Newsletter : 19fx0125.txt
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Amid Threats from Syria, IDF Deploys Iron Dome in Central Israel
By World Israel News & DEBKAfile
The IDF deployed an Iron Dome anti-missile system in central Israel as a precautionary
measure in light of Syrian threats to target Ben Gurion Airport. Syrian Ambassador to the
U.N. Bashar Ja'afari warned on Tuesday that his country would hit Israel's major
international gateway if the Security Council does not stop Israel's airstrikes. However,
there is little chance of Syria following through on its threat, according to Major
General (res.) Yaakov Amidror, a former national security advisor.
"The Syrians have missiles that can reach Ben Gurion Airport," the current senior fellow
at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies said on Radio 103FM Thursday. "They have
anti-aircraft missiles that can damage planes coming out of Ben-Gurion Airport. But the
relationship between us and Syria is such that a Syrian attempt would permit us to strike
them so hard that the Syrian regime would be over, so I don't see the Syrians risking such
In the last few hours, statements from both Tehran and Damascus indicate that Iran has
decided on a powerful response to the Israeli air and ground missile strikes on Monday,
Jan. 21 against its facilities in and south of Damascus. Officials in Tehran are saying
that the Fatteh-110 ground missile launched against the Israeli Hermon north of the Golan
and shot down was an inadequate a response to those assaults and Israel
deserved harsher punishment.
Despite that fact, Amidror does not believe that Tehran would escalate the situation.
Saying that tough talk in the Middle East doesn't translate into action, he noted, "Once
it comes to support, one doesn't help the other
. The Iranians in Syria cannot back
the Syrians. This is what we're fighting for and what we want to prevent."
Rivlin to Macron: Israel will Act if it Feels Threatened by Iran
By Reuters & Israel Hayom
Israel will not shy away from confrontation on its northern border as it takes steps to
counter Iranian aggression, President Reuven Rivlin told French President Emmanuel Macron
on Wednesday. The two discussed Iran and Hizbullah during Rivlin's state visit to Paris,
with Rivlin sounding the alarm on Iran's efforts to boost Hizbullah's capabilities in
Lebanon by upgrading the Shiite terrorist group's missile stocks.
"Israel cannot accept and will never accept Hizbullah having precision missiles, which
have only one target: Israeli citizens. If Lebanon threatens us, we will not remain
silent," Rivlin said at a joint press conference. "Lebanon is responsible for any activity
undertaken by Hizbullah," adding that Israel would continue to act against Iran's growing
military presence in Syria, which he called "a direct threat to Israel and the entire
Iran has been using the Syrian civil war to take a more dominant role in the region. Iran
has reportedly sent thousands of fighters to Syria and is building military infrastructure
there. Israel has on multiple occasions struck Iranian assets in Syria. According to
foreign media, the attacks have also targeted Iranian shipments of advanced weaponry to
Rivlin said that "for Israel, Iran is an enemy that does not hide its intention to destroy
Israel. We are duty-bound to treat this matter seriously." He stressed that the threat
posed by Iran "goes beyond its nuclear program and extends to its ballistic missile
program, which we consider an existential threat."
Macron said he and Rivlin had discussed Iran and that he had insisted on maintaining
continuous dialogue to control Tehran's ballistic and nuclear activity. "We have to
continue the dialogue to be able to control Iran's ballistic activity, to contain its
nuclear activity and to make it possible to contain Iran's regional ambitions. And on this
front, I have repeated our full support to President Rivlin."
Under the U.N. resolution enshrining Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with Britain, China, France,
Germany, Russia and the United States, Tehran is "called upon" to refrain from work on
ballistic missiles suitable for carrying nuclear weapons. The U.S. has recently pulled out
of the deal but warned Iran it must abide by the U.N. resolution.
New Data Shows Scope of PA's Funding of Terrorists
By Israel Hayom
For the Palestinians, terrorism is one sure way to make a living and it seems that
the worse the crime, the better the pay. According to a report released by the Palestinian
Authority Treasury on Wednesday, the PA paid upwards of NIS 502 million ($137 million) to
living terrorists either in an Israeli prison or released in 2018.
This was the first time since 2015 that the PA Prisoner Affairs Ministry has revealed such
details of its budget. Between 2015 and 2018 it kept these figures under wraps, with the
payments transferred to terrorists appearing in different reports and documents.
At the end of this month, Prime Minister and acting Defense Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is
scheduled to present the diplomatic-security cabinet with a report on these payments so
the government can deduct the amount paid out to terrorists from the taxes it collects on
behalf of the Palestinian Authority and turns over to the PA.
Although the report does not specify precisely how the funds were disbursed to terrorists
in Israeli prisons and ones who have been released, a report by the Israeli NGO
Palestinian Media Watch indicates that terrorists incarcerated in Israel received at least
NIS 203 million ($55 million) throughout 2018.
According to Palestinian Media Watch, at least NIS 176 million ($48 million) was allotted
to released terrorists, and NIS 96 million ($26 million) was used to supplement the
stipends that go to of imprisoned and released terrorists and their families, providing
them with other financial benefits. Moreover, the longer the prison sentence a terrorist
serves, the higher the salary; in other words, the worse the crime, the better the pay.
The longest-serving Palestinian terrorists Maher and Karim Younis, who murdered IDF
soldier Avraham Brumberg in 1980 and have been in jail since 1983 each receive a
monthly salary of NIS 12,000 ($3,266). PMW also found that in January 2018 alone the PA
paid almost NIS 20 million ($5.4 million) to Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel.
Palestinian Media Watch based its findings on the figures the PA chose to publish.
Therefore, it was not possible to fully determine the actual amount paid to families of
terrorists in 2018, some 18,000 people. Families that benefit include relatives of suicide
bombers and terrorists killed by Israeli forces as well as relatives of Palestinians
either killed or wounded in violent clashes with security forces.
Last July, the Knesset enacted a law to financially penalize the Palestinian Authority for
paying stipends to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and their families. Lawmakers voted
87-15 in favor of the bill, which orders the government to withhold part of the tax
revenues that Israel collects for the PA each month.
MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid), who co-sponsored the bill, said the withheld money would be
put aside and the government would be allowed to use its discretion on whether to return
it to the Palestinians at some point or not. "The law that imposes monetary sanctions on
the Palestinian Authority for payments to terrorists is one of the more important [laws]
passed in Israel in recent years," said PMW founder and director Itamar Marcus.
"It sends a clear message to the Palestinian Authority that Israel will not accept its
support for terror in any way, shape or form. I hope Israel implements the law to the
fullest as soon as this month [January], as stipulated by the law, so the PA understands
that Israel will do everything in its power against any show of support for terror on [the
PA's] part," Marcus said.
DNA Proves Hitler's Deputy Wasn't Replaced with Double, did Die in Prison
After years of wild conspiracy theories, Austrian scientists have proven that Nazi war
criminal Rudolf Hess indeed died in prison in Berlinand was not a replaced with a
doppelganger as conspiracy theorists have suggested. Hess, Hitler's Deputy Führer
between 1933-1941, was caught after he went to Scotland in 1941 on his own accord,
reportedly to negotiate a peace treaty between the UK and Germany. During the Nuremberg
trials held after the war was over, Hess was sentenced to life in prison.
Hess was imprisoned in several UK prisonsamong which the Tower of London. In 1947 he
was transferred to Berlin's Spandau Prison, where he remained until 1987when he
hanged himself in his cell. Hess, who died at 93, was known as Spandau #7. He was the last
prisoner in Spandau, and the prison was torn down after he died.
For decades, conspiracy theories raged, saying Hess was killed by the British after he was
caught in Scotland, and that a doppelganger was put in his place. According to
speculations, Spandau #7 looked nothing like "the original" Hess, and also avoided meeting
the Hess family until 1969arising suspicion.
One of the people who believed the rumors was Hess' Spandau doctor Hugh Thomas, who
pointed to doubts about his Scotland ordeal, his refusal to see relatives and his "claimed
amnesia." Now, an unidentified descendant of Hess who agreed to have his DNA compared to a
sample taken from Spandau #7 in 1982, allowed researchers to discover the truth. "No match
would have supported the impostor theory, but finally we do have a match," said Prof. Jan
Cemper-Kiesslich of the University of Salzburg, who was part of the research team.
Results were conclusive: the two DNA samples came from two individuals who had a 99.9%
chance of being related. After years of doubt, it can be said for certain that Rudolf
Hess, the former high-ranking Nazi, hanged himself in his cell in 1987.
Classic US Holocaust TV Miniseries to be Shown in Germany
For Sigmount Koenigsberg, the most searing scene in the U.S.-made "Holocaust"
miniseries broadcast here 40 years ago was when a German child throws photos of a Jewish
family into a fireplace. The pictures curl up and melt in flames. The moment "somehow
burned into me," recalls Koenigsberg, 58, a Jew who lives in Berlin.
The four-part series starring a young Meryl Streep and James Woods first shown in
the United States in 1978 burned itself into the consciences of many Germans at the
time, helping bring about a shift in the country's approach to its history.
This month, ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, WDR (West German
Broadcasting) is marking the 40th anniversary of that groundbreaking broadcast by bringing
Streep, Woods, Tovah Feldshuh, Michael Moriarty and the program's other stars back into
German living rooms.
Journalist Jorg Schonenborn, the head of TV programming for WDR, said: "unfortunately,
anti-Semitism is not only a historical phenomenon but very much present today."
Directed by Marvin Chomsky and written by Gerald Green, "Holocaust" recounts the Nazi
genocide of European Jewry through two fictional families in Berlin: the Weisses, who are
Jewish, and the Dorfs, who are Christian. In the end, both the victims and perpetrators
are nearly destroyed.
The series, which aired on NBC over four nights in April 1978, won several Emmy and Golden
Globe awards and a large audience, although many critics were underwhelmed. Elie Wiesel
famously objected to the series, saying it "trivialized" the Shoah and worrying that "the
Holocaust will be measured and judged in part by the TV production bearing its name."
In particular, the film seems to buy the cliché of Jews "going like lambs to the
slaughter" in depictions of mass shootings or the herding of Jews into gas chambers. And
many felt the kick-your-heels happy ending should have ended up on the cutting-room floor.
But the film also portrayed Jewish resistance and the agonizing position of Jews who
collaborated in hopes of saving themselves. It shows how the murder of the disabled paved
the way for the genocide of European Jewry, step by step, from mass shootings to gassings.
It also portrayed the descent of average non-Jewish Germans into murderous criminality and
the determination of many to deny what had happened, even to themselves.
In 1979, an estimated 36% of West Germans with TVs some 20 million people,
according to a contemporary article in Der Spiegel magazine viewed at least one
part of the series, which was dubbed into German. The effect was immediate. Later that
year, the West German parliament expunged the statute of limitations on war crimes. The
term "Holocaust" entered the lexicon (somewhat replaced by "Shoah" after the release of
Claude Lanzmann's documentary in 1985).
Within a few years, tens of thousands of German youth were looking into what had happened
in their hometowns and their own families under the Nazis as part of a nationwide
grassroots history movement. Almost reluctantly, Der Spiegel admired this "trivial"
American series, saying it had "managed to do what hundreds of books, plays, films and TV
broadcasts, thousands of documents and all concentration camp trials in three decades of
postwar history had failed to do: to inform Germans about the crimes committed against the
Jews in their name in such a way that millions were shaken."
In a 2005 interview with this JTA reporter, Chomsky recalled the immediate impact of the
German broadcast. "There were all kinds of [news] stories, and people started asking,
`Daddy, what did you do during the war?' It was quite a revelation for the generation,"
said Chomsky, now 89.
Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Jerusalem office, said there is no
question that the "Holocaust" story had the most powerful impact in West Germany. Zuroff
has pushed Germany to investigate and prosecute Nazi war criminals. "The story of the
Weiss family personalized the Shoah in a way that touched the average viewer," he said,
"and helped Germans internalize the scope and horror of the tragedy that took place in
their country, launched by a movement elected democratically."
But the impact of this series on German non-Jews and Jews, however, dated and sanitized
some parts of the film may appear today, is beyond doubt. Historian Edith Raim, born in
1965, recalls watching the series with her family in Landsberg, a town outside Munich. It
was one of the first programs they saw together because her parents, both teachers,
thought TV had "no pedagogic value."
"We were glued to the film, even my reluctant father," said Raim, who is not Jewish. Later
that year, "the youth organization of the trade unions started commemorations on the
[local] concentration camp cemeteries." Raim soon joined with high school classmates to
research the history of those camps. "In the case of Landsberg, in fact, the series helped
locals to confront the Nazi past," she said.
"Textbooks were changed and adjusted, and it was a big event for Germany," recalled actor
Tovah Feldshuh, who played the role of Helena Slomova, a Jewish resistance fighter from
then-Czechoslovakia. "I was wearing fatigues in the woods. It was my first death on film,"
she said in a telephone interview from New York. Feldshuh said she felt privileged to play
the role of "a freedom fighter, to be brave, rather than" someone who appeared to give
up. She "went through the Holocaust miniseries angry, not upset.
"[I] didn't shed a tear," she said. "But for the [actors] who were newly exposed to the
Holocaust, who were not Jewish, they were beside themselves: Rosemary Harris and Meryl
Streep were beside themselves." Harris played Mrs. Weiss, and Streep played her Christian
After the premiere in 1978, Wiesel confronted Feldshuh. "Tovah, how could you, how could
you, how could you! Reduce the Holocaust to a soap opera?" he demanded. "I told him,
`Elie, I understand that the experience of the Holocaust is unspeakable. I understand
there is no language for what you went through. We did not make the Holocaust series for
you. We did it for people
who think Holocaust means `hora.' For people who think
the Holocaust did not happen."
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