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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

Israeli Tourism Helps Inscribe Georgian Jewry in the Book of Life

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

It seems that just as the Book of Life might have been closing on the Jewish community in Georgia, Israeli tourism is breathing a second chance into its cities and institutions.

At least three new Jewish restaurants and several new hostels have opened in Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi due to Israeli tourism, according to Israel’s Tourism Ministry.

The “Restaurant Jerusalem” in central Tbilisi – it’s run by Israeli Georgians – or the King David restaurant, run by native Georgian Jews, which can be found in the courtyard of the synagogue.

Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to Tbilisi Rabbi Meir Kozlovsky says Israelis have found the city to be a new alternative to Turkey.

The spiritual leader of the Great Synagogue of Tbilisi, Rabbi Rachamim Murdukhashvili is also the shochet (ritual slaughterer) of the community.

A second synagogue in Oni, about 120 miles northwest of the city, was visited last month by Prime Minister Iralki Garibashvili to mark its 120th anniversary. But only 16 Jews remain in Oni, and it’s not clear how much longer that community can hang on.

The Georgian government under Garibashvili partly funded renovations at both synagogues, calling Georgia “the second homeland of the Jewish people.”

The traditions of the Jewish community in the country go back as far as 1,500 years, although today there are just 4,000 Jews left in Georgia.

A veritable tidal wave of some 60,000 new tourists are now visiting the country annually, according to the Tourism Ministry, tripling the number that visited Tbilisi in 2010 – when Turkey severed ties with Israel.

Israeli Jewish tourists have been searching for a new tourism “hot spot” ever since the bottom fell out of tourism to Turkey, the annual vacation destination everyone chose.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rage at Israel had escalated step by step since the 2006 Second Lebanon War over the IDF’s defense of southern Israeli communities from Gaza terrorist attacks.

It finally reached the breaking point in 2010 over the deaths of nine violent Turkish terror activists in clashes with IDF commandos they attacked when they boarded a flotilla vessel that had brazenly attempted to illegally breach Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza.

Countless attempts by diplomats and others on both sides since to heal the broken ties have only been partly successful; each time there appears to be any chance of renewal of ties, Erdogan appears to deliberately sabotage the effort with anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Thus the Israeli public has made its peace with the fact that at least for now, Turkey is no longer likely to return as a popular tourism destination; it is clear “from the top” that Israelis are neither liked nor wanted there.

Body of Missing Israeli Found in Georgia

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

The body of Dor Cohen was located in Georgia over the weekend by search and rescue team dispatched by the Israeli Harel insurance company.

The missing Israeli back packer had been out of touch for at least four days, and a search was launched by ground crews and by air.

Cohen’s family was notified when his body was found, and the insurance firm is now working together with the Foreign Ministry to repatriate the remains by air back to Israel.

USA’s Georgia and Israel Celebrate 20 Years of Friendship

Friday, June 27th, 2014

This past week, the governor of the U.S. state of Georgia, Nathan Deal and a delegation of Georgia officials and business leaders visited Israel on a five-day mission highlighting the unique economic partnership between Israel and Georgia. The governor met with prominent members of the Israeli government including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat to explore trade and business opportunities as well as Atlanta’s sister city of Ra’anana.

“Israel is a vital partner in friendship and in our economic development efforts,” the Georgia governor said in a press release on June 25. “We are here to bolster our ties as we celebrate Georgia’s 20th year in the Israeli market and our long-standing commitment to the country.”

During the visit, the Georgia delegation met with Israeli companies that have invested in Georgia as well as those considering doing so. The Israel-based Haifa Group, for example will build a new Controlled Release Fertilizer manufacturing facility in Savannah, Georgia. The Haifa Group is a global leader of specialty fertilizers, specialty plant nutrients, potassium nitrate, food phosphates in the agricultural industry.

The Haifa Group, whose operations span over 100 countries in 5 continents, will invest $12 million in the Georgia plant that will create 20 new jobs in the U.S. state nicknamed the Peach State, for its official fruit.

“This new plant serves as a testament to Georgia’s advanced agriculture technology industry,” Governor Deal stated. “We fully expect that this new production facility will help establish our state as a center of advanced fertilizer technology, with farmers, nursery owners and professional turf experts across the country asking for our products.”

In 2013, Georgia was ranked as the leading state in the Southeastern United States and eighth in the nation in terms of total trade with Israel. Imports to Israel from Georgia increased by 71 percent and total trade increased by 46 percent from 2012-2013. Approximately $4 million worth of Georgia peanuts and pecans have been sold to Israel as part of a Georgia state federally-funded program to attract international buyers to Georgia. Among other international buyers including Brazil, China, Germany, Canada, Japan, Mexico and the UK, Israel has emerged as the leading Middle Eastern investor nation in Georgia.

In addition, Delta Air Lines offers multiple daily flights from Atlanta to Tel Aviv via New York and Amsterdam. The Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah offers two weekly shipping services to the Port of Haifa and one to the Port of Ashdod.

Since 1994, Israel and Georgia, which was recently named the top business state in the U.S., have had a long-established partnership through business, international trade, government, tourism and other avenues.

“Georgia has a unique advantage with the Israeli Consulate General based in Atlanta and organizations like conexx: America Israel Business Connector,” said Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “These partners of ours, which work actively to promote a stronger relationship, provide key connections and demonstrate goodwill between our state and Israel.”

Thai Court Convicts Iranians for Targeting Israeli Diplomats

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

A court in Thailand has convicted two Iranians who were part of a botched bomb plot last year, CNN reported.

Saied Moradi, 29, who lost both legs in the explosion, was found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison, while Muhammad Khazaei, 43, was sentenced to 15 years in jail for causing explosions and damaged to property.

Meanwhile, a third man, who escaped authorities after the bomb went off in a villa in Bangkok, escaped to Malaysia. Two other suspects are believed to still be on the run.

Israel has alleged that the group of men was part of a terrorist cell that was plotting to assassinate Israeli diplomats in Thailand.

Israeli officials and tourists abroad have been the target of Iranian and Hezbollah for years, including recent attacks and attempted attacks in Bulgaria and Cyprus. The Bangkok explosion came a day after Israeli diplomats were targeted by bombs in India and Georgia.

Joy of Motherhood in Israel after 9 Abortions in Soviet-Bloc

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

A Jewish couple from the former Soviet Bloc country of Georgia are the proud parents of a bouncing baby girl, born to the mother who was treated in Israel after having gone through nine abortions in 17 years in her home country.

Michael and Tamari Barikswili, both age 39, had all but given up hope to become parents. Their friends in the medical profession in Georgia suggested to them two years ago that they travel to Israel’s Rambam Medical Center in Haifa for examinations that might help them achieve their dream.

Last year, the couple met with Rambam’s Prof. Binyamin Brenner, head of the hematology department.

“We did not know what the problem was with us,” Michael said after the birth of their daughter Maryam last week.

After several examinations by Prof, Brenner, it became clear that Tamari suffers from a problem called in laymen’s terms “excessive blood clotting.”

It is a common problem of women who suffer from recurring abortions, and Rambam doctors have established a clear connection between the malady and abortions.

Tamari’s problem was identified through a simple blood test, which the couple said was not available in Georgia, where the standard of medicine is far below that of Israel.

They returned to Georgia but turned again to Rambam because of her history, and in her 13th week of pregnancy, they rented an apartment in Ramat Gan, adjacent to Tel Aviv and traveled back and forth to Haifa for examinations and constant monitoring.

“After the couple went through so much to become parents, everything becomes all the more significant,” notes Dir. Ido Sholat, of the Rambam unit overseeing women with difficult pregnancies.

“During all the months of check-ups, there were many different emotions, pressures and fears,” he added. “But the moment we saw that the pregnancy was advancing normally, all of us began to relax and enjoy this tremendous experience,” he adds.

Tamari said after the birth, “It is not so simple to go through all this when we are in Israel and everyone in the family is Georgia. But we waited 17 years for this, and I was prepared to do anything to become a mother.”

She and her husband kept in touch with family through e-mails and Skype and sent videos and pictures.

Michael and Tamari went back to Georgia with their daughter this past Sunday but they promise to return to Rambam next year – with a brother for sister for Maryam.

Atlanta is a Hard Place for Orthodox Jews to Leave

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Atlanta, GA, is a hard place for Orthodox Jews to leave: That was the message I got from my Shabbat hosts in Atlanta.  That is even though they are dreaming of making Aliyah to Israel and even own homes/apartments there.  Everything they need for a full, fulfilling, rewarding Torah Jewish life can be conveniently found in their Atlanta neighborhood.

From their stories, even the local Christians are friendly an supportive.  This pocket of America is very anti-Obama.  They told me that Obama is costing them money in added taxes. That is as employees and business owners.  I met a number of their friends and that was the message.Jews and Christians from what I understand are to the right of the Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu.  They insist that your ordinary American does not see why Israel should cede any land to the Arabs.  It makes no sense to them at all.This jives 100% with the Christians I’ve met over the thirty plus years I’ve lived in Shiloh and hosted and led groups of religious Christians who have toured Shiloh’s holy spots.

If the State of Israel, Prime Minister on down would just announce, inflexibly that we declare sovereignty over all of Judea, Samaria, Jordan Valley, Golan etc, no negotiations, they would back us.  Your ordinary person in the States, according to them, accepts the 1967 Six Day War victory as the legal defeat of the Arab armies, Jordan, Egypt and Syria, which had tried to destroy the State of Israel.  We never fought a country called “Palestine,” since there never was one in the entire history of the world.  The so-called “Palestinian People” is a fiction invented/created to undermine and destroy the Jewish State of Israel.

Visit Shiloh Musings.

From Georgia to Tel Aviv

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

A group of immigrants from Soviet Georgia in Lod airport, circa 1972.

In 1907, my own family, on my mother’s side, arrived from Gruzia (I never understood that whole “Georgia” thing – those Brits would have made the whole world sound like it was a suburb of London if we let them). They first settled in Jerusalem, but in the 1930s moved to Tel Aviv, after my mother was born.

On my mother’s side everyone is big and burly and with foreheads that go all the way back to the base of their skulls. My father came from gentle, small framed Polish Jews with heads full of hair.

You win some, you lose some.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/from-georgia-to-tel-aviv/2012/07/18/

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