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First `Red Heifer' Born in Israel for 2,000 Years Triggers Armageddon Fears after Christian and Jewish Holy Books Say it will `Bring the End of the World'

By The Sun (UK)

A Bible prophecy predicting the end of days is feared to come true after the first `red heifer in 2,000 years' was born in Israel. The Temple Institute in Jerusalem announced the calf's birth on YouTube, saying it would undergo "extensive examination" to determine if it is red all over. If the female baby cow is found to be "blemish free," the Institute will declare that the calf "brings the promise of reinstating Biblical purity to the world." In both Christianity and Judaism, the red heifer is central to the prediction about the "end of times." After sacrificing the red cow, construction can begin on the Third Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple Institute and other groups worldwide were set up with the goal of building the Third Temple on Mount Moriah, or on the Temple Mount. The Bible states that after the birth of a perfectly red female calf, the Jewish Messiah will return. Rabbi Chain Richman, director of the Institute, believes the time is ripe to build the Third Temple, following the birth of the red heifer. The red heifer (also known as the red cow) was a cow brought to priests for sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible. Jewish and Christian fundamentalists believe that once a red heifer is born, they will be able to rebuild the Third Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But to do this, they would have to demolish what stands on the hill today – the Dome of the Rock, an Islamic holy temple. In mainstream Orthodox Judaism, once the Temple is rebuilt the world will welcome the coming of the Jewish Messiah.

Iran Threatens Israel

By Maariv
Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi implicitly threatened Israel in an interview with the Associated Press Tuesday. Addressing the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, as well as the Stutnex computer virus which set back Iran's nuclear program, both of which have been blamed on Israel, Salehi said: "I hope that they will not commit a similar mistake again because the consequences would be, I think, harsh." Salehi said that he hoped the 2015 nuclear deal would survive despite the withdrawal of the US and the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran. "I think [Trump] is on the loser's side because he is pursuing the logic of power. He thinks that he can, you know, continue for some time but certainly I do not think he will benefit from this withdrawal, certainly not." He said that Iran was stronger now and better able to resist sanctions than it had been before the signing of the 2015 deal. "If we have to go back and withdraw from the nuclear deal, we certainly do not go back to where we were before. We will be standing on a much, much higher position." Salehi warned Israel on Monday, "If nuclear scientists are killed in Iran, consequences will be severe." His statement came in the broader context of Iranian scientists who were assassinated in a number of mysterious explosions in recent years. Iranian government officials pointed a finger at Israel, however, Israel has not taken responsibility for the killings. Even with the collapse of the nuclear agreement between Tehran and the five remaining powers, Salehi vowed that the Iranian nuclear program would be strong. "Trump's decision to quit the agreement placed him on the side of the losers in history," Salehi declared. "The agreement could pave the way for building confidence and security that was previously lost." Isaac Herzog, the head of the Jewish Agency, mentioned that if the agreement collapsed, Iran's nuclear program would be "stronger" than it was before the agreement was signed. In an earlier statement, Salehi said, "Iran has completed the construction of a facility to build advanced centrifuges." Tehran has made a number of statements concerning the expansion of uranium enrichment activities in the country, in the event that the nuclear agreement collapses completely after the US withdrawal. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei called on his country's armed forces to increase their strength to "deter the enemy…American and the Zionist regime are trying to stop the rise of an Islamic power in the Middle East," said Khamenei. "They know that the fascinating message of Islam is the protection of the oppressed and the dispossessed, so they fear the creation of a power based on Islam." In an implicit reference to demonstrations against the regime, Khamenei also warned Iranian youth of "the enemy's desperate attempts to lure and influence" Iran in cyberspace and in the public and private spheres. "The enemy is very active in many frontiers, which calls for alertness, unity, and reliance on God to overcome them," claimed the Iranian ruler. "The Iranian forces will not hesitate for a moment to respond to any aggression by Iran's enemies," said Iranian Army commander Gen. Mohammad Bakri. "Although our country is under many threats, it is considered the most stable and safe country. The enemy harms stability in the region to give himself an excuse to continue his presence. On the one hand, the enemy invents the terrorist groups, and on the other, the enemy acts to destroy them."

A 1939 Phone Book May be Key to Unlocking Millions in Polish Holocaust Restitution Payments


In the small park behind the only synagogue in this city to have survived World War II, Yoram Sztykgold looks around with a perplexed expression. An 82-year-old retired architect, Sztykgold immigrated to Israel after surviving the Holocaust in Poland. He tries in vain to recognize something from what used to be his childhood home. "It's no use," he says after a while. "To me, this could be anywhere." Sztykgold's unfamiliarity with the part of Grzybowska Street where he spent his earliest years is not due to any memory loss. Like most of Warsaw, his parents' apartment building was completely bombed out during the war and leveled, along with the rest of the street. His former home is now a placid park that is a favorite hangout for mothers pushing baby carriages and pensioners his age. The dramatic changes in Warsaw's landscape have bedeviled efforts for decades to obtain restitution for privately owned properties like Sztykgold's childhood home, making it difficult for survivors like him to identify assets that may have belonged to their families. But for many restitution claimants in the capital, identifying assets will become easier thanks to a recent breakthrough with an unlikely source: the establishment of a first-of-its-kind searchable database. Users need only type in the name of their family to obtain a complete overview of all the assets they may claim under a new restitution drive in Warsaw. It's a high-tech tool only made possible thanks to the recent discovery of an unpublished phone book from 1939. The World Jewish Restitution Organization, or WJRO, set up the database in December 2016. It allowed a relative of Sztykgold to get the first definitive list of the assets the family had in Warsaw before the war when they headed a real-estate empire. The database allows users to check whether their family owned any of the 2,613 properties that the City of Warsaw said that year it would reopen for restitution claims. Especially in Sztykgold's case, the database had "a huge role," he said because the only adult from his family who survived the genocide was his mother, who "had only partial knowledge of what her family owned." "Bits and pieces, really," Sztykgold told JTA on Monday during a restitution-related visit to his place of birth. During the visit, Sztykgold also got a rare chance to examine the key that led to the groundbreaking database: a yellowing proofing copy of a phone book of sorts from 1939. It was never published because the directory was being prepared when the Germans invaded Poland. Crucially, the phone book, or registry, contained information that allowed genealogist Logan Kleinwaks of Washington, D.C., to find the names of the owners of thousands of assets, including approximately half of those 2,613 properties that Warsaw said it would reopen to claims. Poland, where 3.3 million Jews lived before the Holocaust, is the only major country in Europe that has not passed national legislation for the restitution of property unjustly seized from private owners by the Nazis or nationalized by the communist regime, according to the WJRO. Instead of passing legislation, Polish authorities and courts handle restitution claims on a per-case basis. Dozens of such cases have been resolved in recent years. Several Polish property attorneys told JTA that there is no way of knowing how many of the claims are by Jews. As it carries out its controversial new restitution drive announced in 2016, Warsaw periodically releases a few dozen addresses of properties from its list that had been claimed during communism but whose status has never been resolved. The city does not release owners' names, although it presumably has at least some of them from stalled restitution claims filed for each of the 2,613 assets. Critics of this practice say it deprives claimants of crucial information necessary to gain compensation. Advocates say it is designed to minimize fraud. Once a property is reopened for restitution, claimants have six months to file a second claim. It is an unreasonably short period, according to WJRO. But for people like Sztykgold, who don't even know which addresses their families used to own, the entire 2016 process is irrelevant. Or, at least, it used to be until Kleinwaks "matched addresses announced in 2016 with the names of the owners" who are indicated in the 1939 registry, he said. Today, the copy is kept in the vaults of the Central Military Library, which in 2014 bought it for about $3,000 from a book collector at an auction. The library then scanned the book and published the scans online. Kleinwaks, who had heard about the auction and was eagerly awaiting access to the book's content, then used software he developed to build an owners' database from the phone book, matching it with the 2,613 addresses. So far, the City of Warsaw has reopened only about 300 of the restitution claims from the list of 2,613, and not one of the claimants has received compensation. Kleinwaks said he does not know how many people are using his database to mount claims. He has reached out personally to more than a dozen families whose names he found, he said, and some of them have subsequently initiated restitution work. None of the Sztykgold family's assets — there are over a dozen of them – have been reopened for restitution. But the Sztykgold family is already doing the footwork — locating birth certificates, building a family tree, proving they are the only heirs and many other bureaucratic chores — so that when their assets are reopened, they would have a hope of making the six-month deadline. Gideon Taylor, WJRO's chair of operations, said it was "a very positive step" by Polish authorities to purchase and make available online the 1939 registry. "But Poland has to follow through now and make that information actionable for heirs, instead of introducing a procedure that make it more difficult to reclaim properties," he said.

World Jewish Population Stands at 14.7 Million

By Israel Hayom
The world's Jewish population stands at 14.7 million, an increase from 14.6 million in 2017, according to findings published by Israeli demographer and professor emeritus at Hebrew University of Jerusalem Sergio Della Pergola. Israel's Jewish population increased to 6.6 million from the 6.5 million Jewish residents found to be living in the country last year. Also, some 400,000 people living in Israel but not registered as Jews are eligible for citizenship under the Law of Return. According to Pergola's data, 23.6 million people around the world are eligible to make aliyah under the Law of Return. Some 8.1 million Jews live in the Diaspora, with 5.7 million of them living in the United States. Other countries with large Jewish communities are France with a Jewish population of 430,000, followed by Canada with a Jewish population of 391,000 and Great Britain, with 290,000. Argentina's Jewish population stands at 180,000; Russia's at 172,000; Germany's at 116,000; Australia's at 113,000 and Brazil's at 93,000. South Africa has 69,000 Jews, and Ukraine and Hungary have Jewish populations numbering 50,000 and 47,000, respectively. 40,000 Jews are living in Mexico, 30,000 in the Netherlands, 29,000 in Belgium, 28,000 in Italy, 19,000 in Switzerland, and 18,000 in Chile. Some 27,000 Jews live in Arab and Muslim countries. There are 15,000 Jews in Turkey, some 8,500 in Iran, 2,000 in Morocco and around 1,000 in Tunisia. Countries with a Jewish population of 500 or fewer include Bermuda, the Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Jamaica, the Virgin Islands, Bolivia, Suriname, Cyprus, Malta, Slovenia, Macedonia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Congo, Botswana, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Yemen, Syria and Egypt.

Jewish Baseball Player-Turned-Spy Gets Hall of Fame Exhibit


Moe Berg is going into the Baseball Hall of Fame – as a spy, not a catcher. The shrine to the national pastime in Cooperstown, New York, recently opened an exhibit on the Jewish player, who gained more attention for his espionage than a 15-year career in which he finished with a batting average of .243 and six home runs. Berg, following his baseball days in the 1920s and '30s, worked for the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS — a precursor to the CIA. He went on missions in then-Yugoslavia, where he tracked resistance groups, and Italy, where he interviewed physicists about the German nuclear program. The Cooperstown exhibit, titled "Moe Berg: Big League Spy," looks at his exploits in both worlds through baseball artifacts and wartime documents. A New Yorker who spoke more than 10 languages (seven fluently) and graduated from Princeton, Berg was the subject of the film "The Catcher Was a Spy," released in June. Jewish actor Paul Rudd portrayed Berg, who died in 1972 at age 70.

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