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Hamas Killing Spree Haunts Holocaust Survivors in ‘March of the Living’

Participants attend the annual “March of the Living” to commemorate the Holocaust at the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, in Brzezinka near Oswiecim, Poland, May 2, 2019. Reuters/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

Israel’s Holocaust commemorations this year have a searing significance for six elderly survivors now deeply scarred by the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7 that sparked the ongoing Gaza war.

The killing and kidnapping spree by Palestinian terrorists on a Jewish holiday morning shook the sense of security of Israelis – not least, those who had witnessed the state emerge as a safe haven after the Nazi genocide.

For Bellha Haim, 86, the upheaval is especially profound.

Her grandson Yotam – like her, a resident of a village near the Gaza border – was taken hostage by Hamas and managed to escape, only to be accidentally shot dead by Israeli soldiers.

The trauma drove Haim to return to her native Poland, which she had fled with her family as a child during World War Two, and where she will on Monday take part in the “March of the Living” at the site of the Auschwitz death camp.

The annual ceremony is timed to coincide with Israel’s Holocaust memorial day.

“I never went back, and I wasn’t convinced to go back,” she said during a meeting with other survivors ahead of the trip.

“But this time, when they told me that they were connecting the Holocaust and what I call the ‘Holocaust of October 7′ – because then in the Holocaust we (Jews) were not a united people, we didn’t have a country, and suddenly this pride of mine that has been broken, my pride in my people and my country that was shattered in front of my eyes – I said, ‘This time I will break my oath and I will go out.’”

As a teenager, Yotam had taken part in the annual Auschwitz vigil and Haim said she saw the event as a chance for communion with him and other victims of the Hamas attack.

“I will go out in the name of Yotam, who marched there when he was in high school, and I will go out there to shout out the cry of the slain, of the babies, of all my good friends that I will never meet again,” she said.

ARABIC YELLING AND GUNFIRE

Among those joining her will be 90-year-old Daniel Louz, whose hometown Kibbutz Beeri lost a tenth of its residents to the Palestinian attackers.

In some ways, he said, that ordeal was worse for him than the European war, when he escaped Nazi round-ups in his native France although half his family perished in Poland.

After he awoke to the sound of Arabic yelling and gunfire, “I was constantly busy with surviving and figuring out what to do,” Louz said. “In France, as a child, I suffered all kinds of post-traumas that I’ve learned to cope with. But in Beeri, it was the first time that I felt the fear of death.”

A neighboring house was riddled with bullets. Louz’s was untouched. He says he imagined the souls of the six million Holocaust victims steering Hamas away from him. “They probably wanted me to be here to tell this story,” he said, weeping.

Other Holocaust survivors participating in the March of the Living include Smil Bercu Sacagiu, 87, whose home was hit by a rocket from Gaza, and Jacqueline Gliksman, 81, whose home was torched by a Palestinian infiltrator.

“What was left, and luckily the terrorist didn’t see it, is my grandchildren,” she said, referring to gold figurines on a necklace she was wearing. “That’s the only thing I have left.”

Before he was seized, Haim’s grandson left a text message: “They’re burning down my house. I smell gas. I’m scared.”

She said that reminded her of a Holocaust-era song in Yiddish, invoking centuries of pogroms, with the refrain “fire, Jews, fire”. A veteran campaigner for peace with the Palestinians, Haim said she would no longer pursue that activism.

“I’m not able to,” she said. “Now what interests me is only my people.”

The post Hamas Killing Spree Haunts Holocaust Survivors in ‘March of the Living’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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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.

The post Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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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.

The post Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023 first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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