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Israeli Political Echelon United in Condemnation of Planned U.S. Sanctions

Soldiers from the IDF’s Ultra orthodox unit called The Netzah Yehuda Battalion on May 19 2005. Photo: Abir Sultan/Flash90.

i24 NewsWith the report that the U.S. State Department is planning to issue sanctions against an IDF unit, politicians across the political spectrum have come out aghast that its biggest ally would take such a dramatic step amid the ongoing war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, and centrist war cabinet minister Benny Gantz all issued statements condemning the move and promising to take action to prevent it. The IDF has also issued a response to the sanctions, defending the Netzah Yehuda Battalion’s achievements in defending the security of The State of Israel.

In the statement, the IDF says it does “not recognize” the matter of this sanction and will continue to internally investigate any “unusual event in a matter-of-fact manner and in accordance with the law.”

In his response on X, Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote, “The IDF must not be sanctioned!”

אסור להטיל סנקציות על צבא ההגנה לישראל!
אני פועל בשבועות האחרונים נגד הטלת סנקציות על אזרחים ישראלים, כולל בשיחות שלי עם בכירי הממשל האמריקני.

בשעה שחיילינו נלחמים במפלצות הטרור, הכוונה להטיל סנקציה על יחידה בצה״ל זה שיא האבסורד ושפל ערכי.

הממשלה בראשותי תפעל בכל האמצעים…

— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) April 20, 2024

“At a time when our soldiers are fighting terrorist monsters, the intention to issue sanctions against a unit in the IDF is the height of absurdity and a moral low,” he added, saying he had been in talks with administration officials to block the move.

For his part, former IDF chief and ex-defense minister Benny Gantz called the Netzah Yehuda battalion “an integral part of the IDF.” He wrote on X, “We have great respect for our American friends, but imposing sanctions on the unit is a dangerous precedent and sends the wrong message to our shared enemies at a time of war.” Gantz also promised to take action to prevent the sanctions.

Lapid, called the sanctions a “mistake,” saying it would cause “serious injury to Israel’s status as a state of law and another serious erosion of our international status.” He pointed the blame at Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir for fueling settler extremism and not wanting the police to enforce the law on Israelis in the West Bank. On Friday, the U.S. issued another round of sanctions targeting extremist settlers involved in violent incidents with Palestinians. However, according to a report by Israel’s public broadcaster Kan, the incident reportedly driving the American decision took place during Lapid’s short term as interim prime minister.

הסנקציות האמריקאיות על גדוד נצח יהודה הן שגיאה ועלינו לפעול כדי לבטלן.

מקור הבעיה אינו בדרג הצבאי אלא בדרג המדיני. העולם מבין ויודע שהשר בן גביר אינו מעוניין שהמשטרה תאכוף את החוק באיו״ש והשר סמוטריץ׳ לא מתנגד לטרור היהודי ולהתפרעויות המתנחלים הקיצונים.

— יאיר לפיד – Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) April 21, 2024

National Security Minister Ben-Gvir asked the Prime Minister on Sunday to urgently convene the security cabinet to discuss the planned measures. Earlier, Ben-Gvir railed against the United States in a post on X, writing that sanctions against IDF soldiers were a “red line,” and promised to absorb the unit into the police under his ministry if they passed.

According a report on Saturday from the Axios news site, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will soon announce the unprecedented move against an IDF unit. The Netzah Yehuda battalion, a largely ultra-Orthodox infantry unit, has been accused of violence against Palestinians on several occasions. The incident reportedly leading to the State Department’s decision occurred in 2022, when an elderly Palestinian-American man died after being detained, handcuffed, and was abandoned in a field in freezing conditions.

According to Israel’s public broadcasting radio station Kan Reshet Bet, U.S. officials had requested materials several times from the military prosecutor’s office, the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry on investigations into attacks on Palestinians involving soldiers from Netzah Yehuda. According to Israeli sources, the Americans were not satisfied with the results of the investigations nor the manner in which they were handled.

When asked to comment on the sanctions over the weekend, Secretary of State Antony Blinken referred to the Leahy Laws. Passed in the 1990s, the laws prohibit providing military assistance to individuals or security force units that commit gross violations of human rights and have not been brought to justice. As a result, Netzah Yehuda would be preventing from training with U.S. soldiers or receiving American weapons.

The ultra-Orthodox unit was removed from serving in the West Bank in December 2022, and has been deployed to Gaza during the current war against Hamas.

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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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