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Hamas conflict enters 10th day • Jerry Nadler calls for ceasefire • Marv Albert to retire
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Daily Update

Hamas conflict enters 10th day • Jerry Nadler calls for ceasefire • Marv Albert to retire

Residents examine the damage at their home after it was hit the day before by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, May 18, 2021. (Avi Roccah/Flash90)
Residents examine the damage at their home after it was hit the day before by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, May 18, 2021. (Avi Roccah/Flash90)

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said no timeframe can be announced for an end to the armed conflict with Hamas as the fighting entered its tenth day.

Here’s the latest on the conflict in Israel:

President Biden expressed support for a ceasefire as fighting continued and the number of Gaza Palestinians killed topped 200, along with 12 people killed in Israel. The president’s efforts to spotlight his big infrastructure plans are being overshadowed by the violence in the Mideast, the A.P. reports.

Gaza terror groups fired several rocket barrages at southern and central Israel late Tuesday and early Wednesday. Hamas claimed it was targeting Israeli Air Force bases, Times of Israel reports.

Local Angles

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens/Long Island) promised greater oversight of arms sales to Israel, a sea change in how Democrats relate to the ally. However, as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he dropped plans to ask the Biden Administration for a delay in the transfer of missiles to Israel, disappointing progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: Had Meeks asked for a delay, it would have been the first time Congress was more ready than a sitting president to pressure Israel. Biden is facing “a shift in his party toward a tougher stand on Israel and stronger support for the Palestinians,” The Washington Post reports. 

Related: Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) called on the Biden Administration Friday to “do more to stop the pain and suffering of Israelis and Palestinians.” Nadler led a group of 12 Jewish House Democrats in a letter on Friday that stood by Israel but also said Palestinians “should know that the American people value their lives as we do Israeli lives.” AIPAC disapproved.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer signed on to a bipartisan statement Monday calling for a ceasefire.

Influential progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx-Queens) called Israel an “apartheid” state in a tweet on Saturday that marked an inflection point in her increasing criticism of Israel.

Israel’s Acting Consul General in New York, Israel Nitzan, issued a statement Sunday: “We ask our friends in New York and all over America to to stand strong behind Israel,” it read in part.

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, whose team is about to embark on a playoff run, says he is distracted by world events, including the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

Quotable: “Basketball is just not the most important thing to me right now,” the elite point guard said at a postgame press conference on Saturday. “I don’t care which way you stand on — either side. If you’re a human being, then you support the anti-war effort. There’s a lot of people losing their lives — children, a lot of babies, and that’s just what I’m focused on.”

Bella Hadid, the well-known Palestinian-American model, took part in an anti-Israel protest in Bay Ridge on Saturday afternoon, Pix11 reported.

Hundreds of members of the anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace – NYC marched in Brooklyn Friday evening. They started in Grand Army Plaza and ending up near the Brooklyn home of Sen. Schumer demanding the he “work to end U.S. support for the Israeli military violence against Palestinians.”

New York, New York

Sportscaster Marv Albert, the voice of the New York Knicks for four decades starting in 1967, says he will retire after the NBA playoffs this summer. The Brooklyn native, 79, continues to call basketball games on TNT.

JTA profiles a number of what Pew calls “Jews of no religion,” who describe themselves as agnostic or atheist but who still consider themselves Jewish ethnically, culturally or because of their family background. “I don’t think you have to go to temple for it to be passing [Judaism] down to your kids,” said Sophie Vershbow, 31, a social media manager who works for a New York publishing house.

Rabbi Alvin Kass, 85, the NYPD’s Chief Chaplain and the oldest and longest serving member of the force, tells the West Side Rag that “[i]t has been very difficult lately to deal with the tensions going on within society at large.”

Around the Region

A New Jersey court dismissed a teacher’s $10 million defamation lawsuit against a Jewish day school in River Edge. Rabbi Shlomo Hyman says he was wrongly let go by the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey in 2019 and will appeal; the yeshiva had informed parents in a letter that Hyman had “touched and interacted with female students” in ways that were “neither acceptable nor consistent” with a teacher’s role.

New Jersey’s Montclair High School apologized for including the late Rabbi Meir Kahane in a post commemorating Jewish American Heritage Month. The assistant principal said the e-newsletter, which did not mention Kahane’s extremist views nor the accusations of racism that got his Israeli political party banned from the Knesset, was not properly vetted.

Deaths

Theologian Rabbi Richard L. Rubenstein died in Bridgeport, Conn. on May 16 at age 97. Born in New York and ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rubenstein was a humanities professor at the University of Pittsburgh and at Florida State University before becoming the president of the University of Bridgeport. The Forward recalls his most influential book, “After Auschwitz,” in which he argued that “the teachings of the Synagogue, the God of history, God’s omnipotence and omniscience were simply not credible in a post-Holocaust world.”

People and Places

Reporter and editor Rebecca Blumenstein of Maplewood, N.J., is transitioning into a top leadership position as deputy editor in the publisher’s office at The New York Times. She’ll be helping publisher A.G. Sulzberger on a range of issues, including plans to return to the office and how to improve The Times’ workplace and culture, the Michigan native told the Detroit Jewish News.

The World Union for Progressive Judaism begins its “Connections” international conference today. The WUPJ’s first-ever virtual conference, Facing our Jewish Future Together, offers an online program with presentations and events from around the globe. The international network of the Reform, Liberal, Progressive and Reconstructionist movements serves 1,200 congregations in more than 50 countries. Details here.

Streaming Today

Join American Jewish Committee for an update from the ground in Israel with AJC Jerusalem Director Lt. Col. (res.) Avital Leibovich and AJC CEO David Harris. Moderated by Jillian Laskowitz, AJC Chief of Staff to the CEO. Click here to launch the meeting. 10:30 am.

Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust presents Dr. Irit Felsen, a clinical psychologist, for a program exploring historical trauma and cultural healing with experts from Jewish, American Indian and African-American communities. With Dr. Nina Fischer, a scholar of Jewish Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt;
Dr. Jessica Gourneau, a clinical psychologist and member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa; and Sam Simmons, founder of the Community Empower Through Black Men Healing Conference. Register here. 2:00 pm.

The Lafargue Clinic was founded in New York in 1946 by a group of black intellectuals and German-Jewish doctors. The Leo Baeck Institute presents Dennis Doyle of the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, who has written extensively about the Lafargue Clinic and the history of mental health care in Harlem, in conversation with Martin Summers of Boston University, a fellow historian on the history of Black mental health care in the United States. Register here. 2:00 pm.

Join Jewish National Fund-USA IsraelCast host Steven Shalowitz and author Francine Klagsbrun for a live Q&A session about her book, “Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel.” Register here. 7:00 pm.

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