First Read For Aug 4
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News RoundupThe headlines American Jews are talking about today.

First Read For Aug 4

Thousands march in Jerusalem Pride Parade; Senate committee approves cut in terrorists’ funding; Anti-Israel play draws criticism in London; Start-up fund for charedi Jews. More …

Israelis take part in the annual Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem on August 3, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. Getty Images
Israelis take part in the annual Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem on August 3, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. Getty Images

Some 22,000 people marched through central Jerusalem as part of  the Jerusalem Pride Parade yesterday, the 16th annual pride parade in the city.

The march, which often draws counter-protests from far-right groups, was held under tight security with approximately 1000 police and border patrol guards out in force. Twelve people were reportedly brought in for questioning.

The theme of this year’s march was “LGBTQ and Religion.”

At the 2015 march, 16-year-old Shira Banki was stabbed to death by Yishai Schlissel. Schlissel had just been released from prison for carrying out another stabbing attack 10 years earlier. He is serving a life sentence in prison.

This year, marchers stopped by the spot where she was stabbed for a moment of silence and to lay flowers.

Senate committee votes to cut terrorists’ funding

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday approved a bill that would cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority if it does not stop paying salaries to terrorists and their families, the Times of Israel reports. The Taylor Force Act, named after a former army officer who was fatally stabbed by a Palestinian assailant while visiting Tel Aviv in 2016, will now advance to entire Senate for review.

Passed by a vote of 17-4, the legislation received bipartisan support. The U.S. currently gives the PA nearly $500 million in annual aid. The legislation would allow only the portion designated for security assistance — roughly $60 million — to remain in place.

Jeff Brotman, Costco founder, is dead at 74

Jeff Brotman, who co-founded the members-only retail giant Costco and was the chairman of its board of directors, died at his home outside Seattle.

Costco Wholesale Corp. said Brotman died early Tuesday at 74. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Jeff Brotman, right, at Lincoln Center in New York City, March 3, 2014. JTA

Raised in Tacoma, Washington, Brotman formed Costco in 1982 with partner James Sinegal. By 2016 Costco had 85 million members and $9 billion in annual sales, making it the country’s third largest retail chain after Amazon and Wal-Mart.

Brotman was an active philanthropist, donating to the arts and health-related causes and to Democratic political candidates. He also supported Jewish causes, and frequently cited the influence of his childhood rabbi, the late Richard Rosenthal of Temple Beth Israel in Tacoma.

-JTA

Anti-Israel play draws criticism in London

A prominent London theater’s planned staging of a controversial anti-Israel play has angered Jewish organizations, with one group saying it would support protests against the production, according to the London Jewish Chronicle.

“My Name is Rachel Corrie,” based on the emails and diary entries of a pro-Palestinian activist in who died when struck by an Israeli bulldozer Gaza in 2003, will be performed at the Young Vic in London starting on September 29 — the night of Kol Nidrei.

Communal leaders have called the play “unapologetically anti-Israel.”

Two Arab nations send first-time envoys to Israel

Two African nations, Senegal and Guinea, will send their first-ever ambassadors to Israel next week, according to Israeli media. Their postings are the result of Israel’s expanded outreach to Africa.

Talla Fall, of Senegal, and Amara Camara, of Guinea, are scheduled to present their respective letters of credence to President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday at a ceremony in Jerusalem, officially taking up their positions as non-resident ambassadors to Israel. Fall, who also represents Dakar in Egypt, will be based in Cairo; Camara, in Paris.

Guinea and Senegal — both Muslim-majority nations in West Africa — have recently upgraded their relations with Israel. While both countries had existing diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, neither has ever appointed an ambassador to Israel.

Start-up fund starts for charedi Jews

The first investment fund for Israel’s charedi start-up community will soon distribute its first funds, “offering a new springboard for religiously devout entrepreneurs whose centuries-old garb and insular ways haven’t made them a natural fit for the tech scene,” according to Bloomberg News. 
 
With a target of $5 million, the 12Angels fund is meant to encourage the “slow but steady inroads” that charedi Jews are making into an industry dominated by veterans of elite Israeli military units. Its first investment, of $150,000, was supplemented by the head of Facebook Israel.

Some of Israel’s top have invested their own money in the fund. The government is also investing in charedi entrepreneurs, “eager to keep Israel a global tech hub that now produces about a third of the country’s economic output,” Bloomberg News reports.

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