Several advertising companies in the Netherlands have rejected an Israeli government billboard campaign to raise awareness of hostages held by the Palestinian terror group Hamas in Gaza, according to Israel’s National Public Diplomacy Directorate.
The campaign, spearheaded by the directorate’s Government Advertising Agency, was meant to coincide with the South African government’s case at the International Court of Justice charging Israel with committing genocide in Gaza. The court is located in The Hague, Netherlands.
“The main message conveyed by the signage is the fact that 136 kidnapped Israelis are being held captive by Hamas and cannot testify today at The Hague tribunal,” Moriah Shalom, the head of the Israeli agency, said in a statement. “These are victims and witnesses to the acts of genocide and crimes against humanity committed by Hamas, and to the war crimes they commit every additional day while they are held hostage by Hamas.”
Hamas launched the current war in Gaza with its Oct. 7 invasion of Israel. The Palestinian terror group rampaged across southern Israeli communities, murdering 1,200 people and kidnapping 240 others as hostages. Over 100 of the hostages were released as part of a temporary ceasefire in late November.
The billboards were to feature the names and pictures of hostages along with the caption “He/She can’t testify today.”
The purpose of the Netherlands campaign was to “[increase] awareness for the release of hostages from Hamas captivity,” the Israeli statement said.
Israel approached 10 billboard operators in the Netherlands, but all of them refused to run the campaign and put up the posters. In one case, a company agreed “but unexpectedly” backed out at the last second.
Shalom described the rejections as a “serious violation of freedom of expression and Israel’s right to speak out loud about the terror its citizens suffer.”
“This is a blatant attempt to silence the voices of the Israeli hostages, who were taken captive during the murderous terrorist attack by Hamas,” she added. “Their right to be heard is beyond any doubt.”
Moshik Aviv, the head of the National Public Diplomacy Directorate, echoed that sentiment.
“The attempts at silencing will be answered with a loud voice — even in front of the court in The Hague there are those who choose in an aggressive and outrageous manner to take down an information campaign on hundreds of billboards throughout the Netherlands and with an emphasis on The Hague,” the senior Israeli official said in a statement. “The truth will prevail and the State of Israel will continue to stand up for the justice of its path and tell the whole world the truth. We are running an unprecedented international information campaign. Despite everything, they will not be able to silence us.”
Israel will formally deliver its response to the genocide charges brought by South Africa to the International Court of Justice on Friday. Several Israeli politicians weighed in on Thursday with strong condemnation of the proceedings.
The Government Advertising Agency and National Public Diplomacy Directorate are responsible for boosting Israel’s image abroad via public and social campaigns. They have been instrumental to the many campaigns people have seen outside of Israel depicting the plight of Israel and the hostages since Oct. 7.
The post Israel Says Gaza Hostage Awareness Campaign Rejected in Netherlands first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
‘American Leadership Will Not Waver’: Senate Passes $95.3 Billion Aid Package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan
After months of negotiations, the Senate passed a $95.3 billion aid package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan on Tuesday by a vote of 70-29.
The bill, if signed by President Biden, would provide $14 billion in military assistance to Israel to help it replenish the Iron Dome and weapons that can help it defeat Hamas. While US President Joe Biden supports the bill, it is not certain to pass the House of Representatives.
The aid package gives $9.2 billion for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, along with people in Ukraine and other war zones. However, it is well documented that much of the aid to Gaza does not reach Palestinian civilians but instead goes to Hamas.
The bill also provides about $5 billion toward countering Chinese aggression and $2.5 billion for fighting the Houthis as they continue to terrorize civilian ships in the Red Sea, disrupting global trade.
In the immediate aftermath of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the bill’s passage showed “that American leadership will not waver, not falter, not fail.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) said, in a statement, that “Our adversaries want America to decide that reinforcing allies and partners is not in our interest, and that investing in strategic competition is not worth it. They want us to take hard-earned credibility and light it on fire.”
“But today,” he wrote, “the Senate responded by reaffirming a commitment to rebuild and modernize our military, restore our credibility, and give the current Commander-in-Chief, as well as the next, more tools to secure our interests.”
More progressive members of the Senate objected to funding Israel in its war against Hamas. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), called the idea of voting for Israel funding “unconscionable.” He wrote, “This bill provides Netanyahu $10 billion more in unrestricted military aid for his horrific war against the Palestinian people. That is unconscionable. I will vote NO on final passage.”
Some conservatives also voted against the bill because it did not include provisions to secure the U.S.’s southern border. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), released a statement making clear that while “It is important that Israel eradicates Hamas, that Taiwan remains resilient against China’s threats, and that Ukraine defeats Russia,” he would vote for the bill “only after America’s border is secured.”
The bill faces an uphill battle to pass in the House, where Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has suggested provisions will have to be added to secure the southern border for him to bring it to the floor for a vote.
He said, “House Republicans were crystal clear from the very beginning of discussions that any so-called national security supplemental legislation must recognize that national security begins at our own border.“
Johnson continued, “In the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters.”
Police are investigating after a group of anti-Israel protesters targeted Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital
Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, a century-old Canadian medical institution originally built for Jewish doctors and patients who faced discrimination but which now treats all the city’s residents, became the latest target of anti-Israel protests on Feb.12. Protesters took over portions of southbound University Avenue with one individual climbing a scaffold and waving the Palestinian flag […]
Yeshiva Loses its Ninth Student in War in Gaza
Israelis on Monday woke up to bittersweet news: the good was the successful rescue of two hostages from the Gaza Strip. The bad, that three soldiers, Maj. Gen. Ziv Chen, Lt. Col. Nathaniel Elkoubi, and Maj. Yair Cohen were killed in separate fighting in the Strip.
Chen, 27, from Kfar Saba, was a graduate of a religious Zionist yeshiva in southern Israel which has now lost nine students in the war against Hamas in Gaza.
“We wanted to believe that we had finished paying the heavy price,” the head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Chaim Wolfson, told Hebrew media.
The yeshiva, Yeruham Hesder, is a program for observant Israelis who wish to combine regular military service with Torah study. A longer program than regular enlistments – five years total – there are thousands of students every year participating.
“We have lost a mainstay of the Beit Midrash (study hall). Ziv, as his name is, was all light,” Rabbi Wolfson added. “A loving and beloved man, I will bless you, everything he did was with infinite love. He loved people, loved the Torah, and everything he was involved in was done wholeheartedly.”
Chen was set to celebrate his wedding anniversary this upcoming Sunday with his wife Hillel, his family said.
At the funeral, held on Tuesday in his hometown, accompanied by hundreds of Israelis paying their respects, his uncle, Danny Chen, said about the fallen soldier: “He was a salt of the earth, a brilliant yeshiva student who loved the Land of Israel. He was a walking encyclopedia, very knowledgeable. Saturday night, two weeks ago, I saw him for the last time, always hugging and kissing. An exemplary child, a great loss. We are all shocked and hurt.”
The organization overseeing the Hesder yeshivot, the Hesder Yeshiva Association, released a statement that said, “We bitterly mourn the death of the soldier Maj. Gen. Ziv Chen, a fighter in the Givati Brigade, student of the Hesder Yeshiva Yeruham, who fell in the war. On behalf of the leaders of the Hesder Yeshivas and all the rabbis and students, we embrace the family, the the rabbis of the yeshiva, its students and graduates, and pray for an overwhelming victory of our heroic soldiers over our vile and cruel enemies. May his soul be wrapped in the bundle of life.”
The three soldiers who perished on Monday were the victims of an IED explosion in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, where the IDF has been concentrating its fighting for the last few weeks.
As mentioned, Chen is the ninth soldier to fall during the war from the Yeroham Yeshiva. The other eight are: Sergeant Ariel Eliyahu, 19, Staff Sergeant Yanon Fleishman, 31, First Sergeant Eitan Dov Rosenzweig, 21, Captain Eitan Fish, 23, Sergeant Yakir Yedidia Shankolevsky, 21, Advanced Sergeant Gideon Ilani, 35, First Sergeant Elisha Levinstern, 38, and First Sergeant Ephraim Yachman, 21.