A lesbian pride parade in Washington, DC has been criticized by Jewish and LGBTQ groups for banning Jewish and Israeli symbols from today's event. These symbols "include Israeli flags, as well as flags that resemble Israeli flags, such as a pride flag with a Star of David in the middle,” wrote march organizer Rae Gaines—who is herself Jewish and a member of the left-wing Jewish group IfNotNow—via Facebook Messenger to would-be participant A.J. Campbell, the founder of the lesbian Jewish group Nice Jewish Girls. In the wake of this controversy, Jewish groups Keshet and A Wider Bridge spoke out against the march's discriminatory policy. Our JCRC posted this statement.
The presence of Amir Ohana, Israel’s first openly gay cabinet minister, at Jerusalem's annual gay pride parade may be a milestone, but does not mark a transformation. Ohana was named to the prestigious and sensitive post by Netanyahu just a day earlier—as a temporary appointee, to keep the ministry ticking over until September’s elections and the formation of a new government in the weeks after that.
First lady Nechama Rivlin, the wife of President Reuven Rivlin, passed away at 73 on Tuesday, just one day before her 74th birthday. President Reuven Rivlin thanked Israelis for the love and support he and his family received since the passing of his wife. Nechama Rivlin was laid to rest in a state funeral on Wednesday evening at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl national cemetery.
Tens of thousands of Israeli youths gathered in the Old City of Jerusalem for the annual Flag March celebrating Jerusalem Day. No security incidents occurred during Sunday afternoon’s march, despite rioting on the Temple Mount earlier in the day. As Jews celebrated the liberation of Jerusalem and the reunification of the city in the 1967 Six-Day War, Arabs outraged that Jews had been given limited access to the Temple Mount for the occasion hurled chairs, stones and other objects at security forces, according to the Israel Police Spokesperson’s Unit. More on this issue here.
No one took responsibility for the firing of two rockets at Israel’s Mount Hermon on Saturday night from Syria, but it is likely that Iran, or one of its proxies, are the prime suspects. Israel sent the message that Iran cannot hide behind its proxies and allies, and that its activities remain highly exposed to Israeli intelligence and firepower. Israel’s reported responses included a significant air strike on Iranian assets within the T-4 airbase, in central Syria, and deadly strikes on the Assad regime’s military.
An array of pro-Israel groups are backing a bipartisan bill in the US Congress that would seed investment in the Palestinian areas and restore funding to peace dialogue programming that the Trump administration removed as a punitive measure against the Palestinians. The bill announced Wednesday has drawn support from groups that are often at odds over peace policy, including groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Jewish Federations of North America and its Israel advocacy affiliate, the Israel Action Network; other groups like J Street and Americans for Peace Now; and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations condemned the reporting of their meeting behind closed doors last week with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who told the audience that the Trump administration’s highly anticipated peace proposal between the Israelis and the Palestinians may not “gain traction” and is currently “unexecutable.” Pompeo walked back these comments later, saying that it was an “inaccurate” perception that the Trump administration’s peace proposal could be seen as one-sided toward Israel. In other news regarding Trump’s peace plan, during a “March of Return” rally last week in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip recorded by Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas-Gaza), a cardboard cutout of Trump was set on fire. Next to the cutout stood a coffin with the Israeli flag and text reading “The Deal of the Century” printed on it, referring to the Trump peace plan.
Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC
Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati
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