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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘visit’

Trump May Come to Israel in July to Visit the Southern Wall

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Donald Trump is planning to visit Israel before the Republican national convention in July, according to persistent reports, although his campaign is denying it. New York Magazine on Wednesday cited four sources who say Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, together with associates of Sheldon Adelson are working on the trip. Trump was planning to visit Israel before the start of the primaries and was hoping for Netanyahu’s endorsement, but then Bibi said he wasn’t planning to endorse anyone. Perhaps the fact that Adelson is involved this time around means that the Israeli PM will at least give the candidate the royal treatment he expects.

“This is a typical time frame when a general-election candidate has an opportunity to flex his foreign-policy muscles,” a Trump staffer told NY Mag.

Some Internet news sources have suggested that Trump may be coming to Israel not for the endorsements, and not to gain favor with the hard-line pro-Israel crowd—he’s got them already. Instead, Trump is going to see the wall. Not the Western Wall, but the 150 mile fence Israel has erected along its border with Egypt, which caused the number of illegal African migrant workers getting through to drop from thousands to single digits annually.

Jewish Insider quoted Trump’s recent book “Crippled America,” where he states, “Walls work. The Israelis spent $2 million per kilometer to build a wall – which has been hugely successful in stopping terrorists from getting into the country. Ironically, some of the same people who claim we shouldn’t build a wall cite the success of Israel’s wall. While obviously we don’t face the same level of terrorist threat as our closest Middle East ally, there is no question about the value of a wall in the fight against terrorism.”

The Negev security fence, which is supported by a heavy military detail, has also been remarkably effective at preventing the ISIS affiliates in the Sinai from infiltrating. Of course, Israel did not ask Egypt to pay for the wall, the way Trump promises to do with Mexico, and the US southern border is not 150 but 1,989 miles. Otherwise, though, Trump could gain points by pointing to the Israeli approach to sealing the border and smiling victoriously in the desert sun.

Of course, if liberal folks live up to their word and flee to Canada after a Trump win, Israel could be cashing in on its border fence technology from two countries.

David Israel

African-American Christian Ministers Visit Israel In Blooming Of ‘Natural’ Partnership

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

“My faith, as we interpret the scriptures, we identify with the people of Israel as God’s chosen people, and therefore we understand that those who bless Israel receive blessings and those who curse Israel are really fighting against our culture and faith,” said A.W. Mays, an African-American Christian leader from Austin, Texas.

Mays was one of 26 African-American members of the National Baptist Convention of America (NBCA) who were hand-picked to travel from the United States on a six-day educational mission to Israel from May 23-29. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) sponsored the trip to help deepen Christian-Jewish ties and black leaders’ bonds with Israel.

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship’s founder and president, has been working to build bridges between Christians and Jews – as well as Christians and Israel – for more than 35 years. Last year, The Fellowship raised $138 million in humanitarian aid for Jews in Israel and around the world, almost entirely from Christian donors.

The trip just concluded marked The Fellowship’s third such mission; it brought 21 ministers to Israel in the summer of 2015 and 22 more in January of this year.

“African-Americans are the Jewish people’s natural partners,” said Yael Eckstein, Rabbi Eckstein’s daughter and senior vice president of The Fellowship.

“They know what it means to be suffering and reach freedom, to be slaves and come to enjoy the full benefits of American peoplehood.… We have not had positive ties throughout the years because no one ever put an effort into creating those ties.”

“What most people don’t understand,” said Rev. Deedee Coleman, the head of a 1,500-member Oak Park, Michigan congregation who has been to Israel more than a dozen times, “is that in Baptist culture we preach about Israel every Sunday, about the Jewish people and the trials of Moses and the Red Sea – everything that is not only in our Bible, but what starts in the first five books.”

Beyond the mission’s spiritual impact on attendees, the trip also enhanced the black leaders’ understanding of the challenges Israel faces. Many participants said they now have deeper knowledge of the political situation in Israel, and that the trip debunked the often-biased American media coverage of events on the ground in the Jewish state.

“I learned to not believe the American media 100 percent, and their slant on what this nation is,” said Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert, Jr., NBCA’s president, who helped organize the mission to Israel.

“It is best for people to come and see it firsthand, and they will see a totally different view of Israel.”

Kristina King, director of African-American outreach for The Fellowship, worked in a similar role with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for eight years. She says that both organizations do dynamic work in helping leaders understand some of the geopolitical complexities and everyday realities in Israel.

But while AIPAC seeks to influence political policy, The Fellowship’s work is faith-based and focuses on common spiritual values. Those values don’t change, said King, regardless of who holds elected office in Israel or America.

“When African-Americans are exposed to Israel, they see our common values,” King said.

At the same time, the black Christian leaders who visited Israel can become powerful political partners and pro-Israel activists because of their faith, said Yael Eckstein.

“I think the Jewish community should stop sitting back and complaining that we don’t have friends,” said Yael Eckstein. “Be proactive and reach out to find things in common with the people who can stand with us long-term and be strategic partners for our future.”

“These are the ones who will bring back the message of Israel to the larger body,” said Rev. Coleman. “They have been on Facebook, tweeting, and they will bring it back [to America] and educate their people about what is real.”

Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman

Netanyahu Chastises MK Glick for Temple Mount Visit

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday afternoon rebuked his newest coalition member, MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) who is about to swear allegiance to the Knesset Monday evening — for going up on Temple Mount Monday morning.

A few months ago, because of Arab MKs’ incessant provocations on the Temple Mount, Netanyahu issued a decree banning all public officials of every religion from the compound. Glick, whose livelihood until Monday was as a tour guide on Temple Mount, for which he was almost killed in an assassination attempt, decided to go up one last time, before taking on his new job.

But the prime minister still took offense, apparently, and when he shook hands with the newcomer at the end of the Knesset Likud faction’s first meeting of the spring session, he blurted, “Yehuda, it’s the last time you’re doing this to me.” The MK, who is far from being a lawbreaker, asked, “What did I do?” to which the PM answered, “Now you are a soldier!” and Coalition chairman MK David Bitan, who himself had been embroiled last term in some infighting with the powers that be in Likud, now warned Glick, “You shouldn’t deal with the Temple Mount at all.”

Now, that’s hardly going to stop the new MK, whose most cherished agenda is making The Temple Mount compound equally available to members of all faiths, and not just to Muslims. Meanwhile, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein has assigned Glick a permanent security detail, on account of that foiled assassination attempt.

MK Glick, who will take over the vacated Knesset seat of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, told Walla, “The source of my mission is on the Temple Mount. I’m going to be a public servant and a servant of God, and I came [to the Temple MOunt] the replenish my strength and to remind myself of the source of my action.”

David Israel

A Visit to the Old and New Hells of Europe Provides a Reminder of Israel’s Importance

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

I just returned from a week-long journey through Hell! It began with a visit to the Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps in German occupied Poland, as a participant of the March of the Living, following a Conference commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Nuremberg laws and the 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg trials. My week was consumed with recurring evidence of the worst crime ever perpetrated by human beings on other human beings – the Holocaust

I travelled from the death camps to several small Polish towns from which my grandparents emigrated well before the Holocaust, leaving behind relatives and friends. During the course of my travels, I discovered the fate of some of my relatives. Hanna Deresiewicz (an original spelling of my family name) was a 16 year old girl living in the small town of Pilzno when the Nazis arrived; she was separated from her siblings and parents. “The soldiers took several of the most beautiful Jewish girls for sex, and then killed them. [Among those] taken [was] Hanna Deresiewicz, 16.” I also learned that another Deresiewics, named Benjamin, survived, though his wife and five children, along with his parents and siblings were all murdered. He may have been Hanna’s father, although I can’t document that. In the book Schindler’s Ark, on which the movie Schindler’s List was base, the following account is given: “[The Commandant of Auschwitz] suspended his 15 year old orderly, Poldek Dereshowitz, from the ringbolts in his office …” Although the book is fictionalized account, it is based on the

recollections of an eyewitness. I cannot, therefore, be sure of the veracity of that episode. But seeing the name Dereshowitz associated with Auschwitz had an impact on me.

This is not the first time I have visited Nazi death camps. I was fully familiar with the statistical evidence of how six million Jews were systematically murdered. I was also familiar with how the Nazi death machine searched out Jews in the furthest corners of Nazi occupied Europe, even as far as the Island of Rhodes, and transported them to Auschwitz to gas them. I also knew that this was the only time in human history when people were brought from far distances to camps designed for one purpose only – to kill every possible Jew they could find no matter where they lived. And I knew that because this was part of a planned genocide of the Jewish People, it was most important to kill every child, woman and man capable of producing future Jews.

But this visit, during which I learned the fate of members of my own family, brought the horrors home to me in a manner more personal than any statistic could provide. I was travelling with my wife and daughter, and I repeatedly imagined what it must have felt like for the parents and spouses of the murdered Jews to realize that everything precious to them was being annihilated and that there would be no one left to morn them or to carry their seed to future generations.

From the old Hell, Poland, I traveled to a new Hell, called Hungary. Budapest is a beautiful city, but it too, provided a hellish end to its Jewish residents in the final months of the Second World War when Hungarian Nazis turned the Blue Danube into a red mass grave. They shot their Jewish neighbors and dumped their bodies into the Danube River, even as the Nazis were retreating. And now in modern day Budapest, I was told of the resurgence of Nazism among many ordinary Hungarians. The increasingly popular Fascist party boasts of its anti-Semitism and of its desire to rid Hungary of its few remaining Jews. The Fascist Party in Hungary also hates Israel, and everything else that is a manifestation of Jewishness.

I ended my trip meeting with a Jewish man of Greek background who told me that his grandfather was murdered by the Nazis and that he was now being targeted by Greek Fascists for his outspoken defense of Israel and the Jewish people. Athens, too, has become a hotbed of Jew-hatred, with its popular Fascist Party.

There was not a moment during my visit to Europe that I was not reminded of that continent’s sordid history with regard to the Jewish people. Now, many Europeans—the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who were complicit in the murder of six million Jews—have turned against the Nation State of the Jewish People with a vengeance. This time the bigotry emanates mostly from the hard left, but has the support of many on the new Fascist hard right. The British Labor Party is as rife with hatred of the Jewish People and Jewish Nation as is the Hungarian Fascist Party. Once again, European Jews are caught between the extremes of the Black and the Red. Extremists on both sides seek the demise of Israel, arguing that there is no place in this world for one state that is overtly Jewish in its character, despite the universal acceptance of multiple Muslim and Christian nations. Other Europeans seek to boycott Israel’s products, its professors, and its performers. While still others simply apply a double standard to its actions — a standard they apply to no other nation, including their own.

My visit to Europe made one thing unmistakably clear: if there is any group in the world that needs a safe homeland—a sanctuary from bigotry and hatred—it is the Jewish people. When Hitler was willing to expel them from Europe, before deciding to exterminate them, no country – not even the United States or Canada – would give them asylum. Britain closed the doors of what is now Israel to them. They had no place to go. So they were murdered by the Nazis and their willing executioners throughout Europe. There is no group whose history entitles it to a safe and secure homeland more than the Jewish people. For reasons that are difficult to explain, the hatred of the Jewish people and its nation defies rationality, but it is as real as the gas chambers of Auschwitz -Birkenau and the emerging

Fascist parties of Greece and Hungary. Jews today continue to be scapegoated in many parts of the world, and their nation state is demonized at the United Nations, on university campuses, in the media and in legislative assemblies. Following the Holocaust, there seemed to be an understanding that Jews would no longer be victimized. Now less than a century after the Nazis came to power, that moratorium on Jew-hatred seems to have expired, as the memory of the Holocaust grows dim in most parts of the world.

My weeklong visit to Hell reaffirmed my commitment to defend Israel’s right to exist, to speak out for Israel when it is unfairly attacked, and to defeat its enemies in the marketplace of ideas. We owe nothing less to the victims of the worst crime in the history of humanity—a crime that could not have occurred without the complicity of most of the world. And a crime that will not recur if there is a

Alan M. Dershowitz

Candidate Kasich Uses Matzah Factory Visit to Sermonize on ‘Blood of the Lamb’ [video]

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Republican presidential hopeful and Ohio Governor John Kasich visited Haredi Brooklyn on Tuesday, including stops at a Jewish bookstore, a school and a shmura matzah bakery. There, at the matzah bakery, where 18 minute discs of unleavened dough are hand-made with the proper spiritual intent by kosher Jews, for the crowd that wouldn’t touch a machine-made matzah on Passover, there is where cultures and religions clashed.

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful holiday for our friends in the Jewish community – the Passover,” Kasich told reporters after his tour of the matzah bakery, holding a box of precious, fresh “shmura matzah” in his hands. Then he proceeded, quite naturally, into a mini sermon about the connection between the Passover blood and the blood of you-know-who.

“The great link between the blood that was put above the lampposts (he meant the doorposts, or mezuzahs to you and me) — the blood of the lamb, because Jesus Christ is known as the lamb of God. It’s his blood, we believe …”

That was it. At least that’s all that the YouTube clip allows us to see of the Kasich visit’s Christian sermon part.

Publicist Ezra Friedlander tried to soften the blow for the press, as JTA’s Uriel Heilman, who was quite stunned by the blood of the lamb thing, described it.

“He’s very knowledgeable and he takes his religion very seriously,” Friedlander told Heilman. “In context, I thought it was appropriate.”

According to Heilman, Kasich also emphasized his points by shaking the box of shmura matzah, turning it into “shvura (broken) matza.” Considering how much these things cost on the week before the seder, he probably didn’t understand why folks were ogling him like he was using a Fabergé egg to hammer in a couple of nails.

At the bookstore, according to Heilman, Kasich told a group of young religious men, “You know who I like? Joseph. You guys like Joseph? You study Joseph? What do you think about Joseph? Did you hear the most important thing Joseph said to his brothers?” And the governor provided the answer, saying Joseph told his brothers, “My brothers, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

In other words, Kasich, a Roman Catholic turned Anglican, was actually implying for the benefit of his potential Jewish voters, that even though you people crucified you- know-who, it’s all good in the end.

A very knowledgeable man.

David Israel

Reflections from the Past and the More Distant Past

Monday, January 20th, 2014

I had visitors today – and in the back of my mind was another who wasn’t here. In my last years in the States, I had a job I loved – it was fun mostly because my boss was someone who seemed so balanced, able to handle stress as it came. He married a most amazing woman..the daughter of a former boss who in less than a year, found a permanent place in my heart.

So, I managed an office for a doctor who by all that’s normal in this world, should have been overwhelmed by his patients and their problems – but he never was. Somehow, each day it seemed we came into the office and left as relatively normal people.

I won’t write down the stories of the patients – I have guarded their names through the years, though I’ve occasionally shared pieces of what I experienced over that time. Working in a psychiatrists office is an experience, let me tell you.

So the Dr. and his wife came to visit with two of their three daughters. At one point, the Dr (no, I don’t call him doctor, but he’s the only person I ever met with his specific first name and her’s is not very common as well, so if I were to write their names, well, it’s not my right…so, with apologies – Dr. and Mrs. H.. at one point the Dr. asked me if I was famous because of the blog…that was kind of funny because no, I’m not – but it’s fun when occasionally someone recognizes me or says something like “oh, YOU’RE a soldier’s mother?”

The more important question he asked was if I was happy here – there are no words to describe how much I love it. I can only hope it comes out in each word I write.

Elie and Davidi were here. It was nice to catch up – we’ve seen them only once in the 20 years since we moved to Israel. Two daughters will be studying in Israel – we offered to adopt them – Aliza will be so grateful to have some girls in the house for a change (not that she doesn’t love Yaakov and Chaim, of course).

After some shmoozing, I took them for a trip around Maale Adumim, showing off the lake that by all that is normal, no one would build in the desert. I looked at it through their eyes, or imagined what they were seeing and for the first time realized how tiny it is…it’s more of a puddle than a lake. For one thing, I’m usually driving and rarely go down that side of the road; for another, if I’m down there, it’s usually in the evening and getting dark.

Perhaps in another world, they would call it, begrudgingly, a pond – but here, it is a lake. How pretentious it is, I thought to myself, that we call it a lake and yet…it is, you see, that very thing. It represents a dream – see, look at us. We Israelis can even build a lake in a desert!

I showed them the new music conservatory – yes, that too is pretentious, and the library…and the statue of two peace doves – the water fountain was being fixed…I didn’t even get a chance to show them the museum…what an amazing city I live in!

I talked and talked – and kept thinking I wanted to hear about them and I should have asked more.

I didn’t get a chance to tell them that in a few weeks, Davidi is going to Poland. Actually, the Dr. said he reads the blog, so I guess they know that. There was a story that I shared with them – I think I’ve shared it before here, but I’ll write it again  now.

Paula Stern

Russian Navy’s First Port Visit to Egypt in 21 Years

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Suddenly, even Vladimir Putin looks more attractive.  He looks, at least, like he actually intends to fight radical Islamism – in some of its varieties anyway.  In theory, he has some pull with Iran.  He can exert a certain level of “check” on the Syria crisis.  His relatively well armed nation sits on the other side of Erdogan’s wild-card Turkey, which keeps bouncing from China to Iran to NATO and back again.  He’s not “Europe” – not really – but “Europe” acknowledges that he has to be given a place at the table.

Maybe he doesn’t look attractive, exactly; maybe the word is interesting.  Whatever it is, it’s showing up in real forms now, in regional nations’ decisions in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Last week came the flurry of reports that Putin would visit Egypt in November and announce a major arms sale, which will inevitably serve as something of a counter-smack to the U.S. decision to halt arms deliveries to Egypt a few weeks ago.

The newer news is from Monday, November 11, when Russia’s Slava-class missile cruiser Varyag pulled into Alexandria for the Russian navy’s first port visit in Egypt since 1992.  Pundits of varying quality have rushed to speculate that Moscow will soon have the use of Egyptian ports as bases in the region.  I doubt that; Egypt is too anxious to retain her stature and independence of action – properly so – and doesn’t “need” to accord Russia such privileges to keep useful ties going between the two of them.

In the current, comparative disarray of some Arab governments in the region, Egypt’s actually looks solid and moderate, and has the overt support of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, as well as the tacit support of Israel – all of which are well armed, well connected regional powers with common interests in a status quo.  The situation over which Al-Sisi presides is different from that of the Nasser regime in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was so eager for the great-power patronage of the erstwhile Soviet Union.

Russia, for her part, is unlikely to press this issue.  Between Syria, Greece, Cyprus, Montenegro, and Malta, the Russian navy has a lot of options now for making temporary landfalls for logistics.  Moscow wouldn’t necessarily even save money by concluding more literal “basing” agreements in the Mediterranean.

But I’m sure we can expect to see the Russian navy welcomed in Egyptian ports.  This makes a noteworthy, and regrettable, contrast with the U.S. Navy, which has been scarce in Egyptian ports in recent years – in spite of our two nations’ close relationship – largely because of the threat of terrorism.

Egypt, meanwhile, isn’t the only nation to roll out the welcome mat for the Russian navy in the past year.  In May, the Russian amphibious ship Azov arrived in Haifa for the first port visit ever by a Russian navy ship to Israel.  Russia and Israel have of course found some common ground in their opposition to radical Islamism, and the Netanyahu government has had a robust program of diplomatic outreach to Russia since it took over in the spring of 2009.  After Putin visited Jerusalem in June 2012 to pray for the rebuilding of the Temple, a naval port visit could hardly have been far behind.

Russian warships also visited Lebanon in March 2013, an exceedingly rare occurrence.  According to Russia’s defense ministry, the visit involved a frigate and two amphibious ships, and signified no intention on Moscow’s part to establish any permanent basing arrangement.

Cyprus hosted multiple visits by Russian warships in 2013, fueling the usual speculation that Moscow is negotiating for basing rights on the island.  (See here for more on Russia’s strategic approach to Cyprus.)  It has become routine in the last few years for Russian navy ships to visit ports in Greece and Malta.  Russian officials announced earlier this year that the navy’s newly constituted (or, in effect, reconstituted) Mediterranean squadron would use a port in Montenegro as well, referring to the port of Tivat (which for many years during the Cold War was a Yugoslav navy base, used as a Mediterranean base by the Soviet navy).  A September 2013 press release on the upcoming activities of amphibious landing ship Yamal indicated the ship would visit Greece and Montenegro this fall.

J. E. Dyer

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/russian-navys-first-port-visit-to-egypt-in-21-years/2013/11/13/

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