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June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘JNF’

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.
Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Heroes And Those They Inspire

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

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            Israel was at war, and though I live across the ocean, I felt like I was on high alert. Strangely enough, I was actually grateful to have experienced this feeling during the crisis.

 
The weeks of unrest for Jews worldwide leading up to the war coincided with the weeks prior to and following my sister’s wedding. From the fiasco at Beit HaShalom in Hebron to the Mumbai massacre and the escalated Hamas rocket shooting, I was torn between celebration and mourning, between happiness and wrath. And I realized how easy it is for one immersed in personal matters to shift focus from intense concentration on the klal to individuals and family members.
 
During those weeks I would feel extreme resentment over the Israeli government’s manhandling of the Beit HaShalom protesters and then continue on to my next gown fitting. I cried over the innocent victims in Mumbai and then wiped my tears and filled in more names on the hall’s seating charts. Kassam rockets crashed down in Sderot and Ashkelon while I prepared another cake for the Sheva Brachos.
 
Though I’m no hard-core activist, this period of intense entanglement with private matters definitely curtailed my usual depth of involvement with Jewish issues. It takes above-average stamina and devotion to effect real change even under the most ideal circumstances, making it all the more remarkable that there exist those relatively few Jewish heroes who are able to sustain fierce involvement in righteous causes regardless of where their personal lives take them.
 
Heroes are also human, however, and though their dedication and their will to fight may not intervene, mortality can. Such was the thought that occurred to me after my initial shock on learning of the sudden death of modern-day hero Tsafrir Ronen, z’l. Tsafrir suffered a fatal heart attack on Dec. 27 at the young age of 53. He left behind a wife and three daughters.
 
Tsafrir was the consummate Zionist. A secular Jew who espoused the ideals of ahavat Eretz Yisrael, his mantra was Jewish identity, his constant slogan “There can be no Jewish state without Jewish identity.” He worked tirelessly and passionately on behalf of that motto. A fervent supporter of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, he was also an outspoken critic of Israeli policies – the Oslo “peace” accords, the withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the Gush Katif expulsion – that in his view harmed the Jewish state.
 
I first met Tsafrir last year when I accompanied him and another Jewish activist on a visit to the Jewish National Fund offices in New York. During that time Hamas was firing daily barrages into Sderot while the Israeli government under a beleaguered Ehud Olmert did nothing.
 
We had hoped to inspire a change of attitude on the part of JNF officials and impel them to openly urge Israeli leaders to change course and protect their citizens. We were told it was not in their organizational mandate to get involved in Israeli politics.
 
Tsafrir implored the JNF officials to “be on our side” because Israeli public opinion was steadily moving to the right. He insisted that “the State of Israel was fighting against the Land of Israel” and begged the JNF to take a stand in defense of all of Israel, including Judea and Samaria. But he was politely rebuffed and told the JNF wished to remain a “positive” organization dedicated to planting trees and saving the Negev.
 
Tsafrir’s words ring prophetic today. Though the JNF does some wonderful work, I doubt many trees are being planted in the troubled southern region of Israel. And the JNF certainly must be having a hard time luring people to the Negev, what with the still imminent threat of rocket barrages from Gaza.
 
Ironically, Tsafrir died on the eve of Israel’s defensive operations in Gaza. And while everyone was shocked at his sudden death, I wonder whether the stress of committing himself entirely to an ideal, only to see that ideal denigrated by most of those around him, may have contributed to his demise.
 
            Not all Jewish heroes become disillusioned, nor are all hindered in their quests. But it seems nearly impossible to live a life in the constant face of bitter realities without those realities following one like an unwanted shadow. Jewish heroes, driven by a passion to fight the uphill battle for Jewish survival, are heroes precisely because they have to fight. And for many of them there seems to be a price to be paid.
 

There are few among us who can claim such fierce dedication, undeterred by obstacles or personal distractions. For we mere mortals unable to put aside our daily responsibilities in the pursuit of a just cause, these heroes serve as an inspiration to engage in that cause when our lives do allow for it.

 

Sara Lehmann is a freelance writer and editor living in Brooklyn with her husband and children. 

Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and senior members of his Kadima party have hinted over the past few days that the Israeli government may agree to divide Jerusalem, outlining how some eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods have an Arab majority, with some even housing refugee camps.

But key Jerusalem neighborhoods mentioned as slated for possible evacuation are owned by the Jewish National Fund, which has over the years allowed tens of thousands of Arabs to illegally squat on its land, resulting in the current situation whereby the areas have an Arab majority.

The JNF purchased the land in question using Jewish donor funds for the specific purpose of Jewish settlement.

Vice Premier Haim Ramon last week reportedly mapped out a future partition of Jerusalem under a deal with the Palestinians, stating that Israel may give up the Shoafat and Kalandiya neighborhoods, among other communities.

But some of the areas mentioned, including hundreds of acres in Shoafat and Kalandiya, are among those owned by the JNF.

The Jewish-owned lands were recently blocked off from Jewish sections of Jerusalem and isolated to Arab neighborhoods by Israel’s security fence.

Neither the Israeli government nor JNF took any concrete measures to stop the illegal building, which continues today in both Kalandiya and Shoafat.

Internal JNF documents obtained by WorldNetDaily outline the illegal Arab construction on Jewish-owned land. A survey of Kalandiya summarized on JNF stationery conducted in December 2000 and signed by a JNF worker states, “In a lot of the plots I find Arabs are living and building illegally and also working the JNF land without permission.”

Gaza Christian Murdered

The manager of a Christian bookstore in the Gaza Strip who was found dead last weekend was first publicly beaten and tortured by Islamic gunmen who accused him of spreading Christianity, according to witnesses and Palestinian security officials speaking to WND.

The body of Rami Ayyad, who managed the only Christian bookstore in Gaza, reportedly was found Sunday riddled with gunshot and stab wounds. Ayyad, a Baptist, was accused by Gaza-based Islamic groups of engaging in missionary activity.

Ayyad’s bookstore, owned by the Palestinian Bible Society, was firebombed in April. He told relatives after the firebombing that he received numerous death threats from Islamists.

According to witnesses and security officials associated with Hamas’s so-called Executive Force speaking to WND, Ayyad was publicly tortured a few blocks from his store before he was shot to death.

The witnesses said they saw three armed men, two of whom were wearing masks, beat Ayyad repeatedly with clubs and the butts of their guns while they accused him of attempting to spread Christianity in Gaza. They then shot him.

Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic “outreach movement” that recently announced the opening of a “military wing” to enforce Muslim law in Gaza, told WND although his group “didn’t carry out the Ayyad attack,” all Christians in Gaza engaged in missionary activity will be “dealt with harshly.”

“Also no more alcohol on the streets. All women, including non-Muslims, need to understand they must be covered at all times while in public,” he said.

About 3,000 Christians live in the Gaza Strip, which has a population of over one million.

A Job Offer for Sean Penn

Palestinian terror leaders are hailing statements by actor Sean Penn regarding Iran, the war in Iraq and the global war on terror, stating that militants have “deep respect” for Penn, and urging Americans to listen to the Hollywood activist.

One senior jihadist leader even asked Penn to officially represent his terror organization’s cause to the world media.

“I tell Penn that we don’t have the money that the Zionists have, therefore we don’t own and we don’t have access to your media, and we hope you would represent our pain and our cause,” said Abu Hamed, northern Gaza Strip commander of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

Hamed and other terror leaders are quoted on the record sounding off about Penn in this writer’s new book Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land Jihadists Reveal their Global Plans – to a Jew!

For one chapter, an array of senior terrorist leaders were asked to comment on the views of high-profile liberals and conservatives. They were read a series of Penn’s political statements – which they applauded – such as a recent open letter the actor sent to President Bush condemning the Iraq War, calling for Bush’s impeachment and labeling Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “villainously and criminally obscene people.”

The terrorists also were read a 2007 speech, translated into Arabic, in which Penn called for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons and questioned why the U.S. was allowed a nuclear arsenal.

Ala Senakreh, West Bank chief of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, said he feels “deep respect for Penn and people like him that prove that America is not only the country that sponsors the Israeli terrorists and all evil forces in the world, but also a country of brave people who want a different policy based on justice and peace.”

Ramadan Adassi, chief of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the northern West Bank Anskar refugee camp, said Penn’s words “express dignity, express a deep humanitarian sense and this doesn’t surprise me when it comes from an actor who has had to develop the sense of feeling.”

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief  for WorldNetDaily.comHe appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs.

Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice twice referred to Hamas as a “resistance movement” during a meeting with reporters from the New York Daily News earlier this month, but the newspaper did not report her remarks. Rice’s interview is transcribed in full on the State Department website.

During an interview with the editorial board of the Daily News, Rice was asked about the recent history of democratic elections in the Middle East resulting in the rise to power of terror groups such as Hamas.

Rice told the News it was “very interesting to see Hamas trying to come to terms with no longer being really a resistance movement, but having to deal with politics.”

Rice later referred to Hamas as a resistance movement a second time during the interview.

“A moderate Palestinian friend of mine said, ‘You know, they (Hamas) used to be the great resistance, running the streets with their faces covered and going after Israel. And now, they look like a bunch of politicians who also can’t make the sewer system work.’ “

She went on to refer to Hamas’s terror cells as the group’s “military wing.”  (The so-called military wing regularly carries out terror attacks, including shootings and firing of rockets into Jewish population centers.) 

Rice’s remarks were not challenged by the Daily News editors.  Much of the interview was conducted by NY Daily News Chairman Mort Zuckerman, a prominent Jewish leader.

Zuckerman did not return repeated requests for comment before press time.

Rice’s statements mark the second documented time in recent months she called Hamas a “resistance movement” during unscripted chats with journalists.

JNF Permits Arabs to Reside Illegally

Arab squatters are living illegally in a strategic Jewish-owned apartment complex accessing an entrance leading to Jerusalem’s Western Wall and Temple Mount, this column has learned.  The apartment in question was purchased by the Jewish National Fund, which collects hundreds of millions of dollars in Jewish donor funds for the stated purpose of Jewish settlement.

The apartment is located just inside Herod’s Gate, one of eight gates that access Jerusalem’s Old City and the walkways to the Western Wall and Temple Mount. The property is about 3,300 square feet and is considered strategic since it comprises the archway accessing the path in the area to the Temple Mount.

According to information obtained by WND, the Herod’s Gate apartment was purchased in 1991 by Himnuta, a group that buys real estate on behalf of the JNF, using funds from the Jewish organization. Upon purchasing the apartment, the JNF did not place Jewish families inside.  Arabs are living illegally in the JNF-purchased apartment.

Jewish groups speaking to WND said they offered to purchase the key property to allow Jews to move in, but the JNF turned them down. One of the Jewish groups said it was willing to pay a rate “much higher” than the apartment’s value and would take on any legal requirements to boot the Arab squatters.

Real estate ownership in Jerusalem’s Old City is widely considered a sensitive matter. Previous Israeli-Palestinian peace proposals tentatively divided parts of the city based on Jewish or Arab residence.

The report of Arabs illegally inhabiting a strategic JNF-owned apartment follows a series of Jewish Press stories detailing hundreds of acres of key properties in Jerusalem purchased by the JNF for Jewish settlement that were instead utilized for the illegal construction of dozens of Arab apartment buildings housing thousands and U.N. facilities.

The JNF seemingly has taken little action to evict the Arab squatters from its land, while the Israeli government, which manages the areas, did not halt the illegal Arab construction on the Jewish-owned properties. 

Jewish-owned lands recently were blocked off from Jewish sections of Jerusalem and isolated to Arab neighborhoods by Israel’s security fence.

U.S. Weapons End Up With Hamas

Hamas members this week provided this column with a preliminary list of what they claimed were hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. weaponry and equipment they seized when they took control of Gaza two weeks ago.

The list included dozens of mounted machine guns; approximately 7,400 American M-16 assault rifles; about 800,000 rounds of bullets; 18 armored personnel carriers; seven armored military jeeps; “tens” of armored civilian cars, including pickup trucks and magnums; eight massive trucks equipped with water cannons for dispersing protests; and 14 military-sized bulldozers.

Hamas sources said the list didn’t include what they said were large quantities of U.S.-provided rocket propelled grenades, grenade launchers, explosives, and military equipment, such as boots and tents.

Abu Abdullah, a senior member of Hamas’s so-called military wing, told WND that Hamas estimates they obtained at least $400 million worth of American weapons and equipment. That number couldn’t immediately be verified. The average cost of an M-16 in Gaza this week was $16,911, and the average cost of a bullet there was $12.07 – meaning that the cost in Gaza of U.S. assault rifles and bullets Hamas claims to have obtained amounts to over $137 million.

Palestinian sources say America is being petitioned to send more weapons to Fatah in the West Bank.

“Like the American weapons in Gaza we told you will come to Hamas, also the weapons and aid the Americans are giving to Abu Mazen (Abbas) as part of their conspiracy against us in the West Bank will finds its way to the Palestinian resistance and Hamas,” said Abu Abdullah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/quick-takes-news-from-israel-you-may-have-missed-85/2007/06/27/

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