Saturday, December 14, 2019
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Granddaughter of Hamas Leader Treated in Israeli Hospital

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The granddaughter of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was treated in an Israeli hospital yesterday, according to Palestinian reports.

One-year-old Amal Haniyeh, accompanied by her grandmother, was admitted to the Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petach Tikvah for treatment from a digestive tract infection. The pair traveled into Israel from Gaza.

The child was taken back into Gaza after Israeli doctors determined her condition could not be treated.

“She was brought into Israel, but returned to Gaza after her condition could not be stabilized. She is in critical condition,” Major Guy Inbar, a spokesman for the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, told The Times of Israel.

The girl’s father, Abdul Salam Haniyeh, son of Ismail Haniyeh, wrote on Facebook of the Israeli aid, but the post was quickly removed, according to the Jerusalem Post. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah also confirmed the child was brought to Israel, and said PA Health Ministry officials reached out to their Israeli counterparts to request the treatment.

The child is said to now be near death.

Ismail Haniyeh is widely considered an enemy of Israel, and has called for a third intifada on the Jewish state. Hamas, which controls Gaza, is considered a terror group by Israel and the US, and has a contentious relationship with its counterpart party Fatah, a moderate group that governs the West Bank.

Israel regularly allows Palestinians in from the Strip and the West Bank to receive medical care, though admittance is based on case-by-case need.

Meanwhile, at the exact moment Amal was being treated near Tel Aviv, a second Hamas official was quoted as saying the terrorist group has purposely widened its weapons arsenal to target Tel Aviv.

“The resistance now has various military surprises in addition to newly acquired expertise,” Gaza official Salah Bardawil told Hamas daily Al-Resalah. “[Hamas] has improved its performance.”

Fallon and Crystal in 'Schmuck Dynasty'

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Jimmy Fallon and Billy Crystal have teamed up to bring the world something we surely all were waiting for: “Schmuck Dynasty.”

Parodying the popular reality series “Duck Dynasty,” Crystal came up with a hilarious bit alleging A&E producers stole the show’s concept from an incredibly Jewish source.

Fallon may not be Jewish himself, put he pulls off a pretty funny version of a disgruntled-Hassidic-man. Watch the clip below, and let us know what you think!

J-Connection: Billy Crystal might be Jewish, but he is in no way a schmuck.

Survey Showing High Anti-Semitism in Hungary Flawed, Officials Say

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A survey that showed a high fear of anti-Semitism among Hungarian Jews used flawed polling, officials are now saying.

A study published early this month by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency reported 90 percent of 517 Jewish-Hungarian respondents said anti-Semitism was either a “fairly big problem” or a “very big problem.” This figure dwarfed the 66 percent average for the same question across the whole of European Jewry.

The study also showed 48 percent of Hungarian Jews has considered emigrating due to anti-Semitism. In Britain that figure was just 18 percent.

Now, the head of the Hungarian delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is calling into question the accuracy of the study’s figures, arguing that the poll took place in 2012 and failed to take into account recent steps by the Hungarian government to combat anti-Semitism.

“Having reconsidered the seriousness of the situation, the Hungarian government has since brought several important decisions designed to monitor and combat anti-Semitic phenomena,” said Gergely Prohle.

Likewise, Prohle quoted the FRA’s own statement on the fallibility of its polling methods: “This methodology is unable to deliver a random probability sample fulfilling the statistical criteria for representativeness,” and “the chosen survey mode is likely to have excluded some eligible members of the target population.”

Hungary has an estimated 100,000-strong Jewish population. But the recent rise of the far-right Jobbik party, which has notoriously anti-Semitic leanings, has raised alarm among many European Jewish officials.

“Members of our community already for a long time are aware of the existence and of the increase of anti-Semitism in Hungary,” Gyorgy Gador, the head of the Pava synagogue community, told the Nepszabadsag daily last week.

“Many [Jews] left in recent years abroad, not only for existential-economic reason, but because of their uncomfortable political feeling here, at home.”

IDF Speaks: I Watched a Firebomb Fly Towards Me

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Shoval is a combat photographer for the IDF. It’s his job to document the IDF’s activities in Judea and Samaria, and terrorist attacks committed against Israeli civilians in the area. In a terrifying moment last week, he found himself caught in the middle of one of those attacks.

Last week, I saw my life flash before my eyes, and felt the terrible fear of dying.

I was traveling on a road in Samaria. A bus full of children returning from school came down the opposite lane. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I saw a firebomb fly directly at the bus. I blinked and saw in my mind one of those horrifying images of an exploded bus you see in the newspaper, only this time it was right there in front of me.

When I opened my eyes, I breathed a sigh of relief. I didn’t know if it was luck or something else, but the firebomb missed the bus, flying right over it.

One split second later, that sigh of calm turned into one of the most fearful moments of my life. The bomb was now heading towards me! I can’t explain how that felt in words–those few milliseconds felt like an eternity. I managed to step on the accelerator of my vehicle and the bomb landed in a bush a few meters away from me.

I sped up and drove to a military position at a nearby crossing, and alerted the soldiers to what had happened. They quickly returned with their commanding officer to the scene of the crime to catch the terrorist. We heard on the radio that another IDF force had already arrived there.

The saddest part of this attack is that this truly non-trivial event has become a dangerous routine. Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria suffer from attacks like this daily, attacks which the media deem insignificant. After living through this experience today, I feel the importance of being there, as a soldier, even more strongly.

Palestinian rioters throw firebombs. Archive photo.
Palestinian rioters throw firebombs. Archive photo.

Terrorists have committed dozens and dozens of firebomb attacks this year across Judea and Samaria. When a terrorist throws a firebomb, he immediately puts lives at risk. Unfortunately, Shoval’s story is just one of many. Share this testimony and show the world the true face of the constant terror attacks that go unreported in Judea and Samaria.

This article has been reprinted with the permission of the IDF Blog

Jack Warner—The Hollywood Hero Against Hitler

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The story of how Hollywood film studios dealt with the rise of Nazism in the 1930s is perhaps too nuanced for most Hollywood movies. But in general and for various reasons, the studios were afraid even to mention, let alone confront Nazism. Yet there was one exception: the Warner Brothers studio. And if there was a film about Hollywood and the Nazis, perhaps its hero would be Jack Warner, the only mogul to take it to Hitler.

Between the time Hitler took power in Germany in 1933 and the outbreak of war in 1939, there was almost no representation of Nazism in Hollywood films. Had films depicted the barbarity of Nazism during this crucial period, it might perhaps have served a purpose. But they didn’t. Primarily due to financial concerns Hollywood studios were scared of mentioning Germany and Nazism.

Germany was a major market for the studios, one they didn’t want to risk by running afoul of the Nazis’ strict censorship, which was controlled by the Ministry of Popular Entertainment and Propaganda, headed by Joseph Goebbels. For if any film affronted the Nazi authorities in any way, it would not be shown in Germany and an important revenue steam would be cut off. Indeed Louis B. Mayer would meet with the Nazi German consul in Los Angeles, screen the official films and ask what material he thought ought to be removed for the German market.

But the studios’ cravenness in dealing with Nazism did not stop at content. They also acquiesced to Nazi demands that studio offices in Germany not have any Jewish staff. While many moved their Jewish employees from Germany, some studios moved their offices from Nazi Germany yet still dealt with the country from their London or Paris offices. Warner Brothers was the only one to refuse to have any relations with Germany. Perhaps this was due to an attack on the head of the studio’s Berlin office, a British Jew named Phil Kaufman.

When fascist brownshirts beat up Kaufman and the Nazi authorities ordered him to leave Germany, Kaufman went to Sweden, where a few months later he collapsed and died. It is unclear if his death was caused by the injuries from his assault in Germany, but it seems likely to have been related, and afterwards Jack Warner ordered the closing of all Warner Brothers operations in Germany. But Warner did not just refuse to accommodate Nazi demands; he took on Hitler and eventually brought the rest of Hollywood with him.

After pulling out of Germany, Jack Warner and his brother Harry used their studio to rally the anti-Nazi cause via broadcasts on their radio station KFWB, donations to the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League, and by producing films that alluded to Nazism through depictions of democracies and religious tolerance opposing totalitarianism. Although these were allegories, their message was fairly clear. In 1937, “Black Legion” preached against domestic fascism and “The Life of Emile Zola” paid tribute to the French author’s defense of the falsely maligned Jewish soldier Alfred Dreyfus, while 1938’s “The Adventures of Robin Hood” could be seen as a broadside against tyranny.

And in 1939 the gloves came off. Warner Brothers explicitly attacked Nazism in the movie “Confessions of a Nazi Spy.” Based on articles by a former FBI agent, the film was a spy thriller and the first openly anti-Nazi film by a major Hollywood studio. Released a few months before the outbreak of World War II in Europe, it was a major box office hit despite being banned in many Latin American and Europeans countries (and of course Japan and Germany). Although perhaps Warner’s bravery was somewhat easier in 1939, for as Thomas Doherty notes in “Hollywood and Hitler,” by the time the film came out it did appear clear that Nazi Germany would become an increasingly unviable market for American films.

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Nevertheless, many critics came out strongly against “Confessions of a Nazi Spy,” including one who claimed, “The Warner brothers have declared war on Germany with this one.” Hitler himself watched the film and was furious, while the German ambassador protested to the US Secretary of State and a Texan congressman named Martin Dies lambasted the studio for its portrayal of what he declared a “friendly country.”

But of course those who opposed Nazism were delighted with the film. And beyond the studio executives, many in Hollywood were openly against Hitler. For years, screenwriters like Ben Hecht and Hermann Mankiewicz were screaming out against Nazism, asking studio heads why they weren’t making movies depicting its monstrousness, while other screenwriters Donald Ogden Stewart and Dorothy Parker were among the founders of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League. From its founding in 1936, the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League tried to discourage studios from doing business with Nazi Germany and helped to make Vittorio Mussolini, son of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, and Leni Riefenstahl, the Nazi filmmaker, personae non gratae when they visited LA.

So once Warner Brothers released “Confessions of a Nazi Spy,” at a meeting of anti-Nazi activists at Edward G. Robinson’s house, Groucho Marx—in one of his few recorded earnest comments—raised a glass to “the only studio with any guts.” But while Jack Warner and his brothers were becoming popular with anti-Nazis in Hollywood and beyond, they had to make sure that they were not accused of being overly leftist or anti-American. So while Warner Brothers released anti-Nazi output, it also produced jingoistic American films and pronouncements saturated in red, white and blue. The last thing these Jewish studio heads wanted was to be accused of putting Jewish causes ahead of American. So Jack and Harry Warner tied anti-Nazism to American patriotism.

There was still a risk for Warner Brothers though—at the time “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” came out in 1939 it was by no means certain that Germany would lose the recently started war. And had Nazism conquered all of Europe, the studios’ films would have been verboten across the continent. But as Quentin Tarantino told The Jewish Journal, “The movie was made to expose Nazism to the American public. [Warner] made that movie, he wasn’t making it for Europe—Europe knew exactly who the Nazis were—he was making it for Americans. And it’s about Nazism in America. And it’s done completely as an expose. It’s a dramatized, documentary expose. It’s propaganda in every way, shape and form. Even though it’s pretty interesting, it’s a good movie. It has a purpose. And he called it by name: Germany. Nazis. Germany. Nazis. Goebbels. Hitler.”

Thus Jack Warner and his studio took on Nazism. And one month after Nazi Germany surrendered, Warner was among the Hollywood studio heads the allied forces invited to tour Europe so they could understand firsthand the effects of the war in Europe. But unlike Darryl F. Zanuck of 20th Century Fox, Harry Cohn of Columbia, Clifford Work of Universal, Barney Balaban of Paramount, MGM’s Eddie Mannix and Hays Office employee Francis Harmon, Jack Warner alone had showed that he understood the perils of Nazism early on, and had used his studio to rail against its danger.

Nazi-Looted Art Hoarder Says: 'I Won't Give Anything Back'

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A man accused of hoarding Nazi-looted art says he refuses to comply with German officials seeking to return the works to their original owners.

News of the $1 billion-plus trove of art found in a Munich apartment a few years ago first made headlines early this month. The story went that Munich officials found a collection of art—including works by Matisse and Chagall—hidden in the private residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, upon entering the apartment as part of a tax investigation.

Gurlitt, 80, was the son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, a now-deceased art collector. Authorities allege Hildebrand was a war profiteer that knowingly accumulated Nazi-looted art, with a majority of the pieces seized from Jewish owners.

Upon discovering the collection, which includes hundreds of works, authorities began the process of seeking out original owners or descendants of owners to return the pieces.

“I will not speak with them, and I won’t freely give anything back, no, no,” Gurlitt told the German weekly Der Spiegel in his first interview since the news was made public.

According to reports, officials aim to negotiate with Gurlitt for assistance in tracking down owners. For now, some of the pieces remain in the senior’s possession until they can be proven as looted, as per German law.

But Gurlitt said he would have none of it.

“When I’m dead they can do with them what they want…What kind of government are they to show my private property?”

“I’ve never loved anything more than my pictures in my life,” he said. “The pictures are somewhere in a basement now, and I am alone.”

“What do these people want from me? I’m actually rather quiet. I only wanted to live with my pictures.”

Gurlitt maintains his father was an art hero, who worked to save priceless pieces from Nazi hands. But government officials assert Hildebrand was well aware of where the art was coming from as he actively acquired the pieces.

The return of Nazi-looted art has become a growing enterprise in Europe, with institutions like Versailles coming under speculation over the origin of some of its most acclaimed works.

Surprise 'Fiddler' Wedding Number Goes Viral

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It may be three years old, but a certain “Fiddler on the Roof” inspired wedding video is taking the internet by storm this week, going viral with more than 3 million views.

The video captured a surprise moment at the wedding of Vanessa and Lin-Manuel. Vanessa is apparently a Broadway buff, and her new hubby, friends and family decided to get together and plan a special treat for the blushing bride.

Spoiler: it involves a rousing rendition of the bar mitzvah standard, “To Life.”

Check out the clip below and feel free to steal the idea for your next simcha!

First Trailer for 'Noah' Epic Finally Released

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If the first sneak peak of the upcoming blockbuster “Noah” is any hint, Paramount execs can expect a rainfall of earnings come the New Year.

The hype around this biblical epic has been growing for years, and the public can finally see what all the buzz is about, thanks to a trailer released last week. In the preview, Noah, played by a stoic-looking Russell Crowe, fights the mother of all CGI rainstorms, with a bit of help from Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and “Harry Potter” alumna Emma Watson.

The film cost an estimated $130 million to make, and we’re hoping it was money well spent. Watch the trailer below and let us know what you think, and make sure to mark your calendars for March 28, 2014, when “Noah” hits theaters.

Netanyahu Addresses 3K Attendees at Masa Israel's 10th Birthday

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Masa Israel is celebrating its 10th birthday in style, with mazels pouring in from top Israeli officials and newsmakers.

“This year, a record 11,000 young people will participate in Masa Israel Journey, a partnership of the Government of Israel and The Jewish Agency. You have dedicated a year of your lives to live in Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a celebration attended by 3,000 Masa Israel Journey participants.

“You came here from many lands to this land, and this is your land. This is your home. Israel is always your home. This is the meaning of Masa.”

The Masa Israel program is a joint effort between the government of Israel and the Jewish Agency, in an aim to bring young Jewish adults from around the world to spend extended periods of time in the Jewish state.

“All of you are part of this family, part of this country,” Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky said. “The Masa Israel Journey experience strengthens and enriches the participants themselves, the State of Israel, and the entire Jewish people.

“The 86,000 young people who have experienced life in Israel through Masa will make up the core of Jewish leadership for decades to come. All of you are young leaders of our people.”

A study by sociologists Steven M. Cohen and Ezra Kopelowiz to coincide with the anniversary determined 92 percent of Masa alumni feel a sense of belonging to the Jewish people, 82 percent say it is important to raise their children Jewish, and 71 percent say they have engaged in Jewish educational activities since returning home.

“The apparent impact of Masa Israel is profound in all areas of Israel-related and Jewish engagement,” Cohen and Kopelowitz said.

Nearly Half of Israeli Children Are Abused, New Report Claims

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A new report by University of Haifa researchers Zvi Izikowitz and Rachel Lev-Weisel suggests child abuse in Israel is on the rise and most abuse goes underreported.

The study, co-published by the Israel Center of the Child, indicates that, based on child self-reports, 48.5 percent of Jewish-Israeli kids cope with abuse sometime during their childhood.

The landmark study interviewed more than 10,000 children enrolled in state-sponsored education ages 12, 14, and 16. The report did not include children in religious schools or alternative educational programs.

The findings reveal that the number of children who experienced abuse was far greater than the number of cases reported to authorities and goes beyond sensationalized cases in the ultra-Orthodox community. Currently, reports of child abuse indicate only 2 percent of Israeli children are abused.

This discrepancy does not surprise Ruty Meiri, social service director of Magen the Beit Shemesh Child Protection organization, who said while awareness of child abuse has led to more reporting in her community, reporting still lags behind.

“We are seeing the number of calls for help double each year, as word spreads in the community, and even abroad, that Magen is available to help victims of child abuse,” she said. She added that even with outreach efforts, the on-the-ground team knows that much abuse remains hidden in Israeli homes.

“We are very aware that we are still barely scratching the surface of the child abuse problem in Beit Shemesh,” she said.

The Knesset also responded to the report by holding an emergency meeting last Tuesday to talk about ways it can improve the lives of children in Israel.

“The phenomenon has become a real plague,” Knesset member Orly Levy-Abekasis said. “All of Israeli society must wake up. The first step toward change is to look in the mirror and admit you have a problem.”

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