JTA NEWS
24 July 2019 - 21 Tammuz 5779 - כ"א תמוז ה' אלפים תשע"ט
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Strong turnout for Pro-Palestinian march E-mail

Thousands of pro-Palestinian activists marched through central London for the National Demonstration for Palestine.

The marchers demonstrating on 12 May called to “free Palestine,” demanding for a “right of return” for Palestinians, and for the end to “unprecedented attacks on Palestinians by Israel”.

The event, which marks the 71st anniversary of the Nakba – or catastrophe, referring to the formation of the state of Israel – was organised by the Palestine Campaign. They are supported by and affiliated with the support of Stop the War Coalition, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Friends of Al-Aqsa, and the Muslim Association of Britain, as well as several trade unions and the Momentum faction of the Labour Party. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, offered his support to the demonstrators in a statement that he also posted on Facebook.

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Genesis Prize Foundation grants US$1 million toward Spacecraft Beresheet 2 E-mail

The Genesis Prize Foundation has granted US$1 million toward Beresheet 2, a second attempt to land an Israeli spacecraft on the moon. The first Beresheet mission crashlanded on the surface of the moon on 11 April.

“This grant deviates from our traditional philanthropy, which focuses on one initiative each year in partnership with our laureates. But in its essence, support of Beresheet 2 is exactly why we established our foundation: to inspire the Jewish people, to strengthen the bond between Israel and the Diaspora, and to instill a sense of pride in Israel’s achievements,” said Stan Polovets, co-founder and chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation.

Beresheet had cost nearly US$100 million, mostly funded by donors, and the results of an investigation into the crash will be published later this month.

Less than 48 hours after the crash, SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn announced the launch of the Beresheet 2 project. The South African-born billionaire donated much of the funding for the first effort.

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Newly elected Ukrainian President has Jewish roots E-mail

Volodymyr Zelensky, a Jewish actor and comedian, was sworn in as the country’s sixth president on 20 May.

Zelensky announced at the inauguration that he would dissolve the parliament and call early elections, which had been scheduled for October. In turn, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, also a fellow Jew, announced that he would resign.

Zelensky took the oath of office reportedly on a copy of the country’s constitution, and a 16th-century manuscript of the New Testament.

“We must become Icelandic in football, Israelis in defending our native land, and Japanese in technology,” he said at the swearing-in, the BBC reported.

Zelensky, who on his primetime television show plays a teacher thrust into the presidency through an unlikely chain of events, was elected last month with 73% of the vote, defeating incumbent Petro Poroshenko, who had been in power since 2014.

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CHINA SHOWCASES FIRST TEL-AVIV LIGHT RAIL VEHICLE OFF THE ASSEMBLY LINE E-mail

The first light rail vehicle (LRV) made for the city of Tel-Aviv, Israel, has been rolled off the production line in Changchun City, northeastern China.

The new metro car was developed by CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles and marks the first time in which a light train manufactured completely in China is entering a market of a developed country.

To meet security needs, the LRV has been custom built, with integrated explosion-proof designs, including a curved train roof, a non-ferromagnetic bottom, and blast-resistant windows to cope with rocks and explosive devices.

A special ceremony on 16 April was attended by representatives of CRRC and NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System, which is responsible for the light rail project on behalf of the Israeli government.

The white train body is designed to match the cultural heritage of the White City, the world’s largest collection of Bauhaus-style buildings, which is in Tel-Aviv. And the special traction control system, as well as the air-conditioning system, will enable smooth and pleasant trips in the hot and humid Mediterranean weather.

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British siblings among the victims of Sri Lankan bomb blasts E-mail

Two Jewish teenage siblings from London were among the more than 250 people murdered in terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka during the Easter holiday last month, the British media reported.

Amelie and Daniel Linsey, 15 and 19, who are dual citizens of the US and the UK, were members of Westminster synagogue, and were among eight British nationals killed during the massacre. Their father, Matthew Linsey, was also in Colombo but survived. The children died in a bombing at their hotel.

“When the bomb went off, it’s hard to describe ... It’s like a wave coming through of pressure,” he told a CNN reporter.

“They actually went down to the buffet and got the food for me and filled up my plate. And then I said I wanted a bit more. My daughter said ‘I’ll get it’, and then the bomb went off and they were both running towards me.”

Howard Leigh, president of the Westminster Synagogue and a lawmaker, made an emotional address in the British parliament. “While the intended target of this atrocity were clearly meant to be Christian, the terrorists’ bombs did not discriminate,” he said in the House of Lords.

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