Bein Arim, a 100-story tower, got the green light by the Tel Aviv District Planning Board to begin construction making it Israel’s tallest skyscraper ever, coming in at 400 meters. The structure will be situated between Givatayim’s Shefa Tal Street, an extension of Tel Aviv’s Yigal Alon Street, and Ramat Gan’s Ze’ev Jabotinsky Street, near the Arlosoroff exit on the Ayalon Highway. This location is near Tel Aviv’s central train station and the planned red line of the Tel Aviv light rail. 120,000 square meters will be designated for office space, hotel rooms, and public spaces including two pedestrian bridges. The board decided to double the public space from the original plan after residents in the area objected. “Building it will connect the meeting point of the three cities to the main public transportation area of the country and of the metropolis,” said, Daniella Posek, the chairwoman of the district board, referring to Givatayim, Ramat Gan, and Tel Aviv. Bein Arim means “between the cities” in Hebrew.
Lt. Col. Mordaunt Cohen, a 101-year-old Jewish WWII veteran, has received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The award was to acknowledge his military service and for all his work in educating young people about the war. He dedicated the award to “the soldiers who didn’t come home.” Cohen willingly enlisted in the army after hearing about the suffering of Jewish people in Nazi Germany. He commanded a group of Nigerian Muslims in Burma during his service and said that he was their first exposure to a Jew. During the war, he contracted malaria and hepatitis, but that didn’t stop him from doing his work as part of an anti-aircraft unit defending RAF stripes. After the war, he became chairman of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen. “As the years go by, there are less of us around to tell our story. I look forward to continuing to educate as many people as possible in the years ahead, health permitting,” said Cohen.
Bikur Cholim cemetery in north Seattle has filed a $230,000 claim against the city for their inaction against the homeless population who has caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to the sacred property. The homeless have camped out in the woods behind the cemetery where they live in RVs and tents. They have also defaced headstones and left discarded needles, drug paraphernalia, and other waste scattered all over the premises. The cemetery has spent $230,000 to clean up the damage, install lights, clear the woods, and hire a crew to monitor the grounds. The Bikur Cholim cemetery has gravesites dating back to the Civil War. The Historic Sephardic Jewish Cemetery, which is located right across the street, is experiencing vandalism as well. If the city doesn’t take charge, cemetery officials threaten a class action lawsuit as well.
Argentina’s national soccer team canceled a friendly World Cup warm-up match against Israel’s national team amid political pressure to the outrage of 30,000 Israeli fans who had already purchased tickets to the event. The team deciced to do this upon receiving death threats and warnings after the game was moved from Haifa to Jerusalem. This move ignited a firestorm of protests from Palestinians, who displayed bloodstained shirts at a demonstration in Barcelona, where Argentina was practicing for the upcoming World Cup. Israeli officials expressed their disapproval, saying that Palestinians are using terrorism to halt the contest. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even reached out to Argentinian President Mauricio Macri in an attempt to get the game back on. The BDS movement, however, applauded Argentina for taking a stand against Israel and its mistreatment of Palestinians. The Argentine Football Association promised that the team would try to play in Israel at another time.
Intact Denmark, a Danish children’s welfare organization, has collected the required 50,000 signatures to formally submit a proposal to Parliament in their attempt to move forward with a petition setting the minimum age for non-medical male circumcision at 18. “We need to respect a person’s right to decide for themselves,” said a spokesperson for the group. Initially, Icelandic lawmakers supported the measure, and toyed with the idea of jail time for those who perform circumcision on minors. After a major pullback from protestors, including European Jewish leaders, it is believed that the bill is unlikely to pass after its review later this year. Yair Melchior, the country’s chief rabbi who was involved in advocacy on the matter, is confident that the proposal will be defeated as none of Denmark’s main political parties support it.
According to a survey conducted by the New York Commission on Human Rights and Strength in Numbers Consulting Group, four in five Jewish New Yorkers or 80.4 percent, said they feel “very” or “somewhat” concerned by vandalism or property damage targeting their religion. Among the Jewish respondents, 24.6 percent described themselves as not religious or secular; 18.3 and 17.1 percent deemed themselves to be Reform and Conservative, respectively; and 15.3 percent said they belonged to no specific branch. 12 percent described themselves as Orthodox and 2.4 percent said they were Hasidic. It seems the more observant Jews experienced the most harassment. The report surveyed 3,105 minorities- Muslims, South Asians, Sikhs, and Jews and found that 38.7 percent of the reported experiencing verbal harassment, threats or taunting referring to race, ethnicity or religion, while 13.6% reported “being purposefully pushed or shoved on a subway platform.” The survey was taken between July 2016 and late 2017 — “a timeframe that encapsulates the climate pre- and post-election and the aftermath of Federal news announcements threatening some of these and other communities,” the report said