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Iran Wants Russian Air Defense Shield Extended to Lebanon to Cover Hizbullah's Precise Missiles

By DEBKAfile

"There is serious criticism of Russia for deactivating its S-300 air defense missiles when the `Zionist enemy' strikes from Lebanon," said a senior Iranian lawmaker. Hashmatollah Falahatpisheh, chairman of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, went on to say: "If the Russian air defense worked properly, Israel would not be able to launch strikes over Syria easily." He added accusingly, "There seems to be some form of coordination between the Zionist regime's strikes and Russia's air defense system in Syria." And Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, IRGC commander and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Iran, threatened Sunday that Iran would switch from its defense policy to offensive tactics if its national interests come under threat. "We will attack first if we feel or see evidence that Iran may be under attack," he said. Last week, Moscow announced that the training for Syrian crews who will be operating the advanced S-300 air defense missiles would be finished towards March and during that month, the batteries would become operational. The Russian instructors are, therefore taking five months to train the Syrians in the use of the S-300s delivered by Moscow last October. Moscow is also taking time to connect the Syrian-based batteries to the Russian command at the Khmeimim air base near Latakia and, even more importantly, to the Russian National Air Defense Command in Moscow. Moscow on no account wants Russian air defense officers involved in any S-300 strikes on Israeli warplanes and therefore made sure that the Syrian crews were properly trained before letting them take charge of the advanced air defense batteries. Even then, they need to remain under competent Russian military command and control in Syria and Moscow. This dependence is also expected to serve as a deterrent for the Israeli Air Force against destroying them, which would not be good for the Russian air and arms industries' export business. DEBKAfile's military sources report that once in Syrian hands for use against Israeli air strikes, the S-300s will also bring within range IDF flights over Lebanon, the Golan and Galilee. This will provide Hizbullah with the protection of a Russian-supplied air shield and present Israel with a quandary: Should the IDF destroy the S-300s at the risk of another row with Moscow? Or find ways to work around the batteries to continue its attacks on Iranian sites in Syria? This question was aired during the talks President Reuven Rivlin and Israeli Air Force Chief Maj. Gen. Amikam Nurkin held this week with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace. They brought with them maps and photo images of Hizbullah's precision-guided missile sites in Lebanon. It is more than likely that the Israeli visitors relayed through Paris a final warning to the Lebanese government and Hizbullah, with advice to dismantle those sites, else Israel would take action to smash them before the S-300 batteries deployed around Damascus became operational in March.

On International Holocaust Memorial Day, Anti-Semitism in Europe is back with a Vengeance

By Israel Faxx News Services

With anti-Semitism now accepted in the European public discourse, it is clear to all of the continent's Jews, including those determined to fight for their right to remain in the "Old World," that they are living on borrowed time. Hugo Bettauer's book "The City without Jews" was published in Vienna in 1922. In it, Bettauer, a Jew who converted to evangelical Christianity, depicted a socially, economically and politically destitute Vienna that attributed all of its troubles to the Jews and expelled them from the city in cattle cars. Upon emptying the city of Jews, the Viennese discovered they had been left with nothing. The disappearance of the Jews led to the city's final collapse. The expellers demanded the Jews be brought back and upon their return, welcomed them with great appreciation. "The City without Jews" was an immediate bestseller and in 1924, it was adapted into a silent movie. But reality frowned upon Bettauer's happy ending. In 1925, at the age of 52, he was murdered by a Nazi activist. In 1933, the Nazis took control of the German government. The Third Reich later annexed Austria, 20 years after his book was printed, almost all of Vienna's Jews were transported to concentration camps and death camps from which they would never return. Europe's Jews were deported and murdered. A majority of the world's Jews once lived on the continent; only 3 million remain. And they are now reliving history. Seventy-four years after the Holocaust came to an end, and almost 100 years to the publication of "The City without Jews," Jewish lives are once again at risk. This is no longer just anti-Semitic incitement; the desecration of cemeteries, synagogues and gravestones or the graffiti spray-painted on Jewish institutions, stores, schools or private homes. In recent years, Jews have been murdered simply for being Jewish in France, Belgium and Denmark. And the number of the anti-Semitic attacks – both physical and verbal – is once again on the rise. Political parties on both the Right and the Left that foster anti-Semitism are growing more and more popular. In liberal Great Britain, the Labour Party, which finds it difficult to admit that anti-Semites have taken over its leadership and party lines, could soon control the government. According to a poll on anti-Semitism in the European Union, 45% of European Jews consider anti-Semitism to be a major problem in their country of residence. Sixty-two percent believe anti-Semitism has significantly increased in their country of residence, and 38% are contemplating immigrating because of anti-Semitism. In Britain, the percentage of Jews who say they would consider emigration should Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn take power is even higher. Many Jews have already left France for Israel and other places, while others sit and wait, their suitcases already packed. It seems that Europe could soon become "the continent without Jews." Europe, which for too long refused to take responsibility for the Holocaust, still today finds it difficult to admit it suffers from chronic anti-Semitism. And when a disease isn't treated, it tends to break out all over again. If in the past it was the radical neo-Nazi Right that presented the greatest threat to Jews, today that threat is also from the "new Europeans," Arab and Muslim immigrants who are allies of the Left. And if in the past, blatant anti-Semitism was voiced on the fringes of European society, today it has become mainstream. If Europeans were once ashamed to make their anti-Semitic views known, now they espouse them with pride. Once a stated vow, "never again" has become something of a question. Despite their situation, Jews in Europe may still feel comfortable, relatively speaking. But when anti-Semitism – and anti-Zionism disguised as anti-Israel sentiment – becomes a legitimate part of the discourse, it is clear to Europe's Jews, including those determined to fight for their right to remain in the "Old World," that they are living on borrowed time. More than 2.6 million British people think the Holocaust is a myth, according to a new poll released Sunday on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Five percent of British adults do not believe millions of Jews were systematically murdered by the Nazis, according to the survey, conducted by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) and quoted by The Independent. A further 8% of the British public claims the scale of the genocide has been exaggerated. Almost two-thirds of the British public either grossly underestimate the figure of six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust or have no idea how many had died, the poll found. One in five said fewer than two million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, while 45% said they did not know. "I find these figures terribly worrying," said Steven Frank, a Dutch Jewish survivor of the Holocaust who was forced into a concentration camp at the age of seven following the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands. "If we ignore the past, I fear history will repeat itself," he said, according to The Independent. Frank, whose father was gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, speaks to school pupils about his experience of Nazi persecution and said he had encountered Holocaust deniers at talks. "In my experience, people don't have a solid understanding of what happened during the Holocaust and that's one of the reasons I am so committed to sharing what happened to me," he said. "The only way to fight this kind of denial and anti-Semitism is with the truth." The Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Jewish hate crime, says that more than 100 anti-Semitic incidents are recorded in Britain every month. The organization warned last year that bigots were becoming "more confident to express their views." In the first half of 2017, the Jewish community of the United Kingdom recorded 767 anti-Semitic attacks; the highest figure recorded within six months since monitoring began in 1984. The year before, the CST released data showing that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain rose by more than a third to record levels.

British Spiritual Leaders Urge Unity on Holocaust Day

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the Chief Rabbi of Britain, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, and Imam Qari Asim, Chair of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, have signed a joint letter calling on people to come together and create a better future on the occasion of International Holocaust Memorial Day 2019, which was marked on Sunday. "This Holocaust Memorial Day (Sunday 27th January 2019), we, the undersigned, are uniting and calling on people of all faiths and backgrounds to come together, reflect, and create a better future for us all. Now, more than ever, with the threat of identity-based prejudice and hostility facing people in the UK and around the world, we must find common bonds and renew our commitment to respect one another and be compassionate," they wrote. "We do not always feel safe and secure in our world, and we cannot be complacent. We must challenge prejudice and the language of hatred. Right now, across the world, many people are at risk of persecution because of their identity. Despite the world saying `never again' after the Holocaust, genocide and mass killings have taken place again and again. We must be vigilant, show solidarity with people in desperate situations and use our voices to call for action," wrote the spiritual leaders. "Closer to home, our own divisions in society sometimes seem insurmountable, with anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, racism, gender-based violence, homophobia and other forms of prejudice still with us on the streets of Britain. Holocaust Memorial Day, organized each year by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, offers us all an opportunity to learn, and show compassion to others. We can all play our part in creating a better future. So today, we call on each of us in this country to offer the hand of friendship to one new person, celebrate our differences and build relationships which can unite us all." International Holocaust Memorial Day is an international memorial day on January 27 commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during World War II. The day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/7 on November 1, 2005. The United Nations will mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday, January 28, with a series of events, including a special session of the UN General Assembly that will include speeches by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon. Following the General Assembly event, the Israeli Mission to the United Nations, in cooperation with the Missions of Peru and Portugal, will hold an event to open an exhibition devoted to diplomats who are Righteous among the Nations at the organization's headquarters in New York. At the conclusion of the events, Ambassador Danon will lead a delegation of 40 UN ambassadors to Poland to visit the death camps, and then arrive in Israel. This mission is in conjunction with the March of the Living and the American Zionist Movement. "Some of the diplomats in World War II saw the Jews, first and foremost, as human beings. Truth and morality guided their way to, at great risk, heroically saved them from Nazi extermination. We all hope that the diplomats of our time will join Israel in the struggle against Anti-Semitism, and against the voices in Tehran that call for the destruction of the Jewish state," said Danon.

The Chamber of the Holocaust, Israel's Obscure Memorial

By Reuters &

Tucked away on the slopes of Mount Zion in Jerusalem lies a little-known memorial site for Jewish victims of the Holocaust. A cluster of tiny, dark caverns that modestly commemorates one of the greatest horrors of modern times. The Chamber of the Holocaust, a six-room cellar whose walls are covered with gravestones, sits beside a tomb some believe to be the burial place of the biblical King David and next to the site where, according to Christian tradition, Jesus held the Last Supper. The memorial was established in 1949, four years after the end of World War Two and a year after Israel was founded, as Holocaust survivors who came as refugees to the country sought a place to mourn their families. "There was no cemetery, no grave. Their families had literally gone up in smoke," said Aharon Seiden, the chamber's curator. "The Chamber of the Holocaust was built as a symbolic cemetery, as a place for Holocaust survivors to come and cry and mourn for their families." Ashes of victims were interred there and the hundreds of gravestones that cover the walls commemorate the Jewish villages and towns whose communities were wiped out by the Nazis. In stark contrast to Israel's official Holocaust memorial—the massive Yad Vashem complex, the Chamber is funded mostly by private donations and is far less known to Israelis and tourists alike. It displays artifacts brought from Europe by survivors such as scorched Torah scrolls, a jacket and drum the Nazis had Jewish prisoners make out of Torah parchments, and the striped prisoner uniforms worn in concentration camps.

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