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May 19, 2017     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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May 19, 2017

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 19, 2017 PAGE 13A White House: Trump staffer's Western Wall comment do not reflect administration policy WASHINGTON (JTA)--Re- ported remarks by aTrump ad- ministration official rejecting Israel's claim to the Western Wall were "unauthorized" and do not represent the position of President Donald Trump, the White House said. "The comments about the Western Wall were not autho- rized communication and they do not represent the position of the United States and certainly not of the president," a White House official told JTA. The remark that the West- ernWall "is not your territory, it's part of the West Bank" re- portedly arose during conver- sations between an advance team planning Trump'svisit to Israel next week and officials in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office. Netanyahu wanted to join Trump on his visit to the Wall, which is unprecedented for a sitting president. According to a report by Israel's Channel 2, the Israeli delegationwas so angry by the remark that members started shouting. An Israeli official told the station that the Jewish state was"convincedthat this state- ment contradicts President Trump's policy as expressed in his fierce opposition to the latest [United Nations] Secu- rity Council resolution" and that it had asked the United States for clarification on the comment. In December, the U.N. SecuxityCouncil passed an anti-settlement resolution with the U.S. abstaining. Trump slammed President Barack Obama for not veto- ing the measure, calling it "extremely unfair." Trump had said during his campaign he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusa- lem, which would effectively recognize the city as Israel's capital. He has since retreated from that pledge and is still contemplating the move. Adeisons to answer ques- tions in corruption case against Netanyahu JERUSALEM (JTA)--Jew- ish billionaire philanthropist Sheldon Adelson and his wife will testify in Israel in a cor- ruption investigation into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel's Channel 2 news first reported Sunday evening that the Adelsons will testify next week during their visit to Israel. The couple is arriving in Israel ahead of the visit by President Donald Trump on May 22-23, andwill remain for a few days afterward, at which time they will testify. Adelson and his wife, Miriam, agreed to testify in the investigation into the so-called Case 2000 after being assured that they were not suspected of wrongdoing. Adelson, a casino magnate, is the owner of the pro- Netanyahu daily newspaper Israel Hayom, which is dis- tributed for free. Part of the case includes accusations that Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, publisher of the daily Yediot Acharanot, discussed a deal inowhich Netanyahu would receive favorable coverage in Yediot in exchange for legisla- tion that would cut into the circulation of Adelson's paper. Channel 2 reported that investigators will ask the Adel- sons if they were aware of the deal. Miriam Adelson report- edly deals with the couple's Israeli affairs. The couple is considered to be close friends of the Netanyahus. Sheldon Adelson, a major giver to Republican candi- dates, endorsed Trump when it was clear the reality TV star and real estate magnate would be the party's nominee. He subsequently donated tens of millions of dollars to the Trump election campaign, and later gave a record $5 million to fund inauguration celebrations. Trump considering how moving embassy to Jeru- salem would affect peace process (JTA)--President Donald Trump is considering how moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from TelAvivwould affect the peace process, ac- cording to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "The president, I think rightly, has taken a very deliberative approach to un- derstanding the issue itself, listening to input from all the interested parties in the region and understanding what such a move in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have," Tillerson said at the end of.a nearly 15-minute interview Sunday morning on NBC's "Meet the Press." "As you know, the president has recently expressed his view that he wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we can- not advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine." Tillerson added that the de- cision "will be informed by the parties involved in the talks." He said one factor would be "whether Israel views it as helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction." The Israeli Prime Minister's Office later responded to Til- lerson's statement. "Not only will the transfer of the embassy not harm the peace process, but quite the opposite," the statement said. "It will advance it by correct- ing a historic injustice and by smashing the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel." Osama bin Laden's son calls for attacks on Jewish targets (JTA)--A son of Osama bin Laden called on Muslims and followers of al-Qaida to carry out ~ittacks on Jewish targets around the world. In a 10-minute video re- leased over the weekend, Hamza bin Laden urged Mus- lims in"America, theWestand occupied Palestine" to carry out the attacks where they are. The video includes clips of terrorist attacks that have been perpetrated around the world, including in Israel. Bin Laden opines that it is not necessary, or even prefer- able, to travel to Syria and join the Islamic State. "Know that inflicting pun- ishment on Jews and crusad- ers where you are present is more vexing and severe for the enemy," he said. He said American and NATO targets are appropriate where there are no Jewish targets. Monument to non-Jewish Polish resistance fighter unveiled in Warsaw (JTA)--A monument to a non-Jewish Polish Army offi- cer who reported on atrocities at Auschwitz after allowing himself to be captured and later fought in the resistance was unveiled in Warsaw. Saturday's honor for Capt. Witold Pilecki came in the presence of his son and daughter and other descen- dants, The Associated Press reported. Pilecki allowed himself to be captured by German troops in 1940 in order to provide the anti-Nazi underground and their allies with reports fromAuschwitz. Hewrote and smuggled out reports on the death camp to his superiors before fleeing in April 1943, heading to Warsaw and fight- ing in the Polish resistance. After the war Pilecki went to Italy before returning to Soviet-dominated Poland, where hewas executed in 1948 for espionage and treason by the communist authorities. His body was buried in a mass grave. ADL to train staff of Mexico's US consulates on how to help attack victims RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA)-- The Anti-Defamation League willtrain the staff of Mexico's 50 consulates in the United States on how to assist nation- als who are victims of attacks and harassment. "Through our regional of- fices we are the first to be called in case of a hate crime," ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said at a Friday news conference in Mexico City, the Elance Judio news website reported. "When a synagogue is defaced, when a Jewish person is assaulted, but also when black person is at- tacked or a Latino or a Hispanic person, often we get a call. "We hope to share our expertise, to do hands-on training, to make it easier for Mexican consular officials to handle the incoming calls, to prepare their staff to reach out to understand what's happen- ing and track the information more effectively." Several Mexican consulates have recently reached out to ADL to help deal with an increase in attacks against Mexicans and Americans of Mexican background. "Many of the immigrants who are citizens orwho are not yet citizens are afraid to call the authorities. They are afraid of the questions.., for this reason they call the consulates. Am- bassador [Geronimo] Gutier- rez is very enthusiastic," said Greenblatt, who also praised Mexican President Enrique PenaNieto for his commitment to supporting his country's Jewish community. "This robust collaboration will allow your government to do its job to protect your own citizens and compatriots abroad and syncs with our mission, which is to fight discrimination." On May 21, Mexican-Jewish diplomat Andres Roemer, who was fired from his ambassador position for walking out of an anti-Israel vote at UNESCO in October, will receive the Inter- national Sephardic Leader- ship Award from the American Sephardic Federation. In March, the mayor of Mexico City laid the founda- tion stone of a Jewish com- munity center slated to cost nearly $5.3 million. Miguel Angel Mancera considered the initiative a sign of trust in the country's growth. Mexico is home to some 50,000 Jews, Latin America's third largest Jewish com- munity after Argentina and Brazil. Jewish mayor in Vir- ginia faces anti-Semitic tweets in aftermath of white supremacist protests (JTA)---The mayor of Char- lottesville, Virginia, was hit with anti-Semitic tweets following protests by white nationalists over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a local park. White supremacist leader Richard Spencer, who at- tended the nearby University of Virginia, led the protests on Saturday--one during the day and another at night with demonstrators holding tiki torches. The Charlottesville City Council had voted to remove the statues of Lee and another Confederate general, Stonewall Jackson, located in a different park. A court injunctionwill halt the action for six months. "What brings us together is that we are white, we are a people, we will not be re- placed!" Spencer said during the daytime protest. Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer, who is Jewish, issued a statement published Satur- day on Facebook criticizing the protesters, calling them "profoundly ignorant." "This event involving torch- es at night in Lee Park was either profoundly ignorant or was designed to instill fear in our minority populations in a way that hearkens back to the days of the KKK," Signer wrote on his Facebook page. "Either way, as mayor of this City, I want everyone to know this: we reject this intimida- tion.We are awelcoming City, but ;uch intolerance is not welome here." Tte statement sparked anti-Semitic and racist com- mens on Twitter. One tweet, frorrthe account of someone callhg themselves Great Patrbt Trump, read "I smell Jew. f so, you are going back to Isnel. But you will not stay in poaer here. Not for long." Si ner responded: "Here is wiat this great country facesn this age of@realDon- aldTump--a sitting mayor subjeted to anti-Semitism. I will nt be intimidated." Siner told Reuters that the rotests came on the day the ,ity marked its annual Festipal of Cultures celebrat- ing= dversity. "Y,u're seeing anti-Sem- itisn~ in these crazy tweets I'm t tting and you're seeing a dis)lay of torches at night, whica is reminiscent of the KKK," Signer told Reuters. "They're sort of a last gasp of the bigotry that this country has systematically overcome." Parents of American- born terror victim in Israel sue to recover damages (JTA)--The parents of an American-born yeshiva stu- dent who was shot to death in 1996 at a West Bank bus stop have sued to recover the $156 million in damages they were awarded by a U.S. jury in a landmark verdict. On Friday, Stanley and Joyce Boim filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago against two U.S. Palestinian groups based in the city--American Muslims for Palestine and Americans for Justice in Pal- estine Educational Founda- tion-who they claim are the "alter egos" of three Islamic fundraising groups that were found guilty in December 2004 of funding the terrorism that led to the death of their 17-year-old son, David, near the city of Beit El. One of the Boims' law- yers, Stephen Landes, said Friday that the family has received only a small piece of the award, the Chicago Tribune reported, because the defendants claimed they had ceased operations and did not have the money to pay the judgment. Landed said the groups named in the suit formed shortly afterward, with many of the same leaders. "The Anti-Terrorism Act can't be set aside simply by rebranding yourself," he told Reuters. The Boims, U.S. citizens who moved to Jerusalem some three decades ago, were awarded the $156 million to be paid by the Islamic As- sociation for Palestine, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the Quranic Literacy Institute and Muhammad Salah, a Palestinian-American who was acquitted of terrorist charges in the U.S. but spent 4 1/2 years in Israeli prison for bankrolling terrorism. The verdict was the first by a jury holding U.S. citizens or organizations liable under a federal law that allows victims of terrorism to sue for civil damages. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court Of Appeals upheld the judg= ment in 2008. U.S. Palestinian organiza- tions say they have no rela- tionship with groups outside the United States, including the four thatwere found guilty of funding terrorism. "It's a frivolous lawsuit," American Muslims for Pales- tine Chairman Hatem Bazian told Reuters. "They are using the Islamophobic environ- mentwe are in to try to tarnish and defame an organization that is in good standing, and has been working diligently to provide a perspective on the Palestine cause to the American public." Fire seriously damages historic Lower East Side synagogue (JTA)--A fire seriously damaged a historic synagogue on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The Sunday evening blaze at Beth Hamedrash Hagadol burned for several hours and took at least two hours for firefighters to bring under control, according to reports. It burned for several hours afterward. It is not clear how the fire started, according to reports. An investigation will be led by the fire marshal, though the fire chief has said the blaze started inside the building, NBC New York reported. The Gothic=style building was empty at the time of the fire. Two firefighters report- edly were injured trying bring it under control. Built in 1850 as a Baptist church, the building was purchased in 1885 to become the first Eastern European congregation founded in New York City and served Russian Jews. The congregation closed the synagogue in 2007 after determining it did not have the $3 million to $4 million needed for repairs. In 1967, the building was declared a city landmark, and in 2003 it was designated an endangered historic site. Local residents told the New York Post that another fire had broken out in the building last week, though: it was not confirmed by the newspaper. The synagogue in recent years has sought to "de- landmark" the building, allowing for condominiums to be built on the site, with a small synagogue to be built on the ground floor. Palestlnlans marking 'catastrophe' of Israel's founding clash with troops JERUSALEM (JTA)-- Clashes broke out near Ra- mallah between Palestinians marking Nakba Day, referring to their perception of Israel's founding as a catastrophe, and Israeli troops. Eleven Palestinians were injured Monday in the fight- ing at a checkpoint near the seat of the Palestinian Au- thority after Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets and used other riot control measures in response to dozens of Palestinian youths throwing rocks at them. Thousands of Palestinians marched through Ramallah carrying Palestinian flags and waving keys to symbolize their former homes in Israel before 1948. ~ ..... ~: Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as Arabs around the world held rallies, marches and candle- light vigils to mark the day, which is marked each year on May 15. Each year, a siren is sounded throughout the West Bank for one second for every year since the Nakba. This year, a siren was sounded for 69 seconds as cars stopped and people stood at attention. On Sunday Marwan Bargh- outi, the high-profile Palestin- ian prisoner leading a hunger strike, issued a letter calling on Palestinians to carry out acts of "civil disobedience" on Nakba Day. Gaza Palestinian fishing boats on Sunday night and Monday attempted to breach a buffer zone of Israel's coast set up by Israel's Navy. The boats were fired on Monday morn- ing, leading to the death of one of the Palestinian fishermen, according to the Palestinians' Maan news agency. Saeb Erekat, the PLO's secretary-general and the chief Palestinian peace negotiator, in a statement issued Sunday said that Israeli recognition and apology for the Nakba were a necessary condition"to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine." "We call upon the Israeli government to open all its 1948 archives and show their own nation the truth of what was done to our people, including its ethnic cleans- ing policies and the policy of shooting to kill Palestinians that attempted to return home," Erekat said. He also called on Britain to apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration that led to the creation of a Jewish state.