web analytics
August 24, 2016 / 20 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘israeli society’

Netanyahu ‘Not Prepared to Tolerate Racism in our State’

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday night received the conclusions and recommendations of a team that studied eradicating racism against Israelis of Ethiopian origin. Netanyahu received the report from Justice Ministry Director General Amy Palmor, who headed the inter-ministerial team on eradicating racism against Israelis of Ethiopian origin.

The team was established by the Prime Minister following a decision by the special ministerial committee on advancing the integration into Israeli society of Israelis of Ethiopian origin, which he chairs. The ministerial team is convening Monday to discuss the report and, most likely, approve its recommendations.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said after receiving the report, “I am not prepared to tolerate racism in our state. I am not prepared for people to be tripped up by the color of their skin. This is terrible. We, on the ministerial committee, have heard heart-rending and hair-raising stories and we started to take action against racism even beforehand. But now, in the wake of this report, which is part of our decisions, we will take further steps and I am pleased that there are people, men and women, who are determined to uproot this phenomenon from our lives. This befits neither our country, our citizens nor our people.”

The report is 170 pages long and includes 52 recommendations intended to help correct institutionalized and societal racism. It says: “For years, those of Ethiopian descent have experienced discriminatory treatment from Israeli institutions and citizens, exclusion from the public sphere, discrimination in education and employment, stigmatization and negative stereotypes, and have even been exposed to physical and verbal abuse.

“Claims by those of Ethiopian descent of institutional and police racism, and alternatively, of the forgiveness of the heads of institutions for such displays, have been heard throughout the team’s work. At this point, we have the obligation not to miss the opportunity to heal the rifts. Wide implementation of the recommended steps in this report is intended to provide the conditions required for zero tolerance for expressions of discrimination and racism.”

The report details the scandals related to the mistreatment of the Ethiopian-Israeli community in recent years, including the healthcare system’s practice of destroying blood donated by Ethiopians, injecting Ethiopian women with contraceptives without their consent, segregated maternity wards, segregating students in educational institutions, a lack of recognition of Ethiopians’ Jewish roots by the religious establishment, the use of Tasers against Ethiopian-Israeli Yosef Salamsa who later killed himself, the police assault on the soldier Damas Pakada, and Israel’s failure to retrieve Avra Mengistu, who crossed the border into Gaza.

JNi.Media

Analysis: Should Israeli Settlers Fear Trump’s Peace Negotiations? [video]

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Donald Trump’s website mentions only two foreign countries by name: in its Positions section it deals with “Reforming The US-China Trade Relationship To Make America Great Again,” and in its Issues section, which is a series of videos with the candidate spending about a minute speaking forcefully on the issues, the one country that’s mentioned as an “issue” is, you guessed, Israel.

Should Israelis and US Jews be concerned that the Jewish State is so clearly a burning issue for Trump? Not if you believe the opening, where Trump straightens his gaze at the camera and declares, “I love Israel, I’m very pro-Israel.” He hasn’t said it about any other country in quite this total fashion.

But what to Trump is the Israel issue begins and ends with what he considered, back in March, when he shot this video, a challenge to his skills as negotiator. You can be a Trump supporter and still be perplexed by the amount of personal prestige the candidate has invested in being that one American president who finally brought peace to “Israel and the Palestinians.”

“Trump is plainly the best bet for the Jews,” Seth Lipsky wrote in the NY Post Wednesday, citing neoconservative Norman Podhoretz, who berated Hillary for the 2012 rejection by the Democratic convention of restoring both God and Jerusalem to the DNC platform.

True enough, but Trump was booed at his AIPAC appearance last December when he, too, refused to commit to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“Trump’s also the candidate siding with religious Americans whose rights are in jeopardy from the proliferating series of laws and court rulings in which religious persons are being asked to bow to a liberalism hostile to religious law,” Lipsky argued.

But religious Jews are not under attack by the liberal government anywhere in America: unlike in Europe, Jewish rituals are not under attack anywhere, with the possible exception of the Bay area; why even the latest NYC policy on oral suction in circumcision is restricted to educational pamphlets, rather than court orders.

The problem with Trump regarding Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria (and, possibly, eastern Jerusalem) is the candidate’s eagerness to make a difference in the age old Israeli-Arab conflict.

Here is what Trump said on tape in March, which the campaign has chosen to keep up there as one of his key concerns:

“I would love to see a deal be made between Israel and the Palestinians. It’s probably the hardest negotiation there is. Great negotiators have tried and they failed. It’s just so deep seated, the hatred, the level of distrust.

“But I’m going to give it an awfully good shot. I want to remain as neutral as possible, because if you’re not somewhat neutral the other side is never going to do it.

“But just remember, Israel, I love you, we’re gonna’ see if we can get something done, it has to be done for both sides, it cannot continue to be the way it is. Let’s see what we can negotiate, let’s see if it can be done.”

Does the last paragraph strike you as something you might tell your child before taking him for his booster shots? It’ll hurt, for sure, but remember, Daddy loves you very much and when the doctor is done poking you Daddy will buy you an ice cream cone.

There’s no doubt that presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is easily as worrisome when it comes to Israel. She is surrounded by anti-Israel advisors, one of whom is a radical Muslim. It is a tough call to make — which Roman emperor will bring more trouble to tiny little Judea: Hillary, who might end up just talking the talk but avoid the actual walk; or Trump, who might just, God forbid, decide to test his skills — and then what would Israel do when the Arabs agree to some of his proposals and a victorious Trump turns to Netanyahu and says, Brother, I got you a great deal, just hand over control of eastern Jerusalem and take the Jews out of the “territories.”

We welcome a civilized discussion of the concerns raised in this article.

David Israel

Ya’alon: I’m Running for PM Next Elections, to Fight Hate, Discrimination and Fear Mongering

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

At his keynote speech at the 2016 Herzliya Conference, Lt. Gen. (res.) and former Minister of Defense Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon announced his plan to run for Prime Minister of Israel in the next elections. But he did not reveal in which party.

Ya’alon began by describing the current security situation of Israel and reviewed the different threats it is facing. “Terrorist organizations have taken the place of the nation states. War against them will be costly, not an existential threat towards Israel,” he said. Ya’alon argued that following the nuclear agreement with Iran, even though it continues to be “the number one element thriving to destabilize the region and attempt to hurt Israel through terrorist organizations,” it is not an immediate threat to the existence of the state of Israel.

“Knowing the strategic situation of Israel in detail, and the IDF’s power and capabilities, I can say that today and in the foreseeable future there is no existential threat to the state of Israel,” Ya’alon insisted. “Therefore,” he continued, “it is expected of the leadership to stop scaring the citizens of Israel and giving them the sense that we are on the brink of a second holocaust. It is a cynical attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the public, because of the perception that if the public is scared, they will forget the everyday challenges they are facing.”

“Last month I resigned my positions as Israel’s minister of Defense and member of the Knesset. In my announcement I declared my plan to return to public life. My intent is to run for the leadership of Israel in the next elections. The last few months have added and clarified for me the perceived differences between the prime minister and myself.”

“What I am truly worried about are not the weapon trucks travelling from Syria to Lebanon, nor Iran’s attempts to terrorize us – Israel can handle these threats. What I am worried about are the cracks in Israeli society, and the breaking down of fundamental values. The attempts to hurt the IDF in a way that endangers its resilience. The fact that the leadership became litigious instead of building an exemplary society.”

“The state of Israel needs change. We need a leadership that will lead Israel according to its conscience and not based on polls and radical responses on social media. We deserve a leadership that does not use underhanded tactics of ‘divide and concur,’ dividing and inciting Israelis against each other to gain an additional month in government.”

“It is the role of a state leadership to connect the different parts of society, not tear them apart. We require a leadership that would not allow attacking judges and Supreme Court. We deserve a leadership that is not busy with incitement and lashing out against judges and enslaving the media for its own survival needs. The media in Israel must be free and unthreatened, and allow people of all opinions on the right and the left to express them. We deserve a leadership that will be a model of tolerance, a leadership that will vigorously fight sexual harassments and violence against women. A leadership that will not base its survival upon hatred and incitement towards leftists, rightists, settlers, Arabs, Kibbutz members, or any other group – only to get a few more votes.”

“Israel must remain a Jewish, democratic state, and part of the family of nations. It must not allow the violent and racist discourse of a radical minority that have infiltrated the mainstream and the leadership to roll us down to the abyss.”

“A change is important for the future of the state of Israel and it is our obligation to execute it for our future. Therefore, I plan to offer an alternative to the current leadership, because we have no other country,” Ya’alon concluded.

David Israel

Jerusalem Day Special: Ancient City’s Latest Facts and Figures

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

In honor of Jerusalem Liberation Day, which is being celebrated on Sunday, June 5 this year (because Israeli holidays go by the Jewish calendar), the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) has issued a plethora of stats about the city, gathered in the years 2014-15. So, here’s a sampling of everything you may have wanted to know about the tangible Jerusalem of this world:

Jerusalem is the largest city in Israel. By the end of 2015, there were bout 870,000 residents living in the eternal city, roughly 10% of Israel’s population.

Compare this with 2014, when Jerusalem boasted only 850,000 residents, out of whom 534,000 were Jews and others (63%) and 316,000 Arabs (37%).

Out of the Jews of Jerusalem, 32% define themselves as ultra-Orthodox, 17% are religious, 13% traditional-religious, 15% traditional but not so religious, and only 21% are secular.

Of those additional 20,000 residents, about 19,800 were added via natural reproduction, about 3,700 moved in from the rest of the country and from abroad, and about 3,500 left to other locations.

The main sources in Israel of migration to Jerusalem are the cities of Beit Shemesh, Tel Aviv, and B’nai B’rak. Jerusalemites who leave the city go to Beit Shemesh, Tel Aviv, and the enclave of Givat Ze’ev which borders Jerusalem.

The overall fertility rate (average number of children a Jerusalem woman is expected to bear in her lifetime) in Jerusalem is 3.91, far higher than the national average of 3.08.

A Jerusalem average household has 3.8 members, also larger than the national average of 3.3.

On the work front, though, Jerusalem could improve a lot: only 51% of Jerusalem residents are counted in the work force, compared with 64.1% nationwide. This does not necessarily mean folks in Jerusalem don’t work for a living, it could mean more of them fail to report.

Jerusalemites don’t like to commute: 88.4% of the city’s working residents are employed in their city, compared with 71.7% in Haifa, 62.2% in Tel Aviv, 57.2% in Ashdod, 44.4% in Petach Tikvah, and 36.2% in Rishon L’Tzion.

Jerusalem retains its residents: a full 77% of them have lived in the city for more than 20 years.

While 57% of Israelis nationwide are satisfied with the size and proportion of green spaces in their cities, only 30% of Jerusalemites believe they have enough parks.

In the school year 2014-15, 65.5% of Jerusalem students were in Haredi educational institutions, compared with 65.3% in 2013-14. This trend has continued persistently, as the number of ultra-Orthodox students is going up and secular students’ down.

In related statistics: fewer than half (48%) of 12th grade students in Hebrew education institution took the matriculation exams in 2013-14, compared with 51% the year before. This means that more than half of the city’s young people are eligible to attend college.

Also related: Jerusalem registers the lowest average annual income out of Israel’s eight largest cities: $37,944.36.

As for housing, 57.9% of Jerusalem residents own their apartment or home, 30.9% rent, and the rest live in school dormitories or rent paying a key fee (one high amount up front, followed by small monthly payments). The average price for a Jerusalem apartment is $484,026.34, the average monthly rent is $826.12.

Regarding visitors: 78% of tourists who arrived in Israel made sure to visit Jerusalem (the rest, mostly Scandinavians and Germans, presumably landed directly on Eilat’s magnificent beaches down south).

Close to 900,000 foreign visitors spent a night in Jerusalem’s hotels, marking close to 3,000,000 nights altogether.

JNi.Media

80,000 Israelis Celebrate Passover in National Parks

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Some 80,000 Israelis spent the first day of the Passover holiday Saturday visiting the country’s national parks and forests.

Israeli officials ask the public to please be sure to pick up after themselves while enjoying the beautiful weather and nature reserves, so that others can enjoy the same environment too.

Last year during the Passover holiday, a total of one million Israeli and foreign tourists visited the various parks and nature reserves around the country.

Hana Levi Julian

The Clash at the Kotel: Where is the Wisdom?

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

A short while ago I wrote a post lamenting the fact that there are actually people in Israel who refuse to wear a kipa at their own wedding. They refuse to in any way identify with observant Jewry. After last Friday, I can’t really say I blame him. If I were a secular Jew seeing what took place last Friday at the Kotel, the last thing I would ever want to do is identify with observant Jewry.

This event is being published in all media including the New York Times. This morning when I skimmed through the pages of the Chicago Tribune a picture of the event hit me in the face along with an article describing it. The Jewish Press says it all:

Haredi men are cursing the praying women, and occasionally throw water bottles and garbage at them.

I wasn’t going to react to this in a post. It would seem like I was gloating after I had written a post just prior to the event predicting that this might happen. I had hoped it wouldn’t. I had hoped that there would be a major kiddush HaShem with thousands of young women showing up and praying at the Kotel with tremendous sincerity perhaps praying in some way for the welfare of family; or friends; or the entirety of Jewish people. But in my heart I knew it would not end well. And unfortunately I was right. I am not gloating. I am sad that this happened. Sad… and angry! When I saw that Tribune article it hit a raw nerve.

This event goes way beyond any contentiousness about the rights of the women of the wall. I am not one of their supporters. One can debate whether they have a right to do what they do there. But no matter how opposed one is to them, to create a hilul HaShem in that cause not only undermines their goal, it projects an image to the world that the most religious Jews among us… those who claim to be the most authentic representatives of the Chosen People are primitive savages!

As I said in last Thursday’s post, these kinds of protests attract trouble makers. It doesn’t take that many… 5 or 6 people can do things that will make us all look bad. And when I say all.. I mean all of Jewry, Haredim, Modern Orthdodox, and even secular Jews.

I’m sure that there are some people out there who read these articles and said this is how Jews act. And even those who didn’t are certainly saying the this is what Ultra-Orthodox Judaism is all about. If one wears a kipa the world looking at him will increasingly think of images like the one above.

I have to ask. With all the good intention of Israel’s rabbinic leaders, how could they not see that this was going to happen? It isn’t as though protests in the past never had things like this happen. The fact is that this almost always happens.

How many times were reporters spat upon by extremists in Meah Shearim protesting hilul Shabbos? How many dumpsters have been set on fire in protests like these? How many windshields have been broken by rocks being thrown at them during one of these protests in Meah Shearim? Meah Shearim is pretty close to the Kotel… literally a stone’s throw! This is not the first time that rabbis have called for a peaceful protest and violence broke out.

How can they know the potential of violence is real and yet still think that a simple instruction to not be violent will work? “Eizehu hacham? Haroeh es hanolad”—Who is the wise man? The one who foresees the consequences of their actions.

Where is the wisdom?

We have many learned Rabbis who are looked to for guidance by observant Jews. Many of them asked seminaries to empty out and go to the Kotel to protest the Women of the Wall. That is exactly what they did. And look what happened.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Harry Maryles

Some of My Best Friends Are…

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

I am not one to follow beauty pageants. Least of all those held in Israel. I am not going to get into the Halachic issues here – which do exist. As it pertains to this post it is a side issue. I am, however, going to get into another troubling issue – that of racism.

An article in the Forward cites an Israeli journalist that actually asks the question about whether Yityish Aynaw deserved to win the title Miss Israel. I don’t think that question has ever been asked before about any other winner of that title. No matter what she looked like. Why did he ask it here? Can anyone guess? Well, just in case you hadn’t noticed, the color of her skin is black. Here is what he said:

“I think it is really great that an Ethiopian-born woman won our national beauty pageant, I really do. If she were also beautiful it would have been even better.” Right! He thinks it’s great! And some of his best friends are…

What a disgusting comment! It is truly sickening when skin color becomes an issue in any circumstance. To say that someone who won a contest is not really all that beautiful but was chosen for political reasons in only this case is an insult to both the winner and to an entire race of people.

It is also an insult to me and to anyone with any sense of human dignity. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That this journalist doesn’t think she is beautiful may in fact be true. Maybe he doesn’t. I will even grant that beauty pageants are political and winners are chosen for reasons other than physical beauty.

But this has always been true. And yet I don’t ever recall anyone saying that a beauty contest winner in Israel was not beautiful enough to have won. To do so now seems to show a certain degree of racism that is deeply buried in the unconscious mind of that journalist. He probably isn’t even aware of his own racial bias. Or… maybe he is and is disguising it by putting it in political terms.

Israel has recently been accused of racist tactics with respect to its Ethiopian immigrants. I don’t know how true that is. Although there is racism among some of its citizens as was pointed out last month by an op-ed in Ynet. But when journalist post messages like this on his Facebook page I think it exposes a certain degree of it. Even if it is only in the unconscious mind.

The unconscious mind dictates a lot of how humankind behaves. Decisions are often made that are racially biased and yet not realized as such by the decision makers.

I do not mean to impugn Israel. It is not a racist state. Far from it – despite accusations to the contrary. No one has done more for the plight of Ethiopian Jewry than the State of Israel. They have attempted mightily to mainstream these new immigrants and have achieved a measure of success in doing so. The fact that Miss Israel was an officer in the IDF at age 21 demonstrates that.

But the fact that there still exists this kind of subliminal thinking seems to be true as well. When journalists question why a black woman won a beauty contest – even if it is disguised as referring only to this particular black woman – it impacts on public opinion. I think that is sad. That he said it only on his Facebook page – perhaps thinking only his “Friends” would see it – makes it even sadder. That would mean he knew his comment wasn’t all that Kosher.

I’m sure that there are many (hopefully most) Israelis that do not have a prejudice bone in their bodies. But obviously there are some who do have a bone or two in their bodies that is prejudiced

Those who do, like this journalist – need to work on their attitudes and root out any and all prejudice whether conscious or not. It is the right thing to do.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Harry Maryles

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/some-of-my-best-friends-are/2013/03/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: