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Two Killed in Attack on Synagogue in Germany

By Israel Faxx News Services
As Jews around the world observed Yom Kippur on Wednesday, German police announced that two people were killed in a shooting at a synagogue in the city of Halle. A gunman killed two people in outside the synagogue and injured two at a nearby kebab shop on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, in an attack that he livestreamed on a video-gaming platform. Before he began shooting on Wednesday, the attacker also broadcast an anti-Semitic manifesto online. Stefan Balliot, 27, calling himself "Anon" and a Holocaust denier, said the root of the world's problems, including feminism is "the Jew," before he tried to shoot his way into the Halle Synagogue on Yom Kippur. He killed two people outside the synagogue and injured two. Clad in camouflage fatigues, he livestreamed his attack on a camera mounted on his helmet. The assailant was from the state of Saxony-Anhalt where Halle is located. His two victims have not been identified. The assailant broadcast at least parts of the attack via Twitch, a live-streaming platform owned by Amazon, which has struggled with moderating the real-time content that floods in from millions of active broadcasters. Alerted to the broadcast, Twitch scrambled to remove it and issue an apology. A total of 51 congregants, including 10 young American visitors, were in the synagogue, but officials said none were believed hurt. It was one of the most brazen in a string of recent attacks aimed at Jews in Germany, and bore a striking resemblance to the rampage by a far-right extremist on two mosques in New Zealand more than six months ago, in which he broadcast his killings live on social media. Fifty-one people died in that attack. The video circulating online showed a young man with a shaven head reciting a short statement in broken English to a camera while sitting in a parked car. "I think the Holocaust never happened," he began, before adding "feminism is the cause of decline in birth rates in the West", mentioning mass immigration and concluding: "The root of all these problems is the Jew." "We worked with urgency to remove this content and will permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this abhorrent act," a Twitch representative said. In the video, the man drove to the synagogue, found the gates shut, swore, and after failing to force the gates open, shot several rounds into a woman passer-by. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the shooting was anti-Semitic, adding: "According to the federal prosecutors' office, there are enough indications that it was possibly a right-wing extremist motive." A spokeswoman for the Halle municipal government said one shooting took place in front of the synagogue on Humboldt Street and its accompanying cemetery, while a second burst of gunfire targeted the kebab shop in the eastern German city. Max Privorozki, Halle's Jewish community chairman, described how the gunman tried to shoot his way into the synagogue. "We saw via the camera system at our synagogue that a heavily armed perpetrator with a steel helmet and a gun tried to shoot open our doors," he told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper. "The man looked like he was from the special forces ... But our doors held. We barricaded the doors from inside and waited for the police," he said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government voiced outrage over the attack on Yom Kippur and urged tougher action against anti-Semitic violence. "That on the Day of Atonement a synagogue was shot at hits us in the heart," Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter. "We must all act against anti-Semitism in our country." Anti-Semitism is a particularly sensitive issue in Germany, which during World War Two was responsible for the genocide of 6 million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust. Around 200,000 Jews live today in the country of around 83 million people. Rifat Tekin, who worked at the kebab outlet, said he was making a kebab for two construction workers when a perpetrator threw an explosive at the restaurant before shooting. "He was very calm, like a professional," Tekin told n-tv television. "He didn't say anything. He just kept coming and shooting ... I was hiding behind the salad counter." Another witness, Conrad Roesler, said that when the attacker started firing at the restaurant, "I hid in the toilet." Despite comprehensive de-Nazification in the post-war era, fears of resurgent anti-Semitic hatred have never completely gone away, whether from fringe, far-right neo-Nazis or more recently from Muslim immigrants. Police said in a tweet that the suspects fled in a car, and soon after reported that one person had been arrested. They gave no information about that person, or the suspected target or targets, or why they thought the attack may have been carried out by multiple assailants. Officers were out in force across Halle, a city of 240,000. They initially urged residents to stay at home, and the city's train station was closed. Several hours later, police said that there was no longer an "acute" danger to the population and residents could go back into the streets. They didn't specify why the assessment had changed, but news agency dpa and newspaper Bild cited unidentified security sources as saying the evidence points to a lone assailant. Synagogues are often protected by police in Germany. Police in two other cities in eastern Germany, Dresden and Leipzig, stepped up security at synagogues there after the shooting in Halle. "All our country's citizens of Jewish faith can be sure that we are with them with our whole heart and we will give them all the security that is possible," Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz said. "The terrorist attack against the Jewish community in Halle Germany on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of our people, is additional testimony that anti-Semitism in Europe is increasing," Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated. "On behalf of the people of Israel, I send condolences to the families of the victims and wishes for a quick recovery to the injured," he said. "I call on the German authorities to continue taking determined action against anti-Semitism." Recent weeks have been punctuated by a number of small attacks on Jews in Germany. Earlier this year, Germany's top security official condemned a jump in the anti-Semitic attacks, ranging from vandalism to targeting individuals wearing visible emblems of their faith. Halle, with a population of 230,000, is 100 miles southwest of Berlin and is the largest city in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt. It boasts Gothic and Renaissance architecture, but today is a regional seat of trade and commerce. The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said in a statement that he regarded the events in Halle as "yet another tragic demonstration of anti-Semitism — perpetrated on the holy day of Yom Kippur — which needs to be fought with the utmost determination." At the conclusion of Ne'ila, the closing prayer on Yom Kippur, held at a hospital in Halle, the survivors of the Halle shooting were taken by bus to a guarded site that the police organized for them. The survivors expressed their Jewish pride through singing and dancing on the bus. Rabbi Avichai Apel, Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt said "The Conference of Orthodox Rabbis in Germany calls for an increase in security for Jewish institutions. We thank security forces and police services that have been operating throughout the year and especially since the attack on the site which has given worshipers a sense of security to continue the Yom Kippur prayers." "German Jewish communities will continue in their Jewish lifestyle - in prayer and Torah learning - in all the Jewish institutions and synagogues without fear. We won't allow anti-Semitism to interfere with our Jewish lives. We send condolences to the families of those killed." Jews and German politicians have been particularly worried by comments by Bjoern Hoecke, the AfD leader of eastern Thuringia state that the Holocaust memorial in Berlin is a "monument of shame" and that schools should highlight German suffering in World War Two. Hoecke was among the AfD leaders to condemn the Halle attack. Charlotte Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor and president of the Jewish Community in Munich, suggested that the AfD's anti-immigrant rhetoric was contributing to an atmosphere of hate that encouraged political violence. "This scary attack makes it clear how fast words can become acts of political extremism," she said in a statement. "I'd be interested to know what that AfD has to say about such excesses, for which it had prepared the ground with its uncultured hate and incitement." At the gold-domed New Synagogue in Berlin's city center about 200 people, including Muslim leaders, held a vigil, some carrying Israeli flags and others holding candles. Merkel visited the synagogue in the evening and took part in prayers. Renate Keller, a 76-year-old attending the vigil with her husband, said the attack in Halle showed that Germany was not doing enough to fight antisemitism. "It scares me that after the Holocaust some people have learned nothing from our history, which still weighs on us today," she said. "People like the attacker have probably never met a Jew in their lives. They are just blinded by hatred." Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, warned of the incendiary potential far-right politics. "It shows that right-wing extremism is not only some kind of political development, but that it is highly dangerous and exactly the kind of danger that we have always warned against."

The Secret Transcripts of the Yom Kippur War

By Israel Hayom
Forty-six years after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, dramatic transcripts from the first days of the war, including plans for a massive attack on major cities in Arab countries, have been declassified. The documents, with many sections still redacted, were released for publication by the Defense Ministry's IDF Archives. The declassified sections reveal details about plans for an attack that would be lethal and change the rules of the game. In one section, then-IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. David (Dado) Elazar tells then-Maj. Gen. Rehavam Zeevi, "I have two moves. The first is to destroy Syria. There will be an outcry from the world [redacted], but as a first step, let's break one." Zeevi responds: "Whatever hurts." Most of what Elazar said next is still redacted, but two words have been authorized for publication: "4 cities," a hint at the targets of the attack. Elazar said, "I want a dramatic turning point. I want someone to cry, 'Gevald!' Peoples are being wiped out, hold your fire, we'll all cease fire. We're in a catastrophe. If what I said is dramatic and stops the shooting – fine. It [will] stop Syria." Documentation of a different discussion reveals a bit more while still concealing much of what took place in those early chaotic days. Then-deputy chief of staff Maj. Gen. Israel (Talik) Tal, discusses bombing Damascus: "I know that we haven't agreed finally, it's too serious and fateful a matter either way. I don't accept the assumption about the effects that would break the enemy. That is to say, if I were 100% certain [redacted], I would say, 'Let's go.' It's possible this might not solve anything, and our situation would be a million times worse. I'm not sure that bombing Damascus will give us a ceasefire than not [bombing] Damascus." In the same meeting, Tal suggests that Israel retreat from part of the Sinai Desert to concentrate its efforts on the northern front and in battles to check Syria. "My operative proposal is to hold the Golan Heights steady with the ground forces and use the air force to help thwart [the Syrians]. Not desperate assistance, well-considered assistance in bad circumstances. In Egypt we need to fight wisely to hold them off," he says. "I'm not saying it's impossible there, and [we could] use the air force to destroy tanks in those areas so that we could have a lot of forces here. We aren't using armor properly here, because we're doing things under pressure," Tal says. One of the better-known quotes from the Yom Kippur War was uttered by then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, who voiced concern about the possible "destruction of the Third Temple [meaning the state of Israel]." The newly-declassified transcripts show just how pessimistic Dayan was. On Oct. 7, 1973, 24 hours after the war broke out, Dayan is recorded saying, "What am I afraid of more than anything, in my heart? That the state of Israel will eventually be left without enough weapons to defend itself. It doesn't matter where the line is, there won't be enough tanks or planes and not enough people or well-enough trained people to defend the Land of Israel. In the end, no one will fight this war for us, and all the Arabs will swoop down on us from all sides. I want to tell that to Golda [Meir]." That same day, the generals spoke among themselves. "At [the airport] Sde Dov, Moshe was talking to me about losing the Third Temple. He was very hoarse, it was painful to hear him. He was talking about a battle for the Land of Israel," Zeevi says. Elazar replies that Dayan was in no way exaggerating: "This, friends, this is truly a battle for the Land of Israel." Zeevi goes on to say that he believes that the southern Golan Heights had already fallen: "Maybe I'm being subjective because he [Dan Lener, a division commander] … told me this morning that the fighting in the southern Golan was over, and we lost." In yet another discussion, Dayan does not keep the seriousness of the situation a secret. "Anyone who still hasn't gotten a shock will get it now. We're at the number of tanks we had in the [1967] Six-Day War. This Hermon cost us 70 men once and 30 casualties and 70 wounded a second time, and that will destroy the people's morale … This is terrible, we need to make sure they're out of there and attack, and whoever is killed is killed…If Jordan comes in, we're lost' The senior commanders spend much time discussing what tactics can be employed to stop the advancing Syrians and Egyptians. "Our situation is bad, very bad," Elazar says in a talk with his deputy. "I've said repeatedly [about] Moshe [Dayan's] option of starting to fold and withdraw – we can always do that. My plan is to try and break [them], at one point and possibly two. That might work, or it might not." "Jordan is just about to come in. If we [redacted] Damascus, who knows what will happen if Jordan joins [the war]. If Jordan does, then we're lost. That's Jerusalem, 30 km, 400 tanks. Then the air force in Amman, another push by the air force [redacted] ... In Damascus economic targets go immediately, and if the air force goes to those divisions we'll see what happens," the chief of staff says. Elazar orders then-GOC Northern Command Yitzhak Hofi: "You don't move from the ceasefire line. What will be will be, and I don't intend for us to retreat from there. We won't retreat. I'm coming up with a proposal to do all sorts of things in Syria that you were talking about yesterday because we're approaching a situation in which we must break Syria soon. I want Syria to want a ceasefire today." On Oct. 9, two days into the fighting in the Gaza Strip, the General Staff already knew how grim things were. Dayan had made it clear to the generals that the Golan Heights must be defended "to the last man. If we need to switch the GOC to do that, we need to decide whether we will or not. This needs to be an order. We will bring in the armored forces, but we'll do so to finish off the Syrians' tanks. No matter what, there will be no retreat from that line. Not a single centimeter," Dayan says. Dayan also makes unprecedented proposals to meet the lack of manpower caused by the many casualties and injured. "We need to look into the possibility of conscripting all those we release when the young people and reserves were enlisted – bring them into the tanks, the air, whatever is needed. We'll get tanks, and there won't be people. Take the older people we've released, and take the younger ones who haven't enlisted, from age 17. We need to … look into the feasibility of enlisting Jews from all over the world – Americans, British, South Africans, anyone who wants to. And if any of them have [military] professions – pilots, tank drivers." Dayan has harsh criticism for the government and then-Prime Minister Golda Meir and suggests alternatives that she had not approved. "The government has a different approach and a different spirit. I will have an obligation to you, to ourselves, to the army and to the people to say what I think needs to be done and we haven't done…. When I told Golda she was in shock – first, they don't know the facts, and second, some of them don't understand the facts and the military interpretation of the situation," he says. The senior commanders were dealing not only with immense difficulties on the battlefield, but with the need to keep the homefront from collapse. At one point, Elazar talks with the commander of the IDF Manpower Division Maj. Gen. Herzl Shafir how best to deal with the hundreds of casualties who had been given hasty battlefield burials, and that some of them were unidentified. "I'm not telling the families of the casualties until Sunday … after that, we need to consider it," Shafir tells Elazar. "We need to understand that we are burying everyone in temporary graves. There are no funerals. The problem we will face is how to tell the families. They'll want to come see the cemeteries, and we can arrange that," Shafir points out. Elazar answers: "If we don't notify [them], we'll be invaded by mothers. They'll start walking around and looking at signs for names. Before you do anything, post a guard so they won't get in there." A conversation between Elazar, Tal, and then-IDF Spokesman Col. Pinchas Lahav deals with how to present the difficult situation in the north and the south, especially given the plans to bomb Damascus. Lahav says, "We wanted a scare reaction and to create a picture … we can hold off on that." Tal responds: "Clear skies … and Arabs screaming as Damascus is bombed. It's no good for getting us Phantoms [referring to the air convoy from the US to Israel in which aircraft and weapons were being transferred]." Lahav suggests framing what was taking place to avoid dramatic headlines: "Not lie about the facts, but we can lie in technique." Elazar then asks Lahav if he had been too optimistic a day prior to the discussion, and Lahav answers in the affirmative: "Yes, I told you to be optimistic, because I think that if we make it out of this, the people of Israel will forgive you. The spokesman is a weapon. The defense minister, with all due respect, is rigid in his thinking." Lahav was to be mistaken – after the war, Elazar was the target of extensive criticism for his handling of it as chief of staff. Some of the transcripts deal with the internecine battles between the generals themselves. Elazar attacks how then-Mag. Gen. Ariel Sharon [who would go on to become prime minister] was handing the southern front, saying his tactics approached the level of a "war crime. I didn't say anything … as an order and today he, against orders, went all the way to the water, fought a major battle against orders, lied to [GOC Southern Command Shmuel] Gorodish [Gonen], and when I listen to him on the radio, I see he's lying to me. And now he wants permission to cross to the other side." In still another conversation, one of the most sensitive of the war, Elazar informs Gorodish that he is to be replaced by former Chief of Staff Haim Bar-Lev. "Worse solutions for you could have been found. This is a test of how much you trust me that I'm trying to find a solution that is least harmful to you. You will remain GOC Southern Command, and Haim Bar-Lev will come down and be at your side. If you accept it with good grace, it will be an excellent solution," Elazar encourages him. "You need to take it well, Shmulik. When we're down or when the war is over, you'll understand. There are [different] dimensions to this war. Shmulik, I want you to accept it. Trust me, that I'm doing my best for everyone in the circumstances. Take it in good spirit, but he is the commander and you'll work with him as such."

Golda Meir's Letter to Bereaved Families on Eve of Yom Kippur War up for Auction

By Israel Hayom

Mere hours before Israel would embark on what would be the most difficult war in its history, one that would see thousands of Israeli soldiers lose their lives, then-Prime Minister Golda Meir shared her hope with the families of fallen soldiers that the country would know no more war. "The memory of our loved ones inspires us to do everything for the sake of [there being] no more killing and no more bereavement." These were the late Prime Minister Golda Meir's remarks to bereaved families just 24 hours before the State of Israel would embark on what was to be the most difficult war in the country's history, the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Thousands of Israeli soldiers would lose their lives in the fighting. An official letter of condolence sent by Meir to the bereaved families is now up for auction at the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem. Due to the timing of the letter, which was sent on Erev Yom Kippur, Oct. 5, 1973, bidding for the letter is set to start at $8,000. In the decades following the country's establishment, Israel's leaders would maintain ties with the families of fallen soldiers, sending them condolence letters in the lead-up to state holidays. Meir in particular adhered to this custom, corresponding often with the bereaved. As part of this correspondence, Meir also sent a letter on the High Holiday in which she wrote, "On Erev Yom Kippur, a day of introspection, we painfully recall the precious memory of Israel's heroes. At holiday time, the beloved figures of our dear fallen soldiers appear before our eyes, those who in their deaths granted us life." Meir continued by sharing her hope that further killing would be avoided and peace established with Israel's neighbors, a tragic articulation given the historical context. "Dear families," she wrote, "We owe you a great debt. Your pain is the pain of the entire nation, [it] encourages us to do everything for the achievement of the loftiest goals for which our loved ones gave their lives, and foremost among them – achieving peace for Israel. The memory of our loved ones motivates us to do everything so that there will be no more killing and for us not to know anymore bereavement."

America's 7.5 Million Jews are Older, Whiter and more Liberal than USA as a Whole


In the past seven years, the American Jewish population has grown 10%. It remains a population that is mostly liberal, college educated and overwhelmingly white. And it's not getting any younger. This is all according to a new American Jewish population estimate of the 48 contiguous U.S. states put out by Brandeis University's Steinhardt Social Research Institute. The center published similar studies in 2012 and 2015. "The study is based on data collected from approximately 150 independent surveys that sampled about 234,000 adults, including 5,300 Jews. Each estimate in the study comes with a range. For example, the study estimates the total Jewish population at 7.5 million, but it could be as low as 7.1 million or as high as 7.8 million. The study also broke down the number of Jews by age, racial background, education level and geographic location, among other factors. Here are five key things to know about the Jews of the United States in 2019. There are 7.5 million Jews in the United States. The study found that as of 2018, there are approximately 7.5 million Jews in the contiguous United States (and, to be honest, there likely aren't a ton more in Alaska and Hawaii). That's only about 2 percent of the U.S. population, but it's enough to make the United States home to the largest Jewish community in the world. According to recent government statistics, Israel has 6.7 million Jews. People who say their religion is Jewish account for some 1.8% of all U.S. adults, or 4.4 million people, according to the study. There are an additional 1.5 million or so adults who "consider themselves Jewish by background and other criteria." And there are 1.6 million children being raised Jewish in the U.S. Those numbers are up from the 2012 survey, which found 6.8 million total Jews in the United States. And the number of Jews who do not define themselves by religion soared — to about 1.5 million from approximately 1 million. More than one in 10 Jews is not white. While the United States is growing more diverse, the Jewish community does not appear to be following suit. In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau found that 63%t of the country was non-Hispanic white. By 2019, that number was hovering around 60%. And by 2045, whites are projected to be a minority in the country. Meanwhile, the numbers in the Jewish community have remained level. In 2019 and the previous two surveys, the percentage of Jewish Americans who are white has remained at approximately 89%, though the percentage is higher among younger Jews. Among Jews aged 18 to 24, the study found that 14% identified as nonwhite or Hispanic. Among the 11% of American Jews who are not white, 2% are black, 5% are Hispanic and 4% are another ethnicity. The area with the largest number of nonwhite Jews (as well as Jews in general) is New York City, which is home to nearly 140,000 Jews of color. Los Angeles County is home to nearly 100,000, while Miami's 33,000 Jews of color account for half the Florida city's Jewish population. Younger Jews may be more diverse, but they still make up a smaller percentage of the overall Jewish population. In the United States, 20.6% of the population is 65 or older. Among Jews, the number is 26%. And while 45.8% of all Americans are aged 18 to 44, among Jews the figure is 41%. Within that group, 10.5% of Jews are 18 to 24. Among the states with large Jewish populations, Florida (perhaps unsurprisingly) had the largest share of seniors — one-third of its Jews are 65 and older. Conversely, the state with the highest share of 18- to 24-year-olds is Utah, where 15% of Jews fell into that age cohort. Notably, the study found that even as the Jewish population has grown overall, the number of children being raised Jewish has held steady since 2012 at 1.6 million. Saxe said that determining the precise number of Jewish children is difficult because it's hard to say what exactly counts as being raised Jewish. Ahead of 2020, politicians may do well to keep in mind that across America's tapestry of red and blue states, Jews are reliably liberal and mostly support the Democratic Party. Fifty-one percent of Jews nationwide identify as Democrats, compared to 34% of all Americans. And 17% of Jews are Republicans, compared to a quarter of Americans overall. There are more than twice as many Jewish liberals (42%) as Jewish conservatives (20%). Moderates comprise 37% of Jews. As a whole, 38% of Americans identify as conservative and 24% as liberal. There is no state where there are more Jewish Republicans than Jewish Democrats, though Mississippi comes closest. Some 33.4% of Mississippi Jews identify as Republican, while 35.8% identify as Democrat. Nearly 32% of Wyoming Jews also identify as Republican. Washington, D.C., has the highest percentage of Jewish Democrats (70%), followed by the states of Maryland (57%), California (55%) and Oregon (54%). The state with the largest Jewish population, by far, remains New York, with 1.5 million — or one in five Jewish Americans. Wyoming has the fewest Jews among the states with 2,200. New York City also dominates Jewish population figures as a metropolitan area. Including the New Jersey suburbs, there are 1.8 million Jews in and around the Big Apple. Within New York City, Jews are concentrated in Brooklyn and Manhattan, which together have 678,000 Jews among a total population of 4.2 million — a proportion of 16%. Across the country, 91% of American Jews live in the largest 40 metropolitan areas. Behind New York, the areas with the largest Jewish populations are Los Angeles (570,000), Southeast Florida (500,000), Chicago (340,000) and Boston (265,000).

Orthodox Jewish New Jersey Man Accused of Leading a Double Life, Holding Sex Parties

By the Jerusalem Post

A 33-year-old man, Avraham Adler from New Jersey, has been accused by his neighbors and his landlord of hosting sex parties in his East Village apartment, while at the same time apparently leading a double, perhaps even triple, life as an ultra-Orthodox married Jew, with a wife and three kids. The New York Post reported that Adler held parties charging $60 for sex-filled soirees featuring spankings and group activity, according to a lawsuit against him. His wife, who lives in suburban New Jersey, is asking for a divorce after he has been unsupportive of the family, forcing her friends to help pay the family's bills. Multiple of his "girlfriends" have called his wife to ask for forgiveness after taking part in the gatherings. Adler did study in a Yeshiva Gedola in Passaic at some point in his life and once told a newspaper he was so religious that he wouldn't carry his car keys on the Sabbath. His neighbors however claim little of this stuck, saying, "He's no holy man," before calling him a stain. Adler has reportedly had several run-ins with the NYPD, blocking fire hydrants with his car on multiple occasions, reportedly due to his parties and disputes those have caused. Adler himself did not deny these allegations, only saying, "If I pay the fees [fines], why is it anybody's problem?" although he does deny holding the parties or dating several women at once (specifically those who called his wife).

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