has turned off Emiratis and Bahrainis, some of whom have faced backlash from Palestinians who see normalization as a betrayal of their cause. The Palestinian struggle for independence from Israel enjoys broad support across the Arab world.

There's still a lot of hesitation coming from the Arab world, said Dan Feferman, director of Sharaka, a group that promotes people-to-people exchanges between Israel and the Arab world. They expect (Israel) to be a conflict zone, they expect to be discriminated against. After leading two trips of Bahrainis and Emiratis to Israel, Sharaka struggled to find more Gulf Arab citizens interested in visiting, he said.

When a group of Emirati and Bahraini social media influencers in 2020 visited the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam, they were spat on and pelted with shoes in Jerusalem's Old City, said Hija, their tour guide.

When another group of Emirati officials visited the flashpoint site accompanied by Israeli police, they drew the ire of the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, who issued a religious edict against Emiratis visiting the mosque under Israeli supervision.

Most Emiratis and Bahrainis who have visited Israel say they forgo their national dress and headscarves in order not to attract attention.

The Islamic Waqf, which administers the mosque, declined to answer questions about the number of Emirati and Bahraini visitors and their treatment at the compound.

Palestinian rage against Emiratis is not confined to the sacred esplanade. Emirati citizens visiting and studying in Israel say they face frequent death threats and online attacks.

Not everyone can handle the pressure, said Sumaiiah Almehiri, a 31-year-old Emirati from Dubai studying to be a nurse at the University of Haifa. I didn't give into the threats, but fear is preventing a lot of Emiratis from going.

The fear of anti-Arab racism in Israel can also drive Gulf Arabs away. Israeli police mistakenly arrested two Emirati tourists in Tel Aviv last summer while hunting for a criminal who carried out a drive-by shooting. Some Emiratis have complained on social media about drawing unwanted scrutiny from security officials at Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport.

If you bring them here and dont treat them in a sensitive way, theyll never come back and tell all their friends to stay away, Hija said.

Benjamin Netanyahu, who returned for a sixth term as prime minister last week, has pledged to strengthen agreements with Bahrain, Morocco, the UAE and Sudan. Formal ties with Sudan remain elusive in the wake of a military coup and in the absence of a parliament to ratify its U.S.-brokered normalization deal with Israel.

As a chief architect of the accords, Netanyahu also hopes to expand the circle of countries and reach a similar deal with Saudi Arabia.

Yet experts fear his new government the most ultranationalist and religiously conservative in Israels history could further deter Gulf Arab tourists and even jeopardize the agreements. His government has vowed to expand West Bank settlements and pledged to annex the entire territory, a step that was put on hold as a condition of the initial agreement with the UAE.

We have a reason to be worried about any deterioration in relations, said Moran Zaga, an expert in Gulf Arab states at the University of Haifa in Israel.

So far, Gulf Arab governments have offered no reason for concern.

The Emirati ambassador was photographed warmly embracing Itamar Ben-Gvir, one of the coalition's most radical members, at a national day celebration last month. And over the weekend, the UAE's leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, called Netanyahu to congratulate him and invite him to visit.

It's a different story among those who are not in the officialdom.

I hope that Netanyahu and those with him will not set foot on the land of the Emirates, Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a prominent Emirati political scientist, wrote on Twitter. I think it is appropriate to freeze the Abraham Accords temporarily."

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Where are the Gulf Arab tourists? Israel's hopes fall short

Ukraine didn’t attend UN vote on Israeli occupation after Netanyahu called Zelensky – Axios

Posted By on January 3, 2023

  1. Ukraine didn't attend UN vote on Israeli occupation after Netanyahu called Zelensky  Axios
  2. UN condemned Israel more than all other countries combined in 2022 monitor  The Times of Israel
  3. Israel has claimed some wins in UN vote but the ICJ process is a serious threat  The Times of Israel

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Ukraine didn't attend UN vote on Israeli occupation after Netanyahu called Zelensky - Axios

Kol Israel Foundation raises ceremonial flag over its Holocaust National Memorial – Cleveland Jewish News

Posted By on January 3, 2023

Kol Israel Foundation raises ceremonial flag over its Holocaust National Memorial  Cleveland Jewish News

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Kol Israel Foundation raises ceremonial flag over its Holocaust National Memorial - Cleveland Jewish News

Trump Meets With White Supremacist And Holocaust Denier Nick Fuentes …

Posted By on January 2, 2023

Former President Donald Trump reportedly met withwhite supremacist and Holocaust denierNick Fuentes this week at Mar-a-Lago.

The news comes aftervideoemerged early in the week showing Fuentes with rapper Kanye West, whose recent anti-Semitic tirades have upended many of his business pursuits, in an airport in Miami.

West posted a video to his Twitter account Thursday night titled, Mar-a-Lago Debrief, in which he says that Trump was really impressed with Nick Fuentes, adding that Fuentes is a loyalist to Trump.Other reportssaidthat Trump was dazzled by Fuentes, according to people who were present.

West later tweeted a screenshot of a text message group purportedly between himself, Fuentes, MiloYiannopoulos, and another unidentified person whose name was blurred out.

In the screenshot, the unidentified person asks Fuentes if he told Trump that Gettr CEO Jason Miller didnt like him.

Nick, didnt you tell the President at dinner that he Jason didnt like you? the person asked.

A person identified as Nicholas YE24 Fuentes responded, Yes. I told him that Jason Miller had me banned on Gettr.

West then responded, I told Nick to tell the former president that Nick hated his speech.

After news of the meeting went viral online, Trump responded by claiming that he knew nothing about Fuentes when they met.

Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago, Trump said in the statement. Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about.

Trump also posted to social media platform Truth Social, explaining the meeting with Fuentes.

This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago, Trump wrote. Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about. We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport.

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Trump Meets With White Supremacist And Holocaust Denier Nick Fuentes ...

Anti-Hasidic bias claimed in suit over 2,600-home Lost Lake project

Posted By on January 2, 2023

A standoff over permits to start a massive housing project in the Catskills has erupted into a federal discrimination case, with the developer accusing town officials of conspiring to stop an influx of Hasidic families.

The lawsuit was filed by a group that spent $9.5 million in 2020 to buy the land and fully approved plans for Lost Lake Resort, a 2,627-home community that sputtered to a halt before any houses had been built. The development site takes up 3.3 square miles in Forestburgh, a rural Sullivan County town with only about 800 residents.

The suit follows Forestburgh's denial of several building permits for initial homes and a 10-month review of that decision by the town's Zoning Board of Appeals, which ultimately upheld it with a 35-page ruling on Nov. 15. Property owners Lost Lake Holdings LLC and Michconos Mazah LLC sued Forestburgh officials in U.S. District Court in White Plains on Dec. 16.

Standoff:Forestburgh officials and developer clash over permits to start 2,600-home project

Land sale:Developers buy Sullivan County land with approved plans for 2,600-home gated community

The inception:Developer plans Forestburgh resort

In their 90-page filing, attorneys allege the town is trying to thwart a once-welcomed project out of hostility to the Hasidic Jews likely to buy homes there. They denounced the zoning board review as a "sham" in which lawyers from the same firm represented both the town officials and the board that was weighing their permit denial.

"Plaintiffs were repeatedly denied a fair and impartial review of their appeal," attorneys Eric Treene and Steven Barshov wrote.

Town officials contend they denied permits because the new owners changed the nature of the project, which was envisioned as an upscale resort community in which many of the homes would be vacation getaways, not year-round dwellings.

In its ruling, the zoning board said that the developer proposed extensive changes and that "the totality of the changes is strong evidence that the housing development Applicant intends to build is materially different than the Resort Project that was approved."

The developer's attorneys counter that the town is grasping for excuses and that the project will be built as approved, including the 18-home golf course.

The case demands the town fairly review the permit applications and seeks an unspecified amount in damages. It alleges violations of the federal Fair Housing Act, the U.S. and New York constitutions and other state laws.

"In America no government may tell people where they are welcome to live and where they are not based on their religion, Treene said in a statement about the case. This has become an all-too-familiar experience for Orthodox Jews in many New York communities, and it must end.

The project was granted a zoning change in 2011 and consisted of 2,557 single-family houses, 30 cottages and 40 condominiums, along with an 18-hole golf course and other amenities. The community was to be built in seven phases with 400 homes and the first nine holes of the golf course in the first phase, approved in 2014.

Town officials cheered the development's start at a ribbon-cutting ceremony that year. The Dallas-based developer, Double Diamond Companies, spent millions building roads and installing miles of water and sewer pipes and drainage systems, according to the lawsuit. But after selling only about 150 housing lots, Double Diamond abandoned the project and put the property up for sale.

Mordechai Halberstam, a Rockland County builder, told the Times Herald-Record in 2020 he and his family had bought the Lost Lake property and planned to carry out the approved plans. He said they spent $13.3 million in all for the land and related assets, including mortgages Double Diamond held on 60 undeveloped housing lots that it had sold.

Barshov, one of the attorneys in the lawsuit, said in a statement that the developer had bought the project because all approvals were in place and building permits for the first phase could be issued at any time.

The only reason home construction is not occurring is because Town officials have made it crystal clear: Hasidic Orthodox Jewish developers and homeowners are not welcome in Forestburgh, he said.

Chris McKenna covers government and politics for the Times Herald-Record and USA Today Network. Reach him at cmckenna@th-record.com.

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Anti-Hasidic bias claimed in suit over 2,600-home Lost Lake project

Washington Hebrew Congregation to Pay Nearly $1M in Lawsuit Over Child Care Safety Laws – NBC4 Washington

Posted By on December 31, 2022

Washington Hebrew Congregation to Pay Nearly $1M in Lawsuit Over Child Care Safety Laws  NBC4 Washington

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Washington Hebrew Congregation to Pay Nearly $1M in Lawsuit Over Child Care Safety Laws - NBC4 Washington

Community: Jewish veterans’ graves honored at the BR National Cemetery – The Advocate

Posted By on December 31, 2022

Community: Jewish veterans' graves honored at the BR National Cemetery  The Advocate

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Community: Jewish veterans' graves honored at the BR National Cemetery - The Advocate

UN seeks ICJ opinion on Israels illegal occupation of Palestine – Al Jazeera English

Posted By on December 31, 2022

  1. UN seeks ICJ opinion on Israels illegal occupation of Palestine  Al Jazeera English
  2. Israel Not Bound By "Despicable" UN Vote On Palestine: Benjamin Netanyahu  NDTV
  3. UN asks world court to weigh in on Israeli occupation and annexation  The Times of Israel

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UN seeks ICJ opinion on Israels illegal occupation of Palestine - Al Jazeera English

Benjamin Netanyahu: Anti-Semitism Is The Oldest Disease, Given Extra …

Posted By on December 31, 2022

Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called anti-Semitism the oldest disease in the world.

Appearing on NBCs Meet the Press Sunday, Netanyahu, who will return for a third stint as prime minister, blamed the rise of anti-Semitism on increased polarization in the internet age. He also condemned the recent anti-Semitic outburst from rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and said that former President Donald Trump was wrong for recently having dinner with the musician.

Its the oldest disease, Netanyahu said. Its been around as a systemic ideology for around 2500 years, 500 years before the rise of Christianity, actually. So its accompanied our history, with horrific results, over the centuries, and its not gonna go away But I think that free societies have to take a consistent position to condemn anti-Semitism, to stand up against it, and to do so consistently.

Its the melding, the fusion of the anti-Semitism from the extreme radical left and the extreme radical right, he continued. It fuses into Jew-hatred. The communists blame the Jews for being capitalist, the capitalists blame the Jews for being communist. You have a problem, blame the Jews Its gotten extra life, probably, in the United States and in other countries by the age of the internet.

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Netanyahu went on to criticize former President Trump for hosting Ye, who has made multiple odious comments attacking Jewish people and praising Nazis in recent weeks.

Its not merely unacceptable, its just wrong, and I hope he sees his way to staying out of it and condemning it.

But Netanyahu seemed to pin the blame squarely on Ye, speculating that his recent outbursts were more about his personality than how he really views the world.

Whoever says it, for whatever reason, its wrong. You dont praise [Adolf] Hitler. How can you praise Hitler? Hitler was the greatest mass killer of all time. So anybody who praises him is wrong. Anybody who meets with him and gives him legitimacy is wrong. Ive said as much, and Ill continue to say it.

In early October, Ye claimed on Instagram that fellow rapper Diddy was controlled by Jewish people. He later tweeted, then apologized, for a tweet attacking Jewish people. Ye doubled down on the comments in an interview on the Drink Champs Round Three podcast, claiming that Jewish people have owned the black voice. Last week, Ye walked out of an interview on the Timcast IRL podcast after being pressed on his anti-Semitic comments. In a wild interview with InfoWars owner Alex Jones on Thursday, he praised Hitler and the Nazis and denied that six million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust.

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Benjamin Netanyahu: Anti-Semitism Is The Oldest Disease, Given Extra ...


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