The U.S. Senate voted unanimously to award Raoul Wallenberg the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress.
The vote was part of an effort to confer the honor upon Wallenberg in time for the 100th anniversary of his birth in August. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved awarding the medal in April. The measure now goes to President Obama for his signature.
“Raoul Wallenberg’s courageous actions were a shining example of selfless heroism at a time when others stood mute in the face of unimaginable horror,” said Kathy Manning, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America, which had led advocacy for the medal. “That this legislation passed with such broad bipartisan support is a reflection of how deserving Raoul Wallenberg is of the Congressional Gold Medal.”
The legislation was introduced in September by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.).
Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat in Budapest during the German occupation in 1944, issued Swedish travel documents – known as “Wallenberg passports” – to at least 20,000 Jews, and also set up more than 30 safe houses for Jews. Other diplomats from neutral countries collaborated in the effort.
The details of Wallenberg’s fate have remained a mystery. He disappeared while being escorted out of Hungary to the Soviet Union. The Soviets claimed that he died of a heart attack in 1957, but other evidence indicated that he was killed in Lubyanka prison or that he may have lived years longer.
The Congressional Gold Medal has been conferred since the American Revolution to honor “the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.” It was first awarded to George Washington.
Awardees need not be Americans. Past honorees include Simon Wiesenthal, Natan and Avital Sharansky, the Dalai Lama, and Burmese democracy movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“Gaza is the largest Palestinian city, roughly 500,000 in the metro area, out of 850.000 altogether in the province of Gaza. In 2009 the total population of the Gaza Strip was estimated in 2009 at 1,600,000.”
We Google-translated the above from رحلة سياحية لغزة (Tourist Trip to Gaza), which is part of the Tourism section of a website belonging to a radio station named “Sun.” The section on Gaza encourages tourism to the city which has been associated in popular public opinion with images of starving refugees huddled in shacks under daily Zionist air raids.
Sun is a regular radio broadcast of the Arab minority in Israel since 2003. Its slogan is: “Free Radio, modern Radio.” It says it represents the generation that no longer accepts being second class citizens in Israel. It is open to liberals who dare to break all political or social taboos. It also works to challenge the institution of the state and at the same time to build bridges of understanding and co-existence between Jews and Arabs.
The “Visit Gaza” section is current, and offers stunning images of Gaza City, a beautiful and vivacious place that could easily compete with many Israeli beach towns, including my own gorgeous city of Netanya.
So, all we have left to do is to take you on a tour of Gaza, and for the fun of it, we’ll add to these fabulous images quotes from two sources about conditions in this lovely city by the sea, UNRWA and the PA. In the end there’s a video you don’t want to miss. Enjoy!
As the Gaza blockade moves into its fifth year, a new report by the UN’s agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, says broad unemployment in the second half of 2010 reached 45.2 per cent, one of the highest in the world. The report released today, finds that real wages continued to decline under the weight of persistently high unemployment, falling 34.5 per cent since the first half of 2006. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
The report concludes that 90% of Gaza water is unfit to drink. The reasons behind this deteriorating situation, the writer of the report believes, are the racist policies of occupation, the latest war on Gaza , the siege, and the division and its impact on society and education, which resulted in 45% of unemployed graduates. (Gaza Under Attack, Refugees Deteriorating Conditions)
The Refugees’ Affairs Department of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) published a report detailing the conditions of Palestinian refugees, living in the Gaza Strip. The report compares the conditions of refugees in 2012 and 2006. The report writer, Ala’a Abu-Diaa, states that refugees’ conditions are deteriorating, in relation to housing and lands’ price, which doubled in the last five years. The rate of exports decreased 80% compared to the pre-siege period. Gazans found refuge, the report continues, in tunnels linking Gaza with Egypt. (Gaza Under Attack, Refugees Deteriorating Conditions)
The UNRWA report finds that the private sector was particularly badly hit compared to the government sector. In the second half of 2010 businesses shed over 8,000 jobs, a decline in employment of nearly 8 per cent relative to the first half of the year. By contrast, the Hamas-dominated public sector grew by nearly 3 per cent during the same period. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
Human rights activists have criticized the international community for its silence on the flagging Gaza economy that has been shattered by the siege and the 22-day Israeli assault on the Gazans at the turn of 2009. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
“These are disturbing trends,” said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, “and the refugees, which make up two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.5 million population were the worst hit in the period covered in this report. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
“Over a million refugees in Gaza live in hard conditions in several camps across the strip and are dependent on assistance provided by the UNRWA,” the report said. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
The UN agency needs to build 100 schools and 10,000 housing units in addition to a number of health centers but these have been severely hampered by Israeli siege of the strip. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)
Successive UN human rights chiefs have slammed Israel’s illegal settlement plans, its Gaza blockade and the building of an apartheid wall across Palestinian territories in the occupied West Bank among other things. (UNRWA)
Refugees are still going through endless crisis, beginning with electricity and including fuel, which affect all walks of life in the besieged coastal enclave. The newly published report states that over 70% of refugees depend mainly on aid delivered by UNRWA.
With the fortieth anniversary of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany rapidly approaching, Yishai presents a series of clips from “One Day in September”, a documentary made about the massacre and the events that led up to and resulted from the murder of Israeli athletes. Following the riveting clips, Yishai presents an interview with Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Andre Spitzer, one of the athletes that were murdered by Arab terrorists in Munich. Do not miss this segment!
IDF soldiers pray at the Western Wall. Next Tuesday, June 5, will mark the 45th anniversary of the Six Day War in which Israel liberated the Wall from Arab occupation, along with Temple Mount in the midst of historic Jewish Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Gaza..
The Palestinian Authority (PA) launched an all-out publicity campaign to mark the anniversary of the death of Abu Jihad, the PLO terrorist responsible for the deaths of 125 people over his odious career.
Abu Jihad, whose real name was Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir, was one of the founders of Fatah and a long-time confidante of Yasser Arafat. In his role as commander of Fatah’s armed wing al-Assifa, he was responsible for masterminding – among others – the Savoy Hotel attack in 1975, which resulted in the deaths of 11 Israelis, and the Coastal Road massacre, in 1978, which left 35 Israeli civilians dead. He was also instrumental in fomenting the first Intifada. He was killed in Tunis by Israeli commandos on April 16, 1988.
According to information compiled by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the PA’s week-long celebration of his life and Israeli deaths included the broadcast of several documentaries on his life and successful “operations”, the commencement of six sporting events named in his honor, and the publication of news pieces spotlighting and glorifying his exploits. The Open University in Bethlehem also marked the anniversary with an event.
The documentaries, broadcasts, events, and activities did not shy away from his murderous activities, but rather highlighted them in gory detail, for Palestinians of all ages to learn from and enjoy. For example, an article that appeared in the official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, on the anniversary of his death said this:
“Abu Jihad was killed by the Israeli Mossad in Tunisia on April 16, 1988… and was crowned the Prince of the Martyrs of Palestine… Among the military operations planned by Abu Jihad: the explosion at the Zohar reservoir in 1955; the operation to blow up the Israeli National Water Carrier in 1965; the operation at the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv, which killed 10 Israelis, in 1975; the blowing up of a truck bomb in Jerusalem in 1975; the killing of Albert Levi, the senior sapper, and his assistant, in Nablus in 1976; the Dalal Mughrabi operation (i.e., bus hijacking), in which more than 37 Israelis were killed, in 1978; the shelling of the Eilat Port in 1979; the Katyusha fire on the northern settlements [in Israel] in 1981…”
PA TV broadcast a documentary, which was obtained by PMW, called Abu Jihad: Revolution of a man; a man in the Revolution. In it, Abu Jihad details plans “to turn the Tel Aviv day [operation] into destruction…Tel Aviv will be closed that whole day with blood and destruction.” According to PMW, “the film was produced in 2010 under the auspices and supervision of Fatah MP Ashraf Jum’a.”
In order to appeal to the youth and retain his relevance with them, the “Abu Jihad table-tennis championship” was held, as was the “Martyr Abu Jihad judo tournament,” and the “Martyr Khalil Al-Wazir, Abu Jihad, (boxing) Tournament.”
Not to be left out of the festivities, the office of PA President Mahmoud Abbas released a statement lauding Abu Jihad’s memory:
“On days like these we recall one of the founding members and leaders who risked their lives and fought quietly, without making a show and without the media, but they created men who brought about victories, who brought about acts of heroism… Abu Jihad will remain in our hearts and in the pulse in our veins. He will never die among us; rather, he will be renewed with every young boy, with every young girl… When Abu Jihad died as a Martyr, we felt – I personally and all who knew him – that we had lost not only a symbol, but a father, a brother, a teacher and ideal; a model in every way” (emphasis added).
The perverse celebration of an unabashed and committed genocidal murderer, one that emanates from the top down and extends to sports and culture, lays waste to the Palestinian claim that “settlements” are the main obstacle to peace.
Palestinian Media Watch contributed to this piece.
Two people were injured as an Israeli diplomatic vehicle was attacked in a car bombing in New Delhi. One of the injured is the wife of an Israeli diplomat. A near-simultaneous attack was reportedly thwarted in Georgia, as Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated that the bomb was discovered before it went off.
Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, suspicions fell on Iran and Hizbollah, as the attacks took place one day after the anniversary of the assassination of Hizbollah’s deputy leader, Imad Mughniyeh.
South Florida’s Lana Ditchek Goldberg Hachnossos Kallah will observe its 28th anniversary with a delightful evening featuring Israeli singing sensation Rachel Factor. The women-only event will include delicious sushi, dessert buffet, coffee bar, boutique and raffle prizes.
The event will take place on Tuesday, February 21, at The Shul of Bal Harbour, 9540 Collins Avenue in Surfside. Complimentary valet parking will be provided.
This year’s honoree is Barbara Dahav, well known for her many acts of chesed throughout the South Florida community. She has served Hachnossos Kallah of Greater Miami since its inception and is treasurer of the group.
Hachnossos Kallah enables young couples needing financial help to have weddings they can remember with pride. The organization also provides aid in setting up a Jewish home. This is an expensive undertaking that many cannot afford.
The annual Hachnossos Kallah event provides a unique opportunity to ensure that Jewish newlyweds begin their marriage with dignity and simcha. Locals and visitors are invited to participate.
General admission is $36; Sponsors, $50; Patrons $100; Supporters, $180; Benefactors, $250; Silver Benefactors, $360; Gold benefactors, $500; and Diamond Benefactors $2,500 and up.
For more information about the event or the work of Hachnossos Kallah, call Judy Mayberg at 305-534-8635.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke of the Israel’s “right, duty and capability” to prevent the annihilation of the Jewish people and the Jewish State, in comments marking the 70th anniversary of Wannsee Conference Sunday morning.
“There is no lack of bitter enemies today,” Netanyahu said in a clear reference to Iran. “The will to destroy the Jewish people has not changed. What has changed is our ability to defend ourselves and our determination to do so.”