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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Israel Defense Forces’

Plesner Committee and a Look at Shoddy Reporting

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

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Alternative peace activist Baruch Widen joins Yishai and together they discuss the The Plesner Committee and how the induction of ultra-orthodox Jews into the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces affects all Israelis. Yishai and Widen specifically talk about reactions from both sides of the issue and how an army that is more diverse could be good for both religious and secular Jews. They talk about how Israeli Arabs, which are also currently not required to service, should also be required to serve. At 22:01, Yishai shifts gears and presents a piece from NPR about Christian sites in Israel that are currently in the hands of the Palestinian Authority. To conclude, they talk about the biased nature of the NPR piece and discuss truth behind the information presented.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Voting in US Elections and Knesset Update

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

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Jewish Press Columnist Yishai Fleisher is joined by Knesset-insider Jeremy Man Saltan.  They begin by discussing a bill that was recently presented that requires those that are evacuated by the Israeli government to be moved into finished homes that are ready for those that are evacuated and then move on to talk about the Levy Commission Report.  Yishai and Man Saltan talk about the potential of the ultra-orthodox serving in the Israel Defense Forces and at 18:45 they shift gears to present a talk, attended by Yishai, to American-born Israelis to why they should vote in the upcoming American elections which features former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Climbing to the Top: A Story of Strength

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

A few years ago, Shalom was wandering the streets of Israel after he was thrown out of his high school for refusing to come to class.  Now – only four years later – Shalom is completing a commander’s course is an elite unit of the Israel Defense Forces and already has dreams to study engineering after he finishes officer’s school. What can Shalom’s complete turn-around - from high school dropout to motivated and disciplined IDF commander – be attributed to?

The answer can be found about a thirty minute drive from Jerusalem, in a special center called “Menifa.”

Menifa- Leverage for Life is a nonprofit organization that was founded in Israel in 2004. The mission of the organization is to prevent at-risk youth from dropping out of high school and to reintegrate detached youth into normative frameworks. Menifa establishes learning centers in existing high schools for teens who are in acute danger of dropping out of school and for those who have already detached from the educational system.  These centers are alternative full-time learning programs for the struggling teens.  Since its establishment, Menifa has operated 130 such programs around Israel.

One of Menifa’s centers lies on a farm approximately thirty minutes away from Jerusalem.  This center accepts boys between the ages of fourteen and eighteen.  Most of them come from broken homes or from families who are in financial straits.  The boys in this program have been involved in either alcohol or drug abuse or other destructive behaviors.  Shalom is one of the boys who came to this center after having no other place to turn to.

Shalom struggled in a regular high school framework.  He was kicked out of school in the 11th grade and he did not know where he would spend the next year, until he received a call from a man named Ariel who introduced himself from the organization Menifa.  Ariel invited Shalom to meet him and learn more about Menifa.

“It turned out to be my best year of school,” Shalom explains. “The staff gave us the freedom to choose what we wanted to learn and how and when. We wanted to come out of choice and out of a desire to take responsibility.”

In addition to the regular academic courses that they are offered, the boys have daily activities that provide them with social and emotional reinforcement and help build their life skills. The boys also clean the center every day and prepare lunch as a group in the kitchen. These group activities help instill in the boys a sense of teamwork and responsibility for oneself and others.

The youth are drawn to the center because of its unique approach that places an emphasis on the staff-student connection and on interpersonal relationships. Every morning, the center’s life coach, Yaniv greets each boy with a giant bear hug, bringing an instant smile to their faces. He calls the boys each morning to wake them up and to make sure they come to the center. He also makes house calls where he visits the boys and meets with their parents to help strengthen the parent-child relationship.

The relationships that the students form with the staff play an important role in their rehabilitation and return to normative functioning. “One of the most powerful experiences for me was the many intimate conversations I had with Ariel [the center’s coordinator] and my life coach from Menifa,” Shalom explains.  “I spoke to them about issues that were bothering me in my life.  I always felt comfortable speaking with them at eye level, without fear that they would react negatively.”

“Before the end of the school year, I had much hesitation whether I should enlist in the IDF immediately or first enroll in a pre-military preparatory academy,” Shalom continues.  “After many deep conversations with Ariel, I decided to enroll in a preparatory academy with two other friends from Menifa.  I believe this was the most important decision I ever made in my life and I have no doubt that Menifa led me to this choice,” he says.

Jewish Press Radio with Yishai Fleisher: We Won’t Let It Happen Again

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

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A riveting discussion about Jewish heroes is the theme of the show and Managing Editor of Jewish Press Online, Yishai Fleisher, presents a recent interview that he conducted with Lt. Col (ret.) Shai Ish-Shalom (in photo below), a member of the Israeli commando force that freed Jewish hostages in Entebbe, Uganda. Ish-Shalom talks to Yishai about his experience as a member of Sayeret Matkal, the most prestigious unit in the Israel Defense Forces along with his personal ideology about Jewish defense in both Israel and the Diaspora. Do not miss this!


Lt. Col (ret.) Shai Ish-Shalom and Yishai Fleisher
(Photo Credit: JewishPress.com)

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher Yishai on Facebook

My Week with the Israel Defense Forces

Monday, May 14th, 2012

To all of my friends and relatives who sent me their good wishes upon hearing that I volunteered for a one week tour of the army, I am now sending a little summary of what this was all about.

Sar-EL, the National Project for Volunteers for Israel, stations volunteers on IDF bases across the country. We work in army uniforms and perform non-combat support duties, working alongside regular soldiers, helping Israel shoulder its defensive burdens.

I was introduced to the program through an email from Nefesh B’Nefesh. It’s geared to new olim of all ages to have the opportunity to assist the IDF and give something back to them for all that they do for us. It sounded very exciting to me so after discussing it with Libby (after all, I’ll be away for almost a week) and receiving her support, I immediately signed up for a week, starting Sunday May 6th.

First, I had to send in a completed medical report from my doctor confirming that I was physically and mentally fit  to do the necessary work, together with my ID for the army to check out in advance. B’H- no problems there.

Sunday morning, May 6th I headed for Ben Gurion airport where I was to meet the entire group for that week. There were about 100 volunteers gathered. After presenting our papers we were assigned to specific army bases in groups varying between 12-20 in any given group. I, together with 16 others, was assigned to a base in the Negev, somewhere near Be’er Sheva. We were asked not to disclose the exact location or the name of the base. 17 of us, 11 men and 6 women boarded a bus taking us to our base. Also with us was one regular soldier (Sharon), who was to be our Madricha for the entire week. She was 19 years old while we ranged from age 40 to 86. She spoke English (somewhat) and was trained by the army to lead groups of Sar-EL such as ours.

We got to the base around 1pm and after room assignments we went to the dining room for a sumptuous fleishige lunch. After lunch we were ushered to uniform supplies. Without a tape measure the soldier in charge just looked at each of us and said “this is a perfect size for you,” and handed us our army pants, shirt (with TZAHAL insignia) and belt. Believe it or not – mine fit. Others, who were very tall and broad, could not fit into the given shirts- but the army ran out of larger sizes. So they were just given t-shirts.

We were then given 30 minutes to unpack and straighten our beds. The men’s barracks had 3 to a room; the women had 2 to a room.

Lo and behold, to our surprise the rooms were air-conditioned, and the next building which had the bathroom and showers had 4 toilets (3 in working condition) and 3 shower stalls with hot running water. For those volunteers who have done this several times this was a very pleasant surprise – because in previous bases they did not have such luxury.

3;30 – We were marched to work stations- huge warehouses and asked to remove filled duffle bags from the bins, dust the bags and shelves, and restore them in the exact location from where they were removed. We worked for 1 hour.

4:30 – Back to our rooms for shower and relaxation.

6:30 pm – Dinner. Not as fulfilling as lunch, they served (always buffet-style) lots of salads, vegetables, and something that looked like green omelets. Nothing hot to drink but plenty of ice-water on tables.

7:30 pm – Evening activity. Our group met in one large room to get to know each other. Each spoke about himself/herself, and why they enlisted for a week.

It turned out that: we had a husband and wife team, a mother and daughter team, 3 of us came from Israel and all others from chu’l; one from Italy, one from Ireland, 3 from England, and the rest from USA. 3 were not even Jewish, and only 3 of us were Shomrei Shabbat. I was amazed to hear their motives for coming. They had to leave their family, jobs, and pay full flight to get here. They were not wealthy but they put together a year of savings in order to come. Their motive? They loved Israel, and the Jewish people. Most of them had done this before and for one it was the 10th time. It gave me goose-pimples hearing them describe their love and devotion to Israel. It also gave me chizuk and inspiration.

We were informed that this army base is the largest supply base for the entire southern region, including Aza. If war were to break out in Aza the Givati and other infantry units would be sent here to pick up their guns, ammunition and supplies. It is considered a very important base and is therefore protected by the Iron Dome Missile system.

Israel’s Mona Lisa Weapon

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Meet Israel’s secret weapon against terrorism, code named “Mona Lisa.”

 

Not only is Mona Lisa an effective weapon against Arab anti-Israel terrorism, she is also one of the most effective weapons in the Israeli arsenal against the guttersnipes screaming about “Israeli Apartheid.”

 

Let us sit back and watch in amusement as Hitlerjugend from the “Boycott and Divest from Israel” movement and their fellow travelers try to cope with our Mona.

 

There are two critical things you need to know about this new secret weapon. The first is that Mona Lisa is the real name of an Israeli woman combat soldier. At her parents’ suggestion, she writes it as a single word, Monalisa.

 

The second thing you need to know is that she is an Arab.

 

Monalisa Abdo is a nineteen-year-old combat soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. She serves in one of Israel’s elite anti-terror units. Moreover, she wears the legendary red army boots that only Israel’s most elite fighting units wear, the Israeli equivalents of the American SEALS and Green Berets.

 

Monalisa grew up in Haifa. Most Israeli Arabs are not conscripted into the Israeli military but may volunteer if they wish to serve. Some do so out of patriotism and loyalty to the state, and some do so because of the career benefits and training that will help them later in the workplace. Monalisa is clearly among the former. Her story and an interview with her appeared in the December issue of Israel’s Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

 

She described the nasty comments some Arabs made to her and her family members when she signed up. She dismisses them. And her parents are squarely behind her.

 

“Israeli Arabs need to serve in the Israeli military,” she said, “to give to the country and not just take.”

 

Israel is their country too and they need to serve it, she believes. And military service is beneficial for those who serve, she added, teaching them discipline and responsibility. Monalisa’s older sister Michelin, age 21, has also decided to enlist and will start her service in a few days – in the same unit as Mona.

 

Monalisa not only asked to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces but signed up for an elite combat unit named Karkel, in which both men and women serve side by side on the front lines.

 

Karkel is the name of a wild desert cat that lives in Israel’s south. The unit is stationed in the Arava desert close to the border with Egypt. Hunting down terrorist infiltrators is its specialty.

 

She described her first day in uniform, when she was being outfitted with equipment and fatigues. The orderlies gave her the ordinary black combat boots that non-elite soldiers wear.

 

“You gave me the wrong boots,” she insisted. “I demand the red combat boots.” And she got them. She says that when she first put them on she felt like a super model. (And while old men like myself are not supposed to notice such things, from her photo it is clear she really could pass for a model if she decided to pursue that avenue instead of military service.)

 

Since starting her tour of duty, she has taken the non-commissioned officer training course and is already a NCO. She was asked in the interview how she gets along with Jewish women soldiers.

 

“There are no differences among us,” she replied. “We support and help one another.”

 

About her name – where did it come from?

 

“My father wanted me to always walk with pride with my head erect, and it had just that effect upon me,” she explained.

 

Come to think of it, maybe we have here the most effect countermeasure yet against the Western campus bashers of Israel, the anti-Semitic professors, and the jihadi wannabes holding their anti-Israel protests and whining about Israeli “apartheid.”

 

In reality, of course, Israel is the only Middle East state that is not an apartheid regime. Maybe Israel should let loose Monalisa, her sister Michelin, and the rest of the red-booted fighting tigresses and invite them to apply those boots to some anti-Israel protesters’ posteriors – with extreme prejudice.

 

Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be reached at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Montel Entertains ‘Lone Soldiers’ In Jerusalem

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

JERUSALEM – Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show host Montel Williams couldn’t do enough last week for a group of American and Canadian-born Israel Defense Forces “lone soldiers.”

Williams, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis over a decade ago, heads the Montel Williams MS Foundation and is deeply involved in supporting medical research toward finding a cure for the debilitating disease. He spent a substantial portion of his time in Israel meeting with hospital executives and doctors involved in stem cell research and experimental procedures, which they hope that one day will lead to a cure for MS.

Williams was at the tail end of his nine-day visit Israel when he was asked to partake in a Lone Soldier Center weekend gathering in Jerusalem.

The Lone Soldier Center, which was created in memory of Michael Levin, a native of Philadelphia killed during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, provides meals, outreach services and a sense of community to the hundreds soldiers who have left family and friends behind in the Diaspora in order to serve in the IDF

On Friday night, after experiencing a spiritually charged Kabbalat Shabbat at the Kotel, Williams addressed the soldiers at their monthly Shabbat dinner.

A former U.S. Marine and decorated Navy officer, Williams was also the main attraction at the Lone Soldier Center’s Motzei Shabbat bash at the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel, where he posed for pictures and schmoozed amiably with the soldiers, who were only too happy to see an American celebrity identify with them.

“It’s important to give them a sense of family and camaraderie when they have some time off. It gives these kids a chance to forget about the hard work they perform, even for a few minutes,” Williams told The Jewish Press.

During the course of the evening, the soldiers and Williams were informed of the deadly Grad rocket attacks on Ashdod and Ashkelon. Said Williams, “Honestly, Americans can’t conceive of what takes place in Israel on a daily basis.

“This is my third and longest visit to Israel. I find it phenomenal that people who live under constant threat continue to try to live their daily lives as normally as possible. Israelis are interested in living and in healing others, which really gives you a different perspective on life.”

A Thousand Arabs For One Jew

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

I have three grandsons serving in the Israel Defense Forces. If any one of them were, God forbid, captured, I would demand that every Arab murderer be set free so that my grandson would come home alive and well. I would demonstrate, argue, demand, organize marches, cry, fight, and scream that my grandson be freed.

All of the Arabs lumped together are not worth the life of any one of my grandsons.

This was the approach of the Shalit family and it appears, as this is being written, that their son will, thank God, be coming home shortly.

If I were the prime minister of Israel, however, I would not free even one Arab murderer who might return to kill more innocent children or adults.

How could I decide that releasing even one Arab murderer of Jews was justified? How could I ignore the future tears of parents and grandparents of children who would fall victim to any one of these thousand terrorists being released? How could I forget the tears of children already made orphans by Arab terrorists? How could I stand quietly and watch the smiling faces of the murderers being greeted with such joy by their fellow Arabs?

The Israel government’s action of freeing a thousand terrorists to achieve the return of one Jewish son strengthens us morally – but weakens us physically.

As a parent, I understand the Shalit family and believe that what they are doing is right. But as an Israeli and a Jew – and as a parent, grandparent and great-grandparent of Jews living in Israel who will all now be placed in greater danger by these thousand freed terrorists – I cannot believe that any intelligent government leaders would agree to such a deal.

How soon we – and the world – forget what our Arab neighbors are capable of. The 9/11 atrocity is just a few years old. The monument to the thousands who were murdered is still being built, yet the world is already forgetting.

What do you think the Arab terrorists have learned from previous deals and from this deal? Murder Jewish men, women and children and then capture one Israeli soldier and negotiate for the release of any Arab murderers captured by the Jews. They can kill Jews, they realize, because Israelis are so compassionate and foolish that if the terrorists succeed in capturing even one Israeli, they can negotiate the freedom of many of the terrorist murderers.

To understand the Arab mentality, we need only remember the reaction of the Arab “man in the street” when Israel released terrorists in the past and when news came of the destruction of 9/11 – the dancing in the streets, the distribution of candy to children, the granting of pensions to families of terrorists. And then there were all the celebrations, videotaped for the world to see, glorifying the murder of innocent Jewish children and adults.

What does that say about the national character of the Arab world?

I am impressed by the Jewish compassion for even one Jewish soul. But I am appalled by the foolishness of our Israeli government. Jewish leaders are required to be concerned about all Jews. When we free a thousand terrorists – many with Jewish blood on their hands – we are again proving to the Arabs how weak and fearful we really are.

They understand that by capturing an Israeli boy or girl they can generate a huge amount of public pressure among Israelis to trade a thousand of their terrorists for one Jew. We also quickly forget how many soldiers sacrificed their lives in the attempt to capture many of these Arab terrorist prisoners.

If Prime Minister Netanyahu can no longer take the heat of the righteous pressure applied by families and friends of Jewish captives, he should resign and let someone stronger take his place.

It is not easy being a leader. It is very difficult being the prime minister of a Jewish nation. But it is wrong to free a thousand Arab terrorists to roam the world looking for more Jewish victims. Does anyone think Gilad Shalit’s freedom is worth more than the lives of those who, God forbid, will be murdered by these freed terrorists?

The Shalit family left the protest tent in Jerusalem they had occupied for more than a year and headed home after news of the impending release of their son was broadcast. One commentator suggested that they not dismantle the tent because it may, unfortunately, soon be needed by another Israeli family whose son will be kidnapped and held hostage by Arab terrorists demanding the freeing of other murderers.

I am happy for the Shalit family. (As mentioned earlier, this is being written before the actual finalization of the deal for Shalit’s release; I only hope Netanyahu was smart enough to make sure Shalit was alive before freeing any terrorists.) But I am sad for the rest of us. We may yet end up paying an even higher price for their son.

Dov Gilor is a longtime Jewish Press contributor and columnist.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-thousand-arabs-for-one-jew/2011/10/18/

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