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May 25, 2016 / 17 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘day’

Israel’s Independence Day: We Have a Lot to Celebrate

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Candidly Speaking from Jerusalem}

Two weeks ago, we commemorated the genocidal murder of 6 million Jews – the most barbaric episode in our 2,000 years of exile which was sporadically interspersed with discrimination, persecution, expulsion and pogroms.

Last week, the nation mourned those who sacrificed their lives in the course of the creation and ongoing defense of our Jewish state.

Against this somber background, the next day, we celebrated the 68th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel.

This period evokes mixed feelings.

Our prayers for peace with our neighbors and our desperate hope that our children and grandchildren shall not be obliged to fight wars, remain but a dream with no respite on the horizon.

Moreover, those who believed that after Auschwitz, anti-Semites would represent an extinct species, were deluded and are dismayed at the upsurge of mankind’s most enduring hatred. Prior to the creation of the state of Israel, anti-Semites accused Jews of being the source of all the evils confronting mankind. Today hatred of the Jew as an individual has been transcended by global hatred of the Jewish state, which is widely perceived as the prime source of global instability, the greatest threat to peace and one of the most oppressive countries in the world. This warped view is promoted at a time when the Dark Ages of barbarism have returned to the region, with millions being killed, displaced and denied human rights.

Moreover, even Western countries – especially Europe, whose soil was soaked with Jewish blood during the Holocaust – once again stand by and either abstain or even formally support efforts to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state. It is somewhat like a déjà vu of the world’s indifference to the Nazi extermination of the Jewish people.

But, on Independence Day, while fully conscious of the evil surrounding us, we must resist the whining of the prophets of doom in our ranks.

We should celebrate that we are the most blessed Jewish generation in 2,000 years.

Jewish youngsters today graduating from schools and universities have no appreciation of the fear and insecurity that dominated the lives of Jews before the creation of the state empowered us.

As we follow the chilling anti-Semitic tsunami in Europe, including recent expressions in the British Labour Party, and observe European Jews once again being transformed into pariahs, we are angered rather than fearful. That is because a Jewish state guarantees that today Jews threatened with murder or oppression have a haven.

We should celebrate the fact that Israel has created the most powerful military force in the region. Our tiny state is one of the top 10 world military powers, with the ability to deter and defend itself against the combined forces of all our adversaries. Could Holocaust survivors, Jews oppressed in Arab countries, or Soviet Jews facing anti-Semitism 70 years ago, have even remotely dreamed that their descendants would enjoy the status we have achieved in an empowered Israel? That alone provides boundless grounds for rejoicing.

Furthermore, we have cause to celebrate the ingathering of our exiles, ranging from broken survivors of concentration camps to Ethiopian Jews – and the extraordinary success in which these Jews from all corners of the world and different levels of society have been molded into a vibrant nation.

Our political system is frequently condemned as dysfunctional and only a small percentage of our more talented citizens are tempted to enter into professional politics. Yet, the fact remains that despite being the only country in the world whose existence is constantly challenged, and facing ongoing terrorism and wars, we have succeeded in retaining one of the most democratic systems in the world.

Indeed, our freedom of expression and robust press has frequently been condemned for being over indulgent in providing platforms for elements promoting our enemies. We rightfully grant full equality to Arab Israelis, notwithstanding that their radical parliamentary representatives support our enemies and demonize their own state.

Our legal system, despite its weaknesses and the controversy over the excessive interventionist power of the High Court, ensures that all Israelis are treated with equality. Indeed the fact that a president, prime minister and senior cabinet ministers were indicted, convicted and imprisoned, highlights the proper functioning of our legal system. This, too, is an aspect of life in which we should take pride and celebrate.

We are blessed to have one of the most robust economies in the world and we must rejoice in the fact that we have more new high-tech initiatives and startups per capita than any other nation. Not to mention that over the past decade, our own desalination processes have overcome an endemic drought condition and, despite prevarications, we will in future become a gas exporting nation.

Beyond this, we can take pride in our vibrant cultural and religious life. This is a Jewish state that pulsates in accordance with the Jewish calendar, catering for religiously observant as well as secular streams. There is also positive evidence that more of the ultra-Orthodox are serving in the army and entering the workforce and there is gradual and steady progress of their integration into mainstream society. By and large, aside from the excessive influence of the ultra-Orthodox establishment and the Chief Rabbinate, there is a broad spiritual awakening and greater understanding between the various sectors of Israeli society.

The Israeli Jewish identity is still evolving, but at a time when assimilation and intermarriage are having a devastating impact on the number of Diaspora Jews, Israel guarantees the continuity of the Jewish people. This, too, is something to celebrate.

Finally, we should rejoice that, aside from parochial politics, the nation is today more united than it has been since the great divide over the Oslo Accords. Whether one supports or opposes Benjamin Netanyahu as leader, it is clear that the reason for the failure in peace negotiations is due to the Palestinian determination to bring about an end to Jewish sovereignty. We should be celebrating that today, aside from the extreme Left and Right, there is a consensus on these issues with the major Zionist political parties in accord that our objective is to separate ourselves from the Palestinians, but that for security reasons, we cannot move forward until a genuine peace partner emerges from their ranks.

So as we celebrate 68 years of statehood, we should dismiss the doomsayers and rejoice at our extraordinary achievements. If we review the progress we have made since 1967 – despite misgivings about retaining the status quo – we have every reason to celebrate this Independence Day. That in recent years Israelis have consistently polled as one of the happiest nations in the world, speaks for itself.

We pray that, with the help of the Almighty, we will continue to flourish and grow even stronger and ultimately realize our dreams for peace with our neighbors.

Isi Leibler

Protesters: Tel-Aviv U ‘Nakba Day’ an Anti-Israel event Aiming to Rewrite History

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Dozens of Arab and radical-left students have been holding a ceremony in commemoration of the “Nakba,” a day that marks the Arab failure to destroy the nascent Jewish state in 1948.

Dozens of Im Tirtzu activists together with activists from other Zionist movements arrived and protested the very fact of such an event being held at Tel-Aviv University. During the ceremony Im Tirtzu activists waved Israeli flags and distributed “Nakba Nonsense” booklets, which expose the truth surrounding the distorted narrative of the Nakba.

Im Tirtzu activists brought a 15-foot tall inflatable Pinocchio doll designed to emphasize the lie of the Nakba that the radical-left has attempted to instill in the public consciousness.

Im Tirtzu’s CEO, Matan Peleg, said at the protest that “the goal of these radical-left organizations is to create an atmosphere of guilt within Israeli society about Israel’s victory in the War of Independence; this in order to undermine from within the very existence of the State of Israel. In the face of such an hypocritical anti-Israel event that aims to rewrite history, and which ultimately calls for the destruction of Israel, we must display Israeli pride and faith in the righteousness of our cause.”

Peleg added, “We cannot afford the luxury of allowing this anti-Israel propaganda to go unchallenged. It is already widespread throughout the world, and is embedded within Israel backed by foreign political funds. We will continue to fight against this phenomenon with all the means at our disposal, without fear, and with a sense of great responsibility.”

David Israel

Newest Israelis Do Independence Day the Israeli Way

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – As Israel marks its 68th Independence Day, millions of citizens take to the streets and squares of the country to attend parties, street dancing, barbecues, or concerts open to the public. While some of them celebrate the country’s independence for the 68th time, among the joyful multitudes of Israelis are the newest citizens, recent immigrants known in Hebrew as olim.

Many of these new Israelis expressed amazement at how the day is celebrated in Israel in contrast with their native countries.

“In France people don’t care about their Independance Day, but here everyone takes out their Israeli flags and people are proud. It’s a real celebration,” Deborah Bertrand, a 20-year-old from the French Riviera city of Nice, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

Bertrand immigrated to Israel a year ago and is now serving in the IDF. “I feel enormous pride to be in the Israeli army,” she said.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 36,000 olim arrived in Israel since last Independence Day. In 2015, 7,900 French Jews immigrated to Israel, against the backdrop of a wave of anti-Semitic attacks in the country. The second largest group of olim came from the Ukraine with almost 7,000 people.

Dimitri Arutiunov, a 24-year-old immigrant from war-ravaged Ukraine, described the difference between his previous Ukranian Independence Days and the one in Israel.

“The most obvious difference to me is the fact that in Israel Independence Day is celebrated only after a Memorial Day is observed,” he told TPS.

“Before celebrating the nation’s independence, the country honors those who are responsible for it. It’s unique,” Arutiunov explained. “In the Ukraine and Russia, people don’t even know who is fighting for their country and who dies.”

Nina Rabinowitz, a 29-year old from New Jersey, immigrated to Israel just a few months ago and also noticed a distinct difference in the local Independence Day spirit.

“In the U.S. it feels like a duty or a requirement, but here in Israel it’s just cool that the whole country is celebrating,” Rabinowitz told TPS. “It feels much more like a holiday.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

IDF, Police, Foil Overnight Attempt to Celebrate Independence Day in Ruined Settlement

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Hundreds of Jewish patriots, including many who had been evicted from the two Jewish villages in Northern Samaria, Homesh and Sa-Nur, back in 2005, on Wednesday night, Israel’s 68th Independence Day, went back to revisit their demolished homes, only to be blocked by military and police forces.

The large group ran into several barricades which had been positioned by IDF soldiers in every possible access road to Sa-Nur, including roads leading from local Arab villages.

The event was planned as a combination celebration/protest, demanding to let Jews return to their old homes, from which they had been exiled by the Sharon government, with tacit approval from then Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The expulsion of Jews from north Samaria was done at the same time as thousands more Jews were forced out of the Gaza Strip.

The name Sa-Nur is a Hebrew paraphrase of the name of the nearby Arab village Sanur. The Hebrew name was proposed by the late composer/songwriter Naomi Shemer, and it means Carry a Light. The community was established in October 1977 and destroyed on August 23, 2005.

The families and their supporters who tried to return home argued that many who at the time supported the “disengagement” — the laundered name for the forced expulsion of more than 8,000 Jews — today recognize it was an abysmal failure that led to three consecutive wars in Gaza. “There’s no reason, from a security or a moral point of view, not to let the people of Homesh and Sa-Nur come home.”

Indeed, what would better express Israel’s independence than allowing the thriving communities of northern Samaria thrive again.

MK Bezalel Smotrich, who participated in the interrupted event, issued a statement saying, “There is no better fitting day than Independence Day for returning to the settlement of Sa-Nur to celebrate there our state’s independence. No demand is more righteous than the demand of these families. With God’s help, we will merit once more to return to our settlements and renew our independence across the Land of Israel. Happy Independence Day.”

JNi.Media

Terror Victim’s Brother Interrupts Netanyahu During Official Memorial Day Speech

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The brother of an Israeli man critically wounded in a terror attack lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday afternoon during Netanyahu’s speech at the official memorial ceremony for Israel’s terror victims.

“Two months ago a terrorist shattered my brother’s skull, after I was injured 15 years ago, and the wounds still haven’t healed,” shouted Rami Cohen at Netanyahu from the audience, criticizing the government’s handling of the recent wave of terror attacks. “And now, again, we are acting leniently [toward terrorism] and don’t know how to deal with it.”

Rami is the brother of Tzvika Cohen, a security guard who was brutally attacked with an ax by 21-year-old Saadi Ali Abu Ahmad in February in the town of Ma’ale Adumim, near Jerusalem. Cohen was critically wounded in the attack and has not yet woken up from a coma. His life is still in danger.

After his outburst, Cohen sat down and sobbed on his chair.

“I understand you. I belong to the same family,” Netanyahu replied, referring to the loss of his own brother, Jonathan, who was killed during the legendary 1976 raid in Entebbe, Uganda that freed 102 Jewish hostages.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Memorial Day Speech by Former IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

“We will use any means to ensure that the Israeli society is based on equality, ethics and justice,” he said. “We must not lose our morals or our purity of arms, even during the most difficult times. No small number of soldiers and commanders have endangered their own lives, and even injured or killed for the sake of these values. This shows the legitimacy of our path.”

This is the same Mofaz who is directly responsible for the death of IDF soldier Madhat Yusuf as he bled to death defending Joseph’s tomb from “Palestinian security personnel” (terrorists in uniform whom we acknowledged with the Oslo perfidy, and with weapons we gave them) in October 2000.

Rather than risk the “peace” with our “peace partners,” Mofaz, then chief of staff, was there on the scene observing with his field glasses, as delirious Arab mobs assailed and desecrated our holy site and shot at our soldiers cowering inside.

Incredibly, Mofaz chose to put his faith in his “Palestinian counterpart” as he was assured that the attacks will end and the he will send an ambulance to help the wounded. The ambulance never arrived.

Our soldier bled to death – but the “peace process” survived!!

This is the ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ mind set that directs people like Mofaz; and our current deputy chief of staff who sees a parallel between Israel today and Nazi Germany of the 1930’s…

Of course, these self appointed bearers of the moral torch, were there as advocates of handing our land to our enemies at every opportunity, even , or especially, if it meant the mass expulsion of our people from their homes and destroying their lives. Morality demands

This Memorial Day we remember the 23,447 soldiers and victims of terror who gave their lives for us in our land. This ghastly number does not include the tens of thousands crippled in body or mind– or both. It does not count the thousands of devastated families who will never be the same.

On this day, I rather not hear from our “military leaders” who have lost the moral compass and rub salt into our wounds.

Perhaps we can better understand now why Israel has not won a war since 1973. (We fought five since then; three in Gaza in 2005 that we gave to Hamas and two in Lebanon that we gave to Hizbullah in 2000)

The chief of staff during the 2006 Second Lebanon war was , Dan Halutz. While sending men into battle he did not forget to take the time to sell his entire portfolio as he knew that war and stocks don’t go well together..Smart man . Great leader. Lost war. Lots of dead soldiers. Saved his portfolio.

One year before, to the day, Halutz very proudly presided over the very successful, well planned military campaign in Gaza – the one in which he expelled ten thousand Jews from their homes and handed it to Hamas..

On this Memorial Day, as we remember our true heroes, those 23,447  who put down their lives despite the blustering and warped moral compass of some of our generals, let us take solace in the fact that the people are indeed waking up.

No doubt, these blowhard “leaders” realize that their light is fading.

Servants of values not shared by the majority of Jews in Israel, the baton of leadership is slowly but surely changing hands.

May we be blessed with leaders who know the value of Jewish lives and Jewish land.

 

Shalom Pollack

Ben-Gurion U Arab Students Protest ‘Occupation’ on Memorial Day Eve

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

On Tuesday, the eve of Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day), Arab students at Ben-Gurion University protested against the “occupation,” Walla reported. The group, which belongs to the student faction of the Balad political party organized a protest against the “occupation,” where they held PLO flags, as well as signs protesting Israel’s security policies.

In response, Zionist students organized a counter protest where they waved Israeli flags and held a moment of silence in memory of the fallen Israeli soldiers.

Main Memorial Day service at BGU

Main Memorial Day service at BGU

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg, who was visiting the movement’s BGU branch at the time, said “the timing of this protest was intended to hurt the bereaved families and the citizens of Israel who are mourning for their loved ones. This shameful event is hypocrisy of the highest degree.”

Peleg added: “It is a shame and a disgrace that Arab and radical Left students at Ben-Gurion University chose ‘by chance’ to protest on the eve of Yom Hazikaron. It is only thanks to the self-sacrifice of IDF soldiers that these protesters are free to demonstrate. Such actions are highly detrimental to the majority of the Arab sector that strive to integrate into Israeli society and want to be a part of it.”

BGU has a special department dedicated to the support and promotion of Arab students, who mostly come from the Bedouin communities around Be’er Sheva. The department offers courses to help Arab students comply with academic requirements, as well as financial assistance programs targeting Arab students.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ben-gurion-u-arab-students-protest-occupation-on-memorial-day-eve/2016/05/11/

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