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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘conflict’

211 New Immigrants Flee to Israel From War-Torn Ukraine

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

With the increase of hostilities on the Russian-Ukrainian border in recent weeks, 211 new immigrants from Ukraine landed Tuesday at Ben Gurion Airport.

Most came from the embattled regions in the eastern part of Ukraine, arriving on the 19th flight sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) since hostilities broke out between the two countries.

“There has been a significant increase in calls from potential Olim to the IFCJ representatives in Ukraine and we are doing everything to give them the best possible service so that they can begin new and secure lives in Israel, which was and still is the home for any person who is part of the Jewish people,” noted Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, IFCJ president.

Approximately 4,000 immigrants have fled to Israel from Ukraine on flights sponsored by the organization since December 2014. Among those who arrived Tuesday were 37 children who are to begin their studies in Israeli schools in two days, including nine in the first grade.

Natalia S. arrived in Israel with her mother and son, and said that she was forced to leave the city of Marinka in the Donetsk region in Eastern Ukraine after the extensive bombing in the city that began in April 2014. The building where her family lived was bombed and some of their neighbors were killed.

Natalia explained that her family’s Jewishness was kept secret by her grandmother who had survived the Holocaust, while her husband, Natalia’s grandfather, was in a concentration camp. As a result, she says, “we knew we had Jewish roots but did not have the documents to prove it.”

According to Natalia, during one of the family’s visits to the Holocaust Museum an employee at the site advised her about which archive to search in order to find documents that would prove their Jewish roots.

“Because of the advice we were given, we went later to the archive and found my grandmother’s documents. In the documents, we read that she had changed her name and her father’s name, from “Alia” and “Avraham” to “Lisa” and “Peter,” she said. Natalia, her mother, and her son are planning to settle in Akko. Among Tuesday’s group of new olim there were seven babies, including two who were only six months old. The oldest person on the flight was age 82, and the average age of the group was 34. The preferred destination for the immigrants was Haifa, where 42 of the new arrivals elected to settle.

Most of the olim came from the Dniepropetrovsk region, which has become one of the preferred destinations for refugees escaping the embattled areas in Eastern Ukraine because of its proximity and the fact that it is still in Ukrainian hands.

The IFCJ assists the Olim to Israel with special grants of $1,000 for each adult oleh and $500 for each child, in addition to financing the flight to Israel. This support is provided by the organization in addition to the standard basket of benefits each immigrant receives from the Israel Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption. The organization also arranges the absorption of the new immigrant families with the various local authorities prior to their arrival in Israel, recruiting locals to accompany the new olim as they seek housing and employment and settle in to their new surroundings.

Hana Levi Julian

1978: Young Benjamin Nitay Talks About the Arab-Israel Conflict

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Wow! He practically looks the same, sounds the same…

Video of the Day

IDF Acquires New Long-Range Rocket From IMI

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

One usually associates the acquisition of the long-range rockets with Iran, Hezbollah or terrorists in Gaza.

But it turns out the IDF has just acquired an exquisitely accurate long-range rocket produced by Israeli defense firm Israel Military Industries (IMI)– the new long-range Taas EXTRA (Extended Range Artillery Rocket) missile.

The Taas, capable of hitting a target within a 10-meter accuracy radius even as far as 150 kilometers away, is part of Israel’s new arsenal being developed in preparation for a possible future conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Taas EXTRA long-range rocket manufactured by IMI.

The missile is described by the firm as a “precise, cost-effective, tactical-range artillery rocket” that allows ground force commanders to “influence the battlefield” at a range of 20 to 150 kilometers.

Developed in the IMI factory in Givon, the new rocket is approximately four meters long, with a diameter of 30 centimeters, and capable of carrying a variety of warheads up to a weight of 120 kilograms.

It’s a highly accurate rocket with a proven effectiveness against a “wide range of high payoff targets across the tactical battlefield,” according to the company.

The Taas will enable Israel to attack and eliminate any number of targets in Lebanon, should that prove necessary. This will also reduce the cost and complications of aerial attacks against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group where they hide north of Israel’s borders.

Hana Levi Julian

Ukraine Conflict Transforming to ‘Russia versus the West’

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Despite a cease-fire that went into effect one minute after midnight on Sunday, the conflict has apparently resumed between pro-Russia separatists and Ukraine government forces, but with clear Russian involvement.

The European Union has responded by activating sanctions against nine organizations and 19 people in Russia, including two Russian deputy defense ministers and Iosef Kobzon, age 77 — a Jewish man known as the “Russian Frank Sinatra.”

Kobzon is a long-time member of the Russian parliament. Sanctions were imposed against him because he “visited the so-called Donetsk People’s Repubic and during his visit made statements supporting separatists” after the Kremlin annexed Crimea, seizing it from Ukraine, the EU Official Journal explained. Donetsk is Kobzon’s birthplace.

For weeks the Russian-backed separatists have been focusing their attention on laying siege to the railway hub of Debaltseve, which so far has remained under the control of the Ukraine forces.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said at a briefing over the weekend that photos snapped in eastern Ukraine provided “credible pieces of evidence” that Russia herself – and not just separatist rebels – has been involved in the conflict.

“We are confident that [large amounts of artillery and multiple rocket launchers seen in the images around Debaltseve] are Russian military, not separatist systems,” Psaki said.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in a phone conversation on Saturday to discuss the situation. Kerry expressed concern over what he called efforts by Russia and separatists to cut off the town ahead of the cease-fire.

Artillery fire was also exchanged in massive shootouts around the rebel-held regions of both Donetsk and Lugansk. Rocket attacks were directed at areas around the government-held Azov Sea port city of Mariupol on Saturday as well.

Last week a teacher at the Chabad-Lubavitch preschool was killed in Donetsk when a rocket slammed into her apartment, killing her instantly. Irina Shelkayeba was an active member of the Donetsk Jewish community and a teacher at the Ohr Avner Preschool, Rabbi Aryeh Schvartz told Chabad.org.

The Beth Menachem synagogue – the only synagogue left in Donetsk – survived a narrow miss in a rocket attack that followed Shelkayeba’s death the same day. Instead, a minibus in a bus station some 300 meters away was hit by a shell in an attack that followed on the heels of the one that killed Shelkayeba.

Four people were killed in that attack, including the driver of the bus, which was incinerated along with a nearby vehicle. Nevertheless, the synagogue’s morning minyan (quorum) gathered to pray the regular morning service 90 minutes later as it does each day. Emergency food and supply packages sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews were then distributed at the Jewish Community Center next door to the synagogue.

The city’s Chabad emissary, Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski, said, “We have recently known many especially difficult and terrible days. I ask that Jews worldwide pray for their brethren in the war-torn territories – for everyone living in danger – and that they should all have peace and security.”

Hana Levi Julian

Officer Who Smacked Provocateur Gets Community Service, Discharge

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Read also: ‘It All Started When an Israeli Officer Hit Back’

This Dreyfus trial is over, with the predictable Dreyfusy results. Israel has just destroyed one of its best and brightest over a cooked video. There will be no second chances.

A military court in Tel Aviv on Thursday accepted the plea deal between the military prosecution and Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, according to which Eisner will spend 2 months of community service at one of the ground forces, and then will retire at the earliest possible age of 43.

The court decision read: “We find that the arrangement is reasonable and we should adopt it.”

Back in April, 2012, large group of 250 European and Palestinian activists belonging to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) were on a bicycle trip in the Jordan Valley, a region which has enjoyed relative peace in the relationship between local Arabs and the IDF, even as Judea and Samaria were ignited in violent clashes.

This very large group of dedicated agents provocateurs rode through one of the villages in the valley, and when they tried to get on highway 90, which runs the length of Judea and Samaria alongside the Jordan River, they encountered Israeli soldiers and border policemen who demanded their return to the village, because the activists had not coordinated their trip with security forces.

It should be noted that, for security reasons, Palestinian traffic on highway 90 is curbed and monitored by several checkpoints. This is part of Israel’s overall effort to prevent unceasing Palestinian attempts to attack Jewish targets both within and outside the “green line.”

It should also be noted that, as the ISM itself states this plainly, it is their mission to open up those road blocks, so that “the Palestinian popular resistance,” e.g. the Islamist Jihad and Al Fatah, be able to renew their attacks on Jewish targets.

According to the Deputy Commander of the Valley Brigade, Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner, the event, in which IDF soldiers were trying to block the passage of 250 cyclists, lasted about two hours, only a few minutes of which are shown in the video.

Once told they could not proceed, Eisner said, “the activists tried to block the Jordan Valley road. We were the last vestige between them and the highway, and the protesters tried to pass us again and again, even though we insisted and explained to them that they are forbidden to break into a military zone.”

At some point during that two-hour event, an ISM agent attacked Eisner, and broke two of his fingers. Take a look at the way the Israeli officer is holding his weapon, and you’ll realize he is actually responding to a dangerous demonstrator, rather than attacking him unprovoked. He was provoked and then some.

“I’ve learned my lesson from the incident and will never again be dragged into provocation,” Eisner told Ma’ariv back in 2012, “but you must understand the whole situation, in which we were trying for two hours to stop lawbreakers. I simply did my job.”

And that good deed is certainly not going unpunished.

For his part, Lt. Col. Eisner, who was about to become head of a major IDF training facility when career veered off a cliff, said he was satisfied with the verdict, and as the judges left the room, he was heard to say: “this is now behind us.”

It means it could have gone even worse.

The community service is to start in February.

Yori Yanover

‘Inch’allah’ Pulled from Israeli Film Festival in Australia (See Vid)

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

The Israeli Film Festival has cancelled scheduled screenings of award-winning French-Canadian film Inch’allah, following complaints it was “anti-Israeli” and should never have been part of the event, WA Today reports.

The decision to pull the film was made by Albert Dadon, chairman of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, which presents the festival.

Dadon said the inclusion of Inch’allah was “an error” in the first place, because the film was a French-Canadian production, not an Israeli film.

But the Australian-Jewish web site J-Wire quotes a festival patron, David Schulberg, who says he wrote the organizers condemning the inclusion of Inch’allah, which he called “anti-Israeli,” saying that it “gravely misrepresents the situation that exists in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, highlighting the alleged suffering of Palestinians at the hand of the Israelis by distorting and distending the facts on the ground”.

Schulberg also noted that the director, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, whose film is the tale of an Arab doctor driven to become a suicide bomber, was one of 500 Montreal artists who had signed a petition in 2010 supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Sol Salbe, who attended a Melbourne screening of Inch’allah, said he felt the removal of the film was wrong, and made for the wrong reasons.

Film critic and broadcaster Peter Krausz labelled the decision to withdraw the film from the program “appalling,” claiming it “makes us a laughing stock around the world.”

Here’s the plot summary of Inch’allah, from Rotten Tomatoes:

Chloe (Evelyne Brochu) is a young Canadian obstetrician working in a makeshift clinic in a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, where she treats pregnant women under the supervision of Michael (Carlo Brandt), a French doctor.

Facing daily checkpoints and the separation barrier, Chloe is confronted with the conflict and the people it affects: Rand (Sabrina Ouazani), a patient for whom Chloe develops a deep affection; Faysal (Yousef Sweid), Rand’s older brother, a fervent resister; Safi (Hammoudeh Alkarmi), their younger brother, a child shattered by war who dreams of flying across borders; and Ava (Sivan Levy), a young soldier who lives next door to Chloe in her apartment in Israel.

Her encounter with the war draws Chloe into an adventure that’s both deeply personal and as large as the land. She loses her bearings, is uprooted, and goes into freefall. There are trips that shake us and transform us. There are trips that shatter all of our certainties. For Chloe, INCH’ALLAH is such a trip.(c) eOne

Please share your impressions with us.

Yori Yanover

Gabriela Shalev: Israel’s First Female UN Ambassador

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Speaking at the Stand With Us International Women’s Conference in Jerusalem, Shalev described serving as a woman in the male dominated United Nations. She said that whenever she was called into the UN Security Council to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she was surrounded by men in black suits with grim looks on their faces. It was an uncomfortable feeling for her, yet these experiences inspired her to become even more Zionist and feminist.

During her post between 2008 and 2010 there were only 25 female ambassadors in the UN and only one female ambassador in the UN Security Council.  Despite the challenges, Shalev shared that the advantage of being a woman was that she was able to reach out, quickly bond, and form lasting friendships with the other female ambassadors.  She also said despite public speeches showing the contrary,  Arab ambassadors were more friendly, including ones from countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic ties.

“Arab men respected women ambassadors more than male ones,” she emphasized.  Shalev stated that while Arab ambassadors continued to be anti-Israel publically, in order to comply with directives given by their respective governments, privately they displayed to her their admiration of Israel and even urged Shalev to report back to the Israeli government that they should finish Operation Cast Lead and defeat Hamas.  She also said that following the flotilla incident with Turkey,  she met with UN officials who respected Israel’s position but who were forced to side with the Arab block to ensure their political future.

Although proud of her service to the State of Israel during those two years she expressed that she would have preferred to have had more time to focus on women’s rights and Israeli humanitarian aid to Africa (a project that began under the leadership of Golda Meir), but because the fact that two-thirds of UN members are anti-Israel and that she served during both the Goldstone Report and Israel’s incident with the Turkish flotilla, she did not have much time to focus on issues other than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Shalev expressed the importance of Israel’s participation in the UN, promoting agenda items that Israel has in common with the UN, and concluded that while “the UN is not a perfect place, neither is the world that we live in and the UN merely represents our world. We must bring the voice of Israel to the world!

Visit United with Israel.

Rachel Avraham

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/united-with-israel/gabriela-shalev-israels-first-female-un-ambassador/2013/08/18/

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