16 fatherless children left orphaned after Elad terror attack

The heart can hardly comprehend as we learn that 16 children were left fatherless after the terror attack yesterday in Elad. The names of the 3 victims of the terror attack in Elad were released early this morning.

The 3 victims of the Elad terror attack on Yom Haatzmaut

The three people who were murdered in the attack in the city of Elad were identified on Thursday night.

One of the victims is Yonatan Havakuk, a father of five children and a well-known figure in the city.

A second victim has been identified as Boaz Gol, a resident of Elad in his 40s, and also a father of five children.

The third victim is Oren Ben Yiftach, 35, a resident of the city of Lod and a father of six.

Three people were seriously injured in the attack.

The heart-rending funeral of Yonatan Havakuk took place this morning:

Hundreds of people attended the Friday funeral of Yonatan Havakuk, a 44-year-old father of five who was murdered Thursday night in a terror attack in the central city of Elad.

The eulogies began in Elad, after which the funeral procession will continue to the Yarkon cemetery, where Havakuk will be laid to rest.

Havakuk was known to many, due to his work at a garage in the city.

His brother-in-law said: “Whenever we needed, he would come right away to deal with the problems, and all of it with a smile. I learned a lot from him. We are trying to digest this. There’s no one like this person, there’s no replacement for him. The whole city knew him.”

Havakuk’s wife wrote on Facebook: “My heart refuses to believe that I have been left alone with five orphans. My heart is burning, that my young child saw his father during his last moments. My husband fought against them with great heroism and saved many people during the time he was fighting them for long minutes.”

“May G-d avenge your blood, my dear and beloved husband. We will miss you very much.”

The Jerusalem Post provides a short background on each of the victims, each one more heart-rending than the next:

Boaz Gol

“His children asked me how they could continue without a father,” Ronit, sister-in-law to victim Boaz Gol, told KAN. “I told them that he went to bring the Messiah so that there wouldn’t be any more victims.”

Gol’s son explained that he was still processing what had happened.

“Dad went to a Torah lesson and was murdered,” he told KAN, adding “I still haven’t digested it yet.”

Yonatan Habakkuk

“My heart refuses to believe that I was left alone with five orphans,” Limor, the wife of victim Yonatan Habakkuk, wrote on Facebook, noting that her husband “fought against the terrorists with great heroism for many minutes… saving many lives.”

“God will avenge your blood, my beloved husband. We miss you very much,” she continued.

Limor’s address and phone number have been concealed by the Israeli media per her express wishes mentioned in her post, which specifies “until the scoundrels are caught,” as her children are scared and traumatized.

“He helped everyone with a smile, the whole city called him ‘brother.’ There is no substitute for this man,” Habakkuk’s brother-in-law told Israeli media.

“I was his neighbor for 15 years, he was one of the most amazing people I knew,” Habakkuk’s friend, Amir Mizrahi, told Walla.

“He was our mechanic and he always had a smile on his face. He was the first to take me to Uman. His daughters study with mine.”

Mizrahi recounted how his friend was killed.

“From what I understood from my daughters who were there, they were having a meal in their home. He wanted to go call his son who was at the town square. He went down to look for his son and was murdered.”

Oren Ben Yiftach

Oren Ben Yiftach was a resident of Lod who worked as a shuttle driver and was only in the city to drive a rabbi to their from Beit Shemesh. He was killed while sitting in his car.

His wife, Nofar, noticed that his phone was located where the terror attack was taking place but was unable to contact him, nor were other family members. For hours, they wondered what had happened until Lod Mayor Yair Revivo came to their home and told them of his death, Ynet reported.

“The smile never left Oren’s face, it was his trademark. When you saw him smile, you smiled too,” explained former Labor MK Yoram Marciano, a relative and part of the Ben Yiftach family.

The Ben Yiftach family is a large and well-established family in the city.

“This is a family rooted in Lod, which had its roots in the city many, man years ago,” Marciano said, according to Ynet. “If you think ‘Lod,’ you think the Ben Yiftach family.”

The family had been going through trying times, with Oren’s older brother and father both dying of heart attacks.

“His mother lost her husband and a child in difficult medical circumstances, and now another child,” Marciano lamented, according to Ynet. “Terrible, horrible.”

The shock and trauma does not end with the funerals. The seriously injured, and those suffering from shock have a long road ahead of them too, as the JPost continues:

The brother-in-law of Shai Ben Shalom, one of the seriously injured victims, recounted the incident to KAN, noting that he was attacked right in front of his children.

“He took the children to the Elad Amphitheater Park. He turned around and they attacked him with an ax and a hammer. My brother-in-law jumped on them so that the children would run away.”

Due to the traumatic nature of the incident, Elad Mayor Israel Porush told KAN that hundreds of mental healthcare volunteers such as psychologists and social workers to help talk to the children and families.

However, school for the day was announced by the Elad Municipality to still be in session.

Shai’s mother Ilana has asked on Facebook for people to pray and say Tehillim for her son Shai ben Ilana.

The terror is not over for the 2 terrorists managed to escape, the cowards. A manhunt is on, and since the identity of the cowardly terrorists is known to the police I have no doubt they will be found. I will not post their pictures here, I don’t want to pollute my blog. You can see their picture at the link:

Police identified the two suspects 19-year-old Assad al-Rafai and 20-year-old Tzabahi Abu Shakir, both from the Jenin area in the West Bank. Security services released their pictures and have asked for the public’s help in locating them, indicating that the two might still be in Israeli territory.

With the rapid rise in these “lone-wolf” attacks – which are no such thing, they are all aided and abetted by the Palestinian Authority or Hamas, and are most certainly incited by the likes of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar who openly called for Palestinians to take up weapons to kill Jews:

It’s high time this depraved excuse for a human being is removed from the face of this earth.  Sadly I think the solution provided by DavidinPT in my previous post seems to be the only solution.

May the injured have a refuah shlema umehira.

May the families of the murder victims be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

May the memory of the 3 victims be for a blessing. May Hashem avenge their blood.

יהי זכרם ברוך

Posted in Incitement, Israel news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Another terror attack in central Israel: 3 dead in Elad

It never ends. Israel has reeled from one terror attack to another since March, 18 people were murdered in the 5 attacks in Beer Sheva, Hadera, Bnei Brak, Tel Aviv and Ariel.

This evening another attack was perpetrated by apparently two terrorists in the religious town of Elad, about a 15 minute drive from Petach Tikva. It is situated on the “seam line” between “pre-1967 Israel” and the Arab towns on the other side of the (now irrelevant) “Green Line”. Despite its geographical situation, it has largely been a quiet safe town. Not any more.

This evening the terrorists embarked on a murderous and savage assault on Israeli passersby as they were still celebrating or returning home from Independence Day outings in the local park. The terrorists used an axe and possibly a knife. The situation on the ground is still ongoing and reports are still coming in.

Medics at the scene of a suspseted terror attack in Elad, on May 5, 2022. (United Hatzalah)

The Jerusalem Post reports:

At least three people were killed and four others injured in a terrorist attack in the Israeli city of Elad near Petah Tikva towards the end of Independence Day.

All three victims were men in their 40s.

Two of the victims aged 60 and 35 were seriously wounded and transported to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus sedated and intubated. Another 40-year-old male was moderately wounded and transported to Beilinson, and a 23-year-old male who fought with the terrorists was conveyed in mild condition to the hospital.

MDA Paramedic Alon Rizkan, who arrived at the scene and treated the victims called it “a very difficult call.”

Police were investigating the background of the incident and according to reports, the victims were injured by two men, one wielding an ax, in two different locations including near Elad Amphitheater Park.

Checkpoints were deployed along the city’s main roads while police searched by helicopter for a vehicle that was seen fleeing the scene.

The Elad Municipality asked residents to shelter in place.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi following the attack. Israel Police Superintendent Kobi Shabtai arrived at the scene on Thursday evening.

The attack comes toward the end of Independence Day, with many families gathering outdoors to celebrate the country’s 74th anniversary on Thursday evening.

And as expected, the sickening and depraved reaction of Palestinians who celebrated this vicious murder – as they do every time an Israeli loses his life. They are utter perverts who deserve to burn in hell.

I will either update this post or write a separate post as and when more information comes in.

Meanwhile let us pray for refuah shlema for those injured, and may Hashem avenge the blood of the innocent victims who died על קידוש השם.

Posted in Antisemitism, Incitement, Israel news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Yom Atzma’ut Same’ach! Happy 74th Independence Day Israel!

Fireworks light up the skies at the 74th anniversary Independence Day ceremony, held at Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, on May 4, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

It’s Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, and, as remarked upon by both local and foreign observers, the country swings in a schizophrenic kind of way from the mourning, sorrow and remembrance of Yom Hazikaron to the flag-waving patriotism and general merry-making of Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Prayers marking the transition from the mourning of Yom Hazikaron to the celebrations of Yom Haatzmaut were held in synagogues throughout the country. For a change I attended the services at my niece’s shul on the other side of town and I thoroughly enjoyed and was inspired by the musically accompanied prayers.

Others watched the beautiful ceremony on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem with the traditional 12 torch-lighters who were honoured for their contributions to Israeli or Jewish society, followed by flag bearers and other pyrotechnical displays. This year for the first time, both Jerusalem and several other municipalities used silent fireworks in consideration of those suffering from PTSD. Calls for unity within Israeli society were the key points of the various speakers:

“Right now, between these two days, with the transition that is so tough and so Israeli, we manage but for a moment to truly be one,” Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy said in a keynote address at the main state ceremony marking the start of Independence Day at Mount Herzl.

“We manage for a moment to not let any division get between us. And if we could do it yesterday, and we can do it tomorrow, I believe we can manage to do it every day; to choose to see the good in each other, to choose to brighten people’s faces, to choose partnership over division, to be together in this home for us all.”

PM Naftali Bennett spoke similarly about the need for unity:

“74 years of statehood has taught us that when the people of Israel are united – no one can beat us,” said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the state ceremony marking the 74th Independence Day.

“Dear citizens of Israel, Independence Day is a day of great pride for all of us,” said Bennett. “National pride in what we’ve gone through together, and in what we have achieved here together.”

The prime minister pointed to the hi-tech industry, the healthcare system and the opportunities provided to the periphery, saying “thank God, Israel can provide a livelihood for anyone who is looking for one.”

Concerning the security situation, Bennett stressed that “even though our enemies do not rest for a moment from trying to harm us, the State of Israel is stronger than ever.”

“The IDF, the Shin Bet and the Mossad are intensifying at an unprecedented rate: with lasers, missiles, cyber and above all – by investing in our bold and good soldiers,” said Bennett.

Bennett reiterated the message he stated on Remembrance Day, stressing that sectarianism destroyed the Jewish state in the Second Temple Period and that “a sovereign and united Jewish state has never survived here for more than 80 years.”

“Here we are in the eighth decade of the State of Israel,” said Bennett. “The decade we have never succeeded [in getting through]. This time we have another chance, a third chance for the Jewish people. This time we must, simply must succeed.”

“We must not allow hatred to capture us, to control us. We need to see each other with a good eye, to believe that the other also wants the good for the state, even if his opinion is completely different. We should all always place the good of the state above our sector, above our self-interest,” said the prime minister.

Bennett made a short video clip with a powerful message for Yom Haatzmaut:

Returning to the ceremony at Har Herzl:

Maskless and crowded together with few coronavirus restrictions for the first time in two years, Bennett and thousands of others gathered at Mount Herzl for the ceremony, including recent arrivals fleeing Ukraine and Russia, as well as government leaders and other dignitaries.

As in past years, the highlight of the evening was a traditional torch-lighting ceremony honoring extraordinary citizens and others who have contributed to the country and Jewish communities.

Among those lighting beacons were Elizaveta Sherstuk, the head of the Jewish community center in Sumy, Ukraine, who helped hundreds escape the Russian invasion and is continuing to provide critical support in the devastated border city.

“This is the acknowledgment of the importance of what we do,” she told The Times of Israel, ahead of the ceremony.

The parents of Shira Banki, killed by a religious extremist in 2015 while marching in Jerusalem’s Gay Pride parade, also lit a torch, dedicating it to “those who choose to teach what is good, rather than condemn what is bad, who work toward bringing people closer and not pushing them away, connecting and not separating, fixing and not taking revenge.”

Also among the torchlighters was the commander of the police’s Yamam anti-terror unit, his face hidden by a mask. The man, whose name was also kept under wraps, was chosen to represent members of Israeli security forces working undercover or in sensitive posts and unable to reveal their identities — a first.

Other torchlighters:

  • Kalman Samuels, a Canadian ex-pat who founded Shalva, an organization which helps people with disabilities.
  • Yael Sherer, a leading activist for victims of sexual violence.
  • Simcha Gathon, who immigrated from Ethiopia and today leads the Center for the Legacy of Ethiopian Jewry.
  • Angel Alon, a Netivot resident who was a foster parent to 217 at-risk children for over 30 years.
  • Asael Shabo, who lost his mother and three siblings in a 2002 terror attack in which he also lost part of his right leg, and went on to become a wheelchair basketball athlete.
  • Mounir Madi, who heads a pre-army academy in Dalyat al-Carmel for Druze and Jewish youth.
  • Hadar Cohen, who leads an IDF unit for new immigrants needing both basic training and Hebrew instruction.
  • Rita Yehan-Farouz, a Tehran born Israeli pop singer better known as just Rita.
  • Idan Kleiman, who heads the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization.
  • Yoram Yair, an ex-general who leads programs to provide support for soldiers, youth leadership training and substance abuse rehabilitation.

The glitzy ceremony was accompanied by what organizers called a “quiet pyrotechnics” display instead of the usual fireworks that light up the night sky. Many cities have chosen to forgo such displays this year out of respect to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

You can watch the ceremony here:

On Thursday morning and early afternoon, Air Force aircraft will do a flyover of much of the country, a popular and iconic feature of celebrations.

The flyover will include F-15, F-16 and F-35 fighter jets; Lavi training aircraft; C-130 cargo planes; a Boeing refueling plane; Black Hawk, Sea Stallion, Panther and Apache helicopters; and Israel Aerospace Industries Heron drones. It will be the first time IAI drones participate in the flyover.

This year, the military will add a flyby over the West Bank city of Hebron and the adjacent settlement of Kiryat Arba. It will be the first time the flyby passes over that particular area, but not the first time for all West Bank communities. The IDF said the move was not a political statement, but related to the size of the community.

Tomorrow as is our custom we will be heading out to our children for the family “mangal” – BBQ – with lots of noise and fun, while millions of Israelis head to the beaches, the north, national parks, hiking trails or just hanging out with friends. And of course we will all be avidly watching the International Youth Bible Quiz. The deep and wide knowledge of these youngsters astounds me anew every year.

Just a small tweet from the United Arab Emirates illustrates how far Israel has come in its relations with its Arab neighbours. A message like this would have been unthinkable a mere few years ago. May these wonderful relationships continue to blossom and thrive!

May we merit to see many more years of love and brotherhood in this crazy, wonderful little country of ours, till 120 and beyond!

זה היום עשה ה’ נגילה ונשמחה בו

This is the day that Hashem made, we will rejoice and celebrate on it.

Posted in History, Israel news, Slice of Israeli life | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Yom Hazikaron 5782 – Israel’s Memorial Day 2022

A minute’s silence at the start of Yom Hazikaron ceremony at the Kotel

Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror, began last night at sundown, as Israelis commemorated their fallen with a one minute siren at 8 pm and a ceremony at the Kotel.

Israel stood in silence for one minute on Tuesday night remembering the servicemembers who died protecting the state and the victims of terror ahead of the country’s 74th Independence Day.

In total, 24,068 IDF soldiers, police officers, prison wardens, Shin Bet security service and Mossad agents have been killed since 1860 defending the pre-state Yishuv and Israel. That number also includes members of the pre-state militias and the Jewish Brigade, who served in the British army during World War II.

According to the National Insurance Institute, some 3,199 civilians were killed in hostilities since the establishment of the State.

In the past year, 56 IDF soldiers and security personnel died serving the State, and 84 IDF veterans who were injured during attacks died from their injuries. Since the end of March, 15 Israelis were killed in terror attacks.

The main Remembrance Day ceremony was held at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem in the presence of President Isaac Herzog and Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi.

You can watch the entire ceremony here:

President Yitzchak Herzog spoke very movingly:

“Over the past year, past weeks, and indeed past few days, grief and pain have struck us time and again. Even today, our enemies rise up against us with hateful terror, and as always they find us ready and determined, with one hand holding a weapon and the other extended in dialogue and peace,” he says.

“It is precisely in these heart-breaking moments, escorting our heroes and heroines on their final journeys, together with their beloved families, whose pain instantly becomes our own — precisely in these moments, we discover the sheer power of our wonderful and marvelous nation, a nation that knows how to overcome any obstacle,” Herzog says.

“Our hearts, punctured by pain, must not be allowed to make us forget the mighty journey that we have undertaken.”

“Our sons and daughters, who fell in defense of our state, fought together and fell together. They did not ask, nor did anyone ask them, who was right-wing and who was left-wing. Who was religious. Who was secular. Who was Jewish and who was not Jewish. Nor did grief pose these questions, to them or to you,” he says.

“They fell as Israelis, defending Israel. In cemeteries, arguments fall silent. Between the headstones, not a sound. A silence that demands that we fulfill, together, their single dying wish: the resurrection of Israel. The building of Israel. United, consolidated, responsible for each other. For we are all sisters and brothers,” he adds.

The President concluded by mentioning the missing Israelis still being held in Gaza:

President Isaac Herzog concludes his speech at the Western Wall Memorial Day ceremony with a reference to fallen IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul who are being held in Gaza along with Israeli civilians Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.

Clockwise from top left: Oron Shaul, Avera Mengistu, Hadar Goldin and Hisham al-Sayed. (Flash90/Courtesy)

“From here, I pray for the speedy return of our captured and the missing, and the task of bringing them back home remains on our shoulders,” he says.

Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi also addressed the ceremony at the Kotel:

“The vast majority of families in the State of Israel waited for their children to descend the mountain, and received them with a hug at the end of their military service, but you waited in vain. Some of you are still waiting,” Kohavi says.

“They will not return. They will not return, but thanks to them, many have returned. Thanks to them, the lives of tens of thousands of citizens have been saved, and a large part of the security and achievements of the state is due to them.”

“Your pain is unbearable. The grief is oppressive, branching out in body and mind. It is present and does not rest for a moment, cruelly overcoming Sabbaths, holidays and birthdays.”

“The entire IDF and I at its head bow our heads out of sympathy, deep sorrow, and appreciation for your resilience,” Kohavi says.

Journalist Sivan Rahav Meir wrote an extremely moving post about the very first victim of Israel’s war of Independence – and it happened not in 1948 but way back in 1851 when the first pioneers were starting to establish a Jewish country in Israel. Even then, before Jews had begun to return to Israel in any significant numbers, before independence, before any “occupation”, already then the Arabs hated us and wanted us dead. Here is the story of the victim no. 1 as written by Sivan and freely translated by myself:

. ערב יום הזיכרון תשפ”ב, זהו מספר החללים שנפלו במערכות ישראל. אבל מאיפה בעצם מתחילה הספירה הזו? מי היה הראשון?
ובכן, על לוח מספר 1 בהר הרצל כתוב שמו של הרב אברהם שלמה זלמן צורף שנרצח בשנת תרי”א (1851), לפני 171 שנה. הוא נחשב לקורבן הראשון בעידן שיבת ציון הנוכחית.
הרב צורף נולד בליטא. הוא עלה לארץ עם אשתו ושלושת ילדיו בעליית תלמידיו של הגאון מוילנא, שרצו ליישב ולפתח את ארץ ישראל. תלמיד חכם, איש ציבור, שהתפרנס מעבודתו כצורף (מכאן שם המשפחה) והפך עד מהרה למנהיג בולט. הוא הקדיש את חייו לבניית ירושלים, גשמית ורוחנית, ולהבאת עוד ועוד עולים לישראל.
ההצלחה הזו של הרב צורף הרגיזה חלק מערביי העיר, והם ניסו להתנקש בחייו. בדרכו להתפלל תפילת שחרית בבית כנסת בעיר העתיקה, התנפלו עליו כמה ערבים ודקרו אותו בחרב. על ערש דווי אמר “שמע ישראל”, והשביע את צאצאיו שלא יעזבו לעולם את הארץ. הקבר שלו בהר הזיתים חולל, ושוקם לאחרונה על ידי משפחתו.
כדאי לשים לב לעובדה שהרב צורף נרצח בירושלים 9 שנים (!) לפני שהרצל נולד. כלומר, הסיפור שלנו יותר עמוק ועתיק ממה שנדמה לנו.
לא נצליח להקיף 24,069 שמות. הרב צורף מירושלים הוא הראשון. ויאצ’סלב (דניאל) גולב, המאבטח מאריאל, הוא האחרון (והלוואי שהאחרון באמת).
לזכרם.
Translation:
24,069. On the eve of Remembrance Day, this is the number of casualties in Israel’s battles. But where does this count actually begin? Who was the first?
Well, on headstone number 1 on Mount Herzl is written the name of Rabbi Avraham Shlomo Zalman Zoref who was murdered in 1851, 171 years ago. He is considered the first victim in the current era of the Return to Zion.

The gravestone of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Tzoref-Salomon on Har Hazeitim

Rabbi Zoref was born in Lithuania. He immigrated to Israel with his wife and three children in the aliyah of the students of the Vilna Gaon, who wanted to settle and develop the Land of Israel. A talmid chacham (wise student), a public figure, who made a living from his work as a jeweler (hence the family name) and soon became a prominent leader. He devoted his life to building Jerusalem, physically and spiritually, and to bringing more and more immigrants to Israel.
This success of Rabbi Zoref angered some of the city’s Arab residents and they tried to assassinate him. On his way to say morning prayer in a synagogue in the Old City, several Arabs attacked him and stabbed him with a sword. On his deathbed he said, “Shma Yisrael!” and made his offspring swear that they would never leave the land. His tomb on the Mount of Olives was desecrated, and recently rebuilt by his family.
It is worth noting that Rabbi Zoref was murdered in Jerusalem 9 years (!) Before Herzl was born. That is, our story is deeper and older than we think.
We are not be able to encompass 24,069 names. Rabbi Zoref from Jerusalem is the first. Vyacheslav (Daniel) Golev, the security guard from Ariel, is the last one (and I wish the latter really was).
In their memory.

And from the first victim to the most recent victims. On this site I wrote about two terror attacks that took place in March 2022, in which 8 Israelis were murdered by Palestinian and Arab-Israeli terrorists. Sadly these were not the last attacks or the last victims. After that there were another 3 attacks in which another 7 Israelis were murdered, bringing the tally up to an unbelievable, outrageous and incomprehensible 15 innocent souls.

L to R: Avishai Yehezkel, Doris Yachbes, Yaakov Shalom, Yazan Falach, Shirel Abukarat, Amir Khoury, Sasha Sorokofot, Dimitri Mitrik, Lora Yitzchak, Moshe Kravitzki and Menachem Yechezkel HY’D

L to R: Barak Lufan, Eitam Magini and Tomer Morad HY’D who were murdered in Tel Aviv

Vyacheslav Golev Hy”D (pictured with his fiancee) who was murdered on April 29th 2022 as he stood guard outside Ariel

Here is the list of the victims of March and April 2022:

April 29 Vyacheslav Golev (23) Two Palestinian terrorists murdered Vyacheslav Golev, a security guard, at the entrance to Ariel.
April 7 Tomer Morad (28), Eytam Magini (27), Barak Lufan (35) A shooting at a downtown Tel Aviv bar left three people dead and seven others were wounded and hospitalized.
March 29 Amir Khoury (32), Ya’akov Shalom (36), Avishai Yehezkel (29), Victor Sorokopot (38), Dimitri Mitrik (23) Five people were killed during a series of drive-by shootings in Bnei Brak. The perpetrator was Diaa Hamarsheh who had been imprisoned in 2015 for charges of supporting terrorism as well as arms trafficking.
March 27 Yezen Falah and Shirel Abukarat, both 19 Two Border Police officers were killed by two terrorists believed to be supporters of the Islamic State.
March 22 Doris Yahbas (49), Laura Yitzhak 43), Rabbi Moshe Kravitzky and Menahem Yehezkel, (67) Four people were killed and two more were injured during a stabbing and vehicle-ramming attack by an Islamic State supporter in Beersheba.

The war for Israel’s Independence is still ongoing, let no one be fooled.

Let the deaths of our precious soldiers and victims of terrorism not be in vain. May their memories be for a blessing and may Hashem avenge their blood.

“In their death, they bequeathed us life”.

במותם ציוו לנו חיים

Posted in Antisemitism, Incitement, Israel news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Yom Hashoah 5782- 2022

Israel’s Yom Hashoah began at sundown yesterday evening with the annual ceremony at Yad Vashem with torches lit in memory of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Shoah.

You can watch the entire ceremony here:

Six Holocaust survivors (or rather, five survivors and the son of one the survivors who passed away just two weeks ago) lit torches in memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Shoah. If you click on the link, you will be taken to Yad Vashem’s page about torchlighters, and clicking on their photos at the site will take you to their biographies.

The torch-lighters of Yom Hashoah 2022

In their addresses at the ceremony, besides the usual calls for unity, demands to fight Jew-hatred, and in PM Naftali Bennett’s case, decrying comparisons of any modern day wars or violence to the Shoah, both the Prime Minister and President Isaac Herzog used shattering documents to drive home the uniqueness of the brutality of the war against the Jews during the Holocaust:

In his speech Wednesday, Bennett used a “witness sheet” of an infant girl, an official Yad Vashem document that outlines the basic biographical details of a Jew who was murdered in the Holocaust, to illustrate the depth of the Holocaust horrors.

On the sheet the girl’s first name was left blank, her last name was Reich, and her birthplace and place of death were both listed as Auschwitz, Bennett noted.

“Circumstances of her death: taken immediately from her mother,” the prime minister read. “Age at the time of death: half an hour.”

The sheet was filled out by her mother, Irene Reich.

Herzog used a photo of Nazi soldiers and Ukrainian militia executing a Jewish family at the edge of a pit in Miropol, Ukraine, in 1941 to evoke the horrors of the Nazi genocide during his speech.

In the photo, a mother clasps her young son’s hand, bending toward him, as the men shoot her in the back of the head. The boy is barefoot, looking toward the trees.

Smoke from the gunfire hides the mother’s face in a ghostly plume. Another child is in her lap, barely visible in her polka dot skirt. The killers appear to be enjoying themselves.

“What did the mother whisper in her little boy’s ear? Did she beg him not to cry? And what of the child? Did he cry? Did he stay silent? Did he understand? Was he afraid?” Herzog said. “The photograph is silent, but its voice cries out. It shakes us. It stuns us to silence.”

The photo was the focus of the 2021 book “The Ravine” by historian Wendy Lower. Herzog said he experienced “grief, fury and pain” when he saw the photo in the book.

A Holocaust massacre carried out by Germans and Ukrainians in Miropol, Ukraine, on October 13, 1941. (USHMM)

Meanwhile back in the modern world, while as Bennett says we cannot compare our situation to the Holocaust, antisemitism – or more accurately Jew-hatred – simply rises and rises. The world certainly has not learned any lessons from its behaviour in the past. The ADL published its audit of antisemitism in 2021 and it makes for grim reading:

In 2021, ADL tabulated 2,717 antisemitic incidents throughout the United States. This is a 34% increase from the 2,026 incidents tabulated in 2020 and the highest number on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979.

  • The surge of incidents in May 2021 coincided with the military conflict between Israel and Hamas. For the entire month, 387 antisemitic incidents were tabulated by ADL, 297 of which occurred between May 10 – the official start of military action – and the end of the month, an increase of 141% over the same period in 2020.  Of the 297 incidents, there were 211 cases of harassment, 71 cases of vandalism and 15 assaults.
  • In 2021, 345 antisemitic incidents involved references to Israel or Zionism, compared to 178 in 2020. Of 2021’s 345 anti-Zionist/anti-Israel- related incidents, 68 took the form of propaganda efforts by white supremacist groups to foment anti-Israel and antisemitic beliefs. Most of the remaining incidents were expressions of anti-Israel animus that incorporated antisemitic imagery or harassment and demonization of Jews for their connection – real or assumed – to Israel.
  • Incidents in K-12 schools, colleges and universities increased in 2021 but were flat compared to the five-year average. In 2021, ADL logged 331 incidents at non-Jewish K-12 schools (up 106% from 161 in 2020), and 155 incidents at colleges and universities (up 21% from 128 in 2020).
  • In 2021, there were 525 logged incidents at Jewish institutions such as synagogues, Jewish community centers, and Jewish schools, an increase of 61% from 327 in 2020. 413 were incidents of harassment, 101 were incidents of vandalism and 11 were incidents of assault. Of the 413 incidents of harassment, 111 were anti-Zionism/anti-Israel-related, 42 were Zoombombings and 24 were extremist-related. Of the 101 incidents of vandalism, 33 involved a swastika and 10 were related to anti-Zionism/Anti-Israel sentiment.

And all this refers only to the US. Similar statistics appear in every country where there is a Jewish community. Tel Aviv University produced a report documenting a global rise in antisemitism, much of it incited by last May’s war between Israel and Hamas, and also – inexplicably – by Covid:

The report found that the number of antisemitic attacks nearly doubled in the United Kingdom, from 97 assaults in 2020 to 173 last year; that the number rose in France by more than a third in 2021 compared to the year before, from 44 to 60; and that the total number of antisemitic incidents in Germany rose to its highest level in recent years, to 3,028 in 2021, compared to 2,351 in 2020 and 2,032 in 2019.

The annual report, produced by the university’s Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, called for major introspection as decades of efforts to curb antisemitism following the Holocaust appear to have come up short.

“Something just isn’t working. In recent years, the fight against antisemitism has enjoyed extensive resources worldwide, and yet, despite many important programs and initiatives, the number of antisemitic incidents, including violent assaults, is rapidly escalating,” said Uriya Shavit, the head of the center.

The report’s authors were blunter still, writing in a statement: “It’s time to admit: The struggle is failing.”

In slightly more heartening news, and with perfect timing for Yom Hashoah, 9 Holocaust survivors were airlifted to Israel today from war-stricken Ukraine:

A plane carrying nine Holocaust survivor refugees from Ukraine lands in Israel just as the country ushers in Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In total, the special medical rescue flight is carrying 21 refugees immigrating to Israel, according to the Zaka emergency response group, which helped organize the flight alongside the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

The plane is met by ambulances to ferry the elderly and infirm passengers directly to hospitals and care facilities.

Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata meets the refugees personally. Before the plane touched down, she noted the resonance of the flight landing at the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“It is symbolic. If in the Holocaust they didn’t have a place to run. Today, there is a strong Jewish home,” she says.

As I have done in the past, I draw your attention to my Family History pages where I have recorded the history of my family during the Shoah, especially the murder of my mother’s three brothers, David, Elchanan and Uri Strauss HY’D, in Sobibor.

My mother’s 3 brothers HY’D who were murdered in Sobibor in 1943

This year in particular I am feeling very emotional on Yom Hashoah since it has coincided with the last day that my brothers recited Kaddish for our late mother. The poignancy of the day is twingeing in my heart.

My brother wrote very movingly on Facebook:

David, Herbert (Elchanan) and Uri Strauss HY’D

Yesterday, we finished saying Kaddish after 11 months for my mother z’l. Today/Tonight we remember her three older brothers who were murdered in Sobibor 1942, David, Uri, and Elchanan. My mother, her parents, and her sisters survived, and today our family and cousins number in the 100s – our way of revenging their spilt blood.
On Holocaust memorial day, we say to the world ‘Never Again’ – and with G-ds help, our IDF, and our strong moral – we truly mean it.

 

Never forgive. Never forget. May the memory of the 6 million be for a blessing.

ה’ יקום דמם. יהי זכרם ברוך

 

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Chag Kasher Ve’sameach – Happy Pesach!

Chag Same’ach! The Seder plate, Matza, wine and the Hagaddah

The festival of Pesach (Passover) festival begins tonight and lasts until Friday the 2nnd, but since Shabbat follows straight on, we’ll be keeping 8 days until after the Shabbat. If you would like to learn more about Pesach, have a look at Aish’s website or Chabad.

We’re heading out to our daughter and son-in-law (and their many children!) for the Seder, together with our younger son and a good friend – so it’s definitely not going to be a quiet Seder night!  During the intermediate days of Chol Hamo’ed we hope to go on day trips to Jerusalem and other sites around Israel   And then the 2 day finale to Pesach will be spent at our older son and his family. That does not look like it will be any quieter than the first day! 😀

Just in time for the chag, a fantastic archeological discovery was uncovered in northern Israel: the oldest text in Hebrew on a tablet on Mount Eval:

Archaeologist Dr. Scott Stripling and a team of international scholars held a press conference on Thursday in Houston, Texas, unveiling what he claims is the earliest proto-alphabetic Hebrew text — including the name of God, “YHWH” — ever discovered in ancient Israel. It was found at Mount Ebal, known from Deuteronomy 11:29 as a place of curses.

If the Late Bronze Age (circa 1200 BCE) date is verified, this tiny, 2-centimeter x 2 centimeter folded-lead “curse tablet” may be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever. It would be the first attested use of the name of God in the Land of Israel and would set the clock back on proven Israelite literacy by several centuries — showing that the Israelites were literate when they entered the Holy Land, and therefore could have written the Bible as some of the events it documents took place.

“This is a text you find only every 1,000 years,” Haifa University Prof. Gershon Galil told The Times of Israel on Thursday. Galil helped decipher the hidden internal text of the folded lead tablet based on high-tech scans carried out in Prague at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

The curse tablet was discovered in earth originally taken from a cultic site at Mount Ebal, near biblical Shechem and today’s Nablus. Mount Ebal appears in Deuteronomy 11:29 as a place of “curses” and is revered by some Christians and Jews as the place where the biblical Joshua built an altar as commanded in Deuteronomy 27. It is described in Joshua 8:31 as “an altar of unhewn stones, upon which no man had lifted up any iron.”

Views of the outside of the arguably Late Bronze Age lead curse tablet discovered on Mt. Ebal in 2019. (Michael C. Luddeni/Associates for Biblical Research)

The site known is known by locals as “Al-Burnat,” or “top hat” in Arabic, and is regarded by archaeologists as an exceedingly rare and significant illustration of early Israelite settlement. It is the only one of its type in the area. A consensus of archaeologists date the clearly cultic site to the early Iron Age, somewhere around the 11th century BCE, or when the Israelites evidently began to settle the land of Canaan. Other archaeologists push that date back to the 12th century or Late Bronze Age.

The scans were read by Galil and Pieter Gert van der Veen of Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. Speaking with The Times of Israel, Stripling said the reading includes the words “arur” (cursed) and “YHWH” (including the three main letters of the tetragrammaton).

“We recovered 40 letters, 40 on the inside and outside of the tablet. And they were all in this proto-alphabetic script which dates to the Late Bronze Age,” said Stripling.

Galil told The Times of Israel that the text is largely written in an archaic proto-Canaanite script, with some letters coming from hieroglyphs. The latest date of the epigraphic analysis would put it circa the 12th century, while some elements are dated to even earlier.

The majority Hebrew-language text, he posited, was written by Israelites as an internal legal document, a form of social contract, warning the person under contract what would happen if he did not fulfill his obligations.

According to the researchers, it reads: “Cursed, cursed, cursed – cursed by the God YHW./ You will die cursed./ Cursed you will surely die./ Cursed by YHW – cursed, cursed, cursed.”

It is always fascinating and even more so it is gratifying that our history and our Tanach are being confirmed in front of our eyes and the world. With all the denial and usurpation of our history, how wonderful to see our history come to life in our day.

And on a lighter note, here is the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in their Pesach medley. Two years ago they played a similar medley on zoom as we were in the first and harshest lockdown from corona. How wonderful that we have returned pretty much to normal again and we must give thanks to Hashem as well to our previous and present leaders for getting us through this pandemic.

I would like to wish all my readers, along with all of Klal Yisrael, a chag kasher vesame’ach – a happy and Kosher Passover. May we all merit to celebrate in rebuilt Jerusalem “speedily in our days” as we say in the Seder.

Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom and Chag Kasher Ve’Samea’ach!

!שבת שלום וחג כשר ושמח

Posted in Israel news, Judaism | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments