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August 31, 2016 / 27 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’

Tu b’Av Love and the Power of “Shema”

Friday, August 19th, 2016

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Shema Yisrael! The phrase that one hears when the Torah comes out of the Ark, when a child is named, every day morning and night, and even when, God forbid, the sword is at your throat. Rabbi Mike Feuer joins Rabbi Yishai for Spiritual Cafe to discuss the epic Torah portion of Ve’etchanan, the Ten Commandments, the Shema, and the fact that there is no other but Him! Don’t miss the stories, the laughs, and your emails on this week’s Yishai Fleisher Show.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Moshe Herman

Jerusalem Spreads Slowly To The East

Friday, August 19th, 2016

Fresh off three weeks of mourning over that which is still missing in “rebuilt Jerusalem,” let us now take an optimistic look at the ongoing expansion of the Holy City. We would like specifically to look toward the sun: the east of eastern Jerusalem.

Jerusalem has traditionally expanded toward the west. This is true not only of the modern era but even during the times of King Hezekiah of Judea nearly 3,000 years ago. Visitors to the Old City are likely familiar with the “Broad Wall,” much of which (over 200 feet) is preserved “as was” amid today’s modern Jewish homes.

King Hezekiah built it to the west of what was then Jerusalem, for the purpose of protecting the most recent olim chadashim (new immigrants) to the city – refugees from the exiled Ten Tribes who made their way to the Holy City. Upon their arrival, the king expanded the small city to the west – marking the direction for generations to come.

We have seen the westward expansion in recent decades and centuries most clearly. Ever since the city was walled in the early 16th century by the Turkish Sultan Suleiman, the Jews and other residents basically clung to the safety of the enclosure and did not move outside the walls. Even when leaving the city for business, they would return at night, locking the gates behind them.

Only in the 19th century did several brave Jewish pioneers seek to “break out” – to the west. In 1860, the first residential neighborhood outside the Old City was dedicated: Mishkenot Shaananim, just west of Mt. Zion. The site had been purchased by Sir Moses Montefiore from funds left for him in Judah Touro’s estate. The original plan was for 20 new apartments, with an accompanying modern bathhouse and a mikveh, to be used by families of the kollelim of the Old City for three years at a time. The objective was to enable as many families as possible to enjoy the modern homes and non-crowded living conditions.

It turned out, however, that the demand did not quite meet the supply, because the residents were afraid to leave the safety of the walls. In the end, families had to be offered not only permanent residence there but also a monthly stipend in order to move in.

Despite its rocky start, it led to the founding of other new neighborhoods outside the walls, including the Russian Compound to the north of Mishkenot Shaananim, Meah She’arim still further north, and many others.

In 1967, when the Old City and environs were liberated, the same trend continued: new neighborhoods to the west, north, and south. What of the east? All the growth, expansion, and dynamism passed it by, and it was left to the foreigners, most of whose ancestors had arrived only in recent decades from Syria, North Africa, and other Muslim areas.

Rabbi Yisrael Rosenne, author of a column in one of Israel’s longest-running weekly synagogue Torah sheets, Shabbat B’Shabbato, dedicated his thoughts last week to the “rays of light” coming from the east. He noted the small but blossoming sites of new Jewish settlement in what is truly, and not merely in political jargon, eastern Jerusalem. They deserve to be mentioned here as well: Beit Orot, Beit HaShiv’ah, Maaleh HaZeitim, Nof Tzion, the City of David, Kidmat Tzion, and others.

One new Jewish site in eastern Jerusalem is Beit HaHoshen, two adjacent buildings atop the Mt. of Olives purchased by a Jewish group in April 2006. A giant Israeli flag unfurled above it can be seen from any high point in Jerusalem – a symbol of the Jews’ return to their homeland after nearly 2,000 years of wandering.

The Yemenite Village in eastern Jerusalem is another site that deserves our attention. Founded in 1885 by Yisrael Dov Frumkin, he built a synagogue there and paved the way for some 65 Yemenite Jewish families to live on the slopes of the Mt. of Olives. The settlement thrived, but the Arab riots that engulfed the Land of Israel in the 1930s defeated it. The British rulers told the Jews they couldn’t protect them and that they must leave, but promised they could return. Little did anyone realize the promise would be fulfilled not by the British, but by the state of Israel, and only many decades later. Over the years, many Jewish families have returned to the various “new” homes in the area: Beit Yehonatan, Beit HaDvash, Beit Ovadiah, Beit Frumkin, and more.

E-1: #1 in the East

Yet the largest of all projects east of Jerusalem is essentially frozen without even having gotten off the ground. Two decades ago the government of Israel decided on a large-scale housing project east of the capital. It was called E1 – E stands for “east” – and was planned to be built on a large tract of land to create a contiguity of Jewish presence toward Maaleh Adumim.

The E-1 site covers an area of largely uninhabited, state-owned land, and is of critical importance. Without control of the E-1 area, wrote the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs back in 2009, Israel must worry “about a Palestinian belt of construction that will threaten Jerusalem from the east, block the city’s development eastward, and undermine Israel’s control of the Jerusalem-Jericho road. This major artery is of paramount strategic importance for Israel in order to transport troops and equipment eastward and northward via the Jordan Rift Valley in time of war.”

Despite this, alas, E-1 remains a reality only on paper, due to international fears fueled by Arab pressures. The claim that a Jewish E-1 would cut in half the PA-controlled areas of northern Judea and undermine PA contiguity is false. Israel has actually planned a new highway, with no security roadblocks, that would allow northbound Arab traffic to pass east of Maaleh Adumim.

Most unfortunately, the frozen E-1 program is barely even mentioned these days in public discourse. The only encouraging news on E-1 in recent months has been the confiscation or destruction by the IDF Civil Administration of EU-funded structures for Arabs, in various stages of construction.

KeepJerusalem has long emphasized the importance of more and more construction in all parts of Jerusalem, as well as the need to stand up for Israeli interests even in the face of strong Arab and international pressure. Construction and increased housing will solve many of Jerusalem’s long and short-term problematic issues, and must become a top priority of the city and national government. For more information, to help out, and/or to participate in bus tours of news-making areas in Jerusalem, contact tours@keepjerusalem.org.

Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org

Israeli Ministry of Tourism Launches Competition in Developing Tourism Applications

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

By Ilana Messika/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Israeli Ministry of Tourism launched its second Hackathon on Monday, a competition spearheaded by the ministry’s Information Systems, Digital and New Media Division designed to develop tourism applications for mobile devices.

“We expect the hackathon to motivate startups to develop significant and innovative applications for tourists,” Tourism Ministry spokeswomen Anat Shihor-Aronson and Michal Gerstler told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “Those applications are part of Israel’s digital identity and make up the infrastructure that supports tourists when they plan out how to tour Israel.”

“The project is part of the ministry’s efforts to promote innovation and to diversify and improve the tourist experience in Israel,” they explained.

The ministry set up a tourism information database on its website to help with the development of the applications. The database allows any business to be included in accordance with certain criteria and lists hotels, bed and breakfasts, trails, tour guides, and the like. The index was launched in Hebrew and in English, but will be translated into other languages later in the future.

A total of ten Hackathon participants will be selected by November, 2016 to take part in the upcoming 23rd Innovation Conference at the International Mediterranean Tourism Market, (IMTM) which will be held on February 7-8, 2017 at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.

The IMTM is a professional trade exhibition of the Israeli tourism market. According to the IMTM website, the conference “features exhibitors representing just about every aspect of Israel’s tourism market, alongside a significant number of exhibitors from overseas. The fair is highlighted by professional workshops, seminars, and press conferences”.

Israeli and global tourism industry leaders will serve as judges in the competition, alongside Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi. Tourism Minister Yariv Levin will present the prize to the winning team.

Shihor-Aronson and Gerstler informed TPS that “while the development of the application has obvious advantages in that it can serve a larger target audience, it is also important in that it can serve the Israeli consumer and has the ability to rekindle a love for Israel among Israeli youth in general and among computer programmers in particular.”

The top three finalists will receive cash prizes of NIS 10,000, NIS 5,000, and NIS 2,500, respectively.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Palestinians are a Thorn [video]

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

It’s interesting how unintentionally our enemies often manage to fit themselves right into interesting phrases from the Torah.

For instance, in this video from the Palestinian Authority, the singer describes the “Palestinians” as a thorn in the throat of Zionism.

Which parallels the pasuk (sentence) in Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:55 where it says, “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell.” Yup.

Singer: “We are not afraid of the enemy – a thorn in the throat of Zionism! Palestinians – We are! We are! The people of Jerusalem – We are! We are! The people of Jenin – We are! We are! … The people of Gaza… The people of Jaffa – We are! We are! The people of Haifa – We are! We are! The people of Lod – We are! We are! The people of Ramle The people of Acre – We are! We are! The people of Nazareth – We are! We are! … We swear in the name of the prisoners In place of one [prisoner], here are ten We have given them [Israelis] a taste of grief We have given them a taste of grief – a thorn in the throat of Zionism!” [Official PA TV, July 30 and Aug. 6, 2016]

Following are all the places in Israel mentioned throughout the song: Jaffa, Haifa, Lod, Ramle, Acre, Nazareth, Galilee, Beer Sheva, Tiberias, Safed, Beit Shean and Jerusalem.

Following are the places in the PA: Jenin, Hebron, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Nablus, Gaza, Jericho, Ramallah

Video of the Day

Israeli Animators Win Prestigious Award in New York

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

By Ilana Messika/TPS

New York (TPS) – Two Israeli animators won an international award on Monday after their film was selected as one of the best featured at Animation Block Party, a prestigious animation competition that took place in New York in July.

Gal Haklay and Shulamit Tager, both graduates of the Bezalel Institute of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, won first place in the original design category for their animated film Scapegoat, chosen from a total of 100 films competing for awards at the festival.

“Winning the competition was a great compliment,” the animators told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “When we received the announcement, we were really excited and honored that our film got selected along with other great animations from around the world.”

Haklay and Tager explained that Scapegoat was a modern interpretation of the scapegoat story from the Bible, where a goat was sacrificed in order to cleanse human beings of their sins.

The duo said that they derived inspiration for the film from their home city.

“Israel, and more specifically Jerusalem, is where we live and we were influenced by its atmosphere,” they told TPS. “The city itself and its surroundings along with its historical and biblical roots are all elements that inspired our story. We were also inspired by numerous Israeli animation movies that we encountered over the course of our studies.”

“In our film, instead of a goat, we depicted a human being who is not accepted by society and who finds himself on his way to Azazel,” they explained, referring to the rugged mountain cliff in Biblical scripture from which the goat was thrown to its death.

“Throughout the movie, the main character Ben has to deal with the animal inside him,” continued the film creators. “He is not human enough to fit in with people in the city, yet not savage enough to fit in with the wild desert. The character’s journey also portrays the struggle in searching for individuality within a ‘herd.’”

The production of the film was also supported by the Yehoshua Rabinovich Foundation and The Jerusalem Film and Television Fund.

Animation Block Party is the largest animation festival on the East Coast of the United States and is “dedicated to showcasing the world’s best independent, professional, and student animation,” according to its website.

The Bezalel Institute of Arts and Design is Israel’s oldest institute of higher education, having been established in 1906. Bezalel offers courses ranging from fine arts to architecture, photography, visual communication, screen-based arts, art history, and art theory.

“We are proud of our students for their great achievement,” said Professor Dudu Mezach, chairman of the Screen-Based Arts Department at Bezalel. “They represent the Bezalel Academy with great honor in many competitions around the world.”

“The students’ success in competitions reflects the excellent work of all those at Bezalel and we wish them much success in their future endeavors,” Mezach added.

Michael Bachner contributed to this article.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Sanz Hasidism’s Secret Revealed: How Couples Buy a Home for $660 a Month

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

It’s no secret that the Haredi sector in Israel is suffering from a terrible housing shortage which is only getting worse. But according to Walla, at least one Hasidic court has found a solution. Apparently, young newlyweds in Sanz are able to buy apartment in the “periphery” which is Israeli code for not in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya, Haifa or anywhere along the coast, for up to $185,000 without making a significant down payment.

Sources in Sanz are saying the problem is not an apartment shortage but a money shortage: few young Haredi couples are able to come up with the minimum down payment of about $80,000. Which is why at Sanz they launched the Build your Home program that helps every young Sanzer couple buy their own apartment for about $660 a month (2,500 shekels).

The couple would be directed to look for an apartment in T’veria, costing up to 700,000 shekels ($185,000). Each pair of parents must pay in about $6,600, and the Sanz gmach (loan society) kicks in a $93,000 interest free loan, and aids the couple in applying for an $80,000 mortgage from the bank. Since the couples qualify easily under Israel’s system of housing points, they should qualify for a mortgage loan that would pay for the new apartment. The couple only has to pay back about $660 a month — $265 to the gmach and the rest to the bank.

According to Walla, in Sanz about 120 couples get married each year, and there’s a backlog of about 200 new couples. However, according to a source in Sanz, the new program currently has about $14.5 million at its disposal, which should suffice to find housing for many couples. So far they say they’ve found housing in T’veria for about 300 couples.

The upside is, of course, modern housing at a low cost. But Haredi couples are used to living near their parents and close to the religious and educational institutions they grew up with. Moving to a new, remote community, although with many of their movement peers, is the sacrifice they would have to make. Halbershtam said practically all the Haredi movements in Israel are following the Sanz example, he’s being asked to assist Sephardim, Lithuanians, and Hasidim in setting up similar systems. “The housing shortage is like cancer, and we have found the cure,” he said.

About 9,000 Haredi couples get married each year in Israel, and their inability to come up with the down payment for their own home forces them to waste years worth of income on rent, instead of investing this money in acquiring their own place. The new programs, should they proliferate throughout the Haredi population, could liberate all of them. They would also help populate the periphery, expanding and bolstering Jewish settlement across the country.

David Israel

Israel Hands Over Terrorist Corpse to Family Months After Attack

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

By Tzvi Lev/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – After months of negotiations, Israeli authorities handed over the body of the terrorist who committed a shooting attack on a bus in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot in March despite firm opposition to the move by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Muhammad al-Kalouti, 21, was buried in a small ceremony heavily guarded by police at the Bab al-Zahra cemetery in Jerusalem last night. Al-Kalouti had been killed by security forces while perpetrating the attack.

The Israeli government often holds the bodies of terrorists both as a deterrent against future attacks and because funerals in the past have turned into massive demonstrations of incitement. Officials only returned Al-Kalouti’s body after the family deposited NIS 20,000 in collateral with the police and pledged not to have more than 30 people at the ceremony.

Defense Minister Liberman is a firm proponent of withholding the bodies of terrorists from their families, but Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ruled that the move did not have legal justification and ordered the body released. The Supreme Court has also demanded answers from the government as to why terrorists’ bodies have not been handed over after it ruled on the issue in July.

Liberman criticized Mandelblit’s decision yesterday, telling reporters that “the role of the attorney general is to be an advisor, not a judge.”

Liberman’s predecessor Moshe Yaalon had opposed withholding the bodies of terrorists from their families and had argued that the policy only provoked more attacks.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-hands-over-terrorist-corpse-to-family-months-after-attack/2016/08/18/

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