Israel approves new construction in Hebron

Israel’s civil administration yesterday approved building permits for 31 housing units in Hebron, marking the first time in 15 years that Israeli construction has been approved in the flashpoint West Bank city.

The Times of Israel called the action an Israeli response to the recent decision by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to list Hebron’s Old City as an endangered Palestinian world heritage site.

The Civil Administration’s Licensing Subcommittee — a Defense Ministry body responsible for approving construction over the Green Line — granted the building permits under a number of conditions, most notably that the authorization is subject to appeal.

Israeli driver Alon Day races to first NASCAR championship

(JTA) — Israeli race car driver Alon Day finished first in the standings in the auto racing group’s European series, which ended Sunday with a race in Belgium. The Israeli was fourth in the race — he needed only to complete the first lap to take home the title after being well ahead in the rankings, The Times of Israel reported.

Alon Day sitting next to his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ 4th Annual Mid-Ohio Challenge in Lexington, Aug. 12, 2016. JTA

He had finished second and third in the European series standings the past two seasons.

“It is such an amazing feeling!” Day was quoted as saying in the Motorsport.com racing website. “We were trying so hard the past three years to win this title; we won so many races but never the championship.”

Day, 25, who grew up in Ashdod, has done the bulk of his training on computer-screen simulators because Israel did not have a motor sport race track until this year.

Flooded Houston JCC reopens

The Evelyn Rubenstein JCC in Houston, which sustained heavy damage in flooding caused by hurricane Harvey in August, reopened yesterday, the city’s Jewish Herald-Voice reports.  While the first two levels of the JCC’s main Weingarten Building will be open for use, the lower garden level, which took in as much as 10 feet of floodwater, will remain closed for repairs over the next few months.

In the meantime, the JCC will convert its auditorium into a temporary fitness facility; the Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival will open, on schedule, on Oct. 28.

Prague Jewish Museum launches memorial project

Prague’s Jewish Museum has launched a new project to honor the victims of the Holocaust, Fox News reports. Starting yesterday, the faces of some Czech Jews who were killed by the Nazis during World War II are being projected on the outer wall of a Jewish bath at the Pinkas Synagogue after it gets dark.

The synagogue’s inside walls bear the names of almost 80,000 victims. Yesterday’s projection included the faces of 52 people screened repeatedly in a five-minute loop.

Israeli army attacks Syrian missile battery

The Israeli army yesterday attacked an anti-aircraft battery in Syria, near Damascus, after it fired a missile targeting Israel Air Force planes, Haaretz reports. The attack was prompted by the launch of an SA5-type missile at Israeli reconnaissance planes.

The army said the Syrian battery was the same one that fired at Israeli jets last March, prompting Israel make use of its Arrow anti-missile system for the first time.

Actress draws criticism for urging modest dress

Actress Mayim Bialik has drawn criticism for an op-ed essay she wrote for The New York Times in response to the allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Although she wrote in Saturday’s edition that she was “shocked and disgusted” by the accusations, critics charged took issue with her suggestion for women to dress and act modestly to protect against the kind of behavior Weinstein is accused of.

Bialik, 41, who stars as nerdy neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler in the hit CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory, wrote that she “quickly learned even as a preteen actress that young girls with doe eyes and pouty lips who spoke in a high register were favored for roles by the powerful men who made those decisions. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with.”

Canadian rabbi takes blame for error at Holocaust memorial

A Canadian rabbi who participated in the planning of a Holocaust memorial monument in Ottawa whose plaque omitted any reference to Jews apologized for what he said was inattentiveness, JTA reports. Rabbi Daniel Friedman of Edmonton made the apology in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen about a gaffe that ended with the removal of the plaque of the Canada National Holocaust Monument ahead of its replacement with a plaque that does mention Jews.

At recent opening ceremony of Canada’s first Holocaust memorial, “we suddenly realized an egregious error has been made,” said the rabbi, who chaired the advisory council on the monument’s creation.