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September 5, 2015 / 21 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Jewish History’

American Woman Punched by Muslim on Temple Mount

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

An older Jewish woman who recently immigrated to Israel from the United States on aliyah was attacked when she made her first trip to the Temple Mount this week.

Brenda Rubin, a resident of Jerusalem, was a new Israeli for seven months when she was punched in the ribs Tuesday morning by a burka-clad Muslim woman.

Because the attacker was wearing a burka, as were those around her, security personnel obviously knew it would be impossible to identify with certainty who the attacker had been — possibly a factor in the planning of the Arab harassment campaign in the first place.

“It was my first time on the Mount and it was a very important thing for me,” she said. “This woman in black came in between our lines and gave me a big punch under my rib on my side that I’m still feeling.”

Burka-clad Muslim women who harassed a group of Jews visiting the Temple Mount. One of them viciously punched a Jewish woman in the ribs. No arrest was made.

When Rubin reported the attack to a police officer immediately after, he brusquely told her to “file a complaint” (at the nearby police station – after leaving the Temple Mount.)

He took no further action, even though the group of burka-clad Muslim women from which her attacker emerged was still standing nearby, harassing a small group of Jews.

“I feel like, we came to Israel, this is our Land, we didn’t come here to be shivering Jews,” Rubin said in a taped interview afterwards. “It’s really painful that somebody could feel they could come and use the name of God to come and hurt us.”

According to a Facebook post by The Temple Institute, “Muslim women are paid a daily stipend by the Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas) to be present on the Temple Mount during the hours that Jews are allowed on the Mount, and to verbally and physically harass the Jewish worshipers from the moment they enter the Mount to the moment they exit the Mount.

“The Israel police, following strict orders, do nothing to prevent the attacks nor intervene once the attacks have occurred, (due to government fear of offending the Muslims).”

The Temple Mount is the holiest site on earth in Judaism, and the third holiest site in Islam. Nevertheless, the Israeli government has allowed Jordan to govern the site via the Islamic Waqf Authority. Jews are regularly mistreated at the site and sometimes attacked; often they are denied access to the site altogether, despite legal rights to the contrary.

Rubin, who still feels pain in her side, added, “I would like the people who feel that there is some commonality, to come [to the Mount] and walk around on some morning and see… how we’re being harassed – and that’s very disturbing.”

A text at the end of the videotaped interview states in Hebrew: “This time, the blow came as a punch; but the next time could be a knife.”

Spain Passes Citizenship Restoration Law for Jews Expelled in 1492

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

It has only taken a half a millenium, but on Thursday Spain passed a law granting citizenship to any descendant of Jews expelled from the country in 1492.

The law – which took three years to create – was hailed as a “historic rehabilitation” by Justice Minister Rafael Catala and Foreign Minister Manuel Garcia Margallo.

It was in 1492, as Colombus was preparing to set sail to explore the New World that Jews were given an ultimatum: convert to Christianity, or leave.

Those who stayed and pretended to convert became known over the centuries as “Marranos” – the “hidden” ones – or “Anusim” – the “forced” ones. Their descendants are scattered throughout the world, including many who later ended up intermarrying with Muslims, some who live in Judea and Samaria. Their families still keep fragments of Jewish traditions in their homes, although most no longer remember why.

The Jews who chose to preserve their identity and left, fled to North Africa and the Middle East, many of whom arrived in what is now known as Turkey.

The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain said in an official statement on Thursday that passage of the law in Madrid had launched a “new stage in the history of the relationship between Spain and the Jewish world; a new period of encounter, dialogue and harmony.

Contrary to what one might think, the descendants of those expelled not harbored feelings of hatred or resentment but rather the contrary, they cultivated a deep love for the land they were from and intense loyalty to tradition and language received of their elders,” the statement continued.

The law goes into effect in October, when the Jewish community can begin the process of checking the lineage of anyone who wishes to activate their once-proud centuries-old Spanish citizenship.

That process involves proving one’s ancestry, showing a basic knowledge of Spain and its culture, and embarking upon a minimum of one pilot trip to the country. In addition, one must pay an application fee of 100 Euros for the privilege. So much for “restoration.”

Under Israel’s Law of Return, any person is entitled to citizenship in the Jewish State if he or she can prove that one grandparent — either maternal or paternal — is Jewish. The pace of the “ingathering of the (Jewish) exiles” described in the Torah has been growing over the past decade. Jews who were driven from the Land of Israel by the Romans and the Babylonians have begun to return through the efforts of groups such as Michael Freund’s Shavei Israel, Nefesh B’Nefesh and others.

Peter Beinart’s Bilaam Moment

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The great biblical wizard Bilaam was one of the most frustrated men in history. Bilaam tried on three consecutive mornings back in the early 1200s BCE to curse the nation of Israel, only to end up composing such poetic praises that we Jews now say them every day in our morning prayers.

Columnist Peter Beinart, a frequent contributor to Haaretz, The Atlantic and the National Journal, is probably not an enemy of Israel on the scale of his predecessor, but, this week, his criticism of both Israel and the American right have backfired in a similar fashion to Bilaam’s, leaving Beinart’s readers with poetic praises where harsh rebukes were intended.

Beinart writes:

“Today’s conservatives love Israel,” for “the American right, Israel embodies the values that Obama’s U.S. no longer does,” because “they believe the West’s great enemy is ‘radical Islam,’ and the West’s great outpost, on the frontlines against Islamic terror, is Israel. It’s modern; it’s democratic; it’s pro-American. And it’s under attack from the same forces that want to destroy the United States.”

Beinart also attacks Netanyahu, because Netanyahu believes America and Israel are good, and radical Islamists are bad:

“Netanyahu… believes that America and Israel are utterly virtuous while our Islamic enemies are utterly evil.”

Could anyone make a better case for Israel’s triumphant achievements in a mere 67 years or praise Israel’s value system more than what Beinart has unintentionally just done?

Yes, of course, the author probably intended for this entire list to be read out in an ironic tone, while implying a lack of intellectual subtlety on the right with his repeated use of “utterly”, but tone is a tough thing to write, especially from within one’s echo chamber, and an ironistician of Beinart’s stature should know better…

Moreover, according to Beinart, “it’s not just that Israel represents the West. It’s that Israel represents the West at a time when many conservatives feel the United States no longer does.”

That’s the extent of the fun part—because Beinart next delves into fairly ugly racism, suggesting that the shift in the right’s view of the Administration is born by “demographic change,” meaning conservative fear of brown and black people teeming in the streets of America.

That must be it, according to Beinart:

“the United States has become less Christian, less nationalistic and less white. And for many on the right, Barack Obama — a black man with a Muslim father who grew up in Indonesia and supposedly considers American power a bad thing — personifies this shift.”

In other words, in Beinart’s universe, conservatives don’t make up their minds based on the outcome of seven years of presidential policies—it’s because the guy is black.

So much for the piquant note about Beinart, the prophet of Zionist doom, singing an unintentional love song for Israel. Or maybe we’ll just edit out those ugly parts when we canonize his article.

His other point, later on, is actually cogent:

“Conservatives love Israel for the same reason anti-Zionists hate it. Think about the words Israel’s harshest foes use to describe it: colonial, imperial, settler, apartheid. What they all convey is that Israel is a foreign creation, imposed by Europeans, and sustained by the United States, at the native population’s expense. For the American right, being a Western outpost in the Middle East makes Israel heroic. For the anti-Zionist left, it makes Israel illegitimate.”

What an entertaining idea, the right’s Israel-the-shining-outpost is precisely the same as the left’s Israel the blood-dripping-colonial-invader. Obviously, Beinart is enamored with the latter option, but the facts belie that entire argument.

We Jews in Israel are not colonialists but an indigenous, middle-eastern nation whose return to our homeland was followed by an unprecedented flourishing of what had been a desolate desert for two millennia.

Lauder at 70th Bergen-Belsen Liberation Ceremony: ‘Silence Emboldens Tyrants’

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

A ceremony was held today, April 26, in Lohheide, Germany, to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen Nazi death camp which took place on April 15, 1945.

More than fifty thousand people perished in the Bergen-Belsen camp, which was really several connected camps that housed and killed Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and others considered “undesirable” by the Nazi regime. Anne Frank and her sister Margot were among the tens of thousands who died at Bergen-Belsen.

Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, gave an impassioned speech to the gathered crowd.

Lauder spoke not only of the specifics of the horrors visited upon the world and, in particular, the Jewish people, during World War II, but he also made pointed references to the dangers of similar horrors lurking on the horizons at the present time.

Lauder reminds everyone that it was not only the Nazis, and not only the German people and not only the rest of Europe which were complicit in this horror, but everyone who was silent and failed to act.

Lauder also points out that there was a voice that was silent, but not because they chose to look elsewhere, but because they were silenced: the Jews. And he points out that the Jews need not be silent ever again in the face of threats to their existence, because there is a Jewish homeland whose purpose is to ensure the continuance of the Jewish people.

No doubt he is talking about Iran.

Lauder also speaks at length about the resilience and self-reliance of the Jewish people in the aftermath of the Holocaust. How the Jews left the Displaced Persons camps and never looked back.

“They refused to be victims,” Lauder said. “Jews all over the world helped their fellow Jews get back on their feet. They were never used as political pawns.”

Do you have any doubt to whom he is referring?

The following is Lauder’s speech in its entirety. It is worth your while to read the whole thing.

We come here today to remember. We remember the evil of this terrible place. We also remember that world silence led to this evil.

And we gather with an uncomfortable awareness that anti-Semitism has returned to Europe once again.

Seventy years ago, as Nazi Germany was collapsing, and the greatest war in history was coming to an end. The saddest irony was that Jews, the people who should have been happiest about Hitler’s defeat, were not to be heard.

There were no Jewish victory celebrations like those in New York or Trafalgar Square or Moscow. There was no jubilation. The reason is all around you. For Jews, the awful realization of loss suddenly set in. Mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandparents, friends, over one million children – all gone. Half of the world’s Jews murdered.

Right now, we stand on one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the world. But there are no gravestones. There are no markers. The victims buried here lost not just their lives; the Nazis took their identities as well.

When British troops entered the gates here at Bergen-Belsen they took pictures and, for the first time, the world finally understood the extent of the Nazi horror.

We saw the bulldozers pushing naked bodies into open pits. The walking skeletons. The unbelievable sadness and loss. It has always struck me that battle-hardened soldiers, who saw some of the worst combat in Europe, became emotional years later when they talked about entering Bergen-Belsen.

Seventy years on, we all know about the crime. We know the perpetrators – but they were not just Germans and Austrians. There was complicity in practically every country in Europe. My own country, the United States – the beacon of liberty – shut its doors to Jews desperately trying to leave.

Zionism in Animation

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

A retelling of the history of Zionism was launched on Wednesday with an animated video chronicling the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty in its historic homeland through Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

The project, called ‘Zionism in Animation’, aims to tell the story of Zionism in a series of 100 short animated clips, and is the brainchild of Shlomo Blass, head of Rogatka, a short film-making studio which has released some of the most viral political and hasbara videos in recent years.

“We hope to tell the story of the return of the Jewish people to their homeland in an attention-grabbing way, and inform and educate Jews around the world, especially young audiences,” said Blass. “By doing so we hope to strengthen their sense of belonging to the Jewish people and to the land of Israel.”

“Sadly, many Jews, don’t know enough about one of the most miraculous chapters in world history: the return of the Jewish people to their homeland. We believe that knowing our history is fundamental to strengthening our sense of solidarity and commitment to our people and land.”

The first video ‘How Israel Was Born’ was released to coincide with Israel’s 67th Independence Day and is meant to inform Israelis and people around the world about the story of Israel’s founding. A few years ago, a survey of Israeli students found that 60% of respondents did not know the name of Israel’s first prime minister.

“The digital revolution has dramatically impacted the way most people, especially Millennials, consume content,” Blass continued. “Research shows that we increasingly read less and watch more, and that the most effective way of educating and engaging people is through short-form rich content. This revolution has created a need for relevant materials in the field of Jewish and Zionist education.”

The first video was released in partnership with the Israel Video Network and has already received widespread attention and praise from Jewish and Israel advocacy groups and organizations.

The video is the first of three videos that Rogatka is hoping to make through the Jewcer crowdfunding platform, which he hopes will raise enough to make the next two videos. After that, Blass is inviting organizations and individuals to fund videos of their choice on any Zionism-related issue.

Chloe Valdary at Memphis Friends of Israel (video)

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Garin Tzabar: Helping Lone Soldiers Feel At Home In Israel

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

These lone soldiers, hailing from countries including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Turkey and Azerbaijan arrived in Israel without their families to join the Israel Defense Force and help build the Jewish nation.  ’Garin’ means seed in Hebrew but can also refer to a group of people who collectively immigrated to Israel and ‘tzabar’ refers to the ‘sabra’ cactus fruit which is prickly on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside, a euphemism to describe Israelis.

The Garin Tzabar program is in charge of bringing these lone soldiers to a kibbutz or Israeli city, providing them with an adopted family, a Garin community that supports them throughout their army service and Hebrew classes to assist their immersion into the IDF.  Several months from now the new recruits will begin to serve in the Israeli Army.  The Garin Tzabar  ensures lone soldiers receive support and attention on their birthdays, during holidays, Shabbat, and their days off .

The State of Israel officially welcomed this year’s Garin Tzabar participants during a special ceremony held at Tel Aviv University. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  gave a video greeting praising these young Jewish men and women and  numerous other government officials attended the event.

MK Sofa Landver, who addressed the group, stated, “We are here to receive the immigrants and the soldiers in our country, the most wonderful country in the world. It’s you who have come to serve and defend Israel. You will change the world.” A representative of Nefesh B’Nefesh added, “It’s not just a plane ride, it’s the destination and that’s Israel. Enjoy your new life.”

Netta Gelb, a new Garin Tzabar participant, was born in the Israeli city of Netanya and has spent the past 15 years growing up in Canada. Although she has Israeli relatives,  she is leaving behind her parents and siblings.  Gelb expressed the excitement many Garin members felt when she said, “I have been really looking forward to this for a long time.”

Michael Kosky, another Garin Tzabar participant, added, “We have come here to play our chapter in Jewish history. I am part of this program. Good luck to every one here.”  A lone soldier already serving in the IDF named Ariella, who hails from an Argentine family and grew up in both America and Israel told the audience that she holds dear the “values of loyalty to the state, its people, and the Tzabar members” and said to the new recruits “If you live together, you will learn a lot.”

Eitan Press contributed to this report.

Visit United with Israel.

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