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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Rally’

Coalition Chair’s Letter of Praise for 100 Shofars Protest in NYC

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Protesters who plan to demonstrate today at the world’s largest shofar-blowing event in history in New York City have drawn praise from the Israeli government coalition chairman, who expressed his admiration for their “courage.”

Israeli government coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin  is “deeply moved” by demonstrators who are to gather to protest participation in the Israel Day Parade of groups promoting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

In a letter sent to Richard Allen, founder of JCCWatch – organizer of the rally being held in New York – Levin praised the rally, set for Tuesday April 29 at  5 pm, “courageous stance of so many friends of Israel involved in the parade, calling to delegitimize those who delegitimize Israel.

“It is not logical or reasonable for Israel supporters to condone or overlook or indirectly cooperate with BDS groups which represent the antithesis of support for Israel. Refusing to recognize the State of Israel’s sovereign right to develop and maintain an independent legal position on any issue of national importance is not legitimate.”

The UJA-Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) which sponsors the annual Israel Day Parade, agreed this year to permit a number of anti-Israel groups to march this year in the parade, setting off a tsunami of protest over their participation. Among those  are:

  • Partners for Progressive Israel: which encourages the public to boycott Ahava Cosmetics, SodaStream and wine from nine Israeli vineyards.
  • The New Israel Fund: which finances NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that promote BDS activities against Israel. NIF funds Machsom Watch, the Coalition of Women for Peace, Women Against violence, Social TV and Mossawa, all of which signed a letter to the Norwegian government pension fund, urging it to divest from Israel.
  • B’Tselem: A major recipient of funds from NIF, the group has produced the anti-israel video shown at Israel Apartheid Week events held at various universities around the world. The organization’s board chairman, Oren Yiftachel, has publicly called for “effective sanctions” against Israel.

The rally, promoted as the “largest shofar blowing event in Jewish history,” is set to take place this afternoon (April 29) at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time (New York City) in front of the UJA-Federation building at 130 East 59th Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues. Participants are urged to bring their shofars to the rally. Those who do not have a shofar but who wish to participate can receive one to use on site.

Scheduled speakers include Rabbi David Algaze from the World Committee for the Land of Israel / Havurat Yisrael; Richard Allen, JCCWatch; Dr. Paul Brody of the Jewish Political Education Foundation; Helen Freedman of Americans for a Safe Israel; Beth Gilinsky of National Conference on Jewish Affairs; Mort Klein, head of Zionist Organization of America; Robert Muchnick of Manhigut Yehudit, and Lauri Regan of Endowment for Middle East Truth.

To Rally or Not, That is the Question

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

There were two blocks debating each other in many of the settlements this Shabbat, and both sides raised some very valid points.

On one side are the pro-rally settlers who plan to go join in the Haredi anti-draft protest.

Their positions are as follows:

1. Haredim are currently on target for the army’s annual draft expectations from the Haredi community. At this growth rate, they’ll definitely reach the army’s goals in 2017.

So why in the world is the government suddenly introducing criminal sanctions onto the Haredi community, when, despite the difficulties, they’re meeting their numbers?

2. If this were about all citizens sharing the burden, why are Lapid and friends ignoring the Arabs?

3. If this were really only about the draft, then why were Lapid and friends going after Hesder, until Bennett cut some sort of deal with him?

4. If we don’t stand with the Haredim now, when Lapid and friends go after the settlements (and Hesder), we won’t be able to count on the Haredim as allies.

5. If Lapid and friends succeed, in the next elections, they’ll be big enough to not need Bennett and the restrictions he’s placed on them, and then Hesder, the Settlements and the National-Religious community are really going to really be in trouble.

The pro-rally groups raises some very important points, that seem to indicate that this bill and the attacks on the Haredi community are more about populism, elections, hurting the Torah and the religious sector as a whole.

On the anti-Rally side, the following arguments were put forth:

1. Everyone should do the army, and its not fair to everyone else that the Haredim aren’t doing their share.

2. If the Haredi position was really only about Torah learning and how Torah learning protects the State and they’re sharing in the burden by learning – and not based on an anti-Zionist ideology, then why aren’t they at least saying the prayers for the State and IDF soldiers in their shuls.

Since they don’t, it proves this protest is not about being drafted, but rather not wanting to be a partner in the State of Israel itself and not caring for anyone else outside their community.

3. Lapid won’t be able to hurt the Hesder programs and the religious in the army, because we make up 50% of the combat units, so we don’t need the Haredim as allies for that.

4. The Dati-Leumi and Settler communities simply can’t count on the Haredim to stand by us. They didn’t stand with us during Gush Katif, and they only care about their own communities and whoever pays them enough to support their lifestyles. They don’t care about anyone else’s Torah community besides their own (see Gafni’s threats to destroy Hesder and the settlements).

We gain nothing by standing with them, and some people even said, they’re getting what they deserve.

The anti-Rally group also raises some extremely valid points – essentially the isolationist approach of the Haredi community has proven that Haredim are unreliable allies, and incapable of seeing themselves as part of the greater religious and Jewish community in Israel, and acting on that partnership, so why should we act for them, when we think they should be drafted anyway, just like we are.

What do I conclude from all this?

First of all, there’s no doubt the Haredi community has shot itself in the foot, and the Dati-Leumi community may very well follow in their footsteps.

National-Religious Rabbis to Participate in Haredi Anti-Draft Rally

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Some big name rabbis in the National-Religious (Dati-Leumi) community plan to participate in the Haredi anti-draft rally on Sunday, to show their solidarity with the Haredim.

Among these rabbis are Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, Rav Shlomo Aviner and Rav Yaakov Shapira.

The Haredim are protesting the Shaked Committee Bill, which will require that Haredim begin serving in the IDF and criminalizes draft dodging. MK Ayelet Shaked is member of the National Religious Jewish Home Party.

The position these Dati-Leumi rabbis are taking is that they will “not let the government divide the Dati-Leumi and Haredi communities… and harm Torah learning.”

Other Dati-Leumi rabbis are against the three rabbis’ participation in the rally.

Haredi MK Moshe Gafni (Yahadut HaTorah) told Makor Rishon that, to avenge the Shaked law, as soon as he is back in power, he will destroy the Hesder Yeshivas — where students both study Torah and serve in elite combat units.

MK Gafni also threatened to end all funding to the settlements, and to dry them out, as soon as he is back in a government role. For the record, his one government role so far has been, during the 12th Knesset (this one is the 19th): Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs.

In the past, in retaliation for budget cuts that hurt Haredi families, MK Gafni, who Chairs the Knesset Science and Technology Committee, also threatened to intentionally create problems the Finance Ministry would have to spend a lot of state money to fix.

God Bless You, Mr. Harper, Send More Canadians

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

There’s no doubt that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made a lot of fans during his official state visit to Israel, Monday. Israeli Canadians went absolutely gaga over him, lining up the streets (well, one street) to welcome his procession.

It’s so rare that someone out there should be on our side these days, that we go nuts (especially, like I said, the Canadians among us).

One woman was not celebrating: Zehava Gal-On, chair of the leftist Meretz party reacted to Harper’s loving speech in the Knesset by saying: “He sounds like a spokesman for the Foreign Office.”

She meant the Israeli Foreign office. She meant it was inconceivable that a high official outside Israel would say nice things about us. It really made her angry.

And, of course, the Arab MKs left the assembly in anger.

So, not entirely a bad day…

Photo credit: Meital Cohen/Flash 90

Photo credit: Meital Cohen/Flash 90

Pamela Geller Banned from England

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

British media sources are reporting that the bloggers Pamela Geller (Atlas Shrugs) and Robert Spencer (Jihad Watch) have been banned from entering the UK. They were banned as their entry was considered to be “not conducive to the public good,” following a campaign by left-wing activists to block their entry into the country.

The two bloggers were planning on attending and speaking at a rally in Woolwich organized by the right-wing EDL (English Defense League). Woolwich is the location were British soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was beheaded by a Muslim man in May.

The EDL is a street protest movement which opposes what it considers to be a spread of Islamism, Sharia law and Islamic extremism in the United Kingdom.

But Geller and Spencer shouldn’t think themselves exceptional here. Likud MK Feiglin is permanently banned from entering the UK, while other Israeli government officials have been afraid to enter England under threat of arrest. At one time that even included the left-wing Minister Tzipi Livni, for her involvement in defending Israel against the attacks from Gaza.

Protesting the ‘Evil Decree’? Why Not a Counter Rally?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

I don’t know who is behind this rally. But it is quite clear that those who are sponsoring it do not have any warm or fuzzy feelings for the State of Israel. Yet on this day… when literally millions of Jews in Israel are celebrating the birth of their modern State, it has been announced via Matzav that a rally will take place this coming Sunday in New York City to say Tehillim about the ‘terrible’ gezeirah (decree) being enacted by the Israeli government. From Matzav:

Matzav.com has learned that feverish )arrangements are being made for an atzeres tefillah to be held this coming Sunday, April 21, on New York City in light of the gezeiros being enacted by the government in Israel, specifically the implementation of a draft that would remove bochurim from their yeshivos and place them in the Israel Defense Forces. With the threat of the mandatory draft hanging over the yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel, and the budget cuts that have slashed funding to mekomos haTorah, the Olam Hatorah in the Holy Land is facing daunting weeks and months ahead

“The gathering will not be a protest against the Israeli government,” an event organizer told Matzav.com, “but rather purely a tefillah gathering, for thousands of Yidden to beseech Hashem for mercy at this most trying time. It will not be a political event.”

A kol koreh signed by leading rabbonim and roshei yeshiva encouraging attendance at the atzeres tefillah is currently being compiled and will be released as early as later today.

The gathering, to be held in downtown Manhattan, will feature the recital of Tehillim, divrei hisorerus, and kabbolas ohl Malchus Shomayim. The exact time of the event has not been released, though it is expected to be some time in the early afternoon.

I have to marvel at the way this is being characterized by the organizers. They say it will not be a protest against the Israeli government while practically in the same breath they speak about gezierot ( …as in ‘evil’ gezeirot. In their circles when one uses that term, they do not mean it as a compliment.)

Although I have expressed disappointment and opposition to the way this is being handled by rabbinic leaders in Israel and even here, I understand their angst. And their desire to be spared this ordeal. Their emphasis on prayer to God to relieve them of this ‘burden’ is therefore understandable too.

Even though I understand it, I do not support it. Far from it. In my view doing this in the middle of Manhattan in broad daylight is still a loud and terrible statement to be making to the world. The world will not understand that they are not protesting Israel no matter how they parse it in statements like the above announcement in Matzav. They can say all day long that they are not protesting Israel. The fact that they will be out there in the middle of Manhattan talking about “gezeirot” says otherwise.

Had they done so indoors in private setting it would be one thing. People can pray for whatever they want in private. Doing so in public does not add to their prayers. It instead speaks to their opposition to the State – protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. Actions like this speak louder than any explanation. And how will news of this feel to those IDF soldiers who risk their lives daily?

I don’t know who the signatories to this kol korei will be. But I would urge prominent rabbanim of any stripe not to sign it. I doubt that God will see any greater value of this prayer rally being done in public over being done in private. The only value it will have is to bring publicity to them. In my view very negative publicity.

Can it really be the case that rabbinic leaders think God will listen better to them if they do so in public? And how will it be seen by the New York City public that will be forced to be inconvenienced by the almost certain traffic jams this rally will cause? Is unnecessarily inconveniencing the public – and making them angry at us – the way to God’s “heart”?

If the streets are going to be blocked off for this prayer rally anyway, I would love to see a counter rally in close proximity held by members of mizrachi where there will also be Kabbolas Ol Malchus Shamyim. But the Divrei Hisorerus and Tehilim will be said for the safety of IDF soldiers instead.

There should be nothing negative said against the other rally. There should be no bashing of the other side at all. Just a pro Israel rally for the troops and a lot of flag waving… Israeli flags, of course.

This would speak volumes to our brothers and sisters in arms across the ocean risking their lives daily to fight our enemies while protecting our country. Wouldn’t it be nice if some of those attending the other rally would come over and join? That would be a Kiddush HaShem in my view. Frankly I think God might better appreciate those prayers than the other ones.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

The German Women Who Stood Up to the Nazis

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of a remarkable public protest by ordinary German women against the Nazi regime.

From February 27 to March 6, 1943, a group of unorganized German women went into the streets of downtown Berlin, within a few city blocks of the most feared centers of Nazi power, to protest for the release of their Jewish husbands, who had just been arrested by the Gestapo. Daily giving voice to their collective demand – “give us our husbands back” – first softly, then with increasing urgency, they succeeded in achieving their goal.

For these German women, the brutal Nazi state had lost all legitimacy. Like very few others, they were willing to express this publicly, on the streets, for all to see. For decades, their story was largely absent from histories of Nazi Germany. Their story challenges the comforting, generally accepted narrative that opposition was honorable but always futile. This year’s anniversary is an opportunity to focus deserved attention on these women’s brave action – and its implications for resistance more broadly.

On February 27, 1943, as part of the Nazi plan to remove the last remaining Jews from German soil, the Gestapo arrested some 2,000 Berlin Jews who had not yet been deported because they were married to non-Jews. In response, hundreds of women – wives of those arrested – pushed their way onto the street in front of Rosenstrasse 2-4, an office of the Jewish community where these arrested Jews were being held, and began to protest.

SS men as well as policemen guarded the single entrance. Over the course of the following week the Gestapo repeatedly threatened to shoot the protesters in the street, causing them to scatter briefly before resuming their collective cry of “give us our husbands back.”

Decades later, I interviewed one of these women, Elsa Holzer, who remembered arriving on the street in search of her husband. “I thought,” she said, “I would be alone there the first time I went to the Rosenstrasse…. I didn’t necessarily think it would do any good, but I had to go see what was going on…. If you had to calculate whether you would do any good by protesting, you wouldn’t have gone. But we wanted to show that we weren’t willing to let them [our husbands] go. I went to Rosenstrasse every day, before work. And there was always a flood of people there. It wasn’t organized, or instigated. Everyone was simply there. Exactly like me. That’s what is so wonderful about it.”

During the same week of this protest, some 7,000 of the last Jews in Berlin were sent to Auschwitz. On Rosenstrasse, however, the regime hesitated; almost all of those held there were released on March 6. Even intermarried Jews who had also been sent to Auschwitz and put in work camps were returned to Germany.

Surprising as it might seem, these events on closer examination fit with the treacherous strategies of the Nazi regime for domestic control. The Rosenstrasse protest occurred as many Germans were tempted to doubt Hitler’s leadership following Germany’s debacle in the Battle of Stalingrad. As he elaborated in Mein Kampf, Hitler believed that popular support comprised the primary pillar of his authority among the German “racial” people, and his dictatorship throughout strove to maintain this basis of his power. To end this protest, the regime released the intermarried Jews, furthering, for that moment, Hitler’s goal of quelling any appearance of dissention.

The murderous Nazi regime also appeased other public protests. On October 11, 1943, on Adolf Hitler Square in the city of Witten, some three hundred women protested against the official decision to withhold their food ration cards until they evacuated their homes as part of Nazi policy to protect civilians from bombing raids. The following day Germans in Lünen, Hamm and Bochum also protested on the streets for the same reason.

In response, Hitler ordered all regional authorities not to withhold ration cards as a method of forcing civilians to evacuate their homes. This was followed by further orders by Nazi officials to refrain from “coercive measures” against evacuees who had returned. In his cold calculations, Hitler chose not to draw further attention to public protest, judging it the best way to protect his authority – and the appearance, promoted by his propaganda machine, that all Germans stood united behind him.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-german-women-who-stood-up-to-the-nazis/2013/03/13/

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