Then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leads a Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, June 19, 2022. Photo by Alex Kolomoisky/POOL.
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Naftali Bennett hints at possible return to politics
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“We did it then, and we can do it again. We will establish a state here that is worthy of this people,” declared the former premier.
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Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hinted at a possible return to politics in a long tweet on Thursday.

“Three years ago today, I took the oath of allegiance as the 13th Prime Minister of the State of Israel,” he wrote. “We did it then, and we can do it again. We will establish a state here that is worthy of this people,” he continued.

Bennett highlighted the challenges facing the country in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, saying he has been speaking to many citizens who are in “real despair” and feel an “existential anxiety for the State of Israel.”

He continued: “For a little over a year, I served you, the citizens of Israel, when I was at the head of a government that up until that moment would have seemed impossible.”

Bennett recalled the turmoil that surrounded his ascent to Israel’s highest office, including non-stop elections, the COVID-19 pandemic and an economic crisis.

“Ministers from the left and the right decided to put aside all the differences and gather together for the sake of saving the State of Israel,” he said.

“The establishment of this emergency government, of which I am so proud, was at the time as necessary as breathing air," he wrote. “It proved that Israel can be taken out of the mud, and even quickly—if only we are together and work together.”

Requests for comment from Bennett's office by JNS were not immediately forthcoming.

Minister Chikli

Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli responded harshly to the news.

“Three years ago today, you broke your oath to hundreds of thousands of voters not to form a government with those who support the lawsuit against IDF officers in The Hague, not to be a partner in the boycott of the largest right-wing party [Likud], not to form a government with a dangerous Islamist party [the United Arab List, aka Ra'am],” wrote Chikli on X.

He listed a number of grievances he had with Bennett’s performance as prime minster, including his decision to form a government while leading a party with fewer than 10 mandates (his Yamina Party garnered seven Knesset seats in the March 2021 election), the controversial natural gas deal with Lebanon, giving in to American pressure, and his actions vis-à-vis Hamas and Gaza.

The gas deal drew a border between the two countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs) based on a boundary known as Line 23, and awards a disputed area of around 840 square kilometers (324 square miles) to Lebanon, while recognizing Israel’s claim to the Karish gas field and to royalties from the section of the Qana field that extends into the Jewish state’s EEZ.

The diaspora affairs minister agreed that “there is a lot to fix and improve,” but said with someone like Yesh Atid Party head Yair Lapid in power, “there would not have been an intensive ground operation in Gaza, certainly there would have been no operation in Rafah, and you would probably be marching together with [U.S. Secretary of State Antony] Blinken in the light of sunset to the corrals of a surrender deal.”

“Spare us the pose of the knight on the white horse, you have benefited from hundreds of thousands of lies and only sat in the prime minister's chair by force of extortion and deception”, Chikli said.

Bennett announced a break from politics in the leadup to the November 2022 elections following his handover of the premiership to Yesh Atid Party head Yair Lapid as part of a rotation agreement.

Since then, he has been fairly active in the public sphere, including speaking on international television on the country’s behalf since the outbreak of the current war.

Following the establishment of the current government, Bennett criticized its plan for judicial reform.

“The full current proposal is dangerous,” he posted on Twitter in January 2023. “It will harm the foundations of the State of Israel, its economy and its citizens, and it may tear the rope that connects us all. That’s why it needs to be fixed. There is only one solution: Sit together, talk, and reach the right change.”

Bennett had previously vowed to return to politics, comparing himself to Yitzhak Rabin and Benjamin Netanyahu, both of whom recaptured the premiership after lengthy periods out of office.

“In Israel, we can be recycled. It never ends. Rabin was prime minister from ’74 to ’77 and came back. Bibi [Netanyahu] was prime minister from ’96 to ’99 and he’s back. So, I’ll be back,” said Bennett.

In June 2021, he defected from the right to lead a coalition as part of a power-sharing agreement with Lapid. Bennett described his decision to abandon his right-wing base and join forces with center-left, far-left and Islamist parties as the “best and most Zionist decision in my life.”

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British Foreign Secretary David Lammy during meetings with Israeli officials in Jerusalem on Sunday and Monday pressed the need for a hostage deal with the Hamas terrorist group to bring an end to the suffering in Gaza.

"I hope, too, that we see a ceasefire soon, and we bring an alleviation to the suffering and the intolerable loss of life that we're now seeing also in Gaza. It's in that spirit that I returned [to government] as foreign secretary," said Lammy.

In public comments following a meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Monday, Lammy said the visit made him "conscious of the trauma of October 7, and very conscious of the pain and anguish that many hostage families are experiencing and the nation is experiencing."

"I met with U.K. hostage families just last night, who shared with me their concerns and fears for their loved ones," Lammy said, adding that he was employing "all diplomatic efforts" to get a deal done.

According to an Israeli readout, Herzog congratulated the British diplomat on his new job. "I think the fact that you won in such a landslide enables the United Kingdom to move forward in a very dramatic way, and be involved in new frontiers and new horizons," the president said.

"I sincerely hope that there will be a hostage deal soon; it is a very important step, also on the merits, and to get us out of the conflict," the Israeli head of state told Lammy. "I hope, and I know that your government is working extremely tirelessly to get our hostages back home. And I thank you very much for your efforts on this issue."

During their meeting, Herzog introduced Lammy to the family of Tamir Adar, 38, who was murdered by Hamas in the Oct. 7 assault on Kibbutz Nir Oz and whose body is being held in the Gaza Strip.

https://twitter.com/Isaac_Herzog/status/1812767424430624861

Later on Monday, Lammy toured the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in the Israeli capital, where the diplomat attended a memorial ceremony.

"It's one of the great honors of my life to visit the Yad Vashem as the U.K. Foreign Secretary," he wrote in the guest book. "In the U.K. Parliament, I represent the historic area of Stamford Hill in North London, one of the historic homes of the Jewish community in London—escaping a series of problems in the 19th century and, of course, the Holocaust.

"We honor all that were murdered and we remember the evils of genocide in that period of history," the foreign secretary wrote.

https://twitter.com/yadvashem/status/1812829651254771944

Following his arrival in the Jewish state on Sunday, Lammy met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his office in Jerusalem.

"We need an immediate ceasefire, the immediate release of all hostages, the protection of civilians, unfettered access to aid in Gaza and a pathway towards a two-state solution," the visitor said following the meeting.

The Israeli Prime Minister's Office did not publish a statement on the meeting. Earlier Sunday, the office declined to comment on Lammy's past description of Netanyahu as "petty, small and vindictive."

Lammy also traveled to Ramallah in Samaria on Sunday, where he sat down with Mohammad Mustafa, who was appointed prime minister of the Palestinian Authority in March.

According to the P.A.'s official Wafa agency, Lammy during the meeting reiterated London's commitment to reaching an immediate truce in Gaza along with the provision of humanitarian aid, as well as a two-state solution with Israel and an end to "illegal settlement expansion."

The British diplomat also expressed support for Mustafa's government and Ramallah's plans for administrative reforms.

The U.K. consulate in Jerusalem in a statement added that Lammy "extended his heartfelt condolences on the tragic loss of life since October" and reiterated London's commitment to an "irreversible" pathway towards the establishment of a Palestinian state.

https://twitter.com/DavidLammy/status/1812553731499499844

As part of his visit to the region, Lammy announced a £5.5 million (≈$7 million) donation to the UK-Med NGO, which Lammy said sends "experienced humanitarian medics, including those working in the NHS [National Health Service], to crisis-hit regions to deliver life and limb-saving health care.

"This funding will be used to support the ongoing work of their field hospitals and the emergency department at Nasser Hospital," he stated.

In February, the Israel Defense Forces arrested 200 Hamas terrorists inside the Khan Younis medical center, which like every other hospital in Gaza served as a Hamas terrorist hub.

Lammy said last weekend that he would seek a "balanced position" on the Israel-Hamas conflict following Labour's landslide victory on July 4.

The Guardian earlier this month reported that the new government would abandon the U.K.'s effort to challenge the International Criminal Court over attempts to issue arrest warrants for senior Israeli leaders.

On Monday, Israel's Maariv daily cited British officials as saying that Lammy informed Israeli officials this week that Prime Minister Keir Starmer's administration was still formulating its position on the ICC.

The previous government, under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, joined Israel in opposing ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan after he applied to have the court issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for alleged war crimes, along with Hamas leaders.

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People who explored an online YIVO Institute for Jewish Research exhibit about the diary of Beba Epstein, a 13-year-old girl who survived the Holocaust after hiding in Vilna, told YIVO that prior to that show, they knew almost nothing beyond Anne Frank’s diary.

“Not to disparage the diary of Anne Frank,” Jonathan Brent, YIVO’s executive director and CEO, told JNS. “Her experience was her experience in Holland in an upper-middle-class family, and it wasn’t the same as a 13-year-old girl who was born in Vilna, Poland under the conditions of Polish and Lithuanian antisemitism.”

A new YIVO online exhibit focuses on another diary of a teenager in Vilna—Yitskhok Rudashevski, a 13-year-old boy, who documented his days in that city’s ghetto. “Yitskhok Rudashevski: A Teenager’s Account of Life and Death in the Vilna Ghetto” opens online on July 17.

The 13-year-old “found himself faced with the utmost brutality of the world,” Brent told JNS. “It is right in his face. It was not in Anne Frank’s face.”

“Anne Frank is writing her diary through the anxiety-filled seclusion of her hiding place,” he said. “But she is not witnessing what is going on in the streets” of the ghetto in Vilnius, the modern-day capital of Lithuania that was then part of Polish territory between the two World Wars.

Rudashevski’s diary captures not only the disintegration of Jewish society in the ghetto but also “the restoration of Jewish culture that he is able to find,” Brent said.

That took place via smuggled Jewish cultural items, including a library of books, saved by the Paper Brigade, a collective of writers and intellectuals who were slave laborers in Vilna and rescued Judaica and books from Nazi theft and destruction.

Cultural resistance to evil

In 1943, the Nazis murdered Rudashevski, then 15, among thousands of other Jews in the Ponary massacre.

Although the young boy did not get to read the great writers of his time, “he came up, himself, with the idea of cultural resistance to evil, and that the way to resist this brutality, the way to resist this evil, was by aligning himself with the continuity of Jewish culture,” Brent said.

Yitskhok Rudashevski
Yitskhok Rudashevski and his father in the 1930s. Courtesy of Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum, Israel/ Photo Archive.

The boy found that Jewish culture in the works of the Yiddish poet Avraham Sutzkever and volumes that the Paper Brigade made available to him. 

The online YIVO exhibit tells Rudashevski’s story from beginning to end, through his eyes and words, connecting his short life to the major events occurring around him in the ghetto and worldwide. 

The impersonal nature of the boy’s diary adds to its historical value, according to 

Karolina Ziulkoski, chief curator of YIVO’s online museum. (YIVO owns the original diary.)

“He was talking more about what was going on around him, as opposed to his feelings,” Ziulkoski said. “This is something that is very specific to Rudashevski.” 

Many diaries of the time focused on the diarist’s feelings and perception of what was happening nearby. “His was more like—this is how, this is what, this is how I see what is going on—but not how he feels,” the curator told JNS.

‘The way that people lived’

Alexandra Zapruder, a scholar and editor who co-curated the Rudashevski exhibit, told JNS that the story is too meaningful to remain so unknown. 

“Genocide is not something that happens to one person. It happens to millions of people, and when we are reductive about the story, there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of this particular crime,” Zapruder said.

She “fell in love with this diary,” which she has taught for many years, and always wanted to see “something done with it,” whether a new translation or edition.

“I thought, well, YIVO has all these materials, and it would be great to do something more with it,’ she told JNS.

Yitskhok Rudashevski
Page from the diary of Yitskhok Rudashevski. Credit: Courtesy of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

In 1944, Rudashevski’s cousin Sarah Voloshin—who was the sole survivor of her nearly 50 family members—discovered the diary. The YIVO show details that development and tells Rudashevski’s story through a variety of digitized artifacts, from the ghetto’s list of residents and correspondence between Jewish refugees to maps, police reports, strike notices and children’s essays.

It details excruciating moral choices that Rudashevski and his contemporaries had to make, using the diary excerpts as an entry point and follows a path from pre-war Poland to developments around the globe that set the stage for the Holocaust. The exhibit uses animation, graphic novels, video dramatizations and other interactive features to illustrate that story.

It also explores what was happening specifically in the Vilna ghetto, with Rudashevsky playing a leading role.

The teenager’s mother kept the family alive by working as a seamstress, and his father had worked as a typesetter for the Yiddish newspaper Vilner Tog, tying father and son to the intellectual life of the ghetto.

With only time on their hands due to the Nazi’s restrictions, the men organized a cultural life, setting up study groups, exhibitions, lectures and libraries, all of which could only occur during the so-called quiet periods, when the Germans weren’t cleansing the ghetto of people to murder at Ponar.

“We tend to think about gas chambers and Auschwitz and piles of dead bodies, and we have this image of the way that people died,” Zapruder said. “We don’t always have access to the way that people lived while they were in these circumstances.”

“How they tried to maintain their humanity, what the effect was of this suffering and persecution on their relationships, on their dreams, their plans, their understanding of their own humanity, their faith and thoughts—this diary delves into all of those things,” she added.

Rudashavsky and his friends found ways through cultural and spiritual means, “through creativity, through intellectual pursuits, through hard work, to resist that stagnation, to resist the terms that were being imposed” on them, she said.

Brent told JNS the show’s message is particularly important for U.S. Jews, many of whom don’t know much about the history of the Vilna ghetto.

Rudashevsky makes clear that “the spirit of our youth will go forward and is unstoppable,” Brent said. 

“When you read that, you realize that he is just the medium through which the spirit that is contained in that culture is flowing,” he added. “It did survive. It did transcend him.”

Brent returned recently from a trip to Poland and Lithuania with a group of successful, older Jews who had achieved the American dream. They told him that they had a sense of something missing in themselves, which prompted them to make the trip.

That feeling goes to the heart of Rudashevsky’s story and why it is so important, according to Brent.

“This cultural continuum that Rudashevsky finds gives him the kind of peace of mind and inner strength that was necessary for him to retain his self worth, to retain his understanding of himself as a Jew,” Brent told JNS. 

“If you are deprived of that culture, you then also deprive yourself of that inner strength,” he added. “You have a strong Jewish people only if you have knowledge, only if you feel this continuity, that you are not alone in the world.”

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Former First Minister Humza Yousaf faces a probe regarding a Scottish government donation that he requested go to the U.N. aid agency UNRWA while his in-laws were trapped in the Gaza Strip.

The day after Yousaf made the announcement, his in-laws were allowed to leave via the Rafah Crossing to Egypt, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Yousaf announced that the Scottish government would provide £250,000 (about $325,000) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency on Nov. 2, adding to an earlier government contribution of £500,000 ($650,000) announced on Oct. 14.

Also on Nov. 2, Yousaf met with UNRWA representatives.

The next day, Nov. 3, the parents of Yousaf’s wife, Nadia—Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla—left Gaza. They were visiting relatives (El-Nakla's mother had a stroke in March) and became trapped there as war broke out with the Hamas invasion of southern Israel on Oct. 7.

They had tried to cross the border on three occasions without success, the BBC reported.

Paying to get through the Gaza-Egypt border is not an uncommon practice. A network of smugglers operating around the Rafah Crossing has existed for years. Media in January reported Gazans paying up to $10,000 to “brokers” with ties to Egyptian intelligence to escape the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

https://twitter.com/HumzaYousaf/status/1720099436267720840

Although there is no evidence that Yousaf's UNRWA donation and his in-laws' escape from the war zone are directly connected, the timeline of events gives the appearance of a conflict of interest.

"This raises significant questions about what his motivations [were] for using taxpayers’ money in the area," member of Scottish Parliament Stephen Kerr of the Conservative Party said when the Telegraph first reported on the donation in early March.

Yousaf, born in Glasgow to Pakistani immigrants, accused the Telegraph of targeting him for being a Muslim, posting to X on March 9:

“I don’t usually respond to smears against me or my family, but this story is so outrageous it requires a response. Most of my political life, I’ve battled insinuations from sections of the media desperate to link me to terrorism despite campaigning my whole life against it.

"The latest smear from the Telegraph is just a continuation of these Islamaphobic [sic] attacks," he said.

A spokesman for the first minister said at the time: “UNRWA had no role in the situation regarding the first minister’s extended family, and any suggestion of a conflict of interest in this matter would be completely untrue.”

However, Kerr said Yousaf had “some serious explaining to do” and “may very well have broken the [Scottish Ministerial] Code."

According to the Telegraph, the Scottish Ministerial Code of conduct states that ministers “must ensure that no conflict arises, or could reasonably be perceived to arise, between their public duties and their private interests, financial or otherwise.”

https://twitter.com/RealStephenKerr/status/1812175731268730950

Kerr noted that Yousaf's decision to donate to UNRWA went against the advice of officials, who urged that the money go to another U.N. agency, UNICEF, with it specifically earmarked for clean water for Gazans.

The officials reversed themselves, however, after receiving an Oct. 30 email from Yousaf, in which he said, “If I am meeting UNRWA this week we should just announce an extra £250K to them, taking our total to £750K."

It has since emerged that the donation came from the International Development Fund, a £10 million fund meant for Malawi, Pakistan, Rwanda and Zambia.

Credit for uncovering the details goes to Glasgow resident Craig Houston, whose YouTube channel, “Craig Houston Talks To," covers politics, culture and sports. Calling it a "scandal," he said he sensed something amiss when the source of the funds for UNRWA wasn't publicized. He then filed a series of Freedom of Information Scotland Act (FOISA) requests.

It was due to one of Houston's FOISA requests that the government admitted it is conducting a “review of the processes involved in our response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza."

Houston, in one of what he terms his "10-minute rants," noted that the money to UNRWA was unrestricted. It wasn't dedicated to clean water, the original purpose of the funds.

In a July 13 YouTube video, Houston said, “I think when your mum-in-law and father-in-law are in a country that’s a war zone that you’ve just gave [sic] two donations totaling 750,000 pounds to within a couple of weeks and one of them the day before they’re released from that country kind of suggests a perceived conflict of interest.”

The fact that Yousaf had family in Gaza through his wife raised concerns when he was first minister. (He resigned on May 7 after dissolving a power-sharing agreement with the Scottish Greens party.)

Faran Jeffery, director of general operations at the Midstone Centre for International Affairs, a national security think tank, told JNS in November that journalists hadn't adequately analyzed Yousaf’s Gaza family connections.

“If you were living in Gaza under Hamas rule, there’s simply no way you could have avoided contact with Hamas,” Jeffery said. “So the question nobody seems to be asking is what kind of influence Hamas may have had on Yousaf through El-Nakla and her family in Gaza?”

As first minister, Yousaf staked out an extreme anti-Israel position. In a Jan. 5 press release, he urged the United Kingdom to pressure Israel to bring about a ceasefire in Gaza, despite Israel's repeated warnings that a ceasefire would enable Hamas to stay in power.

“The time has come for the U.K. Government to speak out forcefully and make it clear that Israeli action has gone way beyond a legitimate response to the appalling Hamas attack of 7 October," Yousaf said in the statement.

He called on the British government to make it clear to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, other Israeli ministers and IDF commanders that they would "be held accountable" if they continue their "indiscriminate killing."

In November 2023, Yousaf drew criticism for supporting anti-Israel marches on Armistice Day. The idea of violating the solemnity of the day, which marks the end of World War I, drew criticism from some quarters.

Also, despite his claims of "campaigning my whole life" against terrorism, as a young Scottish parliamentary assistant, Yousaf arranged a high-level meeting in 2008 with Hamas leader Mohammad Sawalha. 

However, Yousaf redirected the money to UNRWA before revelations emerged that employees of the U.N. relief agency had taken part in the Hamas massacre of Oct. 7. In January, UNRWA fired 12 of its workers after reviewing information supplied by Israel.

Further Israeli revelations showed the depth of UNRWA's collusion with Hamas, including the discovery of a Hamas computer server farm underneath UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City and Hamas tunnels underneath UNRWA schools.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has since revealed that the aid agency is currently employing hundreds of terrorists.

On July 10, Israel's Foreign Ministry attached a list of names and ID numbers of 108 UNRWA terrorist-employees to a letter to UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini.

The letter said it was a “small fraction” of a much larger list including hundreds of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad members also working for UNRWA. The wider list could not be released due to security considerations.

"Israel sees no role whatsoever for UNRWA in Gaza after this war ends,” Prime Minister's Office spokesman David Mencer said on July 12.

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It is with profound concern that I address the recent plans for an anti-Israel protest in front of the Zekelman Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

This deeply disturbing and offensive protest desecrates the memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Drawing false parallels between Israel's defensive actions and the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators is not only historically inaccurate but also promotes dangerous antisemitic rhetoric.

The anti-Israel Coalition Against Genocide, its partner Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and other Palestinian groups are spreading vicious falsehoods accusing Israel of committing genocide. JVP attributed the Oct. 7 massacre to "Israeli apartheid and occupation and United States complicity in that oppression."

On Oct. 7, Israel was invaded by 3,000 Hamas terrorists and Gazan civilians who slaughtered 1,200 Israelis simply because they were Jewish. Women were raped and mutilated in front of their families, some are being kept as sex slaves in Gaza. Babies were burned in ovens and decapitated while Hamas terrorists laughed. The massacre was reminiscent of the Hebron massacre of 1929, in which Jews were slaughtered simply for being Jewish, long before the establishment of the State of Israel.

Kenneth Levin, a Harvard University psychiatrist, has said that there are two reasons for Jewish self-hatred: One is a type of Stockholm Syndrome in which “population segments under chronic siege commonly embrace the indictments of their besiegers, however bigoted and outrageous.” The second is that Jews may blame themselves for their predicament: “Everyone hates us so we must be doing something wrong.”

The Holocaust is a reminder of the consequences of unchecked hatred and violence. Exploiting this sacred memory to push a political agenda disrespects the victims and diminishes and trivializes the gravity of their suffering. The actions of these groups feed into the narratives of antisemites who seek to delegitimize and demonize Israel, further endangering Jews worldwide. As a child of Holocaust survivors and proud Zionists, I find these actions despicable.

Accusations of genocide against Israel are a gross misrepresentation of reality. Israel's military actions are defensive measures against terrorist organizations, including Hamas, which continuously threaten the safety and security of Israeli civilians. By equating these actions with genocide, protesters ignore the legitimate right of a nation to protect its people.

Protests at Michigan’s largest Holocaust museum justify violence against Israelis and Jews by falsely portraying them as perpetrators of heinous crimes. This dangerous rhetoric incites hatred and violence, contributing to rising antisemitic incidents globally. These libelous protests distort historical facts and promote a false narrative that fuels antisemitic sentiments, misuses the memory of the Holocaust to criticize Israel unjustly and feeds into dangerous and false allegations of genocide.

The Coalition Against Genocide, JVP and their supporters are morally corrupt. All community members and leaders need to denounce this protest and its sponsor groups. It is our collective responsibility to protect the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and to ensure that their suffering is not trivialized or misused. Let us stand together against antisemitism, for truth and for Israel’s right to protect itself.

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Minouche Shafik, president of Columbia University, should either step down or be fired by the school’s board, the Coalition for Jewish Values says.

The group, which represents 2,500 Orthodox rabbis, noted that Shafik allowed a dean to remain in his role after exchanging text messages mocking the panelists during an event on Jew-hatred. Three other Columbia officials involved lost their administrative roles, but remain on the payroll and the faculty.

“The bigotry and double standards are blatant, and entirely at odds with the experiences that I and others had at Columbia in the past,” said Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, an alumnus of the university and the coalition’s Israel regional vice president. “Imagine if something like this had happened during a session when black, Latino, Pacific Islander or LGBTQ faculty and students were speaking about hostility they faced on campus.”

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Iranian President-elect Masoud Pezeshkian spoke on Monday with Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas terrorist movement's political bureau, the Tehran regime's state media reported.

Haniyeh “expressed gratitude towards the Islamic Republic of Iran over its support for the Palestinian cause and called for stepped-up diplomatic efforts to end the Israeli regime’s aggression against Gaza,” according to the IRNA news agency.

For his part, "The Iranian president-elect stressed that his country will never stop backing the Palestinian people at these difficult times."

Pezeshkian on Sunday praised Iran's Yemeni terrorist proxy the Houthis "for their courageous measures to support the Palestinians in war-ravaged Gaza, in reference to Yemen’s months-long military operations targeting Israel-linked ships in the high seas over its war in the besieged territory," IRNA reported.

He made the comments during a phone call with Houthi military leader Mahdi al-Masha, chairman of Yemen's Supreme Political Council.

Last week, Pezeshkian reaffirmed Tehran’s dedication to destroying Israel, saying its proxies across the region will not allow the Jewish state’s “criminal policies” to continue.

“The Islamic Republic has always supported the resistance of the people of the region against the illegitimate Zionist regime. The support of the resistance is rooted in the fundamental policies of the Islamic Republic,” Pezeshkian wrote to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

“I am certain that the resistance movements in the region will not allow this regime to continue its warmongering and criminal policies against the oppressed people of Palestine and other nations of the region,” Iranian media quoted the supposed reformer president as saying.

His comments came on July 8, two days after Nasrallah congratulated Pezeshkian on his “blessed” election victory, noting Tehran’s ongoing support for “resistance” groups.

“We in Hezbollah and in all the resistance groups in the region … always look to the Islamic Republic of Iran as a strong, stable and permanent support,” the letter read, according to Agence France-Presse.

Pezeshkian won Iran’s second-round presidential vote on July 5, receiving more than 16 million votes compared to former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili’s more than 13 million.

Pezeshkian, a former heart surgeon and longtime lawmaker born in 1954 to an Iranian Azerbaijani father and an Iranian Kurdish mother, told local media ahead of his election win that if he were elected, he would “try to have friendly relations with all countries except Israel.”

Pezeshkian stressed during the campaign that he fully adheres to the Islamic regime’s policies and has “melted into Khamenei’s leadership.”

Pezeshkian’s election is not expected to produce any major policy shift in Tehran’s nuclear program or support for Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, or various militias in Iraq and Syria.

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More than 100 Hamas terrorists who invaded Israel and took part in the massacre on Oct. 7 are eligible to be represented by private attorneys funded by the state, the Israel Hayom daily reported on Monday.

According to the report, the Jewish state's court system maintains that a temporary order passed in the wake of the war with Hamas requires judges to appoint captured terrorists lawyers at Jerusalem's expense.

The temporary change to the "Law on holding hearings using visual tools with the participation of prisoners and detainees," which was first passed in late 2023 with the government's support, states that court hearings "will be held in the presence of the detainee's attorney, and if he is not represented, the court will appoint a representative for him."

The order was passed to allow terrorist suspects to appear by video link, due to the dangers involved in transporting them courts.

Coalition lawmakers in recent months have advanced legislation that would deny terrorists who took part in the Oct. 7 attacks the right to a public defender. However, due to the court's interpretation of the earlier emergency order, Israeli taxpayers will be footing their legal bills.

The Israel Hayom report noted that while the emergency order is up for renewal in the coming weeks, the section that courts have utilized to grant terrorism suspects free legal aid is not expected to be changed.

Earlier this month, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Justice Minister Yair Levin released a new draft order for public comment without changing the controversial text.

During a debate in the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Monday, bereaved parents urged lawmakers to take action.

"It's a shame for the people of Israel that this discussion is being held over our children's blood," said Itzik Bunzel, whose son Sgt. Amit Buntzel was killed in action in Gaza on Dec. 6. "There's no way that the murdered victims will fund the Nukhba terrorists' legal representation."

"This isn't stupidity; this is deliberate evil against our people," added Galia Hoshen, whose daughter Hadar was brutally murdered by Hamas terrorists at the Supernova festival on Oct. 7. "My daughter was murdered and I have to fund legal representation for those who murdered her?"

After it became known that the Israel Courts Administration had asked the government to fund terrorists' legal defense, Levin and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich condemned the request, with the latter ordering Budgets Commissioner Yogev Gardos to freeze the funds.

Construction and Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf, who also leads the United Torah Judaism Party, tweeted on Thursday, "Whoever has mercy on the cruel will ultimately be cruel to the merciful."

Some 3,000 terrorists, from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and unaffiliated "civilians," infiltrated the Jewish state on Oct. 7. The security forces killed approximately a thousand of the terrorists and captured many others.

Roughly 250 people were abducted during the attack; thousands more were murdered and wounded, with numerous atrocities documented.

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Google's parent company Alphabet is in advanced talks to acquire Israeli cloud cybersecurity startup Wiz in a deal worth some $23 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

If the agreement is inked, it would represent the California tech giant's biggest-ever buy (scorching the previous record of $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility in 2012). It would also mark a significant achievement for Israel's high-tech sector.

“This is the largest acquisition to ever happen in the Israeli high-tech sector. It’s a sign of the strength of the Israeli tech hub,” Dror Bin, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority, told JNS on Monday.

“It’s a sign of confidence that giants like Google show by making such an acquisition in Israel,” he added. 

Intel's $15 billion pickup of Mobileye in 2017 is the current Israeli record holder.

For its part, Google has shown interest in the Israeli market, in 2013 purchasing Waze for $1.1 billion, creating the Jewish state's first domestic unicorn (a startup reaching $1 billion in valuation without being listed on the stock market).

While Wiz is headquartered in New York City with nearly a thousand employees scattered across North America and Europe, most of its engineering team is based in Tel Aviv, where the 40-year-old Israeli co-founder and CEO Assaf Rappaport was born.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZtPSUZik5I

Since its founding in Israel in 2020, the economic worth of the firm, which offers cybersecurity software for cloud computing, has skyrocketed. The company in May announced a funding round of $1 billion at a staggering $12 billion valuation.

According to Wiz, the company hit $100 million in annual recurring revenue after 18 months and in February of this year reached $350 million in annual recurring revenue, with a 40% market share of Fortune 100 customers.

Wiz already partners with Google and other leading cloud companies, including Amazon and Microsoft.

It plans to hire 400 more people in 2024.

The local Israeli ecosystem consists of 9,000 different high-tech companies including early stage and early growth companies, large enterprises and multinationals. 

Since the start of the war against Hamas in Gaza, triggered by the Palestinian terror group’s Oct. 7 invasion of southern Israel, the high-tech sector has worked to maintain its services to global customers and deliver on promises made to investors. 

High-tech professionals launched the #NoMatterWhat campaign shortly after the beginning of the war to send the message that they continue to maintain the highest standards, despite some companies having had up to 20% of their workforces mobilized to serve the country. 

“The Israel Innovation Authority, the government agency responsible for the high-tech sector, also continues to invest in the local ecosystem since the war started,” Bin told JNS. 

“We have launched several programs and funds to secure early stage companies in Israel and make sure that the next wave of growth and innovation will occur,” he said. 

“The fundamentals of the Israeli tech sector did not change. We still have the best entrepreneurs in the world. I think that this type of deal shows it is indeed the case,” he added.

While there are few details about what the acquisition will mean for Wiz's operations, Bin sees it as very promising. 

“Google is buying Wiz for a reason. It’s a great company with great leaders and great employees and most of all amazing technological solutions. I assume Google is buying it to keep growing the business,” Bin said. 

“One of the amazing things about Wiz is that the company only started a few years ago and they managed to create a very high growth rate in its revenues and valuation. I am sure Google will continue this pace,” he added.

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Following the attempted assassination on Saturday of presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania, the Israeli Cabinet devoted its weekly meeting on Sunday morning to incitement.

During the ministerial gathering, Cabinet Secretary Yossi Fuchs presented a compilation of video clips featuring prominent Israelis threatening not only Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family, but all “Bibistim” (the derogatory term for the premier’s supporters), with various forms of violence and even death.

The two-hour discussion that ensued focused on the fact that calls to kill members of the coalition have been voiced repeatedly with impunity. Netanyahu referred to the “silence of senior figures [from whom] we have not heard condemnations.”

Several hours later, National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz issued a lengthy tweet to answer and counter the claim. He began by quoting assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin “of blessed memory,” who said that “violence is the erosion of the foundation of democracy. It must be condemned, denounced and isolated. This is not the way of the State of Israel.”

Gantz went on, “As true as this statement was then, it is equally true today. In these times, when we have returned to the discourse of Oct. 6 on steroids, it must be clearly stated: There is no place for hatred and violence in a democratic state, in any form or manner, from any side of the political spectrum.”

Violence, he continued, “is a danger to any democratic society, and we must not be indifferent to it, regardless of the direction, no matter how significant the disagreements. We must not engage in physical or verbal violence against protesters, politicians or the prime minister.”

Trying to preempt criticism from both supporters and detractors, he wrote, “I know what the reactions to this post will be. Some will say, ‘They, not we, are running the poison machine.’ Others will say, ‘In our camp, it has never happened and never will.’ Some will say, ‘You’re serving Netanyahu’ and others will say, ‘You’re incapable of condemning the Kaplanists [anti-government demonstrators on Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street].’”

He then offered the following advice: “It’s time to wake up and for each person to first look at himself, his camp, his environment. This applies to the prime minister, as well, who must act to stop the incitement spread online on his behalf.”

Yes, he insisted, “We must unite in the call of all party leaders against any form of incitement or violence. The event in the United States, regardless of the circumstances, should also raise red flags for us. We simply need to condemn and denounce violence and violent people and manage our disagreements firmly, but without incitement and crossing red lines. From any side, and under any circumstances.”

Apparently, Gantz thought it was relatively safe to condemn all violence, including incitement directed at Netanyahu—especially since he made sure to stress that it emanates equally from the prime minister’s camp. After all, what reasonable Israeli couldn’t be on board with that?

Furthermore, the demand that the right engage in collective soul-searching after Rabin’s murder—and breast-beating on the part of many Israelis whose vociferous opposition to the Oslo Accords made them feel guilty for the climate that led to his death—was the going zeitgeist in the country for years.

So Gantz’s admonition wasn’t novel. Other than in its general nature, that is, which means that it was also aimed at the left.

Oops. Talk about crossing a red line.

To get an idea of the outrage that Gant’s feeble stab at societal unity (by not letting Bibi off the hook) elicited, a review of some choice comments on his post is in order.

“Gantz is a tireless poll tracker, listening to his advisers who think that with these empty words he’ll be able to win a few more votes from the soft right,” argued one disgruntled follower. “And he doesn’t understand that he’s actually a Netanyahu collaborator helping to normalize the paranoid dictator.”

Another grunted, “What a repulsive potted plant. There is no symmetry, and we don’t have the privilege of impotent leadership. Stay home, enjoy your budgetary pension and leave us in peace, you cheap populist.”

Gantz, spewed another, “is a manufactured oppositionist whose role is to strengthen the regime. He’s essentially an organic part of the fascist-theocratic coup and fulfills his role as someone who regulates and limits resistance.”

Someone else chimed in, “Gantz is a complete zero, unworthy of leading anything. Since his entry into politics, Israel's situation has only worsened in every parameter.”

Among the numerous insults was this: “He’s a lapdog of the tyrant [Netanyahu], just like [President Isaac] Herzog.”

“So true!” replied one venomous X user. “From Gantz, you can always hear only supposedly statesmanlike’ remarks that address both sides, as if they’re on a par with each other. Not a word about police violence and the Kahanist mob against protesters, and he will never say a word about the constant abuse by the army and settlers in Palestinian villages in the territories. The man is a Netanyahu clone without a backbone.”

The above is only a sampling of the more than 900 comments on Gantz’s post. He should have known better than to expect sympathy from the very elites who consider it their duty to oust Netanyahu by any means.

For them, violence is legitimate if it achieves the goal of eliminating their nemesis. Gantz also wants Bibi out of the way, but he’s hoping to realize this dream at the ballot box.

He imagined that quitting the emergency unity government, and along with it the War Cabinet, would remove the “stain” of the Netanyahu-led coalition and pave his way to the premiership. Perhaps now he knows that he can forget about counting on the left to help that happen.

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