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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘India’

Netanyahu to Hit Back At Abbas in United Nations

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will fly to the United States Sunday morning to counter-punch Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and also meet with President Barack Obama.

“After the Iranian president’s deceptive speech and Abu Mazen’s [Abbas] inciteful speech, I will tell the truth of Israel’s citizens to the entire world. In my UN General Assembly speech and in all of my meetings I will represent the citizens of Israel and will – on their behalf – refute the slander and lies directed at our country,” the Prime Minister stated Saturday night.

He will speak at the United Nations on Monday, meet with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday and with President Obama on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will begin his visit by meeting on Sunday with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the first meeting in over a decade between the prime ministers of Israel and India.

Chabad of Mumbai Reopens Nariman House in India

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

In two days, a building that six years ago was soaked in blood and tears will instead be filled with light and joy, as Chabad of Mumbai’s Nariman House reopens its doors.

More than 25 Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries will attend the reopening set for Tuesday, August 26 along with other honored guests led by current co-directors, Rabbi Yisroel Kozlovsky and his wife Chaya.

The couple are continuing the work started by Rabbi Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg, who together with four of their guests were murdered in cold blood by Pakistani jihadist terrorists in November 2008. Only their two year old son Moishe, saved by his Indian nanny Sandra, survived the bloodbath. Both were brought home to Israel by Rivky’s parents, Rabbi and Mrs. Shimon Rosenfeld.

Despite the devastation that followed the attack — Nariman House was only one of ten sites that were struck in a city-wide mass casualty attack by the 10-man terrorist cell — Chabad’s outreach to Jews in Mumbai continued.

“We remember what happened, but we are working for the future,” Kozlovsky told Chabad.org this week.

All of the activities that took place at Nariman House prior to the attack will continue, he said, and hopefully the program will expand further. Chabad of Mumbai was established by the Holtzbergs in 2003 to serve Israeli backpackers, international Jewish business people and the local Indian Jewish community, he pointed out.

With funding from the Rohr Family Foundation and strong mentoring from Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch — the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch — the Holtzbergs purchased Nariman House and set up their program.

Kotlarsky underlined the importance of never giving in to terror. “We didn’t pause after this great tragedy,” he said. “We regrouped immediately and continued working, never stopping. That was our response to what happened in Mumbai. We build communities… serving the Jews in Mumbai, locals and foreigners, was and continues to be our priority.”

The reopening of the Chabad center is timed to coincide with the regional conference of more than 25 Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries in Asia, organized by Rabbi Yosef Chaim Kantor, regional director and head of Chabad of Thailand. Kantor has been deeply involved in the renewal of Nariman House, as he was involved in the development of the original Chabad center as well.

Combating ISIS influence in India

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Once again,  a  group of fanatics seems determined to end the age-old atmosphere of peace and harmony in Indian society, taking the nation towards the  Islamisation of the kind  Wahabbists have long been preaching. Reports are that  India’s Sunni theologian Maulana Salman Nadvi of Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama recently greeted   the  self-appointed caliph and head of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  Now  he has asked the Saudi government to prepare an army of Indian Sunni Muslim youth to fight against the Shia militias in Iraq and elsewhere.

 

The National Democratic Alliance government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi must remain vigilant against such fanatic elements in Indian society and take all appropriate measures aimed at  neutralizing them as early as possible. It would not be wise to treat the rise of  the ISIS lightly . The whole world knows this terrorist outfit aims to install an Islamic world caliphate, of which India, along with many other pluralist nations,  would be included. Sharing its  ideology in common with al-Qaeda, Taliban and other Wahabist Islamist outfits, the ISIS preaches hatred and violence against    whoever does not subscribe to its radical, militant theological version.Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi  has reportedly already  ordered Muslims to obey him in his call for a ‘global jihad.’

 

In its operations and activities the ISIS  has been  far  more aggressive and dangerous than its once ideological source al-Qaida.  It has made a rapid advance in a very short time .  Beginning just as a mere group of  al-Qaida in the region, it took the shape of Islamic State in Iraq in 2006 in the wake of escalation of the  crisis the post –dictator Saddam Hussein phase generated in the country.  As another crisis escalated in the neighborhood of Syria under its autocratic presidency of Bashar al Assad. this terrorist group metastasized into an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Now it  is known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Syria, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus, and parts of Turkey.) 

 

There are reports that the influence of ISIS has been increasing in India. Some Indian youths have recently called up their families from Syria and confirmed they are  fighting for it. They have said that they are safe and their entire family would go to ‘jannat’ or heaven because of the ‘work’ they are doing as part of ISIS. Indications are that if  these youths, currently fighting in Iraq and Syria, are victorious there, they would  return to India only to help (with support from other Islamist nations and their  various accomplices in the Middle East) ISIS carry out its anti-India designs.  Also, the presence of such die-hard Islamist fighters would embolden some other like-minded forces in India .

 

The civil society too should come forward in India and do its best to keep off all such fanatic elements from vitiating the atmosphere of peace and harmony in the country. The larger Muslim community must play a special role in this. For centuries it has been as integral as any other segment of Indian society to this ancient civilization’s glorious  syncretistic traditions. This must be maintained and advanced in the service of humanity, the core of Islam (and all other religions ).    

 

It is heartening to learn that Maulana Mahmood Daryabadi of All-India Ulema Council, the umbrella organization of clerics, has in a way already disapproved of the above-mentioned action of  Maulana Nadvi. Daryabadi has reportedly said, “If this is true, it’s unfortunate. Indian Muslims share the pain of their brothers elsewhere but it’s futile to see the crisis in Iraq and Syria from the Shia-Sunni prism. Some forces are bent on dividing the Muslims. Such letters will only widen the gulf between the two sects.”

 

Needless to mention, the ISIS poses a great threat to the entire civilized world in general and liberal democracies in particular. The self-styled commander of ISIS Ibrahim Awaad al-Badri vowed war against democratic India ( and others ). This demands that all democracies get really serious about checkmating this Islamist outfit .

Time To Crush Hamas

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushama Swaraj and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaih Nadu deserve applause for having rejected some of the Opposition members’ demand in the Indian Parliament to condemn Israel’s ongoing air and artillery bombardment of the Hamas infrastructure in the Gaza Strip . Last week some members of the Parliament argued that the strikes had led to the deaths of over two hundred Palestinians, including some civilians and children and as such New Delhi must condemn this  “ aggression.” and demand a halt to the attack.  Minister Swaraj retorted, “ any discourteous reference to any friendly country would affect relations.”  Her colleague Naidu echoed similar sentiments.   

 

One finds any such demand to condemn Israel is absolutely discriminatory. The lack of fairness herein is clear from the fact that those Opposition members who have made this demand seem to be so upset about the death of a couple of hundred in Gaza but they have hardly ever been moved when many Middle Eastern regimes have indulged in or been parties to the cold-blooded killings of the hundreds of thousands of their own citizens, including women and children .  

 

Their demand to condemn Israel is ludicrous too.  They have, in the present context, seemed to have ignored the predicament of Israel , the only developed democracy in the Middle East, at the hands of Hamas, a notorious terrorist organization with a charter based on the fanatic ideology of hatred and violence  against vast sections of humanity, including women . The latter has had no history of faith in peace and development in the region. Jerusalem withdrew from the Gaza strip in 2005  uprooting more than 8.000 of its citizens and abandoning all its border controls of Gaza, except the Israeli one . Yet this terrorist outfit has fired more than 12.000 rockets at Israeli towns since 2005 and indulged in dozens of other terror attacks on civilians in the country .

Pertinently, in its activities and operations Hamas has had the support of certain reactionary establishments in the Middle East. For long it had the support of the  “Axis of Resistance” (Iran, Syria, Hizballah, and the Islamic Jihad). After Hamas’s parent movement Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Cairo, former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi  blessed it. In the recent past the Emir of Qatar is said to have granted Hamas $ 400 million .

 

Recently , Hamas has further vitiated the political atmosphere in the region . Former Hamas Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh has announced  the “Third Intifada” has  begun in the West Bank.  He has praised the terrorism of the Hamas military wing and called Israeli civilians killed in its terrorist operations  “settlers”.  Senior members of Hamas , such as Khalid Mashʿal, Fauzi Barhum, and Mushir al-Masri, have praised the recent abduction and later killings of the three Jewish teenagers . Mashʿal has referred to the Israeli civilians killed in its attacks  as “soldiers. ”

 

This has not but put Jerusalem under tremendous moral and legal obligations to use all means at its disposal to protect its citizens by liquidating the entire Hamas’ infrastructure completely. Its previous offensives, including the “Operation Pillar of Defense” (November 2012) have failed to end Hamas’ operational control in the Gaza Strip. As such  the Benjamin Netanyahu government needs to leave no stone unturned in its current  “Operation Protective Edge” to corner Hamas once for all.  

 

The current dispensation of President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi  in Cairo seems to appreciate Israeli imperatives in this regard. It has recently done a lot in neutralizing Hamas in the region. After  the overthrow of former Egyptian President Mohammed  Morsi, Cairo has declared Hamas a terror movement . The Egyptian army has destroyed a majority of Hamas’ smuggling tunnels to the Gaza Strip. One wishes the Palestinian Authority government would distance itself completely from Hamas  now for the sake of peace and development in the region. The Authority ought to realize there is no point having a partner whose ideology is hatred and violence against fellow human beings . The Hamas rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip kill or maim not only  Israelis but also Palestinians in the West Bank.

 

Unfortunately, however, despite precautionary measures, such as dropping leaflets to warn Gazan residents about the areas and buildings to be targeted by the ongoing Israeli on Gaza , some innocent people get killed as the terrorists force them to be used as human shields . This could be avoided to a great extent if Jerusalem planned a full-fledged ground invasion in consultation with major military powers and moderate Muslim nations such as Egypt and Jordan in the region, entered the Strip and destroyed Hamas one by one. Hamas is a threat to them all in the short or long term.   They could provide Jerusalem with whatever appropriate military,  logistical and diplomatic support were needed in its current “Operation Protective Edge.”

 

Addressing the Rape Crisis In India: Will Golda Meir Inspire Modi ?

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

It is only natural that the growing incidence of sexual violence in India has come in for severe criticism by the enlightened humanity at home and abroad.

Joining the voices of condemnation on the issue, American Democratic senators Barbara Boxer, Richard Durbin, Ed Markey, Jeanne Shaheen, Debbie Stabenow, Patty Murray, Tammy Baldwin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mary Landrieu, and Chris Coons have recently written a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing their “shock and horror.” Their letter points the allegations of “complicity and negligence by the local police” and urges Modi to “take immediate action to combat gender-based violence and improve the safety of women and girls in India.”

The senators’ letter reads :

We look forward to continuing to partner with your government on immediate and sustained action to provide adequate psychosocial support for victims of sex crimes, improve gender and sexual assault response training for all Indian police, promote effective implementation of anti-rape laws, increase efforts to prosecute and hold perpetrators accountable, and help decrease the stigma associated with reporting crimes of sexual violence.

Earlier, the U.S. State Department and the United Nations also made criticized the incidence of rapes in India alluding to the need for “changing laws and changing attitudes,” and “systemic failures” in curbing sexual violence. Significantly, the senators’ letter is of a similar tenor. It notes that “more needs to be done to prevent violence against women, improve victim support services, bring perpetrators to justice, and address other forms of gender-based violence including child marriage.”

There is hardly any exaggeration in such outcry against sexual violence in India. An analysis of the various authentic studies conducted by the National Crime Records Bureau, the Human Rights Watch and other agencies reveals that rape incidents have increased over the years endangering the very honor of women in India.

Most rapes go unreported due to the victims’ fear of retaliation or humiliation. India accounts for a rape rate of 2 per 100,000 people. The majority of victims has been in the 18-30 year age group.

More than 7,200 minors are raped each year in India. It is 12.5 per cent of the total number of sexual victims. In sex trafficking and crime against minors India ranks the seventh worst. The annual rape rate in India increased to 2.0 per 100,000 people over the 2008-2012 period.

Sadly, the women’s rights scenario is grim in other parts of the world as well. The rape rates per 100,000 people are 8.1 Western Europe, 14.7 in Latin America and 40.2 in Southern African region.

The annual rape rate (2008-2012) increased to 1.2 in Japan, 3.6 in Morocco, 4.6 in Bahrain, 12.3 in Mexico , 24.1 in the United Kingdom, 28.6 in the United States, and 114.9 in South Africa. In the cases of sexual victims, the minors account for 17.4 per cent in the United States. In sex trafficking and crime against minors, China ranks first, Russia eleventh and Indonesia fourteenth.

As the Prime Minister of India, one of the world’s most ancient civilizations and leading democracies, Modi must address crimes against women. This kind of crime exposes how hollow India’s claims to some of its finest historical traditions and human values really are today!

Father of the Indian Nation Mahatma Gandhi believed in women’s rights to education, dress, divorce, remarriage, employment and declared, “I am uncompromising in the matter of women’s rights. In my opinion, she should labour under no legal disability not suffered by men.”

Gandhi rejected the projection of women as a weaker sex and said, “To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, woman is less of a brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If non-violence is the law of our being, the future is with women… Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than a woman?”

Indian National Caught with Smuggled Diamonds in His Underwear

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Israeli officials at a Jordanian border crossing have arrested an Indian tourist who literally was caught with his pants down, exposing smuggled diamonds and gold worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Customs officials apparently did not have any advance knowledge of the smuggling attempt but noticed that the man showed discomfort from his clothing.

A detailed search turned up gold in the tourist’s toothbrush holder and approximately 150 carats of diamonds in his underwear. The smuggler admitted he intended to sell the diamonds in Israel.

Tibetan Monks Chant Prayers for Peace in Jerusalem

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The sounds of Tibetan monks chanting, an Iranian playing the santoor, western African style music, Rastafarian and reggae beats, as well as some Israeli rock, among other musical genres could recently be heard pulsating from Jerusalem’s Tower of David in the Old City.

The international and local rhythms made up the beats of the second annual Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, whose musical venues were located in different parts of the city, including the YMCA, Tzidkiyahu’s Cave, and Hebrew University.

Group's leader, Kachen Lobzang Tuskhor in the Tower of David. Photo Credit: Tzuri Cohen-Arazi, Tazpit News Agency.

Group’s leader, Kachen Lobzang Tuskhor in the Tower of David.
Photo Credit: Tzuri Cohen-Arazi, Tazpit News Agency.

The three day festival (August 20-23) attracted at least 1,000 visitors each night to the Tower of David, according to festival director Eilat Lieber. “It was very important for me to bring this unique festival to the Tower of David,” Lieber told Tazpit News Agency.

“This has been an important opportunity to hear not only great music but to experience the respect that exists between different religions and cultures across this city and in the world,” Lieber said.

“This kind of mutual respect is not entirely obvious as division and conflict are often the only themes portrayed in media coverage of Jerusalem,” added Tower of David spokeswoman Caroline Shapiro.

One of the musical performers, Alan Kushan, an Iranian living in the U.S., had positive remarks about the capital of Israel.

“Jerusalem is a wonderful city to perform in,” the Iranian santoor player, Alan Kushan told Tazpit. “It’s not only an honor to play in the city of King David and his son King Solomon. I think it’s a duty that I should come and play music. As an artist, my message to fellow Iranian musicians is not to be afraid of visiting this city.”

The exiled order of Tibetan Buddhists, known as the Tashi Lhunpo Monks, could also be seen walking around the ancient stones of the Tower of David, dressed in their traditional maroon robes. The monks, exiled from Tibet and now living in South India, chanted Tibetan prayers, accompanied by cymbals, gongs, bells and ceremonial dancing during their night performance.

It was the Tibetan monks’ first visit to Jerusalem, having spent the year touring across Europe and raising funds to continue their way of life at the South Indian monastery. “The monks cannot study in Tibet in freedom because the Chinese regime forbids them from doing so,” explained Jane Rasch, a spokeswoman for the group. “There is much understanding and sympathy between Israelis and these second-generation exiled monks living in India.”

At the Tower of David, the monks also created their signature mandala of peace (Yamantaka Mandela) made of colorful, crushed marble from southern India, as Israeli onlookers watched in fascination.

Kachen Lobzang Tuskhor, the leader of the visiting group of monks, told Tazpit that Jerusalem was a special city, but more crowded than he had anticipated. Lobzang, who speaks Tibetan, Hindi, and a little English, explained with a laugh that he learned two words in Hebrew during his visit: shalom and sababa.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/tibetan-monks-chant-prayers-for-peace-in-jerusalem/2013/08/26/

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