web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘director’

Abraham’s Legacy Still without Boundaries in Hebron

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Abraham’s legacy, still alive and well, is the crux of our existence, not only in Hebron, but as a people, in Israel and around the world.

A few years ago, following one of his last visits to Me’arat Hamachpela, the Cave of the Patriarchs, as Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu entered his car, the other door opened and two people literally pushed their way into the vehicle, one civilian, the other in uniform.

The civilian, a senior employee at the holy site, said, “Rabbi, I’m sorry to do this, but this man, a border police officer, works here very hard and greatly helps the Jewish people. He has a problem. He and his wife have been married many years and have yet to be blessed with children.”

Rabbi Eliyahu looked at the man and responded, “He should continue to help the Jewish people and next year he will be witness to salvation.”

A year later his daughter Miriam was born. The border police officer’s name is Shuchralla Morav.

Much has been written about Hebron’s relationship with security forces, be it police or IDF. As much as we say about our good, positive relationships with them, we are unfortunately generally not believed.

The roots of our national essence, in Hebron, begins with Abraham and Sarah. They were known as people of chesed, that is, overwhelming loving-kindness and generosity. Our sages have taught that we must express the attributes of our Creator: as He is kind, so too we must be kind. The primary examples of kindness are Abraham and Sarah.

Abraham’s compassion was not limited to “his own.” Numerous stories are told of his assistance to strangers, many of whom worshiped idols, the very antithesis of his life and ideology. Yet this did not prevent him from offering them food, drink and a place to sleep.

The present Jewish community of Hebron tries to continue walking in the footsteps of our illustrious Forefathers, learning from their deeds, and acting accordingly. Therefore, when Rabbi Shalom Alkobi, then director of the Machpela authority, realized he had an opportunity to seek a blessing from one of our generation’s most righteous people, he did so, without thinking twice.

And the rabbi’s blessing was received and came to pass.

Morav, as he is called, served at Me’arat Hamachpela for 17 years. Living in the north, several hours from Hebron, he wasn’t able to spend enough time with his wife and young daughter. Recently he was transferred to a position much closer to his home, allowing him to enjoy his blessings.

But, after 17 years of service, we couldn’t allow him to leave without a proper parting. So a few days ago, a large group from Hebron, as well as a few of his former commanders, surprised Morav at his home for a farewell party. All facets of Hebron’s community were represented: Rabbi Hillel Horowitz and Noam Arnon, Baruch Marzel, Rabbi Shalom Alkobi, and others.

The celebration began with a number of speeches recognizing Morav’s contribution to dozens of Hebron events, including mass gatherings of tens of thousands of visitors. Everyone present articulated words of gratitude, which was expressed also in several gifts presented to him: an original painting of Me’arat Hamachpela by Hebron artist Shmuel Mushnik, and a certificate of appreciation, signed by all present as well as Hebron’s mayor, Avraham Ben-Yosef, Hebron’s director-general Uri Karzen, and the director of the regional religious council, Yosef Dayan.

How did Morav relate to his years in Hebron? In his words, “It was an honor… the sanctity of the site was above any and all other considerations.”

Shuchralla Morav is not the first and only officer honored by Hebron’s Jewish community. A long list of police , IDF soldiers and officers and commanders are among those who are tangibly appreciated as a result of their tireless efforts to maintain a safe and secure Hebron, allowing hundreds of thousands of people, of all races and religions, to visit Israel’s first Jewish city and holy sites.

Surely, we do not always see eye to eye, but then again, neither do husband and wife always agree. You learn to agree to disagree. However that doesn’t prevent mutual care, respect and love. So too with the courageous men and women whose presence, hard work and shared esteem lead to positive, fruitful relationships which can last for many years.

The Hurricane They Almost Named ‘Israel’

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

While Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on East Coast Jewish communities, another storm eleven years ago made serious political waves in the Jewish world.

It’s not unusual for Jewish organizations to clash with United Nations agencies over issues related to Israel. But in 2001, Jewish groups’ concern for Israel drew them into an unusual battle with the UN over the naming of a hurricane.

When a tropical storm’s winds reach 39 miles per hour, it is given a name, and when it hits 74 mph it is classified as a hurricane. The names are chosen by a 25-person committee of the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which meets annually and approves a list of names for upcoming storms.

The list approved in early 2001 included “Adolph” and “Israel.” In retrospect, one might think those choices would have raised some red flags, but committee chair Max Mayfield, director of the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, told a Jerusalem Post reporter at the time: “We have four billion people on the planet, and you are the only person I’ve ever had express a concern about the name Israel.”

Mayfield defended the choice of “Israel” as “a good Spanish name.” He also argued that Adolph is “not the German spelling, and there are a lot of good people with the name Adolph, too.”

Jewish leaders strongly criticized the choice of names.

“I shudder to think how terrible it would be in Muslim countries in the Far East if they found themselves suffering from a storm by that name,” said Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Zuroff said there was “terrible irony” in the use of the name Israel since “the Nazis forced Jewish males who did not have what they considered to be a distinctly Jewish name to add the name Israel as a middle name.”

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, concurred. “How about Jesus?” Foxman asked. “That’s another good Spanish name. They wouldn’t name a hurricane Jesus, would they?”

As for “Adolph,” Foxman told the Jerusalem Post that “in the lifetime of [Holocaust survivors] still alive, to name anything [Adolph] by an international body is offensive and hideous.”

The WMO’s website acknowledged that naming storms after people is not a universal practice. Storms in Asia, for example, are not given people’s names because “the practice of naming storms, which usually bring destruction, after persons appears to run counter to Oriental sensibilities.”

Thus, in the western North Pacific region, storm names are chosen from lists submitted by 14 affected countries. Most of those names are animals, flowers, or astrological references.

UN officials at first refused to reconsider “Israel” or “Adolph” on the grounds that the committee had no established mechanism for altering lists between annual meetings. In fact, at the time of the controversy, Tropical Storm Adolph was already gathering strength 250 miles southwest of the Mexican coastline.

In response to the protests, however, the WMO soon reversed itself and agreed to change “Israel” to “Ivo.” Ironically, the storm named Ivo, which appeared off the coast of Africa that August, never made it beyond the category of tropical storm and caused no damage.

Likewise, although Adolph did reach hurricane strength, it never made landfall and thus caused no damage either.

Jewish leaders chalked up another victory. But some pundits were less than sympathetic.

“It’s understandable that some Jewish leaders and worrywarts said ‘Oy Vey’ when they learned of a United Nations commission’s decision to name a hurricane ‘Israel,’ ” wrote Jonah Goldberg, contributing editor of National Review.

“I guess it would be better if the United Nations – a notoriously anti-Israel body – hadn’t opened the possibility of headlines such as ‘Israel Wipes Out Thousands in Manila’ or ‘Miami Without Power for Second Day, Thanks to Israel.’ ”

“But come on,” Goldberg continued. “Jews have enough to worry about…. It may be bizarre, stupid and insensitive. But is this the most important battle for Israel or Jews right now? There are actual battles taking place in Israel right now. Wailing and moaning about the politically incorrect name of a hurricane will not change that fact at all…. If the National Director of the ADL can’t find an injustice greater than a misnamed hurricane, he’s not looking hard enough.”

American Voters In Israel Make Their Mark On Two Electoral Fronts

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

JERUSALEM – More than 100,000 American voters in Israel cast their ballots for a presidential candidate, with nearly 80,000 of them having submitted a ballot provided by iVoteIsrael, a local non-profit organization that spent the past few months aggressively encouraging American expatriates living in Israel to register and vote. The remaining registered voters cast their ballots via the absentee route.

Due to what was expected to be a tight race for the White House between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, Israeli-based representatives of both political parties said that the overseas vote could possibly influence the final tally in some battleground states. The iVoteIsrael organization estimated that 7,500 Americans living in Israel are registered in Florida, and 3,500 in both Ohio and Pennsylvania.

According to an exit poll conducted by iVoteIsrael among 1,572 voters who cast their ballots in Israel, Romney received 85 percent of the vote. But Democratic Party representatives in Israel charged that the poll was skewed since iVoteIsrael was successful in registering mostly traditional and Orthodox American voters, whose political leanings are considered to be more conservative.

Similarly, American immigrants living in Israel might have an impact on a possibly changing political landscape in the January 22 Israeli elections. At least three Americans are vying for viable positions on various Knesset slates. Primaries for most of the major Israeli political factions will take place in the coming weeks.

The most well known English-speaking candidate is affluent former hi-tech whiz Naftali Bennett, who served from 2006-2008 as then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff and is a former director general of the Yesha Council. Bennett, the 40-year-old son of American immigrants, is a leader of the rightist My Israel movement.

Bennett is virtually guaranteed to garner enough support to be placed among the top five slots on the Jewish Home Knesset list. According to recent polls, the merger between Jewish Home and the National Union could bring the reinvigorated religious Zionist political faction up to 10 seats in the elections. Jeremy Gimpel, who is originally from Atlanta and who has gained a local and international Internet audience as co-host of the “Tuesday Night Live” talk show in Jerusalem, is also running for a feasible slot on the Jewish Home Knesset list.

Staten Island native Daniel Tauber recently announced his candidacy for the 35th spot on the Likud Party’s primary list, which is reserved for “young political activists.” The 29-year-old lawyer-turned-politician is the executive director of “Likud Anglos.” As the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu are running a combined Knesset list in the upcoming elections, Tauber’s chances of entering the Israeli parliament would be a long shot.

Flood of Chabad Outreach After Sandy

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Despite damage and loss of power, Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis in areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy are redoubling their efforts to reach out in their communities and provide a helping hand to Jews in need.

According to a report on Chabad.org, Chabad rabbis are keeping their Chabad houses open and functional, even without electricity.

Rabbi Avrohom Rapoport, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Atlantic County, is keeping tabs on his community through social media, and has been sighted riding around  the streets of Atlantic City, NJ on a construction truck stocked with provisions such as food and water.  His Chabad House has erected a makeshift soup kitchen without electricity, and is sending volunteers to provide whatever assistance they can throughout the community.  Rabbi Rapoport has even established a relief fund to provide financial assistance to victims of the storm.

He’s even planning a communal Shabbat dinner this week.

Rabbi Yisroel Stone, co-director of Chabad of the Lower East Side in Manhattan, reported a total lack of power and water in his chabad house, but has been providing rides and food to Jews in the area.

In Long Beach, N.Y., Rabbi Eli Goodman said his family is safe, but their apartment is destroyed. The water in the synagogue’s social hall is “head high” said Goodman, director of Chabad of the Beaches and educational director of the local Bach Jewish Center.

The Chabad House of South Brunswick, NJ will be postponing its 10th anniversary celebration to focus on providing relief assistance, dropping off the kosher food meant for the party around town instead, for those in need.

Volunteers for the Rabbinical College of America-Chabad Headquarters of New Jersey and its Rutgers Jewish Outreach program also handed out kosher food, in their case to students of Rutgers who had been evacuated from their dorms.

Senior citizens also saw a ray of light courtesy of Chabad, with Chanie Zaklikovsky of the Chabad Jewish Center of Monroe, NJ distributing self-heating kosher meals at the local senior center on Wednesday.

Rabbi Zalman Duchman and his family, of Chabad of Roosevelt Island, NY, spent their post-hurricane time offering support to the elderly, even inviting patients from the long-term medical facility on the island over for a lunch.

A Party for Arafat Near The Mount of Olives

Monday, October 29th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by soldier, artist, father, and activist Marc Prowisor.  Prowisor, who is also the director of security projects the One Israel Fund, talks with Yishai about a party held by Arabs, to celebrate deceased leader Yasser Arafat held near the Mount of Olives studio.  They also discuss what is going on among Arabs inside of Israel.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Peacenik McGovern: We Should Have Bombed Auschwitz

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

George McGovern is widely remembered for advocating immediate American withdrawal from Vietnam and sharp reductions in defense spending. Yet despite his reputation as a pacifist, the former U.S. senator and 1972 presidential candidate, who died Sunday at 90, did believe there were times when America should use military force abroad.

Case in point: the Allies’ failure to bomb Auschwitz, an episode with which McGovern had a little-known personal connection.

In June 1944, the Roosevelt administration received a detailed report about Auschwitz from two escapees who described the mass-murder process and drew diagrams pinpointing the gas chambers and crematoria. Jewish organizations repeatedly asked U.S. officials to order the bombing of Auschwitz and the railroad lines leading to the camp. The proposal was rejected on the grounds that it would require “considerable diversion” of planes that were needed elsewhere for the war effort.

One U.S. official claimed that bombing Auschwitz “might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans.”

Enter McGovern. In World War II, the 22-year-old son of a South Dakota pastor piloted a B-24 “Liberator” bomber. Among his targets: German synthetic oil factories in occupied Poland – some of them fewer than five miles from the Auschwitz gas chambers.

In 2004, McGovern spoke on camera for the first time about those experiences in a meeting organized by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies with Holocaust survivor and philanthropist Sigmund Rolat and filmmakers Stuart Erdheim and Chaim Hecht.

McGovern dismissed the Roosevelt administration’s claims about the diversion of planes. The argument was just “a rationalization,” he said, noting that no diversions would have been needed when he and other U.S pilots already were flying over that area.

Ironically, the Allies did divert military resources for other reasons. For example, FDR in 1943 ordered the Army to divert money and manpower to rescue artwork and historic monuments in Europe’s battle zones. The British provided ships to bring 20,000 Muslims on a religious pilgrimage from Egypt to Mecca in the middle of the war. Gen. George Patton even diverted U.S. troops in Austria to save 150 of the famous Lipizzaner dancing horses.

“There is no question we should have attempted…to go after Auschwitz,” McGovern said in the interview. “There was a pretty good chance we could have blasted those rail lines off the face of the earth, which would have interrupted the flow of people to those death chambers, and we had a pretty good chance of knocking out those gas ovens.”

Even if there was a danger of accidentally harming some of the prisoners, “it was certainly worth the effort, despite all the risks,” McGovern said, because the prisoners were already “doomed to death” and an Allied bombing attack might have slowed down the mass-murder process, thus saving many more lives.

At the time, 16-year-old Elie Wiesel was part of a slave labor battalion stationed just outside the main camp of Auschwitz. Many years later, in his bestselling book Night, Wiesel described a U.S. bombing raid on the oil factories that he witnessed.

“[I]f a bomb had fallen on the blocks [the prisoners' barracks], it alone would have claimed hundreds of victims on the spot. But we were no longer afraid of death; at any rate, not of that death,” Wiesel wrote. “Every bomb that exploded filled us with joy and gave us new confidence in life. The raid lasted over an hour. If it could only have lasted ten times ten hours!”

At the time, McGovern and his fellow pilots had no idea what was happening in Auschwitz.

“I attended every briefing that the air force gave to us,” he said. “I heard everyone, from generals on down. I never heard once mentioned the possibility that the United States air force might interdict against the gas chambers.”

Ironically, in one raid, several stray bombs from McGovern’s squadron missed the oil factory they were targeting and accidentally struck an SS sick bay, killing five SS men.

McGovern said that if his commanders had asked for volunteers to bomb the death camp, “whole crews would have volunteered.” Most soldiers understood that the war against the Nazis was not just a military struggle but a moral one, as well. In his view they would have recognized the importance of trying to interrupt the mass-murder process, even if it meant endangering their own lives in a risky bombing raid.

Jane Fonda to Host Holocaust Event on Sexual Violence

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Jane Fonda will host an event in Los Angeles focusing on sexual violence during the Holocaust.

More than 200 people are expected for the invitation-only event on Nov. 8 at the Ray Kurtzman Theater. The event is sponsored by the USC Shoah Foundation and Remember the Women Institute.

Fonda, an award-winning actress and a political activist, was asked to be involved because she is active with programs and charities that deal with genocide and gender, a source familiar with the event told JTA. Fonda will read aloud works from Israeli playwright and author Nava Semel, and also will introduce a reel of testimonial clips from Holocaust survivors discussing sexual violence.

“Sexual violence during the Holocaust is rarely spoken about; many historians and scholars don’t want to address it,” said Rochelle Saidel, executive director of Remember the Women Institute. “It’s hard to have rape documentation of the Holocaust because many of the victims were silenced, since it was against Nazi law to have any sexual involvement with Jews. But the reels being shown are gathered testimonials, and it’s a part of history that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Following Fonda’s presentation, a panel will feature Saidel and Stephen Smith, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation, moderated by Jessica Neuwirth, president of Equality Now.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jane-fonda-to-host-holocaust-event-on-sexual-violence/2012/10/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: