Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah arrived Thursday at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City.
Netanyahu is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly, following a speech by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Along with the Netanyahus, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and MK Michael Oren of the Kulanu party arrived there as well.
Oren, a former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, is nearly as familiar with the unique intricacies and foibles of American culture and politics as Netanyahu. He currently serves as Deputy Minister for Diplomacy in the Prime Minister’s Office.
A 41-year-old man from Ra’anana suffered a heart attack on Saturday night. The man lost control of his car and drove it into the Furama sidewalk restaurant in Tel Aviv, according to police.
Three people were killed in the accident, several more were injured.
One of those killed was Alan Weinkratz, a Tech/PR/Social Media guru from San Antonio, Texas.
Weinkratz regular traveled back and forth between Israel and the US, promoting Israel, technology and advising Israeli startups.
Weinkratz, along with MK Michael Oren, met with JewishPress.com in December 2015, at Hub Etzion, a co-working startup space, where Weinkratz was offering advice to the local startups in the newly formed business hub, while learning more about the burgeoning startup community in Gush Etzion.
At the time Weinkratz presented Oren with his signature Rackspace poster that points an arrow at Israel as “The Five-Thousand Year Old Startup”.
Hub Etzion is a new, vibrant and exciting coworking space located in the burgeoning “Industrial Park” nestled in the Gush Etzion hills just across from the town of Efrat, and 5 minutes from almost every community in Gush Etzion. As coworking hubs go, Hub Etzion is pretty standard – even modest. At 3000 sq. feet, it’s quite small compared to the 15000+ sq. feet WeWork locations in Tel Aviv and Herzliyah.
Yet in the mere two months since opening, Hub Etzion has been receiving national – and international attention. Including, a special visit today from MK and Former Israel Ambassador to the US Michael Oren.
Why such inordinate attention? As any real estate agent will tell you, the answer is location, location, location.
While Gush Etzion has been in the news lately as the address for increased terror attacks, and notably the vicious murder of American yeshiva student Ezra Schwartz, z”l one month ago, it is also the home to a large, independent-minded community of Olim, many of whom live in Israel while owning or consulting for companies overseas, from the comfort, or shall we say, the discomfort of home.
Hub Etzion aims to meet this strong and current market need, providing a sophisticated, professional space in which to work for those who telecommute, run their own businesses, work from home or all of the above.
At the same time, the founders of Hub Etzion perceive their business as a response to the ongoing terror attempts – and to BDS.
“Yesterday, I went to a memorial ceremony at Oz V’Gaon Park in memory of Ezra Schwartz, z”l” Hub Etzion co-owner and founder Rachel Moore told JewishPress.com. “Racheli Fraenkel [JP: mother of Naftali Fraenkel one of the three boys kidnapped and murdered last year] spoke and tried to give comfort to Ezra’s family, who had flown in from the US to be with us, here, in Gush Etzion. She spoke about how the Jewish people respond to a culture of death and destruction by celebrating life and rebuilding. We at Hub Etzion believe that the response to BDS is the same; rather than divestment and negative attacks, we need to build up and ‘INvest’; in people, in enterprise, in technology and advancements for all of the residents of Gush Etzion. That is the only way to bring about progress and solutions. We face the current situation – and our ongoing situation by increasing prosperity and success – locally and proudly.”
This approach to the current attacks on Israel, from terrorism to the rhetoric on campuses and in cities around the world, seems to resonate a great deal with thought leaders.
During today’s visit, it was clear that MK Oren already understood the Hub culture, and the need for a coworking space in Gush Etzion.
But what he wanted to talk about was the decision of the Hub – and more importantly the businesses that reside there – to remain in Gush Etzion, clearly, unapologetically.
As the coworkers gathered for a photo opportunity with Oren, he addressed the crowd and said (in Hebrew) “People have been trying to remove the Jewish presence from this area throughout the history of Israel. Those of you working here, this amazing place, Hub Etzion, is as important to the long term success here as the soldiers out there working hard at the junction and checkpoints, protecting us”
Hub Etzion was also called out recently at a new Lobby at the Knesset for Startups and Hubs, started by MKs Yoav Kish and Yoel Hasson. MK Kish, of the Likud Party, specifically mentioned Hub Etzion as an example of the “need for more Hubs and tech eco-systems outside of the mercaz [Tel Aviv] and in the rest of the country.”
Alan Weinkrantz, “Product Ambassador” from Rackspace, the world’s largest provider of managed cloud storage, has also brought international attention to Hub Etzion. In a recent post, he wrote that “It’s interesting to see workspaces and hubs like…Hub Etzion that are no more than 30 minutes from Jerusalem, and dot landscape and the periphery of the Nation’s Capital. These communities and workspaces are sort of like being in Fairfax, VA or Chevy Chase, MD, but with a slightly longer time line that go back to the cradle of civilization.”
Coinciding with MK Michael Oren’s visit, Weinkrantz came to Hub Etzion today for a day of consultations and help for the co-working /start-up community of Gush Etzion. He had an opportunity to personally present MK Oren with a Rackspace poster that points an arrow at Israel as “The Five-Thousand Year Old Startup”.
“We are a private enterprise that is focused on empowering the people and businesses of Gush Etzion and Efrat to thrive and grow.” co-owner Amy Shuter told JewishPress.com. “We have so much more to do. We know that as long as our region is an area of controversy we will garner attention to what we are doing. But we are going to help the next huge idea turn into the next huge startup, right out of our modest Hub. This is only the beginning. We hope that the international attention continues, but for the benefit of the businesses we serve. “
Below is a short excerpt (in English) from what MK Michael Oren said during his visit to Hub Etzion.
Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and now a Knesset Member, said Wednesday that Israel should not boycott or ban Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Trump is scheduled to visit Israel later this month and meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu December 28.
MK Oren, of the Kulanu party, told Maariv today:
Israel must not let itself be dragged into the U.S. presidential political race, but on the other hand, it cannot remain quiet when someone stains an entire community because of their religious beliefs.
We must host the presidential candidate [Trump] as if what he said never was spoken, but on the other hand we must express our reservations on his harmful remarks.
Several Opposition MKs have called on Prime Minister Netanyahu not to meet with him, and some even want him banned from stepping foot in Israel.
They were reacting to Trump’s controversial speech this in which he said that the United States should block Muslim immigrants until the government “can figure out what is going on,” referring to the massacre at San Bernardino two weeks ago.
President Barack Obama is introducing anti-Zionist values into the White House. After J Street and “Breaking the Silence,” next in line is Knesset Arab Knesset Member Ayman Odeh, who blames Israel for Arab terror.
One week after Knesset Member Michael Oren was falsely quoted as saying that the president is bringing “radical Muslim values” into 1600 Pennsylvania, it turns out that he definitely is opening its doors to the Arab MK who thinks that Muslim terror against Jews is the fault of the “occupation.”
Even more absurd is that Odeh is a Christian, but that has not stopped him from embracing his fellow Muslim MKs who call the Israeli government “Nazi” and openly campaign for the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
MK Odeh said on Israel radio two months ago:
I always blame the occupation for being guilty. I cannot tell the nation how to struggle, where and at which target to throw the rock.
Odeh is the chairman of the Joint Arab List, and told Yediot Acharonot that he will talk to senior White House and State Dept. officials on “issues that matter to Israel’s Arab Citizens [and] are hardly represented in the international conversation.”
He also will meet with the Palestinian Authority ambassador to the United Nations and will give interviews to all of the “correct” media outlets, such as The New York Times, the Nation, Huffington Post and the Washington Post. There is no indication that he will meet with President Obama.
Odeh also will speak with Jewish leaders, all of them from the Reform movement that decries the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria and for which President Obama has rolled out the red carpet.
The Obama administration will describe Odeh as the leader of Israeli Arabs, but the truth is that he is not.
A special survey conducted for Channel 2… reveals…54% of Israeli Arab respondents believe that the Arab MKs do not represent them, 25% say that Arab MKs represent them fairly well, and only a minority of 16% say that they represent them ‘very much.’
However, most of these surveyed criticized comments by Nazareth’s Arab Mayor Ali Salem that Odeh and his cohorts have been “ruining” the city by inciting violence and demonstrating in the city against Israel.
Salem said in October:
Every Saturday we get our 20 thousand guests—Jews, tourists and Israelis from across the country. This Saturday we barely reached 1,000 people from out of town.
For three days we had complete quiet. No politicians arrived and they didn’t riot or strike or demonstrate…. Businessmen I spoke to today were pleased, not because no one visited them for a month, but because they manage to rebuild the ruins they (the politicians) left us in the city.
On the eve of Odeh’s departure to Washington, he told Yediot:
Less than a month after Netanyahu’s visit to the US and his half-apology, I go so that I may tell the hard truth about him and the government in Israel, which rose to power through racist incitement against Arab citizens.”
The original article has been removed and will be updated on Sunday, along with important clarifications requested by MK Michael Oren regarding parts of the interview.
MK Michael Oren spoke Saturday morning at a cultural event in Be’er Sheva, addressing Israel—US relations and President Obama’s worldview.
The spokesman for the Beersheba municipality has apologized for misquoting Mk Michael Oren, clarifying that Oren did not say that Obama introduced “radical Muslim values into the White House.”
MK Oren wants to make absolutely clear that he was not attacking President Obama in any way during the discussion, and he was presenting a “controlled and responsible analysis.”
Oren adds that he “praises the close security cooperation between Israel and the US under President Obama.”
Oren did say, “It’s the president’s right to bring into the White House a different worldview that’s unlike his predecessors’” and “It is our responsibility to recognize this fact and to act accordingly.”
During the discussion, Oren mentioned Obama’s childhood as well as influences in college as helping shape the President’s worldview.
And the fallout continues from former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren’s comments about and analysis of U.S. President Barack Obama.
In a furious press release issued during the waning minutes of his reign, national director of the Anti-Defamation League Abe Foxman slammed Oren for expressing his views about U.S. President Barack Obama.
In the ADL press release Foxman singles out Oren’s essay in Foreign Policy Magazine, and does not mention the better known Wall Street Journal op-ed or even his forthcoming book.
You see, in Foreign Policy, Oren explains, in great detail, what he saw as Obama’s dramatic change with his predecessors regarding the players in the Middle East. As Oren plainly states it, one had only to look very carefully – and keep referring back – to President Obama’s speech in Cairo in July, 2009. The Cairo speech was Obama’s first major foreign policy address. And Oren studied it, and referred others to it, often. The White House itself referred to the speech as “President Obama Speaks to the Muslim World,” according to Oren.
The Foreign Policy essay is an important one in many ways, yet Foxman’s criticism is hard to square with what Oren actually wrote.
For Foxman and the ADL claim that Oren “revived the meme of the president’s ‘Muslim Heritage’ to make the case that American foreign policy in the Middle East is primarily being promoted and dictated by the president’s early upbringing in the Muslim faith and in Muslim traditions.”
But Foxman had to sift through an 18 paragraph essay and focus on only one paragraph, close to the end, as the source of his criticism. In that one – the 13th paragraph – Oren mentions Obama’s Muslim father and step-father and his upbringing in largely Islamic Indonesia, and of Obama’s reminiscences of idyllic Kenyan villages. Oren draws on Obama’s own autobiography, Dreams From My Father, as the basis for his speculation.
This is the one paragraph, that drew the ire of Foxman:
In addition to its academic and international affairs origins, Obama’s attitudes toward Islam clearly stem from his personal interactions with Muslims. These were described in depth in his candid memoir, Dreams from My Father, published 13 years before his election as president. Obama wrote passionately of the Kenyan villages where, after many years of dislocation, he felt most at home and of his childhood experiences in Indonesia. I could imagine how a child raised by a Christian mother might see himself as a natural bridge between her two Muslim husbands. I could also speculate how that child’s abandonment by those men could lead him, many years later, to seek acceptance by their co-religionists.
But by the 13th paragraph, Oren had already mentioned Obama’s worldview being developed at the academic institutions he attended, and in particular by the enormous influence Columbia University’s Professor Edward Said’s book Orientalism had on Obama’s generation of university students and professors.
Oren’s article is titled, “How Obama Opened His Heart to the Muslim World,” and the subheadline reads: “And got it stomped on. Israel’s former ambassador to the United States on the president’s naiveté as peacemaker, blinders to terrorism, and alienation of allies.” This is what the essay is about. It is not an effort at armchair psychoanalysis. Nor is it, as Foxman suggests, an effort to explain Obama’s orientation towards the Muslim world as due to his yearning for a Muslim father who dropped out of his life.
After recognizing that it is appropriate to criticize the policies of this administration, Foxman wrote:
Ambassador Oren’s essay, however, veers into the realm of conspiracy theories, and with an element of amateur psychoanalysis he links U.S. policies in the Middle East to the president’s personal history of having a Muslim father. Then, taking it a step further by suggesting this “worldview” of Muslims and Islam has driven the president to embrace the Muslim world at the expense of both Israel and U.S. national security interests. This results in borderline stereotyping and insensitivity.
Lori Lowenthal Marcus