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December 2, 2016 / 2 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘gift’

US Demanding Clarification, Gift Drone to Russia May Carry Secret Camera

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

The Obama Administration has asked for clarification regarding the $52,000 drone Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) last week handed over to Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev during a tour of the Volcani Center (Research Staff ‘Down’ $52 K Gift Drone from Israeli Minister to Russian PM).

A senior official in Jerusalem has told Ha’aretz the Americans wanted to know if US made technology was onboard the gifted drone. Apparently, US embassy diplomats have already contacted Israel’s defense, foreign, and agriculture ministries, as well as the prime minister’s deputy national security advisor, after having read about the Agriculture Minister’s generosity in his rare bout with diplomacy.

The Americans believe a sophisticated, US made camera is installed on the Volcani drone, the kind that require a special application for US government permission should said camera be sold to a third-party. Needless to say, in the current political frost between US Democrats and Russian officials, and considering the economic sanctions against Russia, such an application would have ended up in a DC shredder.

So far, according to Ha’aretz, Jerusalem has told Washington the camera was removed from the drone (which was made in Spain). But now the Israeli defense ministry has been wondering just how many local security regulations the generous minister violated. Needless to say, he did not consult the defense apparatus before making his $52,000 gesture of friendship.

It should be noted in Minister Ariel’s defense that his ministry is in the midst of negotiating an $11 billion agricultural cooperation deal, so that from his point of view the drone was a small price to pay considering such enormous stakes.

As we mentioned yesterday, when the representatives from the Russian embassy showed up at the Rishon Lezion Volcani institute, they were handed the drone but not its operating system or remote control. The Volcani scientists insist they’d let go of those when they see the $52,000 increase in their operating budget, thank you very much.

David Israel

Research Staff ‘Down’ $52 K Gift Drone from Israeli Minister to Russian PM

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) last week handed over to Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev a drone worth $52 thousand belonging to Volcani Center researchers.

Ariel hosted Medvedev on his tour at Israel’s world renowned agricultural research and development institute, introducing his VIP guest to several innovations Israel is hoping to get the Russians interested in, including a robot designed for spraying agricultural fields and crops in hothouses, a new tool for testing the sugar level in apples, new sensors to monitor milk quality and output in cows, and new wheat storage solutions that protect against pests.

According to Calcalist, one of the presentations was of a drone used for irrigation research, and when Ariel noticed how very interested Medvedev had been in this drone, he told his staff to deliver it to the Russian PM as a gift. Institute staff were shocked and then irate at this grab-from-above, but in agricultural institutions the Minister of Agriculture is second only to God.

Volcani senior staff member Moshe Reuveni told Calcalist that “transferring the device that was used by the Volcani Center for agricultural research projects currently in development disregards all administrative procedures and all rules and laws regarding high level visits.” Reuveni was furious that “aside from the damage caused by giving a device costing hundreds of thousands of shekels, and the damage to our image, there is also the obvious damage caused by freezing agricultural research.”

After the drone had been delivered and the Russian delegation flew with it back home, a Medvedev representative called the Agriculture ministry to inquire about the remote control device that had not been packed with the drone. According to Ma’ariv reported Ben Kaspit’s Twitt, Volcani staff told the ministry they’d hold on to the remote until they receive the budget for a new drone.

Meanwhile, as soon as he landed in Moscow, PM Medvedev was confronted with the arrest of Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev on suspicion of taking a $2 million bribe, so maybe it’s better his gift drone stays grounded.

David Israel

Shimon Peres’ Final Rosh Hashana Gift to the World

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Many have already written about the extraordinary scene we witnessed last Friday: the funeral of Shimon Peres, an extraordinary man who led an extraordinary nation.

 

The exceptional scene was made even more remarkable by the fact that it took place on the morning before Parshat Nitzavim would be read in the synagogues (a fact which President Obama alluded to in his speech) and just a few days before Rosh Hashana.

Peres himself was, of course, an extraordinary person.  It’s not that everyone agreed with his positions or his actions.  I certainly didn’t. And it seems that neither did just about anyone else; in fact, during his long political career he managed to do at least one thing that angered pretty much everybody.  But, as Herb Keinon pointed out last week in the Jerusalem Post, the flip side of that is that he also did something else that just about everyone approved of.  And as Amotz Asa-El wrote (also in last week’s Post), it was in the final phase of his career, when he led the country as President, that he became the collective grandfather that the country adored and the world almost universally respected.

Asa-El also pointed out that the extraordinary nature of the event goes beyond Peres himself.  After all, Peres’s life story mirrored the path traveled by his entire nation during that same time period.  When Shimon was born in Poland shortly after World War I, the Jewish people were not in a good situation, by any measure.  But his funeral in Jerusalem 93 years later took place in an entirely different reality that was frankly unfathomable even just a few decades ago ,when Peres was Prime Minister.

The sight of the leaders of over seventy nations flying to Jerusalem on two days’ notice to pay their final respects to a retired statesman from a tiny country of 7.5 million people may be completely unprecedented in human history. And its full significance might become a bit clearer if we ponder another interesting fact: On the day of Peres’ funeral, in accordance with a proclamation issued by President Obama, flags were flown at half-mast at U.S. government buildings around the world.  It turns out that it is quite rare for the U.S. to honor a foreign leader this way.  In fact, only seven other people have ever been accorded this sign of respect.  Here’s the full list:

  • 1961 – U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold
  • 1965 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
  • 1981 – Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat
  • 1995 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
  • 1999 – Jordanian King Hussein
  • 2005 – Pope John Paul II
  • 2013 – South African revolutionary and President Nelson Mandela

Together with Peres, this means that a total of eight foreign leaders have been honored this way by the U.S.A.

Now look again at this list of the eight people who, according to the world’s greatest democracy, have made the most positive impacts on the world. Two out of the eight were Israeli Prime Ministers (making Israel the only country represented more than once).  Another two were Arab leaders who were honored for making peace with Israel.  And one can also add that Winston Churchill’s greatest achievement was helping to defeat Nazi Germany, and that Pope John Paul II was noteworthy to a very large extent because of the significant steps he took to improve his church’s relations with the Jewish People.  That leaves only two of eight great people whose mark on humanity didn’t relate very directly to the tiny nation known as the people of Israel.

Which brings me to the incredible timing of Peres’ funeral, the morning before Shabbat Parshat Nitzavim.  It was, after all, in yesterday’s Torah portion that we read the Biblical prophecy promising that one day, after centuries of exile, we will return to our land:

“It will be that when all these things have come upon you – the blessing and the curse that I have presented before you – that you will take it to your heart among all the nations where Hashem, your God, has dispersed you. And you will return unto Hashem your God and listen to His voice…then Hashem, your God, will bring back your captivity and have mercy upon you, and He will gather you in from all the peoples to which Hashem, your God, has scattered you. If your dispersed will be at the ends of heaven, from there Hashem, your God, will gather you in and from there he will take you. Hashem, your God, will bring you to the Land that your forefathers possessed and you shall possess it; He will do good to you and make you more numerous than your forefathers.” (Devarim 30:1-5, Artscroll translation)

The sight of all these world leaders flocking to Jerusalem – the sovereign capital of the Jewish people, regardless of where their embassies are – to pay their respects to the last of Israel’s founding fathers marks another stage in the manifest fulfillment of this prophecy.

It is also eloquent testimony to the fact that the entire world recognizes the importance of the Jewish People.  For some reason, many of us often have trouble understanding this, but pretty much the entire rest of the world sees it. This makes Peres’ funeral an incredible Kiddush shem Shamayim, sanctification of God’s name.

And the Kiddush Hashem was greatly magnified and increased by the fact that Peres himself, a man not who was not generally associated with religion, specifically asked in his will for the prayer Avinu Malkeinu to be sung there.

Was there some kind of Divine inspiration behind this?  Could Peres have possibly known that he would be buried so close to Rosh HaShana?  I have no idea.  But it is incredibly fitting that this was the final point in the great and long legacy of Shimon Peres: The scene of the leaders of most of the world’s nations solemnly listening to a Rosh Hashana prayer, less than 72 hours before the Jewish people will gather to recite that very prayer, as well as many others for the peace and well-being of the entire world.

Rabbi Alan Haber

Offering A Gift

Friday, September 30th, 2016

{Originally posted to Rabbi Weinberg’s website, The Foundation Stone}

I experience a tinge of sadness when I read the opening verse in this week’s portion, “You are standing today, all of you, before God, your Lord (Deuteronomy 29:9).” Rashi, bothered by Moses finding it necessary to inform the people they were standing, quotes a Midrash, “When the people heard the frightening litany of curses in the previous portion, they were frightened, and doubted their future. Moses comforted them, saying that despite all their sins, they were still standing before God.”

It is sad that in the moment when Moses begins his farewell, gently guiding the people in the transition of from his leadership to Joshua’s, Moses, once again, has to reassure the people. That tinge of sadness is less for Moses than for the people walking away from this final gathering wondering why they had used their final moments with their great leader to ask more of him rather than offering their gratitude and acknowledgement of all they had received from him. I did not want my final moments with my father zt”l to be an imposition on him, my asking him for reassurance. I wanted to use those last few minutes to offer a gift. I wanted him to see that he would live on through me.

I know, first hand, of such gifts. This past Wednesday evening I was studying the Book of Joshua with a group of extraordinary women. I barely had a chance to complete a thought before they took over, expanding and applying each idea, asking challenging questions, and taking us deeper than I believed possible into each thought. I was receiving a profound message that my ideas were simply seeds that would bear fruit far beyond me. I received a priceless gift, the same gift I wanted to be my farewell to my father, the gift, I imagine, the people wanted to give Moses. A gift they eventually had an opportunity to present to Moses.

“Moses went and spoke these words to all of Israel (31:1).” After the people returned home from the final gathering, Moses went to each tent in the camp to say goodbye.

I imagine returning home from the final gathering, disappointed that I needed Moses to reassure me, asking him for yet more, wishing I had, at least, acknowledged his effect on my life. The doorbell rings, and there is Moses. I welcome him into my home, and rather than offer tea and cake, I present him with a gift. I tell him how I will use all he taught me, celebrating the eternal impact of his work. My final private moment with Moses is not sad, but a joyous sharing of our connection.

We stand in the final moments of 5776, prepared to transition to 5777. These are perfect moments to offer our gift to God, honoring all we have gained over the past year, and how we intend to apply that growth in the future, using the coming year to grow in ways yet unimaginable to us.

Rosh Hashanah is the “Birthday of the World,” the Anniversary of Creation. We can enter this Day of Creation with our hands full. Is there a more precious gift to bring to the King’s inauguration?

The Foundation Stone is pleased to offer an online link or a better quality flash drive with the videos of our Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur Seminar. Please email michal@thefoundationstone.org to order, or for more information.

Shabbat Shalom, and Shanah Tovah,

Rabbi Simcha Weinberg

Gift Of Life Marrow Registry Marks 25th Anniversary Saving Lives

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Gift of Life Marrow Registry helps children and adults suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, other cancers and genetic disorders find matching donors for lifesaving blood and marrow transplants.

In 2016, Gift of Life marked its 25th anniversary, and to celebrate, the organization adopted a bold new call to action. Gift of Life was launched in 1991 to save the life of Jay Feinberg, a 23-year-old from New Jersey diagnosed with a cancer called Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Jay did not have a compatible donor match in his family, so a campaign was launched to find the one person who could save his life.

When Jay was diagnosed with leukemia, the Jewish population was vastly underrepresented in the international marrow donor registries. Due to the tragedy of the Holocaust, many family lines were lost or scattered. Jay was initially told that due to this severe shortage of Jewish donors, his chance of finding a matching Ashkenazi Jewish donor was nearly impossible.

Jay’s family and friends would not accept this and they mounted an immense effort to find the donor they were sure existed somewhere. One volunteer even traveled to Russia to run drives and search for possible matches there. Hundreds of recruitment drives were organized and over 60,000 potential donors joined the registry. Matches were identified for many other patients in need, but none for Jay. In a final, hopeful effort, one last drive was organized by a young man whose close friend was saved by a donor who was tested for Jay. In May 1995, the very last donor tested at that drive turned out to be Jay’s match and he received a successful transplant two months later.

Jay’s search for a donor took four years. Determined to help others in similar circumstances, Jay continued the work begun on his behalf. Today, Gift of Life is an international medical resource, highly regarded for its unique and vital work. A member of the international collaborative, Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide, and an associate registry of the National Marrow Donor Program, Gift of Life ranks fifteenth in size out of seventy-two stem cell registries in fifty-three countries, and is the only registry founded and managed by a transplant recipient.

At present, the organization is searching for a donor for a young Jewish father of three named Adam Krief, who recently was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. He needs a marrow transplant to survive but does not have a match among the current donors in the registry. Adam is originally from Morocco, so it is possible that his match will be found among people of Sephardic Jewish background, or possibly even Hispanic descent. He is very ill and the situation is dire. He needs a donor match as soon as possible.

Please call Gift of Life Marrow Registry at 561-982-2900 or e-mail knewcombe@giftoflife.org. Saving the life of this young father would certainly be a wonderful way to bring in the Jewish New Year.

Shelley Benveniste

The Perfect Holiday Gift: New Missile Alert System from Home Front Command

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

The IDF Home Front Command on Thursday revealed a private home siren that provides real-time warnings in case of a missile attack, Globes reported. A collaboration of the Home Front Command and Beeper Communications Israel, the home warning kit will be offered for sale to the general public this fall, but the cost is not yet finalized.

Home Front Command Planning Department Commander Col. Itzik Gai explained the value of the new product saying that the windows in most homes are closed with the air conditioning working in summer and in winter, making it difficult to hear the sirens. The new device will improve the chance that members of the household hear the alerts in time to evacuate to their safe rooms.

The Home Front Command has already pushed for the development of apps that provide real-time warning about incoming missiles via mobile phones and home computers. The new, personal warning system offers an enhancement of those apps. “The national siren system will continue to be the bulldozer for delivering warnings to the public, but the personal systems will be supplementary components,” Gai told Globes.

The Home Front Command divides Israel into 264 siren areas in which an alarm is activated as soon as a missile’s flight path and landing have been analyzed. In the area where the missile is expected to hit, the alarm system will be activated. Like the apps that were already in use during Operation Protective Edge two summers ago, the new home warning system will kick in only if a missile threatens the user’s particular area, leaving everyone else to continue with their daily routines.

“We’re already thinking about delivering an earlier warning focused on a single square kilometer,” Gai said, adding the signal could be sent to a smart watch.

JNi.Media

Graduation Gift: York Jewish Student Awarded £1,000 for Suffering from Anti-Semitism

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Zachary Confino, 21, a Jewish third year Law student and president of the Union of Jewish Students at York University in the UK, received an apology and payment of £1,000 from the University of York Students’ Union after two years of battling anti-Semitism from students while studying at the university, The Telegraph reported.

Although the nature of the anti-Semitic abuse is not specified in the apology, the report says that “It is understood that Mr Confino, who narrowly missed out on a first class degree and had suffered with stress, had been racially abused and bullied.”

A spokesperson for the University of York said in a statement, “The University of York acted as mediator to resolve a long-running complaint brought by a student against the University of York Students’ Union. This involved an apology by the Students’ Union to the student and a token payment of £1,000.”

Joint statements had been signed with both the Jewish Society and the Islamic Society on campus.

Confino’s experience caught the attention of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who called on government to intervene to stop the rise of “poisonous hate” on campuses. In a letter to Confino, Lord Williams said he had written to Jo Johnson, the universities minister, because of the “muted” official response so far to rising anti-Semitic behavior. Williams described anti-Semitic incidents in a growing number of universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, the London School of Economics and York.

Williams added: “Anyone concerned (as I am) about Islamophobia here and elsewhere needs to be scrupulously alert to the risk of scapegoating and demonizing other religious communities, especially Jews; and anyone with even the least bit of historical sense ought to hear the echoes of past bigotry and violence towards Jewish people in Europe.”

The former Archbishop of Canterbury also said he was “dispirited” by the failure of Christian chaplains at York to support Mr Confino. “You’d expect a more simply empathetic engagement,” he wrote.

Zachary reported that one York student posting on Facebook compared Israelis to Nazis, but when he raised this with the Students Union, he was told that there was nothing the Union could do. Zachary says he has received hateful anonymous messages online, as have other Jewish students. One message said, “Hitler was onto something.” He has been called a “Stupid Israeli [expletive]” and a “Jewish [expletive].”

Zachary told The Tab that the attacks on him escalated about five months ago, after he had launched a campaign against a play put on by the Palestinian Solidarity Society. According to Zachary, his communications with the Students Union bordered on the absurd: “We entered into a debate on what is and what isn’t anti-Semitism with people who clearly don’t understand what Jewish hate is,” he said. “It’s adding insult to injury. I’m experiencing anti-Semitism and then getting told it isn’t anti-Semitism.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/graduation-gift-york-jewish-student-awarded-1000-for-suffering-from-anti-semitism/2016/07/03/

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