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In Jerusalem neighborhoods bound together by terror, anger and trepidation about what comes next



JERUSALEM (JTA) — Time stops on Shabbat in Jerusalem, for the living and the dead.

Up the stairs in an apartment on the main road in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood in the city’s northeast, past hallway portraits of Sephardic rabbis, the Mizrahi family was not taking visitors on Saturday. “This is not the right time,” a woman who opened the apartment door said.

A Palestinian gunman gunned down Eli and Natali Mizrahi on Friday night. Now the couple was in a morgue awaiting burial. There are no Jewish funerals on Shabbat. They would be buried after nightfall.

The gunman killed seven people Friday night, in the worst terrorist attack in Jerusalem in over a decade.

A day earlier, Israeli troops killed nine people, including two civilians, in a raid in the northern West Bank city of Jenin that Israeli officials said was aimed at preempting a major terrorist attack; a 10th died later. A day later, a 13-year-old Palestinian shot and wounded an Israeli father and son outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls amid a scattering of further incidents.

Jerusalem, the country, the region are on edge. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced new measures aimed at curbing the violence, targeting families of terrorists. Police arrested 42 people in connection with the Neve Yaakov attack. Bill Burns, the CIA boss, is on his way to Israel to consult with Netanyahu about how to keep the region from blowing up.

On Friday night, around 8 p.m., in the middle of the Sabbath evening meal, Eli Mizrahi, 48, ran downstairs as soon as he heard the gunfire. His father, Shimon, asked him not to go, the Times of Israel reported. Eli’s wife of two years, Natali, 45, followed her husband.

Eli Mizrahi spoke to the gunman, who shot him and Natali dead.

On Saturday, Neve Yaakov residents stood in groups on the street in the long shadows cast by the winter sun, gossiping, trying to piece together details from second hand reports; Shabbat forbade them from turning on the radio or TV or checking their phones.

“We sat here in the living room and suddenly I heard shooting,” said Sara Gablayev, 76, who lives on the ground floor, below the Mizrahis. “I ran to the window and saw two people falling. Then I saw some running and I shouted, ‘What happened?’ He said two more people were killed down the street.”

Family and friends of Eli and Natali Mizrahi, who were killed in a shooting attack in Jerusalem, mourn during their funeral in Bet Shemesh, jan. 28, 2023. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

It was Friday evening, as Shabbat services were ending. Kheiri Al-Qam, 21, drove his car down Neve Yaakov Boulevard, shooting civilians, seemingly aiming at whomever he could reach.

He murdered the Mizrahis. He murdered Rafael Ben Eliahu, 56, who worked for the post office, and who left a widow and three children. He murdered Asher Natan, who was 14. He murdered Shaul Hai, 68, a sexton at one synagogue who was entering another to attend a Torah lesson. He murdered Irina Korlova, a Ukrainian caregiving worker. He murdered Ilya Sosansky, 26.

“The terrorist killed three people at the entrance to the synagogue and left three others with various injuries,” said Chanoch Reem, a volunteer first responder with United Hatzalah who lives next to the synagogue Hai was entering and who rushed to the scene when he heard the commotion. “He then drove away while continuing to shoot passersby.”

In a release, United Hatzalah quoted another of its first responders, Yosef Deshet, who was in the synagogue when Al-Qam opened fire. “When I heard the gunshots begin I took cover on the floor under a table with my son,” he said. “Immediately after the shooting ended, I ran to my house nearby to bring my son back to safety and to grab my medical trauma kit and bulletproof vest.”

Al-Qam drove his car to a junction that connects roads to Neve Yaakov and Bet Hanina, a Palestinian neighborhood. There, he exchanged fire with Israeli troops, and was killed.

On Saturday, in Ras al-Amud, an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood seven miles south of Neve Yaakov, Israeli troops surrounded the six-story building where Al-Qam lived with his extended family. Before dawn, troops bound men and boys to one another by the wrists and led them out. Neighborhood Palestinian youths grouped together on a nearby stairway watched the soldiers.

One of the young Palestinian men watching the troops said they were in wait-and-see mode.

“Maybe they’ll demolish the house. Maybe it will be a surprise,” he said. “It’s a crazy government now. Any decision is possible.”

Netanyahu’s government, just weeks old, is the most right-wing in Israel’s history. His public security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, was weaned on the teachings of Meir Kahane, the racist rabbi assassinated in 1990, and has called for loosening rules of engagement with the Palestinians.

Ben-Gvir the lawyer represented Jewish Israelis who were accused of violence against Palestinians. In a detail that underscored the entwined fates of the two neighborhoods, one of those whose innocence he helped obtain was Haim Perlman, arrested in 2010 on suspicion of having murdered another Kheiri Al-Qam — the Neve Yaakov attacker’s grandfather. Perlman was never charged.

Ben-Gvir the provocateur with a criminal record made his name acts aimed at forcing the government rightward, accusing it of weakness. On Friday night Ben-Gvir the government minister traveled to Neve Yaakov, and now the anger, the pushback, the pleas to do something, anything were aimed at him.

Israeli security and emergency forces at the scene of a shooting attack in Neve Yaakov, Jerusalem, Jan. 27, 2023. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

“It’s on your watch!” said one man, caught on video shouting at Ben-Gvir. “Let’s see what you do now!”

The next day, Saturday, the residents chattered with one another on Neve Yaakov Boulevard trying to make sense of the night before. Neve Yaakov, a neighborhood built after Israel captured eastern Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, is surrounded by Palestinian neighborhoods and the separation wall between Jerusalem looms near.

“We live down the street so we don’t know what happened,” said Miriam Reuven, who was standing on a traffic island with her three granddaughters. “We came to get more information. I don’t feel safe here anymore.”

Some residents shooed away reporters: It was Shabbat, after all. Shimon Yisrael sought them out. He was showing a French camera crew the bullet in his ground-floor window.

“He came with a pistol to my face,” he said of Al-Qam. “I was outside, he wanted to shoot me and I went into the house and he shot at the window. He wanted to kill me.”

He knows what to do with Al-Qam’s family, which is likely to receive benefits that the Palestinian Authority gives to the families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned over their role in attacking Israelis. “Destroy their house,” Yisrael said. “Deport the whole family to Syria, to ISIS, they’ll slaughter them over there.”

In Ras Al Amud, the youths outside Al-Qam’s building said his father, Musa, is at prayers at a mosque a few doors down.

At the mosque, men were gathered in a courtyard, drinking the bitter coffee typically served at funerals. Except there is no funeral. Israeli authorities are holding Khairi Al-Qam’s body.

Musa Al-Qam whose son, Khairi, murdered seven Israelis and was killed, mourns in a mosque in Jerusalem, Jan. 28, 2023. (Orly Halpern)

Musa Al-Qam came out of the mosque to meet a reporter in the courtyard. His voice was toneless.

“Today is a wedding. It’s a celebration,” he said of his son’s death. “We don’t need to cry. Everything that happens is from God.”

Men hugged him. He stiffened.

His hands are calloused. He explained that he has worked for years in construction. He has eight children, four boys and four girls. The youngest are twins, he said, and for the first time, he smiled.

“The soldiers told me my son is a fighter,” he said. “My son is not from any movement. I don’t know what happened to his mind. The occupation kills boys before they are men.”

A few hours later, Netanyahu’s office issued a release: The security cabinet had ordered his apartment building sealed ahead of its destruction.

The post In Jerusalem neighborhoods bound together by terror, anger and trepidation about what comes next appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

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Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary



By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

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Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station



This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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