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Chilean Jews Accuse President of Antisemitism as Israeli Companies Are Barred From Major Defense Expo

Chilean President Gabriel Boric. Photo: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

Chile’s Jewish community and a group of senior retired military officers were among those voicing condemnation on Wednesday of the Chilean government’s decision to exclude Israeli companies from a major aerospace and defense fair in Santiago next month.

The Latin American nation’s Ministry of Defense announced on Tuesday that Israeli exhibitors would be barred from the FIDAE 2024 show, which takes place from April 9-14, in a protest against the current war in Gaza. On Wednesday, Chilean Interior Minister Carolina Tohá defended the decision, saying that “human rights are our first priority.” The fair brings together defense officials and companies from more than 40 countries.

The announcement drew an angry response from the Jewish Community of Chile (CJC), which issued a statement accusing the country’s far left president, Gabriel Boric, of “importing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into Chile without weighing up the consequences.”

Referring to the steep rise in antisemitism in Chile since the Hamas pogrom of Oct. 7 in Israel, the CJC bemoaned that Boric “has forgotten the thousands of Chilean Jewish compatriots in our country.” It added that “antisemitism has manifested in an overwhelming manner in the country we considered as a copy of the [Garden of] Eden.”

Separately, four former senior officers from the Chilean military issued a statement condemning the government. “The suspension of the participation of Israel’s defense companies in FIDAE 2024 produces serious strategic political effects, since our country is highly dependent on Israel for defense and spatial development, as the National Satellite System (SNSAT) in its entirety depends on companies from that country.” The signatories — Brig. Gen. José Gaete, Brig. Gen. Osvaldo Sarabia, Vice Admiral José Miguel Romero, and Brig. Gen. Álvaro Guzmán — noted as well that the annual FIDAE fair had hosted “companies from Israel since its inception,” describing Israel as a “loyal trading partner of our country in defense matters.”

Israel’s Ambassador in Chile, Gil Artzyeli, also condemned the government’s decision, observing in a statement that the ban on Israeli companies was a setback to “bilateral relations of more than 70 years, not only in defense and security, but also in other areas such as water resources management, agriculture, health, academic exchange, science, and technology.”

Chile has emerged as one of the most hostile countries to Israel in Latin America in the wake of Boric’s election in 2022.

Last November — less than a month after the Hamas atrocities — Boric announced that he was suspending diplomatic relations with Israel, accusing the Israelis of imposing “collective punishment” on the population in Gaza.

Boric has clashed with the Jewish community on several occasions over his inflammatory comments about Israel and Jews. In 2019, while still in the opposition, he responded to a gift of a jar of honey from the Jewish community to mark Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, by tweeting, “The Jewish community of Chile sent me a jar of honey for the Jewish New Year, reaffirming its commitment to ‘a more inclusive, supportive and respectful society.’ I appreciate the gesture, but they could start by asking Israel to return illegally occupied Palestinian territory.”

During his election campaign in 2021, Boric lambasted Israel as a “genocidal and murderous state.” He also drafted legislation in support of the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) campaign targeting Israel, winning strong support from the 350,000-strong Palestinian community in Chile — the largest Palestinian diaspora outside of the Middle East and one with heavy political clout.

In Sept. 2022, Boric refused to accept the credentials of Artzyeli, Israel’s newly-appointed envoy to Chile, citing his anger at the shooting of a 17-year-old Palestinian during clashes with the Israeli army in the West Bank.

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OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse

Samantha Kline, 22, presented photos of antisemitic graffiti she says targeted her.

The post OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in a propaganda video released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare.

Trufanov’s mother said in a video released by the family that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but “it was heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Trufanov was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend.

All three were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

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Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in a scene from the trailer for “Heart of Stone.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

Netflix released its engagement report that details the films with the most views from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s action thriller Heart of Stone secured the number two spot with 109.6 million views.

The film — starring Gadot alongside Jamie Dornan and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt in leading roles — was the runner-up to Leave the World Behind, the drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke that garnered 121 million views on Netflix.

Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper, was released on the streaming giant on Aug. 11 of last year. The action film is about international intelligence operative Rachel Stone, played by Gadot, who goes on a mission to protect an artificial intelligence system, known as The Heart, from falling in the wrong hands. The film was produced by Pilot Wave, a company founded by Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.

Gadot also stars in Netflix’s most popular film of all time, Red Notice, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

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