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'Austria Bears Joint Responsibility for the Holocaust'


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cancelled his meeting with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, which was scheduled for Tuesday, because he is under the weather, his office said Monday night. On Monday, President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nehama held a state reception for the Austrian President Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen and his wife, Doris Schmidauer, during their state visit to Israel. The Austrian president was received at an official ceremony during which the anthems of both countries were played. The presidents then reviewed the IDF honor guard and made joint statements. They then held a meeting to discuss the strengthening relations between the two countries. The President of Israel welcomed his Austrian counterpart and his wife upon their arrival to Jerusalem, Israel's capital. "We are pleased to host you here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, as a true friend of the state of Israel and of the Jewish people…The Jewish nation today its building its future here in the State of Israel, a Jewish and democratic state, democratic and Jewish. I believe that cooperation between Austria and Israel will do well for our economies and can also contribute to the world," added Rivlin. Later in the day, the President accompanied Van der Bellen during his visit to Yad Vashem. "Unfortunately, anti-Semitism does not disappear," the Israeli president told his Austrian counterpart. "It raises its head around the world, and even more so this past year. In your own country there have been about 50 anti-Semitic incidents in the past year, some of which have been investigated by the police. "In conjunction with this, the Austrian government has advanced the EU support in a declaration against anti-Semitism. The Declaration stresses the importance of the Education of Holocaust Remembrance and calls on governments to take steps to ensure the security of Jewish communities, Jewish institutions and Jewish citizens in Europe. It would be a disaster if Jews were afraid to express their Jewishness in Europe. In addition the declaration calls upon other countries to adopt the new definition of the International Task Force for the Preservation of the Memory of the Holocaust (IRHA), a definition adopted fully by Austria and eleven other countries in Europe." The President of Austria thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, "Austria and Israel share a special history, and Theodore Herzl, a great Austrian, is the visionary of the Jewish state, the spiritual father of the Jewish state." Referring to the Austrian responsibility for the Holocaust, Van der Bellen said, "The terrible history also ties us. Tens of thousands of Austrian Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime and many others were expelled and found a new homeland – they built the country and fought in many battles. I am saying it openly here: Austria bears joint responsibility for the Holocaust. Many of Austria's citizens were among the perpetrators and we bow our heads to the victims in humility and modesty. We shared our responsibility too late and this caused difficulties in our relations at the begging, but today Israel is a bastion of freedom and stability here in the Middle East. "Our goal is to ensure that Jews everywhere feel safe. Our responsibility as Austrians to the victims of the Holocaust is to ensure that we live with Israel in peace and unanimity," the Austrian President stressed.

Jeremy Corbyn to Team Up with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

By Reuters & JTA

British opposition chief and chairman of the UK Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn reached out to a freshman Democrat congresswoman in the hopes of forming a left-wing trans-Atlantic alliance. Corbyn called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old self-described Democratic Socialist who won last November's election for the 14th congressional district in New York after she defeated 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary. Ocasio-Cortez's surprised win propelled her almost overnight to celebrity status, turning her into one of the most popular figures in the left-wing of the Democratic Party. In a tweet late Sunday night, Corbyn revealed that he had called Ocasio-Cortez that night to propose an alliance with the New York congresswoman, citing their wide-ranging agreement on policies ranging from marginal tax rates to environmental protection and immigration. "Great to speak to @AOC on the phone this evening and hear first-hand how she's challenging the status quo," tweeted Corbyn. "Let's build a movement across borders to take on the billionaires, polluters and migrant baiters, and support a happier, freer and cleaner planet." Ocasio-Cortez responded shortly afterwards, saying she was honored to speak with the Labour leader. "It was an honor to share such a lovely and wide-reaching conversation with you, jeremycorbyn! Also honored to share a great hope in the peace, prosperity, + justice that everyday people can create when we uplift one another across class, race, + identity both at home & abroad." According to a report by Bloomberg, the two spoke for 45 minutes, with the conversation focusing heavily on the recent government shutdown, President Trump's demands Congress allocate funds for a border wall, tax hikes for the wealthy, and global warming. Ocasio-Cortez told a Jewish writer that she would reach out to discuss allegations that Jeremy Corbyn, the British opposition leader, is anti-Semitic. Elad Nehorai, a Brooklyn-based writer who explores Jewish themes, replied to Ocasio-Cortez, "I hope you'll take a look at the amount of Jews trying to call attention to Corbyn's long, documented history of anti-Semitism. The left's blind spot in this regard can still be fixed. But we need leaders like yourself to listen." Ocasio-Cortez thanked Nehorai. "We cannot and will not move forward without deep fellowship and leadership with the Jewish community," she said. "I'll have my team reach out." She signed the tweet with a heart icon. Some 85% of British Jews believe Corbyn, who has long associated with Palestinian radicals and in at least one case a Holocaust denier, is anti-Semitic and they say he is responsible for a hostile environment in a party that for over a century was a natural home for Jews.

US Rabbi in UAE Quotes Ministers as Saying Ties with Israel are `Just Around the Corner'

By the Jerusalem Post

The "overriding consensus" among ranking ministers in the United Arab Emirates is that relations with Israel are "around the corner," US Rabbi Marc Schneier said on Monday. Speaking with The Jerusalem Post from Abu Dhabi where he was one of dozens of religious leaders whom Pope Francis addressed at an interfaith gathering on the second day of the pope's three-day historic visit to the Gulf state, Schneier said he sat with a number of UAE ministers who said they were "looking forward" to ties with Israel, and that it was "not a question of if, but a question of when." Schneier is the rabbi of the Hampton Synagogue in New York and spends a good deal of time in Persian Gulf countries as head of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, an organization that promotes Jewish-Islamic ties. He said that the UAE used the papal visit to "officially recognize" the small Jewish community of the Emirates. Schneier said that there was "no question" that the formal recognition of the Jewish community is a "result of the warming of relations between the UAE and Israel." The rabbi said there has been a gradual recognition by Gulf leaders that Israel is at the very core of Judaism, not just a 70-year-old political reality, and that "if they want authentic dialogue with the Jewish people, they must recognize that Israel is a religious issue for Jews, not a political one." Dubai houses a synagogue in an unmarked home in a quiet residential area that serves a small community of Jewish expats in the UAE. The facility has a synagogue with a Torah scroll, a kosher kitchen and rooms for guests. Schneier addressed the small Orthodox congregation on Friday night. During the Saturday services the congregation does not recite a prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel – as many congregations both in Israel and the Diaspora do – but rather a prayer for the welfare of the UAE government and its military forces. Many congregations abroad regularly offer a prayer for the well-being of the state and army of the country where they are located.

Hulu Buys Israeli Vampire Show `Juda'

By the Jerusalem Post
Streaming giant Hulu has purchased the Israeli TV series Juda, about a Jewish vampire. Hulu has bought both the show itself, as well as rights to an American remake of the series. The show, which first aired in Israel on HOT in 2017, was created, written and stars comedian Zion Baruch. It tells the story of Juda, a small-time Israeli criminal who makes his money playing poker in Romania with funds from bigger-time French criminals. But on a trip to Bucharest, Juda has an unpleasant encounter with a Romanian vampire pretending to be a prostitute, which sets him on a disturbing course of events. Romanian vampires, it turns out, are not allowed to bite Jews, and she has brought shame and misfortune to her family.

The show also features a recurring rabbinic motif and all sorts of references to biblical and Talmudic texts, as well as kabbalistic motifs. The show stars Amos Tamam (Srugim), Ilanit Levi and Yiddish theater legend Mike Burstyn. Nadav Hanin, HOT's vice president of content, told Variety that the deal underscored the fact that "excellent content truly has no borders. It is HOT's prime agenda to be the home of Israeli original content and to be an essential element in the development of the Israeli television industry," Hanin said.

Israeli Government Launches New Hebrew Music Streaming App

By the Jerusalem Post

The Culture and Sport Ministry launched a new app on Monday for streaming Hebrew music. The free app, called Shiri, was put together in conjunction with the National Library of Israel and the music nonprofit Finjan. The Culture Ministry said it was making the app available – advertisement-free – to the general public "with the goal of conserving and preserving Israeli music throughout the generations." The ministry said that the application "provides royalties equally to creators, record companies and performers." And unlike many of the other music streaming apps – like Spotify and Apple Music – users are able to skip songs they don't like without limitations. Users who download the app – available for both iPhone and Android by searching Shiri in Hebrew – are asked to pick up to three Israeli artists whose music they enjoy to get started. "From there I'll understand your direction, and play songs by them and a lot of other Israeli songs that I think you'll love," the app reads. From there, users can "like" or "dislike" songs the app plays for you based on your preferences, allowing it to further glean your musical tastes. You can also direct the app to "surprise you" either a little, sometimes or a lot. The app's notes add that: "P.S. When you listen to Israeli music via this app, the artists that you love are compensated more than any other app." Shiri "combines veteran artists with new artists, exposing users to new music they don't already know," the ministry said. "The application provides an answer to the great difficulty of young artists reaching the general public, and also enables young audiences to be exposed to veteran artists." The app already includes around 1,000 artists and more than 40,000 songs, and its creators say more will be added in the future. The ministry and the National Library said the app doesn't allow building playlists, but rather uses algorithms to supply users with songs from its database. Users of the app will find popular current singers like Omer Adam, Static and Ben-El and Shiri Maimon alongside more classic performers including Naomi Shemer, Arik Einstein and Shalom Hanoch. The ministry said the application is available to users free worldwide, and users in North America confirmed Monday that it was accessible. The app's interface is currently only available in Hebrew.

Julian Edelman Becomes First Jewish Super Bowl MVP

By Israel Hayom
The New England Patriots' Julian Edelman, an undersized wide receiver few thought would ever make a name for himself in the NFL, became the first Jewish player to win the Super Bowl MVP trophy on Sunday after his key plays helped lift New England to a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. The speedy 32-year-old, nicknamed "The Squirrel," was quarterback Tom Brady's most reliable target on Sunday, providing an offensive spark every time it was needed en route to his third championship with the team. In a game where both offenses struggled to find the end zone, Edelman made the most of his opportunities, catching 10 of the 12 passes thrown his way for 141 yards while rushing once for 8 yards. Edelman, 32, is one of only a handful of Jewish players in the league and over time he has embraced that side of his identity. He has a Jewish father but was not raised Jewish. Drafted in 2009, he only started making a name for himself in the league in 2013. Since then, he has shown his Jewish pride on a number of occasions. In a 2014 game, he wore a pin featuring the Israeli flag. He has tweeted about Jewish holidays, has attended a Birthright-style trip to Israel and has written a children's book that references Theodor Herzl, the modern-day founder of Zionism. But after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in October 2018 that killed 11, he wore special cleats with Hebrew on them to honor the victims, and following the Patriots Nov. 4 victory over the Green Bay Packers, he wore an Israeli baseball cap for his postgame interviews as a shout-out to those in Pittsburgh. "It's disgusting what happened. And I'm just backing them up," he said in a follow-up interview. "I'm proud of who I am and what I am. Just to let these victims know: 'We're all with you. This is a very tough time for you. I can't even imagine. But you have support.' It's not like one of those things where you're gonna put your head under the ground and kind of hide," he said. "You're gonna say, 'Hey, that's what makes us stronger.'" Edelman is one of the most unlikely Super Bowl MVPs in league history. He was taken 232nd in the 2009 NFL draft after not even being invited to participate in league tryouts, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick managed to shape him into a key component of the team's offensive attack. Edelman said he was focused on getting the team back to the championship after a torn ACL forced him to miss all of last season and he had to watch the Patriots fall to the Philadelphia Eagles in last year's Super Bowl. "My head was down, just trying to go out and try to win ballgames and help the team," he said. Tough times don't last, tough people do. I preach that and I guess you have to live to it."

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