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Pompeo cancels Israel ad, Saudi Arabia opens airspace to Israel, Malka Leifer faces extradition
Daily Update

Pompeo cancels Israel ad, Saudi Arabia opens airspace to Israel, Malka Leifer faces extradition

The Brooklyn-based Masbia Soup Kitchen Network will address long lines at each of its locations with an appointment system.
The Brooklyn-based Masbia Soup Kitchen Network will address long lines at each of its locations with an appointment system.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled plans to film a campaign ad in Israel meant to encourage Americans living there to vote for President Donald Trump.

Republicans Overseas Israel launched a campaign last month to encourage American-Israelis to vote for Trump. Israel’s Channel 12 News reported that Pompeo withdrew his participation, following the uproar over Pompeo’s prerecorded message from Jerusalem to last week’s Republican National Convention.

Pompeo was accused of violating the Hatch Act, which forbids federal employees from participating in some kinds of political activity. His speech to the convention filmed atop the King David Hotel, with the Old City as a backdrop, triggered a congressional investigation.

Saudi Arabia will allow flights from Israel to cross over its airspace.

Wednesday’s announcement by the kingdom is another breakthrough for Israel’s rapprochement with the Arab Gulf, and a major boon for Israeli air travel. All countries except one — Israel — are already allowed to fly over Saudi Arabia.

The dramatic announcement followed Monday’s first-ever Israeli nonstop flight to Abu Dhabi — which for the first time crossed through Saudi airspace.

Hamas announced a cease-fire with Israel.

Over the past month, Hamas terrorists have launched dozens of incendiary balloons a day from Gaza into southern Israel. Several rockets also were fired, including one that damaged a home in Sderot. Israel responded with airstrikes on Hamas military and terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.

Israel did not officially acknowledge the agreement, but announced Monday evening that it would open the Kerem Shalom crossing, which has been closed in recent days to all but food and humanitarian aid, and would reopen the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza to 15 miles.

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that an alleged serial pedophile is mentally fit to be extradited to Australia.

The court on Wednesday rejected Malka Leifer’s appeal, meaning her extradition itself will be weighed on Sept. 21 by the Jerusalem District Court.

Leifer, the former principal of the Adass Israel School in Melbourne, is wanted on 74 charges of child sex abuse. There have been 70 court hearings over six years dealing with the question of her mental fitness.

The New York Jewish community has been transformed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

JTA surveys the impact of the pandemic at the six-month mark, finding shuttered synagogues, a depleted nonprofit workforce, and rituals and activities upended.

The pandemic “will speed up the adoption of online learning and prayer, hasten the demise of financially precarious Jewish businesses like restaurants and community newspapers, and further empower major Jewish philanthropists whose giving helps set the American Jewish agenda,” writes Uriel Heilman.


Donald Trump is playing a dangerous game by refusing to disavow supporters who embrace violence and conspiracy theories, writes Andrew Silow-Carroll, The Jewish Week’s editor in chief. “The American Jewish success story depends in part on a society that rejects conspiracy theories, because rare is the conspiracy theory that doesn’t eventually find a nefarious role for the Jews,” he writes.

Charedi Orthodox Jews are voting for Donald Trump because they seem him as a defender of the values they hold dear, writes Binyamin Rose, the editor at large of Mishpacha Magazine. “Many Orthodox Jews are pessimistic about the future of their cities and the country as a whole should the progressive agenda be enacted, with its very real potential to transform America into a much more hostile place for religion,” he writes.


Edward Alexander, an English professor at the University of Washington and prolific defender of Israel, died Aug. 22 in Seattle at age 83.

Alexander was the author of “The Jewish Idea and Its Enemies” (1988), “The Jewish Wars” (1996), “The State of the Jews” (2012) and “Jews Against Themselves” (2015). He was a frequent contributor to Commentary, Midstream, Mosaic and Standpoint magazines.

In 1974, he co-founded the Jewish Studies Department at the University of Washington. Alexander was born and raised in Brooklyn to an observant family, and attended Samuel J. Tilden High School.

Bradley Fieldsa world-renowned magician who created MatheMagic, a show that uses prestidigitation to teach math, died of Covid-19 on May 5 in Washington, D.C. He was 68. 

Born Bradley Feldstein in 1951, Fields grew up in New York City and later Spring Valley.

Around the Agencies

The Jewish Federations of North America announced a $54 million campaign aimed at addressing human services for Jewish communities and those on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic. The funds will be dispersed by local federations to qualifying agencies. The fund offers an $18 million match, made possible by seven foundations, if local federations raise $36 million. JFNA said that if demand for just some of these services grows by 10%, the annual combined budgets of Jewish human services agencies would rise by $100 million in 2021.

The Masbia Soup Kitchen Network will address long lines at each of its locations with an appointment system. The Plentiful app, which was created with the backing of The Helmsley Charitable Trust, allows clients to schedule appointments by using an android app or via text message. Since March, the Brooklyn-based agency has served close to a quarter of a million ready-to-eat “to go” dinners and distributed close to 100,000 pantry packages of raw food ingredients — the equivalent of another five million meals.

Genesis Prize Laureate Natan Sharansky, The Genesis Prize Foundation and Start-Up Nation Central are inviting Israeli tech companies, hubs and R&D centers to present the most promising tech solutions to mitigate the consequences of COVID-19, including those helping especially vulnerable populations. Winners of the competition, to be announced at an event to be held in November, will be invited to donate their prizes to NGOs or non-profits of their choice.

Streaming Today

America-Israel Friendship League presents a panel of economic and healthcare policy researchers, to discuss the balance between competing economic and healthcare interests during the pandemic. Panelists include Dan Ben-David, Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research and Tel-Aviv University; Ayal Kimhi, Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research and Hebrew University; Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania; and Guy David, chair of the Health Care Management Department at The Wharton School. Register here. 12:00 pm.

The Secure Community Network, the official safety and security organization of The Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, will host a webinar providing best practice security strategies for Jewish institutions observing the High Holy Days outdoors. The webinar, developed with the major synagogue and religious movements along with law enforcement input, will include a panel of security experts addressing the top security considerations for hosting outdoor gatherings. RSVP here to attend. 2:00 pm.

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