Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Gap Year In Israel


Video Of The Week – Gap Year In Israel - https://tinyurl.com/y35lwwcg

For the full article go to - https://tinyurl.com/y56yk73f

The Times of Israel, By Wendy Singer, 25-7-2019

Tomorrow at 7 a.m. we are taking our youngest daughter, Yarden, to Ammunition Hill to begin her two-year army service. Given what an emotional event this is for most families, the drop-off routine is the most non-ceremonial act one can imagine.

For me, an equally significant part of this day is that it will close a chapter in our lives, a “stage in life” that each of our daughters experienced, in succession, in the last few years.  They each decided to take a gap year after high school, and enlist in a mechina — which literally means “to prepare” but actually is a pre-military leadership academy.

Here, preparing for the military has little to do with drills or getting into shape. The main preparation is to build character and start transitioning to a world where you are part of something that is larger than yourself. This gap year combines intensive community service, study and cultivating a deep appreciation for Israel, through exploration of the country, top to bottom.

It sounds like a pretty straightforward gap year option, but on a much deeper level, I see the mechina innovation as one of the most interesting and impactful entrepreneurship projects to come out of Israel in decades. 

Each mechina has a slightly different focus. Some are more intensive on the study side; others on the volunteering end; and others for the all-out Israel exploration, and agrarian embrace of the land. Some mechina programs undertake ambitious urban renewal efforts; others have an “eco” or sustainability focus. Many of them deliberately combine participants from different stripes of Israeli society — religious and secular, city and periphery.

What they all have in common is that 40 to 50 18-year olds from all over the country live together, self-govern their community, and open themselves up to intellectual and even spiritual development that they would never have reached in their regular academic lives. What they all have in common is a breaking down of barriers so that an openness to listen to the “other” becomes natural. They also form a lifelong network and support mechanism taking them through their army service and beyond.

The common thread is that these kids live in sparse, I mean sparse, conditions for the year, and are given assignments — think of them as missions — where they have to figure out how to do more with less, and go way out of their comfort zones in order to accomplish the said assignment. At the Nachshon mechina, our daughter Noa had to find her way as a volunteer at a Bedouin community center for kids-at-risk. At the Nofei Prat mechina, Tamar’s “social projects committee” was tasked with building (from scratch) a week-long day camp during Chanukah for 180 Ethiopian youth, so that the kids’ parents could continue to work, while they were off from school. Her budget was less than a shoestring, and she was told to go raise the remainder. And Yarden, who will get her green uniform sometime tomorrow, was busy with her committee’s renovations of the still-young campus of the Aderet mechina, which sits alongside a high school for youth-at-risk. When the vegetable patches they planted weren’t getting sufficient water, they were told to figure out how to build an irrigation system. The tools for doing so had to be figured out from scratch. When the kids wanted to build a geodesic dome at the mechina to allow for more communal hang-out space, they knew they would be the designers, architects and logistics operation for doing so. Bare-bones materials were acquired on a paltry budget.

The academic angle is especially interesting. Most of the lectures given are arranged by the mechina students. As each of the core topics is covered during the year, these kids have to contact speakers, big name ones and just interesting ones who are less famous, and convince them to come lecture to their cohort: no compensation, not even for transportation. There’s a lot of hustling, and a lot of figuring out with your peers, what is the best way to cover each topic. 

Most of the content is around the history of Israel; philosophy; religion; and life-related dilemmas. There are no tests and no grades. Yet we found that, for the first time in their K-12 lives, our daughters were actually paying attention in class, and actively engaging with the material being taught. They imbued the kids with an extraordinary sense of purpose, to give back to the State of Israel, and help it become a better country than the one they inherited.  

Like so many aspects of the building blocks of Israeli entrepreneurship, these things are often hard to replicate in other countries. But the mechina model is different. The pioneers of the mechina movement have constructed a model that I believe can be piloted in other places.  Already, through various cross-pollinating, some of the Ein Pratt Academy leaders from Israel have managed to advise NGOs and governments in Zimbabwe and the Ukraine on how to build similar leadership academies. Active discussions for doing the same in the Netherlands and the US are underway.

As policy-makers in many countries wrestle with how to create something impactful for high school graduates at this critical phase in their lives, I invite them to look at what Israel has done with this stage in life. In my view, this model is no less transformational than the drip irrigation that we have exported to markets around the world over since the ‘60s and ‘70s. In this case, it is not tech, but rather a concrete and replicable social innovation that Israel has to offer. The key is an openness for a year of scrappy living, and a mindset that forces the youth to take on assignments where the key element is: figure it out. The outcome could be a generation of purpose-driven youth who have more tools and determination to serve and take on the challenges of their communities.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Israel, Bahrain foreign ministers hold first public meeting in US

Video Of The Week - PALESTINIAN APARTHEID- https://tinyurl.com/y3aje236

Full article -  AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES - https://tinyurl.com/yyar8v66

According to an Israeli foreign ministry statement the two leaders discussed 'Iran and regional threats'.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Thursday announced that he had met his Bahrain counterpart publicly during a visit to Washington, DC the first meeting between the two countries that do not have diplomatic relations.

"Yesterday I met publicly with the Foreign Minister of Bahrain" Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Katz said in a tweet.

Referring to Benjamin Netanyahu, Katz added: "I will continue to work with (the Israeli Prime Minister) to advance Israel's relations with the Gulf countries."

Israel has diplomatic relations with only two Arab countries - Egypt and Jordan - but common concerns over Iran have brought it closer to Gulf nations in recent years.

According to an Israeli Foreign Ministry statement, the "meeting was coordinated behind the scenes by the US State Department as part of a conference on religious liberty organised in Washington by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo".

The two men "addressed the subject of Iran and regional threats as well as cooperation between states and agreed to continue...," it added.

Gulf Arab nations have increasingly found common cause with Israel due to their shared hostility towards Iran. Tehran is accused of wanting to extend its influence in the region and of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.

Last month, Bahrain hosted a conference to discuss what the US has described as the economic part of President Donald Trump's "deal of the century", his proposal for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The meeting comes at a time of mounting tensions in the Gulf region between the United States and Iran which has been slapped with a raft of sanctions by the Trump administration.

On Thursday, the US military shot down an Iranian drone on that came within 1,000 yards (914 metres) of one of its naval vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, Trump said.

Last week, a British warship in the Gulf warned off armed Iranian boats that tried to stop a UK supertanker. London has since announced the deployment of two more warships to the Gulf region for the coming months.

The US's largest naval base in the Middle East is located in Bahrain.


Thursday, July 18, 2019

More Questions And Answers

 Q.  Why do you say there is no peace partner?
    Can you identify even one Arab country or political movement that hasn’t wanted to destroy Israel, and has recognized Israel’s right to exist, other than Morocco? Egypt and Jordan have signed peace agreements with Israel?
     State the truth about Islamic responses to peace negotiations; the resolution since 1967 being “No Peace with Israel, No Negotiations with Israel, No recognition of Israel.” Several countries have sought peace and several emirates are now considering it, but that is not the case with the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.
     Israel will join peace in the Middle East when there is peace in the Middle East. Reference to “the Middle East Conflict” rarely references all the wars in which Arabs are killing Arabs, but focuses on the conflict between Israel and residents of Gaza, Judea and Samaria, but that is minor in comparison. The conflicts in the Arab Muslim world have been that way for centuries!
     Consider this—there is no peace among the Arab tribes that currently reside in Judea and Samaria—here is a solution for peace: http://www.palestinianemirates.com
     End the Palestinian Authority and deal with 8 tribal groups as a solution to the conflict.

Q.  I disagree with Israel’s policies, so don’t I have the right to boycott Israel?
     Would you give up your cellphone, medicines or other products invented or produced by Israel? See the hypocrisy if you won’t.
     Do you agree with all Canadian government policies?
     Do you boycott other countries which ignore human rights such as China, Cuba, Russia, Uganda (where it’s illegal to be LGBTQ), to name a few?
     There is no apartheid in Israel and there is equality for women, minorities and LGBTQ folks in Israel so rather than support the annual Anti-Israel Apartheid Week which perpetuates lies, isn’t it time to create Arab Apartheid Month at universities?
     To combat the profs who support BDS and spread lies and anti-Semitism, organize seniors to register and audit classes, then publish names of profs and courses that do spread lies.
     What about the jobs created by Israeli companies that employ Arabs and do you realize that boycotts kill Arab jobs?

 Q.  How can you claim Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism when Israel has policies we don’t support
•     Does Canada have policies we don’t support? Does Canada have the right to exist? (Or any other country?)
     Israelis have many disputes with the government so isn’t the matter their national concern and not ours?
     To say Jews can’t defend themselves is anti-Semitism.
     There is a Double standard, one should compare Israel to other democracies, and note it often fares better.
     One should also hold the Arabs accountable, rather than having such low expectations of Muslim countries.
     Neo/New anti-Semitism is anti-Zionist, blaming the only Jewish state for matters outside of its control, hate-mongering, character assassinating, demonizing and stereotyping.
     Let’s “Take back Zionism” which is the positive view of Jewish nationalism in the Jewish homeland.
     Read The Strange Death of Europe by Douglas Murray.
     Multiculturalism should not be cultural relativism as not all cultures are equal.
     Political Correctness = danger, read Israel: Reclaiming the Narrative by Barry Shaw and Eurabia by Bat Ye'or.

Q.  Isn’t Israel a racist – apartheid state given the Nation State Law?
     No, the Nation State Law does not infringe on the civil and human rights of minorities.
     Define apartheid which existed under state legislation in South Africa, denying rights to a majority of the citizens, whereas in Israel all residents are equal before the law and share in human rights under the law.
     Name an Arab or Muslim state in which there is equality for all of its citizens?
     The Nation State Law is not the only Basic Law; other Basic Laws protect the rights of all people in Israel.

Q.  Why is Israel attacking civilians in Gaza?
•     How many missiles would you allow on your city or town before reacting? Would any Country choose not to defend its own citizens when attacked? Are you aware that Hamas pays people to participate in their rallies and attacks and punishes those who don’t?

     Q.  How can Israel deny the Right of Return to Arabs who fled in 1948?
•     I support the right of Arabs to return to the Arab countries from which they came in the late 1800s and early 1900s when Jews began to settle in Palestine and created more opportunity and improved standard of living. Most came from neighboring lands that were designated countries after Partition, just as Israel was.
     If the Palestinian Arabs deserved a state, why didn’t Jordan give them one during its 19 years of occupation of Judea and Samaria, which they renamed the West Bank. The Jordanians did not recognize the Arab inhabitants as a separate people during its 7000 days of occupation.
     Jerusalem was never the capital of any state but the Jewish state, and it was never important to the Arabs until after the 1967 war, at which time the concept of a “Palestinian people” emerged.
     According to the UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), one can only be a refugee for a maximum of 10 years, but under UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) there is no end to the time an Arab can claim refugee status and it’s an inherited status, thus after 70 years, even Arab Palestinians settled abroad are consider refugees.
     Why have Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt denied citizenship, permanent residency status and access to jobs, education and services to Arabs who fled Israel 70+ years ago?
     Why have over 889,000 Jews who were forcibly expelled from 8 Arab countries never been recognized as refugees or received any funds from the UN or its agencies?

     Questions from either the Left or Right are often intended to undermine Israel’s right to exist or to defend herself, and they are often couched in bias, in ignorance or in oft repeated lies. We encourage people to read and practice responding. You will no longer feel impotent in defending Israel, the only Nation State of the Jewish People.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Learn To Speak Up For Israel

Video Of The Week - Miss Iraq drops bomb at U.N. - https://tinyurl.com/yycrm9uk

 We are pleased to share the lessons learned, and the language to use in addressing many myths and lies about Israel. This information comes from a workshop organized by the CAEF Event Committee with Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arabic and Middle East specialist from Bar Ilan University, Israel. The 30 participants in the training, now have greater confidence to respond to challenging questions, often posed by friends, family members or colleagues in dialogue about Israel. We offer this Q & A to all readers.

Q.  If it’s a colonial project, does Israel have the right to exist?

·        What is a colonial project? What is Canada if not a colonial project? 
·        The Jews were in Israel, for 3000 years, no other ethnic/religious group is still there from Biblical times.
·        If I return, when will you return to your homeland?
·        Jews did not exterminate people who were already there.
·        Jerusalem is the oldest capital in the world, the Jewish capital, and has never been the capital of any other nation.

Q.  How can you defend the occupation and settlements?

·        What other country has given land back after a defensive war?
·        No other lands of a winning nation have ever been returned. e.g. Should Texas go back to Mexico? Do you support the occupation of Western Sahara, Tibet, Crimea, and if not, what are you doing about it? 
·        In order to be given sovereignty, land has to be taken from a sovereign entity. Judea and Samaria were not sovereign. There are many areas of border disputes, eg. Kashmir.  Are you lobbying for its return or conflict resolution?
·        In all other areas of dispute, countries maintain relations. 
·        “Occupation” is a claim which is a pretext for lack of peace. If Arab Palestinians believe they are rightly living on their own land, how can they claim an occupation? What of the lands illegally settled by Arabs in Judea and Samaria, in some cases creating towns with no residents?
·        Note the illegal “occupation” of Judea and Samaria by Jordan took place from 1948-67, when it was then liberated in defensive war after the massacre of Jews.

Q.  Shouldn’t Arabs have a Free Palestine?

·        Yes, free from the “Arab occupation, Hamas and Palestinian Authority” which deny them basic human rights.

Q.  How can you say there is no Palestinian people?

·        Are you referring to the Philistines? The Arabs living in Israel are not those people.
·        Are you referring to the various tribes? The people from other countries eg. Egypt, Iraq?
·        Are you referring to Arabs in Jordan or those Jordan expelled?
·        What is the Palestinian culture, language?
·        There is no ‘P’ in Arabic – so they could never have been called ‘Palestinian’.
·        There are numerous tribes, not a nation and these tribes are not cooperating with one another, and they are not likely to become a nation.
·        Nov 29, 1947, General Assembly voted on a Jewish State and an Arabic State, not a Palestine state. Both peoples lived in the Mandate for Palestine, formally called Syria Palestina by the Romans.  There are 2 Palestinian people – Israelis + Jordanians, though the latter are ruled by the Hashemite tribe.
·        Consider this: If it had been an Arab country, would Arabs give up the right of return after 50 years, 100 years, 1000, 2000? If not, you now understand the Jewish position as Israel was historically a Jewish country. It was however, never an Arab country, even pre-WWI, the interwar years or WWII. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2019


Video Of The Week - Jerusalem's - 2,000-year-old pilgrimage road - https://tinyurl.com/y4dz5enc
The City of David has already changed Jerusalem. A new discovery there opening soon will change the way Jews connect with their past in a way never seen before.

From J.Post - BY YAAKOV KATZ   JUNE 30, 2019 12:58 - https://tinyurl.com/y3pr4btm 

In 2004, a sewage pipe burst in the middle of the neighborhood of Silwan in southeast Jerusalem. The municipality sent in a crew of construction workers to fix the leak, and as is the case in Jerusalem and especially in neighborhoods adjacent to the Old City, they were accompanied by a team of archeologists.

As the repairs progressed, the construction workers stumbled upon some long and wide stairs a few dozen meters from where the Shiloah – the ancient pool Jewish pilgrims would dip in before beginning the religious ascent to the Temple, until its destruction in 70 CE – was believed to have once stood. The steps were just like the ones that lead to the Hulda Gates, a set of now blocked entrances along the Temple Mount’s Southern Wall.

Discovery of the Shiloah Pool led to another monumental find – the central water drainage channel that had served ancient Jerusalem. This channel is the tunnel that visitors to the City of David – known as Ir David – get to walk through today, starting at the bottom of the Shiloah and emerging about 45 minutes later next to the Western Wall.

The ancient street is referred to as “Pilgrimage Road,” since archeologists are convinced that this is the path millions of Jews took three times a year when performing the commandment of aliyah l’regel – going up to the holy city of Jerusalem to bring sacrifices to God during Judaism’s three key holidays, Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

The Pilgrimage Road goes all the way from the Shiloah Pool to the area adjacent to the Western Wall known as Robinson’s Arch, where today you can still see remnants of the ancient stairway that led into the Jewish Temple.

Walking the road – as of now Ir David has excavated about 250 meters of it – you can imagine the throngs of people parading on it 2,000 years ago. Young boys walking next to their parents. Girls on their fathers’ shoulders. So far, only some of the stores that once lined the road have been partially uncovered, but with imagination you can hear the bartering that took place here – people trading leather for fur, seeds for honey, coins for wine.

For example, archaeologists found a set of stairs in the middle of the road alongside one of the ancient shops. But the staircase doesn’t go anywhere. It ends in a platform. When Ir David checked, though, it found just one other similar set of stairs – in Rome.

IR DAVID has changed our understanding of history. It is one thing to read the Mishna and imagine or visualize what life for Jews was once like. It is quite another to walk on the exact same road as they did.

Ir David hopes that when the road officially opens in a few months, it will draw approximately one million visitors a year.

Considering the anti-Israel resolutions coming out of United Nations organizations such as UNESCO that deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, the Pilgrimage Road has far greater significance for Israel than just the opening of a new impressive tourist site, said Ze’ev Orenstein, director of international affairs for Ir David.

It proves the long and historic Jewish connection to Jerusalem, Orenstein stressed, not just the parts where Jews live today but across the city, even if it takes you under homes and streets in Arab neighborhoods like Silwan.

US Ambassador David Friedman agrees. “The City of David brings truth and science to a debate that has been marred for too long by myths and deceptions,” he told the Magazine. “Its findings, in most cases by secular archeologists, bring an end to the baseless efforts to deny the historical fact of Jerusalem’s ancient connection to the Jewish people.”

I asked Friedman why the discovery of Pilgrimage Road was important for the US government.

“There has been enormous support for the City of David by the American public,” he said. “This is yet another example – and a great one – of the recognition of the Judeo-Christian values upon which both nations were founded.”

I asked Friedman what would happen if a peace deal were to be concluded one day between Israel and the Palestinians. Is it possible that the Jewish state would be asked to give up Ir David or Silwan?

“I do not believe that Israel would ever consider such a thought,” he said. “The City of David is an essential component of the national heritage of the State of Israel. It would be akin to America returning the Statue of Liberty.”