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July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘aliyah’

Anti-Semitism Drives European Jews to Israel

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Anti-Semitism is the driving force behind Aliyah from Western Europe to Israel, according to Prof. Robert Wistrich, head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

“It is indisputable that the dominant factor behind Aliyah to Israel from Western Europe is anti-Semitism,” Wistrich told the Tazpit News Agency.

The Jewish Agency for Israel said in a new report that Aliyah to Israel from Western Europe in the first quarter of 2015 was unchanged from the same period last year.

However, the statistics revealed that a large increase in the number of immigrants (olim) arriving from Eastern Europe, where an unstable economic and security situation prompted more emigration. Ukrainian Aliyah alone rose by a whopping 215 percent compared to the same period last year.

“Any comparisons to the situation in Ukraine, where Aliyah is also caused by anti-Semitism, although to a smaller extent, is a false comparison,” Wistrich said.

One reaction to the Jewish Agency’s report, in some Israeli and international newspapers, declared that anti-Semitism is simply one of many factors behind Aliyah from Western Europe. Economic considerations were touted as a more influential factor.

Wistrich, however, thoroughly disagreed with that analysis. He claimed that such statements were “jumping to conclusions,” and ignored long-standing work.

Jewish Life in Baltimore: Private Guards on Shabbat

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Baltimore’s Shomrim Safety Patrol organization arranged for private security officers to patrol the city’s large Jewish neighborhood on Shabbat in the wake of riots this week.

Baltimore Jewish Life reported, Friday, “We as a community pray for calm and peace to be restored, and that all the citizens of this great city be safe and secure in their neighborhoods and homes.”

Several Jewish businesses and store were looted during the riots following the death of Freddie Gray while he was in prison.

Six police officers have been charged in connection with the death of Gray, bringing out victory marches by the black community but doubts whether the charges will results in prosecutions.

The Baltimore Jewish community is one of the largest and most contiguous in the United States. It also is one of the most religious and most Zionist when it comes to giving money to Israel and less Zionist when it comes to moving to Israel.

Approximately one-third of the area’s more than 100,000 Jews are Orthodox or part of the Hareidi Agudah community, and a large percentage of the others are Conservative or Reform.

There are many pro-Israel voices in the community, especially in the national religious synagogues, one of which is attended by Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin. Like elsewhere, Aliyah is preached more than practiced.

Maybe Aliyah was going through the minds of Jews walking to and from synagogues on Shabbat, but more likely, they were thinking about getting through the day unharmed and not about the day after tomorrow.

Below: Video of riot in Baltimore”

Ethiopian Doctor Who Lit Yom Ha’Atzmaut Torch Heads IDF Team in Nepal

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Israel’s first Ethiopian doctor, who lit one of the traditional torches on Yom Ha’Atzmaut give years ago, is leading the IDF medical team in Nepal.

Dr. Avi Yitzchak made Aliyah in the early 1990s in the Operation Shlomo airlift and has become a symbol of success for the Ethiopian community.

He arrived in Nepal five days ago, when he said there was absolutely nothing in the realm of first aid, and decided where to set up a field hospital, which went into operation immediately.

“We began accepting patients from the Nepalese army hospital that was not able to function well, especially in the field of surgery,” said Yitzchak, who specialized in surgery when he studied medicine at Soroka Hospital at Ben Gurion University.

“We are receiving citizens of Nepal with medical problems that the Nepalese army hospital cannot treat beaus they accept only soldiers and their families,” Dr. Yitzchak said from Katmandu.

When not in the army, Dr. Yitzhak works as a surgeon at Soroka.

When he was in Haiti in 2010, he said, “It’s unbelievable how the small State of Israel managed in 20 hours to establish  the most advanced field hospital in Haiti. There is a huge amount of gratitude for Israel’s efforts… I am proud to be a part of this.”

 

 

Six Million Excuses NOT to Make Aliyah

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Approximately 5-6 million Jews – depending on your definition – live in the United States, and almost every one has his or her own personal excuse to stay put.

The one overwhelming reason to leave the Diaspora, whether it is in North America, Europe or elsewhere, and join the Jewish People in Israel is the obvious one. This is home, admit it or not.

This year, I am celebrating my 32nd personal Yom Ha’Atzmaut since I left Baltimore on a one-way ticket to Israel during the Ten Days of Repentance in 1983.

After landing, and after 39 years of swallowing a non-Jewish culture and society to the point that I finally suffered from spiritual indigestion. I developed a very more-righteous-than-thou attitude that looked down on Jews who find reasons, or excuses, not to come to Israel.

I have since realized that I was imitating the good intentions but self-defeating methods of many Jews who return to Judaism and then demand that everyone else to do so, forgetting that others may have to get there their own way.

During one of my visits to Baltimore to be with my parents (z”l) for a few days, someone who attends a national religious synagogue offered me the most memorable response to my usual nudge of, “Nu, what is your excuse not to come home and live in Israel?”

He answered:

I know I should be living in Israel, but I like my ‘gashmus’ – meaning the material life and plush comforts.

Whoever argues that one can easily succeed very well at living a comfortable American life in Israel is whistling Dixie.

There are many Jews who come to Israel with lots of money, and there are same who come with little cash and have made a fortune. They do not lack much in the materialistic world, and they have their own Israel-style comforts and even their imported American comforts and habits.

The overwhelming majority of us, who have come to Israel from elsewhere, simply “get by” or do even better; but in any case, we are satisfied with what others might not consider a comfortable life.

I recall one American expatriate in Israel fielding questions from a group of people in Baltimore who were interested in making Aliyah. I already had moved to Israel, but on one of my visits to Baltimore, I was curious to hear what people asked about making the move.

One person inquired how much money he would need in his bank account before making Aliyah.

The answer was amazingly succinct and honest:

If you have to make an account of how much money you need, you never will have enough.

Of course, that is a generality that is not always true. It was easy for move to Israel because I was single at the time. I figured $500 for a ticket and $500 in my pocket from driving a cab for three months would be enough to keep me going, and it was.

A family with children certainly has to multiply that figure. The older the children are, the more Aliyah becomes problematic, financially and otherwise.

I suggest that the amount of money one thinks he needs to make Aliyah is in inverse ratio to how much he knows Israel is home.

And that is the crucial question, especially for Orthodox Jews who pray every day for the return to Israel.

It took me 39 years, over a long and winding road, before concluding:

If I am Jewish, and Israel is the Jewish home, then I am not a Jew if I am not home.

I cannot preach that to anyone else. Every single Jew has his or her own reasons – may I call them excuses? – not to make Aliyah.

President Rivlin’s Independence Day Message Thanks Jews in the Diaspora

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

President Reuven Rivlin’s Yom Ha’Atzmaut message to Jews in the Diaspora thanked them for contribution to the Jewish state but did not even whisper a hint that they should make Aliyah and come home.

Israel and Jews around the world celebrate Israel’s Independence Day Wednesday night and Thursday, one day before the usual date of the 5th of Iyar in order to avoid desecration of the eve of the Sabbath and celebrating through Friday evening.

This also is President Rivlin’s first year in office, and he did not even tiptoe the issue of Aliyah. He simply ignored it.

Suggesting Jews in the Diaspora to move to Israel usually is an itchy subject. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu angered some French leaders and especially the French government last year when he flatly stated after a terrorist attack on Jews at a kosher deli in Paris, “The State of Israel is not just the place to which you turn in prayer. The State of Israel is also your home.”

David Ben-Gurion, when he was Prime Minister in 1961, hit a brick wall in Baltimore when he told rags-to-riches millionaire Jacob Blaustein he expected several thousand American Jews to move to Israel every month.

Blaustein told Ben-Gurion, “American is our home.”

President Rivlin played it safe and patted American Jews on the back without ruffling any feathers.

He told them in the video that can be seen below:

Israel will forever be indebted to our friends and supporters abroad. Those who have contributed and continue to contribute to charities and foundations, those who have volunteered in the Israel Defense Forces even at times of war, those who stand up for Israel in the media – you are all part of the Israeli family, and should take joy and pride in Israel’s independence celebrations….

Together, we can work to ensure that Israel fulfills its promise of a Jewish and democratic country, with equality and freedoms for all its citizens.

I wish you all Chag Atzmaut Samayach and may we all enjoy a successful and prosperous Israel.

Americans, especially Jews, love to hear about “equality and freedom” in Israel. It makes them feel proud to be Jewish Americans – and not American Jews – so the non-Jewish community can huff and puff that the United States of America is the model for Israel.

America, the country where church is church and state is state and never the twain shall meet.

America, the melting pot.

America, where the assimilation rate among Jews is 70 percent.

If the Obama administration has not convinced American Jews to move to Israel, maybe Hillary Clinton can succeed.

Is Billionaire Roman Abramovich Planning Aliyah?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Published on Jewish Business News
by Ilan Shavit

Just as Ben Mezrich’s new book “Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs” is about to be published, with what are expected to be authentic descriptions of the battle between tycoons Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich, with a Warner Bros. movie already in production, the colorful owner of Chelsea soccer club appears to be moving his business to Tel Aviv.

Globes reported Monday that the 58th richest man on the planet, with an estimated fortune of $12 billion, has picked up a major asset in Israel, the lot on which stands the Varsano boutique hotel in gentrified, picturesque south Tel Aviv.

Abramowich paid roughly $25 million for the lot, which was owned by the Guy and Yaron Versano (married to Israeli Hollywood actress Gal Gadot—a.k.a. Wonder Woman), in the old neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, near the border of Jaffa.

The lot is less than half an acre in all, and includes the hotel, which is slated for preservation, as well as a parking lot, zoned for housing.

Now, Abramovich lives with his family in London, but he has been expressing an interest for a few years now, according to Globes, in buying property in Neve Tzedek.

Late last March, the media reported that Abramovich had arrived in Israel on his private jet and stayed at the boutique hotel Norman in Tel Aviv, where he engaged in several secret business meetings. Now it turns out that he was closing on the Varsano transaction. There was a report back then that he was spotted touring the old neighborhood.

Abramovich owns several luxury properties in London and the U.S., and now he owns a nice piece of Israel. He visits Israel with his family on the holidays. So the expectations are that he will convert the Versano into a residential facility and use the zoning rights to add residential space to use during his stay in Israel.

Last year, Abramowich and his family celebrated the Passover seder at the Genesis hotel down in Mitzpe Ramon.

He rented the entire hotel, naturally.

Abramowich has invested in many Israeli technology companies, like the transportation collaboration start-up Via, investment fund iAngels, the Storedot company developing rapid charging of smartphones, and AcousticEye, which tests tubes using sound waves.

Abramowitz owns a private Boeing 767-300, and in 2007 he added an Airbus A380 for $300 million. In 2010 he also added a yacht—Eclipse—for $ 1.2 billion, the second biggest yachts in all of God’s wide seas.

So, is Roman Abramowich doing Aliyah? We have no idea, but he might as well—he owns a chunk of the place already.

This article was written by ILan Shavit.

110 Ukraine Jews Arrive on IFJC Refugee Rescue Flight

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

A special refugee rescue flight sponsored by the IFJC (International Fellowship of Christians and Jews) brought 110 Ukrainian Jews on their aliyah trip home to Israel on Tuesday.

Among the group was the husband of the late Irina Shelkayeba, killed at the beginning of February by a direct hit from a rocket that slammed into her home as she was cooking. The attack on the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk was launched by pro-Russian separatists.

Irina’s husband and the rest of the family members who came with him on aliyah were met at Ben Gurion International Airport by her niece Liora Nissim. It was Nissim who had also assisted the family with their decision to leave Ukraine and move to Israel.

“I made aliyah myself 17 years ago as part of the Na’ale program, while my family remained in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine,” she explained.

“They lived next to the airport, an area in which the difficult battles were waging. This was continued on and on and they waited all this time for it to finally end. It is hard to leave home, especially when war is raging outside. Then the rocket fell and killed my aunt. The house was ruined. They remained with no property.

“I started aiding them from Israel. I heard the IFCJ is organizing refugee flights and I immediately called. Their representative contacted my broken family that fled under heavy shelling to the city of Dnieper and a month and a half later they were on their way to Israel”.

Tuesday’s flight was the third sponsored by IFJC since December, totaling 560 Jews rescued from Ukraine alone.

The organization says it has decided to increase its efforts in bringing home the thousands of Jews who are in distress in countries around the world, in the years to come. IFJC is supplementing the standard aid package granted to new immigrants in Israel, since many of the newcomers are battle refugees, and others were harshly affected by the economic state that Ukraine was suffering. In addition, IFJC reached out to local mayors across Israel to advocate for special support to the newcomers in their towns.

“Every generation has its own miracle of Exodus,” IFJC president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein said. “After years of involvement in the bringing of the newcomers from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, the IFJC is excited to be a central activist in the enterprise of rescuing the Jews of Ukraine that experience over a year now an ongoing emergency crisis.

“The IFJC wishes a happy Redemption Holiday to all the olim, and promises to stand by them till they are fully absorbed in Israel.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/110-ukraine-jews-arrive-on-ifjc-refugee-rescue-flight/2015/03/24/

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