Israel Corner

Welcome to the Israel Corner!     ברוכים הבאים לפינה ישראל

The Israel Corner column electronic version is on www.lss.org/israelcorner Since many of the articles contain links to important information which can only be read online, visit this web site regularly. Why not receive the Israel Corner weekly in your inbox? Email nvogel212@gmail.com to be added to the distribution list and never miss an issue.

February 24-25

Register Now for the AIPAC Policy Conference

This year’s conference starts on Sunday, March 26. Also consider attending the Shabbaton that precedes it. To register, please visit www.aipac.org If you have any questions, please speak with Ann Crane.

 

Back in the USSR: Two Special Programs on Sunday, February 26

The 1970 "Leningrad hijack affair" was a pivotal event in Jewish history. A band of Soviet Jews, desperate to emigrate to Israel despite the USSR's shut doors, planned to steal a Russian airplane and fly it to freedom. They never touched the craft. The KGB was on to them and they were all arrested at the airport. Their trial a half year later and the death and long prison sentences meted out provoked outraged international protests. The Kremlin backed down; the death sentences were converted to prison, and some of the years of sentences were cut.

On Sunday, February 26th in New York City, two events will recall those fateful days. At 2 pm, join the official New York premiere at Columbia University of the acclaimed film documentary, "Operation Wedding". Director Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov, daughter of two of the plotters, Sylva Zalmanson and Edward Kuznetsov, will hold a Q&A, and there'll also be a panel discussion. Click on http://www.operation-wedding-documentary.com/nyc to see a trailer and to purchase tickets.

Then, at 7 pm, listen to one of the plot leaders, Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich, who will present an inspirational talk, "Against All Odds: How One Jew Stood Up to the KGB" at Congregation Ohab Zedek, 118 West 95th Street, Manhattan. Admission is free. Rabbi Mendelevich withstood 11 long years in the Gulag, and remained firm in his devotion to Judaism and Zion. Speak with Glenn Richter about both of these programs.

Can You Hear Me Now? Palestinian children get to hear for the first time

Sixteen deaf Palestinian children underwent cochlear implant surgery at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. Following these procedures, the children could hear for the first time in their lives.

The cochlear implant surgery is quite common nowadays in the western world, but it is not appropriately accessible for struggling populations in developing regions. The operation was conducted under the auspices of the Peres Center for Peace program, for Palestinian children residing in the West Bank and in Gaza.

 

"The operations posed quite a logistical challenge," said Dr. Michal Kaufmann, the performing surgeon, "many authorizations were required from the Defense Ministry, some of the children arrived without a medical record and required extensive tests at Hadassah, alongside the emotional and psychological treatment."

 

The cochlear implant is an implanted hearing device, which is surgically inserted into the inner ear, bypassing the damaged organ and directly stimulating the hearing nerve. It was intended for children who were born deaf or adults who lost their hearing during their lives, and it potentially has the ability to return one's hearing.

The surgical procedure is performed under general anesthesia and is only the first phase of the procedure. About a month after the procedure, the first fitting with the external part takes place. This phase is done by a speech therapist and is followed by a months-long rehabilitation process. The entire procedure requires the collaboration of otolaryngologists, ear surgeons, and speech therapists specialized in the field of implants.

 

"This is an amazing project that gives these children the opportunity to step out of their world of silence and live their lives normally and fully," said Dr. Kaufmann. "These children couldn't speak prior to the surgery, they were bereft of any supporting environment, uncommunicative. The surgery opened up their world, the ability to communicate and spread their wings... We are happy to have been able to contribute to such a dramatic change in their lives," she continued.

 

How Israeli Women Are Steering the Start-Up Nation Into New Global Markets

Yali Harari CEO, Entrepreneur

Monday, February 27 at 7:00 pm

Shaaray Tefilla, 250 East 79th Street (corner of Second Avenue)

Free admission

 

How can Israel maintain its leadership position as the Start-Up Nation in a rapidly globalizing world? How can Israel maintain and increase its creativity levels and investment opportunities? What needs to happen differently in the next decade?

 

Mrs. Harari has been leading organizations for over 25 years, and has extensive management background in the Technology, Software, Hardware and Services space both in Israel and in the USA.

 

 

AIPAC Shabbaton: Shabbat February 24

Dr. Sharon Goldman, AIPAC Northeast Regional Deputy Director, will speak about the current state of the US-Israel relationship – the challenges and the opportunities in this uncertain political climate. Dr. Salma Zarka is the Director of Ziv Medical Center, Israel's northernmost hospital, located very close to the Syrian border.  He was head of the Medical Corps of the Northern Command and Commander of the Military  Hospital for the Syrian casualties  in the Golan Heights.  He is the first Druze to head an Israeli hospital.  He will address issues regarding Israel's role providing medical aid to the multicultural ethnicities in Northern Israel and is very involved in its medical humanitarian efforts re: SyrianCivil War. 

For more information about AIPAC, please email anncrane2750@gmail.com

 

February 17-18

Treat an IDF Soldier to Mishloach Manot

Purim is coming and with it, the delicious obligation to send Mishloach manot. Please consider sending Mishloach Manot to our beloved IDF soldiers. There are quite a few organizations that can make this happen, but to access their links you will need to read this in the electronic version of the Israel Corner. One way to do so is by donating to ConnectionsIsrael.com Also, Young Israel delivers Mishloach Manot to chayalim and chayalot through its WarriorTorah.org program. Last but not least, the ZOA

 

 

Treating Wounded Syrians….

In a recent Shabbat drasha, Rabbi Robinson described his experience in visiting a hospital in Tzfat to see for himself how Israelis treat wounded Syrians. Subsequently, the following article appeared in Reuters.

 

It happens nearly every night. After dark, the Syrian wounded come to known locations on the Israel-Syria front in the Golan Heights, driven by desperation to seek help from an enemy army. Israeli soldiers on lookout or patrol spot them waiting by the fence and whisk them away to a rear position where army medics soon arrive, according to army officials operating in the area that was seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

On one bitterly cold January night, gunfire and explosions could be heard in the near distance as Israeli medics dressed the injuries of two Syrian men, one suffering a head wound.

"We're doing everything we can to save their lives, to stabilize them and evacuate them to hospital," said Captain Aviad Camisa, deputy chief medical officer of the Golan brigade.

The medics lift the wounded men onto an army ambulance which slowly drives off down a dirt road. A Syrian family -- two grandparents, a mother, father and a child aided by a walker -- pass by as they prepare to cross back into Syria in the dead of night. "Some of the stories stir your emotions. When children come, as a father, it touches me personally," Camisa said.

Those who spoke to Reuters at Ziv medical Center in Safed, northern Israel, did so freely but asked not to be identified by name or have their faces photographed or filmed for fear of retribution back home.

One man, his legs pierced by shrapnel, survived a bomb attack in his village in which 23 people were killed. "In the past we used to know Israel as our enemy. That's what the regime used to tell us," he said. "When we came to Israel we changed our minds, there is no enmity between us. In the end we discovered that our regime is the enemy of us all," he said, referring to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

And now: Operation Human Warmth

Refugees in Syria will soon be receiving donated winter supplies — but they won’t know that the coats and boots keeping them warm came from Israel, an enemy state. Any logos or tags featuring Hebrew writing has been removed from the more than 100 tons of supplies collected by three Israeli groups, in order “to protect the effort and the recipients,” according to a statement. The organizers collected about 3,000 boxes of blankets, coats, sleeping bags, gloves, boots and other winter supplies.

“I thought people would be reluctant to support an effort they would not get credit for,” Gilad Perry, Dror Israel’s international collaborations director, said in a statement. “I was amazed to see how wrong I was. The generosity of people just caring for those who suffer from the cold winter on the other side of the border, in an ‘enemy country,’ overwhelmed me.” This year the initiative, which began in 2014, saw a record number of donations, with supplies collected from Jewish, Arab and Druze neighborhoods across Israel.

How Israeli Women Are Steering the Start-Up Nation

Yali Harari

Monday, February 27, 7:00 PM

Shaaray Tefila

250 East 79th Street (Corner of 2nd Ave)

 

Join Yali Harari in a dynamic conversation exploring Israel’s role in the world of creativity, and what’s in store for the Start-Up Nation.

 

How can Israel maintain its leadership position as the Start-Up Nation in a rapidly globalizing world? How can Israel maintain and increase its creativity levels and investment opportunities? What needs to happen differently in the next decade?


Mrs. Harari has been leading organizations for over 25 years, and has extensive management background in the Technology, Software, Hardware and Services space both in Israel and in the USA.

 

February 10-11

The Battle for Ammunition Hill: 50 Years Later

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Six Day war and the reunification of Jerusalem. Probably the most famous battle in Jerusalem was the battle for Ammunition Hill (Givat Hatahmoshet) in which Israeli soldiers fought their way up a steep hill against a heavily fortified Jordanian bunkers.

The Jerusalem Post recently ran an article in which they interviewed one of the heroes of that battle. Here is an excerpt.

I was really scared cared,” recalls Jacob Haimovitch, better known as Yaki Hetz, as he ponders the heroic role he was thrust into during the Battle for Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem. “It all happened so quickly.”

Hetz was just a 21-year-old private when he and his comrades in Motta Gur’s 55th Paratroopers Brigade’s 66th Regiment attacked the strategic site from the west at 2:30 a.m. on June 6, 1967 and came under unexpectedly intense Jordanian resistance. When his platoon’s bazookaman and then its commander were hit by Jordanian fire, he swiftly took command and led his men into the dark trench.

“Although I was a simple soldier, I knew we couldn’t lose the momentum of the battle,” he says, sitting at the entrance to the Ammunition Hill National Heritage & Memorial Site. “My friends told me afterwards that I actually shouted, “Aharai!” [Follow me] and then shot two bullets in the air.”

Hetz administered first aid to one of his soldiers, then shot two Jordanian soldiers as he and his men proceeded to move through the trench under heavy fire. They eventually blew up the main Jordanian bunker with hand grenades and took control of the Hill. Thirty-six Israeli soldiers and 71 Jordanians were killed in the bloody battle that ended at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. Hetz received an IDF Medal of Courage for his leadership role in a key battle to reunite Jerusalem. He went on to receive an IDF Southern Command citation for his heroism in the Battle for the Chinese Farm during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Asked what he had learned in the past 50 years, Hetz pauses and says: “I am very much for peace, but we must first of all be strong. If we’re not strong, our enemies will slaughter us. Our strength is in our spirit. The Jordanians were better soldiers from a professional point of view, and they had better weapons. But we won because of our fighting spirit. We have to pass this spirit on from generation to generation. That’s the most important thing, and it’s why I still come here regularly to guide groups and tell my story.”

To read the entire article from The Jerusalem Post, click here in the online version of the Israel Corner at https://www.lss.org/israelcorner

A very famous song about the battle of Ammunition Hill was written by Yoram

Febrebruary 3-4

Celebrate Tu B’Shevat: Plant a Tree  Chance to Win a Trip to Israel  

Tu B’Shevat celebrates  the beginning of a “new year” for trees. What more appropriate way to mark the holiday than by planting trees in Israel! The JNF makes it easy, simply visit www.jnf.org Each tree that you purchase counts as an entry in a sweepstakes for a chance to win a RT to Israel, 2 nights stay at the Carlton, Tel Aviv and 2 VIP tickets to the Yom Yerushalayim celebration on May 24, 2017. Someone is going to win the raffle, it could be you!

Hakarat HaTov: Palestinian family saves Israeli lives in nighttime bus crash

In his drasha last Shabbat, Rabbi Rosenfeld mentioned a bus crash in Israel on a route that he himself used to travel when he served in the IDF. There was a very positive angle to the story. Read the recounting of the events as they were reported by Ynetnews

It's nighttime in the Binyamin region. A Palestinian family from the village of Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya notices an upturned bus that had rolled downhill from the nearby road leading to the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Levona. Without a moment to lose, the family heads out while still in their pajamas, and under the pouring rain assist those hurt in the accident, where two people had lost their lives.

Capt. Sivan Raviv, a medical officer in the Binyamin Division, told Ynet that the family was the first to call emergency services late Friday night, and that their quick thinking saved lives. "They didn't hesitate or stop to weigh things out. They saw that human lives were on the line. When we arrived at the site we saw the family members already trying to extract the injured parties and offer them treatment."

At that very moment, the region's complex reality was underscored when a few kilometers away from the accident infantry soldiers from the Kfir Brigade were in hot pursuit of an armed terrorist near the Palestinian village of Aboud, where two shooting attacks had taken place with a 24-hour period. When word of the accident reached them, the soldiers divided into two groups—one to continue the chase after the terrorist, and the other to go tend to those hurt in the accident. Once arriving on the scene, they worked together with members of the Palestinian family to help rescue the injured parties.

Shortly after the family called to report the accident, Magen David Adom, a fire fighting unit, residents from Ma'ale Levona and additional medical teams arrived, and together they managed to evacuate those injured to several hospitals within an hour and a half. "We didn't give up," said Sivan. "It was hard to carry those injured on gurneys through the mud, while we fell down, got back up and lifted them once more, until reaching the ambulances and the two helicopters belonging to Unit 669 (the IDF Combat Search and Rescue unit—ed) that were waiting for us nearby."

An Inconvenient Truth (for Some)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who assumed office Jan. 1, said it is “completely clear” that Jerusalem’s Temple Mount was home to the ancient Jewish Temple.

Guterres told Israel Radio last Friday that it is “completely clear the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple,” referring to the second of the two Jewish Temples. He added that there is “no doubt” that Jerusalem is holy to all three Abrahamic religions.

While this might seem obvious to all of us, the statement went against resolutions that were passed by UNESCO last year which referred to the Temple Mount and the adjacent area only by their Arabic names and ignored Jewish and Christian ties which go back millennia. Not surprisingly, Palestinian officials were quick to condemn Guterres’s remarks. 

“[The statements] are a direct attack on the Palestinian people’s right in the holy city, biased in favor of the site of occupation, and akin to granting legitimacy to Israel’s illegal presence in Jerusalem,” said Fayez Abu Eitah, secretary-general of the Fatah Revolutionary Council.

Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, told China’s Xinhua News Agency that Guterres’s comments “ignored UNESCO’s decision that considered the Al-Aqsa mosque of pure Islamic heritage,” and “violated all legal, diplomatic and humanitarian customs and overstepped his role as secretary-general…and [he] must issue an apology to the Palestinian people.”

Hakarat HaTov: Palestinian Family Saves Israeli Lives in Nighttime Bus Crash  February  3, 2017

It's nighttime in the Binyamin region. A Palestinian family from the village of Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya notices an upturned bus that had rolled downhill from the nearby road leading to the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Levona. Without a moment to lose, the family heads out while still in their pajamas, and under the pouring rain assist those hurt in the accident, where two people had lost their lives.

 

Capt. Sivan Raviv, a medical officer in the Binyamin Division, told Ynet that the family was the first to call emergency services late Friday night, and that their quick thinking saved lives. "They didn't hesitate or stop to weigh things out. They saw that human lives were on the line. When we arrived at the site we saw the family members already trying to extract the injured parties and offer them treatment."

 

At that very moment, the region's complex reality was underscored when a few kilometers away from the accident infantry soldiers from the Kfir Brigade were in hot pursuit of an armed terrorist near the Palestinian village of Aboud, where two shooting attacks had taken place with a 24-hour period. When word of the accident reached them, the soldiers divided into two groups—one to continue the chase after the terrorist, and the other to go tend to those hurt in the accident. Once arriving on the scene, they worked together with members of the Palestinian family to help rescue the injured parties.

 

Shortly after the family called to report the accident, Magen David Adom, a fire fighting unit, residents from Ma'ale Levona and additional medical teams arrived, and together they managed to evacuate those injured to several hospitals within an hour and a half. "We didn't give up," said Sivan. "It was hard to carry those injured on gurneys through the mud, while we fell down, got back up and lifted them once more, until reaching the ambulances and the two helicopters belonging to Unit 669 (the IDF Combat Search and Rescue unit—ed) that were waiting for us nearby."

 

An Inconvenient Truth (for Some)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who assumed office Jan. 1, said it is “completely clear” that Jerusalem’s Temple Mount was home to the ancient Jewish Temple.

Guterres told Israel Radio last Friday that it is “completely clear the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple,” referring to the second of the two Jewish Temples. He added that there is “no doubt” that Jerusalem is holy to all three Abrahamic religions.

While this might seem obvious to all of us, the statement went against resolutions that were passed by UNESCO last year which referred to the Temple Mount and the adjacent area only by their Arabic names and ignored Jewish and Christian ties which go back millennia. Not surprisingly, Palestinian officials were quick to condemn Guterres’s remarks.

“[The statements] are a direct attack on the Palestinian people’s right in the holy city, biased in favor of the site of occupation, and akin to granting legitimacy to Israel’s illegal presence in Jerusalem,” said Fayez Abu Eitah, secretary-general of the Fatah Revolutionary Council.

Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, told China’s Xinhua News Agency that Guterres’s comments “ignored UNESCO’s decision that considered the Al-Aqsa mosque of pure Islamic heritage,” and “violated all legal, diplomatic and humanitarian customs and overstepped his role as secretary-general…and [he] must issue an apology to the Palestinian people.”

Trump Administration to Review $221 million payment to Palestinians :  January 27

The Times of Israel reports that The State Department is reviewing a last-minute decision by former Secretary of State John Kerry to send $221 million dollars to the Palestinians in the waning hours of the Obama Administration, over the objections of Congressional Republicans. The department said Tuesday it would look at the payment and might make adjustments to ensure it comports with the Trump administration’s priorities.

Israelis, Palestinians sign water agreement

Palestinians and Israelis have agreed  to renew activities of the Joint Water Committee after a six-year freeze that has made it difficult to advance projects to benefit Palestinians and Israelis living in the West Bank and contributed to acute water shortages in the summer months.

Major General Yoav Mordechai sat with Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh at a table adorned with small Israeli and Palestinian flags. They were joined by Moshe Garazi and Mazen Jenim, the Israeli and Palestinian heads of the respective water authorities.

“Signing the water agreement proves that you can reach agreements and understandings when you discuss matters in a substantive, bilateral manner that is clean of foreign considerations when it concerns matters of natural resources and other infrastructural issues that affect the entire population,” said Mordechai. 

“In the last year and a half, we [Israelis and Palestinians] signed four agreements for electricity, water, postal services and 3G infrastructure in telecommunications, which are designed to improve the welfare of the entire population in the region,” Mordechai said.

Once the committee reconvenes, it will look to improve and modernize the water infrastructure in the West Bank, which is out of date and cannot handle the needs of the growing population in the area.

The committee will look at allocating more water to the Gaza Strip and discuss taxes and the use of recycled water for agriculture. It also will work on a 23-year strategic plan to provide water to the area until 2040.

Despite BDS, West Bank industrial zones are booming

While EU labeling decisions and BDS are pushing for international boycotts, West Bank industrial parks are seeing a boom, with a new park set to be built soon; regional council head: companies marketing to Africa, India, and China. At the Shahak industrial park being built in the northern West Bank, over 100 dunams have been sold to developers. The Barkan industrial park outside of Ariel - which already has 160 factories and companies – has registered a further 60 companies who want to relocate to the area.

Due to this huge increase in demand, another industrial park is set to open. Called the Nahal Rabah – Gates of Shomron Industrial Park, it will be located next to Sha’ar Tikvah and Oranit, putting it within a 20 minute drive of Petah Tikvah

The industrial park will include both manufacturing and hi-tech companies, and will be owned by the Shomron Regional Council in conjunction with the Oranit and Elkana local councils.

Head of the Shomron Regional Council Yossi Dagan was one of the drivers behind the opening of the new industrial park. He said “on the one hand, international companies don’t really comply with EU decisions. On the other hand, Israeli companies aren’t ready to give up on the advantages (of operating in these areas), and are marketing their products to places other than Europe, such as Africa, India, and China.”

China is now Israel’s largest trading partner

 “Innovate the Future” was the theme of a December 27 forum at Tel Aviv University, where dozens of entrepreneurs, thought leaders and innovators from China and Israel gathered to discuss tech links between the two countries.

Hosted by Chinese media group Caixin, which sent a delegation to visit Israel and its leading tech firms, the forum highlighted the fact that China is now Israel’s largest trading partner to the tune of $11.4 billion annually.

Chinese investment in Israel stands at around $6 billion, while Israeli investment in China is about $1 billion.

Caixin Editor-in-Chief Hu Shuli said China is especially interested in Israel’s tech innovation and talent in fields such as cybersecurity, agriculture, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things. 

The event included a dialogue between Caixin’s Yue Yue and legendary Israeli entrepreneur Yossi Vardi, who has founded dozens of companies and is credited with launching Israel’s startup boom.

Vardi has been visiting China since 1995 and recently organized an Israeli innovation festival there. He shared thoughts on criteria for investment – looking at team talent more than the business plan – and how failure can be a driver for success.

Representatives of the new Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT), a cooperative academic and research center for engineering, science and life science in China, told attendees that 60 percent of GTIIT’s faculty will come from the Technion, exposing thousands of Chinese undergraduates to Israeli technology expertise.

Participants talked about Israeli chutzpah – characterized by a willingness to take risks – which gives Israelis an entrepreneurial edge but isn’t always understood in China’s more reserved culture.

Eytan Schwartz, CEO at Tel Aviv Global, predicted that despite cultural and regulatory differences, Israeli and Chinese businesses may one day enter other foreign markets together rather than simply engaging in acquisitions.

Why You Should Call Rather than Email Your Legislators January  13

May Their Memory be a Blessing

 Four young lives were snuffed out this past Sunday in a vehicular terror attack on IDF soldiers in Jerusalem while they were on a cultural trip. 

Cadet Shir Hajaj (22), from Ma'ale Adumim, was the oldest of four daughters. "Shir, my sister, what a loss. I am so sorry. Where are you? I'm sorry you didn't get your life. What a good family we had. What a good childhood. From now on, all your beauty will be robbed in the sadness of your song," said her sister, Bar, in reference to Shir's name, which is the Hebrew word for "song."

"She was a flower and we expected great things from her. She had great determination and perseverance. There are no other children like her" added her mother, Merav.

Lieutenant Yael Yakutiel (20) from Givataym. Her parents, Yaakov and Shelly, stood together while Yael's father eulogized his daughter. "There is no beginning, middle or end. We don't have enough of you. You were so loved. Your wonderful smile, love of life, love of others and the fun we had with you."

"You were funny, studious and good-natured. After you got angry, you would forgive. You thought a lot. We didn't get enough of you. You were a teacher, a soldier, and wanted to do something meaningful in education. You took us on a tour of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem in order to practice the tour you would give to cadets.”

Second Liutenant Shira Tzur, 20, from Haifa, began her military service in the Israeli Air Force flight academy, but transferred to her current unit with the intent of becoming an officer.

Shira was "full of happiness and loved to give and contribute. She was a counselor in the scouts and excelled in everything she did. Shira and her family were the salt of the earth and we all embrace them at this difficult moment. She was a child full of energy and was always smiling."

"Shirush, where are you? Why did you leave me?" her grandfather called out over her grave. "Who's going to call now and tell me, ‘Sabba, how are you doing'?"

Erez Orbach, 20, from Alon Shvut, volunteered for IDF service and was a cadet at the IDF's Officer's Training School. He was born and raised in the settlement of Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion. He was excelling student at the high school yeshiva he attended in Efrat and later attended the Ma'alot hesder yeshiva, which combines advanced Talmudic studies with military service. 

Rabbi Yaakov Fisher, who heads the yeshiva Erez studied in, remembered the person he was. "Erez was a guy full of willpower and motivation, very determined, but inside he was tender, gentle and sensitive, with principles and values, who was beloved by all.” "He will be remembered for his constant smile and his willingness to assist and volunteer for any good cause."

To honor their memory, please consider making a contribution to one or more of these worthwhile organizations that help victims of terror and their families: Magen David Adom, ZAKA and OneFamily Fund. 

The New York Times reports that  activists of all political stripes recommend calling legislators, not just emailing — and certainly not just venting on social media. Even if you don’t speak directly to the lawmaker, staff members often pass the message along in one form or another. Often, when a caller offers an opinion, staff members write the comments down in a spreadsheet, compile them each month and present reports to top officials. When you call, identify yourself as one of their constituents. Of course, always be polite when you call. Keep these phone numbers handy:

Senator Chuck Schumer   (212) 486-4430 in New York and (202) 224-6542 in Washington

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand      (212) 688-6262 in New York and (202) 224-4451 in Washington

Congressman Jerold Nadler (212) 367-7350 in New York and (202) 225-5635 in Washington

Fighting Back Against U.N. Security Council Resolution

In recent editions of the Israel Corner we reported on the passage of UNSC Resolution 2334 which condemned Israeli settlements and went so far as to label the Kotel as occupied territory. The resolution passed when the United States chose to abstain from voting rather than do what it normally does in these one-sided resolutions, which is to veto it. Last week we reported that the House of Representatives as one of the very first acts of the new Congress voted 342 to 80 to call for the repeal of the UN vote. 

Now, the action moves to the Senate.  Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have introduced a bipartisan resolution in the Senate that expresses opposition to UNSC Resolution 2334 and calls for it to be repealed or significantly altered. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand are both co-sponsors of the Senate resolution. Please contact their office and thank them for their support.  Also, spread the word to your friends and family across the country so that they may contact their respective Senators. The easiest way to do so, is to go to aipac.org and click on the link provided to have AIPAC send requests for support to the Senators on behalf of the behalf constituents. Visitors to the site are asked to provide their address which is then used to route the message to the appropriate Senators. Better yet, call their offices. 

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 2334 ON ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS   January 6

HaKarat HaTov to all those who contacted their Congressman and urged them to support the Congressional resolution  that expresses opposition to UNSC Resolution 2334 and calls for it to be repealed or significantly altered. The resolution passed by a vote of 342 to 80. Congressman Jerry Nadler voted in support of the resolution. 

Who Cares What the UN Says?

We all should and here is why:

The resolution makes Israeli citizens that are involved in the settlement enterprise in the West Bank vulnerable to lawsuits in courts all over the world. The resolution opens the door for lawsuits against Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court: government ministers and senior IDF officers who make decisions about construction in the settlements, the demolition of Palestinian homes, or the expropriation of lands could be accused of war crimes under the Geneva Convention.

The resolution creates a distinction between the State of Israel and the settlements built on lands captured in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War. So, the next time that you are davening at the kotel you are, according to the UN, treading on occupied territory. It calls on the international community not to aid those settlements and allows for countries and organizations to boycott the settlement enterprise. Such a move would lead banks, gas stations, HMOs, retailers, high-tech companies and others to close their branches beyond Green Line to avoid being included in the "blacklist" of companies doing business in the settlements and consequently being boycotted as a result.

Senator Chuck Schumer 

“The U.N. has been a fervently anti-Israel body since the days of ‘Zionism is racism’ and, unfortunately, that fervor has never diminished. Knowing this, past Administrations - both Democrat and Republican- have protected Israel from the vagaries of this biased institution. Unfortunately, this Administration has not followed in that path and its actions will move us further from peace in the Middle East.”

Congressman Jerry Nadler

“Rather than bringing a peaceful accord nearer, the United Nations Security Council’s approval of today's one-sided resolution pushes both sides further apart.  The resolution seeks to create an irresponsible and inaccurate narrative, making no mention of Palestinian responsibility, either for their incitement of violence or their refusal to return to talks with the Israelis, and only serves the purpose of seeking to delegitimize Israel on the world stage.” For more articles, visit www.lss.org/advocacy

What You Can Do

Last Shabbat, Rabbi Robinson gave a tremendous drasha lambasting  the United Nations Security resolution 2334 and the American decision to abstain, rather than veto it. Rabbi Robinson proceeded to urge us to join him at the upcoming AIPAC Policy Conference on March 26-28. This is a tremendous way to show Israel, our politicians and the world that we stand with Israel. Register for the conference http://www.aipac.org    If you have any questions about the conference, please speak with Ann Crane.

A great way to support Israel is to visit. El Al is running $999 promotions that include airfare and six nights in a hotel. Fight BDS by seeking Israeli goods for purchase. Visit www.buyisraeligoods.com to find stores in your area.  Locally, look for Israeli products when you do your regular shopping; for example, Fairway carries a great selection of Israeli cheeses and yogurts next to the cheese counter. 

Chanukah Gifts      December 23

Chanukkah Gifts in Israel

Do you have friends and family in Israel? Do you have a child or grandchild spending their gap year in Israel? Send them a Hanukkah gift package from Gilis Goodies

Use coupon LIJWCHAN  for a 10% discount. Good for them, good for you, good for Israel.

Chanukkah Gifts in New York

Apthorp Pharmacy (Broadway  & 78th) carries a wide variety of Ahava products to give as gifts and to pamper yourself.  Sabon (Broadway between 70th & 71st) carries an all-Israeli line of health and beauty products. Mention that you are a member of LSS and receive a 10% discount from now through Hanukkah in both stores

Rabbanit Dr. Michal Tikochinsky is one of the leading women Talmud scholars and educators in the world today, a sought after lecturer in Talmud, Jewish law and women's issues. She holds a Master's Degree in Law and a Doctorate in Talmud from Bar Ilan University.

Through her scholarly and incisive articles Rabbanit Tikochinsky has had a profound influence on the Halakhic discourse regarding women's issues. She has also established an umbrella organization for women Torah scholars in educational leadership positions, enabling greater collaboration and support between women Torah leaders and institutions, and facilitating the transformation of women's Torah study into an organized movement.  

Rabbanit Tikochinsky currently teaches in the Beit Midrash of Michlalat Herzog, a Torah committed academic institution that provides high level academic studies for teachers and educators in Israel and abroad.  Rabbanit Tikochinsky was born and raised in Israel.  She is married and resides with her husband and seven children in the community of Nof Ayalon.  

U.S. Senate authorizes $600 million in defense fundingDecember 16

Thanks to the overwhelming support of Congress and the leadership of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI), and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), this measure will ensure that Israel maintains a military edge over potential aggressors and strengthens America's anti-missile capabilities.

This funding in the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA) for Fiscal year 2017 (FY2017) will go toward US-Israel joint developed anti-missile programs such as Iron Dome ($62m), David's Sling ($150m) and Arrow 3 ($120m). It will also provide funds for research and development of new counter-terrorist measures, and additional funding for anti-tunneling technology. The funding in this bill is above and beyond the $3.1 billion military aid package already allocated as part of the outgoing Memorandum of Understanding. [Source: Norpac]

Donate to Israel…. Wisely

The end of the year is a time when many people make contributions which they can then apply towards this year’s taxes. There are tens of thousands of charitable organizations in the States and in Israel. How do we select which ones use the money wisely? For American institutions, many people turn to web sites like www.charitynavigator.com

What about donations to organizations in Israel? 

Midot is a non-profit company that strives to promote effectiveness and impact as the main criterion for social investors and for Non-Profit Organization (NPO) leaders by rating NPOs and producing sector analysis reports. There web site  www.midot.org.il/english  explains the methodology they use to measure organizations’ effectiveness and lists those that meet their stringent criteria. 

After the Fires

The fires that caused so much damage in Israel have been put out but the need for assistance continues. Hundreds of people have lost their homes with all their belongings to the raging flames. Thanks to the generous response from our community, thousands of dollars have already been distributed to fire victims in Haifa, Talmon, Neve Tzuf and Zichron Yaakov.

If you have not yet contributed, please consider doing so. Click here to make an online donation or send a check to the shul, made payable to "LSS Chesed Fund" and write "Fires in Israel" in the memo line.

Hanukah Gifts to Help Israel's  Economy

Hanukah is coming and that means giving gifts toloved ones. Please include Israeli-made products among your gifts. The Buy Israeli Goods website lists many stores that offer Israeli products that you can purchase for Hanukah or year-round.

Do you have a favorite store or web site that you use to buy Israeli products? Share it with the congregation; by emailing nvogel212@gmail.com.

Letters to the Editor

Suggestions for items to include in the Israel Corner. Email nvogel212@gmail.com

Other, relevant sites

To learn about ways to support Israel, including but not limited to fighting BDS, please visit www.lss.org/advocacy

For suggestions about "off-the-beaten path" places to visit and things to do in Israel, click here   Share your favorite activities in Israel, email nvogel212@gmail.com

UN Ranks IDF Emergency Medical Team as  #1 in the World

The United Nation’s World Health Organization recognized the Israeli army’s field hospital, which is regularly sent abroad to provide aid at natural disaster sites, as “the number one in the world.”

The United Nations is generally seen as having a negative attitude toward Israel – as demonstrated just a couple of weeks ago when UNESCO refused to recognize Israel’s historical connection to Jerusalem – so the recognition of the IDF’s abilities comes as a pleasant surprise.

 Israeli disaster relief delegations have been some of the first and largest to arrive at the scenes of natural disasters. Teams from the IDF Medical Corps and Home Front Command provided rescue and medical services after an earthquake in Turkey in 1999, an earthquake in Haiti in 2010, a typhoon in the Philippines in 2013 and, most recently, an earthquake in Nepal in 2015.

The military’s field hospital is “not just some medics and doctors spread out in the field”; rather it is a “national treasure” that has the capabilities of an advanced, permanent hospital but can be set up almost anywhere in under 12 hours, according to its commander, Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Ofer Merin.

Sun, 26 February 2017 30 Shevat 5777