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26 Tishrei 5761 - October 25, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly
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NEWS
Worldwide Attacks on Jews
by Mordecai Plaut

Caption: This picture appeared in prominent American newspapers, including the New York Times, with the caption "An Israeli policeman and a Palestinian on the Temple Mount." In truth, it is American yeshiva student Tuvia Grossman, after being beaten and stabbed for ten minutes by an Arab mob in Yerushalayim. Along with several friends, Grossman had been in a cab on his way to the Kosel on erev Rosh Hashana when they were pulled out and attacked without any provocation. The Israeli policeman is saving Grossman's life.

Beginning on erev Rosh Hashana, the new year has so far been marked by attacks on Jews around the world. Though the apparent source and focus of the violence against Jews is Eretz Yisroel, Jews and Jewish communities around the world have suffered. In most of the cases the attackers were Palestinians and Moslems.

Though violence from Palestinians had been expected in Israel for several months as peace negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat foundered, the extent of the worldwide attacks surprised most observers.

On other occasions in the past when there was unrest in Israel there were incidents of attacks on Jews elsewhere, but this time it was much worse. Secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress Israel Singer said that in the recent outbreak of antisemitic attacks, "more synagogues were attacked than on Kristallnacht." Jews and Jewish institutions were targets throughout the world.

We have tried to provide a chronicle of the major attacks and events of the last three weeks in Eretz Yisroel and around the world. This list is not exhaustive, but it is aimed at giving an impression of the depth and breadth of the attacks.

On the Thursday of selichos, two days before Rosh Hashana, Likud leader Ariel Sharon visited the Har Habayis. Though the visit itself passed without much incident, later on there were scuffles, and the next day serious rioting broke out on the Har Habayis and elsewhere, including stones thrown on mispalelim at the Kosel. Modern poskim say that it is forbidden for Jews to enter the Har Habayis. Military experts said that the extent and coordination of the riots indicated that they were planned in advance, and that the visit of Sharon served only as a pretext.

In the days that followed the rioting continued and soon spread to include Israeli Arabs, full citizens of the State of Israel who, in many cities, live in close proximity to Jewish neighborhoods and in mixed neighborhoods. The rioting on the part of Israeli Arabs was apparently unexpected and sent shock waves throughout the Israeli political establishment. Prominent Israeli Arab leaders, including politicians and MKs, refused to condemn the violence, and some even encouraged it.

Around Yom Kippur Israelis in various cities began to respond to the unremitting violence and there were fights in various cities and towns. A major fight took place in Nazareth.

Though in the vast majority of the incidents the Palestinians attacked Jews and Jewish targets, their attacks were not as effective as the Israeli army response. Thus, most of the dead and wounded are Arabs, numbering well over 100 dead so far and many more times that amount wounded. The Army has said repeatedly that it only fires when fired upon or threatened in other ways and many have criticized the extreme restraint shown. The only aggressive acts on the part of Jews have come from enraged individuals and mobs, with the few on the part of the army directed only at property.

Nonetheless, in the world press and in the United Nations, prominence has been given to the lopsided figures of those killed, and the blame has been placed firmly on Israel, though no one has said what Israel should have done or should not have done.

Media coverage has been very biased, and almost constitutes a separate sphere of attacks on Jews around the world. The media constantly repeats the number killed and faithfully adds that most of the victims were Palestinians. The Har Habayis, that used to be called simply the Temple Mount, has received the additional appellation "called by the Arabs Haram el Sharif," and lately the historical fact of the Temple located on Har Habayis has become a mere "Jewish claim." Other examples of the reporting have been consistent references to Arab attackers as "demonstrators" even when they threw stones and shot. Jews who attack Arabs are called "rampagers."

Observers noted that events like these can become difficult to control and no one now knows where or how it all will end.

Torah Jews throughout the world have responded with prayer, including large rallies in the United States and elsewhere.

Arab Riots -- 5761

GSS Did Not Object to Sharon's Visit to Har Habayis

The General Security Service has confirmed that it did not urge Likud Chair Ariel Sharon to cancel his visit to the Temple Mount a few weeks ago. The Palestinians used the visit as a pretext to begin the latest wave of violence.

A senior GSS official said that the service did not think it right to prevent the visit, "just like we do not prevent the visit of any other Israeli to the mount."

Although the GSS had warned for some time that an incident on the Temple Mount could spark a wave of violence in the territories and among Israel's Arabs, it appears that the organization did not feel that Sharon's visit carried such a risk.

The senior source said that the GSS attributes the outbreak of violence to the fatal shooting of seven demonstrators by police on the Temple Mount a day after Sharon's visit.

"Sharon's visit and what followed it were a pretext for the violence; in their absence, Arafat would have looked for another excuse," he said.

Nachman Shai -- Major League Spokesman

Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami has appointed Nachman Shai to as head of information and media for the current violence in Israel.

Shai will coordinate the information activities for the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the IDF, the police and the West Bank activity coordinator. Shai acted as IDF spokesman during the 1991 Gulf War. His new nomination was approved by Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Wilk: Police Treat Rioters Equally

Rejecting reports of disparity in the police's treatment of rioting Jews and Arabs, Insp.-Gen. Yehuda Wilk pledged that the police will take the same measures against Jews and Arabs who disturb the peace.

Wilk noted that of the 600 people arrested in the previous 10 days for acts of violence, 200 were Jews. He added that over 100 indictments have been issued.

He noted that two border policemen have been killed and another 200 policemen wounded in the disturbances, 150 in the territories and 50 within Israel. Most were hurt by stones or by metal objects, though some came under live fire in Acre, Nazareth, Fureidis, and Jerusalem.

Defending the use of rubber bullets to disperse Israeli-Arab rioters, Wilk noted that there is a difference between a peaceful demonstration and the violent riots which have engulfed the country.

The Fate of Kever Yosef

The IDF has accused the Palestinian Authority of planning to build a mosque on the site of Kever Yosef in Nablus.

The IDF withdrew its troops from the site on Shabbos Shuva after reaching an agreement with Palestinian security forces to guard the site. Despite the agreement, PA forces did not prevent thousands of Palestinian demonstrators from storming the site and setting it on fire soon after Israel withdrew.

The Palestinian media has also denied that the site is in any way holy to Jews.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak had ordered the evacuation from the enclave, the first time Israel relinquished territory as a direct result of Palestinian violence. The Israeli army said that it was impossible to adequately defend the site.

The Shabbos after the tomb was torched, a Jewish resident of a nearby community, Hillel Lieberman, was found murdered after he reportedly tried to reach the area on foot. He is survived by his wife and four children.

Report: Commandos capture members of Palestinian Lynch Mob

Security sources said yesterday that Israeli commandos had hunted down and captured at least six Palestinian suspects in connection with the barbaric lynch of two reservists in Ramallah. Palestinian police said that a number of Palestinians already have gone missing, and at least eight are believed to be held by Israel. The Tanzim activists announced that they are protecting them.

Without confirming or denying, Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said that those who carried out the lynching of Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Vadim Novesche and Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Yosef Avrahami last Thursday should beware.

After taking a wrong turn into the Palestinian areas, the two were taken by Palestinian police into Ramallah and then brutally murdered and abused by a bestial mob.

An Italian television reporter later apologized to the PA for broadcasting the grisly footage. His credentials were then withdrawn by Israel and his company recalled him to Italy.

Hamas: All Israelis are Targets

The Palestinians are at war with Israel, and therefore all Israelis are considered targets for Hamas, the organization's political leader, Ismael Abu Shanab, told Jerusalem Post Radio.

Abu Shanab, a Gaza University professor, says the final decision will be taken by Hamas's military wing, but says he believes the Palestinian street now feels the time has come to seek revenge for the loss of Palestinian lives.

Following the Palestinian Authority's decision to throw open its prison doors and free scores of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists, "the danger of terror activity is written on the wall," Prime Minister Ehud Barak told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Elchanan Tannenbaum Kidnapping

Businessman Elchanan Tannenbaum was reportedly kidnapped by Hizbullah. The secretary general of the Hizbullah, Sheik Nasrallah, claims that Tannenbaum is a Mosad agent. Tannenbaum's family and friends say that he isn't a Mosad agent, but rather a businessman who recently suffered from financial problems.

IDF senior officers currently abroad have been warned that the Hizbullah is liable to attempt additional kidnappings, and that they should take strict security measures.

Giloh is Shelled; A Soldier is Seriously Wounded

Heavy shooting took place in the Giloh quarter in the south of Jerusalem. The shots were fired by Arabs from the nearby Beit Jala village, who aimed their rifles at the windows of Jewish homes directly facing them. A border policeman, Shimon Ohana, was seriously wounded by a bullet which pierced his heart, and a citizen was lightly injured as he got out of his car. Israeli tanks located on the site fired back at the Arabs.

The IDF displayed restraint, in line with the orders of Barak who did not want to exacerbate the situation. Barak said that this was a serious incident, and asked the residents to exert self-control.

A Sefer Torah from Jericho is Returned

A sefer Torah from the ancient Shalom al Yisrael synagogue in Jericho was miraculously saved from flames and returned to Israel.

The synagogue was set afire the week before Succos by Arab rioters and burnt to a cinder. The sefer Torah was in a fireproof safe and the Palestinian Authority returned it to Israel after the IDF had made repeated requests to that effect. The sefer Torah wasn't damaged at all.

PA Forces Sparked Nazareth Riots

Members of the Palestinian Tanzim paramilitary movement were involved in the riots in Nazareth on Yom Kippur. According to the sources, leaflets distributed in the city called on the Arab population to take part in "the struggle against the Zionist enemy" and that "the Intifadah must go on."

The sources said groups of Tanzim fighters crossed the Green Line from the West Bank into Israel and distributed leaflets in Arab population centers. The impact of the Tanzim visits was felt afterward in aggravation of the clashes with the police in the areas where they had been.

The defense establishment's view is that there is some degree of coordination between officials in the PA and activists in Israel's Arab population.

Palestinians Offer $2,000 to 'Martyrs'

The IDF Hebron area commander Col. Noam Tivon said that the Palestinian Authority is encouraging children to participate in clashes with the IDF by offering their families $300 per injury and $2,000 for anyone killed.

The main goal of the Tanzim, or Fatah militia activists, is to continue attacks, to kill soldiers and settlers, he said. He noted the cynical use by Palestinians of their children, who are pushed to the forefront of the clashes.

BBC's Blatant Distortions

Israel has delivered a sharp written protest to the British Broadcasting Corporation for what it called distorted and unbalanced reports on the recent wave of violence and riots.

In a letter to BBC Director-general Greg Dyke, the spokesman for the Israeli embassy in London expressed his concern for the "widespread failure in understanding essential elements and developments" and attacked the assumption that Israel was the only responsible party for the week-long outbreaks of violence and clashes.

The spokesman complained that the BBC made no mention, in any medium, of the Palestinian refusal to allow the rescue from Kever Yosef of Border Police Sergeant Major Madhet Yosef, who bled to death there after being shot.

The BBC also ignored completely, the letter stated, the fact that Palestinian security forces opened fire on Israeli troops. Reporters also gave Palestinian spokesmen free reign on the air without forcing them to answer difficult questions or even substantiate their claims.

Editing of segments distorted the riots, including shots of tanks that did not participate in restraining the riots, and images of attacks on `innocent homes' by Israeli combat helicopters, without mention that those buildings sheltered Palestinian paramilitary fighters who shot at IDF troops.

Additionally, the letter claimed that the BBC website reports in depth on Palestinians' feelings of rage and pain without balancing that with emotional Israeli responses to the wave of violence.

The BBC responded that the letter had been received and that it would receive the appropriate response.

A Swipe From the LA Times

In a rare instance of camaraderie, Arab and Jewish groups in America are both condemning a political cartoon in The Los Angeles Times that depicts a Moslem and Jew praying at what appears to be the Western Wall, with the wall featuring the word "hate" in large letters.

The cartoon, by Michael Ramirez, was printed in the newspaper's October 3 edition.

Ramirez claimed that his cartoon was "aimed at elements that are trying to undermine the peace process," both Israeli and Palestinian. Ramirez said he would not apologize for the cartoon. Jewish groups said that the Arab was not a prominent figure in the cartoon.

Antisemitic Backlash Suspected in 5 NY Attacks

The New York Police Department is investigating five alleged incidents of antisemitic violence.

In Brooklyn, police said an Orthodox Jewish man returning from synagogue in Borough Park was slashed above the eye by a man who identified himself as a Palestinian.

A man on a Brooklyn subway train was kicked by a group of young men claiming to be Palestinian who were carrying a Palestinian flag and spouting antisemitic rhetoric, police said.

Graffiti was discovered at a synagogue on Ninth St., police said.

In Queens, authorities said they were investigating antisemitic graffiti found on a Jewish war memorial in Far Rockaway and in the Linden Hills Jewish Cemetery on Metropolitan Ave.

The NYPD set up a temporary command post in the 66th Precinct to handle bias reports in the Brooklyn South command area until the Jewish holiday season is over, officials said.

Four suspects told police they threw bottles filled with vodka at a Bronx Jewish center because they were upset about violence in the Middle East. The four, ages 15, 17, 18 and 21, when arrested told investigators they were looking for a Jewish site to vandalize and stopped at the first one they drove by.

Arabs Riot in Denmark

Palestinian immigrants threw stones and clashed with police in Copenhagen after an initially peaceful anti- Israel demonstration turned into violent street riots.

Police in riot gear fought to keep many hundreds of flag- waving Palestinian and other Arab immigrants under control.

Several people were injured and many demonstrators arrested, the Ritzau news agency quoted a police spokesman as saying.

Student Riots in Egypt

Showing support for Palestinians in their ongoing confrontations with Israeli security forces, thousands of students staged demonstrations and protests in nearly all of Egypt's universities.

At Cairo University, Egypt's largest, almost 10,000 students participated in a demonstration that lasted more than 10 hours and burned tires while Egyptian riot police surrounded the campus to prevent demonstrators from marching to the nearby Israeli embassy.

Security sources said that high school students in the Cairo districts of Maadi and the Pyramids area staged street demonstrations on their way to school, also burning Israeli and American flags.

In one incident in Cairo, high school students attacked a branch belonging British supermarket chain Sainsbury's, destroying its glass front as a protest against the owning family's links with Israel.

Other protests also took place at the universities of Alexandria, Minya and Assiut in southern Egypt and the coastal city of Port Said.

Egyptian journalists took part in the protests by organizing a symbolic two hour sit-in at the Egyptian press association, chanting anti-Israeli and anti-American slogans and burning the flags of both countries.

Arabs March on Israeli Embassy in Greece

More than 150 Palestinians marched to the Israeli Embassy to protest the recent outbreaks of violence throughout the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel.

The protesters began their march at the nearby embassy of the Palestinian Authority. About 50 additional protesters demonstrated in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.

Palestinians Stage Major Protest in New York

Thousands of Palestinian immigrants living in the New York metropolitan area staged a rally in Manhattan's Times Square before Yom Kippur.

Pictures of the Mohammed al Duri, the 12-year-old killed a week ago by IDF gunfire, featured prominently on protest posters. Some placards vilified Israel as Nazism.

The rally, held at a peak hour at one of Manhattan's busiest sites, caused major traffic disruptions. Noting that the demonstration was staged during the height of the U.S. election season, rally speakers said that the protest was directed partly against American politicians who support Israel.

"We are Palestinians, we are Americans, and we vote," one speaker exclaimed. "Israeli soldiers are shooting Palestinians with American guns," he added.

Most of the demonstrators dispersed quietly. Six people were detained on charges of disturbing the peace.

Tourism Takes a Hit From Riots

The tourism sector fears that the Rosh Hashonoh riots will take a cumulative toll on tourism, even within the so-called Green Line. Western Jerusalem, Jaffa, Nazareth, the Galilee, and the Triangle, are liable to suffer a downturn in tourism over the next months.

The concern is particularly great because the months October- November are a peak period for tourism.

According to figures of the Incoming Tourism Agency, 3,000 tourist groups are slated to arrive in Israel during October. Most will arrive during the second half of the month, which is particularly busy.

Worldwide Antisemitism

Since the onset of the Arab rioting in Israel, a wave of antisemitism has inundated Europe and the United States. Over seventy instances of onslaughts, which included damage to Jewish property and physical harm to Jews, have been recorded.

The wave of antagonism began immediately after news of the Arab rioting in Israel became known. Antisemitic and Palestinian elements have reacted to the situation.

France

More incidents of severe violence against Jews and Jewish institutions, including arson, attempts to run down pedestrians, burning Jewish restaurants, hurling incendiary bottles at synagogues, and scrawling graffiti on public walls have occurred in France than any other country in Europe. Police have arrested dozens of suspects, most of them poor Arab immigrants, and the incidents have tapered off. France is home to an estimated 700,000 Jews and over 4 million Moslems.

The Prime Minster of France has issued orders to tighten the security around the synagogues. Jospin said the Justice Ministry has advised French prosecutors to deal severely with anyone suspected of taking part in such attacks. His remarks came just hours after a bakery owned by an Alsatian Jew in Strasbourg was set on fire, and the words "Jewish Assassins" were painted on the shop in black.

A car was set alight near a synagogue in the Lyons area of Minguettes, according to police sources. The Interior Ministry said there were also unspecified antisemitic incidents in the northeastern Paris district of Bagnolet.

Nearly 80 antisemitic incidents were recorded by French police in one week.

The United States

Violence has surged in Chicago and New York. Shots were aimed at a rabbi seated in his car in Chicago in a drive-by shooting. A hand grenade was hurled at a Chabad house, and incendiary bottles was thrown at a synagogue. Protection of Jewish institutions has been extended.

New York officials increased security at government buildings, landmarks, religious sites and other buildings associated with either Israelis or Palestinians, particularly the Israeli consulate in midtown Manhattan.

In Washington, a few hundred protesters on both sides of the conflict demonstrated in the shadow of the White House, with mounted police keeping them apart.

Belgium

Antisemitic graffiti was scrawled in public places in Brussels' center. Israeli flags were burned. Crosses were painted on synagogues, and a Holocaust monument was desecrated.

Germany

Stones and incendiary bottles were hurled at synagogues. Jewish graves were desecrated. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations, which ended in stone throwing at Jews and Jewish institutions, raged.

England

Windows were smashed in synagogues in London, Manchester and Birmingham. Antisemitic graffiti was scrawled in public places. Fifty synagogues were damaged between Rosh Hashonoh and Yom Kippur in a well-organized operation.

A synagogue in south England was set aflame and Israeli flags were burned near the Israeli consulate in London. The British press ignored these incidents.

A Gateshead yeshiva student suffered more than 20 stab wounds in a frenzied, unprovoked attack in north London believed to have been prompted by nothing more than his appearance. David Meyers, 20, was on the top deck of a bus saying Tehillim when he was repeatedly stabbed in the chest, face, arms and legs with a six inch blade by a man said by Scotland Yard to be "of Mediterranean appearance."

Canada

Graffiti was scrawled on the walls of four synagogues in Toronto and Ottawa. Palestinians demonstrated in front of the Israeli consulate in Toronto, and cried: "Death to the Jews."

Scandinavia

In Copenhagen, hundreds of Palestinians burned Israeli flags and threw incendiary bottles at the offices of the Jewish kehilla there. Tombstones in Jewish graves were desecrated. Threat letters were sent to the heads of Jewish communities and graffiti was scrawled on public walls.

Australia

300,000 Palestinians live in Australia. Two thousand of them demonstrated in front of the Israeli consulate in Sydney, burned Israeli flags and cried: "Death to the Jews." Threat letters were sent to the heads of the Jewish community. Measures were taken to tighten the security of Jewish institutions in Australia.

Fifty guests in the succah of Rabbi Pinchas Feldman, head of Sydney Yeshiva, were unhurt after a bomb was thrown at the succah late Saturday night. One participant reported, "We heard a thud and shouts of Allah Akbar! Miraculously the succah did not go up in flames, rather the bottle bounced off the succah, pouring the kerosene all over the succah but didn't ignite from the flame!"

Police apprehended two Lebanese Arabs one aged 17 and one 18 years old. The two were seen loitering in the area for a few days and on the second night of Succos they entered the nearby supermarket store and purchased a bottle of coke. Once they drank it they filled it with gasoline. All this was caught on the store's video camera. The Molotov cocktail didn't explode because they used a plastic instead of glass bottle.

Also, due to threats made at the Central shul in Sydney, the street has been closed to the general public and open only for neighbors and mispalelim.

 

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