ADL Welcomes Announcement That Israeli Judokas Can Participate in UAE Tournament Under Their Own Flag

ADL Welcomes Announcement That Isra…

ADL today welcomed the In...

Israel and Gaza: How did we get here?

Israel and Gaza: How did we get her…

For months, there has bee...

The IDF’s Humanitarian Aid Through the Years

The IDF’s Humanitarian Aid Through …

The IDF values human life...

PM Netanyahu and his wife Sara attend Ponary memorial ceremony

PM Netanyahu and his wife Sara atte…

Standing here today we re...

World Jewish Congress mourns death of Kofi Annan, a ‘tour de force’ within the United Nations

World Jewish Congress mourns death …

The World Jewish Congress...

PM Netanyahu meets with US National Security Adviser John Bolton

PM Netanyahu meets with US National…

I believe that President ...

World Jewish Congress condemns 'disgraceful' neo-Nazi march in Washington: 'Hatred and extremism cannot be allowed to tear the fabric of our society apart'

World Jewish Congress condemns 'dis…

NEW YORK – The World Jewi...

Israel Under Attack

Israel Under Attack

Hamas began shooting proj...

Sniper in Gaza Kills IDF Staff Sergeant Aviv Levi

Sniper in Gaza Kills IDF Staff Serg…

Once again, violent riots...

Tell United Nations To Condemn Hamas’ Environmental War Crimes!

Tell United Nations To Condemn Hama…

We call upon Mr. Erik Sol...

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ADL Welcomes Announcement That Israeli Judokas Can Participate in UAE Tournament Under Their Own Flag

ADL today welcomed the International Judo Federation’s announcement that the UAE Judo Federation has confirmed to the IJF in an official letter that all nations participating in Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament next month will be permitted to do so under equal conditions.

The IJF indicated that “the historic decision will thus allow all nations to display their national insignia and national anthem, including Israel”.
At the 2017 tournament, the UAE organizer did not permit Israeli judokas to participate under the Israeli flag and barred the playing of the Israeli national anthem at medal ceremonies.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director, issued the following statement in response to the decision:

Confirmation that Israeli athletes will be permitted to participate openly, under their own flag, in the upcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament is welcome news.

ADL has long urged that international sporting federations ensure that Israeli participants are treated in the same manner as all other competitors. Last year, I conveyed ADL’s strong concerns to IJF President Marius Vizer that the Federation take action against any discrimination against Israeli participants by the local organizers, insisting “the IJF (must) intervene in this matter and ensure, under the risk of penalty, that the Israeli delegation is treated fairly and equally to other countries, and its athletes be allowed to compete under their flag and country name.’

After Israeli judoka Tal Flicker won a gold medal at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, it was deeply painful watching him have to mouth the words to the Israeli anthem Hatikva while his hosts insisted on playing the IJF’s anthem instead. If another Israeli athlete wins the gold again in Abu Dhabi next month, I am optimistic that the organizers will play the right anthem this time.

The Anti-Defamation League looks forward to monitoring the implementation of these important commitments next month and calls on organizers of the Tunis Grand Prix judo tournament, which was also cancelled by the IJF, to take similar remedial steps.

Israel and Gaza: How did we get here?

For months, there has been an escalation of violence along the security fence between Gaza and Israel, including violent riots and the most serious incident since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. In addition to the riots, Hamas operatives began carrying out a new kind of attack, using arson kites and incendiary balloons to set Israeli land ablaze. These incendiary devices heavily impacted Israel’s southern communities, burning more than 8,000 acres of Israeli land and setting about 11 fires each day.

During violent, Hamas-lead riots, a sniper from the Gaza Strip shot and killed IDF Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi. This lead to a wide-scale response, in which IAF fighter jets struck over 60 Hamas terror targets in a strategic campaign to significantly damage Hamas’ combat capabilities.

With tensions rising, it’s leading many to ask how the relationship between Israel and Gaza got to this point.

Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005 after years of attacks on Israeli civilians. All IDF posts were removed and over 9,000 Israeli citizens living in 25 communities were evicted.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was in office at the time, addressed the United Nations General Assembly, expressing hope for a better future for Gazan civilians. “The end of Israeli control over and responsibility for the Gaza Strip allows the Palestinians, if they so wish, to develop their economy and build a peace-seeking society, which is developed, free, law-abiding, and transparent, and which adheres to democratic principles,” he said.

Prior to being evicted, the Jewish communities in Gaza owned thousands of greenhouses and had a flourishing agricultural economy. Upon their eviction, 3,000 of these greenhouses were left to help kick-start Gaza’s economy. Unfortunately, shortly after Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, the greenhouses were looted and some of the equipment was turned into rockets that were subsequently fired at Israel.

Immediately after Hamas was elected into power in 2007, huge amounts of munitions were illegally smuggled into Gaza. This included 31 tons of military grade explosive materials and 14,000 rifles. Additionally, in the first year of Hamas’ reign, hundreds of rockets were fired at Israel. Israel’s Security Cabinet then declared the Gaza Strip a hostile territory.

In the years to follow, Hamas continued to misuse funds and supplies in Gaza. Over $120 million worth of concrete originally intended to develop civilian infrastructure was used to build terror tunnels to infiltrate Israel. These tunnels were used as early as 2006 in the kidnapping of IDF soldier, Sergeant 1st Class Gilad Shalit.

Since then, Hamas has continued to waste concrete on terror tunnels, and in the construction process, has killed more than 400 Palestinians, including at least 160 children. Attempts were made to smuggle weapons into Gaza via the Mediterranean Sea, which led to the imposition of a legal naval blockade. Additionally, rocket and mortar shell fire continued, inflicting wide-spread damage and trauma on Israel’s southern residents in particular, which lead to the development of the Iron Dome aerial defense system.

Today, the relationship between Israel and Gaza remains tense. Yet Gazan civilians are still allowed to enter Israel to receive medical treatment, pray, study, travel, and work on a daily basis. Israel regularly facilitates the transfer of humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, even in times of conflict, including during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Hamas remains accountable for controlling the Gaza Strip, and continues to put its terror-based goals above the needs of its people. They insist on inciting violence and wasting vital supplies on terror activity. The IDF will continue to operate as necessary to safeguard the security needs of the State of Israel, and is ready to defend Israeli civilians and sovereignty.

The IDF’s Humanitarian Aid Through the Years

The IDF values human life and helps those in need, regardless of their location. No matter the disaster, time and time again these humanitarian missions have been carried out quickly and effectively, saving thousands of lives. Over the years, the IDF sent 27 humanitarian missions around the world.

1953: Ionian Islands, Greece

The first humanitarian operation that the IDF carried out was in 1953, when Israel was just five years old. That August, an earthquake hit Greece, taking over 1,000 lives. Israeli Navy ships, which were participating in an exercise in the area, helped the survivors and gave them necessary medical treatment. These sailors paved the way for future IDF humanitarian aid missions.

1975: Cambodia

In 1975, the war between Vietnam and Cambodia created many refugees. An IDF team was sent to the scene, where they stayed for over a month and provided medical care to the displaced persons living in temporary refugee camps on the Cambodian-Thai border.

1985: Mexico City, Mexico

In September 1985, four earthquakes hit Mexico City, the most severe measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale, and took more than 10,000 lives. The IDF sent a delegation of medical and search and rescue teams, consisting of 350 reservists who were called up within three days of the disaster.

1988: Gyumri, Armenia

On December 6, 1988, an earthquake hit northeastern Armenia and killed nearly 60,000 people. The IDF sent rescue workers and medical supplies to Leninakan (now Gyumri), where 80% of the population was left homeless. The Israeli team was able to rescue 14 people, and worked tirelessly to keep the survivors alive until they were moved to hospitals.

1989: Romania

In the weeks leading up to the Romanian revolution, riots left many Romanians in need. On December 12, 1989, the IDF sent a special aid team of doctors and professional surgeons to Romania to help. Israeli Hercules cargo planes delivered eight tons of medical equipment and food, all of which went towards the effort to aid the Romanian people.

1992: Zagreb, Croatia

On April 18, 1992, during the civil war in Bosnia (now Bosnia and Herzegovina), Israel sent 13 tons of humanitarian aid to Zagreb, in nearby Croatia for those suffering as a result of the war.

1994: Buenos Aires, Argentina

On July 18, 1994, Hezbollah operatives committed a massive terror attack on the Asoción Mutual Israelita Argentina (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association), or AMIA, a Jewish organization, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was Argentina’s deadliest bombing, and devastated the Argentine Jewish community, which is one of the biggest in the world. 85 people were killed in the attack, and hundreds more were injured.
A search and rescue team and other IDF teams were sent to Buenos Aires, where they started working as soon as they landed. The IDF delegation developed a new, extremely efficient, and highly advanced search and rescue mechanism.

1994: Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo

On July 23, 1994, the IDF sent a team of 270 personnel on a 40-day-long humanitarian aid operation. They brought equipment, food, and clothes for refugees of the Rwandan Civil War. During the operation, IDF personnel set up a field hospital and supplied much-needed medical care.

1998: Nairobi, Kenya

On August 7, 1998, a car bomb exploded near the US embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Prime Minister of Israel deployed an IDF task force of 170 people, including search and rescue teams and medical experts, to the scene. The IDF task force was the first foreign mission to reach the site, and were able to rescue three survivors.

1999: Macedonia

In 1999, refugees began fleeing to Macedonia as a result of the conflict in Kosovo. On April 6, 1999, the IDF sent an aid delegation of 60 personnel to Macedonia where they built a field hospital with 100 beds. There, Kosovo refugees were able to receive the aid they needed.

1999: İzmit, Turkey

On August 17, 1999, an earthquake, which measured 7.4 on the Richter scale, hit northwestern Turkey. Tens of thousands of buildings collapsed and tens of thousands of people were presumed missing.
The IDF Home Front Command went on a rescue mission to help those in Turkey cope with the aftermath. They rescued 12 survivors, and organized a field hospital where they treated 1,200 wounded people, performed 40 operations, and delivered 15 babies.

1999: Athens, Greece

On September 7, 1999, an earthquake struck Athens. The natural disaster killed 143, injured another 2,000 people, and caused major damage throughout the city and nearby towns.
The IDF sent a delegation to Athens to participate in a search and rescue effort alongside Swiss and French teams. The delegation supplied heavy engineering tools, which enabled the rescue teams to work quickly and efficiently.

2001: Gujarat, India

On January 26, 2001, an earthquake measuring 7.7 Richter scale hit Gujarat, India. The damage killed approximately 20,000 people and injured another 167,000. It also destroyed nearly 400,000 homes, and left 600,000 people homeless.
An IDF delegation of search and rescue soldiers created a 100-bed field hospital near the disaster site. The delegation treated 1,300 injured, performed 52 surgeries, and delivered 12 babies.

2004: Taba, Egypt

On October 7, 2004, a truck drove into the lobby of the Taba Hilton and exploded, killing 31 people and wounding 159. Most of the hotel’s structure collapsed after the explosion.
The IDF delegation, which consisted of Medical Corps and search and rescue teams, worked for three straight days at the site, helping as many people as possible.

2004: Colombo, Sri Lanka

On December 26, 2004, Sri Lanka was hit by a major earthquake and a tsunami, which created deadly flooding and destroyed large areas in Southeast Asia.
The IDF deployed a delegation that consisted of three doctors, a representative from the Search and Rescue Company, and a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The team was able to quickly provide medical supplies and necessities.

2005: New Orleans, United States of America

After seeing the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in August 2005, IDF Chief Medical Officer Brig. Gen. Yeheskel Levy coordinated the transfer of 80 tons of humanitarian aid supplies to the United States of America.

2006: Nairobi, Kenya

On January 24, 2006, a five story building collapsed in Nairobi, Kenya. Israel sent a team of 80 search and rescue personnel to assist with the rescue efforts, under the command of Maj. General Yitzhak Gershon, Chief of the Home Front Command.

2010: Port-au-Prince, Haiti

On January 12, 2010, a major earthquake hit Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Tens of thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced.
The IDF delegation, which was sent to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, saved many people from the ruins and set up field hospitals. There, Israeli medical personnel treated more than 1,110 patients, completed 319 successful surgeries, and delivered 16 babies, including three caesarian sections.

2010: Bogotá, Colombia

After heavy rains hit Colombia in December 2010, widespread flooding affected two million people. Nearly 3,860 square miles of farmland were underwater, and hundreds of people died in the resulting flooding and landslides.
The IDF and Israel’s Ministry of Defense sent a humanitarian aid delegation with approximately 50 tons of equipment, to Colombia, including 20 tons of food, 5,000 medical kits, 2,000 blankets, 1,000 ponchos, 1,000 mattresses, and 100 tents. In addition to the supplies, Israel provided medical care to the victims.

2011: Minamisanriku, Japan

In March 2011, a powerful earthquake off the northeastern coast of Japan’s main island caused major on-land damage and a series of tsunami waves that devastated Japan’s coast.
The IDF Home Front Command and Medical Corps aid delegation was deployed to Minamisanriku. The delegation opened an advanced medical clinic with pediatrics, surgical, maternity, gynecological, and otolaryngology wards, an optometry department, a laboratory, a pharmacy and an intensive care unit. During their humanitarian mission, the IDF Medical Corps physicians treated 220 patients.

2011: Erciş, Turkey

On October 23, 2011, a severe earthquake struck Turkey. More than 570 people were killed and thousands of structures were destroyed.
The IDF focused on treating those who were rescued or evacuated in temporary buildings that were used as rehabilitation centers and field hospitals.

2012: Burgas, Bulgaria

In July 2012, Hezbollah bombed a bus carrying 42 Israelis on its way from the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria to local hotels. The terrorist attack killed the Bulgarian bus driver, as well as five Israelis, and injured 32 others.
The Home Front Command, the Israeli Air Force, and the Medical Corps dispatched an aircraft carrying a medical team to Bulgaria following the terrorist attack. The team provided medical care and helped the injured Israelis return home.

2012: Accra, Ghana

In November 2012, a large department store collapsed in Accra, Ghana. An IDF Home Front Command delegation arrived in Accra to help with the relief effort. The delegation included a team of experts and equipment specifically designed to rescue people trapped under ruins. In all, they rescued 78 people from the debris.

2013: Tacloban City, Philippines

On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines. The storm affected approximately 7 million people. More than 660,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes, and about 320,000 were sheltered in evacuation centers.
A 148-member delegation of Israeli soldiers and officers went to the Philippines in order to provide search, rescue, and medical services in typhoon-struck Bogo City. They quickly established an advanced, multi-department field hospital, equipped with approximately 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies from Israel.

2015: Kathmandu, Nepal

On April 25, 2015, a massive earthquake struck Nepal, killing more than 2,000 and injuring more than 4,700 people. A 260-member IDF delegation was deployed to Kathmandu, Nepal where they provided search and rescue and medical services.
The delegation established a state-of-the-art, multi-department field hospital where they treated 1,600 patients, delivered eight babies, and performed 85 surgeries. In addition to medical treatment, the IDF supplied 95 tons of humanitarian aid equipment to the Nepali people.

2016-2018: Syrian Border, Golan Heights

One night, a wounded Syrian man came to the border seeking medical attention. Little did he, or the soldiers who helped him, know, that this would spark a large-scale humanitarian operation - Operation Good Neighbor.
Through this operation, the IDF provided Syrians in need with medical care, infrastructure, and civilian aid. Over 4,000 people, including 1,409 children, were treated in Israeli hospitals and field hospitals. In one such field hospital, Mazor Ladach, 6,763 people were treated.
Since its inception, the IDF provided Syrians in need with 22 generators, 40 vehicles, 281,798 gallons of fuel, 646 temporary housing units, 1,741.79 tons of food, 48,933 boxes of baby formula, 8,173 packages of diapers, 350 tons of clothing, and 14,000 hygienic products. Furthermore, the IDF supplied 2,124 containers of medicine and 25,726 boxes of medical supplies, which helped the 685 Syrian children who received medical care.

2017: Mexico City, Mexico

On September 20th, 2017, an IDF delegation of approximately 70 men and women departed for Mexico to aid in the earthquake relief efforts. Of those 70 soldiers, 25 are engineers, who helped evaluate the damage and provided assessments and assistance in the disaster zone. The timing of the mission was remarkable, in that the soldiers departed on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, which is one of the holiest days of the year for Jews.

2018: Golan Heights

On July 22, 2018, the IDF carried out a special and extensive humanitarian aid operation in the 210th Division to rescue the members of the White Helmets humanitarian organization and their families. While in Syria, these humanitarian workers’ lives were threatened. IDF troops rescued them from the warzone and safely escorted them to a neighboring country.

PM Netanyahu and his wife Sara attend Ponary memorial ceremony

Standing here today we remember all those who perished and all that was destroyed, and salute the heroism of those Lithuanians, who unlike collaborators, risked their own lives, risked the lives of their families.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara participated in a memorial ceremony at the Ponary memorial in remembrance of the 70,000 Vilnius Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Also in attendance was Fania Brancovskaja, a Holocaust survivor from the Vilna ghetto who joined the partisans. The Prime Minister awarded a medal and certificate to Birute Slapikiene, the granddaughter of a family of Righteous among the Nations.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and his wife Silvija Skvernele, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, and the chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish community, Fania Kukliansky also attended the ceremony.

Prime Minister Netanyahu:

"This is a place of unforgettable tragedy. An unpardonable crime was committed here.

70,000 Jews were murdered in cold blood by the Nazis and their collaborators and 30,000 others, non-Jews, were murdered as well.

All together 200,000 Jews were murdered here and in other places in Lithuania. This is 95% of the Jews who lived in this country.

Before the Holocaust Vilna, Vilnius, was a great center of Jewish scholarship and study. It was known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania.

Standing here today we remember all those who perished and all that was destroyed.

We remember the remarkable strength of those who survived. We are joined by one such remarkable woman today. She hid in a Jewish fort, a partisan fort deep in the forest. She bravely fought the Nazis alongside 100 other Jews who escaped with her.

What heroism Fania, we forever salute you.

And we also salute the heroism of those Lithuanians, who unlike collaborators, risked their own lives, risked the lives of their families. Not only showing personal heroism but the greatest heroism of all, risking your families. And they saved many Jews. There were 900 such Righteous Among the Nations. We will always honor their memory.

Today we honor Domas and Marijona Višcius who hid their Jewish neighbor Aharon in their farm. They built bunkers and tunnels in their farm to enable escape. Their granddaughter is here today with us to receive a medal on their behalf.

The Holocaust was the greatest crime in the history of mankind. It must be remembered and its lesson must never be forgotten.

I thank the government of Lithuania for taking important steps to commemorate the Holocaust and for helping to preserve the truth about the Holocaust.

The lessons of the Holocaust are twofold. The first is that we must fight barbarism early on or it will burn all of us. The second for us Jews is that we must never be defenseless again.

I am here because over 100 years ago my grandfather, a young student in a yeshiva, was beaten nearly to death by anti-semitic hooligans not very far from here.

Before he lost consciousness he said, 'If I live I will take my family and I will go to the Land of Israel to rebuild our independent life so that we may continue the tradition of the brave Maccabees. We will defend ourselves.'

I want to say to my grandfather today, Saba I am back here, back here in this forest of death as the Prime Minister of Israel.

We will never be defenseless again. We have a state, we have an army and we are capable of defending ourselves by ourselves.

Never again will we be led to the slaughter.

Israel is strong, Israel is proud, Israel is forever.

Am Yisrael Chai! The people of Israel live!"

World Jewish Congress mourns death of Kofi Annan, a ‘tour de force’ within the United Nations

The World Jewish Congress mourns the death of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 80. “Former Secretary General Annan was a dedicated diplomat who throughout his life embodied the mandate of the United Nations to foster relations and cooperation among members of the international community,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.

“Mr. Annan’s tenure as secretary general spanned some of the most difficult years of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the bus bombings of the 1990s, Israel’s 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon, the entirety of the second Intifada which wreaked deadly terror across Israel, and the Second Lebanon War in 2006, in which he helped secure a truce between Israel and Hezbollah,” Lauder said.

“While his politics were often radically different from those of the Israeli government and the Jewish Diaspora, he made clear his position that the right of the State of Israel to exist was not up for negotiation, nor was the Jewish people’s historic connection to the land,” Lauder added.

“Under Mr. Annan’s watch as secretary general in 2005, the United Nations established International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a critical mechanism of commemoration for the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and the millions of others who perished at the hands of the Nazis,” Lauder said. “Every year on January 27, thanks to Mr. Annan, the world remembers the greatest genocide in history and reflects on the tragic consequences that can arise from complacency to hatred."

“The WJC will always remember Mr. Annan as a tour de force within the halls of the United Nations,” Lauder said.

PM Netanyahu meets with US National Security Adviser John Bolton

I believe that President Trump's decision to leave the disastrous Iran deal was nothing less than a hinge of history. Israel applauds the determination to re-impose tough sanctions on Iran and those doing business with Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently meeting with US National Security Adviser John Bolton, at the Prime minister's Office in Jerusalem. National Security Council Director Meir Ben-Shabbat, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer are also participating.

Prime Minister Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the meeting:

"Ambassador Bolton, John, once again it's a pleasure to welcome you to Jerusalem. Particularly since your visit comes after the historic decision by President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, to move the Embassy here.

As I mentioned last night we've known each other for many decades and you've been a consistent champion of our alliance in and out of government.

It’s a wonderful alliance and Israel believes that it has no greater friend and ally than the United States and I believe that the United States has no greater friend and ally than Israel. It's a peculiar kind of ally. We've consistently increased our defense spending. We insist on defending ourselves by ourselves and appreciate all manner of American support, but we believe that the alliance is the alliance of the strong and like-minded and we share America's values of freedom and liberty.

Under President Trump, that alliance has grown stronger than it's ever been and your visit here gives us an opportunity to make it even stronger, and to align our policies even more closely on Iran, on Syria, on Gaza and on the many challenges that face both our countries in this region.

We had a wonderful discussion last night. And today we'll have the opportunity to continue and expand on many fields with you and your delegation.

I know, John, you have a lot on your plate, so let me say how much I appreciate the fact that you're dedicating three days of meetings and discussions to your visit to Israel. That's no small matter. Second, I want to use this opportunity once again, to thank President Trump for walking away from the terrible deal with Iran. The nuclear deal did not block Iran's path to the bomb - it paved Iran's path to an entire nuclear arsenal. And by removing the sanctions, it enabled Iran to bring in billions and billions of dollars to its coffers, which only fueled Iran's war machine - in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, and elsewhere.

I believe that the President's decision to leave the disastrous Iran deal was nothing less than a hinge of history. And Israel applauds the Trump administration's determination to re-impose tough sanctions on Iran and those doing business with Iran. I know that that view is shared by all our Arab neighbors, or practically everyone in this region. And I frankly believe that all countries who care about peace and security in the Middle East should follow America's lead and ratchet up the pressure on Iran. Because the greater the pressure on Iran, the greater the chance that the regime will roll back its aggression. And everybody should join this effort.

In standing up to the regime, we stand with the people of Iran. The President has made it clear, Secretary Pompeo has made it clear, you've made it clear, and I've made it clear too – in numerous appeals, direct appeals to the people of Iran. And it's important that the people of Iran understand that our fight is not with them. Our fight is with the regime that brutally represses them. That arrests women for uncovering their hair, hangs gays in the public squares, that defies the aspirations for freedom of millions and millions of Iranians.

Ambassador Bolton, Israel is also grateful for the Trump administration's unequivocal support for Israel in international forums, and on international issues. We hear it every day, on the podiums in the White House, in the State Department, at the United Nations. This is deeply, deeply appreciated, and deeply valued.

We appreciate as well the continued American commitment to maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge, which enables us to defend ourselves by ourselves against any threat.

I look forward to our discussion, and I know that this visit will materially enhance the great alliance between our two nations, which serves the greatest interest and the best interest of both our peoples. Welcome to Jerusalem."

World Jewish Congress condemns 'disgraceful' neo-Nazi march in Washington: 'Hatred and extremism cannot be allowed to tear the fabric of our society apart'

NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress condemns in the strongest possible terms the reprehensible neo-Nazi march that took place in Washington on the one-year anniversary of the violent events in Charlottseville, WJC North America Chair Evelyn Sommer.

“A gathering of racists and hatemongers on the anniversary of the deadly Charlottesville march can only be described as a disgrace and embarrassment for the United States, undermining our country’s principles of freedom and justice for all, and spitting in the face of the very values democracy represents.

“This vulgar display of hate does nothing to ennoble America, rather serves as a regression to the old hatreds espoused in days past by the likes of notorious racists such as Father Coughlin and the Ku Klux Klan, that we had hoped would be moribund by this point. Shouting racist and anti-Semitic epithets, with the primary intent to intimate others, incites to violence and inevitably results in tragedy.

“People of good will the world over must unite to stand against hatred and extremism. These cannot be allowed lest the fabric of our society be torn apart. We must resolve to stand unified and fight for mutual respect and tolerance,” Sommer said.

Israel Under Attack

Hamas began shooting projectiles at Israeli civilians.

In response, IDF fighter jets struck 12 terror targets in Gaza, including a factory used to manufacture parts for terror tunnels and concrete, a maritime terror tunnel shaft along the coast, and several terror sites in military compounds, among them rocket manufacturing facilities and a central logistical military complex.

The factory used to manufacture parts for terror tunnels was intended to be used as a hotel, but was overtaken by the Hamas terror organization in 2012. The factory manufactures parts for terror tunnels under the guise of civilian infrastructure.

In 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense, senior Hamas members used the building as shelter, believing the IDF would not target a civilian hotel construction site. In this building, Hamas terrorists continued to plan fighting and command rocket launching units. Months later, in 2013, Hamas took over the site entirely, blocked the entrance, and began establishing a concrete factory under the guise of a civilian construction site. The factory manufactured concrete parts designed exclusively for terror tunnels, including reinforcements, flooring, and concrete arches, which have no civilian use.

Hamas operated engineering vehicles in the site, and loaded the parts clandestinely onto trucks covered with tarp, to be delivered to digging sites across the Gaza Strip. The factory stopped producing concrete during Operation Protective Edge (2014), but continued serving Hamas' war efforts – rocket launchers were placed in its vicinity and Hamas operatives resided in the site during the fighting.

The launch sites were dug adjacent to the structure, again believing it would not be an IDF target due to its civilian appearance. During the operation, four rockets were launched at Israel. Immediately after this, the factory resumed its regular activity and has continued to be a source of concrete parts for Hamas' terror tunnels. The open areas around the factory were also considered a "closed military zone" and Hamas used them to practice short and medium range rocket launching and briefly operated a tunnel digging workshop there.

The IDF strike was conducted in response to the shots fired at civilian engineering vehicles earlier today, and the multiple rockets launched from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory this evening. The Hamas terror organization continues to target IDF troops, security infrastructure, and Israeli civilians.

Early Thursday morning, IDF fighter jets targeted over 100 of Hamas’ strategic military sites. The strikes took place in ten of Hamas' military compounds throughout the Gaza Strip, and included manufacturing facilities, training complexes and advanced weapons and capability sites.

Among the targets were:

- Hamas headquarters in Jabalia, including dozens of military sites

- A military compound used by the commander of northern Gaza City, which included a maritime tunnel

- A Hamas outpost used by the Jabalia Battalion for urban warfare and underwater training

- A military compound of the Zaytun battalion used to store weapons and for terror tunnel digging

- A military compound of the East Jabalia Battalion used for training in urban warfare, and the site of a shaft leading to an terror tunnel complex

- A Hamas base in the northern Gaza Strip used for urban warfare training and rocket launching

- A compound of the Jabalia Battalion used for training and meetings of senior battalion commanders

- A military compound used by Hamas to store weapons and explosives. The site used to be home to rocket launching dugouts.

- Hamas military compound used by the Deir al-Balah Battalion, which is the site of a current tunnel digging operation

These strikes were conducted in response to the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel over the course of the evening and into the early morning hours.

“The important part is the decision making on the Gazan side, on Hamas’ side, and what they will try to achieve by firing rockets at Israeli civilians. I think that they are not furthering or promoting their own interest or the civilian interest in Gaza by escalating the situation, and by firing at Israeli civilians,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, Head of the International Press and Social Media Branch.

Hamas is responsible for the events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it and will bear the consequences for its actions against Israeli civilians and sovereignty. The IDF condemns terror activity and is prepared for a wide variety of scenarios while continuing to fulfill its mission to defend Israeli civilians.

Sniper in Gaza Kills IDF Staff Sergeant Aviv Levi

Once again, violent riots broke out on Friday, July 20th in the Gaza Strip, during which explosive devices were thrown and shots were fired at IDF troops. A platoon sergeant in the Givati Brigade, Staff Sergeant Aviv Levi, was severely injured when he was shot in the chest during a violent riot near the southern Gaza Strip. He later succumbed to his wounds. He was only 21 years old.

In response to the death of the soldier and the violence along the security fence, Israeli Air Force fighter jets conducted a wide-scale strike on Hamas terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip. This operation included airstrikes on 60 sites in three Hamas battalion headquarters located in Khan Yunis, al-Bureij, and Zaytun.

The IDF’s targets included weapon manufacturing sites, an entrance to a tunnel network, a factory used to produce materials for underground infrastructure, a UAV warehouse, military operations rooms, training facilities, and observation posts.

In addition to the violence near the security fence, three rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip, setting off sirens in the Sha'ar Hanegev and Sdot Negev Regional Councils. While a ceasefire was agreed upon early Saturday morning, Hamas violated it when terrorists infiltrated Israel on Saturday at noon.

Since March 2018, Hamas has sent Gazan civilians to violently riot at the security fence, and the IDF has operated within the rules of engagement and done everything in its power to defend Israeli civilians and sovereignty. The IDF will continue to fulfil its duty to the Israeli people and will not allow Hamas to murder Israeli soldiers, fire rockets towards Israeli cities, throw explosives, or burn Israel’s forests and farmland.

Tell United Nations To Condemn Hamas’ Environmental War Crimes!

We call upon Mr. Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the UN Environmental Programme, to condemn Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip for causing severe environmental damage to southern Israel.

Over the course of the past three months, Hamas operatives and other terrorists have burned thousands of tires and launched hundreds of incendiary devices into Israeli territory. The combined effect of these heinous acts has not only led to the release of toxic materials into the fragile ecosystem, but has resulted in the destruction of more than 7,400 acres of land, hundreds of acres of wheat fields, and 2,700 acres of protected nature reserves.

When these devices touch down in Israel they leave a deadly path in their wake. Local wildlife are either killed or forced to flee their native habitats. Forests and farmland have been ravaged. And the livelihood of the thousands of farmers who have committed their lives to turning what was once desert into an oasis has been shattered.
Thus far, 900 incendiary devices were sent across the border, leading to more than 750 fires –an average of eleven per day. Not only has the cost of damage exceeded $3 million, but it will take years to reverse the ecological damage caused by Hamas.

Both the United Nations Resolutions and International Humanitarian Law expressly prohibit the destruction of the natural environment in armed conflict, and yet the international community has remained silent as Hamas wages environmental warfare that endangers civilians, wildlife, and ravages the natural beauty and resources of Israel's southern region.

In May 2016, the Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme reaffirmed UN General Assembly resolution 47/37 entitled “Protection of the environment in armed conflict” which stressed “that destruction of the environment, not justified by military necessity and carried out wantonly, is clearly contrary to existing international law”.
Article 35 (3) of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions states: “It is prohibited to employ methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross regards these obligations as customary international law. Based on the texts of these statutes, it is evident that Hamas has intentionally committed environmental damage, amounting to environmental war crimes.

Therefore, the World Jewish Congress calls on the UN Environmental Programme and Director Solheim to condemn these acts and use all necessary measures at their disposal to ensure that these illegal actions cease immediately.


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