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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Ethiopia’

Official Statements on the Passing of President Shimon Peres [video]

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Special Cabinet Meeting

“This is the first day in the State of Israel without the late Shimon Peres. Shimon Peres was among our greatest leaders, who left behind him a long trail of unique achievements. On behalf of the entire Jewish People, the citizens of Israel and the Government of Israel, I convey deep condolences to Shimon’s family.

Shimon Peres lived a life rich in deeds, which symbolize the history of a revived Israel – the life of an ancient people that marches, revived, on its land, the power of our people to defend itself, and is building up its homeland with sweat and courage.

When Shimon, as a youth, went to the Ben Shemen agricultural school, he wrote: ‘The goal of my life is to serve my people.’ He realized this goal. He believed with all his heart in the goals of Zionism and was a man of inspiring vision. Shimon accompanied the state since before its birth, stood by the cradle, and made sure that it could stand on strong legs. He was at the side of David Ben-Gurion during fateful decisions, at a time when the young Israel was fragile and its military strength had yet to be realized. Shimon greatly contributed to the building up of our strength. He made a unique contribution to the strengthening of our security both openly and in areas that are best left unspoken.

One of the summits of his life was the successful operation to free those of our people who had been hijacked to Entebbe. As Defense Minister in the government of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon played a crucial role in the decision to dispatch our planes and commandos into the heart of Africa. But alongside this, alongside all of his work on behalf of the security of Israel, Shimon Peres never stopped striving for peace and believing in peace. His hand was always extended toward historic reconciliation with our neighbors. Even if this reconciliation tarried, he taught us not to give in to despair but to cling to the hope and to continue working.

Shimon Peres was an MK for almost 50 years. He served as a minister in various governments in many and varied portfolios. He twice led our country as Prime Minister. He opened our international links, contributed to stabilizing the economy and worked greatly on behalf of immigration from the USSR and Ethiopia.

We all know that political life was not always kind to Shimon. Alongside his achievements, he also knew disappointment, he also knew difficult moments, he also knew pointed criticism. But through his great strength of will Shimon continued to move forward, imbued with the aspiration to advance the development of the country that he loved so much, and imbued with the aspiration to bring peace.

There were many things that we agreed on and the number of these grew over the years. But we also had our disagreements, which are a natural part of democratic life. Even in these instances, the respect that I felt for Shimon was never impaired. On the contrary, as time passed our relations became closer. I esteemed him. I loved him. During his tenure as President, we had many personal meetings, often lasting deep into the night. These were fascinating, in-depth meetings in which I learned to recognize the man, to recognize his life’s story and to listen to his thoughts.

Only two months ago I came with my wife to launch the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. We shared a common vision – a vision of progress and technology. Shimon saw the presence of Israel at the forefront of scientific and technological progress, and rightly so, as a key to human welfare, the key to peace. At that meeting I was stirred by his curiosity, his ability to mobilize a vision of the future world. After the ceremony, we sat for a long time. We arranged to meet again, to continue to promote the common vision of technology and innovation – and yes, also peace.

Unfortunately, this meeting will not take place. The prayer which I made on behalf of all citizens of Israel from the podium of the United Nations, the prayer that I offered for his recovery did not materialize. But our consolation is that so many things in the life of Shimon did come true. And the seven years of Shimon Peres’ presidency were a rejuvenation. He won the public’s bipartisan, cross-sector admiration. Love of the people was forthcoming and warmed his heart.

Shimon was a man of vision, he was a man of peace, he was also a man of letters, and without these two elements there can be no national revival. For all these reasons Shimon won worldwide international recognition. Heads of state sought him out and honored him. Many of them, along with us, will accompany him on his last journey to eternal rest in the soil of Jerusalem. Shimon’s work will yet remain with us for many generations. He will be enshrined in my heart always and etched in our hearts forever.

May his memory be blessed.”

President Reuven Rilvin

“This is a sad morning for all of us. There is not a chapter in the history of the State of Israel in which Shimon did not write or play a part. A man who was a symbol for the great spirit of this people. Shimon made us look far into the future. As one man he carried a whole nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision, and we loved him dearly. We loved him even when we did not see things eye to eye, because he made us dare to imagine not what was once here, nor what is now, but what could be.”

Minister Miri Regev

“We are officially convening the ministerial Committee on Symbols and ceremonies, which today mourns the passing of former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres. We are preparing for a very large and complex funeral that will coordinate very many elements. Here today is the Director General of the Foreign Ministry and the Jerusalem District Police commander, as well as representatives from the Defense Ministry, Knesset, and the Prime Minister’s Bureau, among others. We are, in effect, working to coordinate the entire effort.

I would like to thank Minister Ofir Akunis and Minister Sofa Landver, who are present as members of the committee. We will work under the ‘Havatzelet’ protocol to facilitate a respectable funeral that will allow the citizens of the country and the world leaders who will arrive to pay proper respect to former President Peres. Therefore, as soon as the committee votes on its decisions, everyone will go to work in his area and we will meet from time to time on a more reduced basis to oversee coordination.

There will be several centers: The airport, to which the leaders will arrive. The second center is the Knesset. The third is Mt. Herzl, including the interment itself. There are many elements here that we will need to coordinate so that everything goes smoothly and respectably, despite all the constraints we are under and the complexity of the event. There is also, of course, Shabbat that we must take into account and see that we finish on time so that all of the police and other elements working on the event can return home in time for Shabbat.”

Yad Vashem

“Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, mourns the passing of the ninth President of Israel, Shimon Peres and offers its sincerest condolences to his family and all of the people of Israel.

Former President Peres was a dedicated supporter of teaching the legacy of the Shoah, so that the Jewish people – and all humanity – may have a brighter future.  Shimon Peres worked tirelessly to further the causes of justice and peace for all humankind.”

Israel Atomic Energy Commission

“Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) Director Ze’ev Senir and the commission’s employees and retirees mourn the passing of former President, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Shimon Peres. His work is interwoven with the work of the IAEC since its founding.

Shimon Peres substantially contributed to the establishment of the Negev Nuclear Research Center and the foundation of Israel’s nuclear policy as a significant contribution in ensuring the national strength of the State of Israel. His legacy will accompany the work of the IAEC in the future as well. May his memory be blessed.”

David Israel

Belaynesh Zevadia: Ambassador To Ethiopia

Friday, August 26th, 2016

“I left Ethiopia when I was still a child and now I’m back as Israel’s ambassador! This is one of the most moving moments of my life,” Belaynesh Zevadia exclaimed with emotion.

Belaynesh Zevadia was born in Gondar, in a deserted African village in distant Ethiopia where Jews, believed to be one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, lived for over a thousand years. Now they live in Israel!

The amazing tale of Belaynesh Zevadia is the amazing tale of Israel. Are we living in Messianic times, the time of “kibbutz galuyot” (ingathering exiles)?

I remember well when the first group of El Al flights from Ethiopia, called “Operation Moses,” arrived in Israel in 1984. I received first-hand information from a family member who, serving in the Israeli Air Force as a physician, accompanied the Jewish immigrants on the plane. He related how they had to create a single chain of men, women and children in order to help them board the plane that had no seats. They had to be removed in order to accommodate as many immigrants as possible, among them Belaynesh Zevadia.

Belaynesh Zevadia

Belaynesh Zevadia

He also told of one pregnant Ethiopian woman who gave birth mid-flight as all the immigrants exclaimed, “Born on the pathway to Jerusalem!” Jerusalem, a thousand-year-old dream.

Now 43, Belaynesh Zevadia immigrated to Israel as a barefoot teen, but the enormous transition from Ethiopia to living in technologically-advanced Israel did not stint her development. She grew, passed exams and entered the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, graduating with a BA in international relations. She went on to receive an MA degree in African studies, all in preparation for a diplomatic career.

In 1993, Belaynesh Zevadia began her diplomatic career at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Cadet Course and served in various positions around the world, including in Chicago, Illinois and Houston, Texas.

In the words of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman: “The appointment is a message to the Israeli public, one that is currently fighting discrimination. In Israel, people are chosen based on their ability to serve the public, rather than their skin color or sex. I am convinced that she will represent Israel with respect.”

Nearly three decades later she has returned to her hometown, this time as the official Israeli envoy to the African country.

Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson

Netanyahu ‘Not Prepared to Tolerate Racism in our State’

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday night received the conclusions and recommendations of a team that studied eradicating racism against Israelis of Ethiopian origin. Netanyahu received the report from Justice Ministry Director General Amy Palmor, who headed the inter-ministerial team on eradicating racism against Israelis of Ethiopian origin.

The team was established by the Prime Minister following a decision by the special ministerial committee on advancing the integration into Israeli society of Israelis of Ethiopian origin, which he chairs. The ministerial team is convening Monday to discuss the report and, most likely, approve its recommendations.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said after receiving the report, “I am not prepared to tolerate racism in our state. I am not prepared for people to be tripped up by the color of their skin. This is terrible. We, on the ministerial committee, have heard heart-rending and hair-raising stories and we started to take action against racism even beforehand. But now, in the wake of this report, which is part of our decisions, we will take further steps and I am pleased that there are people, men and women, who are determined to uproot this phenomenon from our lives. This befits neither our country, our citizens nor our people.”

The report is 170 pages long and includes 52 recommendations intended to help correct institutionalized and societal racism. It says: “For years, those of Ethiopian descent have experienced discriminatory treatment from Israeli institutions and citizens, exclusion from the public sphere, discrimination in education and employment, stigmatization and negative stereotypes, and have even been exposed to physical and verbal abuse.

“Claims by those of Ethiopian descent of institutional and police racism, and alternatively, of the forgiveness of the heads of institutions for such displays, have been heard throughout the team’s work. At this point, we have the obligation not to miss the opportunity to heal the rifts. Wide implementation of the recommended steps in this report is intended to provide the conditions required for zero tolerance for expressions of discrimination and racism.”

The report details the scandals related to the mistreatment of the Ethiopian-Israeli community in recent years, including the healthcare system’s practice of destroying blood donated by Ethiopians, injecting Ethiopian women with contraceptives without their consent, segregated maternity wards, segregating students in educational institutions, a lack of recognition of Ethiopians’ Jewish roots by the religious establishment, the use of Tasers against Ethiopian-Israeli Yosef Salamsa who later killed himself, the police assault on the soldier Damas Pakada, and Israel’s failure to retrieve Avra Mengistu, who crossed the border into Gaza.

JNi.Media

Israeli African Strategy Gaining More Allies

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced on Sunday that Director General Dore Gold met with the president of the Republic of Chad, Idriss Déby Itno, at the Chadian president’s palace prior to establishing diplomatic relations with the Republic of Guinea last week.

“The meeting took place in the wake of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to four African states, reinforcing the importance with which the prime minister views Israel’s relations with Africa,” stated the MFA on Sunday.

According to the MFA, Dir. Gen. Gold and President Déby Itno discussed topics of mutual interest to both countries, including ways to expand bilateral cooperation between them.

The announcement of the meeting between Gold and Déby Itno comes on the heels of Netanyahu’s statement last week that “yet another Muslim African country will announce reestablishment of ties with Israel.”

The Republic of Chad is an Arabic-speaking Muslim-majority state in sub-Saharan central Africa. Chad used to maintain official diplomatic relations with Israel, but severed ties in 1972 following intense pressure from its Arab neighbors and from Libya and Sudan.

Déby Itno is also the current chairman of the African Union (AU), a regional organization into which Israel wishes to be readmitted as an observer.

Netanyahu visited several sub-Saharan countries—Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia—earlier this month in order to gain allies in international forums such as the AU and UN.

“There are 50 countries in Africa,” Netanyahu said during his African tour. “Just about all of them, could be allies of Israel. They vote at international forums, and I know people don’t believe this, but I think we can change the automatic majorities in the U.N. and so on.”

Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin is also scheduled to meet on Monday with the president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Marcel Alain De Souza, who is currently visiting Israel. ECOWAS is a regional group of 15 West African countries and is meant to be a single large political and economic bloc.

The UN Security Council rejected a Palestinian Authority resolution calling for Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria in 2014. According to Ron Prosor, then Israeli ambassador to the UN, Rwanda and Nigeria, which are now friendly to Israel, helped balance the vote in Israel’s favor by abstaining.

In addition, Rwanda, along with India and Singapore, also delivered a critical vote in June within the UN Non-Aligned Movement in favor of making Israel the chair of a UN committee (the Legal Committee) for the first time in history.

While “changing the dynamics at the United Nations is not instant pudding,” as former Ambassador Prosor commented, the Israeli Africa-facing strategy shift seems to begin to bear fruit.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu First Israeli PM in Decades to Visit African Countries

Monday, July 4th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leaving on an historic visit to Africa Monday, after decades in which no Israeli prime minister has visited the continent. The Prime Minister has set improving and strengthening relations with African countries as a goal; he will visit Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

On the occasion of Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit, the National Information Directorate has designed a special logo featuring the flags of the countries on his itinerary.

On the occasion of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit, the National Information Directorate has designed a special logo featuring the flags of the countries on his itinerary.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Africa will begin in Uganda where President Yoweei Museveni will welcome him in an official ceremony with a 19-gun salute (21-guns is for presidents). Afterwards, an official ceremony will be held at Entebbe to mark 40 years since the Entebbe raid.

Later the Prime Minister will meet with East African heads of state who are traveling to Uganda especially for a diplomatic meeting with him. Participating in the meeting will be Ugandan President Museveni, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, Zambian President Edgar Lungu and Tanzanian Foreign Minister Dr. Augustine Philip Mahiga. Prime Minister Netanyahu will also visit Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia where he will hold meetings with their heads of state and security and economic leaderships. He will make an historic speech before the Ethiopian Parliament.

Beyond its diplomatic aspects, Prime Minister Netanyahu also has major economic significance. The Prime Minister will be accompanied by approximately 80 businesspeople from 50 companies, all eager to establish commercial ties with African companies and countries. Last week the Netanyahu cabinet passed a $13 million plan to strengthen economic links and cooperation with African countries.

Economic seminars will be held in Kenya and Ethiopia with the participation of the traveling businesspeople and their local counterparts. The seminars are under the auspices of Kenyan President Kenyatta, Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn Boshe and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

JNi.Media

On This Day in 1991, IDF Makes a Miracle With ‘Operation Solomon’

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

On this day in 1991, Israeli Defense Forces accomplished a miracle and broke a world record for number of passengers transported in a plane, launching a covert mission to airlift thousands of people, thousands of miles away to bring them home to Israel.

It seemed impossible at the time, but Operation Solomon rescued 14,500 Ethiopian Jews on May 24 and May 25 and transported them 2,500 miles to a new life in Israel.

To date, the unprecedented airlift remains the largest aerial expedition in the history of the State of Israel and the largest transport of passengers in a single plane in the world.

In 1990, the Israeli government and the IDF became aware that the incumbent government of Ethiopia’s Mengistu Haile Mariam was coming closer to collapse or a coup. World Jewish organizations joined Israel in its concern for the Beta Israel, Ethiopian Jews whose mass emigration had to that point been impossible.

The Ethiopian government finally allowed all the Jews to leave the country at once in great part due to a letter from U.S. President George H.W. Bush. Up to that point, Mengistu was only willing to discuss their emigration in exchange for weapons.

U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz was sent as a special emissary by Pres. Bush to meet with the Ethiopian government to aid Israel in arranging the airlift. Assistant Secy of State for African Affairs Hank Cohen was also involved as he was an international mediator in Ethiopia’s civil war.

The operation itself was not publicized by media, thanks to a gag order under military censorship. The aircraft were all stripped of their seats in order to maximize their space.

Upon arrival 140 frail passengers received medical care while still on the tarmac; five pregnant women gave birth on the plane – they and their newborns were rushed to the hospital as soon as they arrived in Israel.

In 36 hours, 35 Israeli aircraft flew non-stop flights to transport 14,325 Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Among the aircraft were Israeli Air Force C-130s and El Al Boeing 7474s.

Hana Levi Julian

Ethiopian MK Meets Visiting African Women, Advocates Merging Israeli Tech with ‘Fertile African Soil’

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) on Monday met at the Knesset with a delegation of prominent women from several African countries, including women from academia and education, as well as members of parliament, members of political parties and one journalist.

The African delegation is visiting Israel as part of the UN Women initiative, established in 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. UN Women – Africa, one of the largest branches of this initiative, works to “support regional gender-responsive measures to promote women’s leadership and participation in politics, government, business and society and to influence regional and national legal frameworks and policies to increase women’s leadership and political participation.”

MK Neguise noted that the 20th Knesset includes a record number of women members, and encouraged his guests “as leaders in your countries, to continue with your activity.”

Neguise, an Ethiopian Israeli, told the women that as MK he works to strengthen relations between Israel and Africa. To this end, he recently established the Lobby for Relations between Israel and African Countries, which he heads. Neguise also chairs the parliamentary friendship groups of Israel and Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Rwanda.

“I believe that the meeting between Israeli technology and the fertile African soil can effect change in Africa and strengthen the ties between Israelis and Africans,” Neguise told the delegation members, pointing out Israel’s advanced capabilities in the fields of irrigation, desalination, solar energy, medicine, education and tourism. “If we develop cooperation in these fields, both Israelis and Africans will benefit,” he promised.

Neguise, who serves as chairman of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, noted the importance of Jewish immigration to the strengthening of Israeli society, and said part of the committee’s duty is to advance equal opportunities for recent immigrants in education, employment and housing. He noted that part of the challenge stems from the fact that 90 percent of Ethiopians who immigrated to Israel came from rural areas, “so there are economic, cultural and professional gaps.” In order to narrow these gaps, he said, Israel provides after-school classes for Ethiopian students, vocational training for adults and housing assistance for immigrant families.

While in Israel, the African delegation members are taking part in a leadership course organized by Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, a division of the Foreign Ministry. The course is being held in cooperation with Singapore.

Click here for a list of the African delegation members.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ethiopian-mk-meets-visiting-african-women-advocates-merging-israeli-tech-with-fertile-african-soil/2016/05/24/

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