First Read For March 23
News RoundupThe headlines American Jews are talking about today.

First Read For March 23

Seven arrested after terrorist attack; Israeli teen arrested for JCC bomb threats; Anti-Semitic sermons increasing in Canada; Jewish food popular in Berlin; More.

Armed police secure the area across the road from the Palace of Westminster housing the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 23, 2017  after the March 22 terror attack at the British parliament. Getty Images
Armed police secure the area across the road from the Palace of Westminster housing the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 23, 2017 after the March 22 terror attack at the British parliament. Getty Images

Seven arrested after terror attack in London

Seven people have been arrested including in London and Birmingham over the terror attack yesterday at the Parliament building, said police who revised the number of victims to three people, according to the Times of Israel. The new death toll includes two members of the public — a woman in her mid-40s, a man in his mid-50s — and a 48-year-old police officer.

The attacker also died after being shot by an armed officer.

The Community Security Trust, the United Kingdom’s main watchdog group on anti-Semitism, called on the Jewish community to be “calm, vigilant and to cooperate with security measures.” A spokesman said there is not believed to be any immediate threat to the community.

Additional police patrols were visible in London neighborhoods with large Jewish populations, such as Stamford Hills.

Israeli teen linked to bomb threats in U.S.

A youth with both American and Israeli citizenship is suspected of being behind a host of fake bomb threats directed at Jewish institutions worldwide, Haaretz reports. His name was not given.

The cyberattack unit of Israel’s fraud squad arrested the suspect, 19, on Thursday in wake of information it received from the FBI and other law enforcement authorities abroad. The police seized computers and other items that allegedly allowed him to perpetrate the threats in a manner that made it difficult for the police to locate him.

A man brought for a court hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court, under suspicion of Issuing fake bomb threats against Jewish institutions around the world, on March 23, 2017. JTA

The suspect has lived in Israel many years. The army refused to draft him on personal grounds after finding him unfit for service. The suspect’s motive is unknown. The police also detained his father for questioning.

Israel Police initially struggled to locate the suspect but then received several reports of threats from 16 Jewish centers in nine U.S. states – Florida, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and North Carolina, according to Haaretz. The FBI began investigating. Delta Airlines also received a threat about a bomb on one of its planes, causing it to halt flights to check their aircraft and forcing a plane already in the air to land.

The FBI handed over the information to the Israel Police after finding that these threats too had originated from Israel. Using innovative technologies, the police were able to reach the youth’s home.

Anti-Semitic sermons increasing in Canadian mosques

A growing number of videos of anti-Jewish sermons being delivered in mosques in Canada have come to light, the latest from the Dar Al-Arqam mosque in Montreal and the Al-Hikmah mosque in Toronto, the Canadian Jewish News reports.

Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr is captured in a 20-minute YouTube video dated Dec. 23, 2016, addressing a prayer meeting at Dar Al-Arqam in Montreal East. According to a translation of the Arabic, Al Nasr, a visiting Jordanian cleric, says Jews are “the most evil of mankind” and that Allah has ordained that they be killed by Muslims.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs has submitted the latest material to police to determine if it violates Canada’s Criminal Code, and B’nai Brith Canada has filed a formal complaint with police because it believes that this is hate speech.

Muslim woman trains to be Israeli diplomat

31-year-old Rasha Uthmani from the northern Israeli city of Baqa al-Gharbiyye is the first Muslim woman to be accepted to the Foreign Ministry’s cadet training course for prospective members of Israel’s diplomatic service, the website reports. She had previously represented Israel in a delegation to the United Nations.

Uthmani passed the cadet course’s rigorous selection process and was accepted together with 21 other cadets. In the past, Israeli Christian Arabs and Muslim men have been accepted to the course, which is considered to be “akin to the IDF pilot’s training course in terms of difficulty, selectiveness and prestige.”

How do you say ‘bagel with a schmear” in German?

Traditional Jewish food is growing in popularity in Berlin, JTA reports.

A recent Nosh Berlin Jewish Food Week event at Fine Bagels, a bakery tucked inside the Shakespeare and Sons bookstore in the former East Berlin, attracted a crowd of 70 people to a demonstration of Polish-Jewish food, according to JTA. The “first-ever Jewish food week” in Germany’s capital, which ends on March 25, was cobbled together on a shoestring budget by German journalist Liv Fleischhacker and American Jewish entrepreneur Laurel Kratochvil, who co-owns Fine Bagels.

Attendees at an event March 20 celebrating Polish-Jewish cuisine — part of Berlin’s “first-ever Jewish food week” — sample fresh potato latkes. JTA

Kratochvil said she thought she’d organize a couple of workshops and a Shabbat dinner. “But it’s become something much bigger.” Nosh Berlin developed into a multifaceted, week-long adventure in Jewish, or Jewish-style, cuisine, taking place in restaurants around the city. There have been food-related film screenings, lectures, Sabbath dinners and more.

New baseball arena to be built in Israel

Following Israel’s recent success in the World Baseball Classic, plans to build the first regulation baseball stadium in Israel “have gathered steam,” according to JTA.  Members of Team Israel participated in the ground breaking for the complex in Bet Shemesh, a city located near Jerusalem with a large ex-pat American population.

It is one of several baseball fields being built in Israel through the Jewish National Fund’s Project Baseball.

Team Israel players lining up for the national anthem prior to the World Baseball Classic between Netherlands and Israel in Tokyo, March 13, 2017. (Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Did Hezbollah shoot down an Israeli drone?

Hezbollah-affiliated media on Monday released photos of an Israeli Army Skylark drone reportedly shot down by Syria’s air defense apparatus after it infiltrated Syrian airspace on the outskirts of Quneitra, reports. One of the photos of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) showed a sticker identifying the drone as a Skylark belonging to the IDF’s ground forces and manufactured by Elbit.

The IDF confirmed that the UAV crashed Sunday in Syrian territory during military operations in the area, stressing there is no concern of a security breach. About two months ago, an IDF Skylark drone crashed in Lebanon. It is possible that it’s the same drone in Hezbollah’s photos, according to ynetnews. “These incidents usually only cause damage to the IDF’s public image and pose no security risk, as these drone are programmed to shut down completely in such circumstances, and hold no classified information in their memory banks.”


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