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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘aliyah’

Ukraine Rebels Hold European Observers Hostage

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Separatist fighters in the eastern Ukraine region of Donetsk confirmed Thursday they are holding four missing observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as hostages.

The pro-Russian rebels also shot down a Ukrainian government military helicopter Thursday during heavy clashes around the city of Sloviansk – located in the northern part of the Donetsk province — killing 14 people. Among the dead was General Volodymyr Kulchitsky, the BBC reported. The rebels allegedly used a Russian-made anti-aircraft system.

There has been heavy fighting over the past several weeks in the area, located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Ukraine’s border with Russia.

According to reports by the Associated Press, residents in Sloviansk – a hotbed of separatist forces — have been regularly shelled with mortar fire by government forces. Civilian casualties have been high, and some residents are fleeing, according to the reports.

The Jewish Agency for Israel evacuated a couple with two twin baby girls from the city of Donetsk (capital of the province) and another couple from the city of Mariupol, south of Donetsk city, out of Ukraine in a rescue operation earlier this week. The six were already set for aliyah, but the decision to rescue them was made due to the fierce battle that started over the Donetsk airport between Ukraine’s army and pro-Russian militants. They traveled overland to the Kiev airport and then flew from there on to Israel.

On the Way to a Jewish State – Parts 3 & 4

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series we began to define a concise platform for rectifying the state with correspondence to the Kabbalistic sefirot. We began with the sefirah of crown and we reached the sefirah of beauty. Now let’s continue from where we left off.

Making Aliyah – Victory

Loving-kindness, might and beauty are the principal attributes of the heart, corresponding to the emotive level of the human psyche. The attributes that follow have a more practical-operative character and represent the lower, more behavioral level of the psyche; like the movement of the legs, which is more powerful than the hands, but less refined. Here, we come to the sefirah of netzach (victory), corresponding to the right leg, which steps out first. The inner motivating power of the sefirah of victory is confidence. This refers to trusting God, which in turn leads to a rectified sense of self-confidence, and the ability to get up and act. The root “victory” (נֶצַח) has a number of related connotations: acting resolutely to be victorious and overcome the obstacles that stand in our way; overseeing work and organization (e.g., conducting an orchestra); acting to achieve a stable and long-lasting realization of goals, etc…

In the structure we recommend for rectifying the state, the sefirah of victory corresponds to making aliyah (immigrating) to Israel, following in the footsteps of Abraham whose first commandment was, “Go for yourself…” The concept of making aliyah in the Torah and in our sages’ teachings – in contrast to wanderlust and emigration for vague reasons – portrays the sanctity of the Land of Israel and its uniqueness from all other countries. “The Land of Israel is higher than all other countries” and immigrating to the Holy Land is a part of a complete elevation process, “One elevates in sanctity [and does not downgrade].” The pinnacle of ascent is the pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Although the past few generations have seen the immigration of millions of Jews to the Land of Israel, we must not forget that there are millions more who remain in foreign lands, and any Jewish state worthy of its name should encourage aliyah as a national goal of the highest priority. How can we encourage aliyah? Obviously, the state must open its gates to every Jew, as in the law of return that exists today (which still needs fundamental amendment; see below), by offering benefits and grants to new immigrants (an “absorption basket”) and by helping them in the absorption process with substantial assistance. But, the material conditions provided for new immigrants cannot suffice to warm the hearts of our brethren in the Diaspora to immigrate to the Land of Israel. Thank God, aliyah these days is considerably quicker and easier than it was during previous generations. However, we should find a way to stimulate the desire to make aliyah and warm their hearts to love and live in the Land of Israel, not just as a refuge from persecution, but as an ideal. This goal can be achieved once the country has a pleasing “Jewish face” that will attract every Jew to automatically wish to make his or her home here.

This is why there is a strong connection between rectifying the legal system (which we mentioned with regard to the sefirah of beauty) and immigrating to Israel: when the Torah sets the tone of the country, and the sanctity of the land comes to the fore in the public arena – then the natural connection of the Jew to his land will be aroused from its slumber, “Zion shall be redeemed through justice [rectifying the judicial system in the Land of Israel, then] and her returnees through righteousness [referring to the renewed return to Zion].” In addition, mass aliyah will result from an amended leadership that strives forward, like that of Moses (who represents the attribute of victory) who brought the Jewish People out of Egypt and led them to the Promised Land.

Survey: 74% of French Jews Mulling Emigration

Monday, May 19th, 2014

(JTA) — Nearly 75 percent of thousands of French Jews who participated in a recent survey said they are considering emigrating.

The survey, whose results were released Monday by the Paris-based Siona organization of Sephardic French Jews, encompassed 3,833 respondents from the Jewish community of France, Siona said.

Of the 74.2 percent of respondents who said they are considering leaving, 29.9 percent cited anti-Semitism. Another 24.4 cited their desire to “preserve their Judaism,” while 12.4 percent said they were attracted by other countries. “Economic considerations” was cited by 7.5 percent of the respondents.

In total, 95.2 percent of all respondents to the online survey conducted by Siona from April 17 to May 16 said they viewed anti-Semitism as “very worrisome” or “worrisome.”

Slightly more than half, or 57.5 percent, of respondents, said “Jews have no future in France,” while 30.6 percent said there is a future for Jews there.

Asked whether they had personally experienced anti-Semitic incidents in the past two years, 14.5 percent replied in the affirmative but of those, only 21.2 filed a complaint with police. Of the complainants, 27.6 percent indicated that their deposition had led to concrete results.

A similar survey from 2012 showed a quarter of Jews who experienced anti-Semitic incidents filed a complaint, Siona noted in a statement, adding, “The results give cause for concern.”

Ninety-three percent said the French state had no efficient means for countering “Islamic exclusionist and pro-Palestinian propaganda,” whereas 93.4 percent said French mass media are partially responsible for France’s anti-Semitism problem. Roughly three-quarters said French Jewish institutions were helpless to stop anti-Semitism.

A similar number of respondents, 76.3 percent, said they were concerned by “the attack on ritual slaughter and circumcision,” compared to 16.9 who said they were not concerned.

Changing Your License in Israel Will Be A Little Easier

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Changing your driver’s license in Israel may get a little easier, thanks to efforts by U.S.-born Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman.

The immigrant lawmaker has been pushing to do away with the red tape that typically snarls efforts by new immigrants to acquire an Israeli driver’s license after years of driving in their countries of origin.

Lipman is advocating for an automatic transfer from a driver’s license abroad to an Israeli license. But failing that, he was willing to praise a first move by the Committee for Absorption and Immigration, chaired by fellow Yesh Atid MK Yoel Razbozov.

The committee approved a decision not to require new immigrants to take a theory test in Hebrew if they fail the practical driving exam twice when fulfilling the requirement for transferring their driver’s license.

In addition, immigrants who serve in the IDF will have additional time to transfer their license – time served in the military will not be counted against the three-year mandatory limit (from time of immigration to Israel) for transferring one’s driver’s license from abroad.

Rising Anti-Semitism Driving Jews to Israel

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

The majority of those who moved to Israel last year came from areas in the former Soviet Union, mostly Ukraine and Russia, according to figures released Tuesday from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

Immigration rose by just two percent, with the arrival of 16,884 new immigrants (olim) — but the lion’s share were from eastern Europe. Of those who were not from the FSU, 17 percent came from France, 13 percent arrived from the United States and eight percent flew in from Ethiopia. 

What a difference a year can make.

This year’s figures are likely to show an increase, given the brewing attempt by Russia to re-swallow Ukraine, and the rapidly rising anti-Semitism in France.

The Jewish Agency released a statement that by the end of March 854 French Jews arrived in Israel – a 312 percent increase over the same period a year earlier.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Cantor also is warning that Jews are being targeted nearly daily in anti-Semitic incidents. He adds that increasing numbers of Jews are contemplating aliyah as an option – and that most are looking for a way out of Europe.

In Ukraine, the Jewish mayor of Kharkov was shot in the back and critically wounded by unidentified would-be assassins earlier this week. Israeli doctors were sent to the eastern Ukrainian city to attend to Mayor Gennady Kernes; upon seeing the extent of his wounds, it was decided to airlift him to Israel for advanced medical treatment.

 

A third of those polled by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency in 2013 said they avoided wearing religious-appearing clothing and/or symbols due to fears of being identified as Jews. In addition, 23 percent stayed away from Jewish events and venues.

In 2013, Europeans formed the majority of immigrants – 64 percent – followed by those from the Americas and Oceania (21 percent), Africa (9 percent) and Asia (6 percent), according to the CBS report. Immigrants from the Americas – more females than males – settled primarily in the central region, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Jews Ordered to ‘Register’ in Donetsk, Ukraine

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  For some Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on this Passover holiday of “freedom,” concern and even fear is lurking in their thoughts, making them wonder about the lessons of the past.

On the first day of Passover this week, three armed men in the eastern Ukrainian province of Donetsk distributed flyers warning Jews to “register” themselves and their assets with the new pro-Russian government, according to the novosti.dn.ua website.

The flyers were handed out next to a synagogue as people were leaving following holiday prayers. They read as follows:

“Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality,

Due to the fact that the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported (Stepan) Bendery Junta, and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk, [the interim government] has decided that all citizens of Jewish descent age 16 and older, residing within the territory of the republic, are required to report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and register by May 3.

(Ed. Note: Stepan Bander was a Ukrainian nationalist leader in Kiev who fought with Nazi Germany in the 1940s against Soviet troops before switching sides and taking up arms against the German occupation.)

“ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles. Evasion of registration will result in citizenship revocation and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property. A registration fee of $50 is required.”

Pro-Russian separatists are occupying the building where the Jews were told the register.

The flyer was written in the Russian language and bore the symbol of Mother Russia at the top of the page and that of the Donetsk People’s Republic at the bottom. It was allegedly signed by Denis Pushilin, chairman of the Donetsk interim government but no ink signature is seen on the paper.

Donetsk was recently declared an independent “people’s republic” by pro-Russian activists. In response to a query by a Ukrainian Jewish website, Pushilin confirmed the flyers were indeed distributed by his organization. However, he was quoted by the tvrain.ru news site on Wednesday as denying any connection to the content, and called the flyers a ‘provocation.’

Nevertheless, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky told Voice of Israel government radio on Wednesday that aliyah from the Ukraine is likely to double by the end of 2014.

The flyer – authentic or not – constitutes the 17th anti-Semitic incident to have taken place in Ukraine since the beginning of 2014. Most were violent attacks. Several were aimed at Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and a few were life-threatening. Five took place in Kiev alone, according to statistics gleaned from the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism (CFCA) website.

A reader on the Israel Matzav blog warned in a number of posts that the situation in Ukraine is becoming extremely dangerous for Jews.

Wisely, a Jewish resident of Donetsk told Ynet that she does not intend to register, although she said that she had never encountered any form of anti-Semitism until she saw the flyer. “Though I take it very seriously, I am uncertain of its authenticity,” she said.

Aliyah Up by 14 Percent in First Three Months of 2014

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Aliyah to Israel increased by 14 percent from January to the end of March, with the most impressive numbers coming from Russia and France, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Russia led the aliyah number list with 899 new immigrants, followed by France with 802.

One veteran French immigrant told The Jewish Press that despite the flight to Israel from France, plagued by violent anti-Semitism, there is a far greater exodus of Jews to the United States and Canada.

The third largest source of new immigrants so far this year is the United States, from where 203 arrived, and another 23 came from Canada.

The total number of new immigrants for the first three months of this year is 3,623.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/aliyah-up-by-14-percent-in-first-three-months-of-2014/2014/04/13/

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