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March 1, 2015 / 10 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Beit Shemesh’

Arab ‘Travel Terror’ Continues Around Jerusalem

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Arab ‘travel terror’ attacks resumed bright and early Thursday morning in and around the greater Jerusalem area.

At around 9 am, Arabs hurled a large rock at the back window of a bus in the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Shemesh where IDF soldiers were seated, as it was exiting the community.

“There was a lot of panic on the bus,” one passenger told the Hebrew-language 0404 website. “The window was smashed.” The source said there were elderly and children on the bus as well. “They took us off and ordered another bus to take us instead.”

About two hours later, the Jerusalem Light Rail was pelted with a hail of rocks in the northern neighborhood of Shuafat, in what is becoming a daily occurrence.

None of the passengers were physically injured although several were traumatized, and the train was damaged, at a cost of several thousand shekels to replace the smashed window.

Arab rioters have repeatedly tried to derail the line from passing through the neighborhood as it serves northern Jerusalem, despite the service provided to both Arabs and Jews.

6 IDF Soldiers Hurt in Gaza, Missile Fire Blankets Israel

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

IDF soldiers are fighting in Gaza and Israelis are keeping a stiff uppper lip on the home front.

Six IDF soldiers were wounded Tuesday when Hamas terrorists shelled their position in a firefight that took place inside Gaza territory. Two are listed in fair condition, and four others were listed in good condition at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon and Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

Iron Dome anti-missile defenses were kept busy throughout the day and into the night as well, with missile fire blanketing the Jewish State.

Color Red rocket alert alarms blared through the coastal city of Ashkelon at 10 pm in a repeat performance of the race for the bomb shelters that had been taking place all night throughout the country.

Within 15 minutes, the alarms had spread to the Shfela region, the port city of Ashdod, where one missile was shot down high above the city by Iron Dome operators.

More Code Red alarms reverberated back to Ashkelon and then headed up the coast to the metro Tel Aviv area, where two M75 missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome system over the city about three minutes later. One missile was intercepted over the city of Rishon Lezion.

Nine Grad Katyusha missiles were fired in a massive barrage at around 9:30 pm at the Negev city of Be’er Sheva. Four were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, indicating they were headed directly for populated areas.

Less than two hours earlier, Gaza terrorists had fired their longer-range M302 missiles at the Judean hills and Gush Etzion at about 8 pm, along with the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Shemesh. One of the missiles was shot down by the Iron Dome system over a neighborhood in Beit Shemesh. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the attacks, admitting to “two missiles fired towards Jerusalem.”

At about 7 pm, four missiles were launched from Gaza and aimed at the Ashkelon coastal region. All four fell short, however, landing instead within the terrorist-run enclave instead.

It is not known how many Gaza civilians were killed and wounded due to the deadly determination of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists to continue their battle against Israeli civilians.

Throughout the day Tuesday, incessant rocket fire and mortar shell attacks were aimed at the 40-plus communities that line the Gaza border area. Residents of those communities have spent the last several weeks in their shelters most of the time and Tuesday was no exception. On Tuesday night, their sojourn in safe rooms continued.

Monastery near Beit Shemesh Vandalized With Anti-American Epithets

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

A Catholic monastery near Beit Shemesh was vandalized sometime before Tuesday morning with anti-American and anti-Christian epithets, and the tires of four vehicles also were slashed.

“America is Nazi Germany” and “Price Tag — Peace Agreement,” as well as “Jesus is a monkey” and “Mary is a cow,” were spray painted on the walls of the monastery, located in an Arab village near Beit Shemesh.

Jerusalem police are investigating.

Price tag refers to the strategy adopted by extremist settlers and their supporters to exact retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions or Arab attacks on Jews.

Other monasteries in the area have been victims of suspected price tag attacks in the past. 

Will Good Fences Make Good Neighbors in Beit Shemesh?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

The idea of splitting Beit Shemesh into two municipalities is gaining traction.

Richard Peres, the Beit Shemesh city councilor, has been an outspoken advocate for splitting Beit Shemesh, for at least ten years.

When I first heard the idea from Richard, I felt that this otherwise grounded veteran politician, was losing touch with reality.

The idea seemed too far-fetched to have any practical application.

The highly contentious re-call municipal election campaign is now over, and Moshe Abutbul the incumbent mayor, has been re-elected, if by a wafer-thin majority. Furthermore, the mayor now has a workable majority coalition, with 10 of the 19 councilors firmly allied with Abutbul.

Rather than licking their wounds, and taking time off to recuperate from the double-campaigns in October 2013 and March 2014, the Zionist camp, now in opposition, is directing its energies to reviving the dusty plans to split the municipality into two.

The plan’s proponents are claiming that the time has come to formally recognise the “unsuccessful” relationship between the chareidi and Zionist populations. They are calling for a peaceful divorce.

Gideon Saar, the Interior Minister, has been reported to have been reviewing the possibility of splitting Beit Shemesh for several months, along with a parallel proposal from the city of Sefad.

Several MKs are reported to be promoting the concept at the government level, probably including Beit Shemesh MK Rabbi Dov Lipman – who has the ear of his Yesh Atid colleagues, including Yair Lapid.

This week, a petition was posted to split the city, with ‘only’ 1556 votes in favour (as of writing this article):

This Tuesday night, a demonstration was called by activists in Beit Shemesh to promote the partition plan.

The idea will certainly require many details to be worked out, even if it were to be universally accepted in principle. Which it isn’t.

For example, I live in Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph, in the sole area coloured purple on the (inaccurate) election results map below, indicating a mix of Eli Cohen (zionist) and Moshe Abutbul (Chareidi) supporters.

"inaccurate" Beit Shemesh election results map.

“inaccurate” Beit Shemesh election results map.

Would my neighbors and I be in the local equivalent of West Berlin, in the new plan?

Or, as I am National Religious, would I be encouraged to move my house into the Zionist Beit Shemesh?

Of Course I’m Disappointed!

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

In the universal contest between the blues and the reds, one side will invariably win, the other lose.

When the reds win, it’s not easy or comfortable for the blues.

It’s a phenomenon known to us all – being on the losing side.

After the most arduous, contentious, long running and unusual municipal election campaign in Beit Shemesh, the chips fell where they did last night – and the incumbent mayor Moshe Abutbul was re-elected, if by a wafer-thin margin of several hundred votes.

My man, Eli Cohen, called Moshe Abutbul to congratulate him on his victory, and Eli acknowledged his defeat with dignity.

I also congratulate Moshe Abutbul and his many many supporters in Beit Shemesh on their victory.

They worked hard, played hard, and they should enjoy their victory!

I feel like the morning-after-the-night-before – a bit dazed, tired and yes, of course, disappointed.

Someone who experiences defeat without any pain (sadness, dismay, disappointment) is simply not human.

As long as these feelings are temporary and not channeled in a negative way, for example, to feed antipathy against the winning side, pointing fingers at one’s colleagues, etc, these feelings are entirely legitimate and healthy.

A defeat should involve a process of autopsy, analysis, to work out what went wrong, what could or should have been better or different, and hopefully work out an improved game-plan for next time one is involved in a contest or competition.

There’s a balance between picking oneself up, dusting oneself off, determinedly moving on with other day to day challenges – while nevertheless taking the time to do the internal accounting process.

Abutbul Wins in Beit Shemesh Re-Vote

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Moshe Abutbul, the Haredi candidate, beat out Eli Cohen, in the do-over election held on Tuesday.

Abutbul received 19190 votes, while Cohen received 18230, a difference of 960 votes. The difference is similar to the previous contested election, though 7% more people voted this time around.

The courts ordered that elections in Beit Shemesh be held again after the police found organized voter fraud had occurred, in favor of candidate Moshe Abutbul.

In this Beit Shemesh election, 76% of eligible voters voted, compared to 69.32% in 2013.

In the Nazareth re-vote, candidate Ali Salem defeated incumbent Ramez Jaraisi by more than 10,000 votes.

In the previous election, the difference was only 22 votes in Salem’s favor, and Salem was sworn in as mayor. Jaraisi and Salem went to court to disqualify some of each other’s votes, and as a result, the court ordered a re-vote of that entire election too.

In the re-vote in Nazareth, 83.6% of eligible voters voted, compared to 70.27% in 2013.

Americans in Beit Shemesh Present the Better Side of Haredim

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Amid the buzz surrounding issues of religious-secular tension—such as proposed Israeli legislation to mandate Haredi enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces and a recent rally where hundreds of thousands of people protested the bill—Haredi entrepreneurship in the Jewish state doesn’t receive the attention it deserves.

Critics lament the lack of Haredi integration into both the military and the Israeli workforce, but  Beit Shemesh, located 20 miles west of Jerusalem with a population of 100,000 people, is home to innovators like Rabbi Joel Padowitz, whose ventures have a direct relationship with the Haredi community.

Padowitz, 36, is co-creator of what he believes is a “game-changing” product for Israeli tourism and business called the “Israel App.” Originally from San Diego, Padowitz made aliyah in 2009 and lives in Beit Shemesh with his wife and six children. He teaches Mishnah every day at a men’s kollel in Beit Shemesh, is an avid mountain biker, and is the founder of a Manhattan-based investment bank. He has rabbinical ordination and an MBA from Bar-Ilan University, and he now is now pursuing a BA in social science from Harvard University.

The co-founder and manager of the Israel App is equally eclectic 28-year-old Yaakov Lehman, formerly from Tucson, Ariz., who is married with a newborn child. A part-time rabbinic student and part-time social entrepreneur, he has a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara in global studies, an MA from the London School of Economics in economic history, and an MA from the University of Vienna in world history. He came to Israel in 2008.

“The reason I founded the Israel App is because people come to Israel and do not get a legitimate or even meaningful presentation of this incredible country,” Padowitz tells JNS.org. “We cater to the majority of tourists who don’t hire human tour guides. We want to give them a way to appreciate more deeply all that Israel has to offer.”

The Israel App, which currently has about 6,000 users, contains GPS-guided tours for any tourist who needs to find sites or hotels or restaurants, a virtual concierge for making reservations, coupons, and background content like an “Israepedia,” a glossary covering a wide variety of historical information. Tourists can use the app without roaming charges as they travel around the country.

When Padowitz and Lehman initiated their project, they began looking for a programming team. They happened upon NetSource and its subsidiary, Concept Creative Technology, a service provider of software development. “We liked the service, the price, and their work environment,” says Lehman.

NetSource’s 48-year-old CEO, Mazal Shirem, is a divorced mother of three who grew up as an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem, where she lived until the age of 20. After 16 years with Intel and a stint in Munich, Germany, she found a business partner for her new venture whose mission “was to get Orthodox people into the employment market and give them the tools they need to learn the work environment.”

NetSource was launched in 2010 and today employs 200 people—90 percent Haredi women and 5 percent Haredi men—almost all living in Beit Shemesh. According to Shirem, the company operates so that the employees “receive the full respect of their lifestyle, including the on-site kosher kitchen, flexible work hours, and even proper subjects on which they work.”

Tamar, a 26-year-old Haredi mother of a two toddlers, is consulting with Shirem in her office. She started work there a year and a half ago as a secretary and worked her way up to an account manager.

“I really like to work here,” she says. “The girls are very nice and it’s convenient for me to work in this company because I find all the conditions which I need in order for me to go out and do my job in an appropriate environment.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/americans-in-beit-shemesh-present-the-better-side-of-haredim/2014/03/10/

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