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May 5, 2016 / 27 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘day’

Shiloh Musings: Holocaust Memorial Day, When Even Mourners May Watch TV in Israel

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

One of the big adjustments for me as a mourner of a parent, a status that lasts a Jewish Year, is that I’m not permitted to watch my usual entertainment on the television, or my favorite movies–mostly old musicals– on DVD. I’ve been listening to a lot of shiurim, Torah and Tanach (Bible) classes from the computer, mostly Matan where I study, and I have no problem with newscasts.

In Israel there are two days a year when all the television programs suit the restrictions of mourners. As according to Jewish Tradition, the day begins at night, so last night on the Eve of Holocaust Memorial Day there were all sorts of television shows about the Holocaust, survivors etc. One I found particularly annoying and political; it was on Israel’s Chanel 1. Their news editors do their best to turn even the weather into complaints about the government, and they had an “expose`” of sorts emphasizing the difficulties many elderly “survivors” have financially and how some sort of fall between the bureaucratic cracks, because they don’t fit the clerical and/or legal definition of “survivor.”  They may have been too young or escaped too early or stayed in Europe too long to get German reparations which helped so many people financially. And now they are decades past retirement age, and like many elderly, have serious financial problems which they hope the Israeli Government can solve.  I changed channels.

I caught another program with interviews and films of survivors returning to their “former homes/countries” where they had suffered. There was also a Holocaust movie with Daniel Craig that I watched a bit until they had a crazy scene that meshed together Jewish wedding music and a battle.

Everyday fewer and fewer survivors, witnesses to the atrocities of the Nazis and too many others remain alive and/or capable of telling their tales. Yad Vashem and the Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive are rushing to film and tape everyone who can possibly tell a first person tale of the Holocaust and survival. A friend of mine and her siblings recently accompanied their father back to Europe on a trip filmed by one of these groups.

The Holocaust was a very black and evil time in World History, and we shouldn’t forget that it happened in advanced and cultured Europe. That’s a message we must take to heart, and that is why I consider the terrible anti-Israel/antisemitic rhetoric coming out of even the most respected, academic and “open/Liberal” universities all over the world so troubling. The distortions in their thinking, teaching and ideologies are even more dangerous than  Hitler’s rantings and Mein Kampf.

I see myself as a realist, a pragmatist. Do you agree?

Batya Medad

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

In Israel, for one minute in the morning each year, a siren sounds throughout the Land and daily life stops. Cars halt in the middle of the highway, factories go silent, and students cease to study. People utter prayers or personal thoughts memorializing the 6 million Jews murdered at the hands of the Nazis. On this day, places of entertainment are closed by law, TV stations air Holocaust documentaries, and low-key songs are played on the radio. Flags are flown at half-mast and a memorial ceremony is held at Yad VaShem, the Holocaust Memorial, in the presence of the Israeli Prime Minister, President, survivors and their families.

{Reprinted from Aish.com)

Guest Author

Return Of The Grinch: The Left Plans To Steal Jerusalem Day

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

A truly happy new year will soon begin for the Jewish People: The 50th year of the liberation and unification of our holy and historic capital city of Jerusalem starts just six weeks after the upcoming Pesach holiday. The precise date, of course, is the 28th of Iyar (June) – the 49th anniversary of the modern-day miracle of the return of Yerushalayim to its nation.

It happened in the Six-Day War of 1967, when Jordan joined Egypt and Syria in their attempt to destroy Israel, which miraculously overcame the odds, and the rockets that King Hussein of Jordan fired at Jerusalem and environs cost him the Holy City, all of Judea and Samaria, and even the summer palace he was in the midst of building overlooking the Judean Desert.

(The structure still stands today, exactly as half-built as it was in June 1967 – but today it overlooks the burgeoning Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev.)

In 1998 the Knesset enacted the Jerusalem Day Law, proposed by the late Rabbi MK Chanan Porat. “Thirty years after the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem,” the law states, “the time has come to relate to it publicly [in the form of] a national holiday. The essence of Jerusalem, the height of our hopes and aspirations and the summit of our joy, should be noted and singled out on a day that symbolizes the centrality of Jerusalem in the life of the Nation of Israel that has returned to its land.”

Last year the government decided to appoint a steering committee to set the tone of the Jerusalem Jubilee festivities. The conclusions for the 50th year were to have been publicized a number of months ago, but in truth, barely a word on the plans has been reported. If the government is planning something, it is certainly a well-kept secret. It is to be hoped that this is not a harbinger of things to come – because there are elements preparing long and hard to step in and fill the void. This is truly reason for alarm.

Haaretz journalist Akiva Eldar is one of the leaders of a campaign designed to, in the organizers’ words, “embarrass and stymie the Netanyahu government” and keep the “Israeli occupation in the news.” He is one of a group of leading media and academia leftists who are planning worldwide protests during Jerusalem’s festive 50th year, seeking to boost opposition to Israel’s continued presence in Judea, Samaria, and, of course, eastern Jerusalem.

Their idea is to enlist prominent Jewish figures in the U.S. and Israel to sully the majority of the Israeli public that has for many years now voted right wing. The campaign is expected to cost some 30 million NIS, or $8 million, funded through organizations such as J Street and the New Israel Fund.

The work has already been divided up. Several leading left-wing Israeli professors are responsible for recruiting “peace” organizations, while others are in charge of keeping the “anti” campaign constantly in the international media.

The organizers’ mission statement states that the aim is to create a “change of thinking” among the Israeli citizenry, the Israeli government, and even international Jewry. Eldar said in a recent interview that he envisions the publication of an ad in major American newspapers – a different paper every week during the course of the 50th year – citing one “expert” or another as to why Israel must give up on a united Jerusalem and quit Judea and Samaria.

In short, our enemies from within are planning a tough year for lovers of Israel and Jerusalem. It behooves us to prepare a strategy to meet this threat.

For one thing, we must show how truly dangerous the radical Left has become. The more it loses its grip on public opinion – at least here in Israel – the more it attempts to thwart the will of the Israeli public, as expressed time and again at the ballot boxes.

It must also be pointed out that Eldar and friends seem not to have thought their ideas through. It is certainly easy to declare “Jerusalem must become a two-state capital.” But have they any notion at all as to how to do this? Should a fence be built down the middle of the city? What should happen to the many tens of thousands of Jews living in neighborhoods adjacent to the areas to be governed by the Muslim Palestinian Authority? What will be with the neighborhoods slightly farther away when Jews start emptying out, as happened in the 1950s? When they say we should leave Judea and Samaria, have they given even a fleeting thought as to what should be done with the 400,000-plus Jews living there?

However, as the organizers say, the goal is simply to embarrass Netanyahu and the nationalist camp – and so a realistic approach is not necessary.

This does not mean the threat must not be met – and the Zionist nationalist camp has precious little time left to decide how to do so. Two months ago, Education Minister Naftali Bennett declared that the coming school year would be “Jerusalem Unity Year” in the educational system. The details will be publicized this coming Jerusalem Day, but Bennett explained at the time, “Our [national] history began in Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem we will draw our strengths today as well. Those who try to detach the Jewish people from its city, should know that they have achieved just the opposite, and our links with it have grown stronger.”

Interestingly, in its attempt to sully Bennett’s campaign in favor of Jerusalem, a left-wing site named “Black Labor” presented the case for Jerusalem most succinctly: “It appears that Bennett sees his job as an opportunity to actualize and imbue the nation with the values in which he believes. As he said, ‘Education is primarily a matter of values.’ … He believes that the Jewish state was founded with the dynasty of King David, and that the Jewish nation then managed to survive for many years in Exile despite having lost its political entity. This entity was renewed when the Jewish people returned to Zion [in the 20th century]. We are now in a new era, Bennett believes – no longer one of survival, but of a true Jewish state based on Jewish values, in which these values must be strengthened.”

We couldn’t have said it better. For the sake of Jerusalem, let us all act to ensure that his goals are met. To paraphrase the Psalmist, “Let our right hand become stronger as we remember and act for you, O Jerusalem, and let our tongue not cleave to our palate as we speak out on your behalf in every forum.”

 

How can you get involved? Visit Jerusalem and participate in our bus tours in strategic areas (e-mail tours@keepjerusalem.org). Speak up for Jerusalem. Learn to become an effective advocate for keeping Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty. Visit the Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech website at www.keepjerusalem.org.

Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org

A Soldier’s Mother: A Vacation Day in Israel

Friday, April 29th, 2016

There is nothing like Chol Hamoed in Israel. There are two major holidays in Judaism that have what is considered a “holy” day at the beginning and a “holy” day at the end, with what is referred to as the “intermediary” days being considered as…wait for it…half-holy. What this means is that the first and last days are like the Sabbath – we don’t drive, use electricity, phones, computers, etc. and have special prayers. These two holidays are Sukkot and Passover (Pesach). The intermediary days are called Chol HaMoed and while you are allowed to drive, use electricity, phones, etc. it is considered holiday-like and hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of Israelis take vacation and take to the parks, the beaches, the streets.

It isn’t about shopping; it’s about just relaxing. Some families go different places every day; others use the time to catch up on resting and just doing nothing. Yesterday, we went north.

For once, I’ll use pictures to speak, rather than words. It was an amazing day…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paula Stern

Hunting Nazis To Their Dying Day: An Interview with Author Andrew Nagorski

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Major Wilhelm Trapp, who led of one of the most notorious Nazi killing squads in Poland, once said to his driver, “If this Jewish business is ever avenged on earth, then have mercy on us Germans.”

Most Nazis never did meet justice on this earth. That even a few did is largely thanks to a small group of individuals – both Jews and non-Jews – who refused to forget and forgive. They are the subject of a new book by award-winning journalist and author Andrew Nagorski, “The Nazi Hunters” (Simon & Schuster), available in bookstores on May 10.

The Jewish Press: What was the immediate reaction of Jews to their Nazi tormentors after the Holocaust?

Nagorski: Many people had a natural urge to seek vengeance. One of the characters I interviewed for the book told me he saw a group of concentration camp prisoners who, after their liberation, put an SS officer on a metal tray and fried him alive in the crematorium.

So that was the first impulse. But pretty quickly it transformed into an impulse not for vengeance but for justice. They felt there had to be individual accountability and there had to be a record of what had happened because the greatest fear of many survivors was that the world would quickly forget or even deny its existence.

The Allies tried a number of Nazi leaders after World War II but soon soured on holding trials and even commuted the sentences of some of those who had already been convicted. Why?

At first there was the question: What do you do with these people? Stalin suggested we just take out a whole bunch of them and have them shot. Then there was talk of trials, but Churchill was reluctant because he was afraid they would be show trials. The Americans, though, said we have to show that these people are responsible.

So that was implemented in the Nuremberg and Dachau trials. But with the advent of the Cold War, both the Soviets and the Americans were much more concerned about recruiting German scientists and getting West Germany or East Germany lined up on their side, so there was a lot of pressure to commute some of these sentences and stop some of the trials.

In the book you write about the Adolf Eichmann trial at some length and note that some prominent individuals – Isaiah Berlin and Erich Fromm, for example – were morally opposed to Israel trying him. Why?

Many people said it was going to look like vengeance. But Ben-Gurion’s government felt they needed this for internal consumption as much as anything else. Gabriel Bach, who is the last surviving member of the team that prosecuted Eichmann, told me there was almost a feeling of shame about the Holocaust in Israel, especially among the younger generation. They didn’t understand how Jews could go “like sheep to the slaughter.”

The Eichmann trial gave Israel a chance to educate a whole generation about how the Holocaust transpired – how Jews were deceived at every turn, how it was impossible in most cases to resist, and how when there were possibilities to resist, people did.

Several years after the Eichmann trial, Israel pursued and killed Nazi-collaborator Herbert Cukurs, who was known as the “Butcher of Riga.” Why didn’t they try him like they did Eichmann?

Cukurs had escaped to Latin America, and in 1965 someone posing as an Austrian businessman lured him to a house in Uruguay where a group of Mossad agents standing only in their underwear – so that no blood would get on their clothes – killed him. They then left a note saying this was vengeance for what he did.

This operation has always been cloaked in mystery since this was not the way the Mossad normally operated. When I talked to Rafi Eitan, who was the Mossad agent on the Eichmann case, his only explanation was that it must have been something personal. Maybe the parents of someone high up in the Mossad died at the hands of Cukurs.

After Eichmann, number 1 on the list of many Nazi hunters was Dr. Josef Mengele. He, however, managed to elude their grasp. Can you talk a bit about him and the efforts to find him?

He was known as the “Angel of Death” and was a particularly vicious person who sent countess Jews to their deaths and conducted really horrible experiments on people, especially twins.

After catching Eichmann, the Israelis made some efforts to find Mengele. A couple of agents were on his trail – one of them thinks he may have even seen Mengele walking on a country path – but then they were called away to work on a child custody case [the Yossele Schumacher affair].

Mengele drowned off the coast of Brazil in 1979, and his remains were definitively identified in 1985.

In addition to describing Israel’s forays into Nazi hunting, you profile a number of individual Nazi hunters in your book, including Simon Wiesenthal. Wiesenthal is somewhat of a polarizing figure among Nazi hunters with some regarding him as a hero and others as a publicity-seeking hound. What’s your take?

Even those who quarreled with Wiesenthal – including, most famously, Isser Harel, the head of the Mossad – give him credit for pressuring governments to put Nazi war criminals on trial, especially in the 1950s and ‘60s when most governments were turning away from this whole issue.

He kept up the momentum when it could’ve died and, with it, the whole era of Nazi-hunting. The fact that we have trials of elderly Auschwitz guards in Germany today is to a large extent the product of the early efforts of Nazi hunters – Wiesenthal foremost among them – not to allow the public to forget.

Perhaps the most interesting Nazi hunters featured in your book are Serge and Beate Klarsfeld. Can you talk a bit about them?

They are a fascinating couple. Beate, who isn’t Jewish, was born in Germany. Her father served in the Wehrmacht, and when she was growing up her parents didn’t speak much about the war or the Holocaust. When she about 20, though, she went to Paris to strike out on her own and met her husband Serge whose father had died in Auschwitz. At that point, Beate started discovering what had happened during the war and became this really radical Nazi hunter.

One of her more brazen actions took place in 1968 when she was so outraged that the German chancellor – Kurt Georg Kiesinger – had been a member of the Nazi party that she got a press pass to the Christian Democrats’ convention, walked up to the chancellor, and slapped him in the face.

Later, as a couple, the Klarsfelds went after top Nazis – most prominently Klaus Barbie – who had served in occupied France and were responsible for the murder of [tens of thousands of] Jews. They personally tracked Klaus Barbie down in Latin America and kept up the pressure on the French government to have him extradited and put on trial. He was, in fact, ultimately put on trial and died in prison.

A 94-year-old Auschwitz guard, Reinhold Hanning, is currently being tried in Germany for his role in the Holocaust. Some people wonder if putting such an elderly man on trial for crimes he committed 75 years ago makes sense. How do contemporary Nazi hunters today see it?

Each of these cases is seen as a way to bear witness to what happened. And since there are only a few of these people still left – just as there are fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors left – these cases become even more important. Individual testimonies are the most powerful tool to educate the world about what happened.

It’s interesting, by the way, that the Germans courts have finally accepted something they did not accept before. Today you no longer have to prove that an individual Nazi killed or tortured a specific person. It is enough just to show that his role was essential for the mass killing. So if you served as a guard in Auschwitz, for example, you were part of the killing machinery and can be held accountable.

Once this legal principle [was accepted in 2011], Germany started looking through the records of Auschwitz guards and other guards to see who was still alive, who was mentally capable, and who was in Germany. That’s where the Reinhold Hanning trial originated.

Elliot Resnick

Hebron Launching 6 Day War Jubilee Celebrations Early

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Two Ministers, two Deputy Ministers, four Knesset Members, Israel’s Chief Rabbi and other VIPs joined leaders of Judea, Samaria, and Hebron, three Biblical patriarchs and three matriarchs, as well as 30,000 “regular” Jews in marking the Passover holiday in Hebron and kicking off the jubilee celebrations of the return of the Jewish people to the city of our forefathers and to all the rest of the Land of Israel.

The celebrations of 50 years since the Jewish nation has received the divine gift of completing the conquest of western Eretz Israel, in the Six-Day War of 1967, have begun a little early, to prepare us to be ushered into the actual jubilee, ending fifty years that started on June 5th, 1967, the 26th of Iyar, 5727. In fact, next year will mark four miraculous events in Jewish history, starting with the first Zionist Congress, launching modern political Zionism, 120 years ago in 1897; followed by the 100th anniversary of the November 2, 2017 Balfour Declaration, in which the world’s most dominant empire at the time recognized the Jews’ right to a homeland in the Land of Israel; followed by all the nations of the world 70 years ago, on November 29, 2017, voting to establish a Jewish state in the Land of Israel; and then, at the conclusion of the process, the divine gift, 50 years ago.

And while leftwing groups are laboring even as we speak on a multi-million dollar propaganda campaign for 2017 dubbed “Save Israel-Stop the Occupation” (SISO), the folks at Hebron are working on a long gratitude list each Jewish person should contemplate in the coming year (14 months, really).

And so busses filled with Israelis and pilgrims from around the world took part in the Hebron festivities Monday, visited the rarely opened Isaac Hall in the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, experienced the multi-million dollar 4D presentation on Hebron at the Beit Hadassah Hebron museum and were entertained by musicians Chaim Yisrael, Udi Davidi, Uzziah Zadok, Itzik Dadya, and Binny Landau.

The visiting leaders addressed the crowd from a large stage situated in the Machpelah plaza.

Habayit Hayehudi and Likud ministers and MKs at the Hebron festivities. Also (extreme right) Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick.

Habayit Hayehudi and Likud ministers and MKs at the Hebron festivities. Also (extreme right) Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) said, “I am certain that in this city Jews are going to continue to live, as the saying goes ‘from antiquity to eternity.’ This spirit, which brought you to settle in the City of our Fathers inspired others to climb other hilltops and raise their new communities… and this same spirit will lead us, your representatives in the Knesset and government, to give you support, to fulfill your great vision — the vision of settling the land.”

Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoob Kara (Likud) addressed the Arab population of Hebron in Arabic, saying, “Only under Israeli sovereignty in this area will your rights and your lives be insured. Without Israel there is ISIS.”

Chief Rabbi David Lau spoke said, “This large and holy crowd has gathered here to begin the jubilee celebrations of the liberation of Judea and Samaria… We have come here to mark 50 years that we can finally return, and this time it is a full return because we’ll never have to stand at the [Muslim rulers’ limit of the] ‘7th step’ in order to pray with Mother and Father. As we have merited this, may we merit to have full return and to settle the nation of Israel in its land.”

JNi.Media

Arab MK Refuses Holocaust Day Invite, Says It Motivates Humiliating Arabs

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List) on Wednesday refused an invitation to the final memorial rally of Holocaust Day at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai (named after Mordechai Anielewicz, commander of the Jewish underground in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising). Zoabi said that “the lessons of the Holocaust should not be taught in order to increase the motivation to defend oneself by humiliating and repressing [others].” The organizers, the Havatselet group, invited all 120 Knesset members to the event on May 5.

Zoabi began her letter to the group saying she was honored to “participate in marking a human tragedy that took the lives of millions of people, and showed how far down it is possible to dive to the depths of human horror, to the boundary of the absurd and the loss of the human image.”

Then she noted, “It is an honor for me to stand in memory of the victims, but it is just as important to sound the alert for you regarding that which preceded the Holocaust and paved the road to it. And precisely for that reason I decided to refuse your invitation.”

“The memory you are reviving is not the same memory the victims now symbolize.” According to Zoabi, “the learning of the Holocaust lessons in the state is done selectively and manipulatively. … You shouldn’t teach the lessons of the Holocaust by adopting a policy of closure, extortion, robbery and murder, extrajudicial executions, arrests without a trial, torture, gag orders, persecution of demonstrators and political activists. It would be a cynical, selective, distorted exploitation against the spirit of the Holocaust.”

“You shouldn’t teach the lessons of the Holocaust when you don’t recognize the frightening likeness between what’s going on around us today and what took place in Germany in the 1930s,” Zoabi wrote.

The Havatselet group released a statement saying, “The assembly is a-political and the memory of the Holocaust is important to all mankind regardless of religion, race or sex.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arab-mk-refuses-holocaust-day-invite-says-it-motivates-humiliating-arabs/2016/04/20/

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