In Brief…

Netanyahu links Brussels attacks with Israel terror

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu linked the attacks on an airport and metro station in Brussels to terror attacks in Israel.

“The chain of attacks from Paris to San Bernardino, from Istanbul to the Ivory Coast and now to Brussels, and the daily attacks on Israel, this is one continuous assault on all of us,” Netanyahu said in an address via satellite to the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C. “In all these cases, the terrorists have no resolvable grievances. What they seek is our utter destruction,” he said. “We won’t let that happen.”

At least 34 people were killed and dozens injured in the twin bombings at Zaventem Airport and at a metro station in central Brussels. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying it was in response to Belgium’s participation in the U.S.-led coalition fighting against the group.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas strongly condemned the bombing attacks, and offered his sympathy to families of those killed and injured, the Wafa Palestinian news agency reported. Abbas also “affirmed that the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people abhor terrorism and reject attacking civilians.”

The attack came two days after a suicide bomber detonated himself near a group of Israeli tourists at a restaurant in Istanbul. Turkish reports said the bomber targeted the Israelis. Three of the four fatalities were Israelis. (JTA)


Final group of Yemini Jews airlifted to Israel

A group of the last remaining Jews from Yemen arrived in Israel in a secret operation coordinated by the Jewish Agency for Israel.

The 19 Jews who arrived include 14 from Raydah, including the community’s rabbi, and a family of five from Sanaa, the capital. The rabbi brought with him a 500- to 600-year-old Torah scroll, the Jewish Agency said in a statement. It was later reported that the Yemeni government arrested two men for helping the rabbi take the historic Torah out of the country. The Yemeni government claims ownership.

The Sanaa family included the son of Aharon Zindani, who was killed in an anti-Semitic attack in 2012. Zindani’s widow and several of their children made aliyah shortly after the attack, and his body was brought to Israel for burial.

Some 200 Jews have been secretly brought to Israel from Yemen by The Jewish Agency in recent years, including several dozen in recent months, as attacks against the Jewish community have increased and the country has become embroiled in civil war.

“This is a highly significant moment in the history of Israel and of aliyah,” Natan Sharansky, chairman of the executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, said in a statement. “From Operation Magic Carpet in 1949 until the present day, The Jewish Agency has helped bring Yemenite Jewry home to Israel. Today we bring that historic mission to a close. This chapter in the history of one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities is coming to an end, but Yemenite Jewry’s unique, 2,000-year-old contribution to the Jewish people will continue in the State of Israel.”

More than 51,000 Yemenite Jews have immigrated to Israel since the country’s establishment in 1948. The majority of the community–nearly 50,000 people–was brought to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet in 1949 and 1950. (JTA)


NON-VIOLENCE Palestinian teacher wins $1M prize

A Palestinian teacher raised in a West Bank refugee camp was named Global Teacher of the Year and awarded a prize of $1-million for her work bringing dialogue and peaceful resolution practices to students who have been exposed to violence.

Hanan Al Hroub, who received the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize at a ceremony in Dubai on Mar. 13, returned to the West Bank three days later for a Jericho reception in her honor, the Times of Israel reported.

According to the website of the Global Teacher Prize, a curriculum Al Hroub has developed called “No to Violence” has “led to a decline in violent behavior in schools where this is usually a frequent occurrence; she has inspired her colleagues to review the way they teach, their classroom management strategies and the sanctions they use.”

A teacher at Samiha Khalil High School in al-Bireh, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Al Hroub said she plans to use the prize money to create scholarships for students who want to become teachers and to help fund teaching programs that use her methods.

“I am proud to be a Palestinian female teacher standing on this stage,” she said in her acceptance speech in Dubai.

As she accepted her award, Palestinians in the audience waved the Palestinian flag and some chanted, “With our souls, our blood, we sacrifice for you, Palestine.” (JTA)

PRAYER… Israel only country where more men pray

Israel is the only country in the world where a higher percentage of men say they engage in daily prayer than women, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

The study, which draws on data from more than 2,500 censuses and surveys taken over the last few years in 192 countries, found that women generally are more religious than men. An estimated 83.4 percent of women worldwide identify with a faith group, compared to 79.9 percent among men, according to the study titled “The Gender Gap in Religion Around the World.”

Women in Christian countries report more weekly attendance at religious services than men, but the opposite is true in majority Muslim countries and in Israel. This is due in large part to religious norms that prioritize male worship participation in Muslim and Orthodox Jewish societies, the study found.

In the 84 countries for which data were available, women said they pray daily at a rate 8 percentage points higher than men. Women pray daily more than men in 43 of those countries. With the exception of Israel, the two genders pray daily at roughly equal rates in the remainder of the countries.

Israel is also an outlier in the gender gap when it comes to the question of whether respondents considered religion very important to them personally. In 36 of 84 countries, more women than men said religion was very important to them, and in 46 countries roughly equal proportions of each sex said religion was very important, the study found. Only in Israel and Mozambique did more men than women say religion is very important to them. (JTA)

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