web analytics
June 26, 2016 / 20 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Northern Ireland’

From Northern Ireland to Israel: Meet Gush Katif Supporter Stephen Haire

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

From Northern Ireland to Israel, Stephen Haire’s unique story shows determination, love for the land and friendship – qualities inherent in him, that he found reflected around him in Israel, and particularly among the people of Gush Katif. On March 13 Stephen will be running in the Jerusalem half-marathon to raise funds for medical supplies for Gush Katif needy.

Stephen was born in Northern Ireland, UK.

Unfortunately, I was not born Jewish but I was taught from an early age to love and believe in the land of Israel and G-d’s covenant with the Jewish people. I stepped out of Christianity many years ago and am at the very early stages of giyur.

How did your Israel connection begin?

I first came to Israel with my brother for a week before his wedding and since then I’ve come back by myself. I believe this is my 12th visit! I went to Ulpan six years ago and volunteered twice with Sar-El and a lot with Hope for Sderot including during Operation Protective Edge. I’ve been volunteering on Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh from October 2014 and I hope to be here for a year.

How would you summarize your Israeli experiences?

I have made some amazing friends and visited amazing places. I even worked on Shai Dromi’s farm for a few days without knowing his story!

When did you first hear of Gush Katif?

In Northern Ireland we are very interested in Israel and the situation in Middle East. I read about Gush Katif after seeing cars with orange ribbons and Gush Katif flags. I investigated more and couldn’t believe what these amazing people had produced in the sand – all the agriculture and innovation despite living in daily fear of their lives. I was studying a course in Queens University Belfast called The Battle for Palestine. The tutor was very pro-Arab and we had a lot of debates. He set me an assignment entitled ‘Is Gaza the world’s biggest open air prison, discuss?’ So I decided to put my slant on it and I told the story of the people in Gush Katif and how they were daily made to live in fear of Arab terror and their children had to have armed guards. Yet despite this, they utilized their time to become a leader in agriculture, exporting flowers and vegetables in a multibillion shekel industry.

Have you visited the Gush Katif Heritage Center in Nitzan and the museum in Jerusalem?

I have visited the three museums (there’s a branch of the Heritage Center in the Golan) on numerous occasions. I love to go and sit and reflect on the place created and the plight of the residents since its destruction. I love to see the newest Gush Katif videos in Avnei Eitan up north.

I also love to go and walk around the Gush Katif museum in Jerusalem. In fact, I believe I was the only visitor there for several days in July during Operation Protective Edge. I thank them for all the information and access to the archives which I am still working on. I also hope to use the archives from the Nitsan Heritage Center to compile some sort of report on Gush Katif and how the residents have dealt with the destruction.  My feeling is that the government of Northern Ireland, since the so called peace process, has failed its most loyal and fiercest defenders just as the government of Israel continues to fail the people from Gush Katif.”

Did you get to visit Gush Katif before its destruction?

It is my greatest disappointment that I never got to see Gush Katif before its destruction but it looks amazing, an oasis created by innovative pioneers who are the most loyal of Israeli citizens.

Shifra Shomron

Northern Irish Schoolboy with Asperger Syndrome Suffered Anti-Semitic Abuse

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Matthew Lough, a 14-year-old student at Carrickfergus College with Asperger syndrome, says he has suffered anti-Semitic abuse and was attacked physically following a History class on the Holocaust.

According to Matthew’s mother, Sharon Lough, told the Guardian that the boy revealed during the class that his maternal great-great-grandmother was Jewish. She says a group of bullies began a campaign against him.

“It started last year with the swastikas drawn on his books, he was called ‘Jew boy’ and one fellow pupil even told Matthew: ‘It’s a pity that the gas chambers were not still open so we could deal with you.’ This was before the physical assault,” Sharon Lough said.

Carrickfergus College is a secondary school on the outskirts of the town of Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland.

The harassment campaign against Matthew continued through the current school year, up until Easter.

“Because Matthew had reported the verbal abuse and the bullying, one boy took exception to this and during an attack on my son he kicked him in the head. Matthew later came home and started to complain of headaches. By this stage there was the lump the size of an egg on his head and my husband got very worried. When we eventually got Matthew checked out in A&E we were told that he had concussion from the kick.”

Matthew told the BBC that the bullies had attached swastikas to his school bag and called him anti-Semitic names.

“It kind of annoyed me and upset me but the real truck was when I was attacked in the woods during an orienteering exercise in PE,” he said. “The guy was suspended for five days. This year, it was a guy who was singing a song about how Hitler had gassed 6.5 million Jews, all happy and do-lallies.”

His mother said she the name-calling had continued, despite the suspension of two students.

“We encourage Matthew to live, as much as he can. Aspergers does not change who he has ever been,” she told the BBC. “We don’t want him to be considered as a special case. He is a very intelligent child and very loving and very caring about people around him.”

According to the Guardian, anti-Semitism is a minor problem compared with other hate crimes in Northern Ireland. Attacks there have been mostly directed at immigrant workers at Filipino and Chinese families, and the Roma. The latter were driven from their homes by attackers in south Belfast three years ago.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/northern-irish-schoolboy-with-asperger-syndrome-suffered-anti-semitic-abuse/2012/04/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: