14 Days: Antisemitism meeting

Israeli news highlights from the past two weeks.

 White House meeting on antisemitism (photo credit: OMRI NAHMIAS)
White House meeting on antisemitism
(photo credit: OMRI NAHMIAS)


US Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff chaired a meeting with Jewish leaders on December 7 to discuss the rise in antisemitism in the United States. “Let me be clear – words matter,” said Emhoff, who is Jewish. “People are no longer saying the quiet parts out loud; they are screaming them. We cannot normalize this. We all have an obligation to condemn these vile acts. We must not stay silent.” Among those participating in the event were State Department antisemitism envoy Deborah Lipstadt and White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice, as well as representatives from about a dozen Jewish organizations.


Two bombs planted by Palestinian terrorists were remotely detonated at bus stops at the entrance to Jerusalem on November 23, killing Canadian Israeli Aryeh Schupak, 15, a high school yeshiva student; and Tadese Tashume Ben Ma’ada, 50, a married father of six who made aliyah from Ethiopia 21 years ago and worked at the Megemeria jewelry-making school. In addition, 20 people were wounded in the blasts of the explosive devices packed with nails to maximize casualties, according to police. Prime Minister Yair Lapid vowed that Israeli forces would find the terrorists who set off the bombs. “They can run, they can hide, but it won’t help them,” Lapid said. “Security forces will get to them.” The explosions were the latest in a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks that have killed 30 people since the start of 2022.

 Nefesh B'Nefesh Sylvan Adams Bonei Zion Award Ceremony (credit:  Yonit Schiller) Nefesh B'Nefesh Sylvan Adams Bonei Zion Award Ceremony (credit: Yonit Schiller)


President Isaac Herzog gave Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu a 10-day extension until December 21 to form a government. “The government that is set to be formed must work for the entire public in Israel,” Herzog said after the Likud signed coalition deals with three right-wing factions headed by Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Avi Maoz, agreeing to appoint Maoz as head of a new office called “The Authority for National-Jewish Identity.”


A Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander named Muhammad Ayman al-Saadi, and another top terrorist, Naeem Jamal Zubaidi, were killed in armed clashes between the IDF and Palestinians in Burqin, near Jenin, early on December 1. The clashes broke out when Israeli forces entered the city overnight to conduct arrests. Three Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorist activities were arrested during the raid, and three M-16 firearms were confiscated, according to the IDF, which noted that Saadi and Zubaidi had been responsible for a series of shootings against Israeli forces.


The body of Israeli Druze teenager Tiran Ferro, seized by Palestinian gunmen from a hospital in Jenin after he was involved in a traffic accident in the West Bank, was transferred to his family by Israeli security forces on November 24, which was his 18th birthday. The kidnappers planned to demand the return of bodies of Palestinians killed by IDF troops in exchange for Ferro’s body. “Instead of having a birthday with his family, I am preparing a funeral, so you can imagine what pain I am going through,” said Ferro’s father, Hussam. 


Chicago-based philanthropist Lester Crown, 97, was honored in absentia at the Conferment Ceremony of the Ben-Gurion Award 2022 on November 30 “for his unstinting commitment to the development of the Negev and the resilience of the State of Israel.” The other six laureates, who were presented with medals by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President Daniel Chamovitz and Rector Chaim Hames, were Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi; Prof. Alon Chen; Prof. Nachum Finger; Hana Rado; Gila Bellaish; and Eran Doron.


Nefesh B’Nefesh held its annual Sylvan Adams Bonei Zion Prize ceremony at Beit Ha’am in Jerusalem on November 28 to honor English-speaking immigrants who have made an exceptional impact on Israeli society. The laureates posed for a group photograph at the event (from left): Prof. Harry Ben Zion Brand; Asher Fredman; Pamela and Aba Claman; Naomi Tsur (Lifetime Achievement); NBN co-founders Tony Gelbart and Rabbi Yehoshua Fass flanking Margaret Adams, wife of prize benefactor Sylvan Adams; Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano Shata; Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin; Prof. Morris Hartstein; and Prof. Arthur I. Eidelman.