First Read For April 19
News RoundupThe headlines American Jews are talking about today.

First Read For April 19

Runoff ahead for Jewish candidate in House race; Photo of Hasidim, Muslim goes viral; JCC in Virginia vandalized; Administration likely to appoint anti-Semitism envoy.

Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff arrives on stage to speak to his supporters. Getty Images.
Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff arrives on stage to speak to his supporters. Getty Images.

Jewish candidate earns runoff in Georgia House race

A congressional election in Georgia is headed to a runoff that will “ratchet up the already significant national attention — and campaign cash—on a race that poses an early measure for US President Donald Trump and both major parties ahead of the 2018 midterm elections,” the Times of Israel reports.

Jewish Democrat Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old former congressional staffer, and Republican Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, will meet in the June 20 runoff, following Tuesday’s election that was held to choose a successor to Republican Tom Price, who resigned to join the Trump’s administration as health secretary.

Ossoff led an 18-candidate field of Republicans, Democrats and independents, but fell short of the majority required to claim the 6th Congressional District outright

The photo that went viral of a hasidic couple alongside a Muslim woman nursing her baby. JTA

Photo of chasidic couple, Muslim woman on subway goes viral

A photo of a chasidic Jewish couple sitting next to a Muslim woman nursing a baby on the New York City subway has gone viral on Facebook, according to JTA. The post has received some 53,000 likes and nearly 41,000 shares since it was posted on Sunday.

The photo was taken on the F Train, which runs between Queens and Brooklyn.

JCC, nearby church vandalized

A Jewish community center and a church within a mile of one another in Virginia’s Fairfax County were vandalized on Tuesday, the website reported. Police said swastikas and derogatory language were sprayed on their buildings. 

A report about graffiti sprayed on the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia was received an hour-and-a-half before similar vandalism at Little River United Church of Christ, located just a few hundred yards away.

NY Times criticized for profile of Palestinian terrorist

The public editor of The New York Times on Tuesday took the newspaper to task for failing to identify Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti as a convicted murderer of Israeli Jews. Liz Spayd responded to criticism of the newspaper for publishing an op-ed essay on Sunday by Barghouti that identified him only as “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.”

Nearly a day later, an editor’s note appended to the end of the article clarified that Barghouti is serving a lengthy prison term after being convicted in an Israeli court of five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization.

Failure to “more fully identify the biography and credentials of authors, especially details that help people make judgments about the opinions they’re reading,” Spayd wrote, “risks the credibility of the author and the Op-Ed pages.”

New anti-Semitism envoy to be appointed

The Trump administration will appoint a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, JTA quoted State Department spokesman Mark Toner as saying.

The post, responsible for keeping tabs on global anti-Semitism and advising other countries in fighting it, has been vacant since Trump took office in January.

In a statement to JTA, Toner said the department will continue its work to protect religious freedoms globally, and that it has selected candidates for the envoy post. He did not say when the envoy would be appointed.

Toner’s statement to JTA comes after several politicians and Jewish leaders called on Trump to fill the post. 

State to establish hate crimes task force

New York State reportedly will establish a hate crimes task force, Arutz Sheva reports. The task force, which will identify and investigate hate crimes and discriminatory practices, will be established using $1 million set aside in the new state budget passed earlier this month.

In mid-February, a report said that hate crimes against Jews more than doubled in New York City since the start of the new year from the same period in 2016.

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