The United States and Israel officially quit the UN's educational, scientific, and cultural agency (UNESCO), the culmination of a process triggered more than a year ago amid concerns that the organization fosters anti-Israel bias. The Trump administration filed its notice to withdraw in October 2017 and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed suit. In recent years, Israel has been infuriated by repeated resolutions that ignore and diminish its historical connection to the Holy Land and that have named ancient Jewish sites as Palestinian heritage sites.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett and his colleague Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked quit the Jewish Home party and set up HaYamin HeHadash (“The New Right”), a party based on “full partnership” between Orthodox and secular Israelis, to run in April’s elections. The two made the announcement, saying that the Orthodox Bennett and the secular Shaked would serve as the co-leaders of the new party.
A Palestinian court in Ramallah sentenced a Palestinian-American to life in prison with hard labor, after finding him guilty of selling a house in the Old City of Jerusalem to a Jewish Israeli organization. The man was identified as Issam Akel, a resident of East Jerusalem, who was arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces in October and was found guilty of “attempting to cut off a part of the Palestinian land and adding them to a foreign country.” The court ruling is part of the PA’s campaign to deter Palestinians from selling properties to Jews–a practice punishable by death in accordance with Palestinian law. US and Israeli leadership have protested his indictment and are investigating further.
Following Israel's condemnation of photos of a Jordanian minister stepping on the Israeli flag in an Amman union building, the Professional Unions Association decided to place a painted Israeli flag on the floor in the entrances to all its buildings. The reports said that the decision was made in condemnation of Israel's continued occupation of the Palestinian territories and in response to a complaint Israel submitted to Jordan's Foreign Ministry on the matter.
Israeli security forces clashed with roughly 300 settler youths who gathered inside a pair of mobile homes illegally installed on the West Bank hilltop where the Amona outpost once stood. Officers who arrived on the scene to carry out a Jerusalem District Court order to remove the caravans encountered “very severe violence from dozens of rioters who threw stones, burned tires and threw irons bars” at the forces. By the completion of the three-hour evacuation, 23 officers had been injured, primarily from stones hurled by the far-right activists; and at least four teenagers were hurt in the clashes, according to police.
Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC
Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati
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