First-ever Bahraini Ambassador to Israel Arrives; Gaza Border Riots Continue for Fourth Straight Day; FBI: Rise in Attacks on US Jews

Reprinted from Honest Reporting.

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Bahrain’s first-ever ambassador to Israel, Khaled Yousif al-Jalahma, arrived on Tuesday afternoon to take up his post following last year’s agreement between Jerusalem and Manama to normalize diplomatic ties. A statement carried by the state-run Bahrain News Agency touted al-Jalahma’s arrival as “an important step in developing relations between the two countries and their people.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry also hailed the event, saying in a statement that it “and the upcoming official opening of the Bahraini Embassy in Israel, mark an important step in developing the bilateral relations between the two countries and their peoples.”

The development comes weeks after Bahrain’s Undersecretary for International Relations, Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmad al-Khalifa, met with an Israeli military commander in charge of Iranian affairs while visiting the Jewish state. The public nature of the meeting was a further indication of the warming of ties between Israel and Bahrain, and their alignment against Tehran.

Jerusalem and Manama agreed in 2020 to establish diplomatic relations as part of the Abraham Accords, an initiative brokered by the Trump administration that has also seen the Jewish state normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco.

   

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Despite the ongoing unrest at Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem on Wednesday approved a series of steps to ease conditions for Gaza’s residents, including expanding the fishing zone off the coastal enclave to 15 nautical miles and opening the Kerem Shalom crossing to shipments of goods and equipment.

Bassam Ghabin, director of the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom cargo crossing, said that 30 truckloads of cement, 120 trucks of gravel and 15 trucks of steel entered Gaza on Tuesday. He said the materials began entering the day before and were now being transferred at nearly the same capacity as before May’s 11-day Hamas-initiated war.

Nevertheless, hundreds of Palestinians rioted along the Israel-Gaza border for a fourth straight night. Gazans from so-called “night confusion units” set tires ablaze and rolled them toward Israeli soldiers stationed along the frontier, and also lobbed improvised explosives at them. The units, which are affiliated with various terror factions, have said that the violence will continue until at least Thursday.

Speaking to defense officials Monday night, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi warned that “calm and security will allow an improvement in civil conditions [in Gaza], but rioting and terror will lead to a strong response or operation.”

   

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Hate crimes in the United States during 2020 rose to a 12-year high according to FBI statistics released this week, with attacks on Jews accounting for nearly 60 percent of religiously motivated offenses.

A total of 676 hate crimes targeting Jews were recorded by the FBI during a year defined by the COVID-19 lockdown, which dramatically reduced social contact in public places. The data showed that of these offenses, 94 involved physical assaults, 34 of them aggravated.

The FBI recorded a total of 7,759 hate crimes in 2020 — a six percent rise from the previous year and the most since 2008, when 7,783 hate crimes were reported. The number of crimes increased for the sixth consecutive year.

In a statement commenting on the FBI data, the Anti-Defamation League said that while the numbers gathered “were disturbing on their own,” the total was likely underreported because several law enforcement agencies did not participate in the data gathering process.

The American Jewish Committee said the statistics demonstrated that fighting antisemitism was a “national priority.”

   

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Approximately 2.5 million children in Israel on Wednesday were expected to return to in-person learning. Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, schools have sent testing kits to families, asking parents to screen all children under the age of twelve before attending classes to prevent transmission of the pathogen. Children in other age groups, including some vaccinated students, are also being given the tests by a few schools.

However, students in eighth through twelfth grade who are in classes that are only 70 percent vaccinated in cities with high infection rates must continue to learn remotely until higher immunization rates are reached.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett approved the reopening of schools and the implementation of new regulations following consultations with members of the coronavirus cabinet on Monday.

As part of the government’s additional COVID-19 restrictions, the Green Pass system will be extended to the education sector. School staff are now bound to the same system, with teachers who have not yet been vaccinated being required to receive antigen tests twice a week to ensure they remain uninfected.

   

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Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN), in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL) and JNF-USA, is celebrating a record-breaking summer in which 1,912 people made aliyah through the organization in August alone, surpassing the total of any other month in its history.

Throughout the summer more than 3,000 immigrants (olim) arrived in Israel, with NBN well on its way to hitting its target of 4,500-5,000 by the end of the calendar year.

The new immigrants consisted of 362 families, 391 singles and 160 retirees. The majority come from New York, New Jersey, California, Florida and Maryland, with Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Tel Aviv, Ra’anana and Modi’in being the top destinations for beginning their new lives.

Some 162 future soldiers and 39 national service volunteers are also slated to move to the Jewish state as part of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Lone Soldier Program and the Ori program for National Service volunteers, also run by NBN.

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