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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘diaspora’

Israelis Fiercely Oppose Inter-Marriage

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Three-quarters of Israeli Jews and nearly two-thirds of Israeli Arabs would not marry someone from a different religion, according to a Dialog poll conducted by Haaretz this week.

The survey found that opposition to interfaith relationships was highest among Haredi Jews, at 95 percent, while 88 percent of traditional and religious Jews and 64 percent of secular Jews also opposed inter-dating.

Seventy-one percent of Muslim Israeli Arabs opposed interfaith relationships, but only half of Christian Israeli Arabs were opposed.

Across religious denominations, Israeli Jews would be much more opposed to their relatives marrying Arabs than they would be to relatives marrying non-Arab non-Jews. Only a third of secular Jewish Israelis would be opposed to a relative marrying an American or European Christian, but a majority would oppose a relative marrying an Arab. Seventy-two percent of Israeli Jews overall would be opposed to a relative marrying an Arab.

Last week, a small far-right group protested in Jaffa outside the wedding of an Israeli Arab and a Jewish-born Israeli who converted to Islam.

Intermarriage rage in Israel used to be minimal but has grown to approximately to five percent nationwide, and only 1 per cent of less in Judea and Samaria.

The primary cause for the rise increase is the large-scale immigration of Jews from the former Soviet bloc. Approximately 300,000 immigrated even though only the father was Jewish. A child is Jewish if his or her mother is Jewish, regardless of the religion of the father, according to Jewish law.

Not surprisingly, opposition to intermarriage was lowest among immigrants from the former Soviet Union. More than half would avoid having a relationship with a non-Jew, but if they were to fall in love with a non-Jew, only 35 percent would insist their spouse convert.

Two-thirds of Israeli Jews see intermarriage as a serious threat to Jews worldwide, and one-third see it as a serious threat to Jews in Israel.

The rate of intermarriage in the United States has shot up to more than 60 percent.

Bomb Scare Forces Evacuation of Australian Jewish School

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

More than 200 students at the King David School in Melbourne, Australia were moved off the campus after 8 a.m. Thursday when security personnel found an abandoned van containing a suspicious object near the school.

The Australian Jewish community’s Community Security Group alerted local police, and the department’s Bomb Response Unit used a remote-controlled robot to examine the van. The van did not contain explosives, and the campus was declared safe at approximately 11 a.m.

“While this did prove to be a false alarm, parents should rest assured that the security and safety of our students is our highest priority,” King David principal Marc Light wrote in a letter to parents Thursday.

The school makes “no apologies” for following security protocols, Light told local media.

“We haven’t had any specific threat to the school or to our students whatsoever,” he said.

The false alarm came hours before protesters gathered in Sydney near the opening of the Israeli Film Festival after a judge had blocked the planned protest outside the cinema.

Nevertheless, some protesters handed out leaflets to people entering the cinema urging a boycott of the festival, calling it part of a “charm offensive” to present Israel in a favorable light and to “disguise and legitimize the oppression of Palestinians.”

Inside, Albert Dadon, founder of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, which organizes the film festival, told the audience that he had started telling his children to be careful.

“I didn’t think in Australia I’d have to do that,” Dadon said.

The festival, in its 11th year, will screen in major cities across Australia for the next two weeks.

Skyrocketing Global Anti-Semitism Unveils Its Ugly Face

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Global anti-Semitism is doing the ‘Gaza Strip’ although it has never needed an excuse; the Cossacks predated 1948. But when the State of Israel decides to defend itself against its enemies, there is usually a spike in the number and severity of worldwide incidents since anti-Semites feel freer to unveil themselves to the world.

It’s as if they feel they are given a permit by anti-Israel media to unleash their natural hatred and perpetrate attacks in an endless ‘Day of Rage’ against the Jews.

In the old days, this would have taken the form of a pogrom; in the 21st century, incidents range from media attacks on Israel to violent attacks on Jews anywhere around the world.

Some fearful Jews in the Diaspora are blaming Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the phenomenon. “Netanyahu doesn’t ask Diaspora Jews for starting a war that is (unjustifiably) producing anti-Semitism that affects us all,” wrote M.J. Rosenberg, a writer at The Huffington Post who was formerly a Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at Media Matters Action Network. Previously, he worked on Capitol Hill for various Democratic members of the House and Senate and was a one-time Clinton political appointee at USAID. In the early 1980s, he was even the editor of AIPACs weekly newsletter Near East Report, according to his media biography. None of which has stopped him from misunderstanding the cause of anti-Semitism.

If we limit ourselves to incidents that have taken place this past week:

1. Anti-Semites hurled firebombs at a synagogue in the western German city of Wuppertal in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. One arrest was made and police are searching for two more suspects, according to police spokesperson Alexander Kresta. The synagogue was undamaged. The identity of the 18-year-old male who was arrested was not released to media.

2. The 40-year-old rabbi of Gateshead, England was hospitalized after he was severely beaten by four teenage males (ages 16, 17, 18 and 19) on Rydal Street early Friday, while leaving his yeshiva in the center of the Orthodox Jewish community in Bensham. Two of the attackers were Qaiser Malik, 19 and Balawal Sultan, 18, both of Newcastle, and were brought to a judge for bail hearings. There was also an incitement tweet in connection with this case, showing a picture of a Jewish elementary school. “This Jewish school in Gateshead cheered when the bombs fell in Palestine.”

3. In Rome, the city’s historic Jewish quarter was defaced over the past several days with swastikas and flyers, reading ‘Anne Frank story teller’ on Appia Nuova Street. Other posters also have appeared in the Prati neighborhood,, depicting a Palestinian Arab hurling a rock at an IDF tank, together with a Celtic cross and the slogan, “Each Palestinian is a camerata’ – the Italian word for members of Mussolini’s facist movement. ‘Same enemy, same barricade,’ the slogan adds. The Jewish community in Rome is one of the oldest continuous Jewish settlements in the world.

4. For the second time in less than a week, the Jewish community of Miami, Florida also has been targeted. Early Monday morning, the word ‘Hamas’ was spray-painted on the pillars of Congregation Torah V’Emunah, along with a few swastikas, in northeast Miami-Dade.

5. A similar incident occurred on the Sabbath, when a family in the mostly Jewish neighborhood of Miami Beach returned home from synagogue services to find their two cars splattered with eggs and cream cheese. The words ‘Hamas’ and ‘Jew’ were scrawled on the back windows. Police in both communities are investigating, and it is unknown whether the two incidents are related.

In Times Of Danger, Run To – Rather Than From – Israel

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

In this week’s parshah, the tribes of Reuven, Gad, and half of Menasheh request to remain on the eastern side of the Jordan. A cursory review of their request gives us insight into why these particular tribes tried to remain outside Israel.

Reuven was, of course, the first son of Yaakov. When the brothers returned from Egypt and told their father that the viceroy (who was really Joseph) insisted they bring brother Binyamin to Egypt before they would be given more food, Reuven steps forward. Turning to his father he declares: “If I do not bring Binyamin back you can kill my two sons.” Yaakov rejects Reuven’s overture (Genesis 42:37-38).

Only after Yehudah comes forward saying he would be a surety for Binyamin does Yaakov relent.

The difference between Yehudah and Reuven is obvious. Yehudah assumes responsibility. He expresses a total commitment to Binyamin and is ready to put himself on the line if he fails. Not so Reuven. He guarantees Binyamin’s safety by using his children as collateral rather than himself.

Not surprisingly the children of Reuven who don’t understand the message of areivut, of caring for others, bear children and a tribe that prefers to remain apart from Israel.

Gad is one of the children of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid. He is described as being very strong. In the words of Yaakov’s blessing as explicated by Rashi: Troops (armies) shall be found of Gad (Genesis 49:19). Still, when Joseph is sold Gad does not come forward to protect him. Here again, it is understandable that Gad becomes a tribe that asks to live outside Israel.

Menasheh is the eldest son of Joseph. When he is born Joseph calls him Menasheh, “For God has made me forget (nashani, the root of Menasheh) all my toil and all my father’s house” (Genesis 42:51). Here is a description of one who breaks with his home. Not coincidentally, Menasheh’s children wish to separate from Israel.

Moshe tells the two and a half tribes that they may live outside Israel but only after they first help conquer and settle the land. Here Moshe teaches the message of areivut to those who come from a tribe where the sense of caring is missing. And these tribes get the message. They lead the way in helping liberate the land. They were able to turn around the lack of areivut in their family history into a sense of real commitment to the Jewish people.

An important message, especially now, for Jews in the Diaspora – in times of need we should, like the two and a half tribes, run to Israel rather than from Israel.

French Anti-Semites Beat Paris Teacher Wearing a Kippa

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Anti-Semites in Paris beat up a 59-year-old teacher wearing a kippa after he walked out of a kosher restaurant last week, the European Jewish Press (EJP) reported Monday.

The man was hospitalized for facial injuries after he was insulted and attacked by three thugs whom the victim described as ‘’young, wearing light colored hats dressed in jeans and of North African origin.”

Three days earlier, thousands of people rallied in central Paris against anti-Semitism.

The attackers started shouted at him, ” Death to the Jews, dirty Jew, dirty son of a b—–,’’ as well as expressions in Arabic he didn’t understood.

They “hit him several times in the face before opening his shirt to draw on his chest with a marker a swastika,’’ a source close to the police investigation said. The attackers fled after an elderly person appeared on the scene.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe condemned the aggression. ”This act of unspeakable cowardice is a betrayal of the foundation of the Republic and the values of Paris,’’ he said in a press statement. The anti-Semitic incident comes three days after around 10,000 people gathered in Paris, at the initiative of CRIF, the umbrella group of Jewish organizations in France, to say ‘’no to Jew-hatred’’ as they commemorate the murder two years ago of four people, including three children, in a Jewish school in Toulouse.

Avigdor Lieberman Warns US Jews ‘You Are Facing a Catastrophe’

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

American Jews are facing nothing less than a demographic catastrophe, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman asserted on Tuesday in a speech at the Jerusalem meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

He quoted recent surveys that show that there are 6.1 million Jews in Israel and slightly less than 5.5 million in the United States, not including those who claim affiliation or identity with Judaism.

Lieberman emphasized that no Jew – whether in the Diaspora or in Israel and whether Reform Conservative or Orthodox – “is illegitimate and should be placed outside of the tent,” but he added. “There is a significant rise in those who have little or no Jewish content in their lives, marry outside the faith and are not raising their children Jewish.”

He pointed out, “The intermarriage rate has reached a high of 58% for all Jews, and 71% for non-Orthodox Jews, a huge change from before 1970 when only 17% of Jews intermarried.”

Attachment to Israel is markedly higher among older Jews, with only 32% of respondents under the age of 30 sharing the idea that “caring about Israel as an essential part of what being Jewish means to them.”

Lieberman then put the cards on the table and categorically stated they are stacked against the Diaspora.

“For many years, Israeli officials have called on our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, like many of you gathered here tonight, to donate your time, energies and funds to Israel,” he said. “However, I turn to you today and say that, while we are enormously and forever grateful for your assistance, we believe it is now time to concentrate on the challenges facing your own communities, especially those emanating from the dangerous trends in the Jewish community demonstrated in the recent survey.”

Lieberman was being kind. He could just as easily have said, “You American Jews sit as armchair generals for Israel, undermine our government’s struggle by deciding how we should deal with the Palestinian Authority and the Arab world while you don’t see that the ground in the Diaspora is crumbling under your feet.”

In more diplomatic language, he said, “Above all discussions on Iran and the Palestinians, your discussions with the Israeli Government and the Jewish Agency should be focused on saving future generations.”

Lieberman stated that education is the key to fighting “assimilation, intermarriage and disengagement” but that “Jewish children are being kept from the Jewish classrooms because of the exorbitant and prohibitive costs of Jewish education in the United States.”

“On my last visit to New York, I met with a Russian Jewish family in Brooklyn,” Lieberman told his audience. “They told me that for their three children to attend good Jewish schools it would cost them around $100,000. They simply could not endure such costs. They are not alone. This situation is being replicated across the Jewish world, whether in the United States, Russia, France, Argentina, or elsewhere. If this situation persists, we will lose another six million Jews in a generation or two.”

He said that most Israeli diplomats abroad shun local Jewish schools and instead send their children to learn at international schools because the standard is higher.

“Sadly this is also reflective of the general Jewish population in places like the United States, where only around 12% of Jewish children attend Jewish schools, and when the Orthodox children are removed from the equation; it drops down to no more than a few per cent,” he added.

Lieberman proposed the creation of a global network of Jewish schools with a superior standard, and he committed the Israeli government to budget $365 million a year in matching funds for the project.

He also is looking forward to massive aliyah “The creation of an international network of Jewish schools is only the first part of my vision,” Lieberman declared. “In addition, my goal is to bring an additional 3.5 million Jews from the Diaspora in the next ten years so that the Jewish population in Israel will exceed 10 million.”

Jews are undoubtedly a major influence in American life, but the number of Jews who are Jewish “in name only” spells a dismal future for the Diaspora.

One of the most self-serving ways to deny the future is to accept the definition of a Jew as anyone who considers himself Jewish. That kind of identity is temporary, at best.

Jewish institutions and organizations maybe boasting larger numbers, but the meaning of Jewish is becoming emptier.

What Lieberman essentially told the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem Tuesday was, “Wake up. It’s later than you think.”

Online Brainstorming Marathon for Future of the Jewish People

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

The Israeli government is inviting Jews from around the world to participate in a 72-hour online conversation next week to help formulate strategies for strengthening the Jewish People and bolstering Diaspora-Israel ties

The three-day event starts Sunday and will open the floor to all Jews to help formulate strategies for strengthening both Jewish identity and Israel-Diaspora relations while ensuring the Jewish world continues to flourish well into the future.

Groups and individuals from Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States have already confirmed their participation. The marathon will be run out of Jerusalem where some two dozen professionals will analyze participants’ insights and examine ways to integrate them into the recommendations set to be presented to the Israeli government in the near future.

The session will be “crowdsourced,” ensuring that the recommendations reflect a diversity of views and perspectives beyond those traditionally heard in Jewish communal forums.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/online-brainstorming-marathon-for-future-of-the-jewish-people/2014/02/12/

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