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No Brotherly Love for Israel at This Elite School

Protesters gathered outside Goldie in Philadelphia on Dec. 3, 2023. Photo: Screenshot

JNS.org -The fact that Ivy League administrators have allowed anti-Israel extremism to infest their campuses has been widely condemned. There have also been news reports of antisemitic violence committed by pro-Hamas radicals at college campuses, and even in public schools. However, at the same time, very little information is being revealed about the lies being told about Israel at America’s elite private primary and secondary schools.

A prime example of the types of issues Jewish students at private schools are facing would have to include the William Penn Charter School (PC) in Philadelphia. PC is not just any elite school. In many ways, it is the elite school. Founded in 1689, it is the world’s oldest Quaker school and the nation’s fifth-oldest elementary school. Despite being Quaker, it has a large Jewish student body.

From its very first communication three days after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel to their school community, PC engaged in blatant obfuscation and both-sides-ism. “War is never justified” and moral equivalency messages received an immediate backlash and condemnation from many Jewish students and parents. The result was that the very next day, on Oct. 11, PC followed up their first, failed memo with an attempt to acknowledge their wrongheaded approach. “We are writing to acknowledge that the message we sent yesterday related to the terrorist attacks in Israel this weekend did not articulate Penn Charter’s position … we heard that our Jewish families feel unheard and unseen; we heard that our message failed to condemn evil and suggested a moral equivalency … Penn Charter unequivocally condemns all terrorism. The heinous acts committed by the terrorist group Hamas … are an outrage, and we are personally heartbroken … .” It was quickly apparent that the apology was simply an attempt to stifle criticism and not a sign that real care would be taken to call out anti-Zionism and terrorism for the evils that they are.

More than a month after the failed apology and lack of personal response from the administration to Jewish parents, Penn Charter’s administration realized that due to the rising tension on campus, it had to turn to outside assistance to help educate staff and students. And so it selected a highly partisan organization called Interfaith Philadelphia.

Interfaith has a history of employing radicals, as well as closely partnering with organizations with long anti-Israel records. One of its top staffers was previously a leader of the Philadelphia chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations). Critics of CAIR have long accused it of maintaining close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Another Interfaith Philadelphia staffer received her education at the Women’s Islamic Theological Seminary (Jami’at al-Zahra) in Qum, Iran.

It is also worth noting that notorious Israel-hater Marc Lamont Hill has had a close relationship with PC.

Immediately preceding the start of Chanukah, Interfaith Philadelphia sent two presenters to PC to speak: one said he “identified” as a Muslim, who spoke about Islamophobia; and the other said she “identified” as a Jew.

The assembly with Interfaith Philadelphia at PC was a mandatory program for Upper School students. Similar to the lack of morality displayed by University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill in front of Congress on Dec. 5, the Interfaith Philadelphia presenters reportedly refused to condemn the Hamas attackers and their atrocities. The presenters also reportedly stated that the widely condemned protests in front of a kosher-certified restaurant in Philadelphia called Goldie was deserved because the owner is Israeli and contributes financially to the Israel Defense Forces.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, who is Jewish, visited the restaurant in the immediate aftermath of the protest and stated: “People have a right to peacefully protest a difference of policy in the Middle East or in Israel. They don’t have a right to come and protest a restaurant simply because it’s owned by a Jew and hold that Jew responsible for Israeli policy. That is the definition of antisemitism.” Both of Pennsylvania’s senators—Bob Casey and John Fetterman—also condemned the protests.

About the chant “From the River to the Sea: Palestine will be Free,” the Interfaith Philadelphia presenters told the students and staff that the rallying cry is actually simply a call for freedom. Marc Lamont Hill has similarly defended his use of the chant.

What makes all of this worse is that the PC administration in an official communication after the shameful program congratulated themselves for working to “educate” students and staff.

We know that PC learned nothing because of a memo issued by school administrators after the Interfaith Philadelphia-led assembly. The memo claimed that the presenters—the ones who refused to condemn the Oct. 7 attacks—“modeled how to engage in respectful, honest and constructive discourse on complex and challenging topics despite having different perspectives.”

There are no “perspectives” when it comes to facts, just like with Magill’s congressional testimony that there is no “context” when it comes to calling for the genocide of Jews. It is a cornerstone of American education that facts matter. But PC’s administrators seem to think that there is something “complex” about the Hamas attacks. There is nothing “challenging” about teaching American youth about terrorism: It is wrong, always. The Hamas attacks were evil, unprovoked and wrong. When one confronts evil, not only is there no need to be “respectful”; what is needed is truth and morality. If a school’s leadership cannot bring themselves to genuinely condemn terrorism without context, then they lack a basic and mandatory requirement for their jobs. If the school cannot bring itself to replace leadership like this, it has no reason to run.

In its war against Hamas in Gaza, Israel is engaged in self-defense for its very existence. Israel has both the moral right and the duty to engage in self-defense. America’s Founding Fathers always considered self-defense a virtue. Right in Philadelphia, where PC is located, the Constitution was written with the words “provide for the common defense” in its very first sentence. Would the leadership of PC have Israel lay down its guns and allow Hamas to commit worse attacks in the future? On Nov. 30, Yahya Sinwar, a senior leader of Hamas, said that “the leaders of the occupation should know, Oct. 7 was just a rehearsal.”

For American educators, the choice is clear: Support one side or the other. In 2023, far too many educators earned failing grades. This year, they will have the opportunity to get back on the right track and course-correct. Let’s hope that they do just that.

The post No Brotherly Love for Israel at This Elite School first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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‘American Leadership Will Not Waver’: Senate Passes $95.3 Billion Aid Package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan

US President Joe Biden addresses the nation on the Hamas onslaught against Israel. Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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.”

The post ‘American Leadership Will Not Waver’: Senate Passes $95.3 Billion Aid Package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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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 […]

The post Police are investigating after a group of anti-Israel protesters targeted Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Yeshiva Loses its Ninth Student in War in Gaza

Fallen Israeli soldier Maj. Gen. Ziv Chen. Source: Twitter/X

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.

 

The post Yeshiva Loses its Ninth Student in War in Gaza first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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