News Roundup: Russia Likely to Invade, Rabbi Protects Jewish Orphans; Israel Responds to Iran; Subway Violence Continues

By Yehudit Garmaise

U.S. and British Intelligence Agree: Russians could Launch Attack on Ukraine at Any Moment

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Russia have issued an alert of terrorist attacks on shopping centers, railway, and metro stations in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other major urban centers in Russia, which U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia might be launching on its own citizens, so as to have “outrageous accusations” on which to blame Ukraine to justify attacking the country, which intelligence officials from multiple countries report could happen “at any time.”

“Russia is planning the biggest attack in Europe since 1945,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said just days before telling the BBC today that British intelligence suggests Russia intends to launch an invasion that will encircle Ukrainian capital Kyiv. "People need to understand the sheer cost in human life that could entail," Johnson said.

On Feb. 19, U.S. officials witnessed Russian tanks barreling across the Obuz-Lesnovksky training ground in Belarus, where Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly denied his planned attack, has deployed troops to conduct joint military drills and exercises for days.

While Others Flee, Chabad Shluchim Stand Firm in Odessa, Ukraine, to Ensure the Safety of Jewish Orphaned Children and Seniors in their Care

As hundreds of thousands of Russian troops continue to amass at the Ukrainian border, Ukrainian citizens and tourists, especially Jews who are always in more danger in times of war, are fleeing to safety. 

Americans and Israelis have been urged to return home, however, two holy Jews in Odessa, Ukraine, have said they will not go anywhere, as they are Chabad shulchim whose main concern is to ensure that the 83 children, who range in age from newborns to 18-year-olds in their orphanage and the 40 residents in their senior home: none of whom can be easily moved, “feel safe and cared for in the best way possible,” Chaya Wolff told the Cleveland Jewish News. “We look at the nursing home and the babies, and there is nothing to talk about. [Leaving] has never crossed our minds.”

Rabbi Wolff, who said he and his wife are preparing for Purim and Pesach for their community, work hard to ensure the constant threat does not deter them. “We feel our job is to bring people some relaxation, to give them a smile, some strength, some hope,” he said.

PM Naftali Bennett Prepares Israel in Response to Iran’s Concerning Lack of Concessions 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called Iran’s disappointing concessions “shorter and weaker” than those Tehran offered in 2015, and Israel is taking action to ensure its citizens are safe from nuclear attack, G-d forbid.

“We are organizing and preparing for the day after, in all ways, so that we can maintain the security of the citizens of Israel on our own,” said Bennett of the deal that he said would allow Tehran to build “stadiums of advanced centrifuges” when it lapses in two and a half years.

“Two things have happened since the original signing: the Iranians have made great strides in building their enrichment capabilities, and time has passed,” said Bennett. “This terrorism endangers us, endangers other countries in the region, and as we have seen recently, will also endanger American forces in the region.”

Three Riders Stabbed on NYC Subways in Just Days 

In the past few days, three transit riders were stabbed in the subway system, the NYPD reported, just days after Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul announced their considerable plans to relocate homeless New Yorkers in the subway system and reduce crime.

On Feb. 17, NYPD officers took 44-year-old Lateef Coleman into custody after stabbing, twice in the leg and once in the arm, a man who was break-dancing at the 14th Street and 3rd Avenue subway station at 2pm on Wednesday, before the victim got off the train at the Bedford station in Williamsburg and was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment. The next day, in the middle of the evening rush hour, a man was stabbed in the arm in the Briarwood station in Queens.

On Feb. 19, just after 3am, three men at the Jamaica-Van Wyck station in Kew Gardens approached a 46-year-old man and demanded money. After the man tried to fight them off, before running off, one of the suspects stabbed the victim multiple times in the left leg.

Viznitzer Chassidim Prepare to Welcome Rebbe, Celebrate Wedding in Viznitzer Court
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Photo Gallery: Yurtzeit of the Keren Yeshuah of Ribatitch Zy"u by the Bluzhev Rebbe
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