Newsletter : 18fx0706.txt
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Report: Russian Airstrikes Creep Toward Golan, Rebels Reject Surrender
By the Jerusalem Post
Residents in southern Syria reported an increasing crescendo of air strikes they
alleged were by Russian aircraft on Thursday, a day after the Syrian rebels in the south
walked away from surrender negotiations. Since mid-June, the Syrian regime and its Russian
ally have swept the rebels from a swath of territory, pushing them towards the Jordanian
border and Israel's Golan Heights.
More than 300,000 people have fled the advance. The Syrian regime and Russian air force
have been careful not to carry out air strikes within 10 km. of the 1974 cease-fire line
on the Golan. On Wednesday, the Syrian rebels said they walked away from negotiations with
Russia about a ceasefire. The rebels said they had come to discuss a cease-fire but found
themselves presented with "humiliating" terms, including that they hand over their weapons
and stop fighting. The rebels in southern Syria met the Russian delegation in an
undisclosed town in southern Syria somewhere near Dara'a.
Dara'a is one of the main cities that the Syrian rebellion began in during the 2011 Arab
Spring, and it, therefore, holds special significance. It is also just a few kilometers
from the Jordanian border. Although the rebels have been chased out of many towns and
villages in the last weeks, they have held on to part of Dara'a and a corridor that runs
along the Jordanian border and then up towards the Golan.
After the rebels rejected what amounted to surrender terms, the air strikes by Russia and
the Syrian regime increased Thursday dramatically.
Of special importance is the town of Tafas, which links the rebel areas near the Golan
with the areas near Jordan. It was hit by "tens of air strikes" according to residents.
Rumors online have indicated that Russia is playing a central role in what comes next.
This is partly because Russia is a party to the cease-fire in the south with the US and
Jordan. It is also because Russian President Vladimir Putin is supposed to meet US
President Donald Trump this month and has also invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
to Moscow. Any deal in the south could see the deployment of Russian observers as has
happened in north Syria.
Jordan wants the fighting to stop as hundreds of thousands of refugees are now at the
country's border, and the UN has pressured Amman to open it. Amman has said it wouldn't
allow more refugees in, as it already hosts around a million people who have fled conflict
in the region.
IDF Deploys Iron Dome Batteries in the South
By the Jerusalem Post
The IDF deployed several Iron Dome batteries in southern Israel Thursday following a
situational assessment; the military told The Jerusalem Post. "The IDF is prepared for
several scenarios and ready to defend the citizens of the State of Israel and its
sovereignty," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said.
On Thursday, an IDF drone fired "a missile at a motorcycle" east of Deir al-Balah in the
central Gaza Strip, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported, adding that while
there were no injuries, the motorcycle was destroyed.
The IDF has been carrying out strikes in the Gaza Strip against vehicles used by terrorist
cells who launch incendiary aerial devices into Israel. The Hamas terrorist group, in
turn, has launched mortar shells towards southern Israeli communities.
On June 20, Hamas, along with Islamic Jihad, launched a barrage of 45 mortars shortly
after IAF jets struck three targets in the Strip in response to incendiary kites and
explosive balloons launched towards southern Israel. The Iron Dome missile defense system
intercepted seven of the projectiles and another three fell inside the Strip. Four were
found inside communities in the Eshkol Regional Council, causing damage to nearby homes
and cars. One landed in the yard of an empty kindergarten.
A week later, at least 13 mortars were fired from the Gaza Strip after the IAF struck a
vehicle said to have been heavily involved helping in Palestinians in launching incendiary
devices into Israel. Two of the mortar shells were intercepted by the Iron Dome system
over the city of Sderot.
Earlier on Thursday, the Defense Ministry announced that it had successfully conducted a
planned missile test launch of the Iron Dome system from the Palmachim air base. According
to a statement released by the Ministry of Defense, the series of experiments were led by
Rafael, the main contractor of the Iron Dome system, along with Elta and with the
participation of the Israel Air Force and Navy.
During the test, the various types of targets which simulate the emerging threats
developing in the area were launched. "Homa [missile defense] will continue to develop the
Iron Dome system to deal with the emerging threats in the arena to best protect the State
of Israel," read the statement.
Israel continuously improves the technology behind the country's anti-missile systems and
last year the Defense Ministry carried out some experiments using American-made components
in the course of the missile interception tests for the first time.
The experiments, which were conducted in the south of the country, focused on the use of
the "Tamir" interceptor and its ability to intercept some targets which were fired
simultaneously at different ranges.
The Rafael-built system carries 24 pounds of explosives and can intercept an incoming
projectile from four to 70 kilometers away and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. which
produces the radar system for the Iron Dome system through its ELTA division has reported
sales of it to various armies around the world.
Israel's air defenses currently include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range
rockets and the Arrow system which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth's
atmosphere. The David's Sling missile defense system is designed to intercept tactical
ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets, as well as cruise missiles fired at
ranges between 40 to 300km.
In mid-June, the US Senate approved $500 million for Israel's missile defense programs for
the Iron Dome, Arrow-2, Arrow-3 and David's Sling under the 2019 National Defense
Authorization Act. Another $50 million was approved for US-Israel counter-tunnel
Mossad Recovers Watch of Israeli National Hero Eli Cohen from Syria
By World Israel News
In a special operation, the Mossad, Israel's national intelligence agency, returned the
wristwatch of late Mossad fighter Eli Cohen to the Jewish state recently, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu's media adviser announced in a press release Thursday.
During the annual Mossad memorial ceremony for Eli Cohen several weeks ago, Mossad
Director Yossi Cohen presented to Cohen's family the wristwatch that he wore during his
mission in Syria, the adviser said. The watch is currently on display at Mossad
headquarters in Tel Aviv as a memorial to the legendary fighter. It will be transferred to
the custody of the family on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which falls in September.
Eli Cohen was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on Dec. 26, 1924, "His parents, Syrian Jews from
the thriving town of Aleppo, had always instilled in their educationally minded son the
traditions of the Jewish people, of Zionism, and of the culture of Syria's Jewish
community in particular. In 1949 his parents and three brothers moved to Israel while Eli
remained in Egypt to coordinate Jewish and Zionist activities there," according to Jewish
Famous for his espionage work in Syria from 1961 to 1965, the master spy succeeded in
developing close relationships with that country's political and military hierarchy to the
point that he became chief adviser to the minister of defense. As Mossad Agent 566,
Egyptian-born Eli Cohen sent his messages in encrypted French through a miniature radio
Eli Cohen was sentenced to death and hung publicly in 1965 after the Syrians discovered
his true identity. The intelligence he gathered, however, is believed to have contributed
to Israel's stunning victory during the 1967 Six Day War.
Following his execution on May 18, 1965, the wristwatch was held by an enemy state,
Netanyahu's spokesman said in a statement. After it was returned to Israel, special
research and intelligence operations were carried out, culminating in the "unequivocal
determination that this was indeed Eli Cohen's watch."
"I commend the fighters of the Mossad for the determined and courageous operation, the
sole objective of which was to return to Israel a memento from a great fighter who greatly
contributed to the security of the state," Netanyahu stated.
"We remember Eli Cohen and do not forget. His heritage, of dedication, determination,
courage and love of the homeland is our heritage," the Mossad director affirmed. "We
remember and stayed close to his family, his wife Nadia and their children."
Max Fuchs, US Soldier Who Led Historic Jewish Service in Germany during WWII, Dies at
Max Fuchs, an American soldier who helped lead a historic Jewish religious service in Germany during World War II, has died. Fuchs, an Army rifleman who led the 1944 Shabbat service in Aachen alongside Army chaplain Rabbi Sidney Lefkowitz, for some 50 Jewish-American soldiers, died Tuesday, according to The New York Times. It was the first Jewish service broadcast from Germany since the rise of Hitler more than a decade earlier and was shown throughout the United States and in Germany. See https://youtu.be/1Dj-Y86Hoc0
"The emotion was tremendous," Fuchs said of the service in an interview for the American
Jewish Committee in 2009. "The soldiers had heard of all the atrocities. Most of them had
families that perished in the Holocaust. We had so many of my family."
The Army division had no cantor, so Fuchs agreed to fill the role. "Since I was the only
one who could do it, I tried my best," Fuchs told The Times. Fuchs, a native of Poland,
moved to New York at age 12 with his family. After the war he studied cantorial music and
served as the cantor of the Bayside Jewish Center in Queens, and also worked as a diamond
cutter in Manhattan, The Times reported.
Fighting in the war left Fuchs with nightmares, and he rarely spoke about his experience
with his family, though he did hang a photograph in his home of himself leading the iconic
'Fiddler on the Roof' in Yiddish Opens Off-Broadway
By Israel Hayom
It might seem meshuga crazy to stage a beloved musical in a language that
most of the audience won't understand. But Tevye the dairyman and his family will speak
Yiddish in an off-Broadway production of "Fiddler on the Roof" directed by Oscar and Tony
winner Joel Grey. It will be the first-ever U.S. production of "Fiddler" in the language
that its characters would have spoken.
During a rehearsal at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, housed at the Museum of
Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan, Grey said that "I always knew what this play was
about, and that's how I had the chutzpah to tackle it," using the Yiddish word that
roughly translates to cheekiness. "We work in English first on the scenes so that
everybody understands the characters, and the third or fourth time we do it in Yiddish,
and we just keep at it." There will be supertitles in English and Russian for theatergoers
who don't know their schmaltz from their schmutz.
"Fiddler on the Roof" opened on Broadway in 1964, starring Zero Mostel as Tevye and ran
for eight years. It has been a favorite of schools and community theater groups ever since
and has been revived on Broadway four times. Its songs, including "Sunrise, Sunset" and
"If I Were a Rich Man," are familiar even to people who've never seen the show.
Based on stories by Sholom Aleichem originally written in Yiddish, "Fiddler" is set in
1905 in a Jewish village in czarist Russia. A Yiddish version of "Fiddler" translated by
actor and writer Shraga Friedman as "Fidler afn Dakh" was performed in Israel in 1966 but
was never staged in the United States until now.
In the Yiddish version of the show, the song "To Life!" doesn't have to be translated from
"L'Chaim!" It's just 'L'Chaim!" ''If I Were a Rich Man" becomes "Ven ikh bin a
Rotschild," from a story by Aleichem about a man who imagines he was as wealthy as a
member of the Rothschild family.
Yiddish, which is based on German with elements taken from Hebrew and other languages
and is written with the Hebrew alphabet, was once spoken by millions of Eastern European
Jews but fell victim both to the Holocaust and the pull of assimilation. Isaac Bashevis
Singer, who won a Nobel Prize for his stories written in Yiddish, famously said the
language "has been dying for a thousand years, and I'm sure it will go on dying for
Immigrants who came to the U.S. built a thriving Yiddish theater scene that launched the
careers of famed acting teacher Stella Adler and stars such as Edward G. Robinson. The
Folksbiene was founded in 1915 and was once one of more than a dozen Yiddish theater
companies on Manhattan's Lower East Side. It stages plays from the Yiddish theater canon
as well as new work and adaptations of Yiddish literary works such as "Yentl," based on
Singer's story "Yentl the Yeshiva Boy."
Grey's father, Mickey Katz, was a musician and actor who performed Yiddish comedy songs,
but Grey said he doesn't speak much Yiddish himself and has been learning while
rehearsing. The 86-year-old is best known for his role as the master of ceremonies in
"Cabaret," a musical that improbably turned the rise of Hitler into popular
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