The “Irish Oskar Schindler”

As depicted in the 1983 film The Scarlet and the Black, Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty (played by Gregory Peck), an Irish priest serving in the Vatican, worked to keep hundreds of Jews out of the hands of the Nazis. A group in his hometown is now petitioning Yad Vashem to recognize him. Michael Riordan writes:

O’Flaherty grew up the son of a golf steward in Killarney, Ireland, and his skill at the game helped ease his way into Roman society. The priest played with social luminaries like Benito Mussolini’s son-in-law Count Galeazzo Ciano, as well as the former king of Spain. All of his connections were to become very useful when he took on the unforeseen mantle of rescuer.

In the last years of the war, as the Italian government collapsed, O’Flaherty organized a group of priests, anti-fascists, and diplomats to help shelter Jews, escaped POWs, and refugees. He set up a network of safe havens in rented apartments and religious houses throughout Rome. . . .

After the Gestapo became aware of O’Flaherty’s activities they painted a white line across St. Peter’s Square, dividing the neutral Vatican from fascist-controlled Rome. They placed guards nearby ready to snatch the Monsignor if he ever crossed. As a result O’Flaherty became known locally as the Scarlet Pimpernel because of the many disguises he donned during his forays into the capital.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Catholic Church, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Ireland, Italy, Righteous Among the Nations

Iran Is Back on Israel’s Doorstep

Feb. 15 2019

On Monday, the IDF shelled Iranian-linked targets—most likely held by Hizballah—in the Quneitra province, which lies in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights. There can thus be little doubt that the Islamic Republic has positioned its proxies in deadly proximity to Israel’s borders. Yossi Yehoshua comments:

Hizballah is trying to entrench itself in Syria now that Bashar al-Assad has reclaimed the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, precisely as it did in 2014 and 2015, [before Syrian rebels retook the area]. This was when one of the terror organization’s more prominent members, Jihad Mughniyeh, was appointed by Hizballah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to be in charge of the Golan Heights area and of planning terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Mughniyeh was killed in a 2015 airstrike attributed to Israel. . . .

In addition, an increase in the number of incidents along the Syrian border was noted over the past two months, with the Israeli strikes in Syria . . . meant to signal to the enemy that it is best not cross any red lines. This is similar to the message Jerusalem conveyed to Iran when it [previously] attempted to entrench itself in [this part of] Syria and was pushed out of there after a series of Israeli airstrikes.

Unlike the situation of four years ago, Iran now has a real presence along the Syrian border, while Hizballah is working to resume its confrontations with Israel. And since the organization is up to its neck in domestic problems and thus cannot allow itself to face Israel on the Lebanese front, it finds Syria to be a more comfortable staging ground from which to take on the Jewish state.

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Golan Heights, Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Syria