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Despite War, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Earn Spots as Safe Cities in Global Report

Cars drive on a highway as a train enters a station in Tel Aviv, Israel November 25, 2018. Picture taken November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Corinna Kern

Despite the war, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv rank higher in terms of safety than most American cities, including places like New York City and Los Angeles, according to a just-released report

According to Numbeo’s Crime Index 2024, Tel Aviv is the 41st most safe city in the world and Jerusalem sits at number 114. This is as New York City ranks in 204th place and Los Angeles 230. Per Numbeo’s measurements, the Crime Index takes into factor things such as perception of crime rate, actual crimes – such as property related or violent crimes, and discrimination. On the flip side, the Safety Index, which runs opposite of the Crime Index, tells how safe a city is to live.

Topping the list of safest cities are Abu Dhabi, Taipei, Doha, Ajman in the United Arab Emirates, and Dubai. Abu Dhabi has topped the list for years, as the UAE has invested extensively into keep their cities crime free in hopes to continue attracting foreign talent. To demonstrate this, per current census data 88% of the country’s population – roughly 9 million people – are expats. This compares to just over one million natives living in the country.

The least safe place in the world according to Numbeo is Caracas, Venezuela, with a Crime Index of 82.2. Quite ironically, South Africa, which has taken one of the most vocal stances against Israel in the current war against Hamas, accusing the Jewish state of “genocide,” has four of its cities in the top 10 least safe cities, three of which are in the top five. This includes the nation’s capital, Pretoria, as well as Durban and Johannesburg.

Other notable unsafe cities are Detroit, which is the 14th most dangerous city in the world, Albuquerque at 17, New Orleans placed at 30, and Chicago as the 33rd most dangerous place in the world.

Despite the war currently raging next door in Israel, and the constant threat of terror attacks, Israel is perceived as generally safe place. Moreover, residents maintain a high quality of life, as evidenced by the country’s placing as number 4 in the World Happiness Report’s happiest countries list.

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Gaza Border Residents Demand A Return Home, Four Months Into War

A damaged building lies in ruins, following an infiltration by Hamas terrorists who attacked Israel at a kibbutz in Kfar Aza, Israel, Nov. 8, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Israelis from the Gaza Envelope are calling on the government to approve their return home, roughly four months since the war’s outbreak on October 7.

The head of the Scot Negev Regional Council, Tamir Idan, said outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, “We demand a clear statement from the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister that it is safe to return to the area. Until then we are not moving from here.”

The heads of the other regional councils in the Gaza area joined Idan outside the Prime Minister’s office, where they slept last night in protest.

The regional leaders say that members of the Gaza border towns should be allowed to return to the areas if they wish, rather than being forced to live in hotels. An internal plan is set to be presented to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in the near future.

The heads claim it is safe to return home, and are demanding that the government sign off on such a statement so residents can do so. Their protest comes as the government extended the funds allocated for their stay at hotels until July.

Following the October 7 massacre by Hamas terrorists, when they stormed southern Israel, murdering over 1,200 and taking hostage more than 240, tens of thousands of Israelis from the area were uprooted from their homes and placed in hotels in the Jerusalem area, Eilat, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea region. Since then, they have been living there full time, with makeshift schools set up for children and activities to keep everyone occupied. The move has also led local businesses to be completely shuttered.

Some Israelis have already moved back to their towns, which is technically allowed but under their own risk — rockets still fly near daily from Gaza and the IDF is operating within the Gaza Strip, which is minutes away from certain border towns.

The plan presented by the regional heads, they say, would mean that the towns are technically safe to return to, and therefore the risk falls under the government and the military.

This is as tens of thousands of Israelis from northern towns also remain out of their homes, with no current timeline for return due to the constant threat of Hezbollah missiles and the potential the war extends to the north.

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Australian Politician Says ‘Jewish Lobby’ Uses ‘Tentacles’ to ‘Influence Power’

Australian Greens MP Jenny Leong speaks at a Palestine Justice Movement event in Australia on Sunday, February 4, 2024. Source: Twitter/X

Video of a left-wing Australian politician discussing how “the Jewish lobby and the Zionist lobby” are using their “tentacles” to “influence power” went viral on Tuesday, sparking backlash from the Australian Jewish community.

Jenny Leong, an Australia Greens member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, spoke on a panel for the Palestine Justice Movement in December to promote boycotting Israel.

“The Jewish lobby and the Zionist lobby are infiltrating into every single aspect of what is ethnic community groups,” Leong said during the panel. “They rock up and they’re part of the campaign,” and “they offer solidarity.” 

She continued: “They [the Jewish and Zionist lobby] rock up to every community meeting and event to offer that connection because their tentacles reach into the areas that try and influence power and I think that we need to call that out and expose that.”

Stop what you’re doing and listen to the despicable remarks of @Greens MP @jennyleong , in which she accuses Jews of having “tentacles” which they use to try and influence power.

Leong has plumbed new and dangerous depths by using one of the oldest and darkest antisemitic tropes…

— NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (@NSWJBD) February 6, 2024

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, which is the representative of Jews who live in New South Wales, called the remarks “despicable,” adding that “Leong has plumbed new and dangerous depths by using one of the oldest and darkest antisemitic tropes to accuse Jews of covertly manipulating civic life. She has outrageously suggested that there is a sinister or evil purpose associated with Jews undertaking the most normal of activities – interacting with other Australians.”

Josh Burns, a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives, said her comments were “a direct attack on Jewish people in Australia” and that “she should unreservedly apologize.” He also called on the Australian Greens to “take responsibility and demonstrate that Jewish people in Australia are safe and respected by their Party.”

The right-leaning Australian Jewish Association wrote on X that “Every credible political party must put the Greens last. Every non-racist fair minded person must put the Greens last.”

In response to the criticism, Leong apologized for specifically using the word “tentacles,” but not for her message. She said: “Speaking on a panel during a two-hour-long event last year, I acknowledge that I used a word at one point that was an inappropriate descriptor for the influence of groups backing Netanyahu’s genocidal attacks in Gaza and the ongoing occupation – I apologise that this has caused offence.” 

She continued: “It is incredibly telling that after a conversation where myself and other speakers made countless mentions of the genocidal attacks and occupation occurring in Gaza right now, that two months later more focus isn’t being put on the deaths of over 26,000 people, many of them children.”

Her comments and apology come amid increasing concern over antisemitism on the far-left, which has celebrated violent resistance against Israel since October 7, when Hamas invaded the country, killed 1,200 people, and kidnapped more than 240 more.

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UK Jewish Civil Rights Groups Denounce Ruling Vindicating Disgraced Anti-Zionist Professor David Miller

The University of Bristol campus. Photo: Adrian Pingstone/Wikimedia Commons.

Jewish civil rights groups in the UK on Monday expressed disappointment in a government agency’s ruling that University of Bristol lacked standing to fire sociologist David Miller, an extreme anti-Zionist who was accused of harassing Jewish students and promoting antisemitic tropes.

The decision was rendered by a Bristol-based Employment Tribunal, one of a consortium of agencies which the UK government describes as independent arbitrators of disputes over employment law.

The agency ruled that Miller’s “anti-Zionist beliefs qualified as a philosophical belief and as a protected characteristic” and that “the relationship between [Miller] and the university was not so damaged that trust and confidence was undermined to the extent that the employer should no longer be required to retain [Miller] in employment.” It added, however, that Miller’s “own actions” prompted his firing, citing unbecoming social media activity.

University of Bristol fired Miller in Oct. 2022 after a deluge of incidents and numerous complaints about his conduct in the classroom and on social media. In the months leading up to his dismissal, Miller called for the “end of Zionism” during a lecture and spread conspiracies about British Jewish students, calling them an arm of Israeli intelligence. The conduct had carried on for years, however. In 2018, he castigated Jewish students for expressing discomfort with his employment at the university, denigrating their fears about his statements and rising antisemitism across the UK as “propaganda which they have been schooled with.”

The professor’s remarks have outraged British Jews and non-Jews, drawing condemnations from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and from the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, a collection of MPs who committed to eradicating antisemitism from public life. In a letter to University of Bristol Vice Chancellor Brady, the MPs charged that Miller had “incited hatred” against Jewish students on campus harmed the university’s reputation.

“UJS is disappointed by the Employment Tribunal’s judgement in relation to David Miller,” the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) said in a statement responding to the ruling. “UJS believes this may set a dangerous precedent about what can be lawfully said on campus about Jewish students and the societies at the centre of their social life.”

“We are extremely concerned about what the Employment Tribunal considers is acceptable for a university professor to say publicly about Jewish students and Jewish societies who raised legitimate complaints about him,” Community Security Trust, a nonprofit that monitors antisemitism, added. “Despite finding in Miller’s favour, the tribunal still said that he was equally to blame for his own dismissal. Since then he has continued to express obnoxious opinions on Iranian State TV, which is exactly where he belongs.”

University of Bristol also expressed disagreement with the agency’s ruling but limited its public comments to defending its determination that Miller could not be retained as a member of the faculty.

“After a full investigation and careful deliberation, the university concluded that Dr. Miller did not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff in relation to comments he made in February 2021 about students and student societies linked to the university,” an official statement issued on Monday said. “As a result and considering our responsibilities to our students and the wider university community, his employment terminated.”

Miller has since touted the ruling as a “landmark judgement” and “victory.”

“I’m proud to say that, with this case, we have proven that anti-Zionist beliefs, of the sort that I articulated, should be protected,” Miller said on X/Twitter. “I hope this case will become a touchstone precedent in all the future battles that we face with the racist and genocidal ideology of Zionism and the movement to which it is attached.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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