Holocaust Survivor, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel Dies at 87
(JNS.org) Holocaust survivor, author, human rights activist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel died at the age of 87, his son Elisha Wiesel said Saturday. Wiesel, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, is well-known for “Night,” the book that tells the story of his family’s experience during the Holocaust. The book became the first work in a trilogy along with “Dawn” and “Day.” Wiesel wrote more than 40 other works of fiction and nonfiction.
The Romanian-born Wiesel, who was 15 when he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944, was also known for his work trying to discover the location of Nazi war criminals in the years following World War II.
Aside from working on Holocaust remembrance, Wiesel has served on the International Council of the Human Rights Foundation, campaigning against apartheid in South Africa, the 1990s genocide in Yugoslavia, and other human rights violations around the world. He worked as a journalist for various publications and campaigned for the immigration of Soviet and Ethiopian Jewry to Israel. He also criticized the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama for pressing Israel to halt construction in Judea and Samaria.
Wiesel, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “gave expression through his exceptional personality, and fascinating books about the victory of the human spirit over cruelty and evil. In the darkness of the Holocaust in which our brothers and sisters—6 million—were murdered, Elie Wiesel was a ray of light and greatness of humanity who believed in the good in man.”
“I was privileged to know Elie and to learn so much from him,” Netanyahu said.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said in a statement that Wiesel “was more than a revered writer. He was also a teacher for many of us. He taught us about the horrors of Auschwitz. He taught us about Judaism, about Israel, and about not being silent in the face of injustice.”
“Instead of giving in to despair, the face of evil and cruelty that at the time was the darkest of humanity, he carried all the way through the message of tolerance and peace for all peoples of the world,” said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who gave Wiesel the medal of Honorary Citizen of Jerusalem earlier this year, NBC News reported.
Wiesel is survived by his wife, son, stepdaughter, and two grandchildren.
40 Years On, Israel’s Operation Entebbe Inspires Fulfillment of ‘Social Obligations’
(Deborah Danan/JNS.org) Forty years have passed and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog’s memories of Operation Entebbe (also referred to as Operation Yonatan or Operation Thunderbolt) run the gamut. Perhaps it’s from something as innocuous as chewing a piece of gum or the pain of witnessing his friend, Yoni Netanyahu—the hero after whom the successful military counter-terrorism hostage rescue mission is named—die.
Almog recalls sitting on the plane en-route from Ben Gurion Airport to save the hostages in Entebbe, Uganda, alongside his subordinates, the IDF special forces unit he commanded, and a Mercedes limousine that had been sprayed black to look like the one that former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin traveled in. The plan was to fake Amin’s return to Entebbe from a diplomatic trip in order to infiltrate the airport terminals and free the 106 people being held hostage there. But there was one problem: The airborne limo was leaking gas. “So we blocked the hole with chewing gum,” Almog said.
Almog describes the July 4, 1976, hostage-rescue mission as being a “one-of-a-kind military operation.”
“The mission showed the commitment, determination, and dedication of the State of Israel for any Jew, anywhere in the world, whose life is in danger. This is what has characterized the Jewish people all through their history—that we are all responsible for one another,” he said.
Almog took that lesson from Entebbe and turned it into his lifelong calling. Partnering with Jewish National Fund (JNF), in 2003, Almog established Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran, a sprawling rehabilitative village for people with severe physical and cognitive disabilities. Aleh Negev is home to 220 residents and provides services to 12,000 outpatients annually. The 25-acre village empowers people with severe disabilities—who may have otherwise spent their lives confined in institutions or hospitals—to interact with the outside world and live with dignity.
Israeli Government to Deduct Palestinian Terror Funding From Tax Transfers
(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday announced measures to stop the Palestinian Authority (PA) from financially supporting terrorists and their families by deducting money from its monthly tax transfers to the PA.
“The Palestinian Authority transfers funds to terrorists by various laundering methods; the more severe the acts of terrorism, the greater the amount of funds,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement, adding, “Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered that the entire amount of support for terrorists and their families be deducted from the tax revenues that Israel transfers monthly to the Palestinian Authority.”
The move comes following two deadly terror attacks against Israelis within a 48-hour period in the Judea region near Hebron, killing 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel and 48-year-old Rabbi Michael Mark.
Jared Kushner Responds
to Open Letter on Donald Trump’s ‘Star of David’ Tweet
(JNS.org) A Jewish writer for the Observer, a news outlet owned by Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner, wrote an open letter to Kushner challenging him over his “tacit approval” of the Trump campaign’s culture of anti-Semitism.
The letter by Dana Schwartz—titled “An Open Letter to Jared Kushner, From One of Your Jewish Employees”—addressed a tweet from the Trump campaign on Saturday showing an image of Trump’s presumed Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, against a background of bills behind her and the words “most corrupt candidate ever” interposed inside a red six-pointed star that many critics claim represents the Jewish Star of David and the classic anti-Semitic association between Jews and money. The tweet was deleted a few hours after it was posted, and the same image was reposted with a red circle instead of a star.
Kushner, whose wife Ivanka Trump converted to Orthodox Judaism before her marriage to the media mogul, responded to Schwartz’s letter in a statement, saying his father-in-law “is an incredibly loving and tolerant person who has embraced my family and our Judaism since I began dating my wife.”
“I know that Donald does not at all subscribe to any racist or anti-Semitic thinking. I have personally seen him embrace people of all racial and religious backgrounds. The suggestion that he may be intolerant is not reflective of the Donald Trump I know,” Kushner said.
Israel Learns of Hamas Tunnel Locations by Uncovering Cash-Smuggling Ring
(JNS.org) Israel’s Shin Bet security agency and Israel Police on Tuesday announced that they have gained intelligence on underground tunnel locations in Gaza as a result of June’s arrest of two Gazans who were smuggling cash into Judea and Samaria for the Hamas terror group.
Faiz Attar, 65, worked as a courier by smuggling tens of thousands of euros hidden in his shoes. Attar’s family was also involved with Hamas by digging cross-border tunnels and using a private home for Hamas meetings.
“The investigation revealed information about the openings of tunnels that were located, for the most part, under civilian structures such as innocent residences and mosques, as well as about launching points for rockets that were located close to civilian structures, thus endangering the civilian population in the Gaza Strip,” the Shin Bet said.
The second suspect, 27-year-old Itallah Sarhan, was caught trying to smuggle 10,000 euros in his shoes. Sarhan also worked as a truck driver for a company that cleared sand from tunnel-digging sites for Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Investigators learned about several tunnel excavation sites through Sarhan’s interrogation.
“He divulged considerable information about openings of tunnel shafts including their exact locations and conditions, and the terrorist organizations responsible,” the Shin Bet said, adding, “The State of Israel allows, on a monthly basis, the entry of thousands of residents of the Gaza Strip for humanitarian medical and other needs. More than once, terrorist elements have exploited these permit holders for illegal purposes including the transfer of cash for terrorism.”
U.K. Labour Party Reinstates Lawmaker Suspended for Anti-Semitic Comment
(JNS.org) British Member of Parliament (MP) Naz Shah—who was suspended in April from the Labour Party for suggesting that Israel should be relocated to the United States as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—has been reinstated, a local party spokesman said.
Before her suspension, Shah had apologized in the British parliament for her remark. Nevertheless, the comment sparked an anti-Semitism scandal that resulted in the suspension of at least 50 other Labour members. The scandal extended to former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who was suspended for saying in a BBC interview that Hitler had supported Zionism.
“We’re simply confirming [Shah] has been reinstated,” the Labour spokesman said, Reuters reported.
Last week, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn criticized Livingstone when he testified to British lawmakers about an inquiry into anti-Semitism within his party. But Corbyn faced renewed criticism for apparently comparing Israel to the Islamic State terror group in his testimony.
“Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel than our Muslim friends are for the self-styled Islamic State,” said Corbyn, whose Labour leadership was called into question after his party’s MPs gave him a no-confidence vote by a margin of 172-40 last week. Just days earlier, almost all of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet resigned following the United Kingdom’s referendum decision to leave the European Union.