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Visitors to the Otto Weidt Workshop for the Blind Museum in Berlin would need to be blind not to notice Haim Hoffmann—or rather, his weird beard—as he asks them to leave their backpacks at the reception desk. “It’s called the ‘Three-day Freestyle,’” joked Hoffman, the museum’s shift manager. Hoffman should know. He’s the German champion for the “Imperial Beard,” in which a sizable mustache-beard arches upward. He’ll be defending the bronze medal at the 2017 World Beard and Mustache Championships (WBMC) in Austin, Texas, from Sept. 1-3. Bryan Nelson, the organizer of this year’s WBMC, counts at least a handful of “Members of the Tribe” among the record-high 700 contestants.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin Aug. 23 to discuss the latest developments in the Middle East. The issue of Iranian forces attempting to establish a permanent military presence in Syria, near Israel’s northern border, is reportedly high on the agenda for the upcoming meeting. Iran’s activity makes “the need to have an open channel of communication between Israel and Russia even more important than it was some years ago,” Prof. Eyal Zisser, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, told

As the political and economic situation in Venezuela deteriorates, Jews are fleeing the South American nation. Inflation has skyrocketed, leading to shortages in food and basic supplies. “There is no value to life right now in Venezuela,” said Adele Tarrab, a Venezuelan Jew who moved to Israel in 2015. “I’ve actually seen people get killed for bread.” During the past year and half, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has brought 153 Venezuelan Jews to Israel, providing what the group’s leader called a “lifeline.” At the same time, the immigrants face new challenges in the Jewish state.

Several top experts on nuclear proliferation and Iran told the failure to successfully deal with North Korea sets a precedent for a similar result with the Islamic Republic. “If a short-term delay causes the international community to be lulled into a false sense that the [nuclear] deal ‘is working,’ as we are hearing lately from deal supporters, it is likely to wake up with a nuclear Iran that will be as firmly entrenched as North Korea,” said Emily Landau, director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies.

A push for unilateral Palestinian statehood recognition by the New South Wales branch of Australia’s Labor party marks the latest opposition to Israeli interests among far-left elements in English-speaking countries, including in New Zealand’s government, America’s Democratic party and the U.K.’s Labour party. Jeremy Jones, director of international affairs for the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, said that in the broader Australian Labor party, there is “a solid core of anti-Israel activists, mainly in the party’s left faction, who push for changes of Labor support for Israel as well as a popular perception of Palestinians as victims.”

All those fighting for French society to stand up against anti-Semitic violence find themselves in the same position as the mythological hero Sisyphus, condemned for all eternity to perform the impossible task of pushing an immense boulder up a steep hill each day. Yet after weeks of indifference by media outlets and politicians, French President Emmanuel Macron demanded that France’s judiciary shed light on the nature of April’s brutal murder of Jewish woman Sarah Halimi. Macron has, in his own way, advanced the boulder of Sisyphus, writes Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Paris-based Europe branch.

George Soros, the Hungarian-American billionaire, has all the makings of a character in a Hasidic fable. He sees no moral contradiction in funding the forces for an “open society” in Eastern Europe, while giving at the same time to left-wing lobby groups advocating for a diminished relationship between the U.S. and Israel, the single sovereign open society in the Middle East. He values the “universal” in Judaism and cares little for the “particular.” Yet Soros is the target of anti-Semitism in his native Hungary. Is Soros being targeted as a man or as a symbol? Even if there is a trace of the former, it’s the overwhelming presence of the latter that should keep us healthily skeptical, writes columnist Ben Cohen.

Susan Salzberg was the first to spot her late father-in-law’s face—a face with a striking resemblance to that of her 22-year-old son. Since as many as 200,000 Jews passed through the Lodz Ghetto from 1939-1944, the Salzberg family hardly expected to see Lewis Salzberg among the images in “Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross,” an exhibit on display in Boston through July 30. Ross’s lens caught the pain and pathos of the Jews remanded to the Holocaust era’s second-largest ghetto after the Warsaw Ghetto.

UNESCO last week approved resolutions denying Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem’s Old City and declaring Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs as an endangered Palestinian heritage. At the same time, the Jewish state is strengthening economic ties with Asia and Africa. As such, do UNESCO’s latest anti-Israel measures matter? “The Palestinians understand that their chances to pass anti-Israel resolutions in more significant international bodies has diminished over the past few months, so they seek out declaratory anti-Israel measures and meaningless so-called ‘diplomatic victories,’” Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon told

Though Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s embrace of Israel represents an enormous shift in policy terms, one can argue that it’s also the maturation of an emotional bond between Jews and Indians that goes back centuries. Those who still cling to the belief that Israel is some sort of colonial implant might want to reflect on Modi’s historic visit to the Jewish state, writes columnist Ben Cohen.

Why do half of French Jews want to leave France? The rise of violent anti-Semitism beginning around the turn of the century has made French Jews justifiably concerned about their personal safety. A University of Oslo study published in June is one of the most methodologically sophisticated and comprehensive reports in dissecting the growth of Europe’s anti-Semitism problem. The future for European Jews who want to maintain the distinct characteristics of Judaism in public is not bright, writes columnist Abraham H. Miller.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched down at Ben Gurion Airport Tuesday, kicking off the first-ever visit to Israel by a sitting Indian head of state. “Modi’s visit marks 25 years of ties between Israel and India. This is no small feat for both countries, given the complex politics of the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East,” Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, told

During the 20th Maccabiah Games next month, about 7,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries will descend upon the Holy Land to join 2,500 Israeli athletes in the Olympic-style competition. Held every four years, the Jewish multi-sport competition is the world’s third-largest sporting event. From July 4-18, the Maccabiah Games will have the added significance of coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of this year’s host city, Jerusalem. “The Maccabiah is the one place that Jews from all over the world can come together and bond, and there’s no better place to do so than Jerusalem,” Maccabiah Chairman Amir Peled told

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn didn’t win the British election. Yet Labour remains a force in U.K. politics, and British Jews can play a role in ensuring the party isn’t entirely hijacked by the far left, which regards BDS as an article of faith and dismisses any charge of anti-Semitism as a Mossad-directed smear campaign. Jews certainly have Labour allies—both established ones like parliamentarian John Mann and new ones like London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Friends can be found where you least expect them, writes columnist Ben Cohen.

Following Saturday night’s terror attack that killed seven people in London, British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to crack down on the “new trend” in the U.K., which has seen three major Islamist terror attacks in recent months. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the London attack by saying, “These terrorists worship death. They murder indiscriminately, but they will not frighten us....They will only harden our resolve to defeat them. Here in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, everywhere—together, we will defeat them faster.”

For all their differences, Argentina’s Alberto Nisman and France’s Sarah Halimi had three things in common. They were proud Jews. They died because they were Jews. And in both of their cases, that latter fact has yet to be recognized, let alone acted upon, by the investigating authorities. Both cases demonstrate once again that violent anti-Semitism is integral to Islamist ideology, to the point where its victims are dehumanized in the very moment of death, writes columnist Ben Cohen.

Acting immediately on a report issued Friday by Palestinian Media Watch, Norway demanded that the Palestinian Authority return Norwegian state funding for a women’s youth center named after female Palestinian terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who masterminded an attack that killed 37 Israelis.

Why aren’t Muslim countries leading givers to the Palestinian cause? The question has renewed relevance upon a United Nations agency’s recent release of its list of donors. Western countries and Japan are the most significant contributors to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), while the only major Muslim givers are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Ronen Yizhak, head of the Middle East Studies department at Israel’s Western Galilee College, told that among Arab and Muslim nations, “there is a lot of talking, but little actual deeds” on financial aid to the Palestinians.

For those who’d never given any thought to Ariana Grande before the terrorist atrocity at her concert in Manchester, it took a few minutes to make sense of suicide bomber Salman Abedi’s target selection. Eventually, it dawned. In the name of a global Islamic caliphate, Abedi set out to slaughter teenage girls, Grande’s primary audience. The ideological roots of Abedi’s attack are given exquisite expression in the writings of Muslim Brotherhood founder Sayyid Qutb, who in 1949 studied in Greeley, Colorado. Qutb’s writing from his time in Greeley shows how desire, when fused with hatred of relaxed sexuality and expressions of femininity, can be devastating once it is incorporated into an ideology of conquest, writes columnist Ben Cohen.

Amid recent tensions between Germany and Israel, it is time to recognize the Jewish state’s place as part of the solution—not the obstacle—to creating a stable, prosperous Middle East. A reset of German assumptions about relations with Israel is urgently overdue, writes Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Berlin office.