U.S. army officer who helped liberate 2500 Jews…including five living in Sydney

July 26, 2016 Agencies
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A U.S. officer who helped liberate 2,500 Jews during the Holocaust has died at the age of 99…and other news items from JNS.org.

Around the table l-r: Ilonka Blair, Judith Handley, Eva Reed, Lexie Keston. Ana Deleon , and Lea Farkas

Around the table l-r: Ilonka Blair, Judith Handley, Eva Reed, Lexie Keston. Ana Deleon , and Lea Farkas

On April 7, 1945, Lt. Frank Winchester Towers, who was the division liaison officer of Regiment 743 of the 30th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army during World War II, approached (with his regiment’s tanks) a stopped train in which there were 2,500 Jewish prisoners bound for the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. The Nazis stopped the train because they were ordered to destroy it and drown the passengers in the Elbe river.

When the U.S. regiment approached, the passengers shouted, “We’re Jews!” Towers helped his regiment rescue the prisoners by mobilizing ambulances and other vehicles, and helped the freed prisoners get to an American-run field hospital.

In 2011, Towers visited Israel, where he met 55 of the 700 children who were rescued from the train to Theresienstadt. Later, he was able to contact 226 survivors from that train. He has spent his later years speaking at Holocaust events throughout the U.S.

Read the story:  http://www.jwire.com.au/on-a-train-to-australia/     http://www.jwire.com.au/a-school-holocaust-project-re-unites-liberated-with-liberators/

Hamas ramps up recruitment of female terrorists, trains girls as young as 15

(JNS.org) Hamas is reportedly trying to recruit more women into its ranks and is now offering weapons training programs for teenage girls as young as 15, Israel Hayom reported Monday.

Prior or 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, the Gaza Strip’s ruler allowed women to join the terrorist organization only as support staff, but after the conflict ended, Hamas apparently also began recruiting women for active duty.

Hamas is reportedly actively recruiting girls and women between the ages of 15 and 25, and teaching them how to fire handguns and rifles. Women who join the organization are reportedly also offered hand-to-hand combat training, as well as field skills training such as learning how to scale walls and learning how to avoid obstacles like burning tires.

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German government donating millions to BDS groups, report says

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) A new report released Sunday claims that despite statements to the contrary, the German government has been donating millions of euros to groups promoting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The NGO Monitor watchdog group has found that between 2012 and 2015, Germany funneled at least $4.4 million to some 15 Israeli organizations, and 42 percent of the donations went to groups supporting an international boycott against Israel and policies negating Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.

The report found that the German Economic Cooperation and Development Ministry operates a Civil Peace Service (Ziviler Friedensdienst) project in Israel, but in fact, on the ground the project is headed by a different German group, KURVE Wustrow, which has partnered with two local organizations—the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace and the Palestinian Popular Struggle Coordination Committee.

NGO Monitor argues that the Coalition of Women for Peace actively supports the BDS movement, including heading a project titled “Who Profits from the Occupation,” a database of potential boycott “targets.” The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee promotes violent riots across Judea and Samaria, and its Twitter account often features posts encouraging violence, the report said.

The German Embassy in Israel said that Germany “remains committed to the two-state solution and devising sustainable peace in the Middle East. The German government opposes any boycott of Israel, including BDS activities, as such action undermines the peace process. The German government’s funding policy seeks to support selected projects via earmarked funds.”

Donald Trump in RNC speech vows to work with Israel on fighting terror

(JNS.org) In a speech accepting the GOP nomination for president at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland last week, businessman Donald Trump said that the U.S. “must work” with all of its allies to destroy the Islamic State terror group and broader radical Islamic terrorism.

“This includes working with our greatest ally in the region, the State of Israel,” he said.

“We must abandon the failed policy of nation building and regime change that Hillary Clinton pushed in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and Syria,” said Trump. “My opponent has called for a radical 550-percent increase in Syrian refugees on top of existing massive refugee flows coming into our country under President Obama. She proposes this despite the fact that there’s no way to screen these refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from. I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people….Anyone who endorses violence, hatred, or oppression is not welcome in our country and never will be.”

Al-Qaeda sympathizers target Israeli athletes at Rio Olympics

(JNS.org) Al-Qaeda sympathizers on social media have issued a list of directives calling for their followers to target American, British, French and Israeli athletes during the upcoming Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, according to the news outlet The Foreign Desk.

“One small knife attack against Americans/Israelis in these places will have bigger media effect than any other attacks anywhere else inshaallah,” one of the directives read.

“Your chance to take part in the global Jihad is here! Your chance to be a martyr is here!” the al-Qaeda sympathizers said, citing the easy process of obtaining visas for travel to Brazil as well as the wide availability of guns in “crime-ridden slums.”

Further, the list specified why Israelis should be targeted, saying, “From amongst the worst enemies, the most famous enemies for general Muslims is to attack Israelis. As general Muslims all agree to it and it causes more popularity for the Mujahideen amongst the Muslims.”

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Islamic State supporter: Nice attacker inspired by Palestinian terror

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The deadly July 14 ramming attack in Nice, in which 84 people were killed and 303 were injured, may have been inspired by Palestinian terrorism tactics, a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute said last week.

According to the report, an Islamic State terror group sympathizer who praised the brutal truck-ramming tactic used by terrorist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, credited Palestinian terrorists for pioneering the vehicular attack method.

The Islamic State supporter considered the ramming an “imported terrorism tactic” borrowed from Palestinian terrorists, writing about it on an online messaging forum.

“Killing by ramming using civilian cars and trucks is an idea born from the Maqdisi [Palestinian] mind, which has an innovative nature of thinking up jihad tactics,” the supporter wrote, according to MEMRI. “Yesterday they taught us [about] the explosive vest, and many plans for street fighting, and today they taught us this tactic. May Allah bless Jerusalem and the environs of Jerusalem, and may Allah bless all of the Levant….Oh Aqsa, we are coming.”

 

Israels high-tech industry reaching a crossroads?

(JNS.org) The Israel Innovation Authority released its annual report last week, questioning whether Israel’s high level of performance in the high-tech industry has reached a glass ceiling, while also calling on the government to prioritize ways to address future challenges to maintaining Israel’s competitive edge.

The high-tech industry has experienced significant growth in recent years with Israeli companies raising $4.4 billion and made $8 billion worth of exits in 2015 alone, said the report, which was submitted to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month.

But Israel’s “competition position will erode, and its future performance will diminish” if it does not address infrastructure challenges such as the “shortage of skilled manpower” and the “continuing decline in government expenditure on R&D.”

“The conclusion is that it is not enough to preserve the current high level of performance, while global competition is increasing. Moreover, the ‘business as usual’ policy will lead to a significant erosion of the competitive position and the performance of the Israeli hi-tech industry,” wrote Avi Hasson, the Israel Innovation Authority’s chairman and chief scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry.

Israel passes law enabling Knesset to expel members over incitement

(JNS.org) In a 62-47 vote, the Israeli Knesset last week passed an impeachment law that enables Members of Knesset (MKs) to expel fellow lawmakers who are found to have incited against the State of Israel.

The new law states that Knesset members can pursue the impeachment of other lawmakers if their actions and ideology “negate the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, incite racism, or express support for an armed struggle against the State of Israel by an enemy state or terrorist organization.”

Until now, the Knesset has only been able to take disciplinary action against such Knesset members, and was able to dismiss elected officials only if Israel’s attorney general strips them of their parliamentary immunity. The new law amends this law to give lawmakers the ability to launch impeachment proceedings against fellow lawmakers if the proceedings are supported by at least 70 Knesset members, including at least 10 opposition Knesset members. An affirmative vote from 90 of the Knesset’s 120 members is then needed for the impeachment to pass.

The law was spurred by Arab Member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi, whom many lawmakers want to expel because of her frequent comments against the Israel Defense Forces and other government institutions. But the new law reportedly will not apply to acts committed before it came into effect, so lawmakers will not be able to use the law to expel Zoabi.

Arizona man planned to attack JCC

(JNS.org) A man from Tucson, Ariz., who is charged with plotting a terrorist attack on a motor vehicles office in Phoenix revealed to an undercover FBI agent that he also wanted to target a local Jewish community center (JCC).

FBI Agent Benjamin Trentlage made the revelation on the JCC when he testified in court on Tuesday. Trentlage said that 18-year-old Mahin Khan “described the MVD (Motor Vehicle Department) as a soft target. He said it would have a lot of people and relatively low security.”

Trentlage also said that Khan expressed admiration for the recent mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., and was planning to use pressure cookers to make homemade bombs like the ones used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

Khan pleaded not guilty on charges of terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism, and conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons. He was denied bail after he was arrested on July 1.

 

Kenyan marathoner to compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

(JNS.org) Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval.

“I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters.

Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained Israeli citizenship after marrying her coach, Dan Salpeter, in Kenya earlier this year. Her inclusion on the Olympic team was only granted days before the deadline for her eligibility.

Despite achieving a personal best time of two hours and 40 minutes, Chemtai is not expected to compete for a medal in Rio, where top female runners generally average times closer to two hours and 20 minutes.

“A personal best in Rio very much depends on the conditions, which can change from day to day, so it’s hard to know….But Lonah still has tremendous potential to improve greatly over the next 10 years and even beyond,” Salpeter said.

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