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July 26, 2016 / 20 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘party’

Bittersweet Chanukah For Aging Lehi Fighters

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

They are in their 80s and 90s now, but when the British ruled Eretz Yisrael they were teenagers, or maybe in their 20s. Their faces were on “wanted” posters and those who were caught went to prison or were exiled to Africa. They are the remnants of the most feared Jewish militia that fought the British – Lehi, commonly known as the Stern Gang. Every Chanukah they met in Tel Aviv, lit candles, shared some doughnuts and watched their numbers dwindle.

They chose to meet on Chanukah because it commemorates the victory of the few against the many. They, too, began as a group of a few dozen “extremists” in 1940 – and even in 1948, when they all joined the Israeli army, they numbered under one thousand.

Since 1932 Abraham Stern, their future leader, had been writing songs about “anonymous soldiers” who would “live underground” while fighting to liberate the homeland. By 1941 his followers were killing officials of the British regime that had promised to make the holy land a Jewish home but more or less reneged, and bombing the British offices that were preventing Jewish immigration. By then Stern was on the run and many of his men were in jail. His imprisoned troops crafted an olivewood Chanukah lamp and smuggled it to him with a note: “To our day’s Hasmonean, from his soldiers in captivity.”

Chanukah was a special time for the fighters. Stern wrote, “We are a handful of freedom fighters, possessed with a crazy desire for sovereignty, and according to our detractors of little strength. But this is not so. The little strength is much greater than it appears. Like the Hasmoneans’ oil, the fire of zealousness and heroism burns in the temple of our hearts, a divine flame. The day is coming soon when we will use this flame to light the candles of our Chanukah, the Chanukah of the Hebrew kingdom, in a free Zion.”

Stern was captured by British police in a rooftop apartment in south Tel Aviv and shot to death. The veterans held their Chanukah gatherings in this hideout, now an Israeli museum. They were joined every year by Stern’s son, Yair, now 70. He was always the youngest “veteran” in the room. Though he was six years old when the British left and Israel was established, he paid the price of being his father’s son.

During the War of Independence, an Israeli army unit drove past his house on its way to battle. The commander jumped out of a jeep and ran to Yair, who was playing in the yard. “We have an army and a state thanks to your father,” he said, then drove off.

“If I hadn’t heard that, I don’t know how I would have turned out,” Yair said recently. He became a sports reporter and ultimately the director of Israel Television. Now retired, he promotes the memory of his father and the 127 Lehi members killed by the British or in the 1948 war with the Arabs.

Over the years the number of fighters attending the party dropped and the number of grandchildren rose. One regular was Hanna Armoni, now 87. In the 1940s she brought food to the underground’s prison escapees and blew up bridges. Her husband, Chaim, helped blow up some British oil refineries and was one of 19 Lehi fighters sentenced to death for the deed. Hanna took out an ad in a local paper to inform Chaim that he’d become a father, but before he could meet his daughter he was killed while trying to escape from Acco prison. The daughter attended last year’s party with her own children.

“Lehi was violent,” Hanna says, “but in all the years of our war with the British, Lehi never targeted a woman or child. Our targets were British police, soldiers, and government officials.”

Tuvia Henzion, 92, was a synagogue choirboy who had studied auto mechanics. He fought with British Colonel Orde Wingate’s raiders before joining Stern’s militia. When Stern was killed, Henzion reorganized some of the remaining fighters into secret cells of three or four members; Lehi kept this structure for the rest of its war. One of the young people he drafted into Lehi was Armoni. In recent years, the two organized the Chanukah parties.

Stern himself liked parties; he was considered the life of any he attended and usually led the guests in songs and dances. When he died he was hated by the British and almost all of Palestinian Jewry, which did not understand his insistence on throwing the British out of the homeland, especially during a world war. Today, Stern has been honored by the Knesset and has streets and even a town named for him. His followers, once “the few against the many,” are today the consensus in Israel.

But every year fewer of the original “few” met on Chanukah, because fewer survived. This year they decided not to spend the time and money on invitations and refreshments. Instead, they appealed for contributions and have hired someone to put their literature online and revamp an old website. They haven’t given up hope and plan on having a party next year.

Perhaps Judah Maccabee’s troops gathered on Chanukah to celebrate their victory, too, until finally none of them was left and their stories and legacy were left to history.

Zev Golan

Israel’s Political Map As Confusing As Ever

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

JERUSALEM – While it is almost certain that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will form the next Israeli coalition government, the country’s confusing electoral system has created another medley of instant political parties headed by a variety of media celebrities and scorned politicians.

After a six-month absence from politics following her ouster as Kadima Party leader by former defense minister Shaul Mofaz, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni has returned to the political fray as head of a new centrist party, Hatenuah (the Movement). She is in line to win up to nine seats in the upcoming elections, according to the latest polls.

Livni is likely to compete for support within the ideologically middle political ground with the revamped Labor Party, led by former journalist Shelly Yachimovich, and former TV talk show host Yair Lapid’s new Yesh Atid (There’s a Future) Party.

For its part, the Mofaz-led Kadima, with the current Knesset’s largest faction (28 seats), is not expected to win any seats come January, according to the latest surveys.

Netanyahu’s mounting economic and foreign policy problems have impacted his united Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu electoral faction, as many nationalistic and centrist voters are leaning toward supporting some of the overhauled or new political factions. The latest Smith Research poll, conducted for The Jerusalem Post and the Globes business daily, found that the Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu list will receive no more than 37 Knesset mandates, down from their current combined total of 42.

But the newly constituted Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Party, which absorbed the National Religious Party/National Union and is now led by former hi-tech mogul and Yesha Council executive Naftali Bennett, has the potential to secure 11 Knesset seats (up from seven), according to the Smith Research poll. The nationalist, pro-settler Bayit Yehudi Party will almost certainly be a key member of Netanyahu’s expected new coalition government.

Another key coalition member, the Sephardic Shas Party, could be hampered by the return of party leader Aryeh Deri after a 13-year absence due to a bribery conviction and jail sentence while serving as interior minister and the emergence of current Shas MK Rabbi Chaim Amsalem’s breakaway Am Shalem (Entire Nation) Sephardic faction. Rabbi Amsalem has publicly said that he would like to participate in forming the next government, even though his fledgling party is anticipated to receive only three or four Knesset seats, as per most polls.

Lapid, claiming that his Yesh Atid party is not “leftist,” is reported to have put out feelers to Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Yisrael Beiteinu’s leader, in an effort to portray his party as a potential coalition partner as well. Yesh Atid is projected to capture 10-12 Knesset seats.

Yachimovich’s revitalized Labor Party appears to be in line to become the nation’s opposition voice, as the center-left faction could receive 20 or more Knesset seats.

According to all polls, there will be almost no change in the number of seats (currently five) now held by United Torah Judaism. Despite the fact that the haredi community represents the fastest-growing segment of Israeli society, infighting between the various Litvish and chassidic courts have soured many frum voters from the idea of voting for United Torah Judaism.

Steve K. Walz

Nita Lowey Gets Appropriations Top Dem Spot

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives elevated Rep. Nita Lowey of New York’s 18th congressional district (Westchester and Rockland counties), to their ranking member on the powerful Appropriations Committee.

Lowey, a leading pro-Israel lawmaker who is Jewish, had been the top Democrat on the committee’s foreign operations subcommittee. She announced her bid for the party’s top slot on the Approriations Committee last April after Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) announced he was retiring.

“It is especially gratifying to be the first woman to lead either party on this powerful committee,” Lowey said in a statement Tuesday after her election by the House Democrats’ steering committee.

Lowey defeated Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) for the top spot. Kaptur had seniority but was seen as problematic because of her sometimes frosty relations with the House Demcoratic leadership and her relatively conservative views on abortion.

Lowey won by a vote of 36-10, sources told The Hill newspaper.

“Throughout her service on the Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Lowey has acted as a fierce advocate for the best interests of the American people, at home and around the world,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the minority leader. “As the first woman to hold her new post, she will continue to fight for investments that strengthen the middle class and spur our prosperity.”

Pelosi emphasized that Lowey and a top Democrat on another committee, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), of the Financial Services, were women — an implied jab at House Republicans, who elected only white men to committee chairmanships.

JTA

On Politics and Circumcision

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Late Tuesday night, December 4, 2012, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, also iron fisted boss of Yisrael Beiteinu, announced his slate for the January 22 elections, a slate he’ll be cohabitating with PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud. It’s going to be a “ritchratch” (zipper) list, with Likud 1 coming first, followed by Yisrael Beiteinu 1 in second, Likud 2 in third place and YB 2 in fourth.

I’d like to see Nate Silver crack this one…

And, as iron fisted leaders often do, Liberman (who doesn’t like his name spelled Lieberman, like Joe’s) decided to shed a few celebs from his current list of candidates, including MK Danny Ayalon, his deputy foreign minister; Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov who resigned from political life (Driver, take me to your finest Gulag); and MK Anastassia Michaeli, the lady who never met an Arab she liked and became world famous for emptying a glass of water on Labor MK Raleb Majadele.

In light of all of the above, here’s the reason for making this the photo of the day. It has to do with the curious connection between the Hebrew word for “word” – Milah, and for “circumcision” – also Milah (brit milah means covenant via circumcision).

Liberman’s election slogan, Milah Zu Milah (A Word Is a Word, meaning you can count on my word) can also be interpreted to mean Circumcision is Circumcision – and so it came in handy on the night a fifth of the old party list was cut off.

Siman Tov U’Mazal Tov…

Yori Yanover

Liberman Dumps Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon from Knesset List

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Avigdor Liberman’s campaign to unload the “stars” of his party, Israel Beiteinu, continues full blast into Tuesday, the day of submitting all the lists of nominees to the Knesset, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported.

The list of Liberman’s party is shared this election with Netanyahu’s Likud.

After the untimely “retirement” of Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov (accused of drunkenness, but also one of the most effective Tourism ministers Israel has ever had), and MK Anastasia Michaeli (spilled a glass of water on an Arab MK), Israel Beiteinu’s powerful chairman on Tuesday dropped his own deputy at the Foreign Ministry, the talented and very charismatic Danny Ayalon.

The Deputy Foreign Minister, picked for seventh place on the party list in the previous Knesset, will be remembered, among other things, for the embarrassing incident with the Turkish ambassador, whom Ayalon forced to sit in front of the cameras on a humiliatingly low chair. It did not help Israel’s already toxic relationship with Turkey. But U.S. Jews will remember Ayalon’s brilliant stint as co-chairman of the North American aliyah organization Nefesh B’Nefesh.

On the other hand, Liberman is also intending to place the MK Faina Kirschenbaum in seventh place on the list, a 3-spot upgrade from her tenth place in the 2009 Knesset elections.

Jewish Press Staff

Rand Paul to Visit Israel

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a skeptic of assistance to Israel who also is considering a 2016 presidential run, will travel to Israel.

According to a report Friday on the Christian Broadcasting Network website, Paul will be accompanied by Christian and Jewish leaders, and will also visit Jordan.

He will meet with leaders in both countries, as well as Palestinian leaders.

The trip is organized by David Lane, a “prominent evangelical activist,” according to CBN, and will include Republicans from Iowa, the critical first caucus state in the primaries.

Paul has backed eliminating foreign aid, including to Israel, but unlike his father, rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who has run for the presidency in the past, he has refrained from using Israel-critical rhetoric, instead framing his opposition to aid as bolstering his policy that Israel should remain free of outside influence.

Paul has attracted conservative grassroots attention because of his budget-slashing rhetoric, but his opposition to Israel assistance has been as an impediment to winning over the party base.

JTA

Results in from Labor Primaries

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Results are in from the Labor party primaries held on Thursday.

On Wednesday we published Shelly Yechimovitch’s blacklist of Labor party members she didn’t want to see high up in the party.  Three of them made the top five positions.

1. Shelly Yechimovitch
2. Isaac Herzog
3. Amir Peretz
4. Eitan Cabel
5. Meirav Michaeli
6. Binyamin “Fuad” Ben-Eliezer
7. Chilik Bar
8. Omar Bar Lev
9. Stav Shaffir
10. Avishai Braverman
11. Arel Margalit
12. Itzik Shmuli
13. Miki Rosental
14. Michal Biran
15. Nachman Shai
16. Moshe Mizrachi
17. Dani Atar
18. Nadia Hilo
20 Nino Absadza
21. Yossi Yona
22. Daniel Ben-Simon
23. Over Kornfeld
24 Chili Tropper

28. Yariv Oppenheimer

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/labor-primary-results-are-in/2012/11/30/

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