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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘ALIYA’

A Girl with Two Homes

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Today is a month since I made aliyah! Was it only one month ago that I landed in Ben Gurion, clutching my teudat zehut, excited and apprehensive about what this new chapter would bring? It has been both the longest and quickest month of my life. The beginning saw a whirlwind of activity- setting up a bank, a health care plan, and all that super-fun stuff. My entry also marked the beginning of the current “situation,” with Hamas.

I am often praised for being brave for making aliyah during a truly tumultuous time in Israel. The truth is, while I was in JFK, this situation hadn’t yet come to a boil, much less when I started planning my aliyah a half-year ago. This is not to say that my decision to move here would have been altered even a bit, had I known what this country would be going through. I feel so blessed to be able to stand with Israel in Israel in its time of need. I honestly think if I was in NYC right now, with all this going on over here, I’d be climbing the walls with fear, with worry (kind of like my entire family is now!)

There is a pang when I see my friends and family rallying for Israel in NYC, like I used to, but also a new level of appreciation for those Israel supporters abroad- you are rallying for us! You are supporting us- the Israelis! To be counted in number alongside Israelis who have been defending our homeland for decades is truly humbling.

I go about my life here in Jerusalem like it is totally normal. I know where I’m going, which buses to take, where to get the best waffles (it’s Babette btw). I feel as comfortable here after a month as I ever have walking Main Street or Union Turnpike or Central Avenue back in the Old Country. Granted, I have spent a huge amount of time in Jerusalem these past 10 years, but the “home” I used to feel when visiting can’t compare to the “home” I feel at this point in time. But it does come at a price. In my old home, I am missing engagement parties and bridal showers and weddings and happy hours. Life is moving on without me. Friends seem so far away (even with FaceTime) and conversations don’t flow as easily as they do when you’re having them over Facebook messenger, as opposed to over Buffalo fingers at Carlos and Gabby’s.

My niece and nephews delicious faces and voices over Skype tug at my heart, making our interactions as bitter once they’re over as they were sweet while we were chatting. I long to squeeze them, and my parents, and my sisters, all the time. I was told the separation would be difficult, but as is life, seeing is believing.

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And so here I sit, preparing for another beautiful shabbat in the holy city of Jerusalem, a girl with 2 homes. One where I grew up, was so good to me for so many years, and where most of the people I love most reside, and the other where I pray for a beautiful future for myself and my family. I am so grateful for my home in NYC and so blessed to be in my new home of Jerusalem. One month down, many many more good ones to come!

Flag of Jerusalem

French Jews Set to Mark Record Year for Aliya

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Aliya from France is expected to hit record highs this year as Jews around the country continue to face rampant anti-Semitism. According to statistics released Monday by the Jewish Agency, 1,407 French Jews moved to Israel during the first quarter of 2014, up from just 353 during the same period last year. At current rates, more than 5,000 French Jews could make Aliya by the end of the year, the highest number since Israel declared independence in 1948. According to the European Jewish Press, more than 1000 people have enrolled in Bac Bleu Blanc, an organization that promotes “opportunities for life in Israel” for high school graduates. And thousands of people attended an aliyah fair in Paris last month, where dozens of representatives of Israeli housing projects, businesses and corporations, government agencies, and schools answered questions about immigration to Israel. Jewish life in France has become increasingly difficult in recent years as civil authorities have become increasingly hostile to Israel and have allowed Muslim anti-Semitism to spiral out of control. Anti-Jewish are considered acceptable in many sectors of “polite” French society, and anti-Israel sentiment is widespread, particularly in the media (in one outrageous example, a French television journalist compared the murder of Jewish children in Toulouse to IDF defensive actions against would-be Palestinian terrorists. As a result, anti-Jewish violence in France has skyrocketed. Between 2000 and 2013, the Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive (SPCJ), the Jewish community’s security organization, recorded more than 7,700 anti-Semitic incidents, or more than one per day. A partial list of those incidents includes

  • January 21, 2006 – Paris 12th arrondissement : 17 year old Ilan Halimi was kidnapped by a group called the Gang of Barbarians and tortured for three weeks. He eventually died of his wounds.
  • January 22, 2012 – Montreuil (a tough Paris suburb): A 16-year-old Jewish girl was attacked coming out of the Metro after individuals noticed she was carrying documents marked with Hebrew letters. She received blows to the face, her clothing was slashed with a knife while the aggressors proffered anti-Semitic insults. The victim was left in a state of shock.
  • February 16, 2012 – Paris 19th arrondissement (a relatively poor Paris district inhabited by both Jews and Arabs): A young man was mugged, kicked and punched in the head by four males, who stole his wallet and coat claiming “This is what the Israelis do to the Palestinians.”
  • March 8, 2012 – Montreuil: A minor was attacked by three teenagers, who said they “didn’t like” his kippa and that they did not like Jews. One attacker squirted tear gas in the victim’s face.
  • March 26, 2012 – Paris 13th arrondissement: An 11-year-old wearing tzitzit is hit in the face and called a “dirty Jew” a few meters from the entrance to his school.
  • April 30, 2012 – Marseille: A young Jew was attacked by a group of individuals saying, “We are for Palestine and we don’t like dirty Jews. We’re going to kill you all.” The victim sustained a blow to the head and fell to the sidewalk, where the attackers kicked him repeatedly before stealing the Star of David chain around his neck. He suffered neck wounds, an internal hemorrhage and needed stitches near his eye.

Significantly, Jewish and civil authorities in Paris agree that the actual number of attacks is significantly higher than the official numbers, as a healthy majority of attacks go unreported. The affect of the prevailing winds in France are readily apparent. During a visit to Paris last August, local Jews repeatedly warned this reporter not to wear a kippa away the Rue de Rosier, home to several yeshivot and kosher restaurants. To Parisian Jews, it is an accepted fact that “looking too Jewish” is to invite danger on the Metro, or at other sites around the city.

Defining Israel as the Jewish State

Monday, May 5th, 2014

On Thursday, May 1st, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced his intention to press for the adoption of a “basic law” that would define Israel as a Jewish state.

Even though Israel was founded as a Jewish state—the 1947 UN resolution on the partition of the British mandate describes it as such—Israel has yet to adopt the definition in its own legal code. Tzipi Livni, Netanyahu’s Justice Minister and erstwhile negotiator with the Palestinians, announced she would oppose the law.

The proposed law goes to the heart of the basic issue that divides Israeli society: Is Israel a Jewish state, meant to protect the interests of the Jewish people, or is it a generic-brand democracy in which a lot of Jews happen to live—perhaps like Florida?

The great majority of Israel’s Jews want to live in a Jewish state. For them, Israel is their state, meant to protect what is dear to them. At the same time the great majority of Israel’s Jews want to live in a free country, where every individual’s rights are respected and leaders are elected or dismissed at the ballot box.

As against the majority, a vocal minority insists that to define Israel as a Jewish state, charged with protecting the Jewish people’s interests, is undemocratic by definition.

This week Ha’aretz, Israel’s hard-left daily newspaper, published an editorial arguing that the main purpose of the proposed law was to eliminate Israeli democracy and legitimize “the occupation, the settlement enterprise and the apartheid regime [sic] imposed on the Palestinian population.”

A lot of symbolism is thus involved in the “Jewish State” law’s passage, or defeat. But the law is not just about symbols; it’s about power.

Political power in Israel is divided between two poles. At one pole are the people’s representatives, elected at the polls, who form the Knesset and the government. At the other, are a range of unelected elites who dominate academia, the press, and most significantly the judiciary and the Ministry of Justice.

Unlike the United States, in Israel, judges are appointed by other judges. The people’s elected representatives have little to say about who sits on the bench. For the last 30 years the judiciary and Justice Ministry have been dominated by Israel’s wealthy, secular, liberal left-wing elite. They are a bastion of those who believe that Jewish identity is, at best, a private matter for individual citizens. The believe the state of the Jews should not be defined as either Zionist or Jewish. As a rule of thumb, Israel’s secular left-wing elites lose at the polls but win in the courts, which usually have the last word.

In 1992, the Knesset passed a civil rights law, the “Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom.” The courts have interpreted “human dignity and freedom” to mean “liberalism,” usually in the sense of “not Zionism.” The courts have stymied policies approved by the Knesset and government that do not fit the judiciary’s liberal agenda. Right wing politicians such as MK Yariv Levin, chairman of Netanyahu’s Knesset coalition, accuse the judiciary of working consistently to weaken Zionism in Israel.

The proposed new law is meant to even the balance a little. By formally defining Israel as the Jewish state, and defining the Land of Israel as the Jewish homeland, supporters of the law hope to make it hard for the courts to rule against policies rooted in the Zionist idea—from using public land to create communities for Jews to upholding the Law of Return. Furthermore, while the judiciary has traditionally been dominated by Israel’s secular left-wing elite, this dominion has been weakened of late.

Israel’s Supreme Court now has a few junior judges of a conservative bent—conservative not only in their philosophy, but in their view of how the courts should respect elected representatives’ authority to decide public policy. Proponents of the law hope that eventually judges such as Neal Hendel and Noam Solberg will use the “Jewish State” law as a tool to reverse some of the Supreme Court decisions of the past generation.

Police Beat Up Unarmed Israeli in Brooklyn Jewish Center (Video)

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Last Monday evening, October 8, police were called to take care of Ehud Halevi, a homeless man who was sleeping on the couch in the lounge of the Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults (ALIYA), a synagogue and outreach center for troubled youth on East New York Ave. in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, reports the website CrownHeights.info.

One male and one female officers from the 71st precinct arrived and woke up Halevi, who appeared baffled by their arrival, and would not comply with their order to vacate the premises, insisting he had permission to be there.

The officers decided to arrest Halevi, who refused to be handcuffed and pushed the two cops off. In an instant, the male officer flew into a rage and began to beat up the half naked Halevi. The officer leaped on his defenseless victim, smacking him repeatedly.

Next the shirtless, already subdued Halevi was pepper-sprayed and hit with a truncheon by the female officer.

After about two minutes of out of control violence, the officers are joined by a squadron of cops who were finally able to handcuff the badly beaten man.

According to CrownHeights.info, a source inside ALIYA confirmed that Ehud Halevi indeed had permission to sleep on the premises, and had been a model resident for a month.

Now Halevi is being charged with assaulting a police officer, a felony charge that could put him in jail for five years, as well as four Misdemeanor charges and four violations, including trespassing, resisting arrest and harassment.

Halevi is now out on bail. ALIYA declined to comment on the disturbing affair.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/police-beat-up-unarmed-israeli-in-brooklyn-jewish-center-video/2012/10/15/

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