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April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Nir Barkat’

Jerusalem to Open ‘Gazelle Valley’ Park Before Passover

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Just in time for families searching for a healthy and low-cost Passover vacation day out with the kids, the city of Jerusalem this week will dedicate and open an urban nature park, to be named “Gazelle Valley.”

The park features a couple of dozen gazelles – survivors of what was once a much larger herd, who finally shrank to a group of just five (for whom it is named.) Also gracing the landscape are ponds, bicycle paths and the kind of flora and fauna that makes one want to lie in the grass for the day.

Enjoy the ambiance on a borrowed mat or deck chair, using borrowed binoculars if you wish: the park offers them to guided group tours; for that matter, the park also offers tours to nature lovers. Visitors are asked to please not touch the baby deer who are nestling in the brush because this might lead their mothers to abandon them, leaving them to die.

It has taken 20 years for the Jerusalem municipality to fight for this project, notes Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in comments released to media. “The park’s guiding principle is revolutionary in terms of Israeli urban public spaces. It is a nature reserve in the middle of Jerusalem. Gazelle Valley is one of the biggest and most important Jerusalem projects in recent years, representing above all community involvement in the city and the power of joint brainstorming and planning by City Hall and residents.”

The public is inviting to next Monday’s opening ceremony at 4pm, which is free and will feature a day of activities to include a bird-watching workshop, children’s choirs, a music and theater show, giant puppets, information stations operated by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and a performance by the Jordan Valley Mandolin Orchestra.

So far the project has cost the municipality some NIS 22 million, with another NIS 70 million expected to be spent in the coming years, both from the municipal coffers and donations to be raised via the Jerusalem Foundation.

Similar in setup to New York City’s Central Park, Gazelle Valley stretches over 60 acres (250 dunam) and is centrally located between the Begin Highway and the Katamon and Givat Mordechai neighborhoods. The area once was home to a field of fruit orchards which by the 1980s had been abandoned – leaving the area ripe for the picking by real estate developers. That was when the fight began by city residents – who were ultimately joined by Mayor Barkat – to save the site for a green space instead.

One can walk to Jerusalem’s new Gazelle Valley park from the Malha Mall, Bayit Ve’Gan, and other area neighborhoods.

Arsonists Attacks Christian Seminary in Jerusalem

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Arsonists damaged a Greek Orthodox seminary in Jerusalem’s Old City in the pre-dawn hours Thursday, and spray-painted anti-Christian graffiti.

No one was injured, and damage was minimal.

A Greek Church archbishop said two people who hid their faces three a flammable liquid at a bathroom in the seminary, located on Mt. Zion (Hat Tzion).

He said there have been previous threats from people whom he described as religious Jews.

Newspapers in the United States carried a report of the fire, which further blackens the image of Israel and of Orthodox Jews.

Another attack, this time on a mosque in Judea and Samaria, was reported Wednesday.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat vigorously condemned the apparent arson attack and said, “There is no room for such deplorable activity in Jerusalem. We must eradicate this behavior and bring those responsible to justice.”




The Mayors of Two Great Cities Meet

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Nir Barkat is the mayor of Jerusalem, but Bill de Blasio is the mayor of the city with the largest Jewish community.

Parents of Murdered Yeshiva Youth in NY Jewish Unity Event

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

The parents of two of three Israeli teens kidnapped and murdered by Hamas last summer will join a UJA-Federation of New York Jewish Unity event Thursday.

Also appearing at the event will be Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Emeritus Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom.

Racheli Fraenkel, the mother of Naftali Fraenkel, and Ofir Shaer, the father of Gilad Shaer, the parents of two of the Israeli teens who, along with Eyal Yifrach, were murdered by Hamas, will speak at the event, dedicated to the unity prize,

The Jewish Unity Prize was conceived in partnership with the families of the three boys and the Jerusalem-based organization Gesher as a way to perpetuate the spirit of unity across Israel and around the world during the days following the boys’ kidnapping.

“We feel an obligation to ensure that the personal pain that we have experienced be channeled for the betterment of people all over the world and this is what we all hope this prize will accomplish,” said Shaer.

“Out of the intense pain of the boys’ tragic deaths came remarkable unity, in large part due to the strength and leadership exhibited by their families,” added Barkat, who has been one of the driving forces behind the Unity Prize. “We know that unity is a central value in our identity as a people and this prize will afford us the chance to advance these ideals across Israel and around the world.”

The Jerusalem Unity Prize will be presented in three separate categories, each with a prize of up to $25,000. A committee chaired by Barkat, the parents of the three boys, and dignitaries from Israel and the Diaspora will choose the winners.


Jews Are Leaving France: 10,000 to Arrive in Israel in 2015

Monday, January 12th, 2015


France is bleeding Jews. The onslaught of radical Islamic terror combined with growing anti-Semitism has finally persuaded the country’s most loyal immigrants that it’s time to leave.

One of Britain’s most influential Jewish journalists, Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard, said on Friday, “Every single French Jew I know has either left or is actively working out how to leave.” Pollard’s comment came shortly after French police had ordered shops along Rue de Rosiers in the famous La Marais Jewish neighborhood to close in central Paris. The measure was taken as a precaution following the terror attack on the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery that left four people dead and others injured.

More than 100,000 French Jews have left the country since 2013, according to sources quoted by The Daily Mail. Pollard said in a tweet that the attack on Hyper Cacher was no “fluke.” He wrote in a series of posts on the Twitter social networking site, “So, it’s a fluke that the latest target is a kosher grocer, is it?

“What’s going on in France – outrages that have been getting worse for years – put our antisemitism (sic) problems in perspective,” he wrote.

The Jewish Agency for Israel, meanwhile, has told its staff to prepare for a wave of French aliyah. Chairman of the Executive of the Agency, Natan Sharansky accompanied Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the unity rally in Paris on Sunday. “The Jewish Agency embraces the French Jewish community at this difficult time and is extending its full support by helping provide for the physical security of Jewish communities across France, increasing our assistance to any individual who wishes to immigrate to Israel, and working to ease immigrants’ integration into the Israeli workforce and Israeli society,” he said.

There were 7,000 new immigrants from France in 2014, more than double the 3,400 who arrived in 2013 and triple the 1,900 who came in 2012, Sharansky noted. The French Jewish community is the third largest in the world after Israel and the United States, with some 500,000 Jews; but more than one percent of the entire community immigrated to Israel last year.

Even before last week’s reign of terror, Jewish Agency officials had predicted that the increase in French aliyah would continue, and that the number of immigrants from France could reach up to 10,000 in 2015. In the past year, at least 50,000 French Jews inquired about immigrating to Israel, according to Sharansky. The Jewish Agency is currently holding two information seminars daily in France, he added. They are leaving, he said, and “they want to live in a Jewish state.”

The Fund for Emergency Assistance to Jewish Communities, established following the 2012 attack on the Jewish elementary school in Toulouse, has provided Jewish communal institutions in France and elsewhere with the means to install and reinforce security measures where they are needed most, in order to also enable Jewish communal life to continue uninterrupted.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has already begun to roll out the red carpet.

At a rally at Jerusalem City Hall to show solidarity with the French people and the French Jewish community on Sunday, Barkat said, “Brothers and sisters – the gates of Jerusalem are open to you. Zion and the entire Jewish world stands beside you. Nous sommes tous Juifs de France, we are all Charlie, we are all Jews of France.”

The Jerusalem Municipality, under the directive of Mayor Barkat, will open a special situation room for new immigrants from France in order to assist them in their move to Jerusalem. At the entrance to City Hall, there is a special booth for immigrant absorption manned by French-speaking volunteers who will help the immigrants with all of their absorption needs.

Epic Blizzard 2.0: Israel’s Government Gears Up for Snow, The Sequel

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

As the winter weather slowly winds its way towards the Holy Land, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gathered officials in Jerusalem on Tuesday to review final details and preparation for the anticipated storm.

Meeting in Jerusalem City Hall on January 6 were, among others, Mayor Nir Barkat and Jerusalem District Police Commander Moshe Edry, as well as representatives of the IDF, social welfare institutions, the Israel Electric Corp. and rescue services.

“I am impressed by the authorities’ coordination and preparatory work,” Netanyahu said, summarizing the meeting.

“We have three missions. The first is to save lives. The second is to ensure the continuity of essential services. The third is to provide mutual assistance and guarantee – residents helping residents.

“Beyond what the state is doing and will do, beyond what the municipalities are doing and will do, I ask the citizens of Israel to watch out for their neighbors and to help. The people of Israel excel at this.”

Last year’s storm found motorists scattered around on major arteries leading to the capital because numerous Israelis were curious and “wanted to see the snow.” This year officials are nipping that risk in the bud, and have announced that all major roads leading to the city will be shut down on Wednesday morning, when the storm is expected to hit the city.


Arab-Jewish School Torched; Anti-Arab Graffiti at Site

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

The Max Rayne Hand in Hand School in Jerusalem was set ablaze late Saturday night in what appears to be an anti-coexistence hate crime.

The school, which has branches in several locations throughout Israel, provides bilingual and multicultural education for Israeli Jews, Muslims and Christians.

The school was started in the late 1990’s, with one grade. The idea was embraced by the parents and students and eventually spread to having pre-school through 12th grades and several branches.

The Jerusalem branch, located in southern Jerusalem, near Beit Safafa and the Pat neighborhoods, has 620 students, split roughly 60 percent Arab and 40 percent Jews. Staffing is split roughly 50-50. In the younger grades the classes are jointly taught by a Jewish teacher and an Arab teacher.

The school was set ablaze Saturday evening. The Israeli police concluded, based upon their initial investigation, that the fire was set from inside the school.

No injuries were reported and although the fire was successfully extinguished by emergency fire crews, at least one classroom was badly damaged.

Graffiti was reportedly found on walls inside the school, with messages such as “you can’t co-exist with cancer,” “enough with assimilation,” and “death to Arabs,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

This summer, during Operation Protective Edge, anti-Arab graffiti was also found on the school. The response was to immediately address what happened in classes. The students responded by making a poster that said Jews and Arabs can be partners.

“When relationships between the two communities are, at a national level, particularly tense, this tension comes to the school. So then we as a school have to support the children and parents in the hostile environment,” Rebecca Bardach, Hand in Hand’s director of resource development and strategy told the Canadian Jewish News during a visit to Toronto this summer.

Rebecca Bardach, Hand in Hand’s director of resource development and strategy – See more at: http://www.cjnews.com/israel/israeli-schools-promote-jewish-arab-co-existence#sthash.JT1m3lqJ.dpuf

Rachel Azaria, the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem came to school and said: “Harming this school is a horrific crime perpetrated by people who want to destroy any place that creates real cooperation between Jews and Arabs despite our fears and differences. We will not let them do this. The municipality of Jerusalem fully supports the school and we will ensure their continued to work.”

Hand in Hand CEO Shuli Dichter responded: “This is not the first time that our shared civic endeavor has been targeted. Even when they stain our school walls, they will not succeed in destroying our work. In addition to strong condemnations and expressions of support, we invite the Israeli public to join us in building civic cooperation among Jews and Arabs in Israel. We will continue to grow and develop our educational and social structures, where 1200 students, 200 teachers, and thousands of community members come together every day.”

Israel’s Education Minister Shai Piron issued a statement condemning Saturday night’s incident.

“This is a violent, criminal and despicable incident aimed to injure and undermine the foundations of Israeli democracy,” Piron said.

“The fact that this was an arson attack on an educational framework that advocates coexistence severely damages the fabric of relations between Jews and Arabs.”

The mayor of Jerusalem also condemned the arson attack.

“Pyromaniacs and those who disrupt order cannot take the law into their own hands to disrupt the routine of our lives,” Nir Barkat said.

The Hand in Hand schools are publicly funded.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arab-jewish-school-torched-anti-arab-graffiti-at-site/2014/11/30/

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