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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Nir Barkat’

Revolutionary Inclusion Classes opens in Jerusalem

Monday, September 5th, 2016

(Jerusalem) – Dozens of smiling pre-school and kindergarten youngsters filed into a revolutionary new inclusion class, which integrates both special needs and typical children in the same classroom environment. The opening of the inclusion class was attended by Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, who has championed the needs of special education since he took office nearly 8 years ago.

Housed in the new $55 million dollar Shalva National Children’s Center (built on 7 acres near Shaare Zedek Hospital), this class is part of the wider umbrella of ground breaking services for the special needs community in Jerusalem. The new state-of-the-art National Children’s Center is poised to become a global leader in providing unrivaled services to the Israeli community and serve as an innovative research facility for special needs children and teenagers alike.

Shalva has been the leading Israeli institution providing numerous programs to special needs children since it was founded by Canadian immigrant Kalman Samuels, along with his wife Malki in 1990. The land on which the campus was built was donated by the municipality.

Mayor Barkat lionized Mr. & Mrs. Samuels for this selfless dedication to the community. “Shalva was a jewel when it originally opened in Har Nof. Now, it’s a bigger and more expensive jewel, but it’s worth every shekel and every dollar invested in this place,” said Mayor Barkat.

“It’s overwhelming. After 10 years getting the land, working to get all the permits, all the challenges we faced, the battles we had to fight to build this center, the people that tried to stop us. It’s a complete miracle,” said Samuels, with tears welling up in his eyes, as the children and their parents filed into the building.

Sara Chana Wolff, the mother of Avraham, a five-year old special needs child who will be participating in the innovative educational program, was effusive in her praise of Shalva, “I just feel endless gratitude towards Shalva,” she said. “When they see that there is something else they can do to help the kids, they turn the world upside down to make it happen. It’s very humbling and inspiring when I look at what Shalva and the Samuels’ family has done for the community.”

For Gal Katzir, whose 3.5 year old son, Sahar, will be attending kindergarten classes with special needs children and helped cut the ribbon with Mayor Barkat, remarked, “We are so happy with our choice. We thought this would be a special opportunity for Sahar to get to know kids that are different from him. Also they have so many resources that aren’t in any other kindergarten that we know Sahar will benefit from. Sahar was just great on his first day, he didn’t cry or anything, he just said, ‘bye-bye mommy.’ I was the emotional one!”

Jewish Press Staff

Jerusalem Mayor to Avoid Thursday’s Pride Parade While Securing Its Path

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

A year ago this month, Ishai Schlussel, a known Haredi criminal who had just been released from jail after serving time for attempted murder in the 2005 gay pride parade in Jerusalem, was allowed by a negligent police to attack the 2015 gay parade, where he finally managed to murder a teen girl, Shira Banki, and six others. And so the 2016 Jerusalem gay pride parade has naturally become a kind of Selma march to condemn hate and violence, attracting thousands. But Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced that he would not march in this likely the most publicized gay parade in Israel’s history.

Barkat told the media on Wednesday that he supports the rights of gay people to parade in his city, and that he plans to “lay down a flower” on the spot where young Shira Banki was murdered, because he fiercely objects to anyone using violence in a political debate. But at the same time Barkat still feels that the gay pride parade is a bad idea in Jerusalem, because it needlessly offends hundreds of thousands of religious people in the city.

It was a complex decision by the mayor of the most important city in Israel, in the midst of a political environment that does not tolerate complexity and nuance. And, obviously, Mayor Barkat’s move has already been added by many to the long list of “homophobic” political acts by “hating” Israeli public servants. But Barkat should be admired, not condemned, for his sensible decision to facilitate and provide security for the parade which he openly admits he’d rather not have in his citry.

Unlike the Tel Aviv gay pride parade, which ravenously takes after New York City, Rio and New Orleans in its all-out explicit gesticulations and exhibitionism — the Jerusalem parade is more about people walking in an orderly fashion with rainbow flags, singing and yelling out anti-hate and pro-tolerance slogans. Still, Barkat argues that he would hurt many of his residents’ feelings were he to associate himself directly with the march which promotes acts specifically prohibited by scripture.

Meanwhile, Schlussel’s mother and five of his brothers were detained on Wednesday by police, as were 11 rightwing activists. They were all warned to stay away from the parade’s route, and then released. According to Walla, as is usually the case in such business, most of the rightwing activists were not aware there was going to be a parade Thursday and thanked the cops for keeping them informed.

The fact is no one is allowed to stand where the parade is going, the sidewalks will be kept deserted by heavy police guard (of whom, presumably, 3 to 10 percent are gay). According to Jerusalem District Commandeer Major General Yoram Halevy, there will be only two points where the marchers will experience contact with the non-marching public — at the beginning and at the end. Participants will have to report to the start point, undergo security check and receive an ID tag. But the controls will be in place even earlier on: participants from outside Jerusalem will be arriving in buses and will be checked before boarding. And so, as is often the case in our self-protecting democracies these days, what was meant as a lively, vivacious exchange of ideas and, yes, insults, between excitable people, will be reduced to a safe, but quite zombie-like affair.

Which, to some extent, means that Ishai Schlussel actually defeated the gay pride parade with his despicable attack, making it less gay and less proud.

JNi.Media

Jerusalem Mayor Praises Train Guards for Stopping the Terror Attack

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat praised the Jerusalem Light Rail’s guards for their vigilance which resulted in the foiling of the terror attack this morning.

Barkat said, “This morning, thanks to the vigilance of the Jerusalem municipality guards of the Light Rail a major attack was prevented. The guards stationed at the Light Rail are part of the fabric of the human shield of Jerusalem against the terrorists who are trying to sow terror and fear. Our message to the public is to continue the routine, vigilant and never give in to terrorism. We must pursue the terrorists everywhere without compromise and without restraint, while continuing to develop and strengthen Jerusalem. We can be proud of the security men of the Jerusalem Municipality and the policemen of Jerusalem with their great devotion and willingness to risk their lives to save the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thank you on behalf of local residents.”

Jerusalem resident Miriam Schwab described the scene on her Facebook page:

I’m on the bus to work and we come to a complete standstill. The bus driver tells us it’s a suspicious object, and opens the door so we can get off and walk since it looks like it will be a while. Oh man, I sigh, and start walking. I figure I’ll try to catch the light rail. I get to King George and Jaffa Road, and it’s crawling with police and taped off. More serious looking than your typical “suspicious object” situation. What’s going on, I ask two guys standing next to me. One of them saw it all: a terrorist with a bomb was going to get on the light rail. One of the train guards saw him and suspected him. He risked his life, tackled him, and neutralized the threat. That’s what I know so far. I’m a little bit freaking out, but at the same time am in awe of people like this guard who risk their lives to save all of ours. We are surrounded by heroes. Update: the guard who stopped the terrorist is a Druze Arab.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Liberman Appoints Two of his Party ‘Rebels’ to Key Military Industrial Complex Roles

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

In a move that seemingly contradicts the conventional media views of his self-interested party boss manner, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) on Monday appointed two talented men to head two of Israel’s top military industrial institutions, despite the fact that both men have walked out on his party a year ago.

Liberman appointed Yair Shamir as chairman of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and Yitzhak Aharonovich as chairman of Israel Military Industries (IMI). The appointments were made in coordination with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu). The announcement of the two appointments said that “these are the most appropriate people for these roles and they will advance the companies they will head.”

The son of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Yair Shamir served as MK for Yisrael Beiteinu between 2013 and 2015, and held the post of Minister of Agriculture. Shamir has already served as chairman of IAI, between 2005 and 2011, when Defense Minister Ehud Barak removed him from office. He was credited with the company’s stunning recovery, most importantly because in his first year as chairman he replaced 13 of the company’s 19 top managers. Under his leadership the company’s net profit grew from $2 million in 2005 to $130 million in 2006, with revenues growing from $2.341 billion to $3.148 billion by 2010. Shamir issued Israel Aerospace Industries tradable bonds worth $363,360. He also took IAI to the Russian market, established a leading position in the drone industry and launched four space satellites.

In January 2015 Shamir, whom Liberman had appointed party leader in 2012, announced he was leaving the party and would not run in the 2015 elections because of disagreements with Liberman over foreign policy.

Incidentally, in an interview with The Jewish Press in 2004, Shamir said that he did not believe in surrendering Israeli-controlled land to the Arabs, and criticized Benjamin Netanyahu for caving in to pressure too easily. Shamir stressed that Israel should do what it thinks is right without regard to what the world thinks.

Yitzhak Aharonovich in January 2015 announced that he was retiring from politics, and would not run in the 2015 elections, but did not spell out his reasons. His tenure as Minister of Public Security was marred with the escalation of terrorism in Jerusalem, including attacks on the light rail, a gas station, and the Temple Mount police post, several ramming attacks, the Har Nof synagogue massacre, the assassination attempt on Yehuda Glick, and countless riots on the Temple Mounts. Several high-ranking police officers were forced to retire over sex abuse violations. Aharonovich was criticized by many for his failure to instill law and order, most notably by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and by political rival Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi).

A former commander of the Border Police, Aharonovich’s only experience in corporate management was his one year (2004 to 2005) as director-general of the Dan Bus Company.

In 2009, Aharonovich was widely criticized and forced to apologize for telling an undercover police detective in Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station that he looked as dirty as an “Araboosh,” the Hebrew equivalent for the N word for Arabs.

JNi.Media

Israeli Officials Call for Prime Minister To Approve Jewish Construction in Israel’s Capital

Monday, July 4th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Israeli officials emphasized the importance of maintaining a clear and undivided Jerusalem this morning at the annual conference held by the Yesha Council, an organization representing the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria.

“Givat Hamatos is a strategic point for the future of Jerusalem,” said Education Minister and Jewish Home Party Chairman Naftali Bennett. “It is where the fate of the unity of Jerusalem will be set.”

Minister Bennett made the remarks following the approval of 600 new housing units for Arabs in the neighborhood of Beit Safafa, located on land in southern Jerusalem territories annexed by Israel after the Six Day War in 1967. The new housing units will further connect the Arab neighborhood to Givat Hamatos, also located on southern Jerusalem lands gained by Israel in 1967.

“The goal of the world and the Palestinians is to create Palestinian territorial continuity through Givat Hamatos from Beit Jala to Malha,” continued Minister Bennett.

Beit Jala is a Palestinian town located next to Bethlehem and south of Givat Hamatos. Malha is another neighborhood in southern Jerusalem to the west of Givat Hamatos.

“We are opposed to such a goal,” Bennett stressed. “We want continuity between Talpiot and Gilo and to preserve the unity of Jerusalem.”

Talpiot is a neighborhood located southwest of Jerusalem’s Old City and Gilo, like Givat Hamatos, is another neighborhood in southern Jerusalem located in territories taken over by Israel in the Six Day War.

Although Israel maintains that Givat Hamatos and Gilo are part of its capital city, many in the international community refuse to accept Israel’s annexation of those neighborhoods or Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital city.

Minister Bennett asserted that authorization for Palestinian construction without Israeli construction in such areas would only serve to further divide Jerusalem.

“Arab construction without Israeli construction in Givat Hamatos will create [Palestinian] territorial continuity up to the Malha mall,” Bennett noted. “It will create a de-facto divide of the city and create a Palestinian buffer in Jerusalem. I urge the prime minister not to only allow Palestinian construction and I trust that he will permit Israeli construction as well.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often cancelled or postponed plans to build additional Jewish housing units in neighborhoods like Givat Hamatos and Gilo due to intense pressure from the international community. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who also spoke at the conference, insisted that Netanyahu not abide by such a standard, which he implied to be prejudiced against the city’s Jewish residents.

“Building in Jerusalem should not be stopped for no reason,” Barkat asserted. “We need to allow construction within the framework of the work plans of the city of Jerusalem without prejudice.”

“I would argue that it would be a mistake not to allow construction and that it is a mistake to only authorize it after an attack,” continued Barkat.

Israel has often announced construction plans near the site of a terror attack shortly after its occurrence. Netanyahu announced over the weekend that 42 new homes would be built in the Harsina neighborhood of Kiryat Arba, where 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel was stabbed to death by a Palestinian Arab last Thursday. Critics countered that such a plan was already in the works.

Barkat contended that Israel should insist upon continuing to build sans any discriminatory standards. “The message is to allow construction without prejudice in the city of Jerusalem,” the mayor reiterated.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Jerusalem Mayor to Fire Ancient Ramadan Cannon Ending Islamic Fast

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is set to fire the ancient Ramadan cannon on Tuesday signaling the end of the Islamic holy month’s daily fasts.

The cannon will be fired at the ancient cemetery on Salah a Din Street near the Old City police station together with the Haj Yahya Sandouka family.

The Sandouka hamullah (clan) has been responsible for firing the cannon during the month of Ramadan and on Eid al-Fitr, the holiday ending the fast, since the Ottoman period 200 years ago.

The cannon is fired twice each day of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, at sunrise and sunset, marking the beginning and the end of the fast each day.

Following the ceremony, the mayor will join the dignitaries of the neighborhood for the Iftar meal.

Ramadan, which began on June 6, ends this year on July 5, when Muslims celebrate the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of the fast, and which lasts in countries for up to three days.

Jewish Press News Briefs

International Jewish Unity Day Ceremonies Hosted by Pres. Reuven Rivlin

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

More than a million and a half people participated in International Jewish Unity Day commemorations around the globe on Wednesday (June 1), marking the second anniversary of the kidnappings and murders of three Israeli teens, Naftali Frenkel, Gil-ad Sha’er and Eyal Yifrach.

Now in its second year, Jewish Unity Day is an initiative of the Jerusalem Unity Prize created by the families of the three boys together with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Gesher. Unity Day and the Jerusalem Unity Prize are designed to bring together all elements of the global Jewish community to demonstrate the sense of national collectiveness which defined the Jewish people in the wake of the boys’ kidnappings.

Global events were planned for 25 countries and include programs in over 100 cities with an expected participation of 750,000 people. Unity Day is working with 160 different partner organizations to coordinate the 200 different events in schools, synagogues, community centers and parks.

In Israel, an expected 850,000 participated in official government, school and private events on Unity Day, June 1st, highlighted by the award ceremony for the Jerusalem Unity Prize at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

In his comments at the ceremony, President Rivlin said, “The Jerusalem Unity Prize and Unity Day allow us to salute the togetherness which exists in society- both out of choice and out of tragedy.” The award salutes the accomplishments of individuals and initiatives who have prioritized unity within the Jewish community.

This year’s winners include the Global Schools Twinning Project, an initiative of the Jewish Agency’s Partnership2Together, Hapoel Katamon Sports Club which uses athletics to bring together diverse groups within Jerusalem society, Kesher Yehudi (The Jewish Connection), which works to bridge social gaps between Israel’s secular and haredi populations and the youth programs of Bnei Akiva together with the Noar Haoved V’Halomed and Dror Yisrael, which unite youth of diverse backgrounds in cultural and social programming.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, the Chair of the Prize Committee said, “The Jerusalem Unity Prize was created to promote the value of togetherness among the Jewish people. The 2016 winners of the Jerusalem Unity Prize demonstrate the very best of Jewish unity through their work to bridge gaps and strengthen ties among the Jewish people. I am confident that each of this year’s winners will continue their impressive work as ambassadors for Jerusalem and the Jewish world and will create a brighter future for the Jewish people.”

The families of the three boys said, “We are deeply appreciate of the level of support that we have received in enabling unity to become the lasting legacy of our sons. While the tragedy of their deaths can never be lessened, the fact that their memories are helping to build a better and strong Jewish world is deeply inspiring.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/international-jewish-unity-day-ceremonies-hosted-by-pres-reuven-rivlin/2016/06/02/

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