Seth Frantzman: International NGOs: The new feudalism
Recently a man named Sherzad Mosa walked into a bar in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of Iraq, and was surprised to overhear a woman describe it as an “NGO bar.” Mosa wondered on Facebook why hundreds of thousands of refugees are living in the Kurdish region, and “kids and women” are suffering while “200 NGOs have more than 1,600 foreign people working for them and they are getting paid more than $10,000 per month and staying in the best hotels?” Others commented on his thread that NGO workers were driving around in brand new vehicles and spending just a few hours with refugees and then driving back to their hotels.
What these men had seen was only a small piece of a new kind of feudalism that involves governments, NGOs, international organizations and to a lesser extent media and academics.
Trying to quantify the extent of it is like the parable of the elephant in the room.
Everyone is touching one part of the feudal empire, but unable to see the whole of it.
Working in the Palestinian territories I came across these kinds of NGO employees and members of UN and EU government staffs over the years. Their fleets of SUVs plied the streets and their workers made ten times the local salaries. On their own they joked about the job they were doing. One German working on Palestinian election issues admitted it was all a financial windfall. There would never be elections, he said, “but I make great money here and get a resume builder.” A man we met who had a political science degree had somehow become a “security expert” for an international organization, giving “assessments” about threats in Gaza. Organizations such as the “Temporary International Presence in Hebron” are not temporary, existing for decades and paying salaries to Europeans who spend their weekends, as evidenced by their vehicles, enjoying themselves at Jerusalem or Tel Aviv bars. The new colonials call themselves “internationals.”
Horror and carnage in the Middle East – in historic context
With major battles taking place in Gaza, on April 6, 1917, the eve of Passover, the Turks ordered the expulsion of approximately 8,000 – 10,000 Jews from Jaffa and Tel Aviv.Battle over Balfour Declaration heats up... 99 years after it was issued
An estimated 20 percent of the expelled died from hunger and contagious diseases.
On October 31, 1917, Australian light horsemen captured Beersheba, opening the way for Jerusalem’s capture in December 1917. At the major Turkish base in Beersheba, scores of Jewish forced laborers were employed by the Turks in construction, milling, tailoring, railroad work, cutting wood, and as teamsters. They fled as the Australians and British approached. Many others died from disease, flash floods and British aerial attacks.
It was at this point of history that the Balfour Declaration was declared on November 2, 1917. And on December 9, 1917, the British army liberated Jerusalem.
In 1918, even after the liberation, poverty was still crushing.
The first British military governor, Roland Storrs, reported finding “many ladies of doubtful reputation [presumably not all Jewish]... On our entry into Jerusalem we had found no less than 500 such women living in a special quarter.” Thousands of orphans were living in the streets.
For the indigenous Jews of the Holy Land, Arthur Balfour was no less a hero and savior than British commander Edmund Allenby. When Balfour toured the Jewish communities in Palestine in 1925, he was tumultuously received by appreciative throngs of Jews who had survived hardships and punishments of truly biblical proportions.
Whatever the intent, the Balfour Declaration was a humanitarian proclamation as much as a political/diplomatic announcement.
A month after a Palestinian group met in Britain’s House of Lords with the aim of burying the Balfour Declaration, an Israeli group on Tuesday will take to a room in the House of Commons to praise it.
Dore Gold, the head of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and up until a month ago the Foreign Ministry’s director-general, will hold a meeting titled “Refuting Balfour’s Detractors” to provide a high-profile response to Palestinian efforts to get a British apology, or even to extract compensation, for the November 1917 declaration that paved the way for the Jewish state.
Rather than take the affirmative step of recognizing the Jewish right to a nation-state in Israel, Gold said, the Palestinians are “doing the exact opposite by denying actively the very request for a Jewish homeland.”
On October 25, the Palestinian Return Center held a symposium in the House of Lords it trumpeted as the “launch of the Balfour Apology Campaign,” aimed at getting a British apology for the Balfour Declaration, which it described as “an historical breach against the aspirations of the people of Palestine” that “shattered its hopes for freedom and self determination.”
Gold said he will prove at Tuesday’s meeting that the Palestinian Return Center is a Hamas entity.
Michael Oren seems to urge boycott of French products, drawing ambassador’s ire
Deputy Minister Michael Oren appeared to call on Israelis to boycott French products in retaliation for Paris’s decision to label West Bank goods, a move that drew the ire of the French ambassador.France's Regulations Should Be Worded Exact & Correct
“France is labeling Israeli products from Judea, Samaria, and the Golan. Israelis should think twice before buying French products,” Oren tweeted late Sunday night.
He was referring to France’s recent decision to implement European Union guidelines, issued November 2015, that require manufacturers to clearly label certain Israeli-made goods produced outside the pre-1967 lines.
On Monday morning, France’s ambassador-designate to Israel, Helene LeGal, replied to Oren’s tweet, asking him whether he was “calling for boycotting French products when in France boycotting Israel is punished by law.”
The EU delegation to Israel also responded to Oren’s tweet, saying that the labeling guidelines were merely an “application of EU consumer information regulations.”
Oren, a deputy minister for diplomacy in the Prime Minister’s Office, told The Times of Israel Monday that he was not calling for a boycott of French products but merely wanted Israeli consumers “to be aware that France is moving to label Jewish products from Judea, Samaria, and the Golan.”
I was wondering: do products in that same geographical area but not produced in Jewish communities need to be registered/labeled as "hummus produced in Arab-occupied Samaria" or "olive oil originating in Arab-occupied Judea"?Welcome to Norway, the West’s most anti-Semitic country
The additional geographical information is that those areas, Samaria and Judaea, are the ones the United Nations used to describe the border of the Jewish and Aerab states to arise as a reult of the 1947 partition plan (which the Arabs rejected, launched a war of aggression and then had Jordan occupy and annex):
The boundary of the hill country of Samaria and Judea starts on the Jordan River at the Wadi Malih south-east of Beisan...
So, if the French want to be just and correct, let them employ the correct nomenclature and the genuine legal standing of the areas.
The Trondheim City Council approved a plan to boycott all Israeli goods and services that are produced in Judea and Samaria. The city council is also asking residents of Norway’s third largest city to personally boycott settlement goods and services.Sweden's responsibility to stop extremism at UNRWA schools
Welcome to Norway, the West’s most anti-Semitic country.
In 2009 a proposed academic boycott against Israel was promoted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. If approved, the boycott would have been the first of its kind at a European university. Fortunately, it failed. The boycott initiative started with a letter, signed by 34 professors and assistant professors at the university, claiming that Israeli universities and other institutions of higher education “have played a key role in the policy of oppression” that the signatories claim exists in Israel.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations, Shimon Samuels, said that “never since Quisling (the Norwegian army officer and politician who collaborated with Nazi forces in Norway, ndr) has there been such academic prejudice in Norway, and never since Hitler has any University rector in Europe granted it his personal blessing.”
The Norwegian Ministry of Finance excluded Israeli firms Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus from its Government Global Pension Fund. It was one of the most significant BDS’ victories, since that fund, which invests the Nordic nation’s oil and gas wealth in foreign stocks and bonds to save for future generations, holds more than 1 percent of all global stocks. The Norwegian EL & IT union, which represents over 30,000 energy and telecommunications workers, then adopted a boycott of the Histadrut, Israel’s labor union.
According to a new study from the Center for Near East Policy Research (CFNEPR), 240 textbooks used in the Palestinian refugee camps contain the message of violent extremism. The textbooks have been used in the UN agency UNRWA's school curriculum. Sweden as one of UNRWA's major financiers, contributing over 35 million US dollars a year to the organization , has a great responsibility to stop the extremism.How the Rockefeller Brothers and New Israel Fund Use Grant Money to Cover Up Their Role in Fomenting Campus Antisemitism
I myself have vetted the Facebook pages of Palestinian schools and I am shocked by the violent extremism that is part of the education reflected in Facebook posts. On a Syrian UNRWA school's Facebook page, I have found drawings that children have posted on the wall of their classroom. One shows a masked person who is shooting with a rifle. "We shall liberate the country with our guns and our blood," it says in Arabic text within the drawing. Another drawing shows a bloody sword called "The Sword of Righteousness." The same drawing also depicts a Star of David crushed by a map of Israel, painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag. The text within the drawing states, "We shall conquer it, we return to victory."
The drawings clearly reflect what is taught in UNRWA schools. According to the Israeli institute CFNEPR's documentation, the following elements are constants in UNRWA's teaching: The denial of Jewish holy sites and Jews' legitimate presence in the Holy Land, violent struggle and demonization of Jews and the State of Israel.
In other words, it is the terrorist organization Hamas and the Palestinian Authority's extreme ideology that is being taught in UNRWA classrooms.
The Palestinian children are brainwashed to value death more than life and hate more than love at the Swedish funded schools.
The New Israel Fund (NIF) recently received a grant to “research and report on antisemitism on US campuses.” On the surface, this appears to be a welcome development — a progressive group being mobilized to confront a major social malady plaguing institutions of higher education.Jews can be anti-Semites too!
Beneath the surface of the Sept. 27 grant, however, are vested interests seeking to use this issue to cover up their role in fomenting the atmosphere that is hostile to Jewish students. The NIF is being paid by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), a main backer of the anti-Israel activism that contributes to, enables and devolves into the antisemitism on college campuses.
RBF provides hundreds of thousands of dollars to a number of organizations that delegitimize the Jewish state and promote the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, both on and off campus. These BDS-promoting grantees of the RBF active on American universities include Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Palestine Legal and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
Several of the RBF grantees promote agendas that deny Israel’s legitimacy and advocate “one-state” formulas designed to eradicate the Jewish state. Zochrot, for example, envisions a “de-Zionized Palestine,” while Adalah systematically works in the US and Europe to label Israel as a fundamentally “racist” state. Additionally, Grassroots Jerusalem, Who Profits and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (formally the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation) are all leaders in BDS campaigns in the US and internationally.
In a worldwide anti-Semitism competition for Jews, Gilad Atzmon would probably represent Great Britain. The slurs published by this musician, an Israeli who says he has torn up his passport, are so major that even the Palestinian Electronic Intifada site has dissociated itself from his anti-Semitism.David Collier: The Norwich PSC / Jackie Walker fundraising ‘hatefest’
The analysis of his statements can thus serve as a paradigm for similar assessments of fallacious smears by Jewish anti-Semites.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism is an appropriate tool to analyze the publications of this serial defamer of Israel and the Jews. The definition needed the agreement of its 31 member countries -- among them Great Britain.
The IHRA definition says that it is anti-Semitic to accuse “the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.” The definition includes that it is anti-Semitic to “draw comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” Atzmon derides the Holocaust and its survivors in an article titled “After all, I am a proper Zionist Jew…I am a Holocaust Survivor,” where he writes, “Yes, I am a survivor, for I have managed to survive all of the scary accounts of the Holocaust.”
He adds: “I am also totally against Holocaust denial. I clearly resent those who deny the genocides taking place in the name of the Holocaust. Palestine is one example…”
Jackie Walker and the invisible Zionist monsterTrump’s promising pick for UN ambassador
Jackie Walker is lost. Having listened to her speaking of why events have unfolded around her the way they have, she acts like someone who is unable to engage in introspection. Without the ability to search inwardly for any explanation, the only logical reasons for her current position must be external. Hounded, rejected and spurned, the more Jackie feels persecuted, the larger and more powerful the enemy becomes. These wrong turns in the logical process can have serious consequences. Informal fallacies that are built in the mind, can take us to some truly dark places. Jackie Walker is evidence of this.
Unable to see her rejection as simply the reaction of normal people to unacceptable comments, ‘Zionists’ are public enemy number one. This is how she describes them:
This turns Jewish people like me, into part of a secretly deployed ‘Black – Ops’ force. My opposition to Jackie cannot be because I find her position intolerable, insulting, wrong. But rather because I have been activated through the power and money of the Israeli government. I am ‘Hasbara’, doing the will of the Israeli secret service. This entire global conspiracy works only if you adhere to the image of Jewish power and the sneaky, underhand, divisive, characteristics of classic antisemitic stereotypes.
The rest of her talk was nonsensical. She accused the President of the BOD of ‘welcoming’ Donald Trump, accused the Israel Advocacy Movement of ‘Hacking’ public accounts to ‘bring people down’, distorted the reasons she ran into trouble over her comments, and got entirely lost in the argument over anti-Zionism and antisemitism. These non orthodox anti-Zionists who claim to be Jewish, hang to the argument on an ever weakening cliff. At a certain point universalist principles turn being Jewish simply into a matter of errant faith.
If confirmed by the United States Senate, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will become the next American ambassador to the United Nations, replacing Samantha Power in that role.'Shiksa Goddess': Ha'aretz Uses Yiddish Slur for Ivanka Trump
Because the UN has become worse than a bad joke – giving despotic regimes a say and vote on issues the international body was established to tackle – its US representative has the particularly tricky and important job of leading the West in setting the right moral tone. It is thus not a diplomatic position in the conventional sense. On the contrary, the best US ambassadors have those who make repeated and concerted efforts to put their ill-deserving counterparts in their place, not only through votes and vetoes, but rhetorically, from the podium.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeanne Kirkpatrick and John Bolton are prime examples of shining beacons in the Midtown Manhattan snake pit. Whether Haley lives up to that standard is anyone’s guess. But there is reason to hope that she might, in spite of what critics are pointing to as her lack of experience in matters of foreign affairs.
It is clear from Haley’s record, and meteoric rise to her position as the youngest serving governor in the US at the moment, that she possesses the kind of clarity on controversial issues that is required in an arena filled with people whose key purpose is to cloud the distinction between good and evil.
Journalist Marisa Fox-Bevilacqua, writing for Israel’s left-wing Ha’aretz daily, called Ivanka Trump a “leggy glamazon, a ‘shiksa goddess’ trophy wife for the shy son of a disgraced macher” in a recent profile of her husband, Jared Kushner.Jewish Professors Targeted
“Shiksa” is a typically derogatory Yiddish term for a non-Jewish woman. A song with that title features in the musical The Last Five Years, describing the anguish and excitement a Jewish man feels at dating a non-Jewish woman.
“Macher” is a Yiddish term for “big shot” — sometimes derogatory and sometimes laudatory. Ivanka Trump is president-elect Donald Trump’s daughter; the “macher” in question is Kushner’s father, Charles, who was sent to federal prison a decade ago in a lurid witness tampering scandal.
The “shiksa” insult is compounded in this case by the fact that it is against Jewish law to refer to a convert in derogatory terms, or to remind people of her origins. Ivanka Trump underwent an Orthodox Jewish conversion before marrying Kushner.
Fox-Bevilacqua does not indicate whether the description she provides — including the phrase “shiksa goddess,” which appears in quotation marks– are the words of the congregants at Kushner’s synagogue, or her own innovation.
Jewish faculty members on two campuses were the targets of anti-Semitic language and threats in the last few weeks. Two doesn’t make a trend, but the incidents do echo other instances of hate seen on college campuses in the days since the presidential election -- and they come amid reports since the election of swastikas drawn in various locations on a number of campuses.Is Anti-Semitism a Firing Offense?
Benjamin Kuperman, associate professor and chair of computer science at Oberlin College, and his wife reportedly heard tapping sounds outside their home early in the morning on Nov. 17. They opened the front door to discover smashed seashells and a note behind their mezuzah, a small case that contains parchment with verses from the Torah, which many Jews place on their door frames. The note read, in glued letters, “Gas Jews Die,” according to the local Chronicle-Telegram.
Last Monday, Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood Jr. Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas at Austin, received a postcard at his office at Harvard University, where he’s currently a visiting professor of law. According to The Dallas Morning News, the postcard referred to a Trump campaign slogan, saying, “We’re gonna drain the swamp at Harvard Law,” used anti-Jewish slurs and closed with “Juden raus!” Juden raus is a Nazi-era phrase meaning “Jews out.”
It remains unclear who targeted each professor, or why. Anti-Semitism isn't unheard of in academe. Anti-Jewish rhetoric is sometimes invoked in discussions about the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel -- and of course many supporters of the boycott employ anti-Israel rhetoric without using anti-Jewish language. These two recent incidents seem different from the kind of anti-Jewish sentiment some saw in academe prior to the election.
I understand that Karega’s views are not only reprehensible but also beneath any credible standard for the pursuit of the truth to which scholars are supposed to dedicate themselves. But we also know that people can hold absurd views in one area and be capable of Nobel-caliber work in another. We should be very reluctant to fire teachers over offenses that have not somehow manifested themselves in scholarship, teaching, or service, or that do not directly implicate their fitness (if Karega were a historian or a political scientist, the case for firing her would be stronger than if she were a professor of nutrition).Twitter Grants Verification to Muslim Brotherhood’s Violent, Anti-Semitic Online Mouthpiece
To be sure Oberlin did not fire Karega, officially, for expressing hateful opinions. They appealed to “The Statement of Professional Ethics” of the American Association of University Professors. This statement has it absolutely right that “membership in the academic profession carries with it special responsibilities,” not just special rights. Karega shirked those responsibilities when she “attacked her colleagues” for challenging her and “disclaimed all responsibility for her misconduct.” Moreover, she “continues to blame Oberlin” for reviewing that misconduct.
I don’t mean to make light of the professional responsibilities of academics, or discount the possibility that Karega’s actual misconduct during the review was damning. Perhaps Oberlin was quite right to fire her. But if we stick solely to the reasons offered–that Karega attacked (presumably verbally) colleagues who criticized her, that she refused to admit wrongdoing, and that she blamed the college for her woes–we would have to start handing out pink slips at faculty meetings, where all three of the behaviors in question are not so rarely on display.
There is no question that Karega’s views should be condemned as they eventually were by a majority of Oberlin’s faculty and by the Board of Trustees. But if Oberlin fired her merely for her loathsome opinions, then Oberlin made a mistake.
The social media website Twitter is facing criticism for its recent decision to grant verification to the Muslim Brotherhood’s official mouthpiece, which routinely writes in favor of violent terror acts and disseminates anti-Semitic propaganda.Guardian columnist takes swipe at Israel in story focusing on noise at Heathrow.
The Muslim Brotherhood–which has been designated as a terror outfit and banned by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and elsewhere–operates in the online sphere via a website known as Ikhwan Web, which serves as the Brotherhood’s “official” English-speaking feed.
Twitter recently granted verification to Ikhwan Web’s online feed, giving the organization an air of legitimacy that leading lawmakers and experts described as reckless given the Brotherhood’s history of supporting violent jihad and terrorism.
”Verifying the Muslim Brotherhood’s Twitter feed helps further their narrative of civilization-Jihad,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a Muslim Brotherhood critic who has authorized legislation to designate it in the United States as a terror organization, told the Washington Free Beacon.
“This maneuver makes the Brotherhood seem like a legitimate group while providing them cover to spread their radical version of Islam,” Cruz added. “I look forward to working with the new administration to expose the Brotherhood’s efforts to increase their influence in America.”
Fraser is clearly sympathetic to the residents of Richmond Park protesting against a planned third runway at Heathrow airport and indeed devotes much of his column reflecting on what he refers to as the ‘forgotten pollutant of noise’ in society.CBC Mourns Closing Of Rat Hole That Hosted Holocaust Denier – Calls It Social Justice Hub
“Silence”, Fraser opines, “is crucial to our physical and mental health”.
Yet, seven paragraphs down, Fraser finds an effort to limit noise pollution he doesn’t seem to fancy.
And one cannot celebrate silence uncritically. Being silenced is what happens to those who are victims of abuse. Moreover, what counts as bad noise is often controversial. The Israeli Knesset is currently passing legislation to silence the Muslim call to prayer, legislation that has been recently redesigned not to effect the Jewish Shabbat siren.
The Guardian columnist fails to explain that the latest version of the bill reportedly would also limit its scope to the first of the five daily Muslim calls to prayer – the one just before dawn.
The broader context omitted in the column relates to the fact that (according to Knesset commissioned research) “in several European states (including the UK) the call to prayer through PA systems is either banned altogether or subject to limitations on days of the week, hours and level of decibels”.
Such limits exist, in some form, in Muslim countries as well.
Toronto’s rampant development is claiming another casualty this week: community space Beit Zatoun will host its final event on Wednesday.Jewish choreographer stands by Holocaust-themed ice dance
"Tucked away in the Annex neighbourhood, Beit Zatoun has become a hub of social justice and activism in the city."
Beit Zetoun is an Islamist shithole that has hosted the likes of Holocaust denier Ken O’Keefe
This is a link to a highlight reel of O’Keefe spewing his Nazi crap.
JDL-Canada Confronts The Anti-Semite Ken O’Keefe
The Jewish choreographer of a Holocaust-themed ice skating routine that aired on a popular Russian television show over the weekend defended the controversial performance against a storm of criticism.Swastikas, racist messages painted outside Boston-area school
Ilya Averbukh on Monday told the Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid the routine, in which the skaters donned striped concentration camp uniforms complete with yellow stars of David, was his own idea.
“I have done a lot of routines on the war and Jewish themes, there were very different characters,” the 2002 Olympic silver medalist said. “This routine is my idea.”
Averbukh, who said in a 2012 interview that he “had problems” in his childhood because of his Jewish name, said the outrage over the performance was unwarranted.
“I would call all this reaction a sign of the craziness of today,” he angrily told the tabloid.
Swastikas and racist messages were painted outside of a school near Boston.In global first, Teva signs deal to market medical marijuana inhaler
The swastikas were drawn on a rock outside the Bromfield School that is regularly decorated by students and which is considered an important symbol to the town of Harvard, Massachusetts, according to the Boston Fox news affiliate.
Superintendent Linda Dwight of Harvard Public Schools sent an email to parents Friday informing them of the incident.
The swastikas reportedly were painted over Jewish Stars of David that had previously been painted on the rock, according to reports.
The Bromfield School is located about 30 miles west of Boston and has about 700 students in grades six through high school.
The Department of Public Works painted over the graffiti; students had been scheduled to repaint the rock with messages of peace and tolerance on Saturday.
In a world first, Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Tel Aviv-based Syqe Medical said they signed a distribution and cooperation agreement to market medical cannabis in an inhaler.Global Wealth Report: Number of Israeli millionaires up 19% in 2016
Under the agreement, Teva will be the exclusive marketer and distributor in Israel of an inhaler developed by Syqe Medical for the delivery of medical cannabis. The accord marks the first time that a major global pharma company has agreed to market a medical cannabis product, according to Syqe.
The Syqe inhaler has been used for more than a year at Haifa’s Rambam Hospital with the approval of the Health Ministry. This makes it the first hospital in the world to prescribe cannabis as a standard medical treatment.
As part of the agreement with Teva Israel, the Syqe inhaler is expected to receive Health Ministry approval for home use by next year.
Israel’s reputation as a high-tech hub and a lax regulatory environment has allowed the startup nation to become a leader in cannabis technology, with dozens of local firms focusing on the medical field.The international medical cannabis market is forecast to be worth approximately $20 billion within a decade. About 1% of the global population are potential medical cannabis users at some point during their lifetime.
The number of Israeli millionaires increased by 19%, or 17,000 people, in 2016, according to Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Report, released over the weekend. The report, by the Credit Suisse Research Institute, is a leading source of information on global household wealth, covering all regions and the entire wealth spectrum.Israeli Ethiopians are doing better than ever
According to the report, there are now 2,205 billionaires and 33 million millionaires worldwide, and overall world wealth in 2016 amounts to $256 trillion.
It found that 2% of Israelis now have $1 million or more in cash, assets and investments. Eighteen Israelis are considered billionaires, 25 are believed to be worth between $500 million and $1 billion, and 277 people are worth between $100 million and $500 million.
The report said most of the wealth in Israel, some 70%, is invested in financial instruments such as cash and securities, with the remaining 30% comprising real estate and other assets.
According to the Jewish Business News, in the last 16 years, the average Israeli's wealth has doubled from $92,589 to $176,263.
In the past four years, the number of Ethiopian Jews requesting welfare income supplements has dropped drastically, by a startling 39%. In the past year alone, the number has dropped by 13%, reports the Government Employment Agency.Remnants of Jamaica’s Jews hold a heritage full of firsts
Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz (Likud) said, "We have a national goal to successfully integrate Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society."
Though the number of Ethiopians requesting welfare supplements is still three times that of the general population, the statistics are encouraging, showing a significant drop in the number of Ethiopians requesting the government aid.
In fact, the number dropped from 3,944 in January 2013 to just 2,387 last September.
Israel is currently home to 86,000 Ethiopian Jews, with 51,000 of them employable and aged between 15 and 65.
“Is this the way to the Jewish church?” a Jamaican driver yells out of the window of his car.
“Yes, just keep going straight,” someone replies.
Soon enough we see the “Jewish church” itself, a white building beautifully outlined against the blue sky. All the doors are wide open — or maybe there are no doors. Here it’s important to let the breeze in.
Inside, white and black people, men and women, pray and sing together. The floor is covered in sand, a Sephardic tradition that goes back to the days of the Inquisition when Spanish Jews had to hide their identity. The sand has to be changed every 10 years or so, because it gets dirty and the wind blows it out, explains the synagogue’s rabbi, David Stephen Cohen Henriques, who admits he can read Hebrew but he can’t speak the language.
“I learned on the job. Somebody had to step up for the community,” he says about how he became a rabbi.
This is Shaare Shalom, a synagogue serving a congregation that traces its Jewish roots back to the first Europeans in the Americas, who came with Columbus in 1492 — the same year that Spain expelled its Jews. It was on Columbus’s second voyage in 1494 that he landed in Jamaica.