High court floats proposal: Israel’s Supreme Court suggested a compromise Monday to the four Palestinian families facing possible eviction in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem. The compromise, which the families have reportedly rejected, would see the Palestinians stay on as protected tenants, making it much harder to evict them. Lower Israeli courts have already approved the eviction, though the Supreme Court has yet to issue its final decision, as the hearing ended without any apparent conclusion. The lower court ruled that Jewish Israelis (Nahalat Shimon) owned the land and the Palestinian residents failed to pay the required rent for years. As part of the compromise suggested by the Supreme Court on Monday, the Palestinians would pay NIS 1,500 ($465) in yearly fees to Nahalat Shimon, likely a small fraction of the market rent for their homes.
Cabinet approves new budget: For the first time in three years, Israel’s cabinet has approved a new government budget. The failure to pass a budget was the principal reason for the quadruple recurrence of elections over the past two years. The newly proposed budget was called “atrocious” by Israeli Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu, while Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the majority may seek the help of opposition parties (presumably from the left-wing Join List party) to pass the budget through the entire Knesset. The budget must pass into law by November 4th to prevent the government from failing. “After three years in which the State of Israel operated without a budget – the most fundamental tool for managing the country – we are bringing the 2021 to 2022 state budget for approval in the government,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the start of the cabinet meeting. “This is a budget that invests in the future, a budget of growth. We are investing in beneficial public transportation, in Internet infrastructure and technology, in quality education for our children, in our health system, and in our soldiers who will receive the best defense systems to deal with and defeat our enemies.”
Israel imposes carbon tax: Israel became the latest nation to announce that it will put a tax on carbon, a major step toward combating climate change. The carbon tax will be implemented gradually from 2023 to 2028 and it will cover 80% of Israel’s carbon emissions. A joint statement by Israeli ministers read in part: “Carbon pricing is considered the most effective and efficient way to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and create certainty in the markets.” By 2050, the carbon tax alone will cut Israel’s emissions by 67%, estimates say. It also estimated that the tax will save the country 20 billion shekels in pollution costs.
3rd dose campaign underway: As Israel has begun its mass campaign to give a third Pfizer shot to those over 60, hundreds of thousands of people have already booked their appointments. Of the campaign, Prime Minister Bennett said: “The situation is good, but we have to pick up the pace.” On Monday, Health Ministry director-general Nachman Ash expressed concern over the continued rise in coronavirus cases, saying that the government’s next step would be to “tighten” some of the existing regulations in place and weighing additional measures. The high-level coronavirus cabinet will convene today to approve the new restrictions, as the daily COVID-19 caseload surpassed 3,000 for the first time since March.
ISRAEL’S NEIGHBORS, NEAR & NOT SO FAR
Iran tensions escalate over oil tanker attack
Source: @HassanRouhani / Twitter, February 1, 2018
Allies confirm Iran behind ship attack: Both the U.S. and the U.K. have reaffirmed Israel’s denouncement of Iran as the culprit in a deadly drone attack on an Israeli-managed oil tanker last week. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “We are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people” and he also promised a “collective response,” while U.K. Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said: “This attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran.” Israel apparently believes the attack was conducted in response to a suspected Israeli cyberattack on Iran’s rail transport. The head of the IDF discussed the matter with his British counterpart and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid worked to rally world condemnation of Iran, saying: “The world must not be silent in the face of Iranian terror.” Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, meanwhile, said that Israel should “act right now” against Iranian aggression, while Iran promised to forcefully respond to any reciprocal attacks.
UNRWA report details staff inciting violence: According to a new report by independent human rights group UN Watch, over 100 educators and staff of UNRWA (the UN agency that runs schools and social services for Palestinians) have publicly promoted violence and antisemitism on social media. The report, titled “Beyond the Textbooks,” details recent cases of UNRWA staff who have publicly incited antisemitism and terrorism which clearly violate the agency’s own rules. Among the educators who have used their personal social media channels for such propaganda are UNRWA Gaza math teacher Nahed Sharawi, who shared a video of Adolf Hitler with inspirational quotes to “enrich and enlighten your thoughts and minds.” UN Watch’s report lists a total of 113 cases that it managed to capture from UNRWA employees’ public pages alone, all celebrating and promoting violence, even among young children. UN Watch is calling on UNRWA’s major funders (including the U.S., Germany, the U.K., and the European Union), to hold UNRWA accountable to its own standards and commitments.
Brooklyn protestors call for global intifada against Jews
Antisemitic protests in NY: On Saturday, several hundred protesters took to the streets in Brooklyn, NY for a rally calling to “Globalize the Intifada.” (Intifada is an Arabic word meaning uprising or rebellion.) Demonstrators spewed antisemitism and advocated for the genocide of Israelis and Jews. “We don’t want no two states, we want all of it,” protestors chanted. One of the keynote speakers falsely accused Israel of oppressing Black people in the U.S. and abroad, while making her case for everyone to “globalize the intifada” Some of the chants at the protest included: “If we don’t get no justice, then they don’t get no peace,” “Intifada, intifada,” “There is only one solution, intifada revolution,” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” During the Second Intifada from 2000-2005, Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and some affiliated with Fatah, carried out hundreds of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and security personnel, killing more than 1,000.
Social networks fail antisemitism test: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok failed to act on 84% of posts spreading anti-Jewish hatred and propaganda reported via the platforms’ official complaints system, according to a new report. The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a U.S./U.K. nonprofit, flagged hundreds of antisemitic posts over a six-week period earlier this year, which in total received up to 7.3 million impressions. Though the 714 antisemitic posts clearly violated the platforms’ guidelines, fewer than 1 in 6 were removed after being pointed out to the social media platforms. The report, titled “Failure to Protect,” found the platforms were particularly poor at acting on antisemitic conspiracy theories. Facebook was the worst offender. Neither Instagram nor Facebook responded to a request for comment.
Trial date set for Nazi SS Guard: A trial date has been set in Germany for a 100-year-old man who is charged with 3,518 counts of accessory to murder on allegations that he served as a Nazi SS guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp outside of Berlin during World War II. A spokeswoman for the German court said the trial is set to begin in early October. The SS guard’s name wasn’t released, in line with German privacy laws. Sachsenhausen concentration camp was established outside of Berlin in 1936 and more than 200,000 Jews were held there between 1936 and 1945. Exact numbers of those killed range from 50,000-100,000.
Bolsonaro hosts neo-Nazi: Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, welcomed a far-right German politician, the granddaughter of Hitler’s finance minister, to the outrage of Brazilian Jews. The head of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation said: “[Her party AfD] is an extremist, xenophobic party whose leaders downplay Nazi atrocities and the Holocaust.” Bolsonaro has been highly divisive among Brazil’s Jewish community. The Anti-Defamation League said on Twitter, “Neither Bolsonaro nor any elected official should welcome an AfD politician. Germany’s far right AfD party accepts Holocaust trivialization and denial and uses xenophobic rhetoric.”
Today we celebrate Israel clinching its 2nd ever Olympic gold! Mazel tov to artistic gymnast Artem Dolgopyat! Dolgopyat, who was born in Ukraine, won Israel’s 2nd gold medal in Olympic history. Dolgopyat said: “I don’t really have the words. I am still in heaven. I want to say thank you to everyone. I love everyone.” Prime Minister Bennett said: “Thank you, Artem. We’ve made history!” Artem snagged Israel’s first-ever medal in gymnastics and Israel’s first gold medal since it’s only other at the 2004 games. Since Dolgopyat is not considered halachically Jewish by ultra-Orthodox religious authorities, he is not allowed to marry in Israel, which has no process for civil marriage. As a result, Foreign Minister Lapid and Labor party head Merav Michaeli said that they would push to establish civil marriage. Lapid said: “It’s intolerable that someone can fight on our behalf in the Olympics, represent us and win a gold medal and not be able to get married in Israel.” Ultra-Orthodox Shas party leader Aryeh Deri rebutted, saying: “Winning a medal doesn’t make him Jewish. There is no discrimination against him.”
On August 2, 1943, prisoners at the Treblinka death camp launched an uprising. The revolt damaged facilities and equipment and led to the entire camp being shut down. It also allowed the escape of several hundred inmates, about 100 of whom survived. For the year that it was operable, Treblinka was the second-worst killing machine employed by the Nazis after Auschwitz. Its existence was covered up by the Nazis, but not well enough to erase its memory. May the memory of those 900,000 Jews murdered in the camp be a blessing.