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August 27, 2016 / 23 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘refugees’

Venice Jews Mark 500th Anniversary of World’s First Ghetto

Monday, March 28th, 2016

The Jews of Venice are appealing on behalf of the Muslim immigrants who are reaching the shores of Italy as they prepare to mark the half-millennial anniversary of the first ghetto.

The event commemorates the opening of the Jewish ghetto of Venice, created on March 29, 1516 to separate the Jews from the primarily Christian population of the time.

A series of cultural events are slated to take place this Tuesday to mark that date. The Jews of Venice say they believe their history can teach Europe that minorities can integrate while preserving their identities.

University Professor Shaul Bassi told The National in an interview on Monday, “Those of us who have worked on this anniversary believe the ghetto has precious ethical and cultural lessons to educate the public about Jews as well as the broader question of cross-cultural dialogue, co-operation and co-existence.

“Today, Italian Jews are proof that a minority can keep its identity and still integrate in a process of reciprocal influence,” he said.

“Elsewhere in Europe Jews were treated worse, and Venice to some extent was a safe harbor,” said Paolo Gnignati, leader of Venice’s Jewish community. “The city wanted them to come because they needed access to Jewish trading networks; it was good business on the part of the doges.

“We were deprived of our rights here, but contributed to Europe’s identity and we are still here,” Gnignati said. “We can serve as an example to newcomers who want to participate in Europe while preserving their original identity.”

The word “ghetto” in Italian is “geto” from “gettare,” the verb “to cast.” The Jews were forced into a cramped, polluted area surrounded by canals for the next 300 years. They were locked in at night and forced to pay the wages of their Christian guards.

During the day they were required to wear yellow caps to identify them as Jews (does any of this sound familiar?) as they entered the rest of the city. They were also ordered to use Christian architects to build the five synagogues in the ghetto itself, which remain today. Because the ghetto was so small, the Jews ended up creating the first skyscrapers, building apartments one on top of the other in order to accommodate the growing population. Some of the buildings, eight or nine stories high, are still the tallest in the city.

Napoleon knocked down the gates of the ghetto when he occupied Venice in 1879, allowing Jews to live where they chose.

By the time of World War II, the city’s Jewish population had dropped from 5,000 to just over 1,000. During the war, 246 of the city’s Jews were sent to die in the concentration camps. Only eight returned.

Today in Venice only 450 Jews remain, with just a handful in the ‘ghetto.’ The five synagogues there are still open, and Venetian Jews say they’re urging incoming Muslims to learn from their history in order to survive.

Hana Levi Julian

After Surprise Visit to Jordan, Ben Carson Wants No Refugees in America

Monday, November 30th, 2015

(JNi.media) A seemingly compassionate statement posted on Facebook by Republican presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson after his visit, along with his wife, Candy, to a refugee camp in Jordan where Syrian civilians have sought shelter, reiterated the broad Republican position against letting any of them into the US.

“Amman, Jordan – Just over two months ago I began planning a trip over the Thanksgiving Weekend to visit with Syrian Refugees, Jordanian Government Officials, and NGO’s. I wanted to come to see with my own eyes this great human tragedy.

“Today I listened to the life struggles of many Syrians who were forced to flee their own homes. I met with medical professionals, humanitarian workers, and government officials. I saw pain on the faces of mothers and children.

“They came to Jordan for safety. Jordan is doing an amazing job opening its doors and extending a hand in relief. The rest of the world could be doing so much more.

“These brave people want nothing more than an end to the war in Syria. They want to go back to their lives. We must find a political end to this conflict.

“Millions of refugees have now been waiting years for the end of the war to come in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Some are giving up hope that they will ever be able to return to their country. We must keep their hope alive. Until it is safe for them to return home, Jordan is a safe place for them to wait. The kingdom has welcomed them with open arms. But Jordan is a small country. They need the world’s help to feed, educate, and care for these refugees until the war ends.

“The United States must do more. We can do our part to help this crisis without bringing 10-25,000 refugees to the United States. Jordan already houses 1.4 million refugees. Jordan needs and deserves our logistical help and financial support.

“In the coming days I will offer what I believe are real solutions to the problems created in part by the Obama-Clinton Administration’s failed policies.”

The Carson approach, acknowledging the refugees’ suffering, respecting their human dignity and refusing them entry may end up being a potent tool for Republican governors as well, as they attempt to resist the White House’s efforts to distribute several thousand asylum seekers around their states. Judging by his statements, the GOP plans to demand that Jordan’s wealthy Arab neighbors lend a hand and a few shoulders, rather than send the suffering overseas.

According to reports, Carson told reporters the Syrians have a reputation as very hardworking, determined people, which should only enhance the overall economic health of the neighboring Arab countries that accept and integrate them into the general population.”

JNi.Media

Home Secretary Tells Conservatives Mass Immigration a Threat to UK

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

(JNi.media) UK home secretary Theresa May on Tuesday sounded a resounding warning yet that the mass immigration of past years can no longer be sustained without threatening the country’s cohesion. She declared that mass emigration will cause wage undercutting for low-paid workers, and force thousands out of employment.

May promised a massive crackdown on bogus refugees, according to the Evening Standard, saying that people who try to cheat the system would get only temporary asylum, but would have no right to settle down. May rejected the calls by European leaders for a quota of refugees for each member state declaring: “Not in a thousand years!”

Secretary May also promised tougher treatment of cheating asylum seekers try to sneak into the UK via Calais, France. “For the first time we’ll distinguish between vulnerable people resettled from their region and those who claim asylum after abusing the visa system or having traveled to get here through safe countries,” she said, adding, “If you’ve spurned the chance to seek protection elsewhere — but we cannot return you to that safe country and you still need refuge — you’ll get the minimum stay of protection and you won’t have an automatic right to settle here. But for those who really need it, we will offer a longer stay of protection. Humane for those who need our help, tough on those who abuse it.”

Speaking about the plight of Syrian refugees, May said: “2,000 miles away, in towns and cities across Syria, eleven million men, women and children have been forced from their homes. More than four million have become refugees. And nearly a quarter of a million have been killed.

“More than 600,000 Syrians are taking refuge in Jordan, a country that before the conflict had a population of little more than six million. There are more than one million finding respite in Lebanon, which previously had a population of just over four million. By the end of the year, the United Nations believes there will be a further 1.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

“These people are fleeing a civil war that exceeds even the other conflicts of the Middle East in its barbarism, brutality and bloodshed. Bashar al Assad’s forces are committing war crimes on an industrial scale, deliberately targeting civilians and poisoning their own citizens with chemical weapons. ISIL – the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – is engaged in a programme of ethnic cleansing, mass murder of enemy soldiers, systematised rape and sexual violence, kidnappings and murder.

“And the other players in this appalling civil war include Hezbollah, Al Nusra Front – a jihadist group affiliated to Al Qaeda – and several other jihadist militias. These militias in turn are often backed by powerful foreign sponsors, and the forces of Bashar al Assad are supported by Iran and Russia – whose warplanes are engaged in airstrikes against civilians and anti-government fighters.

“So it is too simplistic to say that there is a single intervention which will bring a sudden end to the fighting. There is no easy solution to the civil war in Syria, and we must learn the lessons of the past.”

The solution, according to May, is not in accepting hordes of fleeing Syrians. Knowing there is no easy solution, she said, “does not mean Britain should do nothing. We must work to get the states that sponsor the different armies and militias around the negotiating table. We must do what we can to support friendly states and moderate elements within other states in the region. And – because of the clear threat they pose to Britain’s national security – we must take action against ISIL not just in Iraq but in Syria too.”

JNi.Media

German Jewish Leader Fears Anti-Semitic Syrian Refugees

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

(JNi.media) President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Josef Schuster fears the fact that many of the refugees seeking asylum in Germany come from countries hostile to Israel might bolster anti-Semitic views among the Arab community, EJP reported.

Speaking to Welt am Sonntag, Schuster said that when he shared his trepidation in a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her staff, it resulted in an awkward silence, following which Merkel responded: “We must address that.”

According to Schuster, many German Jews share his fears, “and I share this feeling and therefore see a need to integrate the refugees in our community of values as soon as possible.”

In an interview with Juedische Allgemeine, the highest-circulation Jewish periodical in Germany, Schuster suggested that people who grow up in anti-Semitic environment would “transfer their resentment to Jews in general,” as could be seen in demonstrations during Israel’s 2014 Gaza offensive “Protective Edge.” In many of these demonstrations, protesters chanted “Hamas, Hamas, Juden in’s gas!” (“Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!”).

“Many Syrians and immigrants of Arab descent have grown up in an environment in which hostility towards Israel and anti-Semitism are a common practice,” Schuster said.

Nevertheless, the Central Council of Jews has announced that Germany’s Mitzvah Day, November 15th, an annual day of faith-based social action, will be dedicated to aiding the thousands of recent refugees.

JNi.Media

Several Refugees Injured in Mass Brawl over Toilets in Hamburg Shelter

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

(JNi.media) The situation around a refugee shelter in Hamburg, Germany, remains extremely tense, according to Morgen Post. The chaos of the relocation of asylum seekers and a hunger strike, was followed on Wednesday by several violent clashes between Afghans and Syrians. Wednesday night, the fighting escalated into a mass brawl and several people were injured.

According to a report on Facebook, the Syrians and Afghans fought over the use of the showers at the makeshift accommodation. An eyewitness report on Facebook suggested the cause of the dispute was a locked toilet door.

Bergedorf, the largest of the seven boroughs of Hamburg, Germany, is increasingly becoming a powder keg, according to Morgen Post. Tensions erupted several times, well into the night on Wednesday and on Thursday morning, in the shelter on Kurt A. Körber-Chaussee, a main street going across Hamburg. Shortly after midnight, around 200 refugees were fighting one another, reaching for everything in the Hall to use as weapons: chairs, stones, iron bars. The 18-strong security staff tried in vain to intervene.

The situation was confusing and dangerous, in a largely dark building — the lights in the hall were turned off at 11 PM. Parents grabbed their children, trying to get out of the building. It took an eternity until the police arrive, according to reporter Von Hasan Gökkaya. The 50 police officers who advanced on the brawlers eventually brought the situation under control. Three people were arrested.

A Refugee going by the name of Aboud A. reported on Facebook: “There was a second brawl during the same night. Police arrived very late and took random people with them — it was awful.” In a sad statement, Aboud A. related how the fighting in his homeland Syria had destroyed his dreams — and how it could happen again now. He then pleaded for help.

But why has the situation escalated so badly, Morgen Post asked, saying the trigger for the violent eruptions is yet to be clarified, as of Thursday morning. Police did not offer a reliable number regarding the casualties.

JNi.Media

If Egypt Can Destroy Gaza’s Tunnels…

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

The topography of Israel’s shared border with Hamas-occupied Gaza is far too complicated, different and longer than Egypt’s shared border with Gaza to replicate what Egypt just did, but it does make one think about other possible solutions.

Fed up with Hamas sending terrorists into the Sinai via the underground tunnels, as well as the smuggling tunnels, Egypt redirected water from the Mediterranean sea, flooding everything under the ground along their shared border.

If we’re already being creative, here’s another thought… the Mediterranean could be Israel’s solution too.

Perhaps Israel could find a way to get every Gazan $5000, a fake Syrian passport (there’s plenty of those floating around) and a seat on a boat sailing across the Mediterranean into to Europe.

Once the sane people leave, it’s clean up time, and we rebuild Gush Katif.

Photo of the Day

Netanyahu: Israel Cares But Cannot Drown in Refugee Flood

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

Israel is not indifferent to the human tragedy of the refugee crisis but is small and cannot simply throw open its doors to the flood, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

“We have conscientiously treated thousands of wounded from the fighting in Syria, and we have helped them rebuild their lives,” Netanyahu said in response to recriminations from opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union), made in remarks yesterday.

“But Israel is a very small country, with neither demographic or geographic depth, and therefore we must control our borders.”

The prime minister pointed out that Israel must secure its borders not only against illegal immigrants searching for work, but also against terrorists hoping to slaughter Israelis. Instead, he said that he has spoken with African and European nations about developing aid programs for the countries from which the refugees are originating.

To protect Israel’s borders, he said, construction crews will begin to build a security barrier – as other nations have done for similar reasons around the world – similar to that built along the eastern border with Jordan from Gaza to Eilat.

“In the first phase we will build it from Timna to Eilat, to protect the airport being built there, and we will continue it to the Golan Heights, where a very strong security fence has already been built,” he said. “We will not allow Israel to be flooded with illegal immigrants, work-seekers and terrorist activists,” he said.

Immigration and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin commented that the proposals by Herzog and Abbas to absorb refugees is an attempt to “bring the ‘right of return’ through the back door. That is not responsible and it absolutely cannot be allowed to happen.” Elkin said Herzog’s proposal is similar to that of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has requested to absorb refugees in Judea and Samaria.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-israel-cares-but-cannot-drown-in-refugee-flood/2015/09/06/

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