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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘assistance’

Fear In Tel Aviv Due To Refugee Influx

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Angry and frightened working-class residents in parts of Tel Aviv are accusing Israeli police and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai of failing to aggressively confront an unprecedented spike in the number of violent acts against local citizens by a growing number of illegal African refugees.

According to a Knesset investigative committee report, nearly 61,000 illegal refugees have swarmed across Israel’s porous Sinai border with Egypt in less than a decade – with 25,000 of them residing in Tel Aviv. Unlike thousands of other illegal foreigners from African countries such as Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana (who entered Israel nearly a decade ago with legitimate work visas but failed to return home), the current wave hail from war-torn and impoverished countries like Sudan and Eritrea.

Over the past few months, dozens of Eritreans have been arrested by Israeli police on rape and murder charges. Victims include other refugees and Tel Aviv citizens.

A Tel Aviv resident told Channel 10 News, “It’s gotten to the point that I have to meet my wife downstairs in front of our building when she comes home in the evening, so I don’t have to worry about her being attacked. The city and the police are not doing enough to protect its citizens.” Mothers of young children also told the station that it was becoming impossible to take their kids to local parks to play with their friends, for fear of being attacked by hungry and sometimes drunken refugees.

A large number of the illegal refugees are unemployed and lack medical and social welfare assistance. They congregate in the parks and alleyways around Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station, one of Israel’s busiest transportation hubs.

Some of the refugees are beginning to move to Netanya and Beersheba, among other cities. Close to 10,000 illegal refugees, mostly from Sudan, have nearly overwhelmed the financially strapped southern city of Eilat, where they currently comprise over 20 percent of the local population. Some of the refugees have found temporary employment in the local hotel industry, with the assistance of several government agencies and nonprofit outreach organizations.

To date, the UN has failed to provide financial assistance to Israel or a political resolution to the problem.

The growing number of refugees with violent tendencies who have crossed into Israel at the rate of nearly 1,700 a month has prompted Minister of Interior Eli Yishai to demand that local and immigration police arrest and immediately deport the refugees back to their native countries. For his part, Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch noted that successive Israeli police commissioners have rejected “cop on the beat” programs that have been instrumental in combating crime in many cities across the U.S.

During Sunday’s weekly government cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu recognized the urgent need to secure Israel’s borders.

Netanyahu said, “This phenomenon [illegal refugees] is very grave and threatens the social fabric of society, our national security, and our national identity. It began over seven years ago and upon the government’s entry into office three years ago, we decided to deal with this problem by stopping the entry and by beginning to withdraw those who were already inside. If we do not stop the entry, the problem – there are now 60,000 illegal infiltrators – could easily grow to 600,000 illegal infiltrators. This would inundate the state and, to a considerable degree, cancel out its image as a Jewish and democratic state.

“Therefore, the first necessity is to build a physical barrier. By October it will be complete in its entirety, except for a small section around Eilat that we are dealing with separately and where a fence will be completed. But until then we will block it with other means, including [with] forces. We are aware of the distress and are dealing with it.”

Ron Paul Halts Campaign, Keeps Delegates

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul has effectively given up his presidential campaign but will not give up his delegates to Mitt Romney.

Paul, a Texas Republican, said he would no longer compete in his party’s primaries, leaving Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, the only viable candidate for the GOP nod still running.

Romney remains about 200 delegates shy of securing the nomination, but his erstwhile rivals, including Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, have either formally endorsed him or pledged to do so.

The Washington Times reported Tuesday that Paul would retain his delegates in order to leverage influence.

“Our delegates can still make a major impact at the national convention and beyond,” Jesse Benton, a top strategist for Paul, said in a memo obtained by the Times.

Paul’s presence and influence in the race helped veer the other candidates to embrace some of his libertarian ideas, particularly on reducing or eliminating the role of government in the financial system.

His isolationist views, especially on cutting assistance to Israel, have not gained as much traction.

Congressmen Threaten PA Aid over Helen Thomas Award

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

In a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, two congressmen said a medal awarded to veteran journalist Helen Thomas could hurt U.S. assistance to the PA.

Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), the chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) in their April 6 letter noted that the Foreign Affairs Committee passed legislation last year setting conditions on U.S. assistance to the PA, and that recognition of someone like Helen Thomas goes against those conditions.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by JTA, the lawmakers wrote that the Preparing the Palestinian People for Peace Act conditioned U.S. assistance “on whether the PA was actively preparing its people for peace through compromise with messages of tolerance, understanding, and reconciliation. Unfortunately, it seems that the award to Helen Thomas is just another way to avoid telling the Palestinian population that they must be prepared for a negotiated settlement.”

Thomas, considered the dean of White House correspondents, was forced to resign in 2010 after making anti-Israel comments to a blogger.

Chabot and Engel said that recognizing Thomas was “tantamount to accepting and agreeing with her call for Jews in Palestine to go back to ‘Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else.’ ”

In addition, the lawmakers highlighted the continuing pattern of the PA recognizing individuals that have expressed anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments in the past.

“Unfortunately, the recognition of stridently, and sometimes even violently, anti-Israeli individuals and themes has become all too common by the Palestinian Authority,” they wrote.

Park Hotel Terror Victims Return to the Scene of Horror to Heal

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Ten years after the Second Intifada’s deadliest terror attack in which 30 people were killed and 140 injured at Seder night dinner in the Park Hotel, more than hundred victims and their families returned to the Netanya hotel for a memorial gathering and therapy session, part of their ongoing treatment and care at the OneFamily organization.

At the memorial service, attended by Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, the OneFamily Bereaved Fathers Choir sang verses from the Book of Psalms, Yair Hamami, whose father, the manager of the Park Hotel Amiram, was killed in the attack, recited the Kaddish prayer, and relatives of the victims lit memorial candles for their loved ones.

Amiram’s widow, Corrine Hamami, spoke about her determination to keep the hotel open despite the serious psychological barriers that lay in front of her: “Overnight I found myself alone with six children, I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I found strength in my family, I decided then that the terrorists would not defeat us”.

Dalia Falistian, whose parents were killed in the attack, was left completely alone in the world: “I had no other family, until a OneFamily representative came to visit me during my week of mourning. They became my family…”

OneFamily founder and Chairman Marc Belzberg says that “returning to the Park Hotel is an integral part of the healing and rehabilitation of the victims, offering them the opportunity to remember and display their resilience in the face of such tragedy..”

Over the last 10 years, OneFamily, recipient of the 2011 Presidential Citation for Volunteerism, has effected the rehabilitation of thousands of Israel’s 17,000 victims of terror. The organization provides material and rehabilitative support to anyone who has been bereaved, injured and/or recognized as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They offer a tailor-made blend of financial assistance, therapeutic programs, legal assistance, personal encouragement and moral support.

It began after Chantal and Marc Belzberg’s then-12-year-old daughter decided to donate her Bat Mitzvah gifts to the victims of the 2001 Sbarro suicide bomb. Today, the organization employs 37 professionals and almost 750 volunteers in four centers around Israel. OneFamily, with the help of friends and supporters around the world, aims to assure continuity of care for terror victims into the next decade and beyond.

Victims of Toulouse To Be Buried in Israel

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Israel’s  Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued the following press release:

After the appalling murders in Toulouse, the Israeli Embassy in Paris, as well as the Israeli Consulate in Marseille, have contacted the bereaved families and learned of their desire to bring their loved ones to Israel for burial. The government of Israel has therefore decided to transfer the coffins to Israel as soon as possible, with the cooperation and assistance of Israel’s representatives in France and in coordination with the French authorities.

The names of the victims are: Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, Gabriel Sandler (age 4), Arieh Sandler (age 5), Miriam Monsonego (age 7). 

Report: US Talking Military Intervention in Syria

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

In an apparent shift in policy, the Obama administration has decided to intensify its assistance to the Syrian opposition and is considering military involvement, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Last week, senior Obama administration officials agreed on a variety of options to aid both the internal opposition and the opposition-in-exile, which are reported to include direct humanitarian and communications assistance. They also furnished a new and more aggressive strategy to coordinate US engagement, and have begun “serious discussions” about directly arming the opposition, deploying troops to secure a humanitarian corridor, or establishing a no-fly zone in Syria.

One administration official said that “[t]hese moves are going to invest the US in a much deeper sense with the opposition. US policy is now aligned with enabling the opposition to overthrow the Assad regime. This codifies a significant change in our Syria policy.” The shift is likely a recognition that the international coalition known as the ‘Friends of Syria’ has failed in its efforts to effectively address the crisis.

Though the new strategy is intended to increase cooperation with the main external and internal opposition bodies, which all coordinate with the Free Syria Army (FSA), the Obama administration is still reluctant to engage the FSA due to concerns that it is unstructured and comprised of extremist elements. Thus, for the meantime, it will focus on fostering the Syrian National Council as the locus point for humanitarian, military, and technical assistance.

The report comes as former UN Secretary General and current international envoy to Syria Kofi Annan is in Syria for meetings with President Bashar al-Assad. Annan said he was “optimistic” about resolving the crisis, but Assad said a solution is impossible as long as his country continues to be menaced by “terrorists” whom he blames for the uprising.

Saturday saw another day marred by violence, with activists reporting at least 90 people killed, many of them in Idlib, where the Syrian government renewed its assault on the town.

New Group Combating Child Molestation in Ultra Orthodox Enclave

Monday, March 5th, 2012

“Magen” is a new Child Protection Agency operating in Ramat Beit Shemesh, two miles south of the city of Beit Shemesh, whose Haredi vs. National Religious and Secular clamorous encounters made headlines a month or so ago. But Magen deals with a quieter, more sinister aspect of life in this area. Founded two years ago, Magen’s website now reports the presence of at least 36 suspected child abusers in the community of Ramat Beit Shemesh.

Two weeks ago, on 20th February, the new organization sent out this message to the Beit Shemesh community by email:

WARNING

It has come to our attention that there is a man operating in  Ramat Bet Shemesh who has reportedly lured and attacked young girls.

His modus operandi is reportedly that he approaches a young girl and invites her to “help him” in darkened or secluded areas (storage areas, car parks, etc) and then he attacks the girl. (This method may change – so it is better not to be too specific when discussing this with your children).

Anyone who notices anything strange of this nature should immediately call the police and if possible take photos.

If one sees a child being lured or led into such a dark or secluded area, or into a vehicle, one should certainly intervene, without placing oneself in danger, for instance by asking the child if the man is her or his father. Please note any identifying information, such as location of incident, description of the person and what he is wearing, ethnicity, age, unusual facial characteristics, smells and any other details, even if they seem inconsequential at the time.

For victims, it’s essential that the police are informed and that they be able to interview any children involved (which is done exclusively by highly trained experts), so that they may investigate and arrest this person, and also so the child receive professional assistance if required.

Please contact the Police and Magen if you have any information or you need assistance in coping with this problem.

Yorkshire, England born Magen Executive Director David Morris, is a young looking father of six who says he is affiliated with the National Religious and is an entrepreneur in the field of electro-optics. Some 10 years ago, he founded a charity organization called Lema’an Achai (For my Brothers) in the then fledgling Ramat Beit Shemesh, applying innovative methods to empowering poor residents.

As part of his function as head of the charity organization, David Morris started hearing more and more reports of child abuse from clients, and began to look for ways of resolving each one.

In spite of strong support from much of the community and rabbinical leadership for improving child safety, he began to encounter resistance within the community, and his endeavor was at risk. All closed communities are anxious about revelations of corruption in their midst, and their natural tendency is often to circle the wagons.

David Morris decided to pick his battles, and so, instead of courting confrontation, he decided to separate his charity work from his dealing with child abuse cases, and launched Magen, a completely independent organization dealing strictly with complaints of child abuse in Beit Shemesh.

That was two years ago. Today Magen has identified four areas of activity in child protection against abuse in this orthodox enclave.

1. Raising awareness through education 2. Hotline, email for questions and reports 3. Support and help for victims and their families 4. Management of alleged perpetrators in the community.

A few months ago, Morris reported to the Nefesh Mental Health Conference in Jerusalem that in the first 18 months of the new agency’s involvement in the community, 40 men have been reported to Magen as having abused children. The organization is aware of 109 children who have allegedly been abused. That makes it one alleged perpetrator to three alleged victims.

According to Morris, 90% of the cases reported to Magen were from the community of Ramat Beit Shemesh.

“Magen is now well known in Ramat Beit Shemesh, and this probably explains much of the frequency and quantity of abuse reports we are seeing in that community. As our activities increase in other communities in Bet Shemesh, we would expect some evening-out,” Morris says.

Of the reported offenses, 78% were sex crimes against children. This compared to 10-15% nationally, as reported by the Child Protection Association of Israel.

Magen also reports that 72% of the alleged victims are boys – which reflects the trend in Jerusalem, where, according to the Child Protection Center of Jerusalem, a majority of child sex-abuse victims are also now male.

“Families have traditionally been primarily worried about their daughters being potentially abused,” Morris confirms. He urges local families, while continuing to guard and educate their daughters in this area, not to forget the risks to their sons.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/new-group-combating-child-molestation-in-ultra-orthodox-enclave/2012/03/05/

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