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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘JNF’

Pete Seeger Leaves Behind Complicated Legacy on Israel

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Legendary folk singer and political activist Pete Seeger, who died on Monday in New York City at the age of 94, left behind a complicated if not questionable legacy when it came to Israel.

Famous for 1960s hits like “If I Had a Hammer,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” Seeger was also well known for speaking out for worker’s rights and participating in the civil rights movement.

He drew headlines in 2011 for coming out in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, expressing support for the BDS group Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

According to an ICAHD press release, Seeger had donated portions of the royalties from his 1960s hit “Turn, Turn, Turn” to the group.

On the other hand, Seeger participated in an online peace rally for the Arava Institute, an environmental academic program in Israel, in 2010. However, after discovering that Arava had ties to the Jewish National Fund, Seeger said, “I support the BDS movement as much as I can.”

 

Canadian PM Harper Brings 21 Rabbis on ‘Red-Carpet’ Visit to Israel

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rolled out the red carpet for visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is on his first-ever trip to Israel along with 21 rabbis, a Catholic priest, 27 CEOs, six government ministers and eight members of Parliament.

After getting the royal treatment by Prime Minister Netanyahu Sunday night, Harper, an evangelical Christian and an accomplished musician who leads a bad called “Herringbone,” visited the Mount of Olives (Har HaZeitim) in Jerusalem.

Harper traveled to Bethlehem and then paid an obligatory visit to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah on Monday, where he announced $66 million in new economic aid.

The first set of talkbacks on Canadian news sites included these negative remarks: “Thank you Mr. Harper that you found one more way to dump our tax money took them of our poor people, veterans, retirement person;

“Didn’t Canada and other nations declare Hamas a TERRORIST organization? Why not offer aid AFTER there is an established peace….;

“Extend our best wishes and offer to mediate. Stop throwing money down the big hole; and

“Well done Prime Minster Harper, Canada supports Israel, Canada’s closest friend in the Middle East.”

In fact, Canada has reduced its aid to the Palestinian Authority. Its five-year-commitment of $300 million has expired. Today’s pledge is for this year, and Harper did not go beyond that.

His pro-Israel stand is so strong that it drove the left-wing Haaretz to dig out a Canadian foreign ministry website position against the “illegal” Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to try to prove that Ottawa is pro-Palestinian Authority.

But Harper’s words and actions are nothing of the sort, and the Palestinian Authority has not forgiven Harper’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird for going to the United Nations to declare Ottawa’s opposition to Abbas’ appeal for statehood by declaring that “unilateral actions” are not part of the “peace process.”

Harper said in Ramallah on Monday, “Canada looks forward to a bright future for all Palestinians, one in which security and prosperity are enjoyed in a viable and democratic Palestinian state. The support we are providing today will advance those goals by furthering the peace process, generating jobs and economic growth through private sector partnerships, and helping to further advance security and justice sector reforms.”

Not one word was said about “settlements.”

He told a news conference his stand is “Canadian” and not pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli. When a reporter tried to pin him down on Judea and Samaria, he replied. “I will not single out Israel on this trip.”

The “Jewish vote” in Canada is far from serious enough to make Harper pro-Israel

His backing for Israel, including clearly stated support for Israel’s counter-terrorist campaigns in Lebanon and Gaza, simply is based on what Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in his welcoming speech Sunday night, when he explained that Harper “expresses a clear and courageous moral position with regard to the truth and to the necessary criteria in the international community toward Israel and the conflict here.”

Harper announced his trip to Israel last month when he spoke at a Jewish National Fund dinner.

At the of his speech, the Prime Minister showed off his musical talents and brought in his Herringbone to back him up with impressive renditions of songs from The Who, Rolling Stones and the Beatles, as seen in a brief segment below.


Arabs Accuse Israel of Deploying Trees as Soldiers in the Negev

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Arabs in Canada tried to protest an appearance by Canadian Prime Stephen Harper at a Jewish National Fund of Canada event because trees that the JNF plants are “soldiers in the Zionist army of occupation,” the website of the Yediot Acharonot newspaper reported.

Harper has staunchly stood in support of Israel more than any other leader in the world and plans to visit the country in January for the first time as Prime Minister.

The JNF hosted Harper at the “Negev Dinner” Sunday, and Canadian police prevented disturbances from protesters, already riled up by the Palestinian Authority over the “Prawer Plan,” designed as a compromise to make some kind of order out of chaos on the Negev that has been overrun by tens of thousands of Bedouin in recent years.

More than 3,500 supporters of Israel, including Christians, attended the high-priced fundraiser, where Harper made a personal donation to Israel for an aviary to be known as the Stephen J. Harper Hula Valley Bird Sanctuary Visitor and Education Center in northern Israel.

He announced his first official trip to the Middle East and was so excited that he broke out into song, singing songs from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

In a videotaped message played after Mr. Harper spoke, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded his Canadian counterpart for “unabashedly, unapologetically,” standing up for Israel.

Outside the convention hall where the dinner was held, Arabs chanted, “Harper, Harper, will you see, Palestine will be free.” The Calgary Herald quoted  activist  Yafa Jarrar as saying, “The main message really is to push Canada to end its complicity with these violations of international law that Israel commits.”

The activist may have been referring the war crimes committed by those “soldiers” who have been planted to occupy Israel.

B’nai Brith Disavows Anti-Shalit Article in Newspaper It Founded

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

B’nai B’rith International has disassociated itself from a news story critical of former captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit published in a Canadian Jewish newspaper it founded and still is closely associated with B’nai Brith Canada.

In anticipation of a four-city visit to Canada by Gilad Shalit, The Jewish Tribune, Canada’s largest Jewish newspaper, criticized the former Hamas hostage who was the only member of a three-man crew who survived a terrorist attack on their position at a Gaza crossing in 2006.

The Jewish Tribune story in no way represents the views of B’nai B’rith International or its members and supporters around the world,” the organization said in a statement. “B’nai B’rith International has the deepest respect for Shalit and the horrors he endured as a Hamas captive.”

“While his story is intriguing and his return heartwarming, some have expressed concern that by appearing worldwide as an invited guest speaker, Shalit – who showed no resistance during his abduction nor made any attempt to protect his fellow IDF soldiers – could now become a new Israeli icon,” the Tribune’s Israel correspondent Atara Beck wrote last week.

The article did not cite any sources critical of Shalit’s visit. He is to appear in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.

The newspaper also published a letter referring to Shalit as a “stumblebum” and calling his visit a “dubious honor.”

The head of the Jewish National Fund of Canada, Shalit’s host for his Canada visit, told the Tribune that Shalit was not being honored by the JNF, but rather his visit was a way of thanking those in Canada who supported him during his captivity.

A Tree for Every Rocket: Soldiers Plant 1,532 Trees

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

In honor of Tu B’shvat, IDF soldiers planted 1,532 trees in the vicinity of Nachal Oz, on the Gazan border in southern Israel. The 1,532 trees signify the 1,532 rockets fired by Hamas terrorists at Israel from Gaza during Operation “Pillar of Defense.”

The event, titled “A Plant for Each Rocket,” was held in conjunction with the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Some 800 soldiers participated. Commander of the Education Corps Brigadier General Eli Shermeister emceed, hosting Southern Command CO Major-General Tal Ruso and JNF World Chairman Effi Stezler.

The trees will provide some shelter from gun fire for Israeli hikers and motorists on the roads outside Nachal Oz. The settlement has been the target of several shooting incidents over the years, with some starting fires in the area.

Another eleven communities will receive similar protection in the near future, with the trees expected to shade about 7.5 miles of vulnerable roads, mostly near the security fence.

The species of tree selected for this task is the eucalyptus, which, according to experts, will provide the necessary cover: it’s a quick grower and gets to be very tall, supplying the needed protection in a short period of time.

These fragrant trees will also aid the beehive industry in the region.

Effi Stezler stated during the event: “We are planting these trees to provide protection for the civilian passengers on the roads, and to offer defense for the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, these trees will provide oxygen and honey. We believe that these trees, which have previously provided shelter from the Syrians on the Golan Heights years ago, will now protect the residents of southern Israel.”

‘We Have A Covenant With The Jewish People’: An Interview with Jewish National Fund CEO Russell Robinson

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Mention the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the image of a blue tzedakah box likely comes to mind. Starting in 1904, Jews throughout the world dropped coins into these blue boxes, helping the JNF buy and develop land in Palestine on behalf of the Jewish people.

Although the state of Israel was founded in 1948, the JNF continues to function, helping develop the country in a variety of ways. It has planted 250 million trees in its 108-year existence and still owns 13 percent of the land.

The Jewish Press recently spoke with JNF CEO Russell Robinson.

The Jewish Press: The JNF’s original purpose was to buy land in Palestine. What is its purpose today, considering that the Jewish people now possess most of Palestine?

Robinson: Well, the purpose wasn’t to buy land just for the purpose of buying land. The purpose was to develop the state of Israel for the Jewish people everywhere.

After 2,000 years, we still didn’t have our homeland. So when Theodor Herzl decided to form the Jewish National Fund, it was to make a statement: Let’s repurchase the land of Israel for the Jewish people and have a place for Jews to come home. And if we would’ve done it with a little bit more unity and a little bit faster, maybe we would’ve had a state in 1939 which Jews could have fled to.

It never was just about land. It was all about bringing people home and having a place to call home. It was about establishing the Technion, it was about establishing Tel Aviv University. All of that was part of developing the land for the Jewish people.

And today?

Today that continues because the 13 percent of the land which is owned by the Jewish National Fund is held in perpetuity for the Jewish people everywhere. So whether you’re in Israel or here, you’re still a landlord, you’re still part of that development of the land. So that connection continues.

It’s also still about creating. The Negev comprises 60 percent of Israel, yet only holds nine percent of the population today. The Galil comprises 17 percent of the land but only holds 13 percent of the population. So if you want to be a 21st century pioneer, the opportunity to create the land of Israel for the Jewish people is still in front of us.

The JNF, in other words, tries to settle Jews in the Negev and Galil?

Absolutely. That’s been our biggest thrust in the past 10 years. We have an objective: 500,000 more people in the Negev and 300,000 more in the Galil. A town like Yerucham in the Negev was established in the 1950s by immigrants that came from Arab countries. We put them in Yerucham, not because it was a great place to live, but because we needed them strategically to live there. We put them in tents and tin shacks and told them, “We’ll come back.”

Well, in 60 years, we never did, and Yerucham is still a town of less than 10,000 people. So the opportunity to bring prosperous opportunities for all the people of Israel throughout all the land of Israel is still in front of us.

How many Jews currently live in the Negev and Galil?

In the Negev, you have 215,000 Jews in Be’er Sheva, another 110,000 Jews outside of Be’er Sheva, and about 200,000 Bedouins.

And you want to bring a half million more people to the Negev?

Absolutely. When we started working in Be’er Sheva 10 years ago, it had 193,000 people and losing three percent of its population every year. Today, it has 215,000 people and is one of the fastest growing communities in Israel. Be’er Sheva should have 450,000 people.

Why is a population increase in the Negev necessary?

A place like Yerucham was established in 1950 with 10,000 people. Today, it’s a community of 9,500 that still has high unemployment. Yerucham needs to have 30,000 to 50,000 people. You can’t make it with 10,000 people.

Why not?

Because the tax base has to go up. You have to fix roads, you have to have education, you have to have schools. And if your population is small, you’ll never have enough. You’ll always be on the brink of not having. You’ll have to add 10 kids to this class and move three kids from that class. In the meantime, you don’t really have a teacher for this, so you have to drive in a teacher….

BDS Attacks JNF Concert Goers in Berlin (Video)

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Ten members of BDS interrupted a JNF fundraiser in Berlin. The protesters helped up signs, yelled “Free Palestine”, shoved old women, and knocked people down.

Yishai Interviews Russell Robinson, CEO of JNF

Friday, August 24th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Russell Robinson, the Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish National Fund, joins Yishai. Together they discuss the difference between Jews living in Israel and those living in the United States and how important it is to make Israel appealing for all Jews.  They move to talk about how JNF helps give North American Jews a voice in Israel and Robinson outlines the various projects that the JNF are involved in including projects in the Negev and also in the Galilee.  They end the segment by discussing those that perform fire watches on the JNF forests planted around Israel and how their involvement in this program is creates proud, Zionist, Jews.
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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/tv/radio/yishai-interviews-russell-robinson-ceo-of-jnf/2012/08/24/

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