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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘persecution’

The Degradation of Christian Women under Islam

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

The degradation of Christian women living in the Islamic world continued in the month of June. In Syria, after the al-Qaeda linked rebel group conquered Qusair, a city of the governate of Homs, 15-year-old Mariam was kidnapped, repeatedly gang raped according to a fatwa legitimizing the rape of non-Sunni women by any Muslim waging jihad against Syria’s government, and then executed.

According to Agenzia Fides, “The commander of the battalion ‘Jabhat al-Nusra’ in Qusair took Mariam, married and raped her. Then he repudiated her. The next day the young woman was forced to marry another Islamic militant. He also raped her and then repudiated her. The same trend was repeated for 15 days, and Mariam was raped by 15 different men. This psychologically destabilized her and made her insane. Mariam became mentally unstable and was eventually killed.”

In Pakistan, Muslim men stormed the home of three Christian women, beat them, stripped them naked and tortured them, and then paraded them in the nude in a village in the Kasur district. Days earlier, it seems the goats of the Christian family had accidentally trespassed onto Muslim land; Muslims sought to make an example of the Christian family, who, as third-class citizens, must know their place at all times.

The rest of June’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not according to severity:

Attacks on Christian Worship: Churches and Monasteries

Iraq: During the middle of the night, armed men attacked St. Mary’s Assyrian Catholic Church in Baghdad; they wounded two Christian guards, one seriously. Later the same day, bombs were set off at two Christian-owned businesses, both near the church; they killed one Christian shop owner, a parishioner at St. Mary’s. Since the U.S. “liberation” of Iraq in 2003, 73 churches have been attacked or bombed, and more than half of the country’s Christian population has either fled or been killed.

Kenya: Motorbike assailants hurled an explosive device into the Earthquake Miracle Ministries Church in Mrima village church compound during the Sunday of June 9, injuring 15 people, including one pastor who had both his legs broken, another pastor who sustained serious injuries, and a 10-year-old child. Said another church leader, “The Christians living around the scene of the incident are still in shock and are wondering as to the mission behind the attack, while several pastors looked demoralized. But others said prayers will help them stand strong in sharing the Christian faith.” Islamic extremists from Somalia’s jihadi organization Al Shabaab are suspected of this and other attacks on Christians in the coastal areas of Kenya.

Nigeria: Four churches were burned in an attack committed by members of the jihadi group Boko Haram in Borno State in the Muslim-majority north of the country. According to Agenzia Fides, “A group of armed men with improvised explosive devices and petrol bombs attacked the Hwa’a, Kunde, Gathahure and Gjigga communities on Gwoza Hills, burning the 4 churches, raiding and looting cattle and grain reserves belonging to the population.” Discussing the ongoing terrorism Christians in the north are exposed to, one pastor lamented, “There are Christian villages that have been completely wiped out by these Muslim terrorists… Christian fellowship activities and evangelism outreaches are no longer possible…. For a number of years, the attacks on Christians in these three local government areas have caused the displacement of thousands of Christians there. There is a very lamentable problem, as we are no longer able to worship God as Christians in this part of Nigeria.”

Syria: An Islamic jihadi rebel wearing a suicide belt reportedly detonated himself outside the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in an old Christian quarter in Damascus; the attack left four people dead and several injured. Rebel sources confirmed the attack but said it was caused by a mortar bomb. Around the same time, jihadi rebels massacred the Christian village of al-Duwair near Homs, while destroying its churches. Also, according to Agenzia Fides, a Belgian Catholic priest, Fr. Daniel Maes, 74, of the religious Order of “Canons Regular Premonstratensian,” was last reported as being “in the sights of jihadi groups who intend to eliminate him and invade the monastery of San James mutilated in Qara,” which dates back to the fifth century. Earlier the priest had denounced the “ethnic cleansing” carried out on Christians in Qusair, after the town was taken by the rebels and jihadi groups: “The surrounding Christian villages were destroyed and all the faithful who were caught were killed, according to a logic of sectarian hatred… For decades, Christians and Muslims lived in peace in Syria. If criminal gangs can roam and terrorize civilians, is this not against international laws? Who will protect the innocent and ensure the future of this country? … Young people are disappointed, because foreign powers dictate their agenda. Moderate Muslims are worried, because Salafists and fundamentalists want to impose a totalitarian dictatorship of religious nature. The citizens are terrified because they are innocent victims of armed gangs.”

Attacks on Christian Freedom: Apostasy, Blasphemy, Proselytism

Indonesia: The Indonesian Ulema Council in Tegal issued a fatwa against Catholic schools, saying they are “forbidden” and “morally unsound” for young Muslim students, despite its pupils, both Muslim and Christian, routinely scoring higher than in other schools. “For the schools,” reported Asia News, “the fatwa is a great blow, coming in the wake of attacks from Muslim extremists and local governments that included threats of closure that were however eventually dropped… [M]any Muslim families have come to the defence of the two schools, claiming their right to a quality education. In fact, many schools run by nuns, priests and lay Catholics offer such excellence in education that they are sought after by non-Christians.” Earlier the influential Indonesian Ulema Council lashed out during flag-raising “because Mohammed never did it;” before that announcement, the Islamic clerics “launched anathemas against Facebook for its ‘amoral’ nature, as well as yoga, smoking and voting rights, in particular for women.”

Pakistan: A 16-year-old boy who converted to Christianity from Islam a year ago, and began attending Bible lessons in a Protestant community, was abducted in Peshawar. Local sources said he was kidnapped by Taliban-linked Islamic militants “and his fate may already be marked, as he is considered ‘guilty of apostasy,’” the penalty of which is death. As one Pakistani pastor explained: “If a young Muslim converts to Christianity in Pakistan, he is forced to live in hiding. Every Muslim might feel compelled to kill him. The change of religion is not punished by the civil law, it is punishable by Islamic law. For this reason cases of Muslim conversion to Christianity are very rare and some convert in secret.”

Somalia: Islamic terrorists from Al Shabaab (“The Youth”) publicly executed a 28-year-old man after determining that he had in fact become a Christian. Aiming at his head, he was shot “to death.” As Morning Star News explains, “Somalis are considered Muslim by birth, and apostasy, or leaving Islam, is punishable by death.” After the execution, the man’s parents, widow and son fled the region. The Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabaab has vowed to cleanse Somalia of all Christian presence, and its members have murdered dozens of Muslim converts to Christianity.

Uzbekistan: Four police officers raided the home of a 76-year-old Christian woman, ill with Parkinson’s disease. After removing her from her bed and without producing a search warrant, they “turned everything in the home upside down,” and confiscated her Bible and other Christian materials. Since then, the woman has been subjected to innumerable legal proceedings. Most recently, she was convicted of “Illegal production, storage, or import into Uzbekistan with a purpose to distribute or distribution of religious materials by physical persons.” The judge ordered that her Bible, 14 Christian books, six DVDs and a video be destroyed. She was told by court officials, “This is a Muslim country and all of your Christian books including the Bible are outlawed.” Because these proceedings have caused her extreme anxiety, after one hearing an ambulance was called for her.

Dhimmitude: A Climate of Hate and Contempt

Bangladesh: A mob of some “60 extremists” raided a predominantly Christian village. According to the Barnabas Aid group, “they plundered the residents’ livestock and other possessions and threatened to return to burn down homes. The attackers then moved on to nearby Bolakipur and targeted a Christian seminary. Battering down the doors, they forced their way into the building and severely beat the rector and a number of students. The previous day, two church leaders from Tumilia were beaten and robbed.”

Egypt: “Unknown persons” kidnapped a 7-year-old Christian girl in Dakhaleya Province in northern Egypt. The girl, Jessica Nadi Gabriel, was attending a wedding ceremony with her family when she was seized and torn away. Her father later revealed that the 7-year-old girl’s abductors called him demanding a ransom of 650,000 Egyptian Pounds (nearly $100,000 USD). Two weeks earlier, a 6-year-old Coptic boy who was kidnapped and held for ransom, was still killed and discarded in the sewer—even after his family paid the Muslim kidnapper the demanded ransom. Also, a Coptic Christian man named Milad, living in Tanta, said that “unknown persons” invited him and his family to renounce Christianity and submit to Islam and convert. According to widely-read Egyptian newspaper, Youm7, “They also snatched at the crucifix he was wearing around his neck, and threatened to kidnap his children and wife if he refused to convert to Islam.” As they wore the trademark white robes and long beards, the man identified them as members of the Salafi movement in Egypt. Meanwhile, U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson was urging the Coptic pope to forbid the Copts from protesting against Muslim Brotherhood rule — even though they, as Christians, would suffer under it most — while Al Azhar, the world’s oldest Islamic university, based in Cairo, called on new Catholic Pope, Francis I, to declare that “Islam is a peaceful religion.”

Iran: According to a June 19 Morning Star News report, “Six more Christians were sentenced for practicing their faith last week, while Iran’s presidential election of a moderate politician was not expected to soften the regime’s persecution of religious minorities.” The same six Christians had been arrested earlier in February 2012, when police raided their house-church meeting. Officials rejected their appeal for release on bail; they are being held in Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz, which houses hardened criminals and often lacks heating or health facilities, and where officials routinely deny medical treatment to prisoners.

Pakistan: Three months after a mob of 3,000 Muslims attacked a Christian neighborhood in Lahore, burning down two churches and 160 Christian homes, few of the perpetrators are in prison. Hundreds of those detained immediately after the incident were released; of the 83 who were arrested, 31 have been released on bail. “Most of the people who were stopped after the attack were declared innocent by the police and immediately released, for corruption or political pressure,” said a Christian lawyer. Meanwhile, the Christian whose arrest on blasphemy charges was the occasion for the rampage has gone on trial, even as he insists he never insulted Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Palestinian Authority: Five schools in Gaza—two Catholic and three Christian—face closure if the Hamas government follows through on an order forbidding co-educational institutions. According to Fr. Faysal Hijazin: “This will be a big problem. We hope they will not go through with it, but if they do, we will be in big trouble. We don’t have the space and we don’t have the money to divide our schools.” In addition to finding additional space, he said, the schools face having to hire more teachers. Under Islamic law, men and women teachers would not be allowed to teach classes to members of the opposite sex older than the age of 10. “It is a concern that in education things are getting more conservative,” said the priest. “It reflects the whole society. This is of concern to both Christians and moderate Muslims. It is not easy to be there.”

Tanzania: Two Christian pastors were attacked by Muslims. On the night of Sunday, June 2, a Muslim mob broke into the home of Robert Ngai, the pastor of the Evangelical Assemblies of God Church in northeastern Tanzania, and attacked him with machetes. The pastor received serious cuts on his hands and arms when he raised them to protect his head from the blows; when last heard of, he was in the intensive care unit. Two nights earlier, the home of Daudi Nzumbi, Pastor of the Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania congregation in Geita, also came under attack. However, the attackers fled after they were confronted by Pastor Nzumbi’s large, barking dogs. When Nzumbi called police, the officer in charge told him, “I cannot protect every pastor!”

About this Series

Because the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching pandemic proportions, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

1) To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, Muslim persecution of Christians.

2) To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws that criminalize and punish with death those who “offend” Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to India in the East, and throughout the West wherever there are Muslims—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

‘Australia’s Sarah Palin’ Quits Race over Islam Gaffe (Video)

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Stephanie Banister, 27, a candidate for Australia’s anti-immigration One Nation party, dropped out of the election race on Saturday, after an interview in which she referred to Islam as a country.

“I don’t oppose Islam as a country, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia,” Banister said in a Wednesday interview to the Seven Network. The interview went viral in short order, endowing Banister with the nickname “Australia’s Sarah Palin.”

She went on to tell the riveted—if somewhat horrified—masses that only two percent of Australians follow the “haram” – referring to the Koran – and then voiced her enthusiastic support for kosher food for Jewish people, because “Jews aren’t under haram. They have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ.”

Bet you didn’t know.

On Saturday, Banister withdrew her candidacy for the September 7 election, which she was contesting for anti-immigration zealot Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party in Queensland.

Party leader Jim Savage insisted the resignation came not over IQ issues and her a lack of familiarity with current events, but because of Islamic persecution: “Due to the threats against Stephanie’s family, herself, her children, the abuse she’s copped and the enormous pressure she’s been put under, Stephanie has decided she wants to withdraw from the candidacy for the seat of Rankin,” Savage said.

Fear of persecution appears to be a running theme in One nation. In 1997, founder Pauline Hanson recorded a video which was to be screened to One Nation members and supporters in the event of her assassination.


In Egypt, Pogroms against Christians Have Become Routine

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

On April 7, Islamists threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at mourners attending a funeral at the Cairo cathedral. The funeral was for four young Copts killed in fighting the previous day and to remember victims of a church bombing in 2011. Young Christians ran outside with firecrackers, sticks, and rocks to defend their church. Soon, gunshots erupted outside. The Christians had no guns.

The police stood aside. One man ran into the cathedral and yelled, “The police are firing [teargas] at us….They’re taking the [assailants’] side.” This accusation is confirmed by the article published in al-Ahram, historic flagship newspaper of the old regime but now free (at least temporarily) of government control.

Notice a detail. The newspaper inserted the word “assailants” into the quote. Unless the young man was speaking an expletive, he was probably saying “Muslims.” The Muslim reporter or editor did not change the word to hide the truth—everyone in Egypt knows what was happening—but to avoid inflaming things further and to assert the point that not all Muslims hate and attack Christians.

As noted above, the police didn’t help the Christians. Four Christians were arrested.

As for the government, the Interior Ministry blamed them for the clash, saying that mourners had smashed cars parked by the cathedral leading to fistfights with local residents. But why would mourners randomly vandalize automobiles merely because they were parked in the neighborhood? It isn’t a credible assertion.

As the police stood aside, 29 worshipers were injured. There is not the slightest doubt that the Egyptian government, now as under the previous regime, will never, ever intervene to protect Christians, who constitute about 10 percent of the population. If the police arrest anyone, it will only be Christians; Muslims will not be charged. The courts will never or almost never rule in the favor of any Christians. Indeed, a high-ranking government official accused the Christians themselves of attacking the cathedral!

No Western protests will change this situation; statements of dismay which may appear from time to time are mere window-dressing. The Islamist regime will get big loans and continued U.S. military aid as long as it does not engage in outright massacres.

Some of the worshipers in the cathedral chanted, Down with the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood regime! The bishop urged calm, stressing three principles: justice would come from heaven; Christians would not flee the country; and bloodshed would only strengthen their religious commitment.

But what can the Copts do except resign themselves to continued persecution; Western apologies and help for their persecutors; and a choice between restraint or worse violence?

One idea of some of those in the cathedral was to march to the defense ministry after the funerals in order to demand military protection for the churches. But others pointed out that they could not depend on the army either since it had been involved in past persecutions and deaths.

This is not to say that the Coptic side was necessarily completely innocent in every case. For example, one Muslim was also killed in the clashes that led to the four Christian deaths. Some Muslim, as well as Christian, property was set on fire during the violence around the cathedral.

Yet it is unlikely that Copts, with a long tradition of survival through passivity and submission (forced by the “dhimmi” status imposed on them), badly outnumbered, and facing powerful forces backed by the authorities are the aggressor or that both sides are equally at fault.

The Brotherhood is running the government; the Salafists are running in the streets. Moderate Muslim Egyptians, like those who run al-Ahram for the time being (as a state newspaper it will soon come under Brotherhood control) are unhappy with the persecution but can do nothing.

Things can only get worse. The world is indifferent; the Western mass media is usually determined to be “even-handed” or to ignore the extent of the situation, preferring to seek alleged oppressors in other, near-by countries.

Meanwhile, a change of regime is approaching in Syria, where the Christian population is proportionately larger than in Egypt. In Egypt, Christians were very active in opposing the old regime; but in Syria they have looked to that same doomed regime for protection. In Iraq, most of the Christians have been driven out; in the Gaza Strip reportedly they have all had to leave.

Happy Thanksgiving – 2012

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Well… once again it was turkey day. It had been a while since I regularly had a big Thanksgiving dinner. But back in the good old days when our children were young – one of our extended family members would host such a meal every year which we would all attend. I guess now that all of our kids have grown, that custom sort fell by the wayside.

But that doesn’t mean that I no longer support the idea of a Thanksgiving Day meal. I do. My Rebbe R’ Aharon used to have Thanksgiving Day turkey dinners with his family. One of my favorite stories is told about the Rav. He had scheduled his Shiur in YU early one Thanksgiving day in order to be on time at his family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

As I say every time there is a national holiday in this country, we ought to participate and show our appreciation for the privilege of living in America.

Some historians propose that the holiday of Thanksgiving was originally based on Sukkos. According to these historians the pilgrims lived together with Sephardic Jews in Holland for 10 years prior to coming here. Holland was considered a safe haven from religious persecution. Understanding that Sukkos represented deliverance from religious persecution in Egypt, they used that as a paradigm for their own celebration of deliverance from religious persecution.

Being “Old” Testament oriented, it seems natural for them to embrace this time of year for that celebration. There was also a desire to thank God after the Autumn harvest. This too is based on Sukkos which is called the Chag HaAsif – the ‘holiday of gathering’ when the fall crops would be harvested. (Israel was then much more of an agrarian society.)

It was George Washington who by proclamation in October of 1789 finally established Thanksgiving as a national holiday to be celebrated in November. The fourth Thursday in November was established by federal legislation in 1941 – for people of all religions to give thanks for what we have.

I see nothing wrong with our participating with all American citizens in observing Thanksgiving. And apparently neither did my Rebbe nor his illustrious brother, the Rav.

But there are some Poskim who do not like the idea at all and are opposed to it in spirit if not in strict Halacha. Rav Moshe Feinstein said that it is permissible to celebrate Thanksgiving by having a big dinner since it was not established as a religious holiday. But he felt it was not a proper custom.

I can’t say for sure, but my guess is he didn’t like the custom because by participating with non Jews in a national meal of thanksgiving – it was too close to being involved with them in a religious way. But that is just speculation on my part.

In any case I agree with his Psak that it is permissible but disagree with his view that it is best not to do so.

Unfortunate are the lengths his approach has been taken to by the right. Celebrating Thanksgiving is frowned upon and virtually ignored as anything more than a day off from work.

But I agree with my Rebbe. Thanksgiving is yet another way to express our Hakoras HaTov to this great nation of ours. And yes – to thank God for it. So, Happy Thanksgiving. For those of you who are going to have a big festive meal with family and friends – enjoy. And eat your Turkey guilt free. (Religiously speaking only.)

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Ethnic Cleansing of Christians in the Sinai

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

In events being ignored not only by the Egyptian authorities, but also by the mainstream media and human rights organizations in the West, Muslim terrorists have in recent weeks attacked Christian families and forced them out of their homes and businesses in the Sinai town of Rafah. The terrorists have threatened to pursue their jihad against Christians until all of them leave the Sinai.

According to reports from the Sinai, all the Christians who used to live in Rafah have already fled their homes after being targeted by Muslim terrorists.

Christians said that before the Egyptian “revolution,” they enjoyed good relations with their Muslim neighbors and felt safer. But under Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, the Christians in the Sinai were being left alone to confront Muslim gangs by themselves.

Egyptian security forces finally began operating against the terrorists only after 16 border guards were killed several weeks ago, apparently by Muslim jihadis in Sinai. But these forces have not been able to protect the Christian families in Sinai, whose lives been turned into hell ever since the ‘Arab Spring’ arrived in Egypt.

The Egyptian newspaper Al-Yom Al-Sabe (The Seventh Day) revealed that the Christian families were forced to leave Rafah after Muslim terrorists torched the local church. It wrote that the terrorists sprayed graffiti on the walls of the destroyed church calling on Christians to leave Rafah immediately.

The attack on the church was the latest in a series of assaults against Christian-owned homes and businesses.

Ehab Lewis, one of the Christians who fled Rafah, said that not a single Christian has remained in the town. Lewis, a former school teacher, said: “I was in Rafah with my family and we left out of fear for our lives. They threatened to torch my house. They attacked my neighbor’s shop and destroyed everything inside. He too was forced to run away.”

Lewis said that all the Christians in Rafah had received death threats before fleeing. “We were afraid to send our children to school,” he recounted. He and other Christians accused the Egyptian authorities of turning a blind eye to their plight. Instead of confronting the Muslim terrorists, the Egyptian authorities advised the Christian families to move to the town of Al-Arish in Sinai.

“This is not a solution,” said Father Kuzman, a local leader of the Christian community. “Why are we being asked to leave our holy land? The solution is for the authorities to impose law and order and protect their citizens. The government should not leave the border open to armed groups.”

Father Michael George said that the ethnic cleansing of Christians Sinai was taking place as the Egyptian authorities did nothing.

Christian families living in Sinai say they miss the good old days before the “Arab Spring,” when they were able to lead lives that were relatively normal.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

Who Will Save the Christians in the Gaza Strip?

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Are Palestinian Christians living in the Gaza Strip being kidnapped by Muslims who force them to convert to Islam? This is a story that is considered taboo among many Palestinians, who prefer to lay all the blame only on Israel.

According to the Greek Orthodox Church in the Gaza Strip, at least five Christians have been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam in recent weeks.

If anyone has good reason to fear for his life it is Archbishop Alexios, head of the Greek Church in the Gaza Strip, who is spearheading the protests against persecution of Christians and forced conversions.

In the past few days the archbishop has come under sharp criticism from many Palestinians and the Hamas government for daring to speak out about the plight of his community.

Islamic groups and human rights activists in the Gaza Strip claimed that the Christians converted to Islam of their own free will.

They even released a videotape of a young Christian man, Ramez al-Amash, 24, in which he declared that he had voluntarily abandoned his faith in favor of Islam.

The church blamed an unidentified terror group of being behind the forced conversions and called on the international community to intervene to save the Christians.

Church leaders also accused a prominent Hamas man of being behind the kidnapping and forced conversion of a Christian woman, Huda Abu Daoud, and her three daughters. Shortly after she disappeared, the woman sent a message to her husband’s mobile phone informing him that she and her daughters had converted to Islam.

In a rare public protest, leaders and members of the 2,000-strong Christian community in the Gaza Strip staged a sit-in strike in the Gaza Strip this week to condemn the abductions and forced conversions in particular, and persecution at the hands of radical Muslims in general.

The protest has further aggravated tensions between Muslims and Christians in the Gaza Strip, which has been under the control of Hamas since 2007.

Leaders and members of the Christian community now fear reprisal attacks by Muslim extremists. Some have appealed to the Vatican and Christian groups and churches in the US, Canada and Europe for help.

But according to Christian families, the world does not seem to care about their plight. “We only hear voices telling us to stay where we are and to stop making too much noise,” said a Christian man living in Gaza City. “If they continue to turn a blind eye to our tragedy, in a few months there will be no Christians left in Palestine. Today it’s happening in the Gaza Strip, tomorrow it will take place in Bethlehem.”

The public protest by the Christians in the Gaza Strip is a first step in the right direction. This is a move that could finally draw the attention of the international community, including Church leaders across the US, to the real problems and dangers facing Palestinian Christians.

Radical Islam, and not checkpoints or a security fence, remains the main threat to defenseless Christians not only in the Palestinians territories, but in the entire Middle East as well.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Holocaust Heroines: Hilda Pistiner

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

When I first saw Hilda Pistiner I believed she was a German tourist. Later, when I met her personally and found out she was an Israeli born in Bukovina, I labored under a second mistaken assumption: I believed she had been a pioneer in pre-State Israel, her fresh youthful blond looks untouched by the Holocaust. How wrong have I been!

Not only is she a Holocaust survivor, but a bona fide Holocaust heroine.

Hilda Schauman was born on January 12, 1933 in Moldova Solice, Romania. In describing her childhood, Hilda admits to having been a pampered (“spoiled”) child of wealthy parents. She had the prettiest dresses, expensive toys, pets, and fun vacations in the countryside. Her indulgent parents provided everything she wanted.

At the beginning of the hostilities in Romania, and the persecution of Jews by Romanian authorities in 1938, the beautiful pampered girl was only seven-years-old. Her father was abruptly taken away, their business destroyed, their home ripped apart, and they themselves, mother Yetty and little Hilda, deported to a ghetto in the nearby city.

Under the impact of starvation, at the mercy of the bitter winter elements, and the attendant disease epidemic, Mother Yetty became ill, and eventually lost her ability to care for herself and her daughter, resigning her autonomy.

Amazingly, little Hilda stepped into the gap, overnight turning into a young woman with the determination to help both of them survive. Ignoring her fears, she left the ghetto in search of food and other essentials. Her cunning and physical stamina grew throughout the years, and eventually she started helping others with food and lodging.

The excruciating torment in a series of hellholes, from Bukovina to the Ukraine, during the years of 1941 to 1944, matured eight-year-old Hilda into an eleven-year-old heroine. Her valiant struggle helped her mother and a number of other Jewish victims of persecution to survive.

After WWII ended and Holocaust survivors were striving for a milieu of normalcy, Hilda joined a Zionist youth group, and trained for life in Israel. In 1948, months before the establishment of the State of Israel, Hilda followed the urgings of her Zionist heart, boarded an overloaded illegal ship called “The Pan York,” and sailed for Eretz Yisrael, leaving her beloved mother behind.

Yetty and Hilda had earlier discovered that in 1942, on his thirty sixth birthday, her father, Shmuel with his parents and seventeen-year-old sister Suzy had been by Romanian Nazis on the bank of the River Bug.

The distraught young widow married a man similarly bereft. His young son, Jackie Pistiner, preceded Hilda in his aliyah to the Land of Israel. A year later the two, Hilda Schauman and the nine years her senior, Jackie/now Yaakov/ Pistiner, were married. By then Yaakov had taken part in the War of Independence and held a job working for the Israel Electric Co. Hilda had completed a nursing course and was working in the medical field.

When, some time later their parents arrived in Israel, the young couple managed to help them obtain proper housing while they themselves lived in wooden barracks. In 1952, Hilda and Yaakov became parents to first-born son, Aryeh, followed by the birth in 1952 of their second son, Alon, and nine years later, to their third, Yoav. In the meantime Hilda had added social work to her nursing skills and undertook extensive field work among problematic youth. She also devoted her time and energy to volunteering among these groups, primarily immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and later Ethiopia, earning honorary distinctions from various governmental authorities.

Hilda Schauman Pistiner, the pre-teen Holocaust heroine, now mother and grandmother, still continues her life-saving activities on a large scale.

(About her latest social achievements to benefit fellow Jews – will talk about those in a future column).

London Hasidim Rally against Israel

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Hundreds of Satmar hasidim rallied Monday in front of Israel’s embassy in London, protesting “persecution of religion” in the Jewish state. The lead speaker was Rabbi Ephraim Shtern, member of the Eida Haredit directorate.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/london-hasidim-rally-against-israel/2012/02/14/

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