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September 1, 2016 / 28 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘years’

Crown Heights Pogrom, 25 Years Later

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

The festive marking of the 25 years since the 1991 pogrom perpetrated against the Jews of Crown Heights by some of their African-American and Caribbean-American neighbors continues what has been decades-long blurring of its significance.

The undeniable diminution of attacks against Crown Heights Jews is perhaps something to celebrate. But the theme that this progress is the result of two disputing sides having resolved their differences is not. There were no differences that had to be reconciled. What was required was a confession of error and a denunciation of anti-Semites and anti-Semitism by the activists and self-styled leaders who did so much to inflame the mobs.

Notwithstanding the media spin at the time, led by The New York Times, there were no two sides to the violence. Ari Goldman, the former Times reporter who had been assigned to cover the riots, wrote in 2011 about how his reports were sanitized by Times editors in order to peddle the notion that this was a general clash between blacks and Jews.

“In all my reporting during the riots,” he wrote, “I never saw – or heard of – any violence by Jews against blacks. But the Times was dedicated to this version of events: blacks and Jews clashing amid racial tensions.”

What Mr. Goldman said he did see, and hear, and report, was blacks chanting “Heil Hitler” and “Death to the Jews.”

Thus, like the pogroms of old in Europe, Crown Heights was about the random targeting of Jews by those unhappy with their lot in life. Ironically, A.M. Rosenthal, the legendary former executive editor who at that time was writing as an opinion columnist, made that point two weeks after the riots. In a column titled, “Pogrom in Brooklyn,” he wrote:


The anti-Semitic outrages of Crown Heights are aimed at the Jews of only one neighborhood in one city – for the moment.

But American Jews who do not understand that the same kind of political thugs will try now to lead the same kind of street thugs to burn Jewish property and break Jewish bones in other cities are blind to reality, deaf to history – and suicidal…

The press treats it all as some kind of cultural clash between a poverty-ridden people fed up with life and a powerful, prosperous and unfortunately peculiar stuck-up neighbors – very sad of course, but certainly understandable. No – it is an anti-Semitic pogrom and the words should not be left unsaid.


Keep in mind that Yankel Rosenbaum, a”h, was not even in the motorcade transporting the Lubavitcher Rebbe that was involved in the tragic accident resulting in the death of 7-year-old Gavin Cato. But Mr. Rosenbaum was a Jew, and that’s all the roving bands of hoodlums needed to know. And Al Sharpton’s harangues to the rioters about “diamond dealers” left no doubt in anyone’s mind about his message of group responsibility.

If the lesson of Grown Heights is not that mindless violence is never appropriate, all the festivals and talk of unity will amount to nothing but meaningless kumbaya moments.

Editorial Board

Crown Heights Riots – 25 Years Later: A Look Back at Jewish Press Coverage

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

On the evening of August 19, 1991, in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights, a vehicle in the motorcade of the Lubavitcher Rebbe accidentally struck and killed seven-year-old Gaven Cato, the son of Guyanese immigrants, and severely injured his young cousin Angela Cato.

Within hours, angry blacks began gathering in the streets, many of them shouting “kill the Jews.” A group of black youths came upon a 29-year-old student from Australia, Yankel Rosenbaum, whom they beat severely and stabbed several times. He died later at a local hospital.

Over the next three days, groups of African Americans and Caribbean Americans rampaged through the streets of Crown Heights (many of them weren’t even residents of the neighborhood) in what historians have termed the worst anti-Semitic incident in American history.

By the time the rioting ended, 152 police officers and 38 civilians had been injured, 27 vehicles destroyed, seven stores looted or burned, and 225 cases of robbery and burglary committed. More than 100 arrests were made and property damage was estimated at one million dollars

Mayor David Dinkins and Police Commissioner Lee Brown were widely disparaged for what critics – and an official investigative commission created by Governor Mario Cuomo – called an underwhelming reaction to the violence. Dinkins’s handling of the riots played a key role in his failure to win re-election two years later.

The following are excerpts of some of the coverage in the August 30, 1991 issue of The Jewish Press.

  In Wake Of Sharpton’s Threats, N. Y. C. Mayor Dinkins Fears More Unrest

In the wake of three days of riots, a frightened Mayor Dinkins was apprehensive that more violence might erupt as Al Sharpton continued to stir up the community, threatening to enter the home of the young Lubavitcher chassid who was involved in the accident that killed a 7-year-old child in order to make a citizen’s arrest.

Last Friday, many local politicians were disheartened seeing a frightened mayor begging Al Sharpton and his cohorts, Herbert Daughtry and lawyer Alton H. Maddox Jr., not to march and stir up more violence.

After a few humiliating hours of pleading, the mayor left the meeting rebuffed and exhausted.



A Shut-In Tells Of Crown Heights Under Siege – A Tale Of Terror

By Paul A. Deckelman and Laura N. Deckelman

A handicapped Jewish man told a harrowing tale of terror after three days under siege in his basement apartment in riot-torn Crown Heights. His ordeal finally ended when he was able to get out of the neigh­borhood to take refuge elsewhere.

W. (who has asked to remain anony­mous) told The Jewish Press that late in the evening on Monday, August 19, he was on President Street with his home attendant when a neighbor came over and warned him to “get in your apartment immediately, because it’s dangerous on the street.”

Before they could make it back there, though, W. says they were stopped by a group of blacks. The leader told W., “If you’re not off the streets in a few seconds when I come back, that will be the end of you,” and began to walk away. It was then that W. heard sirens and saw a line of police cars pass him, moving in to scatter the rioters. “I was saved by the police cars.”

Even with the door locked and the windows shut, he could hear waves of ominous chanting outside “like at a football rally. I think they were yelling things like ‘Kill the Jews!’ As they ran past the apartment, I heard one of them say ‘If it was up to me, I’d kill them all!’ and then after [attorney] Alton Maddox said he’d give the city two days and after that they’d take things into their own hands and look for the driver themselves I heard someone yelling, ‘Okay, you got two more days, then we’re gonna start murdering all of you!’

Jewish Press Staff

Freida Sima, Max, And The Golden Years

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Editor’s Note: This is the eleventh installment of a multipart series on the life and times of the author’s grandmother, Freida Sima, who as a young woman came to America on her own in the early 1900s and made her way in a new country. The tenth part (“Freida Sima Reunites the Family”) appeared as the front-page essay in the July 15 issue; part twelve will run in September.


The year 1953 was a momentous one for Freida Sima. Marking the end of an era in her life, it was also the beginning of a new one. In February, she and her beloved Max (whom she always called Mordche) celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with family and friends, at a gala party arranged by their daughter, Shirley.

“Who would have believed we would both still be here, alive and well, after all we went through?” she asked herself as Max gave a speech in Yiddish, thanking everyone for coming. Neither had been young when they got married, and after that came Max’s diabetes diagnosis, the Depression, the war, and an operation she had gone through a year earlier.

Freida Sima’s boardinghouse days ended forever in the spring of 1953 with the death of her last boarder, “Rosie,” whom she nursed through his final illness. Her second trip to Israel that summer strengthened her ties with her European brothers and sister, and was another step toward bringing more of the family to America.

In October Max turned sixty-five and began to collect Social Security – “Roosevelt’s Miracle,” they called it – enabling him to retire from house painting. Although the physical labor had been beneficial for his diabetes, it was becoming increasingly harder for him to carry his ladder, heavy paint cans, and drop cloths throughout the city by public transportation. In November, Freida Sima and Max began making plans for what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives, their “golden years,” as retirement was now being called.

* * * * *

For the first time since their marriage in 1928, they were alone at home. Daughter Shirley had moved out when she married in 1951. The marriage soon ended, but Shirley preferred to retain her Queens apartment rather than move back to the Bronx. Concerned that her parents might be lonely, she surprised them one day with a small dog to keep them company. Watching the puppy’s wobbling walk, she named him Umbriago, similar to the word “drunk” in Italian and Spanish (embriagado).

As the neighborhood was rapidly becoming Hispanic, the name was a cause of confusion and mirth. Freida Sima would let the dog wander the neighborhood alone, and when she called from the ground floor window “Umbriago, you dog, come home already!” half the men on the block would turn around, thinking someone was referring to them.

The changing neighborhood was one reason behind Freida Sima and Max’s decision to move. The other was their mutual love of the ocean – for Max it was swimming, for Freida Sima it was the salt smell and sea breeze.

Now that Max was a man of leisure, they decided to finally indulge in a dream. After looking at affordable possibilities in New York City, they moved in early spring 1954 to a one-bedroom rental in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, not even a block from the boardwalk and barely three minutes from the water’s edge. Max took to swimming almost every morning, while Freida Sima would wait for him in one of the large boardwalk pavilions, enjoying the sea air.

(For the next twenty years their apartment would be a summer haven for family and friends visiting the beach. Many would stop off there to change and end up staying for dinner. Among them were the married daughters – and their husbands –of Fanny and Morris Carlin, the couple who had introduced Freida Sima and Max more than a quarter century earlier. Another circle had closed.)

Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz

10 Years after Takeover Hamas Promises New Elections

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

January 25, 2006 was the last time Gazans voted for their ruling government, and the Hamas movement won it, with Ismail Haniyeh nominated for Prime Minister. Hamas then established a national unity government with the PLO, which collapsed shortly thereafter when Hamas violently removed the PLO from the Strip. Things remained the same for a decade, through three violent confrontations with Israel, until, last week, Hamas surprised everyone by declaring free municipal elections in the Gaza Strip, to coincide with the next round of municipal elections in the PA, scheduled for October 8.

Hamas says it is planning to run a national slate made up of technocrats (who just happen to all be Hamas members). Representatives of different parties in Gaza swore an oath last week, to abide by the elections rules and to respect the candidates and the deals that they make, and, most important, abide by the election results and by the decisions of the central elections committee.

The last time the Palestinian Authority held municipal elections was in 2012. Now a PA delegation has met with Haniyeh to discuss extending the municipal vote to the Gaza Strip as well.

According to Ynet, the reason Hamas may be prepared to open up the Gaza municipalities to PLO representatives is that Hamas is hoping to capitalize on its popularity in the PA, where the public has had enough of the corrupt PLO leadership. Hamas has won the student union elections in key PA universities such as Bir Zeit and the Hebron Politechnic. The Hamas leadership is convinced they have the momentum in the PA, and the municipal elections could serve as their trial balloon. Their aim, is, of course, for the PA to be forced to declare national elections, where the chances would be high that a Hamas candidate, most likely Ismail Haniyeh, would win the Chairmanship.

Voter registration opened on Saturday, including registration online. Eligible voters will have five days to join the reported 2 million voters who have already registered, constituting, according to the Palestinian Authority Central Elections Commission, 78.5% of the eligible voters in Judea and Samaria (including eastern Jerusalem) and in Gaza.

In 2006, there were 1,341,671 registered voters and 1,042,424 votes cast, according the Palestinian Authority Central Elections Commission.

In 2013, voter registration the Palestinian Authority suddenly jumped by 300,000 voters in the span of around 6 months. That massive influx of newly registered voters primarily originated from Gaza.

For comparison’s sake, in Israel’s 2015 elections, there were 5,881,696 registered Israeli voters and 4,254,738 votes case.

While back in 2006, Israel had 5,014,622 registered voters.


Jerusalem In 20 Years

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

What specific actions can be taken on the ground now to ensure a united, Jewish Jerusalem? What would a practical political program for Jerusalem’s coming two decades look like? How would it take shape, and by whom?

These were some of the questions dealt with by a forum of experts at a recent day-long conference organized by KeepJerusalem in Kibbutz Ramat Rachel. The conclusions The threats are significant; change must start from the informed grassroots; Chaim Ramon’s separation plan must be blocked; and a large umbrella municipality and much more construction are necessary.

What is not a good idea is former Justice Minister Chaim Ramon’s proposal to simply delete Arab-populated neighborhoods from the Jerusalem municipality borders. Though it appears logical at first glance, it has been shot down by local Arab leaders, military figures, and many in between on both left and right.

Left-wing spokesmen consider it “racist” and “immoral,” and say it will lead to poverty and neglect in the Arab neighborhoods.

Those on the right wing of the political spectrum say the Ramon plan would significantly worsen both security and demographics, and would whet the international community’s appetite for further Israeli withdrawals.

IDF Gen. (res.) Gershon HaCohen objects largely from philosophical-historical aspects. He first notes Ramon’s dismal record in foreseeing the consequences of diplomatic processes. In 2006, several months after the disengagement/expulsion from Gaza, Ramon said, “I believe there will be quiet. But even if there is war, it will be the IDF with all its capabilities against 3-4,000 Hamas men with nothing! If they form any kind of threat, we will conquer the West Bank in 24 hours.”

HaCohen reminds us that in the decade since then, Israel has fought three wars against Hamas in Gaza, with varying degrees of success, leaving a tremendous Hamas weapons arsenal largely intact.

HaCohen says that at issue is not merely a military or diplomatic question of war and peace: “The Arabs in this land have dreams that encompass more than just having food on the table. They have national and religious dreams, and these cannot be negotiated. The goal of ‘end of conflict,’ to which some people on our side raise their sights, is not on their agenda.”

Militarily, HaCohen notes, “what was is not what will be. The ‘state’ is not the only entity with power; ammunition and weapons are found in every corner, with no control over them. This is also why talk of a demilitarized state is simply irrelevant… To thwart terrorism, Israel must remain inside these neighborhoods, not outside them.”

One element of the plan for Jerusalem that must be immediately implemented, HaCohen urges, is that of a city police task force that will enact a proactive, comprehensive strategy in the Arab neighborhoods: “There are Arab groups acting against Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem. The police basically take the passive approach, hoping to achieve something that resembles ‘quiet’ – while in fact many areas in the city have become almost inaccessible to Jews, such as the route to Mt. of Olives. There is no comprehensive strategy. The prime minister must appoint a commander for this campaign.”

Longtime Jerusalem affairs expert Nadav Shragai also participated in the KeepJerusalem conference. Among his other objections to Ramon’s plan, he says it would lead to an acute demographic deterioration in Jerusalem: “The city has undergone two types of division over the past decades. In 1948, a fence was erected down the middle – and the city lost a full quarter of its Jewish population, people who didn’t want to live on the border. Then, several years ago, the partition wall was built. Some 90-100,000 Arabs were left ‘outside’ the wall, and within a short time, 70-80,000 Arabs moved to the Jewish side, because they didn’t want to lose their rights; those who remained in fact suffered, and became more hostile.”

Shragai agrees that a new status should be granted to some of the capital’s Arab neighborhoods: “They should become independent local townships – not part of Jerusalem, but still a part of the state of Israel. They can be like Mevaseret Zion or like Abu Ghosh, and they will then be able to govern themselves and provide services that until now they have not fully received, such as sanitation, kindergartens, and the like.”

Alternatively, or possibly simultaneously, it was proposed to finally implement the government decision of 1998(!) to create an umbrella municipality of Jerusalem and its Jewish suburbs. These would include Givat Ze’ev, Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Beitar Illit, and perhaps also Mevaseret. Clearly this would improve the demographics and also enable the development of Jerusalem as a large, modern super-city, with all that entails.

The wall-to-wall objections to the Ramon plan appear to render it null and void, shot down before it even hits the ground. Far from bringing on complacency, however, it must spur us – especially here at KeepJerusalem – to continue to work on strengthening Jerusalem from within. More Jews continue to leave the city annually than arrive (though at a lesser rate than in previous years), and jobs and apartments must be made available to keep them here.

Large-scale construction throughout the city – and especially in the “new” neighborhoods in the liberated parts of the city such as Ramot, N’vei Yaakov, East Talpiyot, and more – is essential. The way to do this is for the government to take hard decisions and stand by them, even in the face of expected international finger-wagging. With the world currently distracted by Brexit and Trump-Clinton, now is the time to take our future into our own hands.

A perfect example of how not to do it is the announcement following the terrorist murder of Hallel Yaffa Ariel: Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that 42 new apartments would be built in Kiryat Arba – when in actuality he was simply recycling an old, frozen housing plan for domestic PR purposes. A more appropriate response to the recent terrorism would have been the announcement of totally new housing plans for hundreds of units in places such as Pisgat Ze’ev, Gilo, Kiryat Arba and elsewhere.

On an optimistic note, as this column was being written, Netanyahu confirmed plans to build 760 new housing units in Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim. And the population of Yerushalayim is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the country: 2.4 percent in 2014, compared to 2 percent nationally. In addition, the Jewish rate of growth is quickly nearing the Arab rate. The city’s Arab birth rate was 2.7 percent in 2014, compared with 3.2 percent a decade ago, while the Jewish birth rate is 2.2 percent, nearly double what it was a decade ago.


To take part in the critical efforts to keep Jerusalem Jewish and united, via updates, bus tours of news-making parts of Jerusalem, and more, send an e-mail to tours@keepjerusalem.org or visit Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech’s website at www.keepjerusalem.org. 

Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org

After 9 Years Egypt Foreign Minister Meeting Netanyahu to ‘Promote Peace Process’

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrives in Israel Sunday to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the first visit of an Egyptian FM in nine years. The PM told his cabinet meeting Sunday that he would meet with the visitor twice, once in the afternoon and once in the evening. Shoukry met with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas two weeks ago.

According to Egyptian diplomats speaking to Ma’an, Shoukry’s visit will focus on Egyptian proposals to kickstart the peace process once again, as well as the French peace initiative. The man behind today’s visit, according to Netanyahu, was his special emissary, attorney Yitzhak Molcho, the chief negotiator on behalf of Netanyahu in the Israeli negotiating team.

According to a statement released by Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid, the Shoukry visit is the next step in a process begun by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who a few months ago called on all the parties in Israel to unite around the peace process with the Palestinians and on Arab countries to also enlist to promote the peace.

Since he has managed to expand his ruling coalition from 61 to 67 members, Netanyahu has been speaking freely about his desire for a regional political move, a topic he raised in his meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry two weeks ago, in Rome.

David Israel

Life + 31 Years to Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade Murderer

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday sentenced Yishai Schlissel, who murdered teenage girl Shira Banki and attempted to murder others at the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade last August, to life in prison with an additional 31 years. The court also fined Schlissel about $530,000 as reparations to the Banki family and to the rest of Schlissel’s victims.

Judges Nava Ben-Or, Arnon Darel and Rafi Yaakovi wrote in their sentence: “We are dealing with a man who does not recognize a human before him, a cruel, dangerous and heartless man. A man for whom the Judaism of darchey noam-pleasant paths and roads of peace, which teaches that man—every man—is beloved because he was created in the Image [of God], is foreign.” Instead, the judges wrote, the defendant views himself as “He who kills and gives life, in the name of principles he appointed himself to enforce.” The judges ruled that “this dangerous man may no longer roam the streets of Jerusalem or anywhere else.”

The judges also wrote that “in his few days of freedom between arrests, the defendant extinguished the life of a young woman who was so life loving, Shira Banki z”l who was about 16 when she dies… He did not see her as a human being at all, he did not care a hoot whose body would absorb his knife.”

Schlissel’s sentence is comprised of a life sentence for the premeditated murder, 30 year for his six convictions of attempted murder counts and inflicting injury under aggravated conditions, and one additional year which is the suspended sentence for his previous sentence.

The judges were severely critical of police for failing to learn the lesson from the 2005 Gay Pride parade in which Schlissel had been arrested for attempted murder. They blamed police for failing to stop him from carrying out the same crime only a month after his release from serving ten years for the attempted murders.

The judges also criticized the legislator for failing to provide police with the legal authority to follow and supervise dangerous criminals who have served out their sentence.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/life-31-years-to-jerusalem-gay-pride-parade-murderer/2016/06/26/

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