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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘anniversary’

Bennett Defends Netanyahu Against Leftwing Attacks as Knesset Commemorates 21st Anniversary of Rabin’s Murder

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp), on the occasion of the Knesset plenum’s commemoration of the 21st anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination (12 Heshvan 5756, November 4, 1995), pointed a finger at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, saying, “the power of violence, the poison of racism, hatred and incitement mixed with silence were fertile ground for [Rabin’s] murder… You didn’t mean it, but you didn’t prevent it, either. The next murderers may already be walking among us, and the responsibility to stop them and to do everything in order to prevent the next murder lies first and foremost with you Mr. Prime Minister.”

Jabbing at Netanyahu’s notoriously thin skin in dealing with personal attacks from the media on himself and on his wife Sara, the Zionist Camp chairman said that Rabin “didn’t think the state belongs to him. He understood the rules of the democratic game and respected them. He knew that criticism against a prime minister isn’t personal persecution.”

An angry Education Minister Naftali Bennett then decided to put away his prepared remarks and directed his speech at Herzog. “You are trying to silence half of the population and blame them,” Bennett said. “For 21 years, the Left has been trying to blame Netanyahu for the incitement. Over and over Netanyahu said we disagree, but there should be no incitement. And now you’re trying to silence him.”

“We should not blame and point fingers. [Herzog] stood here and continued doing what [the Left] has done for 21 years. There was a dispute, but not for a moment did I doubt Rabin’s good intentions, and neither did Prime Minister Netanyahu. The phenomenon of hatred of individuals exists today, and we must all fight it.”

“It’s not a matter of Right or Left,” he added, noting that Rabin’s assassin “replaced his ballot with gunpowder. He will stay in prison until his dying day, but Israeli democracy will flourish.”

“Apart from the national, personal and familial tragedy, Yitzhak Rabin’s murder, whose background was political-ideological, remains as a deep wound in the gentle fabric of Israeli society,” Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told the plenum.

“The murder separated between communities and formed high and fortified walls – walls of fear, of casting blame, of casting a collective moral stain on the one hand, and a sense of rejection and alienation on the other,” Edelstein said.

Turning to listeners from the national religious community, the Knesset speaker said, “Do not boycott, do not hold a grudge forever,” and to Israelis from the Left he said: “Don’t forever view an entire sector of the public as stained… Don’t exclude an entire part of the public from being part of the memory and learning lessons.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu said the murder is “a gaping wound in the body of the nation that heals and leaves a scar for generations.”

Netanyahu argued that while Rabin was “not a rightist, he was not the total opposite either, and on issues related to the state’s security, he represented a very broad common denominator within the nation.”

The prime minister mentioned Israel’s disagreements with the American government in the 1970s and said Rabin “was undeterred and was strongly opposed to a forced solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, insisting on our security requirements and promoting the transfer of military aid to Israel.”

“Rabin sought peace and extended his hand for peace but fundamentally he understood that the establishment of peace needed to be done in a sober fashion and with responsibility,” Netanyahu said. “His insistence on security arrangements, even during his final speech, is exactly where I stand: the security arrangements to which even today the Palestinians do not agree.”

“Unfortunately, today Palestinian society continues to glorify murderers, and terror organizations announce again and again their intention to annihilate Israel. Like Rabin, we repeatedly extend our hand to them in peace and negotiations without preconditions,” Netanyahu told the plenum.

Netanyahu added that “the root of the storm sweeping the region now lies in the rise of radical Islam. Rabin frequently and explicitly named Iran as the state which fans the flames of this radicalism. He warned of Iran’s aspiration to develop a nuclear weapon, which today, through a variety of means, Israel has succeeded in preventing. He also pointed to Iran’s far-reaching aspirations to undermine the stability of our region.”

“Not much has changed since then and if it has, then it is for the worse,” the PM stated. “The Iranian regime has repeatedly stated its intention to eradicate Israel and Iran still has not abandoned its nuclear program. We will continue fighting the terror of Iran and its proxies and we will not allow it to arm itself with nuclear weapons or establish itself in Syria.”

Opposition leader Herzog addressed the election of US President Elect Donald Trump, saying that his election supposedly allows the Netanyahu government to “annex and build [at will], but actually this is the moment of truth for you (Netanyahu) and your government, for the plenum and for the entire nation… Our existential decisions are not derived from the identity of the person sitting in the White House, but from what where Jews should settle in order to preserve our Jewish and democratic home.”

Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon directed her prepared comments at Netanyahu, saying: “You are not the victim of Rabin’s assassination. No one in the world gained as much from Rabin’s murder as you did. You owe your political existence to his murder.”

“I have no doubt that you didn’t want the murder to happen, but you released demons and proved that you have no problem releasing them again,” she stated. “Stop playing the victim and start taking responsibility for what you say and what your friends say.”

So, that “gaping wound in the body of the nation” is still pretty much gaping, 21 years later.

JNi.Media

Gift Of Life Marrow Registry Marks 25th Anniversary Saving Lives

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Gift of Life Marrow Registry helps children and adults suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, other cancers and genetic disorders find matching donors for lifesaving blood and marrow transplants.

In 2016, Gift of Life marked its 25th anniversary, and to celebrate, the organization adopted a bold new call to action. Gift of Life was launched in 1991 to save the life of Jay Feinberg, a 23-year-old from New Jersey diagnosed with a cancer called Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Jay did not have a compatible donor match in his family, so a campaign was launched to find the one person who could save his life.

When Jay was diagnosed with leukemia, the Jewish population was vastly underrepresented in the international marrow donor registries. Due to the tragedy of the Holocaust, many family lines were lost or scattered. Jay was initially told that due to this severe shortage of Jewish donors, his chance of finding a matching Ashkenazi Jewish donor was nearly impossible.

Jay’s family and friends would not accept this and they mounted an immense effort to find the donor they were sure existed somewhere. One volunteer even traveled to Russia to run drives and search for possible matches there. Hundreds of recruitment drives were organized and over 60,000 potential donors joined the registry. Matches were identified for many other patients in need, but none for Jay. In a final, hopeful effort, one last drive was organized by a young man whose close friend was saved by a donor who was tested for Jay. In May 1995, the very last donor tested at that drive turned out to be Jay’s match and he received a successful transplant two months later.

Jay’s search for a donor took four years. Determined to help others in similar circumstances, Jay continued the work begun on his behalf. Today, Gift of Life is an international medical resource, highly regarded for its unique and vital work. A member of the international collaborative, Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide, and an associate registry of the National Marrow Donor Program, Gift of Life ranks fifteenth in size out of seventy-two stem cell registries in fifty-three countries, and is the only registry founded and managed by a transplant recipient.

At present, the organization is searching for a donor for a young Jewish father of three named Adam Krief, who recently was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. He needs a marrow transplant to survive but does not have a match among the current donors in the registry. Adam is originally from Morocco, so it is possible that his match will be found among people of Sephardic Jewish background, or possibly even Hispanic descent. He is very ill and the situation is dire. He needs a donor match as soon as possible.

Please call Gift of Life Marrow Registry at 561-982-2900 or e-mail knewcombe@giftoflife.org. Saving the life of this young father would certainly be a wonderful way to bring in the Jewish New Year.

Shelley Benveniste

15th Anniversary of 9/11: Volunteering to Cope With Loss

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

By Ilana Messika/TPS

Sometimes, tragedies like the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are hard for individuals to comprehend. Some would explain this to be the result of a defense mechanism to protect us from being overwhelmed by sheer atrocity.

For one New Yorker, dealing with his 9/11 loss has manifested itself by helping others.

Nancy Morgenstern was a serious cyclist with a passion for travel and a devoted Orthodox Jew. She had been working for Cantor Fitzgerald, a Wall Street investment bank, when the first plane slammed into the northern tower of the World Trade Center, a few floors below the company.

“My wife and I were on our way to Israel.” recalls Yaakov Morgenstern, Nancy’s brother. “Her job at Cantor’s was quite recent so I had forgotten that she worked there. When I eventually reached my parents I expressed relief that nobody we knew worked at the World Trade Center, to which my father answered, ‘Yaakov, Nancy works there.’ We only received a definitive call [that she had died] six months later.”

Fast forward 13 years, to the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, also known as Operation Protective Edge. Morgenstern, a physical therapist, started to get involved with organizations devoted to helping victims of terror. He felt a strong connection to wounded soldiers after Protective Edge, and an intense feeling that he needed to do more.

“After my sister died, I had to deal with my own feelings with years of therapy to figure out my own mind and attempt to move on,” Morgenstern explained. “During Operation Protective Edge, a reserve soldier, Col. Amotz Greenberg, was killed by terrorists exiting a tunnel in Gaza. He was the same age as me, with a 7-year-old son and I immediately identified with him, like being hurled by a catapult.”

The first IDF soldier Morgenstern met was Ron Halevy, who lost his leg in Protective Edge. A year later, Halevy, a professional kayaker, participated in the Milan Kayak World Championships of 2015.

“I bonded with him, both as a physical therapist and a terror victim.” said Morgenstern. “I was amazed by how he overcame this terrible experience by refusing to let his disability hold him down. We spoke about therapy, injuries, and loss. It was an extremely therapeutic experience,” he described.

“It is definitely part of a coping mechanism to deal with the loss of my sister but it also represents much more. After somebody dies, there is nothing positive left for them to accomplish, and all that remains is the legacy one leaves behind. My sister always used to help, even, or perhaps especially, in the smallest things. I am perpetuating who she was by promoting the values she applied, like my parents do through the memorial fund.”

The Nancy Morgenstern Memorial Fund was created by Nancy’s parents, by using the US government’s financial compensation, to support charitable causes in her memory.

Each life represents a whole world for those who are involved in it. When this life is lost, all the related people lose their balance, like a planet disappearing with its gravitational pull. Morgenstern’s involvement with those whose lives he affects does not end with a specific meeting or discussion. He keeps in touch with hundreds of people, creating a community of its own, supporting life after tragedy.

Elisa Gutowski, a 16 year old French girl who lost her uncle in the Hypercacher attack in 2015, participated in an event with Morgenstern.

“We exchanged stories during lunch, and later that day he added me on Facebook. We have been exchanging messages ever since,” she explained. “He brought me the comfort and support of a community when mine could not understand or care enough.”

“He also said there was a connection between all the Jews in the world,” Gutowski recalled.

For Morgenstern, that connection is the best memorial for his sister’s memory.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Iran Celebrates Anniversary of Nuclear Deal by Firing Ballistic Missile

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

One year almost to the day after the signing of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers, and in blatant violation of UN Resolution 2231, Tehran tried to launch a ballistic missile using North Korean technology, Fox News reported, citing intelligence officials.

The test failed when the missile exploded after liftoff, on July 11 at night, outside Saman, a city west of Isfahan, at a site Iran has used before to conduct ballistic missile tests. This is the latest attempt in the year since the signing of the nuclear deal.

The test rained on President Obama’s parade, who said on Thursday, the actual anniversary of the deal, that “over the last year, the Iran deal has succeeded in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, avoiding further conflict and making us safer.”

But according to The Hill, the Republicans used the one-year anniversary for several largely symbolic measures to undermine the deal. “We need to look no further than Iran’s dangerous and destabilizing activities to see the disaster that the Iran nuclear agreement has been over the last year,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a statement.

In UN Resolution 2231, Iran is “called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”

According to Reuters, a confidential report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that Iran’s ballistic missile program is “not consistent with the constructive spirit” of the nuclear deal. The Security Council is due to discuss the Ban Ki-moon report on July 18. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi announced that “Iran will strongly continue its missile program based on its own defense and national security calculations.”

Secretary of State John Kerry, who meets regularly with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said this week that “Nobody pretends that some of the challenges we have with Iran have somehow been wiped away. There are other real issues, and we will continue and are continuing to focus on those issues.”

Which means the US is content to permit the Iranians to defy the UN and the Western allies in working on long-range missiles, which should be ready to carry nuclear payloads as soon as the temporary limit on Iran’s development of a nuclear device is removed, in 2025. And with its newly thawed billions of dollars, what would stop Iran from buying the device from North Korea, its favorite shopping spot?

In late June, North Korea succeeded in launching its home-grown Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile, which flew a distance of 250 miles to the Sea of Japan, this after five earlier failures.

JNi.Media

Thousands Mark Anniversary of Hamas Kidnapped Jewish Boys in Nature Preserve Created in their Memory

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

With a stirring ceremony in the presence of family members of the abducted three youths taken by Hamas murderers in July 2014, the Head of Gush Etzion Council Davidi Perl and thousands of local residents celebrated their memory at the Oz v’Gaon Nature Preserve on the hill above Gush Etzion Junction in Judea. The nature preserve was established in the memory of the three youths.

The event, conducted by Women in Green, which launched the preserve project and has been running it as a site for education, tourism and camping, was opened by Yehudit Katsover, one of the heads of the movement, with the story of how the decision was made to go up to the preserve on the very night in which the bodies of the abducted youths were found. Katsover told the audience that this is the way of Zionism: development and growth emerge out of pain. But she added that “it could also be otherwise; we could and should cut off the enemy’s hope by applying Israeli sovereignty” in Area C of Judea and Samaria (to start, at least).

Oz v'Gaon

Oz v’Gaon

“Without the backing of the people, the parents, the council, the IDF and the various other bodies this would not have succeeded, and this is why we came to say Thank you,” said Nadia Matar, Katsover’s partner in leading the movement. Matar listed the activists and donors who contributed to the event as well as to the two-year-old nature preserve.

Katsover gave the family members of the youths a memento, symbolizing the preserve – a small JNF bench with a dedication.

Uri Yifrach, father of Eyal, Hy”d, read aloud words that Eyal wrote just a few days before he was abducted and murdered, in which he related to the value of having difficulties and pain on the way to achieving a goal. “The path is the value, and without the path, you will not arrive at the destination,” Eyal wrote. “We would be glad to do without the path, and get to the goal, but God put us on the path. We must understand that if the path takes time, this is the will of God. The path will exact casualties, it is difficult and grueling but it takes us closer to the goal. Every step on the path creates life, and when you are on the path, give it your all, take advantage of every moment of your life as if it were your last.”

Bat Galim Shaer, mother of Gil-Ad, spoke of the poem “My life is in your blood” that was heard at the event, and “became for us a daily reality, from the pain and bereavement we strive to grow towards life and activity, and Yehudit and Nadia are examples for us.”

She went on, emphasizing the uniqueness of Oz v’Gaon as a place of daily and continued activity and not a one-time memory or event, “a living, growing and breathing place every single day.”

Oz v'Gaon

Oz v’Gaon

Raheli Frenkel, mother of Naftali, Hy”d, drew a parallel with the murder of Hallel Ariel, Hy”d, on Thursday in Kiryat Arba. “We woke up in the morning and the only thing we wanted to do was to embrace the Ariel family and the memory of Hallel, our lost princess. I heard Rina cry, ‘My life is in your blood,’ and this morning became a song in praise of life for those who choose to live here, of the joy that fills this place with energy, with wonderful youth and with visitors who come from all over the world.”

Frenkel expressed the hope that the Jewish youths of the area and throughout Israel will continue to stream to the preserve, to be joyful and complete the dreams for summer vacation that Hallel Ariel, Hy”d, had, dreams that were not fulfilled.

Davidi Perl drew a connection between the weekly Torah portion of Korah, and the growth and renewal that are apparent to all those who come to the preserve. Perl mentioned the saying about the prophet Samuel, who was a descendant of Korah’s offspring who did not die. “From the pit arose the flowering of prophecy, renewal and the prayer of [Samuel’s mother] Hanna,” he said.

Oz v'Gaon

Oz v’Gaon

“Two years ago, a deep chasm opened with the murder of the three youths and we all fell together into the abyss,” Perl said, adding that “with the spirit of Oz v’Gaon this place was born anew. A call went out from here for a renewal of growth, a flowering of life with great depth on the crossroads between Jerusalem and Hebron. In the place that symbolizes this connection we have put down deep roots, two years of yearning and challenges in which we have lost other victims, two years in which the junction became a symbol of heroism and determination, of the people saying that we will stand for our rights and for our demand for full sovereignty over all of the Land of Israel, as our right and not as a gift of kindness.”

The event concluded with a walk to the observation point overlooking Gush Etzion Junction, which had undergone renovation and new artistic decoration in recent weeks. In the presence of the Head of the Local Council, the recently improved path connecting the junction to the nature preserve was dedicated. After words of blessing and thanks, the ribbon at the path was cut and hundreds of blue balloons were released into the air.

JNi.Media

Painful Lessons from the 75th Anniversary of the Farhud

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

June 1-2 is the 75th anniversary of the Farhud, the 1941 pogrom by pro-Nazi Arabs attempting to exterminate the Jews of Baghdad. Hundreds were murdered and raped, and many Jewish homes and business looted and burned during a two-day orgy of hate and violence orchestrated by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

In Arabic, Farhud means “violent dispossession.” This forgotten Holocaust-era pogrom was the first step toward the extinguishing the 27 centuries of Jewish life in Iraq. It led to the eventual mass expulsion of some 850,000 Jews from Arab lands into Israel, penniless and stateless.

To mark the anniversary, I will be helping to lead commemoration ceremonies with Jewish groups and senior Israeli diplomats in four cities spanning three continents. It was the next logical step after the inauguration of International Farhud Day, which was proclaimed in an official event at the United Nations last year.

The first ceremony begins the morning of May 31 in the U.S. House of Representatives. A program of sorrow—and a cry for recognition—will unfold in the presence of members of Congress, Israeli diplomats, and American-Jewish and Iraqi-Jewish groups. Witness accounts reliving the 1941 massacre will be read by Maurice Shohet, president of the World Organization of Jews from Iraq. Special statements will be delivered by Jewish leaders. Haim Ovadia, the Iraqi-Jewish rabbi of Magen David Sephardic Congregation, will chant Iraqi songs. A congressional letter will express solidarity with the victims and the surviving generations in Israel.

Then 27 candles will be lit, one for each of the centuries of Iraqi Jewish existence abruptly terminated by the mass expulsion of Jews shortly after Israel was created. Then the candles will be abruptly snuffed out. Eight and a half shofar blasts will follow, symbolizing the 850,000 Jews forcibly evicted from Arab lands, mainly into Israel. The event culminates with a declaration of the pivotal role of Israel eloquently offered by Ken Marcus of the Louis Brandeis Institute, the lighting of a sole candle representing Israel by Josh Block of The Israel Project (which publishes The Tower), and concluding with the singing of “Jerusalem of Gold.”

Several of the group will then head to New York City, where the ceremony will be repeated that same afternoon with some variation at the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue. Attending that second event will be David Roet, the deputy chief of Israel’s UN mission, and Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations vice chairman Malcolm Hoenlein, among others.

After the conclusion of the New York City event, without pausing, we will race to the airport to fly to London where we will repeat the ceremony at the Lauderdale Road Synagogue, under the leadership of Rabbi Joseph Dweck. Officiating will be Israeli Ambassador to Great Britain Mark Regev and several other London notables.

To complete the effort, the group will fly to Jerusalem, where the ceremony will be repeated one final time in the Knesset on June 6.

Clearly, many groups in three countries, supported by many others from around the world, have come together to cry out for justice for the victims of the Farhud. But when all the chants have been heard, the shofar blasts blown and the speeches presented, what will it all mean? Troubling and painful questions arise for the Jewish community and, indeed, for the international community.

Why did it take so many decades and the works of an Ashkenazi author (writing first in my 2005 book, Banking on Baghdad, and then later in my 2010 book, The Farhud—Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust), for the tragic plight of such a multitude spread across so many countries to be recognized? At a time when the tearful details of every Holocaust-era city, village and concentration camp continue to be illuminated, the Farhud and the subsequent creation of 850,000 Jewish refugees struggles for acknowledgement. Explanation: The victims were Sephardic.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which has accomplished so much in the field of Holocaust memory, ignored the Farhud for years. The very topic conflicted with the museum’s mission statement, which defined the Holocaust as the attempt by the Nazis and their allies to destroy European Jewry. That injected a geographic test into the memory process that redlined the torment of Jewish victims residing just to the south and east. Sephardic victims had a right to be recognized, but only now are they are finding a molecule of recognition. Inertia has been overcome only after vigorous challenges by many in the Jewish community to evoke recognition by scholars, historians, and our communal leadership that Hitler’s war against the Jews was a global one, not one confined to the European continent.

A second inescapable reality arises. After the creation of the State of Israel, two types of refugees were created by the international community. The first were Jews from Arab countries, who were barely accommodated by existing international law governing refugee status and were forgotten almost as quickly as they were moved out of their tents into permanent housing and absorbed into Israel. The second was a sort of uber-refugee, Palestinian Arabs, who were granted generation-to-generation refugee status as a birthright, creating a mushrooming class today of some five million. Whereas Israel moved its Jewish brethren out of camps as quickly as the tiny state could muster resources, the Palestinians have maintained an almost eternal status of enhanced victimhood wherein hundreds of thousands still dwell in camps in cities completely controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The questions looms: Why is there a refugee camp in Ramallah, among many other Palestinian-controlled locations? As the son of Polish refugees now living in Washington, D.C., I am not considered—nor do I consider myself—a refugee. But a Palestinian neighbor who may have been born and raised down the street from me is given a special victim status and entitlement that theoretically lives on in perpetuity enforced by the world body. Not even the millions of Syrian, Iraqi or other Middle Eastern refugees now making their way to Europe enjoy the same status as a Palestinian born in the United States.

Every hour of the day we hear claims for Palestinian property. Yet, at no hour of any day is anyone reminded that some $300 million in Iraqi-Jewish assets were summarily seized through bigoted Nazi-style confiscatory legislation. The Iraqi totals can be multiplied by 10 or more to surmise the value of Jewish property seized across the Arab and Muslim world during the expulsions.

The word “justice” aptly appears in the name of many of the organizations participating in this 75th anniversary commemoration. But there can be no justice without recognition, without knowledge, without basic understanding. Therefore, the candles, shofars, and enunciations of the memorials in Washington, New York, London, and Jerusalem are just a small step along the long-obstructed road to recognition and understanding. Eventually, if the road is persistently traveled, it can lead to some measure of justice and compensation. But the final destination—a quantum of justice—will not emerge until all can be certain that the brutal experience suffered by Jews in Arab countries will occur never again.

{For further information, go to www.thefarhud.com}

Edwin Black

Pres. Rivlin Congratulates Delegation on Israel Bonds’ 65th Anniversary

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin welcomed a delegation of 140 Israel Bonds representatives from around the world, on Sunday, led by the organization’s president Izzy Tapuchi.

The president congratulated the delegation on the 65th anniversary of Israel Bonds.

“I have witnessed the miracle of seeing the ‘desert bloom’, and the ‘hi-tech boom,’ Rivlin said, noting “we could not have achieved all this without your support.

“Israel Bonds is not just a way to show support for Israel, it is a way to show faith in Israel; faith in our growth, faith in our development, and faith in our future.”

Rivlin spoke about the socio-economic challenges Israel faces against the background of changes in Israeli society and gaps between the different communities.

“The President’s Office is proud to be involved in a number of projects bridging the gaps,” he said, “in schools and on the sports field, in the classroom and in the workplace.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pres-rivlin-congratulates-delegation-on-israel-bonds-65th-anniversary/2016/05/15/

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