JBuzz Musings October 26, 2014: Women of the Wall’s historic Torah scroll smuggling reading at Kotel bat mitzvah

JBUZZ MUSINGS: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

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By Bonnie K. Goodman

They finally did it, feminist Jewish prayer group Women of the Wall (WoW) smuggled in a tiny Torah scroll on Rosh Hodesh Chesvan Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 for a bat mitzvah torah reading to the women’s section….READ MORE
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JBuzz News August 22, 2014: Jewish school in Copenhagen vandalised

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Jewish school in Copenhagen vandalised

Source: AFP, 8-22-14

A Jewish school in Copenhagen had its windows smashed and anti-Jewish graffiti referring to the conflict in Gaza spray-painted on its walls, the school said on Friday….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 22, 2014: Colleges truncate programs in Israel, West Bank due to conflict

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Colleges truncate programs in Israel, West Bank due to conflict

Source: JTA, 8-22-14‎

Several colleges have pulled students out early from summer study-abroad programs in Israel and the West Bank due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 21, 2014: NYU Calls Off Fall Study Programs In Israel Over Security Concerns

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NYU Calls Off Fall Study Programs In Israel Over Security Concerns

Source: CBS Local, 8-21-14

Other U.S. Colleges Pull Students From Area; Some Say Schools Overreacting….READ MORE

Full Text JBuzz Transcripts April 27, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Speech at Yad Vashem on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day

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Address by PM Netanyahu at Yad Vashem

Source: PMO, 4-27-14

יום ראשון כ”ז ניסן תשע”ד

Photo by  GPO

The last time I visited Yad Vashem I accompanied the Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people. We went through the exhibition rooms which present heartbreaking documentation of the destruction of European Jewry.

Today in my office, I met Fela, an 82 year old Holocaust survivor. It was important for her to tell me on this day of her memories as a child of seven who was forced to leave her two year old sister. Those memories are always with her. She told me, “I don’t remember what happened yesterday or the day before that, but as is the way of memories at my age, I remember the sad, tearful eyes of my two year old sister whom I left behind to die”.

I met Shalom, an 89 year old Holocaust survivor who told me how, aged 13, he left home at Mila 18 in the Warsaw Ghetto. Conditions in the ghetto were deteriorating. So he, a young boy, decided to leave. He said, “Mother objected and wailed but Father was quiet. He stood up, put his hands on my head, blessed me and told me to save myself”.

All the exhibition rooms here are filled with such heart-wrenching stories.

When we left Yad Vashem, I told the Prime Minister of Canada that my supreme duty as the Prime Minister of Israel is to ensure that there will be no more memorial sites like this, that there will never be another Holocaust.

I have said here many times that we must identify an existential threat in time and take action against it in time.

Tonight, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, I ask: Why, in the years preceding the Holocaust, did the overwhelming majority of world leaders and Jewish leaders fail to detect the danger in time?

In retrospect, all the warning signs were there: the strengthening of the Nazi regime year after year; the horrific anti-Semitic propaganda which grew stronger with each passing month; and the murderous attacks on Jews which began as spurts and became a giant wave.

In retrospect, a direct line connects the racial laws and the gas chambers.

Few world leaders, notably Churchill, understood the enormity of the threat to humanity posed by Nazism. Few among our leaders, primarily Jabotinsky, warned against the imminent destruction facing our people. But they were widely criticized, their warnings disregarded and dismissed as the rantings of doomsayers and warmongers.

How is it possible that so many people failed to understand reality? The bitter, tragic truth is this: It is not that they did not see. They did not want to see.

And why did they choose not to see the truth? Because they did not want to face the consequences of that truth.

During the 1930s, when the Nazis were gaining momentum, the trauma of the First World War was still fresh. Twenty years earlier, the people of the West experienced a terrible trench war, which claimed the lives of 16 million people. The leaders of the West therefore operated on the basis of one axiom: Avoid another confrontation at any cost. Thus they laid the ground for the most horrible war in history.

This axiom of avoiding conflict at any cost was adopted not only by the leaders. It was shared by the peoples themselves, and primarily by the educated elites.

In 1933, for example, the year Hitler rose to power, a meeting was held by the students of Oxford University, an institution which produced generations of British leaders. Following a heated debate, the students voted for a resolution stating that they “would under no circumstances fight for their King and Country”.

This resolution passed by an overwhelming majority a mere ten days after Hitler entered the Chancellor’s office in Germany. The message reverberated in Berlin.

This example illustrates the West’s feeble response to the rise of Nazism.

Month after month, year after year, more and more information was received in London, Paris and Washington about Nazi capabilities and intentions. The picture gradually became clear for everyone to see.

But they had eyes and could not see, they had ears but could not hear.

When you refuse to accept reality as it is, you can deny it.

This is precisely what the leaders of the West did. They dismissed the murderous Nazi rhetoric as internal German politics; they downplayed the seriousness of the danger of the Nazi military build-up, claiming that it was the result of the natural will of a proud nation that should be recognized and accepted.

The reality was clear, but it was enveloped in a bubble of illusions. This bubble burst when the Nazis launched their blitzkrieg on Europe and Africa.

The price of illusion and wishful thinking was very steep. By the time the leaders of the West finally acted, their peoples paid a terrible price. World War II claimed the lives not of 16 million people, the horrific number of victims during World War I, but of 60 million, including one third of our people, who were butchered by the Nazi beast.

Citizens of Israel, my brothers and sisters,

Has the world learned the mistakes of the past?

Today we again face clear facts and a tangible threat. Iran calls for our destruction. It is developing nuclear weapons.

This is the reason it is building underground bunkers for enriching uranium. This is why it is constructing a heavy water facility to produce plutonium. This is the reason it continues to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads which will threaten the entire world.

Today, like then, there are those who dismiss Iran’s extreme rhetoric as serving domestic purposes. Today, like then, there are those who view Iran’s nuclear ambitions as the result of the natural will of a proud nation, a will that should be accepted.

And today, like then, those who make such claims are deluding themselves. They are making an historic mistake.

Fateful talks are currently being held between Iran and the world powers. This time too, the truth is evident to all: Iran seeks an agreement that will lift the sanctions and leave it as a nuclear threshold state with the capability to manufacture nuclear weapons within several months at most.

Iran wants a deal that will eliminate the sanctions and leave its capabilities intact.

A deal which enables Iran to be a nuclear threshold state will bring the entire world to the threshold of an abyss.

I hope that the lessons of the past have been learned, and that the desire to avoid confrontation at any cost will not lead to a deal that will exact a much heavier price in the future.

I call on the leaders of the world powers to insist that Iran fully dismantle its capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons, and to persist until this goal is achieved.

In any event, the people of Israel stand strong. Faced with an existential threat, our situation today is entirely different than it was during the Holocaust.

Today, we have a sovereign Jewish state. As Prime Minister of Israel, I do not hesitate to speak the truth to the world, even when faced with blind eyes and deaf ears. It is not only my right, it is my duty. I am always mindful of this duty, never more so than on this day, in this place.

On the eve of the Holocaust, some Jews avoided speaking out to the world’s nations, fearing that the struggle against Nazism would become “a Jewish problem”. Others believed that if they kept silent, the danger would pass.

They kept silent, and disaster struck.

Today, we are unafraid to speak the truth to world leaders. As is written in the Bible: “I will speak of your testimonies before kings, and I will not be ashamed… listen, for I will speak the truth.”

Unlike the Holocaust, when the Jewish people were like a wind-tossed leaf and utterly defenseless, we now have great power to defend ourselves, and it is ready for any mission.

This power rests on the courage and ingenuity of the soldiers of the IDF and the men and women of our security forces. It is this power that enabled us, against all odds, to build the State of Israel.

Look at the remarkable achievements we have made in the 66 years of our independence. All of us – scientists, writers, teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, employees, artists, farmers – the entire people of Israel, each one in their own field –  together we have built a glorious state. The spirit of the people of Israel is sublime, our accomplishments tremendous. Seven decades after the destruction of the Holocaust, the State of Israel is a wonder of the world.

On this day, on behalf of the Jewish people, I say to all those who sought to destroy us, and to all those who still seek to destroy us: You have failed, and you will fail again.

The State of Israel is stronger than ever. It is a state that seeks peace with all its neighbors and it pulsates with an iron will to ensure the future of our people.

“The people will arise like a lion cub and raise itself like a lion…and Judea will dwell securely”. (Numbers 23:24; Jeremiah 23:6).

 

 

JBuzz News March 7, 2014: Ukrainian Jews Seek To Emigrate to Israel Amid Uncertainty

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Ukrainian Jews Seek To Emigrate Amid Uncertainty

Source: Jewish Daily Forward, 3-7-14

The Jewish Agency for Israel has seen a spike in Ukrainians looking to immigrate to Israel as turmoil roils their country. Marina Steiman, a Jewish Agency official in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, declined to give numbers, but she said the agency….READ MORE

JBuzz Musings February 10, 2014: Kolech Orthodox feminists Women of the Wall break over egalitarian prayer space

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Just as the Women of the Wall is set to accept the Israeli government proposal to use the Robinson’s Arch egalitarian prayer area as their permanent prayer location, Kolech the Religious Women’s Forum who sides and…READ MORE

JBuzz News January 21, 2014: UNESCO exhibit on Jewish ties to Israel rescheduled for June

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UNESCO exhibit on Jewish ties to Israel rescheduled for June

Source: Times of Israel, 1-21-13

UNESCO's Director General Irina Bokova poses with the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Rabbi Marvin Hier and a poster for the exhibit on the Jewish people's 3,500 connection to the land of Israel which she subsequently cancelled. (photo credit: Courtesy Simon Wiesenthal Center)

UNESCO’s Director General Irina Bokova poses with the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Marvin Hier and a poster for the exhibit on the Jewish people’s 3,500-year connection to the land of Israel, which she subsequently cancelled. (photo credit: Courtesy Simon Wiesenthal Center)

UN body had faced storm of criticism for canceling ‘People, Book, Land: The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land’ show under Arab pressure, claiming it could ‘endanger peace process’…READ MORE

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JBuzz Musings January 6, 2014: Pope Francis formally announces May trip dates to Israel, Middle East

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Pope Francis formally announces May trip dates to Israel, Middle East

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Although for months it was widely speculated that Pope Francis would make a trip to Israel in spring 2014, the Pope himself announced on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 that he will make a trip to Israel, Bethlehem, and Amman, Jordan…READ MORE

JBuzz Musings January 6, 2014: Women of the Wall face Torah smuggling controversy at Shevat Rosh Hodesh prayers

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Women of the Wall face Torah smuggling controversy at Shevat Rosh Hodesh prayers

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Only two days into the new calendar year and the Women of the Wall (WoW) have already made headlines with their first controversy of 2014 that they tried to smuggle a Torah scroll into the women’s section at…READ MORE

JBuzz Musings October 14, 2013: Pope Francis to visit Israel in March 2014

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Pope Francis to visit Israel in March 2014

By Bonnie K. Goodman

With a lingering invitation from Israeli President Shimon Peres from April and other Israeli officials, Pope Francis is now set to make his first visit as Pope to Israel in March 2014. Israel’s Channel 2 news reported on…READ MORE

JBuzz Musings September 25, 2013: Gilad Shalit receives warm welcome from Jewish community on Canadian Tour

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Gilad Shalit receives warm welcome from Jewish community on Canadian Tour (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Gilad Shalit completed the Eastern portion of his four city Canadian tour, having visited Toronto and Montreal on Sept. 16 and 17, 2013 respectively, receiving a warm welcome and greeted by large crowds at both synagogues where he spoke; Toronto…READ MORE

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JBuzz News September 9, 2013: Seventh-century treasures discovered at foot of Temple Mount

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Seventh-century treasures discovered at foot of Temple Mount

Source: JTA, 9-9-13

Gold and silver coins and jewelry dated from the seventh century were discovered at an excavation at the foot of the Temple Mount, Hebrew University researchers said….READ MORE

JBuzz Musings August 26, 2013: Women of the Wall protest over new egalitarian prayer site south of the Kotel

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Women of the Wall protest over new egalitarian prayer site south of the Kotel (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Video
The Israeli Ministry of Jerusalem and the Diaspora Affairs believes they had found a solution to the continual battle with the Women of the Wall prayer group; the creation of a temporary egalitarian prayer site next to the Western Wall…READ MORE

 Ezrat Yisrael, the new interim egalitarian prayer section to the south of the Western Wall Plaza; Aug. 25, 2013; the temporary section set up on a platform for the high-holidays for non-Orthodox prayer practices, including the Women of the Wall.

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JBuzz Musings August 4, 2013: Israeli President Shimon Peres honors Latvian and Lituanian Holocaust victims

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Israeli President Shimon Peres honors Latvian and Lituanian Holocaust victims

By Bonnie K. Goodman

This past week Israeli President Shimon Peres embarked on a four day trip to Latvia and Lituania from July 29 to August 1, 2013. Although it was a diplomatic mission filled with state dinners and meetings with the heads of…READ MORE

JBuzz Musings July 29, 2013: After elections for Israel’s chief rabbis calls for reform, inclusion linger

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After elections for Israel’s chief rabbis calls for reform, inclusion linger (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

This past Wednesday, July 24, 2013 Israel’s long and bitterly fought race to elect the next chief rabbis ended with the election Rabbi David Lau, 47 as the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, 61 as the Sephardic Chief Rabbi…READ MORE

JBuzz Musings July 14, 2013: Women of the Wall face ultra-Orthodox protests at Kotel

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Women of the Wall face ultra-Orthodox protests at Kotel

By Bonnie K. Goodman

On Monday, July 8, the Women of the Wall faced more protests from Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox during their monthly prayer meeting at the Kotel, Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel. After a reprieve from protests for one month the…READ MORE

JBuzz Musings July 2, 2013: Jewish Tribune experiences backlash from Gilad Shalit criticism

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Jewish Tribune experiences backlash from Gilad Shalit criticism (Photos)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

On June 18, 2013, the Jewish Tribune published a blistering critic of Gilad Shalit’s upcoming speaking tour to Canada sponsorded by Jewish National Fund (JNF) Canada. The Jewish Tribune is the newspaper associated the Jewish organization B’nai B’rith…READ MORE

JBuzz News May 13, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Receives First Fruits for Shavuot Holiday

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PM Netanyahu Receives First Fruits for Shavuot Holiday

Source: Arutz Sheva, 5-13-13

“First fruits” had to be one of the seven species that the Bible lists as Israel’s best crops – wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates and each year’s “first fruits” would be brought to the Temple from the holiday of Shavuot….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 6, 2013: Monitoring Professors Who Hate and Attack their Country

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Monitoring Professors Who Hate and Attack their Country

Source: The Jewish Press (blog), 5-6-13

These professors utilize their position as a means to prove the justness of their cause while the fact that they are Israeli adds a sense of legitimacy….READ MORE

JBuzz News April 30, 2013: Pope Francis and Israeli President Shimon Peres: Hopes for resumption of peace talks

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Pope and Israeli President : Hopes for resumption of peace talks

Source: Vatican Radio, 4-30-13

Pope Francis on Tuesday received in audience at the Vatican the Israeli President Shimon Peres and held talks on a variety of issues concerning the Middle East. President Peres also met the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertoni and Archbishop Dominque Mamberti, Secretary of Relations with States.

Please find below an English translation of the official communique on the talks released afterwards by the Holy See’s Press Office:

“During the cordial talks, the political and social situation in the Middle East—where more than a few conflicts persist—was addressed. A speedy resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians is hoped for, so that, with the courageous decisions and availability of both sides as well as support from the international community, an agreement may be reached that respects the legitimate aspirations of the two Peoples, thus decisively contributing to the peace and stability of the region. Reference to the important issue of the City of Jerusalem was not overlooked. Particular worry for the conflict that plagues Syria was expressed, for which a political solution is hoped for that privileges the logic of reconciliation and dialogue.

A number of issues concerning relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See and between state authorities and the local Catholic communities were also addressed. In conclusion, the significant progress made by the Bilateral Working Commission, which is preparing an agreement regarding issues of common interest, was appreciated and its rapid conclusion is foreseen.”

Following Tuesday’s meeting between Pope Francis and President Peres, Israel’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Zion Evrony spoke to Vatican Radio’s Susy Hodges about their talks and in particular about the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the Syrian conflict and the long-standing bilateral talks between Israel and the Holy See on tax and economic issues.

Listen to the extended interview with Ambassador Evrony by Susy Hodges: RealAudioMP3

Ambassador Evrony says Israel “really hopes” for an early resumption of the stalled peace process between the Jewish state and the Palestinians. “There’s nothing that that the people of Israel want more than peace … peace with our Palestinian neighbours is one of our main goals,” he says.

Ambassador Evrony also talks about Israel’s concerns over the Syrian conflict, saying the crisis there “is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis.” “It is tragic,” he continues, “to see the bloodshed and human suffering and see a brutal dictator massacre his own people.” The Israeli Ambassador also spoke of his country’s concern about the issue of chemical weapons in Syria and said he is worried that “these chemical weapons could end up in the wrong hands.”

Turning to the question of the bilateral discussions between Israel and the Holy See over various economic and tax issues, Ambassador Evrony said “there was reason to be optimistic” concerning these long-standing issues although he added “there is still some work to be done” before a final conclusion can be reached.

JBuzz News April 25, 2013: Jerusalem Court Upholds Ruling in Women of the Wall Case

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Jerusalem Court Upholds Ruling in Women of the Wall Case

Source: NYT, 4-25-13

Rejecting an appeal by the police, the court ruled that five women detained for wearing men’s-style prayer shawls and singing at the Western Wall were not disturbing the peace….READ MORE

JBuzz News April 5, 2013: 6 survivors to represent 6 million at Yad VaShem Holocaust Rememberance Day / Yom HaShoah ceremony

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6 survivors to represent 6 million at Holocaust ceremony

Source: Ynetnews, 4-5-13

Entitled “uprising and rebellion in the Holocaust” and on the backdrop of the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Sunday evening will open Holocaust Remembrance Day activities and the main ceremony at the Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad VaShem….READ MORE

JBuzz News March 28, 2013: Israel Supplants US As World’s Largest Jewish Population Center, Passing Symbolic 6 Million Figure

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Israel Supplants U.S. As World’s Largest Jewish Population Center, Passing Symbolic 6 Million Figure

Source: International Business Times, 3-28-13

However, a leading expert on demography warns that overall the world’s Jewish population is declining. “In the world today there are 13,800,000 Jews,” Professor Sergio Della Pergola of Hebrew University in Jerusalem told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper….READ MORE

JBuzz News March 28, 2013: Israel’s Jewish population passes 6 million mark

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Israel’s Jewish population passes 6 million mark

Israel becomes world’s largest Jewish center, with six million Jews; United States in second place, France third. ‘World’s Jews on decline,’ expert says

Source: Ynetnews, 3-28-13

Israel’s population has crossed the eight million threshold over Passover, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Thursday. With six million Jews, Israel has become the world’s largest Jewish center.

The remainder of the population is comprised of 1.6 million Arabs, 350,000 non-Arab Christians and others, mostly olim or relatives of olim from the former USSR, whose religion is not listed in the Interior Ministry‘s census.

At the start of 2012, Israel was home to 7.836 million people, after a growth of 1.8% from 2011….READ MORE