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May 29, 2016 / 21 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘attacks’

Death of Terrorist Mustafa Badreddine May Result In New Hezbollah Attacks On Israel

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, The Lid}

Back in January 2015  Former Israeli National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, outlined the threats to the Jewish State from non-state entities in a report released by the Begin Center for Strategic Studies ​ (BESA). The most serious existential threat to the Jewish State by non-state entities is the terrorist group Hezbollah, with 150,000 missiles, that according to the General is a “rare and substantial firepower apparently even exceeded the firepower possessed by most of the European states combined.” After having been accustomed to a situation in which large regular armies with armor, artillery, hundreds of aircraft and thousands of troops were arrayed on Israel’s borders, there can be no doubt that Israel has moved into a different world.

Hezbollah also has long-range surface-to-sea missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and modern anti-tank missiles. It is well organized into a military-style hierarchy and appears to possess command and control systems of high quality. It was established by Iranian leaders, but its leadership has always consisted of Lebanese people who were closely linked to Iran’s interests. Hezbollah assisted the Shiites by providing for their needs in the civilian sphere as a base for building its military power.

An event yesterday may have moved Hezbollah closer to using those missiles against Israeli civilians.  In the middle of the night Middle East time – Hezbollah confirmed that their top military commander, Mustafa Badreddine and the man leading their terrorists in Syria, had recently been killed in an explosion. The incident happened sometime in the last few days, though the exact day still isn’t totally clear.

The strike that killed Badreddine is being widely attributed to Israel. But the Jewish State is not the only country who may have wanted this terrorist dead as he murdered people from many different countries.  The Hezbollah commander was prosecuted for the 1983 truck bombings of the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait City, and involved in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut that killed 241 people. He was later tried for the attempted murder of the Emir of Kuwait, escaping to Iraq before he could be executed,  was also accused of being the main organizer of the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and of organizing numerous Hezbollah attacks against Israel. Badreddine was designated a “global terrorist” by the U.S. During the Syrian civil war, and he has been leading Hezbollah forces fighting on behalf of Bashar al-Assad in the area of al-Qusair. Badreddine was very unpopular inside Hezbollah. According to  Matt Levitt, Middle East scholar whose book about  Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God was published three years ago,  tweeted that Badreddine was “rash, hot tempered, impetuous, even unstable,” and “was very close [to] Nasrallah, but widely disliked within Hezbollah,” and was “a philandering playboy, not particularly religious.” But in the end he was tolerated because he “got the job done.”

The Lebanese media is blaming Israel for killing Mustafa Badreddine as are Hezbollah officials so whether they were responsible or not Hezbollah sees Israel as behind the attack and if they take revenge it will be against Israel (per their standard practice, the Israeli government is not denying or confirming they were behind the attack).  Either way the Iranian-funded terrorist group has been looking for an excuse to attack Israel for a long time.

For the last few years Iran and Hezbollah have been trying to establish a military foothold on the Israeli-Syrian border, the aim being to open a new front against Israel. In January 2015 that effort was set back when Hezbollah and Iranian commanders in charge of those plans rolled up to the border to map out what the Israelis described as “deadly terror attacks,” and their two-car convoy was destroyed by air-to-surface missiles broadly attributed to Israel.

Hezbollah kept running at least two different campaigns in the theater. One campaign – infiltration of Israel – was led by baby-murdering terrorist Samir Kuntar. He was killed in a December 2015 air raid while planning cross-border attacks .  A second campaign – in the same area – put Badreddine physically in near the border. After news came out yesterday that he had had been killed, Tony Badran – a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and a top expert on how Lebanon fits into the rest of the region – floated on Twitter that the two campaigns were linked [g][h]:

In Feb 2015, there were claims that Badreddine was leading Hezbollah ops in the triangle of Quneitra/NW Deraa/W Damascus countrysides. Hezb was then leading the push into southern Syria and the Golan. In Jan 2015, the IAF took out senior IRGC-QF and Hezb cadres in Quneitra.

In recent months Hezbollah has been steadily escalating its operations along the border. In December Hezbollah chief Nasrallah threatened to attack Israel and the Israelis responded by telling him to back off at the risk of triggering “hard results.” The same thing happened when he threatened to attack in February. In late April IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan warned that Hezbollah was risking a “full-scale war” if it didn’t cease its provocations. There is no evidence that Hezbollah pulled back on its campaigns in the intervening three weeks.

If Hezbollah triggers a downward spiral, the consensus is that the next Israeli-Hezbollah will likely be brutal. The Israelis describe Hezbollah’s current force structure as “Hezbollah 3.0”: fighters battle-hardened from Syria, has them operating out of civilian areas transformed into military sites, with an arsenal of advanced weapons provided by Iran.

More specifically:

  • Battle-hardened fighters: a few months ago a Hezbollah source bragged “our fighters are getting training and experience through the work they are doing in Syria, and this is a great concern for the Israelis,” and that the experience would be deployed to seize and hold Israeli territory during the next war. Hezbollah has developed an enormous hardened tunnel infrastructure to store tens of thousands of weapons and to invade through.
  • An Israeli source last year sketched out how the incursions are likely to go – and how they will likely impact Israeli population centers – based on Hezbollah’s Syria experience. Hezbollah’s goal is a ground invasion, which could be made up of a number of elements: Using the underground and aboveground area near the border’s wadis; and an entry of many commando and antitank teams… The fighting teams will use explosive devices and antitank missiles like the Kornet, which reaches an efficient rage of five kilometers during the day and three kilometers at night… they will be able to hit vehicles on the Lower Galilee’s roads from the high mountains… it’s the exact same fighting they are now acquiring huge experience in through their battles in Syria.
  • Weapons embedded in Lebanese civilian areas: The bulk of Hezbollah’s arsenal has been embedded across hundreds of villages and probably thousands of homes. Last May the Israelis showed journalists maps, data, and aerial photography outlining the military infrastructure in Shiite villages. The AP described how roughly 200 villages had been transformed into full-blown “military strongholds.” The NYT noted that, as a result, there will likely be significant casualties among the Lebanese civilians being used as human shields. Effectively, the Israelis are warning that in the event of another conflict with Hezbollah, many Lebanese civilians will probably be killed, and that it should not be considered Israel’s fault. “The civilians are living in a military compound,” a senior Israeli military official said at military headquarters in Tel Aviv… “Historically, armed forces have separated themselves from the population, in uniform… This is not the case here or in Gaza.” He accused Hezbollah of cynically using civilians.
  • Advanced weapons arsenal (including unconventional attack threats): As of March Hezbollah had roughly 150,000 rockets and missiles, allowing the group to saturation bomb Israeli population centers with 1,500 rockets and missiles per day for over three months. The arsenal includes sophisticated Scud-Ds that can strike any part of Israel from any part of Lebanon, which means Hezbollah will make all of Lebanon and Israel a battlefield. It includes – since 2014, according to U.S. intelligence – Yakhonts missiles: supersonic, surface skimming, fire-and-forget missiles that will be launched from Lebanon or Syria, touch down in the Mediterranean, and then target Israeli naval assets, energy infrastructure, and ports. Hezbollah has declared it will use that arsenal to create the equivalent of unconventional attacks against Israel. In February Nasrallah threatened to bomb Israeli chemical plants to create the effect of “exactly… a nuclear bomb,” triggering tens of thousands of casualties . Iranian officials have meanwhile bragged about providing Hezbollah with missiles that can reach Israel’s nuclear facility in Dimona, an attack that the UN’s 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism would define as black-letter nuclear terrorism . In addition to its projectile arsenal, Hezbollah has also developed an arsenal of drones – including offensive “suicide drones” – that it has bragged about deploying against Israel. The group has signaled that it will also use its suicide drones for functionally unconventional attacks against Israel’s nuclear infrastructure.

Now on top of the above, add the fact that the Obama administration’s capitulation to the Iranians in the P5+1 deal has emboldened Iran and its terrorist allies, Hezbollah is itching for another chance at killing Israelis. Should war break out it will most probably lead to civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon. If the attack on Badreddine is eventually linked to the Israelis, it might be seen as a “brushback pitch,” to Hezbollah in an attempt avoid those scenarios, but on the other hand it may give the terrorists an excuse to ramp up the violence.

Jeff Dunetz

Israeli Police Issue New Guideline: ‘Beware of Attacks with Poisoned Syringes’

Monday, May 9th, 2016

The Judea and Samaria Police District is concerned about a new kind of Arab terrorism, using poison-filled syringes against Israeli security personnel, Walla reported Monday. Police base their concern on an attempted attack a week and a half ago, in which an Arab female, 15, tried to stab soldiers with a syringe that was filled with detergents.

A police intelligence report disseminated last Thursday notes that two syringes had been discovered in the possession of two 15-year-old Arab females, one of whom was wielding hers when they arrived at the check post near Beit Horon, on route 443 (an alternative to Highway 1, connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem). In view of the new development, the police called on every last officer to remain alert to the possibility of the use of syringes in attacks and conduct body searches with that possibility in mind.

The female who had wielded the syringe was shot and wounded, and her friend was arrested without injury to Israeli security forces. Both females, residents of Ramallah, also had in their possession knives and a letter with citations from the Koran. In their interrogation, both confessed to a desire to kill Jews. Police believe the substance in their syringes was a combination of bathroom cleaner and dish liquid.

The Judea and Samaria Police District report mentions a 2015 Facebook post by the Commission on Information and ideological Mobilization – Fatah calling on Arab terrorists to use syringes full of poison instead of knives, because “it’s a more efficient and deadly method than using a knife.”

The Fatah-affiliated group’s post recommends that, “in light of the installation of metal detectors at the entrances to Jerusalem to prevent the use of knives, there is a new and simple method — using syringes with firewater, such as benzene or any other poisonous substance.”

However, until the publication of the story in Walla Monday morning, there has been only that one reported instance of an attempted attack with a poisoned syringe.

Stay tuned.

JNi.Media

Shabak Arrests Jews for Attacks on Arabs

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

by Michael Bachner

The Shabak on Wednesday released a statement that it has arrested members of a so called “Jewish terror cell,” including at least six individuals who carried out attacks against Arabs during the second half of 2015.

It should be noted that several thousand Arabs were involved in various levels of attacks on Jews at the same time period.

All the alleged attacks took place in the Talmonim bloc, northwest of Ramallah. Most of the suspects are residents of the community of Nahliel.

The Shabak statement said that the suspects confessed to the allegations and that reenactments of the incidents “revealed an extremist violent organization that was fully aware of the possibility that their acts may have killed people. The arrests prevented further attacks.”

The Honenu legal aid society issued a response saying the suspects have not been allowed to meet with an attorney for more than ten days and that they may have given false confessions.

“Most of the offenses discussed in this case did not involve casualties and are no more than quarrels [between neighbors],” responded attorney Aaron Rosa, who is representing some of the suspects. “This system of preventing a suspect from meeting with his lawyer in every security-related investigation is wrong. This may result in false confessions and is a disaster for democracy.”

The Shabak claimed that the “cell” was responsible for an attack in November, 2015, in which firebombs were thrown into a Palestinian family’s home in the village of al-Mazraa al-Qabaliya. The firebomb hit a window without entering the building and did not result in casualties. The phrases “death to Arabs” and “revenge” were sprayed in Hebrew graffiti on the building.

According to the Shabak, the cell also attacked the village of Beitillu in December, 2015. Smoke bombs were thrown into a house inside which a family was sleeping. Hebrew graffiti, including the Hebrew word for “revenge” (Nekama) was sprayed on the building. No one was injured.

Additionally, the “cell” allegedly set fire to several Arab owned cars and attacked a farmer with sticks and tear gas.

The suspects are Itamar Ben Aharon, 20, Michael Kaplan, 22, Pinhas Shandorfi, 19, who is a soldier, and two minors. They face indictment in the coming days.

The Tazpit News Agency

Biden Attacks ‘Overwhelmingly’ Frustrating Israel Hours after Bus Bombing

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Vice President Joe Biden attacked time and again the Netanyahu government which he said causes the White House “overwhelming frustration,” in a speech at the leftwing J Street organization’s annual gala dinner on Monday. “The present course Israel’s on is not one that’s likely to secure its existence as a Jewish, democratic state— and we have to make sure that happens,” Biden said.

Biden recalled his recent meetings with both Netanyahu and PA Chairman Abbas, concluding that “there is at the moment no political will that I observed among Israelis or Palestinians to move forward with serious negotiations. The trust that is necessary to take risks for peace is fractured on both sides.”

According to Politico, the tone and direction of that Biden reference and his overall speech “seemed to rule out the chances of a final year peace push from the Obama administration.” Perhaps.

Biden acknowledged the attack on a Jerusalem bus by Arab terrorists that took place on the same day he was sharing his frustrations regarding the Netanyahu government’s lack of willingness to pursue the two-state solution. Biden condemned the bombing, saying it had been done by “misguided cowards.” He offered prayers to the injured and their families. Which is probably more realistic at this point than anything else the administration could do to promote its goals in the region. That should be frustrating indeed.

Biden began his speech with praise for another guest of honor, young, first-term MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Camp – Labor), who reminded him, he said, of the time he had run for the Senate at the age of 29. “May your views once again begin to have a majority opinion in the Knesset,” Biden said.

Not likely. In fact, if Labor ever wants to be a contender in Israeli coalition politics, it’ll have to move to the center—as the majority of its members have been advocating—which could mean the dropping of needless indulgences like Shaffir.

Towards the end, Biden said, “We are Israel’s maybe not-only friend, but only absolutely certain friend.” That statement will be tested in November, after the elections, when the US Administration will have to decide whether or not to veto a UN Security Council resolution unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state.

JNi.Media

Bennett Attacks Ya’alon, Netanyahu, on Failure to Deter Hamas Terror Tunnels

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Education Minister and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett responded on Monday to the IDF announcement of discovering yet another Hamas terror tunnel (Cleared for Release: New Terror Tunnel Into Israel Discovered) with an all out attack on the Israeli security apparatus.

“Our worst fears have come true,” Bennett said in an email statement. “Over the two years that passed since Operation Protective Edge (2014), Hamas has not been deterred from re-intensifying its efforts, as we have warned consistently.”

Bennett described Hamas as having defined “a national project to re-dig the terror tunnels reaching deep into Israeli territory. It’s been a high national goal for them, and it’s about time we internalized the idea. The aim of Hamas is to surprise us with a multi-front event of penetration, killing and kidnapping, a kind of Yom Kippur war of terror.”

Bennett insisted that the obligation of the Netanyahu government remains to provide security to the residents of the south, and to prevent such an all out attack with every means available — and not rely on the conceptual notion that Hamas is “so-called deterred.”

Finally, Bennett urged an immediate retaliatory action to follow the tunnel discovery, since said tunnel is, by definition, a Hamas violation of Israeli sovereignty.

Back in 2014, during and after the war, Bennett received much criticism for his claim that it had been he who, by his sheer perseverance, managed to sway the IDF command and the defense minister towards making the effort to discover and demolish the terror tunnels. But in November, 2014, a Channel 2 investigative report confirmed every one of the embattled rightwing leader’s assertions.

The Uvda program determined that it had indeed been Bennett who repeatedly raised the subject of the tunnels at cabinet sessions throughout the summer of 2014, while Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon objected to launching an operation against the tunnels.

“If there is anything that a person who is familiar with the protocols of the cabinet sessions can see,” journalist Ilana Dayan reported, “it is that Minister Naftali Bennett demands, again and again, to launch an operation against the tunnels, and he hears an answer that more or less repeats itself, from Defense Minister Ya’alon: the tunnel threat is one we can live with, it need not be defined as a target, at least not in this round of fighting.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyhau eventually let the nation know that Hamas was planning a massacre on Rosh Hashana 2014, and that those plans had been averted by the IDF ground operation that destroyed the terror tunnels. But in the summer, Netanyahu had been backing his defense minister against the annoying Bennett’s proclamations.

Nothing has changed in that respect, and the IDF and defense minister, with the PM’s backing, will likely evade the need to punish Hamas now for their newest terror tunnel.

David Israel

Sanders Condemns ‘Disproportionate’ Israeli Gaza Attacks, Clinton Blames Hamas, Iran ‘Constant Incitement’ [video]

Friday, April 15th, 2016

Hillary and Bernie locked horns, clashed, yelled and smashed into each other almost literally last night in Brooklyn, NY. There were cheap shots and there were deep cuts. It can be safely said that the behavioral gap between the Democratic and Republican debates have narrowed significantly, so neither side can claim the high ground any longer. As to the portion of the debate in which we were most interested, US-Israeli relations, we must agree Hillary made us feel a little safer. Sanders started off from the point of view of B’Tselem and J Street, while Hillary at this point is a little to the right of J Street. After last night’s debate, if you’re a Democrat who cares about Israel, we advise you to buy an industrial size laundry clip, put it on your nose and vote for Bill’s wife. Not because we endorse her, we really really don’t, but she scares us a little less than Bernie does.

And now, to what they actually said last night about how they’d like to finally bring peace to the region…

Blitzer: Senator, let’s talk about the U.S. relationship with Israel. Senator Sanders, you maintained that Israel’s response in Gaza in 2014 was, quote, “disproportionate and led to the unnecessary loss of innocent life.”

(APPLAUSE)

What do you say to those who believe that Israel has a right to defend itself as it sees fit?

Sanders: Well, as somebody who spent many months of my life when I was a kid in Israel, who has family in Israel, of course Israel has a right not only to defend themselves, but to live in peace and security without fear of terrorist attack. That is not a debate.

(APPLAUSE)

But — but what you just read, yeah, I do believe that. Israel was subjected to terrorist attacks, has every right in the world to destroy terrorism. But we had in the Gaza area — not a very large area — some 10,000 civilians who were wounded and some 1,500 who were killed.

Heckler: Free Palestine!

Sanders: Now, if you’re asking not just me, but countries all over the world was that a disproportionate attack, the answer is that I believe it was, and let me say something else.

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

Sanders: And, let me say something else. As somebody who is 100% pro-Israel, in the long run — and this is not going to be easy, God only knows, but in the long run if we are ever going to bring peace to that region which has seen so much hatred and so much war, we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity.

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

Sanders: So what is not to say — to say that right now in Gaza, right now in Gaza unemployment is s somewhere around 40%. You got a log of that area continues, it hasn’t been built, decimated, houses decimated health care decimated, schools decimated. I believe the United States and the rest of the world have got to work together to help the Palestinian people.

That does not make me anti-Israel. That paves the way, I think…

Blitzer: … Thank you, Senator…

Sanders: …to an approach that works in the Middle East.

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

Blitzer: Thank you. Secretary Clinton, do you agree with Senator Sanders that Israel overreacts to Palestinians attacks, and that in order for there to be peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel must, quote, end its disproportionate responses?

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Clinton: I negotiated the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in November of 2012. I did it in concert with…

(APPLAUSE)

Clinton: President Abbas of the Palestinian authority based in Ramallah, I did it with the then Muslim Brotherhood President, Morsi, based in Cairo, working closely with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli cabinet. I can tell you right now I have been there with Israeli officials going back more than 25 years that they do not seek this kind of attacks. They do not invite the rockets raining down on their towns and villages.

(APPLAUSE)

They do not believe that there should be a constant incitement by Hamas aided and abetted by Iran against Israel. And, so when it came time after they had taken the incoming rockets, taken the assaults and ambushes on their soldiers and they called and told me, I was in Cambodia, that they were getting ready to have to invade Gaza again because they couldn’t find anybody to talk to tell them to stop it, I flew all night, I got there, I negotiated that.

So, I don’t know how you run a country when you are under constant threat, terrorist tact, rockets coming at you. You have a right to defend yourself.

(APPLAUSE)

That does not mean — that does not mean that you don’t take appropriate precautions. And, I understand that there’s always second guessing anytime there is a war. It also does not mean that we should not continue to do everything we can to try to reach a two-state solution, which would give the Palestinians the rights and…

Blitzer: … Thank you…

Clinton: … just let me finish. The rights and the autonomy that they deserve. And, let me say this, if Yasser Arafat had agreed with my husband at Camp David in the Late 1990s to the offer then Prime Minister Barat put on the table, we would have had a Palestinian state for 15 years.

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

Blitzer: Thank you, Senator, go ahead — go ahead, Senator.

Sanders: I don’t think that anybody would suggest that Israel invites and welcomes missiles flying into their country. That is not the issue.

And, you evaded the answer. You evaded the question. The question is not does Israel have a right to respond, nor does Israel have a right to go after terrorists and destroy terrorism. That’s not the debate. Was their response disproportionate?

I believe that it was, you have not answered that.

(CHEERING)

Clinton: I will certainly be willing to answer it. I think I did answer it by saying that of course there have to be precautions taken but even the most independent analyst will say the way that Hamas places its weapons, the way that it often has its fighters in civilian garb, it is terrible.

(AUDIENCE REACTION)

I’m not saying it’s anything other than terrible. It would be great — remember, Israel left Gaza. They took out all the Israelis. They turned the keys over to the Palestinian people.

Clinton: And what happened? Hamas took over Gaza.

So instead of having a thriving economy with the kind of opportunities that the children of the Palestinians deserve, we have a terrorist haven that is getting more and more rockets shipped in from Iran and elsewhere.

Blitzer: Thank you, Secretary.

Senator.

Sanders: I read Secretary Clinton’s statement speech before AIPAC. I heard virtually no discussion at all about the needs of the Palestinian people. Almost none in that speech.

(APPLAUSE)

Sanders: So here is the issue: of course Israel has a right to defend itself, but long-term there will never be peace in that region unless the United States plays a role, an even-handed role trying to bring people together and recognizing the serious problems that exist among the Palestinian people.

That is what I believe the world wants to us do and that’s the kind of leadership that we have got to exercise.

Clinton: Well, if I — I want to add, you know, again describing the problem is a lot easier than trying to solve it. And I have been involved, both as first lady with my husband’s efforts, as a senator supporting the efforts that even the Bush administration was undertaking, and as secretary of state for President Obama, I’m the person who held the last three meetings between the president of the Palestinian Authority and the prime minister of Israel.

There were only four of us in the room, Netanyahu, Abbas, George Mitchell, and me. Three long meetings. And I was absolutely focused on what was fair and right for the Palestinians.

I was absolutely focused on what we needed to do to make sure that the Palestinian people had the right to self-government. And I believe that as president I will be able to continue to make progress and get an agreement that will be fair both to the Israelis and the Palestinians without ever, ever undermining Israel’s security.

(APPLAUSE)

Blitzer: A final word, Senator, go ahead.

Sanders: There comes a time — there comes a time when if we pursue justice and peace, we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time.

(APPLAUSE)

Clinton: Well…

Blitzer: Secretary.

Clinton: … you know, I have spoken about and written at some length the very candid conversations I’ve had with him and other Israeli leaders. Nobody is saying that any individual leader is always right, but it is a difficult position.

If you are from whatever perspective trying to seek peace, trying to create the conditions for peace when there is a terrorist group embedded in Gaza that does not want to see you exist, that is a very difficult challenge.

Blitzer: Senator, go ahead.

Sanders: You gave a major speech to AIPAC, which obviously deals with the Middle East crisis, and you barely mentioned the Palestinians. And I think, again, it is a complicated issue and God knows for decades presidents, including President Clinton and others, Jimmy Carter and others have tried to do the right thing.

All that I am saying is we cannot continue to be one-sided. There are two sides to the issue.

Blitzer: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Secretary.

David Israel

European Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to ‘Fight Anti-Semitism’

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

European leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to fight anti-Semitism, according to Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association (EJA), who received greetings from the heads of most countries in the EU.

Margolin was the recipient of holiday greetings from Europe’s leadership ahead of the upcoming Jewish high holy days, particularly Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, which begins next Sunday night.

The continent’s leaders are seeking to “reinforce with Europe’s historic Jewish communities and reaffirm their commitment to fighting the wave of anti-Semitic acts that have blighted cities across the European Union,” Margolin said.

Messages of support and solidarity were led by France’s Francois Hollande, who departed from the secular protocol of the French Republic to send his new year wishes to European Jewry. The French president offered a firm commitment to fight “against all words and acts of an anti-Semitic nature, and to allow everyone to live together, without exception, with the same values of freedom, tolerance and community”.

French Premier Manuels Valls added his “readiness to fight against anti-Semitism, and all forms of racism and intolerance, and to tirelessly support European initiatives designed to defend the values which shape our democracies”.

Austrian President Heinz K. Fischer spoke out in support of “the common interest of Jews in Europe.” Fischer said he sought to renew Austria’s ties with the Jewish State by way of its commitment to “the safeguarding of Israel.”

He added that Austria remains committed to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms in Europe and the world, and to the “safeguarding of minorities including the Jewish community in Austria, which has always strongly influenced our country’s culture,” he added.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel also reaffirmed his “excellent relationship with the Jewish community in Belgium.”

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte recalled his country’s endorsement of a joint statement on anti-Semitism at an informal meeting of the United Nations General Assembly last January.

“I share your concern about rising anti-Semitism in Europe,” he said in his message to European Jewry. “This scourge affects Jewish communities first, but in essence it is a threat to society as a whole,” he added.

EJA General Director, Rabbi Margolin thanked the European leaders for their wishes and commitments.

“Rabbis and community leaders across Europe report that in light of the growing anti-Semitism and nationalist atmosphere there has been a significant decline in the number of Jews who take part in community activities,” he said.

“However, Jewish communities are working hard to help Jews attend Rosh Hashanah services. Major security measures are being taken and we can report that there is a relative increase in the number of Jews who have expressed their intention to attend synagogues over Rosh Hashanah with their families, compared to last year. “

In Manchester, England alone, anti-Semitic incidents rose by nearly 80 percent in 12 months, according to a report issued by the Community Security Trust earlier this year.

A 17-year-old boy was beaten unconscious in an attack by three men who attacked him and three other Jews this past Saturday night. The boy remains hospitalized with a suspected brain bleed. The three other victims, ages 17, 18 and 20, were also verbally and physically assaulted but did not require admission to hospital.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/european-leaders-reaffirm-commitment-to-fight-anti-semitism/2015/09/08/

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