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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘German’

More than 1.5 Million Views for Israel’s Christian You Tube Channel

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

The Ministry of Tourism’s Christian You Tube channel is attracting millions of viewers from around the world. Launched at the end of 2011, the channel crossed the 1.5 million mark this week, averaging 5,500 views per day. And while these numbers are quite tame compared to the truly viral clips on You Tube, the Ministry of Tourism views the channel as an important platform in exposing Israel to the Christian world, promoting tourism to Israel at a time when some large denominations are debating boycotting Israel altogether.

Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov says that You Tube “has turned into a central tool for the tourism industry. The positive reaction to the channel proves the significant interest among the Christian community regarding Israel.”

The channel  features videos in several languages including English, German, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, and Polish. Those show community leaders and pilgrims telling about their spiritual experiences in Israel. There are also videos of Christian holy sites and holiday themed events that are unique to Israel.

The channel was created by the Ministry of Tourism’s Religious Desk, which is dedicated to encouraging Christian tourism to Israel. Marketing activities for Christian tourism is one of the Ministry of Tourism’s main programs. In 2011, NIS 60 million was invested in reaching out to Christian communities abroad, with a similar amount being invested again this year.

Orthodox Rabbinical Group Urging German Jews to Defy Court Ruling on Circumcision

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Europe’s main Orthodox rabbinical body is urging Jews in Germany to uphold the commandment to circumcise newborn sons, despite a court ruling in Germany that said circumcising young boys could be considered a criminal act.

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said his organization is ready to back Jews in challenging the May ruling by a Cologne district court, which Jewish groups see as symptomatic of a trend across Europe against some Jewish rituals. The group held an emergency meeting this week in Berlin.

Goldschmidt said some lawmakers intending to curb Muslim practices unwittingly outlaw Jewish traditions as well.

“But I don’t think that 70 years after the Holocaust a German court would put a parent or a mohel in jail for performing a Jewish religious commandment,” Goldschmidt, the chief rabbi of Moscow, told JTA.

In the May court case that led to the ruling, the Cologne court acquitted a Muslim doctor of willful wrongdoing in the ritual circumcision of a 4-year-old Muslim boy. However, the court ruled that the right of the child to be protected from bodily harm took precedence over the interests of the parents or religious freedom. Accordingly, the court said, the circumcision of a minor for non-medical reasons could be considered a criminal act.

Two Berlin hospitals that routinely perform the surgery, mostly for Muslim families but also for Jewish ones, have temporarily stopped the practice.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany condemned the court’s decision and promised to work with German lawmakers to reverse the ruling. Muslim groups also have proposed bringing a test case to challenge the ruling.

Goldschmidt said his rabbinical group applauded the Central Council’s action and wanted to back it with moral and religious encouragement on a European level. He also said that the rabbinical conference had received assurances from Germany’s ambassador to Israel, Andreas Michaelis, that the German government will work on legislation to rectify the legal situation.

Virtually all Jewish denominations have roundly condemned the Cologne ruling, though they may differ on other religious practices. Events and petitions have been organized to draw attention to the issue.

Circumcision is one tradition that unites secular and religious Jews, Goldschmidt noted. He added that current challenges to the practice of circumcision and kosher slaughter in Europe stem from the notion that Muslims have similar practices but with less rigorous training than Jews. Lawmakers are reacting, for example, to botched circumcisions performed by poorly trained practitioners, he suggested, adding that such problems are extremely rare among mohels, or Jewish ritual circumcisers.

Meanwhile, the rabbinical conference is joining with the ORD, Germany’s Orthodox rabbinical body, to create an association of mohels to be supervised by the Association of Jewish Doctors and Psychologists. The association is headed by Berlin physician and philanthropist Roman Skoblo.

Germans to Pay Holocaust Restitution to Former Soviet Union Victims

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

In what the Holocaust Claims Conference is calling a “historic breakthrough”, the German government decided on Monday at pay restitution to victims of Nazi Germany now living in the former Soviet Union.

The group of 80,000 living survivors of the German genocide attempt had never received any compensation.

Former US Ambassador to the European Union Stuart Eizenstat, the Claims Conference’s Special Negotiator, praised Germany  for “its willingness, so long after World War II, and in such challenging economic times today, to acknowledge it’s still ongoing historic responsibility.”  The Chairman of the Claims conference claimed the group has been working for decades to get the country to pay restitution to this group of victims.

The compensation package comes just days after a German court’s decision to ban ritual circumcisions, halting one of the most fundamental practices of Jewish faith and raising an uproar of protest throughout the Jewish world.

Estimates are that the new compensation package will be worth approximately $300 million.

Most of the money will come from the Hardship Fund, and will consist of one-time payments of approximately $3,150 to Jews who fled the Nazis during their eastward push. Applications for Jews from Ukraine, Russia and other non-European Union countries in Eastern Europe will begin November 1.

Victims from the east will also now receive as much restitution as victims from western countries – approximately $370 per month.

Germany also decided to relax eligibility rules for those who receive restitution payments for being forced to go into hiding. Eligibility had only been for those who went into hiding for at least 12 months.  Now the eligibility threshold will be six months.

German restitution to victims of the Holocaust was controversial when the idea was originally floated by West German leadership in the 1952 Luxemborg/Reparations Agreement.  Signed by Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, the agreement held Germany responsible for paying Israel for Jewish slave labor used by the Nazis and paying damages for persecution of Jews during the Holocaust.  Private victims would also be paid for property stolen by the Nazis.

Advocates of the measure argued that the funds were a significant contribution to the building of Israel, helping Israel to absorb 500,000 refugees from war-torn Europe, and also helped create awareness of the Holocaust around the world.  In the ten years following the signing of the agreement, West Germany paid three billion marks to the State of Israel for victims who left no surviving heirs.  The money was used to build Israeli infrastructure and other projects.  Half a million private victims have been paid over $60 billion.

Menacham Begin, then Herut party MK in Israel’s first Knesset, former Irgun fighter and future prime minister of Israel, was vehemently against the agreement, leading a large and violent demonstration against the measure.  At the event, Begin told protesters  “Our honor shall not be sold for money, our blood shall not be atoned by goods, we will wipe out the disgrace!”.

The opposition of some members of Israeli society of being given money to appease the loss of the Holocaust was so great that many attempts were made to thwart the agreement.  In 1952, Dov Shilansky, a Holocaust survivor and former commander in Europe’s  Jewish underground tried to bring explosives into Tel Aviv’s Foreign Ministry building in order to stop Israeli-German negotiations.

That same year, an assassination attempt on Adenauer led investigators back to Israel’s Herut party and its members from the Irgun.

Over 10,000 People Sign Petition Against German Ban of Bris Mila

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

On Saturday Night, July 8th, the 10,000 person signed the petition against the German court’s ban on Brit Mila.

The petition can be found here: http://www.jewishpress.com/petition-against-germanys-ban-on-brit-milah/

Members of the JewishPress.com staff plan to present the petition to the German Embassy in Israel this week.

Crowning Miss Holocaust Survivor

Friday, July 6th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by his wife and co-host Malkah to talk about a beauty pageant for survivors of the Holocaust that recently took place in Haifa. They specifically discuss the reaction that the event created throughout the media. At 11:16, they begin to discuss the recently-passed regarding the banning of ritual circumcision in Germany and how it compares to a new Israeli law encouraging new mothers to breast feed. The segment wraps up with Yishai and Malkah talking about their experience with the Israeli post office and amazing gift that the Fleishers received.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Choosing Shame Over Honor

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Lives can change in 60 seconds, worlds end and new ones begin. Sixty seconds is all it can take sometimes. Sixty seconds where you don’t pay attention on the road as a child runs after a ball; 60 seconds for a couple to become a family as a child is born and placed in his mother’s arms for the first time; 60 seconds when an ill-prepared rescue attempt can turn to disaster and strong men who came in peace can be turned into victims of an ongoing war called terror.

On September 4, 1972, Palestinian terrorists violated the spirit and purpose of the Olympics, bringing violence and death to 11 Israeli athletes. This happened in Munich, in Germany.

To remember, to read about those tragic hours of terror is to read about courage and bravery on the part of the Israelis at they struggled, within themselves, to save their teammates. Those who saw them in the hours before the bungled German rescue attempt, spoke of the dignity of the Israeli athletes. In their deaths, they showed the best of what Israel is and the best of what Israel had brought to the Olympic Games. In dignity, the Israeli team departed after the massacre, and in great shame, the world continued to play as if…as if nothing had happened.

There was no honor among the Palestinian murderers, no honor in gunning down and murdering innocent, unarmed athletes that came to celebrate what was supposed to be the one moment in time the world would join to pursue sports and not war. In their actions, the Palestinians showed the worst of Palestinian society.

Of the German actions, I cannot write. I want to believe their incompetence was not a sign of apathy. I want to believe there was honor in their trying to save the Israelis, the Jews, who had come to German soil to participate in the world games. I want to believe and sometimes I do. I can only imagine their horror that Jews, including at least one Holocaust survivor, had become victims of terror on German soil. I want to feel bad for them but while they may or may not have been responsible for the ultimate failure of the rescue (and the horrendously inadequate security that allowed this to happen in the first place), my heart is too full with sorrow to find compassion for their dismay.

And finally, there was no honor in the cowardice and insensitive actions of the International Olympics Committee – then, and now. They failed – from the start, through the attack, and after. They failed to adequately prepare; they failed during the negotiations. They failed, most dramatically, in recognizing the magnitude of the horror that had played out before their eyes. They failed, and evenworse, lack even the dignity to admit that in their actions, they sanction forgetting or ignoring the results of their failures.

The Palestinian group came to murder, and murder they did. I remember the Munich Olympics, though I was a young girl at the time. I remember waiting for hours hoping the Israelis would be released. Believing that Jews would not die as hostages on German soil. I remember wishing they would let the Israeli army come in and save them but having faith that the Germans could beat terrorists. I was wrong. The German army wasn’t allowed to run the operation – this was done by two politicians and a police officer. Later it was learned that it’s possible some of the hostages were even killed by the German police.

I remember the bungled attempt the Germans made to save the Israelis, of begging to be told that somehow at least one had survived. I remember the joy when we heard the hostages were all safe…and the incredible agony of learning not a single one had survived. I remember the fury when I later read that the “sharpshooters” were not trained professionals but merely men who had shot competitively on weekends. This is what they sent to fight terrorists!

And finally, I remember in the midst of my tears the absolute sense of betrayal and shock to hear that the games would continue, even as Israel pulled into itself to bury its dead.

Polish Synagogue to Günter Grass: Don’t Come Back

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Nobel Prize winner author Günter Grass, whose harsh attacks on Israel and Jews have led to his being banned from entering Israel, was asked not to visit the synagogue in Gdansk, his birthplace.

On Saturday the Gdansk Municipal Gallery will celebrate Günter Grass’ 85th birthday with an exhibition of his paintings headlined “Watercolors.” Grass is also scheduled to visit the Municipal Theatre in Gdynia, to attend a performance of a play based on his work. He will tour the city of his childhood, so colorfully depicted, along with the surrounding region, in his novel “The Flounder.”

But the Jews of Gdansk aren’t impressed.

“We wish Günter Grass a very fruitful and pleasant stay in Gdansk,” Michal Samet, chairman of the Jewish Community in Gdansk, told the Gazeta Wyborcza. “There are so many wonderful places in Gdansk, the city has more than a 1,000-year history; certainly he will have a lot of things to see here. He was in our synagogue once, five years ago, and I think that would be enough.”

Earlier this year, Grass published his poem “What Must Be Said,” which condemned the German government of Chancellor Angela Merkel for agreeing to subsidize the sale of additional submarines “from my country” to Israel “justified as reparations.”

The 85-year-old leftist author said in his poem that he worried that Israel “could wipe out the Iranian people” with a “first strike” due to the threat it perceives in the Iranian nuclear program.

“Why do I only say now, aged and with my last ink: the atomic power Israel is endangering the already fragile world peace?” asks Grass, and answers that Nazi Germany’s “incomparable” crimes against Jews and his own fear of accusations of anti-Semitism have kept him from openly criticizing the Jewish State.

Except that, according to Grass, “tomorrow could already be too late” and Germany could become a “supplier to a crime” – a reference to the sale last month of a sixth German-made nuclear-capable Dolphin-class submarine to Israel.

“I admit: I will be silent no longer, because I am sick of the hypocrisy of the West,” wrote Grass.

In 2006, Grass admitted in an interview that he had joined the Waffen-SS as a teenager at the end of World War II, and was accused at the time of having hidden the truth for decades while at the same time pointing the finger at others for hiding their Nazi past.

JTA contributed to this article.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/polish-synagogue-to-gunter-grass-dont-come-back/2012/06/29/

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