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Sirens Sound for the Dead — and for Rockets — on Israeli Memorial Day

People stand still as a siren sounds marking Israel’s Memorial Day, while the country commemorates fallen soldiers of Israel’s wars and Israeli victims of hostile attacks, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 13, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Memorial sirens for generations of Israeli war dead sounded on Monday while air raid sirens warned of incoming shells from the conflict triggered by the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

Traffic slowed to a standstill for the traditional two-minute silence for Israel’s annual Memorial Day, observed the day before Independence Day.

There was one new vigil at the site of a music festival where more than 350 revelers were killed.

Grief-stricken relatives stood face-to-face with pictures of the dead erected across a desert field.

“I want to remember her here, and light a candle for her and pray for her,” said 31-year-old Naama Kazes whose friend died.

President Isaac Herzog opened commemorations at Jerusalem’s Western Wall on Sunday evening with his shirt collar torn in a Jewish mark of mourning.

Speaking after him, armed forces chief Lieutenant-General Herzi Halevi took personal responsibility for the failure to stop the cross-border rampage by Palestinian terrorists, the deadliest day in Israel’s history.

Much public anger has focused on the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a veteran conservative who long promoted himself as guarantor of national security.

Netanyahu has sidestepped questions of his political liability. He casts the war — which has set off a second front with Lebanon and drawn attacks by Iranian-backed militias in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq — as a showdown with Tehran that he had long predicted.

“Our beloved, who fell in this war, and in all of Israel’s wars … represent eternal values: love of humanity and people, love of country, readiness to sacrifice, belief in a just cause,” Netanyahu said in a speech.

“It’s either us — Israel — or them — the Hamas monsters. Either continued existence, liberty, security, and prosperity — or destruction, slaughter, rape, and enslavement. And we are determined to be victorious in this struggle.”

Some 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 kidnapped on Oct. 7 during Hamas’ onslaught. Since then, Israel has waged a military campaign aimed at freeing the hostages and destroying Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that rules neighboring Gaza.

Swathes of Israel have been evacuated in the south near Gaza and in the north on the border with Lebanon, both of which saw air raid alerts on Monday. The memorial sirens sounded with a fixed tone, while air raid sirens had rising and falling notes, so residents could tell the difference.

Commentator Chen Artzi-Sror wrote in the best-selling newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that this year it was not a day of remembrance because the “ongoing present of sorrow and loss” was not yet in the past.

“There is no daily routine at a moment when our brothers and sisters are held hostage, when entire swathes of our country are empty of residents, when the list of fallen and wounded grows by the day.”

While surveys have found broad Israeli support for the war, views on the government are mixed. Almost half of the public — 48 percent — wanted ministers to sit out memorial events at military cemeteries, the Israel Democracy Institute think-tank said.

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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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