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July 27, 2016 / 21 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘immigrants’

Rabbi Yisrael Rosen: No More Ethiopian Immigrants

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Orthodox Israeli Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, founder of and judge in the conversions office of the Chief Rabbinate, director of the Zomet Institute for the interface of halakhah and technology, and the editor-in-chief of the annual halakhic journal Techumin, is calling on government to refuse to bring to Israel yet another group of 9,000 Falash Mura from Ethiopia.

Writing in the website Srugim, Rosen says he’ll never forget the assembly of Beita Israel in a shack that served as synagogue in the middle of a forest in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was visiting there in the late 1990s, as head of the conversions office, and now recalls that for the rank and file members, prayer constituted only one word: Urshalim (Jerusalem). That, according to Rosen, was an effort to bring home thousands of real Jews, who have since been integrated with varying degrees of success. But those Ethiopian Jews have little in common with the Ethiopians waiting to reach Israel these days.

The reason for the new wave of immigrations has little to do with the plight of Jews, according to Rosen, and much to do with Likud MK Avraham Neguise, an Ethiopian Jew, who, together with his comrade in arms MK David Amsalem, managed to squeeze out of Prime Minister Netanyahu a promise to fly in those 9,000 non-Jewish Falash Mura, in exchange for their voting with the coalition again. Herding 61 cats in his one-vote majority government, Netanyahu has had to do without those Neguise-Amsalem votes, which lost him several key bills during the winter session. Which is why the PM has pursued with such vigor his new coalition partner, Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu).

And each time MK Neguise, or foreign governments, or righteous lobbyists ask for another quota of Ethiopian immigrants who are Christian, not Jewish, they promise this is the last time. As in these 9,000 Falash Mura — it’s the last time.

Except that every time 9,000 Ethiopians board the planes out of Addis Ababa to Israel, 20,000 more take their place in the relocations camps. And Rabbi Rosen believes there are already more non-Jewish than Jewish Ethiopians in Israel. And more will keep coming.

The Falash Mura were unknown until Operation Solomon in 1991, when a number of them attempted to board the Israeli planes and were turned away. The Falash Mura said they were entitled to immigrate because they were Jews by ancestry, but the Israeli officials there saw them as non-Jews, since most had never practiced Judaism and were not considered by the Beta Israel as part of the community. In fact, even today, many in the Israeli Ethiopian community object to MK Neguise’s shenanigans.

Back in the 1990s, the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ) provided aid to the Falash Mura in Addis who had been left behind during Operation Solomon. Except that when all this food and medical care became available, more Falash Mura left their villages for Addis Ababa and overwhelmed the NACOEJ. The Joint Distribution Committee agreed to provide additional assistance on a humanitarian basis, without recognizing the Falash Mura as Jews who are entitled to immigrate to Israel.

A committee headed by Absorption Minister Yair Tsaban decided the Falash Mura should not be allowed to enter Israel under the Law of Return, but recommended that those refugees who were already in Addis Ababa would be allowed to come in on humanitarian grounds. But the humanitarian gesture only invited more Falash Mura to arrive with expectations of one-way tickets to the holy land. Israel estimated that fewer than 10,000 Falash Mura would be seeking immigration, but the number ballooned to more than 30,000, conditions in the relocation camps worsened, and Israel was embarrassed into taking many of them in.

JNi.Media

Exclusive: German Source Warns Jews in Danger as Anti-Migrant Movement Grows Violent

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

German Jewry is beginning to worry about anti-Semitism again, and according to a local source, it’s long past due time that they did.

In an exclusive interview with a peace activist from Germany, JewishPress.com learned this week that the threat to Jews in the country is rising steadily.

Right-wing extremists and neo-Nazi groups are increasing in popularity, albeit with their initial banner raised against the flood of refugees and migrants streaming into Germany from across Europe.

The activist, a German visitor to Israel, told JewishPress.com on condition of anonymity – is that a backlash is beginning among the German population which is starting to blame its “migrant population” on “the Jews.”

It has taken a while, but Joseph Schuster, president of the country’s Central Council of Jews also expressed the community’s concern in an interview published Saturday in the Sueddeutsche Zetung.

“The political mood in our society is clearly drifting off to the right,” Schuster told the newspaper, noting rising tensions over the steady flow of migrants into the country. Although Schuster told the paper he does not believe the Jews will immediately leave en masse, he did warn that many will “consider” it.

“It must be clear to the people that come to us that anti-Semitic behavior will not be tolerated,” Schuster said. He called on the government to teach the migrants – most of whom are Muslims – to recognize the State of Israel in their cultural integration courses “because among the refugees is a significant proportion of Arab people who have grown up with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel stereotypes.”

While it is true that many attacks on Jews in Europe over the past several years have been traced to Muslim immigrants, that has by no means ever been the source of anti-Semitism on the continent. Adolf Hitler was Austrian, not Syrian. Let’s not confuse the two.

According to the German source there have been weekly anti-migrant demonstrations by German native-born citizens in Leipzig for months already. On the secular New Year, when parties were going “full blast” the central downtown area was “empty, spooky, with no police coverage whatsoever because all the police were out dealing with attacks.

This New Year’s Eve, gangs of young migrant men sexually assaulted countless young women in mass attacks in Cologne and other German towns, according to France24 and myriad other international media. Last year Germany absorbed 1.1 million migrants and the nation’s citizens are reportedly livid with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open door policy for the refugees.

“That night saw hundreds of assaults – it was the first time the media could not hide the facts about migrant violence and German violence in response,” the source said.

Riots were also been carried out by an extremist group known to international police as the neo-Nazi “football hooligans.” The group has branches throughout Europe – in Sweden as well as in Germany.

In Leipzig two weeks later they seized the opportunity to start a rampage during a march by supporters of the anti-migrant Pegida movement (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West.) The local Pegida group in Leipzig is known as Legida.

“Merkel take your Muslims with you and go,” read one of the placards at a Legida protest.

Also in January, at least 250 neo-Nazis traveled by car to the Leipzig suburb of Connewitz from “all over the state of Saxony,” according to the World Socialist Web Site, which described a scene of “fascist terror.”

According to a report posted by the Peipziger Volkszeitung (LVZ), the “horde of neo-Nazis” were “goose-stepping” through the district and then began a “rampage of violence” with large stones they had clearly brought with them.

Hana Levi Julian

Large Majority of Israelis Support More Benefits to New Immigrants

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

A vast majority of Israelis endorse the idea of offering new immigrants more economic and employment benefits — even at the expense of native Israelis.

The surprising information was revealed in a survey conducted by the Sampling, Consultation and Research Center, whose results were revealed Sunday at the weekly government cabinet meeting.

The news comes in light of an alarming wave of anti-Semitism that has struck Europe.

A whopping majority of 83 percent of Israelis in the survey expressed their belief that the State of Israel should take actions in the labor market that would grant special privileges to new immigrants.

Fifty-three percent of the survey’s respondents suggested that Israel provide financial benefits to employers who hire new immigrants.

Thirty percent recommended even requiring public agencies and large private business to set a floor benchmark of employment positions for new immigrants, even though such a policy would come at the expense of the native Israeli labor force.

Two- thirds of Israelis are concerned for the safety of Jews in the Diaspora, according to the survey.

Thirty-nine percent of Israelis believe that European Jews should escape the growing anti-Semitism in Europe by immigrating to the Jewish homeland.

Yaakov Hagoel, Deputy Chairman of the World Zionist Organization revealed the results of the survey at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

“In light of the concern for the safety of the Jews of Europe, we have established a committee to deal with immigration barriers and we asked to check the position of the Israeli public in this regard,” Hagoel explained.

At the same time, 46 percent of Israelis recognize that many Jews in Europe continue to live there for social and economic reasons.

“The results are surprising, even to us,” commented Hagoel. “Despite the difficult economic situation in Israel, the Jews are brothers to each other in every place in the world.”

Hagoel was expected to discuss the need to reduce and remove the many barriers that new immigrants often experience in the employment sector.

Many new immigrants arrive in Israel as educated professionals with experience and potential to contribute to Israel but encounter bureaucratic hurdles. They are very often not recognized in their professional field. Professionals such as attorneys and doctors with certifications from abroad are not automatically recognized in Israel, but must instead go through a convoluted process to re-earn certification in Israel.

Hagoel was to present the establishment of a group of World Zionist Organization staff members who will work on removing the unnecessary barriers faced by new immigrants.

“There is no day more fitting than International Holocaust Memorial Day to raise this important issue to the cabinet,” Hagoel said.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Jewish Grassroots Groups Seeking Support for Lower East Side Landmark Status

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

(JNi.media) Historian Joyce Mendelsohn, author of “The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited,” Elissa Sampson, who teaches Urban Geography at Cornell University, and many other scholars and groups on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, are advocating for the creation of an historic district whose boundaries will extend roughly from Delancey to Canal Streets, between Forsyth and Essex Streets. Although the legendary Lower East Side where a million Jewish immigrants thrived in the first half of the 20th century reached all the way up to 14th Street, the group suggests that, unfortunately, the blocks north of Delancey Street have lost their architectural integrity due to rampant development.

Friends of the Lower East Side (FOTLES) and Lower East Side Preservation Initiative (LESPI) are all-volunteer grass roots organizations dedicated to preserving the social, cultural and architectural legacy of the historic Lower East Side. They say they have been successful in gaining a landmark designation for the neighborhood’s significant historic relics, such as the Bialystoker Home and Center and the Seward Park Library. But they say there is a need to designate the complete Lower East Side/East Village Historic District, because although several other neighborhood buildings are already protected by individual landmark designations, you can only tell the full story of immigrant life on the Lower East Side by also preserving their neighboring tenement buildings.

The list of groups and individuals endorsing the initiative is very long, and includes the National Trust for Historic Preservation, New York Landmarks Conservancy, Victorian Society New York, Angel Orensanz Foundation, Art Loisaida Foundation, Congregation Kehila Kedosha Janina, and the Museum at Eldridge Street. They ask friends of the Lower East Side everywhere to add their name to the list of supporters, at the online contact page for Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan.

The letter the groups sent Srinivasan states:

“Manhattan’s Lower East Side is recognized as America’s iconic immigrant neighborhood with unsurpassed architectural, historical and cultural significance to our city, state and nation. Its great variety of age-old tenements, institutional and commercial buildings not only enrich the streets with architecture based on human scale and beautifully crafted ornament, but have given the community and its residents a cohesive and stable environment with a strongly identifiable sense of history and place.

“The only way to effectively preserve the historic streetscapes of this vital neighborhood is through New York City historic district designation. Therefore, we call upon the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark, without delay, the historically intact areas of the Lower East Side below Houston Street. We request that the LPC first target the Preliminary Proposed Lower East Side Historic District shown in the attached map (see below).

Landmarks of the LES

Landmarks of the LES:

Allen Street

1. Federal House, 143 Allen Street

Bialystoker Place (Willet Street)

2. Bialystoker Synagogue, 7-13 Bialystoker Place

Bowery

3. Edward Mooney House, 18 Bowery 4. Citizen’s Savings Bank, 54-58 Bowery 5. 97 Bowery 6. Bowery Bank of New York, 124 Bowery 7. Bowery Savings Bank, 130 Bowery 8. Germania Bank, 190 Bowery 9. Young Men’s Christian Association, 222 Bowery 10. Bowery Mission, 227 Bowery

Broome Street

11. Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue, 280 Broome Street

Canal Street

12. Manhattan Bridge Arch and Colonnade 13. S. Jarmulowsky Bank, 54-58 Canal Street 14. Loew’s Canal Street Theater, 31 Canal Street

East Broadway

15. Jewish Daily Forward, 173-175 East Broadway 16. Seward Park Library, 192 East Broadway 17. Bialystoker Center and Home, 228 East Broadway 18. Isaac Ludlum House, 281 East Broadway

Eldridge Street

19. Eldridge Street Synagogue (Museum at Eldridge Street), 12-16 Eldridge Street

JNi.Media

Jews Are Leaving France: 10,000 to Arrive in Israel in 2015

Monday, January 12th, 2015

 

France is bleeding Jews. The onslaught of radical Islamic terror combined with growing anti-Semitism has finally persuaded the country’s most loyal immigrants that it’s time to leave.

One of Britain’s most influential Jewish journalists, Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard, said on Friday, “Every single French Jew I know has either left or is actively working out how to leave.” Pollard’s comment came shortly after French police had ordered shops along Rue de Rosiers in the famous La Marais Jewish neighborhood to close in central Paris. The measure was taken as a precaution following the terror attack on the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery that left four people dead and others injured.

More than 100,000 French Jews have left the country since 2013, according to sources quoted by The Daily Mail. Pollard said in a tweet that the attack on Hyper Cacher was no “fluke.” He wrote in a series of posts on the Twitter social networking site, “So, it’s a fluke that the latest target is a kosher grocer, is it?

“What’s going on in France – outrages that have been getting worse for years – put our antisemitism (sic) problems in perspective,” he wrote.

The Jewish Agency for Israel, meanwhile, has told its staff to prepare for a wave of French aliyah. Chairman of the Executive of the Agency, Natan Sharansky accompanied Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the unity rally in Paris on Sunday. “The Jewish Agency embraces the French Jewish community at this difficult time and is extending its full support by helping provide for the physical security of Jewish communities across France, increasing our assistance to any individual who wishes to immigrate to Israel, and working to ease immigrants’ integration into the Israeli workforce and Israeli society,” he said.

There were 7,000 new immigrants from France in 2014, more than double the 3,400 who arrived in 2013 and triple the 1,900 who came in 2012, Sharansky noted. The French Jewish community is the third largest in the world after Israel and the United States, with some 500,000 Jews; but more than one percent of the entire community immigrated to Israel last year.

Even before last week’s reign of terror, Jewish Agency officials had predicted that the increase in French aliyah would continue, and that the number of immigrants from France could reach up to 10,000 in 2015. In the past year, at least 50,000 French Jews inquired about immigrating to Israel, according to Sharansky. The Jewish Agency is currently holding two information seminars daily in France, he added. They are leaving, he said, and “they want to live in a Jewish state.”

The Fund for Emergency Assistance to Jewish Communities, established following the 2012 attack on the Jewish elementary school in Toulouse, has provided Jewish communal institutions in France and elsewhere with the means to install and reinforce security measures where they are needed most, in order to also enable Jewish communal life to continue uninterrupted.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has already begun to roll out the red carpet.

At a rally at Jerusalem City Hall to show solidarity with the French people and the French Jewish community on Sunday, Barkat said, “Brothers and sisters – the gates of Jerusalem are open to you. Zion and the entire Jewish world stands beside you. Nous sommes tous Juifs de France, we are all Charlie, we are all Jews of France.”

The Jerusalem Municipality, under the directive of Mayor Barkat, will open a special situation room for new immigrants from France in order to assist them in their move to Jerusalem. At the entrance to City Hall, there is a special booth for immigrant absorption manned by French-speaking volunteers who will help the immigrants with all of their absorption needs.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish Agency Seeks ‘Number One Sukkah in the World’

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

The Jewish Agency for Israel has launched a competition to find the Number One Sukkah in the World.

The competition, dubbed “Sukkathon 2013,” invites Jewish individuals and communities around the world to submit photos of their sukkahs for consideration by a panel of judges. The judges include the South African-Israeli architect Pam Davidson, British art critic and art history lecturer Julia Weiner, and artist Betina Schneid, a recent immigrant to Israel from Brazil, who has participated in The Jewish Agency’s Ulpan Etzion program in Jerusalem.

Photo submissions will be welcomed until Monday, September 23, and the winner will be announced on the Hoshana Rabba festival da, the last day of Sukkot, this, Wednesday.

As part of the Sukkathon, children from the Jewish Agency’s Ye’elim Immigrant Absorption Center in Be’er Sheva have submitted a photo of themselves (above) in the absorption center sukkah, which they helped build and decorate.  Hundreds of new immigrants living in the absorption center are preparing to celebrate their first Sukkot in Israel, as are thousands of other immigrants at Jewish Agency absorption centers around Israel.  Some 350 individuals reside in Ye’elim, including some 130 children.

Jewish Press News Briefs

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.

Rachel Avraham

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