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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘conference’

Global Mayors Meet in Jerusalem, Will Visit Yad Vashem

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Mayors and governors from more than two dozen cities around the world are visiting Israel this week as part of the 31st International Mayors Conference in Jerusalem.

The American Jewish Congress and American Council for World Jewry are acting as hosts for the mayors this year in Israel.

The delegation is set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local Israeli municipalities that include Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Nazareth.

Representatives from cities such as Beverly Hills, Miami Beach, Salzburg, Odessa and Lvov are scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum on Tuesday (Nov. 15).

The mayors will participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visit the Children’s Memorial and sign the Yad Vashem Guest Book.

During their four-day trip they are set to visit hi-tech, energy and cyber firms, as well as urban development experts, in addition to the Jerusalem Innovation Center, ‘Bezeq Telecom’ and to enjoy a Tel Aviv start-up tour. The officials will meet with Israeli entrepreneurs working in the fields of health, security, water and the environment.

Hana Levi Julian

International Peace Conference Would Endanger Israel

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected France’s call for an international conference to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But before anyone concludes that only “right-wingers” oppose such a conference, it’s worth recalling that one of the most outspoken critics of the conference idea was Yitzhak Rabin.

The year was 1985, and Rabin was Israel’s minister of defense. Arab leaders had been pushing for the convening of an international peace conference. Rabin and other Israeli leaders were insisting on direct Arab-Israeli negotiations.

The Reagan administration had always supported Israel’s position. But in the spring of 1985, there were media reports that Secretary of State George Shultz was starting to warm up to the idea of an international conference. A worried Rabin flew to the United States for top-level discussions.

Upon his arrival in the U.S., Rabin “made it clear he was concerned about Washington’s apparent weakening on the question of an international conference on the Middle East,” according to AIPAC’s weekly newsletter, Near East Report.

“If they are ready to make peace, let’s negotiate [directly],” Rabin was quoted as saying. “If someone wants to undermine any hope of peace, an international conference and bringing in the Syrians is the best way.”

Rabin said that in his meetings with U.S. officials, “I heard about the ‘international umbrella.’ ” That was a phrase that some administration officials had begun using to try to sugarcoat the bitter pill. The idea was that if the conference took place under the “umbrella” of international auspices, it would somehow increase the chances of achieving peace.

Rabin disagreed. “Whenever anyone mentions umbrella, it reminds me of Chamberlain and Munich,” he declared.

Rabin’s statements were pretty remarkable, when you think about it. He had formerly served as Israel’s ambassador in Washington, so he was keenly sensitive to the need not to anger U.S. officials. Yet he publicly leaked the fact that they were using that deceptive “international umbrella” term. Not only did he leak it, he openly criticized it, right there in Washington.

And he didn’t just criticize it, he used the analogy of Chamberlain selling out to Hitler at Munich. For Rabin to stand in Washington and blast the U.S. administration, even invoking a Nazi analogy, was nothing less than astonishing. It really showed what a terrible threat an international conference (or “umbrella”) poses to Israel.

Such a conference, if held today, would consist of a dozen or more Arab and European countries ganging up on Israel and demanding unilateral concessions to the Palestinians. And given reports that the Obama administration wants to see “progress” on this front before the president leaves office, one must assume the U.S. would side with the Arabs and Europeans.

The purpose of the conference would not be to achieve a genuine peace. How do we know? Because the sponsor, France, already declared earlier this year that if the conference failed to produce a Palestinian state, the French would unilaterally recognize one. That’s the goal – not peace, but a Palestinian state, as quickly as possible, no matter the risks to Israel. Which is why the Palestinian Authority’s inciter-in-chief, Mahmoud Abbas, is energetically supporting the conference idea.

During the past year, France has suffered the worst terrorist attacks in the world since 9/11. One would think the French would understand the folly of appeasing Islamic terrorists and oppose creating what would be an overwhelmingly Muslim Palestinian terrorist state. Yet just the opposite has happened.

Why? Because the French are afraid. They are afraid of angering the Muslim world, afraid of more Muslim terrorism. The French believe that since they are defending themselves against ISIS – French planes are bombing Muslim terrorists in Syria and the French police have been shutting down pro-terror mosques – they have to prove they champion Muslim causes. Supporting Palestinian statehood is France’s way of trying to appease the Muslim world.

The international conference proposal is just another way of throwing Israel under the bus. No wonder Israelis – Likud or Labor, right or left – aren’t too excited about that prospect.

Stephen M. Flatow

Israeli Nuclear Technology On Display at 60th IAEA Conference in Vienna

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

The Israel Atomic Energy Commission has opened a specially-dedicated pavilion to present Israel’s work in the field of nuclear applications. The pavilion, entitled ‘Rays of Hope,’ opened on Tuesday (Sept. 27, 2016) in Vienna at the 60th International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference. This is the first time that Israel has made an international presentation in this area.

The Israeli pavilion highlights innovative research capabilities and their uses in various nuclear-related fields for educational, scientific and agricultural purposes, as well for the production of clean energy.

IAEC Director Brig,-Gen. Zeev Senir said at the launching of the exhibit: “The Israeli developments in the nuclear field have led to ‘Rays of Hope’ and have inspired many people. In nuclear science we are exporting essential know-how and equipment for medical treatment, agriculture, security and safety around the world. Our future in the Middle East must include cooperation and joint responsibility for the welfare of its residents. In the spirit of the IAEA, I call on our neighbors to join us and turn this vision into reality.”

The Israeli pavilion features the following content:

* Health: Radiotherapy, personalized radiotherapy, and quality improvements in nuclear medicine.

* Agriculture: Regional cooperation in pest extermination and fly eradication.

* Presentation of the Carasso Science Park in Be’er Sheva, which was established in cooperation with the IAEC and which has received over 300,000 visitors to date.

* Presentation of the Soreq Nuclear Research Center:

— SARAF particle accelerator for the production of radioisotopes and nuclear physics research;

— Space laboratory, which is the durability of components under ionizing radiation to benefit the launching of satellites;

— The Sarafim program for outstanding high school physics students, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.

* Radiation detectors for various applications in the nuclear industry, medical imaging and systems that neutralize ionizing radiation, which were developed by Rotem Industries.

Hana Levi Julian

Conference Debating Bringing Holocaust Images to Life [video]

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Films from the Holocaust period are filled with haunting images, providing a rare opportunity for researchers to piece together the stories of lives cut brutally short. In today’s digital age, such film footage is particularly compelling and stirring, granting us a glimpse into a living memory of a world that was – and is no longer. A groundbreaking conference on the subject, the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) workshop entitled “Holocaust Archival Footage as a Historical Source: Methodology and Ethics in the Digital Era,” is currently taking place at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

EHRI is a trans-national project aimed at supporting and promoting improved access to Holocaust documentation scattered across the globe. The workshop, designed especially for experts, convened some 30 top level professionals, providing tools and tips for researchers and historians from Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and other countries in utilizing Holocaust-era footage as a historical source. Sessions included newly-discovered footage located at various archives and collections of Holocaust-related material; the unique challenges entailed in locating, collecting and restoring these rare films; and technical and methodological dilemmas of using of source movies.

One of the stories featured at the conference was about David Teitelbaum, an amateur photographer who was born in Wielopole Skrzyńskie, southeastern Poland, in 1891 and later relocated to the United States, where he became a successful businessman. Teitelbaum would return to his hometown almost every year to visit his family, and in 1938, he filmed his trip. In June or July 1939 he traveled to Wielopole again, but only stayed for a short time, sensing that war was imminent. Members of the Teitelbaum, Rappaport and Sartoria families, as well as their neighbors and acquaintances, were likely filmed during that last visit.

Several years ago, this rare color footage depicting Jewish life in the shtetl of Wielopole before the Holocaust was donated to Yad Vashem. With the assistance of relatives (particularly Channa Rachel Helen Glucksman, David Teitelbaum’s niece), Yad Vashem has succeeded in identifying many of the individuals in the film, including a number of sick or elderly Jews who were murdered in an aktion in the town.

Since the film was uploaded to Yad Vashem’s Youtube channel, it has been seen by over 130,000 viewers, many of whom have commented on how deeply moved they were to have caught a glimpse of Jewish life in the town before it was destroyed forever.

The Yad Vashem Archives house hundreds of Holocaust-related films, including raw footage, newsreels, amateur films, propaganda and feature films, and postwar trials. What makes this footage so unique is that it contains many layers of information beyond the recorded data – the personal backgrounds of the subjects, the historical context of the events depicted, and even the motivation and ideology of the photographer – all of which may be revealed through painstaking research.

Efrat Komisar, Head of the Film Footage Section at the Yad Vashem Archives and one of the presenters at the workshop, explained the importance of correct usage, critical research and cataloguing of film footage. “These wartime films have a complex nature, stemming, among other things, from the photographers’ intentions in creating the film in the first place. Nevertheless, they are invaluable as original documentation. The films open a window onto the world of their subjects, as well as that of their creators. They supplement information provided by other forms of documentation, as well as priceless visual testimony of people and places before, during and even immediately after the Shoah.

“Historians, researchers and filmmakers alike have an obligation to investigate these precious films thoroughly, and present them to the public together with the most comprehensive and accurate information possible, thus building a more accurate visual memory of the Holocaust,” Komisar continues. “Moving images provide something that other kinds of documentation – written, aural and even still photographs – cannot give: multisensory scenes of people, places and events that depict often very personal accounts in real-time. In a way, seeing them almost brings them back to life.”

JNi.Media

Project to Build Visual Memory of Places & People Before, During the Holocaust

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Films from the Holocaust period are filled with haunting images, providing a rare opportunity for researchers to piece together the stories of lives cut brutally short. In today’s digital age, such film footage is particularly compelling and stirring, granting us a glimpse into a living memory of a world that was, and is, no longer.

A groundbreaking conference on the subject, the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) workshop entitled “Holocaust Archival Footage as a Historical Source: Methodology and Ethics in the Digital Era,” took place this weekend at Yad Vashem.

EHRI is a trans-national project aimed at supporting and promoting improved access to Holocaust documentation scattered across the globe. The workshop, designed especially for experts, convened some 30 top level professionals, providing tools and tips for researchers and historians from Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and other countries in utilizing Holocaust-era footage as a historical source. Sessions included newly-discovered footage located at various archives and collections of Holocaust-related material; the unique challenges entailed in locating, collecting and restoring these rare films; and technical and methodological dilemmas of using of source movies.

One of the stories featured at the conference told the tale of David Teitelbaum, an amateur photographer who was born in Wielopole Skrzyńskie, southeastern Poland, in 1891 and later relocated to the United States, where he became a successful businessman. Teitelbaum would return to his hometown almost every year to visit his family, and in 1938, he filmed his trip. In June or July 1939 he traveled to Wielopole again, but only stayed for a short time, sensing that war was imminent. Members of the Teitelbaum, Rappaport and Sartoria families, as well as their neighbors and acquaintances, were likely filmed during that last visit.

Several years ago, this rare color footage depicting Jewish life in the shtetl of Wielopole before the Holocaust was donated to Yad Vashem. With the assistance of relatives (particularly Channa Rachel Helen Glucksman, David Teitelbaum’s niece), Yad Vashem has succeeded in identifying many of the individuals in the film, including a number of sick or elderly Jews who were murdered in an aktion in the town.

Since the film was uploaded to Yad Vashem’s Youtube channel, it has been seen by over 130,000 viewers, many of whom have commented on how deeply moved they were to have caught a glimpse of Jewish life in the town before it was destroyed forever.

The Yad Vashem Archives house hundreds of Holocaust-related films, including raw footage, newsreels, amateur films, propaganda and feature films, and postwar trials. What makes footage so unique is that it contains many layers of information beyond the recorded data – the personal backgrounds of the subjects, the historical context of the events depicted, and even the motivation and ideology of the photographer – all of which may be revealed through painstaking research.

Efrat Komisar, Head of the Film Footage Section at the Yad Vashem Archives and one of the presenters at the workshop, explained the importance of correct usage, critical research and cataloguing of film footage. “These wartime films have a complex nature, stemming, among other things, from the photographers’ intentions in creating the film in the first place. Nevertheless, they are invaluable as original documentation. The films open a window onto the world of their subjects, as well as that of their creators. They supplement information provided by other forms of documentation, as well as priceless visual testimony of people and places before, during and even immediately after the Shoah.

“Historians, researchers and filmmakers alike have an obligation to investigate these precious films thoroughly, and present them to the public together with the most comprehensive and accurate information possible, thus building a more accurate visual memory of the Holocaust,” Komisar continues. “Moving images provide something that other kinds of documentation – written, aural and even still photographs – cannot give: multisensory scenes of people, places and events that depict often very personal accounts in real time. In a way, seeing them almost brings them back to life.”

The Yad Vashem Archives house the most comprehensive collection of Holocaust-era documentation in the world. Documents acquired by Yad Vashem through its many international efforts and cooperative agreements are preserved, cataloged and digitized to ensure accessibility for the public and future generations. For more information on the activity of Yad Vashem’s Archives Division and the vast wealth of information contained in its collections please contact:

Simmy Allen, head of the International Media Section, Communications Division at Yad Vashem. She can be reached at +972-2-644-3412 or by email at: simmy.allen@yadvashem.org.il .

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, was established in 1953. Located in Jerusalem, it is dedicated to Holocaust commemoration, documentation, research and education.

Hana Levi Julian

Herzog Booed at Labor Party Conference

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

The Labor Party Conference opened Sunday in Tel Aviv with boos and catcalls directed at party chairman Isaac Herzog, as the delegates were preparing to vote on a date for re-electing Herzog or picking the next chairman. Several delegates called on Herzog to “go home,” and some waved in front of him pictures of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

After the catcalls, Herzog decided to abandon his earlier plan to speak to the party conference, and the delegates entered the secret ballots phase right away. Party Secretary General MK Yehiel (Hilik) Bar yelled at the booing members that “anyone comparing the chairman to Putin better leave the party.” It was a reference to a photoshopped image of Herzog standing next to Edrogan and Putin that had been handed out by the chairman’s opponents earlier.

Meanwhile, herzog told reporters, “We expected an attempt to blow up the conference. I decided with Hilik that he lead a move to remove from the party anyone who resorts to violence at the conference. Trying to blow up the conference is an act of violence.”

Herzog was critical of MK Shelly Yachimovich, his predecessor at the party helm, who objected to pushing off the election. He blamed her and MK Erel Margalit of encouraging inappropriate behavior by delegates “with their violent and excitable style.” He noted a comparison Yachimovich had made last May between Herzog and a lapdog, as the chairman was being seduced by PM Netanyahu only to discover that he had been used all along as leverage to bring MK Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party into the coalition government.

Yachimovich said Herzog should man up and that he’d been using that dog reference more than 200 times since May, and should pick a new bone.

The delegates voted in a secret ballot on having the chairmanship election either in December 2016—as Yachimovich and Margalit want it, or in Juy 2017—Herzog’s preference.

In the end, the chairman’s position was accepted by a hefty majority of 750 to 402 votes, and the primaries in the Labor Party are officially postponed until July 2017.

David Israel

Does The Israeli Family Have A Future? Notes from the Ramle Conference

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

What is the most important challenge facing Israel today? Most of us can recite by heart the usual answers: Terrorism, lack of unity, anti-Semitism. But according to virtually every one of the twenty speakers at last month’s ninth Ramle Conference, the answer appears to be the threats facing the nuclear Jewish family.

Organized by several groups, principally Hotam and Komemiyut, the conference brought together experts from various fields, all of whom had a significant take on the subject. Attendees represented a varied cross-section of the population, from Ramle pensioners to policewomen, as well as National Service girls, social workers, legal experts, a Hesder yeshiva dean, yeshiva students and rabbis, grandmothers, and others.

What are the threats to the family that render the topic so critical? The most immediate threat has apparently been neutralized – for now – but many of the speakers feel the ideology that drove it is still very much in force. The reference is to a proposed drastic change in Israel’s “Parents and Children Law” – and it was only intense lobbying by pro-family activists that prevented the change from being voted on in the Knesset.

The proposal would have stricken the clause defining parents as a child’s legal guardians (authorized to represent the child before the authorities, to decide where the child will live and go to school, etc.), replacing it with one defining a new concept of “parental responsibility” consisting mainly of parents’ obligation to respect and uphold a series of “children’s rights” as defined by the bill. This “parental responsibility” could be limited or obviated by a court, should the authorities decide a parent is not carrying out his or her “parental responsibility” properly.

Social worker Ronit Smadar-Dror, founder of an organization called L’tzidchem (By Your Side), spoke of another threat to normative family life.

“Contrary to common misconception,” she noted, “it is not mainly women who are the victims of male violence but the opposite: In 50 percent of the cases of family violence, both spouses are violent, while in 26 percent of the cases it is the woman who is violent; only in 24 percent is it the man alone who is violent.

“Yet the wrong picture is constantly promoted. The problem with this misrepresentation of reality is that it causes men not to seek help because they know they will be mocked, disbelieved, and/or likely distanced from their families by the police and courts – and thus the families continue to suffer. What is a child to do or feel when he sees his father being victimized, yet is taught everywhere that men are violent?”

Another problem was highlighted by Rabbi Azriel Ariel of Ateret. “In my role as a marriage counselor I see that many couples simply don’t have time for their marriage or to deepen their relationship,” he said. “This requires not only work on their part, but also a public policy change. For instance, the Ministry of Economic Affairs forces its female employees to work full-time – meaning that the government does not allow them to invest in their families. This has to be changed.”

Moderator Aya Kramerman and a panel. Gil Ronen is on the far left.

Moderator Aya Kramerman and a panel. Gil Ronen is on the far left.

Gil Ronen, founder of the Femilistim pro-family organization, posited that the above examples, and others, are driven by nothing less than a Communist agenda, and that feminists in Israel have, wittingly or not, bought into a wide-ranging campaign to destroy the family unit.

“The dialogue in the country has changed, by design: Every flirting or untoward remark is reported as sexual harassment, and men are constantly portrayed as violent, instead of as protective. This is all part of a campaign to change the way we think.”

Predictably, those remarks elicited some strong objections, but Ronen was not deterred. He noted that some weeks ago, the gang assault of a Jewish woman by five foreign workers in Tel Aviv “was barely covered in the press, because it did not fit the agenda… while not long before that, an offensive remark by former MK Yinon Magal at a party [was dragged out in] headlines until Magal finally surrendered to the media charges of ‘sexual harassment’ and resigned.”

Michael Puah, father of 12 and a leader of the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) organization, told the audience that is “unfortunate that the religious-Zionist public does not take part in the struggle on behalf of the family the same way it did against the Oslo agreements. There are forces at work that wish to dismantle the family structure. These forces soon concluded, however, that if they could not beat them they would join them, and instead of destroying the family unit they would just call everything a family: two mothers, two fathers, etc. They are trying to replace the ‘biological family’ with the ‘contractual family,’ so that it can be dismantled at will…”

Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Zini, former rabbi of the Technion and now the dean of Yeshivat Ohr V’Yeshuah, related a story of a Muslim preacher who “told his flock of worshipers one Friday how dangerous and terrible the Jews are, but then said that in reality, the Jews are really only the agents of our real enemies, the Americans – who want to destroy our family structure.”

“Traditional Jews are therefore in a precarious position,” Rabbi Zini continued, “because we are fighting simultaneously against Western culture and against extremist Islam – and both of them are distorted versions of what we Jews gave the world.”

After the audience digested this point, Rabbi Zini added, “The Western world…believes in only one thing: the individual. But this is poison to our belief system, which believes in the community and family structures…”

One of the conference’s two panel discussions dealt with the matter of work environments vis-à-vis the family unit. Rabbi Ariel agreed with some of the other speakers that the danger of extramarital relationships is enhanced in mixed-gender workplaces:

“Great caution is required. It must be remembered that while work is an important value, it is not an obligation – whereas adultery is a capital crime. One goes to work to support his family, and he must be careful that he does not do the opposite – causing the collapse of his family by what he does at work.”

The rabbi enumerated some guidelines, drawing nods of agreement in the audience but not necessarily on the panel. Police Brig.-Gen. Yael Idelman, who has served for three years as the Israel Police Department’s first adviser on women’s affairs, said she could not accept this approach:

“When I agreed to sit on this panel, I had no idea we would be talking about things like separation between men and women and the like. I view my role as creating the conditions to bring about equal opportunities for women serving on the police force, and to thus bring out their abilities – and I believe that we have done this successfully. Regarding marital infidelity and the like, this can happen anywhere, not just in the police force, and it is up to each individual.”

Asked why male and female police officers serve together on night shifts, she said, “This is how it must be, because they sometimes have to deal with women who will only open up to a policewoman.” The questioner was not satisfied with the response, saying afterward, “The police department just recently experienced a rash of sexual harassment cases on the part of senior police officers, and yet they continue on as if nothing ever happened.”

MK Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) presented a general approach of “thinking positively” and doing what we can now to avoid problems later: “If we see that the divorce rates are very high, let us provide government-subsidized pre-marital counseling. If we want to encourage large families, how about subsidizing larger cars for those with four or five children or more?”

Rabbi Menachem Burstein, head of the Puah Institute, which works with couples who have fertility problems, urged that every teen register with a genetic testing service to prevent genetic diseases and strongly recommended that unmarried women over the age of 30 undergo a relatively new process to freeze egg cells, which can later be fertilized by their husbands and transferred to the uterus as embryos.

Demographer Yaakov Feitelson, who served as the first mayor of the Shomron city of Ariel over 30 years ago, presented encouraging statistics and charts showing that Israel’s Jewish population growth is positive in comparison not only with the rest of the world but also with its Arab population.

In terms of average first-marriage age, Israel is in second place in the 41-member OECD; first-marriages in Sweden, Iceland and Chile, for example, typically take place when the bride and groom are in their mid-30s – eight years older than in Israel. Similarly, Jewish fertility rates are climbing while the Arab numbers are slumping, and equality has nearly been reached.

Feitelson, who is not outwardly religiously observant, says he is in favor of ending the compulsory military draft of women, for three reasons: “It will help the country economically if they can go out to work earlier, religious men will have no reason not to serve, and it will lower marriage age and increase Jewish population growth.”

Highlighting the optimism of those fighting the battle on behalf of the nuclear family in Israel, conference organizers awarded plaques of recognition to two Israeli organizations for their success in imbuing and preserving family values: Internet Rimon, which filters out unacceptable Internet sites and content, thus enabling families to use the Internet without fear, and Binyan Shalem, whose annual three-day seminar is attended by thousands of men and women, with many dozens of classes on topics related to the Jewish family and its values.

“It all started in a living room one day several years ago,” said the Binyan Shalem representative accepting the award, “which shows us how much can be done simply with patience, perseverance, and the desire to do good.”

Hillel Fendel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/does-the-israeli-family-have-a-future-notes-from-the-ramle-conference/2016/07/13/

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