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Israel's Amos 17 Satellite Successfully Launched by SpaceX

By DEBKAfile

The Amos 17 communications satellite was boosted by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early Wednesday. The successful launch into orbit over the Africa continent came three years after Amos 6 was destroyed by an explosion on the Falcon launch pad. This time, SpaceX was extra careful and delayed the launch of Amos 17 for three days over a suspected malfunction in the rocket engines. DEBKAfile reports that the communications satellite will supply Israel's intelligence services with data on Iran after a three-year gap during which they made do with makeshift technical devices. The $250 million satellite built by Boeing is now operating autonomously and due to reach a point 36,000km above the earth's surface in 11 days.

Austrian Government Wins Court Case to Buy `Hitler House' Hitler's Birthhouse

By World Israel News

Austria's Supreme Court of Justice has ruled in favor of the government gaining possession of the home in which Adolf Hitler was born in exchange for fair, but not exorbitant, compensation to its longtime owner. A lower court had ruled that Gerlinde Pommer, whose family owned the three-story building in Braunau am Inn since the late-19th century, should be paid $1.7 million for the house. The government appealed the decision and in June, the Supreme Court set the compensation at $908,000 (812,000 Euro), which it said was the fair market price for the property. The authorities had tried to purchase the structure for a long time before making the decision to expropriate it three years ago and embarking on the legal journey. The motive was purely to stop the phenomenon of thousands of neo-Nazis visiting the site in homage, although there is no mention of Hitler's name there. The only hint to its connection to the leader of the Third Reich is a stone memorial on the sidewalk that says, "For peace, freedom and democracy. Never again fascism. Millions dead are a warning."The building at Salzburger Vorstadt 15 had a pub on the ground floor and apartments above in 1889, when Hitler was born to one of the tenant families. Since the end of World War II, it has housed several renters, including the government itself, which used it for decades as a center for those with special needs. But after Pommer refused to make much-needed renovations in 2012, the contract was not extended, and the building has stood vacant ever since. Pommer, who has lived in the small medieval town all her life, had also tried fighting the expropriation in both the Austrian Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights. She lost in both cases, as the expropriation was ruled constitutional and the European court declared her complaint inadmissible. An Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman told NPR on Tuesday that the government will now hold "an open competition for architects to see what they propose for the so-called Hitler house." The possibility that the authorities will decide to destroy the building has not yet been completely ruled out either.

Study Suggests Hitler was 25% Jewish

By the Jerusalem Post
A recent study by psychologist and physician Leonard Sax has shed new light supporting the claim that Hitler's father's father had Jewish roots. The study entitled "Aus den Gemeinden von Burgenland: Revisiting the question of Adolf Hitler's paternal grandfather," which was published in the current issue of the Journal of European Studies, examines claims by Hitler's lawyer Hans Frank, who allegedly discovered the truth. Hitler asked Frank to look into the claim in 1930 after his nephew William Patrick Hitler threatened to expose that the Nazi leader's grandfather was Jewish. In his 1946 memoir, which was published seven years after he was executed during the Nuremberg trials, "Frank claimed to have uncovered evidence in 1930 that Hitler's paternal grandfather was a Jewish man living in Graz, Austria, in the household where Hitler's grandmother was employed" and it was in 1836 that Hitler's grandmother Maria Anna Schicklgruber fell pregnant, Sax explained. "Frank wrote in his memoir that he conducted an investigation as Hitler had requested, and that he discovered the existence of correspondence between Maria Anna Schicklgruber – Hitler's grandmother – and a Jew named Frankenberger living in Graz. According to Frank, the letters hinted that Frankenberger's 19-year-old son had impregnated Maria Anna while she worked in the Frankenberger household: ...that the illegitimate child of the Schickelgruber [sic] had been conceived under conditions which required Frankenberger to pay alimony." Sax writes in the study that according to the letters in Frank's memoir, "Frankenberger Sr. sent money for the support of the child from infancy until its 14th birthday. "The motivation for the payment, according to Frank, was not charity, but primarily a concern about the authorities becoming involved: `The Jew paid without a court order, because he was concerned about the result of a court hearing and the connected publicity,'" the letters state. However, Sax noted that the accuracy of Frank's claims and his memoir "have been questioned." He added that "contemporary scholarship has largely discounted Frank's allegations regarding a possible Jewish grandfather for Adolf Hitler." In the 1950s, German author Nikolaus von Preradovich said that he had proved that "there were no Jews in Graz, [Austria] before 1856," rejecting Frank's account. However, Sax explained in the study that he found evidence to the contrary in Austrian archives that there was a Jewish community in the Austrian town before 1850 and highlighted that Preradovich was a Nazi sympathizer, "who was offended by the suggestion that Adolf Hitler was a "Vierteljude (a one-quarter Jew)."

According to Sax's paper, "Evidence is presented [shows] that there was in fact eine kleine, nun angesiedelte Gemeinde – `a small, now settled community' – of Jews living in Graz before 1850." Sax also refers to Emanuel Mendel Baumgarten, was elected to the Vienna municipal council in 1861, "one of the first Jews to hold that honor. "In 1884, he wrote a book titled…. The Jews in Styria: a historical sketch" in which he states that "in September 1856, he and several Jewish colleagues met with Michael Graf von Strassoldo, who at that time held the post of governor for the province of Styria. Baumgarten and his colleagues petitioned Strassoldo to lift the restrictions on Jews residing in Styri," Sax explained. Baumgarten cited a letter to local mayors in Styria which noted "that Jews are staying in local districts for a long time and are taking up residence for a long time." Sax goes on to say that the official register of Jews in Graz "appears to have been launched following this meeting. Thus, the establishment in 1856 of a community register of Jews in Graz seems not to have been a first step in the foundation of the Jewish community in 16 Graz, as Nikolaus von Preradovich assumed, but rather the recognition of a community already in existence," he pointed out. According to a statement accompanying the study, "Sax [also] presents overwhelming evidence that Preradovich was a Nazi sympathizer. "Sax's paper shows that the current consensus is based on a lie," it states. "Frank, not Preradovich, was telling the truth. Adolf Hitler's grandfather was Jewish. He added that "no independent scholarship has confirmed Preradovich's conjecture."

IDF Moves to Expand Integration of Transgender Troops

By YnetNews
Israel's army is taking into account a slow but steady growth in number of transgender soldiers going through sex change processes before or during their military service, and is making more effort to integrate them into the system. As of today, there are dozens of transgender troops serving in the military – including combat soldiers and officers. According to the senior officer overseeing gender issues and treatment of transgender soldiers in the military, the IDF has made a series of adjustments and is continuing to develop policies regarding this rapidly growing phenomenon. Years have passed since the military's treatment of transgender soldiers totaled in administration of hormonal pills. Treatment nowadays begins in the first stages of the recruitment process, and Brig. Gen. Nir has instructed staff at induction centers to address a candidate using their chosen gender identity and new name to avoid causing them any harm and embarrassment on their first steps in the military. One of the things that offend some transgender people is being addressed their previous or "dead" name. "We are trying to minimize this as much as possible," the senior officer says. "That is why we issued this instruction to the induction center. We asked doctors who examine the new recruits to be aware of sensitivities and respect them. Most doctors have trained in order to increase their awareness on the issue." According to the officer, the pre-recruitment phase is paramount for the success of a transgender soldier's integration into the IDF. The highest-ranking transgender soldier currently serving in the IDF is an officer with the rank of captain. Pre-recruitment "is a stage that can affect where they'll be assigned," the officer says. "The candidate may still be a man who has decided to transition to a woman, so the screening processes that they have to go through will be different and suitable for women. The candidates come for an introductory meeting, where they talk to a trained consultant who lists their rights and obligations and assists them in every way." The shift has even led foreign military officers to consult their IDF counterparts at NATO conferences about dealing with transgender soldiers, especially in the wake of the controversial ban on transgender troops in the U.S. Army imposed by Donald Trump. Despite the seemingly rosy picture being painted, there are still reports of homophobia and transphobia in the IDF.

He Posed as a Righteous Jewish Convert for 19 Years, then Wrote a 2,000-Page Anti-Semitic Screed.

By Henry Abramson (Opinion JTA)

"Eisenmenger belonged to the class of insects which sucks poison even out of flowers," the 19th-century Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz wrote. Graetz was referring to Johann Andreas Eisenmenger, a young 17th-century scholar from Mannheim, Germany, who dedicated some 19 years of his life to mastering the Talmud and presenting himself to the Jewish community as a prospective "ger tzedek," or righteous convert. He learned Hebrew, Aramaic and even Arabic during his intellectual journey, and read the whole Talmud roughly three times. And then, in 1700, Eisenmenger published "Judaism Unmasked," one of the most noxious and highly influential anti-Semitic works ever written. During the days leading up to Tisha b'Av, during which Jews commemorate the saddest moments in Jewish history from the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem to the deportation of the Jews of Warsaw, we again have witnessed Eisenmenger's contemporary descendants: gunmen who publish paranoid, hateful "manifestos" before embarking on horrific acts of random violence. Those specifically targeting Jews, such as the shooters in Poway and Pittsburgh, often rely, consciously or otherwise, on the work of Johann Andreas Eisenmenger. Spanning 2,000 pages over two brick-like volumes, "Entdecktes Judenthums" is an exhaustive survey of every possible passage from the Talmud that could be distorted to reflect badly on Jews and Judaism. His verbose subtitle thoroughly described his intent, which was to prove how "the stubborn Jews frightfully blaspheme and dishonor the Holy Trinity … and despise and curse to the uttermost extreme the whole of Christianity." He also promised "ridiculous and amusing stories" to boot, "written for the honest information of all Christians." Eisenmenger's purpose and even methodology were hardly new. Jew-haters have been mining the Talmud for talking points since the 13th century, when the apostate Nicholas Donin first denounced it before Pope Innocent III. Few, however, were able to penetrate the depths of this massive, ancient text written in a mixture of highly coded Aramaic and Hebrew.

But Eisenmenger was different. A man of considerable academic skills (he ultimately taught at the University of Heidelberg), Eisenmenger realized that the only way to seriously understand the Talmud was to become immersed in the world of the yeshiva, a world closed to non-Jews by custom and even Jewish law. To achieve his dark purpose, Eisenmenger had to present himself as a genuine spiritual seeker, perhaps modeling himself as a righteous convert like Onkelos, whose translation of the Torah into Aramaic enjoys primacy over even Rashi, or Bodo-Elazar, who ignored the anti-Semitic environment of medieval Europe to adopt the ancient faith. Eisenmenger began his lifelong deception in 1680 at the age of 24. By the time he was ready to bring his malicious book to print, Eisenmenger could count many rabbis among his teachers, including the prolific David ben Aryeh Lieb of Lida, Lithuania — then chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Amsterdam. News of Eisenmenger's colossal betrayal leaked out before "Judaism Unmasked" was released. The Jewish community rapidly mobilized to prevent its distribution, persuading Emperor Leopold I that its publication might ignite the popular violence that had plagued the region in 1699. Eisenmenger protested and a lengthy court battle ensued. The Jewish community offered 12,000 florins (roughly $5,000) to cover his costs if he would withdraw publication. Surprisingly, Eisenmenger seemed agreeable, but demanded 30,000. Negotiations were cut short by Eisenmenger's sudden death in 1704, at age 50, of a stroke. King Friedrich Wilhelm I of nearby Prussia circumvented the emperor by printing a second edition of 3,000 copies in 1711 in Berlin (although the title page listed "Koenigsburg" as the place of publication to reinforce that it was published outside the jurisdiction of Leopold I). For the past three centuries, from Stehelin's English translation to the ugliest parts of the web, anti-Semites have relied on Eisenmenger's distorted research to promote hatred. Despite his incredibly profound impact on 300 years of anti-Semitic ideology, a shroud of scholarly silence descended over the man. With the exception of the great professor Jacob Katz's exhaustive analysis of Eisenmenger's methodology (Eisenmenger strove for accuracy in citation and translation, but criminally distorted the meaning of the passages in context with unacceptably tendentious commentary to promote awful lies like the infamous blood libel), the most extensive biography available is an impressive but brief study posted to Wikipedia by a 12th-grader in Braunschweig, Germany. As a historian of the Jewish people, writing during the Nine Days, I find myself awed by Eisenmenger's pathological achievement for two reasons. First, whatever we think about this sick individual, he devoted himself to an overwhelming tour de force of twisted scholarship: nearly 20 years of solitary toil, exhaustively infiltrating an alien community in order to produce such a massive publication. Second, like Graetz, it is hard not to reflect on how Eisenmenger was "able to suck poison even out of flowers," twisting and distorting the Talmud in such a hateful manner. Such, I suppose, is the power of Amalek, the ancient, eternal enemy of the Jewish people. (Henry Abramson is a specialist in Jewish history and thought who currently serves as a Dean of Touro College in Brooklyn, New York.)

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