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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sharansky’

Pro-Israel Rallies Outnumber Opposition at ‘Israel Apartheid Week’

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Despite the attempts to delegitimize Israel on American campuses during the so-called “Israel Apartheid Week,” the Sochnut — the Jewish Agency for Israel, under the direction of Natan Sharansky, has helped change the tone on North American campuses.

Sharansky told Makor Rishon that he made sure the Sochnut sent five representatives (“Shlichim”) to every campus in North America.

Pro-Israel rallies were organized by campus Hillels, Hasbara Fellowship, and Stand With Us.

Makor Rishon reports that, in fact, pro-Israel rallies far outnumbered the anti-Israeli rallies this week.

Sharansky said that he sees a definite weakening in the anti-Israel Boycott movement, simply because the facts and the truth are on Israel’s side.

Sharansky Supporting Rabbi Avi Weiss vs. Rabbinate, RCA

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky has released the following statement regarding the debate surrounding Rabbi Avi Weiss:

“Rabbi Avi Weiss is a prominent leader of the Modern Orthodox Jewish world. By his teachings and his personal example, he has inspired and raised generations of Jews in the spirit of kol yisra’el arevim zeh la-zeh (the principle that all Jews are responsible for one another) and with a deep commitment to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

“Rabbi Weiss’s commitment and integrity are beyond reproach, which is why I find the ongoing discussion about his Rabbinic credentials absurd.

“As Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency, I would like to state clearly that our shlichim (emissaries) will continue to honor Rabbi Weiss’s certifications and recommendations, as we have been proud to do up until now.”

Rabbi Weiss complained recently that the Israeli Chief rabbinate and the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) were in cahoots to disqualify “Liberal Orthodox” rabbis by the Rabbinate refusing to honor their recommendation of their congregants as proper Jews.

As we wrote here earlier, this created a situation in which the largely anti-Zionist Rabbinate, comprised of wall-to-wall Haredim, was collaborating with the RCA, catering mostly to Orthodox Jews who are comfortable staying in New Jersey – to block Zionist Orthodox American Jews from making aliyah.

Hopefully, this madness will be corrected now, possibly with some additional help from Minister of Religious Services Naftali Bennett, who dropped the ball this year on electing a National Religious Chief Rabbi.

Jewish Agency Hands Gondar School to Ethiopia

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky handed Getnet Amare, the mayor of Gondar, Ethiopia, the keys to the school that had prepared thousands of Jewish Ethiopian children for their subsequent immigration to Israel through education in math, physics, computers and English.

In a ceremony on Monday, the Jewish Agency donated all the school buildings and equipment to the city. “Jews lived in Gondar for 2,500 years. However, their longing to return home never weakened,” Sharansky said at the ceremony marking the conclusion of the Jewish Agency-led Operation Wings of a Dove. Through the operation, launched in 2010, Israel absorbed more about 7,000 people in Ethiopia, the Falash Mura, whose ancestors were Jewish but were forced to convert to Christianity.

“For us it is very symbolic that the Jewish community here is leaving behind a place of study. It’s a promise we make all the countries from which Jews emigrate: that we will leave behind a school for their local community’s children,” Sharansky said.

The final flight of Ethiopian immigrants to Israel will arrive in the Jewish state on Aug. 28 with 400 immigrants.

Their Heroes and Ours…

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

I know I have said this before, but I have to say it now. This morning. Now. Last night, we released 26 murderers – cowards, terrorists. The most pathetic of “men.” Really, to call them men is to insult 50% of the world. These are not men by any stretch of the imagination.

The government of Israel understands how sickening, how disgusting it is, how painful it is for Israelis to watch the Palestinians celebrate the return of these sniveling things and so it arranged to release them at night. How pathetic, how stupid. Did you really think the Palestinians wouldn’t come out to celebrate because it was at night? Seriously?

Let me tell you about the heroes of Israel. We have many…

Natan Sharansky has always been one of my heroes. He’s a quiet man, brilliant. He’s short…really short…and yet he is one of the tallest of men because unlike many (including most of the ministers in the government), he stands straight and tall. He risked imprisonment in the Soviet Union to be who and what he was…

His application to marry Avital was refused by Soviet authorities. He married her in a Jewish ceremony which was not recognized by the government. Today, the Soviet Union is no more; their marriage remains and they are now grandparents. Within 24 hours of that wedding, Avital had to leave the Soviet Union.

Three years later, Natan was arrested and convicted for his ongoing activities…mostly centered around maintaining his Jewish identity and trying to leave the Soviet Union to join Avital in Israel (and to get that right for millions of other Soviet Jews). For 13 years, Avital fought for Natan… and Natan fought for Avital and their life together. In 1986, Sharansky was finally freed. They came home to Israel, where they were greeted by thousands.

On July 4, 1976, Israeli soldiers flew to Entebbe and rescued more than 100 hostages. For days, the drama of the kidnapping of an Air France flight had held the world’s attention – but nowhere more than in Israel. The hijackers – German and Palestinian – separated Jew and non-Jew, releasing the non-Jews and holding the Israeli/Jewish passengers. The crew of the jet, though not Jewish, refused to leave their passengers and remained hostages as well.

The lives of the passengers were threatened and in a daring raid, Israeli fighters flew over 1,000 miles to rescue them. In the battle that followed, Yoni Netanyahu, the leader of the operation, was killed. The only casualty. He had given orders that wounded among the forces were not to be treated until the hostages were rescued – that all focus must be on saving the Jews in that terminal. Yoni was in the front, running towards the terminal where they were held, when he was hit.

Within hours, the planes were loaded and flying back to Israel. Thousands met them at the airport and celebrated their return. These are our heroes – Natan Sharansky, Yoni Netanyahu, the passengers of the plane who held on, knowing Israel would never abandon them.

For these, thousands come out to welcome them home.

The obvious connection here is to compare what Gaza and Ramallah came to welcome last night. I can’t make the comparison – or maybe I have already. For me, I am filled with gratitude that my heroes are men who lived with honor, not cowards who stabbed women and axed men to death.

I know the so-called peace talks will continue – personally, I couldn’t even look at these negotiators or be in the same room with them. They sicken me; their culture of death sickens me. There is inside of me a part that thinks our greatest victory, even if the world does not recognize it, is simply that we are not like them. That when we come out in the thousands to welcome someone home – it is for a man who has fought for freedom; a man who has died for others…not killed for his religion.

At the end of the day, I would rather belong to a people who mourn the death of Yoni Netanyahu, than one that celebrates the life of Samir Kuntar or the 26 miserable murderers we released last night.

Natan Sharansky Worries about US Jews

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Natan Sharansky took the stage at the President’s Conference – he took my heart years ago when the Russians told him to walk straight across the bridge to be released and so, just to show he was his own person, he walked in a zig zag pattern.

I have lived much of my life on the sidelines of Sharansky’s life. When he was imprisoned in the Soviet Union, I was “second in command” of the local chapter of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry. Once I stood beside Avital Sharansky as she attended demonstration after demonstration to get her husband released. All she ever wanted, this quiet woman of grace and modesty – was to live a quiet life with her husband, to have children. I was always worried that by the time they released him, if they ever did, it would be too late.

She had two daughters; she is now a grandmother. She lives the life she wanted and I’m so happy for her. As for Natan Sharansky, he is one of these amazingly smart, funny people. You know, the minute he walks on the stage, that you are going to smile, you are going to laugh. The first thing he did was jump up and down a bit to show that the microphone is way up there, and he, being quite short, was down there. They came and they adjusted the microphone. He began to speak, and I began to type. What follows is my best attempt to type live. There are missing sentences, discrepancies – but hopefully, his voice and humor come through.

Natan Sharansky at the President’s Conference – Tomorrow 2013

You know I am not a diplomat. My first association was my childhood memory from the Soviet Union when children were mobilized to front a celebration – but soon found out that it can be a great tool. When I start talking to people about how we are celebrating 90 years of president – people thought, you Google it, we are almost at the top of the world – average life span of 80 years plus in Israel; Russia is 65 years. So if they make aliyah from Russia, the Jewish Agency pays his trip and he gets a bonus of 15 years.

And people look and see Shimon Peres. 75% of Israelis believe that the future of Israel will be better than today; 70% of Americans. If you make aliyah, the Jewish Agency will pay for your trip and you’ll change from a pessimist to an optimist.

And Israel is the startup nation – and then you look at the statistics. If you make aliyah from France and the Jewish Agency will pay for your ticket – and your children will have a better future in technology and advancement. Aliyah is on the rise

33% increase from US

50% from Hungary

etc.

And so, we really have to continue to celebrate Shimon’s birthday.

Israel has the lowest level of unemployment of any country in the western world.

Clearly increased antisemitism in the last few years – we are dealing with a lot of security of Jews in Latin American, Europe, and Asia. We must continue to watch 20,000 Jews in Turkey, 12,000 in Iran, 10,000 Jews in Venezuela, 2,500 in Morocco, 200 in Yemen.

But if you ask me, where is the biggest problem you are facing – I answer, in the United States. 41% of Jews live in the United States and we don’t know how many will not be part of our Jewish family tomorrow.

And the biggest Jewish community in the world – 43% in Israel. And we still face the de- legitimization of our state. We know the answer is the strengthening of the bond between the communities.

We need to bring more people to Israel – and Israel to more Jews in the world.

Last point – Tikun Olam – fixing the world – someone once asked him – do you have a Hebrew word for Tikun Olam – we have opened centers in Ethiopia, Mexico, Russia – all to teach about Tikun Olam and the betterment of the local population.

….

I stopped typing here because my battery went too low. What I can tell you is that Sharansky spoke of the Jewish concept of making the world a better place – tikun olam – and of the many things that Israel does on a regular basis to make that happen.

He’s an amazing speaker – if you ever get the chance to hear him…go…

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/natan-sharansky-worries-about-us-jews/2013/06/27/

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