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August 31, 2016 / 27 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

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

Celebrate International Chocolate Day Jerusalem Style

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

July 7 is International Chocolate Day, so Claude BenSimon, head pastry chef of the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, has unveiled two new chocolate dishes: Louie’s Mousse and Waldorf 28. Both have been added to the menu of the the hotel’sKing’s Court Restaurant. Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem opened in 2014, has been named Top Hotel In the Middle East and 7th in the world by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, and has received international praise for its innovative cuisine.

A second generation pastry chef, Bensimon was trained in the bakeshops and pastry kitchens of Paris, including the Michelin-rated Taillevent, and worked under pastry designer Jacques Genin. In 2001 BenSimon immigrated to Israel and in 2013 joined the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem staff as head Pastry Chef.

“Louie’s Mousse” by Chef Claude Ben-Simon
Yields up to 5 medium cups

Part 1—Milk Chocolate Chantilly Cream

Ingredients
1 ¼ cup (10 fl oz) Heavy Cream
1 ¼ cup (1/2 lb) Milk Chocolate

Preparation:
Bring the cream to a boil and then add, in 3 parts, the boiling cream into the chocolate while stirring during every addition
Allow the cream to cool down for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator
After it has cooled, place the cream in a pastry bag with a St. Honore nozzle

Part 2—Vanilla Crumble

Ingredients:
5 ½ oz (11 Tbsp) cold butter cut into cubes
2 ¾ oz (6 ½ Tbsp) sugar
1 ¼ Tbsp salt
1 ¼ cups flour
2 ½ cups crumbled almonds
3 oz light brown sugar

Preparation:
Mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
Add the butter and mix gently until you get the dough becomes pea size crumble
Move the mixture into a baking pan with parchment paper and bake at 320 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, or until the crumble is golden brown and crispy
Take the pan out and put on the side to cool.

Part 3—Exotic Coulis

Ingredients:
3 ½ oz (7 Tbsp) banana puree
2 ¾ oz mango puree
1 ½ oz apricot puree
2 ¼ oz passion fruit puree
1 stick of vanilla bean, scraped
¼ cup white sugar

Preparation
In a medium sized pan, add the fruit puree. Scrape the vanilla pod into the pan, and mix with the sugar over a low flame.
While the pan is on a medium flame, bring the mixture to a boil for about 7 minutes until the mixture becomes thick to nappy consistency.
Remove from the flame and set aside in the refrigerator before using.

Assembly:
In a medium-sized cup, first place a spoonful of exotic coulis. Over this place 2 spoonfuls of vanilla crumble. Pipe out the cream to the rim of the cup. Decorate with crushed nuts and serve.

JNi.Media

Analysis: Trump’s Praise for Saddam Challenges GOP Presidents Who Took him Down [video]

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

“He was a bad guy, really bad guy. But you know what? He did well. He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over,” Donald Trump said at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina Tuesday. In comparison, Trump said, “today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism. You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq. It’s like Harvard. Okay? So sad.”

That assertion may be challenged by Israelis, as Clinton’s senior campaign adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN, “In reality, Hussein’s regime was a sponsor of terrorism — one that paid families of suicide bombers who attacked Israelis, among other crimes.”

Then Sullivan added that “Trump’s cavalier compliments for brutal dictators, and the twisted lessons he seems to have learned from their history, again demonstrate how dangerous he would be as commander-in-chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”

Not necessarily so. In retrospect, after the violent collapse of the “Arab Spring” everywhere but in Tunisia, Trump’s assessment of what the Arab world requires to keep it stable is not necessarily democracy. Back in October, 2015, Trump said he believed Iraq and Libya would be more useful in forging a stable Middle East if ruthless dictators like Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi had not been terminated by a succession of American presidents.

“If you look at Iraq from years ago,” Trump said in October, “I’m not saying [Hussein] was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now. Right now, Iraq is a training ground for terrorists. Right now Libya, nobody even knows Libya, frankly there is no Iraq and there is no Libya. It’s all broken up. They have no control. Nobody knows what’s going on.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rushed to the defense of both Bushes and Obama, telling Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that Saddam Hussein “was one of the 20th century’s most evil people. He was up there. He committed mass genocide against his own people using chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein was a bad guy.”

Yes, but, in the immortal words of FDR, when someone asked him about the wisdom of supporting Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, “He may be an SOB but he’s our SOB.” Back in 1979, when Iran’s Shah was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution, giving way to an Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which drove the US out of Iran (and kept hundreds of American hostages), only Saddam Hussein was able to limit the spread of Iranian influence in the region. The Iran–Iraq War lasted from September 1980 to August 1988, exacting millions of victims in the service of Western interests in the region. No Arab democracy (an oxymoron if ever there was one) could have stopped Iran. The only force able to facilitate Iran’s yearning for regional hegemony were presidents Bush I and Bush II, followed by Obama.

On July 25, 1990, US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie held an emergency meeting with Saddam, who attacked American policy with regards to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Saddam complained bitterly: “So what can it mean when America says it will now protect its friends? It can only mean prejudice against Iraq. This stance plus maneuvers and statements which have been made has encouraged the UAE and Kuwait to disregard Iraqi rights.”

Saddam was referring to his neighboring oil sheiks “drilling sideways” into Iraqi deposits. Saddam viewed the entire concept of there even being a country named Kuwait to have been a conspiracy of British Petroleum and Her Majesty’s government to steal oil-rich Iraqi land. Saddam felt that in light of his service to the US, he should receive its support in his conflict with the Kuwaitis.

Ambassador Glaspie replied that the US would rather see the conflict resolved through peaceful means, but in the end, “…we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.”

And so, after his ultimatum to the Sabah ruling family of Kuwait had failed, Saddam invaded Kuwait, believing the US was going to take a neutral position on his move. But his move frightened the Saudis, whose Ambassador under both Bush administrations had his own desk in the Oval office, and they pressured Bush I to start what is now a 26-year program of completely destabilizing the Middle East, complete with attacks on US soil, lingering civil wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, two worldwide Islamic terrorist armies, one of them a Caliphate wannabe blowing up half of Europe. All of which could have been avoided had the Bush I and certainly Bush II administrations been more accommodating to the monstrous dictator who used to be our monstrous dictator.

The Democratic and Republican establishments insist on presenting Trump as an admirer of dictators, which he may be — but that was not the case Trump has been making for boosting rather than unseating dictators, such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Trump has a much clearer view regarding US foreign interest than do the establishment politicians on either side of the aisle, and it ain’t about spreading the spirit od democracy and goodwill to all mankind.

JNi.Media

Israeli President in Brussels: Israeli-EU Relations Independent of Peace Deal

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – President Reuven Rivlin said that current European Union (EU) efforts to bring about a final arrangement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority should not overshadow the importance of bilateral ties between Israel and the EU, following a meeting in Brussels with President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

“The advancement of peace in the Middle East is a vital interest for Israel,” emphasized Rivlin. “At the same time, I believe that the bilateral relations between us can grow and develop independently.”

The Israeli president, who met with Tusk as part of a several day tour throughout Europe in which he is scheduled to meet with dignitaries of Belgium, the EU and NATO, viewed the Israeli-EU relationship as having great prospects of success.

“This is my first visit to the institutions of the EU as president of the State of Israel, and I see it as a sign of the great importance of relations between Israel and the European Union,”  said Rivlin.

“The EU is an integral partner with Israel in the fields of trade, science, environment and culture,” he continued.

Rivlin also claimed that Israel’s ties with Europe were founded on common values.

‘We share the fundamental values of democracy, freedom of expression, liberalism and human dignity,” Rivlin added. “These values are a solid basis on which to expand cooperation in other areas.”

President Tusk concurred with Rivlin. “We share many values and join forces together on a variety of issues,” Tusk said. “There is a deep partnership between the EU and Israel.”

Tusk touched on the need for the continued partnership between Israel and the EU in the battle against terrorism.

“I expressed to the president my condolences on the recent terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, and we discussed ways to deepen our cooperation against terrorism,” Tusk said. “There is no better place than Brussels to discuss this issue today.”

The European Council president added that a peaceful resolution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is of vital importance to the European Union.

“A sustainable peace is a very high priority for the European Community,” Tusk stressed. “The EU is ready to support peace with unprecedented assistance and cooperation with both sides.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Analysis: Herzog Mocks Netanyahu, Israel’s SpongeBob SquarePants

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

In a witty speech, riddled with poisoned arrows, the leader of both the Zionist Camp and the Knesset opposition MK Isaac Herzog used his keynote address on the third and final day of the 16th annual Herzliya Conference to paint a grotesque image of the failures of the Netanyahu government, coupled with promises for a better future under his own party’s rule. Despite his repetition of ideas that have already proven themselves to be dangerously delusional, Herzog’s heartfelt bitterness was almost delightful:

“Finally we have a Right wing government,” he began. “Finally we have a right-wing prime minister, right-wing defense minister, right-wing Minister of Education, right-wing justice minister, right-wing Minister of Agriculture and even right-wing Minister of Transport… Now there is no one on the left to litter the agenda!”

And yet, he persisted, even without a shred of leftwing involvement, “look at what is happening around us: the waves of violence are stronger. An Intifada of stones has turned into terrorism of Kalashnikovs and Carl Gustavs and the citizens are scared to walk around Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion.”

“What’s the greatest mistake of the right wing government?” he continued to joke, answering his own trick question: “That there is no real left wing to blame. It really is a tragedy: even I thought we were getting a bunch of heroes with super powers – but it turns out we got SpongeBob leaders.”

SpongeBob SquarePants is the hero of an animated television series created by marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon, chronicling the adventures and endeavors of SpongeBob and his friends in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. The series has been involved in several public controversies, including one centered on speculation over SpongeBob’s sexual orientation.

Herzog, who is often self deprecating regarding his own effeminate public persona in Israel’s macho political jungle, obviously picked the SpongeBob imagery to suggest his seemingly macho political enemies were, in fact, the effeminate ones. Not a sure-win choice on the week of the Orlando gay club massacre.

Herzog reminded his audience that “for years the Right preached that we had to remain in Lebanon, and had to sacrifice hundreds of soldiers every year to secure the northern border. Then came Ehud Barak and he took us out of Lebanon and created a political situation that is not ideal but the number of our fatalities decreased dramatically, and Northern agricultural workers and tourism are thriving…. For years the Right has preached that talking with the other side would be the end of the state, the end of the Zionist enterprise, the destruction of the Third Temple. Then came Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin z”l who talked with Arafat, the head of a dangerous and deadly terrorist organization, and they reached understandings that turned the other side and its leadership from one of hijackings and murdering civilians indiscriminately to a diplomatic organization that worked with us on political and diplomatic issues.”

Delivered outside the context of the several thousand murdered Israelis who have been the casualties of the Rabin-Peres-Arafat peace deal, Herzog’s ideas sounded outright reasonable. He did fail to mention the rivers of blood that ensued each time Israeli leaders on both sides of the aisle have attempted to ply Arafat et al with territorial concessions.

Herzog continued to list his perceived highlights of the various governments and leaders of Israel, again without the benefit of knowing what followed those brave men’s best plans: “Begin, Rabin, Peres and Sharon were not afraid to put their personal fate on the altar for the good of the country and won spots in the Hall of Fame of Israeli leadership.”

He did say that “in the context of the current wave of terror in which dozens of Israelis were killed and hundreds injured, I identified a new path… an opportunity for peace… I worked toward this solution with international and regional leaders directly and indirectly.” Presumably, his planned territorial concessions would not end in more bloodshed, possibly because the polls at this point predict a drop in Herzog’s party’s Knesset mandate from 24 to the low teens.

Herzog insisted, however, that although the idea of cooperation between Israel and the moderate Arab states was not new, the time was ripe for such collaboration, “it’s a unique and rare opportunity.” He continued, “Unlike the previous generation of Arab leaders, nowadays many Sunni leaders have less of what I call an ‘Israel complex,’ which their predecessors suffered from. They are bolder, younger, more independent and willing to work with Israel, as long as it serves their national interests. These leaders are willing to engage on issues important to both sides.”

Except that those same younger Arabs out there, as was seen from a poll commissioned by the Herzliya Conference in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, no longer care about the fate of Israel’s Arabs on either side of the green line. But Herzog plowed on: “Today there is a golden opportunity. The United States must take the lead and the international community should support it along with the regional leadership of the Middle East. With bold leadership and bold steps, we can realize this opportunity and create a better future for us and for our children. I and my partners in the Zionist Camp see this as a window of opportunity that could ultimately bring about a two-state solution.”

Herzog concluded, “I opened the door for Netanyahu and offered him my hand saying that he was the engine of the Right, I was the engine of the Left and behind us was a wagon” of citizens. “But the Right did not succeed in turning on his engine… Netanyahu preferred to think of his political survival.”

Indeed, Herzog’s own failure to lead his party to political victory, and his failed coalition negotiations with Netanyahu will likely not bode well for his own political survival.

JNi.Media

On Heel of Netanyahu Visit, Russia Pushing ‘Arab Initiative’ as Basis for Talks

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Moscow has no problem adopting the Arab peace initiative on settling the Arab-Israeli conflict, and sees no need to amend it, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told TASS after talks the PA FM Riyad al-Maliki on Wednesday. And, apparently, as far as the Russians are concerned, they never heard Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for any amendments to the initiative when he met with President Putin the day before.

“I did not hear any demands for amending the Arab peace initiative in the remarks of Benjamin Netanyahu,” Lavrov said. “It is integral and embraces the entire set of relations between Israel and the Arab countries, including Palestine of course. There is no need to amend it.”

According to Lavrov, the Arab peace initiative is a universal document, which everybody regards as the fitting foundation for a peaceful future between Arabs and Jews.

Also known as the “Saudi Initiative,” the Arab peace initiative is a 10 sentence proposal that was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 and then in 2007, calling for normalizing relations between the Arab countries and Israel, in exchange for “(a) Complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4 1967 line and the territories still occupied in southern Lebanon; (b) Attain a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees to be agreed upon in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution No 194 (which says that ‘refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.); (c) Accept the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

In other words, the elimination of the Jewish State as we know it—by the time the last conditions of the initiative were fulfilled.

Perhaps it was symbolic that on the day of the first declaration of the Saudi initiative, March 27, 2002, Hamas committed the Passover Massacre as a suicide bomber killed 30 Israelis and injured more than 170, including children, at the Park Hotel in Netanya.

And yet, in March 2009 US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell announced that President Obama’s administration planned to “incorporate” the initiative into its Middle East policy.

And last year, in May 2015, shortly after winning the March 17 elections, Netanyahu himslef expressed tentative support for the initiative, saying he accepted the “general idea,” but with significant caveats, specifically its calls for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights and the relocation of millions of Arabs into Israel. As to Jerusalem, Netanyahu said it would not be resolved immediately, and so for now “we’ll set this aside.”

For his part, al-Maliki told TASS he was hoping for Moscow’s “direct and active involvement” in resolving the conflict with Israel, based on the generous Arab initiative. “Considering the results of the latest session in Paris, we felt that it was necessary for us to come to Moscow to exchange opinions and see whether there were prospects for progress,” the PA foreign minister said.

“We’re convinced that Russia can play a very important role in bringing the parties to the negotiating table,” he added, noting that the recent talks in Paris held without the participation of the parties to the conflict helped ensure agreement on the beginning of the talks.

David Israel

Report: Between 700 and 900 Immigrants Died at Sea Last week

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

“We will never know exact numbers” of drowned refugees fleeing the Middle East and East Africa for safe haven in Europe, Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) tweeted Saturday, estimating that as many as 900 had died last week. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Sunday that more than 700 had drowned.

According to Reuters, some 14,000 refugees have been rescued since last Monday, but there have been reports of at least three boats sinking. The number of dead is estimated based on survivor testimonies. These included Saturday interviews with immigrants at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, resulting in accounts of a large, motorless fishing boat that capsized on Thursday with a large crowd of women and children on board.

According to testimonies, when the boat capsized, 25 passengers swam to the towing boat, and as many as 90 others were saved by 3 boats with MSF rescue personnel. 15 bodies were recovered, which means that at least 550 died, according to the UNHCR.

The rescued refugees last week included Eritreans, Sudanese, Nigerians and other West Africans. The boats have mostly left from Libya, where many women said the smugglers had beaten and raped them.

On Friday, an Italian Navy ship collected 45 bodies and rescued 135 people from a semi-submerged rubber boat, which normally carries about 300.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-between-700-and-900-immigrants-died-at-sea-last-week/2016/05/29/

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