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September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jaffa’

Historic Visit to Israel by Lebanon’s Courageous Maronite Patriarch

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

In honor of Pope Francis, the head of Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic Church defied threats to his life this week and came to Israel.

Cardinal Beshara Ra’i is the first Lebanese cleric to arrive in the Jewish State since 1948. Having arrived on Saturday to begin a week-long visit, he joined the pontiff Sunday for the first leg of his two-day tour of the Holy Land in Bethlehem. Much of the weekend, however, he spent traveling around Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem’s Old City and surrounds.

But on Monday he took what critics saw as an irrevocable political step by crossing into “pre-1967″ Israel — arriving at a Maronite community in the ancient port city of Jaffa (Yafo), next to Tel Aviv. There are numerous Lebanese Christians living in Israel, many of whom emigrated in order to stay alive after the IDF withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Lebanese media called the cleric’s visit a “historic sin,” though he was greeted by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas with a medal, the ‘Star of Jerusalem’ for his efforts.

“We came here for the goal of strengthening our belief,” he told journalists when asked why he had taken the risk.

Sources aligned to the Hezbollah terrorist organization warned last week the Cardinal’s visit “cannot not pass quietly,” the Times of Israel reported. Likewise the Lebanese As-Safir quoted unnamed sources who said, “The patriarch’s move puts the Christian existence in the east in danger at a time when their presence is being increasingly targeted in the entire region.”

Christians have long been tormented by various Islamist groups, not only in Lebanon but also in Egypt. They have also been harassed in Palestinian Authority-controlled Bethlehem, where the city’s former Christian majority has now dwindled to a bare ten percent of its current Muslim majority population.

The pro-Hezbollah daily Al-Akhbar ran a fiery op-ed against the visit one week ago, warning, “When Beshara Ra’i travels to ‘Israel’ with the knowledge and consent of the occupation authorities, he creates a dangerous precedent . . . he humanizes the enemy, breaking the taboo and opening the door to all the believers eager to visit the holy sites. When will organized tours begin, guarded by Tzahal (the Israeli army) and hosted by Israeli companies eager to smuggle their products into Lebanon for years?”

The Cardinal responded with an interview in the Lebanese daily An-Nahar, pointing out, “His Holiness the Pope will grace the patriarchate with his visit and it would be inappropriate for us not to welcome him in our lands Jordan and Palestine, which is Israel today. I know full well that Israel is an enemy state which occupies Lebanese land as well, and I respect Lebanese law [banning visits to Israel.] We have no meetings with Israeli officials and I am sorry that some Lebanese wish to create problems where there are none.”

Pope Francis, who began his visit to the region in Amman, pointed out before leaving Jordan that the freedom of worship is an essential human right, and expressed the hope of seeing that upheld throughout the Middle East.

It would appear that only in Israel are members of all three monotheistic faiths assured of their rights to worship.

Senior Maronite Archbishop Paul Sayah added the Cardinal’s visit was purely religious and not linked to the “regrettable situation that exists between Lebanon and Israel.”

Desecration of Israeli Flags in Jaffa (Yafo)

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Unknown vandals desecrated a line of Israeli flags set up along a street in the Tel Aviv suburb of Jaffa (Yafo) in the wee hours of Wednesday.

Red paint was splattered on Israel’s national flags, which were strung along the street to honor the upcoming national Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays next week.

Police have opened an investigation into the incident.

The ancient port city of Jaffa is home to a mixed population of Arabs and Jews. There have been tensions over the growing numbers of religious Jews in the city, and the establishment of yeshivot and other religious Jewish schools and facilities there.

It’s Raining Chocolates in Tel Aviv

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Along with the much needed rain that drenched Israel this past weekend, Tel Aviv experienced a different kind of rain – chocolates galore – at the city’s annual Chocolate Festival.

From chocolate shwarmas and kebabs, to chocolate jewelry, sculptures, and even a chocolate spa, the festival took place at the old train station in Yafo (Jaffa).

The three-day festival that began on Thursday featured top Israeli chocolatiers and chocolate-makers from across the country and an array of chocolate-related activities for visitors of all ages including chocolate sushi-making. Organized by Yael Rose, an Israeli living in London who has facilitated chocolate festivals across the United Kingdom for years, the Israeli festival attracted some 20,000 people this year.

“We took three things into consideration when organizing this year’s festival,” Eran Levy-Zaks, the press consultant for the festival, told Tazpit News Agency. “We had to choose a time when the Middle Eastern climate was conducive to chocolates – the cool weather in February is always great. And with Valentine’s Day and the general fact that Israelis love festivals, we decided that this was the time to do it.”

While the chocolate industry is not a large one in Israel, people traveled both near and far to attend the second annual Chocolate Festival. The chocolate stalls during the festival were packed, and even the rain didn’t keep too many people away.

Meital, a university student, traveled all the way from Haifa to try the chocolates. “It’s a unique experience and worth the trip,” she explained to Tazpir. “And I love chocolates – especially the sweet variety.” Next to her, Samira, an Arab Muslim  who walked from nearby Yafo, explains that she came the previous year and had to see what was in store for this year’s festival. “But bitter chocolate is my favorite,” she added.

At the boutique Holy Cacao Chocolate stand, flavors ranged from spicy Mexican chili-pepper chocolate to more traditional mint and coffee flavored chocolates. Founded by American Jo Zander, Holy Cacao is Israel’s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker. Located in Ma’aleh Hever in the southern Hebron Hills, it is the only Israeli chocolate maker that imports its cocoa beans.

Perhaps the festival’s most unusual attraction was a chocolate spa, run by Marina Kuzmenko, an owner of a spa in Nahariya which provides chocolate peel treatments to clients. Her chocolate concoction, which is 100% cocoa-based, remains a secret recipe and is inedible, explains Marina, who made aliyah from the Ukraine 15 years ago. “The chocolate is good for your skin and leaves it feeling soft and smelling like chocolate for days,” she says.

Deny Israel’s Existence and You Can Win $100 (Video)

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

The Palestinian Authority’s official television authority is broadcasting entertainment programs that offer the “Arab on the street” $100 for correctly identifying Israeli landmarks and borders as being “Palestinian,” another step in educating people that Israel does not exist.

The program, of course is broadcast in Arabic, so U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry does not watch it. He also probably does not read the Jewish Press or the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) website, which translated and published the program’s dialogue.

Unlike the chosen people who know that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is talking out of both sides of his month when he backs “two states side by side,” the Obama administration remains ignorant of the program, which shows that Yafo (Jaffa), Tzfat (Safed), the port of Ashdod and metropolitan Tel Aviv all are really cities in “Palestine.”

“On the beach of which Palestinian village did the whale spew out the prophet Jonah? Naturally, it’s a coastal city,” the “reporter on the street” asked an Arab, who immediately answered, “Ashdod.”

Give that man $100 for the “correct” answer.

Here is another question that won a lucky respondent $100: “Which city did [Palestinian writer] Mustafa Dabbagh call ‘The city that fell from Heaven?’”

The man asked if the city is “in Palestine or outside of Palestine?” When he got the big clue that, of course, it is inside Palestine, he came up with the “right” answer as “Maybe Jaffa?”

The reporter gleefully told him, “Correct answer. Jaffa. You win $100 from [the sponsor] Wataniya Mobile.”

Here is more of the transcript provided by PMW.

PA TV reporter: “A lake in Northern Palestine drained by the Israeli occupation. What is the name of the lake?”

Man: “The Sea of Galilee? Kinneret].”

PA TV reporter: “Think.”

Man: “The Hula [Lake].”

PA TV reporter: “You’ve earned $100 from the [sponsor] Bank of Palestine.”

The reporter also asked, “Name the Palestinian village in Northern Safed whose name means ‘beetle’ in the Syriac language, and whose residents are mostly Druze.”

PA TV reporter: “The correct answer is Hurfeish, the Palestinian village in Northern Safed whose name means ‘beetle’. Congratulations. You win $100.” The answer would be a big surprise to the residents of Hurfeish, who are Druze.

PA TV reporter: “What is the highest mountain in Palestine?”

Man: “Mt. Meron.” (Mt. Meron is in Northern Israel.) The reporter also asked respondents to identify which “country has the longest border with Palestine?”

The answer “Jordan” won a person $100 for identifying the country and eliminating the existence of Israel in one swipe.

The program is not the first time Palestinian Authority television has educated its viewers that Israel does not exist, but to do so at the same that the Obama administration is pushing Israel into direct talks to establish the Palestinian Authority as an independent country raises the validity of Abbas’ position that the talks should be based on the 1967 borders.

The program shows that he favors that the borders remain as they are, from the Golan Heights and the Lebanese border to the Egyptian border and from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

One small change he wants is to change the word “Israel” to “Palestine.”

Mashaal in Gaza Promises Today Gaza, Tomorrow Jerusalem, Haifa and Jaffa

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

If anyone needed more proof of the fact that Israel is losing the war against the Palestinians, this report should do the job.

Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal made his first visit to the Gaza Strip—second in his life—on Friday, telling crowds he hoped his next visit would be to Jerusalem, Ramallah and a liberated Palestine, Ma’an reported.

According to Ma’an, Hamas denied seeking guarantees via Egyptian contacts with Israel that Mashaal would not be targeted for assassination in Gaza.

I tend to believe the Hamas claim. There was massive security in place for Mashaal’s arrival, with armed, black-masked guards from the Hamas military wing patrolling the streets in open trucks and motorbikes. But those would not have been able to stop a single, well aimed drone rocket from taking out the great leader. Because, let’s face it, the world has not yet forgiven Netanyahu for that last botched poisoning attempt on Mashaal.

Mashaal said his visit to Gaza was his “third birth,” referring to that attempt by Israeli Mossad agents in 1997 as his previous “re-birth.” Back then Israel had to give up serious assets, including the release of the Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, and sheepishly hand the Jordanians the antidote to save Mashaal’s life.

Mashaal stood in the open air, before a crowd of thousands, exposed and unafraid.

At the same time, Netanyahu was too fearful of enraging the world by taking out this arch murderer, adorned chief of a gang of thugs. Just as he was too fearful of going into Gaza to finish the job and topple the Hamas. Just as he’s starting to backtrack on his E1 threat. Look at Netanyahu and understand that we’re losing this war.

Accompanied by Gaza’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Mashaal announced: “I pray to God that my fourth birth will come the day we liberate Palestine. Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah and after that Jerusalem then Haifa and Jaffa.”

Sadly, this vision appears to differ from a recent statement made by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem (a center dedicated to the memory of the man who laid down the ground for the future of peace in the Middle East): “Israel is prepared to live in peace with a Palestinian state, but for peace to endure, Israel’s security must be protected. The Palestinians must recognize the Jewish State and they must be prepared to end the conflict with Israel once and for all.”

Mashaal is prepared to end the conflict once and for all, but in his own unique idiom, in a manner involving many Jews swimming in the sea.

“This is the most beautiful day in my life,” 27-year-old policeman Mohammed Abed told Ma’an. “I kissed him on the head.”

Mashaal, 56, had been widely understood not to have set foot in Palestine since he left his native Judea and Samaria with his family at age 11. But in his speech he indicated he had returned for a visit as a teenager in 1975.

The Hamas chief visited the home of the late founder and spiritual leader of the party, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated by Israel in 2004.

That would have been another proper moment for a rocket launch from several miles away – create two shahids on the same location. Didn’t happen.

“Sheikh Ahmad Yassin linked reconciliation and resistance. As Hamas leaders, and from Ahmad Yassin’s house, we promise to implement national reconciliation and end the division,” Mashaal said.

Kaboom – right in the middle of the lovely reunion – but it was not to be.

Mashaal visited the homes of Hamas military commander Ahmad al-Jaabari and his bodyguard Mohammad al-Hams, whom Israel assassinated on Nov. 14 at the start of its eight day war on Gaza.

He also visited the al-Dalou family home. Israel killed 10 members of the family, including four children and five women, as well as two of their neighbors, in an air strike on Nov. 18.

“All Palestinians will eventually return to their homeland. Khaled Mashaal is returning after a victory,” said veteran Hamas strategist Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Yes, a victory, they won, we lost, and we’re continuing to lose.

Mashaal will stay for a little more than 48 hours in Gaza, which Hamas has ruled since a 2007 war with Fatah that rules parts of Judea and Samaria.

Gaza City has been festooned with green Hamas flags and a stage set up, complete with a huge model of the makeshift M75 rocket, fired at both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem last month.

And we did nothing to stop it.

Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Eleven: Made in Heaven

Monday, August 27th, 2012

When Tevye’s entourage reached the port of Jaffa, hoping to discover something about their fellow travelers who had set sail to Palestine ahead of them, the first thing he saw gave him the shivers. Hadn’t he just asked Rabbi Kook for a blessing to find husbands for his daughters? Who was sitting at a dockside cafe but Nachman’s two friends, Shmuelik and Hillel! For weeks, they had been waiting for Tevye and Nachman to arrive in the Holy Land. Like long lost relatives, everyone rushed to embrace. “Shalom aleichem!” they called.

Aleichem shalom!” Tevye answered.

“May your coming be blessed and your prayers all be answered,” Shmuelik joyfully wished.

Amen,” Tevye answered. “Amen.”

Nachman’s friends grabbed his hands and swung him around in a dance. Tevye turned toward his daughters who were watching from the wagon.

“Tzeitl, Hava, Bat Sheva, come quickly!” he called. “Look who fell out from the sky! Our old friends Shmuelik and Hillel!”

It was a match made in Heaven, Tevye thought. Several matches at once! With a father’s imagination, Tevye dreamed that Shmuelik would marry Bat Sheva, Goliath would marry Tzeitl, and after Hevedke failed in his studies, please God, Hillel would make Hava his wife. Satisfied with the happy futures awaiting his daughters, Tevye seized the hands of his companions and joined the festive circle of singing. Ignoring the ominous glances of Turkish soldiers who were looking their way, the Jews threw their heads back and sang up to Heaven a traditional wedding tune.

“Soon we will hear

The singing of the chatan and kallah,

The joy of the groom and the bride,

On the hills of Judea and Jerusalem.”

Mediterranean Blues

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Young IDF soldier playing saxophone on the Tel Aviv boardwalk near Jaffa, May 3, 2012.

“The port area is a mixed suburb of buildings, interlaced by small streets, the main one of square cobblestones. Scores of shops, pubs, art and exhibition galleries, entertainment centers and restaurants – from Eastern European to Ethiopian, from kosher to crabs, from spaghetti bolognaise to bourekas – have gone up not far from the garages and large stores.  The nearer you get to the boardwalk and the sea, the more places you find to eat and drink.”

Mike Porter, Tel Aviv Boardwalk, Ezra Magazine

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/mediterranean-blues/2012/05/15/

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