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Biden chats with Netanyahu • Orthodox shuls appeal Covid restrictions • Labour reinstates Corbyn
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Daily Update

Biden chats with Netanyahu • Orthodox shuls appeal Covid restrictions • Labour reinstates Corbyn

EMISSARY OF THE EMISSARIES: Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, prays at the resting place of the movement’s late rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, in Queens on behalf of virtual attendees of the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries, Nov. 15, 2020. The annual gathering of 5,000 rabbis from 100 countries was held remotely this year. (Bentzi Sasson/Chabad.org)
EMISSARY OF THE EMISSARIES: Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, prays at the resting place of the movement’s late rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, in Queens on behalf of virtual attendees of the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries, Nov. 15, 2020. The annual gathering of 5,000 rabbis from 100 countries was held remotely this year. (Bentzi Sasson/Chabad.org)

President-elect Joe Biden assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call Tuesday that the ties between their countries would remain strong.

Biden’s conversation with Netanyahu and a separate one the same day with President Reuven Rivlin consolidated international recognition that Biden is the next U.S. president, contrary to President Donald Trump’s continued insistence that he won the Nov. 3 election despite all evidence to the contrary.

“The president-elect expressed his determination to ensure that the U.S.-Israel relationship is strengthened and enjoys strong bipartisan support,” Biden’s team said in a statement. Netanyahu’s office put out a similarly worded statement on Twitter.

Why it matters: Biden appeared to be going out of his way following the election to reassure Netanyahu that the relationship would remain close. Some Democrats, including a number of Biden’s rivals during the primaries, have called for distancing from Netanyahu’s government as it drifts to the right, at one point considering annexation of parts of the West Bank.

Related: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was expected to arrive in Israel today and to attend a trilateral meeting in Jerusalem of Israeli, Bahraini and American officials. Pompeo may also become the first secretary of state to visit a Jewish settlement on official business.

Israeli aircraft struck several Syrian army and Iranian targets in Syria as payback for the mining of roads in the Golan.

The strikes Wednesday morning, in which Syrian authorities said three military personnel were killed and one was wounded, were against Syrian army positions and targets used by the Iranian Al Quds Force, an Israel Defense Forces officer told Reuters. It was in retaliation for the planting of explosive devices in the Golan Tuesday, he added.

Agudath Israel, representing a group of Orthodox synagogues in New York State, filed an emergency application on Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking relief from state Covid-19 restrictions.

The applicants, Agudath Israel of Kew Garden Hills and Agudath Israel Madison, say that non-Jewish neighborhoods with higher percentage positivity rates were subject to lesser neighborhood restrictions.

“While we continue to emphasize safety in our communities, government cannot, under the guise of health, be allowed to have one set of rules for religious activities and another rulebook for secular activities,” said Avrohom Weinstock, Agudah’s chief of staff, in a statement.

Related: Covid-19 case counts in Chicago are rising sharply, and local Jewish leaders say there are hundreds of cases in the community, with the number of people hospitalized increasing.

The situation bears a grim resemblance to the darkest days this spring in New York, whose Jewish community was hit early and hard by the pandemic, JTA reports. A homegrown effort to trace cases within the city’s Orthodox population is struggling under the onslaught of new cases, and Jewish organizations are holding pop-up events to screen community members for Covid-19. Local Jewish schools remain open, citing evidence that their coronavirus protocols are working, even if students are getting sick elsewhere.

Britain’s Labour Party has decided to reinstate the membership of Jeremy Corbyn, its former leader, after his suspension for allegedly downplaying the party’s anti-Semitism problem.

The decision came shortly after Corbyn issued a statement apologizing for his reaction to last month’s finding by Britain’s racism watchdog that anti-Semitism was present within Labour’s ranks under Corbyn’s leadership.

In a statement on Facebook Tuesday, Corbyn walked back those comments. “To be clear, concerns about antisemitism are neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated,’” he wrote. “I regret the pain this issue has caused the Jewish community.”

Reaction: British Jewish groups dismissed Corbyn’s remarks Tuesday and protested his reinstatement. “The shambolic suspension and readmission of Jeremy Corbyn appears to have been nothing more than a media stunt to blunt the blow of the EHRC’s report last month,” Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism group, said in a statement.

Deaths

Sheldon Solow, the billionaire Manhattan developer and art collector, died after a month-long battle with lymphoma. He was 92. The Brooklyn-born Solow built the iconic sloping office tower at 9 West 57th St., as well as a line of towers down the East River from the United Nations complex.

Around the Agencies

Temple Beth Torah, a Conservative synagogue serving the Jericho area of Long Island, named Rabbi Jack Dermer to succeed Rabbi Michael Katz. Rabbi Dermer, a native of southwest Florida, most recently served as the associate rabbi at The Merrick Jewish Centre. Rabbi Katz is retiring on Nov. 30 after leading the temple for over 41 years.

Streaming Today

American Sephardi Federation presents Jane Gerber, presenting her new book “Cities of Splendour in the Shaping of Sephardi History.” The book focuses on those cities that may be considered most important, from Cordoba in the tenth century to Toledo, Venice, Safed, Istanbul, Salonica, and Amsterdam at the dawn of the seventeenth century. Drawing upon a variety of both primary and secondary sources, Gerber, Professor Emerita of History and director of the Institute for Sephardic Studies at the Graduate Center of the CUNY, demonstrates that Sephardi history and culture have always been multifaceted. Register here. 12:00 pm.

YIVO hosts a panel looking at fermenting and foraging techniques, which are increasingly appealing to those seeking to create economical, nourishing, waste-free meals. The panel, moderated by Jane Ziegelman and featuring chefs Ari Miller and Jeremy Umansky, will explore today’s innovative tactics for creating waste-free meals and the historical precedents for these strategies in the Ashkenazi Jewish immigrant kitchen at the turn of the 20th century. Reservations available here. 2:00 pm.

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