Tuesday, January 26th 2021   |

Israel

Biden intervened to keep ‘occupation’ out of Democratic platform

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Joe Biden personally intervened to keep the word “occupation” out of the official Democratic platform, according to a new report.

Foreign Policy reported Thursday that Biden intervened after pro-Israel groups appealed to him, citing three sources, including Jason Isaacson, the chief policy and political affairs officer at the American Jewish Committee.

“The question of whether to allow the text to refer to ‘occupation’ or use the phrase...

Israel may not top progressive agendas now, but tensions with the pro-Israel community will persist

By RON KAMPEAS

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Israel issue isn’t necessarily toward the top of the progressive to-do lists at the moment, but that doesn’t mean elements of the movement are any less at odds with the pro-Israel community.

That was evident in an interview this week that the Democratic Socialists of America’s New York City co-chairwoman, Sumathy Kumar, gave with the news site Kings County Politics.

Here’s the passage...

An activist says it is ‘electioneering’ for nonprofits to call candidates racist. Jewish groups say it’s routine.

By RON KAMPEAS

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A pro-Israel activist has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service that, if successful, could severely restrict freedom of speech for non-governmental organizations.

David Abrams’ lawsuit alleges that the nonprofit New Israel Fund “electioneered” in violation of its tax-exempt status by supporting grantees in Israel who are vocal on political issues. Among other things, the lawsuit cites the NIF for supporting Israeli organizations...

Israel offers Lebanon assistance after massive, deadly explosion in Beirut

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel has offered Lebanon humanitarian assistance after a massive explosion at Beirut’s waterfront killed at least 30 people and injured thousands.

Israel’s defense minister (and alternate prime minister) Benny Gantz announced the offer on Twitter. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli army and at least one Israeli hospital also offered aid.

Because Lebanon and Israel are still technically in a state of war, the offers are being...

Seth Rogen says Israel ‘doesn’t make sense’ and opens up about his Jewish identity in interview with Marc Maron

(JTA) — Marc Maron warned listeners at the beginning of the latest episode of his “WTF” podcast on Monday: “If you don’t like Jews, you’re gonna get triggered.”

It was a fair disclaimer, given that his hour-long conversation with Seth Rogen touched on just about every general aspect of modern Jewish identity, from Jewish summer camp to cultural Jewishness to sitting shiva.

But a second warning came part of the...

Ontario pulls video called biased against Israel from online high school course

(JTA) — Ontario’s education minister ordered a video that a Jewish group said is biased against Israel be removed from an online course.

Stephen Lecce tweeted that he is “very concerned that this offensive material was on a learning website” and that “I immediately ordered it to be taken down (it was that day) & investigated to ensure it never happens again. We will not tolerate anti-Semitism in any form.”

...

Son of millionaire US businessman makes $75 million bid for major stake in El Al Airlines

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Eli Rozenberg, the son of millionaire U.S. businessman Kenny Rozenberg, has made a $75 million bid to acquire a large stake in El Al Airlines.

Rozenberg, 30, is a resident of Israel and an Israeli citizen, which makes him eligible to become the controlling shareholder of the airline.

His bid would give Rozenberg a 45% stake in the airline, the Israeli business daily Globes reported. The offer...

Israel accused of airstrike on Damascus that killed 5 Iran-backed fighters

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An airstrike on Damascus that is being blamed on Israel killed five Iranian-backed fighters, a watchdog group reported.

The attack on Monday night destroyed a missile depot and hit military positions, weapons and ammunition warehouses in the Syrian capital, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in the United Kingdom.

It is not known if the dead fighters were Iranians or members of...

Amar’e Stoudemire offers to bridge the gap between Blacks and Jews

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire said there is a “lack of leadership” in the Black community that has led to expressions of anti-Semitism, and he has offered to bridge the gap between Jews and Blacks.

Stoudemire, who lives and plays professionally in Israel for Maccabi Tel Aviv, was reacting to a number of recent anti-Semitic social media posts by Black sports figures and celebrities.

He told the TMZ...

Israeli kindergarten teacher who begged parents to follow quarantine rules dies of COVID-19

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli kindergarten teacher has died of the coronavirus, two weeks after she made an emotional appeal for parents to keep home children who had been exposed to the deadly virus.

After Shalva Zalfreund, 64, died Friday, the mayor of her city posted on Facebook the message that she had sent to parents of children in her class weeks earlier, back when she thought she was past...