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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Uganda’

Return to Uganda by ‘Jewish Peace Corps’

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Project TEN — known as the “Jewish Peace Corps” — is partnering with a coalition of organizations to join a new volunteer center in Namulanda, Uganda.

The center will be run in partnership with Brit, a coalition of organizations that include the Israel Volunteer Association, Inspiration Arts for Humanity, and Brit Olam, who have been operating in Uganda for the past ten years. The center will bring together Jewish young people from Israel and around the world to engage in volunteer work with distressed populations in the area. The Uganda volunteer center is centrally located in the town of Namulanda, between the capital city of Kampala and Entebbe. The volunteers will concentrate on sustainable development and infrastructure work for communal projects in the fields of education, healthcare, agriculture, and the arts.

Among other things, the volunteers will run healthcare projects in poverty-stricken neighborhoods in Kampala and will work in elementary schools in nearby villages. They will also help create a local youth movement and develop a leadership group that will receive intensive training in technology and education. The first group of volunteers arrived at the center in September. This is Project TEN’s third volunteer center in Africa, joining the existing center in Winneba, Ghana and another new center in Durban, South Africa.

Project TEN centers also currently exist in Oaxaca, Mexico and Harduf, Israel. The Israeli center works primarily with Bedouin communities and with groups with special needs. Additional Project TEN centers are expected to be opened in Latin America and East Asia in the near future. Project TEN is based on values of service and Jewish activism, offering Jewish young people from Israel and communities around the world opportunities to volunteer in various places around the world for several months, in partnership with local organizations.

Project TEN director Yarden Zornberg notes that Project TEN centers, which sends out some 450 volunteers per year from all over the Jewish world, enable young people to combine their desire to get to know the world with their desire to take part in repairing it together with their peers worldwide.

At the end of their volunteer period, these young people return to their countries of origin strongly motivated to engage in activism in their communities and worldwide. Learn more at tenprogram.org The Jewish Agency for Israel is the largest Jewish nonprofit organization in the world. Founded in 1929, The Jewish Agency was instrumental in founding and building the State of Israel and has brought more than three million Jews home to the Jewish state.

Today the organization serves as the primary link between Israel and the Jewish world, bringing young Jews to experience life in the Jewish state and sending young Israelis to share their country with Jewish communities around the world.

The organization serves as the Jewish world’s first responder, prepared to rescue and bring Jews home to Israel from countries where they are at risk and addressing emergency situations in Israel and Jewish communities abroad. Learn more at jewishagency.org

Jewish Agency Project TEN volunteers work with schoolchildren in Uganda. Photo credit: Ofri Strasburg

Hana Levi Julian

Online Fundraiser for Medical Treatment of Abayudaya Jewish Infant

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Mugaga Treva, 4, is the son of Nantabo Esther, a member of Namanyonyi Synagogue, one of the Abayudaya Synagogues in Uganda. The boy has a chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, for which he was referred to Mulago National Hospital in Uganda. The treatment costs $750, but Esther Nantabo, a single parent, cannot afford it. A fundraising effort was launched Tuesday night which has begun to attract some donations.

The Abayudaya (“People of Judah”) are a Baganda community in eastern Uganda near the town of Mbale who practice Judaism. They are devout in their practice, keeping Kashrut, and observing Shabbat. The Abayudaya numbers are estimated at 2,000. They live in several villages and are recognized by the Reform and Conservative movements as Jews. Some of them practice strict Orthodox Rabbinical Judaism.

The group was founded by a Muganda military leader named Semei Kakungulu, who was converted to Christianity by British missionaries around 1880. When the British significantly limited his territory, and refused to recognize him as king—as they had promised, Kakungulu began seeking alternative religious affiliations, and came to believe that the customs and laws described in the Torah were true. In 1919, Kakungulu faced great resistance and was eventually ostracized when he insisted on circumcising his flock. He circumcised his sons and himself and declared that his community was Jewish. He then fled to the foot of Mt. Elgon and settled in a place called Gangama where he started a separatist sect known as Kibina Kya Bayudaya Absesiga Katonda (the Community of Jews who trust in the Lord). The British, infuriated by his move, severed all ties with him and his followers.

In 1920 a European Jew named Yosef arrived and taught the isolated community about the Jewish calendar and the Jewish holidays: Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Succot. Yosef stayed for about six months, and educated the Abayudaya on Kashrut and Shabbat. Yosef convinced Semei Kakungulu to establish a kind of yeshiva, to pass on his teachings.

Kakungulu died in 1928, and was succeeded by Samson Mugombe, one of his disciples. The Abayudaya remained isolated for protection and survived persecution, including by Idi Amin, who outlawed Jewish rituals and destroyed synagogues. During the Amin persecutions, some of the Abayudaya converted to either Christianity or Islam. But a core group of some 300 members remained committed to Judaism, worshipping secretly, fearful that they would be discovered by their neighbors and reported to the authorities. This group later named itself She’erit Yisrael — the Remnant of Israel.

In 1962, Israeli Ambassador to Kenya Arye Oded, who at the time was studying at Makerere University, visited the Abayudaya and met Samson Mugombe. This was the first time the Abayudaya had ever met an Israeli and the first Jew they had met since Yosef. Oded conducted many long interviews with Mugombe and other leaders, and later reported on the group in his book “Religion and Politics in Uganda,” as well as in numerous articles.

In his article Shabbes Cholent in Uganda? Rabbi J. Hershy Worch wrote whimsically:

“You should have seen the grin on the faces of the young leaders of the community as they showed their elders the Shabbes-oven I had built into the packed earth floor of my bedroom, a shining smile that went from ear to ear. Eighty years they have waited for my cholent, can you imagine, the first hot food on a Shabbes morning for 80 years! Prometheus had no such thrill. Perhaps Moses, watching the Israelites licking their fingers over Manna in the wilderness may have had such naches, maybe.

“Most people know nothing about cholent, and those who do probably consider it no more than an odd quirk in the Jewish diet, something akin to gefilte-fish or latkes.

“To a hushed audience I explained the significance of the food they were eating. How Rabbinical Judaism, the Halacha, the Talmud well nigh demands hot food on Shabbes morning. This is how we Orthodox Jews may be distinguished from Karaites, Samaritans and other fundamentalists who rejected the Oral Torah. The hushed silence broke into a thunderous applause.”

JNi.Media

Israel and Guinea Announce Diplomatic Relations for the First Time

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold and the secretary of the Guinean president signed an official agreement establishing diplomatic ties on Wednesday evening in Paris.

The Republic of Guinea is a Muslim country in sub-Saharan West Africa, which used to be a territory within French West Africa. The state was established in 1958 after it gained independence from France. Although Israel previously had diplomatic relations with the Territory of Guinea and French West Africa, those connections were severed after the Republic of Guinea became independent.

“We are closing an important circle with the renewal of diplomatic relations between our two countries,” stated Gold after the signing of the agreement. “Israel calls on all countries that have yet to renew their ties with Israel to follow Guinea’s example. This way, we can all act together for the benefit of the region’s nations.”

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led a diplomatic delegation to several sub-Saharan countries—Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia—with the aim of reestablishing and strengthening existing diplomatic and commercial ties.

During that visit, Netanyahu hinted to the press that he intends to “meet with a leader of a Muslim African country with which Israel previously never had diplomatic relations.”

Later today, Netanyahu commented that “yet another African country will announce renewal of diplomatic relations with Israel in the next few days.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu Meets Kenyan Christian Supporters of Israel, Offers Water

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday met with Christian supporters of Israel in Nairobi, Kenya. The following is an excerpt from his remarks:

“I am glad, I am glad I have the opportunity, the privilege really of coming to Africa to meet you.

We appreciate this friendship and we’re expanding it to the continent of Africa. Yesterday I had a remarkable meeting in Uganda hosted by the President of Uganda, and six other African leaders including President Kenyatta there. Seven leaders from seven African countries talking about how to expand Israel’s relationship with their countries but with all the countries of Africa.

“Israel is coming back to Africa. Africa is coming back to Israel.

“And I believe that this is important for all Africans, all Africans, Christians, Muslims, all Africans.

“We produce water. We’ve had a substantial decline in rainfall since the establishment of modern Israel. And our population has grown ten times and our GDP per capita has grown 40 times. We should have a big water problem but we don’t, we have a water surplus. We have a water surplus because we’ve developed ingenuity to overcome this.

“And we are eager to share all of this with our African friends. This is the importance of this meeting.

“I had an extraordinary meeting today and we’re still going to have an extension, this dinner tonight with President Kenyatta who is a real friend. And we intend to continue and expand this relationship here and in the other countries. But at the heart of it, the connection with the people is a very sound idea, it’s the right idea and that’s why I am expecting you in Jerusalem.”

Interestingly, at least part of Israel – Judea and Samaria — is experiencing daily water shortages, but mostly due to two of Israel’s most acute problems: a bureaucracy that failed to upgrade the supply systems, and hundreds of millions of gallons of water being stolen annually by Arabs.

JNi.Media

Entebbe: ‘Israel Was Right – And Fortunately the Mission Succeeded’

Monday, July 4th, 2016

It was the 200th birthday of the United States of America, and three C-130 Hercules military transport planes silently flew through the night to land at a darkened landing strip with enough Israeli commandos and fake official Ugandan vehicles to make it through airport security.

The Israelis ultimately rescued 102 Air France passengers and crew being held hostage by Arab and German terrorists at the old terminal in the Entebbe international airport, who were under the military protection of then-Ugandan President Idi Amin.

On Monday, 40 years later to the day, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni stood beside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the miraculous rescue. He said the Jewish State had been right to carry out the long-distance operation.

Netanyahu called the mission “a watershed moment for my people.” Operation Thunderbolt is now called Operation Yonatan in memory of his older brother who lost his life leading the mission.

The prime minister also referenced the Holocaust during his remarks, saying Jews had been murdered by the millions, stateless. “The State of Israel has changed that. Perhaps it was in Entebbe,” he said, “where this transformation was seen by the world. We were poweless no more.”

Museveni agreed, saying that for Uganda as well, the operation had marked a turning point.

“Your brother Jonathan, some Israeli hostages and some Ugandan soldiers were killed here,” he told Netanyahu in remarks at a ceremony with journalists at the airport. “Fortunately, the rescue mission succeeded.”

Netanyahu’s brother Yonatan, “Yoni” was the leader of the commando unit who raced into the terminal to rescue the passengers; he was also the sole casualty in the operation, leading the way, he was hit by terrorist gunfire in the first moments the soldiers were seen.

Benjamin Netanyahu, his younger brother, was in the same elite Sayeret Matkal unit at the time but due to the IDF rule not to allow two brothers in the same operation, he was not involved in the rescue. Instead, he learned when they returned that he had lost his brother.

Museveni told those gathered at the airport that Idi Amin’s “hobnobbing with terrorists was a crime in itself,” and called the raid “another bond” that connected “Palestine to Africa.” He slammed what he called “indiscriminate violence” and said it didn’t matter if the “cause is just.”

Prior to 1948, the Jews who came to resettle the reborn State of Israel called their endeavor the “yishuv” (settlement in Hebrew) and referred to the geographic region as “Palestine.” They called themselves “Palestinians” — just as the newspaper which today is The Jerusalem Post was at that time called “The Palestine Post.”

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu First Israeli PM in Decades to Visit African Countries

Monday, July 4th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leaving on an historic visit to Africa Monday, after decades in which no Israeli prime minister has visited the continent. The Prime Minister has set improving and strengthening relations with African countries as a goal; he will visit Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

On the occasion of Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit, the National Information Directorate has designed a special logo featuring the flags of the countries on his itinerary.

On the occasion of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit, the National Information Directorate has designed a special logo featuring the flags of the countries on his itinerary.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Africa will begin in Uganda where President Yoweei Museveni will welcome him in an official ceremony with a 19-gun salute (21-guns is for presidents). Afterwards, an official ceremony will be held at Entebbe to mark 40 years since the Entebbe raid.

Later the Prime Minister will meet with East African heads of state who are traveling to Uganda especially for a diplomatic meeting with him. Participating in the meeting will be Ugandan President Museveni, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, Zambian President Edgar Lungu and Tanzanian Foreign Minister Dr. Augustine Philip Mahiga. Prime Minister Netanyahu will also visit Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia where he will hold meetings with their heads of state and security and economic leaderships. He will make an historic speech before the Ethiopian Parliament.

Beyond its diplomatic aspects, Prime Minister Netanyahu also has major economic significance. The Prime Minister will be accompanied by approximately 80 businesspeople from 50 companies, all eager to establish commercial ties with African companies and countries. Last week the Netanyahu cabinet passed a $13 million plan to strengthen economic links and cooperation with African countries.

Economic seminars will be held in Kenya and Ethiopia with the participation of the traveling businesspeople and their local counterparts. The seminars are under the auspices of Kenyan President Kenyatta, Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn Boshe and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

JNi.Media

Analysis: MK Yehuda Glick Just Keeps On Glicking

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

For a newly appointed Member of Knesset, American-born Yehuda Glick (Likud) is not exactly keeping his head down in the back benches. Since before his swearing-in, Glick has been engaged in a seemingly endless monologue, over his Facebook page and through the media, about his belief system and political agenda, which—to everyone’s surprise—is much more liberal and centrist than one would have expected from a “rightwing extremist,” the tag the media had tied to his big toe.

So he started posting very mainstream, rational, even slightly left-leaning messages, including his shock at the behavior of that IDF soldier who shot and killed a terrorist who was already lying on the ground. That statement made him some favorable headlines, and soon enough he became a kind of pet-rightwinger, sharing his views on everything to the amusement of the readers everywhere.

Yehuda Glick is a serious man, despite his disheveled red hair and rumpled suits. He has been a consistent voice in favor of Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, and almost paid for it with his life when an Arab terrorist tried to assassinate him at point-blank. But he should probably be more careful when he gives interviews to, say Ha’aretz, spewing what sounds like radical observations without the benefit of historic or scholarly context. It’s difficult to overestimate the ignorance of the average Israeli leftwing reader of traditional Jewish sources, and so one probably should refrain from making the following observation:

“The Kotel is important to me just like the whole Old City is important to me,” Glick told Ha’aretz on Tuesday. “There’s no difference between the Western Wall and the eastern wall, the southern and northern walls. The Kotel is important to me because millions of Jews raise their eyes to it. But the Temple Mount is the only holy site. The Kotel doesn’t have that. It is a heaven and earth kind of difference. It’s like your parking garage is important to you, but you won’t compare your parking garage to your bedroom. So I’m not comparing the Kotel to a parking garage, but it does not have the same holiness as the Temple Mount.”

The fact is, Glick is absolutely right. The Temple Mount is where two Jewish temples have stood, while the Kotel was a supporting wall built by King Herod around the year zero, during the renovations of the Temple. As someone who shares Glick’s love for the Temple Mount, I understand his frustration when he looks down on the multitudes gathered like working ants by the Kotel, when all they have to do is walk up twenty yards and with their sheer numbers break through the police barricades, the Arab threats, everything, and stand in an earth-changing Amidah prayer where it counts.

I would venture that very few of Glick’s readers in Ha’aretz Tuesday understood that this is what he meant. Because this is what he said further on in the interview: “This is a place that causes harm, because people think it’s a holy place, and they think it’s a substitute for the Temple Mount. People come to the Kotel and feel they’ve reached the summit. It’s not a summit, it’s nothing. People are enjoying the substitute, which in my eyes is a desecration of God.”

Again, Glick is not so far from the truth, although he does step on the toes of literally millions of good Jews who have flocked to the Kotel over the centuries, and especially since 1967. And next, to the delight of the left, Glick outright condemns good Jews who pray at the Kotel:

“God said that He chose one place and people come and say, ‘that’s not true, we decided You picked a different place.’ It’s almost tantamount to the sin of the gold calf, when the whole nation said, ‘This is your god, Israel.’ It’s a huge desecration of God. … It’s almost similar to if the Zionists had gone to Uganda despite the fact that God said the Land of Israel.”

And so, in three paragraphs, MK Yehuda Glick removed his covers of a liberal democrat, protector of fallen terrorists and lover of every person, and revealed the raging fundamentalist within, unable to contain his ire at the multitudes who just won’t listen.

The fact is, Yehuda Glick is not that kind of a fundamentalist, although he is willful and persistent. He is kind and sweet, and probably the best representative the lovers of the Temple Mount have found in many years. Former MK Moshe Feiglin was also a persistent advocate for Jewish ascent to the Temple Mount, but his style is too precise and restrained to appeal to the masses the way Glick has been doing.

Glick should beware, though, of his newly acquired power, and avoid delivering to the unschooled messages they cannot truly comprehend. By telling the Ha’aretz readers that the Kotel is just like the gold calf (he said no such thing, but I’ll bet you, that’s what they took away) he did not advance the cause of Jewish redemption. Let’s hope he didn’t harm it much.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/analysis-mk-yehuda-glick-just-keeps-on-glicking/2016/05/31/

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