Nov. 30 marks the first instance of an annual day in which Israel will commemorate the “Jewish refugees from Arab lands and Iran.” In recalling the tragedy of the Mizrahi Jews, we are compelled to focus on the religious and ethnic persecution that continues to disfigure the Middle East today. At the same time, Israel has shown that a multi-cultural and multi-faith society is possible in the region—and that is the message that should ring loud and clear, whether we are mourning the Holocaust or the expulsion of the Mizrahi Jews, writes JNS.org Shillman Analyst Ben Cohen.
Jewish students at Wellesley College, a Boston-area school for women, fear that anti-Semitism is growing on their campus following what they call the school administration’s lax response to the anti-Israel activities of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Wellesley also decided to eliminate the staff positions of Hillel director and Jewish chaplain, a move some Jewish students describe as the removal of their support system.
Melanie Goldberg, who was booted from an anti-Israel event at Brooklyn College last year for taking out information sheets to rebut the speaker, writes that the pro-Israel side is being drowned by its opponents on campus. We must show that anti-Zionism is in fact anti-Semitism when one side’s position is stifled, writes Goldberg, who now attends law school and is one of the founders of a new student-led legal chapter of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.
The numbers are staggering: 4,202 shluchim (emissary) couples working around the world; 94,650 students interacting with Chabad on campus annually; 37 million unique visitors per year to Chabad.org. On Nov. 23, more than 5,000 people attended the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries. Since the passing of movement leader Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson 20 years ago, there has been a 236-percent growth in the number of Chabad emissaries, who work in 80 countries and 49 of 50 U.S. states. A unique aspect of Chabad’s growth in America has been the significant participation of Jews across denominations and levels of affiliation in Chabad institutions—particularly in its schools.
Against the backdrop of growing threats facing Israel at home and abroad, one of the fastest-growing ethnoreligious segments in the U.S. is stepping up its support for the Jewish state. At the forefront of the interests of America’s Hispanic Evangelical Christian population is the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)/Conela. Representing more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals in the U.S., NHCLC/Conela is now beginning to wield its considerable influence for the purpose of standing up for Israel. “My job is to convince young Latino people that supporting Israel actually works for the good of all in the Middle East,” said NHCLC/Conela President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez.
The 61st installment of Harvey Rachlin's new comic strip, "The Menschkins." See the color and black and white versions below. Click here for an introduction to the series. Click here for more JNS.org coverage on Jewish arts.
The Nov. 18 killing of Israeli Druze police officer Zidan Saif, who was the first officer to enter the scene of a Palestinian terror attack on worshippers at a Jerusalem synagogue, has spotlighted the Druze and Jewish communities’ united front against Muslim terrorism in Israel. Another Druze policeman was killed Nov. 5 in a Palestinian vehicular terror attack on a Jerusalem light rail station. “Most in Israeli society view the Druze very positively,” Shmuel Shamai, a professor at the Golan Research Institute and the Tel Hai College in Qiryat Shemona, told JNS.org.
With the gruesome images of the Nov. 18 terrorist attack at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem still fresh in the minds of Israelis and not likely to go away anytime soon, leaders of synagogues around the country are grappling with setting the right tone and safety procedures for an uncertain future. “By attacking people in a synagogue, they attacked us where it hurts the most, literally at the heart of the Jewish people,” says Gabie Sykora, a board member at the Kinor David synagogue in Ra’anana.
Over the last 20 years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group has been eclipsed by the other Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas. But on Nov. 18, the PFLP returned to the scene with a vengeance through its members’ bloody attack on a Jerusalem synagogue that killed four Jewish worshippers and a Druze policeman. The synagogue attack is a reminder that the Palestinian goal of genocide—most of the time prettified as the “one-state solution”—predates the emergence of Hamas and is subscribed to with similar fervor by ostensibly secular organizations like the PFLP, writes JNS.org Shillman Analyst Ben Cohen.
The pattern is quite familiar: Palestinian terrorists murder Israelis. The Obama administration condemns the attack. And that’s it. No change in U.S. policy, no penalties or consequences for those who encourage and praise the killers. Bland verbal condemnations don’t make any difference, writes Stephen M. Flatow, whose daughter Alisa was killed in a Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.
The fact that Israel is dealing with Palestinian terrorism within its own borders, as well as monitoring regional threats like the Iranian nuclear program, hasn’t stopped the Jewish state from helping Kenya with wildlife preservation. Israeli-American conservationist Dr. Bill Clark has been working with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to combat animal poaching for decades, while the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) has provided equipment and training to KWS rangers. This Israeli-Kenyan collaboration has become a shining example of religious and cultural cooperation. “[Kenyans] show great appreciation for things that are being developed in Israel, they come to study here,” said Rony Malka, the head of the law enforcement, security, and safety division at the INPA. “This makes religion a beautiful thing and not warlike.”
From Tevye the dairyman to Maroon 5’s Adam Levine to “Let It Go” singer Idina Menzel, Jews have always been at the forefront of the music scene. Burt Sugarman and Mark Goodman are no different. As one of the pre-eminent television and film producers in history, Sugarman’s rolodex of connections would make any A-lister blush. Goodman, one of the first on-air personalities for the MTV network, had his finger on the pulse of pop music for years. The two industry icons spoke to JNS.org about the recent release of a collector’s edition DVD set of Sugarman’s pioneering television program “Midnight Special” by StarVista Entertainment/Time Life.
There are few subjects in Israel these days that arouse greater passion than prayer rights at the Temple Mount. The dramatic uptick in Palestinian terror attacks on Jews in Jerusalem in recent weeks has raised the temperature of the long-simmering debate over control of the holy site to a boiling point. Increased Muslim riots have prompted police to further clamp down on Jews visiting the site. “The real question is, why would we not have the right to pray at the Temple Mount, the holiest spot in the Jewish world? But now, if you are caught swaying, you can be arrested,” said Jeff Bell, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh.
What message is the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sending to the Jewish community through its recent selection of White House aide and social entrepreneur Jonathan Greenblatt to succeed longtime National Director Abraham Foxman? While some are praising ADL for thinking outside the box with its hire and trying to appeal to a younger demographic, others are concerned that Greenblatt is too visibly partisan and that his past experience may signal ADL’s de-emphasis of the fight against anti-Semitism in favor of civil rights work.
Does Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas want peace with Israel? That is doubtful given his posture since peace talks broke down in April, his inflammatory U.N. speech and ongoing rhetoric, and now a new wave of Palestinian terrorism. A two-faced Palestinian leader cannot bring about a two-state agreement, writes Lawrence Grossman, the American Jewish Committee’s director of publications.