First Read April 21

First Read April 21

National Front leader Marine Le Pen speaking after the presidential election in which her party finished third, April 22, 2012. JTA
National Front leader Marine Le Pen speaking after the presidential election in which her party finished third, April 22, 2012. JTA

Le Pen seen benefiting from terror attack in Paris; Suspect arrested in Brooklyn synagogue vandalism; Two U.S. Jews to receive Israeli honor; Israeli court allows stores to open on Shabbat.

Paris terror attack may give Le Pen election boost

The terror attack yesterday in Paris on the eve of national elections, which left one police officer dead and two seriously injured, apparently helps the candidacy of rightwing candidate Marine Le Pen, according to Haaretz. And the timing of the attack on the Champs-Elysses is reminiscent of what happened in Israel two decades ago.

“The timing” of the terrorism in France – ISIS took responsibility – “could not have been more perfect” for the nationalist agenda of Le Pen, who asserts that “The first and most important issue in this election is the lack of any kind of security for citizen,” the Israeli paper reports, adding that “Every second person on the street says he or she intends to vote for her. Taxi drivers, bakers, teachers, the unemployed, Jews, blacks, even Muslims – support for Le Pen seems more widespread than ever.”

Terrorist attacks in Israel in the weeks before Israel’s national elections in 1996 were credited with Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory over Shimon Peres, who had been expected to win based on sympathy for assassinated Yitzhak Rabin and Peres’ role in the Olso peace process.

Experts said Netanyahu’s strong positions against terrorism made him seem the more viable candidate, similar to the current situation in France.


Arrest made is vandalism of Brooklyn synagogue

Police have arrested a 16-year-old suspect in connection with the robbing and beating of the caretaker at a synagogue in the Midwood section of Brooklyn last weekend, ABC News reports. Dieuverson Caille was charged with burglary, grand larceny, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property.

He was picked out of a lineup by the 53-year-old victim, who was beaten about his face and head with a rotary cultivator garden tool after the suspect allegedly used a ladder to break into a room above the Chabad Synagogue Beth Menachem Mendel on Avenue J. He also stole donations that were meant to be given to charity.


Hier, Steinhardt receive unique honor in Israel

Jewish-American investor and philanthropist Michael Steinhardt was this week selected to light an official torch at Israel’s Independence Day ceremony on May 1, joining Rabbi Marvin Hier as the first residents of the diaspora to receive the prestigious honor, JTA reports.

Steinhardt is the co-founder and major funder of Taglit-Birthright Israel; Rabbi Hier is the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Other torch lighters this year will include actor-director Yehoram Gaon, retired soccer player Uri Mammalian, and Yaakov Hetz, who fought in the battle for Ammunition Hill during the Six-Day War in 1967.


Rabbi Steinlauf to leave prestigious DC synagogue

Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, the spiritual leader of Washington’s Adas Israel synagogue who announced three years ago that he is gay, will leave the congregation to take up a teaching position in the Conservative movement, JTA reports. The article did not specify the new job for the rabbi, who will remain an adviser to Adas Israel until summer 2018.


Israeli court: Markets can open on Shabbat

Israel’s High Court of Justice has ruled in favor of Tel Aviv’s battle to expand facilities open to the secular public on Shabbat, the Times of Israel reports. The ruling was hailed as a victory by the city and liberal politicians, who called it an important step against religious coercion.

But Interior Minister Aryeh Deri slammed the ruling as “a serious blow to the holy Shabbat and the character of the Jewish people.

While Israeli law forbids businesses from operating during the Jewish day of rest, it exempts including places of entertainment, restaurants and basic services such as pharmacies. In 2014 the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality drafted a new bylaw that allows 164 grocery stores and kiosks measuring 500 square meters in size or less to open on Shabbat.

read more: