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Garin Tzabar: Helping Lone Soldiers Feel At Home In Israel

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

These lone soldiers, hailing from countries including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Turkey and Azerbaijan arrived in Israel without their families to join the Israel Defense Force and help build the Jewish nation.  ’Garin’ means seed in Hebrew but can also refer to a group of people who collectively immigrated to Israel and ‘tzabar’ refers to the ‘sabra’ cactus fruit which is prickly on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside, a euphemism to describe Israelis.

The Garin Tzabar program is in charge of bringing these lone soldiers to a kibbutz or Israeli city, providing them with an adopted family, a Garin community that supports them throughout their army service and Hebrew classes to assist their immersion into the IDF.  Several months from now the new recruits will begin to serve in the Israeli Army.  The Garin Tzabar  ensures lone soldiers receive support and attention on their birthdays, during holidays, Shabbat, and their days off .

The State of Israel officially welcomed this year’s Garin Tzabar participants during a special ceremony held at Tel Aviv University. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  gave a video greeting praising these young Jewish men and women and  numerous other government officials attended the event.

MK Sofa Landver, who addressed the group, stated, “We are here to receive the immigrants and the soldiers in our country, the most wonderful country in the world. It’s you who have come to serve and defend Israel. You will change the world.” A representative of Nefesh B’Nefesh added, “It’s not just a plane ride, it’s the destination and that’s Israel. Enjoy your new life.”

Netta Gelb, a new Garin Tzabar participant, was born in the Israeli city of Netanya and has spent the past 15 years growing up in Canada. Although she has Israeli relatives,  she is leaving behind her parents and siblings.  Gelb expressed the excitement many Garin members felt when she said, “I have been really looking forward to this for a long time.”

Michael Kosky, another Garin Tzabar participant, added, “We have come here to play our chapter in Jewish history. I am part of this program. Good luck to every one here.”  A lone soldier already serving in the IDF named Ariella, who hails from an Argentine family and grew up in both America and Israel told the audience that she holds dear the “values of loyalty to the state, its people, and the Tzabar members” and said to the new recruits “If you live together, you will learn a lot.”

Eitan Press contributed to this report.

Visit United with Israel.

Ze’ev Jabotinsky: 70 Years Since The Passing Of An Exceptional Zionist

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

A portrait of Ze’ev Jabotinsky may still adorn Likud conventions in Israel, but the ideas of this great Zionist leader – who passed away 70 years ago this week – are essentially forgotten and/or ignored.

Born in 1880 in Odessa, Russia, Jabotinsky – who founded Revisionist Zionism and the New Zionist Organization and headed the Haganah and later the Irgun – represents that rare brand of Zionist who is comfortable in his own skin and unabashedly demands what is rightfully his. Unlike many Israelis nowadays, Jabotinsky never cared what Arabs – or anyone else, for that matter – thought of the Zionist project. “Zionism is a moral and just movement,” he once wrote. “And if it is a just cause, justice must win, disregarding the agreement or disagreement of anyone. And if Joseph or Simeon or Ivan or Achmed would like to prevent the victory of the just cause because it is inconvenient for them, it is a duty to prevent them from successfully interfering.”

Most Zionist leaders in the 1920s and ’30s disagreed. Although not widely known today, for many years mainstream Zionists refused  to declare the creation of a Jewish state to be Zionism’s ultimate goal for fear of antagonizing the Arabs and the British.

Great Britain, of course, issued the Balfour Declaration, which favored “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” In the years after this declaration, however, Great Britain gradually adopted the Arab position opposing Jewish immigration to Palestine. Jabotinsky argued that pro-Arab British officials stationed in the Middle East prior to the Balfour Declaration were responsible for this slow policy shift and demanded their replacement. He also believed Zionists should appeal directly to British public opinion, which he believed favored the Zionist cause.

Jabotinsky, however, was outvoted. Mainstream Zionists preferred not to rock the boat. If they complained to British officials at all, they did so privately, quietly and with much diplomatic finesse. The result, of course, was that Great Britain patiently listened to the Zionists but then aligned itself with the Arabs who tended to express their opinions a bit more forcefully – often by rioting or killing Jews.

Aside from pure self-interest, Great Britain also found itself naturally attracted to the more self-assertive Arabs. As British parliamentarian Josiah Wedgwood put it:

 

We like people who will fight, even though we think they are entirely wrong . The Arabs stand up and fight . On the other hand the Jews are always complaining and begging for justice. That of course is the result of 1800 years of servitude. For 1800 years they have been dependent on the good graces of governments and never on their own right arm, and therefore they have the attitude which instinctively antagonizes every Englishman in Palestine . The attitude of supplication, of living on your knees, has a very bad effect among the respectable nations with the Jews.

 

But Jewish leaders like Zionist Organization President Chaim Weizmann apparently did not understand this natural human contempt for meekness. Hence, instead of demanding British support for Jewish statehood, Weizmann backed off. By 1930, he already wrote in a letter, “I am not for a [Jewish State] . The propaganda which is carried out in certain Zionist circles, like the Revisionists, for a Jewish State, is foolish and harmful…and you could just as well ask for a Jewish State in Manhattan Island.”

Jabotinsky, of course, was of a different psychological makeup. As Count Michal Lubienski, head of the Polish Foreign Office, once said:

 

Dr. Weizmann has all the chances to retain the allegiance of the Jewish people – because his entire mentality is identical with that of the average ghetto Jew. Jabotinsky’s mentality is spiritually nearer to me, a gentile. I understand him better, he invokes in me a kindred response. For the ghetto Jew, he is, on the contrary, too simple, too direct. He will be listened to, applauded, but he will be followed only by those who have overcome the ghetto complex.

 

Jabotinsky had no inhibitions about demanding what was his. “Yes, we do want a state,” he told Britain’s Parliament in 1937, “every nation on earth, every normal nation beginning with the smallest and the humblest who do not claim any merit, any role in humanity’s development, they all have states of their own. That is the normal condition of a people.”

Jabotinsky’s desire for a state was also influenced by his conviction that Jews had no future in Europe. He wrote in 1919, “Zionism is the answer to the massacre of the Jews. It is neither a moral consolation nor an intellectual exercise.”

Jabotinsky, however, increasingly found himself at odds with mainstream Zionist leaders in the 1920s and ’30s. When Palestinian Arabs killed hundreds of Jews between 1936-1939, most Zionist leaders urged Jews to maintain havlaga (restraint), but Jabotinsky would not sanction “a situation in which everything is forbidden the Jew and everything permitted the Arab, a situation in which the Jew can be compared to a terrified mouse, while the Arab feels at home everywhere.” He permitted the Irgun to retaliate against the Arabs.

When mainstream Zionist leaders excoriated the Irgun for killing innocent civilians, Jabotinsky responded:

 

[T]his is superficial and hypocritical babble. In war, every war, every side is innocent. What crime has the enemy soldier committed against me – a pauper just like me, blind like me, a slave like me – who has been forcibly mobilized. If war breaks out, all of us will demand, unanimously, a sea-blockade and a blockade of the enemy’s land, to starve the inhabitants, innocent women and children; and after the aerial attacks on London and Paris we shall expect the reply by planes over Stuttgart and Milan, where there are many women and children. All wars are wars of innocents . That is why every war and its agonies are cursed, for aggressor and victim alike. If you do not want to hurt the innocent, commit suicide. And if you do not want to commit suicide – shoot and don’t babble.

 

Jabotinsky remained outside mainstream Zionism most of his life. His ideas grew progressively more popular as Great Britain’s perfidy intensified in the 1930s, and his New Zionist Organization, given enough time, might have eventually overshadowed the Zionist Organization. World War II, however, overtook world Jewry in 1939, and a year later – on August 4, 1940 – Jabotinsky died while visiting a Betar camp in upstate New York.

But Jabotinsky’s death did not lessen the rancor mainstream Zionists felt toward him. In 1956, when Jabotinsky’s followers inquired into reburying their hero’s remains in Israel, David Ben-Gurion replied that Israel “needs live Jews, not dead Jews.”

Jabotinsky’s ideas, of course, live on. They heavily influenced such leaders as Irgun commander Menachem Begin, Lechi head Israel Eldad and Kach founder Meir Kahane – and continue to inspire younger generations of Zionists. Throughout Israel’s history, however, the Jewish state’s leaders have represented Weizmann’s brand of Zionism far more than they have Jabotinsky’s. Indeed, when one reads Shmuel Katz’s absorbing biography of Jabotinsky (The Lone Wolf) or Israel Eldad’s fascinating memoirs (The First Tithe), one is struck by how similar leading Zionist personalities in the 1920s-40s resemble contemporary Israeli leaders.

            Nor are the Jews’ leaders the only people who haven’t changed. The Jewish masses, unfortunately, remain the same in certain regards as well. Jabotinsky said the following at a rally in Warsaw in 1939, but he could just as well have been speaking to many Israeli Jews in 2010 who sigh, “Mah la’asot? – What can we do?” as their country slowly falls apart around them:

 

I state with shame that the people behave now as if they were already doomed. I have not found anything like it, neither in history nor in novels. Never did I read of such acquiescence with fate. It is as if twelve million educated people were put in a carriage and the carriage was being pushed towards an abyss. How do such people behave? One is crying, one is smoking a cigarette, some are reading newspapers, someone is singing – but in vain will you look for one who will stand up, take the reins into his hands and move the carriage somewhere else. This is the mood. As if some big enemy came and chloroformed their minds. I come to you now to make an experiment. The last experiment. I cry to you: Put an end to this situation! Try to stop the carriage, try to jump out of it, try to put some obstacle in its way, don’t go like sheep to the wolf.

 

            Elliot Resnick is a staff reporter for The Jewish Press and holds a Masters Degree in Jewish History from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies.

Seventy Years Since The German Invasion Of Poland

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

      September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

 

     Danzig, today’s Gdansk, fell on the first day trapping 5,000 Jews. In Warsaw 3,000 Jews were killed in the indiscriminate bombing. On Sept. 2, in Stutthof, near Danzig, a sub-camp was created for civilian prisoners of war (Jews).  On Sept. 3, France and Great Britain declared war on Germany upholding their treaty with Poland signed only a week earlier.

 

     The future Prime Minister of the State of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, vowed that Jews would fight to defeat the Germans and Hitler y”s. A total of 1.5 million Jewish servicemen and women would eventually fight on the side of the Allies opposing Germany. Five hundred and fifty-five thousand Jews fought in the U.S. Armed Forces, 116,000 fought for Great Britain and 243,000 from other countries. 

 

      During the first week of the invasion the Germans rolled into Krakow, Lodz, Tarnow, Radom, and Przemysl as well as many small shtetlach along the way.

 

     The reason or the invasion given by Germany was to gain Lebensraum, (living space) but the effort to eliminate the Jews was an open secret. On a train carrying German troops to Poland there were painted signs reading, “We are going to Poland to thrash the Jews.”

 

    Persecutions of the Jewish communities began immediately. During the first few weeks of the war, Chief S.S. Security Service, Reinhard Heydrich y”s, issued orders to the Einsatzgruppen to establish ghettos for the Jewish population in cooperation with the civil and military authorities. He decreed that all Jewish communities with a population of less than 500 people should be dissolved.

 

German soldiers headed to Poland

 

 

     All Jews living in rural areas had to move to the cities, where ghettos were to be established, in order to facilitate their transfer to concentration camps. Heydrich also ordered the establishment of the Judenrat (Jewish councils) that would run the everyday life in the ghettos and work with the German authorities.  The first ghetto to be established was in Piotrkow/Treblinka on Sept. 30 1939.

 

     On September 17, the Russians invaded Poland from the East and according to the August 23, 1939 Non-Aggression Act between Germany and Russia, divided Poland in half. According to the secret protocol of the Non-Aggression Act, also known as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, the Germans retreated from some territory that they had agreed would belong to Russia, which they had already conquered.

 

     It is interesting to note that in some cases Jews tried to escape to the German controlled areas when the Russians attacked, fearing a repeat of the Cossack atrocities 20 years earlier during World War I.

 

     The Germans for their part expelled many Jews to the Russian side where they were forced into exile, often to Siberia, as possible enemies of the state.

 

     In certain areas of Poland it can be said that the Russian invasion of Poland gave Jews a chance to escape. The Jews of Galicia, which was under German occupation, saw the devastation of the Jewish communities almost immediately while those in the Russian sector had a chance to organize and find refuge.

 

     The most famous case was the escape of the Jews who received visas from the Japanese Diplomat Chiune Sugihara. Many of these Jews made their way to Japan and later to Shanghai.

Seventy Years Since The German Invasion Of Poland

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

      September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

 

     Danzig, today’s Gdansk, fell on the first day trapping 5,000 Jews. In Warsaw 3,000 Jews were killed in the indiscriminate bombing. On Sept. 2, in Stutthof, near Danzig, a sub-camp was created for civilian prisoners of war (Jews).  On Sept. 3, France and Great Britain declared war on Germany upholding their treaty with Poland signed only a week earlier.

 

     The future Prime Minister of the State of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, vowed that Jews would fight to defeat the Germans and Hitler y”s. A total of 1.5 million Jewish servicemen and women would eventually fight on the side of the Allies opposing Germany. Five hundred and fifty-five thousand Jews fought in the U.S. Armed Forces, 116,000 fought for Great Britain and 243,000 from other countries. 

 

      During the first week of the invasion the Germans rolled into Krakow, Lodz, Tarnow, Radom, and Przemysl as well as many small shtetlach along the way.

 

     The reason or the invasion given by Germany was to gain Lebensraum, (living space) but the effort to eliminate the Jews was an open secret. On a train carrying German troops to Poland there were painted signs reading, “We are going to Poland to thrash the Jews.”

 

    Persecutions of the Jewish communities began immediately. During the first few weeks of the war, Chief S.S. Security Service, Reinhard Heydrich y”s, issued orders to the Einsatzgruppen to establish ghettos for the Jewish population in cooperation with the civil and military authorities. He decreed that all Jewish communities with a population of less than 500 people should be dissolved.

 



German soldiers headed to Poland


 

 

     All Jews living in rural areas had to move to the cities, where ghettos were to be established, in order to facilitate their transfer to concentration camps. Heydrich also ordered the establishment of the Judenrat (Jewish councils) that would run the everyday life in the ghettos and work with the German authorities.  The first ghetto to be established was in Piotrkow/Treblinka on Sept. 30 1939.

 

     On September 17, the Russians invaded Poland from the East and according to the August 23, 1939 Non-Aggression Act between Germany and Russia, divided Poland in half. According to the secret protocol of the Non-Aggression Act, also known as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, the Germans retreated from some territory that they had agreed would belong to Russia, which they had already conquered.

 

     It is interesting to note that in some cases Jews tried to escape to the German controlled areas when the Russians attacked, fearing a repeat of the Cossack atrocities 20 years earlier during World War I.

 

     The Germans for their part expelled many Jews to the Russian side where they were forced into exile, often to Siberia, as possible enemies of the state.

 

     In certain areas of Poland it can be said that the Russian invasion of Poland gave Jews a chance to escape. The Jews of Galicia, which was under German occupation, saw the devastation of the Jewish communities almost immediately while those in the Russian sector had a chance to organize and find refuge.

 

     The most famous case was the escape of the Jews who received visas from the Japanese Diplomat Chiune Sugihara. Many of these Jews made their way to Japan and later to Shanghai.

It’s My Opinion: Civility

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The local Jewish community recently received a shock. Many that attended rallies and protests regarding the Gaza War were stunned.  Counter-demonstrators made egregious and hateful statements, some referring to the Holocaust.  They were physically violent.    The actions did not seem to cause any outrage in the general community. 

 

The idea that the modern world functions on a base of civility is a comforting thought.  After all, aren’t we all members of an enlightened populace and not a primitive mob?  The premise that we have reached a certain plateau of collective culture is a soothing thought.  It makes us feel safe.

 

In reality, the pretense of a just social order is fragile, indeed.  Just ask our brothers and sisters, who somehow survived the refined and cultured German society that brought on the Shoah.  The facade of civilization is flimsy and the right (or wrong) set of circumstances can set off some very dangerous behavior. It is important for Jews, especially, to be ever vigilant.

 

Jews, often, because of their position, status or influence feel and felt that “it can’t happen here” and “it can’t happen to me.”  Unfortunately, they eventually see and saw that they were mistaken. 

 

In the post-Holocaust, world, it was not politically correct to be openly anti-Semitic.  That period is over.  The aftermath of the war in Gaza has apparently changed this dynamic.  There has been an incredible worldwide flood of anti-Semitic acts and rhetoric in this recent period.

 

Great Britain reports the worst anti-Semitic incidents in a quarter of a century.  The vandalism includes an attempt to firebomb a London synagogue.  France, Sweden, Belgium and Denmark are countries that are also in the fray. Venezuela’s state-sanctioned anti-Semitism is especially disturbing. 

 

America has had its fair share of this type of activity.  Synagogues in Chicago and Tennessee were vandalized.  There have been ugly demonstrations in many states.

 

Everyone laughed at the infamous sign at the anti-Israel rally in New York that called for, “Death to the Juice.”  In reality, openly calling for the extinction of a people is no laughing matter.

 

The economic situation that seems to be a worldwide phenomenon is certainly not a hopeful factor in the equation.  Frightened and angry people invariably seek scapegoats, and the scapegoats are often Jews.

 

It is incumbent for the Jewish community to keep informed.  Hopefully, this period will pass, however, we must be vigilant and understand the concept of never again!

What To Look For When Looking Into Long Term Care Policies (Part 4)

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

          Last week I discussed some of the things that Long Term Care (LTC) Insurance is, some that it’s not, and why it is important. LTC Policies can be as varied as the needs of the people requesting them. When looking into a policy, it is very important to check that the policy is offering you what you need. Policies differ greatly both in and among companies as well as in different countries. It is important to assess what you feel your needs will be. Here are some of the items that I feel are important to check out when looking into LTC Insurance.

 

In the area of payment for care:

 

         Will the policy pay you a lump sum that will enable you to hire any one you wish to provide the services you need? Are you required to hire only professionals or licensed practitioners for all tasks? Agencies charge much more then private caregivers for basic care and your money will not stretch as far. Can you hire family members? Do you have to show receipts for reimbursement? The elderly and ill may have a hard time putting out the money up front as well as keeping all the receipts in order. Will the amount you are paying in premiums stay the same or will they change over time?

 

Is there flexibility?

 

         Can the money be applied to home modifications, medical supplies, supplies for incontinence and/or drugs as needed? Is there a discount for couples both taking out a policy at the same time? Is there a spousal waiver benefit, which considers both policies paid up upon the death of one spouse? Will one partner need to continue to pay the premiums on his policy while the other partner is receiving benefits? Does the policy apply in other countries such as Great Britain, Canada, the U.S. and Israel or only in the country in which it was purchased? Is there a provision for non-payment during job loss? Are the premiums waived when the policy is being paid out?

 

         Will the policy pay if you are in a facility? Will it help cover the cost of a facility? What kind of facility will it cover (hospice, assisted living, nursing homes, adult day care etc.)? Is there any refund of premiums on death if no benefits were ever paid out? (This perk often makes the policy more expensive). Can your benefits offset the transportation costs that may accompany treatment? Will it cover respite care?

 

Other basic areas of concern:

 

         Who will decide what your needs are? Is your physician involved? Do you have a say or is everything decided without your input? Does it cover supervision for cognitive impairment or just physical needs? Is the waiting period (during which time you are responsible for the cost of your care) for the policy benefits to begin based on calendar days or working days or need days? Most policies have a waiting period from the time of approval of benefit to payment.

 

         Let us say there is a 30-day waiting period. If your waiting period is calendar days, your policy will kick in after a month. If your policy is based on need days and your waiting period is 30 (need) days, and the company determines you need assistance twice a week, you will need to wait almost four months for your benefits to begin. Your need days are only two days a week and 30 need days must pass before the policy can kick in. Usually the longer the waiting period, the lower the cost of the policy. Have you chosen a waiting period that will be right for you? Is the benefit payment tax-free dollars? If there is a disagreement about what care is needed, who has the final say?

 

         Before taking out a LTC policy, make sure you know what your benefits will be. Understand what services will be available to you and plan ahead. Look at the big picture and make sure your policy suits your needs and budget. If you have a financial advisor, Long Term Care Insurance is something you should discuss with her in detail. She can help you determine which policy and which benefits make sense for you.

 

         My thanks again to Terri Allister and Hetti Pfeiffer (hetti.pfeiffer@investorsgroup.com) for giving me their time and expertise on the subject of Long Term Care insurance.

 

         You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/what-to-look-for-when-looking-into-long-term-care-policies-part-4/2007/10/31/

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