A man stabbed a group of Hasidic Jews during a Hanukkah celebration over the weekend.
The attack happened Saturday – the seventh night of Hanukkah – in Monsey, NY. Monsey is about 35 miles from New York City and has a large ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. The suspect barged into a rabbi's home during a Hanukkah celebration there and stabbed five people with a machete. At least one person still remains in critical condition. The suspect then tried getting into the synagogue next door but fled when he wasn't able to. He was arrested hours later in Harlem and is facing five counts of attempted murder and a count of burglary. He pleaded not guilty.
The police haven't released a motive yet. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) called it "domestic terrorism." And said this is the 13th anti-Semitic incident in New York City in the last few weeks. It comes after the deadly shooting at a Jersey City kosher market earlier this month. And after a stabbing against an Orthodox Jewish man in Monsey last month.
Last week, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said the NYPD would increase patrols in Jewish neighborhoods in light of growing anti-Semitic violence. Now, after this latest attack, Gov. Cuomo said New York State Police will increase its patrols and security in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods across the state. And said the state's hate crimes task force will be investigating the stabbing.
President Trump condemned the attack, and called on Americans to unite together to fight "the evil scourge of anti-Semitism." Israel's president echoed a similar message. And organizations like the Anti-Defamation League are calling for greater protections.
This recent attack has many worried about the growing trend of anti-Semitic incidents in the US over the last couple of years. And has renewed calls for authorities to take concrete steps to prevent more violence against the Jewish community in the future.
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). Yesterday, the congressman announced that he will be undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer. Lewis is an icon in the civil rights movement and has represented Georgia's Fifth Congressional District since 1987. In a statement, Lewis said that although he's fought for things like freedom and basic human rights for his entire life, he's "never faced a fight" like the one he's facing now.
US airstrikes. Yesterday, the Pentagon said that the US military carried out five strikes in Iraq and Syria against Kataib Hezbollah locations. The group is an Iranian-backed Shiite militia that the US says is responsible for attacks on Iraqi bases that host American service members. This comes after a US civilian contractor was killed and four US soldiers were injured by strikes at an Iraq base last week. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that any attacks on Americans or US allies would be "answered with a decisive US response." This is apparently that response.
...Oh, and speaking of the Middle East, the Taliban agreed to a temporary cease-fire in Afghanistan, opening up the possibility of negotiating a peace agreement with the US.
Russia and Ukraine. Yesterday, Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists completed an all-for-all swap of about 200 prisoners. The move was the latest attempt at easing tensions between the two sides. Reminder: The two countries have been at war since 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea. But earlier this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Paris to discuss measures for a peace agreement – which included a cease-fire and the prisoner exchange, among other things. The US embassy in Ukraine and world leaders commended the move. But some worry this may not be enough to end the years-long conflict.
Spotify. Last week, the music streaming service said 'today is gonna be the day' that it will no longer sell political ads. And by 'today' we mean early next year. Spotify joins Twitter and Google in a decision to rethink their political ads policies ahead of the 2020 presidential election. But Facebook still hasn't gotten the memo.
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