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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Haifa’

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.

Thank You Notes

Friday, October 5th, 2012

I knew I wasn’t supposed to do it. They specifically warned us not to, and you don’t mess with the army. But how could I not? I peeked over my shoulder and saw the olive drab back of the supervisor. Good. I dropped the paper into the box along with the chocolate spread and watched it continue down the conveyer belt. A minute later the box was sealed. No sirens went off, no soldiers rappelled down the walls of the warehouse, fixing their guns on me. I exhaled. And then laughed. My note was just one of several that had snuck their way into the food packages that day. And the IDF had no clue…

Later that day as I sat outside with the other Sar-El volunteers, TV dinner-esque lunches in our laps, I thought about how fortunate we were to be eating reheated schnitzel and rice. The combat soldiers receiving the boxes we were packing would have died for a bite of that. Instead, four soldiers were handed a box that wouldn’t have fit a pair of shoes. When they opened it they would find a handful of protein-packed necessities like tuna, sardines, halva, and of course, the indispensable chocolate spread. Oh yeah, and this was supposed to last the four of them twenty-four hours.

But a select number of soldiers would find something extra in their boxes during the weeks of January 2009: A small note, handwritten by a girl from America, thanking him/her for protecting the Jewish homeland. My roommates and I had spent a good part of the previous evening writing those notes, asking our madricha for help with some of the trickier Hebrew grammar. And that morning our notes were deposited into the food packages on the sly. I didn’t think anyone would respond to the notes I had written. This wasn’t the first time I had sent a thank you note to a soldier, American or Israeli, and none had ever seen fit to reply.

Once again I was doing something I probably shouldn’t have. I was at work, pretending to be fully immersed in the writing of some report, but in fact I was checking my e-mail. There was more spam than usual clogging up my inbox. Delete. Delete. Dele- What was that? The subject line of one of the e-mails was in Hebrew and simply said “Todah!!” I’m not one to object to being thanked, but a) I didn’t recognize the e-mail address, and b) no one I know writes to me in Hebrew. Did this mean I was getting Hebrew spam now? And yet something held me back from clicking on the tiny garbage can.

I considered the situation. I had never gotten Hebrew junk mail before. And it’s not like they were offering to lower my interest rate if I simply typed in my social security number and mother’s maiden name. I slid the cursor over the subject line.

“Shalom Cheryl,” the e-mail began, my English name spelled out phonetically. So this Hebrew stranger knew my name. Or at least the name I give Israelis when I don’t want to overwhelm them with my Hebrew name. (You try saying Naftalit Eti Chana three times fast). I continued reading. The mystery man told me that he had received a food package that I had prepared for Israeli soldiers. Food package? That must mean… After all my attempts someone was actually responding to one of my notes! But it had been a year and eight months since I had volunteered with Sar-El. What was this e-mail doing arriving now?

The soldier, whose name was Moshe, thanked me for volunteering with the IDF and wrote how excited he had been to find a note hidden in his food box. And then the explanation came. He had gotten my letter over a year earlier, fully intended to write to me at the time, but had misplaced it until now, when he found it while cleaning his room. He ended his e-mail with a quick P.S., asking me to write back so he’d know I got his e-mail.

That report I was supposed to be working on got pushed even farther onto the backburner as I excitedly showed the e-mail to my coworker and reminisced about packing those boxes and writing those letters, marveling at the fact that someone had finally decided to respond. Then I set about forwarding Moshe’s e-mail to my family and friends. This was the most exciting thing that had happened to me in a long time, and of course I was going to write back to him- after all, he had written back to me – but that would have to wait till after work.

Palestinian Suffering from Parkinson’s Disease Receives Israeli Treatment

Monday, September 24th, 2012

A 51-year-old Palestinian man suffering from Parkinson’s disease received successful therapy treatment in Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center this past summer.

Tarik Sadek Abu Baker, an accountant who lives in Judea and Samaria, was treated for debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease through a special treatment known as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), used to treat a variety of neurological disorders.

While medication is normally used to treat the disabling symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, which include tremors, rigidity, slowed movement, and walking problems, within 12 years, Abu Baker had stopped responding to Parkinson medication.

Consequently, the Palestinian Authority directed Abu Baker to the Movement Disorders Center at Haifa’s Rambam hospital, lead by Senior Neurologist Dr. Ilana Schlesinger.

The French neurosurgeon Professor Alim-Louis Benabid developed DBS therapy in 1987. The treatment became available in Israel in 2003. Since 2008, the Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center has treated 25 patients with DBS therapy.

According to the Rambam Medical Center website, the hospital Movement Disorders Center has been building a quiet reputation for its medical advancements in the Middle East. Inquiries into treatment programs come as far as Iran.

The medical staff at Rambam described Abu Baker’s situation as especially difficult. “He could barely move or talk because of severe rigidity and tremors,” said nurse, Ilana Erikh, after Abu Baker’s hospitalization. “It hurt me to see so young a person entirely disabled and trembling, who couldn’t do anything without assistance. He obviously needed extraordinary measures.”

Deep brain stimulation is used for people whose symptoms cannot be adequately controlled with medications for Parkinson’s disease. The treatment delivers electrical stimulation to block abnormal nerve signals in targeted areas of the brain. Many people who undergo the therapy, experience significant improvement in their symptoms and can also reduce the amount of Parkinson medication.

While DBS therapy and medication cannot cure Parkinson’s disease, these treatments can ease the symptoms that impede quality of life and allow patients increased mobility.

At Rambam, Professor Menashe Zaaroor, Director of the Department of Neurosurgery, implanted leads and neurostimulators into Abu Baker. After three weeks, Abu Baker returned so that neurologist Dr. Maria Nassar and nurse Ilana Erikh could switch on the neurostimulators’ batteries and adjust the voltage.

Following the visit, within an hour, Abu Baker could walk and move freely and showed no visible signs of the disease.

Ginan Salim, Abu Baker’s wife, described the warm treatment at Ramban. “We were made very happy last week because my husband, who has needed me to help him with personal hygiene, eating and preparing for sleep, has improved and doesn’t need my assistance anymore. We didn’t expect such quick results,” she said on the medical center’s website.

This is not the first time that the Rambam Medical Center has been engaged with Israel’s Arab and Muslim sector. During Ramadan last year, the medical center engaged in research to help fasting Muslims suffering from diabetes to better deal with the monthly holiday fast. Rambam’s Professor Naim Shehadeh discovered that particular types of insulin help patients avoid suffering from side effects and health complications that develop during the fast.

Professor Shehadeh conducted research among 300 diabetic patients treated at clinics in northern and central Israel in 2011. “We proved that this special protocol significantly reduced patients’ chances of developing adverse events during the Ramadan fast,” said Professor Shehadeh.

Professor Shehadeh further added that these particular types of insulin have been made available by the Israel Ministry of Health and are included in the ministry’s list of subsidized medications which can be acquired in pharmacies across Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/palestinian-suffering-from-parkinsons-disease-receives-israeli-treatment/2012/09/24/

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