First Read For July 28


On Temple Mount protests persist, then peaceful prayers

Muslim rioters threw rocks at police officers near Jerusalem’s Lions’ Gate, breaking the relative calm of a day that followed recent unrest over security at the Temple Mount.

Police fired stun grenades into the hostile crowds, Ynet reported Friday, as Israel deployed a huge security force to keep the peace and thousands of Muslim worshipers gathered for Friday prayers.

Israeli authorities restricted entrance to the Old City and Temple Mount to men over 50 years old and women only.

Later reports said the Friday prayers ended peacefully, and worshippers left the area without chanting protests as they had done earlier.

Also this week, several dozen prominent national-religious rabbis yesterday issued a statement urging Jews to visit the Temple Mount, the Jerusalem Post reports.

The rabbis wrote that it is of great merit to visit the Temple Mount and that such visits bolster the Jewish people’s claim to it.

Former dean of New Haven yeshiva charged with sexual assault

Rabbi Daniel Greer, former dean of a yeshiva in New Haven, Conn., has been charged with sexually assaulting a student just a few months after a federal jury awarded his alleged victim $15 million in a civil case, the Hartford Courant reports. He is charged with second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, New Haven police spokesman David Hartman said.

The victim, a high school student at Yeshiva of New Haven at the time of the alleged crime, the early to mid-2000s, alleges that he was the victim of several sexual assaults by the rabbi.

Netanyahu proposes settlements tradeoff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a proposal under which Israel would annex some West Bank settlements in return for relinquishing some Arab cities in Israel to Palestinian control, the Times of Israel reports. During a meeting with President Trump’s special adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt, Netanyahu reportedly suggested that jurisdiction of several Israeli Arab villages in the Wadi Ara region could be transferred to Palestinian control in exchange for Israel annexing Jewish settlements in the Gush Etzion bloc in the West Bank.

On Wednesday, the prime minister indicated that he would give his backing for a bill to absorb four West Bank settlements and a settlement bloc into the Jerusalem municipality, while also removing around 100,000 Palestinians from the city’s census.The settlements in question are Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Beitar Illit and Efrat, along with the Etzion bloc of settlements.

Hitler exhibit opens in wartime Berlin bunker

More than 70 years after Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker in the final days of World War II, an exhibition in the capital examines how he became a Nazi and what turned ordinary Germans into murderers during the Third Reich, according to the Jerusalem Post. The exhibition “Hitler – how could it happen” is set in a bunker in Berlin that was used by civilians during wartime bombing raids – close to the bunker where Hitler lived while Berlin was being bombed and which is not accessible to the public.

It examines Hitler’s life from his childhood in Austria and time as a painter to his experience as a soldier during World War One and his subsequent rise to power. Other exhibits focus on concentration camps, pogroms and the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews.

Iconic Einstein ‘tongue’ photo brings $125,000 at auction

In more art news, the famous photo of Albert Einstein, sticking out his tongue at a photographer and signed by the renowned scientist, has been sold for $125,000, according to JTA. The buyer was not revealed.

Montreal rabbis turn to WhatsApp to gather Kaddish minyans

Several Montreal rabbis and other members of the city’s Jewish community have started to use a new WhatsApp group chat-‘Bereavement Minyan’—to arrange a minyan on short notice for the burial of a total stranger, according to The messaging app allows its originator and manager, Rabbi Levi New of Hampstead, Quebec, to contact his network of volunteers to garner a minyan.

Montreal is not alone in this, the website reports. In recent months, strangers in the U.S. and Israel have responded to similar calls for a prayer quorum on behalf of complete strangers.

Israeli transgender officer is army’s LGBT advocate

Shachar Erez, an Israeli Army soldier who five years ago told her commanding officer that she identified as a man, has “become an international ambassador of sorts for the Israel Defence Forces on LGBT rights after becoming its first and highest-ranking openly transgender officer, the Toronto Star reports. Erez was in Ottawa recently to meet senior officials in the Canadian Forces, who are still “in the throes of wrestling with their own policy on transgender issues in the military.”

Erez is featured on the Israeli military’s website, accompanied by the remarks of a brigadier general in charge of LGBT policy. “The main issue is that it’s really not an issue,” Brig.-Gen. Rachel Tevet-Weisel writes. “Today in the army we don’t ask anyone about his or her sexual preferences. It’s not an issue in term of recruitment, it’s not an issue in terms of where they are going to serve, it’s not our business — it’s only their business.”

JTA reporting contributed to this report.