World Briefs: Belgian Orthodox Jew overpowers attacker and more

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A haredi Orthodox man fights back against an attacker
A haredi Orthodox man fights back against an attacker in Antwerp, Belgium, May 1, 2022. (Screenshot from Jewish Breaking News via JTA)

In Antwerp, Haredi Orthodox Jew overpowers, tackles attacker

It began like countless other antisemitic incidents in Antwerp: A man shouted insults and made threatening gestures at members of the Belgian city’s large Orthodox Jewish community, JTA reported.


But the incident on May 1 took an unexpected turn.

After the alleged perpetrator appeared to swing his arm to hit a Jewish man in haredi Orthodox garb, the would-be victim lunged back and overpowered his attacker, holding him on the ground until police took the suspect into custody.

The attack, which the Shomrim Jewish community security unit said was antisemitic in nature, was filmed from a nearby balcony by a group of men, one of whom said excitedly: “They’re going to fight.”

The spokesperson, who declined to state his name, also declined to provide information on the men shown in the video.

He did say that at least 20 antisemitic incidents have occurred this year, “and this has made Antwerp’s Jewish community much more vigilant to these occurrences.” Antwerp has about 18,000 Jews, most of them haredi Orthodox.

Israeli unemployment hits 50-year low

Israel’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.9% in the first two weeks of April, down from 3.7% in the latter part of March, Globes reported, citing Central Bureau of Statistics data.

That marks a 50-year low.

The report indicated that there were 150,000 job vacancies and only 120,000 job seekers.

Under a broader definition — which includes employees put on unpaid leave at the start of the pandemic who haven’t yet returned to work — unemployment fell to 4.4% in the first half of April; that’s down from 5.3% in the latter part of March.

Workforce participation of the working age population declined to 61% in the first part of April, compared to 61.3% in latter March.

The Bank of Israel Research Department projects 3.5% unemployment by year’s end.

Food recall by Israeli company applies to products sold abroad

Strauss Group, which is one of Israel’s largest food manufacturers, announced a recall for products sold worldwide, including in the United States, The Times of Israel reported.

There are 101 items sold in the U.S., including chocolate, snack products, chewing gum, energy bars and candies.

Strauss initially recalled multiple chocolate products made by subsidiary Elite because of possible salmonella contamination.

The Elite products were distributed in the kosher market nationally, primarily in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California and Florida. Products also were sold directly to customers via Amazon.com, Fresh Direct, Passover.com and other retail online sites.

Direct flight between Israel, Egypt takes off

Air Cairo debuted on May 2 the first-ever direct flight between Tel Aviv and Sharm el-Sheikh, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The fight was the first time an Egyptian airline offered a flight from Ben Gurion Airport to Egypt.

The flights are planned to operate three days a week.

The route was agreed upon by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Egyptian Prime Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when they met in September.

“Israelis are very interested in flying out to Sharm el-Sheikh,” Diesenhaus Unitours CEO Hani Sobul said, adding that the first flight was “filled to the brim” with 170 Israelis. Diesenhaus Unitours represents Air Cairo in Israel.

— Compiled by Andy Gotlieb

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