(JTA) — Police in at least three European countries have arrested people they said were threatening or planning terror attacks related to the Israel-Hamas war.
The arrests come amid a global spike in antisemitic incidents following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel that has spurred an ongoing Israeli military response in Gaza. While police have offered widely ranging levels of detail about the threats they said they interrupted, they believe Israelis were possibly the intended targets of multiple plots.
In Duisburg, a German city of about 500,000 located near the Netherlands border, a man previously convicted of terrorism was arrested after police said he shared with an associate in Syria that he was planning an attack, possibly against a pro-Israel demonstration. The man had previously trained with ISIS in Syria, according to local reports.
In England, The Telegraph newspaper reported that a man who arrived in the country in 2020 had been arrested after committing some kind of attack that he said he committed because children had been harmed in Gaza. But while police told the newspaper that they had made an arrest, they did not disclose any further information about the man or the nature of the attack. Security analysts said they might be withholding information in an effort not to inspire copycats.
In Brussels, a Palestinian man was arrested after telling a federal refugee support agency that he was distressed by what was happening in Gaza and hoped to ”die as a martyr by blowing himself up.” The man had applied in September for asylum in Belgium but missed an appointment after learning that members of his family had been killed in Gaza, according to local news reports.
In addition, police in Italy arrested two men whom they had identified as recruiters for ISIS in Europe, saying that they had decided to intervene because the war had heightened the risk of Islamic extremists taking action. The arrests came a day after gunmen allegedly tied to ISIS killed two people at a soccer game in Belgium.
Concerns about Hamas-inspired attacks are on the rise around the world. A wave of mass pro-Palestinian demonstrations since Oct. 7 have also caused anxiety for police and many Jews.
In some cases, local authorities have cracked down on the rallies, drawing criticism from free-speech advocates. In others, they have allowed the rallies to proceed, to the chagrin of pro-Israel advocates who say the rallies give voice to violent threats and antisemitic sentiments.
News also emerged this month about the indictment in August and September, before the Hamas attack, of four teenagers from France and Belgium who police said acted as a terror cell and were planning attacks on Jews, including at the Israeli embassy near Brussels.
Man charged with hate crime in alleged robbery and assault on Jews in Beverly Hills on Shabbat
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — A man was arrested on multiple charges including a hate crime after allegedly striking a Jewish man on his way to synagogue in the Los Angeles enclave of Beverly Hills on Saturday.
The man, Jarris Silagi, 44, allegedly hit Raphael Nissel, 75, on the head and said, “Jew, give me your jewelry,” according to a report on the incident published by the L.A. Times. Nissel was treated for a laceration at the scene and continued on to his Orthodox synagogue, where he read Torah as planned, according to the report and a tweet by his rabbi, Pini Dunner.
Raphy Nissel, a member of my shul and the Baal Koreh, was attacked in Beverly Hills on his way to shul yesterday. After his bleeding headwound was stitched, he went home, changed his shirt, and came back to shul and did Kriat Hatorah. Him and his wife are true heroes!… https://t.co/vsoJqnnHRH
— Pini Dunner (@pinidunner) December 10, 2023
The incident comes amid a surge in reported antisemitic incidents fueled by Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. A number of high-profile incidents have taken place in the Los Angeles area, including a home invasion by a man who allegedly shouted antisemitic comments and the death of a pro-Israel protester who was struck at a rally. A man has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in that case.
“This is appalling. Antisemitism has no place in this state,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted in response to a picture of a bloody shirt posted by Nissel’s son, Alan. Newsom added, “Alan, our hearts goes out to your family tonight. Glad to hear the person responsible for this is in custody. They must be held to full account.”
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The War Within: Rabbi Avi Finegold contemplates the contemporary resonances of Hanukkah
Hanukkah. The temple defiled, the one jar of oil, enough to last one day, miraculously lasting eight days. We recreate this every year to celebrate this miracle and the victory over dark forces that it represented. Let me let you in on a little secret. I know religious scholars and even rabbis who don’t really […]
The post The War Within: Rabbi Avi Finegold contemplates the contemporary resonances of Hanukkah appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.
Javier Milei cites Hanukkah story, gives menorah to Zelensky during inauguration as Argentina’s president
(JTA) — Javier Milei invoked the story of the Maccabees in his inaugural address as Argentina’s president on Sunday, extending the right-wing populist’s prominent fascination with Judaism as he celebrated his own improbable victory.
“It is not by chance that this assumption takes place in the holiday of Hanukkah, the festival of light, and that the same celebrates the true essence of freedom,” Milei said during his speech on the steps of the parliament building in Buenos Aires. “The war of the Maccabees is the symbol of the victory of the weak over the powerful, of the few over the many, of the light over darkness and overall of the truth over untruth.”
Milei, 53, defied expectations when he was elected last month. A self-declared “anarcho-capitalist” who was the most right-wing of the five candidates, he ascended rapidly over the last year as he assailed the outgoing government, saying that its policies had fueled unemployment and inflation.
He delivered his speech with his back to the country’s lawmakers, in a break with tradition allowing him to face a large rally outside the parliament building.
Toward the tail of his speech warning Argentineans to prepare for a difficult economic reforms, he said he recalled how he and his now-vice president, Victoria Villaruel, had initially been told that their two-year-old political party, Freedom Advances, would have little influence.
“We were told we couldn’t do anything because we were only two in 257 congressmen,” he said. “And I also remember that my answer that day was a quote from the Book of Maccabees, 3:19, that goes: It is not the size of the army that victory in battle depends on, but strength comes from heaven.”
The speech was in keeping with Milei’s unusual relationship with Judaism. The non-Jewish economist has been studying with an Argentinean rabbi and has said he is interested in converting, though he says he does not see the role of president as compatible with Jewish observance. He visited the grave of the Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi in New York City in his first trip abroad after being elected and has vowed to make Israel — where he promised to move Argentina’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — his first foreign destination as president.
At campaign rallies, Milei has often walked on stage to the sound of a shofar, and in one of his final public appearances before the election, Milei was seen waving an Israeli flag among a large crowd in Rosario.
One Israeli flag was visible amid the sea of Argentinean flags at his speech in footage of the inaugural event broadcast to Argentineans.
Milei, whose term will last four years, was flanked by world leaders, including the king of Spain; Chilean President Gabriel Boric, a left-wing critic of Israel; Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a populist who cruised to a fourth term last year; and Ukraine’s president, Volodymr Zelensky, who was making his first trip to Latin America since Russia attacked his country in February 2022. Jair Bolsonaro, the populist leader recently unseated in Brazil, also attended.
Milei handed a menorah to Zelensky, who is Jewish, after the two leaders greeted each other warmly outside Casa Rosada, the country’s government headquarters, in a handoff captured on the live TV broadcast of the ceremony. Zelensky has embraced Milei as he has sought to build support for Ukraine in Latin America.
On Saturday night, on the eve of his inauguration, Milei met with a group of relatives of Israeli hostages kidnapped in Gaza since Oct. 7, lighting the Hanukkah candles with them and Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who was in the country for the inauguration.