Israel has implemented ceasefire concessions with Hamas in Gaza this week after two days of intense fighting over the weekend in which terror groups launched over 650 rockets at southern Israel and the Israel Defense Forces carried out more than 300 retaliatory strikes throughout Gaza. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad announced earlier this week that Egypt and other international parties had successfully brokered a truce deal. Four Israelis were killed, and hundreds of others injured. The Jewish Federation and JCRC have been monitoring the developing situation and condemn the barrage of rocket fire against innocent civilians. Today, Israel reopened fishing zones along the coast of Gaza and some 6,000 Palestinians took part in demonstrations at five locations along the border. Several hundred people were rioting, throwing explosives and rocks at Israeli forces.
The Israel Space Agency will put about $5.6 million toward Beresheet 2, a second attempt to land an Israeli spacecraft on the moon. The announcement was made Sunday at the weekly Cabinet meeting by Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis. The agency asked NASA to be more involved in the new effort. NASA provided SpaceIL, the private foundation behind the Israeli lunar landing effort, with special laser technology to help in communication with the Beresheet spacecraft.
For most Israelis, laws of the state and religious values inform their moral reasoning more deeply than do Western values, according to a survey released this week. The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) Pluralism Index found that among Jews, 57 percent say state laws are a “profoundly influential” factor in distinguishing between right and wrong when making decisions, and 52 percent say the same about Jewish values. For Western values, however, 29 percent said they had profound bearing on their decisions, and another 45 percent said they were slightly influential.
Israel has launched a PR campaign to counter calls for a boycott of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest final in Tel Aviv, using Google ads which refer ti the boycott but lead to a glossy website extolling Israel. BDS has called on artists, music fans and broadcasters tomavoid the 2019 contest, arguing that it amounts to "whitewashing" Israel's policies towards Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel calls the international boycotts discriminatory and antisemitic.
Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC
Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati
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