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October 27, 2016 / 25 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Haifa’

Before Yom Kippur, Israelis Pray for Syrian Neighbors

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Hundreds of Israelis gathered across the country on Monday to pray for the welfare of their Syrian neighbors the night before the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur. Prayer rallies were held in nine different locations including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Pardes Hanna, Beer Sheva, Tekoa, Ariel, Ma’ale Gilboa, and the Golan Heights, where shofars were sounded in solidarity.

According to UN estimates, over 400,000 Syrians have been killed in the past five years of civil war, including some 50,000 children according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Event organizer, Einat Kramer, 39, of the Galilee told TPS that a recent news report on Syria spurred her to organize the prayer gatherings. “I recently saw a news report that showed two Syrian children crying,” said Kramer.

“There was something about their crying that reminded me of the sound of the shofar [ram’s horn] that we just heard in the synagogue on Rosh Hashana. After seeing how the war has caused such terrible suffering for the Syrian people, I felt that during these holy days I had to something for our neighbors.”

Kramer said the nation-wide prayer rally was organized in less than five days. Volunteers across the country responded to Kramer’s Facebook posts and began planning prayer rallies in different locations.

“There was an overwhelming response. All the different sectors of Israeli society took part – from Orthodox Jewish volunteers in Jerusalem to the Reform movement in Tel Aviv, along with musicians, rabbis, and professors who took on active roles in the gatherings – leading the calls to wake up the world to the dire situation in Syria,” said Kramer, who describes herself as social activist.

“The one thing we can do is pray for the Syrian people and not ignore what’s happening. We cannot allow the tragedy facing our neighbors to continue quietly,” added Shivi Froman, 36, another event organizer. Froman is the son of the late peace activist, Rabbi Menachem Froman of Tekoa in Gush Etzion.

“The human catastrophe in Syria keeps getting worse. The world cannot accept the slaughter of innocents and I hope our prayers open the gates of heaven tonight,” Froman told TPS.

Despite the terrorist attack that shook Jerusalem on Sunday, which left two Israelis dead and six injured, over one hundred people attended the prayer rally overlooking the walls of the Old City in Mishkenot Sha’ananim. One elderly religious couple, Gal and Uri Kaplun told TPS that they felt it was important to attend the event. “For us, this is about Jewish values and sharing our empathy for others through praying,” said Gal Kaplun.

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

Attorney General Approves Interrogation of Arab MKs Zoabi, Zahalka on Corruption Charges

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

AG Avihai Mandelblit on Thursday approved police interrogation of two MKs from the Balad faction of the Joint Arab List, Jamal Zahalka and Haneen Zoabi, as part of an investigation of financial irregularities and violations of the campaign finance law, Ha’aretz reported. Police are expected to invite both MKs to visit the Lahav 433 special investigations unit, according to confirmations by party lawyers and the Justice Ministry.

Police are following leads according to which Balad seniors have been systematically transferring millions of dollars into the party coffers illegally, committing a string of fraud violations in the process. Party sources have suggested police have recruited a state witness, a former party member who was aware of the financial irregularities and recently had confrontations with some of the suspects.

On Wednesday, the magistrate court in Haifa released six who had been detained as part of the investigation, including former Balad party Secretary General Awad Abdel-Fattah — despite police request that he be remanded to jail. According to Ha’aretz, Abdel-Fattah gave police his statement at the start of his interrogation and since then has been maintaining his right to silence. The court did extend the detention of party administrator Murad Haddad. Altogether police have detained 37 suspects as part of the investigation, but currently only Haddad remains behind bars.

Balad issued a statement saying the police investigation is part of a political witch hunt and an intimidation campaign against party officials.

Police suspect that millions of dollars which had been reported as donations from abroad were, in fact, laundered funds of Israeli Arab citizens, and that the suspects collaborated to conceal the sources of those funds, committing a long list of criminal violations.


Iran Threatens to Turn Tel Aviv, Haifa to ‘Dust’

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Tehran is back to threatening Israel, this time during a parade marking the anniversary of the 1980 Iraqi invasion of Iran, a war that lasted eight years.

A wide variety of military hardware was on display Wednesday during the parade, which made its way down the main drag in the nation’s capital. Included was the Qadr H missile, which allegedly has a range of 2,000 kilometers.

Long-range ballistic missiles, tanks and the Russian-produced S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system were all in full view as the gala parade was broadcast on state television.

One military truck displayed a banner shown prominently on the broadcast that read:

“If the leaders of the Zionist regime make a mistake, then the Islamic Republic will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to dust.”

The Iranian Navy showed off 500 vessels, along with submarines and helicopters, at the port of Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf.

Iran has tested American mettle more than 30 times so far this year with close encounters in the Gulf between its vessels and those of the United States Navy, according to U.S. officials quoted by Reuters.

Hana Levi Julian

Six-Year-Old Syrian Cancer Patient Leaves Israeli Hospital [video]

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Wearing a white dress, white shoes, and a little silver crown, “B” was the guest of honor at a farewell party celebrating her discharge seven months after she first arrived at the Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital in Rambam Health Care Campus.

B had arrived in early February 2016 at the Haifa medical center, after suffering injuries in her country’s civil war. While at the hospital, Israeli doctors found that she also had a hematological disease.

With help from the Israeli government, B’s medical team managed to reach the little girl’s relatives in Syria and bring back blood samples from several family members. Her brother was a perfect match.

“I’ll never forget when they first brought in those test tubes, discreetly wrapped in dish towels,” says Iris Porat, one of the nurses who cared for “B” throughout her hospitalization.

The government granted special permission for B’s brother to cross the border from Syria and be brought to Rambam. It took two weeks to complete the bone marrow donation, after which he returned home while B and her mother remained in the Pediatric Oncology Department to see if the transplant had succeeded.

Rambam Health Care Campus has treated 140 Syrian civilians, men, women and children over the past three years.

Seven months after the six-year-old girl first arrived in Haifa, she celebrated her healthy discharge with the medical staff and volunteers who cared for her along the way.

The smiling girl, who confided that she dreams of one day becoming a fashion designer, entered a room with tables of cakes and gifts, the sound of clapping, and the drumming of traditional Arab darbuka drums. A slideshow of photos from her time at Rambam was shown, and Ashwak El-rabia, an Arab non-profit that assists children with cancer, gave her a tablet in which she could store her memories. The group also gave her a backpack for her first year of school.

A farewell party celebrating Syrian cancer survivor’s discharge seven months after she first arrived at the Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital in Rambam Health Care Campus. Photo courtesyA farewell party celebrating Syrian cancer survivor’s discharge seven months after she first arrived at the Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital in Rambam Health Care Campus.

The little girl’s mother also had a message for their Israeli caregivers: “I would lie if I said that I expected the kind of humanity I discovered here. I am grateful for your care and sensitivity; may God protect you. And we will always remember what you did for us.”

Viva Sarah Press

Everything You Wanted to Know About the Shabbat Train Coalition Crisis – and Weren’t Afraid to Ask

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

The Shabbat infrastructure railroad works that have rocked Israeli politics over the past two weeks have been going on quietly during Shabbat for the past ten years, with the Haredim turning a blind eye on them, and everybody remaining happy. Now at least two wars are being waged over the same routine works, one between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, the other between UTJ and Shas and the Prime Minister and Transport Minister — because the rule of thumb for Israel’s Haredi parties is that as soon as a government violation of Shabbat is exposed publicly, it must stop or the Haredim walk. That was the reason the Haredim stood up on their hind legs a week ago, when the Israel Train Company announced delays in entering Tel Aviv on Shabbat due to infrastructure work that could not be done during the week.

The Israel Railways corporation is state-owned. It means that, unlike the privately owned bus and taxi services, which operate during some or all of Shabbat, depending on the city, the railroad must obey the laws of Shabbat, at least as long as the Haredim are part of government. “Had the railroad company continued to perform those projects quietly, without media attention, the Haredim would have kept quiet,” a source inside UTJ told JNI.media. “But as soon as it became known, no Haredi party could remain in government with those works going on.”

This was the root of the crisis which on Sunday morning is paralyzing traffic across Israel. Someone at the IR decided to make a big announcement — most likely because they had the public’s interest in mind. The infrastructure works necessitated closing down Rt. 20, an eight-lane highway that cuts through the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and on Shabbat ushers in thousands of shoppers and entertainment seekers from around Israel.

As soon as they became public, those railroad projects turned into a ticking bomb. Last week, the Haredim accommodated the Netanyahu government, because, frankly, Netanyahu has been the most pro-Haredi prime minister ever, and anyone who would replace him would necessarily be harder to work with. So they agreed to the concept that there were some infrastructure projects that had to be carried out on Shabbat, because on regular weekdays they would threaten the lives of the thousands of motorists roaming nearby.

The following Thursday, before the most recent Shabbat, the Haredi parties again examined the planned works and approved three out of the 20 proposed projects as, in fact, constituting risk to lives on weekdays.

But over the past week there were growing voices in the Haredi community that expressed doubt regarding the very idea that the secular Transport Ministry, which is not run by rabbis, would rule on halakhic issues such as Pikuach Nefesh (Heb: saving a life). As a result, those three approved projects received added scrutiny from the Haredi politicians, who concluded they were no different from the rest and should be carried out on weekdays as well.

The former chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yisrael Lau, told Israel Radio that secular politicians are trying to “hold the stick on both its ends,” a Talmudic term meaning trying to argue both ends against the middle. On the one hand, Rabbi Lau said, secular politicians are demanding that businesses be permitted to stay open on Shabbat, because Shabbat is the only time hundreds of thousands of Israelis are able to pack Tel Aviv in search of shopping, dining and a good show; on the other hand, Shabbat is when those railroad works should be carried out because that’s when the city is empty, and none would be harmed from potential work accidents.

The train infrastructure works which began at 5:30 PM Friday, were interrupted two hours later by an order from the prime minister’s office, after Shabbat had already begun. These works constituted the three out of 20 projects which the Haredi Parties initially agreed were dangerous to life had they been carried out during the week, but then those same Haredim had a change of mind and/or heart, at the very last minute, literally.

Initially, the PM’s office and the Transport Ministry ordered the Israel Train Company to proceed with the works into Shabbat, as had been the case every month for the past 10 years. A group of 200 employees arrived at 5:30 PM at the railroad track segment between Tel Aviv and Hertzlia, and started to take it apart. But later that same early evening, the Haredi parties announced they reject the compromise, which is why at 6:30 PM, moments before the start of Shabbat, the PM’s office ordered the work to stop.

The order reached the workers at the site at about 7:30 PM, and they dropped everything and left. No one bothered to consider what would happen Saturday night and Sunday, since it would take about 25 hours to complete the work. A similar infrastructure project near Atlit, south of Haifa, was likewise interrupted Friday night.

So, who is the real culprit in this crisis? The Haredim for insisting that a government in which they are members not openly desecrate Shabbat? The Prime Minister’s office, which capitulates to Haredi pressure because this coalition is probably the best political combination Netanyahu could have hoped for, and he’s not giving it up over one day’s suffering by Israeli passengers? Or is it Transport Minister Katz, who chose to turn an ordinary, behind the scenes project that’s been going on uninterrupted — into a full-blown coalition crisis?

We suggest all of the above. And the solution to this crisis will probably be the firing of Transport Minister Katz, because he started it, looking to erode the boss’s coalition. Expect blood — Yisrael Katz has friends inside Likud, who may rise up to defend him, as Welfare Minister Haim Katz has already done.


Massive Traffic Jams Collateral Damage of Internal War in Likud

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

The normal start-of-the-week traffic jams have been more severe than usual Sunday morning, as a result of the limits on train service across the country. Police report severe traffic delays on route 1, connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and both cities to Ben Gurion International Airport. Traffic on the coastal highway, Route 2, is unusually heavy from Caesarea to Tel Aviv. The inner highway, Route 4, is likewise jammed all the way from Holon to Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, to Ra’ana in both directions. Route 5 connecting the coastal highway with Ariel in Samaria is also jammed. Route 20, which cuts through downtown Tel Aviv is jammed, too. Route 65, connecting Hadera with Afula through Umm al-Fahm in the Arab Triangle is also at a standstill.

On Saturday, the Israel Railways Corporation announced that essential infrastructure works that were not carried out on Shabbat by decree of Prime Minister Netanyahu would be done Sunday, thus paralyzing most of the train service until 7 PM. The stoppage came against the background of Haredi party resistance to carrying out work on Shabbat, and the apparent capitulation of the prime minister, but judging by what the Haredi press had to say Sunday morning, this was more a provocation by Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) than an actual crisis.

The daily Yated Ne’eman cited MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) who accused Katz of acting out of revenge rather than caring for the services of his ministry. “The abominable conduct of Yisrael Katz proves that he does not care about danger to life, and not about the train, only about politics and his need to take revenge against the prime minister,” Gafni said.

Train service has been greatly curtailed Sunday morning. The IDF has added buses to transport soldiers returning to base from their Shabbat break. IDF representatives will guide confused soldier to the right buses. Israel’s inter-city bus companies have increased their active fleets Sunday to help passengers, which, of course, contributes to the traffic jams on the highways.

Leftwing parties Meretz and Labor called for protest rallies at the dark train stations Saturday night, but only a few hundred protesters showed up at the Tel Aviv rally, and only a few dozens at the Haifa event. The real fight over the train works and train service is being waged inside the Likud Party, between Prime Minister Netanyahu and his rebellious Transport Minister and Likud Secretariat Chairman Yisral Katz. (See: Coalition Chair: No Coming back from Netanyahu Vs. Transport Minister Crisis)


211 New Immigrants Flee to Israel From War-Torn Ukraine

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

With the increase of hostilities on the Russian-Ukrainian border in recent weeks, 211 new immigrants from Ukraine landed Tuesday at Ben Gurion Airport.

Most came from the embattled regions in the eastern part of Ukraine, arriving on the 19th flight sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) since hostilities broke out between the two countries.

“There has been a significant increase in calls from potential Olim to the IFCJ representatives in Ukraine and we are doing everything to give them the best possible service so that they can begin new and secure lives in Israel, which was and still is the home for any person who is part of the Jewish people,” noted Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, IFCJ president.

Approximately 4,000 immigrants have fled to Israel from Ukraine on flights sponsored by the organization since December 2014. Among those who arrived Tuesday were 37 children who are to begin their studies in Israeli schools in two days, including nine in the first grade.

Natalia S. arrived in Israel with her mother and son, and said that she was forced to leave the city of Marinka in the Donetsk region in Eastern Ukraine after the extensive bombing in the city that began in April 2014. The building where her family lived was bombed and some of their neighbors were killed.

Natalia explained that her family’s Jewishness was kept secret by her grandmother who had survived the Holocaust, while her husband, Natalia’s grandfather, was in a concentration camp. As a result, she says, “we knew we had Jewish roots but did not have the documents to prove it.”

According to Natalia, during one of the family’s visits to the Holocaust Museum an employee at the site advised her about which archive to search in order to find documents that would prove their Jewish roots.

“Because of the advice we were given, we went later to the archive and found my grandmother’s documents. In the documents, we read that she had changed her name and her father’s name, from “Alia” and “Avraham” to “Lisa” and “Peter,” she said. Natalia, her mother, and her son are planning to settle in Akko. Among Tuesday’s group of new olim there were seven babies, including two who were only six months old. The oldest person on the flight was age 82, and the average age of the group was 34. The preferred destination for the immigrants was Haifa, where 42 of the new arrivals elected to settle.

Most of the olim came from the Dniepropetrovsk region, which has become one of the preferred destinations for refugees escaping the embattled areas in Eastern Ukraine because of its proximity and the fact that it is still in Ukrainian hands.

The IFCJ assists the Olim to Israel with special grants of $1,000 for each adult oleh and $500 for each child, in addition to financing the flight to Israel. This support is provided by the organization in addition to the standard basket of benefits each immigrant receives from the Israel Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption. The organization also arranges the absorption of the new immigrant families with the various local authorities prior to their arrival in Israel, recruiting locals to accompany the new olim as they seek housing and employment and settle in to their new surroundings.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/211-new-immigrants-flee-to-israel-from-war-torn-ukraine/2016/08/30/

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