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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Haifa’

Mashaal in Gaza Promises Today Gaza, Tomorrow Jerusalem, Haifa and Jaffa

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

If anyone needed more proof of the fact that Israel is losing the war against the Palestinians, this report should do the job.

Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal made his first visit to the Gaza Strip—second in his life—on Friday, telling crowds he hoped his next visit would be to Jerusalem, Ramallah and a liberated Palestine, Ma’an reported.

According to Ma’an, Hamas denied seeking guarantees via Egyptian contacts with Israel that Mashaal would not be targeted for assassination in Gaza.

I tend to believe the Hamas claim. There was massive security in place for Mashaal’s arrival, with armed, black-masked guards from the Hamas military wing patrolling the streets in open trucks and motorbikes. But those would not have been able to stop a single, well aimed drone rocket from taking out the great leader. Because, let’s face it, the world has not yet forgiven Netanyahu for that last botched poisoning attempt on Mashaal.

Mashaal said his visit to Gaza was his “third birth,” referring to that attempt by Israeli Mossad agents in 1997 as his previous “re-birth.” Back then Israel had to give up serious assets, including the release of the Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, and sheepishly hand the Jordanians the antidote to save Mashaal’s life.

Mashaal stood in the open air, before a crowd of thousands, exposed and unafraid.

At the same time, Netanyahu was too fearful of enraging the world by taking out this arch murderer, adorned chief of a gang of thugs. Just as he was too fearful of going into Gaza to finish the job and topple the Hamas. Just as he’s starting to backtrack on his E1 threat. Look at Netanyahu and understand that we’re losing this war.

Accompanied by Gaza’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Mashaal announced: “I pray to God that my fourth birth will come the day we liberate Palestine. Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah and after that Jerusalem then Haifa and Jaffa.”

Sadly, this vision appears to differ from a recent statement made by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem (a center dedicated to the memory of the man who laid down the ground for the future of peace in the Middle East): “Israel is prepared to live in peace with a Palestinian state, but for peace to endure, Israel’s security must be protected. The Palestinians must recognize the Jewish State and they must be prepared to end the conflict with Israel once and for all.”

Mashaal is prepared to end the conflict once and for all, but in his own unique idiom, in a manner involving many Jews swimming in the sea.

“This is the most beautiful day in my life,” 27-year-old policeman Mohammed Abed told Ma’an. “I kissed him on the head.”

Mashaal, 56, had been widely understood not to have set foot in Palestine since he left his native Judea and Samaria with his family at age 11. But in his speech he indicated he had returned for a visit as a teenager in 1975.

The Hamas chief visited the home of the late founder and spiritual leader of the party, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated by Israel in 2004.

That would have been another proper moment for a rocket launch from several miles away – create two shahids on the same location. Didn’t happen.

“Sheikh Ahmad Yassin linked reconciliation and resistance. As Hamas leaders, and from Ahmad Yassin’s house, we promise to implement national reconciliation and end the division,” Mashaal said.

Kaboom – right in the middle of the lovely reunion – but it was not to be.

Mashaal visited the homes of Hamas military commander Ahmad al-Jaabari and his bodyguard Mohammad al-Hams, whom Israel assassinated on Nov. 14 at the start of its eight day war on Gaza.

He also visited the al-Dalou family home. Israel killed 10 members of the family, including four children and five women, as well as two of their neighbors, in an air strike on Nov. 18.

“All Palestinians will eventually return to their homeland. Khaled Mashaal is returning after a victory,” said veteran Hamas strategist Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Yes, a victory, they won, we lost, and we’re continuing to lose.

Mashaal will stay for a little more than 48 hours in Gaza, which Hamas has ruled since a 2007 war with Fatah that rules parts of Judea and Samaria.

Gaza City has been festooned with green Hamas flags and a stage set up, complete with a huge model of the makeshift M75 rocket, fired at both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem last month.

And we did nothing to stop it.

In Thousands of Israeli Homes, Wives Await Return of Reservist Husbands

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Since late Thursday night thousands of Israeli reservists have had to say good-bye to their families and answer the call of duty, as ground troops begin mobilizing for Operation Pillar of Defense.

Moriah Helman, 28, and her husband of 6 years Eliyahu, also 28, live with their three children in Talmon, a community northwest of Jerusalem and Ramallah. Eliyahu received his call on Friday morning as Moriah awoke to care for their youngest child, born one month ago.

“Eliyahu was instructed to pack a bag immediately and report to an undisclosed meeting point in a city close to his home. From there, he and his fellow reservists would be taken by bus to receive their equipment and then would be sent on to their destination. Once there, they would undergo a short training session before receiving their order, “ Moriah told Tazpit News Agency.

“Its mostly stressful, frightening” Moriah explains. “If G-d forbid something happens… But there’s no alternative…even with a baby at home and there’s work and life, this is what needs to be done.” The Helman’s oldest child, age five, seems to understand what is going on.

“He’s very proud of his father, and considers him a hero off to save the country and fight the bad guys. He’s seen his father off to the reserves a few times, and every time his dad leaves, his dad comes home. He doesn’t realize that things are different this time around, more dangerous” Moriah points out. ‘There was no way I could tell [Eliyahu] to stay home! says Moriah.

When asked her opinion on the current situation in the south, Moriah doesn’t miss a beat. “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” she asks, quoting Hillel from the Pirkei Avot.

Maayan Dvorkin-Rynar, 25, also sent her husband off to the reserves, but living within 23 kilometers of Gaza, her routine has been punctuated by rocket attacks for months. Maayan and her husband Harel, 27, live in Kibbutz Massuot Yitzchak. According to Maayan it was clear that Harel would be called.

“Harel serves in a special unit, and is called to reserves at least once a month. Though accustomed to his being called away often, it is still upsetting not having him around. I have my family here on the kibbutz with me, so I have support, but it’s not fun being here alone.”

Because Kibbutz Massuot Yitzchak is in close proximity to Qiryat Malachi, Ashdod and Ashquelon, three cities which have bombarded by rockets since Wednesday, Maayan and her family have been living between sirens and booms. “We do what we can to continue living life as we know it,” she explains.

“I trust Harel that he’ll do his best and I hope that Israel’s operation in Gaza will lead to a significant outcome for the future, one where will no longer have to live under a state of living under constant threat of rocket fire. And Am Yisrael Chai!”

In Haifa, Elisheva’s husband, Avinoam has also been called. When asked if she feels safe living in Haifa, far away from Gaza and it’s rockets, Elisheva says, quite simply, “no place is safe. The south, Tel Aviv, up north, Hashmonaim…no place is safe. We’ll continue living life as we did two days ago…There’s not much I can do.”

Avinoam’s brother-in-law, Ze’ev, serving in the same unit, was also called into the reserves early Friday morning, much to his surprise. “I got the call at 6:45 AM,” he said. Since his release from compulsory service three years ago, this will be his first time serving in the reserves.

His wife Rikki came home from the gym to find her husband packing his bag. “I was pretty emotional, but I tried not to show it, I wanted to stay strong,” she explains. She is comforted by the fact that her husband and brother were called into the same place, and knows that “even if its hard and emotional, he’s doing what he needs to be doing. We’ll pray.” Even though it was difficult to see her husband off, Rikki believes in what he’s been sent to do.

“We believe in our country, this is what out our husbands have got to do to keep us safe.”

Bahai Shrine Named Israel’s Most Beautiful Building

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

The Bahá’í Shrine in Haifa has been voted Israel’s most beautiful building by 40,000 readers of Yedioth Ahronoth.

The poll was conducted by the architecture channel of the paper’s lifestyle portal, Xnet.

The Holon Design Museum came in second, the old Technion building third, Jerusalem’s Mamilla Avenue fourth,  the Ashdod Performing Arts Center fifth, Jerusalem’s King David Hotel sixth, Tel Aviv’s Azrieli towers seventh, the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem eight, the new wing of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art ninth, and the Bialik House in Tel Aviv tenth.

Haifa’s Last Stand

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

A year after the Crusaders captured Jerusalem, they turned to conquer Israel’s coastal cities.

Haifa’s Jewish community is mentioned in the Genizah documents.  The city was one of three forts (מבצר) that we know of – Haifa, Dan (Banias) and Rafah (Rafiah).  Each had a major Jewish community.  Haifa was probably mostly Jewish, if not exclusively so, with a small Muslim military presence.

In the mid-11th century, Haifa was visited by the Persian Nasir Khusraw.  He described the town’s shipbuilders who built a local brand of boat named ‘Judi.’

In the 1070s, following years of internal Muslim battles, Jerusalem was conquered by the Seljuq Turks.  The security situation turned dire and the Israeli Yeshivah moved to Tyre.  In 1082/4, the Israeli Gaon came back to the Land of Israel and conducted the Hoshana Raba ceremony in Haifa.

The story of Haifa’s conquest, in the summer of 1100, is reported by Christian chroniclers.

An anonymous Venetian monk writing in the early 12th century tells us that Haifa stood in ‘God’s way’ and that the pagans (ie, Muslims) trusted its fortifications and its ‘important residents’ to withstand the Crusader assault.  So who were those residents?

The Crusaders first proposed the residents convert.  They promised them they wouldn’t pay more to the Christian kings than they’re currently paying the pagans.  Haifa’s residents refused.

The Crusaders attacked the “City of Satan”.  The “Enemies of God” bravely defended the city, withstanding the sword, fire and heavy stones.  Night and day they cursed Jesus saying:

Your crucified God, in which you believe, never entered this city, and neither did his students.  You stupid cowards will never conquer it bravely!  The kings of Persia and Babylon [meaning Egypt] put this city under siege, with armies far greater than yours, and could never conquer it, and how will you do so, when you are so few and so foreign in your religion?  Neither your God nor any other can submit us to their faith; we do not worship a God worshiped by others, and we do not submit to a prince of flesh and blood, and we only keep the faith we choose.

The monk’s description of the city’s residents (“enemies of the Cross”, the “Anti-Christian city”) is similar to that used for Jews in that era.

A more direct reference is found in the account of historian Albert of Aachen.  He writes howTancred, the Norman leader of the Crusades, together with Venetian forces, surrounded Haifa from sea and land and put the town under siege.  But when the Norman knights approached the walls with their heavy siege machine, the Jewish residents stood armed on the walls.  For fifteen days they fought against the attackers, leaving the Crusaders with heavy casualties, until the Christians withdrew.

Patriarch Daimbert came to console Tancred, who was jealous that Haifa was already promised to a different knight.  Daimbert told him that it would be a disgrace to the Crusader efforts if the city, defended so valiantly by the Jews, will not be conquered.  He promised Tancred that the city will be given to whomever conquers it.

Tancred charged the city again.  The Jewish defenders, together with the Muslim troops, stood bravely against them.  They hurled boiling oil and tar down on the Christian attackers.  But as the battle progressed, the defenders suffered fatalities and those remaining realized they couldn’t win.  They defenders fled and with them the rest of the city’s residents.  Whoever was caught by the Christians was killed.

After a month-long battle, the Jews of Haifa lost the battle and the city was conquered by the Crusaders.  As the anonymous monk puts it: Haifa was conquered, and for the first time ever, submitted to the rule of Christ.

Under Crusader rule, the city became a Christian-Muslim town.  The shipyards were never rebuilt.

Visit the Muqata.

Israel’s Elbit Wins $17.5 Million Boeing Contract

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Defense electronics manufacturer and integrator Elbit Systems of America, established and based in Haifa, has announced that it has won a $17.5 million contract to redesign and upgrade the Apache Longbow (AH-64D Block III) mission processor for the Boeing Company.

According to a report by Globes online business magazine, the upgrades will enable Apaches to network and conduct on-board computing processes, and will take 5 years to complete.

Postcard from Israel: The Haifa Flea Market

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Definitely not on the standard list of tourist destinations in Israel, and less well-known than its counterpart in Yaffo (Jaffa), the flea market in down-town Haifa is well worth a visit whether you’re buying or just browsing. The market is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and of course it is best to get there as early as possible – with well-honed haggling skills!

Visit CifWatch.com

Israeli Buildings Pink-Lit to Fight Breast Cancer

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The tall buildings of Haifa University and the Naveh Nof residential Tower in Bat Yam were lit up in pink Tuesday night in solidarity with an international breast cancer awareness campaign.

The effort is sponsored by the Israel Cancer Association and cosmetics maker Estee Lauder, and seeks to encourage Israeli women to get regular mammograms and breast exams to prevent breast cancer.

A recent report by Israel’s Health Ministry showed that the risk of breast cancer is rising among Jewish women in Israel, with 1 in 7.5 at risk of developing it.  Rates among Arabs are dropping.

Over 200 buildings around the world are taking part in this year’s campaign, including the Empire State building, Buckingham Palace, and the Sydney Opera House.

In 2010 the walls surrounding the Old City in Jerusalem were lit up in pink for that year’s breast awareness campaign.

Israel Deploys Patriot Missiles Near Haifa

Monday, October 8th, 2012

The IDF has deployed a Patriot Anti-Missile defense system on Mount Carmel near Haifa. It is believed that the Patriot system can identify, target and hit drones such as the one launched from Lebanon on Saturday. The IDF now believes that Hezbollah has hundreds of these drones, in addition to some 70,000 missiles which are pointed at Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-deploys-patriot-missiles-near-haifa/2012/10/08/

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