Senate Urges WH Action On JCC Threats; Christians Launch Pro-Israel TV; Jewish-Gypsy Cooperation In Hungary


Senate urges White House action on JCC threats

In a rare display of bipartisanship, every member of the Senate yesterday signed an open letter to the Trump administration demanding that the White House take action to address the ongoing surge in anti-Semitic incidents throughout the country.

According to the Times of Israel, the letter, will be sent to the heads of multiple government agencies, came amidst a sixth wave of bomb threats to Jewish community centers across North America, as well as several offices of the Anti-Defamation League.

“These cowardly acts aim to create an atmosphere of fear and disrupt the important programs and services offered by JCCs to everyone in the communities they serve, including in our states,” the 100 senators said in their appeal.

Jewish-Gypsy cooperation in Hungary

Members of Hungary’s minority Jewish and Roma (Gypsy) communities are finding common ground at an avant-garde Jewish community center in Budapest.

The Aurora center, located in a poor neighborhood of the capital, has in the last three years “become one of the city’s hippest coffee bars – and a major hub for social and opposition activists fighting the policies of Hungary’s right-wing government,” JTA reports.

The Jewish-Roma partnership at Aurora is unusual in a country where the two minorities rarely act in unison, according to Eszter Hajdu, a Hungarian filmmaker who has studied that relationship.

French Jewish historian acquitted on anti-Arab charge

A French court yesterday acquitted Jewish historian Georges Bensoussan of hate speech charges over his assertion that Arabs receive anti-Semitism with their “mother’s milk,” JTA reports.

The decision of 17th Criminal Tribunal of Paris ended a polarizing trial that observers regarded as a significant test case for determining the boundaries of academic freedom amid growing inter-ethnic tensions.

Bensoussan, a scholar on the Holocaust and one of the world’s leading historians on Jewish communities in Arab territories, was put on trial in December after a Muslim lobby group and a French human rights organization that was founded by Jews in the 1920s initiated a criminal lawsuit against him for the statement he made during an interview for a radio station in 2012.

Christians launch pro-Israel TV series

A partnership of Christians groups has created a series called “Why Israel Matters” to “set the record straight on Israel and the Jewish state,” the Jerusalem Post reports. Christians in Defense of Israel, Liberty Counsel and the Trinity Broadcasting Network produced the 13-part original series that demonstrates the “crucial importance of the Jewish state to Christians, to the United States and to the world in general.”

The second episode aired yesterday.



Are charedi Israelis joining the ‘Start-Up Nation’?

A start-up fair geared to men and women in Israel’s charedi community drew a large crowd last week at the Bank Leumi building in Tel Aviv, the latest sign of a growing entrepreneurial bent in fervently Orthodox circles, the Times of Israel reports.

The second annual event was organized by KamaTech, a nonprofit organization and startup accelerator, “which aims to integrate Haredi men and women into Israel’s high-tech industry,” according to the Times.

“This yearly event is a peak of our activity, to show what they are doing,” Moshe Friedman, the co-founder of KamaTech, said. “The quality of companies is better this time round, with more mature technologies and better business oriented.”

‘Kosher’ a big draw for non-Jewish shoppers

Bonnie Taub-Dix, an author and nutritional consultant, tells consumers in U.S. News that a kosher label on a product indicates health benefits for consumers, even if they are not interested in the product’s spiritual advantages.

“Apparently, plenty of folks of all religions are gravitating toward the label,” she writes.“ According to a report citing data from the market research firm Mintel, ‘kosher’ was the top label claim on new foods and beverages launched in 2014, with 41 percent of such products donning the tag … consumers seem to believe kosher items are safer, since they are produced under stricter supervision than the basic food supply, which is overseen by government inspection.”

Taub-Dix cites the certainty of religious-inspired standards “that will not change,” the knowledge that items marked pareve contain no meat or dairy ingredients, and the absence of “colorants … derived from insects, even though such additives may be considered ‘natural’ in other products.

President Bush honored for role in Ethiopian airlift

A Houston foundation that fights anti-Semitism will today honor former President George H.W. Bush for supporting several humanitarian causes, notably the secret emigration of Ethiopian Jews, KPRC TV in Houston reports.

According to the television station, Bush and his wife Barbara are to receive the annual “Mensch Award” from the Hungarian-based Mensch International Foundation, which was founded by philanthropist Steven Geiger “to develop an educational curriculum to stamp-out stereotyping and anti-Semitic and racist thinking

Bush played an active role in secret airlifts of Ethiopia’s threatened Jewish community in 1984 and 1991.

Iran blocks Israeli-developed Waza app

Iran has temporary blocked access to Waze, a GPS-based geographical navigation application due to its Israeli background, according to the Trend News Agency,  the biggest private news company in Azerbaijan, the Caucasus region and Central Asia.

Access to the app was blocked in recent days, and the Iranian Committee for Determining Offensive Contents is to meet today to discuss the permanent ban of the access to Waze.

Waze, formerly FreeMap Israel was first developed and popularized by the Israeli company Waze Mobile.