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Israelis Wear Dog Tags in Solidarity With Hostages and Each Other

Military-style dog tags calling for the return of Israeli hostages who have been held in the Gaza Strip since they were seized by Hamas gunmen on October 7, are displayed at a stall in Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, January 11, 2024. The Hebrew reads “Our hearts are held hostage in Gaza”. REUTERS/Dedi Hayun

On Israeli city streets and on television, in shops and in cafes, one symbol of solidarity with hostages held in Gaza has become ubiquitous in the 100 days since Hamas abducted them: military-style dog tags worn on neckchains.

The small metal rectangles, similar to those soldiers carry for identification, are typically inscribed with two slogans in Hebrew, “our hearts are held hostage in Gaza” and “together we will win,” and one in English, “bring them home now.”

“Everyone wants to show their support one way or another,” said Shayna Roth, 36, a digital marketing specialist and mother of three from Modi’in, near Tel Aviv.

“It just makes you feel that no matter where you go, no matter who you meet or talk to, we’re all a nation, undivided.”

Hamas killed 1,200 people during its assault on southern Israel on Oct. 7, the worst loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust and the deadliest day in Israel’s 75-year history.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel has responded with a military offensive of air strikes and ground operations against the Palestinian terror group in Gaza.

Of the 240 hostages who were kidnapped on Oct. 7, more than 130 are still held captive in Gaza. Their plight, and the anguish of their families, are deeply felt across Israeli society.

Wearing these dog tags really allows us to connect to the families that have been directly affected,” said Roth, who also has pictures of hostages by her Shabbat candles, which in Jewish tradition are lit on Friday evenings to usher in the Sabbath.

‘BEYOND WORDS’

Roth’s mother, Marilee Crowell, was visiting from California and was wearing a dog tag as the two women visited the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem.

Nestled among the food stalls and bakeries in the warren of alleyways, a souvenir shop had several displays of dog tags. It was here that Roth had bought a batch of them to send to her mother and other relatives living in the United States.

Crowell, 78, said she was wearing hers to show her deep empathy with the hostages, their families, and Israelis in general, following the Oct. 7 killings.

“I stand with you in your suffering and yes, we want the hostages back, yes, it’s beyond words. I stand with you, I hold your hand in your grief. That’s what it means to me,” she said. Her daughter had tears in her eyes as she listened.

A steady stream of customers stopped at the souvenir shop and bought dog tags. Among them, Judith, who did not wish to give her family name, bought several, including an unusual model with a religious blessing on it, “God bless you and keep you.”

“Everybody is hurting. Everybody knows somebody who is a soldier, or knows somebody who lives in (the southern) area, so everybody’s involved, it’s one big family. So it’s just showing that we care, that we’re standing together,” she said.

Steven Winston, a visitor from Britain where he runs a pro-Israel group called the National Jewish Assembly, was wearing a dog tag he had bought at “Hostages Square,” in Tel Aviv, where hostages‘ families and supporters have been campaigning.

Winston gave similar reasons for wearing the symbol, adding that he would not hesitate to wear it in London, where police reported a historic surge in antisemitic hate crimes after Oct. 7.

“If someone tried to take it off me, then let them try, but I’m not going to shy away from my identity and my feelings. I’m proud to wear it,” said Winston.

The post Israelis Wear Dog Tags in Solidarity With Hostages and Each Other first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

The post Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law pic.twitter.com/d2uE16ZzQ1

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’ pic.twitter.com/DmHjwfHtPV

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

The post IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.

REMEMBERING THE DEAD

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

The post One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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