JBuzz News June 12, 2020: 400 Jewish studies scholars denounce Israel’s annexation in the West Bank in petition

400 Jewish studies scholars denounce annexation as a ‘crime against humanity’

Source: Times of Israel, 6-12-20

An Israeli flag is seen in the E1 area of the West Bank on January 2, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

An Israeli flag is seen in the E1 area of the West Bank on January 2, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Academics sign letter saying Israel’s extension of sovereignty over parts of West Bank lands would create ‘apartheid conditions.’..READ MORE

“Representing a spectrum of viewpoints, we write in opposition to the continuation of the occupation and the stated intention of the current elected government in Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, thereby formally (de jure) creating apartheid conditions in Israel and Palestine,” the statement said

List of signatures: https://www.annexation.site/signatures/

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 23, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Rosh Hashana Greeting to Jewish Communities Around the World — Transcript

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Rosh Hashana Greeting to Jewish Communities Around the World

Source: PMO, 9-23-14
יום שלישי כ”ח אלול תשע”ד

“My friends,
As Jews celebrate the New Year around the world, we can take pride in all that unites us. The Jewish people indeed always unite when faced with great challenges, and the past year was no exception.
Over the past few months, three of our teenagers were kidnapped and brutally murdered, thousands of rockets were fired at our country and too many of our bravest young men and their families made the most painful of sacrifices in Operation Protective Edge.
Throughout all that, we witnessed tremendous support for Israel from Jewish communities everywhere. And at the same time, we in Israel know that it has been a difficult period for many of your Jewish communities. You face increasingly virulent and…

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Full Text Israel Political Brief September 23, 2014: President Reuven Rivlin’s Rosh Hashanah message — Transcript

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Rosh Hashanah message from the President of Israel

Source: MFA, 9-23-14

MFASummaryNew

Message from the President of the State of Israel to the Jewish Communities of the Diaspora on the occasion of the New Year – Rosh Hashanah 5775

Brothers and sisters,
Leaders of the Jewish communities of the Diaspora and their friends,
According to Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah represents a time of personal, community and national soul-searching. In the shadow of the events of the past months, this year, here in Israel, these days of reflection are reaffirmed and take on a special meaning.
With the kidnapping and murder of the four teenagers: Naftali, Gilad, Eyal and Muhammad; and the ongoing campaign in southern Israel in the background, the citizens of Israel and their leaders were faced with difficult dilemmas: the responsibility to defend our homes and land, alongside the concern of harming innocent people; the commitment to enable a free democratic dialogue, versus the need to set clear limits to restrain manifestations of inflammatory behavior and incitement. Israel had to respond to the threats of terror organizations from the outside, while maintaining its image and values as a Jewish and democratic state that is committed to international law and is dedicated to providing all its citizens with equality and dignity, Arabs and Jews alike.
The resilience of Israel is not based on its military strength, but emanates from the liberal, democratic and Jewish values on which it was founded. Even at a time when Israel is required to mobilize its military front, it cannot ignore its home front and the surge of violent political manifestations of incitement and hate in its streets. Israel’s leadership and Israel’s society are judged not only by their military resiliency, but also by their civil resiliency, not only in normal times, but also in times of crisis.
In the course of Operation Protective Edge, I felt that Israel was not alone in the arena. Leaders of the free world and many of the members of the various Jewish movements and communities stood shoulder to shoulder with Israel, supporting its duty to defend its citizens and identifying with its efforts to restore peace to Israel’s southern communities.
On the threshold of the New Year, I want to thank you, leaders and members of the Jewish communities, for your support of Israel’s soldiers and its home front, and especially its southern communities. It is with much anticipation that I hope we shall continue to stand together in the face of the challenges awaiting the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora in the future, generated by a sense of mutual responsibility and partnership.
Dear Friends,
The coming year is marked by Jewish tradition as a shmita year, a sabbatical year for land and man. The observance of shmita serves to slow down the economic race and utilitarianism, and see in others, a human being. I pray that this year the gates of our hearts will open to let in compassion, generosity and mutual responsibility. May the coming year bring the sound of joy, a symphony of miscellaneous Jewish voices that will unite us all as a family, community and people.
כתיבה וחתימה טובה!
Shana Tova Ve’Metuka,
Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin

JBuzz News September 19, 2014: Oldest Jewish Prayer Book on Display for the First Time at Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem

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Oldest Jewish Prayer Book on Display for the First Time

Source: PMO, 9-18-14
יום חמישי כ”ג אלול תשע”ד

 

Photo by Haim Zah, GPO

Prime Minister Netanyahu upon receiving the prayer book: “It is a connection between our past and present and that is something of great value.”…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 Musings October 23, 2013: American Jewish views of Israel, its government becoming more liberal, critical

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American Jewish views of Israel, its government becoming more liberal, critical

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Two surveys recently released in early October 2013 looked at the views of American Jews on Israel; one poll looked at the average Jewish Americans position, and the other looks at the position American rabbis take towards Israel. The first…

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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 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 Transcripts August 1, 2013: President Shimon Peres’s speech at the Ponar Memorial ceremony in Lithuania

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Presidential address at the Ponar Memorial ceremony in Lithuania

By SHIMON PERES

Shimon_Peres_Ponar_Ceremonyiv>

‘Painful memories are etched in our hearts’ the President said at Valley of Slaughter in Vilnius, where the Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators murdered some 70,000 Jews.

Amid the trees of Ponar, I can hear the words of Abba Kovner echoing the cries of our murdered brothers and sisters.

I quote: “We shall remember…

The city houses and the country houses.

The aged man and the features of his face.

The mother in her kerchief.

The young girl with her braids.

The child, The child, The entire assembly of Jews Brought down to slaughter on the soil of Europe By the Nazi destroyer, The man who suddenly screamed.

And while screaming died.”

Ponar, from where thousands of our fathers and mothers, our little boys and girls, were murdered.

They will never return.

They will never die in our hearts.

Seventy thousands of them were Jewish.

And thousands were others.

Why? What for? The pastoral scenery surrounding us here is misleading.

Its color remains green. But the ground is red.

The screams of the victims detonating from the damp soil will remain a disgrace to humanity.

Vilnius was considered the Jerusalem of Lithuania, where hopeful and vibrant Jewish communities built a life of their own.

And suddenly, a third of Lithuania’s Jewish people were slaughtered in these fields.

Only a mass grave remains in front of us.

Innocent men and women, babies and children were stripped and then pushed and thrown to the cold bottom of this pit.

Their bodies were tortured and burned at the sound of a short-range burst of fire.

In the massacre valley of Ponar, there were no gas chambers.

Just direct murder.

Physical.

Precise.

Just by pressing the trigger.

One after another.

Day in, day out.

Five hundred a day.

No interruptions.

No regrets.

No second thought.

No thought at all.

Killers.

Killing was their vocation.

History had known no such atrocities, ever.

Just few survived.

From the scorched bodies, only the spirit remained.

An eternal spirit. Facing evil. Our people remained humane.

The spirit of our moral call, Tikkun Olam – to better the world – was molded from the lead of the bullets.

Ponar is a warning.

For us all.

For the generations to come.

Never again.

Never, not even for a moment, may we weaken in our common mission against racism, anti-Semitism and mass destruction.

In Vilnius, there were 200 churches and 110 synagogues. Yet there is just one Lord in heaven.

So let us pray together, let us convert sword and war into brotherhood and friendship between peoples.

Let us pray for the freedom and peace of every person. For all nations. For posterity.

The State of Israel is a living triumph over the horrors of the Shoah.

A bastion of survivors.

A tribute to the hopes of six million Jews.

In spite of the Holocaust, Israel is the continuation of the interrupted dreams of one-and-a-half million children murdered at the dawn of their days.

We can never forget. And we shall always teach our children to withstand darkness.

Lithuania has undertaken this duty with responsibility and seriousness.

Madam President [Dalia Grybauskaite], we respect your efforts to memorialize and educate the youth about this shameful stain, so as never to allow it to happen again.

The newly created democracy of Lithuania is based on courage and tolerance.

On building a future for the free.

The Lithuanian people have learned that the key to raising a new, tolerant generation is in facing the horrors of history with courage.

The blood-soaking the soil of Ponar will not be atoned for until its lessons will become the legacy of humanity as a whole.

Painful memories are etched in our hearts.

Yet high hopes beat in our souls.

On our journey from the abyss of the past to the heights of the tomorrow, we remain determined as ever, to seek justice.

To offer peace.

Not to forget.

Not to forgive.

To pray for the future of our children.

To allow them to be free.

To enjoy peace.

To respect others.

Promising both to remember the shadows of the past and the light of the future.

The Lord who made peace in his Heavens will provide peace on the land.