Yeshiva World News

Homeland Security Says Border Arrests Fall More Than 40% Since Biden’s Halt To Asylum Processing

Arrests for illegal border crossings dropped more than 40% during the three weeks that asylum processing has been suspended, the Homeland Security Department said Wednesday. The Border Patrol’s average daily arrests over a seven-day period have fallen below 2,400, down more than 40% from before President Joe Biden’s proclamation took effect June 5. That’s still above the 1,500 mark needed to resume asylum processing, but Homeland Security says it marks the lowest number since Jan. 17, 2021, less than a week before Biden took office. Last week, Biden, a Democrat, said border arrests had fallen 25% since his order took effect, indicating they have decreased much more since then. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was scheduled to address reporters Wednesday in Tucson, Arizona, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings during much of the last year. U.S. authorities say the seven-day daily average of arrests in the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector was just under 600 on Tuesday, down from just under 1,200 on June 2. Under the suspension, which takes effect when daily arrests are above 2,500, anyone who expresses that fear or an intention to seek asylum is screened by a U.S. asylum officer but at a higher standard than currently used. If they pass the screening, they can pursue more limited forms of humanitarian protection, including the U.N. Convention Against Torture. Advocacy groups have sued the Biden administration to block the measure. (AP)

Making Sense of The Lakewood Tragedy

As we find ourselves collectively at a loss as to how to wrap our minds around what transpired yesterday, there are factors that must be understood and considered. Our difficulties making sense of all of this are only further compounded by the media that are simply reporting facts without context. This reporting only instills unfounded fear in our children. Events such as this cause us to question all that we know. However, There are things that we do know for certain. Mental health issues must be understood and treated appropriately. When they are not, the outcomes are so very unfortunate. As a community we are always looking out for each other and wanting to help. This must extend to mental health as well. When it is that we are aware of someone that may be struggling with anything mental health related, or having difficulty managing, we must get past our bashfulness and reach out to appropriate parties, such as our Rabbanim to help facilitate that person getting the help that they need. Klal Yisroel has many wonderful organizations that are here to help our community by providing mental health resources. However, they cannot be helpful to anyone if they are not contacted. While there has been an increase in mental health awareness within the community, it is still far from where it needs to be. Mental illness is just as real as any physical illness, even though externally we cannot see it. We must accept this reality and respond as such. There are so many that are suffering in silence without having the clinical care or support that we need. We can no longer allow this to continue. We have to be proactive in making sure that appropriate care is getting received and supported. Our pain and dismay cannot be for naught, it must galvanize as a community to be there for our brothers and sisters who are suffering.

HaRav Bergman: “HaRav Shach, Z’tl, Said A Draft Law Is A Gezeiras Shmad”

HaGaon HaRav Meir Tzvi Bergman, Zakein Chevrei Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah, wrote a sharply worded letter following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday mandating the recruitment of bnei yeshivos. HaRav Bergman began his letter by quoting Tehillim: “כי הנה אויבך יהמיון ומשנאיך נשאו ראש” – L’Acheinu Beis Yisrael lomdei haTorah hachareidim l’devar Hashem.” “The matter is clear that we are obligated to the laws of the Torah only, and any law that is contrary to the laws of the Torah is batel u’mvutal [nullified] like the dust of the earth. And my father-in-law Rabbeinu HaGadol HaGaon HaRav Eliezer Menachem Shach, z’tl, already instructed that a recruitment decree of bnei yeshivos is a gezeirah of shmad, against the Torah HaKedoshah, and we need to fight against it with mesirus nefesh with all our might.” “Writing and signing with pain and tza’ar for the kiyum of Torah in Eretz Yisrael,” HaRav Bergman concluded the letter. It should be noted that on Tuesday, minutes after the Court’s ruling was announced, HaRav Bergman said: “This isn’t nogea for us, they voted, they didn’t vote… we have the Torah HaKedoshah, we have our yeshivos.” HaRav Bergman previously addressed the topic of a draft decree in April, stating: “And I already wrote [in 2000] in the name of Rabbeinu HaGadol Rosh HaYeshivah [HaRav Shach, z’tl], that if it becomes נוגע למעשה – to publicize to the public in his name that the gezeirah of the recruitment of bnei hayeshivos is a gezeiras shmad [שמד] and it’s necessary to be moser nefesh for it like it’s explained in the Shulchan Orech Yoreh De’ah.” “And therefore, if we are tested in this, we must oppose it with all our strength, to the point of mesirus nefesh.” (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

Most Americans Plan To Watch The Biden-Trump Debate, And Many See High Stakes

Most U.S. adults plan to watch some element of Thursday’s presidential debate and many think the event will be important for the campaigns of both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Both men remain broadly unpopular as they prepare to face off for the first time since 2020, although Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, maintains a modest enthusiasm advantage with his base compared to Biden, the Democratic incumbent. About 6 in 10 U.S. adults say they are “extremely” or “very” likely to watch the debate live or in clips, or read about or listen to commentary about the performance of the candidates in the news or social media. The poll suggests tens of millions of Americans are likely to see or hear about at least part of Thursday’s debate despite how unusually early it comes in the campaign season. Both Biden and Trump supporters view the debate as a major test for their candidate — or just a spectacle not to miss. “I think it’s super important,” said Victoria Perdomo, a 44-year-old stay-at-home mom and a Trump supporter in Coral Springs, Florida. “It shows America what you’re going to see for the next four years.” Nic Greene, a libertarian who is a registered independent, said he’ll likely vote for Trump as the “least worst candidate.” He doesn’t think debates do much to help voters make decisions, but he’s expecting to be entertained and plans to listen to post-debate analysis on podcasts. “I think the majority of people have their minds made up with or without these debates,” he said. “It’s a circus.” Both sides see the debate as important About half, 47%, of Americans say the debate is “extremely” or “very” important for the success of Biden’s campaign and about 4 in 10 say it’s highly important for Trump’s campaign. About 3 in 10 Americans say it is at least “very” important for both campaigns. Most Democrats, 55%, think the upcoming debate is extremely or very important for the success of the Biden campaign. About half of Republicans, 51%, say the same thing about the importance of the debate for the Trump campaign. Only about one-third of independents say the debate, taking place at a CNN studio in Atlanta, is highly important for either campaign. Arthur Morris, a 40-year-old operations manager at a major financial firm, is an undecided voter open to Biden, Trump or a third-party option such as independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. He, along with a significant share of Americans, has doubts about the mental capabilities of the aging candidates, and sees Biden’s debate performance as an important test. “I need Biden to demonstrate to me that he’s cogent enough to be able to hold this office and execute to the level that we need him to,” Morris said. Trump, meanwhile, needs to show he can be trusted after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol in which Trump supporters disrupted the certification of his 2020 loss to Biden and Trump’s recent conviction in a hush money scheme, said Murray, of Lewiston, Ohio. About 4 in 10 say they are likely to watch or listen to some or all of the debate live, while a similar share say […]

WSJ Reporter Goes On Trial In Russia On Espionage Charges That He And His Employer Deny

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich went on trial behind closed doors in Yekaterinburg on Wednesday, 15 months after his arrest in the Russian city on espionage charges that he, his employer and the U.S. government vehemently deny. The 32-year-old journalist appeared in the court in a glass defendants’ cage, his head shaved and wearing a black-and-blue plaid shirt. A yellow padlock was attached to the cage. Journalists were allowed into the courtroom for a few minutes before the proceedings were closed. Also briefly permitted in court were two consular officers from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, according to the embassy. The hearing ended after about two hours, and the next one was scheduled for Aug. 13, court officials said. Jay Conti, executive vice president and general counsel for Dow Jones, publisher of the Journal, described the trial as a sham in an interview with The Associated Press. “He was an accredited journalist doing journalism, and this is a sham trial, bogus charges that are completely trumped up,” Conti said. The American-born son of immigrants from the USSR, Gershkovich is the first Western journalist arrested on espionage charges in post-Soviet Russia. Authorities arrested Gershkovich when he was on a reporting trip to Yekaterinburg, in the Ural Mountains, and claimed he was gathering secret information for the U.S. The State Department has declared him “wrongfully detained,” thereby committing the government to assertively seek his release. The Journal has worked diligently to keep the case in the public eye and it has become an issue in the combative months leading up to the U.S. presidential election. After his arrest on March 29, 2023, Gershkovich was held in Moscow’s notoriously dismal Lefortovo Prison. He has appeared healthy during court hearings in which his appeals for release have been rejected. “Evan has displayed remarkable resilience and strength in the face of this grim situation,” U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy said on the first anniversary of his arrest. Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in prison if the court finds him guilty, which is almost certain. Russian courts convict more than 99% of the defendants who come before them, and prosecutors can appeal sentences that they regard as too lenient, and they even can appeal acquittals. In addition, Russia’s interpretation of what constitutes high crimes like espionage and treason is broad, with authorities often going after people who share publicly available information with foreigners and accusing them of divulging state secrets. Paul Whelan, an American corporate security executive, was arrested in Moscow for espionage in 2018 and is serving a 16-year sentence. Gershkovich’s arrest came about a year after President Vladimir Putin pushed through laws that chilled journalists, criminalizing criticism of what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine and statements seen as discrediting the military. Foreign journalists largely left the country after the laws’ passage; many trickled back in subsequent months, but there were concerns about whether Russian authorities would act against them. After he was detained, fears rose that Russia was targeting Americans as animosity between Moscow and Washington grew. Last year, Alsu Kurmasheva, a reporter with dual American-Russian citizenship for the U.S. government-funded Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe was arrested for alleged violation of the law requiring so-called “foreign agents” to register. Another dual national, Los Angeles resident Ksenia Karelina, is on […]

END OF AN ERA: Everett Fortune, Yeshiva Darchei Torah’s Longtime Beloved Security Guard, Passes Away After Lengthy Illness

Everett Fortune, the 35-year security chief at Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway, has passed away following a lengthy battle with serious illness. Fortune was deeply beloved by the yeshiva and its students, and although he was not involved in the school’s education per se, his passing still leaves a void that will be sorely missed. Over the course of his career at Darchei, Everett became a friend, confidant, and ally to everyone at the school he came in contact with, forging bonds with literally thousands of students, teachers and staff members, who say that he made a lifelong positive impact on them. Sources tell YWN that the Darchei yeshiva had planned to bring out the entire Yeshiva (thousands of people) to pay their respects as the coffin would drive past. But Everette had other plans. He passed away a day after the school year ended, and in his humility, chose otherwise….. YWN spoke to Rabbi Boruch Ber Bender of Achiezer who was involved in coordinating Everette’s care at the behest of Darchei Torah, and who facilitated the following statement from the Yeshiva provided to YWN: “On behalf of Darchei Torah, the Yeshiva is deeply saddened upon the loss of Mr Everett Fortune. Mr Fortune was a dependable and daily presence on the campus of Yeshiva Darchei Torah, Simcha Day Camp and the streets of Far Rockaway for close to 35 years. We will forever remember his dedication, loyalty, and his care that he had for each one of the students as well as the faculty of the Yeshiva. He will be sorely missed, and our heartfelt condolences go out to Everttes remaining relatives who we are sure will sorely miss him. In 2020, as Fortune fought his battle against illness with dignity, Darchei Torah made him a surprise honoree at their annual dinner. HaRav Yaakov Bender thanked him for his dedicated and devoted service to Darchei and its talmidim. Mr. Fortune then spoke for a moment and thanked Rabbi Yaakov Bender; the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Shlomo Avigdor Altusky; as well as Rabbi Boruch Ber Bender, the founder and president of the Achiezer Community Resource Center for their ongoing help and support. Mr. Fortune also recounted that when visited by Darchei bachurim during his hospital stay, he was presented with a bracelet emblazoned with the phrase ‘Thank You, Hashem.’ He displayed it for all to see and declared, “I don’t leave home without it!” He will be missed by all… (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

Notorious Anti-Trump Former GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger Endorses Joe Biden

Republican former congressman Adam Kinzinger endorsed President Joe Biden on Wednesday, giving the Democrat a prominent new ally in his high-stakes campaign to win over moderate Republicans and independents this fall. Kinzinger, a military pilot who emerged as a fierce critic of former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol insurrection, described Trump as “a direct threat to every fundamental American value” in a video announcing the endorsement. “While I certainly don’t agree with President Biden on everything, and I never thought I’d be endorsing a Democrat for president, I know that he will always protect the very thing that makes America the best country in the world: our democracy,” said Kinzinger, who voted for Trump in 2020. The former Illinois congressman also issued an ominous warning. Trump, he said, will “hurt anyone or anything in pursuit of power.” Kinzinger’s announcement comes on the eve of the opening presidential debate and gives Biden an example he can raise Thursday night of a well-known Republican supporting him over Trump. Biden’s camp is prioritizing outreach to moderate Republicans and independents alienated by Trump’s tumultuous White House tenure. Kinzinger becomes the highest-profile Republican official formally backing Biden, whose campaign earlier in the month tapped Kinzinger’s former chief of staff Austin Weatherford to serve as its national Republican outreach director. Republican former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan also endorsed Biden last month. Ultimately, a number of prominent Republicans are expected to join Biden’s campaign, with more influential names likely to be announced closer to the November election. Biden’s team is trying to create what it calls “a permission structure” for Republican voters who would otherwise have a difficult time casting a ballot for the Democratic president. Kinzinger developed a national profile as one of two Republicans who served on the House’s committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack. The committee highlighted a number of Trump’s transgressions before and during the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol as Congress tried to certify the election results for Biden. Kinzinger, who did not seek reelection in 2022 after voting to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 attack, called on the GOP to change course. “To every American of every political party and those of none, I say now is not the time to watch quietly as Donald Trump threatens the future of America,” said Kinzinger, who repeatedly described himself as a conservative in the video. “Now is the time to unite behind Joe Biden and show Donald Trump off the stage once and for all.” In a statement Wednesday, Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez described Kinzinger as “a true public servant who is a model for putting our country and our democracy over party and blind acquiescence to Trump.” “Congressman Kinzinger represents the countless Americans that Donald Trump’s Republican Party have left behind,” she said. “Those Americans have a home in President Biden’s coalition, and our campaign knows that we need to show up and earn their support.” Trump and his allies have long dismissed Kinzinger’s efforts to rally Republicans against him. The former president publicly celebrated when Kinzinger didn’t seek reelection and has called for the prosecution of Kinzinger and others who served on the Jan. 6 committee, part of his pattern of suggesting his opponents face government retribution. […]

NATO Appoints Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte As Its Next Secretary-General

NATO appointed Mark Rutte as its next secretary-general on Wednesday, putting the outgoing Dutch prime minister in charge of the world’s biggest security organization at a critical time for European security as war rages in Ukraine. Rutte’s appointment was sealed by NATO ambassadors during a meeting at the 32-nation alliance’s headquarters in Brussels. U.S. President Joe Biden and his counterparts will formally welcome him to their table at a summit in Washington on July 9-11. The outgoing Dutch premier will take over from the current secretary general, Norway’s Jens Stoltenberg, on Oct. 1. Stoltenberg spent more than a decade at the helm. His mandate was repeatedly extended, in part to provide continuity after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. “I warmly welcome NATO allies’ choice of Mark Rutte as my successor,” Stoltenberg said. “Mark is a true trans-Atlanticist, a strong leader, and a consensus-builder. I wish him every success as we continue to strengthen NATO for the challenges of today and tomorrow. I know I am leaving NATO in good hands,” he added. Secretaries general chair meetings and guide often delicate consultations among member countries to ensure the organization, which operates on consensus, can function smoothly. The NATO leader also ensures decisions are put into action and speaks on behalf of all members. Several obstacles had stood in Rutte’s way of security the post, even though he had the backing of the White House and most other big member countries including Germany. He emerged as the sole candidate after Romanian President Klaus Iohannis withdrew last week. Hungary lifted its objections earlier this month, once Rutte agreed that Budapest would not be obligated in the future to send personnel or provide funds for a new support plan for Ukraine. NATO’s unanimous decision-making gives any member a veto over projects and operations. Turkey had also voiced opposition to Rutte’s bid but lifted its objections in April. (AP)

ARRESTED: Anti-Semitic Vermin Who Demanded “Zionists” Raise Their Hands On Packed Subway Car Detained

Anas Saleh, the anti-Israel protester who demanded that “Zionists” on a packed subway car raise their hands, turned himself in to authorities on Wednesday. Saleh’s surrender came after a manhunt was launched following the release of a wanted poster with his image. The incident occurred on June 10 at Manhattan’s Union Square station, where Saleh allegedly stormed a southbound 5 train and began chanting, “Raise your hands if you’re a Zionist, repeat after me, this is your chance to get out.” The incident was part of a larger wave of anti-Israel protests that night, including a demonstration at an exhibit memorializing victims of the October 7 terror attacks. Saleh has been charged with coercion, and police sources tell YWN that prosecutors do not intend to drop his charges – as they have done with other violent and dangerous anti-Israel protestors. Liora Rez, executive director of StopAntisemitism, praised the NYPD for taking action against Saleh, stating, “Harassment and coercion are crimes. We are thankful that the NYPD is acting to hold this perpetrator accountable for his actions.” Rez also called on the district attorney to prosecute Saleh “to the fullest extent of the law,” and urged Mayor Eric Adams and other officials to visibly support the prosecution. “The public antisemitism we are seeing on the subways and streets of New York City does not only affect Jews. Antisemitism degrades the lives of all Americans here in New York and is antithetical to our values as a nation,” she added. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

Judge Sets $10 Million Bond For Second Illegal Immigrant Accused Of Killing A 12-Year-Old Girl

A second Venezuelan man living in the U.S. illegally and accused of killing a 12-year-old Houston girl was ordered on Tuesday to be held on a $10 million bond. Johan Jose Martinez-Rangel, 22, is one of two men charged with capital murder in Jocelyn Nungaray’s death. The other is Franklin Jose Peña Ramos, 26. State District Judge Josh Hill set the bond during a court hearing in which prosecutors said authorities found evidence on Martinez-Rangel’s cellphone that they allege showed he was trying to leave the country after police were looking for him following Jocelyn’s death. Mario Madrid, a court-appointed attorney for Martinez-Rangel, did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment. During a court hearing Monday, Hill also ordered that Peña be held on a $10 million bond. Nungaray’s body was found June 17 in a shallow creek after police said she sneaked out of her nearby home the night before. She was strangled to death, according to the medical examiner. Prosecutors allege the men took off her pants, tied her up and killed her before throwing her body in the bayou. She had disappeared during a walk to a convenience store, police said. The two men are Venezuelan nationals who entered the United States illegally in March, according to a statement Friday from the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Both were arrested by U.S. Border Patrol and later released with orders to appear in court at a later date. Both Peña and Martinez-Rangel are now under immigration holds by federal authorities, meaning they would remain in custody even if they could post bond. (AP)

Expanding Extremist Groups In Africa Fuel Worries That They Could Attack The US Or Western Allies

Violent extremist groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group are growing in size and influence across Africa, fueling worries that as they improve their tactics they could attack the U.S. or Western allies. U.S. defense and military officials described the threats and their concerns about growing instability in Africa, where a number of coups have put ruling juntas in control, leading to the ouster of American troops and a decline in U.S. intelligence gathering. “Threats like Wagner, terrorist groups and transnational criminal organizations continue to sow instability in multiple regions,” Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in opening remarks Tuesday at a conference of African chiefs of defense in Botswana. “I think we can all agree, what happens in one part of the world, does not stay in one part of the world.” Wagner is the Russian mercenary group that has gone into African nations to provide security as Western forces, including from the U.S. and France, have been pushed out. The group is known for its brutality, and human rights organizations have accused its members of raping and killing civilians. While Brown only touched briefly on the terror threat in the region, it was a key topic among others at the conference and spurred questions from military chiefs in the audience after his speech. They wanted to know what the U.S. could do to help stem the spread of insurgents in West Africa, the Gulf of Guinea and the Sahel. This is the first time that the chiefs of defense conference has been held on African soil. And it is the first time the U.S. joint chiefs chairman has visited a sub-Saharan country since 1994, when Gen. John Shalikashvili visited Rwanda and Zaire. A senior U.S. defense official said al-Qaida linked groups — such as al-Shabab in Somalia and Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin, known as JNIM, in the Sahel region — are the largest and most financially viable insurgencies. JNIM is active in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger and is looking to expand into Benin and Togo, which it uses as hubs to rest, recuperate, get financing and gather weapons but also has increased attacks there. At the same time, the Islamic State group has key cells in West Africa and in the Sahel. The defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a threat assessment, said the Islamic State cells were getting increasing direction from the group’s leadership that relocated to northern Somalia. That has included how to kidnap Westerners for ransom, how to learn better military tactics, how to hide from drones and how to building their own small quadcopters. A U.S. military airstrike in Somalia on May 31 targeted Islamic State militants and killed three, according to U.S. Africa Command. U.S. officials have said the strike targeted the group’s leader, but the defense official said Monday that it’s still unclear if he was killed. Roughly 200 Islamic State insurgents are in Somalia, so they are vastly outnumbered by al-Shabab, which has grown in size to between 10,000 and 12,000. The growth of the insurgent groups within Africa signals the belief by both al-Qaida and the Islamic State group that the continent is a ripe location for jihadism, where extremist ideology can take root and […]

TERRIFYING: ISIS-Affiliated Network Smuggled Hundreds Of Migrants Into The U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has flagged over 400 immigrants from Central Asia and other regions as “subjects of concern” due to their association with an ISIS-affiliated human smuggling network, according to three U.S. officials who spoke to NBC News. To date, more than 150 of these individuals have been apprehended, while the locations of over 50 remain unknown. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is actively seeking to detain these individuals on immigration charges once they are found. Since ICE began detaining migrants linked to the ISIS-affiliated smuggling ring several months ago, no evidence has surfaced connecting these individuals to threats against the U.S. homeland. Many of the over 400 migrants crossed the southern border and were released into the U.S. by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) because they were not on the government’s terrorism watchlist and did not raise concerns at the time. Recent terrorist attacks in Russia have heightened concerns about ISIS and its offshoot ISIS-K. In recent months, DHS has intensified scrutiny of migrants from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and Russia, where ISIS-K is known to be active. “The fact that the whereabouts of some individuals remain unknown is clearly alarming,” said Christopher O’Leary, former FBI counterterrorism section chief and current member of The Soufan Group, a security consulting firm. O’Leary noted that ICE likely seeks to detain these individuals to mitigate potential national security threats, even in the absence of evidence of an imminent attack. Federal law enforcement agencies are prioritizing the arrest of these individuals on immigration charges as a precaution. Some of the 150 detained have already been deported, while others’ locations in 17 states are known, with arrests anticipated soon. Some migrants may have left the U.S. voluntarily. None of those detained or deported have been charged with terrorism-related offenses; they have been charged with immigration violations. Earlier this month, ICE arrested eight Tajik men in New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles for suspected ISIS affiliations. NBC News previously reported the arrest of an Uzbek man in Baltimore, alerted by his home country about his ISIS ties. He lived in the U.S. for over two years before his April arrest. In April, NBC News reported on an Afghan, Mohammad Kharwin, whose name was on the U.S. terrorist watchlist. He was released by CBP due to insufficient information and was later detained and released again on bond after a court hearing. He was rearrested hours after NBC News published a story on his case. The DHS Office of Inspector General recently criticized DHS’s screening and vetting procedures at the southern border in a report, highlighting deficiencies in technology, procedures, and coordination. The Republican-led House Homeland Security Committee has requested an unredacted version of the report to assess DHS’s handling of this national security issue. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

WILLIAMSBURG: Petirah Of R’ Yonason Gruenzweig Z”L, One Of The Founding Members Of Chevra Hatzalah

YWN regrets to inform you of the petirah of R’ Yonason Gruenzweig Z”L, one of the founding members of Chevra Hatzalah. R’ Yonason was a visionary who, through sheer will and unimaginable efforts, assisted in establishing Chevra Hatzalah as the force of good it has become today, and which has benefitted countless people over the years. The Niftar was known many years ago as “W-5”, which refers to “Williamsburg 5”, which is the neighborhood that the concept of Hatzolah as we know it today, was founded in by Reb Herschel Weber. R’ Yonason is survived by dorei doros of askanim and bnei torah, who follow in his footsteps of dedications and devotion to others. The levaya is scheduled to take place at 12 PM Wednesday at the Adas Yirayim Chapel in Williamsburg, 93 Broadway. Baruch Dayan Ha’Emes. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

HATE: Virgin Atlantic Facing Accusations Of Shocking Antisemitism At JFK Airport

Virgin Atlantic is facing allegations of shockingly antisemitic behavior towards two passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The incident occurred on June 17, as two female Jewish flyers were on their way from JFK to Tel Aviv, with a layover in London. According to a formal complaint submitted to Virgin Atlantic’s executive office, the passengers arrived at the airport several hours before their flight, successfully checked in their luggage, and received their boarding passes without issue. However, at approximately 10:50 PM, while waiting at the gate for their 11:59 PM flight, they experienced what they describe as severe mistreatment by Virgin Atlantic staff. The Jewish passengers reported that during the boarding process, they presented their passports to a duty manager, described as a man with dark skin and wearing a gold cross necklace. This manager then allegedly called them aside, informing them that they had been removed from the passenger list and that their luggage had been offloaded. When the passengers requested an explanation, the manager became hostile, threatening to call the police if they attempted to take photos or videos. The Jewish women believe that the actions taken against them were motivated by discrimination. They further reported that other Virgin Atlantic staff members at the gate openly laughed and mocked them, making derogatory and antisemitic comments in what they say was a coordinated and deliberate act of bigotry and discrimination. The incident was witnessed by staff from the El Al gate located nearby, who expressed shock and dismay at the behavior of the Virgin Atlantic staff and described the actions as both unprofessional and discriminatory. As a result of being removed from their Virgin Atlantic flight, the two Jewish women were forced to purchase new tickets with El Al at an additional cost of $800 each. Virgin Atlantic has acknowledged receipt of the complaint and stated that an investigation is currently underway, led by the head manager at JFK. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

U.S. Sanctions ‘Sprawling’ Shadow Banking Network For Supporting Iranian Military

The U.S. Treasury Department said Tuesday it is imposing economic sanctions on 50 people and firms across Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and the Marshall Islands that have been acting as a “sprawling shadow banking network” for Iran’s military. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said the entities and individuals are involved in the sale of Iranian oil and petrochemicals, which have helped Iran’s military and government gain illicit access to the international financial system. The income pays for weapons and funding to proxy groups, including Yemen’s Houthis, as well as drone transfers to Russia, Treasury said. Iran is accused of supplying Russia with drones that are used to bomb Ukrainian civilians as the Kremlin continues its invasion of Ukraine. Included in the sanctions are Seyyed Mohammad Mosanna’i Najibi, an Iranian-Turkish money-changer, 27 cover companies controlled by Najibi based in Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and the Marshall Islands, and a Tehran-based currency exchange business, among others. An inquiry through the Iranian branch of Najibi’s company, known as Sadaf Exchange, was not immediately answered. Among other things, the sanctions deny the people and firms access to any property or financial assets held in the U.S. and prevent U.S. companies and citizens from doing business with them. Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said the U.S. “will continue to pursue those who seek to finance Iran’s destabilizing terrorist activities. We continue to work with allies and partners, as well as the global financial industry, to increase vigilance against the movement of funds supporting terrorism.” The U.S. has already sanctioned Iranian shadow banking businesses. I n March 2023, the U.S. imposed economic sanctions on 39 firms linked to a shadow banking system that helped to obfuscate financial activity between sanctioned Iranian firms and their foreign buyers, namely for petrochemicals produced in Iran. (AP)

A Historic Global Tefillah at Vasikin – Storming the Heavens

This year on the 26th of Sivan, the yahrtzeit of the holy Tanna Rav Yonasan ben Uziel, thousands of singles in shidduchim will gather around the world at Vasikin time in Eretz Yisroel to storm the heavens and daven for shidduchim. ​They will be joined by minyanim of Talmidei Chachamim at Amukah, Kever Rachel, Me’aras Hamachpela, and the Kosel, who will be completing Sefer Tehillim four times and davening for the yeshuos of all participants. ​You can submit a name for ANY yeshuah to be recited at all four locations during this historic tefillah and tremendous Eis Ratzon.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Returns To Australia A Free Man After US Legal Battle Ends

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange returned to his homeland Australia aboard a charter jet on Wednesday, hours after pleading guilty to obtaining and publishing U.S. military secrets in a deal with Justice Department prosecutors that concludes a drawn-out legal saga. The criminal case of international intrigue, which had played out for years, came to a surprise end in a most unusual setting with Assange, 52, entering his plea in a U.S. district court in Saipan, the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands. The American commonwealth in the Pacific is relatively close to Assange’s native Australia and accommodated his desire to avoid entering the continental United States. Assange was accused of receiving and publishing hundreds of thousands of war logs and diplomatic cables that included details of U.S. military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan. His activities drew an outpouring of support from press freedom advocates, who heralded his role in bringing to light military conduct that might otherwise have been concealed from view and warned of a chilling effect on journalists. Among the files published by WikiLeaks was a video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack by American forces in Baghdad that killed 11 people, including two Reuters journalists. Assange raised his right fist as he emerged for the plane and his supporters at the Canberra airport cheered from a distance. Dressed in the same suit and tie he wore during his earlier court appearance, he embraced his wife Stella Assange and father John Shipton who were waiting on the tarmac. “He described it as a surreal and happy moment, his landing here in our national capital, Canberra,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters in Parliament House. “I had a very warm discussion with him this evening. He was very generous in his praise of the Australian government’s efforts.” Assange was accompanied on the flights by Australian Ambassador to the United States Kevin Rudd and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Stephen Smith, both of whom played key roles in negotiating his freedom with London and Washington. The flights were paid for by the “Assange team,” Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said, adding his government played a role in facilitating the transport. Albanese told Parliament that Assange’s freedom, after he spent five years in a British prison fighting extradition to the U.S., was the result of his government’s “careful, patient and determined work.” Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson, speaking outside the Saipan court, thanked Albanese “for his statesmanship, his principled leadership and his diplomacy, which made this outcome possible.” It is unclear where Assange will go from Canberra and what his future plans are. His South African lawyer wife and mother of his two children, Stella Assange, has been in Australia for days awaiting her husband’s release. Another of Julian Assange’s lawyers, Barry Pollack, expected his client would continue vocal campaigning. “WikiLeaks’s work will continue and Mr. Assange, I have no doubt, will be a continuing force for freedom of speech and transparency in government,” Pollack told reporters outside the Saipan court. Assange’s father John Shipton said ahead of his son’s arrival that he hoped the iconoclastic internet publisher was coming home to the “great beauty of ordinary life.” “He will be able to spend quality time with his wife, Stella, and his two children, be able to walk up and down the […]

AG: “Draft 3,000 Bnei Yeshivos Immediately, Halt ‘Direct Or Indirect’ Funding”

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday mandating the draft of bnei yeshivos and the halt of funding to yeshivos, the office of Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, who was hired to represent the government but instead works against it, wrote a letter to the IDF demanding that it immediately implement the Court’s ruling. Baharav-Miara ordered the army to immediately draft 3,000 bnei yeshivos and warned the government not to continue funding yeshivos serving students eligible for the draft “directly or indirectly.” Meanwhile, a senior coalition member told Channel 14 News that the Attorney-General’s decision to strip funding to yeshivos is based on a very shaky legal foundation – an obscure clause in the Law of Military Service that she chose to interpret in a manner consistent with her view. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)