Tuesday, April 17, 2018

From Ian:

IDF Blog: What is Yom HaZikaron and how does Israel observe it?
Yom HaZikaron is the day of national remembrance in Israel to commemorate all the soldiers and people who lost their lives during the struggle to defend the State of Israel. On this day we mourn and remember our fallen soldiers and all lives lost by terror. Yom HaZikaron, which goes by the Jewish calendar, begins with a siren at 8:00 in the evening. As soon as the siren is heard, Israeli citizens stop whatever they’re doing, wherever they are, and stand firm to honor those they’ve lost. People driving on highways stop their cars in the middle of the road to get out and stand in remembrance. A whole office will stop working and a family having dinner will stop eating in order to spend a minute in respectful silence.

After the first siren, the State Memorial Ceremony begins at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense, the Chief of the General Staff of the IDF, and the President take part in this ceremony. The next day, there’s another two-minute siren at 11:00 in the morning. This siren marks the beginning of private memorial ceremonies that take place in cemeteries or schools.

At night, the final ceremony is held at Mount Herzl National Cemetery. This ceremony ends Yom HaZikaron and marks the beginning of Israel's Independence Day.

Generally, in other countries, the Remembrance Day (Yom HaZikaron) of fallen soldiers and the Independence Day occur in two separate days of the year. In Israel, it was decided in accordance with the law that the Independence Day needs to begin the moment that Remembrance Day ends. This is because the State of Israel wouldn’t be able to celebrate its existence if it weren’t for those who gave their lives for it. We wouldn’t be able to have one of those days without the other one. We honor their memory and everything they fought for, so that today, we can celebrate our independence.
Israel prepares to remember 23,646 fallen soldiers and 3,134 terror victims
Israelis will bow their heads at 8 p.m. Tuesday for a minute of silence as sirens sound in remembrance the country’s fallen soldiers and terror victims.

In all, 71 new names were added over the past year to the roster of 23,646 who died defending the country. Thirty of those were disabled veterans who passed away due to complications from injuries sustained during their service.

Twelve names were also added to the list of terror victims who perished in attacks, bringing the total to 3,134.

The nationwide ceremonies for Israel’s Memorial Day, which begins at sundown, started in the afternoon with a commemoration event at the Yad Lebanim memorial for fallen soldiers in Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein took part in the ceremony, as well as top army brass and families of fallen soldiers.

“We bow our heads in memory of our loved ones whose blood has been spilled in our homeland,” Netanyahu, who lost his brother Yoni during the 1976 Entebbe Operation, said at the ceremony. “There is never a true remedy to that — to every family its own grief and its own courage.”

The prime minister mentioned the two Israeli soldiers who were declared dead after the 2014 Gaza war and whose bodies are held by the Hamas terror group, as well as an Israeli civilian who went missing after entering the Strip of his own accord.

“We don’t forget our missing [soldiers], Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, even for a single moment, and are committed to returning the boys home as well as Avera Mengistu.

“We don’t forget our wounded even for a moment and lovingly send them wishes for recovery,” he added. “The message left by the fallen is sharp and clear: Our lives may be too short, but we have guaranteed the life of the nation forever,” Netanyahu said. “And they have indeed given us the ability to live. It is thanks to them and their successors that we are here.”

Memorial for Fallen Israeli Soldiers Opened to the Public
From its unimposing exterior, one might be surprised to learn that what lies underground at the site of the new Memorial Hall of Israel’s Fallen is an architectural masterpiece. The emotionally impactful memorial, set atop the historic Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, was designed and constructed by Kimmel Eshkolot Architects to commemorate members of Israel’s security services killed in the line of duty.

The hall, commissioned by Israel’s Department of Families, Commemoration and Heritage, was inaugurated in late 2017 upon completion but it wasn’t open to the public until recently. Now, visitors can experience the memorial with public tours and follow along with a video app that takes them through the stories of the fallen and the uniquely designed site.

At the center of the memorial, intended to be both a collective and personal experience, is a 250-meter “Wall of Names” composed of 23,000 commemorative bricks, each individually engraved with the name of a fallen soldier and date of death.

A computerized system, custom built for the memorial in collaboration with ETH’s ROB Technologies, illuminates each engraved brick on the anniversary of the person’s death.

The continuous, spiraling wall wraps around a central commemoration hall, where an undulating funnel-shaped formation of bricks opens to the sky.

“The special shape of the funnel is like a vortex – a natural phenomenon – playing with the daylight falling into the hall, making the daylight a ‘building material,’” Etan Kimmel, cofounder of Kimmel Eshkolot Architects, told Dezeen.



1,400-year-old menorah lamp, rare coin found as kids dig trail for Israel’s 70th
What can you give your country for its 70th anniversary? For thousands of school pupils and volunteers, the answer is the sweat of their brows as they worked to prepare a new public 70-kilometer (43-mile) walking path called the Sanhedrin Trail.

As a byproduct of their backbreaking work, they also stumbled upon a priceless 1,400-year-old intact oil lamp engraved with an eight-armed menorah, remains of important glass industry, and an extremely rare gold coin from Suleiman the Magnificent.

In the Galilee, where Jewish life was re-established 1,900 years ago after the bloody fall of the Second Temple, thousands of Israeli students and volunteers have created a “smart” trail connecting the different centers in which the Great Sanhedrin sat under the rule of the Roman Empire.

After its inauguration on April 22, tourists will be able to walk and learn about the archaeology, nature, and historical surroundings through high-tech milestones, which transmit information and activities directly to hikers’ smartphones.

“There is no other a trail in Israel that utilizes such an application, and in this respect, we, the archaeologists, are making history,” said Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Yair Amitzur in an IAA press release.

How Israel became a naval startup nation with the famous boats of Cherbourg
On New Year’s Eve 1970, Israel Radio reported the arrival in Haifa of five newly built Israeli patrol boats which had escaped from a Cherbourg shipyard where they had been embargoed by the French government for political reasons. The brazen getaway on Christmas Eve into the teeth of a Force Nine gale raging in the English Channel galvanized the international media. News organizations sent up planes looking for the boats during the coming week as they raced for home.

I had joined The Jerusalem Post just a few months before and thought “What a great story.” I was sure that veteran Israeli journalists would soon get their teeth into it. However, the story behind the story would be classified and remained hidden.

Fast forward five years. Israel’s top military brass, academics and other experts were participating in an international symposium in Jerusalem on the Yom Kippur War, two years before. At my paper, coverage of key panels was divided among reporters. One of the events not covered was a talk by the navy commander, Admiral Binny Telem. I followed the media closely, but had heard virtually nothing of naval activities in the war. Curious about what Telem might have to say, I dropped in after finishing my assignment.

His talk proved astonishing. The navy, he revealed, had not only been involved in battles against the Egyptian and Syrian fleets but had engaged in battles, for the first time since the invention of cannon, involving not guns but missiles with built-in radar which enabled them to pursue moving targets.

No other navy in the West had such a weapon system.
Polish Ultranationalists Seek Prosecution of Israeli President Rivlin Over Reported Holocaust Remarks
Poland’s leading far-right political party announced on Tuesday that it was launching criminal proceedings against the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, under new legislation that criminalizes public discussion of Polish collusion with the Nazi authorities during World War II.

In a letter to Polish state prosecutor Marcin Gołębiewicz, the head of the far-right National Movement (RN), Robert Winnicki, said he wished “to inform about the crime committed by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin consisting in attributing to the Polish State responsibility for Nazi crimes.”

“I am seeking the prosecution of the perpetrator,” Winnicki said.

Under a widely-condemned amendment passed in March to the country’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) Act of 1997, a person found guilty of claiming “…publicly and contrary to the facts, that the Polish Nation or the Republic of Poland is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich…” faces a maximum prison sentence of three years. The law is not limited to Poland in its scope and can be used to prosecute foreigners.

The RN is basing its case against Rivlin on comments the Israeli president was said to have made during a meeting with his Polish counterpart, Andzrej Duda, on Apr. 12. “There is no doubt that there were many Poles who fought the Nazi regime, but we cannot deny that Poland and Poles had a hand in the extermination,” Rivlin — who traveled to Poland for the annual “March of the Living” at the site of the Auschwitz death camp — was reported as saying by both Polish and Israeli media outlets.

However Rivlin’s speech at the official memorial ceremony at Auschwitz used notably different wording than that attributed to him earlier in the day.

Turning to President Duda, he solemnly acknowledged that under the Nazi occupation, “the Poles were an oppressed people, living in fear.”
Pro-Palestinian Students Protest During Holocaust Remembrance
Pro-Palestinian students held a “Gaza solidarity rally” near a candle lighting pro-Israel students hosted to commemorate Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, reported The Algemeiner. Columbia’s Students Supporting Israel chapter claims that the anti-Israel Jewish Voices for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine, and another divestment group “have monopolized the conversation on campus relating to the Israeli-Arab conflict and have systematically maligned, harassed and silenced” Zionist opinions, The group says “One individual’s right to protest does not supersede another individual’s right to lawfully assemble, speak and listen.”

Students Supporting Israel cites pro-Palestinian students’ disruption of Danon’s speech. But the pro-Israel group also claim they were targeted with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic slogans while attending an event and that, when they attended another pro-Palestinian event, six students were assigned to watch their group, asked them to stop filming, and ultimately asked them to leave when one girl wouldn’t turn over her phone. Victor Muslin, head of Columbia’s Alums for Campus Fairness group said “In general, the attitude of Columbia appears to be to stonewall and simply to ignore alumni. Right now we are like flies hitting a glass window.”

But this doesn’t seem like an isolated incident of wackiness at the Ivy League institution. In October, Columbia pledged to spend at least $100 million on diversifying its staff. This amount was in addition to the $85 million spent since 2005. And last summer, Columbia hosted 300 K-12 principals and teachers to learn about topics like whiteness and microaggressions. (h/t MtTB)


Politico Reporter Speaks at Confab of Anti-Israel Group She Regularly Covers
Politico foreign affairs correspondent Nahal Toosi spoke on Sunday at a conference put on by J Street, a far-left anti-Israel group currently waging an aggressive campaign against the confirmation of the Trump administration's secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo.

Toosi was part of a panel discussion titled, "The Erosion of Diplomacy Under the Trump Administration." She was joined on stage by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D., Va.), a J Street-backed congressman who has been critical of the administration's Israel policy, and Thomas Countryman, a former State Department official let go by the current administration who quickly emerged as a Trump critic.

J Street is actively campaigning against the confirmation of Pompeo. It described Pompeo as an "advocate for unnecessary wars" and predicted he would lead a State Department that "would do harm to American security, our international reputation, and the cause of peace."

Toosi's coverage of the Pompeo nomination has been hostile, with one report characterizing Pompeo as an "often evasive" nominee who "contradicted himself on issues ranging from the Iran nuclear deal to regime change in North Korea to President Trump's ties to Russia."

A follow-up Toosi report on the confirmation hearing declared, "Pompeo's diplomatic foray falls flat." The report again referred to Pompeo's alleged "evasion of questions" and "seemingly contradictory answers."

Toosi's coverage of J Street, by contrast, has been approving and without negativity or even the inclusion of a critical quote.
Greens Funding Israel Bashing
All Australian Members of Parliament are required to publicly declare their outside "interests" to try to limit actual or perceived conflicts of interests....

...[some] declarations provide an insight into personal passions.

This is certainly the case with two Australian Green senators:
NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, who is well-known for her outspoken anti-Israel views but will be retiring at the next election after losing pre-selection, and
Victorian Greens Senator Janet Rice, who, in the past 12 months, appears to be following in her footsteps.


Among other interests, parliamentarians are required to declare donations of more than $300 to any organisation over a single calendar year. In the past 12 months, Senators Rhiannon and Rice have declared five such donations to a range of groups and individuals that actively advocate for boycotts against Israel, refuse to acknowledge Palestinian aggression against Israelis and accuse Israel of "massacring" Palestinians.

Both senators have also travelled to Israel and the Palestinian territories in the past 12 months - although surprisingly neither declared it as sponsored travel.

In April 2017, Senator Rice was taken to the region by the Australian Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN). She told the Senate that she had spoken to "Israelis and Palestinians, people who were working to end the illegal military occupation of Palestine by Israel and remove the illegal Israeli settlements", including representatives from the New Israel Fund and B'Tselem.
After French mayor barred from W. Bank, Paris asks Israel to allow officials in
France has asked Israel not to bar its elected officials from entering Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza in the wake of Israel’s refusal Monday to permit a Paris suburban mayor to pass from Jordan into the Jewish state because of his pro-Palestinian views.

The request came from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs which said Patrice Leclerc’s intended visit was aimed at helping international projects in the Palestinian territories, the Haaretz newspaper reported Tuesday. The ministry expressed “regret” over the Israeli decision.

Leclerc, who serves as the French Communist Party mayor of the Gennevilliers city council on the outskirts of Paris, was turned away as he tried to cross the Allenby Bridge border crossing from Jordan to Israel.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri refused entry to Israel for Leclerc and his wife, citing his support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel and recognition of Palestinian statehood, as well as for honoring Marwan Barghouti — a Palestinian terrorist and member of the PLO who is serving multiple life sentences in Israel for the murder of Israeli victims in attacks he helped plan.

After his entry was refused, Leclerc posted on Facebook that, “This situation marks a hardening of the state of Israel’s position regarding those who act for the right of the Palestinians to have a free and independent state.”
German students protest anti-Israel policy of former foreign minister
Students at the University of Bonn in Germany demonstrated on Monday against a talk delivered by former German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel because of his alleged anti-Israel and pro-Iran policies.

The protestors held banners stating "Against Iran-Siggi! For Israel!" at the event and tossed flyers in the auditorium. Siggi is a shortened version of Sigmar. The flyer accused the social democratic politician Gabriel of "friendship with despots, hatred of Israel, dirty weapon deals."

The students criticized the university for inviting Gabriel to speak on "Germany in an uncomfortable world" on the 200th anniversary of the founding year of the university located in the city of Bonn in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The flyer was signed by four groups: List of Undogmatic Students (LUST), Refugees Welcome Bonn, Alliance Against Antisemitism and Anti-fascist Left Bonn. It was unclear how many protestors were in the upper balcony of the auditorium where the banners were unfolded.

The groups slammed Gabriel in the flyer for traveling to Iran days after the nuclear deal was reached in 2015 with a large German business delegation to promote trade. The flyer said Gabriel is a "buddy of the mullah regime." Gabriel organized a second German business delegation to Iran in 2016. The flyer said Gabriel is "the most important voice in the West to defend the controversial Iran deal against every form of criticism."
Germany's Echo prize to reconsider award process after anti-Semitic controversy
The controversy surrounding two rappers who won Germany's top music prize despite anti-Semitic lyrics began to gather steam on Sunday, with business leaders joining the government in condemning artists Kollegah and Farid Bang.

"That hurts Germany's international reputation. Is anti-Semitism becoming acceptable in Germany?" Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in comments to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

His comments were similar to that of Justice Minister Heiko Maas, who told Der Spiegel on Saturday that "anti-Semitic provocations do not deserve a prize; they are repugnant".

On Thursday, which happened to be Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, Kollegah and Farid Bang were awarded the Echo Prize for their top-selling 2017 album "Jung, brutal, gutaussehend 3" (Young, Brutal, Good-looking 3).

Comparisons to Auschwitz victims
In the song "0815" on that album, the rappers say their muscles are "more defined than Auschwitz prisoners" and then a later lyric says "I'm doing another Holocaust, coming with a Molotov."
German Jewish Leaders Aghast At Award For ‘Anti-Semitic’ German Rappers
Jewish groups, business leaders, and German punk singers don’t usually find a whole lot of common ground. At last week’s Echo Awards, Germany’s version of the Grammys, an award brought them all together.

Kollegah and Bang, German rappers who recently released their third collaborative album (Jung, Brutal, Gutaussehend 3—Young, Brutal, and Good Looking 3), won in the Hip-Hop/Urban, National category. Since the album was released back in December, they duo have been under fire for lyrics that boast that their physiques are “more defined than Auschwitz prisoners,” and others where they resolve to inflict “another Holocaust” on their haters. Rest assured, it sounds even stupider in German.

Jewish leaders from across the country have come out to denounce the song. “Anti-Jewish prejudices are not art,” said Charlotte Knobloch, leader of the Jewish community of Munich and Bavaria. Oliver Polak, a popular Jewish comedian, said that lyrics like that of Kollegah and Bang “are the reason that young Jewish people are chased around and beaten up in schoolyards.”

Tom Enders, the CEO of Airbus, also weighed in. “That hurts Germany’s international reputation. Is antisemitism becoming acceptable in Germany?,” he asked.
Food & Wine mag honors Reem’s Oakland restaurant, ignores wall-sized mural of terrorist
Food & Wine magazine recently released its Restaurants of the Year 2018.

The article, by F&W Restaurant Editor Jordanna Rothman, includes Reem’s of Oakland, CA. In the introduction to the article, Rothman notes: “At Reem’s in Oakland, California, I was moved by Reem Assil, a Syrian and Palestinian chef who uses food to cultivate understanding for the Arab experience in America.”

The review of Reem’s goes far beyond the menu or food preparation, and focuses heavily on the atmosphere at the restaurant. The review states, in part (emphasis added):

Food as a vehicle for healing is at the center of everything here. Assil has roots in the local foods movement of the Bay Area—Reem’s started out as a farmers market stand. And so the produce is local, the meat from nearby halal butchers. The dough for those man’oushe breads gets its tang from a Tartine Bakery starter and may be topped with cumin from Burlap & Barrel, a company emphasizing ethical sourcing in Afghanistan, Palestine, and elsewhere.

At a moment when touchstones of Middle Eastern cuisine like tahini and pomegranate molasses appear on menus all over the country, Reem’s offers an opportunity to see those flavors, often attributed to Israel, through a wider lens, one inclusive of the Arab perspective. “I wanted to cultivate understanding in the most humane way possible—through food,” says Assil, who makes her case with orange blossom–scented cookies, spinach pastries spiced with cinnamon and sumac, and warm flatbread bundling sujuk sausage. “I look around my restaurant on a Saturday afternoon. I see Jews and Arabs eating together. I see people who are not politicized just enjoying a meal. And I think, this is what peace looks like.”
Hungary says EU's 'irresponsible' migrant policy is threat to Jews
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's office said on Monday an "irresponsible" migration policy on the part of the European Union had stoked religious intolerance in Western Europe, threatening the Jewish population there.

His office issued the statement a week after Orban was re-elected in a landslide to a third successive term. Orban was elected following a fierce anti-immigrant campaign that vilified Hungarian-born, Jewish-American tycoon George Soros for promoting liberal, open-door values in Hungary and elsewhere in central and eastern Europe.

The right-wing nationalist premier has presented himself as the savior of Hungary's sovereignty and Christian values against what he calls an "invasion" of Muslim migrants. His office used the occasion of Hungary's Holocaust Remembrance Day to reiterate its strong criticism of EU migration policies.

"There is only one way to counter the worryingly strengthening anti-Semitic phenomena. … Europe must return to its values stemming from Judeo-Christian traditions," Orban's office said.

"The religious intolerance that threatens Europe – which is a direct consequence of the irresponsible migration policy of Brussels – has translated into unprecedented violence in the western half of the continent," it said, alluding to a number of deadly Islamist terrorist attacks since 2015.
Indonesians Hate the Chinese, Because They Are Jewish
By the beginning of the 20th century, the conflation of Chinese and Jews had spread widely throughout Southeast Asia and its leaders. King Wachirawut of Siam wrote a notorious 1914 pamphlet The Jews of the Orient, in which he systematically applied anti-Semitic stereotypes to local Chinese populations. During the 1930s, as anti-colonial movements were emerging in Southeast Asia and violent anti-Semitism erupting in Europe, Indonesian nationalists condemned Chinese merchants as Jews and began to speak of violent, eliminationist solutions to the country’s “Chinese problem.” Such thinking opened the path to legislation discriminating against the Chinese minority, and to the massacres of 1965-8 and 1998.

After a two-decade lull since the 1998 riots, anti-Chinese sentiment is returning to Indonesia along with a revival of its old companion, anti-Semitism, and prejudice and discrimination are reasserting themselves. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a politician of Chinese origin, became governor of Jakarta in 2014 when the previous governor stepped down. In 2017, as a new election loomed, many nationalists voiced opposition to Purnama’s decision to seek another term. Military officials warned that the Chinese minority was becoming “arrogant,” and Islamic clerics insisted that non-Muslims should not have such powerful offices (nearly all of Indonesia’s Chinese minority are non-Muslim). Following these signals from the state and civil society, Purnama was arrested on charges of blasphemy and sentenced to two years in prison.

With many fearing that history may soon repeat itself, the intimate entanglement of anti-Jewish and anti-Chinese hatred in Indonesia’s history offers a warning about the long reach of colonial legacies and the disturbing power of anti-Semitism to shadow and sustain other hatreds.
The Couriers of the Jewish Underground in Nazi-Occupied Poland
During the Holocaust, Jewish resistance groups employed women as messengers to communicate with the world outside the ghettos. Daniel Seaman tells the story of three daring young women—Tema Schneiderman, Lonka Kozybrodska, and Bella Chazan—who risked their lives to help their people:

In December 1941, Tema, Lonka, and Bella were. . . invited to the Christmas party at Gestapo headquarters in the then-Polish city of Grodno, disguised as Polish Catholics. . . . [Before the war, all three had been] members of their local chapters of the [Zionist-socialist] He-ḥaluts Dror Jewish youth movement. . . . Once the war broke out, the youth movements, with their elaborate network of connections, proved to be an unexpected asset for the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe that were deliberately isolated [from one another] by the Germans.

Tema, Lonka, and Bella, like several other female members of the youth movement, were the natural choice to serve as the link between the communities, known as the “couriers” (k’shariyot in Hebrew). Disguised as non-Jews, they risked their lives to move from ghetto to ghetto, traveling through treacherous territory, transporting documents, papers, money, ammunition, and weapons across borders and into ghettos. . . .

Not long after that evening, the dangers of the tragic era would inevitably catch up with them and their luck would run out. First Lonka, who in June 1942 was caught at the border crossing at Malkinia. She was interrogated as a member of the Polish Underground, [her captors not realizing that she was a Jew], and held in the [notorious] Pawiak prison in Warsaw. When she failed to arrive at her expected destination, Bella set out to look for her. She too was captured at the same border crossing and also sent to Pawiak. Bella and Lonka never revealed their identities, never broke, never exposed secrets though tortured severely. They never broke character either, [maintaining the ruse that they were Polish Gentiles].
The US Holocaust Museum Vs. Elie Wiesel
A staff historian at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum is suggesting, incredibly, that the Roosevelt administration was right to refuse to bomb Auschwitz. The late Elie Wiesel, the museum’s founding chairman, argued exactly the opposite. Whose side will the current museum leadership take?

Museum staffer Dr. Rebecca Erbelding told the Times of Israel on April 15, “I’m extremely cautious about saying that bombing the gas chambers would have saved a lot of lives. … [Bombing] would have killed a lot of people. There were about 100,000 people in Auschwitz [in 1944]. And so if the [US] had carpet bombed the camp, most of the camp would have died.”

Erbelding’s use of the term “carpet bombing” is a red herring. The requests that Jewish leaders made for bombings typically asked for precision strikes on the railway lines leading to the death camps, or the gas chambers and crematoria — not “carpet bombing” the entire camp.

For example, the request that the War Refugee Board forwarded to senior Roosevelt administration officials on October 3, 1944 stated that rescue advocates were asking for “bombing the extermination chambers and German barracks at the largest Polish concentration camps which, they say, are subject to precision bombing since they are sufficiently detached from the concentration camps.”
Newly-discovered note reveals Truman's fight for Israel recognition
For 70 years, historians have thoroughly documented the unlikely events that led to Israel’s birth, including US president Harry Truman’s support for the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

But a document recently uncovered in the archives of the former president’s library offers new insight into his fervor for the cause.

The Jerusalem Post obtained a handwritten note on White House letterhead that an archivist at the Truman Library said was drafted by his press secretary more than a year before the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. It details a concerted effort by the US administration to whip up votes at the United Nations in support of the partition.

The document features notes from a cabinet meeting at which Truman, according to the library, was offered a tally of support for a vote that would ultimately take place in November 1947. “Palestine votes look a little better,” the top of the note reads. “We have been in touch with Liberian minister to try to get the government’s instructions changed to support us,” it says. “I think we have Haiti. We may get Philippines out of no into abstention or, with luck, yes.”

“Cuba still won’t play,” it continues. “Greece is uncertain but has the excuse of the Balkan communism votes trade with Muslims.”

The vote was ultimately successful, with 33 votes in favor, 13 opposed and 10 abstentions. Liberia, Haiti and the Philippines voted for the resolution, while Cuba and Greece voted against.

While historians have documented a campaign by US senators who were on influential foreign and appropriations committees to pressure countries to support the resolution, there has been less evidence of Truman’s personal effort.
Chaim Weizmann Combined Gifted Statesmanship with a Passionate Commitment to Jewish Particularism
With Israeli independence day approaching, Gil Troy reflects on the life of the chemist and Zionist activist Chaim Weizmann, who was one of the architects of the Balfour Declaration, a crucial leader of the Zionist movement during the Mandate period, and eventually Israel’s first president. Troy notes, among other things, the great Jewish statesman’s understanding of Zionism itself:

The Jewish people have “never based the Zionist movement on Jewish suffering,” [Weizmann] would insist. “The foundation of Zionism was, and continues to be to this day, the yearning of the Jewish people for its homeland, for a national center, and a national life”—for normalcy!

Weizmann’s Zionism put him on the right side of the great 20th-century debate pitting liberal nationalism against totalitarian Communism. One of sixteen children—eleven [of whom] survived into adulthood—he and eight other siblings went Zionist, moved to Palestine, and thrived. Chaim’s brother Shmuel, who embraced Communist universalism, was executed in 1939, in Josef Stalin’s purges. His sister Maria was imprisoned thanks to Stalin’s paranoid, anti-Semitic Doctor’s Plot.

Taking this family argument to the world stage, when studying in Geneva, Weizmann debated the merits of nationalism versus universalism with some exiled Russian Communists, including Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin. . . . [Living in Britain], when his local member of Parliament, Lord Arthur Balfour, wondered why the Jews wouldn’t establish a national homeland in Uganda instead of Palestine, Weizmann asked: “Mr. Balfour, suppose I were to offer you Paris instead of London, would you take it?” Balfour replied: “But Dr. Weizmann, we have London.” Weizmann responded: “True, but we had Jerusalem when London was a marsh.”
Celebrating Israel at 70
It is ranked among the world’s healthiest nations, with a life expectancy higher than that of the US — not to mention a consistent top ranking in the annual world “happiness index.”

It has forged a thriving culture admired far beyond Israel’s borders, and has lovingly taken an ancient language — Hebrew, the language of the prophets — and rendered it modern to accommodate the vocabulary of the contemporary world.

Notwithstanding a few extremist voices, it has built a climate of respect for other faith groups, including Baha’i, Christianity, and Islam, and their places of worship. Can any other nation in the area even begin to make the same claim?

It has built an agricultural sector that has had much to teach developing nations about turning an arid soil into bountiful fields of fruits, vegetables, cotton, and flowers.

Step back from the twists and turns of the daily information overload and consider the sweep of the last seven decades. Look at the light-years traveled since the darkness of the Holocaust, and marvel at the miracle of a decimated people returning to a tiny sliver of land — the land of our ancestors — and successfully building a modern, vibrant state against all the odds.

In the final analysis, the story of Israel is the wondrous realization of a 3,500-year combination of a land, a faith, a language, a people, and a vision. It is an unparalleled story of tenacity and determination, of courage and renewal. And it is ultimately a metaphor for the triumph of enduring hope over the temptation of despair.
Israel@70Intel CEO, and 300 of his drones, to attend Israel’s independence celebrations
The chief executive officer of Intel Corp., Brian Krzanich, will join Israel for Wednesday night’s celebrations of the 70th anniversary of its independence, which will include a special display of a fleet of 300 Intel drones staged for the state’s official ceremony in Jerusalem.

“I am excited to be in Israel on Independence Day, in Jerusalem, and to participate in this exciting event,” Krzanich said in a statement. “This year, in 2018, Intel marks its 50th anniversary and the State of Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary. This is a double and moving birthday.”

As part of the show on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, Intel’s Shooting Star drones — quadcopters that integrate sensors, computing, communication and cloud technologies — will light up the Jerusalem skies with star-like images of the Star of David, the peace dove, the walls of Jerusalem and Theodor Herzl, along with music. The drones, which weigh just 330 grams each, are equipped with LED bulbs and are able create more than four billion color combinations.

Israel at 70 is notable for its technological prowess and Intel is “proud” to be represented in the official state celebration, where just one operator is in charge of flying the 300 drones, Yaniv Garty, the CEO of Intel Israel, said in the statement.

The Shooting Star drones have been showcased by Intel at other events abroad, including in the 71st Super Bowl and at Disney World.

Intel has been operating in Israel since 1974, and has invested some $17 billion to date. The US semiconductor giant is also planning an additional $5 billion investment through 2020, to expand a chip manufacturing plant in Kiryat Gat. The firm employs some 11,000 workers in its manufacturing plant in Kiryat Gat and in its R&D centers in Jerusalem, Petah Tikva and Haifa. In addition, Intel employs some 1,000 workers at Mobileye, the Jerusalem-based auto technology firm that it acquired last year for a whopping $15.3 billion.
Rabbi Mirvis, Michael Gove, Julie Burchill and more: What Israel means to me
Michael Gove

To me, Israel is an inspiration. It shows that the human spirit can achieve amazing things against incredible odds. The Jewish people after millennia of persecution built a home while surrounded by enemies and made that home a beacon of liberty.

Israel’s vibrant democracy, respect for individual freedom and restlessly innovative culture make it an example to others.

Every time I visit I’m amazed at what Israel has achieved and ashamed that so many respond to its achievements by indulging in the oldest hatred. The best response to that prejudice is to celebrate an amazing country which has endured so much and which at 70 shows the rest of us the power of hope

Michael Gove is Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Julie Burchill
I’ve been a philo-Semite since I was a teenager (you can read about in it my memoir, Unchosen) but I didn’t go to Israel until I was in my 40s. To say it lived up to my expectations is an understatement — the people, culture and climate have basically ruined me for every other country. Especially the people — no country ever boasted such a rainbow of beauty. Not for nothing did my gay mate Chas refer to his first trip there — just short of a week — as The Six-Day Phwoar.

But of course Israel’s achievement goes far beyond the physical and the fiscal — in proportion to its population, it has the largest number of startup companies in the world. It is a beacon of enlightened light in a frankly wretched region which has a real problem with such outrageous concepts as equal rights for women and homosexuals. I believe that Islamofascism is the biggest threat to progress and pleasure since the Nazis stalked the earth and Israel fights it on the frontline for all of us. And regrettably, as antisemitism — “fresh’n’funky antisemitism” as I once called the new Left-wing, right-on brand — rises in Europe, Israel will be needed more than ever by the diaspora.

In fact, there’s only one thing wrong with Israel — it’s not big enough. Never mind — next year in Samaria.

Julie Burchill is an author and journalist
12,000 Israelis sing 'Al Kol Eleh' - Israel's 70th anniversary
One president, 40 musicians and 12,000 singers. Those were the ingredients for an unforgettable music video released on Monday ahead of Israel’s 70th anniversary.

President Reuven Rivlin, together with singer Shlomi Shabat, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel and the social-music initiative Koolulam, hosted an event last week at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv. Together, the 12,000 attendees practiced and recorded Naomi Shemer’s “Al Kol Eleh” (Over All of These) to create the moving and memorable video.

Shemer, one of the most beloved singer songwriters in Israeli history, wrote “Al Kol Eleh” in 1980. The song talks about accepting the bitter with the sweet – the sting with the honey – and asks God for protection over what the Jewish people have built in the land of Israel – “over all these things.”

Thousands of Israelis of all ages – from a few months old to nearing a century – came from around the country to Tel Aviv last Monday night, to sing alongside Shabat and the Jerusalem Street Orchestra. In his invitation for the event, Rivlin said that “song is something that brings people together.”

“Let’s sing together,” the president declared. “Religious, secular, Arabs, Jews, soldiers, women, men, children... let’s put aside everything that divides us and do together what connects us and brings us together – it’ll be fun!” (h/t dabney)




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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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