U.S. President Joe Biden signs the guestbook at the Israeli president's residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.
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Headline
Biden draws praise, calls for action after noting ‘abhorrent’ Jew-hatred
Intro
"Antisemitism doesn't just threaten Jewish Americans. It threatens all Americans, and our fundamental democratic values," the U.S. president said.
text

U.S. President Joe Biden is drawing praise from American Jewish groups and criticism from the pro-Israel community after he commented on social media about "abhorrent" and "horrific acts of antisemitism this week," including a demonstration celebrating the Oct. 7 Hamas atrocities in southern Israel; vandalism targeting Jewish homes; attacks on Jewish faculty at college campuses; and harassment of subway riders."

"Antisemitism doesn't just threaten Jewish Americans," he said. "It threatens all Americans and our fundamental democratic values."

Ofir Akunis, the Israeli consul general in New York, wrote: "As I always say—it's not just about Israel or the Jewish people, it's a threat to all of you—it's a threat to the entire world."

The American Jewish Committee thanked Biden for his "strong condemnation of antisemitism."

"Antisemitism is distinctly un-American. It is an existential threat to our democracy," the AJC said. "The full weight of the government and the American people must counter it."

The Anti-Defamation League thanked the U.S. president, as did the Democratic Majority for Israel and Jeremy Burton, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs called Biden's comments "important."

Joel Petlin, superintendent of the Kiryas Joel School District, was one of several Jewish leaders and activists who called for the president to take action in addition to denouncing Jew-hatred.

"This is an important and much-appreciated statement by the president condemning antisemitism," he wrote. "The only thing missing is the second statement, directing the Department of Justice to investigate and file charges, the IRS to pull tax-exempt statuses and Homeland Security to deport foreign offenders."

"Mr. President, I know you find this abhorrent. But what do you say to some of your donors who are funding some of the groups spreading this antisemitism?" wrote Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran. "There has to be a reckoning here."

"Strong words from the president on the ugly, savage antisemitism seen this past week," wrote Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the International Legal Forum. "Now need strong action to follow up."

"You could stop a lot of it by having the IRS pull the exemptions of like, three or four relatively small nonprofit groups. And yet it hasn't been done," wrote Armin Rosen, a staff writer at Tablet magazine. "It's a hard thing to accept, but the quasi-brownshirt movement that's popped up in New York is tolerated, subsidized, and in some cases directly funded by every level of government."

"Biden could ask the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute the numerous national groups that are not only committing antisemitic crimes but funding their activities by falsely registering as 501(c)3 nonprofits," wrote Noah Pollak, a contributor to The Washington Free Beacon.

"Biden refuses to do this because the activists, Muslim and leftist groups, are part of the Democratic Party," Pollak wrote. "Biden, Schumer and Democratic Party leaders will posture about antisemitism but block any government action to punish antisemites. It would be better if they didn't say anything at all."

Stephen Miller, a conservative podcaster and writer, shared a screenshot from a post of Biden's from Aug. 27, 2020. "Remember: every example of violence Donald Trump decries has happened on his watch. Under his leadership. During his presidency," Biden wrote at the time.

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An exhibit marking the one-year anniversary of the Hamas massacre will be open to the public on Oct. 7.

The exhibit, sponsored by the Israel Military Intelligence Directorate, will display never-before-seen evidence from the day on which the terrorist group ruling Gaza committed the worst atrocities against Jews since the Holocaust.

The evidence includes weapons used by the terrorists, such as: Bangalore torpedoes for breaching fences and walls; rocket-propelled grenades; AK-47 gas-operated assault rifles; bayonets; thermobaric bombs; hand grenades; and Improvised Explosive Devices.

Also on display are various types of headbands worn by terrorists affiliated with different groups; two of the 350 motorcycles used by the terrorists during their rampage, after they infiltrated southern Israel at 30 different points along the border; and “hostage-taking kits”—replete with zip ties, drug-filled syringes and tasers—found in terrorists’ backpacks.

In addition, there are reams of documents. These include a note found on one of the terrorists in Sderot, which reads, “Commander’s message: Know that this enemy of yours is an incurable disease, except for head decapitation and uprooting hearts and livers," as well as transliterated Hebrew phrases in Arabic letters, such as, "women here," "children here," "take off your pants" and "take off your clothes."

Other documents include a detailed layout of a training area designed to look like a kibbutz, plans for where to kidnap civilians and a map of Kibbutz Be’eri with neighborhoods and homes clearly marked.

The map, which the terrorist on whom it was found attempted to tear up before it was discovered, shows different entry points into the kibbutz—garnered by Gazan laborers with permits who did work on the kibbutz. The purposely targeted area on Be’eri was on the southern side of the kibbutz, where families with young children lived.

Then there is material gathered from inside Gaza. This includes copies of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf in Arabic and proof of terrorists’ employment at UNRWA.

 “What happened on Oct. 7 was a very well-planned massacre, and we captured evidence found in Israeli territory and inside Gaza,” Major “T” told JNS during a preview for journalists. “There are vehicles, weapons, pictures and, of course, video clips filmed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Terrorists.”

The purpose of opening the exhibit to the general public, he said, “is hasbara (public diplomacy) for our allies. It’s important for people to witness what happened, because there’s so much denial surrounding it.”

The exhibit will open on Oct. 7, 2024 at the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center (IICC) in Ramat Hasharon.

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Jewish American Actor and comedian Michael Rapaport is preparing for his first full-length stand-up performances in Israel.

The shows are scheduled for October 13 at the Jerusalem Theater and October 14, at Beit Hachayal in Tel Aviv.

Since Oct. 7, Rapaport has become one of Hollywood's most outspoken advocates for Israel.

He joined hundreds of industry colleagues in signing an open letter to President Joe Biden urging the immediate release of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

Rapaport's solidarity visit to Israel in the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre included meetings with hostages' families, social media campaigns and international interviews to promote the captives' release. His itinerary also featured a tour of Kibbutz Be'eri, one of the communities in hardest hit on Oct. 7, and an appearance on popular Israeli satire show "Eretz Nehederet," where he participated in a sketch portraying an Oscars host delivering a monologue critical of Hollywood figures.

Rapaport's collaborations with "Eretz Nehederet" have amassed tens of millions of views globally. He recorded several episodes of his podcast "I Am Rapaport" in Tel Aviv, and his vigorous social media presence has reached audiences worldwide.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, Rabbi Moshe Hauer, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, hopes that the wartime premier will “really speak to the bipartisan consensus around Israel—that he will be able to bring together both sides around the existential struggle Israel is facing right now.”

Hauer told JNS that he hopes that Netanyahu will present a counter-narrative to the one that “has been peddled around and which is gaining far too much traction,” that Israel is the oppressor and the Palestinians the oppressed. 

Netanayhu should “tell patiently, convincingly, the story of the values which are being brought to bear by the Jewish people in response to this horrible, sustained attack on our very existence,” he said.

Matt Brooks, CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told reporters in Milwaukee last week that he also hopes that Netanyahu will “help shift public opinion back to the horrors suffered by Israel.”

“This is not a war that Israel wanted,” he said. “This is not a war that Israel started.”

Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.), one of two Jewish House Republicans, told JNS last week that he thinks Netanyahu will address two points. 

“One is that Israel recognizes that the United States is Israel’s greatest ally, and he knows how the majority of the American people feel about Israel, and also feel about the Jewish people,” said Kustoff. 

The Tennessee Republican also thinks that Netanyahu “is going to continue to make the case that Israel and the United States must defeat terrorism down to its roots.”

‘Warmth’

Netanyahu need not come across as “mushy” or a “teddy bear” as he seeks to bridge Washington’s partisan divide with respect to the Jewish state, according to  Hauer. But the Orthodox Union leader is looking for “warmth” from the premier, he told JNS.

“He is completely capable of being very articulate and clear about the strength which America has led Israel to over time, and about the strength of their moral voice, and what a difference it has made to us,” said Hauer.

He cited the military assets that Washington provided Israel and the way that it backed the Jewish state in international fora in the opening days of the conflict.

“Yes, we wish some of the things that we asked from you would come faster and more completely, but there’s a pipeline for goodness' sake, and you have been providing for us, and we’re deeply appreciative of that,” Hauer said, channeling the tone he wants to hear from Netanyahu. 

Fruitful relationship

Speaking to reporters in Milwaukee last week, Brooks said that past Trump ire about his political rivals receiving credit—including Netanyahu’s routine congratulations to Biden after the latter won the 2020 election—was water under the bridge.

“I can assure you that he and the prime minister will have a very positive and productive working relationship,” Brooks told reporters of Trump. The RJC leader said that he has had conversations with both Trump and Netanyahu.

Brooks didn’t share details of conversations with Trump but claimed he could say with “absolute certainty” that the relationship, should Trump be re-elected, “will be productive, fruitful and pick up right where it left off.” 

Hauer asserted that the issue of concern over Trump’s reaction to praise for Biden in a speech could not simply be “cast aside.”

“This is a political season, and anything which he says is going to be used and reflected upon by candidates on both sides,” said Hauer. “I don't think it would be wise for anybody to put something like this aside for the day. To say that those considerations have to throttle him and has to stop them from being able to say clearly what ought to be said about America, about both sides of the aisle, I don't think it should get in the way.”

Antisemitism

Hauer told JNS that he hopes Netanyahu will devote more than just a “throwaway line” to surging Jew-hatred worldwide since Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attack.

“It’s just a fundamental issue that we are dealing with right now. This is an issue which has to be elevated in the eyes of Congress,” said Hauer. “When such a prominent leader within the Jewish people comes before them, for him not to focus on it would minimize the issue—one of the core issues that Congress has to be dealing with around the Jewish people.” 

Brooks hopes one takeaway from the address will be that the United States and its close ally share a common foe.

“Israel is fighting against Hamas, and it is the same fight that affects America and the west. This is not an Israel-only issue,” he said. “Israel’s fight is America’s fight. America’s fight is Israel’s fight.”

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An Israeli drone strike in the Samaria city of Tulkarem on Tuesday morning killed five terrorists, including two senior Hamas and Fatah operatives, according to Israeli and Palestinian media reports.

Among the dead are Ashraf Nafeh, the commander of the local arm of Hamas's Qassam Brigades, and Muhammad Abu Abdo, commander of Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.

Earlier this month, an IDF soldier was killed and another seriously wounded by Palestinian terrorists in the Nur Shams camp, east of Tulkarem.

Judea and Samaria saw a dramatic rise in Palestinian terrorist attacks in 2023 compared to the previous year, with shootings reaching their highest level since the Second Intifada of 2000-05, per IDF data.

Since the beginning of the war with Hamas on Oct. 7, the IDF has carried out intensive ground operations in Samaria, arresting hundreds of suspects and dismantling terror infrastructure, including explosives buried under roads, intended to kill Israeli forces.

In June, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich urged immediate government action after Hamas terrorists fired across the security fence toward central Israel from Samaria two times within the span of a week.

“Terrorism must be eradicated everywhere, even if it means Tulkarem [in Samaria] will look like Gaza looks today,” said Smotrich, who oversees civilian issues in Judea and Samaria in the Defense Ministry.

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Democrats awoke on Monday feeling happier than they had in weeks. President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw from the presidential race relieved them of the burden of having to obfuscate the truth about a president suffering from an acute decline in mental acuity that they spent years denying and covering up. And by uniting around Vice President Kamala Harris as his replacement, they’ve ended their brief civil war about whether to give up on Biden.

But as a budding controversy about who should be the new Democratic vice-presidential candidate indicated, the left-wing baggage of Biden’s replacement may create new problems that will add to those of a campaign that still trails the Republicans, even without the burden of Biden as the nominee.

Though they have several practical reasons for eliminating any semblance of a democratic process by choosing Harris, tapping her for the nomination also raises some troubling questions about the present and future of the Democratic Party.

Tilting away from the center

The clearest sign that the Democrats were serious about defeating Donald Trump in 2020 was that they understood they needed to select a candidate other than the man who was the frontrunner after the early primaries: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt). Rather than offering a socialist alternative to Trump, they needed someone who could be perceived as centrist and not beholden to the party’s increasingly radical left wing. The only candidate who could be presented in that way was Biden. And, despite his lackluster showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, the party closed ranks behind him.

That’s not going to happen now, even though Harris is no more popular than Biden and the polls show her trailing Trump.

But passing over her in a process that sought to come up with the most plausible moderate, and therefore the most electable Democrat, would have been impossible in a party that has married itself to toxic left-wing ideologies about race. Simply put, there was no way a Democratic Party that has adopted the woke catechism of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and intersectionality as among its guiding principles—and which looks to African-American women as its most loyal voter group—would even consider snubbing a woman of color in that manner.

To note this is not to denigrate Harris because of her race or gender. And her opponents this fall would do well to avoid any comments that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as prejudicial or misogynist. It should also be acknowledged that Republicans should also take care not to underestimate her. Her nomination injects new life into a heretofore dispirited and divided party.

She has been every bit as unpopular as Biden and flopped whenever she was given responsibility to solve a problem, such as the administration’s scandalous open borders policy. But the comparison with a man who had trouble completing sentences is flattering to her, even though it’s a very low standard by which to judge a potential president.

Her main asset is that she is now the candidate of a party whose voters actually believe the hyperbole they’ve been fed about Trump and the Republicans being a threat to democracy. Having an alternative other than Biden will stoke their enthusiasm as well as their desperation, even if she is also burdened by having to defend the policies of an administration that has failed at home and abroad.

But the problem with Harris is that her rise gives the Democrats a candidate further to the left than anyone, other than Barack Obama, whom they’ve nominated for president in the last 50 years. But, unlike Obama, whose rhetorical brilliance and political smarts enabled him to pose as a man who wanted to erase the divisions between red and blue America even while exacerbating them, Harris is not someone who can play that game. Despite occasional efforts to play the moderate, she is inextricably linked to those elements in her party that are pushing the country further apart with terrible ideas and policies that divide us by race.

Attitudes toward Israel

The clearest indication of this has been her attitude toward Israel.

It was an open secret in Washington that even in an administration that was staffed largely by Obama-era alumni, Harris was the most openly sympathetic to the Palestinians and the least inclined to stand with a Jewish state that had suffered the worst mass slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust.

From the start of the war that was launched by Hamas on Oct. 7, she has been careful not to go too far in denouncing Israel’s effort to defeat the terrorists in Gaza, but she has also repeatedly recycled Hamas propaganda about Palestinian casualties. Though left-wing Jews are already mobilizing to loyally vouch for her, her position is essentially one of moral equivalence between Israel and the people who committed murder, rape, kidnapping and wanton destruction on Oct. 7, while supporting a genocidal terror group bent on Israel’s destruction.

Take, for example, the instances in which she stood silent while being subjected to lectures calling for Israel’s elimination, or in which she expressed her sympathy and understanding for left-wing antisemites who turned college campuses into no-go zones for Jews.

She is guilty of doing exactly what Democrats falsely claimed that Trump did with respect to the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. For Harris, these pro-Hamas demonstrators really are “very fine people.”

In addition, as Al Monitor has noted, she has a record of opposing an American policy that would get tough or punish the terror-supporting Islamist regime of Iran.

Just as troubling, she is the face, along with her Jewish husband, Doug Emhoff, of an announced administration effort to create a new national strategy for combating Islamophobia. The problem is not that such a plan follows an utterly toothless strategy against antisemitism that has failed to combat the surge in post-Oct. 7 Jew hatred.

It’s that the entire point of raising the utterly fallacious claim that there is an epidemic of prejudice against Muslims is to silence criticism of members of this group who engage in antisemitism. Almost all of what is labeled as Islamophobia is nothing more than taking note that elements of the Muslim community have been radicalized and support Islamist ideology and engage in open Jew-hatred and support for terror groups like Hamas.

This plays very well in places like Dearborn, Michigan, America’s “jihad capital,” to which the Biden administration sent envoys earlier this year to try to appease Muslim-Americans who were angry about the president’s on-again/off-again stance in favor of eradicating Hamas.

It also raises an interesting question about whom Harris will choose as her running mate.

Among the most promising candidates is Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro. The popular governor of a key swing state, Shapiro is politically moderate though reliably liberal on domestic issues. This makes him exactly what the Democrats ought to be seeking for the top of their ticket opposing Trump. But if that isn’t possible, he is a perfect running mate for Harris.

Is Shapiro’s religion a problem?

However, as CNN’s John King pointed out the day Biden withdrew, Shapiro’s religion might be a problem.

According to King, there were “risks” in nominating Shapiro for vice president because “he’s Jewish.”

King has been roundly denounced for this comment, but this criticism of one of the liberal network’s top political analysts (the ex-husband of CNN’s Dana Bash and the father of a Jewish child) is unfair. Though voicing it understandably raised some hackles, he was doing no more than stating the truth about the current state of the Democratic Party.

King was right that Shapiro may be simply too Jewish and too pro-Israel for a party whose principal worry is energizing a base dominated by left-wing Israel-haters. While there are still plenty of pro-Israel Democrats like Shapiro in Congress, much of the activist class of the Democrats has been indoctrinated in critical race theory, DEI and intersectionality, which all brand Israel and the Jews as “white" oppressors. As we’ve seen in the demonstrations on college campuses since Oct. 7, this grants a permission slip to antisemitism.

So, if Biden with his equivocal stance toward Israel was ludicrously labeled as “genocide Joe” by many in the Democrats’ intersectional base, one shudders to think what they’ll say or do at demonstrations at the party’s national convention in Chicago next month if Shapiro is tapped as Harris’s running mate.

Shapiro is a highly logical choice simply because the number of pro-Israel votes in the political center of a country still overwhelmingly favorable toward the Jewish state outnumber those of antisemites on the left.

But the Biden-Harris campaign has demonstrated all year that it was more worried about the latter, and there’s no reason to think Harris’s brain trust, which is decidedly to the left of those who advised Biden, will think differently.

Adding a vice-presidential candidate who is an unabashed supporter of Israel to the ticket will likely diminish the enthusiasm of a party base Harris needs if she is to have a chance of catching up to Trump.

Seen in this light, the Democrats’ biggest problem at this point isn’t Harris’s manifest shortcomings so much as it’s the way their adherence to woke ideology has put them in a box with respect to choosing candidates who might actually beat Trump.

In a year in which the unlikely and even the improbable seem to have become commonplace, no one should be making any firm predictions about the outcome of a Trump-Harris race. But unless and until they shed their allegiance to dangerous DEI myths, the Democrats are carrying baggage that could sink what is left of their hopes of winning in November.

Jonathan S. Tobin is editor-in-chief of JNS (Jewish News Syndicate). Follow him @jonathans_tobin.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Monday in Washington with the families of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, telling them that military pressure on the terrorist group was creating the conditions for their return.

The meeting, which included Netanyahu's wife Sara, took place on the day that the couple arrived in Washington, where the premier will address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a meeting in Washington with the families of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, July 22, 2024. Credit: Prime Minister's Spokeswoman.

"We are determined to return everyone. The conditions to bring them back are ripe, for the simple reason that we are putting very strong pressure on Hamas. We are seeing a certain change, and I think this change will continue to grow. We intend to do it—this is a war objective," said Netanyahu according to his office.

Twenty-three relatives of hostages, including 12 of U.S. citizens being held in Gaza, were at the meeting. Freed hostage Noa Argamani and her father Yaakov were also present, as were two soldiers who fought in Gaza in the current war against Hamas. Relatives who lost loved ones fighting in Gaza were also there.

Of the 120 hostages remaining in the Strip, 116 were abducted during the Oct. 7 Hamas-led massacre (the other four were captured earlier). The figure includes both living and deceased men, women and children.

The Israel Defense Forces on Monday confirmed the deaths of two Israeli hostages in Hamas captivity in Gaza. Alexander Dancyg, 76, was kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz, while Yagev Buchshtab, 35, was taken from Kibbutz Nirim. Both were captured during Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with the families of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza in Washington on July 22, 2024. Photo by Amos Ben Gershon/GPO.

"This is an important visit that will give us an opportunity to bring to the representatives of the American people the importance of their support for the efforts we are making, together with them, to bring about the release of all the abductees—both the living and the dead," Netanyahu said during Monday's meeting, adding that he had been informed of the two hostage deaths.

The prime minister is expected to meet with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris separately during his Washington trip. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will likely be in attendance during the Biden meeting. Netanyahu is also reportedly seeking to meet with former president Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for the White House.

Netanyahu stressed that any ceasefire agreement with Hamas must not come at the expense of victory against the terrorist group.

"I am in no way ready to give up the victory over Hamas. If we give it up, we are in danger against the entire evil axis of Iran," the premier said.

"Regarding the deal—the conditions are maturing, without a doubt. This is a good sign, and the other sign is that we also see a break in the spirit of the enemy beginning. I believe if we stick with it we can get a deal. I say in advance that this is a process, unfortunately it is not all at once, there will be stages—but I believe that we can advance the deal and leave the levers in our hands to bring about the release of the others. This is the direction we are going."

Israeli delegation to depart for hostage talks on Thursday

An Israeli delegation is scheduled to set off on Thursday for ceasefire negotiations with Hamas, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announced on Sunday night.

“Today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held an in-depth discussion on the hostage issue together with the negotiation team and senior security officials,” according to the PMO statement.

The announcement did not specify where the talks would be held; previous negotiation rounds have been held in Doha and Cairo.

In a separate statement on Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant commended Netanyahu for the decision to resume the talks.

“As a result of our military achievements during this war, the conditions have been created, and a limited window of opportunity has opened to establish a framework for the release of the hostages,” said Gallant. “The defense establishment backs you in your mission to bring about a deal.”

Netanyahu has publicly stressed that “in every scenario,” Israel will continue to control southern Gaza’s Rafah Crossing and Philadelphi Corridor, the 8.7-mile-long border area between the Strip and Egypt.

The premier’s red lines include the ability to resume fighting in Gaza until all war goals have been met; an end to arms smuggling from Egypt; no return of “thousands” of Hamas terrorists to the enclave’s north; and maximizing the number of living hostages released.

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The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews announced on Monday two new funding initiatives to support IDF soldiers wounded in battle. 

One program funded by the allocation of nearly 2 million shekels (about $550,000) will help wounded veterans with food cards and purchases of clothing, electric appliances and accessible furniture.

The second project will provide for the distribution of support kits to wounded soldiers to help them during the time of hospitalization and rehabilitation.

“This war has exacted an extremely heavy cost on our younger generation with many thousands of soldiers, who dropped everything to fight on behalf of all of us, experiencing life-changing injuries,” said Yael Eckstein, president of the IFCJ.

“Beyond the current physical toll of these injuries, many of these wounded veterans will face lifestyle challenges that will make their rehabilitation and financial independence that much more difficult.  Our commitment, and the commitment of the hundreds of thousands of IFCJ donors around the world, is to ensure that we are addressing those needs and offering them the practical support they deserve in light of the incredible sacrifices they have made,” she added.

The programs are being implemented in partnership with the Friends of the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization.

"Over the years the Fellowship has been instrumental in supporting older veterans who were injured in previous battles and wars, and now we see this partnership benefiting the many injured soldiers, of all ages, whose lives have been so changed and will require extensive and ongoing periods of treatment, recovery and lengthy rehabilitation," said Adi Strauss, chair of the Friends of the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization.

Since Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre, the IFCJ has contributed more than $75 million to dozens of social and civilian defense efforts, including the installation of over 200 sheltered units in northern communities. The organization has also donated armored emergency response vehicles and millions of shekels in first aid and security equipment for local response teams.

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Senior Hamas terrorist Musa Abu Marzouk announced on Tuesday the signing of a Palestinian unity agreement that includes Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, which rules areas of Judea and Samaria.

"Today, we sign an agreement, and we say that the path to completing this journey is national unity. We are committed to national unity, and we call for it," said Abu Marzouk.

The “Beijing declaration” was signed by 14 Palestinian factions that took part in negotiations hosted by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Fatah, based in Ramallah, and Hamas have been split since 2007 following the latter’s violent takeover of Gaza. There have been many failed attempts to bring the two factions together. 

In February, Abbas traveled to Doha to discuss ways to incorporate Hamas into a P.A.-led government for Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

The same month, sources in Ramallah told Sky News Arabia that Hamas had approved a three-phase plan leading to “complete reconciliation [with Fatah]” and the Gaza-based terror group joining the Palestine Liberation Organization, which controls the Palestinian Authority, under a “unified Palestinian-Arab vision.”

Also in February, Fatah and Hamas officials converged on Moscow for a two-day “national dialogue” on forming a unity government under the auspices of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Other rounds of talks were held in the past in Egypt, Turkey and Algeria.

The Islamist group reportedly also gave its blessing to P.A. chief Abbas’s proposal to establish a “government of technocrats” whose primary purpose would be the reconstruction of Gaza after the war prompted by Hamas’s murder of some 1,200 people in Israel on Oct. 7.

Hamas is an “essential part of the Palestinian political mosaic,” then-P.A. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told world leaders gathered in Qatar in December.

“We want a situation in which Palestinians are united. ... I think it is time that Hamas call the Palestinian president and tell him we’re all united behind you, and you are the legitimate authority of the Palestinian people and we are ready to engage,” Shtayyeh stated at the Doha Forum.

Amid the unity talks, Shtayyeh submitted the collective resignation of his government last month. Abbas then appointed Fatah loyalist Mohammad Mustafa to fill the prime minister’s role.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has insisted that an “effective and revitalized Palestinian Authority” should ultimately govern Gaza.

During a Jan. 10 meeting in Ramallah, Blinken pressed Abbas on “administrative reforms, which, if implemented, would benefit the Palestinian people.” Sky News Arabia described the tête-à-tête as “tense” and marked by “arguments.”

The Biden administration wants the P.A. to assume control of the Strip after Israel’s war against Hamas ends, a move that Jerusalem rejects because of Ramallah’s overt support for terrorism.

On Jan. 27, Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh told Al Arabiya that the P.A. is prepared to hand over the reins to Hamas if it won a general election. Ramallah is “prepared to hold general elections, and if Hamas wins, the president will hand over the Authority,” he said.

The U.S. State Department has refused to rule out Hamas retaining power in Gaza or even joining a P.A.-led governing body that would also have jurisdiction in Judea and Samaria.

According to recent polls, 89% of Palestinians support establishing a government that includes or is led by Hamas. Only around 8.5% said they favor one controlled exclusively by Fatah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly emphasized his opposition to the P.A. taking over Gaza in a post-Hamas world.

“There will not be any element that educates for terrorism, finances terrorism and dispatches terrorism” in the Strip, said Netanyahu.

“I will not allow us to replace Hamastan with Fatahstan, that we replace Khan Yunis with Jenin,” he continued. “I will not allow the State of Israel to repeat the fateful mistake of Oslo, which brought to the heart of our country and to Gaza the most extreme elements in the Arab world, which are committed to the destruction of the State of Israel and who educate their children to this end.”

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The Israeli delegation to the Paris Olympics "will be subject to reinforced security," according to French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

“A fortnight ago, I proposed to the president of the Republic that the Israeli delegation (Olympic and Paralympic) be fully protected by the French police around the clock," Darmanin told France 2 news.

"We took this decision because we know that Israeli athletes, particularly since the [1972] Munich Games, have been targeted by attacks," he said.

Thomas Portes, an MP for the far-left La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party, had previously declared at a rally in support of the Palestinian people that “Israeli athletes are not welcome at the Paris Olympics.”

Darmanin said that Portes was “putting a target on the back” of Israeli athletes, using deplorable “antisemitic overtones." Portes "is not attacking the North Korean or Iranian delegation, he is knowingly attacking the Israeli delegation because they are Jewish," said Darmanin.

“I want to express my disgust at that. I want to assure the Israeli athletes of our full protection, like all athletes, but particularly them, also welcoming them,’’ he added.

The Israel Security Agency will also help secure the Israeli athletes at the Olympics.

Portes’s remarks sparked a wave of indignation. On X, Yonathan Arfi, president of Crif, the umbrella representative group for Jewish institutions in France, said that “since October 7, Thomas Portes has been legitimizing Hamas.”

The minister also said that the far-left MP “put a target on the backs of Israeli athletes, who are already the most threatened at the Olympic Games,” recalling that at the 1972 Munich Olympics, 11 Israelis had “been murdered by Palestinian terrorists.”

The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, called for the closure of La France Insoumise. “I request that dissolution proceedings be initiated against LFI and, in the meantime, the withdrawal of all public aid for this party and its members, who have definitively banished themselves from the nation,” he tweeted.

A full-scale security test will take place at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on Wednesday, two days before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

At 9 p.m., a soccer match between the men’s teams of Israel and Mali will kick off. The French Interior Ministry has designated the match as one of the most sensitive moments of the games in terms of security.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog will attend the opening Olympic ceremony on Friday. He will also participate on Wednesday in a memorial commemoration marking 52 years since Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli sportsmen at Munich. He will later watch Israel’s soccer team play against Mali at Parc des Princes.

Palestinians repeat call for Israeli ban at Paris Olympics

The Palestinians on Monday reiterated their call to ban Israeli athletes from competing in the Paris Olympics over the Jewish state's war against Hamas in Gaza, sparked by the terror group's massacre of 1,200 people in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The Palestine Olympic Committee said on Monday that it had sent a letter to International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach asking him to bar Israel from the international tournament.

According to the Palestinians, the Israelis are in violation of the Olympic Truce due to the war in Gaza.

The letter said that "Palestinian athletes, particularly those in Gaza, are denied safe passage and have suffered significantly due to ongoing conflict.” It also claimed that “approximately 400 Palestinian athletes have been killed, and the destruction of sports facilities exacerbates the plight of athletes who are already under severe restrictions.”

The letter also cited last week's International Court of Justice non-binding opinion declaring Israeli “occupation” of Judea and Samaria to be “unlawful.”

Israeli delegation arrives in Paris

The Israeli and Palestinian delegations arrived at the French capital on Monday to prepare for the event.

Before departing for France, Israel Olympic Committee President Yael Arad said at Ben Gurion Airport that it was a "victory" for the 88-strong delegation to be heading to the Olympics.

“Our first victory is that we are here and going and that we didn’t give up and have been competing in hundreds of competitions since Oct. 7,” Arad told reporters.

Arad also discussed the increased security for Israeli athletes in Paris.

“It’s no secret that these Olympic Games are a little more difficult for all of us. But we have full confidence in the organization of security,” Arad added.

"We feel like emissaries of the State of Israel," said Arad. "Our athletes are here to accomplish their dreams, but there is an additional dimension, that of a national mission."

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