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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish community’

Great Synagogue of Pilsen Returns to Jews of Czech Republic

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

After more than a decade of intense lobbying, the city fathers of the Czech Republic’s Pilsen municipality have made a decision to return the majestic synagogue in their care to its rightful owners, the city’s Jews.

Seized by the Communists in 1973, the synagogue – originally completed in 1893 — had been shut down and then woefully neglected, ultimately falling into disrepair.

The city fathers reclaimed it and began restoration in 1995, working slowly to rehabilitate the beautifully sculpted architecture until it shined again in 1998.

But then, instead of returning the synagogue to Pilsen’s Jewish community, inexplicably, authorities reopened the building as an art museum and concert hall.

The Great Synagogue of Pilsen is justifiably renowned throughout the world, in continuous use from the time it was built in 1893 until its seizure by the Communists, except for the years of the horror of the Holocaust. It is the second-largest Jewish house of worship in Europe and is known to be the third-largest synagogue that exists in the world.

And although there were some 2,000 Jews in the community when the house of worship was built, that number plunged over the decades, particularly during the Nazi purge. The Communist hate diminished those numbers further.

Today just a few dozen Jews remain to hold the synagogue dear to their hearts and to maintain the minyan – the minimum quorum of ten men required for certain ritual prayers to be recited when the Ark of the Torah can be opened. The remaining community prays in a side room, hoping to hold High Holy Day services this year in the main sanctuary, with God’s help.

Miracles do happen.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel: Okay to Demolish 30 Illegal Structures in “Arab” Susiya

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

The State of Israel has the right to demolish 30 illegal structures built in the new and illegal Arab “village” of Susiya, according to a draft document to be submitted Wednesday to the High Court of Justice.

Although usually the Defense Ministry Civil Administration decides these issues, this time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would make the call on whether or not to demolish the structures, rather than Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, the document stated.

The prime minister’s review would take until the end of October, after the completion of the Jewish high holy days, after which time the state would inform the Court whether the shacks would be legalized, or demolished.

The state warned the Court, however, that legal remedies would remain in place against any new construction that appears in the area after 2014, and that laws against illegal construction would be enforced.

The Regavim nongovernmental organization (NGO) has consistently researched and litigated the case against any new building by Arabs from the Palestinian Authority in the area, which is completely under the control of Israel.

Regavim is calling on Israel to demolish all illegal structures post-2014, regardless of international pressure.

The United States and the European Union have for months been pressuring Israel to legalize the village. The European Union has in addition been encouraging the Palestinian Authority to continue illegal construction in Area C. In some cases, this activity has actually forced Israel to demolish structures built with funding, or directly, illegally built by the European Union itself.

Due to the sensitive diplomatic nature of the issue, the matter was sent directly to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for attention.

The modern Jewish community, established in 1983 under the Mount Hebron Regional Council, is located next to the ancient city of Susiya, now an archaeological site featuring a 5th-8th CE synagogue with a magnificent mosaic floor, and the mosque that replaced it.

The site was formally declared an archaeological site in 1986 by the Israel Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration; the Arab population chose to locate its “village” precisely on the same spot.

The IDF expelled the squatters, who began with 25 families in 1986, despite opposition from the United Nations which claimed they were living in “houses” at the time. The Arab villagers were moved instead to a site few hundred meters southeast of the original ancient city.

Just 13 families comprised Arab Susiya in 2008. But as it became more fashionable in the international community to target Israel’s right to govern Area C of the Oslo Accords, Mount Hebron and the area around it rose to prominence as a key battleground. Arab Susiya did too, and by 2015 the “village” rose to its current population of 50 families, comprising several hundred people.

Hana Levi Julian

New Military Watchtowers Dot Lebanese Side of Israel’s Northern Border

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Northern Israeli residents are worried about new observation posts built by the Lebanese Army which have sprung up along the border. In Lebanon, to speak of the Lebanese Army in many ways is also to speak of Iran’s proxy group, Hezbollah.

The group has grown from a terrorist organization into a powerful guerrilla military force trained, equipped and funded by Iran. It fields cabinet ministers and parliamentarians from a mammoth political machine that has prevented the country from electing a new president for more than a year.

Although built by the Lebanese Army it is clear the new watchtowers, situated on the Lebanese side of the border, can see into Israeli towns and kibbutzim as well as Israeli military bases on behalf of Hezbollah — if not with its own personnel.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 – the cease-fire agreement that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War – prohibits weaponry in this area, which is supposed to be a demilitarized zone.

The watchtowers provide a bird’s eye view of what is happening in Israel’s military and civilian fields and roads as well. But the Israeli army is monitoring the situation, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. “There is no change in the security situation,” said a military spokesperson on Monday (May 23).

It took barely a month to build the towers, according to a resident of Moshav Zar’it who spoke with Ynet and who said three such watchtowers are within sight of nearby Kibbutz Admit.

Another overlooks Kibbutz Hanita, according to security coordinator Erez Adar, who told Ynet the structure is less than a third of a mile away. “We are worried about getting shot at from the tower as it’s so close.

“While the Lebanese Army may be the ones in the tower for now, it’s clear that during the next war, these positions will be manned by Hezbollah.”

Hana Levi Julian

Facing Growing Protests, Venezuela’s President Declares ‘State of Emergency’

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has declared a 60-day state of emergency. The move came Friday night in response to what he claimed were domestic and U.S.-based plots to subvert him, and followed efforts by opposition lawmakers to raise a recall referendum against Maduro’s administration.

Protests in the country are gaining traction as nearly 70 percent of the population calls for Maduro’s ouster. The president was the hand-picked successor to the late president Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer while running for re-election.

Chavez was a close friend of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the two men cemented ties between their two nations while severing Venezuela’s ties with Israel. Venezuela has the largest oil reservoir in the western hemisphere.

After the partition of Israel was approved by the United Nations in 1947, more than 200 homes, shops and synagogues were destroyed in Venezuela, according to an article written by Rachelley Krygier, who wrote in June 2014 in the Caracas Chronicle about her mother’s family’s immigration experience when they arrived from Aleppo, Syria. Her father’s family, fleeing Cuba, also came to Venezuela.

“None of them could have foreseen what came next. The country was completely transformed from a refuge into a hostile, threatening place,” she wrote. Between 1990 to 2011, the Jewish community of Venezuela shrank from 25,000 to 9,000.

“Signs of anti-Semitism in the government became evident in 2009, when Chavez condemned the state of Israel, expelled the Israeli ambassador  and conducted meetings with Iran’s Ahjmadinejad. Our Holocaust survivors saw in the news how our president shook hands with a leader who denied what they and their loved ones had gone through,” Krygier wrote.

Meanwhile, on Saturday Maduro ordered military exercises for next weekend, vowing the government would take over idle factories. He did not provide details. Opposition lawmakers continued to lead protests.

“We’re talking about a desperate president who is putting himself on the margin of legality and constitutionality,” Democratic Unity coalition leader Jesus Torrealba told hundreds of supporters at a rally, according to Reuters.

“If this state of emergency is issued without consulting the National Assembly, we would technically be talking about a self-coup.”

Control over Venezuela’s National Assembly was won by the opposition in a December election that was fueled by voter anger over skyrocketing inflation, product shortages and crime, but the lawmakers have been consistently undercut by the country’s Supreme Court.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Farmers Return to Work in Fields on Gaza Border

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Israeli farmers in the Gaza Belt region were allowed to go back to working their fields near the southern border on Sunday.

Security officials said they don’t believe Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization is seeking an escalation in tensions with Israel at this time, according to a report on Channel 10 television news.

Sources said it is believed a smaller terrorist group was responsible for the rocket attack that was fired at southern Israeli communities over the weekend.

Nevertheless, the IDF is continuing its search for cross-border terror attack tunnels along the Gaza border.

Since the start of those operations, two tunnels leading from Gaza into Israeli territory have been uncovered.

Hana Levi Julian

The Age of Chavez May Be Over As Venezuelan Opposition Wins in Landslide

Monday, December 7th, 2015

(JNi.media) Venezuela’s opposition won control of the National Assembly by a landslide on Sunday, with at least 99 seats in the next 167-seat legislature, compared to the ruling socialist party’s 46 seats. The victory may change radically the future of President Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded the late president Hugo Chávez in 2013. The change may also bring a hopeful future to the Jews of Venezuela, who have been living in fear of the populist regime. In the last 15 years more than half of the country’s Jews have left Venezuela, with the local community’s numbers dropping from about 25,000 Jews in 2,000 to only 7,000 today.

Andres Beker, a Venezuelan Jewish expatriate in the United States whose parents still live in Caracas, told the Jerusalem Post last year: “There’s less hope about the future. My parents are huge fans of Venezuela. Until last year I thought they would stay no matter what. Now, for the first time, they’re talking about Plan B: leaving Venezuela.”

President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday night acknowledged his party’s defeat — the first one for the ruling socialists in 17 years. Maduro vowed to continue the socialist policies of his mentor, Chávez, despite the country’s triple-digit inflation and two-year recession, caused by economic policies that were only feasible as long as oil prices hovered around $100 a barrel. The sharp drop in oil prices pulled the rug from under the Socialists’ feet. As the post-election night wore on, the militant Maduro softened his tone. “In Venezuela, peace and democracy must reign,” Maduro said, adding, “I’ve said we’ll take the fight to the streets, but maybe I was wrong. We can’t go where we’ve always been.”

According to the AP, some opposition voices are proposing a recall referendum to kick Maduro out of office before his term ends in 2019. They could possibly do it if it turns out they’ve won a two-thirds majority of 112 seats. There’s also talk that the outgoing majority might pass a law granting Maduro special powers to effectively reverse the election’s outcome, before the new congress is sworn in next January.

The Jewish community of Venezuela was established in the 19th century, when Sephardic Jews from the Dutch colony of Curaçao began to migrate to the Venezuelan city of Santa Ana de Coro in 1824. David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, wrote 10 years ago: “They have developed an impressive communal infrastructure built around a central umbrella organization, La Confederación de Asociaciones Israelitas de Venezuela (CAIV) … Fifteen synagogues (all but one Orthodox), and, perhaps most striking of all, a Jewish all-in-one campus, Hebraica. Combining Jewish nursery and day schools, a country club, cultural center, a verdant setting, and wide-ranging sports activities, Hebraica serves as the focus for much of the community.”

“The community is close-knit, an overwhelming majority of Jewish children attend Jewish schools, the level of participation is high, identification with Israel is intense, and intermarriage rates are low compared to the United States or Britain,” Harris continued, noting that “What is equally striking in talking with Venezuela’s Jews … is an obvious pride in being Venezuelan.”

However, as can be seen in a US State Dept. report on religious freedom in Venezuela, “in November 2004, after the assassination of well-known prosecutor Danilo Anderson, the Government used satirical comments made by journalist Orlando Urdaneta on a US television program to allude to possible Israeli participation in Anderson’s killing. The Israeli Embassy in Caracas denied any Israeli involvement in the assassination and warned that such representations by the Government were misleading. On November 29, 2004, members of the country’s investigative police searched the Hebrew Center of Caracas at the beginning of the school day as part of the Anderson investigation. Jewish community leaders expressed outrage and indicated doubt regarding the authorities’ explanation for the search. Newspaper reports suggested that rumors of Israeli involvement in the assassination might have been behind the investigation.

JNi.Media

Obama’s Cultural Rape

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Rape is an ugly word, an even uglier deed. I don’t use the word lightly or easily. Rape is a crime of violence, not passion; of destruction. The intent is to take the soul, destroy the body. It is an injustice beyond measure, a violation of humanity. No, I’ve never been raped but I know women who have been.

When someone uses the word “holocaust” – even without the capital letter, it bothers me because too often it is thrown around easily and rather than elevate the crime, it diminishes, just a bit, the Holocaust. I think rape is the same way – people use the word so freely, it takes away from when a real rape is inflicted on a person.

And yet…and yet, I’m going to use it here because it is the only word I can think of that applies, and the man ultimately responsible for this rape, this cultural rape – is Barack Hussein Obama – and yes, I’m using his middle name because he felt fine using it in Cairo and other places. And perhaps, just a little, that middle name plays a role in what he is about to do.

The full story, credit for it, comes from and goes to Caroline Glick in her article in the Jerusalem Post, “Our World: A miracle and an Outrage.” The gist of it is – by some miracle, 2,500 years of heritage, of holy books and more survived the devastation and the almost entire complete exile of the Iraqi Jewish community. Saddam Hussein (yeah, there’s that name again), stole over 2,700 Jewish books and writings from the Jewish community. He stored them in some basement to rot and by some miracle, invading US troops found the waterlogged remains.

Amazingly enough, the troops and leaders realized the magnitude of what they had found and the collection was taken to the States, refurbished, renewed, reclaimed at a cost of $3 million dollars. I don’t know how, but I’m willing to raise the money to pay the Americans back for this kindness.

But…here comes the outrage about which Caroline Glick wrote. The American government proudly put their accomplishment on display. Good for them. The exhibition at the National Archives runs through January – that is the scheduled date of the cultural rape about to take place. On or around that time, Obama and the State Department feel it is their responsibility to return the archive to its rightful owners. And I commend them for this decision as much as I condemn them for being too stupid to know who those rightful owners are. No, Mr. President

I believe that the Israeli Ambassador to the United States should request an immediate meeting with the United States President. I believe our Prime Minister must, in no uncertain terms, make it clear that the owners of the archives are the Iraqi Jews – who live primarily in Israel and that to send the archives, these holy books, “back” to Iraq is tantamount to destroying them. Obama might as well blow them up in Washington for all that sending them back to Baghdad will accomplish.

It is hard to believe that caring human beings would not do all in their power to stop a rape they know is about to take place – well, here’s our chance. We know where, we know when – now it is up to each of us to stop it.

Obama – what do you want to stop this travesty? Do you want 3 million dollars? We will raise it. You want a request from the Iraqi Jewish community – I’ll see to it. You want the Israeli government to request it – Bibi, please, do this before it is too late.

Just was what was stolen by the Nazis has long been recognized as belonging to the victims of the Holocaust, the archives belong to the Jews from whom Saddam Hussein stole them. They are not, and never were, the legacy of Iraq – rather, they are the legacy of a small community that was all but hounded into exile, only to re-establish themselves in Israel.

The archives should be donated to the community here in Israel, to a museum they established as a true legacy to what was once a thriving Jewish community. These holy books never belonged to the Iraqi government, Saddam Hussein, or the greater Iraqi people. To deny the rightful owners, to turn these books over to the Iraqis is an abomination, a cultural rape of 2,500 years.

Please help – write to Washington and demand that the archive be given to their rightful owners, the Iraqi JEWISH community, largely represented in Israel and no where else.

Please write to your Congress representatives and ask them to add their voices against this injustice.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Paula Stern

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/obamas-cultural-rape/2013/10/28/

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