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Netanyahu: Israel will Strike Anyone that Attacks Us and Make Peace with Those that Seek Peace

By Israel Hayom

Poised to depart the United States for his flight back to Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he was "not surprised" that "Palestinian terrorists fired on Israel exactly at the time of the historic ceremony. They want to set peace back, but they won't succeed." The prime minister continued: "We are now finishing a historic visit to Washington, during which we signed two peace agreements with two Arab countries. The citizens of Israel will see the fruit of these agreements very soon, but they will last for generations. Everyone who was there understands the historic change in favor of Israel and in favor of peace. "I am now returning to Israel with three missions: to battle coronavirus; to battle terrorism, and to continue expanding the circle of peace," the prime minister said, warning that Israel would "strike anyone who puts out their hand to hurt us, and we will extend our hand in peace to all those who seek peace with us." President Reuven Rivlin also responded to the rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. "It was a difficult night of despicable rocket fire. This morning, too, we are with the residents who underwent hours of shooting and strikes, full of appreciation for their strength. We are sending prayers for the wounded in Ashdod to recover quickly, and support the IDF, which has been operating since last (Tuesday) night to retaliate for the rocket fire from Gaza. We will not allow rocket terrorism to pass without response, and we will not abandon the safety of our citizens."

Jews have Lived in Bahrain for 140 Years. The country's Peace Deal with Israel Changes their Lives.

By JTA

Ebrahim Dahood Nonoo, the leader of Bahrain's tiny Jewish community, was among the Gulf country's approximately 50 Jews who thought peace with Israel would never arrive "in our lifetimes. It just didn't seem possible," Nonoo told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from Manama, the capital city where he lives with his wife. Tuesday's signing of the agreements called the Abraham Accords is expected to open up routes for collaboration, trade and travel between Bahrain and Israel, which had all been restricted. It will have a significant impact on Bahrain's Jews, many of whom have relatives in Israel that they have not been able to visit. Bahrain's Jews weren't the only ones shocked when President Donald Trump announced that he had brokered peace agreements between Israel and two Arab states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, within a month of each other. Israel only has relations with two other Arab nations in the region, and most of its neighbors have long isolated the Jewish state and at times even gone to war with it. "We can talk to our relatives and we can feel more comfortable now about going and coming. It actually changes quite a lot," said Nonoo, a businessman who in 2001 became the first Jewish person appointed to serve on to the country's Shura Council, the upper chamber of its National Assembly. Nonoo's family has been in Bahrain since the late 1800s. The Jewish community in Bahrain, an island nation of some 1.5 million people, dates back about 140 years to the late 1800s, when a group of Iraqi Jews arrived in search of economic opportunities. Many were poor and lacked education but found jobs, and eventually success, in the clothing industry. Nonoo's grandfather came as a 12-year-old together with his uncle and found a job picking silver threads out of discarded dresses and selling them. "They were kind of misfits coming out of Iraq," Nonoo said of the first arrivals. "In other words, they weren't getting anywhere in Iraq, so they decided to try their luck in Bahrain." A smaller number of Jews also settled in Bahrain from Iran at around the same time. At its height in the 1920s and '30s, the community had about 800 members, according to Nonoo, though others have said the number was as high as 1,500. Though community members mixed socially with Bahraini Muslims, they mainly married within the community and lived close to each other in Manama. Members continued to speak a Jewish dialect of Iraqi Arabic and still do. In 1935, a member of the Cartier family, the Jewish clan who founded the eponymous jewelry company, passed through on a business trip and ended up donating money to build a synagogue and bring in a rabbi, according to Nonoo. Over the next 10 years, the community continued to flourish economically and gathered in the synagogue for services. "[That] was a fantastic time for all of them," Nonoo said. But things took a turn for the worse following the 1947 U.N. Partition vote, which recommended the creation of a Jewish state in then-Palestine alongside an Arab one. The move led to anti-Semitic riots throughout the Arab world, including in Bahrain. A group of rioters — Nonoo said they were migrants from other Arab countries — burned the synagogue to the ground and stole the country's only Torah scroll. Most of the community left after the attack or in the decade and a half following, settling in Israel. The few who remained or their descendants make up the 50 or so Jews living in the country. There is an active Jewish cemetery, but the synagogue — rebuilt by Nonoo's father in the 1980s — never officially reopened and most of the community continues to pray at home. Nonoo is renovating the building and hopes to reopen it next year as a house of worship and museum. And on Monday, Jared Kushner, Trump's Jewish son-in-law who serves as his senior adviser, gifted Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa a Torah scroll for the synagogue. Most of the community members today are financially successful and continue to be represented in the Shura Council, which has designated a seat each for representatives of the country's Jewish and Christian populations. Nonoo's successor was Houda Nonoo, who later went on to serve as Bahraini ambassador to the United States. She was succeeded by Nancy Khedouri, a relative of the powerful Kadoorie family, a Hong Kong-based Jewish family of Iraqi origin who went on to become one of the wealthiest families in Asia (and transliterated the surname differently). Houda Nonoo and Khedouri are Ebrahim Nonoo's cousins. "It is indeed a privilege to be part of the Law-making process with my multi-faith colleagues, where we all enjoy equality and freedom of expression and where we continue to strive to draft out Laws to be implemented, that will be fair, serving in the best interests of our country and to all citizens, regardless of religious differences," Khedouri told JTA in an email. Still, the local Jewish community is aging, as many young people leave to study abroad and often choose to remain in other countries after their studies — including Nonoo's children, who both live in the United Kingdom. "Hopefully they'll be back soon," he said. Nonoo hopes the new agreement with Israel will turn around the trend and that plans to build the Abrahamic Family House, a site that will host a church, mosque and synagogue in the nearby United Arab Emirates, may draw more Jews to settle in the Gulf. "We are very, very happy to see that that's going to be a place that many Jews can stay in the UAE and build up families there, so we're hoping that with that we will get Jews coming to Bahrain," he said. For his part, Nonoo doesn't see himself settling anywhere else. "Our religion is Jewish, but really our culture is very Arabic, and we feel very at home," he said. "I honestly could not see myself living anywhere else."

Study: More than 10% of Americans under 40 Think Jews Caused the Holocaust

By JTA

More than one in 10 American adults under 40 believes that Jews caused the Holocaust. That's one finding from a survey published Wednesday trying to gauge Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Generation Z, a cohort ranging in age from 18 to 39. The survey found that most respondents had heard of the Holocaust and 37% knew that 6 million Jews died. Slightly more than half could name at least one concentration camp or ghetto. But 11% of the respondents believed the Jews were responsible for the Holocaust, 15% said they thought the Holocaust was a myth or has been exaggerated, and 20% said people talk about it too much. Nearly half said they had seen Holocaust denial online. The survey of 1,000 respondents across all 50 states was organized by the Claims Conference, which coordinates restitution and reparations payments for Holocaust survivors and sponsors Holocaust education programs. It was conducted in February and March. According to the poll, there was little correlation between state Holocaust education requirements and Holocaust knowledge. None of the 10 states with the highest knowledge levels required Holocaust education in high schools, while three states in the bottom 10 — Delaware, New York and Florida — did mandate it. Holocaust knowledge was particularly low in New York, despite the state having the largest population of Jews in the country. Most respondents there could not name a single Nazi camp or ghetto, and 28% said they believed the Holocaust was a myth or has been exaggerated. Wisconsin had the highest knowledge score at 44%, while Arkansas had the lowest at 17%. "Not only was their overall lack of Holocaust knowledge troubling, but combined with the number of Millennials and Gen Z who have seen Holocaust denial on social media, it is clear that we must fight this distortion of history and do all we can to ensure that the social media giants stop allowing this harmful content on their platforms," Greg Schneider, the executive vice president of the Claims Conference, said in a statement. "Survivors lost their families, friends, homes and communities; we cannot deny their history." The survey had a national margin of error of 3% and approximately 7% for individual states. It found that more than three-quarters of respondents had definitely heard of the Holocaust and another 10% said they probably had. Among those, more than 70% knew that Adolf Hitler was responsible for the genocide and 86% knew that the Jews were its primary victims. Lower numbers of respondents were aware of other facts about the Holocaust. Among those who had heard of the Holocaust, more than a third wrongly believed that 2 million Jews or fewer were killed, while nearly half (48%) could not name any concentration camps or ghettos. Asked to describe Auschwitz, the largest Nazi concentration camp, 64% described it correctly. The survey also found that approximately half the respondents had seen anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial online. Some 49% had seen Holocaust denial or distortion online, with 10% saying they had seen it often. A total of 56% reported seeing Nazi symbols on social media, in their communities or both. Nearly 60% said they believed something like the Holocaust could happen today. "The indicators are of concern, and that relates to ongoing concerns we have that education is in decline and social media use of hate and anti-Semitism is on the rise," said Gretchen Skidmore, director of education initiatives at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and a member of the task force that oversaw the survey. "The work is very important, and Holocaust education is very important to counter these trends." Respondents agreed that Holocaust education is important, with 64% believing it should be compulsory in school. Currently, 15 states require Holocaust education in high school, according to the Holocaust museum. A bill providing $10 million to the museum to enhance Holocaust education was signed into law this year.

Escaping the Holocaust in the Circus

By Jewniverse
In Europe, circuses used to travel across national borders, spending weeks moving through forests and little-used trails, and then set up shop in small villages. During the direst parts of World War II, villagers would flock to see the circus–especially in Germany. "Even during the Third Reich, a traveling circus meant a diversion from the daily drudgery of work and a glimpse into another, more glamorous way of life," writes Sonja Herbert, a German writer. Adolf Althoff was the ringmaster of one such traveling circus. After Kristallnacht, a young dancer, Irene Danner, asked if she could hide with the circus–she was half Jewish, and had a feeling that bad things were on the way. Althoff took her on. Soon, she'd entered a serious relationship with one of the clowns. They couldn't legally get married, since she was Jewish according to German law and he was not, but the relationship became serious. They had a child, and then another. After the Nazis deported Danner's grandmother in 1943, four other members of Danner's family hid with the circus. Only once during that time did the Nazis give the circus more than a cursory inspection. However, according to Yad Vashem, "the wily circus director knew how to distract the Gestapo officers' attention with a drink or two, giving the illegals extra time to disappear." In 1995, Althoff and his wife were recognized as Righteous Gentiles. You can read their entire story, including firsthand accounts from both Althoff and Irene Danner, on Yad Vashem's website.

Israel's Population Tops 9 Million

By YnetNews
There are today some 9,246,000 residents of Israel, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBsS) said Wednesday, as it released its annual population report just before Rosh Hashanah, which begins on Friday evening. The CBS also predicted that Israel's population was set to reach 10 million people by the end of 2024, 15 million by the end of 2048, and 20 million by 2065. According to the CBsS, since September 1, 2019 approximately 170,000 babies have been born in Israel, 44,000 people have died, and 20,000 people have made aliyah. All in all, Israel's population has grown by 150,000 people since Rosh Hashanah 2019. About 6,841,000 of the residents of Israel are Jews, constituting 74% of the population. About 1,946,000 (21%) are Arab and some 459,000 people are non-Arab Christians, members of other religions and people without a religious affiliation. The data also shows that 43.1% of Jews in Israel define themselves as secular, 21.1% as traditional, 12.8% as traditional-religious, 11.3% as religious and 10.1% as ultra-Orthodox. The data also shows that life expectancy for women in Israel is 84.7 years and 81 years for men. The data also show that about 74% of Israelis live in cities, about 15% in local councils, about 10% in regional councils and 0.7% in localities without municipal status. The data also show that 11.5% of Israelis experienced poverty in the past year - 6.9% of them Jews and 30.9% Arabs. In addition, 20.2% of Israelis feel permanently or periodically stressed; 19.6% feel often or occasionally lonely and 24.9% have felt discriminated against in the past year.

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