Wishing you a happy, healthy and sweet new year! 🍏 🍯
Today we’re diving into:
Peace Deals: The peace accord signings and promise of more peace partners
Inside Israel: Israel’s national lockdown; population report and future projections; Druze elite IDF unit commander; and Hezbollah terror cell in Israel
Inside Europe: German neo-Nazi police probe; Hezbollah’s chemicals throughout Europe; deteriorating situation for Jewish pilgrims; and preserving a Scottish synagogue
Inside the U.S.: Miami Herald’s apology over antisemitism; shocking survey about Holocaust ignorance; U.S. ruling on Al Jazeera; U.S.’ attempt to ‘snapback’ Iran sanctions at UN; and President Trump’s troublesome call and campaign ads
Celebrate & Remember: Diabetic treatment breakthrough and Jewish life in Medieval France
Israel, U.A.E. and Bahrain Sign Peace Accords; White House says several more countries could soon follow
The Tel Aviv Municipality building lit up with the word “Peace”
Trump says Israel will normalize relations with up to 9 more countries: In remarks leading up to the official Israel-U.A.E.-Bahrain peace signing ceremony, President Donald Trump said up to nine other countries plan to establish diplomatic relations with Israel soon. Trump suggested that Saudi Arabia could be one of them, which would be a far more dramatic breakthrough. Senior Advisor Jared Kushner echoed President Trump’s statement. On Thursday, Palestinian Authority Social Affairs Minister told KAN Radio that Oman, Sudan, Comoros, Djibouti and Mauritania are all engaged in normalization discussions with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on the list of countries.
13 Israelis injured from Gaza rockets: As Israeli and Arab leaders signed the peace accords in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, terror group Hamas fired two rockets into Israel from Gaza, injuring at least 13 people. One person was admitted to the hospital in serious condition, four in moderate condition, and eight suffering from shock. Managing Director of Global Communications for AJC Avi Mayer said: “There can hardly be a more vivid illustration of the opposing forces of peace and hate in the Mideast.”
Netanyahu leaves U.S. without seeing Biden: Despite Prime Minister Netanyahu’s brief stop in the United States, Netanyahu did not connect with former Vice President Joe Biden. It is unusual for an Israeli leader to visit the U.S. during an election cycle and not communicate with the heads of both major parties in an effort to maintain Israel’s bipartisan support within the United States. Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said, “This was a bad move by the prime minister and does further damage to the tradition of bipartisanship,” while Netanyahu’s spokesman said this was “not a normal visit” and it was “totally focused on the event at the White House.”
Netanyahu warns stricter measures could soon come as country enters second lockdown
On Erev Rosh Hashanah, national lockdown begins: The High Holy Days will be like never before. Israel’s government approved the nationwide lockdown regulations on Thursday, which will go into effect Friday afternoon. The lockdown is expected to last for three weeks until October 11th. At the last minute, Israel’s government approved an amendment to ease restrictions, which will permit people to travel up to 1,000 meters (0.62 miles) outside of their homes, rather than 500 meters. On Wednesday, the country saw an astonishing 6,063 new cases; the death toll stands at 1,169 people.
Workplaces will be allowed to operate in a limited fashion. Essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and post offices, will remain open and delivery services will continue to operate. Holiday prayer services will be allowed in small groups. Public spaces such as parks and playgrounds will be open and public transportation will continue in a limited fashion. Schools will be closed.
Harsher restrictions may be coming after disturbing report: Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the country on Thursday saying, there is a “worrying rise in cases and patients who are in serious condition,” and he will not hesitate to impose harsher restrictions if required. Netanyahu reportedly decided to address tightening the restrictions after being presented with a report from Hebrew University projecting 1,000 – 2,500 more deaths from the coronavirus by the end of November.
Israel’s population hits 9.25M, expected to reach 10M by 2024: A report published on the eve of the Jewish new year estimated that the population of Israel is about 9.246 million citizens, with growth of about 150,000 people over the last year. That represents a growth rate of 1.6%. The numbers stated that 74% of the population is Jewish, 21% of the population is Arab, and 5% belonged to other groups. Israel’s population is expected to reach 10 million by 2024, 15 million by 2048, and 20 million by 2065.
First Druze as commander of elite IDF unit: One of the Israel Defense Force’s most elite units will now be commanded by a Druze officer, Lt. Col. Ayoub Kyuff. The Israeli Druze are a religious and ethnic minority among Arab citizens of Israel. Kyuff will head the elite Shaldag unit, which is part of the Israeli Air Force and specializes in reconnaissance and commando operations. He will be the first Druze commander of any of the IDF’s four elite units.
Shin Bet discovers Hezbollah terror cell in Israel: The terrorist group Hezbollah and the Iranian military wing of the Quds Force recruited an East Jerusalem Woman to participate in their activities. The Shin Bet revealed how Yasmin Jabar, who lives in the Old City, was groomed by the groups. She worked at Hebrew University’s library. The Shin Bet said it “will continue to act determinedly to prevent terrorism and spying from Iran and Hezbollah.” Charges against Jabar and her handler are expected to be coming soon.
Germany suspends dozens of police for participating in neo-Nazi chat groups
Germany suspends 29 police over neo-Nazi WhatsApp groups: German authorities suspended 29 policemen over their sharing of far-right and Nazi material in a WhatsApp group. The investigator said the chats were of “the most foul and repugnant neo-Nazi, racist and anti-refugee agitation” and that they left him “speechless.” The offending images included pictures of Adolf Hitler, swastikas, a fictional depiction of a refugee in the gas chamber of a concentration camp and another mocking the shooting of Black people. The Green Party called for a nationwide investigation into extremism within the police’s ranks.
Hezbollah storing explosive chemicals throughout Europe: On Thursday, a senior U.S. State Department official said that Hezbollah has stored ammonium nitrate in several European countries, the chemical which caused the Beirut blast in August. Nathan Sales, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, was appealing for European countries to impose bans on the terror group. Sales said Hezbollah operatives have moved ammonium nitrate from Belgium to France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Switzerland in recent years, and are suspected of still storing the material throughout Europe. In 2015, London police found a Hezbollah storehouse containing three metric tons of ammonium nitrate. Just this year, German authorities uncovered a warehouse in southern Germany in which Hezbollah was storing hundreds of kilograms of the substance, which led to Germany banning the terror group.
Jewish pilgrims to Uman denied entry: A dramatic standoff with 1,000 Orthodox Jews on the border of Belarus and Ukraine might be over as Ukraine is denying all of them entry to the country. The Jews gathered in Belarus as a way of skirting Ukraine’s restrictions on the entrance of the Orthodox community for its annual pilgrimage over the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Rather than fly directly into the country, these individuals sought to travel by land via Ukraine’s northwest neighbor, Belarus. The situation became so desperate that the Red Cross began aiding the pilgrims who lack basic resources.
Scottish synagogue named protected property: A 1927 historic synagogue in Glasgow, Scotland has been named protected property. It closed due to the dwindling Jewish community and was being eyed as a potential target for new development. The synagogue is one of two Eastern European style synagogues in the entire United Kingdom. More than 840 groups and individuals supported the petition to protect the building. As a protected building, developers would be required to take into account the building’s “special architectural or historic interest.”
INSIDE THE U.S.
The Miami Herald acknowledged running antisemitic and racist ads in its Spanish-language publication for months
Miami Herald apologizes for months of antisemitic ads: The Miami Herald, one of the country’s largest newspapers, apologized for running antisemitic and racist ads in its Spanish addition for months. One column read: “What kind of people are these Jews?” In its apology, the newspaper said: “It is one of a series of internal failures that we are investigating in order to prevent this from ever recurring.” The issue of the antisemitic and racist ads was raised in a Politico expose detailing how Latinos in Florida are being inundated with antisemitic and racist messaging of unknown origins ahead of the 2020 election.
50 state survey reveals shocking ignorance about Holocaust: The first-ever 50-state survey on Holocaust knowledge of American millennials and Gen Zers revealed shocking levels of ignorance among the population. Almost 25% said they believed the Holocaust was a myth or had been exaggerated. Nearly 20% of New York young adults believed Jews had caused the Holocaust. And 12% said they had never even heard of the Holocaust. The president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany said: “The results are both shocking and saddening, and they underscore why we must act now while Holocaust survivors are still with us to voice their stories.” The data was collected from 200 interviews in each state and another 1,000 interviews nationwide with Americans aged 18-39 selected at random.
President Trump accused of antisemitism in campaign call and over ads: In a call to Jewish supporters before the High Holy Days, President Trump said to Jewish Americans, “We love your country,” referring to Israel. Accusing Jews of not belonging to their home country and instead having loyalty to Israel plays on the common, antisemitic dual-loyalty trope. Many high-profile American Jews responded with outrage to the president’s comments on this call, as well as in connection with few campaign ads released in the last week. One ad featured Bernie Sanders as a puppet master, which is common Nazi imagery, and another ad described Mike Bloomberg as an “elitist globalist.” The terms “globalist” and “elitist” are used to invoke bigoted tropes about Jewish control and lack of loyalty.
U.S. orders Al Jazeera platform to register as Foreign Agent: The Justice Department ordered Al Jazeera’s AJ+ platform to register as an agent of a foreign power operating in the United States. The Lawfare Project said in response: “AJ+ is little more than a mouthpiece for the Qatari regime. This foreign government uses AJ+ as a platform to spread Jew-hatred and anti-American propaganda in the U.S., promoting Qatari foreign-policy priorities.” Al Jazeera, headquartered in Qatar, is closely linked to that country’s regime and has long been suspected of being directed or otherwise influenced by it. Al Jazeera for its part rejected the accusation of its collusion with Doha. It instead claimed that the move was promised from the U.S. to the United Arab Emirates, a rival of Qatar, to entice the U.A.E to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel.
The move surprised the delegation from Doha who met with American officials in Washington, D.C. this week to strengthen diplomatic and economic ties. The U.S. hopes to move forward in naming Qatar as a major non-NATO ally, which will give Qatar preferential access to U.S. military equipment and technology.
U.S. set to clash with UN over weekend regarding Iran: The United States is preparing to announce its snap back of all sanctions against Iran that existed prior to the 2015 nuclear deal. The U.S. wants to ensure that the arms embargo against Iran remains in place past the October 18th expiration date. UN Security Council members have argued that since the U.S. has withdrawn from the deal, it lost the right to unilaterally impose sanctions. The U.S. argues that Resolution 2231 ensures its ability to impose the sanctions whether or not it abandoned the deal, particularly given that Iran is not in compliance with the deal. The U.S. needs the support of the Security Council’s 15-member body in order to reimpose the sanctions.
CELEBRATE & REMEMBER
A photograph of an exhibit at the Diaspora Museum, Tel Aviv of the Grandes Chroniques de France depicting the expulsion of Jews from France in 1182
Today we celebrate an IPO offering which will fund trials for an artificial micro-pancreas diabetes treatment. The Israeli firm Betalin Therapeutics, which focuses on diabetes research, is preparing to launch an IPO at $150-170 million. Its main development is an artificial micro-pancreas inserted into the patient’s thigh to control blood sugar levels. The company is planning to begin clinical trials next year. If all goes well, the final product would be out in around five years.
Today in 1180, Philip Augustus became king of France. Immediately after his coronation, Philip Augustus ordered the arrest of all Jews on Shabbat while they were in synagogue, robbed them of all their money and valuables, forcibly converted them to Christianity and converted synagogues into churches. Ninety-nine Jews were burned alive in Brie-Comte-Robert. In April 1182, Philip Augustus published an edict of expulsion. Desperate for money, he reversed his decision and allowed the Jews to return in 1196. He established special accounts to keep track of the finances of the Jews to ensure that he collected the maximum amount of money from them that was possible. The Jews became serfs of the royal domain- the kings and the lords said, “my Jews” just as they said “my lands.”