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When Anwar Sadat came to Jerusalem 40 years ago

(Photo: Ya'akov Sa'ar/GPO archive)

(Photo: Ya'akov Sa'ar/GPO archive)

By TOI Staff - November 21, 2017

Originally appeared here in the Times of Israel 

The Knesset on Tuesday marked the 40 year anniversary of the historic visit by former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Israel, which paved the way for the peace deal between the two former enemy countries.

On November 20, 1977, Sadat became the first — and so far only — Arab leader to visit Israel and address the Knesset with a call for peace.

Sadat’s visit heralded Israeli-Egyptian talks at Camp David a year later, and a full peace agreement in 1979, just six years after the painful Yom Kippur War.

After arriving at Ben Gurion Airport on November 19, Sadat met with Begin. The next day, he prayed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, before heading to Israel’s parliament to give his speech. Read More

 

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8 great Israeli cafés serving coffee and a slice of social-welfare

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By Abigail Klein Leichman - November 19, 2017

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

“Ben” smiles as he loads an industrial juicer with oranges at Harutzim bistro-café in Jerusalem’s Talpiot business district, run by SHEKEL-Community Services for People with Special Needs as a social business.

His smile broadens with pride when he hands me a glass of fresh-squeezed juice under the encouraging eye of training supervisor Noa Zwebner.

“When Ben started working here two years ago, he wore sunglasses and was very shy. He didn’t want to talk to anyone. We worked really hard with him to communicate along with teaching him how to make coffee and juice,” says Zwebner. “He’s now asking clients what kind of coffee and pastry they want. He’s taking initiative. He’s really made unbelievable progress.”

Social eateries across Israel aim to please palates while employing, training and rehabilitating people from disadvantaged populations such as teenage dropouts and disabled adults. Read More

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Ethiopian-born Miss Israel once dreamed of the Jewish state, now advocates for it

(Photo: Yityish Aynaw press photo)

(Photo: Yityish Aynaw press photo)

By Adam Abrams - November 2, 2017

Originally appeared here in jns.org 

In Ethiopia, Yityish “Titi” Aynaw and her fellow villagers always dreamed of living in Israel.

“From as far back as I can remember, I was always told that I am Jewish and that I must live in Jerusalem,” said the former Miss Israel, who in 2013 became the first Ethiopian to hold the title. “I imagined that Israel would look like how it’s described in the Bible, as the land of milk and honey…like a fairytale.”

This week, Aynaw commenced her third Israel advocacy speaking tour on U.S. college campuses, in what she described as an opportunity “to give back” to the country that gave her a new life.

Aynaw’s fall 2017 tour—facilitated by Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Media Watch International—began Oct. 30 and includes visits to campuses in the states of New York, Colorado, California, Washington and Oregon. The tour culminates with Aynaw’s keynote address to hundreds of American students at JNF’s national conference in South Florida Nov. 11.

Since being crowned Miss Israel, Aynaw’s meteoric rise has seen her become one of Israel’s top models, a prominent media personality and a staunch advocate for the Jewish state. Along the way, she has shattered a cultural glass ceiling and paved the way for other young Ethiopian-Israeli women to follow in her footsteps.  Read More

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Arriving on donkeys, Syrian war wounded seek Israeli help

(Photo: AFP/MENAHEM KAHANA)

(Photo: AFP/MENAHEM KAHANA)

By Delphine Matthieussent - November 6, 2017

Originally appeared here in the Times of Israel 

MOUNT HERMON (AFP) — The wounded Syrians, carried on donkeys through the pitch-black night, could be seen in the beam of a searchlight held by their unlikely saviors — Israeli soldiers.

They were high in the mountains, nearing the Israeli part of the Golan Heights, where they were to receive medical treatment for their wounds even though Israel and Syria are officially at war.

Casualties from Syria’s six-year civil war are taken to hospitals inside Israel several nights each week.

At the same time, Israeli soldiers return Syrians, who have received treatment, to the disengagement line that divides the Syrian-controlled part of the Golan from that held by Israel.

It is another example of the many contradictions in the morass of the six-year Syrian conflict.

Israel does not take in refugees from the war, but its army says that it has facilitated the treatment of more than 3,100 wounded in Israeli hospitals since 2013. Read More

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Israeli, Arab, European firemen share cross-border drill

(Photo: Israel Firefighting and Rescue Authority)

(Photo: Israel Firefighting and Rescue Authority)

By Abigail Klein Leichman - October 26, 2017

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

As forest fires and other major catastrophes engulf many parts of the world with greater frequency, the European Commission and the Israeli government organized an international exercise in Israel this week for firefighters from Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Italy, France and Spain.

The Middle East Forest Fires drill on October 24 and 25 had more than 400 participants from the various countries — including 250 firefighters, pilots, ground crews and logistics personnel — learning to improve skills and share knowledge in large-scale cooperative firefighting management, evacuation of residents, humanitarian assistance and preservation of nature.

“In recent years, we have witnessed large-scale disasters take the lives of tens of thousands of victims, such as earthquakes, floods, fires and incidents involving hazardous materials. These are disasters that countries cannot always deal with on their own, and for which they need assistance,” said Israeli Fire Commissioner Lt. Gen. Dedi Simhi. Read More

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Israeli Musicians with Disabilities to Represent Israel on World Tour

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By Jpost.com Staff - October 26, 2017

Originally appeared here in The Jerusalem Post

The band that inspired thousands of people around the globe with their viral video clip is embarking on a world tour, to perform in cities across three continents. 

The Shalva Band is composed of eight adults with disabilities; including Down syndrome, Autism, and various physical handicaps; whose talent and moving performances have merited awards and international recognition. The band will be traveling to New York, Tornoto, Mexico, and London, among other cities to represent Israel and people with disabilities at tens of dignitary and cultural events.

"When the band was established over ten years ago, it was merely an expansion of Shalva's music therapy program," explained Shai Ben-Shushan, the Shalva Band director. "Today the Shalva band has become an international icon for inclusion and a real example of the amazing things that can happen when you empower people's abilities and believe in their potential. This is a message that everyone can relate to, whether or not they have disabilities." Read More

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Christians from 100 nations celebrate Sukkot in Israel

(Photo: Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

(Photo: Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

By Abigail Klein Leichman - October 15, 2017

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

More than 5,000 evangelical Christians from nearly 100 nations celebrated in Israel during the recent week-long Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) holiday.

The annual pilgrimage, organized by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, is highlighted by a colorful march through Jerusalem, held this year on October 10 under sunny skies.

Following in the footsteps of Jesus, whose Sukkot holiday visit to the capital city is described in the Gospel of John, the visitors marked 50 years of Jerusalem’s reunification.

“The Feast of Tabernacles is always a wonderful foretaste of that future time when all peoples will come up to Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot,” according to an ICEJ statement. Read More

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Israeli Arabs’ Growing Israeli Identity

(Photo: © ABIR SULTAN/epa/Corbis)

(Photo: © ABIR SULTAN/epa/Corbis)

By Evelyn Gordon - October 17, 2017

Originally appeared here in CommentaryMagazine.com

Over last week’s Sukkot holiday, Israeli Arab couple Khalil and Reem Bakly launched their own personal coexistence venture by building a completely kosher sukkah (aided by an Orthodox Jewish employee of Khalil’s dental practice) and inviting any and all Israeli Jews to come visit. That same week, a delegation comprised entirely of Israeli Arabs—Muslims, Christians, and Druze—made final preparations for a speaking tour defending Israel on American college campuses.

Both could easily be dismissed as unrepresentative of Israel’s Arab community. After all, that very same week, Arab Knesset member Haneen Zoabi asserted in a speech in Dallas that Jews have no right to self-determination, because “the Jews are not a nationality.” And Zoabi, who is only slightly more inflammatory than her party colleagues, was elected on a joint ticket that receives the overwhelming majority of Israeli Arab votes.

But as a recent poll of Israeli Arabs proves, the community is changing—and not in Zoabi’s favor.

Perhaps most striking was the fact that a decisive majority of respondents identified primarily as Israeli rather than Palestinian, which is something that wasn’t true even a few years ago. In 2012, for instance, just 32.5 percent of Israeli Arabs defined themselves as “Israeli” rather than Palestinian. But the figure has risen fairly steadily, and this year, asked “which term best describes you,” 54 percent of respondents chose some variant of “Israeli” (the most popular choice was “Israeli Arab,” followed by “Arab citizen of Israel,” “Israeli,” and “Israeli Muslim”). That’s more than double the 24 percent who chose some variant of “Palestinian” (15 percent chose simply “Palestinian.” The others chose “Palestinian in Israel,” “Palestinian citizen in Israel,” or “Israeli Palestinian”). Read More

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Massive section of Western Wall and Roman theater uncovered after 1,700 years

(Photo: Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

(Photo: Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

By Amanda Borschel-Dan - October 16, 2017 

Originally appeared here in the Times of Israel 

Archaeologists are one step closer to solving the riddle of what took place in Jerusalem following the destruction of the city by Romans in 70 CE.

Israel Antiquity Authority archaeologists announced Monday that for the past two years they have been excavating and exposing a massive eight-meter deep section of Jerusalem’s Western Wall, unseen for 1,700 years.

And in the course of their work, which has been quietly proceeding directly beneath Wilson’s Arch — the area immediately adjacent to the men’s section of the Western Wall — they unexpectedly discovered a small Roman theater. The dig has not encroached under the Temple Mount. Read More

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Dozens of Palestinians visit settlement mayor’s sukkah in reconciliation event

(Photo: Yesha Council)

(Photo: Yesha Council)

By TOI Staff - October 11, 2017

Originally appeared here in The Times of Israel 

A year after a similar event landed four Palestinians in a Palestinian Authority jail, over 30 Palestinians joined dozens of Israelis as guests at the sukkah of Efrat mayor and settlements advocate Oded Revivi.

The group of some 100 guests gathered “to celebrate coexistence,” according to a press release.

The Palestinian participants were not identified in order to protect them from any backlash by PA authorities, but they were described in the release as “local Palestinian leaders from half a dozen local cities and towns.”

It is a Jewish tradition to host friends and associates in the temporary structure that are used during Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) to recall the biblical account of the booths erected in the desert by the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. Read More

 

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Israeli-Arab couple welcomes all in Sukkah of Hope

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By Abigail Klein Leichman - October 12, 2017

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

Dentists Khalil and Reem Bakly, a young Arab-Israeli couple in Upper Nazareth, built a 9-by-3-meter sukkah on their deck and invited the general public to come for kosher and Arab cuisine, prayer, live music and discussions on the three intermediate days of the Sukkot holiday, October 8-10.

Calling their unusual construction the Sukkah of Hope, the Baklys issued an invitation in Arabic and Hebrew. “We believe that respect is mutual, that listening and understanding are the basis for a shared existence,” they wrote.

Why would a Muslim couple build a sukkah, a temporary outdoor booth, in keeping with the biblical commandment to celebrate the week-long Jewish Feast of Tabernacles?

Dr. Khalil Bakly, 45, says most of the patients and professional staff in both his Netanya and Nazareth offices are Jewish, and he had long admired the concept of Sukkot.

“Towards the Sukkot holiday we are used to masses of Israeli people celebrating this feast by building a sukkah,” he explains. “The sukkah comes to symbolize that materialism is not a principal issue, and therefore we are not measured by the strength of the walls in our houses, but rather by the strength of our hearts.” Read More

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Not even hurricanes can keep Puerto Rican pilgrims from dancing in Israel

(Photo: Hycliff Soler)

(Photo: Hycliff Soler)

By Grace Austin - October 10, 2017

Originally appeared here in the Times of Israel 

Hycliff Soler emerged from his home after Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico on September 20 to find a country he didn’t recognize.

“When the hurricane ended, we went outside and started to see the whole devastation,” said Soler. Whole neighborhoods were flooded, buildings were reduced to rubble. Trees blocked the roadways, and the island’s fragile electrical infrastructure collapsed.

“Then we said, ‘I think we will not be able to make the Israel trip.’”

Hycliff Soler and his wife Lunail Colón have run a Christian-centered dance school, Danzàle, in a suburb of the capital San Juan for the past 15 years. Their kids, Ian Cliff, 17, and Soleil, 12, are also dancers.

The family planned to visit Israel to perform with other musicians, dancers and singers from the Philippines, Brazil, the United States, Fiji, and elsewhere for the Feast of the Tabernacles, which began last Friday in Ein Gedi and ends on Wednesday in Jerusalem. Read More

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Israeli hospital gets grant to treat Syrian kids’ hearing loss

(Photo: Genesis Prize Foundation)

(Photo: Genesis Prize Foundation)

By Abigail Klein Leichman - October 4, 2017

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

A six-figure donation from Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn is going to Ziv Medical Center in Safed (Tzfat) to fund treatment of hearing loss among Syrian children brought from conflict areas to Israel for medical care.

The hospital near the border with Syria, recently visited by celebrity Conan O’Brien, has extensive experience treating wounded Syrian civilians.

Exams performed at Ziv have revealed that one out of every three Syrian children from combat zones suffers hearing loss. The grant will cover direct expenses related to clinical treatments, surgery and rehabilitation as well as state-of-the-art hearing devices for an estimated 50 children. Read More

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Video of Holocaust survivor forgiving Mengele goes viral

(Photo: Public domain)

(Photo: Public domain)

By David Sedley - October 1, 2017

Originally appeared here in The Times of Israel 

A video of a Holocaust survivor, in which she forgives the notorious Nazi doctor Josef Mengele for carrying out medical experiments on her and her twin sister at Auschwitz, has gone viral in recent weeks, garnering more than 120 million views.

Last month Eva Mozes Kor, 83, made a video entitled, “The Power to Live and Forgive,” produced by Buzzfeed, in which she describes her journey from a naked 10-year-old being experimented on by the ‘Angel of Death,’ to forgiving him.

Kor’s story of the strength she gained from granting forgiveness has been watched over 120 million times on Facebook since it was posted on September 27 and more than 3 million times on YouTube, where it was posted on September 15. Read More

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Israel Saves Kurdish Children With Heart Disease Despite Erdogan Criticism

(Photo: Regional Cooperation Ministry) 

(Photo: Regional Cooperation Ministry) 

By Judy Siegel-itzkovich - October 2, 2017

Originally appeared here in The Jerusalem Post

Following the criticism by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over Israel’s support for the Kurds, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi visited Kurdish children who were receiving medical treatment here on Monday.

During a visit to Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center, the base for the Save a Child’s Heart program that performs congenital heart surgery on needy children from abroad, Hanegbi said: “Israel is the greatest defender of human rights.”

The minister was accompanied by ministry director-general Dr. Joseph Dreznin. After being greeted by Wolfson doctors, Hanegbi and Dreznin toured the pediatric wards and met with children from Afghanistan, Togo, Zanzibar and the Palestinian Authority as well as from Kurdistan in Iraq. Read More

 

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Jews and Palestinians work side-by-side to rebuild home hit by Hurricane Harvey

(Photo: Lewis)

(Photo: Lewis)

By Cathryn J. Prince - September 27, 2017

Originally appeared here in the Times of Israel 

NEW YORK — Of all the homes in all the flood ravaged neighborhoods in Houston, the group of Jewish volunteers from New Jersey walked into the Khourys’.

“The first thing I heard when we arrived was the accent of the mother. She hugged the rabbi who was wearing his black yarmulke and tzitzit. ‘We’re Palestinian. You’re Jewish. This is the best country in the world! This is America!,’” said Scott Wisotsky, describing the moment he and his fellow good Samaritans arrived at Victor and Mary Khoury’s home.

Wisotsky had traveled to Houston with the New Jersey chapter of Mesorah, a network for young Jewish professionals. The chapter’s director, Rabbi Yehoshua Lewis, led the group of 11 volunteers to help with flood recovery in homes destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

Now back in New York, Wisotsky said the team is still amazed that of all the homes they could have been placed in — the August 25 hurricane damaged over 100,000 houses in the city — they ended up helping Palestinian Americans. For many of the Jewish volunteers it was the first time they ever stepped foot inside a Palestinian family’s home. Read More

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Israel Approves ‘Gospel Trail’ Cable Car to Enhance Christian Tourism

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

By JNS.org - September 4, 2017

Originally appeared here in The Algemeiner

Israel’s cabinet on Sunday approved the construction of the “Gospel Trail” cable car that, when completed, will run between Upper Nazareth and the lower slopes of Mount Tabor in order to enhance access to Christian tourist sites in the area.

The project in Israel’s northern region is a collaborative effort between Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee Aryeh Deri and the municipality of Upper Nazareth.

The initiative aims to attract millions of international tourists and religious pilgrims, in addition to Israeli visitors. Read More

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Israel sends aid to Mexico after devastating earthquake

(Photo: ZAKA)

(Photo: ZAKA)

By Nicky Blackburn - September 20, 2017

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

The Israel Defense Forces Search and Rescue Unit and two other Israeli aid agencies have sent emergency response teams to Mexico in the wake of a deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake that has killed more than 200, flattened buildings, and extensively damaged infrastructure.

The earthquake, which struck 140 kilometers south-east of Mexico City, caused substantial damage. It comes just two weeks after a deadly earthquake hit the country, and is the most powerful to strike Mexico since 1985.

Israel received a request for assistance from Mexico following the severe earthquake on Tuesday night, and in response a 50 member team of the IDF Search and Rescue Unit departed earlier this afternoon with a planeload of equipment.

Israeli nonprofit aid organization IsraAID will also send an emergency response team to Mexico, with psycho-social, water, sanitation and hygiene specialists. Read More

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African Christian leaders hold Jerusalem start-up summit

(photo: Ilanit Chernick )

(photo: Ilanit Chernick )

By Ilanit Chernick - August 30, 2017 

Originally appeared here in the Jerusalem Post

Christian leaders from several African countries concluded meetings in Jerusalem on Wednesday with Israeli start-ups, politicians and businesses during the African Leadership Summit hosted by the Institute for Christian Leadership Development.

“Africa Celebrates Jerusalem” is this year’s theme for the summit, which aims to strengthen ties between Israel and Africa.

The main goal is for African Christian leaders to connect with the different sectors of the country including agriculture, economic and technology.

About 70 delegates from countries including Nigeria, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Tanzania and Kenya took part in the four-day event. Read More

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Ancient Clay Seals Shed Light on Israel's First Temple Period

(Photo: Eliyahu Yanai, City of David)

(Photo: Eliyahu Yanai, City of David)

September 5, 2017 - Originally appeared here on CBN.com

JERUSALEM, Israel – Dozens of ancient seals dating to the First Temple period will be on display to the public for the first time this week at the annual archaeological conference at the City of David National Park in Jerusalem.

The well-preserved clay seals, used by the sender to officially close up letters, survived the destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple in 586 BC.

The seals, known in Hebrew as bullae, from which the word "bul" (stamp) comes, showed the recipient if the letter had been opened. A broken seal indicated it had been opened before arriving at its destination. Read More

 

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