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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘the Jewish Press’

Mendelevich: ‘Educating Young Jews Is at the Core of my Being’

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

In Unbroken Spirit: A Heroic Story of Faith, Courage and Survival (Gefen Publishing), the newly released English translation of his memoir, internationally renowned former Soviet refusenik Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich tells a compelling story of struggle and victory. He spoke to The Jewish Press during his recent U.S. book tour.

The Jewish Press: You’d already published your memoir in Hebrew years ago. Why an English version at this particular time?

Rabbi Mendelevich: A group of American Jews who were involved in the struggle to free Soviet Jewry came up with this idea about a year ago. Pamela Cohen, the president of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews from 1986 through 1996, called and asked me why I never published my book in English. She and others like her saw my life as more than a simple story. It is the story of a young boy struggling to find his Jewish identity in a spiritual wasteland and of a young man challenging the draconian dictates of the Communist monolith in a struggle for freedom.

She came to the conclusion that my story published in English would inspire young and often alienated Jews searching for their own identity.

Describe your life as a young child in Stalinist Russia.

I grew up as an atheist. My parents were not interested in me having a Jewish education. My father was involved in the Communist underground in Riga, but both my parents spoke Yiddish and I was taught Jewish history. Back then in the Soviet Union Jewish tradition did not exist but Riga was the center of the renaissance of the Jewish movement. Before World War II, books were published in Russian about the great Revisionist Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky.

In the 1960s an underground movement of Jews supporting Israel began to take hold. One could tell the difference between life under Stalin and life under Khrushchev. You could sit in jail forever under the Stalin government for learning about Jewish culture, language and thought. In 1963, the first book on Jewish vocabulary was printed and many books on Hebrew poetry served as a catalyst for Jews to become closer to their identity. It was like a miracle.

When did you take an interest in activism on behalf of Israel and Jews?

While still a teenager, I gravitated toward activism in 1964. I attended a technical college for four years and studied electronics and computers. I worked as an engineer in a big plant in Riga, and in terms of technology it was advanced. The moment I became an engineer, I wanted to leave the Soviet Union and go to Israel. I had a big decision to make. If I obtained my degree I would have to stay in the Soviet Union forever, so I sacrificed my career by not getting the degree. It boiled down to either staying in the Soviet Union or living as a free man whose destiny is in his hands.

Where was your life heading after you finished your studies?

In 1968 I was fired from my job as an engineer for inquiring about emigrating to Israel. At that juncture I was also heavily involved in various Zionist organizations and in 1969 I assumed the position of editor of a national journal on Jewish issues. Everything had to be top secret so we met clandestinely in forests or perhaps in someone’s apartment. I was in charge of deciding what to write and what articles to publicize, and it was sent all over the Soviet Union. We had only published two issues before my arrest.

Why did you hijack a plane in 1970?

Soviet antipathy toward Israel continued to increase in the years following the 1967 Six-Day War. Israeli soldiers were called hooligans in the Soviet press but we in the Jewish underground only yearned for the freedom to go to Israel, study in yeshiva and be part of the Zionist dream. We decided to hijack a plane to the West to spotlight our plight, even though we knew how risky it was. While undertaking this action, we dreamed about fighting in the Golani Brigade in Israel. We also wanted to counter the incessant Soviet propaganda that told the world there was no Jewish issue in Russia and that Jews were very happy to be proud Soviet citizens. We wanted the world to know there was a growing number of Jews who wanted to connect to their Jewish heritage, to study Hebrew and dedicate themselves to studying Torah.

Fern Sidman

I’ve Got Tzfat on my Mind

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Our neighbor at the center of the row of visual treats on the front page of the Jewish Press, Salome Worch, lives and draws in the city of Tzfat, and her lovely images really do this ancient city justice. So this morning we decided to one up her and went looking for lovely photographic images to bring to you.

Here it is. We believe the only proper title for this image is “Tzfat.”

Yori Yanover

The World Is Aghast as 500 Jewish Families Are Promised Homes

Monday, July 16th, 2012

The AP has apparently caught the Israeli government red handed on the eve of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Jewish state, as said government has “quietly agreed to grant subsidies to build more than 500 new homes in the West Bank, backtracking from a promise earlier this year to deny these incentives to the settlements.”

It’s our habit at the Jewish Press to scrub the “west bank” thing and replace it with the more biblical “Judea and Samaria,” despite the inherent reference within that name to a period in the life of the nation in which it was split into two kingdoms, both of which were eventually scrapped by enemies from without and corruption from within. But in this case it makes sense to keep the WB in place, to retain the brazen cold heartedness of the AP report.

The AP reports that the planned construction has enraged Palestinians, although it is difficult to tell at this point what doesn’t enrage Palestinians. But in this case, the move – imagine, housing for 500 Jewish families – would likely also enrage Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is determined to “re-energize” the Mideast peace efforts.

Back in January, Netanyahu’s Cabinet identified more than 550 communities, “including 70 West Bank settlements,” as national priority areas, the AP reminds us. The list drew immediate protests from… you guessed it, the Palestinians. And so, shortly thereafter, Netanyahu quietly held a second vote in a phone meeting to exclude the settlements from the measure.

That figure of 500 housing units has been bandied about a lot lately, including as compensation for the court ordered demolition of a section of Beit El’s Ulpana Hill neighborhood.

The AP cites Israel’s Housing Ministry, saying that the government has approved subsidies for 24 homes in Efrat, south of Jerusalem, as well as “nearly 500 other homes” in Efrat, Beitar Illit and Ariel.

A Housing Ministry spokesman told the AP that construction bids for the 500 homes have not closed yet.

The AP story mentions the Levy committee’s ruling on the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, but it suggests that with more than 500,000 Jewish settlers now living in “the West Bank and east Jerusalem,” the Palestinians say their dream of an independent state is fading as it grows tougher to partition the land between Israelis and Palestinians.

And who among us is heartless enough to want to see a dream fading away?

Of course, each time Israel as much as hints that it is serious about facilitating this dream of binational coexistence based on mutual recognition, it somehow ends in rivers of blood, as the Palestinians are still unwilling to embrace the concept.

Some dreams are better defined as nightmares.

Yori Yanover

Surfing the Asifah, Now That’s a Roundup

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Every opening to the outside world is a calculated risk. Every time we open a window we chance being shocked by something vile. Every time we ride in our cars, take the subway, even go to shul – something terrible can offend our senses and even influence our very being.

Opening a book – are you kidding me?

Answering the phone – who can it be?

Turning on a radio? Forget it.

Don’t want to bring up television.

As I understand my own religion, my job in this world is to sanctify that which is mundane with my actions. The entire world is open before me, a Jewish woman or man, to set an example of how it should be used righteously. All of it, every last part of it.

We can’t all do it, some of us don’t have the emotional or psychological mettle. That’s fine. I’m happy and proud to belong to a segment of religious Judaism which simply does not fear new things. And I understand and support those who aren’t available for that experiment.

More power to them and to us.

CAN WE HAVE DAILY CULTURE SHOCK OR DOES IT GO AWAY?

It was heartening to see how many folks were seriously trying to come to terms with the Asifa’s main message. And what they thought the message really was.

Internet: A Plea for Common Sense Dad pointed out a few things. However much we all enjoy and use the internet, using the internet can become an addiction. If you don’t believe me, look up the studies. I haven’t seen anything good come out of an addiction to anything. Even Torah. An internet addiction, though, isn’t like being an alcoholic. Alcoholics might be “dry drunks” as long as they don’t drink, but as long as they don’t drink, they’re ok. Not great, but ok. This is more like gluttony. You might be hugely overweight, but you still have to eat. It’s a lot harder to control yourself and give yourself a tiny portion of something you really want then to avoid it completely. (Dad’s analogy)
Sparrow’s Musings

Internet Asifa a Great Kiddush Hashem In the final remarks, the rabbis pledged to move forward with the continuous forging of new ideas. Future gatherings will probably be at a lower cost and scale but focused on actual changes and improvements the community will need to make. Future agendas will include problems and questions such as attitudes towards education and employment, proper allocation of charity funds, funding Jewish education as a community, today’s shidduchim system, agunos, extremism and intolerance, segregation of Ashkenazim and Sefaradim, participation in the Israeli workforce and armed forces, the system of Halachic rulings in Israel and America, reliance on subsidies, and integrity and honesty.

Many of the attendees left the event feeling invigorated about their future and that of their children and grandchildren, echoing the sentiment that through justice and kindness we may merit the coming of the Messiah.
Yosef Drimmel, Rationalist Judaism

Ignorance is Sacred …. To Whom The Internet is terrifying to the rabbanim perhaps because of porn, perhaps because it exposes youth to foreign ideas, but even more importantly, because it enables open dialogue and an honesty they cannot afford if they are to survive as a community, the community they insist they are; pure, innocent, and above their own frailties. And if a few children must be sacrificed for this wholesome lie, then so be it. It is better than any broken truth.
Judy Brown, Rare View

Satmar and the Asifa – Achdus or Isolation? The organizers of the Asifa are desperate to make this about Achdus even more than they are about fighting internet. They therefore felt it was more important to have Satmar involved than to have women attend.

This despite the fact that it is the mother who is in the trenches. Mothers are the guardians of the home. Their husbands are all in the Beis HaMedrash. Morning, noon, and night. Unless they have fallen so low spiritually that they now work for a living. Either way it is the woman that is on the front lines. Not the man.
Emes Ve-Emunah

Tibbi Singer

Video: Five to Eight UFOs in Israel’s Sky Wednesday Night

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Moti Gaber, a resident of Kfar Yonah, a suburb of Netanya, Israel, was coming home with his son Wednesday night around 8:00 from the Lag Ba’Omer festivities, when he saw something quite literally out of this world.

“I saw something very strange,” he told the Jewish Press early Thursday morning. “I arrived at the parking bay in my housing complex, I look up and, alongside the top of the buildings, I see these orange balls. They were moving in formation, eight altogether.”

Gaber, who served in the IDF in a combat unit, said he can tell the difference between a fireworks pencil, or flares, and what he saw last night. “It looked nothing like any of those things,” he insisted. “If they were fireworks pencils they would have dropped and evaporated. And they just didn’t look like flares. As to balloons, what can I tell you, it makes no sense for a balloon to move horizontally like that.”

Gaber also didn’t think what he had seen were any kind of aircraft known to him, and he contends the objects were perfectly silent and flew too close together to be planes or drones.

“They disappeared from view, I looked for them behind the buildings and saw nothing,” he said.

The police center for special reports told the Jewish Press there were no unusual reports last night in the Netanya area.

Yori Yanover

ISM Exposed: How the ISM Sucker-Punched the IDF Again

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

I’ve spent the last eight years of my life as a journalist under cover and reporting on the inner workings of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), in the United States and abroad. I’ve been through their training orientations and I have their training manuals.  I operate a website where it lists the history, tactics, and media manipulations of the ISM and their leadership. I’ve also been responsible for the deportation of over 200 ISM activists from Israel, including some of their North American leadership.

At their orientation sessions in the US and UK in which I posed as an ISM volunteer, we were  instructed that our purpose was to harass the IDF in any way possible in order to frustrate their anti-terror operations. We were informed that the ISM coordinates with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP, which were constantly apprised of our locations in the villages. If we encountered armed terrorists while in the West Bank or Gaza, we were told, simply say hello to them and move on, as they were keenly aware that we were there to assist them.

In a recorded interview at the Ohio State national conference, Adam Shapiro, a co-founder of the ISM, personally told me there are plain-clothed Palestinian handlers at every ISM demonstration that direct the activities. I was also told about how ISM activists serve to draw sniper fire down on IDF soldiers when desired. Lisa Nessan, one of those ISM trainers, told me at an ISM Georgetown conference that standing as a human shield in front of an armed terrorist as he threw rocks or shot at an Israeli soldier was indeed considered “nonviolent.” Joseph Carr, a.k.a. Joseph Smith, another ISM trainer, told me in a recorded phone interview how he and Rachel Corrie retrieved the dead body of a Hamas terrorist in Gaza from a combat zone only weeks before she was killed by an IDF bulldozer. When asked whether he feared arrest by the IDF back then he blithely replied ‘no’ because he knew that Arab snipers would be there to fire at them. Rachel Corrie, who was trained by the ISM and had read their manual, also knew that Arab snipers would shoot at the IDF soldiers driving that bulldozer had they exited it to remove her.

The ISM uses a motto coined by the late Malcolm X – “By any means necessary” – in implementing what they consider to be revolutionary tactics in bringing down the Jewish state, which they see as a first step in bringing down Western democracy. Lying and media manipulation are encouraged and elevated to an art form. Talk of ‘nonviolent resistance’ is solely for media consumption, since the ISM promotes armed revolutionary ‘resistance’ against Israel by serving as human shields for terrorists.

And so, it is in this context that for two hours leading up to the two minute video of Colonel Shalom Eisner striking Danish ISM activist Andreas Ayas, the ISM used their bicycles, bodies, and even physical assaults to obstruct the IDF in a closed military zone and prevent anti-terror operations.  Earlier in the day, Colonel Eisner was struck by a stick-wielding ISM activist, leaving him with a couple of  broken fingers.

11 seconds into the video Colonel Eisner can be seen ordering the ISMers to disperse, one of them to his right with a baseball cap. The Colonel is holding his weapon like a stick to create a line that should not be crossed. He holds the weapon in a way that suggests his hand is injured. Ayas has his back to the camera, and is facing the Colonel in the foreground.

The film is then manipulated by editing. The ISMer with the baseball cap walks behind Colonel Eisner to break up the dispersal line the Colonel set up with his weapon. ISM activists routinely mingle among the soldiers and police in attempts to separate and free their comrades that have been arrested, as this video in Hebron shows. The ISM activists are trained to scream bloody murder, tug on the soldiers, and create mayhem before the cameras. Most of all, they do not allow the police or soldiers to create a line. They faithfully followed the script in this episode.

At 13 seconds, the film has been edited to show Ayas defiantly facing down the Colonel instead of dispersing as the other ISMers are seen doing. A casual viewer might think Ayas was just standing there. The Colonel’s eyes widen as Ayas challenges him verbally and refuses to move. This fits the ISM playbook, as the activists are told the soldiers cannot and will not hurt them for fear of punishment; and in the unlikely event that they do, cameras will be there to grab an edited Kodak moment for their weekly propaganda videos on YouTube. The Colonel, faced with an unrelenting and unmoved agitator and trying to hold the line with a couple of broken fingers, struck Ayas. The Danish consul may be demanding an explanation, but Colonel Eisner did nothing more than the Danish police do to unruly anarchists, as this video shows.

Lee Kaplan

Israeli Diplomat’s ‘Spanking’ of J Street Conference Removed from Organization History; Read Entire Speech in the Jewish Press

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Israeli Deputy Ambassador to the US Baruch Bina addressed thousands of J Street supporters last week, after his appearance there had been initially hailed as the beginning of a thawing of the official Israeli approach to the largely leftist and pro-Palestinian organization.

Ha’aretz was among those rejoicing in what appeared like a major coup:

“The official Israeli presence at the J Street conference is more prominent this year than usual. This year the embassy will be represented by its second-ranking diplomat, Baruch Bina, who will actually address the group. Bina has ambassadorial ranking and was until recently in charge of relations with the United States in the Foreign Ministry.”

Leo Rennet of the American Thinker pointed out that J Street’s leader Jeremy Ben-Ami “gloated over his organization’s ability to snare Bina as its stellar attraction.” Apparently, listing Bina as a guest on the conference program was marking J Street as a Jewish voice on Israel.

As it turned out, Ben-Ami was in for a big surprise.

How big a surprise? Here’s the page on the J Street website dedicated to the conference. It offers screen after screen of video clips of every speaker at the 2012 conference. Arabs and Jews, rabbis and secularists, men and women. Only one video clip is missing. I suspect you’ll never find that one, at least not anywhere near J Street. The Baruch Bina speech has been removed from J Street’s official history. Try searching for “Baruch Bina” on the website, you’ll get the curt statement: “No results found.” It never happened.

[A few hours after this article had been posted, someone at the J Street website rushed to the video page and entered the line: “Remarks from the J Street Gala Dinner by Jeremy Ben-Ami, Anat Hoffman, Barukh Binah, Theodore Bikel, Davidi Gilo, and Ehud Olmert” above the very last video, which is a 2 hour and 45 minute long recording of the entire evening.

When working on this article, myself and another Jewish Press editor have tried feeding all the various possibilities of spelling the Deputy Ambassador’s name (Barukh, Baruch, Bina, Binah) and got zero results. That’s how we know the line has been added after we published the piece.

Another clue – in their rush to erase the evidence of their erasing the evidence, the folks from J Street listed the people on the tape out of sequence, probably from memory.

And finally, there is the before and after screenshot (h/t Challah hu Achbar) which is the dead give-away.

J-Street website screenshot: Baruch Binah's name is missing before this article was published, and his name inserted (out of order) after this article came out.

Compare the treatment all the top videos received, with names and titles, clipped just right to present each individual speaker – compared to the Binah speech, which is buried around minute 35 of a 165-minute long video.

As always, the attempt to cover up the coverup is the most humiliating… YY]

Bina was welcomed with a standing ovation, which slowly transformed into shocked silence as the diplomat proceeded to rebuke his audience, or as Leo Rennet put it, “administer a forceful spanking” to J Street and its agenda.

We bring you the entire speech delivered by Baruch Bina at the 2012 J Street Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 26, 2012, courtesy of the Israeli embassy website. We think it’s a masterpiece:

Sixty-five years ago, there could not have been a Jewish ambassador, representing the Jewish State, speaking to a Jewish audience in a flourishing and confident diaspora. Today, I come before you, my Friends, to greet and congratulate you on your third conference and to discuss our common goals and possible disagreements.

Our story is always exciting and un-expected, but in the last 150 years we have surprised even ourselves. We rose from the Ghettos of East Europe and the Malah of North Africa to create a dynamic, resourceful and vibrant democracy in an unusually hostile and oppressive region.

Nobody is perfect; and, as a 7th generation Israeli born I know full well what needs to be fixed in my own society. I salute those individuals and organizations working for grass-roots improvements within Israel, and I personally attempt these corrections every four years when I cast my vote. Sometimes I have it my way, and sometimes I do not. It is called Democracy.

I understand that you, my friends, are all about future and hope. So are we, the young and most energetic country that we are. But while our view is towards the future, we dare not forget our past. History must not shackle us, but its lessons must guide us. And please, do not tell me that it is no longer relevant, because it is. (It is alive and scorching just like the trail left by an Israeli Air force F-16, flown over Poland’s valleys of death by the granddaughter of the commanders of a Ghetto revolt. It is alive in ink on paper as long as a 12 year old, an 8th generation Israeli born, dedicates her Bat Mitzvah Book to “members of my family whom I never met”, though nobody coached her in this direction.

We look today to our two flourishing communities – in Israel, and here in the United States; each shoulders an historic and current responsibility for the survival of the Jewish people. Our relations are therefore of the utmost importance, and we must guide them with principles that will ensure our partnership.

I come to you today not only as the second highest ranking Israeli diplomat in the US, but as a brother (and I have an extensive American family). We share your democratic values. But unlike your secure existence between these happy shores, an ocean apart from the bad guys, our borders are curved and dusty, and made of missiles and mayhem. As we continue to face intolerable threats, we sometimes have to make decisions of life and death. We welcome the opinions of our brethren in the Diaspora, especially on issues of Jewish identity and pluralism, but at the end of the day, it is we, the Israelis, who must bear the ultimate burden and may have to pay the ultimate price. And we, dear Friends and Family, have no margins of error; none whatsoever.

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/israeli-diplomats-spanking-of-j-street-conference-removed-from-organization-history-read-entire-speech-in-the-jewish-press/2012/03/30/

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