Israel Briefs: Roseanne Barr to Speak at Knesset, Last Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Fighter Dies and More


New Israeli Law to Prevent Early Release of Terrorists Passes the Knesset

The Knesset passed a law on Dec. 25 designed to prevent convicted terrorists from being eligible for early release, reported.

Other Israeli prisoners have the ability to be released after serving two-thirds of their sentences if they show remorse and demonstrate rehabilitation.

“A reduced sentence is a privilege that terrorists are not worthy of receiving,” said Anat Berko of the Likud Party, who is one of two sponsors of the bill. “Terrorists are proud of their actions and therefore must bear the full consequences. We won’t stop working for our citizens’ security.”

The law came about after the Yediot Achronot newspaper wrote an article in which the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu exposed the plans of the Defense Ministry to reduce terrorist sentences.

Israeli Electricity Prices to Rise, Albeit at a Lower Rate; Other Price Hikes Expected as Well

Electricity prices will rise less than the previously announced 8 percent in 2019, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Dec. 26 in response to a public outcry over increasing living costs, reported.

“I do not know how much it will rise, but a few percent in the worst case,” Netanyahu said at a business conference.

In addition, Osem, the nation’s third-largest food producer announced that it will hold off on a 4.5 percent price hike.

Other expected price hikes in Israel in 2019 include 4.5 percent for water, 3.4 percent for dairy products, 7 percent for insurance, 10 percent for toilet paper, and 10 to 15 percent for phone plans.

Last Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Fighter Dies at 94

Simcha Rotem, the last surviving resistance fighter from the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, died Dec. 22 in Jerusalem, reported. He was 94.

Born Kazik Ratajzer in Warsaw in 1924, Rotem joined the Warsaw Ghetto Jewish Combat Organization in 1942. He had been a Zionist youth movement member and endured a bombing of his family home by the Germans; the bombing wounded him and his mother, while killing his brother and grandparents.

Rotem assisted his Warsaw comrades in escaping through the city’s sewer system, later joining Nakam, a group of fighters who sought revenge on Nazi war criminals.

He made aliyah to Israel in 1946 and managed a supermarket chain, retiring in 1986.

Roseanne Barr to Speak at Knesset

Controversial actress and comedian Roseanne Barr is slated to speak this month at the Knesset, saying she has “important work to do as a voice against the insidious and anti-Semitic BDS movement,” JTA reported.

The address is part of a tour organized by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s World Values Network.

Barr said in a news release that she is “a lover of Israel” and the country is an “oasis of openness, freedom, democracy and tolerance amidst a desert of brutality from an age gone by.”

Barr had a tumultuous 2018, with her rebooted sitcom Roseanne canceled (then revamped without her) after retweeting a statement that accused former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett of bad intentions toward Israelis and Jews. She had previously written a racist tweet mocking the African-American Jarrett.


  1. My dear friend, Sam Pultusker, was also a Warsaw Ghetto resistance fighter. He smuggled goods and, presumably, people through the tunnels, which he was able to use to escape the final destruction. He met and married Frieda Alt in a camp after the war. They lived in St. Paul, where he was a Jewish educator for many years, later living in Israel.


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