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Police evacuate Toronto Jewish day school after bomb threat

(JTA) — A Jewish day school in Toronto has been evacuated in response to a bomb threat emailed to school staff that claimed “many Jews will die today.”

Police arrived on the scene just after noon on Friday to assist in the evacuation of The Anne and Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto and investigate the threat, with the assistance of a K-9 unit.

The threat claimed bombs had been planted in the school parking lot. Its subject line was “Death by fire.”

Parents received an email from school staff relaying the message that the bomb threat said “multiple explosive devices had been planted in the school,” according to The Toronto Star.

Toronto Police told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency as of 1:30 p.m. that the K-9 unit was still on the scene, and any new updates about the situation would be shared on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.

Last month, threats made in person against the school led to the arrest of a Toronto man and two teens.

“We are concerned and outraged by this incident, which is just the latest in a growing number of antisemitic hate crimes in Toronto,” the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto tweeted.

In the last month, during the Israel-Hamas war, the city has also seen Israeli-owned businesses targeted and antisemitic and anti-Israel graffiti plastered on multiple sites.

Toronto has experienced recent growth in Jewish day school enrollment. At TanenbaumCHAT alone, the school is planning to take on an additional 250 students in the 2024-2025 academic year, following a cut in tuition and an increase in the size of the campus.

Waves of hoax bomb threats targeted synagogues and Jewish schools this fall, continuing even after the arrest of a man in Peru who the FBI said had made at least 150 threats himself.

The post Police evacuate Toronto Jewish day school after bomb threat appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Jewish NYC lawmaker Inna Vernikov cleared of criminal charge after bringing ‘inoperable’ gun to pro-Palestinian protest

(New York Jewish Week) — New York City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, a Jewish Republican from Brooklyn, was cleared of a criminal charge after bringing a firearm to a pro-Palestinian rally last month.

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said on Friday that the charge was dropped because the firearm Vernikov surrendered to police was missing its recoil spring assembly, a crucial component, rendering the weapon “inoperable.”

“Peaceful protest is the right of every American, but bringing a gun to a protest is illegal and creates an unacceptable risk of harm that has no place in our city,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement sent to the New York Jewish Week. “In order to sustain this charge, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the weapon in question was capable of firing bullets. Absent such proof, we have no choice but to dismiss these charges.”

Vernikov was arrested on Oct. 13 after images on social media showed her appearing with the weapon in her waistband outside a pro-Palestinian protest as tensions flared in the city days after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, a progressive group that has joined in anti-Israel protests following Oct. 7 and that has accused Israel of “genocide,” shared the photo and called for Vernikov’s expulsion from the council.

Vernikov’s appearance with the weapon has become fodder for pro-Palestinian groups, who argue the incident is evidence protesters are being intimidated or stifled by authorities.

The outspoken lawmaker had attended the protest next to Brooklyn College the previous day to repudiate the pro-Palestinian protesters and to “make sure that Jewish students feel safe,” she said in a video she posted from the scene that is filmed from the waist up and does not show the gun.

Vernikov had a license for the Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol, but under New York law firearms are not permitted at “sensitive locations,” including at protests.

Police contacted Vernikov after the images circulated online and she turned herself into the NYPD’s 70th precinct, where she was charged with criminal possession of a firearm. She surrendered her firearms license and the weapon.

The incident drew condemnation from other lawmakers, with the New York City Council saying in a statement that the incident was being investigated and “may require the recusal of committee members.”

“It is unacceptable and unlawful for a civilian to ever bring a firearm to a rally or protest, and especially important for elected officials to model a respect for the law that is expected of all New Yorkers,” the council said in a statement.

New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul said, “New York’s gun safety laws apply to everyone.”

Vernikov, 39, is one of six Republicans on the 51-member City Council and is the minority whip, representing the 48th district in south Brooklyn. She was elected to office in 2021. Born in the former Soviet Union in what is now Ukraine, she represents a group of neighborhoods with a significant Jewish population, including many immigrants from the former Soviet Union. She has been heavily involved in Jewish and pro-Israel causes, both as a city councilmember and before taking office.

Vernikov was reelected to her seat earlier this month with a decisive win over Democratic challenger Amber Adler, who is also Jewish.

Vernikov’s lawyer, Arthur L. Aidala, hailed the dropped charge, saying in a statement, “Councilwoman Vernikov has an outstanding reputation serving her constituency, which since her reelection will continue to do for the next two years.”

“She is pleased to have this all behind her and looks forward to continuing her fight on behalf of all New Yorkers to keep this city the greatest city in the word,” Aidala said in a statement provided to the New York Jewish Week.

The dropped charge was first reported by the local news outlet The City.

The post Jewish NYC lawmaker Inna Vernikov cleared of criminal charge after bringing ‘inoperable’ gun to pro-Palestinian protest appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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‘Future of Israel’s Economy Depends on Clear Victory Over Hamas,’ Israeli Defense Chief Tells Central Bank Head

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant during a press conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv , Israel, Oct. 28, 2023. Photo: ABIR SULTAN POOL/Pool via REUTERS

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Friday said that while Israel’s economy has taken a hit in the short run amid the ongoing war with Hamas, the economic outlook will be bright as long as the Jewish state defeats the Palestinian terror group.

“The future of Israel’s economy depends on a clear victory over Hamas,” Gallant told Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron in a meeting with the country’s central bank chief in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv.

At their meeting, the two officials discussed the macroeconomic impact of the war, as well as steps Israel’s central bank has taken to ensure the stability of the economy, according to Hebrew media reports.

Such acts have included lowering interest rates and, just days after the war started, selling approximately $30 billion in foreign exchanges to assist the fast-falling shekel, Israel’s currency.

The value of the shekel fell to about 4 per US dollar in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre of over 1,200 people, mostly civilians, across southern Israel. The slaughter launched the current war in Gaza, which is ruled by the terror group and where the roughly 240 hostages seized by Hamas last month are being held. More recently, the shekel’s value has risen and is trading at about 3.7 shekels to one US dollar.

Historically, Israel’s economy has proven to be resilient in the face of global economic downturns. Top economists have attributed this to the fact that Israel’s economy is heavily reliant on the tech sector — tech has accounted for 14 percent of jobs in Israel, about a fifth of economic output, and roughly half of Israeli exports. In general, tech has been able to endure global crises and even seen positive impacts.

Additionally, Israel has a strong tourism sector that draws in millions of Jews, Christians, and Muslims eager to see their religions’ holy sites — many of them located in Jerusalem. During a time of war, tourism typically declines significantly but returns after a cessation of hostilities.

The post ‘Future of Israel’s Economy Depends on Clear Victory Over Hamas,’ Israeli Defense Chief Tells Central Bank Head first appeared on

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Israeli Hostage Families, Supporters Hold Shabbat Service in Jerusalem After March of Solidarity

Family members, friends, and supporters of Israelis and other nationalities who were taken hostage on Oct. 7 by Hamas terrorists during a deadly attack march after they began a few days march towards Jerusalem, in Latrun, Israel, Nov. 17, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

The families of the hostages kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7 who departed from Tel Aviv by foot earlier this week arrived on Friday in Jerusalem, where they held a large Kabbalat Shabbat service in front of Israel’s parliament building to welcome the Jewish day of rest.

 Israelis joined hands this week in a days-long march to call for the unconditional release of the roughly 240 hostages currently held by Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

The march began on Tuesday. After Shabbat ends on Saturday evening, the thousands of supporters are planning a demonstration outside the prime minister’s office to demand the government find a solution to return the hostages, who include young children and the elderly.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet have stated that the release of the hostages is a top priority as military operations continue in Gaza to wipe out Hamas terrorists and secure the hostages’ release.

Qatar, in coordination with the US, has been seeking to negotiate a deal between Hamas and Israel that includes the release of dozens of those being held captive. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers have been fighting Hamas in Gaza, seeking to wipe out the Palestinian terror group. Israel has said it would not agree to a ceasefire unless all the hostages were released.

Netanyahu has also stated that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have intelligence on the potential location of the hostages, which could mean rescue operations in the coming days as Israel advances in Gaza.

So far, Hamas has released only four hostages in two separate occasions. Another hostage was rescued by Israeli forces, who also recovered the bodies of two other hostages found this week near the Al Shifa Hospital — the Gaza City medical complex that Israeli and US intelligence say is home to Hamas’ main command center.

Netanyahu’s office confirmed this week that one of the hostages gave birth while in the captivity of Hamas.

The post Israeli Hostage Families, Supporters Hold Shabbat Service in Jerusalem After March of Solidarity first appeared on

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