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November 21, 2014 / 28 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Ben Gurion’

The Importance of the Negev

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Al Hayat Al Jadida,the Palestinian Authority official daily newspaper claimed the Negev is a “settlement” in a recent article, Palestinian Media Watch reports. The Palestinian Authority also claims that all Jewish communities in mainland Israel, not just the disputed Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, to be settlements, and part of Palestine or “occupied Palestine.” This implies that Israel is still building settlements whether or not they are in Judea and Samaria, so long as Israel building in an area that the Palestinians claim as their own.

However, out of all of the areas within mainland Israel where Israel builds, anti-Israel activists tend to focus on the Negev the most. Without the Negev Desert, Israel would be a small non-viable state, a fact which motivates anti-Israel activists to focus on it. The article in Al Hayat Al Jadida referred to Israel building in the Negev as a “settlement trick,” in actuality this is part of a ploy by anti-Israel activists to attempt to separate the Negev Desert from the Jewish people, because the Negev makes up 66 percent of the State of Israel. Any Israeli withdrawal from the Negev would allow for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria to connect P.A. controlled areas there to Gaza and Egypt.

The International Community has recognized the Negev as part of Israel

Before its founding, David Ben-Gurion viewed the Negev as pivotal to the future of any Israeli state and he successfully argued for the Negev’s inclusion as part of a Jewish state at the United Nations during the Partition Plan discussions. Even though the U.N. Partition Plan was rejected by the Arabs, almost all countries outside the Muslim world today recognize that Israel has a right to exist within the pre-1967 borders. This implies that the community of nations has already recognized the Negev as part of Israel, regardless of the outcome of any peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Jewish History in the Negev

The Negev is also filled with Jewish history. Ancient Jewish texts write about desert oasis of Ein Gedi which is located within the Negev. King David, while fleeing from King Saul, hid in Ein Gedi. The Song of Songs attributed to King Solomon says, “My beloved to me is a spray of henna blooms from the vineyards of Ein Gedi.” The Talmud claims that Jews continued to live in Ein Gedi following the destruction of the First Temple and Ein Gedi had a thriving Jewish community during the times of the Second Temple. Jews continued to live in the area of Ein Gedi up through the sixth century, when the community was wiped out during oppressions instigated by Byzantine Emperor Justinian. In modern times however, Jews have returned to Ein Gedi which is now a national park, and Kibbutz Ein Gedi has a population of about 250 people today.

Masada is another important piece of Jewish history to be found in the Negev. The Masada Fortress which was built by King Herod, who ruled Israel during the times of the Roman Empire. After the great Jewish revolt against Rome in 70 CE, the Zealot group fled to the Masada Fortress, where they continued to fight against Roman oppression until they chose mass suicide rather than giving in to the yoke of Roman tyranny. Today the Masada Fortress of the Negev, is the second most popular tourist destination in Israel and Israeli soldiers often take their oaths at the archaeological site.

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Why Did Ben Gurion Agree to Army Exemptions for Haredim?

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Today I was talking to a neighbor who told me that he’s in the middle of a book about IDF Chief Rabbi HaRav Shlomo Goren.  One of the things that surprised him was the good relationship between HaRAv Goren and Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, even though Ben-Gurion is known as being rather anti-religious.  Whenever HaRav Goren needed something, Ben-Gurion agreed.  My neighbor found that surprising.

That made me think.

One of the biggest issues in Israel today is whether or not to continue the draft exemption for full time yeshiva students. Historically, this was due to an agreement Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion had made with  the Chazon Ish, Rabbi Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz.  My feeling about it has always been that Ben-Gurion did not want Hareidim in the IDF because he didn’t want a religious army.  Maybe Ben-Gurion’s acquiescence to the Hazon Ish and Rabbi Goren was for a different reason, and I’m not referring to the one mentioned on Israel Matzav:

As many of you know (because some of you have even met me there), I attend a weekly Torah class in Jerusalem. The rabbi who gives the class once told us that he met a man who knew someone who had asked David Ben Gurion why he allowed a religious education system to be created in the new state at all. Ben Gurion responded that he figured that within a generation, all attachment to traditional Judaism would die out anyway, so why fight with them. On this, as on many other matters, Ben Gurion was clearly wrong.

Ben-Gurion certainly wasn’t nice to the Revisionists, Jabotinsky, Menachem Begin, those who had fought for Israel’s independence with the Etzel and Lechi.  He had even sent the Palmach to shoot at the Jews on the Altalena, a horrendous act for sure.

Could Ben-Gurion’s agreement to defer/exempt Haredim, studying full-time in yeshivot from the IDF have been to get the political support and loyalty of the Haredi leadership?  Ben-Gurion would do anything to make sure that Menachem Begin’s Herut Party would stay out of power.

Well, what do you think?

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Israeli Scientist Wins World Food Prize for Drip Irrigation

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

An 81 year old Israeli scientist whose revolutionary irrigation methods have saved and improved the lives of millions of people throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America, has received the prestigious World Food Prize, according to an announcement made by the foundation on Tuesday.

Daniel Hillel, Los Angeles native and father of Israel’s famous drip micro-irrigation method to conserve water while nourishing growing fruits and vegetables in the world’s most arid climates, was named the winner of this year’s $250,000 prize in a ceremony in Washington.  US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered the key note speech.  Hillel will be celebrated in an official ceremony at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa on October 18.

World Food Prize Foundation President Kenneth Quinn praised Hillel, not just for his system which carries water through narrow plastic tubing to drip sparingly above the roots of the growing plants, but for his contribution to bridging divides between diverse peoples.  Over  the past half century, Hillel has taken his agricultural know-how to over 30 countries around the world, including Jordan and Egypt.  Hillel has also shared his knowledge with leaders in Palestinian agriculture.  Quinn noted that several letters of support for Hillel came from institutions in Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.

“He’s able to reach across the intercultural gap with this agricultural achievement in order to address that problem that they have in common about how to lift people out of poverty and reduce hunger by working together,” Quinn told the Associated Press. “In an area of the world and in lands where the divides — whether they be ethnic, political, religious, or diplomatic — seem so great, here is a man who by devoting his life to this peaceful development has sought to bridge those gaps.”

Hillel was born in Los Angeles, but moved in 1931 at the age of 1 to Palestine after his father died.

At age 9, Hillel was sent to live on a kibbutz, where he learned about agriculture and preserving resources in the difficult pre-state period.

Hillel returned to the United States for high school and university, and came back to Israel in 1951, at which time he joined the Ministry of Agriculture, mapping the new country’s soil and water resources. In 1952, Hillel joined a group of pioneers who developed a viable agricultural community in the Negev – the new community of Sde Boker – by fashioning small holes in cheap, small plastic piping readily available after World War II, and running water and fertilizer through them directly to plants.  The town so impressed Israel’s Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, that he made it his home.

The World Food Prize, honoring people engaged in fighting world hunger, was created by Iowa native Norman Borlaug, the winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in developing hybrid crops in order to increase food production in emerging nations.  He died in 2009.

Israelis To Coast Through US Security – and Vice Versa

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Frequent travelers to the US from Israel – and vice versa – will soon have a smoother time making the landing, thanks to Israel’s entry into the US Global Entry Program.

In a letter of intent signed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and US Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Israel and the US entered into an agreement whereby participants may enter the United States via automated kiosks at select airports, rather than standing on line to be checked by border authorities.

Britain, Holland, Austria, New Zealand, Japan and Qatar already participate in the program.  Participants will pay a $100 fee and undergo a security check.  Upon approval, they will simply have to swipe a finger through a biometric identification machine on arrival in order to pass through into the United States.

Israel will also set up a special border control line for US visitors who go through their own application process for the system at Ben Gurion Airport.

Chabad Emissary Held at Ben-Gurion; Police Crack Down on ‘Right Wing Publication’

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Rabbi Hanan Herbst, a Chabad emissary and resident of Ma’ale Levona in the Binyamin region who returned with his wife and children Thursday morning from half a year of outreach work in India, was arrested at Ben-Gurion airport in Lod. After negotiations between the police and a Honenu attorney the emissary was released.

Honenu is a not-for-profit legal aid organization

According to Honenu’s report, Hanan Herbst and his family spent the past six months operating a Chabad House – teaching and also running a kosher restaurant for the benefit of Jews traveling in the area, the city of Dharamsala, India, a spiritual and mystical center which attracts a large number of travelers from all over the world, among them many Jews.

On Thursday morning, the family landed at the Ben-Gurion airport where an unpleasant surprise awaited them. Airport police informed Harbest that the National Unit for Serious and International Crime Investigations had declared him “wanted for an interrogation” which is why he was being detained. After a short discussion, Herbst learned that the investigation concerned the publication of articles supposedly calling for violence, in “HaKol HaYehudi” (“The Jewish Voice”) more than a year ago.

“HaKol HaYehudi” is a right wing publication focusing on providing an alternative to Israel’s mainstream media for news and opinion. The publication has been under widespread investigation for about a year, including raids on its offices, confiscation of equipment and arrests of staff members.

Last week, two Yitzhar residents were summoned to the offices of the National Unit for Serious and International Crime Investigations for an interrogation concerning the publication of articles in “HaKol HaYehudi” which supposedly incited to violence.

In negotiations with Honenu attorney Adi Kedar the National Unit for Serious and International Crime Investigations agreed that Herbst would report of his own volition to an interrogation this coming Sunday and that he and his family would be free to return home.

Back in 2006, Hanan Herbst was among 19 Jews from various outposts in the Yitzhar area of Samaria who received administrative orders over the Sukkot holiday ordering them to leave their homes, and in some cases all of Judea and Samaria, for periods ranging from three months to a year.

Previous charges against the 19 were quite minor, ranging from blocking traffic in protest of government policy to preventing a police officer from carrying out his duty. But the GSS at the time was said to have provided secret information about the 19 harboring “secret, violent plans against Arabs or Arab property.”

Pro-Palestinian ‘Flytila’ Busted; 43 Refused Entry, 12 Returned, 31 Detained, 9 Israelis Detained

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

The latest Israeli Police figures: 43 activists altogether have been detained at Ben Gurion airport. Out of this number, 31 were transported to the Givon detention facility for processing and 12 were put on returning flights. Nine Israeli activists waving pro-Palestinian banners were detained for questioning.

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Some 650 Police were deployed in and around Ben Gurion airport Sunday with orders “to exercise restraint, but to intercept any troublemakers,” according to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, as the great “flytila” of Palestinian sympathizers is beginning to arrive. But so far this has been more of a drip than a wave.

According to Ynet, one Portuguese passenger aboard a Royal Jordanian flight from Amman, and one Canadian national aboard American Airlines were expelled.

Organizers of the “flytila” had been expecting between 1,500 and 2,000 arrivals, a third of them from France. But Israel has been preparing since last week to prevent their entry into Ben Gurion, much less into the PA governed areas of Judea and Samaria.

AFP quoted campaign organizer Mazin Qumsiyeh, who said that “a lot of people did manage to board planes and a lot of people have been denied.”

“We are expecting 1,500 people from at least 15 countries, but most of them from Europe,” Qumsiyeh elaborated.

Lufthanza, Air France, Jet2.com, as well as the Turkish authorities in Istanbul, have been preventing protesters from reaching their seats on flights to Ben Gurion.

The “Welcome to Palestine” campaign reported that at about 6 a.m., Sunday, Swiss police and customs at Geneva airport prevented “a half-dozen passengers, duly provided with their boarding passes and already in the waiting room” from boarding an Easyjet plane to Tel Aviv. The activists were arrested and placed in a detention room.

But if European pro-Palestinians aren’t able to arrive, local leftist groups have been planning to fill in the void. According to “Welcome to Palestine,” Israeli groups of peace activists are going to the airport carrying signs to welcome those who do manage to break through.

Mick Napier, a British activist coordinator, told the AP that his group would sue airlines which deny access to activists wishing to fly to Israel.

He said organizers have asked participants to be honest with Israeli airport authorities about their purpose of arrival.

The Confederation de Syndicats National (Quebec, Canada) denounced the denial of one of their members, Julie Lachapelle, her right to visit Israel and be part of the WTP campaign.

Israel Fighting Flytilla Battle with Commercial Muscle and Irony

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Israeli security forces are preparing for a “fly-in” of as many as 2000 pro-Palestinian provocateurs, who will be trying to push their way in front of the cameras at Ben Gurion airport on Sunday.

Responding to Israeli demands, Air France, Jet2.com and Lufthansa have canceled seats which have been sold to activists on flights to Tel Aviv, without offering a refund.

Those activists who will make it through, coming in mostly from Europe, will be turned around and sent right back to their ports of origin, but not before being handed a leaflet expressing the sentiments of their brief hosts:

Dear activist,

We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns.

We know there were many other worthy choices.

You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives.

You could have chosen to protest the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and support of terrorism throughout the world.

You could have chosen to protest Hamas rule in Gaza, where terror organizations commit a double war crime by firing rockets at civilians and hiding behind civilians.

But instead you chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy, where women are equal, the press criticizes the government, human rights organizations can operate freely, religious freedom is protected for all and minorities do not live in fear.

We therefore suggest that you first solve the real problems of the region, and then come back and share with us your experience.

Have a nice flight.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/israel-fighting-flytilla-battle-with-commercial-muscle-and-irony/2012/04/15/

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