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July 27, 2016 / 21 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘David Ben Gurion’

Is Jerusalem Truly Israel’s Capital?

Saturday, June 4th, 2016

Since 2006 there are no foreign embassies in Jerusalem. This obviously reflects the reluctance of the entire world that does have diplomatic relations with the Jewish State to recognize its ownership of Jerusalem. It is a unique phenomenon in world affairs. Not only do the nations of the world not accept Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital, the international community also regards about half of it, eastern Jerusalem, including the entire Old City, as part of the “occupied Palestinian territories,” and no one officially recognizes western Jerusalem as part of the territory of Israel either.

Under the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1947, Jerusalem was going to be an international territory administered by the United Nations. In the 1948 war, the western part of the city was occupied by Israel, the eastern part by Jordan. And since the international community relies on the 1947 UN partition plan regarding the legal status of Jerusalem, it refuses to recognize Israeli sovereignty over any part of the city.

Israel, obviously, feels very differently about this matter: On December 5, 1949, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, proclaimed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and in July 1980 Israel passed the Jerusalem Law, as part of its constitutional Basic Laws, declaring Jerusalem the “complete and united” capital of Israel.

Jerusalem, which for the first 19 years of the state was a remote, unsafe (Jordanian snipers), small and joyless (Tel Aviv ruled), was transformed after the 1967 liberation of the Old City and the holy sites, exactly 49 years ago Sunday. Today 10% of Israelis live in Jerusalem — 850,000, twice as many as live in Tel Aviv, three times as do in Haifa.

When King David conquered the city and purchased the top of Temple Mount, just under 3,000 years ago, the entire city area was probably about 60 hectares. Today it is about 2,000 times larger, with 125,156 hectares included in the Jerusalem municipality.

The first university in the Land of Israel, Hebrew University, was established in Jerusalem, in 1925. Today 17% of Israeli university students study there, and 26% of the Ph.D. candidates.

Many Israeli national institutions are located in the Government District in Givat Ram in Jerusalem, as a part of the National District. Some government buildings are located in the Menachem Begin District. The city is home to the Knesset, the Supreme Court, the Bank of Israel, the National Headquarters of the Israel Police, the official residences of the President and Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and all ministries except for the Ministry of Defense (Tel Aviv) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Rishon LeZion).

And so it is clear that no other issue separates Israel from the rest of the world as radically as that of Jerusalem’s status. Most Israelis born after 1967 naturally view Jerusalem as their unquestionable capital. Leftwing Israelis who would agree to handing over some or all of eastern Jerusalem to a future independent Palestinian entity, are probably not aware of the fact that the world does not differentiate between eastern and western Jerusalem, and regards neither as naturally belonging to Israel, never mind recognizing them as its capital.

JNi.Media

This Day in History: Prime Minister Netanyahu Wins in Direct Elections

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

20 years ago today, on May 29, 1996, Benjamin Netanyahu was voted in for the first time as Prime Minister of Israel, beating out Shimon Peres in direct elections.

Netanyahu won 50.5% (1,501,023 votes) of the vote, while Peres received 49.5% (1,471,566 votes) of the vote.

Netanyahu was the youngest person ever to become prime minister of Israel.

Since then, he has become the 2nd longest serving prime minister after David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister. If his current coalition survives, Netanyahu will become Israel’s longest serving prime minister.

He is also the only prime minister to have been elected 3 times in a row, and has been elected a total of 4 times, the same as Ben-Gurion.

Photos of Netanyahu in 1996, following his victory:

Benjamin Netanyahu becomes prime minister

Leader of the Likud party and former prime minister Bibi Netanyahu visits the Western Wall

A young Netanyahu and a young Avigdor Libermnan in December 1996:

Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman. December 25, 1996

Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman. December 25, 1996

Jewish Press News Briefs

Ben-Gurion University Sponsoring ‘Breaking the Silence’ Event (Updated)

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Note to the reader: The following story was sent to us today by our friends at Im Tirtzu. Later in the day we received an irate email from Ehud Zion-Waldoks who does Media Relations for BGU. To stay fair to everyone, we posted his email at the end of the story.

Ben-Gurion University (BGU) will sponsor a conference titled, “Breaking the Silence through the Ages and Now…” in late May. Publicized as an official event of BGU, the event is in clear violation of the Council for Higher Education of Israel’s decision to prohibit any attempt to politicize academia, says the Im Tirtzu rightwing organization, noting that the vast majority of the conference participants are political activists affiliated with the radical, anti-Zionist Left.

Meirav, a student in BGU’s Department of Politics and Government, noted that one of the professors in her department had sent an invitation to the students to attend the conference. “It saddens me to see how time after time the University can sink to a point where it voices explicit support for a radical organization that acts against IDF soldiers,” Meirav said.

Amichai, an archeology student at BGU was also furious after hearing about the event: “It pains and deeply troubles me that BGU, specifically the Department of Jewish History, chose to organize an event in ‘honor’ of ‘Breaking the Silence,’ an organization that supports and fuels the boycotts against the State of Israel and IDF soldiers. Just last year the University’s president, Rivka Carmi, said that she wants to fight against the boycott movement and feels sorry for the University’s professors who have suffered from it. But now she is giving a platform to a radical organization. We are not ready to have this event and will fight it. It is a disgrace that our university is providing them with a platform to spread their lies about Israel.”

In a letter sent by Im Tirtzu CEO, Matan Peleg, to the University’s administration, he demanded that the event be cancelled. “Ben-Gurion University’s sponsorship of this event constitutes as the support of a publicly funded institution for an anti-Zionist political organization that deals with defaming the State of Israel and IDF soldiers in Israel and in the world, backed by foreign government funding.”

In the letter, which he also sent to the Education Minister and to the Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, Peleg stated that “by standing together with the foreign agent organization ‘Breaking the Silence,’ the University forms a common front with those who bolster the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, thus legitimizing the industry of lies against Israel.”

Peleg emphasized that “the list of participants in the conference speaks for itself – two leading members of ‘Breaking the Silence’ (Yuli Novak and Nadav Weiman) will be speaking alongside various radical Left lecturers and activists who have signed petitions supporting those refusing to serve in the IDF and petitions calling for international pressure to be exerted on Israel. On top of this, the University’s rector will be providing the opening address.

“David Ben-Gurion is turning over in his grave. The University that was named after him has transformed into a blatant supporter of ‘Breaking the Silence,’ and in turn strengthens not only the phenomenon of internal delegitimization backed by foreign funding, but also the worldwide boycott movement against Israel.”

 


 

The conference is an academic one organized by the Department of Jewish History entitled “Whistleblowing Through the Ages and Today”. The full program can be found here: http://in.bgu.ac.il/Pages/events/Breaking-Silence.aspx

The conference will address historical and current aspects of whistle blowing. Several of the leading researchers in Israel will take part in the conference which will discuss various aspects of the phenomenon: literature, history, philosophy, and art.

The conference will be comprised of three sessions: “Ancient Times and the Middle Ages (Socrates and Galileo)

In Modern Times in France (Zola and Sartre), Germany (Thomas Mann), the United States (the Jewish minority and McCarthyism), and Israel (Natan Alterman and Yishayahu Leibowitz).

An additional lecture will be devoted to Eugène Ionesco’s play Rhinoceros.

All of the academics who will be speaking are leading researchers and the topic of the conference is central to their research.

An additional session on the topic of the current Israeli discourse will feature representatives of various viewpoints alongside academics, among these representatives will be Yair Sheleg and Dror Eydar.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is a pluralistic academic institution, which promotes and enables an open and diverse dialogue and does not seek to espouse a particular political viewpoint.

David Israel

Yitzchak Navon, Fifth President of Israel, Dies at Age 94

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Yitzchak Navon, the President of Israel from 1978 to 1983, died on Saturday at the age of 94. His wife died in 1993, and he is survived by two children.

A former member of the underground Irgun headed by Menachem Begin and then of the HaGanah, Navon learned Arab literature and Islamic culture at Hebrew University and served as a diplomat before entering politics and holding the post of Education Minister.

He was born to a Jerusalem Sephardi family whose descendants include Spanish Jews who made Aliyah to Jerusalem after the Spanish Expulsion in 1492.

Navon was elected to the Knesset in 1965 as a member of Ben-Gurion’s Rafi party, which merged into the Labor faction.

The extremely popular president was unanimously elected to the office, with no opposition, and he was the first president to live in the current presidential residence in Jerusalem. He turned down the opportunity to run for a second term of office and then became the only president to return to politics.

Navon was more popular than Labor party chairman Shimon Peres, a leading member of Labor but rejected appeals to replace him.

He left politics in 1992  but returned to public life in 1996 to chair a committee that investigated the practice of discarding blood donated by Israelis of Ethiopian origin due to concerns about AIDS transmission

Navon also was an author and wrote two musicals based on Sephardic folklore

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

IDF’s New Weapon: Soaring Number of Hareidi Combat Soldiers

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

One of the IDF’s best weapons is the growing number of Hareidi combat soldiers, which is making the army stronger physically and spiritually.

A new combat unit of Hareidi soldiers is being established in the Givati Brigade, whose national religious commander Ofer Winter was promoted last week to take over the Central Command and continue his successful program to integrate Hareidim into the army, as the JewishPress.com reported here Thursday.

Approximately 45 Hareidim from the ages of 18-22 already have been drafted for a new Tamar unit, and new positions are being opened for Hareidim in combat support units. The first Hareidi soldiers to operate bulldozers are expected to begin serving in four months.

In the Nevatim Air Force Base in the Negev, Hareidim will take combat support positions and be responsible for equipment for paratroopers.

This year, 2,226 Hareidim have enlisted in the IDF, and the number is expected to rise to 2,700 by next July. More than 100 Hareidi soldiers have passed tests, including hand-to-hand combat, to be accepted as combat soldiers in the Hareidi Netzach Yehuda infantry battalion.

An IDF officer told Haaretz that the new Givati company follows the model that IDF thinks is the best way to integrate Hareidi soldiers into the army. Instead of placing them in units with secular soldiers, where one group might dominate the other, the military thinks that all-Hareidi companies are the best model.

Additional Hareidi combat units are expected to open up in the coming years.

The motivation of Hareidi combat soldiers is extremely high, and the Netzach Yehuda has been praised several times for soldiers’ quick reactions that have prevented or minimized terrorist attacks.

The success of Hareidim as combat soldiers is ironical for the secular scoffers who for years have been accusing Hareidim of draft-dodging.

Yeshiva students often capture headlines when they are arrested for not reporting for the draft, but the hundreds of Hareidim enlisting as combat soldiers is nothing short of a quiet revolution in the army as well as in Israeli society.

Within the army, from the foot soldier to top brass, religious practice is not an issue. Winter was promoted to Brigadier-General because of his success as an officer. He was not passed over because he is religious and was not promoted just because he is religious.

When secular soldiers see Hareidim fight just as they do, the social and religious barriers drop. It is more likely that secular Jews will be influenced by Hareidim much more than non-observant soldiers will influence Hareidim to take off their black kippas.

Providing a religious infrastructure for religious soldiers in the army goes back to the days of Prime Minister David Ben Gurion.

When the late Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who was a career IDF officer, complained that there were no kosher facilities for soldiers in the Paratroopers unit, he was told, “Find me one religious paratrooper and we will provide kosher food.”

Rabbi Goren promptly showed up for paratrooper training, passed the test and became the first religious paratrooper.

Kosher food then was served.

More than once, secular paratroopers, before parachuting, have been moved by religious paratroopers saying a prayer before for jumping out of the plane opening the chute.

Many of the secular soldiers, some of whom never said in a prayer in their lives, asked to do the same.

Secular anti-Hareidi politicians, who use to laugh at warnings that the army will become more religious if they insist on drafting more Hareidim, soon may regret their wishes.

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Yom HaZikaron at the Gush Etzion Cemetery

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

More than an hour before the Yom HaZikaron ceremony was to begin at 11:00 a.m. in Kfar Etzion at the Gush Etzion Regional Cemetery this morning, hundreds of school children lined the streets, streaming towards the event.

Police and security personnel were stationed on the approach road, directing the cars and buses to park in such a fashion that there would be order going in, and an orderly departure.

GERC4park

The cemetery lies in a rolling series of hills, with various communities represented in plateaued graveyards, with gravel in between and lots of lush greenery and wildflowers sprouting in all the open spaces

.GERCboysgraveside

Just recently a building was put up, until then, every memorial service and every funeral took place in the open. Israeli funerals, unlike those elsewhere, can take place any time of day or night, and they generally take place within just a few hours of death.

But for today’s Yom HaZikaron ceremony, all those in the Gush Etzion area touched by loss showed up, and here in Israel, that is almost everyone. Some family members were lost to illness, others simply to old age. But in this cemetery, as in so many cemeteries in Israel, there is a disproportionate number of graves of young people – those who fell in all the wars Israel has endured, and those who were murdered by terrorists.

GERC2sailor

For more than an hour people were milling around, visiting the various graves, placing stones of remembrance, saying tehillim.

And when the hour drew near 11:00 a.m., the small area near the speakers’ platform filled beyond overflowing. There were many dozens of soldiers in uniform, closely-cropped young men and young women with impossibly thick curls, most soldiers wearing their units’ berets, others with their berets neatly folded and pinned to their shirts.

GERCwomansalute

When the sirens rang out at the stroke of 11:00, four jets in formation took off from nearby: “they’re buzzing the entire country,” a woman said, “it will take about a minute.”

And then the speeches – is it fair to call them that? The messages invoking the memories, the love, the devotion to those who had given their lives for the Jewish State, washed quickly over the crowd, interspersed with a few haunting songs including “Ani Ma’amin” (“I Believe”) and Hatikvah. Two boys from a nearby high school spoke about the loss of two graduates of the school who were killed during last summer’s war.

Israeli crying at Yom HaZikaron Ceremony at Gush Etzion Regional Cemetery, April 22, 2015.

Several speakers mentioned the abduction and murder of the three teenagers which touched off last summer’s war. Eyal Ifrach, Gilad Sa’ar and Naftali Frenkel were kidnapped just down the road from where the ceremony took place.

A chazan sang out the names of all the soldiers and the victims of terror who are buried in this cemetery, as pain crossed the faces of so many who stood listening.

A representative of the Israel Defense Forces spoke, as did two representatives of the Knesset. One, MK Ze’ev Elkin, reminded those in the audience that David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first president, famously recognized Gush Etzion as the savior of Jerusalem.

MK Zeev Elkin at Yom HaZikaron Ceremony at Gush Etzion Regional Cemetery. April 22, 2015.

MK Zeev Elkin at Yom HaZikaron Ceremony at Gush Etzion Regional Cemetery. April 22, 2015.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

President Rivlin’s Independence Day Message Thanks Jews in the Diaspora

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

President Reuven Rivlin’s Yom Ha’Atzmaut message to Jews in the Diaspora thanked them for contribution to the Jewish state but did not even whisper a hint that they should make Aliyah and come home.

Israel and Jews around the world celebrate Israel’s Independence Day Wednesday night and Thursday, one day before the usual date of the 5th of Iyar in order to avoid desecration of the eve of the Sabbath and celebrating through Friday evening.

This also is President Rivlin’s first year in office, and he did not even tiptoe the issue of Aliyah. He simply ignored it.

Suggesting Jews in the Diaspora to move to Israel usually is an itchy subject. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu angered some French leaders and especially the French government last year when he flatly stated after a terrorist attack on Jews at a kosher deli in Paris, “The State of Israel is not just the place to which you turn in prayer. The State of Israel is also your home.”

David Ben-Gurion, when he was Prime Minister in 1961, hit a brick wall in Baltimore when he told rags-to-riches millionaire Jacob Blaustein he expected several thousand American Jews to move to Israel every month.

Blaustein told Ben-Gurion, “American is our home.”

President Rivlin played it safe and patted American Jews on the back without ruffling any feathers.

He told them in the video that can be seen below:

Israel will forever be indebted to our friends and supporters abroad. Those who have contributed and continue to contribute to charities and foundations, those who have volunteered in the Israel Defense Forces even at times of war, those who stand up for Israel in the media – you are all part of the Israeli family, and should take joy and pride in Israel’s independence celebrations….

Together, we can work to ensure that Israel fulfills its promise of a Jewish and democratic country, with equality and freedoms for all its citizens.

I wish you all Chag Atzmaut Samayach and may we all enjoy a successful and prosperous Israel.

Americans, especially Jews, love to hear about “equality and freedom” in Israel. It makes them feel proud to be Jewish Americans – and not American Jews – so the non-Jewish community can huff and puff that the United States of America is the model for Israel.

America, the country where church is church and state is state and never the twain shall meet.

America, the melting pot.

America, where the assimilation rate among Jews is 70 percent.

If the Obama administration has not convinced American Jews to move to Israel, maybe Hillary Clinton can succeed.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/president-rivlin-independence-day-message-thanks-jews-in-the-diaspora/2015/04/21/

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