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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee’

Report: Whole Arab Villages in Judea and Samaria Stand Empty as Residents Flee to US

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

Media reports about the Arab struggle to retrieve the lands of Amona has been presented by politicians and the media as part of an Arab tradition of loyalty to their land.

Indeed, one of the Arab claimants against the Amona community has been quoted as saying, “If your child dies, you can make another one in his place, but land that you sold cannot be replaced.”

And yet, a report in Friday’s Makor Rishon suggests reality on the ground in Judea and Samaria reflects a somewhat different set of values. Local Arabs may not be willing to sell their land, but many of them don’t live on said land either, preferring instead to emigrate to the US.

According to reporter Assaf Gibor, Route 60, which runs from Afula, on Israel’s side of the “green line” through Jenin, near Shechem, through Ofra and outside Ramallah to Jerusalem and then through Gush Etzion, past Hebron all the way to Be’er Sheva, features ghost villages on either side of the highway. The Jewish settlers of Ofra and Amona have been wondering what has happened to neighboring Arab villages such as Silwad, three miles from the main road and about 8 miles north-east of Ramallah. A visitor happening inside the village can see numerous, luxurious villas, that are deserted.

Gibor, who describes those empty homes as “white elephants,” met in Silwad a man in his 79s named Salah, who sat with him over a cup of coffee and revealed that he’s been living in Puerto Rico for 52 years. Having left in 1964, before the Israeli liberation of 1967, Salah got his BA in Puerto Rico and MA in Tennessee, and now he is retired and living off his rental property on the island. His children were born in the US, one is a lawyer, the other a pharmacist, both Harvard graduates. Sadly, they’ve only visited the old country once – but both speak Arabic.

Hamza Awada, 21, who lives with his parents in Arizona, met Gibor in Dir Dibwan, not far from Silwad. He is visiting to conclude a two-year wife search. It’s an arranged marriage, and after the wedding the happy couple will move to America. Hamza has lived in New York City and in Arizona, as well as in Jordan. “Life here in the village is quaint, but it’s not for me.”

Hamza describes himself as a Palestinian, not as an American, and he likes the sense of community in the village his parents had left in their youth. He’d even like to come back some day, maybe. But “life here is difficult,” he says. “It’s hard to find work, make a living and earn enough to support the lifestyle I’m used to abroad.” He plans to maintain the same ties to the old place his parents have kept: visit every few years. He speaks Arabic with his parents at home, but at school and elsewhere outside the home it’s all English.

According to Gibor, between 80 and 90 percent of Dir Dibwan’s residents have an American citizenship. One local resident, Muhammad Manasra, who splits his life between the village and California, estimates the population in the two neighboring villages at 16,000, most of them living abroad.

One of the most common methods used to obtain a US Visa is marrying an American citizen.

In many cases, Arab wives who discover the US lifestyle after having grown up in poverty in Judea and Samaria, refuse to go back. “My brother married a woman from the nearby village of Beitin,” Manasra relates. “There are many Palestinian-Americans there, too. He brought her to the US, arranged for a visa, and the minute she landed there her eyes opened, like she discovered a new world. He would work and she moseyed through the malls and spend money. They had two children, and when the elder was five, my brother wanted his wife and both children to go back to the village so the children learn Arabic and become familiar with Palestinian culture. His wife refused. It ended very badly. They divorced and today both live in the US separately. My brother’s house is sealed,” he says and points at the deserted villa.

Arab immigration from Judea and Samaria has been going on for decades. Official Palestinian Authority figures suggest there are three million Arabs living there. In reality, the figures are lighter by at least one million, according to many experts. Since 1997, Israel is no longer operating the census there, and the PA count does not abide by international norms, whereby a person who has been absent for a year or more from his country is no longer counted. Demographers Yaakov Feitelson and Yoram Ettinger suggest the figure of 1.8 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, as opposed to the PA claim of 2.9 million.

JNi.Media

RJC Applauding New Republican Jewish Voice in Congress

Saturday, August 6th, 2016

Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks on Friday released a statement congratulating David Kustoff on his primary victory, defeating 12 opponents to capture the Republican primary for Tennessee’s 8th Congressional district Thursday night, making him the projected successor of Rep. Stephen Fincher in Congress.

“David Kustoff’s victory last night is wonderful news, as it means there will be another strong Jewish Republican voice in Congress, joining our friend, Congressman Lee Zeldin,” Brooks said. “Our country needs more lawmakers like David and Lee, who will fight to roll back President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s disastrous foreign policies and stand up for our principles.”

Meanwhile, in the Tennessee 9th Congressional District, which includes a large portion of Memphis and its immediate suburbs, Democratic incumbent Steve Cohen won the primary vote by a whopping 86%. Cohen is projected to win the November general election in the Democratic district versus Republican Wayne Alberson and independent Paul Cook.

JNi.Media

Tennessee Team Donates Uniforms to Israel Football League

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

The University of Tennessee football team has donated more than 700 practice jerseys, as well as compression gear and other equipment, to the Israel Football League.

Sponsored by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his family, the IFL was founded in the summer of 2005 by a group of Israelis who wanted to play tackle American football. The league’s website relates that the first season was played without pads or an official governing body, but as of 2007 the league began fully equipped play under the umbrella of American Football in Israel (AFI), and Israel Bowl I was held in 2008. The league currently plays eight-on-eight football, hoping to expand to eleven-on-eleven some day. Currently there are only 450 qualified players, divided among the 10 teams in the league. The playing fields are in Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem, as well as in Haifa, Mazkeret Batya, Be’er Sheva, Ramat Hasharon, Petach Tikvah, and Tel Aviv University.

Last year, according to local NBC affiliate WBIR, UT gave up its sponsorship contract with Adidas to Nike, and as a result a large load of completely unused gear became useless. IFL coaching coordinator Dan Phillips recognized an opportunity when he saw it: “I knew that they wouldn’t be able to use anything that had an Adidas logo, so I knew there was going to be a lot of this stuff lying around,” he told WBIR.

Phillips also told WBIR, “For [Israeli football players] to play, they have to pay roughly a thousand dollars to get equipment. The reason is that nobody in Israel sells or manufactures football equipment.”

Philips is also grateful to the First Baptist Church in Morristown, TN, who paid for the shipping. The uniforms have arrived, in a variety of colors, adorned with the Adidas logo and the UT emblem. Otherwise they’re completely white and blue.

We looked up the IFL on Wikipedia and the winners of the 2015-16 Israel Bowl IX are the Judean Rebels (second year in a row), who beat the Tel Aviv Pioneers (also second year in a row). The MVP (both years) was the Rebels’ Dani Eastman.

JNi.Media

Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Bill to Designate ‘Holy Bible’ as Official State Book

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

In the state of Tennessee, citizens take their Bible seriously.

So seriously, in fact, that the state legislature has just approved a bill designating “the Holy Bible as the official state book.”

If Governor Bill Haslam signs it into law, Tennessee will be the first state in the USA to have adopted the Holy Bible as a state symbol.

“What we’re doing here is recognizing it for its historical and cultural contributions to the state of Tennessee,” GOP State Senator Steve Southerland said. Bibles are often used to record important family milestones, and in the state of Tennessee, numerous printing firms have made a multimillion-dollar industry from producing just this one sacred text alone.

Even beyond that, however, the bill is a really powerful statement, given the current climate in the country. Reactions are strong in both directions.

“Critics called the proposal unconstitutional and sacrilegious,” Nashville Public Radio reported. “They also pointed out there are many versions of the Bible, none of which are specified in the resolution.”

Others argued that it wasn’t fair to citizens of different faiths. Another point raised was a legal issue, the question of separation of church and state. And some said simply, what about those who don’t believe in any Bible at all?

But perhaps that’s the point. The issue at stake here isn’t which version of which Bible is being used, or from which stream of monotheistic faith — and it’s not being forced down people’s throats.

“The Bible” — any Bible — is being declared to be the state book, not the state faith. It symbolizes that the Bible has proved important to the majority of the population over the state’s history.

The Bible is important to the state economically (it’s a multimillion-dollar printing industry item), culturally (the majority of the population is Christian or Jewish) and ethically (the wisdom to be found in the Bible is disputed by no one.) Even performers know it: There are few country songs heard at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville without roots in some Bible saying. It’s that kind of place.

Nevertheless, the bill may still face an uphill battle: the separation of “church and state” is still an issue; it was strong enough to prevent the state of Kentucky from allowing a special public display because its purpose was religious, rather than historical.

Hana Levi Julian

Sen. Cotton to Visit Israel for More Ammunition against Iran Deal

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Sen. Tom Cotton, one of the loudest voices against the nuclear deal with Iran, will arrive in Israel on Sunday for a week-long visit that can be assumed is aimed at arming him with more ammunition to try to shoot down the nuclear Iran agreement in the Senate.

The Israel government announced:

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) will be visiting Israel from Sunday, August 30, to Saturday, September 5, 2015.  During his trip to Israel, the Senator will be updated on strategic and diplomatic issues, as well as other major developments in the region.

Senator Cotton, in office as of January 2015, serves on the Armed Services, Intelligence, and Banking committees.

Updating him on “strategic and diplomatic issues” just before Congress returns from a summer recess with the Iran deal the number one item on the agenda means that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will send Sen. Cotton back with a suitcase full of arguments to try to win a veto-proof majority against the deal when it comes for a vote.

Sen. Cotton was behind the controversial letter that he and several senators sent to Iran to “inform” it that a nuclear deal would not be binding on the next president.

Earlier this month, he told Israeli reporters that the Obama administration has not made it clear to Iran that it could use force to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. He then said that the U.S. Armed Forces could bomb Iran’s nuclear program “back to zero.”

Sen. Corker stated:

You can destroy facilities. I don’t think any military expert in the United States or elsewhere would say the U.S. military is not capable to setting Iran’s nuclear facilities back to day zero,

Can we eliminate it forever? No, because any advanced industrialized country can develop nuclear weapons in four to seven years, from zero. But we can set them back to day zero.

That is music to the ears of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the timing of next week’s visit is not coincidental.

The Prime Minister and President Barack Obama are desperately campaigning against and for the deal, respectively.

Media continue to report more evidence that the deal is full of holes and that Iran already is has taken moves to get around it, such as the report Thursday that it has built an addition to its Parchin nuclear facility.

However, party loyalty usually is paramount to intellectual honesty. New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer came out against the deal and promptly faced a campaign prevent him from becoming the next party leader in the Senate to succeed retiring Sen. Harry Reid, who backs the deal.

Even Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker admits that Obama will win. He told The Tennessean:

Understand that at this moment it looks very unlikely that we’ll have a veto-proof majority to disapprove, but I know we’re going to have a bipartisan majority that will disapprove.

The Hill reported that President Obama lacks only five out of 15 undecided Democratic senators to prevent a veto-proof majority against the agreement.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Israeli-Style Security Measures Launched at US Theater Chains

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

At least two movie theater chains in the United States have begun to use Israeli-style security measures to keep their guests safe.

The Regal Entertainment Group launched its policy of checking bags of guests as they enter its theaters around America this week.

The move comes in the wake of an attack this week in Nashville, Tennessee, when a man with a hatchet, pepper spray and a pellet gun attacked a family of three inside a movie theater before police arrived and finally shot him dead.

Two weeks ago, another man went on a rampage inside a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. He shot and killed two people, wounded nine others and then turned the gun on himself during a screening of the film, “Trainwreck.”

Also this month, Colorado movie theater murderer James Holmes was sentenced by a jury to life in prison for slaughtering 12 people and wounding 70 others at a midnight premier three years ago.

Regal Entertainment Group acknowledged that checking the bags of its guests before they enter the theater is “not without its flaws” and inconvenient – but provides better security.

The Knoxville, Tennessee-based company operates 570 theaters around the United States.

Checking the bags of people entering a building is not new to Israelis – in fact, it has been a basic standard operating procedure in the life of the Jewish State for decades. Millions of lives have been saved as a result. Clearly that fact has begun to seep through the American consciousness.

A second theater firm, Northeast-based National Amusements Inc’s Showcase chain, has started a similar policy.

Showcase announced on its website this month that it will ban guests from bringing backpacks and packages into its theaters, and reserves the right to search bags and pocketbooks. The policy, which started August 7, will continue “for the time being.”

Hana Levi Julian

New York State Assembly Passes Anti-BDS Resolution

Friday, June 19th, 2015

The New York State Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution rejecting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, becoming the latest state government to do so.

The resolution, introduced by Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley (D-Brooklyn) and co-sponsored by 74 other members, rejects BDS activities that “undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution and the right of Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination.”

The resolution states:

This Legislative Body is concerned that the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and its agenda are damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East.

The resolution also recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and says the U.S. and Israel share “a common bond rooted in the values of freedom, democracy, and equal rights.”

The New York resolution follows anti-BDS measures in several other states, most recently in Illinois, which prohibited state pension funds from including in their portfolios companies that participate in the BDS movement. State legislatures in Indiana and Tennessee also recently passed resolutions condemning BDS, but those measures were non-binding, as opposed to the Illinois bill’s specific economic action.

JNS News Service

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/new-york-state-assembly-passes-anti-bds-resolution/2015/06/19/

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