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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Netanya’

IFCJ Denying Report on Netanya Charity Rejecting Donation

Friday, March 1st, 2013

A major charity organization in the city of Natanya, Kupat Tzdaka Merkazit (Central Charity Fund), has refused to accept a pre-Purim gift of 100 thousand shekel (roughly $27,000) from Keren Hayedidut (The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews), administered by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. The reason for the rejection, according to the local magazine HaShabat B’Netanya, is the fact that the fund’s money comes from Evangelical Christians.

The donation, according to the magazine, was contingent on the Netanya charity posting a large sign on its office wall announcing the fact that they are supported by the IFCJ – which members of the Netanya organization, after a debate, deemed unacceptable.

But the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews said it was “surprised to read the article mentioning an organization that rejected our funds. The fellowship receives numerous requests for funding from hundreds of organizations from all sectors in Israel and distributes funds according to professional criteria. We never offer funds to organizations who did not apply for it and we do our best to provide aid to populations and people in distress.”

The IFCJ, founded in 1983 by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein—an Orthodox rabbi—who remains its central force, has been the subject of criticism from both Haredi and National Religious Jews, who view it as a promoter of missionary activities.

Many have argued that the IFCJ’s strategy is to gain the Orthodox Jewish public’s trust, and so to break down the Jewish cultural barrier and earn a legitimacy for the Christian faith in those circles.

It has also been argued that the reason Evangelicals are supporting the State of Israel is rooted in their belief that it is a phase in the process of Christian redemption, and that at some point in the future the Jews will “see the light” and embrace Christianity.

HaShabat B’Netanya offered a long list of past and present Orthodox scholars who decreed against accepting money from the IFCJ, including the late Rabbis Avraham Chana Shapira, Shalom Yosef Elyashiv, Mordechai Eliyahu, and, may they live a long and healthy life, Rabbis Ovadia Yosef, Nissim Karlitz, Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, Simcha Ha’Cohen Kook, Dov Lior, and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner.

Back in 2007, the Jewish Agency signed a cooperation agreement with IFCJ, which called for the American organization to raise $50 million for aliya and absorption projects, and in return the fund was to get a Christian representative on the Jewish Agency’s board of directors. This was discovered by the anti-missionary organization Lev La’achim, which campaigned against it along with other Jewish groups, until the deal was stopped.

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein has coined the term “Christian Zionism,” and has engaged for three decades in fostering good Christian-Jewish relations, with an eye to the generosity of Christians, particularly the Evangelicals.

“Christian Zionism exists today in America but it did not happen by itself,” he told an interviewer in 2012. “When I first started meeting Evangelicals, I was the only Jew in the field and often, I was attacked by both communities.”

Eckstein says that his extensive media outreach to the Evangelical community, with hundreds of infomercials emphasizing the joint “Judeo-Christian” connection to the Bible and promoting tourism to the Holy Land, has changed things considerably.

“I would like to believe that we played a significant role in fostering relations by directing their biblical attention to walking where Jesus walked and highlighting the Jewish roots of Christianity,” Eckstein said, adding that he was grateful for having had the foresight to see the potential that “nobody else could see.”

An IFCJ official wrote The Jewish Press Online: “Our policy has always been to be as generous as possible with those who are in need and we do not force our funds on anyone, ‘lo rozeh lo zarich’ (you don’t want, you don’t have to). Moreover, we never heard of the organization mentioned in the article nor have we offered it any funds.”

Shabbes Schlaf

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

An Israeli soldiers attending a training simulation of the ground war in Gaza, at a training base near Mount Hebron, Shabbat, November 17, 2012.

It’s been a tense Shabbat, up here, outside the range of the Hamas rockets. Although, supposedly, two rockets fell in Rammat HaSharon, well north of Tel Aviv and only about ten miles from Netanya.

Friday night we listened to the F-15 and F-16 fighter-bombers flying over Netanya on their way south.

Shabbat in Shul, when the Ba’al Tefila before Musaf got to the part about asking God to watch over the IDF, everybody was silent, and said a very loud Amen. Normally that’s the part where you catch a brief schmooze about this and that with the guy standing next to you.

Some of us in shul were suspiciously better informed than the rest about what was going on, because they’d left their radio or TV on. Makes sense. When your own flesh and blood are in it, you must know.

So far, other than 1000 sorties of the IAF, there has been only a volley of artillery fire on Gaza, and the Navy has been targeting specific addresses in Gaza. Otherwise, no ground war yet.

Rabbi Arrested on Suspicion of Hiring Gangster to Kidnap, Blackmail, Yeshiva Student

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Charlie Abutbul, considered a local mob boss, was arrested Tuesday night, along with four other suspects, following a police raid of an apartment in the Tel Aviv area, Walla reports. Police suspect a Jerusalem rabbi of hiring Abutbul’s services to blackmail a Haredi man from Jerusalem whom the rabbi accused of stealing money from his home. A Magistrate Court in Rishon Lezion on Wednesday extended by six days the detention of Abutbul and four other suspects.

Police revealed that Abutbul’s wife, Sonia, was arrested last week and charged with kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, and kidnapping. Seven additional suspects were arrested at the time. Sonia Abutbul denies all charges and claims that she was in bed at the time of the alleged incident., Mrs. Abutbul’s defense attorney Yaniv Peretz claims that her arrest is part of police effort to exert pressure on her husband. “It’s quite obvious that my client is being held hostage until the arrest of others. My client denies any connection to the incidents; she is being held in custody only because of her last name.”

Upon the arrest of a rabbi from northern Israel, Police disclosed the the investigation being conducted by the National Unit for Investigation of Serious and International Crime (YACHBAL) which investigates organized crime.

The investigation has revealed that, allegedly, the rabbi in question noticed that hundreds of thousands of shekels, collected at a family event, were missing. The rabbi and his intimate circle conducted their own investigation and concluded that a Haredi yeshiva student from Jerusalem, who had visited the rabbi, was the culprit. When they confronted him, he denied everything.

Police suspect that the rabbi approached Abutbul’s organization, or as a police source put it, “he brought some back-up from Netnaya.” (Netanya has been the legendary base of Israeli organized crime families.) The investigation further revealed that apparently Abutbul and his accomplices came to Jerusalem, threatened the victim, forced him into a jeep and took him to the basement of the building where the Abutbuls live in Netanya. This is where, allegedly, the victim was locked up all night long, and “interrogated” while being beaten on his head and all over his body, gagged, and receiving death threats, courtesy of Charlie Abutbul and his accomplices, including his wife Sonia.

The investigation also revealed that the victim was able to escape and get medical treatment for fractures and bruises on his face. Sonia Abutbul was arrested the same day, and by police and the YACHBAL issued a comprehensive gag order on the case.

Since then, Mrs. Abutbul’s detention was extended several times. Police suspect that about 15 individuals were involved in the incident, including Charlie Abutbul himself.

In court, yesterday, Abutbul claimed the yeshiva student stayed in his Netanya home of his own free will. When asked why he had been hiding from police prior to his arrest Tuesday night, Abutbul said he had heard that his wife was picked up for interrogation and was “giving police time to investigate and to discover the truth.”

Abutbul’s attorney Moshe Sherman told Walla that this was part of “the YACHBAL’s attempt to destroy the Abutbul family.” He added that in recent years Abutbul has been picked up for questioning and held for days and sometime weeks, and then released. “This is qwhy this time he decided to hide, so the cops first conduct an investigation and then arrest him.”

Gadhafi’s Mother Was Jewish, his Protocol Chief Says

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Muammar Gadhafi’s mother was Jewish, the late Libyan leader’s chief of protocol Nuri al-Samara told Al-Hayat.

Last year, a 76-year-old Jewish resident of Netanya told Maariv that Gadhafi was her cousin.

“My grandmother converted to Islam but never forgot her roots,” Gita Boaron told Maariv at the time. “She would come to visit us, give my mother money and say ‘give to the synagogue, donate to the Jews.’”

You Sleep Where You Eat

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Netanya cats are numerous and just this week we’ve seen the summer litters being sprung into the street and the lawns and the parking lots and, yes, the beaches. If you’re a New Yorker, think of these cats as Netanya’s squirrels, except they’re way more useful than squirrels because they eat mice, rats, snakes, roaches – if it moves, Netanya’s cats will eat it.

They’re usually lean and move quickly, but only when they move, that is to say, during the 20 daily minutes in which they budge. The rest of the time they sunbathe, preferably above the garbage, to make sure they’re around when the new shipments arrive.

That’s it, whatcha’ looking at? Nothing to see, go away…

Beats Blogging

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

His name is Sylvester, he’s 12, lives in Netanya with his sister Lightening and their three humans. His favorite nap corner during the winter months is this Toshiba Laptop, which, if you check it online, has serious issues with dumping its accumulating heat during normal operation. But what’s a problem for most users is a blessing for Sylvester.

Not these days, of course. As temperatures here regularly hover between 90 and 90+, Sylvester can be found in the air conditioned parts of the apartment where he keeps his humans.

Netanya to Putin to Florida

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai and Malkah kick off this segment by discussing Yishai’s recent solar birthday and a trip to the coast in Netanya. They move on to talk about a new prize that was recently announced, presented to those that are influential to Jewish history. The segment continues with a discussion about a recent trip to Israel by Russian President Vladimir Putin and its affect on Israeli/Russian cooperation and wraps up talking about a missing Jewish millionaire.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Russia to Possess Historic Building in Heart of Jerusalem

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The transfer of one of Jerusalem’s most prime pieces of real estate to Russia will be finalized when the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) vacates its offices, following the completion of talks between Israel and Russia on Sunday.

In 2008, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented the Sergei building and its 9-acre courtyard with gardens and fishponds in the Russian Compound as a gift to the Russian government.  He made the gesture during a visit to Moscow to persuade President Dimitry Medvedev not to sell arms to Syria and to back sanctions against Iran.  The decision to transfer the property was made by the prime minister, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Finance Minister Roni Bar-On and Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann.

Last year, the Agriculture Ministry and the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites evacuated their offices in the compound.  SPNI issued a request to continue working in the offices, but was denied by the Russian government.

Israel gained control of approximately 90 percent of the Russian compound in 1964, paying the Russian government $3.5 million in citrus fruits for the property due to lack of hard currency – hence the dubbing of the agreement the “Orange Deal”.

The Sergei building, not included in the sale, was completed in 1890, and served as a hotel for Russian aristocrats, royalty, and dignitaries on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It was named for brother of Tzar Alexander III, Grand Duke Sergei, then President of the Imperial Russian Orthodox Palestine Society.   The property had been purchased by Tzar Alexander II in 1860 from the Ottoman Empire.

When the plan to give possession of the property to Russia was announced in 2008, opponents protested the giving over of Jerusalem heritage sites to foreign entities, and warned that Russia was not a strong enough ally to trust with the property.  Then-candidate for Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also disapproved of the plan, calling it a “dangerous precedent, giving property in the heart of Jerusalem to foreign interests.”

Russia has vowed to keep the area open to the public, and says it will restore the yard and buildings for use by Russian pilgrims visiting Jerusalem today.

The SPNI announcement comes just a day before Russian Premier Vladimir Putin’s Monday arrivalin Israel on an official state visit.  The leader is expected to meet with top Israeli officials to discuss Iran’s nuclear progress.  He will also dedicate a monument in Netanya to the valor of the Red Army in World War II.  The large stone monument consisting of a pair of white wings, an unprecedented joint-state venturebetween Israel and Russia, will also honor the more than half a million Jewish Red Army soldiers who fought in the war.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/russia-to-possess-historic-building-in-heart-of-jerusalem/2012/06/25/

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