Israeli media have reported several important donations made in years past by both the late Fred Trump and his son, now President Elect Donald Trump.
Some 50 years ago, real estate developer Fredrick Trump donated the land for the Talmud Torah of the Beach Haven Jewish Center at 723 Ave. Z in Flatbush, NY, as can be seen from a promotional image released by that institution. The center is open and active to this day, offering programs for youth and the elderly, as well as an active synagogue.
And Fred’s son Donald, as reported by Yediot Ahronot, donated heavily on both occasions when Israelis who had been expelled from their homes by their own government needed assistance to resettle.
Donald Trump donated in the 1980s, to help build new infrastructure for the Israelis removed from the northern Sinai by the Begin government, which returned the peninsula to Egypt as part of the peace agreement. Then, in 2005, Trump gave again, to help resettle the Jews of Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip, exiled by the Ariel Sharon government.
Effie Stenzler, former chairman of the Jewish National Fund, told Yediot that JNF approached Trump, among other wealthy supporters of Israel, for funds to build an infrastructure in new communities established for the exiled, and the real estate magnate gave generously.
Donald Trump’s name even appears on a plaque in Moshav Dekel, in the Eshkol region, where his money went to build greenhouses, homes and roads for the evacuees.
Former US President Bill Clinton called on Tuesday to inquire about the health of former Israeli President Shimon Peres. Peres is at Sheba Medical Center, where he remains in serious but stable condition as of Wednesday morning, having suffered a severe stroke Tuesday night, according to Sheba Director Yitzhak Kreiss.
President Clinton was paid $500,000 to speak at Shimon Peres’ birthday celebration in Israel on June 17, 2013. The fee was paid by the Jewish National Fund, which Ha’aretz at the time wrote was a “cause for embarrassment.”
At the 90th birthday celebration, Clinton said, “It was my great honor to be here when President Peres celebrated his 80th birth day, I am now here at his 90th birthday. He is clearly the world’s greatest visionary, one of the reasons he lived this long is he always thinks of the future not the past, he is always thinking about tomorrow. Just tonight he promised me that he would attend my 80th birthday, that he would attend my 90th birthday, that he would speak at my funeral.”
“The rest of you are here celebrating his infinite wisdom, I came to get his diet,” Clinton quipped.
Israel is conducting a land survey intended to declare the area east of the community of Efrat in Judea a state-owned land, freeing it up for construction, according to a document submitted by the state to the Supreme Court last week and cited by Ha’aretz.
According to the document, the survey has been undertaken “in a manner that will create contiguity of state lands.” As Ha’aretz points out, Efrat is inside the Gush Etzion settlement bloc of Judea, and construction east of Efrat, in an area known as Givat Eitam, would expand Gush Etzion eastward, to the outskirts of the ethnically cleansed Bethlehem, which used to be majority Christian but since 1994 has seen a flight of its Christian population.
Jewish prisoners in Jordan, after the fall of Gush Etzion, May 1948 / Wikipedia commons
To remind you, Gush Etzion was founded not after the 1967 War, but back in 1940-1947. Its civilian population was overrun by an invading Jordanian army in 1948, some of them massacred and the rest taken prisoner. But as of 2011, Gush Etzion consists of 22 communities with a population of 70,000 Jews.
According to Ha’aretz, in 2009, 425 acres of land outside Efrat were declared state land, with a plan to build 2,500 housing units there. The state told the court that early in 2016 the Efrat Regional Council requested permission to start planning construction in the area, noting that the land of Givat Eitam is privately owned by Himanuta, a subsidiary of the Jewish National Fund.
The document the state submitted to the court reads: “The intention is to promote in the future development of Himanuta lands. To this end, infrastructure must be installed between Himanuta lands westward toward Efrat, including lands that have been declared [state lands] at Givat Eitam… The installation of this infrastructure will be possible if and when the land survey now underway is completed in the area between Efrat and Givat Eitam in a manner that creates contiguity of state lands.”
The document is co-signed by the supervisor of government and abandoned property in Judea and Samaria, Yossi Segal, and the defense minister’s aide for settlements, Kobi Eliraz.
The Efrat Regional Council released a statement Sunday replying to a challenge to the building plans by Peace Now, saying, “It is symbolic that precisely on the day marking the destruction of the Temple some are trying to sabotage the building of the Land of Israel (referring to the fast day of Tisha B’Av,which fell on Sunday).”
“The legal clarification of the status of lands in the Eitam neighborhood has been underway for 12 years,” the regional council said, adding that “at the High Court of Justice at least five different panels of justices have come to realize that there is nothing of substance in the claims of the petitioners, who have dragged the state into a waste of money and costly resources in unnecessary proceedings.”
The council said it was “happy about High Court rulings in previous petitions, and we are happy that the state is seeking to redress years of injustice.”
The council noted there were “hundreds of acres bought by Jews even before the establishment of the state and registered to the Jewish National Fund in trust for the Jewish state” at Givat Eitam, and construction at Givat Eitam will fulfill the will of these Jews, and the “great bonus is mainly for young couples who cannot afford to purchase an apartment in Jerusalem and its environs.”
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories confirmed to Ha’aretz that its “blue line team” in the Civil Administration – consisting of cartographers, surveyors and legal experts – was now “working to study the status of lands at Givat Eitam, and a decision on their status will be rendered at the end of the team’s work.”
Canadian Jewish groups are furious at the Canadian Green Party for passing a resolution supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel over the weekend. The party’s national convention in Ottawa adopted a policy resolution declaring support for the use of BDS targeted at the sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the “ongoing occupation … until such time as Israel implements a permanent ban on further settlement construction in [Judea and Samaria], and enters into good faith negotiations with representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state.”
The resolution passed over the objection of Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who said she prefers to endorse “action that can work,” and told a workshop meeting about the policy: “I would rather not, as leader, be leading a party that has endorsed BDS.”
“This is a perfectly legitimate movement,” May continued, “There is nothing illegal about it, and within the Charter of Rights of Freedoms. So, I am uncomfortable with the demonization of this movement. But there is for me, no question that there’s a better way to put pressure on Israel, bearing in mind the history of Israel; the fact that it’s, I think, a tactic that won’t work.”
“We need a two-state solution, and the way things are going there will be no Palestine for a two-state solution,” May said. “So it comes to the point where, what’s our best method going forward? And I think tactics like BDS, that make the people and the state of Israel think that they are under assault, and that they have lost allies and friends around the world, is not going to succeed.”
Paul Estrin, who is Jewish and a former President of the Green Party, wrote on Facebook before the vote that “a vote for BDS is a vote by those who seek the delegitimization of Israel, and ultimately seek to have it, and its population, wiped off the map.” Estrin was forced to step down as party president in 2014 over his pro-Israel views.
Another policy resolution that called on the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund of Canada, passed committee by a comfortable margin, only to be modified later by the party leadership, which removed the J word from it altogether, and turned it into a call on the CRA “to revoke the charitable status of or to refrain from conferring charitable status upon any organization that is complicit in the violation of Canadian or international human rights law.”
Canadian Jewish organizations reacted swiftly and harshly to the pro-BDS resolution. Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada, issued a statement saying, “With the Green Party’s support for unfairly singling out the world’s only Jewish state for contempt, it has firmly entrenched itself beyond the fringe of mainstream Canadian politics. Greens have chosen to embrace the policy position of shills for 9/11 conspiracy theories and terror apologists rather than side with the democratic and environmentally-friendly State of Israel. This clearly reflects how out of touch the Green Party has become with Canadian culture and values and it has made itself less relevant after its convention this weekend by voting for the politics of division and demonization.”
“All Canadians should be very concerned by these developments,” Mostyn added. “A political party with representation in Parliament chose to adopt an anti-Semitic policy, contrary to a recent resolution in Parliament condemning BDS as discriminatory. B’nai Brith will continue to expose the bigotry that festers within Green Party ranks.”
The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, issued a statement saying, “We condemn the Green Party’s decision to endorse this outrageous resolution. The BDS movement, which seeks to censor and blacklist Israelis, is fundamentally discriminatory and utterly at odds with Canadian values.” The statement continued: “Green Party leader Elizabeth May was right to oppose this toxic initiative as well as the disturbing assault on JNF, in keeping with her longstanding rejection of BDS.”
Former Yisrael Beytenu Tourism Minister Uzi Landau has resigned his post as co-chairman of the Keren Kayemet L’Israel (KKL) organization, which until recently used to be linked to the Jewish National Fund (JNF).
Landau turned in his resignation in a letter submitted Monday in which he accused KKL chairman Danny Atar, a former member of Knesset, of fiscal mismanagement and improper administration at the top.
Landau wrote he had accepted the position “in order to advance [the organization’s] vision, help develop the periphery, and advance relations with the diaspora.” But he said he realized it would be impossible for him to achieve these goals with Atar at the helm.
The former minister left the Knesset in December 2014 after 31 years in Israeli politics. Although he began his political career with the Likud party, he eventually joined Avigdor Liberman in Yisrael Beytenu.
Landau was the only Likud minister to be fired by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon for opposing the 2005 Disengagement from Gush Katif in Gaza.
The Jewish National Fund has been greening the Land of Israel since 1901. CEO Russell Robinson tells Eve Harow about the water recycling and river rehabilitation projects, the heritage conservation sites, the educational facilities and summer camps and the endless vision for a better tomorrow. The ultimate partnership between Jews in Israel and those in the Diaspora to build the Jewish National Home is what inspires him to inspire others. Living roots is what the JNF is about. Thanks Grandpa.
It was dry and cozy at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, where NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday announced a new executive order that bans companies supporting a boycott of Israeli products from doing business with NY State agencies. Outside, on Fifth Avenue, the stubborn marching groups of the 52nd annual Celebrate Israel parade were pushing ever forward under the persistent rain.
Gov. Cuomo spoke to an audience that included many Jewish leaders and lawmakers, describing the BDS movement as an “economic attack” on Israel. “We cannot allow that to happen,” the governor said, according to the NY Times. “If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you.”
Mr. Cuomo signed the executive order, and then joined the wet masses in the parade.
The BDS usual suspects, such as the movement’s Qatari founder Omar Barghouti, called Cuomo’s move part of Israel’s “legal warfare against BDS,” and complained that Israel was trying to “delegitimize the boycott.” Mostly because the boycott represents an effort to delete, not just delegitimize Israel.
The governor later tweeted: “What a great honor it was to march in the @CelebrateIsrael parade today.”
It may have rained on Sunday in Manhattan literally, but it didn’t rain on Israel’s parade figuratively, as the Broadway Cast of Fiddler on the Roof, the band SOULFARM, – the Paprim Ensemble Dancers of Israel Dance Institute, and the Maccabeats — to name but a few — did their thing down the avenue.
Marching Bands included NYC Police, Cadets, Fusion Core, Saint Brigades Drum & Bugle Corps, Connecticut Hurricanes, Bushwhackers Drum & Bugle Corps, Long Island Sunrisers Drum & Bugle Corps, Upper Schuylkill Marching Band, Raiders Drum & Bugle Corps, Excelsior Drum & Bugle Corps, and Skyliners.
The parade featured floats and vehicles from the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center, American Friends of Magen David Adom, American Technion Society, American Zionist Movement, Ariel University, Avi Chai Foundation, Bank Leumi, Bnei Akiva of the United States and Canada, Carmel, EL AL & Israel Ministry of Tourism, Gift of Life Marrow Registry, Dr. Felix Glaubach & Family, Hazon, Hebron Fund, Hillel Yeshiva, IDB Bank, IDT Corporation, Israel Bonds, State of Israel, Jfiix, Jewish Agency, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Jewish National Fund, Kars 4 Kids, Kids of Courage, Nefesh B’ Nefesh, One Israel Fund, Russian American Jewish Experience, Sephardic Heritage Alliance Inc. & Iranian American Jewish Federation, Stand With Us, and UJA-Federation of NY.
Finally, this is the complete list of the marching groups:
92nd St Y/Jdate
AJC-American Jewish Committee
American Russian Jewish Community Cluster /COJECO
American Veterans of Israel Legacy
AIFL-American Israel Friendship League
Ben Porat Yosef
Berman Hebrew Academy – Rockville, MD
Bi-Cultural Day School
Bnei Akiva of US and Canada
Boy/Girl Scouts of America
Center for Jewish Life
Congregation Or Zarua
Cyprus Federation of America
Eagles Wings Ministries
East Midwood Hebrew Day School
Friends of Israel Scouts – Tzofim Tzabar
Friends of the IDF
Friends of Yashar LaChayal /East Brunswick Tri-Synagogue Alliance
Golda Och Academy
H.E.S. Hebrew Educational Society
HAFTR Lower/Middle/High School
HALB Middle School
Hannah Senesh Community Day School
JAFI – Jewish Agency International Development
JCRC – Long Island
Jewish Educational Center
Jewish Educational Center – Bruriah
Jewish Educational Center – Mesivta,
Jewish Federation Northeastern, PA
Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, NJ
Jewish Federation of North NJ
Jewish Federation Rockland County
Jewish Foundation School
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Joseph Kushner Academy/Rae Kushner HS
Kinneret Day School
Lone Soldier Center
Lower Merion Cluster
Ma’ayanot Yeshiva HS for Girls
Magen David Yeshiva Celia Esses High School
Magen David Yeshivah (2015 Winner)
Maimonides Academy – Los Angeles
Manhattan Day School
Manhattan Jewish Experience
Marks Jewish Community House
Marlboro Jewish Center
Monmouth County – Federation from the Heart of NJ
National Conference of Shomrim Societies
Northeast Queens JCC
Northshore Hebrew Academy Middle/High Schools
OHEL Children’s Home & Family Services / Camp Kaylie
Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School
Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva (2015 Winner)
Ramaz School Middle/High Schools
Rambam Mesivta – Midreshet Shalhevet
Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey
SAR Academy/High School
Shulamith School for Girls – Cedarhurst
Shulamith School for Girls of Brooklyn
Skaters and Bladers in Memory of JJ Greenberg
Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County
Solomon Schechter School of Long Island
Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan
Solomon Schechter School of Queens
Solomon Schechter School of Westchester
Team Lifeline (Chai Lifeline)
Temple Beth Abraham
Temple Israel of Great Neck
Temple Sholom of West Essex
Torah Academy of Bergen County -TABC
UJ Federation of Greater Toronto
United Congregations for Israel
United Mashadi Jewish Committee of America – UMJCA
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism/USY
Volunteers for Israel
Westchester Day School (2015 Winner)
Westchester Hebrew High School
Westchester Jewish Council
Yavneh Academy (2015 Winner)
YB Hillel of Passaic
Yeshiva at the Jersey Shore/Congregation Brothers of Israel
Yeshiva Derech HaTorah
Yeshiva Har Torah
Yeshiva High School 0f Boca Raton
Yeshiva of Central Queens (2015 Winner)
Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle/High School (2015 Winner)
ZOA – Zionist Organziation of America