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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Druze’

Ex-MK from Zoabi’s Party Jailed for Meeting Terrorist in Syria

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

An Israeli court Thursday sentenced former Arab Knesset Member Said Nafa to jail for one year for traveling to Syria, an enemy state, and meeting with Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist party official Talal Naji.

Nafa was placed in the Knesset as a replacement for Azmi Bishara, who not only left the legislature but also fled the country after being indicted for selling information to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. He visited Syria in 2007, the same year Bishara was indicted.

Nafa accused the Israeli government of conducting a witch hunt and said he really was serving the country faithfully by his diplomatic gesture as a liaison between Druze communities in Syria and Israel.

The former MK claimed he never met Nafa. He also has been accused of meeting with Hamas political commander-in-chief Khaled Mashaal, but the Nazareth District court said there was no evidence to prove the charge.

Next in line for jail could be Balad MK Haneen Zoabi, the high-profile fifth columnist who is under investigation for incitement. “Now it’s Zoabi’s turn,” said Likud MK Miri Regev after Nafa was sentenced.

Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman commented that the conviction sent an “important message that Israel will not allow subversion against the country by people sitting in the Knesset at the same time they are acting to destroy the country.”

The Balad’s party platform opposes Israel as a Jewish state.

Missile Fire Strikes Golan Heights

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Hamas terrorists fired a fresh barrage of missiles late Monday afternoon while an attack from Syria hit the Golan Heights.

The attacks began with a barrage fired at metropolitan Tel Aviv in the central Dan region, followed five minutes later by another at metro Be’er Sheva in the Negev. Barely a minute later, missile fire from Syria was aimed at the Ramat HaGolan.

Hundreds of thousands of residents went racing for shelter in the suburbs of Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak, Givat Shmuel, Petach Tikvah, Givatayim, and as far north as the city of Herzliya.

At least four missiles landed in open areas in the Gush Dan region, where the ‘city that never sleeps’ is located – but no specific location has yet been released.

One of the missiles was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, indicating it was headed directly for a populated area.

Barely five minutes later, Arab, Druze and Jewish residents of Israel’s Negev region were running for shelter.

The sound of the Color Red incoming rocket alert siren sent Druze residents of the village of Majdal Shams racing for cover, while their neighbors just a few kilometers down the road did the same in Jewish communities around the Golan Heights.

At least one rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system over Be’er Sheva, and two others exploded in open areas on the outside of the city.

In the Golan Heights, at least one missile exploded in an open area near a kibbutz. No one was physically injured, but a fire broke out in the field.

Hamas has claimed responsibility for the attacks in the metro Tel Aviv area, but at present it appears the missile fire aimed at the Golan Heights emanated from across the northern border in Syria. As with the missile fire originating from Lebanon, the attack raises the spectre of an additional front in the current conflict.

Druze Community Shows Solidarity with Kidnap Teens’ Families

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

The spiritual leader of Israel’s Druze community has expressed solidarity and support for the families of the teenagers kidnapped by Arab terrorists last Thursday evening.

“The thoughts of all the Druze in Israel have been directed to the fate of your sons,” wrote Sheikh Muafeq Tarif, in a letter sent to the Frenkel, Yifrach and Sha’ar families on Tuesday.

Naftali Frenkel, age 16, Gilad Sha’ar, age 16 and Eyal Yifrach, age 19 were abducted by terrorists in Gush Etzion while hitchhiking home for the Sabbath after their week’s learning at the renowned Mekor Chaim Yeshiva in Kfar Etzion.

“Your destiny is our destiny, and the hope for a quick release brings you and us together. I cannot imagine where your thoughts have gone since this terrible experience began last week, but rest assured that with your strength, and tremendous faith, you will soon hug your children,” the sheikh wrote.

“As the leader of the Druze community, I want to give you strength in the face of this violent criminal act of terrorism, as there is no other way to define this,” he added.

“I know that the best combat soldiers and commanders of the Druze community have made every effort to locate the children and capture the kidnappers. This is our opportunity as a Druze minority in Israel to express solidarity with you and with security forces and the country.

“The entire Druze community prays for the release of the children and stands by you for any request or need.”

A Nation in Unity on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Israel’s flag is waving at half mast and the memory of 23,169 lost Israeli soldiers and victims of terror has quieted the nation on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day.

No music plays in the neighborhoods, and children are not laughing today on the streets. A somber air is felt throughout the country as Israelis remember their fallen.

Some of those are not even Jewish. They are Bedouin or Druze or Circassians who have thrown in their lot with their Jewish neighbors. They, too, have paid the price.

Few indeed are those in this country who have not lost at least one family member in military action or terror, or are not close to someone who has, in the struggle to fulfill the mitzvah to hold this Holy Land, Eretz Tzion, Israel.

By age 16, all Jewish teens in Israel receive their first IDF notice, summoning them for exams to determine a medical, educational and psychological fitness profile. The IDF recently announced it will soon begin to send voluntary draft notices to all Christian Israelis, offering them the chance to enlist in Israel’s army as well.

By 18, most boys and girls in this country are smiling and nervously getting into fitted green or camel-colored uniforms, queuing up at central bus stations before and after Shabbat and talking about what happened in their new units “at the base.”

They’re babies, really — babies learning how to face killers; other babies fed on evil hatred since birth. Last year, 40 died, though some of those were reservists, IDF soldiers who return to serve 30 days a year to help the “newbies” and the career soldiers keep Israel safe from its enemies. “Reservists” can be soldiers in their 20s — or as old as 40.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to show those that haven’t experienced it the size of the grief that befell us, the intensity of the shock that grasps us, and the sense of loss that fills us,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained at Monday’s ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery, attended also by President Shimon Peres, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and a host of other officials.

Paraphrasing and slightly changing a well-known Psalm of King David, he said, “There, we sat at the graves of our loved ones, and wept, and we remembered our loved ones that fell for the sake of Zion.”

Sweeping the entire People of Israel into unity with Israel’s grief over its fallen, the prime minister said, “On this day, the entire people relates to the heroes of the nation. They come from all parts of the nation and from all parts of society. The simple truth that is the most concise is this: we would not be here if it were not for their sacrifice.

“Even if it means unparalleled pain, a great miracle happened here. Israel returned to her country, to her home, established a state and did wonders, but at this moment we should not forget that it is a privilege to be here.”

People came to their feet across the country as a siren wailed into the skies at 11 o’clock in the morning, reminding Israelis of the price paid for peace, and Israel’s defense.

A candle lighting ceremony at the Western Wall last night, announced by the nationwide siren at eight o’clock in the evening, also featured an address by President Peres.

“We, the Israelis, are not like every people,” the president pointed out. “Already for years a sad generation hasn’t relaxed, hasn’t been able to enjoy a time of happiness. Our joy is always missing. A cloud of sadness envelops us. It is deeply hidden, but one can see it in our eyes.”

The president spoke of parents who lost their children, “the image of the soldiers that fell in Israel’s wars… They did not have time to plant a tree. They didn’t taste the full flavor of love. They left behind you, the bereaved families… and us, the friends, to painfully remember.”

Druze Artist Marches Among the Living at Nazi Death Camps

Monday, April 28th, 2014

A Druze artist who has devoted the lion’s share of her work to depicting scenes of the Holocaust joined the 12,000 participants in this year’s March of the Living.

Buteina Halabei, 38, lives in the northern Israeli town of Daliyat al-Karmel with her husband Tamir, a teacher, and their three children. The artist was invited to join the March by Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, chairman of the event, and his deputy and general director Aharon Tamir, to thank her for her work in this area.

Both she and her husband offer classes on the Holocaust in the Druze community, and give lectures at local schools. A professional artist, she has devoted most of her career to painting scenes of the Holocaust – but the works are not for sale.

Halabei explained in a past interview that the pieces are expressions of her “thoughts and feelings, and one doesn’t sell one’s thoughts and feelings.”

It’s not an uncommon decision among artists; Brooklyn-based Syrian Jewish artist Robin Antar, a sculptor whose ancestors hailed from Aleppo and settled in the United States three generations ago, also hoards a number of special pieces that she absolutely will not sell. Antar was recently in Israel searching for stone to use in new works, and to retrace the steps of her son, who passed away a few months ago.

“Art from the soul cannot be sold,” explains Antar. ” One cannot sell one’s soul.” She would know. Antar is about to begin working on a knot that transforms into a memorial flame reaching to the heavens, symbolizing the tortured soul of the son who passed away.

“In many ways he was tortured in ways not unlike some of those in the concentration camps,” Antar told The Jewish Press in a telephone interview. The horrified mother discovered years ago that her helpless toddler had been repeatedly abused and forced to witness acts of sexual abuse and torture of other children by an adult pedophile in his Brooklyn daycare. His perpetrator ultimately managed to escape justice despite strenuous efforts by the Syrian community and his parents to force the legal system to hold him responsible for his crimes.  An Orthodox Jewish rabbinical court (Beis Din) did, in fact, rule in favor of the parents and validate their accusations but the civil justice system refused to recognize the document.

Israeli Organization Empowers Arab and Druze Women

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Under the auspices of MASHAV-Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, Mazal Renford has worked to promote the cause of both Palestinian and Israeli Arab women. In her capacity as director of Haifa’s Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center, Renford has made great strides to this end. Speaking to participants at the Stand With Us International Women’s Conference, Renford discussed her work to “bring Israelis and Palestinians together,” which involves frequent consultations with Palestinian women from Judea and Samaria.

According to Renford, “If we educate for peace, maybe one day we will enjoy it.” As “a city of peaceful coexistence” where Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze and Bahais live side by side, Renford believes Haifa is the ideal location for her work. Renford’s organization was founded on former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir’s belief that “women weren’t taken into consideration in the process of development,” despite their pivotal importance. In this regard, Renford emphasizes that “Israel has been a pioneer in promoting” women’s development, with the Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center providing Palestinian women an opportunity to “come, learn how to set up a business, and stand up for their rights.”

Vered Sawied, a former mayor of Netanya who is presently working for the Prime Minister’s Office as an Advisor for Social and Welfare Issues, notes that while Israeli Jewish women often struggle to find the right balance between work and family, “the situation in Arab society is more difficult.” For this reason, explains Sawied, Israel set up an authority to provide jobs for Arabs as well as specific scholarships for Arab women seeking to enter the hi-tech profession.

Hiba Zaidan, a young Druze PhD student, credits Israeli professors and her family with helping her advance. She claimed that in Druze society, it is considered taboo for a woman to drive, go to school, or even leave the village without an escort. This has created major problems for Druze women who wish to work and study outside the village.

However, Zaidan also emphasized that Druze society is changing due to courageous and bold strides made by Druze women, with many of them now driving and studying to be teachers. She noted, however, that psychological research at the PhD level is still very rare for Druze women. “Lots of people in my village were against me getting a PhD,” she stated. She added that her Israeli professors were very understanding of her situation and always offer her assistance.

Dr. Janan Faraj-Falah was the first Druze woman in Israel to receive her PhD and today works as a lecturer at the University of Haifa, as well as the Arab Academic College for Education. Her book “The Druze Woman” is widely acclaimed both in Israel and around the world as the first book to discuss the status of women in the Druze community. Additionally, she is the founder of the Women’s Vision of Akko Foundation, which brings Jewish and Arab women together to work towards peace.

According to Dr. Faraj-Falah, “I established this association to improve women’s status and support peace. Women bring life into this world so women can also bring peace.” Some of her organization’s projects include constructing peace gardens in which Jewish and Arab children play, teaching Arabic to Jewish women and Hebrew to Arab women, and bringing both Jewish and Palestinian writers together for joint meetings. She emphasizes, “We will continue our march for peace and never give up.” Her work is supported by Renford, who notes, “Bringing Arabs and Jews together can make a big difference.”

Visit United with Israel.

Rebels’ Car Bomb Kills 18 in Christina-Druze Damascus Suburb

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Syrian rebels set off a car bomb and killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens of others in a predominantly Christian and Druze suburb of Damascus Tuesday night. Rebels have suspected Syrian Druze and Christians, who have to portray themselves as neutral in the civil war, of secretly supporting the Assad regime.

Official state television showed footage of stores that sustained heavy damage from the explosion, that also burned dozens of vehicles.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rebels-car-bomb-kills-18-in-christina-druze-damascus-suburb/2013/08/07/

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