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Saturday, May 27, 2017

From Ian:

50 years since 1967: What is the West Bank's real legal status?
ACCORDING TO former Hebrew University Law School dean and Israel Democracy Institute Fellow Yuval Shany, the starting point for the discussion was Shamgar and Israel’s acceptance of the 1907 Hague Regulations applying to the West Bank.
This means Israeli control over the West Bank falls into the category of “belligerent occupation.”
In less fancy language, it means that Israel has not annexed the land and is holding it temporarily. Further, it means that Israel has certain obligations not to change the face of the land or harm the rights of the local people already there – the Palestinians.
Shany said that agreeing to apply the Hague principles “was the only possible decision since there was no political decision to annex the West Bank.”
He noted that Israel could have decided to extend Israeli law to the West Bank, as was done in east Jerusalem, “but the government did not want to make that political decision. All governments since also did not make this decision,” so accepting the international law obligations and limits of the Hague Regulations was “the only option.”
In contrast to the Hague Regulations, Shany said there has always been a debate about the application of the Geneva Conventions to the West Bank.
50 Years after the Six-Day War, We Shouldn't Lament Israel's Power to Protect Itself
In May 1967, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the President of Egypt, who had joined in a military alliance with Syrian President Hafez el Assad, daily promised to "drive Israel into the sea." Jews around the world were anxious beyond belief. It was scant more than twenty years since the liberation of the death camps in Europe and the odds were overwhelming that the next cataclysm against our people was soon to begin. In a stunning six-day victory, Israel defeated the combined Arab armies, reunited Jerusalem, took the Golan Heights and made its way to the Suez Canal.
It is difficult for Israel to extricate itself from the obligation of having to send its young people to the territories in uniform to oversee other people's lives. Israel uprooted 8,000 long-time inhabitants of Gaza to make the territory Jew-free with the hope that without an occupation Gaza could transform itself into a Singapore. We know from history that this was a terrible mistake which has exacted an enormous cost on Palestinians and Israelis in terms of suffering, treasure and death.
Some opinion-makers have opined that the Six-Day War was a catastrophe. I cannot agree. It is far better that Israel won the war decisively than were it to have lost the war entirely. It is not hard to imagine the nature of the bloodbath that would have occurred on the streets of an Arab-occupied Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
Israel's adversaries refuse to accept its existence and the existence of Jews living in the Land of Israel. That is the root of the problem, going back more than a hundred years. Once that is solved, everything else will fall into place.
To be honest, there is something crazy about lamenting the fact that we Jews have the power to protect ourselves and that we will no longer be subject to the bullies and murderers who have tormented us. I would rather live with the moral struggle of the past 50 years than die the good death of a martyr to another round of anti-Jewish hatred and violence.
A false narrative about Israel has hijacked progressive minds. We must call people out for their selective social conscience
Simon Wiesenthal was a man of action. Not content to let complacent governments deal with the butchers of the Holocaust, he hunted them and forced them to face justice. In so doing, he announced to the world that from now on, there is a high price to pay for harming Jews.
With his help, the Mossad captured the mass murderer Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. I was then attending school in neighbouring Uruguay, where Israel’s covert operation caused massive outrage. It was a tense time to be the only Jew in my school. But I felt proud. For the first time in two thousand years, the world understood that if you mess with us, there are consequences. That Jews can — and will — deal with those who intend to harm them. That Jews are no longer at the mercy of their tormentors. That Jews fight back.
I was born in Hungary, where Jew hatred has a long and blood-drenched history. A country whose Jews took comfort in being the most assimilated in Europe. They were convinced that their social status and achievements made them untouchable. Yet, the majority of the Jewish population was massacred in a matter of weeks.
We must learn from the lessons of history, so that our children and their children never face the horrors that my parents witnessed. Today, Jews face two wars. The permanent armed struggle in defence of Israel, a battle that Israel can never afford to lose. And the war of words, throughout the diaspora — and right here in Canada.
Words matter. They are powerful weapons. Words can legitimize the criminal and vilify the just. Words can provide the fuel for hate and the alibi for persecution and violence. Libelous fabrications, like “Israel Apartheid” and “Zionist aggression,” are the pretext for the BDS movement, whose stated objective is the destruction of the Jewish State. Their false narrative has hijacked progressive hearts and minds and become gospel in politically correct circles. It feeds the new wave of Jew hatred sweeping across Europe, where, in many countries, synagogues and Jewish institutions can now only function under military protection. The false narrative thrives on our own campuses, where we must expose its lies and confront it with the most powerful weapon at our disposal, namely, the truth. Because as we know, and as Barbara Kay has written, “what ends in law, often begins in academia.”



Former PLO negotiator calls to shut Palestinian Authority
A former Palestinian negotiator has called for the Palestinian Authority to be shut down, saying that it is no longer geared toward achieving independence, but has become a tool for Israel to control the Palestinians.
Writing in an op-ed in the New York Times on Friday, Diana Buttu said that US President Donald Trump’s attempts to relaunch the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians will fail because the Palestinian Authority is no longer an effective representative of the Palestinian people and their aspirations. If the PA is dismantled, she argued, the Palestinians could “once again confront Israel’s occupation in a strategic way.”
“Many now question whether the Palestinian Authority plays any positive role or is simply a tool of control for Israel and the international community. The inescapable logic is that it’s time for the authority to go,” wrote Buttu, a former legal adviser to the PA and a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Buttu argued that the Palestinian Authority, which was established as part of the 1990’s Oslo Peace process and which was meant to be an intermediate body until the establishment of a Palestinian state, has become solely intent on preserving its own existence.

Why Aren’t Muslim Countries Helping the Palestinians?
Why aren’t Muslim countries leading givers to the Palestinian cause? That question has renewed relevance after a United Nations agency’s recent release of its list of donors.
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) claims to provide aid to approximately five million Palestinian “refugees,” a number that is disputed by the pro-Israel community because UNRWA also serves refugees’ descendants.
UNRWA’s list of donors for 2016 says that Western countries and Japan are the most significant contributors to the agency’s budget, while the only major Muslim givers are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Further, the Muslim nations’ giving lags behind top donors such as the US and European Union countries.
Ronen Yitzhak, the head of the Middle East Studies department at Israel’s Western Galilee College, told JNS.org that the discrepancy between Western and Arab-Muslim giving to the Palestinians “has been the case throughout the history of the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict.”
On the Arab-Muslim side, “there is a lot of talking, but little actual deeds,” he said. Yizhak pointed out that after the 2014 Gaza war, the international community pledged $5 billion to rebuild the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave, but much of the money pledged by Arab states went undelivered.
Melanie Phillips: It's not just Jeremy Corbyn who's got this so very wrong
That is why so many never, ever take responsibility for the terrible things that are done in the name of Islam.
That is why all military action taken by the west in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and so on, or any similar action by Israel in Gaza – which, whatever your view of the wisdom or otherwise of such action, are mounted by the west or Israel solely to defend themselves against further attack from within the Muslim world – are viewed by Muslims as an aggressive war to kill them and destroy Islam.
That’s why the all-important distinction between, on the one hand, Islamists setting out to murder as many western or Israeli children as possible and, on the other, western or Israeli forces unfortunately killing Muslim children in a just and necessary war of self-defence in which every attempt is made to avoid civilian casualties, is simply not recognised or understood at all.
This inversion of reality therefore makes it simply impossible for the west to take the measures necessary to defend itself without its Muslim attackers crying foul. Those like Corbyn or all the others who blame Muslim radicalisation on the west’s involvement in Iraq or Syria are therefore parroting what is nothing other than a moral and intellectual derangement. And just like the Muslim world, they would thus make it impossible for the west ever to defend itself against Islamic attack by defeating and destroying the purveyors of Islamic terror.
Jeremy Corbyn is not just expressing a disgusting far-left viewpoint. He is also echoing a widespread and catastrophic western mis-reading of a prevalent Muslim mindset – a mis-reading which has helped paralyse western defences against Islamic supremacism and which unfortunately continues to this very day.
Norway demands PA return funds for women’s center named after terrorist
Norway’s foreign minister on Friday condemned the Palestinian Authority for naming a women’s center in the West Bank, funded in part by the Scandinavian country, after a female terrorist.
“The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms. Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way. We will not accept the use of Norwegian aid funding for such purposes,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende said in a statement.
Brende’s comments were made in reference to a new women’s center opened earlier this month in the West Bank town of Burqa. The center was named after Dalal Mughrabi, who took part in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre. Mughrabi and several other Fatah terrorists landed on a beach near Tel Aviv, hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Road and killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded over 70.
Brende said that Norway had been unaware of the decision to name the center after Mughrabi. He demanded that the country’s name be removed from the center and that the funds it gave for construction be returned.
Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike, Israel says it met none of their demands
Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails have called off a hunger strike that lasted 40 days after reaching a deal that involved the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Israel Prisons Services, officials on both sides said Saturday.
According to the prisons service, an agreement was reached after talks that involved the Red Cross to end the strike before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that begins Saturday. The prisons service denied Palestinian claims that strike leader Marwan Barghouti had negotiated with Israeli officials.
The prisons service said the prisoners would now get an extra family visit per month, one of the prisoner demands that is administered solely by the Red Cross.
The Red Cross had reduced the visits from two to one per month about a year ago because they said they lacked the funds to pay for them and most times no relatives were showing up. The Palestinian Authority has agreed to pay for the new visits.
Israel said none of the other Palestinian demands had been met.
Ending strike after 40 days, Barghouti is now Abbas’s undisputed heir
After 40 days and 40 nights of fasting, the Palestinian prisoner hunger strike came to an end just before dawn on Saturday — not coincidentally, just before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The announcement was accompanied by impassioned proclamations in the Palestinian media of “a great victory” for the prisoners and by strike leader Marwan Barghouti.
While they now dispute the terms on which the strike was ended, all sides involved — Barghouti, the Israel Prisons Service and even the Palestinian Authority — can claim significant achievements. But the key victor is Barghouti, who has again firmly established himself as a favorite of the Palestinian public and, in their eyes, a natural successor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Barghouti, a Fatah political leader and terror chief who is serving five life sentences for murders committed during the second Palestinian intifada, was the focal point of this strike. He initiated it, he was the one filmed eating a candy bar by the prison authorities, and he has emerged from it as a Palestinian national symbol.
Barghouti began the strike with 1,150 of his Fatah comrades (about one-third of the total Fatah prisoners and one-sixth of all the security inmates) pushing a long list of demands from Israel: 20 channels of television, unrestricted books and magazines, air conditioning, a greater selection of items available for purchase in the canteen, more family visits, the restarting of open university studies, public telephone use, annual medical checks for prisoners, and an end to punitive solitary confinement.
The strike is ending with just one of those demands met, the restoration of a second monthly family visit — a move that is not even connected to Israel as it was stopped a year ago by the International Committee of the Red Cross, who said family members were not showing up and it did not have the budget for the program. Indeed, it is only possible to restore the visits now because the PA has offered to fund them.
From Ilan to Sarah Halimi: Shameful France
French public intellectual, Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine, has written an open letter to Gerard Collomb, the new French Minister of the Interior about the stunning silence in the French public sphere about the terrible murder of Sarah Halimi, a doctor, who was tortured and murdered by her Muslim Arab neighbor while three armed policemen stood outside her door waiting for backup. Below is a translation of the text by André Unterberger with some changes by me.
An open letter to Gerard Collomb [1]: from Ilan [0] to Sarah Halimi, a shameful France
Source: ATLANTICO
Mr Minister,
A 65-yr old Jewish lady MD, during her sleep, is attacked and atrociously tortured for more than one hour. She lives in a modest apartment in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, rue Vaucouleurs. The murderer, who reached her apartment through the balcony, attacks with incredible violence, resulting in about twenty fractures all over her face and body.
He then throws her, dying, out of the window, from the 3rd floor. During all this time, the police (3 men with weapons, present in the building just outside the apartment door) do nothing. The neighbours (several dozen) can hear the victim’s yells: they do nothing either. The French media are alerted. They make no queries and do not report the murder.
Her name was Sarah … Sarah Halimi.
This atrocious scene did not happen in 1942, before or after the “Rafle du Veld’hiv” [2] but in the night from April 3rd to April 4th, 2017, in a tiny apartment close to the “Bataclan” [3]: Cries of “Allah Akbar” accompanied the scene. The next Sunday, a silent march was organised in the area. Youngsters from the nearby quarters countered it with yells of “Mort aux Juifs” or “We own kalachnikovs”.
[0] Ilan Halimi (not related to Sarah Halimi) was murdered in an atrocious 24-day action, involving many participants (only one of them is still in jail), in 2006.
[1] Minister of the Interior, France
[2] the rounding up of thousands of Jews in Paris, by the French police: they were delivered to the Germans and taken to Auschwitz
[3] the theater where more than 100 French people were murdered in 2016 by an islamist
UN HEALTH AGENCY SINGLES OUT ISRAEL IN A DECISION SPONSORED BY HEALTH ADVOCATE BASHAR AL-ASSAD
The UN's health agency adopted a decision, co-authored by Syria, blaming israel for Palestinians' health problems - not 69 years of Arab war and terror attempting to annihilate the Jewish state. Syria's healthy choices include using chemical weapons and bombing a children's hospital in November 2016.
The decision, in addition to Syria, was sponsored by fellow Arab bloc members Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Libya, Pakistan, "Palestine", Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia, as well as South Africa and the Latin American regimes of Cuba, Ecuador, and Venezuela.
The resolution was adopted by a vote of 98 in favor, 7 against (Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Israel, Togo, United Kingdom, United States), and 21 abstentions (Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, DR Congo, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Malawi, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Timor-Leste, and Tuvalu).
European Explanation of Vote at the 2017 World Health Assembly


Israel's anti-BDS 'Start-up' Ministry
In a wide-ranging interview with The Jerusalem Post, Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy officials announced the dawning of a new era in the government’s campaign against Israel-boycott organizations, proclaiming the rise of the “Start-Up Ministry.”
One of the Strategic Affairs Ministry’s principal missions is to push back, in creative and innovative ways, against delegitimization of Israel and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement. Two of the guiding principles are to move “from defense to offense” and to “adopt a big tent that works with the Left and the Right,” according to the officials.
Last year, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan asked Sima Vaknin-Gill – a former IDF chief censor and Israel Air Force intelligence officer – to serve as his director-general.
Since its founding in 2005, the BDS effort has morphed into a full-blown global campaign to delegitimize Israel. Europe, mainly Western European countries, provides fertile territory for BDS to flourish. Just last month, a German government-commissioned study revealed that 40% of Germans hold “modern antisemitic” views of Israel, that is, they loathe the Jewish state.
Push to get more anti-Israel activists into power at American Anthropology Association
We’ve written extensively of the disturbing phenomenon of anti-Israel activists taking over professional and academic associations (even associations in memory of holocaust victims), and diverting them for their own radical political agendas.
This has been especially pronounced in the long battle that seems to dominate large portions of the social sciences and humanities academy: we refer of course to the apparently serious question of whether the academy should be devoted to the furtherance of knowledge and wisdom…or whether it should be devoted to fighting the State of Israel.
The latter course has been preferred by some academic associations and seems to command a serious following in others, such as the Middle East Studies Association, the Modern Language Association (MLA), and the American Anthropological Association (AAA). These organizations have yet to adopt a formal boycott of Israel (in fact, the MLA rejected a pro-BDS resolution and is in the midst of voting on an anti-BDS resolution).
AAA put a boycott resolution to its membership last year. The resolution lost by 39 votes.
This has not stopped the AAA leadership from activism on the Israeli-Palestinian front.
Trump: Netanyahu, Abbas vowed to reach for peace — I believe they mean it
Summarizing his first foreign trip as president, Donald Trump on Saturday said Israeli and Palestinian leaders had told him they were willing to “reach for peace,” and added that he believed their pledges to be sincere.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “assured me he is willing to reach for peace with Israel in good faith, and I believe he will,” Trump told US troops in Sicily, in a speech where he recounted his visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Belgium and Italy, and his work to counter terrorism.
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured me that he too was ready to reach for peace. He’s a friend of mine and he means it,” Trump said, standing in front of a massive American flag at Naval Air Station Sigonella.
“All children from all faiths deserve a future of hope and peace, a future that does honor to God,” he said.
Trump reaffirms America's 'unbreakable bond' with Israel
US President Donald Trump reaffirmed, Sunday, America's "unbreakable bond with the State of Israel" during a speech to US troops stationed at the Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy.
Speaking at the final event of his foreign trip before returning to Washington, Trump said that he "was awed by the beauty of the Holy Land and the faith and reverence of the devoted people who live there," and added that "all children from all faiths deserve a future of hope and peace. A future that does honor to God."
Referring to his two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Trump declared his optimism with regards to the currently-stalled peace process. On his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the US president stated that the Palestinian leader "assured me he's willing to reach for peace with Israel in good faith," and told the crowd that "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured me that he too was ready to reach for peace. He's a friend of mine and he means it."
During his trip, Trump became the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall and he described the holy site as "a monument to the perseverance of the Jewish people."
Nikki Haley to visit Israel in June
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is set to travel to Israel during the first week of June, although the exact dates haven’t yet been finalized with her office.
Haley will be accompanied on the two to three day trip by her Israeli counterpart at the UN, Danny Danon.
According to a foreign ministry source, who shared the visit's itinerary with The Jerusalem Post, Haley will begin in Jerusalem, where the she will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin. She will then tour Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and the Old City of Jerusalem.
The US Ambassador will then head north to a location overlooking the borders with Lebanon and Syria, where she will receive security briefings from Israeli military officials. Haley will conclude her visit with meetings in the Palestinian Authority.
President Trump’s pick for United Nations representative has gained much popularity in Israel she gave her very first press briefing at the UN back in February. In it, Haley strongly denounced the Security Council’s bias against Israel and vowed that the US would no longer turn a blind eye to it.
The lobby: AIPAC in a polarized America
To get a sense of how smooth-running a machine the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is, ponder this: the drive for reservations for next year’s convention is already on ‒ even though delegates to the 2017 Annual Policy Conference only went home on March 28.
“Conference” is probably a misnomer given that, notwithstanding scores of “breakout sessions,” 18,000 activists can’t really dialogue. Chartered buses took delegates to Capitol Hill to meet with their own House or Senate members chaperoned by an AIPAC official. AIPAC aims to make every annual conference bigger than the previous.
And, despite the significant registration fee ($599 this year) plus accommodation for three days and transportation, it succeeds.
The only subsidies this year were for some 4,000 student participants.
Whatever else such mega-gatherings achieve, they hammer home the point that pro-Israelism remains a broad and deep sentiment across the American political spectrum.
Investigation into Alberto Nisman's death nominated for award
Foreign Affairs

An Argentine news outlet’s investigation into the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman was shortlisted for the global Data Journalism Awards.
The nominees were announced Tuesday in London.
La Nacion Data Argentina analyzed 40,000 audio recordings from a tapped phone over two years, publishing the findings and developing a news app to search by topic or person.
Nisman had accused the Argentine government of covering up Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center, which killed 85 and injured 300.
The data analysis conducted by 120 volunteers triggered three major findings related to Iranian terrorist activities in Argentina:
* Iran’s local community paid bail to help a local activist accused of being a member of the violent movement Quebracho;
* A national senator from an official government party was discovered to be an active lobbyist for the Iranian government in partnership with local businessmen;
* Iran financed a local activist movement in favor of the Kirchner government for leading demonstrations and protests against the U.S. Embassy.
Publicly lauding Israel – from Iran
It was February 1963. John Kennedy resided in the White House, The Beatles’ musical conquest of America was a year away and the media in the Muslim world were continuing their 15-year-long nonstop bashing of Israel.
At the same time, following a two-week visit to that same Jewish state, a Muslim Iranian intellectual with close ties to the mullahs who 16 years later would establish a theocracy dedicated to Israel’s destruction, publicly lauded Israel and its leaders.
Jalal Al-e Ahmad, who died in 1969, was best known for his book Gharbzadegi (“Occidentosis”), which advocated that Iran, then ruled by the Shah, turn away from the Western influence that pervaded the country and return to its Islamic cultural roots.
His essay “Journey to the Land of Israel” was made into a book in 1984 called Journey to the Land of the Angel of Death, despite the fact that the essay did not contain the phrase “land of the angel of death,” translator Samuel Thrope writes in his introduction. The Israeli Republic is the translation of that book, now available in English for the first time.
What this Muslim intellectual wrote about Islam’s chief bête noire is truly remarkable. Israel is a “guardianship state” in the sense that it “governs and acts in the name of all 12 million Jews scattered around the world,” according to Al-e Ahmad. David Ben-Gurion is likened to the biblical Enoch and Moshe Dayan to David’s general Joab (Yoav).
‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Dances to ‘Hava Nagila’ With Late-Night Talk Show Host Conan O’Brien
Israeli actress Gal Gadot danced to “Hava Nagila” with Conan O’Brien during an appearance on his late-night talk show on Thursday.
For a segment of “Conan,” the “Wonder Woman” star and O’Brien had recreated a training session similar to those the actress used to prepare for her role as the Amazonian princess in the superhero movie that will hit screens in the US next week.
Gadot’s trainer joined them on camera and attempted to teach O’Brien how to kick. The exercise soon turned into a “Hava Nagila” song-and-dance routine that Gadot and the trainer joined.
Gadot is in the midst of a press tour for the “Wonder Woman” film, which opens in theaters on June 2. Earlier this week, rival late-night host Jimmy Fallon imitated Gadot’s Israeli accent during her appearance on his own show.
Watch Gal Gadot dance to “Hava Nagila” with O’Brien below:


This brave Jewish soldier saved an American battalion during WWI
Things weren’t looking good for the more than 500 Allied soldiers trapped by German forces in France’s Argonne Forest in November 1918. Not only were they under fire from the Germans, they also were being bombarded with shells from Americans who were unaware of their entrapment.
Food, water and ammunition were running low. The soldiers — dubbed the Lost Battalion — sent out messengers to make contact with the rest of the American forces, but none managed to bypass or survive the German line of fire.
That is until one Jewish soldier stepped forward. In honor of Memorial Day this Monday, we are retelling the story of that soldier, Abraham Krotoshinsky, with the help of the JTA archive and other historical materials.
“Our situation appeared and was desperate and hopeless,” recalled Krotoshinsky, a member of the 77th Division of New York’s 308th Infantry who volunteered to try to sneak past the Germans.
Estonian Jewry celebrates revival 75 years after Nazis declared it extinct
Seventy-five years after the Nazis declared that Estonia was “Jew free,” the Baltic country’s president celebrated the return of Jewish life there at an event attended by Israeli politicians and rabbis.
President Kersti Kaljulaid received the guests, including Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi, David Lau, at a ceremony Thursday in Tallinn, the capital, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the first Jewish community in Estonia after the Holocaust.
“The story of the Synagogue of Tallinn tells us about the fate of the Jewish community,” Kaljulaid said at the event.
It was a reference to the fact that the Nazis destroyed all Jewish houses of worship in Estonia, where Soviet authorities who took over from the Nazis refused to allow the country’s few Jews who returned from death camps to build any synagogues. The Beit Bella Synagogue was inaugurated in 2007.
The chief rabbi of Estonia, Shmuel Kot, and the Jewish businessman and philanthropist Alexander Bronstein, who funded the building of the synagogue and community center named after his mother, at the event also hosted Israel’s minister for social equality, Gila Gamliel, and Israel’s ambassador to Estonia, Dov Segev-Steinberg, as well as local and foreign dignitaries.
Using Comedy to Heal the Wounds of Terror
I remember how I felt when I first saw Paradise Now, the 2006 Oscar-nominated film about two Palestinian men solicited to become suicide bombers in Israel.
At the end of the movie, one of the two men enters a bus teeming with Israelis, and takes a seat. The camera holds on the man’s face, as his unseen fingers reach for a cord that takes the lives of the innocent.
But there was no explosion. No cries from the victims. No desperate shouts from the rescuers. The camera simply cut to a white screen, and silence. For the filmmaker and the audience, the story was over.
But the story doesn’t end when the cord is pulled. It doesn’t end with the mangled bodies, the search for the missing, the identification of the victims or the burying of the dead.
It’s not really a bus that gets blown apart, but lives. Terror attacks deprive children of their parents, and rob parents of a piece of their future. The barbaric act also lingers in the fear and loss that ripples through families and neighbors, and across a country.
Since September 13, 2015, 49 people have been killed and 731 people (including 4 Palestinians) injured in terrorist attacks in Israel — a country with a population smaller than the suburbs surrounding Paris.
And how do the survivors cope? How do they pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward?
What about terror’s other victims — the people left behind?




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