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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Canadian Israeli Philanthropist David Azrieli, 92

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Far from the flying missiles and mortar shells, Canadian Israeli philanthropist David Azrieli has passed away at the age of 92.

Best known in the Jewish State for the landmark three geometric-looking towers in Tel Aviv that bear his name, Azrieli died in Montreal at his country home.

A man with a lifelong love affair with the Zionist State, Azrieli was a member of the Forbes’ billionaires’ list, with a net worth of $2.9 billion.

But he spent millions on tzedaka – charity – and his family donated $100 million in various funds over the past 23 years alone. The Azrieli family has pledged to match that in the coming five years.

Born in 1922 in Poland, Azrieli was 17 when he fled the Nazis, moving east to join the Polish “Anders” Army in Bukhara. Together with his new host “family” he moved into Iran and then to Baghdad, where two Hagana agents – Moshe Dayan and Enzo Sereni — persuaded him to switch allegiance and move to Palestine.

Azrieli fought in Israel’s War of Independence with the Seventh Brigade, later going on to attend the Technion and then years later the University of Montreal when he moved to Canada in 1954.

He married his wife Stephanie Lefcort there, and the two had four children together; Rafael, Sharon, Naomi and Danna. It was there in Canada that Azrieli also started Canpro, a real estate firm. But 20 years later he was back in Israel to build a new mall in Ramat Gan, following that with more malls throughout the country.

Owner of more than a dozen shopping malls in Israel, the Azrieli Group also owns 20 percent of the Leumi Card firm, as well as 4.8 percent in in Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. The group also owns the Sonol, Supergas and GES energy and environmental firms.

Last Thursday, his daughter Danna Azrieli succeeded him as chairman of the Group.

Egypt Slaps White House, Jails Al Jazeera Journalists for 7 Years

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Journalists around the world are expressing outrage in the wake of an Egyptian court’s decision to sentence three Al Jazeera journalists to prison for seven years.

The three were taken from their hotel room in Cairo in December 2013 and charged with conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to tarnish Egypt’s international reputation. Australian ex-BBC reporter Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian ex-CNN journalist Mohamed Fahmy, and local Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were among 20 accused in connection with the charges.

Al Jazeera has denied the accusations and journalists around the world have condemned Egypt for conducting what is seen as a direct campaign by Egypt’s new president to snuff out freedom of speech.

In the United States, the issue was also perceived as a diplomatic slap to the White House, which condemned the sentence. Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to express his government’s “serious displeasure” over the matter.

The court decision had come just one day after Kerry’s unannounced visit to Cairo in which he announced that Washington had unfrozen billions of dollars in military aid to Egypt. He also vowed during his visit that the U.S. would deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters for use in the fight against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.

Newly-elected President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi refused to “interfere in the judicial verdict,” setting off an international firestorm.

“Egypt should review its unacceptable sentences against Egyptian and international journalists, and show commitment to freedom of the press,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Al Jazeera reported.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott added that his government would work to get the imprisoned journalists out of the country “quickly.”

Leaders from various other international groups said that they, too, would work to free the journalists.

Canada Condemns PA Terror Kidnapping, But Obama’s Silent

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Canada has firmly condemned last week’s Palestinian Authority terrorist kidnapping  of three teenage boys but U.S. President Barack Obama has yet to say a word about the attack — even though one of the hostages is an American citizen.

The boys are students at the Makor Chaim yeshiva high school at Kfar Etzion in Gush Etzion. They were apparently abducted somewhere near the Judean town of Alon Shevut, about 15 minutes south of Jerusalem.

Palestinian Authority Unity Government Arabs starting passing out candies and other sweets in the streets of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, to celebrate the attack after hearing about the kidnapping.

Palestinian Unity Government Arabs celebrate the kidnapping of 3 Jewish boys.

Palestinian Unity Government Arabs in Gaza celebrate the kidnapping of 3 Jewish boys.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird issued the statement Saturday night, strongly condemning the kidnapping and reminding the PA in no uncertain terms that its paramilitary forces were trained, equipped and armed by Canada and the U.S.

“Canada is deeply concerned by reports that three Israeli teenagers may have been kidnapped in the West Bank and condemns those aiming to instigate conflict.

“We urge the Palestinian security authorities, who have been trained through Canadian and U.S. leadership, to make every effort to investigate this incident and work diligently to ensure the safe return of these children to their families.

“We call for the immediate release of the three Israeli teenagers. Whoever has taken this action must be found and brought to justice,” Baird said.

While Canada was unequivocal in its public condemnation of the terror attack on the three innocent teens, Israel’s “best friend” — the United States — has remained silent on the issue. The White House has made no public statement whatsoever, and the State Department restricted itself to a phone conversation between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Following is the transcript of the terse dialogue that took place between reporters and the State Department spokesperson as journalists tried to make sense of United States actions in the wake of the terrorist attack on the three boys Thursday night, especially given that one of kidnapped teens was an American citizen.

QUESTION: And last one, and this is in the Middle East. There’s reports coming out of the West Bank that there’s – three teens were kidnapped, and one of them is an American citizen. Do you have anything on that?

MS. HARF: We are aware – of course seen the reports, are very concerned for their well-being. The Secretary a short while ago expressed his concern in a meeting with Tzipi Livni in London and also has spoken with President Abbas this morning about it as well.

We are working with the Government of Israel and with the Palestinian Authority to try to ensure the situation is resolved quickly, and that the three teenagers are safely reunited with their families. I can’t confirm citizenship at this point.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Did you – the Israelis say that the Palestinian Authority has – is responsible for their –

MS. HARF: I don’t have a readout of those conversations.

QUESTION: No, no, no. I understand that, but the Israelis are holding – say that the PA is responsible for their – these – the safety of these three teenagers.

MS. HARF: Well –

QUESTION: Do you share that?

MS. HARF: What we know is the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority are working closely together on efforts to find the three teenagers and to hopefully bring a quick resolution to the matter, and of course giving this cooperation our full encouragement.

QUESTION: But you don’t think that the PA –

MS. HARF: I don’t have more. I don’t have anything more on this, Matt.

QUESTION: Okay, all right. The Israelis also say that they told Ambassador Shapiro, right?

MS. HARF: Yes, Ambassador Shapiro.

QUESTION: Ambassador Shapiro, yes – about the one who has American citizenship. Can you confirm if there was a conversation between him and the Israelis about one of the three, regardless of whether you can confirm –

MS. HARF: I’m sure Ambassador Shapiro has been in contact on this.

QUESTION: All right.

For the record, the Fatah faction led by Mahmoud Abbas — who heads the Palestinian Authority Unity Government — has called on shopkeepers in Judea and Samaria via its official Facebook page to destroy their CCTV security camera footage in order to sabotage the IDF’s efforts to rescue the kidnapped teenagers and hunt down the terrorists who attacked them.

If the United States believes that handing out sweets to celebrate the kidnapping of Jewish children by terrorists and destroying security film footage to foil their rescue is evidence of how the new Palestinian Authority Unity Government “works closely together” with the Israeli government to find and rescue the kidnapped teens,  there’s a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. At a bargain price.

Canada Bans Hamas Fundraisers

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Canada’s Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has banned a Muslim charity that officials believe has funnelled more than C$15 million (US $13.7 million) to Hamas.

Lawyers for the International Relief Fund for Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN-Canada) slammed the decision, which now makes it a criminal offence “to knowingly deal in the property or finances of this entity.” 

“On its face, we believe it is an unfair and unconstitutional decision,” Ottawa-based lawyer Yavar Hameed told Canada’s National Post daily. 

The decision to ban the terror-financing group came after Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided IRFAN’s headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario, as well as a private residence in Montreal. Police officials told the newspaper,  “an extensive amount of documentary evidence along with stored media, money and other records were seized.”

In recent years, Canada has emerged in recent years as a consistently strong voice against terrorism, and as one of Israel’s staunches friends on the international stage. Knesset members greeted Prime Minister Stephen Harper with a standing ovation during his speech to Israel’s parliament during a state visit to Jerusalem in January. Then, he addressed the Knesset and pledged Canada’s ongoing support for the Jewish state. 

“Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you,” Harper said, and proceeded to accuse critics of Israel as “moral relativists” who criticise Israel unfairly “to go along (in order) to get along.” 

Perhaps the greatest testimony to Canada’s demonstrated commitment to support for Israel and to fighting terrorism came from Arab MK Ahmed Tibi, a former advisor to the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. Tibi heckled Harper during his speech, and eventually stormed out of the Knesset plenum in protest.

Security expert David Harris, director of the International and Terrorist Intelligence Program of INSIGNIS Strategic Research, told the Canadian Jewish News that the move “suggests yet another situation in which Canada was vulnerable… as a kind of repository for extremist and related activity.”

“It bears noting that if between 2005 and 2009, $14.6 million was channelled to inappropriate recipients associated with Hamas, that seems to be an indictment of the delay… Given the amount of harm it could cause, it should give us pause,” Harris said.
 

Ryerson U. Student Union Passes Symbolic Vote to Join BDS

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

The student union of Ryerson University in Toronto voted to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement aimed at Israel, but the university said it will ignore the non-binding decision.

“The student union is a corporation independent of the university, we have to be clear there,” said Michael Forbes, a spokesperson for Ryerson and quoted by the Canadian National Post. “The university does not support a boycott. We don’t support divestment, nor do we support sanctions against Israel. We’ve been consistent on this point.”

Students at the University of Windsor and York University also have voted to join BDS.

The vote at Ryerson was passed amid jeers and boos at Jewish students who walked out in protest, holding as sign stating, “Hate off Campus.”

Canada Arrests Seven Lev Tahor Sect Members Arrested In Raid

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

A dozen Canadian border security officials raided the compound of the fringe Haredi Orthodox sect Lev Tahor Wednesday and arrested seven members believed to be in violation of immigration laws.

Two families in the Lev Tahor community are at the center of an ongoing child custody case, including one family who fled to Guatemala, the Canadian Press reported.

One Lev Tahor man was seen being driven away in handcuffs. One witness said she saw immigration officials trying to enter a building where Lev Tahor children are believed to be housed. “I can hear the children crying and praying,” the source said.

Last month, 14 children and several Lev Tahor adults fled Canada ahead of an appeal of an Ontario court order mandating that the children be placed in the care of children’s aid in Quebec. Eight of the children made it to Trinidad and Tobago, where they were taken into custody and returned to Canada. Two more children taken into custody in Calgary also were removed from the sect.

The rest are in limbo in Guatemala, their original destination.

This week, a lawyer for one Lev Tahor family removed himself from the case.

About 250 members of the community fled Quebec last fall just before officials could seize some of the children. Child welfare officials said they had evidence of abuse, squalid living conditions, underage marriages and substandard education.

Lev Tahor members maintain they are being persecuted for their strict religious beliefs.

Israel and Canada to Collaborate on Nuclear Terror Prevention

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

After their meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague this week, Israel’s Minister of Intelligence Affairs Dr. Yuval Steinitz and Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird announced the launching of a joint project to develop technologies for identifying the source of nuclear terror attacks.

The technology identifies the origin of the nuclear material, implicating the provider of these hazardous materials to terror groups. The development of such technologies is an imperative step in the international war on nuclear terror, as Minister Steinitz explained: “Due to terror threats in the Middle East and worldwide, developing technology to detect the source of a nuclear attack has become of the outmost significance. These detection abilities will serve as a deterrent for countries who might consider collaborating with terror groups using a nuclear bomb in a terror plot.” Minister Baird remarked that “the nuclear terror threat currently remains one of the most significant challenges to national security. The cooperation between Israel and Canada will aid Middle Eastern and other countries to pursue terrorists who are involved in illegal terror related trade.”

This project will be executed as part of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terror (GICNT), an international partnership of 85 nations and four observers who are committed to working to implement a set of shared nuclear security principles, of which Canada and Israel are members. The project, one of over 50 multilateral activities, will be funded by Canada.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-and-canada-to-collaborate-on-nuclear-terror-prevention/2014/03/26/

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