On Remembrance Day, a Tribute to the Indomitable Israeli Spirit

Today is Israel’s day of remembrance for those fallen in its wars, which, at sunset, gives way to Yom Ha-Atsma’ut—independence day. At the annual ceremony at Mount Herzl marking the transition from the day of mourning to the day of celebration, Rachel Frenkel, Bat-Galim Shaer, and Iris Yifrach will light a candle together. The respective sons of these three women were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas while hitchhiking home in the summer of 2014, in what became the opening sortie of the ensuing Gaza war. Ruthie Blum comments:

Rather than attempting to dissipate their devastation by wallowing in self-pity and casting blame in every direction, . . . Frenkel, Shaer, and Yifrach channeled it into an optimistic endeavor. Mere months after their personal tragedy, the three mothers partnered with Jerusalem’s then-mayor Nir Barkat to honor their son’s lives by launching a cash prize to recognize the “efforts of organizations and individuals in Israel and the diaspora who actively work to advance unity throughout Jewish communities and Israeli society.”

It is for this reason that Culture Minister Miri Regev made an exception to the current rule of having a maximum of two people light a single torch of the twelve that are ceremoniously lit on the eve of its independence day, the theme of which this year is “Saluting the Israeli Spirit.”

Regev explained her decision by calling the three “the heroes . . . who, in the face of heart-piercing grief, chose to open a gate of the love of Israel to honor their loved ones.” Regev was right, of course. But these women joining hands to wish their country a happy birthday straight from visiting their sons’ graves is a feat of internal strength that would better be described as otherworldly. For this, they should be granted a lot more than the opportunity to light a torch—a privilege that each would gladly forfeit in exchange for being able to hold her son in her arms one last time.

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More about: Israeli Independence Day, Israeli society, Palestinian terror, Protective Edge, Yom Ha-Zikaron

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media