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Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is responsible for shooting at German synagogue, officials say



(JTA) — After a century-old synagogue in Essen, Germany, was struck by two bullets last November, news reports connected it to the shooting at a synagogue in Halle three years earlier that had been perpetrated by a far-right German extremist.

But authorities quickly connected the Essen shooting to a different kind of perpatrator: Ramin Yektaparast, a biker gang leader wanted on suspicion of murder in Germany who now lives in Iran and is accused of directing antisemitic attacks from there.

German intelligence officials revealed in December that they believed the Essen shooting and two other synagogue attacks at the same time had ties to Iran. Last week, The Washington Post quoted anonymous German and U.S. intelligence sources who named Yektarapast as a suspect, and as an alleged asset of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. The United States considers the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, though Germany does not.

Yektarapast fled from Germany to to Iran in 2021 after being suspected of the grisly murder of a fellow member of the Hells Angels gang. Involving criminals in terrorism plots is part of Iran’s playbook, a former U.S. counterterrorism official told the Washington Post.

Matthew Levitt, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Iranian agents have seen high-level assassination plans foiled and now are turning to “softer” targets in their efforts to sow terror and harm their country’s enemies.

“That’s when the plots targeting Jews come into play,” Levitt said.

Reports of Iran-linked terror cells targeting Jews or Israelis in Europe have been widespread in recent years. Last summer, as a record number of Israelis visited Turkey, Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad, and its Turkish counterpart, hunted through Istanbul for an Iranian cell. The cell had reportedly been tasked with targeting Israeli tourists in retaliation for the killing of an Iranian colonel in Tehran, allegedly by Israeli operatives.

Later last year, the Washington Post reported that Iran had targeted prominent Jews and Israelis around the world, including the French Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy. Josef Schuster, the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, has also been targeted, according to German authorities.

Iran’s attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets abroad are not new. Multiple investigations have implicated Iranian agents in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994, which killed 85 people. Officially, the case remains unsolved. (Two of the agents suspected in the bombing are among Iran’s senior officials today.)

The reports of Iranian involvement in attacks against Jews in Germany come as the country has reported a rise in antisemitic hate crimes. National data showed a 29% rise in reported hate crimes against Jews in 2021 compared to the previous year. This week, new data from Berlin showed that reports of antisemitic crimes rose sharply in 2022, with nearly 700 incidents reported compared to 386 in 2019, according to Judische Allgemeine, a German-Jewish newspaper. The incidents included both violent and nonviolent incidents, including vandalism.

That period coincided with an anti-vaccination movement that included comparisons between pandemic restrictions and the Holocaust, a possible crime under Germany’s restrictive laws against Holocaust denial and minimization. In Munich, for example, a Jewish leader filed antisemitic harassment charges against two leaders of a protest rally on Kristallnacht, the anniversary of the acceleration of the Nazis’ campaign against the Jews.

That period also saw a crackdown on activity by far-right extremists in Germany. Authorities arrested dozens of people in December who they said were planning to try to overthrow the government. Last May, German police found explosives and antisemitic, far-right literature at the home of a teenager they suspected of planning to attack at a school, also in Essen.

Germany announced a comprehensive plan to combat antisemitism in December, the country’s first.

The post Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is responsible for shooting at German synagogue, officials say 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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