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Kinderbombing, Oliyah, Fauda Fight


If Hamas Holds Fire We Will Too, Israeli Official Says Amid Respite in Attacks

Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, May 30th 2018

Recap:

Sirens were triggered at least 166 times over the course of 22 hours in southern Israel by mortar fire, rockets and heavy machine gun fire originating from Gaza. Israel responded by hitting dozens of Hamas and Islamic Jihad facilities across the Strip amid the largest exchange between Israel and Gazan terrorist groups since 2014.

The Context:

  • From the end of the 2014 Gaza war until Tuesday, approximately 80 projectiles were fired from Gaza into Israel. The number of projectiles fired this week at southern Israel neared 200. A ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel appears to be holding [1].

  • Dozens of incoming missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system although others landed inside Israeli communities, including a kindergarten. Israel destroyed Hamas drone facilities, rocket manufacturing plants and a terror tunnel extending almost 1 mile into Israel. It is the 10th tunnel discovered and destroyed by Israel since October [2].

  • Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya praised his militants for “warding off [Israeli] aggression” and said Hamas will abide by the cease-fire as long as Israel does [3]. Egypt helped broker the ceasefire and was instrumental in calming tensions earlier this month after violent protests along the border led to the deaths of 64 Palestinians, 53 from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

  • US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley condemned the UN Security Council’s muted response to the strikes and circulated a draft resolution calling on the council to condemn "the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinian militants in Gaza" toward Israel. A Kuwaiti resolution is also circulating the UNSC calling for an "international protection mission" for Palestinians in Gaza [4]. Palestinians are already the only group of people with a dedicated UN agency.

Conversation Points

  • Is there any chance that either the US or Kuwaiti resolution will achieve full UNSC backing to pass?

  • Should Palestinians be offered a 2nd dedicated UN agency?

  • Are Israel’s targeted attacks on military facilities in Gaza a fair response to Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel?

Abramovich is Latest Russian Oligarch to Seek Move to Israel

Aron Heller, Fox News, May 30th 2018

Recap:

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich suddenly immigrated to Israel. He is the latest in a string of Jewish Russian oligarchs who have made Israel home in recent years.

The Context:

  • Abramovich received Israeli citizenship upon arriving on his private jet and immediately became the country's richest person with an estimated net worth of more than $11 billion. The Russian oligarch is a frequent visitor of Israel and a philanthropist of both the State of Israel and Jewish communities in Russia [5].

  • Abramovich acquired the Chelsea Football Club in 2003 and made the move to Israel after his British visa was not renewed following a British crack down on associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin after a Russian military intelligence officer was poisoned on UK soil [6]. UK authorities demand that Abramovich declare the source of his fortune before a new visa is issued [7]. Israeli passport holders can enter Britain without a visa for short stays, although require visas to work there [8].

  • The Post-Soviet mass Aliyah to Israel began in the late 1980’s when the government of Mikhail Gorbachev opened the borders of the USSR and allowed Jews to leave the country. Today, approximately 900,000 Former-Soviet Jews reside in Israel.

Conversation Points:

  • What would happen to high-profile Russian Jews, like Abramovich, if the state of Israel did not exist?

  • Do Russian Jews have a future in Russia?

BDS Campaign Sets Sights on Taking Fauda Off the Air

Ran Boker and Raz Shechnik, Ynetnews, April 6th 2018

Recap:

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Fauda is its latest to promote a global cultural boycott against Israel. It has succeeded in recent years in dissuading music acts, including Pink Floyd, Elvis Costello and Lorde, from performing in Israel. Fauda co-creator Lior Raz thanked BDS for the publicity.

The Context:

  • Fauda is an Israeli-made television thriller about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The show was first broadcast on Israeli television in 2015 and premiered on Netflix in December 2016. Netflix released the second season last week.

  • BDS called on Netflix to cancel Fauda, saying the show "glorifies the Israeli military's war crimes against the Palestinian people [9].”

  • Co-creators Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff dismissed the comments saying, "the BDS movement interests us like yesterday's news [and they] will continue creating quality programs and bringing enjoyment to viewers around the world, and in the Arab world as well."

  • More than 50 Hollywood executives called the BDS play a “blatant attempt at artistic censorship.” Signatories included executives from Universal Music Publishing Group, Geffen Records and Electronic Arts [10].

Conversation Points:

  • Can media companies operate successfully while also conceding to demands from groups like BDS?

Notes:

  1. Hamas-Israel ceasefire holds after night of violence, Al Jazeera, May 30th 2018

  2. Israel and Palestinians trade fire on Gaza border amid cease-fire talk, Washington Post, May 30th 2018

  3. Gaza's Hamas Rulers Say a Cease-Fire Has Been Reached with Israel, FARES AKRAM, Time, May 30th 2018

  4. US calls for urgent UN Security Council meeting over Gaza, Ynetnews, May 30th 2018

  5. REPORT: BILLIONAIRE CHELSEA FC OWNER ROMAN ABRAMOVICH BECOMING ISRAELI, JONATHAN WEBER ROSEN, TAMAR BEN-OZER, Jerusalem Post, May 24th 2018

  6. REPORT: BILLIONAIRE CHELSEA FC OWNER ROMAN ABRAMOVICH BECOMING ISRAELI, JONATHAN WEBER ROSEN, TAMAR BEN-OZER, Jerusalem Post, May 24th 2018

  7. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich cannot work in UK on Israeli passport, ESPN, May 30th 2018

  8. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to 'move to Israel' amid UK VISA row, Ben Youell, Daily Star, May 28th 2018

  9. Netflix, Time to Nix War Crimes Glorifying Series, BDSmovement.org, March 29th 2018

  10. Hollywood executives back Netflix over anti-Israel 'Fauda' boycott, Reuters, April 4th 2018