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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘women’s’

Jewish Women’s Foundation Awards Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Crisis Center

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

The Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (JWF) on Monday announced grants totaling $345,500 to 21 outstanding projects that improve the lives of Jewish women and girls in Chicago and around the world. One of the recipients is the Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Crisis Center: Sexual Assault Testimony Project, which “helps liberate survivors of sexual violence from their hidden trauma through audiovisual documentation of their personal testimonies of sexual assault.”

According to JWF, for many survivors this may be the first time they feel they have received emotional acknowledgement or validation of their experiences. Documentation also serves as a tool to show victims that they are not alone in their suffering.

“There is no stopping a bunch of smart women coming together to tackle issues such as violence against women across the globe,” said Shari Slavin, JWF Grants Chair. “Our balanced docket represents the power of providing Jewish women with meaningful, multigenerational involvement at the philanthropic table.”

In addition, JWF has awarded a new two-year multi-year grant to the Jewish Women’s Funding Network, to support collaborative and effective efforts for women’s rights and gender equality in Israel with a focus on labor rights.

“At its core, JWF is about social change philanthropy; we use both a gender lens and a Jewish lens to determine our grantmaking priorities,” said JWF Chair Nancy Kohn. “As trustees, we use our combined voices and philanthropic dollars as a catalyst to effect positive change-and that is a powerful experience.”

David Israel

Do Women’s Rights Matter to J Street?

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

J Street’s controversial response to the sexual harassment of one of its staff members raises questions as to whether its attitude toward women’s rights is compromised by its political goals.

After J Street learned, in 2014, that one of its staff members had been sexually harassed, it terminated its relationship with the harasser, Israeli journalist and Palestinian state advocate, Ari Shavit. But J Street has now admitted that it never said a word about Shavit’s behavior to the other Jewish groups that have been organizing Shavit’s speeches around the country.

J Street’s two-year silence on the abuse of an American Jewish woman was wrong. J Street’s silence about the abuse of Palestinian women is wrong, too, and both situations may well be related.

J Street’s central mission has been to bring about creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel. One of the reasons many Israelis are skeptical about that proposal is that “Palestine” would be a brutal totalitarian state. Israelis understand that brutal totalitarian states often invade neighboring countries.

If Israelis believed a Palestinian state would be a tolerant, pluralistic, democratic state, where the rights of minorities and women were protected, creating such a state would seem a lot less threatening to Israel.

So, yes, Palestinian women’s rights matter. They matter because it’s a question of justice and equality. And they matter because the issue reveals a lot about what kind of neighbor a Palestinian state would be.

Yet, just as J Street refused for two years to speak out about the mistreatment of a Jewish woman on its staff, it has refused to speak out about the mistreatment of Palestinian women by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Two years ago, the Washington Post reported the number of “honor killings” of Palestinian women had more than doubled over the previous year. Those are killings in which men murder female relatives whom they suspect of violating Islamic fundamentalist morals, such as premarital relations, dressing “provocatively,” or being seen in the company of an unauthorized boyfriend. The Post noted that even when the Palestinian Authority imprisons such killers, “pardons and suspended sentences are common.”

I looked on J Street’s website, which has issued more than 600 press releases dating back to 2008, to see if it issued a release concerning the Post‘s expose of Palestinian honor killings. Nothing there.

Amnesty International’s latest report on human rights around the world has this to say about women under the Palestinian Authority regime: “Women and girls continued to face discrimination in law and in practice, and were inadequately protected against sexual and other violence, including so-called ‘honor’ killings. At least 18 women and girls were reported to be victims of such killings during the year.”

I don’t see anything about the Amnesty International report on J Street’s website.

Earlier this year, a female member of the Palestinian parliament, Najat Abu Baker, hid in the parliament building for 17 days after the PA police sought to arrest her for criticizing PA President Mahmoud Abbas. According to The New York Times, Ms. Abu Baker’s “crime” was that she “said Mr. Abbas should resign and suggested that there would be money to pay educators if ministers were not so corrupt.”

I couldn’t find anything on the J Street website about that either.

Just two months ago, the Jordanian website Albawaba (The Loop) reported that some names of female candidates were being concealed in listings for the Palestinian Authority’s planned local elections. They were “listed only as ‘sister of’ or ‘the wife of,'” according to the report. Local Palestinian women’s groups protested. J Street was silent.

J Street’s website does have a section called “Women’s Leadership Forum.” It talks about mobilizing women to promote the J Street goal of creating a Palestinian state. It calls for increasing “women’s inclusion in peacemaking and negotiations,” because it believes women will “bring fresh thinking and new ideas” that can help advance J Street’s goals.

In other words, J Street is interested in women when they might be useful for promoting Palestinian statehood. But its leaders seem a lot less interested in women who are not politically useful. Speaking out against Shavit two years ago–when his book made him one of the most prominent advocates of Palestinian statehood in the Jewish world–would have harmed the Palestinian statehood campaign. Likewise, speaking out against the Palestinian Authority’s abuse of women could raise doubts about the nature and viability of a Palestinian state. Could that explain J Street’s troubling silence in both situations?

Stephen M. Flatow

Funny Jewish Women’s Crowdfunding Video [Kol Isha]

Friday, October 28th, 2016

The Women’s Performance Community of Jerusalem and OU Israel are creating harmony among the women of Greater Jerusalem through the creation of a musical production. Women of diverse backgrounds are uniting to perform in COUNT THE STARS. On stage on Nov. 28 & 30, Dec. 4 & 6 at the Gerard Behar Theatre. Tickets: https://www.tixwise.co.il/he/countthestars

You can support this project of UNITY one song at a time. Please donate at: https://www.ouisrael.org/donate-count-stars/

Video of the Day

Update: Flotilla Vessel Arrives in Ashdod Port, Accompanied by Israeli Naval Forces

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

The Zaytoun-Oliva Women’s Flotilla Boat to Gaza arrived after midnight Wednesday night in Ashdod Port, accompanied by Israeli Naval forces, the IDF told JewishPress.com.

“The members on board were transferred to the appropriate authorities for further processing,” an IDF spokesperson said in a statement.

The Israeli Navy seized control over the Women’s Flotilla to Gaza late Wednesday afternoon and began redirecting the Zaytouna-Oliva ship to Ashdod Port.

An all-female IDF Naval unit was used for the first time to seize control of the vessel.

“In accordance with government directives and after exhausting all diplomatic channels, the Israeli Navy redirected the vessel in order to prevent breach of the lawful maritime blockade,” said the IDF.

“The visit and search of the vessel was uneventful. In accordance with international law, the Israeli Navy advised the vessel numerous times to change course prior to the action. Following their refusal the Navy visited and searched the vessel in international waters in order to prevent their intended breach of the lawful maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip.”

No injuries were reported in the operation, which involved a unit of female Israeli Naval commandos who seized the vessel when it was just a few dozen kilometers from a beach in southern Israel.

By afternoon ranting had already begun on the Twitter social networking site, starting with a litany of red “SOS” signs sent by one user who signed off in Greek letters. A second wrote in despair, “this is sickeningly sad” … A third was so graphic that even the Twitter management was finally pushed to delete it — “This Tweet is unavailable” showed in blank grey space.

The ‘Women’s Boat to Gaza’ group pleaded, meanwhile, “Pls contact your Govt to demand their release and an end to the illegal blockade!”

Equally vocal were supporters of Israel.

Sussex Friends of Israel noted in a tweet, “According to @GazaFFlotilla they’ve been ‘captured!’ What-like if you sailed a boat into UK waters without authorization? (#expletive)

“@GazaFFlotilla complete waste of time and energy,” wrote another. “Want to help #Gaza? teach them #hate is not the answer.”

A third wrote, “you came to our home. You came to aid terrorists. Now you must be treated the same. Don’t mess with #Israel”

And another: “I’ll contact my government to make sure that people like you @GazaFFlotilla get #arrested and put on #trial for #terrorism #support.

Hana Levi Julian

Women’s Flotilla About Everything But Helping Gaza

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

{Originally posted to the IPT website}

Arguably, more humanitarian aid flows into Gaza than ever before. And strong evidence indicates that Hamas chooses to divert significant amounts of construction material that should be used to rebuild housing in order to gear up for future terrorist attacks against Israel.

And so a flotilla aimed at drawing attention to Palestinian suffering hopes to set sail shortly and make it to Gaza by Oct. 1.

Its message: Israel is to blame for everything. It should willingly embrace suicide for its people by ending a naval blockade on Gaza that stops Hamas from importing even more weapons of war. The Women’s Boat to Gaza‘s message for Hamas?

Nothing.

The boats will carry women only, in an attempt to put forth a more peaceful message, organizers say. Think of it as a sort of Lilith Fair on the sea for Israel-hating women.

“The Freedom Flotilla Coalition has decided to launch the Women’s Boat to Gaza because we believe that it is essential to highlight the vital role women play not only in the resistance movement, but in the survival of the Palestinian people as a whole.”

The ships will carry no aid, organizers say. Ending the blockade is the sole mission. Organizers insist it is illegal but offer no support for the claim. They ignore a United Nations investigation conducted after a 2010 flotilla ended violently. Passengers on the Mavi Marmara attacked Israelis troops who raided the ship to stop it from reaching Gaza.

“Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza,” the investigation found. “The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

But the blockade does not stop legitimate aid from reaching Gaza residents. It adds a measure of control. Aid to Gaza is peaking, especially since the recent rapprochement between Israel and Turkey opened the door to direct Turkish deliveries – 25 trucks daily – including food, toys, medicine and more.

That blockade isn’t going away anytime soon, so the flotilla’s actual benefit to the people of Gaza is minimal at best.

There are things the passengers can do to help, however, if their agenda truly is about improving life for Palestinians and not some feckless attempt to discredit Israel.

Start by condemning Hamas political leaders for making jihad a priority over improving living conditions. As much as 95 percent of cement meant for rebuilding Gaza gets diverted to tunnel building. The Los Angeles Times also described a concern among some Gaza residents that the money that does go toward home construction benefits Hamas insiders and mosques first.

This is no Israeli spin. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad frequently acknowledge deaths and injuries to its fighters due to tunnel collapses during construction.

What benefit do any of these death holes bring to Palestinians today?

The boat women also can demand that Hamas stop indoctrinating Palestinian children with messages glorifying violent jihad and martyrdom. It has been going on for years. Simply put: It is indefensible.

Finally, a flotilla of women hoping to improve life for Palestinians in Gaza should say something about the treatment of women under Hamas rule. Something is amiss in a society when women riding bicycles creates a stir. Women in Gaza also cannot dance or smoke in public or have their hair done by men.

If Hamas were pressured into adopting a more peaceful agenda, Israel’s justification for the blockade would crumble. Perhaps the boat women know this is a losing battle.

As Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh showed last month, the Hamas charter has never been altered despite years of spin alleging the terrorist group somehow is now willing to live side-by-side with Israel.

Hamas sees the land encompassing Israel and the Palestinian territories as a religious trust “until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except Jihad. The liberation of that land is an individual duty binding on all Muslims everywhere. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad.”

Abu Toameh also pointed to a statement last month from longtime Hamas political leader Mousa Abu Marzook that promised, “The Zionist entity will not be part of this region. We will continue to resist it until the liberation of our land and the return of our people.”

“Abu Marzouk did not talk about building new schools and parks for the Palestinians,” Abu Toameh wrote. “When he talks about ‘serving’ the people, he means only one thing: recruiting Palestinians to Hamas and jihad against Israel and the Jews.

It is worth noting that previous flotilla efforts and land-based convoys worked closely with Hamas officials, with leaders from the terrorist group greeting the international travelers. And the women’s flotilla could be no different. The Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition is among the groups endorsing the flotilla.

Al-Awda advocates “the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands of origin, and to full restitution of all their confiscated and destroyed property,” according to the organization’s website. The group’s logo is a picture of the map of Israel and a key.

In the June Facebook posting at right, Al-Awda co-founder Zahi Damuni refers to Hamas terrorists in Israeli custody as “our prisoners.”

The Women’s Boat to Gaza effort coincides with other Gaza-focused campaigns. IHH, a Turkish charity with ties to Hamas and a suspected al-Qaida funder, announced plans to deliver meals to 600 Gaza families in a program called “Martyrs of the Freedom Flotilla.” IHH organized the 2010 flotilla in which 10 passengers on the Mavi Marmara died after attacking the Israeli troops enforcing the Gaza blockade.

At least it’s real assistance. There’s a lot that Palestinian advocates can do to improve living conditions in Gaza. To do so, however, they must be willing to face some uncomfortable realities about why the quality of life has grown worse since Israel withdrew more than a decade ago. They can continue hating Israel and still acknowledge Hamas’s failings.

It’s their choice.

Steve Emerson

A Bundle Of Letters: The Women’s Secret Of Survival

Monday, May 9th, 2016

On a Friday afternoon, November 22, 1619, a seemingly trivial event occurred. A messenger carrying fifty-four letters from the Ghetto of Prague to the Ghetto of Vienna was detained on the Austrian border and his consignment confiscated. The letters were held back by the Austrian censor and then dispatched to the Archives of the Imperial Court where they have remained ever since.

The detained letters have become a historical treasure and reveal remarkable insights into the lives of the Jews in the ghettoes of early seventeenth century Prague and Vienna. Thus, the seemingly trivial event that occurred three hundred eighty-three years ago turned into an extraordinary historical episode.

What is the story behind the bundle of letters? The two prominent Jewish centers in Europe, one in Prague in the Kingdom of Bohemia, and the other in Vienna in the Austrian Empire, maintained close contact – a number of Prague Jews had businesses in Vienna and Jews from Vienna as a rule sent their sons to study at the Yeshiva of Prague, generating an intensive correspondence.

The outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War in 1618 disrupted official correspondence. Communication between the two ghettoes, however, continued through the clever device of a Prague Jew with business in Vienna, Lob Sarel Gutmans, who hired a messenger to carry the letters of Viennese Jews to his wife in Prague who distributed them and then collected their replies.

As the war was raging on that fateful Friday in 1619, the suspicious Austrian border police held up the package of return mail. Worried Jewish parents, wives, business associates had no way of relieving their anxiety because the replies to their letters never came: they arrived instead into the hands of twenty-first century Jewish historians doing research at the Imperial Archives.

Most of the letters are written by women, revealing the incredible tale of their lives in the Ghetto of Prague. Centuries melt away as one reads mothers’ bits of advice to their daughters married to Viennese businessmen, wives inquiring about the health of their husbands engaged in commerce in Vienna, friends chatting about their daily joys and worries, sisters exchanging little confidences. One can hear echoes of concern about daily fears for life and liberty, the danger of war and fear of an epidemic that had broken out in Vienna, riots against Jews in Prague and imprisonment of innocent Jews for ransom. And yet, in the midst of it all, the Jewish women of Prague managed to retain a mundane yet vital interest in their physical appearance.

The following was written by Freidel Hammerschlag of Prague to Mirel Auerbach of Vienna: “My dear relative and good friend, I let you know that I discharged your commission well, and ordered the coat to be made for you in the best and finest fashion possible in the world. Lining 10 ells double damask, 2 ½ scores for laces, 2 scores for linen cloth, 2 for velvet, 1 score for silk, wages for the tailor 2 scores. Therefore, do not forget to send more money so that I can give it to Abner son of Henoch Schik of blessed memory, that he may buy a beautiful smooth otter fur in Poland; I think if you send me forty gulden more, I will have money for everything. I will buy everything as economically as it were my own. I could buy otter fur here but it is dyed. And I want to have it made from the finest fur. Write me through whom should I send it to you. And so, blessing of the Almighty to you, from your good friend Freidel, daughter of the excellent and learned Israel Hammerschlag.”

Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson

Israeli Organization Empowers Arab and Druze Women

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Under the auspices of MASHAV-Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, Mazal Renford has worked to promote the cause of both Palestinian and Israeli Arab women. In her capacity as director of Haifa’s Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center, Renford has made great strides to this end. Speaking to participants at the Stand With Us International Women’s Conference, Renford discussed her work to “bring Israelis and Palestinians together,” which involves frequent consultations with Palestinian women from Judea and Samaria.

According to Renford, “If we educate for peace, maybe one day we will enjoy it.” As “a city of peaceful coexistence” where Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze and Bahais live side by side, Renford believes Haifa is the ideal location for her work. Renford’s organization was founded on former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir’s belief that “women weren’t taken into consideration in the process of development,” despite their pivotal importance. In this regard, Renford emphasizes that “Israel has been a pioneer in promoting” women’s development, with the Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center providing Palestinian women an opportunity to “come, learn how to set up a business, and stand up for their rights.”

Vered Sawied, a former mayor of Netanya who is presently working for the Prime Minister’s Office as an Advisor for Social and Welfare Issues, notes that while Israeli Jewish women often struggle to find the right balance between work and family, “the situation in Arab society is more difficult.” For this reason, explains Sawied, Israel set up an authority to provide jobs for Arabs as well as specific scholarships for Arab women seeking to enter the hi-tech profession.

Hiba Zaidan, a young Druze PhD student, credits Israeli professors and her family with helping her advance. She claimed that in Druze society, it is considered taboo for a woman to drive, go to school, or even leave the village without an escort. This has created major problems for Druze women who wish to work and study outside the village.

However, Zaidan also emphasized that Druze society is changing due to courageous and bold strides made by Druze women, with many of them now driving and studying to be teachers. She noted, however, that psychological research at the PhD level is still very rare for Druze women. “Lots of people in my village were against me getting a PhD,” she stated. She added that her Israeli professors were very understanding of her situation and always offer her assistance.

Dr. Janan Faraj-Falah was the first Druze woman in Israel to receive her PhD and today works as a lecturer at the University of Haifa, as well as the Arab Academic College for Education. Her book “The Druze Woman” is widely acclaimed both in Israel and around the world as the first book to discuss the status of women in the Druze community. Additionally, she is the founder of the Women’s Vision of Akko Foundation, which brings Jewish and Arab women together to work towards peace.

According to Dr. Faraj-Falah, “I established this association to improve women’s status and support peace. Women bring life into this world so women can also bring peace.” Some of her organization’s projects include constructing peace gardens in which Jewish and Arab children play, teaching Arabic to Jewish women and Hebrew to Arab women, and bringing both Jewish and Palestinian writers together for joint meetings. She emphasizes, “We will continue our march for peace and never give up.” Her work is supported by Renford, who notes, “Bringing Arabs and Jews together can make a big difference.”

Visit United with Israel.

Rachel Avraham

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/united-with-israel/israeli-organization-empowers-arab-and-druze-women/2013/09/11/

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