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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Latin America’

Spanish, Portuguese Jews Support Sephardi and Mizrahi Heritage Empowerment Program

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Reconectar, the movement to reconnect the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities and the Jewish world, welcomed the recommendations made by Israel’s Ministry of Education’s Committee to Empower the Heritage of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in the Education System, led by Chairman Erez Biton.

“It is an important day for Sephardi Jews where our history, culture and tradition will be recognized and taught in the Israeli school system,” President of Reconectar Ashley Perry (Perez) said. “This has taken far too long, but it is vital that the scope of Jewish history and culture be widened to include Jews from the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.”

“However, there is still more work to be done and it should be widened further to include our millions of Sephardi brothers and sisters who were forcibly disconnected from us over the centuries and are seeking a reconnection to the Jewish world. Our education system should be preparing the formal Jewish world for the immense and necessary challenge of reconnecting our people,” Perry said.

Beginning in the 14th Century, hundreds of thousands of Jews were forcibly converted, or otherwise disconnected from the Jewish People, and many among their descendants, numbering around 100 million, are seeking different levels of reconnection with Israel and the Jewish world.

Perry, who is also Director General of the Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Communities, Chaired by MK Robert Ilatov, said that the more Israeli children travel to Spain, as the recommendations state, the more they will encounter the story of the Anousim who are becoming more and more aware of their Jewish roots.

“We have an enormous opportunity to use our shared history and traditions, to empower and embolden relations with those who share our roots and heritage whether in the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America or among Latinos and Hispanics in the US,” Perry said. “We have a moral, ethical and even a halakhic mandate to do so, and the more we learn about our roots in the Hispanic world and the more the Hispanic world learns about their possible Jewish roots, the closer the potential relations between our communities will grow.”

Perry was also heavily involved in placing the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries on the national and international agenda while he worked in government as advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other politicians, including former MK Dr. Shimon Ohayon, who passed a law to create a day of commemoration in the official Israeli calendar.

“The history of the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa is sadly overlooked, even though every other Jew in Isr

ael comes from this region,” Perry said. “It is vital for Jewish Peoplehood that the vibrant and ancient Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa and their subsequent ethnic cleansing in the Twentieth Century are understood and studied.”

“It is absurd that it has taken 68 years for Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews to be able to learn about their own history and culture, and it is hoped that their history will be placed on an equal plane to the history of other Jews from around the world,” Perry said.

Jewish Press Staff

Smugglers’ Cross-Border Tunnel Discovered in San Diego

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

It’s not only Israel contending with tunnels, although for Israel tunnels pose an existential threat.

For the third time this month, a cross-border tunnel was discovered Wednesday (April 20) leading from Mexico to California. Authorities seized seven tons of marijuana and more than a ton of cocaine.

The tunnel, measuring nearly half a mile, is believed to be the longest ever found in California. It was equipped with a rail system, ventilation, lights and a large elevator, making delivery of the smuggled goods much easier and more efficient. Some tunnels along the U.S.-Mexico border have been discovered with hydraulic lifts and electric rail cards, according to Fox News.

The exit on the U.S. side was about three feet wide. Six people were arrested last Friday in San Diego and charged with constructing tunnels and other drug-related crimes. They were not identified and their affiliation is not known.

There are numerous drug cartels doing “business” throughout Latin America, including a number who carry out transactions with Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization.

Agents found 1,600 pounds of marijuana inside the tunnel. Another 11,000 pounds of cannabis and 2,242 pounds of cocaine were found in the truck that had been collected from the handy trash bin strategically placed to hide the mouth of the tunnel, as a pickup site for smugglers. In addition, another 1,430 pounds of marijuana were found in the bin.

Hana Levi Julian

Weizmann Institute Drug Approved for Prostate Cancer Therapy in Mexico

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

(JNi.media) A therapy invented at the Weizmann Institute of Science and clinically developed in collaboration with Steba Biotech (Luxembourg) has been approved by Cofepris, Mexico’s health authority, for the focal treatment of early-stage prostate cancer.

The therapy involves a laser and a novel drug, TOOKAD® Soluble. A successful Phase III clinical trial in Latin America (Mexico, Peru and Panama), involving 80 patients, confirmed the high rate of local cures and minimal side effects already reported in Phase II clinical trials, as evidenced by negative biopsies and maintenance of patients’ potency, continence and overall quality of life.

The marketing approval in Mexico comes in the wake of the recent completion of a second Phase III clinical trial in Europe. This randomized pivot study compared disease progression, cancer-free rate and urinary and erectile functions in patients treated with TOOKAD® Soluble and those undergoing active surveillance with a follow-up of two years. It involved more than 400 patients at 43 hospitals in 11 European countries and is currently under evaluation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The approved therapy follows a new paradigm developed by Prof. Yoram Salomon of the Biological Regulation Department and Prof. Avigdor Scherz of the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department in the framework of photodynamic therapy. It comprises an intravenous infusion of TOOKAD® Soluble, immediately followed by near-infrared laser illumination through thin optic fibers that are inserted into the cancer prostatic tissue, under ultrasound control. Tookad® Soluble was first synthesized in Scherz’s lab from bacteriochlorophyll, the photosynthetic pigment of certain aquatic bacteria that draw their energy supply from sunlight. The drug stays in the patient’s blood circulation until it totally clears 3-4 hours later, and it shows no toxicity. Confined illumination of the diseased tissue activates the circulating drug locally, resulting in the extensive generation of short-lived toxic molecules: oxygen and nitric oxide radicals. These highly reactive molecules initiate rapid occlusion and destruction of the tumor blood vessels, followed by necrotic death of the entire tumor while sparing nearby structures and their functions. The use of near-infrared illumination, together with the rapid clearance of the drug from the body and the unique non-thermal mechanism of action, makes it possible to safely treat large, deeply embedded cancerous tissue using a minimally invasive procedure. The recent marketing approval was provided to both the drug (TOOKAD® Soluble) and the laser illumination device (Laser), together designated Vascular Targeted Photodynamic Therapy (VTP) with TOOKAD® Soluble.

In the currently approved focal therapy setting, TOOKAD® Soluble VTP (TS-VTP) is a day-case procedure lasting approximately 90 minutes. Patients are released a few hours later and can return to normal activities within a few days, with none of the side effects frequently associated with prostate removal by surgery or radiotherapy. This new minimally invasive technology offers a good alternative to patients diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. The number of these patients has dramatically increased in the last two decades due to widespread screening relying on levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA). This population faces the dilemma of undergoing the radical treatment of prostate removal with the risk of high morbidity, or remaining under active surveillance with increased risk of further cancer progression.

Tookad® Soluble answers an unmet need in providing this category of patients with an appropriate treatment, which combines good efficacy with a preservation of the quality of life.

Weizmann institute and Steba Biotech are currently pursuing an extensive oncological research program in collaboration with several clinical groups at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Four clinical studies for more advanced prostate cancer and other oncological indications stemming from this research are scheduled to start in 2016.

JNi.Media

The Stars Keep Falling on Israel

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Efforts to bring Hollywood stars to Israel have extended to include Latin America, with a delegation of TV personalities and news executives arriving Monday from Central and South America as well as from the United States for a week-long visit.

The trip was announced by America’s Voices in Israel (AVI), part of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and is partly sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, David InterContinental Hotel, Inbal Jerusalem Hotel and El Al Israel Airlines.

The latest visitors will tour Israel’s burgeoning hi-tech and medical industries and listen to briefings with the IDF, Israeli diplomats and Knesset Members.

Among the personalities in the Latin-American delegation are superstar Mexican actress and comedienne Angelica Vale, best-selling author Teresa Rodriguez, who also is the first woman to anchor a national newscast in the United States, and media and [political strategist Alida Garcia, who orchestrated a large turnout of Latino voters for President Obama and now works for Mark Zuckerberg’s new advocacy organization.

Also in the group is Otto Padron, President and CEO of the Muruelo Media Holding, based in Los Angeles.

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

Guatemala Recognizes Palestinian Authority as a State

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Guatemala has recognized Palestine as a state, which it believes will help bring about a peace agreement with Israel. It joins several Latin American countries that have recognized a sovereign state of Palestine in the last two years.

The Guatemala’s president’s office said in a statement that it decided to “recognize the State of Palestine as a free, sovereign and independent state” in order to “gain new momentum” in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“The decision in no way alters Guatemala’s long tradition of friendship and cooperation with the State of Israel, a relationship the Guatemalan government highly values,” the statement added.

Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Chile, Peru and Guyana all have recognized an independent Palestinian state, some specifying that it be located within 1967 borders.

 

 

JTA

Chavez and the Jews: a Sorry Tale

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Like one of those telenovelas that are so popular on Latin American television stations, the slow yet inexorable deterioration of Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, was soaked in drama and cloying sentimentality.

Chavez died March 5 following a two-year fight with cancer. For most of that time, he claimed – falsely – to have been cured. But less than two months after winning a fourth term in last October’s election, Chavez was spirited back to Cuba, where Fidel Castro’s doctors treated him.

Now, Chavez’s death affords the opportunity for a critical reassessment of his tenure. In his fourteen years in power, Chavez turned Venezuela into the Latin American hub of a global network of anti-American, authoritarian rogue states. There is scarcely a fellow dictator he didn’t befriend. Some, like the Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein, are no longer with us. Others – among them Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe – remain alive and in power.

The closest relationship of all was the one forged with the Castro brothers in Cuba, Fidel and Raul, whose ailing economy is kept afloat by heavily subsidized oil from Venezuela, Latin America’s biggest producer.

With allies like these, it should come as no surprise that Chavez became an arch-foe of Israel. In one of the last foreign policy statements he made before returning to the hospital in Cuba in December, Chavez denounced what he called the “savage” Israeli attack on Gaza. In 2009, on the previous occasion Israel responded militarily to Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza, Chavez told the French newspaper Le Figaro that Israel had launched a “genocide” against the Palestinians.

Such incendiary statements won Chavez the admiration of the Arab street. In 2006, during the conflict between Israel and Hizbullah in Lebanon, the Arab satellite network Al Jazeera praised Chavez for beating Arab leaders to the punch when he became the first head of state to condemn Israel’s actions. Similar words of admiration greeted his decision to expel the Israeli ambassador to Caracas in 2009.

In attacking Israel, though, Chavez inadvertently undermined the arguments of those who say anti-Zionism is one thing, anti-Semitism something else entirely. In many ways, Chavez’s attitude to Israel mirrored that of the Soviet Union. Just as the USSR marked its own Jews out as a fifth column during its decades-long propaganda campaign against Zionism, so did Chavez.

Before Chavez came to power there were 30,000 Jews in Venezuela. The community has now dwindled to fewer than 9,000. The Chavez years ushered in a set of new and frightening experiences for Venezuela’s Jews, from cartoons in the press that could have been lifted from the notorious Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer to the vandalism of the main synagogue in Caracas in 2009.

As a depressing summary by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism noted last September, “Recent years have witnessed a rise in anti-Semitic manifestations, including vandalism, media attacks, caricatures, and physical attacks on Venezuelan Jewish institutions.”

Members of the Venezuelan opposition I’ve spoken with over the past year have all remarked on the virulence of Chavez’s anti-Semitism. In 2012, Israel was temporarily displaced by the emergence of a domestic Jewish target in the form of the rival presidential candidate to Chavez – the youthful and energetic Henrique Capriles. While Capriles is a practicing Catholic, his mother’s family, the Radonskis, arrived in Venezuela after surviving the Holocaust in Poland. Other members of the family perished in the Nazi concentration camps.

In their attacks on Capriles, Chavez and his press lackeys referred to him with an array of derogatory terms – “gringo,” “bourgeois,” “imperialist,” and, above all, “Zionist.” There was no doubt that by “Zionist” the regime meant “Jew.”

Why did anti-Semitism become such a potent force in a country that eschewed it for so long? Some analysts regard it as the inevitable outcome of Chavez’s alliance with Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah.

Yet there is another factor. The main ideological influence on Chavez was a relatively obscure Argentinian sociologist, Norberto Ceresole. A Holocaust denier and all-round conspiracy theorist, Ceresole’s theories became the basis for what Venezuelans know as chavismo, the matrix of social institutions and values created by the Chavez regime. The first chapter of a book in which Ceresole extolled the virtues of such a system, under which the relationship between the “leader” and the “people” is privileged, was titled “The Jewish Problem.”

Ben Cohen

Iranian PM Says Iran “being punished for no reason”

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking at Havana University in Cuba on Thursday, told students that Iran is “being punished for no reason,” in a veiled reference to the recent assassination of another Iranian nuclear scientist.

According to Ahmadenijad, the West was persecuting Iran: “Have we ever attacked anyone? Have we sought more than we need? Never. We only want to pursue justice.”

Ahmadinejad is currently in the midst of an official tour of Latin America that has included stops in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and will take him to Ecuador next.

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iranian-pm-says-iran-being-punished-for-no-reason/2012/01/12/

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