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Watchdog Identifies UN Agency Staff Who Participated in Oct. 7 Hamas Massacre

An aerial view shows the bodies of victims of an attack following a mass infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip lying on the ground in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in southern Israel, Oct. 10, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg

Two teachers hired by the United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees participated in Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7, according to new research published by an Israeli watchdog group.

The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) on Wednesday unveiled transcriptions of recordings confirming the roles of Yusef Zidan Sliman Al-Hawajri and Mamdouh Hussein Ahmad Al-Qek in the Hamas atrocities. Both teachers worked for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) — the global organization’s agency dedicated solely to the refugees and descendants of Palestinians who fled during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.

“We have female hostages, I captured one,” Al-Hawarji, who is both an Arabic teacher at the UNRWA-funded Deir al-Balah Boys’ Elementary School and a member of the Hamas Central Campus Brigade, can be heard saying in recordings obtained by IMPACT-se. “We will enter Al-Aqsa Mosque … they did actions for liberations [sic], God willing.”

Al-Hawarji also specifically alluded to kidnapping a “sabaya,” a term jihadists use to describe sex slaves.

In a separate recording quoted by the watchdog group, Al-Qek — another UNRWA elementary school teacher and a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s (PIJ) Rafah Brigade — celebrated infiltrating Israeli territory during a phone call to family members, saying, “I’m inside! I’m with the Jews.”

PIJ, like Hamas, is an Islamist terrorist group based in Gaza committed to the destruction of Israel and the death of Jews. Its fighters participated in the Hamas-led Oct. 7 massacre, in which 1,200 people were murdered across southern Israel and about 240 others were kidnapped as hostages.

Both UNRWA teachers used their classrooms as platforms for promoting antisemitism and terrorism, according to Impact-se.

“This comes as no surprise, given that they worked in schools which routinely glorify jihad and incite violence,” Impact-se CEO Marcus Sheff said in a statement. “That Al-Hawarji and Al-Qek were employed by UNWRA, supported by international community funds, underscores the imperative that UNRWA is beyond salvation and can play no further role in Palestinian education.”

The new findings came after Impact-se released a separate report in November revealing that at least 14 teachers at UNRWA-run schools had praised the Oct. 7 pogrom carried out in southern Israel.

Complaints that UNRWA is promoting antisemitism and terrorism are not new.

Antisemitic and violent themes taught in Palestinian schools administered by UNRWA, as well as their employment of teachers linked to terrorist organizations, helped to inspire the extremism which resulted in Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre, experts told a US congressional subcommittee in January.

During the hearing, Sheff noted that “at least” 100 members of Hamas who have perpetrated previous acts of terrorism were schooled in UNRWA operated facilities and estimated that a majority of Hamas terrorists who participated in the Oct. 7 massacre were as well.

Antisemitic incitement and violence in Palestinian curricula has persisted despite years of outrage and international pressure to change the teaching materials. Study cards for 11th graders accusing Jews of being “in control of global events through financial power,” seventh graders instructed to describe Israeli soldiers as “Satan’s aides” in a textbook chapter imploring Muslims to “liberate” the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and children gathered to listen to a poem with the following line: “Give me a Kalashnikov, an [M-] 14, an axe and a knife” are just some of the examples of the themes to which Palestinian students have been exposed, according to numerous Impact-se reports.

In November, the US House of Representatives passed legislation that would require the US secretary of state to report annually on whether teaching materials provided to Palestinian students is promoting antisemitism and hatred of Israel. The bill now awaits consideration by the US Senate.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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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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