Israeli president comments on Western Wall controversy

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin criticized the regularization law that retroactively legalizes settler homes build on private Palestinian land. (Bryan Pace-Pool/Getty Images)

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (Bryan Pace-Pool/Getty Images)

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin published an open letter today in response to the controversy generated by the cabinet decision to suspend the agreement reached in 2016 to create an expanded section for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall.

Rivlin wrote: “As a child, I used to walk with my father to the Kotel (Western Wall) each year to hear the shofar blown at the end of Yom Kippur, at a time when Jerusalem was under the British Mandate. I still remember arriving at the crowded area packed with worshippers, while among them waited uniformed British policemen. The tense silence was eventually broken by the cry of the shofar that sounded strongly despite the British policemen who immediately rushed forward to silence the shofar blower who was closely surrounded by his fellow worshippers. For me, this event was a symbol of the eternal faith of our People. [Read more…]

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U.S. Supreme Court to hear restitution case from ’97 Hamas bombing in Jerusalem

Masked Hamas militants mourning a suicide bomber at a symbolic funeral in Ramallah, March 29, 2001. (David Silverman/Newsmakers)
Masked Hamas militants mourning a suicide bomber at a symbolic funeral in Ramallah, March 29, 2001. (David Silverman/Newsmakers)

Masked Hamas militants mourning a suicide bomber at a symbolic funeral in Ramallah, March 29, 2001. (David Silverman/Newsmakers)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the restitution case from a 1997 Hamas bombing in Jerusalem in which survivors are seeking Iranian artifacts to pay a $71.5 million judgment.

The high court said Tuesday it would hear arguments and determine the outcome of the case during its next term, which begins in October. [Read more…]

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Former British chief rabbi: Each side on Western Wall issue has a place to pray there

(JTA) – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, said the existence of an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall means liberal Jews were not defeated by the suspension of a plan to expand that area.

Sacks, an Orthodox rabbi, discussed the controversy around the Western Wall at a meeting Wednesday in London with activists of Gesher, an Israeli organization that promotes dialogue between the secular and religious in Israeli society, and the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora. [Read more…]

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Jewish cemetery vandalism spurs stiffer penalties in Philadelphia for desecrations

A visitor to the vandalized Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia views some of the toppled tombstones, Feb. 26, 2017. (Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images)

A visitor to the vandalized Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia views some of the toppled tombstones, Feb. 26, 2017. (Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Cemetery vandals will be fined for each act of desecration under a new Philadelphia law enacted four months after a city Jewish cemetery was vandalized.

Under the Ethnic Intimidation and Institutional Vandalism bill signed last week by Mayor Jim Kenney, fines for desecrating objects will be applied to each individual act of vandalizing a headstone, grave marker or gravesite, according to the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. [Read more…]

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Anti-Semitic, white supremacist fliers target Washington neighbourhood

(JTA) – Anti-Semitic and white supremacist fliers were dropped at houses in a Washington, D.C., neighbourhood.

Jewish and non-Jewish residents of Glover Park found the two-sided fliers on their front doorsteps Wednesday morning, Fox5 reported. The fliers offer several conspiracy theories against Jews and call for a war on Jews.

The same flier has appeared in D.C. neighbourhoods before.

Police are aware of the latest incident.

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Hospitals in Israel hit by cyber-attack

(JTA) – Several Israeli hospitals were hit with a cyber-attack overnight but were able to continue functioning normally, the country’s National Cyber Defense Authority announced.

Several computers were affected by the attempts to hack the hospitals’ systems but no damage was caused, the authority said in a statement issued Thursday. The statement did not name the specific Israeli hospitals affected. [Read more…]

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Iran used Star of David as target for missile test

Star of David used as a target by Iran in a missle test. (Israel at the UN/Facebook)
Star of David used as a target by Iran in a missle test. (Israel at the UN/Facebook)

Star of David used as a target by Iran in a missle test. (Israel at the UN/Facebook)

(JTA) – Iran used the Star of David as a target for a ballistic missile test, Israel told the United Nations.

The Israeli diplomatic mission on Wednesday distributed to members of the UN Security Council  satellite images of the site set up during a test carried out last year. [Read more…]

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Brazil denied 16,000 visas to Jews during Nazi regime, research reveals

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – The Brazilian government denied some 16,000 visas to European Jews attempting to escape the Nazi regime, according to new research looking at thousands of Brazilian documents from the World War II era.

The research was undertaken by Brazil’s Virtual Archives on Holocaust and Antisemitism Institute, or Arqshoah. It was made public for the first time last week in a documentary aired on Brazilian television. [Read more…]

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