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Stockholm overrun by migrant teen gangs

February 1st, 2016


Swedish police warns that Stockholm’s main train station has become unsafe after being ‘taken over’ by dozens of Moroccan street children.

The all-male migrant teen gangs are spreading terror in the centre of the Swedish capital, stealing, groping girls, and assaulting security guards, according to Stockholm police.

Members of the gangs, some as young as nine, roam central Stockholm day and night, refusing help provided by the Swedish authorities.

Overrun: Stockholm police reports that gangs of Moroccan minors, some as young as nine, roam the city's main train station "stealing, assaulting security guards and groping girls."

Overrun: Stockholm police reports that gangs of Moroccan minors, some as young as nine, roam the city’s main train station “stealing, assaulting security guards and groping girls.”

Sweden has seen a dramatic increase in the number of Moroccan under-18s who apply for asylum without a parent or guardian in the past four years, with many later running away from the housing provided to live on the streets in the capital.

Stockholm police estimate that at least 200 Moroccan street children moved into the area around the main train station in the centre of the capital, sleeping rough, and living off criminal activity.

“These guys are a huge problem for us. They steal stuff everywhere and assault security guards at the central station,” one police officer said. “They grope girls between their legs, and slap them in the face when they protest. All police officers are aware of this. I would never let my children go to the central station. No officer would.”

The issue of the Moroccan teen gangs first made headlines last year, and the situation has since escalated with Stockholm police demanding authorities to take action. Desperate officers have started arresting the teens for public drunkenness in order to get them off the streets for a few hours, with the policeman adding that they are “on our knees.” The gangs are made up of orphans who have grown up on the streets of Casablanca and Tangier in Morocco, where authorities estimate there are around 80,000 homeless “street children.” They have all applied for asylum Sweden as unaccompanied minors after traveling through Spain and Germany, a journey that may have taken them years. But their troubled backgrounds have made them distrusting and wary of adults, and more than one in five have run away from migrant housing and foster families after applying to stay in Sweden.

Swedish migration authorities first reported an increase in Moroccan unaccompanied minors applying for asylum in 2012, when 145 arrived, a number that more than doubled in 2013. Out of the 505 Moroccan children who applied for asylum in Sweden without any parent or guardian, 20 percent ran away from provided group housing or foster families, disappearing off the radar.

In 2014, the number had increased to 381 children, out of which nearly one third have run away, according to the Swedish Migration society. In the first quarter of 2015, 146 unaccompanied Moroccan minors applied for asylum in Sweden – 32 have since run away and are unaccounted for. In late January, the Swedish government announced talks with Moroccan authorities to acknowledge that the child street gangs are a “mutual problem.” Swedish Interior Minister Anders Ygeman said that Sweden is working on sending the children back to their home country.

“We are in agreement that this is a joint problem for us to solve, and that we both need to find ways of identifying these people to achieve repatriation,” Ygeman said following a meeting with Moroccan representatives.

Chinese man arrives in Israel from Greece by boat — without meaning to

January 30th, 2016

By Hassan Shaalan /

Fishermen from the Israeli town of Jisr az-Zarqa were stunned to learn that the Chinese man they found lying unconscious by a boat at the harbor had set sail from Greece and arrived on Israel’s shore quite by accident.

The fishermen took care of the man, giving him food and drink. When he recovered, they asked him how he came to be on the beach. “I’m a Chinese citizen and I just found myself here,” he answered in English.

They had a hard time communicating with the man and called the police, who took the unexpected tourist in for questioning.

The Chinese man

The Chinese man

The man told the police he set sail from Greece and apparently was blown off course by strong winds and carried to Israel.

The Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration has taken over the handling of the case.

One of the fishermen said that “this is the first time we encounter a case like this. We didn’t expect someone to get to us through the sea because of Israel’s increased security. Usually, it’s hard to believe that anyone who illegally crosses the border gets to live. This Chinese man is lucky. We’re happy he’s fit and healthy and hope he returns to his family soon.”

Sami Ali, a member of the local council, said that “we were surprised to find a foreign national on the beach, a man with an east-Asian appearance, who was lying near his boat passed out.”

Ali went on to say, “I approached the boat and saw it is damaged. The sail was broken and the hull also suffered damages. Inside the boat was a large quantity of food and water.”

Israel to close Philadelphia consulate

January 29th, 2016

By Herb Keinon /

Philadelphia skyline (photo credit: REUTERS)

Philadelphia skyline (photo credit: REUTERS)

After a two-year reprieve, Israel’s consulate in Philadelphia is once again on the chopping block, with the Foreign Ministry announcing earlier this month its intention to close five of its 106 representations abroad as a cost-saving measure.

In addition to Philadelphia, the embassies in Belarus and El Salvador, as well as the consulate in Marseilles, are to close their doors. Israel’s roving ambassador to the Caribbean, who is stationed in New York, will also be cut out.

A statement put out by the ministry said that the closings followed a government decision on the matter last year.

As a result, the ministry said, it will allocate the freed-up funds to strengthen existing representations.

The statement said that the ministry will act to prevent the harming of the rights of Israelis and locals employed in the offices marked for closure.

A decision to close the consulate in Philadelphia was canceled two years ago thanks in large part to pressure put on the ministry by the Jewish community there and by local politicians.

The Philadelphia-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the local Jewish community started a campaign to save the consulate, saying that closing it would be a blow to the region and an even greater loss to Israel.

In addition to the embassy in Washington, Israel has consulates in nine US cities: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

At the time, closing the consulate in Philadelphia was explained as necessary in order to open up Israel’s fourth consulate in China, in Chengdu.

That consulate has since opened, and a former diplomat said that it would send a bad message if a consulate in the US is closed in order to fund a new one in China.

Considering the importance of Israeli-US ties, the source said, Israel should not be reducing its presence in the US.

The official also came out against doing away with the roving ambassador to the Caribbean, saying there are some 20 states in that region, which, although they may not have much economic or military significance, do vote in the UN, and are worth cultivating.

The cost of the ambassador is not that much, he said, saying Israel was shooting itself in the foot by doing away with this position at a time when it is trying to improve voting patterns in the UN.

The source said that if representations needed to be closed, it did make sense to close the embassy in Minsk, since Belarus is not a politically significant state, and it does pretty much what Russian President Vladimir Putin tells it to do. Further, the former diplomat said, economic relations there could be overseen through businessmen traveling there from time to time.

The ex-official also said that there was logic in closing the consulate in Marseilles, since France is a centralized country run out of Paris, and that if the staff in Paris would be augmented, it could effectively deal with other parts of the country. There has been talk of closing the consulate in Marseilles since 2002, but it, too, has always been saved at the last minute, often thanks to figures in the local Jewish community.

“My concern is that the representations will be closed, but the existing ones will not be strengthened,” he said.

Over the last 15 years, Israel has closed offices in various parts of the world while opening others elsewhere. For instance, in 2002 it closed its consulates in Rio de Janeiro and Sydney, while opening a one in 2013 in Bangalore.

Israel closed its embassy in Minsk in 2002, but reopened it two years later, only to now announce its closure again.

Israel’s embassy in New Zealand and Paraguay were also closed in 2002, with the New Zealand embassy opening again in 2010, and Paraguay in 2015.

Israel aids Paraguayans displaced by the worst flooding in 50 years

January 27th, 2016

In early January, Israel began donating food and assistance kits to help Paraguayans displaced by massive flooding in the region, the worst in half a century.

“The State of Israel is sympathetic to our sister nation of Paraguay in this difficult moment when thousands of citizens have been forced to leave their homes behind,” the Israeli Embassy in Asuncion said. “We are ready to support the government to provide humanitarian aid.”

Some 100,000 Paraguayans were displaced by the flooding caused by torrential rain that was triggered by the El Nino weather phenomenon and started falling in the region on Dec. 18. Some rivers reached a height of 32 feet and burst flood walls.

The flooding had a stronger impact on residents of low-lying slums, who sought shelter in camps on higher ground and ended up sleeping in improvised tents.

Another 50,000 people also were stricken by floods in bordering areas in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, but Paraguay was the most-affected nation.

Israel reopened its Paraguay embassy in July after it was closed in 2002 due to financial constraints. The countries have strong ties in the fields of anti-terrorism, trade, and agriculture.

Paraguay is home to a Jewish community of about 1,000.

London Jews attacked, told “Hitler is on the way”

January 26th, 2016

By Kathryn Snowdon /

Gas refill canisters were thrown at the victims

Gas refill canisters were thrown at the victims

Jewish shoppers were pelted with gas canisters and told “Hitler is on the way to you” during an attack in London earlier this month.

Two men and a woman were targeted as they walked through Tottenham Hale Retail Park at about 7.45 pm.

Small gas refill canisters were thrown at the victims by three white men in a white pick up truck, who shouted: “Hitler is on the way to you, Heil Hitler, Heil Hitler, Heil Hitler.”

The Metropolitan Police investigating the incident do not believe that anyone was injured during the confrontation.

Jonathan Sacerdoti, director of communications at Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, said: “Obviously there are negative connotations conjured up related to gas especially when the Holocaust is evoked as six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, many being systematically gassed by the Nazis.

“But we cannot say that this was a deliberate connection or link. I have no way to know why they chose these projectiles. It is merely speculation. The attackers did refer to the Holocaust.”

Shomrim, the Jewish neighbourhood watch patrol, was called by the victims and is providing victim support.

Shomrim volunteer, Michael Blayer, said: “This behaviour is appalling, the victims were innocent shoppers at the Tottenham Hale Retail Park, and they were targeted because they were visibly Jewish.

“The verbal abuse was disgusting, and small objects were thrown towards the victims, making them fear for their immediate safety. Shomrim are supporting the victims.”

Sacerdoti added: “This disturbing incident is a reminder of the abuse that many Jewish people experience all too often. It is vital that victims report all anti-Semitic attacks or incidents whenever they happen, and that the police take every report seriously, investigating and charging those responsible wherever possible.”

“Hashem Melech 2.0” — music video

January 25th, 2016

In an exuberant explosion of music, Israeli legend Gad Elbaz joins forces with rapper Nissim Black as the two take to the streets of New York City proclaiming God’s eternal majesty.

“Hashem Melech 2.0”

“God is the King, God is ruling, God will rule forever and ever!”

Hebrew lyrics:
Hashem melech, Hashem malach, Hashem imloch le’olam va’ed
Hashem melech, Hashem malach, Hashem imloch le’olam va’ed
Hashem melech, Hashem malach, Hashem imloch le’olam va’ed
Hashem melech, Hashem malach, Hashem imloch le’olam va’ed

Ahalel Hashem elokim ve’egadlenu batoda
Ahalel Hashem elokim ve’egadlenu batoda

Yud ve’ He ve’ Vav ve’ He Hashem elokeinu Hashem echad
Yud ve’ He ve’ Vav ve’ He Hashem Hashem echad

English translation:
The Lord is King, the Lord was King,
the Lord will be King forever and ever.
The Lord will be King
over the earth;
on that day the Lord will be One His Name One.

Pastor Saeed Abedini Released!

January 16th, 2016


Pastor Saeed Abedini has been released from prison in Iran after more than three years of incarceration for his Christian faith.

Pastor Saeed Abedini in an undated photo. (photo:

Pastor Saeed Abedini in an undated photo. (photo:

Abedini, a U.S. citizen who has attracted high-profile advocates for his release including President Obama and members of Congress, was released on Saturday along with three other detained Americans: Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian; former Marine Amir Hekmati, and Nosratollah Khosavi-Roodsari, The Washington Post reported. Senior U.S. administration officials also confirmed the release of the four prisoners, according to CNN.

Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, who has tirelessly campaigned for his release since his imprisonment, said in a statement, “This has been an answer to prayer. This is a critical time for me and my family. We look forward to Saeed’s return and want to thank the millions of people who have stood with us in prayer during this most difficult time.”

Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California, who has publicly advocated and prayed for Abedini’s release, posted on his Facebook Saturday: “American Pastor, Saeed Abedini along with the 3 other American prisoners have been released from Prison in Iran! This is an answered prayer! For years the hashtag has been #SaveSaeed Now, we can update it to #GodsavedSaeed”

The four Americans were released by Iran in exchange for at least six people imprisoned by the United States and also ahead of the nearing implementation of the July 2015 historic nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had previously said that Abedini would not be released until 19 Iranian prisoners held in the U.S. are granted their freedom.

American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the legal group representing Abedini’s wife and family, noted that they first heard news that Saeed was released from his prison cell to Iran’s Central Intelligence agency late Friday night. It was not until Saturday morning that they were able to confirm that the pastor was really freed.

“This is a major victory. We are incredibly grateful to the more than 1.1 million people who have joined us in fighting across the globe for Pastor Saeed’s freedom,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of ACLJ, in a statement.

“We’re delighted this day has finally arrived,” Sekulow continued. “We have worked and prayed that this day would finally arrive. And now, Pastor Saeed can return home.”

Pastor Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho, had served over three years of an eight year sentence in Iran for the supposed crime of endangering national security, but in reality it was because of his Christian faith. Abedini is a Muslim convert to Christianity and was in Iran working on building an orphanage when he was suddenly arrested. He had endured physical, emotional and psychological abuse during his imprisonment, according to his family, but resolutely stated that he would not renounce his Christian faith to escape punishment.

Naghmeh Abedini often shared that their two young children, aged 9 and 5, have missed their father terribly and it was difficult as a mother to endure her children’s pain. With news that Saeed has indeed been released, the family will finally be reunited after years apart.

“We are grateful for the release of Pastor Saeed. The prayers of the Body of Christ all over the world have been answered,” reflected Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “This day of celebration should remind us to pray and work all the more for the multitudes still persecuted for their faith all over the world, including in Iran. We hope and long for the day when Iran, and nations like it, are free from those who wish to enslave the conscience at the point of a sword.”

Carol Cantrell sings “Shalom Aleichem” in Jerusalem–video

January 8th, 2016

Inspiring clips of the people of Israel as Carol Cantrell sings the ancient Hebrew prayer invocation Shalom Aleichem. Photos by her husband Ron Cantrell.

Carol says: “My prayer and song for Israel and all her citizens today… the shalom of G-d covering her.”

Carol also sings the songs of Zola Levitt — recorded and filmed in Jerusalem.

Listen to Carol sing Zola’s “Song of Zion” from the Zola Levitt Presents series Zion Forever

Carol Cantrell sings Zola Levitt’s “Song of Zion”–video

January 8th, 2016

Listen to Carol Cantrell sing Zola’s “Song of Zion” on program #6 from the Zola Levitt Presents series Zion Forever –“Ein Gedi.”
The entire program’s message is worth hearing, but Carol sings at min 23:55 if you want to hear her first. Enjoy!

Listen to Carol sing “Shalom Aleichem

Holocaust denial on the rise in Eastern Europe

January 4th, 2016

By Dr. Ruchama Weiss ▪ Rabbi Levi Brackman /

The testimonies are fading away, the memorial sites are turning into entertainment centers, and the historical story is seen as just another “Jewish narrative”: If anyone thought that Holocaust denial was a marginal phenomenon among a few anti-Semites and Israel haters, evidence shows that is it a much wider, more well-established and dangerous phenomenon that is receiving reinforcement on the ground from eastern European countries.

In Lithuania, for example, people are doing everything to downplay the significance of the horrors of the war as a unique event in the history of mankind, and in Ukraine a famous mass murder site has turned into a thriving jogging spot.

According to Dr. Efraim Zuroff, a Nazi hunter and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center office in Jerusalem, many countries have adopted an intentional policy leading to de facto Holocaust denial. While researchers and historians are trying to fight the new phenomenon and to get western Europe to join the battle, the State of Israel is actually standing back and doing nothing.

Speaking at the Shem Olam Institute’s international conference “A Past that Doesn’t Pass,” which opened in Europe in late December, Dr. Zuroff pointed at Lithuania as the country leading the change. He noted that it initiated a change in the definition of “genocide,” thereby essentially “uniting” the memory of the Holocaust with the memory of communism.

In Ukraine, the parliament approved a law banning denial of the communist holocaust and imposing a two-year prison sentence on those violating it.

According to the Nazi hunter, this is part of an ongoing attempt to convince the world that there were two holocausts, and that therefore the European Jews’ Holocaust was not a unique radical event. “August 23 is marked as a memorial day for the victims of the totalitarian regimes,” he noted. “The memory of the Holocaust is being pushed away as part of this process.”

Rabbi Avraham Krieger, head of the Shem Olam Institute for Holocaust education and research, believes the new Holocaust deniers are driven by a psychological motive, namely an attempt to dissolve the perception of the Holocaust as a unique phenomenon in favor of a historical description which will minimize the feelings of guilt among the countries which actively participated – or whose citizens actively participated – in the murder of Jews.

Rabbi Krieger and Dr. Zuroff at the Shem Olam Institute's international conference 'A Past that Doesn't Pass'

Rabbi Krieger and Dr. Zuroff at the Shem Olam Institute’s international conference ‘A Past that Doesn’t Pass’

Dr. Zuroff sees it too. He says there is an attempt to conceal and blur the eastern Europeans’ role in the massacre. “In Lithuania there was a systematic killing of Jews by the local population,” he explained. “That is the reason why 96 percent of the Jews there did not survive and many communities were completely erased. The intentional goal is to conceal this fact.

“The mass murderers of Jews among the local population are perceived as national heroes because of their war against the communists, and streets, squares and governmental institutions have been named after them. How can anyone acknowledge their role in the annihilation if the murderers are considered heroes?”

Lithuania is not alone. According to the two researchers, “soft denial” is taking place in Baltic countries like Estonia and Latvia, as well as in Poland, Croatia and Hungary.

Bodies of thousands of Jews under a green park

“For example Joanna Bator, a local historian, describes construction works for the erection of a square named after a local hero who fought communism on the street which included the entrance gate into the ghetto,” says Krieger. “It can also be interpreted in a very innocent manner, but of all places in Warsaw, they had to do it on a street with such a significant historical memory?

“There is also a plan to erect a huge monument for Righteous Among the Nations in the center of the ghetto, although one already exists opposite the Holocaust museum in Warsaw. There seems to be an attempt to downplay the fact that many Poles were far from being righteous gentiles, but were rather played a role in the annihilation in wide areas in Poland as the Nazis’ active partners. There are Poles who are finding it difficult to accept this fact and of course to take responsibility for its meaning.”

According to Dr. Zuroff, sites of mass killing across Europe are being deserted or turned into parks which attract families on Sundays. In the Majdanek concentration camp it happened even when the murdered Jews’ bones were still scattered around in a visible manner.

The Babi Yar mass murder site in the heart of Kiev, where one of the deadliest massacres in Eastern Europe took place, has become a green band of jogging and baby strollers. “Apart from a symbolic monument, there is no trace of the fact that under the thick plants there are thousands of bodies of Jews who were systematically eliminated.”

When did you realize something was going on?

“It didn’t happen right away,” Rabbi Krieger admits. “The person who headed the Holocaust commemoration enterprise in Poland until 2009 was a Pole who had been sent to Auschwitz himself, and he was very committed to the matter. Since then, a wave of new appointments began in all of the country’s commemoration sites, and there are constant changes. I’m not sure that they are officially guided, but this is the new wind blowing there.

“There are all kinds of ‘renovations’ taking place in concentration camps, covering historical truths which took place there. In Chełmno, for example, there was a pit with Jewish items and human remains, so they went and covered it all up with gravel. They didn’t leave a trace of what used to be there, not even a sign. There is no trace of the large holes which were used for the horrific act of destroying the bodies.

“Museums are turning into a place for the presentation of this local narrative, instead of presenting history. This joins all kinds of concrete Holocaust denials by local historians in new studies. If once we witnessed a spirit of taking responsibility for the past – it is now gone.”

According to Dr. Zuroff, Eastern European countries’ efforts to “conceal the evidence” and blur history have increased since the Baltic countries became part of the European Union. “It’s mostly common there because they really have something to hide,” he said. “The fact that they were living under a communist regime prevented them from holding an open debate on the truth.”

Anti-Semitic but friendly towards Israel

“It took France 40 years to acknowledge the crimes of the Vichy government (a Nazi puppet regime established in central France). And most importantly, it’s a governmental-diplomatic trend, not a private initiative or social phenomenon. The EU is keeping quiet. There are no condemnations or appeals on their part on this issue or a request to maintain the European narrative of the Holocaust.”

And where is the State of Israel in this grim picture? “I am very embarrassed,” Zuroff admits. “I care about the state so much and I feel bad criticizing it, but the situation is not good and I must present the dangers created by its silence. The feeling is that a state which sees itself as the inheritor of the Nazis’ victims, and was first in line to receive financial benefits, has an interest in keeping quiet. So it’s keeping quiet.”

The researcher’s explanation is that “the leading countries in Holocaust denial today have good relations with Israel, even if they may be anti-Semitic towards Jews. So instead of crying out against what was done to the Holocaust victims, Israel is keeping quiet.”

According to Zuroff, the United States, which became slightly involved in the issue in the past in an attempt to influence the situation, is keeping quiet too, as are France and Germany.

“The fact that there are countries in Europe which have not taken responsibility for the Holocaust must be acknowledged. In Austria, for example, they are still using all kinds of legal measures to prevent the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. Only recently, they rejected our request to try a woman who was responsible for putting women in gas chambers, arguing that she only played “a passive role” which she cannot be prosecuted for.”

Is anything being done nonetheless?

“A book which is expected to be released in Lithuania next month is going to create a major scandal,” Dr. Zuroff says. “A famous Lithuanian author, Ruta Vanagaite, wrote a book with me about the Lithuanians’ role in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. She began showing an interest in the issue after discovering that her family members had been involved in it. We studied the scope and the motivation and listened to testimonies from eyewitnesses. It’s a very grim picture. Let’s hope it raises a discussion on the issue.”

“First of all, let’s not think that we have done what we have to do by remembering and commemorating relatives who were murdered in the Holocaust,” Rabbi Krieger adds. “If at the same time someone changes the entire historical picture, it’s as if we didn’t do a thing. Young Jews visit those countries, go to museums, are exposed to ‘that narrative’ and even adopt it – and that’s a huge danger.

“We must understand that we are standing at a decisive junction in the history of the Holocaust. Most of the survivors can no longer cry out and speak, so it’s our mission to make sure that Europe, which wants to forget, will not forget.”

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