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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘organizations’

The Next Bloodbath : Lebanon

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

During the past two years we have become accustomed to the seemingly endless bloodbath in Syria, which has become a boxing ring for the many forces that are tearing it apart, while tearing its citizens apart in the process as well. But now the flames of the Arab Spring are threatening its western neighbor, Lebanon, the most democratic Arab or Muslim state in the modern Middle East. The Lebanese political system, which is built on a delicate balance among many sects and political bodies, has been directly influenced in the past two years by the events in Syria, because several Lebanese bodies are deeply involved in the Syrian tragedy.

Many have written about Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria, and one may assume that this involvement – together with the terror attack in Burgas, Bulgaria – was the basis for the EU’s decision to declare the military arm of Hezbollah as a terror organization. Hezbollah is the target of harsh criticism these days, both by Sunni groups that identify with the rebels against Asad in Syria, and by the Shi’ites who fear that the Syrian Sunnis will bring its revenge to Lebanon. However, Nasrallah does not listen to his opposition and continues to carry out Teheran’s instructions to help Asad survive at any price, even at the price of the lives of hundreds of Hezbollah fighters.

The Sunnis do their part too, by trying to attack Hezbollah in it’s own domain, in Lebanon. To date we have seen missile strikes on Dahiya, the southern suburb of Beirut, which is the Hezbollah stronghold, as well as a car bomb that exploded there in mid-June. Supporters of Syria are also targets of Hezbollah’s opposition: In the beginning of the week of July 21, a Syrian journalist of Kurdish extraction named Mohammed Dhirar Jammu, a supporter of the Asad regime, was murdered in the Lebanese city of Sarafand.

But lately reports have begun to appear in the Arabic media that a new Sunni front, the Lebanese branch of the Syrian group Jabhat al-Nusra, is steadily strengthening and consolidating in Lebanon. Jabhat al-Nusra, which also has branches in Iraq, is part of the global system of al-Qaeda-inspired organizations that translate into practical terms the teachings of bin Laden, which are based on the ideology of his mentor, Palestinian Sheikh Abdullah Azzam.

First of all, the full, official name of the organization is “Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahal al-Sham” – “The Defensive Front for the People of Greater Syria.” The term “Greater Syria” expresses the organization’s rejection of the division of the modern Middle East into modern states – Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel – because they were founded by Christian-European colonialism in order to serve its own interests. The “al-Sham” region includes West Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Land of Israel, which the Arabs call “Filastin”. Therefore, Israel must keep a watchful eye on this organization because it is theoretically possible that the Muslims in Israel will want to open branches of the organization in Israel as well. And this actually almost happened, but then was blocked when Sheikh Nazem Abu Islim of Nazareth was arrested, tried and imprisoned.

Jabhat al-Nusra in Lebanon

The Christian writer Luna Khuri describes the structure of the Lebanese branch of Jabhat al-Nusra in the Elaph Internet site. The head of the organization is Muhammad al-Rish from Tripoli, whose brother, Samer abd al-Rahim al-Rish, was one of the leaders of the Jund al-Sham organization (Greater Syrian Army) and was killed last month in the battle of the Crusader fortress Krak des Chevaliers, near Homs. Muhammad al-Rish’s immediate task is to defend the budding development of Jabhat al-Nusra in Lebanon from attacks by the Lebanese military, which are carried out against it by instructions from Hassan Nasrallah.

In mid-June of this year, the Lebanese army eliminated the Sunni Salafi sheikh, Ahmad al-Asir in Sidon, and captured a truck full of military equipment near the town of Arsal, in Lebanon’s  Bekaa Valley. This town is apparently the logistical center of the Jabhat al-Nusra organization in Lebanon, because of its location on the border of Syria and Lebanon. Its local commander in the town was Khaled Hunayd, who was killed by agents of Lebanese military intelligence. The present commander took a lesson from this event, so he now operates incognito, heading a group that includes approximately 200 fighters under the spiritual leadership of Sheikh Mustapha al-Hujairi – called Abu Takia (the turbaned one), who issued a fatwa – a religious legal ruling – that allows killing soldiers of the Lebanese army.

IDF Raided NGO Offices in Ramallah, Tear Gassed Protesters

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

The IDF raided several NGOs and civil society organizations in Ramallah early Tuesday, Ma’an reported.

IDF soldiers raided the offices of the Agricultural Work Committees, human rights group al-Dameer, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, located in the Qaddura refugee camp.

Israeli forces confiscated files and computer hardware from the women’s committee before ransacking the office, witnesses said.

During the raid, clashes broke out with local youths and Israeli soldiers, who responded by firing tear gas.

Military forces also raided the offices of the Palestinian NGO Network.

Palestinian National Initiative chief Mustafa Barghouti said the Israeli raids were “piracy,” adding that targeting civil society organizations that serve the Palestinian public is unacceptable.

In February, Israeli forces raided two Palestinian television networks in Ramallah and briefly detained four employees.

The Jewish Press contacted the IDF Spokesperson and will publish their response as soon as it is received.

1 Million Sign On For ‘Virtual March’ Marking ‘87 Soviet Jewry Rally

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

More than 1 million people have signed on to join a “virtual march” commemorating the Washington rally 25 years for the Soviet Jewry movement, according to a coalition marking the 1987 event.

Freedom 25, a coalition of 20 organizations, was aiming to attract 1 million people online to remember Freedom Sunday, when some 250,000 demonstrators gathered on Dec. 6, 1987 to demand that Jews be allowed to leave the Soviet Union. The rally advanced the Soviet Jewry movement, eventually allowing millions of Russian Jews to leave for the United States, Israel and elsewhere, and influenced U.S. foreign policy.

The coalition is hoping to educate a younger generation about the protest, which Freedom 25′s founders believe has not been given the significance it deserves.

“Despite such a record of unprecedented achievement and its enduring effect on contemporary society, ‘Freedom Sunday’ and the movement in general are for the most part a footnote in history,” Daniel Eisenstadt, a founder of Freedom 25 with Michael Granoff, both of Philadelphia, said in a statement. “They are not taught in any elementary or secondary schoolbooks; they aren’t even a part of the curriculum at Jewish schools.  In short, the history and lessons of the Soviet Jewry movement have slipped off the Jewish and national communal agenda.”

Freedom 25 will work with Jewish schools, camps and organizations to integrate education of the event.

ADL Commemorates its Centennial by Honoring Bain Capital Executive

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

On its 100th year, the Anti-Defamation League  is recognizing Lavine’s immense civic leadership and influence to affect positive change in our community. Their press release states: Lavine believes strongly in giving back to his community. Together with his wife Jeannie, Lavine has helped create, grow and sustain numerous organizations focused on improving the lives of children and families around the world.

“It is fitting that we commemorate ADL’s centennial in New England by honoring Jonathan Lavine, who embodies the very principles that have defined ADL since 1913,” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. “He is a champion for those who need support, and for those who may be bullied or discriminated against. We are delighted to have this opportunity to honor and thank him, to acknowledge his exemplary leadership, and inspire others to follow his extraordinary example of service to the community.”

Lavine is Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Sankaty Advisors, the fixed income and credit affiliate of Bain Capital, one of the leading global credit and distressed debt managers, with approximately $19 billion of assets under management.

The Hollow Ceasefire and How It Can Be Fixed

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

At the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, following the successful elimination of Hamas military chief of staff Ahmed Jaabari, Israel’s defense minister stated the goals of the operation. It was clear that this time Israel’s leaders have learned the lessons of the Second Lebanon War, of Operation Cast Lead, and of the historical statement of Likud MK Yaakov Meridor, who, on the eve of elections for the tenth Knesset in 1981, announced his invention that could illuminate the city of Ramat Gan with the amount of energy required to light a single light bulb. In other words – Israel’s leaders have not learned yet how to win wars, but at least they’ve learned how to phrase their promises so no one could blame them when they weren’t fulfilled.

Netanyahu and Barak promised “rehabilitation of our deterrence.” But you can only measure deterrence after a long time has passed. It is already clear, for example, that the side that shoots at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashdod and Beer Sheva on the day the ceasefire talks are in their prime – is not really afraid, and is mostly assured of its own power, and realizes that with more power it would be able to squeeze more.

Netanyahu and Barak promised “significant damage to the military and organizational capability of the terrorist organizations in Gaza.” There is no doubt that dozens of terrorists, including senior officials, were killed. But was Hamas’s power damaged “significantly?” Hamas’s power is measured by its ability to harm us, and those who have been terrorizing millions of Israelis have been accomplishing all their goals.

Was rocket fire from Gaza reduced as per Netanyahu promises? The simple answer is known by all the civilians seeking shelter, for whom it does not matter if 120 or “only” 80 rockets are fired at Israel in one day.

The truly fantastic achievements of the ISA and the Air Force have led to the destruction of thousands of rockets before they could be launched. But Hamas and the Palestinian Jihad Gaza still possess tens of thousands of rockets. Therefore their ability to impact Israel has decreased, but not to a degree that would make a significant difference in the very life, the daily routines and the safety of property of the citizens of Israel.

And worst of all – Israel’s leaders promised “a long future period without without rockets.” Of course it’s impossible to measure such a promise now. But in the past, such promises on the part of terrorist organizations in Gaza were proven worthless.

One central issue was absent from the assurances given by Netanyahu and Barak: stopping the flow of weapons into Gaza. Without such a guarantee, there is obviously no value to all the other promises. In conclusion: the ceasefire taht was reached without achieving any of the operation’s goals, while accepting Hamas’s dictates on reducing the IDF’s freedom of action in the Gaza Strip, is a clear victory for Hamas.

Hamas knows that Israel now fears the prospect of a ground operation, due to the price we would have to pay in our soldiers’ lives – as well as the political and public opinion price of killing a large number of Arab civilians, which would be an inevitable part of such action.

Hamas understands the limitations of our power. It knows that even though we have the capacity to erase the Gaza Strip with indiscriminate artillery and air fire – we will never do it. The feeling of victory on the part of Hamas is a tremendous shot in the arm to all the other terrorist organizations, who are now taking up anew their old and familiar methods of murder, like a bus bombing in Tel Aviv last week.

Despite the failure in achieving the operation’s goals, Israel is being denied by its leaders the only move that can really subdue Hamas. What is this single move? The recapture of the Gush Katif area and the Philadelphi route in southern Gaza, and the creation of large, fixed land buffers between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai. Only then will it be possible to stop the flood of rockets, explosives, and the means necessary for their production in Gaza. Such a move would come at a price, but this is the only step with which Israel could truly choke Hamas.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Official Statement on the Cease Fire

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

PM Netanyahu’s Statement at November 21 Press Conference with Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense – Operation Pillar of Defense – Cease-Fire

“Citizens of Israel,

Eight days ago, Israel embarked on operation Pillar of Defense. The Government decided to launch the operation after the frequency of the terror attacks originating from Gaza increased over the last few months. I announced that we would respond forcibly to these attacks when we see fit. I said that we would exact a heavy price from the terror organizations.

The terror organizations assumed that we would avoid offensive action against them; they were wrong. We hit their senior commanders, we destroyed thousands of rockets which were aimed towards the South and most of those aimed towards central Israel, and we crushed Hamas’ control facilities. I must say that we did this with the strong support of the leading authorities of the international community.

In particular, I wish to thank President Obama for his resolute support for Israel’s actions, for this operation and for Israel’s right to defend itself. I also thank him for supporting the Iron Dome systems. I thank Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and express my gratitude to the Egyptians for their efforts in achieving this cease-fire.

In a phone call I had this evening with President Obama, I agreed with him that we should give the cease-fire a chance in order to enable a lull in the situation and allow for the citizens of Israel to return to routine. However, Israel obviously cannot sit idly while our enemy reinforces itself with weapons of terror. Therefore we decided, President Obama and myself, that the United States and Israel would work together to fight the smuggling of weapons to the terror organizations – weapons, virtually all of which come from Iran.

From the day the State of Israel was established, it has had to deal with complex challenges in the Middle East, and we can all see that these challenges have become even more complex in the last few years. Under these conditions we are required to navigate this ship, the State of Israel, wisely and responsibly while taking into account all considerations – military and political alike. This is what a responsible government does, and it is what we did here: we made use of our military might while applying political considerations.

Now, I realize that there are citizens who expect a harsher military action and we may very well need to do that. But at present, the right thing for the State of Israel is to exhaust this possibility of reaching a long-term cease-fire. As Prime Minister, I have the responsibility, and it is the highest responsibility, to make the right steps to ensure our security. That is what I have done and it is what I will continue to do. During the last week, Israel has lost several victims. On behalf of the entire population, I send condolences to the families, and wish the wounded a speedy recovery.

I would like to thank my colleagues, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. We worked together as a team, in full agreement. I also thank the Nine-Member Ministerial Forum, the Cabinet and the Government, for working – each in its field of responsibility – for the citizens of Israel. I also appreciate the factions of the Opposition and the factions in Knesset for standing with us and proclaiming their support. I thank the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, the Chief of Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, the Director of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, and all of their people for their exceptional efforts in reaching our accomplishments in Pillar of Defense. On behalf of the people of Israel, I thank the IDF commanders and soldiers, the pilots, the Iron Dome operators and developers, the members of the intelligence services, all the members of the security services and to the reservists, who left their families and immediately signed up for duty.

I appreciate the mayors and heads of regional councils for displaying leadership and level-headedness at the Home Front, and above all – I salute you, the citizens of Israel. We have a strong army; we have a strong people. I am proud to by your Prime Minister.”

Calendar Of Events

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

WHAT: 16th annual Miami Beach Community Chanukah Festival

WHERE: Miami Beach Galbut Family Jewish Community Center, 4221 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach

WHEN: Sunday, Dec 9

CONTACT: Laura Goodman at 305-534-3206 or laura@mbjcc.org

* * * * *

WHAT: 33rd Annual South Florida Chassidic Chanukah Festival (see story above)

WHERE: Gulfstream Park, US 1 and Hallalndale Beach Blvd.

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 13

COST: Free event – sponsorships available

CONTACT: 954-458-1877 or levi@chanukahfestival.com

* * * * *

WHAT: The 5K Run for Family Fitness, created to promote the idea of lifelong healthy living for the entire family, begins and ends at the Michael-Ann Russell JCC campus in North Miami Beach. Participants include runners of all levels and ages as well as teams representing community businesses and organizations. Non-runners are welcome to participate in the One-Mile Fun Walk for Wellness. Funds collected will benefit the Health and Wellness programs and the MAR-JCC.

WHERE: Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center, 18900 NE 25th Ave, North Miami Beach

WHEN: Sunday, Dec 16, 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.

COST: $25 Run; $15 Walk

CONTACT: Nancy Carroll 305-932-4200, ext 136

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/south-florida/calendar-of-events-15/2012/11/21/

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