web analytics
July 28, 2014 / 1 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘tazpit’

Israeli Aid Missions Providing Relief to Hurricane Sandy Victims

Friday, November 9th, 2012

An Israeli delegation of trained rescue volunteers is departing to New York today, Friday, November 9, to assist victims devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The delegation is headed by Shahar Zahavi, CEO of IsraAID, the Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid, an Israeli non-governmental organization (NGO) that has facilitated aid and relief program across the world, including in Haiti, Japan, Turkey, Kenya and South Sudan.

The 12-person delegation will be offering rescue, rehabilitation, and communal resource services to New York residents of Far Rockaway and Long Beach, as well as the Atlantic City-Margate area along the Jersey Shore. They will also be identifying areas with vulnerable populations and allocating resources to older people and families with young children who have suffered significant damages to their homes and have no power.

Financing for the mission comes from young Israelis and from Israeli businesses, alongside partner companies in the United States, which are supplying the Israeli crew with water, food, gasoline, clothing, blankets and storage facilities to distribute to people who have been evacuated from their homes.

According to spokesperson Tova Hametz the IsraAid delegation’s mission is to “rehabilitate, rescue, bolster morale and bring physical resources in the most effective, organized and expedient way.” She added that Zahavi has much experience in relief work following his mission in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

According to Israel’s foreign office, a number of Israeli NGOs are working to bring relief and supplies including food, fuel and generators to both victims and emergency workers in New York and New Jersey. Among those NGOs are Israel Flying Aid and Israeli Humanitarian Aid-LATET. Those efforts have been coordinated with local police departments, the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Jewish communities in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.

One of the Israeli volunteers, Joel Leyden, helped organize an aid convoy from Connecticut to Long Island, bringing food and generators to first responders, fire departments, police, and to homes. He and other Israeli volunteers also passed out Dunkin’ Donuts to people waiting at gas stations.

“We wore our blue-and-white-Israeli hats to make sure they knew this aid was coming from the people of Israel,” said Leyden, according to the foreign office website.

Hurricane Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricanes and the second-costliest after Hurricane Katrina. The October hurricane killed more than 110 people in 10 states, left more than 8 million homes and businesses in the Northeast without electricity, and tens of thousands of Americans homeless.

Ulpana Resident Bemoan Relocation Ordeal

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

In the coming days, following the High Court of Justice’s order and the Israeli Government’s decision, thirty families living in the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El will be forced to leave their homes. It is yet unclear what will happen to the families that will be evicted, or what will happen to their homes. The homes were purchased legally; the purchasers received government grants and mortgages from banks. The reason they are being forced to leave their homes is because of two Arab plaintiffs who filed a petition to the Supreme Court claiming ownership of the land on which these homes were built. As the issue of land ownership is not debated in the Supreme Court, the hearing was transferred to the Jerusalem District Court; the opening session is scheduled for July 2012. The plaintiffs have yet to prove their ownership over the land, and yet the families living in these homes are being forced to leave.

Tazpit News Agency spoke with Vardina Biton, a resident of the Ulpana neighborhood, about what she faces in the future. Vardina, 30, mother of three, had lived in her home for the past six years. She and her husband initially came from northern Israel, and decided to live in Beit El after studying at the yeshiva and in schools in the vicinity. When they purchased their home they were not aware of any issues regarding the legal status of the land. Vardina says that when they decided to live in Beit El, they felt like emissaries, living in a part of Israel with strategic and historical importance.

Since the final decision to remove them from their homes, Vardina has been coping with mixed feelings and many uncertainties. She says she has not begun to pack, even though she stands to be evicted from her home in only a few days. “I have been primarily preparing myself mentally and emotionally, trying to contain the injustice that is being done to us,” she says. “I feel much pain and frustration. A person can do right and be right, and there are other solutions other then expelling us from our homes, and yet we must endure these wrongdoings. I am a 7th grade teacher. I witness brawls between my students, and see that the girls can come to a fair solution to the problem at hand. Somehow, the government failed to do likewise, proceeding with a discriminating solution instead.”

Police and right wing activists are bracing for possible violence during the removal of the Ulpana neighborhood residents from their homes. Various options to protest the expulsion have been suggested. Vardina is ambivalent regarding the pending battle the may be waged over the houses. She believes there should be a rabbinical leadership that should decide on the nature of the struggle. She says she can understand those who are talking about violent resistance. Many people are deeply pained by the court’s decision and by the government’s conduct, feeling that a great injustice is being committed. As for herself, she says she is not a violent person and has no desire to harm anyone. She does not know how she will react when the police knock on her door and demand that she leaves her home.

After the attempt to pass the “Regulation Law” in the Knesset failed, Vardina believes there are still better ways to resolve the current predicament. She explains that as of now, no legal ownership has been proven in a court of law. The land that the homes are built on has been purchased by the current residents. The alleged Arab owner claims the land was purchased from the wrong person. “No one had malevolent intent; no one intended to steal anyone’s land,” she states. However, the High Court of Justice ruled that the houses must be evacuated and demolished. Vardina says there are other plausible options: the land can be purchased from the alleged owner or the government can declare the land state owned and offer him compensation. She feels that the court ruled hurriedly, and that the government did not work hard enough to find a proper and just solution. “The fact that I live in Beit El doesn’t make me a second rate citizen. We serve the country and pay taxes. My husband fought in the IDF during The Second Lebanon War, just weeks after his wedding. It seems that there was not a real desire to save the homes, and therefore they did not work hard enough to find a solution.”

Ninety Year Old Man Joins Hunger-Strike Against Ulpana Neighborhood Relocation

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has reportedly decided to remove five buildings from the Uplana neighborhood in Beit El. He intends to completely uproot the buildings and resituate them on nearby land owned by the military. As a form of compensation, he plans to build tens of new homes in Beit El, ten for each one removed.

Several people have decided to go on a hunger-strike to protest the decision and demand that Ministers vote for the “Regulation Law”, which will set a statute of limitation for claims against existing communities in Judea and Samaria that are allegedly constructed on privately owned land. According to the suggested law, should the claims be proven in court, the buildings would remain in place, and the claimant would receive monetary compensation or land of equal value. The strikers are rejecting Netanyahu’s seemingly generous offer.

Dvir Raz, 31, a father of 3, has been on a hunger strike for five consecutive days, since Wednesday morning. He intends to continue his strike at least until this coming Wednesday, when the vote for the “Regulation Law” will take place. He lives in Amona, a community with similar legal issues. He explained that he is striking with a demand that the Prime Minister find a proper legislative solution to all the lands in legal dispute and which may encounter similar difficulties to those which have arisen at the Ulpana neighborhood.

“The Prime Minister is currently offering a specific solution to this current crisis. We demand that he offer an all encompassing solution to all lands which may be in dispute. We demand that the Prime Minister offer a comprehensive resolution in order to stop the flood of court claims against Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. The organizations submitting these court petitions are doing so not out of care for the alleged Palestinian owners who have never lived on these lands, but because they are bent on the destruction of as many Jewish settlements as possible. The Ministry of Defense has already announced that they will not enable the alleged owners of the Beit El land to live on it because it is within the limits of Beit El. What we have here is an absurd situation in which everyone loses. This is destruction for the sake of destruction”, Raz stated.

Four more strikers joined the protesters this morning, including a ninety year old man, Avraham Nocham, of Anatot. Nocham, an artist, explained that he has decided to join the strike out of empathy and identification with the strikers’ objectives. “I am very sensitive to these issues,” he told Tazpit News Agency. “Many times the development of these incidents is frightening. I have come to join the struggle and strike in hope of a positive outcome.”

Local Officers Take Initiative to Save lives on the Road

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

The phenomenon of tired drivers is common and very dangerous, especially on Lag Ba’Omer, when thousands of people return from an all-night event at the grave site of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai at Meron in Northern Israel.

To properly combat this problem, police officers from the Jordan Valley region, in conjunction with volunteers and the local municipality, have initiated a stop-over refreshment station on one of the main routes from Meron. The aim is to identify tired drivers and enable them to freshen up. They are offered beverages and light refreshments, a place to rest, wipes to cool themselves and various materials on safe driving. The station is open throughout the day.

This is the second year the station is operating. It has great significance when looking back at previous accidents that occurred on Lag Ba’Omer, especially the one in 2009 in which five passengers were killed in a head-on collision with a bus. It is assumed that the driver fell asleep on the way back from Meron.

The police officers volunteered to run this station to minimize such occurrences. Chezi, one of the volunteers on site, told Tazpit News Agency that thousands of cars come through the check point, and all drivers are invited to pull over and freshen up; the drivers admit that they are fatigued to the point that they are practically sleeping at the wheel. He told of one incident in which a driver was basically asleep, but refused to pull over. His wife, sitting in the back seat, began to shout at him, accusing him of driving as if he was inebriated. He finally agreed to stop for a rest, and that may have prevented another accident, saving lives.

“This is not the first year the station is active”, Chezi said, “The drivers are used to finding us here on Lag Ba’Omer. Last year we were successful in completely preventing car accidents on this route, and we hope to be successful this year as well. It’s important for the police officers that drivers maintain their well-being”.

Why Boycotts on Products from Judea and Samaria are Counterproductive

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Recent reports of a major British supermarket chain tightening its boycott on products from Israeli companies and businesses beyond the Green Line has again raised the question about the effectiveness of such boycotts. The questions should not be how effective they are, but rather who is affected by them. The answer is that those harmed by boycotts on Israeli products from Judea and Samaria are first and foremost the Palestinians themselves.

There are fourteen industrial centers dispersed throughout Judea and Samaria, which include some eight hundred factories and businesses. Seventeen thousand employees work at these centers, eleven thousand of them Palestinians. According to data presented by the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, the employees earn two to three times more than the average pay earned by the Palestinian population, and receive – as prescribed by Israeli law – full social benefits. Based on the Arab familial structure in the region that is comprised of Hamulot, large families, it is estimated that these workers support over 100,000 people who are dependent on them.

A secondary source of livelihood has developed around these centers in the form of the provision of transportation for the employees, haulage of product and materials, services and equipment suppliers, so an even larger segment of the local population makes a living through Israeli entrepreneurship in this region.

The Palestinian Authority has recently encountered a severe financial crisis, which intensifies the Palestinian need for these workplaces in the settlements.

Firas Raad, representative of The Quartet, has stated that it’s a fact that economical cooperation is good for both sides. Israel provides a large and strong economy, financial and technical knowledge, transit capabilities and contacts with outer markets, and the Palestinians offer a quality and comparably cheap workforce.

Therefore, boycotting Israeli products from the settlements essentially harms Palestinian livelihood. If these factories are shut down, most Israeli workers will find another source of employment, as opposed to the Palestinians who will have no source of income. Such an example occurred recently when a factory from the Barkan industrial park was moved within the Green Line. The Jewish workers were able to keep their jobs, as opposed to the ninety Arab workers from the nearby villages who lost their jobs because they did not receive the proper work permits.

It is sufficient to mention the disengagement from Gaza, which resulted in the destruction of the many fields, green houses and factories that provided a source of employment for the local population. These workplaces were shut down after the disengagement, leaving many Arabs, who were former employees, behind with no source of income.

All these facts stand in stark contrast to claims of usury and disinheritance of the Palestinians that are lobbed against the Settlers.

Thousands of Israeli Students Mark Memorial Day at Yad Vashem

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Jerusalem – Thousands of high school students from across Israel participated in a national walk on Sunday, April 22, from Yad Vashem on the “Connecting Path” to Mount Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery, organized by Israel’s Ministry of Education. The students took part in a special school project to commemorate the nation’s Holocaust Day, which took place last Thursday, and its connection to Israel’s Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror, which falls on Wednesday.

During the walk, the students stopped at different stations along the way, learning about the Jewish people’s struggle for survival during the Holocaust and recalling entire Jewish communities wiped out by the systematic state murder of Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler and his collaborators across Europe. The names of the 5,000 Jewish communities that were destroyed or barely survived the Holocaust are engraved on 107 stone walls known as the “Valley of Communities” at Yad Vashem. As the high school students passed through, there were many who looked for the names of cities and towns of grandparents had come from.

“I found the name of my grandfather’s town in Poland,” said Udi Knebel, an eighth grade student at Leyada High School, whose grandfather is a Holocaust survivor.

“From the Holocaust to Revival” was the theme of the day. Along the path to Mount Herzl, the burial site of some of the Jewish people’s most well-known leaders and fighters who sought to shape an independent Jewish state, students passed by an original German cattle car given by Polish authorities that was used to transport Jews to extermination camps. The students also learned about the hollow tree trunk that that provided shelter for Jakob Silberstein when the Nazis were searching for him in the home of Jana Sudova, which he had escaped to during a death march from Auschwitz to Czechoslovakia in January 1945.  Silberstein located the tree trunk many years later and had it brought to Yad Vashem five years ago where it is now on display.

The connection between the Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israel’s Memorial Day For Fallen Soldiers was brought to light by the concluding ceremony held at Yad Vashem’s memorial site for Holocaust survivors who fought and fell during Israel’s 1948 Independence Day War. High school student representatives laid a wreath of flowers at the sight which was built to commemorate all those who were the last and surviving members of families killed in the Holocaust, who came to Israel and died battling Israel’s first war as a young state.

“These people gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said 18-year old Noi, about to enter the army and one of the guides giving tours to the students on Sunday. “We are here today thanks in part to those Holocaust survivors who fought to make this Jewish state happen,” he explained to the students. “They were never able to establish their own homes here in Israel, but they helped create a national home for our people. We must never forget them, nor their suffering or their faith in a dream that seemed impossible.”

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/thousands-of-israeli-students-mark-memorial-day-at-yad-vashem/2012/04/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: