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Abbas to Dismantle Palestinian Authority if Israel Annexes an Inch of Land

By DEBKAfile

Mahmoud Abbas has urgently summoned PLO and Fatah leaders to Ramallah next week to rally around his decision to dissolve the Palestinian Authority if the Netanyahu-Gantz government annexes one inch of the West Bank. By breaking up the PA, Abbas intends to saddle Israel with the administration and care for all civic needs of two million Palestinian denizens of the territory – health, water, economy, jobs etc. This decision by Abbas translates into action the furious threats of reprisals made by Palestinian leaders since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu undertook to bring the Jordan Valley and parts of Judea and Samaria under sovereign Rule in keeping with President Donald Trump's peace plan. Embodied in the Likud leader's rotating premiers' government deal with Blue-White leader Benny Gantz is a clause authorizing Netanyahu to table an annexation bill in Knesset from July 1. Not wholly at ease with the measure, Gantz added riders making it subject to international or at least US assent. On the other hand, the Kahol Lavan leader is unlikely to push for a vote in the cabinet where his party has parity with Likud or veto annexation if it gains a Knesset majority. Abbas is not waiting for the new Israeli government to be sworn in and start working – a raft of Basic Law bills are still to be processed as well as a High Court ruling this week on Netanyahu's aptness to be prime minister. In a speech last Wednesday, he put the new government on notice when he said that Palestinians "will not stand handcuffed if Israel annexes any part of our land." The Palestinian leader has little hope of succor from Washington after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was Israel's decision whether or not to annex parts of the West Bank, and that the US would offer its position on this matter to the new Israeli government in private. Neither does he see the future Israeli government being swayed by international opinion. UN peace coordinator Nickolay Mladenov said the possible Israeli move would deal a "devastating blow" to the internationally backed two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The European Union said annexing Palestinian territory "would constitute a serious violation of international law."

Research Shows Pope Pius XII Knew of WWII Killing of Jews

By i24NEWS & YnetNews

German researchers investigating the recently opened Vatican archives of war-time Pope Pius XII reveal that he was aware of mass killings of Jews in Europe, but that he kept the information from the United States, according to a report in the Washington Post. Although the archives only opened in the first week of March - and were shuttered a few days after due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic - it was enough time for scholars to find evidence that Pius' poor reputation for his supposed official silence during the Second World War, was well-merited. The Post reported that a network of sources informed Pius of what was occurring in occupied Poland and Ukraine, but an aide encouraged him to keep the information private because the Jews and Ukrainians - the main sources of information - "could not be trusted because they lied and exaggerated." Leading the German research team was Hubert Wolf, 60, an award-winning historian of the Catholic Church. His group of researchers discovered that the Vatican hid these and other documents, presumably to protect Pius XII's reputation. It is likely that these revelations will further embarrass the Catholic Church - which for decades was confronted with hints about Pius XII's wartime conduct, as well as the more recent fallout from the clerical sexual abuse scandal. As with so many historical figures, things are not black and white with regard to Pius XII. His failure to overtly condemn the slaughter of Jews earned him the title "Hitler's pope," although his defenders will point to the fact that he tried to protect Italy's Jewish population for as long as possible, even going so far as to hide some Jews in the Vatican. What cannot be denied, however, is that certain cardinals within the Vatican used the Catholic Church's extensive network to help high-ranking wanted Nazi war criminals - such as Adolf Eichmann and Dr. Josef Mengele - to escape to South America via the so-called Ratline. It is unclear whether these new revelations will do anything to dismantle the bridges built between the Catholic Church and global Jewry - particularly since the Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions promulgation in 1965. The stakes, however, are high. Pius XII, who led the Catholic Church from 1939 to 1958 is a candidate for canonization, although one of his successors, Benedict XVI, postponed his cause for sainthood upon his election in 2005 because Pius' archives had yet to be opened to researchers. It is likely to take researchers at least a decade to fully investigate all Pius' documents. Letters, photographs from concentration camps and a note on U.S. intelligence indicate that Pius may have made a calculated decision to discount evidence of the Holocaust, Religion News Services reported. A note found in the archive indicates that Pius read the report, but the Vatican refused to confirm its findings, despite the fact that Pius appears to have had information corroborating its claims from a month before. A letter to Pius from Andrey Sheptytsky, a Ukrainian archbishop in Lviv, mentioned the murder of 200,000 Jews at the hands of the Germans as part of the "outright diabolical" occupation. But his letter was not the only evidence available to Pius. According to the researchers, days before the American diplomat approached the Vatican, its secretary of state, Cardinal Luigi Maglione, received news from the future Pope Paul VI of the "incredible butchery" of Jews in Warsaw.

Biden Plans to Leave US embassy in Jerusalem, but Would Reopen a Consulate in Arab Part of city

By World Israel News

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Wednesday that the U.S. embassy in Israel would remain in Jerusalem if he's elected, even as he called President Donald Trump's decision to move the diplomatic base from Tel Aviv "short-sighted and frivolous." Biden, speaking during a virtual fundraiser, suggested relocating the embassy again would not help the stagnant peace process between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority that have fought for generations over how to divide land and power, especially Jerusalem. Rather than reversing Trump, Biden told donors he'd reopen a U.S. consulate in eastern Jerusalem to engage Palestinian leaders in talks about a "two-state solution" that has long been the official U.S. posture toward Israel and the Palestinians. "I've been a proud supporter of a secure, democratic Jewish state of Israel my entire life," Biden said, adding: "My administration will urge both sides to take steps to keep the prospect of a two-state solution alive."

NYPD Cracks Down on Open Synagogues in Hasidic Neighborhoods

By the Forward and the Algemeiner

New York City police officers issued a series of summonses and tickets to Hasidic Jews and institutions in Williamsburg and Borough Park Thursday, making good on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's promise that, in the wake of a large funeral which he personally had a hand in breaking up, police would stop issuing warnings for violating state pandemic rules. The officers handed out more than 75 summonses, according to one Orthodox media outlet, visiting open synagogues to check if the people inside were violating social distancing rules. State rules have allowed houses of worship to remain open, and people can use those spaces if they maintain social distancing, but prayer services are prohibited. The spike in summonses comes two days after a funeral for a respected Hasidic rabbi in Williamsburg which, though planned in direct coordination with community police officers from the local 90th Precinct, drew a crowd of well over 1,000 and was promptly shut down by an influx of officers and de Blasio himself. Afterward, de Blasio singled out the "Jewish community" in a tweet about the incident, testing his long and intimate relationship with Hasidic leaders. On Thursday morning, residents shared pictures on WhatsApp of police vehicles from the Strategic Response Group — a rapid-deployment unit used for civil unrest and crowd control — lining main thoroughfares in the heavily Hasidic parts of the neighborhood.

A letter signed by prominent Jewish politicians and organizations condemned a controversial tweet from de Blasio, which scolded "the Jewish community" in the wake of Tuesday's Hasidic funeral. "With thousands of New Yorkers dead, and many more sick, we all understand the danger of COVID-19, the severity of our dire public health emergency, and the need for strict social distancing. But this is not the way, and your threat of arrests and summonses is not the answer," the letter said.

By blaming Hasidic communities for spreading coronavirus, the letter said, de Blasio echoed anti-Semitic tropes that have associated Jews with social problems, especially illness, for millennia. Moreover, it continued, the mayor had encouraged others to single out minority groups for blame, including Asian Americans, who have experienced an uptick in discrimination and harassment since the onset of the pandemic. At a news conference on Wednesday, de Blasio appeared to blame Orthodox Jews for spreading the coronavirus and causing the death of others. "We're not going to be allowing these kinds of gatherings in any community," he said. "This was by far the largest gathering in any community in New York City of any kind that I had heard of or seen directly or on video since the beginning of this crisis, and it's just not allowable." De Blasio said he has been clear with religious Jews and everyone else that no gatherings will be tolerated until the pandemic has lifted its grip on the city. Yet the funeral attracted thousands of people, and raises questions about whether police have consistent guidance on how to address religious gatherings. "It was strictly through NYPD's permission," said Moshe Weiser, a long-time liaison between police and the Hasidic community in Williamsburg, where the procession took place. "If they would say no, it would be no." The procession sought to honor Rabbi Chaim Mertz, a Satmar rabbi beloved for his deep piety and devotion to study. On Wednesday morning, however, de Blasio did not answer multiple questions posed to them at the press conference about whether police played a role in planning the procession. In an email shared with the Forward, police officers from the precinct that oversees Borough Park — a densely Hasidic neighborhood in South Brooklyn — told a man reporting a violation of social distancing at a ritual bath that the Department's Legal Bureau was reviewing federal guidance on distancing rules and religious observance. The email referenced a statement issued by Attorney General William Barr on April 14, which said that "government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity." "No matter how well-intentioned the Mayor might be, words that could be seized upon by bigots and anti-Semites must be avoided at all costs," said Agudath Israel of America, a large Orthodox umbrella group, in a statement, which also backed up the de Blasio's claims about the importance of social distancing.

Fearing Civil War, Prominent NY Rabbi Suddenly Urges American Jews to Leave for Israel

By Breaking Israel News

Brooklyn, NY: Rabbi Chaim Yaakov Frankel, also known as the Rimenover Rebbe, issued an unequivocal order last week for Jews in the diaspora to leave their homes and immigrate to Israel before a civil war breaks out in the United States reported Bhadrei Haharedim. Frankel is an heir of Menachem Mendel of Rimanov—who was among the early promoters of the Hasidic movement in Poland. He has been active recently years on social media, especially with his lectures on YouTube, which are usually on the subject of the coming of Moshiach. Frankel was unusually specific about the urgent need to return to Israel and aliyah now: "Leave while it's possible. Things will get worse and it will be difficult to move from one country to another" the rabbi said. "Today, listen to me well, dear Jews, whoever can afford to rise and ascend to the Holy Land should it as soon as possible. The US will also become a dangerous place mired in war, and it is still too early to tell which US state will survive, but many parts will be destroyed and poisoned, and a civil war will break out within the US. And states will secede from the federal government. The US will no longer be a place of refuge, but there will be a Jewish remnant here. The Land of Israel will be the safest place to survive the war, even though there will be terrible difficulties there as well."

Hebrew could have Become Americas's Language

2020 is the year that marks four centuries from the landing of the Mayflower on the shores of the New World in 1620, which was the beginning of a strong and profound bond between the American nation and the Jewish People and the State of Israel. Yoram Ettinger, a retired Israeli ambassador and an expert on the U.S. and the Middle East, and "Boomerang – Fighting for Israel" have created a unique project titled: "1620-2020 The 400th Anniversary of the U.S - Israel Nexus" During the early years of colonial America, familiarity with the Hebrew language was common among the intelligentsia and the clergy. The first 10 colleges founded in the colonies all offered courses in Hebrew, which was the preferred language for studying the Bible. Valedictory addresses at Harvard, Yale and other institutions of higher learning were offered in Hebrew, and the official seal of Yale and Columbia universities, as well as Dartmouth College, feature Biblical terms in Hebrew. Professors, intellectuals, clergy and elected officials took active roles in the Hebraist movement, which aimed to make Hebrew an official US language. Increase Mather, who was President of Harvard from 1685-1701, and Samuel Langdon who was President of Harvard from 1774–1780, proposed to make Hebrew an official language in the new colonies. At Yale, Ezra Stiles, the university's seventh president, spoke, read and taught Hebrew. He corresponded with Hebron's Rabbi, Hayyim Carregal, with the aim of basing the US law on the Ten Commandments. He noted that "Moses assembled three million people – the number of Americans in 1776," urging graduate students to be able to recite Psalms in Hebrew. Many Hebrew words have found their way into the English language. For example, the origin of "jubilee" is the Hebrew word Yovel, which means "liberty;" "amen" means "faith" in Hebrew. "Hallelujah" is another Hebrew word, meaning "praise God;" "Chutzpah" means "audacity," and "kosher" means "fit for use." These are just a few of many examples.

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