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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Return’

Al Jazeera (Qatar) Evicts Jews and Judaism from Jerusalem; Time to Return the Favor

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through}

In October 2016, UNESCO condemned Israel regarding its activities on the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem and excluded all references to Judaism’s ties to the site.  The resolution was put forward by a number of Muslim states, including: Algeria; Egypt; Lebanon; Morocco; Oman; Qatar; and Sudan.

The Qatari-run news outlet, Al Jazeera (AJ), continued to proudly distort history in its coverage of the story. Consider its following statements:

“Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is the third-holiest site in Islam. It is located in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed following its invasion in 1967 – in a move never recognised by the international community – as part of its subsequent military occupation of the West Bank.

Jewish settlers and Zionist organisations have called for complete Jewish control over the mosque compound.

Jewish groups refer to the site as the “Temple Mount” and their increased incursions into the mosque compound have continuously led to Palestinian protests across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military and armed settler incursions have resulted in Palestinian deaths and injuries in recent years in particular. Muslim access to the religious site has also been tremendously limited by the army.”

The AJ media outlet published this on its own. It was not quoting Hamas (which the Qatari government supports).  For a sense of reality, here is a sample redlined report from a balanced perspective:

“Al-Aqsa Mosque sits on the Temple Mount, which was built by the Jewish King Herod 2,000 years ago. The mosquecompound is the third-holiest site in Islam and the Temple Mount is the holiest place in Judaism. It is located in the eastern half ofEast Jerusalem, which Israel annexed following its defensive war against an attack initiated by Jordaninvasion in 1967 – neither Jordan’s annexation of Jerusalem, nor Israel’s subsequent annexation were in a move never recognised by the international community – as part of Israel’sits subsequent administrative control military occupation of the West Bank. According to the Oslo II accords signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 1995, and the Peace Agreement between Israel and Jordan signed in 1994, Israel handles all security matters on the Temple Mount/ A-Aqsa compound.

Non-Muslims have regular visiting hours on the Temple Mount, and some Jewish settlers and Zionist organisations have called for non-Jews to be able to pray at the site as they had done before Suleiman banned the practice roughly 500 years agocomplete Jewish control over the mosque compound.Those calls resulted in Palestinians organizing themselves against Jewish visitors.

In September 2015, Israel banned the “Mourabitoun,” the group of Muslim civilian guards who were regularly harassing Jewish visitors to the holy site.  That action further excited Muslims who feared that Israel sought to change the status quo, and sparked numerous Jewish groups refer to the site as the “Temple Mount” and their increased incursions into the mosque compound have continuously led to Palestinian protests across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

The fighting between the Israeli military and Palestinian Arabs armed settler incursions have resulted in hundreds ofPalestinian deaths and injuries in recent years in particular. Due to the increased fighting and tensions, both Jewish and Muslim access to the religious site has also become morebeen tremendously limited, including an Israeli ban of all members of the Knesset by the army.”

As seen above, Al Jazeera is part-and-parcel of the problem of incitement in the conflict. Qatar continues to be an active supporter of violence in the region.

It is well past time to boycott Al Jazeera and its social media site AJ+.  Further, Americans should demand that the United States remove its central military command in the Middle East out of Qatar (perhaps it can help stabilize Iraq by relocating it there).

Distorting history is just part of the problem.  Incitement must have consequences.


Stopping the Purveyors of Hateful Propaganda

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

Palestinians agree that Israel rules all of Jerusalem, but the World Treats the City as Divided

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Arguments over Jerusalem

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Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through  Israel Analysis

Paul Gherkin

‘Return In Mercy’

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Editor’s Note: Rabbi Goren (1917-1994) was the first chief rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces and served during the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967. He also served as chief rabbi of Tel Aviv and chief rabbi of Israel. In the newly released English edition of his autobiographyWith Might and Strength(Maggid Books), Rabbi Goren recounts his trials and triumphs during such formative events as the pre-Holocaust period, the waves of immigration to Eretz Yisrael, the Holocaust, the Jewish underground movement, the establishment of the IDF and the state of Israel, as well as the wars that followed.

The following excerpt describes the battle during the 1967 Six-Day war to reclaim the Kotel (Western Wall), the subsequent emotion-filled prayers, and the liberation of the Cave of the Patriarchs.

* * * * *


Return in mercy to Jerusalem Your city and dwell therein as You have promised…” (Shemoneh Esrei prayer)

I began running toward Lions’ Gate. The battalion of paratroopers was spread out along both sides of the road, because artillery fire was raining down incessantly on the road itself. Stranded at the entrance to Lions’ Gate was a bus engulfed in flames and one of our tanks was stuck. Suddenly, I heard the battalion commander shouting at me, “Rabbi Goren, you’ll get yourself killed. Come with us and stick close to the wall.”

I felt as if I were flying. I walked out into the middle of the road. To my right, paratroopers from one company hugged one wall, and to my left, paratroopers from another company hugged the other. I heard the battalion commander send out his company commander toward me, telling him, “Go to Rabbi Goren and force him against the wall.”

“I am the highest ranking officer here,” I told them. “Don’t force me against anything.”

According to Jewish law, when Jews go out to battle they blow trumpets or shofars to assure their victory, as the Torah states: “And if you go to war in your land, against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets, and you shall be remembered before the Lord your God and you shall be saved from your enemies” (Numbers 10:9). It was for this reason that I had brought a shofar with me.

The moment we drew close to the gate, I began blowing the shofar, sounding it loudly in this battle for the liberation of Jerusalem. I continued to blow the shofar until we reached the tank that was stuck at the gate, blocking the entry to the Temple Mount. I quickly climbed up onto the tank and slid down the other side, finding myself at the entrance to the Temple Mount. As I made my way forward, I began to utter a prayer in between shofar blasts and shouted to the soldiers, “In the name of God, take action and succeed. In the name of God, liberate Jerusalem, go up and be successful.”

I kept shouting until we were right on top of the Temple Mount, where I found [Commander] Motta Gur standing surrounded by his soldiers. I had prepared a proclamation, which I then recited.

I decided that I was going to attempt to go down to the Kotel, which at that stage no one had yet reached. I was not familiar with the way from the Temple Mount to the Kotel, but there were two paratroopers who were. I took them and my driver with me and we exited from Mugrabi Gate. We reached a gate at the top of the stairs leading down to the Kotel, but it was locked with an iron chain and a padlock. I suggested forcing it open with our shoulders. The four of us began to push, and we broke the lock.

I went down to the area in front of the Kotel, and as if in a dream, a flash of light blinded me. An Arab suddenly appeared from a tunnel on the left and offered me a chair. I began to daven and recited the psalm for Wednesday: “A psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are of a clean heart. But as of me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…. I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may relate all Your works” (Ps. 73). I then blew the shofar once again, as more soldiers and paratroopers began descending from the Temple Mount to the Kotel, through the gate we had broken open.

As soon as there were ten men present, I began to daven for the memory of the fallen soldiers and recited [Kel] Maleh Rachamim. I proposed that we daven Minchah with Hallel and Nachem beside the Kotel, which for nineteen years had not been the site of any Jewish prayers, but then I realized that it was only half past eleven in the morning and we could not daven Minchah yet. We began to recite psalms and sang, “This year in rebuilt Jerusalem.” By that time, the entire division had reached the Kotel. Motta Gur and [Commander] Uzi Narkiss had also arrived and I repeated the service for the memory of the fallen while everyone cried. I found that I, too, could not hold back my tears.

* * * * *


Lt. Col. Tzvika Ofer and the forces with him were planning to set out toward Hebron at six o’clock in the morning.

As part of the preparations for going into battle, I asked the commander if I could speak with the soldiers. He answered in the affirmative and said he would assemble his entire brigade at three o’clock in the morning. At the appointed hour, the soldiers assembled on a small hill near the vehicles and the commander handed me a megaphone. This is what I said to the soldiers:


Dear soldiers, today we liberated our nation’s Holy of Holies in Jerusalem – the Temple Mount and the Kotel. Tomorrow, we are going to liberate the second-holiest city in Eretz Yisrael. You are going to liberate the Jewish people’s city of the patriarchs, which is the foundation of the Kingdom of David. King David ruled for seven years in Hebron before he ruled in Jerusalem. You are going to fight against the worst and wildest murderers. They carried out the pogroms all over the country and killed 164 fighters right here, where we are now, after they surrendered and laid down their arms. There is no absolution for that! Know how to behave with them and in the name of the Lord, take action and succeed, and go from victory to victory! From the victory in Jerusalem and Judea to the victory in Hebron!


As dawn approached, the soldiers started organizing for their departure. At 6:00 a.m. I went out onto the road to look for Tzvika Ofer’s battalion, but I didn’t see anyone there. I thought they might already have left, but the line of tanks was still there. I thought that perhaps he had taken the first tank and gone toward Hebron to get there first. I told my driver that we should advance toward Hebron, regardless of what the battalion was doing. There was my vehicle and the Military Rabbinate jeep that escorted us. On the way we met the battalion’s reconnaissance company and passed it. We turned on our vehicle’s siren and everyone let me pass.

Suddenly my driver said, “Rabbi, we’re the first ones here. There are no soldiers ahead of us. The entire brigade is behind us. We could get stuck in Hebron alone, and who knows what they’ll do to us.”

“Drive on,” I told him.

When we drew closer to Hebron, I saw white flags waving over all the houses along the way. I realized that there was no war here. There wasn’t a single Jordanian flag, so there was nothing to fear and no reason to be afraid – we were entering Hebron as victors, without a war and without having fired a single shot.

“There’s a Jordanian flag flying from the third floor of one of the houses,” my driver said as we drove past Halhul. “They might fire on us.”

“Take the Uzi and cover me,” I said. “I’m going up there to take down the flag.”

My driver said they might kill me, so he would go.

“You’re still young,” I told him. “You still have to build a home and a family. I’ve already lived my life. I’ll go up, and whatever happens, happens.”

One of the drivers accompanied me to the second floor, and from there I went up to the third floor. I reached the flag and took it down.

Salaam Alaikum,” I said to the tenants. I took the flag and they didn’t say a word.

We advanced toward Hebron, and when we entered the city we saw that all the houses along the main road were festooned with white sheets, hung from all the balconies. The Hebron municipality and the military forces in Hebron had decided on a self-imposed curfew and ordered that no one leave their homes. I wanted to inform them that the IDF had already conquered Hebron, even though at this stage the IDF force was only me and the jeep.

There was a podium in the middle of the city, where a policeman usually stood, directing the traffic. I mounted the podium, took the Uzi and fired a whole magazine of bullets into the air, to notify the residents of the city that the Israel Defense Forces was inside the city and that we had captured Hebron.

My declared goal had been to be the first to reach the Cave of the Patriarchs. I saw an Arab boy of about sixteen or seventeen standing at one of the windows. I called out to him to come down to me.

“Where is the grave of our Avraham Avinu [that’s what the Arabs called the Cave of the Patriarchs]?” I shouted up to him, but he replied that he was afraid to come down because of the curfew; he wouldn’t be able to get back home. I promised him that my driver would bring him back, and the boy agreed to show us.

We reached the site and began to climb the stairs toward the gates on both sides of the building, at the top of the two staircases. I climbed to the top of the staircase on the north side, where everyone prayed, and saw that the gate was locked.

Ifta el-bab!” I shouted in Arabic. “Open the gates!” I heard voices inside.

Mefish maftuah,” they said. “We don’t have a key.”

If they don’t have a key, I thought to myself, how did they get inside? I knew there were people in there, and that the gates were closed from the inside with bolts. They had thirty-six keys, and they were holding onto them. I began firing hundreds of bullets at the gates, but they didn’t budge. To this day you can see the holes I made in the gates, which the Arabs call “Rabbi Goren’s holes.” (Years later, the Arabs tried to fill in the holes so that there would be no trace of our liberation of the Cave of the Patriarchs. I phoned the governor of Hebron and he sent an officer to stop the holes from being filled in.)

For three hours, we tried to break down and open the gates, but without success, until I heard the sound of a tank approaching the site. That was the first tank that entered Hebron, and it was adorned with an improvised flag – a sheet on which the soldiers had drawn a blue Star of David. The soldiers had taken the flag from David’s Citadel. Here’s what had happened:

During the liberation of Jerusalem there was no flag to hang on David’s Citadel. A Jewish family from England lived nearby, and the wife gave a white sheet to the soldiers and told them they could draw a Star of David on it. At first, this improvised flag was hung on David’s Citadel, and after several hours it was taken down and hung on the tank that would be the first to enter Hebron and reach the Cave of the Patriarchs.

There was a small flagpole on the main gate in front of the Cave of the Patriarchs. We drove the tank up against the wall beside the gate, and from there I climbed up onto the tank’s turret and hung the flag at the entrance to the compound. Many pictures of me hanging that flag were later published in Israel and around the world.

We wanted to break through the gate to the Cave of the Patriarchs. Despite the hundreds of bullets I had fired, we had not managed to dislodge the gate. When the tank arrived, I saw the soldiers had a crow bar. My driver and I put the bar into the gate and worked it off its hinges until the gate fell to the ground and we could enter the Cave of the Patriarchs. We saw two Arabs inside, so scared they were trembling like a lulav, and one of them was holding the dozens of keys to the gate – even though they had shouted to me from inside that they didn’t have any keys. My driver went over to him, took the keys, and we went into the Cave of the Patriarchs, where I blew the shofar.

I took the sefer Torah that I had brought with me and read the weekly portion of Chayei Sarah, which relates how Abraham bought the Cave of the Patriarchs from the sons of Chet. It was still early in the morning and we were able to daven Shacharit there. That was the first time after more than a thousand years that Jews were inside the Cave of the Patriarchs…

Rabbi Shlomo Goren

Fateful Court Decision: Will a Child Stay in Israel or Return to her Father Abroad?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Many Israelis living abroad keep the flame of yearning to return burning, while others are perfectly happy with their lives abroad. Visiting the old country can stir up those yearnings for some, and leave others as cool and detached as before. When two such persons are married to one another, a home visit can end up in tragedy.

An Israeli couple got married in 2009 and a year later moved abroad, where the husband works in teaching and the wife is a military attaché. In 2012 they had a baby girl, and at the end of last year the happy family came on a two-week vacation to Israel. On their last day in the home country, at Ben-Gurion airport, the wife informed her husband that she decided to stay, with their 3-year-old child. They had one of those horrible airport fights, at the end of which the husband boarded the plane and the mother and child stayed back, Psak Din reported this week.

The mother then turned to family court in Tel-Aviv requesting full custody, and the court granted her temporary custody. Later on she filed suit against her husband for dissolution of marriage and alimony. At the same time, the father submitted to family court in Hadera a claim for the return of his daughter to the place of her permanent residence, based on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the return of abducted children.

After several court hearings and attempts to find a common ground between the two feuding parents, Hadera Family Court Judge Tal Peperani rejected the father’s claim in a cumbersome manner: he agreed that an abduction had taken place, but cited Article 13 of the Convention, according to which if the parent was not actually exercising the custody rights at the time of removal or retention, or had consented to or subsequently acquiesced in the removal or retention, then the court is not bound to order the return of the child.

Judge Peperani decided that the father had acquiesced to his daughter’s kidnapping based on emails and SMSs the parents exchanged during their compromise negotiations. In one such SMS, the father wrote: “I’m also learning to let go. I also want to sleep quietly knowing she is in good hands with you.”

Needless to say, the father was irate at the ruling and appealed to District Court in Haifa, arguing that he had not acquiesced to the kidnapping, but rather continued to act immediately and consistently to change the situation. He argued, among other things, that his communication with his wife was part of the negotiations process and should not have been made available to the court. He also claimed that the family court judge did not permit him to question his wife regarding the context of those SMS messages, or to present other, conflicting SMSs.

Presiding Judge Sari Jayyoussi rejected the father’s claim against the family court’s gaining access to his SMS messages, but agreed that in order to decide that father had, essentially, accepted the kidnapping of his daughter, the judge should have afforded the father the opportunity to be heard. Judge Jayyoussi then returned the case to family court, to give the father ample opportunity to reject the claim that he had acquiesced to losing custody of his daughter. He also instructed the family court judge to review the full body of interchanged messages between the parents before making his ruling.


Russia to Return Israeli Tank Captured 34 Years Ago in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday for signing a presidential decree ordering the return to Israel of an IDF tank that was captured 34 years ago during a ferocious battle in the First Lebanon War.

“I thank the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, that he responded to my request to return the tank from the Battle of Sultan Yacoub to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The tank, used by the IDF during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub during the First Lebanon War on June 10, 1982, was captured by the Syrian army and eventually transported to the Soviet Union, then a Cold-War ally with Syria. The tank has since remained in Moscow, stored in a museum of armored tanks.

MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, the former deputy defense minister, was an officer in artillery unit 7054 that helped rescue a battalion of Israeli tanks trapped by a Syrian ambush in Sultan Yacoub, Lebanon.

“We fired the whole night, and in the morning the battalion was rescued – except for that one tank and the three missing soldiers, whose fate is still unknown today,” Ben-Dahan recalled to Tazpit Press Service (TPS), referring to the continued mystery behind three IDF soldiers, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, who went missing in action during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub. During the entire battle, 30 Israeli soldiers were killed and eight tanks were lost.

“Hearing about the return of the tank sends me back 34 years,” Ben-Dahan told TPS. “It gave me chills.”

Ben-Dahan also expressed hope that the tank’s return might bring news about the fate of the missing soldiers, though he said he cannot comment on any discussions or progress toward that goal.

Netanyahu raised the issue of returning the tank with Putin last month, after having received a request from IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

“For the families of the soldiers missing in action, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, there is no trace of the boys nor a burial plot to go to for 34 years now,” noted Netanyahu. “The tank is the only evidence of the battle, and now it will be returned to Israel thanks to President Putin’s response to my request.”

A delegation from the IDF’s Ordnance Corps is in Moscow working with representatives from the Russian army to transport the tank back to Israel as soon as possible.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Return Of The Grinch: The Left Plans To Steal Jerusalem Day

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

A truly happy new year will soon begin for the Jewish People: The 50th year of the liberation and unification of our holy and historic capital city of Jerusalem starts just six weeks after the upcoming Pesach holiday. The precise date, of course, is the 28th of Iyar (June) – the 49th anniversary of the modern-day miracle of the return of Yerushalayim to its nation.

It happened in the Six-Day War of 1967, when Jordan joined Egypt and Syria in their attempt to destroy Israel, which miraculously overcame the odds, and the rockets that King Hussein of Jordan fired at Jerusalem and environs cost him the Holy City, all of Judea and Samaria, and even the summer palace he was in the midst of building overlooking the Judean Desert.

(The structure still stands today, exactly as half-built as it was in June 1967 – but today it overlooks the burgeoning Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev.)

In 1998 the Knesset enacted the Jerusalem Day Law, proposed by the late Rabbi MK Chanan Porat. “Thirty years after the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem,” the law states, “the time has come to relate to it publicly [in the form of] a national holiday. The essence of Jerusalem, the height of our hopes and aspirations and the summit of our joy, should be noted and singled out on a day that symbolizes the centrality of Jerusalem in the life of the Nation of Israel that has returned to its land.”

Last year the government decided to appoint a steering committee to set the tone of the Jerusalem Jubilee festivities. The conclusions for the 50th year were to have been publicized a number of months ago, but in truth, barely a word on the plans has been reported. If the government is planning something, it is certainly a well-kept secret. It is to be hoped that this is not a harbinger of things to come – because there are elements preparing long and hard to step in and fill the void. This is truly reason for alarm.

Haaretz journalist Akiva Eldar is one of the leaders of a campaign designed to, in the organizers’ words, “embarrass and stymie the Netanyahu government” and keep the “Israeli occupation in the news.” He is one of a group of leading media and academia leftists who are planning worldwide protests during Jerusalem’s festive 50th year, seeking to boost opposition to Israel’s continued presence in Judea, Samaria, and, of course, eastern Jerusalem.

Their idea is to enlist prominent Jewish figures in the U.S. and Israel to sully the majority of the Israeli public that has for many years now voted right wing. The campaign is expected to cost some 30 million NIS, or $8 million, funded through organizations such as J Street and the New Israel Fund.

The work has already been divided up. Several leading left-wing Israeli professors are responsible for recruiting “peace” organizations, while others are in charge of keeping the “anti” campaign constantly in the international media.

The organizers’ mission statement states that the aim is to create a “change of thinking” among the Israeli citizenry, the Israeli government, and even international Jewry. Eldar said in a recent interview that he envisions the publication of an ad in major American newspapers – a different paper every week during the course of the 50th year – citing one “expert” or another as to why Israel must give up on a united Jerusalem and quit Judea and Samaria.

In short, our enemies from within are planning a tough year for lovers of Israel and Jerusalem. It behooves us to prepare a strategy to meet this threat.

For one thing, we must show how truly dangerous the radical Left has become. The more it loses its grip on public opinion – at least here in Israel – the more it attempts to thwart the will of the Israeli public, as expressed time and again at the ballot boxes.

It must also be pointed out that Eldar and friends seem not to have thought their ideas through. It is certainly easy to declare “Jerusalem must become a two-state capital.” But have they any notion at all as to how to do this? Should a fence be built down the middle of the city? What should happen to the many tens of thousands of Jews living in neighborhoods adjacent to the areas to be governed by the Muslim Palestinian Authority? What will be with the neighborhoods slightly farther away when Jews start emptying out, as happened in the 1950s? When they say we should leave Judea and Samaria, have they given even a fleeting thought as to what should be done with the 400,000-plus Jews living there?

However, as the organizers say, the goal is simply to embarrass Netanyahu and the nationalist camp – and so a realistic approach is not necessary.

This does not mean the threat must not be met – and the Zionist nationalist camp has precious little time left to decide how to do so. Two months ago, Education Minister Naftali Bennett declared that the coming school year would be “Jerusalem Unity Year” in the educational system. The details will be publicized this coming Jerusalem Day, but Bennett explained at the time, “Our [national] history began in Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem we will draw our strengths today as well. Those who try to detach the Jewish people from its city, should know that they have achieved just the opposite, and our links with it have grown stronger.”

Interestingly, in its attempt to sully Bennett’s campaign in favor of Jerusalem, a left-wing site named “Black Labor” presented the case for Jerusalem most succinctly: “It appears that Bennett sees his job as an opportunity to actualize and imbue the nation with the values in which he believes. As he said, ‘Education is primarily a matter of values.’ … He believes that the Jewish state was founded with the dynasty of King David, and that the Jewish nation then managed to survive for many years in Exile despite having lost its political entity. This entity was renewed when the Jewish people returned to Zion [in the 20th century]. We are now in a new era, Bennett believes – no longer one of survival, but of a true Jewish state based on Jewish values, in which these values must be strengthened.”

We couldn’t have said it better. For the sake of Jerusalem, let us all act to ensure that his goals are met. To paraphrase the Psalmist, “Let our right hand become stronger as we remember and act for you, O Jerusalem, and let our tongue not cleave to our palate as we speak out on your behalf in every forum.”


How can you get involved? Visit Jerusalem and participate in our bus tours in strategic areas (e-mail tours@keepjerusalem.org). Speak up for Jerusalem. Learn to become an effective advocate for keeping Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty. Visit the Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech website at www.keepjerusalem.org.

Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org

Palestinians Rebuff Jewish Refugees’ Outreach

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

An offer to advocate for Palestinian refugee rights to cooperate with advocates for the rights of Jewish refugees was rejected at the Zochrot conference. 

The conference went ahead on the supposed site of an Arab village on the Tel Aviv university campus on 29 and 30 September, despite attempts to have it cancelled.  Levana Zamir, the president of the Association of Jews from Egypt in Israel, who made the offer to cooperate,  watched the conference develop into a nightmare – a sick and calculated blueprint for the annihilation of Israel. (One can only marvel at the irony that the bastion of anti-Zionism that is Tel Aviv university, whose staff and students so enthusiastically participated in the conference, should cooperate in their own destruction. )

The Zochrot conference website banner.

The Zochrot conference website banner.

Here is Levana’s report:

Levana Zamir

Levana Zamir

This international conference initiated by the Israeli NGO Zokhrot (meaning ‘we remember’),  titled “Realizing the Return of Palestinian Refugees” took place over two days in the Eretz Israel Museum in Ramat Aviv – located on the site of the former Arab village of  Sheikh Mouniss.

It was  a nightmare to me.  Janet Dallal, an Israeli friend from Iraq, was there with me. The other heads of organisations of Jews from Arab countries decided not to come and speak out – saying it would give the conference too much  publicity. Now I can say they were wrong.

The aim of this conference was not to argue whether the Palestinian refugees have a right of return, but the realization of it,  termed ‘decolonization’ by the conference including in parts of north Tel Aviv where small Arab villages were located before 1948.

The conference got off to a slow start, talking about doing justice to the dispossessed and stateless Palestinian refugees, and with a few good words from Leila Hilal, Director of the Middle East Task force of the New America Foundation – the main organisation financing this conference, beside other European organisations.

Leila Hilal said she was embarrassed to open the conference knowing that ‘the right of return’ issue was very delicate for most of Israelis: I liked her opening very much. But she continued saying it was about time to do justice to those politically-displaced refugees and put an end to their suffering. From time to time she talked of “compensation”.

Professor  Dan Rabinovitz of Tel Aviv University (where else?) gave his presentation, saying that the ‘right of return’ would be granted to refugees born in Palestine and are still alive – not to their descendants – i.e. 200, 000 refugees.  A  ‘right of return’ given by Israel to Jews only is discrimination, he said. He asked for recognition and for an apology. The Return would not always be to the original locations, but to alternatives.

After three more presentations about “reconciliation”, the Serbian refugee model, and the research findings of an Arab doctoral student from the UK on displaced Palestinians, it was easy for me at the Q&A to say my few words over the microphone and to ask my question.  I said:
“I came here to give you a hand, to ask you to continue your fight to get back your properties and compensation because I am myself a refugee, a Jewish refugee from Egypt. We were dispossessed of all our family properties, of our identity, then expelled. There are a million Jewish refugees like me from Arab lands – Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, etc.  So I propose to pool our efforts – Palestinian and Jewish refugees – to recover our properties, secure compensation, and not to accept the kizuz (cancelling out) proposed by Israel.

“My question to Leila Hilal was this: “as you represent the New America Foundation, dealing with refugees in the Middle East, would you agree to give us a hand, and deal with Jewish refugees too. Let’s do it together, hand in hand.”

Leila did not answer my question but asked the others to do so.  Prof. Dan Rabinovitz said that my request was absolutely right, but he was an expert on Palestinian refugees and dealt only with them. The doctoral student from the UK, Munir Nuseibah, said he would be ready to develop his research for both sides. But during the coffee break, when I asked him how he would like us to cooperate on his research, he said he could not cooperate. People around us heard his answer very clearly.

When Leila asked the Serbian expert to answer to another question about the success of the ‘right of return’ imposed on Serbia, she said that it was a very bad experience involving killing people, and it had to be stopped.

During the coffe break, the president and founder of Zokhrot, Eitan Bronstein (an Israeli), came to me and said he was ready to see how Zokhrot could cooperate with us to include the Jewish refugees in their themes and activities. At that moment I was really glad to be there, but Leila avoided me and disappeared. I will send her a short message.

Janet Dallal intervened during the afternoon sessions, reminding the audience (all of them leftists) of the existence of the second group of refugees, the Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries, and the role of the Arab League in all this.

The second and last part of the conference became a nightmare.

During the whole next day, the lecturers demonstrated what the Return would be like, geographically – through animated short clips – and practically.

For example, in North Tel Aviv, on Ibn-Gvirol Street and the corner of Arlozorof – a sophisticated Tel-Avivian neighbourhood where an Arab village called Soumayel was located – the ‘Israeli occupiers’ would have the right to decide to leave their homes or stay and pay the ‘Palestinian refugee owner’ the ‘market value’ of their house. Then the ‘Palestinian Refugee owner’ would decide between recovering ‘his’ house or taking the money, with all that entailed. The Israeli ‘occupiers’ could not pass their homes on as inheritance to their descendants, etc. etc.

The Palestinian refugee who did not wish to Return, would get all their rights as Israeli citizens (Bituah Leumi national insurance rights, etc). in the paradise of One state for Two Peoples.  There was never any talk of “two separate nation-states”.

Everything is already settled for the Return to Arab villages too. The speakers planned, for example, how the ‘new’ Arab village of Ladjoun, on the edge of the flourishing kibbutz Meggido in the North,  will look, and under which conditions two Arab buildings still located inside the kibbutz would be incorporated into the village.

All this seemed to me sick and destructive, so the second day I did  not attend the conference but watched via the On-line conference link on the Zokhrot Facebook page.

The conference continued in this vein. Some lecturers even said, “Zionism is a crime” and nobody objected, except one lady who said: ” please respect others’ beliefs”. That was the only moment when I wished I had been there to say that today the word “Zionism” has no meaning any more – because the State of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. We are Am Israel, living in Medinat Israel.

To sum up, I cannot believe this is happening to us, that Israelis could side with our enemies so as to annihilate the State of Israel. This conference came one step closer towards this annihilation. I would like to say to all those who were there, that the creation of the State of Israel after 2,000 years was a miracle, and that the people of Israel on its own land is neither invincible, nor should it be taken for granted.

Visit Point of No Return.

Point of No Return

Egyptian FM Visiting PA Capital Ramallah

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fahmy is visiting Ramallah on Monday to discuss bilateral relations between Egypt and the Palestinian Authority with Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the Egyptian ambassador to the PA told Ma’an.

Yasser Othman said that the visit comes in support of the Palestinian return to negotiations and in gratitude for the Palestinian Authority’s position in support of the Egyptian government.

Othman added that the Egyptian people and media are aware of who supports them and who incites against them.

Diplomatic and media delegations will accompany the minister on his day long visit, the ambassador added.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/egyptian-fm-visiting-pa-capital-ramallah/2013/08/26/

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