News Briefs: Visit Philadelphia Leader Steps Down, Germany Creates Anti-Semitism Monitor, and More


Meryl Levitz to Step Down as Visit Philadelphia Leader

Visit Philadelphia President and CEO Meryl Levitz will step down from the organization she founded in 1996 by year’s end, the organization announced.

Meryl Levitz,, Visit Philadelphia president and CEO | Photo via LinkedIn

Levitz will remain in her role until the transition to a new leader is complete. Visit Philadelphia has established a search committee to identify possible successors.

“My decision to step away from Visit Philadelphia has not been easy, but I am confident that now is the right time,” Levitz said. “I have spent four decades putting Philadelphia on the map. In 1996, Visit Philadelphia set out to prove the naysayers wrong. The words ‘Philadelphia’ and ‘fun’ do belong in the same sentence and people do want to come here. I am proud of the work that my staff and I have done.”

Levitz spoke about Judaism in a 2013 Jewish Exponent interview.

“It’s easy to be Jewish in Philadelphia,” she said. “Because there are so many Jews here — because Philadelphia is one of the Jewish centers of the country — it’s easy to forget how few of us there are in the country and the world.”

Anti-Semitism Monitor Established in Germany

The German Bundestag voted to create a position of anti-Semitism monitor for the country, JTA reported.

Four of the five mainstream parties supported the proposal, with the Left Party abstaining because it disagreed with migrant-related wording.

The bill notes that it’s Germany’s duty to condemn and oppose anti-Semitism because of the Nazi genocide of European Jews.

Jewish leaders supported the move.

“The lawmakers have sent a clear signal that they take the concerns of the Jewish community seriously,” said Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. “The fight against anti-Semitism is a task for all of us.”

Blogger Refuses Revlon Award Because Gadot is Spokeswoman

An activist blogger known as Muslim Girl rejected an award from Revlon because the cosmetics giant hired Israeli actress Gal Gadot as a spokeswoman, JTA reported.

“Her [Gadot’s] vocal support of the Israel Defense Forces’ actions in Palestine goes against’s morals and values,” wrote Amani al-Khatahtbeh, 26, who is American-born and of Palestinian and Jordanian descent. “I can’t, in good conscience, accept this award from the brand and celebrate Gal’s ambassadorship after the IDF imprisoned a 16-year-old girl named Ahed Tamimi last month, an activist who is currently still incarcerated.”

Gadot was hired recently by Revlon to lead its new “Live Boldly” campaign.

Rabid Animals Reported in Israel Up 250 Percent

There were 74 reported cases of rabid animals in Israel in 2017, up 250 percent from the nine rabid animals reported in 2016, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Jackals accounted for 47 of the infected animals, compared to just six in 2016, according to data compiled by the Knesset Research and Information Center.

The increase in rabid animals was attributed to the infiltration of animals from outside Israel, especially its northern boundaries.


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