Israel bars Reps. Omar and Tlaib citing support for BDS: Israel Update

August 16, 2019

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Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely confirmed reports that Israel decided to deny entry to two US Congresswomen, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, setting off a cycle of attacks and counter attacks. The denial was based on the Congresswomens' plans to use their visit to promote the BDS movement against Israel. Today, after winning an appeal and being granted permission to visit her grandmother in the West Bank, Rep. Tlaib has decided instead not to go. Many Democratic and Republican representatives and most national Jewish organizations including AIPAC expressed discontent over Israel's decision. We share a statement from the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) here.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, paid a condolence visit to the family of Dvir Sorek, the 18-year-old killed in a terror attack in the West Bank last week. Sorek was stabbed to death outside the West Bank yeshiva where he studied, in a suspected terror attack. Some of Sorek’s Palestinian friends issued a public letter expressing shock over his killing on Tuesday, recalling his participation in an interfaith forum aimed at fostering dialogue between Islam and Judaism. Sorek’s suspected killers were apprehended this past weekend. 


The Israeli-American Council (IAC) is working to mobilize the Israeli-American community across California to oppose the inclusion of antisemitic content in an ethnic studies curriculum currently under consideration for the California public school system. According to the IAC, the draft curriculum “excludes Jews as an ethnic minority and suggests coursework that delegitimizes the State of Israel, including a lesson on ‘Call to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel,’ and insinuates that Jews are responsible for Arab displacement after the so called "nakba" [‘catastrophe’]” represented by the nation’s creation in 1948. The California Board of Education has since announced it will scrap its current draft ethnic studies curriculum and develop a new one. 


Authorities on both sides of the Israel-Gaza border launched efforts to prevent infiltration attempts into Israeli territory, following three such incidents by armed terrorists this past week. The Hamas terror group deployed additional troops in a bid to prevent breaches of the border fence, understanding that these cross-border attacks risked provoking a harsh Israeli response. On the other side, Israel’s Defense Ministry was reportedly planning the construction of a six-meter- (20-foot) high defensive wall inside Israeli territory across from the northern Gaza border, meant to provide nearby communities with additional protection from terrorist infiltration. 


Two Israelis were hit by a car and injured on Friday while standing at a bus stop outside Elazar in the central West Bank, just south of Jerusalem, in what the military said was a terror attack. A 17-year-old teenager was seriously wounded and a woman, 19, was moderately hurt, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said. The Hamas terror group, in a statement on Friday’s attack, linked it to the recent unrest in Jerusalem.  


Shabbat Shalom,


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC

Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati 


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"We Need to Talk" About Israel

Facilitated Discussions Continue

Join the Cincinnati Public Library, the Jewish Federation, and the Jewish Community Relations Council for book club discussions of Yossi Klein Halevi's New York Times bestselling book, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor. It's one Israeli's powerful attempt to reach beyond the wall that separates Israelis and Palestinians.


Next discussion: Blue Ash Branch on Monday, August 19, at 11 AM.

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The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is the non-partisan, public affairs arm of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.