ISRAEL STRIKES SYRIAN ARMY BASES AFTER
GOLAN HEIGHTS ATTACKS
Israeli aircraft struck Syrian military targets on Monday, the Israeli army confirmed in a rare statement. Syrian state media acknowledged the strikes, reporting unspecified "material damage" at military outposts near the capital Damascus. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it was retaliation for a bombing attempt.
The IDF said earlier it had killed four men planting explosives at the perimeter of the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights late on Sunday. The Israeli military said the cell had crossed into a section of Israeli territory but outside the border fence.
Surveillance footage of the moment Israeli forces opened fired showed the group engulfed in an explosion.
Military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said it was too soon to say if the men belonged to a specific organisation, but that Israel held "the Syrian regime accountable".
Monday's attack targeted "observation posts and intelligence collection systems, anti-aircraft artillery facilities and command and control systems" in Syrian army bases in Qunaitra, the IDF said.
"The IDF holds the Syrian government responsible for all activities on Syrian soil, and will continue operating with determination against any violation of Israeli sovereignty," the statement added.
Syria's official news agency Sana reported that the Syrian army had activated its air defences late on Monday against "hostile targets" near the capital Damascus.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that dawn air raids on the city of Boukamal, near the Iraqi border in the northeast, had killed 15 people.
Tensions have been rising between rivals Israel and Syria, particularly along Israel's northern frontier, since an apparent Israeli air strike killed a Hezbollah fighter in Syria two weeks ago.
Israel had anticipated that the Iranian-backed Lebanese group would retaliate. –BBCi
AGUDATH ISRAEL STATEMENT REGARDING PARTICIPATION
IN THE 2020 CENSUS
Every 10 years the United States Government is required by law to conduct a census of everyone living within its borders. The 2020 United States Census is currently underway.
It is of the utmost importance for the good of the community that we fully participate in this project. Filling out the census form should take only a few short minutes, but its impact could be felt for years to come.
The results of the census directly impact our communities in a variety of ways.
Over three hundred Federal Government programs (such as Medicare, SNAP and Unemployment Insurance, and a variety of federal education programs that benefit nonpublic schools including yeshivos) have their funding levels determined at least in part based on the results of the census.
Additionally, our community’s representation in Congress and in state and local legislative bodies may be directly tied to our population size based on census data. The only way we can ensure our issues are prioritized in government is through adequate representation.
Agudath Israel highly encourages all who care about our community, its growth, and its representation, to participate in this year’s census.
For more information about the census, including assistance in filling it out,
please call 212-797-9000 ext. 218, email firstname.lastname@example.org,
COMBAT ANTI-SEMITISM MOVEMENT WELCOMES SPAIN’S ADOPTION OF IHRA ANTI-SEMITISM DEFINITION
By DAN KOSKY
The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement today welcomed the Spanish government’s endorsement of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism.
Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement Director : “We warmly congratulate the Spanish government on its decision to adopt the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism.
At a time when anti-Semitism is worryingly growing in strength in Europe and across the world, the IHRA definition has never been more important. It is a gold standard which spells out exactly what Jew-hatred looks like, making clear that it has no place in free, democratic and tolerant societies such as Spain.
“The Spanish government’s adoption of the IHRA definition will also resonate beyond its borders. It will encourage additional countries to take the same clear, firm and principled stance that anti-Semitism has no place in today’s world.”
The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement is a non-partisan, global grassroots movement of individuals and organizations, across all religions and faiths, united around the goal of ending anti-Semitism in all its forms. Since its launching in February 2019, 260 organizations and 270,000 individuals have joined the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement by signing the campaign’s pledge.
The CAM Pledge draws upon the IHRA international definition of anti- Semitism and its list of specific behaviors used to discriminate against the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel.
TIKTOK SHUNS DIASPORA AFFAIRS COMMITTEE MEETING ON
ANTI-SEMITIC CONTENT ONLINE
By YIGAL AMITAY
While Google, Facebook and Twitter all sent representatives to Monday's meeting of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs on anti-Semitic content online, TikTok refused to send a representative.
Committee Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) stressed that Israel must work to remove all anti-Semitic and anti-Israel content from the Internet, and called on the Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Foreign Minister to meet with the heads of the social networks in order instill in them the importance of removing such content.
MK Bitan decided to establish an interministerial committee that will work with Google, Twitter, Facebook, the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and the Ministry of Strategic Affairs to determine the guidelines for the swift removal of anti-Semitic material. MK Bitan demanded that the interministerial committee establish a policy for lodging complaints, rather than wait for the companies to take action.
MK Michal Wunsh (Blue and White) said the social networks employ a double standard policy when it comes to Israel. “They allow people to say 'Israeli' or 'Zionist' instead of 'Jewish,' and allow people to post everything they would not dare say against Jews," she said. “The companies' declared policy is not enough. The problem is that this policy is not implemented."
In response, Jordana Cutler, head of policy at Facebook Israel, said “over the past few years we've come a long way in the removal of anti-Semitic content from our network. We use both artificial intelligence and people. In many cases, particularly when they involve hate speech, we use people to check the results of the artificial intelligence. 88% of the hate speech is removed before people see it."
Cutler said Facebook regularly holds roundtable discussions with representatives of Jewish communities around the world, as well as with representatives of Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress, to hear about their experiences and improve Facebook's measures. She denied claims that Facebook is less tolerant when it comes to anti-Muslim or homophobic posts. Cutler cited a recent report published by the European Commission according to which Facebook assessed 95.7% of hate speech notifications in less than 24 hours. Ministry of Strategic Affairs Director-General Ronen Manelis rejected the data, arguing that these notifications include all racist notifications. The European Commission did not provide a separate assessment of the social networks' handling of anti-Semitic content, he said.
Manelis presented a plan for continuing Israel's fight against anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel online. The plan calls to establish an interministerial forum that will spearhead the efforts on behalf of the State of Israel. The forum will include representatives from the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the Foreign Ministry, Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs. He also suggested a series of demands from the social networks that will compel them to deal with them phenomenon effectively: set a clear policy for tracking and identifying anti-Semitic and delegitimizing discourse, increase enforcement and increase transparency in reporting on the measures taken to combat the phenomenon.
Noa Elefant Loffler, Senior Policy Manager at Google, said “the distinction is between legitimate criticism about the existence of the State of Israel, even if we do not like it, and calls to harm Israelis. Calls to harm Israelis is the more problematic of the two."
FIDF RAISES 16M FOR 1,000 NEW IMPACT! STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS
NEW YORK, NY – Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) held a virtual celebration, “The Impact of IMPACT!,” in honor of FIDF’s IMPACT! scholarship program reaching its chai milestone – 18 years of life-changing support. This first-ever online FIDF IMPACT! event took place yesterday. A total of some 1,000 new IMPACT! scholarships were raised surrounding the event, the sum total of which comprises some $16 million.
The event featured Israel’s representative at the Eurovision Song Contest Eden Alene, Israeli singer Idan Amedi, and Fauda actor, Yaakov Zada Daniel, a graduate of the FIDF IMPACT! program. During the event, FIDF presented personal success stories of the program's graduates, including Mahmoud Shenan, Director of the Druze Heritage Center; Dr. Amit Zabtani, who specializes in orthopedic surgery at Sheba Tel Hashomer Hospital; and Liran Schlack, a doctoral student, scientist, and researcher at the Weizmann Institute.
Also participating in the festive event were Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Lt. Gen. (Res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, who donated a scholarship during the event; Israel’s Education Minister Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yoav Galant; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; Director of the FIDF IMPACT! Program, Orna Pesach; and businesswoman Melanie Bronfman, who donated 18 new student scholarships at the event.
Israeli President Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin, and the Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Lt. Gen. (Res.) Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, sent recorded videos congratulating the students and graduates on their successes, determination, and deep contributions to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the State of Israel.
FIDF’s four-year scholarships are given to former combat soldiers from lower socio-economic backgrounds, enabling them to achieve their dreams of higher education. This one-of-a-kind program also provides funds to cover soldiers’ living expenses while they study and gives them the unique benefit of direct contact with their FIDF sponsors.
Since the program’s founding in 2002, FIDF has sponsored students from 66 countries of origin. Over 92% of IMPACT! recipients graduate successfully compared to the Israeli national average of 70-81% graduation rate. With the success of the program, some 16,130 students and alumni are represented in nearly every field, and dozens are now donors themselves.
In addition, each scholarship recipient completes 130 hours of community service during each year of their scholarship as a way to give back and help others. Since the inception of the program, IMPACT! students have volunteered over 6.1 million hours of community service, making it the #1 scholarship program in providing community service in Israel.
FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir said, "The IMPACT! scholarship program honors the crucial contributions of IDF combat soldiers to the security of Israel and its citizens, provides equal education opportunity to those with limited financial resources, reduces social disparities, and promotes a more equal society. We are happy and proud to celebrate 18 years of this special program, together with our current students, alumni, donors, and partners in academia and the larger community. I would like to thank the thousands of donors to FIDF and its IMPACT! scholarship program. Beyond the individual gratitude to Israel’s soldiers, this program serves as a bridge connecting American communities to the State of Israel and the IDF.”
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