Israel News for July 22, 2016

Parade Happens
Over 25,000 people participated in the gay pride parade in Jerusalem yesterday. Police arrested 48 people suspected of trying to disrupt the event and attack participants. There was no violence at the parade.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy laid flowers at the place of Shira Banki’s murder (at last years parade) before the march began. Barkat said, “I understand the pain and criticism of those who don’t agree with my decision not to participate in the march. I chose a different way to honor the memory of Shira Banki, a sweet girl who was murdered because of baseless hatred, and I lay, together with the commander of the Jerusalem District Police, a flower at the place of the murder. I pray with all my heart that on this day, we will all of us unite against any display of incitement, violence.”

For further reading click here.

Rabbi Reprimanded
Defense Ministry Director General Udi Adam reprimanded Rabbi Yigal Levinstein for remarks he recently made in which he referred to gays as perverts and criticized the IDF for being too careful in its efforts not to harm civilians in combat. The reprimand was mainly directed against the anti-gay comment. General Adam demanded that Rabbi Levinstein “clarify” his comment.

Yesterday, close to 350 rabbis signed a letter supporting Levinstein and criticizing what they called “an attempt to silence Israel’s rabbis.”

Levinstein is the co-founder and head of a pre-military yeshiva academy in Beit El that has produced many high ranking IDF officers. His co-director, Rabbi Eli Sadan did not sign the letter, but also did not criticize the comments. He said, “Even if we have criticism of certain things in the army, we are not opposed to the army, of course. We will continue to fight together for the sake of the country, and when problems arise we will solve them with dialogue, not war.”

For further reading click here.

Innovation Center
PM Netanyahu, President Rivlin and former President Shimon Peres participated in the launching of The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa yesterday. All three men emphasized that, while Israel is poor in natural resources, it is rich in human resources.

Simon Peres is credited with being the architect of Israel’s defense and aviation industries as well as enabling Israel’s nuclear capability.

For further reading click here.

Jihadi Threats
A Jihadi group has published threats against Israeli and American olympic athletes on social media. The posts call on “lone wolf” attackers to take part in the jihad and become martyrs.

The post specifically mentioned the Israelis: “From amongst the worst enemies, the most famous enemies for general Muslims is to attack Israelis. As general Muslims all agree to it and it causes more popularity for the Mujahideen amongst the Muslims.” The post also called to kidnap Israelis to serve as bargaining chips to free Muslim prisoners.

Meanwhile, Brazil’s federal police arrested 10 people on Thursday on suspicion of belonging to a group backing ISIS and preparing acts of terrorism during next month’s Olympics.

For further reading click here.

Polish Revisionism
Polish officials are publicly expressing the anti-semitism that is ingrained in Polish society. Poland’s Education Minister Anna Zalewska recently questioned whether the perpetrators of the 1946 Kielce pogrom, during which 40 holocaust survivors were murdered, were Poles. She said, “Let’s leave it to historians to sort out.” What she is implying is that it was Russian soldiers, or perhaps even Jews, who committed the heinous murders. How could anyone even think that Poles would murder Jews? Right.

The mayor of Jedwabne, the town in which Poles herded 340 Jews into a barn and burned them alive, has ordered the exhumation of the bodies to prove that the Jews were actually murdered by German soldiers, and not by Poles. The testimonies of numerous witnesses and other evidence that confirms that there were only a few German soldiers in the town at the time of the massacre and that Poles committed the murders don’t seem to matter. The desire to deny Polish involvement is stronger than any evidence.

Other Polish government officials, including the current president, have also denied Polish involvement in the murder and persecution of Jews during and after the holocaust.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder has demanded apologies from the education minister and the mayor. Even if he gets them, will it change anything?

For further reading click here.