Lone female grad of latest IAF pilot course says judging skin, gender won’t fly

Female. Religious. Dark-skinned.

While any of these traits may seem remarkable for a pilot in the Israeli Air Force, for the only woman to graduate this year from the military’s flight academy, they are not what defines her.

“The first thing you’ll see is probably my [skin] color, or that I’m a girl or that I have braids,” Lieutenant Tav told Channel 12 news in an interview aired Friday. “After a conversation of two sentences you’ll see that isn’t what I bring to the table; there are other things.”

Tav, who was only identified by her rank and first initial of her name, grew up in Jerusalem with immigrant parents. Her father moved to Israel from the Ivory Coast, her mother from France.

While she heard comments from other kids about her skin color growing up, Tav said she never let them dictate how she views herself.

“What I would tell any kid who feels he is being diminished, is that it’s a matter of point of view and that it doesn’t take anything from your abilities… It’s something external,” she said.

Though many religious women opt for other forms of national service after high school rather than serve in the military, Tav said that she never questioned whether she’d enlist.

“I’m not the classic religious woman you think of. I’m one of the religious girls who for me that isn’t the [entire] story,” she said.

What was important was for her to be outside of her comfort zone.

“I like the challenge. It’s important to me that I be in a place that isn’t comfortable for me, that’s it not easy for me there, that I need to work in order to achieve,” she said.

Tav, who finished the course as a flight engineer on a cargo plane, conceded that it was tough at times to be the only woman among the 40 pilots who graduated, noting that at the end of a “terribly tough week” she would return to her room and be alone.

“On the other hand, it is a chance to say, ‘OK, it isn’t important.’ I’m a girl and he’s a boy but it’s not important; both of us are doing a role, both of us want to be the best at what we do and that’s what the emphasis is on,” she said.

Asked if she is bothered by questions about being the only female pilot to finish the course, Tav said the queries say more about Israeli society than about her.

“It says something about us as a society, that we’re dealing with how to be a young religious woman — or how to be a young woman at all, or to be different in a group… that is homogeneous on the outside,” she said.

“To me this isn’t the lesson we need to learn, it isn’t interesting,” Tav went on, stressing that what counts is how she stacks up professionally.

“Ultimately what is important to understand is that it matters what you bring with you from home, but not really the external characteristics.”

“What really matters is how I am in the cockpit, how I am in working with a team, how professional I am,” she said.

With her completion of the prestigious course, Tav became one of several dozen women to graduate as an IAF pilot since a 1993 High Court of Justice ruling ordering the military to allow female soldiers into the program.

The overwhelming majority of fighter pilots in the Israeli Air Force are still men, mostly because of the physical fitness requirements.

Header: Lieutenant Tet speaks with Channel 12 news in an interview aired on December 27, 2019. (Screen capture: Channel 12)

Note: Lieutenant Tet is a flight engineer on A C-130J Super Hercules at Hatzerim Air Base in southern Israel.

Embassy row: US & Germany jump into spat over WWII outbreak between Russia and Poland

The dispute between Warsaw and Moscow over what started the Second World War – yes, really – has now expanded to Poland’s allies, as first the US and then the German envoy chimed in with revisionist history.

“Dear President Putin, Hitler and Stalin colluded to start WWII. That is a fact. Poland was a victim of this horrible conflict,” US ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher tweeted on Monday – in both English and Polish, suggesting that her message of “collusion” was intended more for domestic consumption than for the Russian head of state.

“Dear Ambassador, do you really think that you know about history any more than you do about diplomacy?” the Russian embassy in Warsaw responded, in English.

This likely referred to the fact that Mossbacher used to be the CEO of a cosmetics company before President Barack Obama appointed her to a diplomatic commission in 2015. She was sent to Warsaw in September 2018 by President Donald Trump.

Within an hour, none other than the German envoy in Warsaw saw fit to chime in, repeating Berlin’s official position, which – not surprisingly – echoed that of Poland and the US.

“The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact served to prepare the criminal invasion of Nazi Germany against Poland. The USSR together with Germany participated in this brutal division of Poland,” Ambassador Rolf Nikel wrote, in Polish.

Poland had taken offense to last week’s remarks by Putin about Jozef Lipski, the Polish ambassador to Berlin (1934-39), whom the Russian president called “a bastard and anti-Semitic pig.” This was based on Lipski’s own words from 1938, when the envoy told Hitler that the Poles would “erect him a beautiful monument in Warsaw” if he carried out the plan to expel European Jews to Africa.

The same year, Poland joined Germany in partitioning Czechoslovakia at the Munich conference, when Britain and France agreed to carve up that Eastern European country to appease Hitler, despite – or because of? – the Soviet offer of security guarantees to Prague.

Lipski’s remarks are a matter of public record and no one is contesting their veracity – which is why neither Warsaw nor its NATO allies are talking about them, choosing to repeat Polish talking points in service of a very modern argument about an “aggressive” Russia.

Soviet troops liberated Poland from the Nazis in 1944, and installed a pro-communist government in Warsaw after the war.

After the collapse of communism, however, Warsaw went from being a vassal of Moscow to being one of Washington – and engaging in questionable historical revisionism to make the past better fit the present.

That is how Germany’s Angela Merkel found herself as an honored guest at the September 1 commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the war’s outbreak, while Putin was not even invited. A far bigger insult is the decision not to invite the Russian president to the upcoming January 27 anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army’s 1st Ukrainian Front.

Header: On January 27, 1945, Soviet troops under the command of Marshal Ivan Konev entered southwest Poland, liberating 7,600 prisoners from Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Featured: Who started World War II?

Jean Améry in his philosophical memoir of Auschwitz, At the Mind’s Limits, writes in his chapter on torture of the specious equation of Hitler and Stalin, of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, that was introduced soon after the war into Western Cold War propaganda: “allow me to repeat here in my own name and at the risk of being denounced what Thomas Mann once said in a much attacked interview: namely, that no matter how terrible Communism may at times appear, it still symbolizes an idea of man, whereas Hitler-Fascism was not an idea at all, but depravity.”

As a corollary of the specious equation is the present untruth, parroted by American diplomats and many others, that Hitler and Stalin are the culprits who together began World War II itself. This is the pretext for excluding Russia from commemorative ceremonies; and Putin has, unsurprisingly and justifiably, reacted with anger.

Here are the facts. When Hitler came to power in 1933, his declared aim was to save what he called white, European civilization from two enemies: the Jews and the Bolsheviks. After the Russian Revolution, Churchill said “This baby must be strangled in its cradle.” Western powers including the United States invaded Soviet Russia. Americans can fantasize all they like about a Russian attack in scary movies like “Red Dawn”. But they have never once invaded us. We invaded them.

The West threw a cordon sanitaire around the young Soviet Union, and many hoped Hitler might be used to help strangle the Red teenager (the baby having inconveniently survived). So the democracies sat on their hands as Hitler rearmed, occupied the Rhineland, the Sudetenland, Austria, the rest of Czechoslovakia. (Poland, for a while an ally of Hitler with a fascist dictator and anti-Semitic laws, joined in the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938. This is the point Putin is making, I think.) Britain and France even ensured that the Czechs did not raise a finger to defend themselves, or ask the USSR (with whom they had a mutual defense pact) to help them.

Throughout all this, the years building up to the outbreak of the war, the USSR had been begging the West to join an alliance with it for mutual security against the Nazis. But Washington, Paris, and London turned a deaf ear, a blind eye, and a bald head to the proposal. When the fascist Franco sought to overthrow the Spanish Republic, Hitler and Mussolini poured arms into his revolt. The Catholic Church supported him. So did Standard Oil of New Jersey: the “noninterventionist” democracies were interested in nonintervention only to keep volunteers from fighting for the republic in Spain. Who intervened to fight for Spain? A lot of Jews, and also African Americans, antifascist Germans, Frenchmen, Chinese, Mexicans. Young men from my Dad’s Brooklyn neighborhood joined the Lincoln Battalion: some never came home, others who did were blacklisted as “premature antifascists”. Such weapons as the outgunned warriors of the International Brigades had were Soviet rifles— the good old трехлинейка— and the occasional Russian fighter plane. If Spain had not fallen, Hitler might have been stopped right there. There would not have been a war. But Spain fell.

In 1937-38, Stalin’s paranoid terror swept away the best and the brightest of the nation and decimated the Red Army, which till then had been strong enough to repel any aggressor. In 1939, Stalin signed a nonaggression pact with Hitler, and many American comrades quit the Communist Party in despair. Others tried their best to accept that the pact was a tactic to gain time and strategic depth, at a time when the USSR was at a disadvantage (albeit one of its own making). When the war did begin, with Germany’s invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 (the Soviets moved into eastern Poland only several weeks later), Britain and France declared war on Germany, but otherwise did nothing at all. During the Battle of Britain, fleeing Polish and Czech pilots helped the Royal Air Force to save the island from invasion. The UK showed its gratitude by deporting most of them at the end of the war.

On June 22, 1941, the Nazis and their Finnish, Romanian, Italian, and other allies invaded the Soviet Union. Churchill, the lifelong anti-Communist, declared his support for the Russians, quipping memorably that if Hitler invaded hell, he as Prime Minister would be certain to make favorable mention of the devil in the House of Commons.

What did the Germans do in the USSR? I think readers of The Times of Israel know about the Einsatzgruppen and the “holocaust of bullets” on Soviet territory, the deliberate starving to death of hundreds of thousands of Soviet POWs, the 900-day-long Blockade of Leningrad that killed nearly half the population of Russia’s second-largest city, the desperate defense of Stalingrad that turned the tide. Perhaps you also know that the USA sacrificed 400,000 soldiers and sailors in the war, and that except for the attack on Pearl Harbor the war never touched American territory. Between 20 and 30 MILLION Soviet citizens died in World War II, most of them on their own soil. They were soldiers and civilians, men, women, and children. They were Russians, Jews, Belorussians, Georgians, Armenians, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Yakuts, and many more.

Ukrainians, too. When I was 15, I was walking back to our school group’s hotel in Kiev from the cinema on a warm summer night. An older man on a bench on the city’s main street, the Kreshchatik, asked me to sit with him. He never slept, he said. He was a French horn player, he said. In the war, he said, a corpse was dangling from the branches of every tree on the Kreshchatik. He ran out into the countryside, he said. His parents were gone. The Germans were herding people into barns and setting them on fire. He never slept after that. I’ll sit with you, I said. We sat together.

Another evening I got on a trolley and asked the way to Babi Yar. After a shocked silence a woman said she would take me. Aren’t you a Ukrainian? I said to her as we stared at the nothingness of the place. Aren’t the victims here Jews? I was angry. She was a schoolteacher, and in the Soviet Union, in those bygone days, that was a sacred calling, it was like being a parent. Yes, I’m Ukrainian, she explained gently; and my brother is down there. The Nazis killed him because he was a Communist.

In Leningrad, I detached myself from our group and wandered the streets, finally joining a cheerful band of boys my age who were petting a courtyard cat, sampling a bottle of Georgian wine, and taking turns riding a noisy motorcycle down the block. Several were war orphans. At some point that evening, we were where one of the orphans was living, a building with bomb damage from the war. They offered me a very large glass of vodka, and a tomato. Later on, we went to the Neva to watch the bridges rise.

Our school-group leader from the States told us at some point that summer after a few drinks that when we got home a certain government agency would present to him a list of our names and ask him to tick off those who were Pinkos. Screw that, I said to him. Mark me down as a Red. Who knows, maybe he remembered to.

Many years have passed. I thought the Cold War was behind us. I thought Nazism and anti-Semitism had been defeated. But it is not so, and here we are in this horrible brave new world of triumphant, universal gangster capitalism, of reconstituted medieval bigotry and lies, of established religions restored to their old role as purveyors of hatred or arms of police power, of an alienation of labor so profound that it would have shocked Marx to silence, of a gulf between rich and poor so vast that it beggars the darkest dystopian fantasies of science fiction. There is no more Soviet Union. “Ballad of a Soldier” and “Belorussian Station” are for many movies about remote ancestors in another world. The hammer and sickle, a quixotic symbol signifying the ownership by industrial workers and farmers of their factories and lands, is a rusting emblem on flea market items laid out on the curb in Tbilisi or St. Petersburg.

So it is easy to repeat the big lie, even when the old ideological adversary is no more. Russia, the country that bore the brunt of the war, started it. Ooh, scary Mishka the big bad bear! Sure it did. war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. And I have a bridge here to sell you, how much money you got on you?…

The true answer to the question, Who started World War II? is easy: Hitler did. But the real question to ask is, Who fought the hardest, sacrificed the most, and won World War II? That’s easy to answer, too: the peoples of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and their Red Army. Whom I love, and to whom I will remain grateful as long as I live. But then, like I said, mark me down as a Red.

С Новым Годом! Happy New Year.


Header:Soviet soldiers at Stalingrad during a short rest after fighting, 1944. (Marc Alpert, RIA Novosti archive, via Wikipedia)


James R. Russell is Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University (semi-retired), Distinguished Visiting Professor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a part-time Lecturer in Jewish Studies and Biblical Hebrew at California State University, Fresno. He is on the Editorial Board of the journal Judaica Petropolitana, St. Petersburg State University, and a founding member of the International Association for Jewish Studies, chartered in the Russian Federation. His PhD is in Zoroastrian Studies, from the School of Oriental Studies of the University of London; and he taught Ancient Iranian languages and religions at Columbia University from 1982-1992.

High Court hears petition, will rule on whether Netanyahu can form government

The High Court of Justice on Tuesday morning held a preliminary hearing on whether a lawmaker facing criminal indictment can be tapped to form a coalition, a potentially high-stakes decision that could disrupt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political future.

Opening the hearing, Chief Justice Esther Hayut, who heads the three-judge panel, alongside Deputy Chief Justice Hanan Melcer and Justice Uzi Vogelman, clarified: “We are here to discuss the preliminary question of whether the attorney general and whether the High Court should discuss the issue at hand.”

The justices then went on to question both the claim that the court should rule on the petition immediately and the opposite argument that it must wait until the issue is no longer “theoretical” and Netanyahu has been tasked with forming a coalition.

Concluding the session, the court said that a decision will be handed down at a later date.

Among the numerous possibilities, the court could rule that it will not intervene in the affair, schedule a second hearing before a larger panel, or defer any hearing to a time after the March elections when the issue might become an urgent concern.

Speaking at a Calcalist conference at the same time as the hearing, President Reuven Rivlin appeared to suggest that the court should not intervene.

“I think that the people’s elected officials should be protected from removal against the will of the people,” he said in response to a question on the hearing.

“Since the court is discussing a matter that has not yet come to its table, it is appropriate to say nothing about the matter, although I think I have an opinion. We certainly have a problem that is between law and morality, between values and the will of the people and these are things to be seriously considered,” Rivlin said.

The hearing came in response to a petition submitted by attorney Dafna Holtz-Lachner in the name of a group of 67 well-known public figures, academics and tech executives aimed at clarifying the status of Netanyahu, who has been charged in three corruption cases.

The petition argued that even if, under the law, Netanyahu cannot be asked to resign, the court should rule on his eligibility as a caretaker prime minister — not a full prime minister — to be tasked with forming and heading a coalition government.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on November 21 announced charges against Netanyahu in a trio of corruption cases. Netanyahu has indicated in recent days that he will likely seek parliamentary immunity, potentially delaying or frustrating efforts to bring him to trial.

Holtz-Lachner opened the arguments Tuesday, claiming that the current law’s leniency toward an indicted prime minister only refers to a serving premier, not an MK seeking a new appointment to the post. Netanyahu has been interim premier in the absence of a Knesset mandate since December 2018, and is thus in the position of a lawmaker seeking an appointment, not a serving prime minister.

Israeli law requires any indicted minister other than the prime minister to resign their post. Under that standard, Holtz-Lachner asked, can an MK in a similarly compromised legal position be appointed prime minister in the first place?

“This is not a political issue; this is a legal issue. The role of the judiciary is to make sure that the people elect people who work for the good of the people. Democracy must be protected. We can see how the defendant has already acted to attack legal authorities,” she said.

Asked why the court must rule now, when the issue is still “theoretical,” given that Netanyahu has not yet been tasked with forming a coalition, Holtz-Lachner said, “The public has a right to know before it votes.”

In response, Justice Vogelman pointed out that Israel does not have a direct election for prime minister and that instead the public votes for parties, so the question of whether Netanyahu can form a government does not necessarily play into the consideration, at least legally.

After Holtz-Lachner quoted a case ruling that mayors may not serve under indictment, Vodelman charged that that ruling took place “after the authority was exercised” and not before the person in question had been tasked with the position.

Asked to bring examples from previous rulings backing up the position that the court should rule before Netanyahu has been tasked with forming a coalition, Holtz-Lachner admitted she had none but presented instead an academic article by former Supreme Court chief justice Aharon Barak.

“With due respect to justice Barak, that is not a constitutional source,” Melcer hit back.

The High Court had asked Mandelblit to provide a legal opinion of his own on the matter, but he responded by saying that he wanted to wait until after the court ruled on whether it will make a decision.

Representatives of Mandelblit’s office told the court Tuesday that that there is no place for it to express its opinion during an election period.

“This is a petition that seeks to push the legal system into the political arena,” a lawyer representing the state said.

Justice Melcer responded, “If it’s too soon, then when?”

The state argued said “At no point is the attorney general’s opinion needed. We are talking about the president’s authority to decide.”

Pushed by Melcer, the state admitted that the attorney general would give a legal opinion to the president if asked.

The appeal against Netanyahu’s eligibility for reelection comes as the prime minister has been accusing prosecutors, the media and the judiciary of working together to bring him down with trumped-up corruption charges.

The charges against Netanyahu include breach of trust, fraud and, in the most serious of the three cases, bribery.

Netanyahu on Monday told the High Court that it was “inconceivable” for Mandelblit to decide who will be the next prime minister, lamenting the charges the attorney general had leveled against him.

“It is inconceivable that one public official, the attorney general, as important as he is, will determine instead of the general public along with its representatives in the Knesset who can run the state and who cannot,” Netanyahu wrote. “In a democracy, those who decide who will lead are the people — the people, and no else.”

Netanyahu’s legal woes are partially responsible for an unprecedented year-long political deadlock that will see a third election in 11 months held on March 2, 2020. The election was called after Netanyahu twice failed to form a government, following the April 9 and September 17 elections. Challenger Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party also failed in his attempt to cobble together a ruling coalition last month.

The centrist Blue and White has refused to join a coalition either with Netanyahu as a prime minister under indictment or one that would require it to support parliamentary immunity for the longtime premier.

Israeli law stipulates that a prime minister is only required to resign after he or she is convicted of a serious crime and all appeals have been exhausted. But judicial precedent from the early 1990s and longstanding practice have set a stricter standard for other ministers, who have been forced to resign from their cabinet posts, at least temporarily, once indictments have been announced in their cases.

Header: Supreme Court President Esther Hayut (C) arrives for a High Court preliminary hearing on whether a lawmaker facing criminal indictment can be tapped to form a coalition, December 31, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Original: The Times of Israel

Despite pollution fears, gas flow begins from behemoth Leviathan field

Noble Energy performs gas rig flushing test overnight, and begins extracting gas and sending it to Israel, overruling opposition from locals, environmentalists.

The Environmental Protection Ministry said Monday that Noble Energy and its partners had met all the necessary conditions to begin pumping gas, paving the way for the rigs to begin extracting the estimated 22 trillion cubic feet of gas trapped underground.

At 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, Noble was to begin a gas rig test that is necessary ahead of starting operations. Several hours later gas began flowing, and was set to reach a peak in the early afternoon, according to Channel 13 news.

The first gas will reach Israel’s shores via the pipes within 24 to 48 hours from the start of production, the companies estimated.

Located in the Mediterranean Sea 125 kilometers (77 miles) west of Haifa, the Leviathan field is estimated to hold 22 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, and a potential half a million barrels of oil, according to estimates provided by the partners in the field.

Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. and its partners in Leviathan — including Delek Drilling LP, a unit of the Delek Group Ltd., and Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP — discovered the field, one of the largest deep-water natural gas finds in the world, in 2010. The project is the largest funded by private capital in Israel’s history.

Noble and its partners have invested $3.75 billion to date in the first stage of development of the reservoir, the companies have said. The nearby Tamar field —  Israel’s second-largest find, also owned by Noble, Delek and Israeli firm Isramco Negev 2, LP — started producing gas in 2013 and has been supplying the country. It holds some 10 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, half of the amount held in Leviathan.

The two fields, along with the smaller Karish and Tanin fields that are set to start production in 2021, are seen as a bonanza for a nation that has traditionally been starved of natural resources. They also provide a stable source of locally produced energy from four different fields, leading to a more secure supply that is enough to feed all of Israel’s electricity needs for decades.

The Leviathan partners have signed two significant export contracts, with Egypt and Jordan, which are seen to help strengthen ties with the two neighboring countries with which Israel has peace agreements.

Israel has been exporting gas from the Tamar field to Jordan since January 2017, but the Leviathan deals are considered to be bigger and more significant for the economy.

This pilot had a surprise waiting for him…

The Dassault M.D.450 Ouragan (French: Hurricane) is a French fighter-bomber developed and produced by Dassault Aviation.

While in Israeli service, the type participated in both the Suez Crisis and the Six-Day War.

During the 1956 Suez Crisis, Ouragans principally flew ground-attack missions, but also flew escort missions. In the early hours of 30 October 1956, a pair of Ouragans shot down four hostile de Havilland Vampires in the Mitla Pass area. The two documented encounters between the Soviet-built MiG-15 fighters and the Ouragan (which were also powered by the Nene engine but furnished with a more modern swept wing) ended with one Ouragan surviving several 37 mm (1.46 in) cannon hits to fly the next day and one MiG-15 being heavily damaged by cannon fire after it entered a turning dogfight with the Ouragans. The poor training of the Egyptian pilots who were consistently unable to realize their advantage in numbers as well as the MiG-15’s speed and climb characteristics, helped Ouragans to survive despite their inferior performance.

On 31 October 1956, a pair of Ouragans armed with rockets strafed the Egyptian destroyer Ibrahim el Awal (ex-HMS Mendip), contributing to the capture of the ship. According to Munson, Israeli Ouragans were responsible for the destruction of a major proportion of the hostile tanks and military vehicles that came under aerial attack during the conflict, while only two Ouragans were lost during the five days of fighting, both of which were attributed to small arms fire. The Commander-in-Chief of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is reported to have later stated “The Ouragan was a much better aeroplane than had been thought”

Lawyer for Monsey stabbing suspect requests mental evaluation

The lawyer for Monsey stabbing suspect Grafton Thomas said on Monday he has requested a mental evaluation for his client, News 12 Hudson Valley reported.

Speaking at a news conference following his indictment, the attorney, Michael Sussman, described a long history of alleged mental illness.

Sussman says the 37-year-old from Greenwood Lake has been hospitalized for mental illness. He noted Thomas was prescribed multiple medications for serious depression.

The attorney added he had requested a 30-day mental health evaluation after speaking to Grafton behind bars, who he claimed appears to be suffering from hallucinations and is allegedly hearing voices.

…how convenient !

Russia & Ukraine strike last-minute gas transit deal to avoid stoppage of energy supplies to Europe

The package deal inked between the Russian company and Ukraine has restored the balance of interests between the parties, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said, noting that the Russian energy giant “has made everything possible and has proved one more time that it is a responsible supplier and a reliable partner.”

The agreement will ensure the transit of Russian gas through pipelines on Ukrainian territory for the next five years, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed, adding that Kiev is set to receive over $7 billion from Moscow under the deal.

After the current contract expires, the parties will have an option to extend the deal for another 10 years, Zelensky wrote in a Facebook post late on Monday.

Pursuant to the deal, Ukraine’s Naftogaz will transmit 65 billion cubic meters of Russian gas in 2020 and 40 billion cubic meters annually in the 2021-2024 period, the Ukrainian leader confirmed.

All legal issues that existed between the two companies have been settled, Gazprom confirmed in a statement, noting that the parties also agreed not to initiate any lawsuits with respect to the 2009 transit contract that expires in January.

The two sides signed the documents on Monday following a marathon five days of negotiations in Vienna, with the old agreement due to expire on December 31.

Last week, Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement “in principle” to extend the gas contract, and they have been working on the final documents since then. The delegations had to determine how Russia’s Gazprom will cooperate with the Ukrainian operator of the national gas system, and how the transit of the blue fuel will be organized, as well as finalizing an agreement to drop reciprocal claims.

Terracotta Warriors receive reinforcements as 220 additional soldiers discovered, including new ranks

Archaeologists working on the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang have announced the discovery of an additional 220 soldiers in the world-famous Terracotta Army after almost a decade of painstaking excavation.

12 terracotta horses and a variety of weapons were also found.

The team has been excavating the tomb since 2009, covering an area of ​​about 500,000 square meters. The site is riddled with a vast array of artifacts including pottery, bronze, jade, a small amount of gold, silver, and iron and the aforementioned Terracotta Warriors.

© Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

Amid the well-preserved artifacts, including military tripods, crossbows, golden sabers and everyday items such as spoons, plates, tinctures and kettles, the researchers also discovered the earliest-known golden camel excavated in China.

Further study of this artifact in particular may provide important information about trade between the West and the Chinese Empire predating the Silk Road.

Header: © Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

Chinese scientist who claimed to create first-ever ‘gene-edited’ babies sentenced to 3yrs in prison

He Jiankui announced in 2018 that he had altered the genes of twin girls, Lulu and Nana, to make them resistant to HIV.

Reports suggest that he was involved in the birth of one more gene-edited baby. While the Chinese geneticist said he “felt proud” of the breakthrough, the scientific community met the news with deep hostility, accusing Jiankui of ethics violations.

He Jiankui received three years in jail and a fine of 3 million yuan (US$430,000) on charges of illegally practicing medicine. Two of his colleagues were also handed prison sentences and fines.

The Chinese court’s verdict comes 11 months after Beijing announced that it would prosecute He for his gene-editing activities. An investigative team accused the scientists of self-funding the project to “seek personal fame.” According to the court sentence, cited by Xinhua News Agency, the scientists “deliberately violated national regulations in scientific research and medical treatment.”

Header: Scientist He Jiankui attends the International Summit on Human Genome Editing at the University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong, China November 28, 2018. ©  REUTERS/Stringer

Opinion: Most US Jews don’t care about anti-Semitic violence against the ultra-orthodox

Over the course of the year, the number of hate crimes committed against Jews in New York City has risen exponentially, nearly doubling from 2018. The victims in these cases were almost all Haredi Jews, generally living in Orthodox enclaves in Brooklyn.

This epidemic of anti-Semitic crime should have generated a massive response from the organized Jewish world. In the wake of the synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway, California, worries about threats of violence against Jews have become a priority for leading organizations and activists in the community, and have created an atmosphere of fear that led to guards being posted at Jewish places of worship throughout the country. But the situation in New York was largely ignored or downplayed both by many Jewish groups and the media.

After a shooting rampage in nearby Jersey City that ended at a kosher grocery frequented by Orthodox Jews and left four people dead, as well as a surge of attacks against Jews in Brooklyn throughout December culminating in a Hanukkah stabbing attack at a rabbi’s home in Monsey that left five wounded, the targeting of Haredi Jews is something that can no longer be dismissed or ignored. Or can it?

Political Bias

The latest incidents did prompt statements of outrage and solidarity from liberal and mainstream Jewish groups. And local authorities in New York are finally responding by stepped-up police patrols in the Brooklyn neighborhoods where assaults of Jews have been happening on a daily basis in recent weeks.

Yet it is still doubtful whether the welfare of the group that has been singled out in this fashion will maintain the attention of the rest of the Jewish community, let alone the news media that is still treating these incidents as primarily a local story rather than one of national significance.

The reason for such skepticism is based on two factors: politics and the antagonism that exists between the ultra-Orthodox and the rest of American Jewry.

The Pittsburgh atrocity captured the imagination of most American Jews in a way that the attacks on the ultra-Orthodox do not because the murderer in this case was a white supremacist, someone who could be easily identified with forces most American Jews already fear and despise, and the victims looked like most American Jews.

Ever since U.S. President Donald Trump conflated opposition to the removal of Confederate statues with support for an August 2017 neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, his critics have alleged that he encouraged extremists and that his coarsening of the tone of American discourse has created an atmosphere in which hatred has thrived. Yet in the overwhelming majority of the reported incidents of violence against the ultra-Orthodox in the New York area, including both the Jersey City and Monsey attacks, the assailants have been African-Americans who are unlikely to be influenced by Trump or white supremacists.

In the age of Trump, in which partisan blinders impact opinion about every conceivable issue, anti-Semitism has also been politicized. Right and left are solely focused on crimes that can be attributed to political opponents and downplay those that can be linked to allies. So it is little surprise that U.S. Jews, who are overwhelmingly liberal, have not be galvanized into action by incidents that don’t fit into their preconceived notions about hatred.

Most American Jews are also reluctant to criticize the African-American community, even if only to lament that most black political and communal leaders have been slow to condemn the anti-Semitism behind these attacks.

Jew v. Jew

But there is another factor involved that may be even more important in shaping Jewish opinion as well as the media coverage: prejudice against or indifference to the sensibilities of the ultra-Orthodox.

Earlier this year Orthodox Jews expressed resentment at the Reform movement for seemingly granting absolution to Reverend Al Sharpton, who though currently an ally in the anti-Trump “resistance,” was credibly accused of race baiting and inciting anti-Semitic violence against both Haredim and Jewish-owned businesses located in black neighborhoods in the past.

More recently, Rabbi Jonah Pesner, the head of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism successfully urged the movement’s biennial convention to endorse reparations for African-Americans because of the legacy of slavery. He did so while scolding Jews for the “racism” that still existed in “synagogues,” a comment that seemed more like a jibe thrown at other denominations rather than Reform self-criticism.

Though their numbers are increasing due to high birth rates while the liberal denominations are facing demographic problems caused by intermarriage and assimilation, the most recent reliable Jewish population study shows that Orthodox Jews still make up only 10 percent of U.S. Jewry. Those numbers will likely shift in the future, but that is a community about which little is known among the overwhelming majority of American Jews, who affiliate with the liberal Reform and Conservative movements or who are, as the authoritative Pew Survey termed them, “Jews of no religion.” And with the exception of outreach from Chabad emissaries, most of their interactions tend to revolve around “Jew-versus-Jew” disputes in which secular and liberal Jews regard the ultra-Orthodox who move into their neighborhoods as a threat to their lifestyle and property values.

Can there be any doubt that if Jews who looked like those who attend Reform or Conservative synagogues or who go to no synagogue at all — rather than those whose clothing marks them as ultra-Orthodox — were being systematically targeted in the way that the Haredim have been, Jewish anger would have been far greater than the generally low-key outcry that is being heard even after Jersey City and Monsey?

While the surge in anti-Semitic violence ought to trouble everyone, the inability of most American Jews to identify with the ultra-Orthodox is as important as the fact that such incidents don’t validate their political biases. Unless and until liberal Jews start treating the fear among Haredi Jews about violence from a minority of African-Americans as being of equal importance to their own concerns about white supremacists, it’s likely that what is happening in New York will remain of marginal interest to them.

Original: HAARETZ

Article by Jonathan S. Tobin – editor in chief of the Jewish News Syndicate and a columnist for the New York Post.

Header: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez,AP

One Lesson from Monsey and New Jersey

There is a Midrash in Aicha Rabba (chapter two) that is very instructive.  It tells us (in the reverse order that follows):  If they tell you that there is Torah among the goyim, do not believe it.  If they tell you that there is wisdom among the goyim – believe it.

On Motzaei Shabbos, a man stabbed five people with a machete, as they celebrated Chanukah next to Rabbi Roottenburg’s shul in Monsey.

Within 24 hours of this horrific event, a man pulled out a shotgun at a Texas church service and fired on worshippers Sunday, killing two people.  In the second incident, the man was shot to death by two congregants who fired back, according to the police.

Regarding the second incident, authorities at a Sunday evening news conference praised the two congregants who opened fire as part of a volunteer security team at the West Freeway Church in White Settlement.

“This team responded quickly and within six seconds, the shooting was over. Two of the parishioners who were volunteers of the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately, saving untold number of lives,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Authorities said there were more than 240 parishioners in the West Freeway Church at the time of the shooting.

Perhaps no where can we see this Midrash better applied than in the two events occurring within one day of each other. 

There is another important concept within Torah Judaism.  Hashem sends us directional signals in how to conduct ourselves in life.  We find this idea in the ninth chapter of the Rambam’s Hilchos Teshuvah.  We receive brachos and klalos as directional signals.

There is no question that there were remarkable heroes in the Monsey incident.  Jews fought with the attacker to prevent tragedy.  One threw a coffee table at him and tried to get the attacker to follow him outside – so that others not get hurt.  A Chasidish gentleman made every effort that the attacker not enter the synagogue next door.

All this is true, but the horrific tragedies in New Jersey, and in Monsey, should cause us, perhaps, to rethink the manner in which we observe a certain halacha.  It is not that halacha should change.  Rather, changing circumstances leads us to the application of different aspects of halacha.

The question is: Does the current situation warrant that a number of responsible and well-trained members of shuls and administrators in yeshivos should, where it is legal, arm themselves with guns at this point?

This author believes that it should, and here is why.

The Background:

The Gemorah (Brachos 54b) tells us that Tefillah, prayer, lengthens a person’s life. A long knife or sword, on the other hand, shortens a person’s life. The Orchos Chaim cites the Maharam of Rottenberg that based upon this dichotomy, a Jew should not bring a sword or long knife into shul. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 151:6) rules in accordance with this view, although some Poskim have stated that this ruling of the Shulchan Aruch is really more of a piece of ethical advice rather than psak Halacha.

The Gemorah in Sanhedrin (82a) cites the fact that Pinchas arose from the congregation and he took a spear in his hand. The Gemorah explains that from here we see that a weapon is forbidden in the Beis haMidrash.

The Situation Today

First and foremost, the issue of Pikuach Nefesh supersedes the halacha of not bringing a weapon into shul.  The Torah tells us v’chai bahem – and we shall live by the Torah – not die by them.

Secondly, having armed individuals in shul can save lives, and saving life is a fundamental Mitzvah. What is the source of this Mitzvah? The verse in Parshas Ki Taytzai (Dvarim 22:2) discusses the Mitzvah of Hashavas Aveida, returning an object, with the words “vahashaivoso lo – and you shall return it to him.”

The Gemorah in Sanhedrin (73a), however, includes within its understanding of these words the obligation of returning “his own life to him as well.”  For example, if thieves are threatening to pounce upon him, there is an obligation of “vahashaivoso lo.” In other words, this verse is the source for the Mitzvah of saving someone’s life. I believe this is the general mitzvah the Shulchan Aruch refers to in Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim 325.

Lo Saamod Al Dam Rayacha

There is a negative Mitzvah of not standing idly by your brother’s blood as well.  This is mentioned in Shulchan Aruch (CM 426:1) and in the Rambam.  Collectively, if we adopt such a policy in having armed people in every Beis Midrash in Eretz Yisroel, we can ensure that we do not stand idly by our brother’s blood.

Lo Suchal l’hisalaym

There is yet another negative commandment associated with the positive commandment of Hashavas Aveida, and that is the verse in Dvarim (22:3), “You cannot shut your eyes to it.”  This verse comes directly after the Mitzvah of Hashavas Aveidah. The Netziv (HeEmek Sheailah) refers to this Mitzvah as well.

V’Chai Achicha Imach

The Sheiltos (Sheilta #37), based upon the Gemorah in Bava Metziah 62a,  understands these words to indicate an obligation to save others with you.  The Netziv in his He’Emek She’ailah understands it as a full-fledged obligation according to all opinions. He writes that he must exert every effort to save his friend’s life – until it becomes Pikuach Nefesh for himself.

V’Ahavta l’Rayacha Kamocha

The Ramban, Toras haAdam Shaar HaSakana (p42-43) understands the verse of “and love thy neighbor as yourself” as a directive to save him from danger as well. Although he discusses the issue of medical danger, it is clear that this is an example, and it would apply to danger from physical enemies as well. Even without the Ramban, however, it is clear that defending and protecting someone from danger is a fulfillment of this Mitzvah.

There are authorities (Rabbeinu Peretz, TaZ 151:2, and Eliyahu Rabbah 151:10) that write that the halacha is limited to a long knife or a sword that cannot be covered. If it is a smaller and coverable knife, these Poskim are lenient. It would seem to me that a handgun may be similarly covered and thus would not present a problem according to these authorities. While this may be a minority view, when dealing with issues of danger to life, one may rely upon minority opinions.

Both Rav Eliezer Waldenburg (Tzitz Eliezer Vol. X #18) Rav Ovadiah Yosef (Yechave Daas Vol. V #18) rule that Israeli soldiers may hold on to their guns in shul when necessary.  The idea presented here is merely an extension of that ruling in light of the new dangers in this Intifada.

Just like we have fire exits in this country, the hanhalah of our mosdos should consider making sure that there are responsible and adequately trained staff members or kollel members that are both present and armed. There should be an armed presence in our mosdos 24 hours a day.

Idna D’Rischa

From a theological perspective, we have perhaps entered what Chazal term as an, “Idna d’rischa.” One of my rebbeim, Rav Dovid Kviat zichron kadosh v’tzaddik livracha, once explained that there are two manners in which Hashem judges the world. He judges with both Midas HaDin, the attribute of Strict Judgement, and with Midas HaRachamim, the attribute of Mercy.

Generally speaking, Hashem judges us with Midas HaRachamim. However, there are times in Jewish history known as an idna derischa: periods of Divine Anger. The Gemorah in Menachos (43a) tells us that generally Hashem does not punish people for abnegating a Mitzvas Assei, a positive Mitzvah in the Torah.  We are only punished for violating negative prohibitions. However, in a period of Divine Anger, we are punished for negating positive Mitzvos too.

Rav Kviat explained that there is an idea found in Sefer Dvarim (31:18) of “Hester Panim”, where Hashem, so to speak, hides His face.

In an idna derischa, Hashem ceases to judge with Midas HaRachamim. He judges instead with Midas HaDin. Midas HaDin is almost unfathomable to the mortal mind in terms of its sheer strictness. No one wishes to be judged with the Midas HaDin.

What Hashem did during the Holocaust, a period of idna derischa, was to invoke the idea of Hester Panim – where He hid Himself. Hitler and his Nazis y”s could use their freedom of choice here because it was an idna derischa and there was divine Hester Panim. The Hester Panim, however, is limited to the point of Midas HaDin.

With such dangers facing Klal Yisroel, we must take steps to ensure the safety of our shuls and Bnei Yeshiva in whatever way we can. This recent tragedy brings this idea home. It goes without saying that it should never involve breaking the law, and it should be done with the cooperation of the local police departments.

May Hashem bring yeshuos and nechamos to His nation and end this period of Divine Anger.


Original: Vos Iz Neias

An Op-ed By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5TJT.com

Header: Ramapo police officers escort Grafton Thomas from Ramapo Town Hall to a police vehicle, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Ramapo, N.Y. Thomas is accused of stabbing multiple people as they gathered to celebrate Hanukkah at a rabbi’s home in the Orthodox Jewish community north of New York City. (AP Photo/Julius Constantine Motal)

IDF source: Female tank officers face ‘physical and mental difficulties’

The IDF will soon need to submit a response to an appeal demanding that it integrate female tank soldiers into the Armored Corps.

The appeal, submitted to the Supreme Court, follows a pilot run integrating female tank soldiers for the first time in Israel’s history.

A source in the Armored Corps spoke Saturday night about the mental and physical difficulties faced by female tank soldiers during their service, Ynet reported. These difficulties, revealed during the pilot program, contradict senior officials’ claims last year that the experiment had been successful.

The source in question claimed that the female tank soldiers participating in the pilot program had difficulties loading missiles into the tank in a significant number of instances, and showed “mental difficulties” during operational missions.

“A decision on the matter of whether or not to integrate female tank soldiers in future operations to protect Israel’s borders has not yet been made,” an IDF spokesperson said. “This issue will be settled in the future, based on the findings of the pilot program.”

The pilot, initiated under and supported by former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, came under fire from sources both in the IDF and out of it. Though the experiment was determined a success, the integration was frozen until a final decision is reached.

In September 2018, data received by Arutz Sheva showed that 46% of female combat officers failed their annual fitness exam.

In 2017, Arutz Sheva revealed an IDF document that painted a disturbing picture of the physiological prices paid by women in combat roles.

The document was written under the auspices of the chief of staff’s advisor on gender issues, and reveals that female combat soldiers have more health problems than their male counterparts: stress fractures, heat injuries, lower back pain and knee pain, anemia and urinary tract infections.

MERKAVASpecifications of models


Mark I


Mark II


Mark III


Mark IV


Primary armament 105 mm (4.1 in) M64 L71A

rifled tank gun

120 mm (4.7 in) MG251

smoothbore tank gun

120 mm (4.7 in) MG253

smoothbore tank gun

Ammunition capacity 53 to 62 rounds, 6 per container 46 rounds, 5 ready in a mechanical drum 48 rounds, 10 ready in an electrical drum
Secondary armament 2-3 × FN MAG58
1 × 60 mm externally-mounted Soltam mortar
12 smoke grenades launchers
2-3 × FN MAG58
1 × 60 mm internally-mounted Soltam mortar
12 smoke grenades launchers

Russia Will Start Testing Of S-500 Air Defense System In 2020

Russia will start preliminary tests of its state-of-the-art S-500 Prometheus air defense system in 2020, Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said on December 28.

The first serial model of the S-500 is expected to be delivered in 2025, Krivoruchko said in an interview with the defense ministry’s official newspaper Red Star.

The S-500 air defense system is designed to intercept long- and medium-range ballistic missiles as well as aircraft. The system is a further development of the current S-400 air defense system, which is capable of destroying targets at a distance of up to 400 km and a height of up to 30 km.

Op-Eds: The cost of Avigdor Liberman

The people in Israel are paying a cost in shekels caused by Avigdor Liberman and his YIsrael Beyteinu party that must be taken into account by every Israeli citizen who calculates which way he intends to vote in a few weeks time.

First and foremost he is the one person who is most responsible for the cost of the third election.  That money could have been used to build hospitals, schools and assist the poor elderly, including many elderly Russian immigrants. Billions of shekels have been and will be wasted, apart from the failure to form a stable government with the ability to tackle economic (and other myriad) challenges. There are also costs involved to business and working people when election days are held.

Liberman’s target voter audience has been mostly olim from Russia who are being exposed to his party’s diatribe labelling the million plus hareidi Jews living in Israel as a drain on the economy. He is a force aiming to change the lifestyle of Israel in favor of those who choose not to keep Shabbat and our traditions. He has been using language and incendiary antisemitic tropes, particularly regarding low IDF participation.

What could be further from the truth?

  • Financially these allegations ignore that there are many hareidi families where the males work, whilst three-quarters of their wives hold full-time jobs. They pay taxes. Even for things of which they disapprove.
  • Millions of dollars come in from abroad to support hareidi men who are leaning full-time, with yeshivas being built, fortunes donated, apartments purchased for them and whole communities assisted by this funding.
  • The Shabbat issue is an ideological and relgiious one, but also has economic implications. Firstly, Shabbat is a heavenly gift to us and shows the world – and ourselves – that this is the longed for Jewish State.. But allowing public transport and opening of businesses on our day of rest would eventually force many people to work instead of having a family day, discriminate against the religious whose businesses would remain closed. They and other small businesses would face ruin as their larger competition opens, spoiling of the quality of our lives as well.
  • As for the IDF, apart from the fact that we have Netzach Yehuda; Nachal Hareidi and other religious battalions, who is to measure the value of numbers who are in active service and those who study Torah and pray to G-d for our security?
  • The advances in technology have proved that men are now being replaced by drones, by intelligence and new inventions.  Of course, the Bible points to many military successes by the few against the mighty, as we learn on Hanukkah. Do we really need that  many more soldiers? How can the IDF possibly absorb large numbers of haredi men?
  • But most important is the demographic contribution that the hareidi population provides.  Human capital may not be costed in shekels. Without this Jews would not be in the majority in their own land, a must if Israel is to remain a Jewish and democratic country.

And there is a cost that Liberman never talks about.  He prefers putting citizen against citizen, blaming one group for costing the country too much. He never talks about the cost of bringing into Israel large numbers of Russian olim, hundreds of thousands who were non-Jewish and many of whom were ill, elderly and not able to work.

Israeli citizenry willingly took this upon themselves despite the cost because Israel does not measure immigration in financial terms. No one got up and said that these immigrants are a burden the way Liberman does about the observant Jews who have ensured Judaism’s survival through the ages and about those settling the historic land of Israel for ideological reasons (whom he arrogantly labels messianics).  Let’s take a look at the cost of immigration:

  • The cost of flights
  • The cost of settlement – beginning with a payment at the airport and continuing to subsidies costing tens of thousands of shekels per family.
  • Cost of health plans and healthcare for every Russian immigrant, including the elderly and those who came with previous conditions
  • Cost of processing by government departments
  • Cost of ulpan language courses
  • Rental subsidies.

At least a quarter of these non-Jewish olim are using and used the generosity of Israel as a mere stopover before leaving to immigrate to other countries.  Many of the first generation of these migrants who choose the good life in Israel are not assimilating into Israeli society. Their children are often sent to pre-schools where the only language of instruction is Russian. Their tables feature “white meat” (the Hebrew expression for pork) and their custom of Xmas trees continues.  This second generation of children who are Israeli but not Jewish grow up in our schools and may end up marrying our children. That, too, is a price Israel is paying.

Liberman spent his formative years in Russia.  His language reflects his background. Slamming the hareidi population does not make him a “king-maker.”  The opposite. His actions have cost each and every citizen not only stability and peace of mind that there is a government doing its job, but actions that smell of an outsider intent on destroying the Jewish nature of Israel and its social fabric.

Analysing the million immigrants who came from Russia should lead to the same result as that of the Mizrachi Jews who came decades earlier, suffered greatly from prejudice on the part of some, but became a vibrant part of the Israeli mainstream population, religious, traditional and secular alike.

Many adults from Russian aliyah of the eighties are now deceased. Many have left the country. However, the second generation whose Jewish parents came from Russia grew up in Israel, enjoy the Israeli lifestyle and do not naturally read the online Russian news or newspapers. They should take a stance against Liberman and his party as they understand that outside forces are not what is good for Israel.

Liberman’s push to join this assimilatory trajectory will fail as this whole young generation will be educated here and thus more concerned with values, morality and stability, seeking out goodness and kindness, a way of life that is closer to Judaism in its essence.

It will be this generation of voters, the internet generation who can clearly see the cost of Liberman and his party’s havoc, the purposeful division that is being wreaked upon Israel and its society  As Abraham Lincoln is attributed to have said: “You can fool all of the people some the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Original: by Leonie Ben-Simon, 29/12/19, Arutz Sheva, Israel National News

5 Hasidic Jews stabbed in machete attack on rabbi’s house & synagogue during Hanukkah celebrations in Monsey, NY

At least five people have suffered multiple stabbing and slashing injuries following a gruesome machete attack during Hanukkah celebrations at a rabbi’s home next to a synagogue in Monsey, New York.

The perpetrator, allegedly a black male, broke into the house of Rabbi Rottenberg Shul around 9:50pm local time, armed with a machete and began slashing and stabbing people, chasing the victims as they tried to flee the bloody chaos.


According to some reports, he then tried to break into the adjacent synagogue, with people barricaded inside, but failed and fled the scene in a vehicle.

As the day progressed, New York police reportedly arrested a possible suspect in a car that matched the description of a vehicle used to escape the synagogue. The arrest was made by NYPD 32nd precinct, which oversees the northeast of Harlem.

There were at least five victims – all Hasidic Jews – according to the local Orthodox Jews Public Affairs Council. It is not clear if anyone was killed, but at least two of those rushed to the hospital are reportedly in critical condition.

The incident follows a string of anti-Semitic assaults in New York, including on Friday morning, when three young Jewish women were attacked in Brooklyn.

The victims, aged 22-31, were attacked with anti-Semitic shouts and violence while walking at approximately 1:00 a.m. on Kingston Avenue in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood.

The suspect was arrest and has been charged with harassment and committing a hate crime.

Later on Friday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned promised to increase police presence in Jewish neighborhoods.