Comment

With Tears of Joy, Long-Lost Ethiopian Jews Reunite With Family in Israel

(Photo: Jani Salokangas/ICEJ)

(Photo: Jani Salokangas/ICEJ)

By Abra Forman - June 8, 2017

Originally appeared here in BreakingIsraelNews.com

More than 200 families and supporters greeted a group of 72 Ethiopian Jews arriving in at the Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday evening on the latest aliyah (immigration to Israel) flight arranged by the Jewish Agency and sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ).

Holding banners and waving flags, the Ethiopian Israelis were overjoyed to reunite with family members who have waited for years to return to Israel.

The Israeli cabinet decided last year to resume aliyah operations to bring the last remnant of the Ethiopian Jewish community to Israel. Tuesday’s flight was the first since the program was reinstated, and several more flights are planned for June. Some 9,000 Jews are still waiting in Ethiopia for Israeli government approval to make aliyah. Read More

Comment

Comment

Why Israel is saving Syrian rebels

(Photo: Baz Ratner / Reuters)

(Photo: Baz Ratner / Reuters)

By Terry Glavin - June 20, 2017

Originally appeared here in Macleans.ca

On a hospital bed at the Ziv Medical Center, high in the Upper Galilee Mountains, a Syrian rebel who goes by the name Ramadan was still wincing in pain from a bullet that had torn through his right shoulder only 10 days before. But he said there was something important he wanted to tell me. The gruff-voiced, barrel-chested fighter sat up on his hospital bed and began.

“All the world is killing us, all the world,” he said. “All my life I was told Israel is my enemy. I grew up like that, to believe that Israel is the devil. But all the world is against us, and only Israel is our friend. The world is killing us. Israel is saving us.” Read More

Comment

Comment

Israeli company that extracts water from air launches Florida pilot

(Photo: Courtesy of Mendy Studio)

(Photo: Courtesy of Mendy Studio)

By Andrew Tobin - June 21, 2017

Originally appeared here in The Times of Israel 

JTA — Large parts of Florida are suffering from severe drought, and hurricane season threatens to make things worse.

Enter Water-Gen, an Israeli company, whose technology captures humidity to extract drinking water from the air.

On Monday, the South Florida city of Miami Gardens announced it was launching a pilot program with the company to address its water problems — the first US city to do so.

“As representatives responsible for the quality of life and safety of our communities, preparedness and readiness to counter crises is mandatory,” Mayor Oliver Gilbert III said at a City Hall news conference. “Water-Gen’s pilot will enable us to measure its use for clean drinking water if needed for hurricane relief and any other emergency water situation that may arise.” Read More

Comment

Comment

Robert Kraft-led trip to Israel has profound impact on Hall of Famers

(Photo: AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

(Photo: AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

By Mike Reiss - June 21, 2017

Originally appeared here in ESPN.com 

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis bleeds Pittsburgh Steelers black and gold, but as he boarded an airplane Tuesday set to return from Israel to the United States, he reflected on spending a week with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and laughed.

"I told my wife [Trameka], he has a new fan," Bettis said. "My phrase was 'I'm a friend of him, not of them.'"

That's how strongly Bettis -- who played several high-stakes games against the Patriots during his lengthy career with the Steelers -- felt about what transpired from June 13-21. Bettis was one of 18 Hall of Famers who joined Kraft on a trip to Israel.

"To have an opportunity for me and my wife to be baptized in the Jordan River, that was amazing. To have an opportunity, as a Christian, to see where Jesus Christ was born, was amazing. To walk in his footsteps. To go to the Church of Holy Sepulchre, those kind of things, things I read about in a Bible but to actually have an opportunity to walk and see it with my own eyes, they were amazing," Bettis said in a phone interview. Read More

Comment

Comment

Palestinian official donates playroom to a Haifa hospital

(Photo: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

(Photo: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

By Israel21c Staff - June 13, 2017

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

Every year, an estimated 1,200 children and adults residents of the Palestinian Authority (PA) territories come to Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa for medical treatment.

A few months ago, “M,” a senior figure in the PA who wishes to conceal his identity, was treated for cancer at Rambam. While hospitalized, he met many patients and their families from the PA areas, and began to take particular interest in the unique needs of hospitalized children.

“When I arrived at Rambam, I saw a medical team that treats its patients with dedication, but I also saw the suffering of sick children,” said M. “Palestinian children, Israelis, Syrians, and children from other countries are being treated at Rambam for serious illnesses and are in need of all the help they can get.” Read More

 

Comment

Comment

Treating wounded Syrians who arrive in Israel is 'Holiest of Holy'

(photo: IDF)

(photo: IDF)

By Anna Ahronheim - June 2, 2017

Originally appeared here in the Jerusalem Post

As the brutal war across Israel’s northern border rages on, Syrians desperate for medical care continue to make the treacherous journey to the border of a country they were raised to see as their enemy.

While Israel has largely stayed out of the fighting on it’s northern border, more than 3,000 Syrians have been treated here in the four years since the IDF began allowing in the wounded who make their way to the border.

Those who arrive at the Syria-Israel border, both combatants and civilians, are given emergency field treatment to stabilize them before the IDF transfers them to medical centers, where medical care is provided free of charge and patients are treated under strict anonymity out of fear that they and their families could be targeted in Syria if their time in Israel becomes known. Read More

 

Comment

Comment

Israeli President: Christians Are Our brothers

(photo: xinhuanet.com)

(photo: xinhuanet.com)

By Israel Today Staff - May 18, 2017

Originally appeared here in Israel Today

Israel President Reuven Rivlin said during a meeting with church leaders in Jerusalem that Christians and Jews are "brothers."

Rivlin invited the heads of the various churches in Jerusalem to his official residence on the occasion of Easter.

He used the opportunity to decry the rising persecution of Christians across the Middle East.

"I say to you here, our Christian brothers of Jerusalem, our thoughts are with you at this difficult time," stated Rivlin. "We have all seen the pictures from Syria; I visited some of the injured being treated in Israeli hospitals. What has happened there to the Christian community – and to the whole country – is a stain on all of humanity." Read More

Comment

Comment

Boko Haram refugees get Israeli-funded soccer league

By JTA - May 17, 2017

Originally appeared here in Arutz Sheva 

Israel’s ambassador to Nigeria donated the embassy’s fund for an Independence Day celebration to establish a soccer league in the African nation for refugee children.

Ambassador Guy Feldman canceled the embassy’s Yom Haatzmaut reception and set up the league for 225 children who escaped the Boko Haram terrorist organization, Ynet reported. The embassy provided uniforms, balls and coaches, according to Ynet. Read More

Comment

Comment

Israel to Explore Ways to Treat Syrian Children Hurt in Chemical Attack

(Photo: Ziv Medical Center)

(Photo: Ziv Medical Center)

By JNS.org

Originally appeared here in Algemeiner.com

Less than a week after a suspected chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province, Israel’s cabinet agreed to examine a proposal to bring Syrian children in need of medical care to the Jewish state for treatment.

At a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz proposed bringing the wounded children — some of whom are currently in Turkey — to Israel. Read More

Comment

Comment

Israeli firm to provide drinking water — from the air — for India and Vietnam

(photo: Water Gen)

(photo: Water Gen)

By JTA and Eric Cortellessa - April 4, 2017

Originally appeared here in the Times of Israel 

TEL AVIV — An Israeli company whose technology made a splash at last week’s AIPAC conference has signed deals to produce drinking water — by extracting it from the air — in India and Vietnam, two countries that have long faced shortages.

Water Gen inked an agreement last week with India’s second-largest solar company to produce purified water for remote villages in the country. Earlier, the company arranged with the Hanoi government to set up water generators in the Vietnamese capital.

“The government of Vietnam greatly esteems the technological developments in Israel, and I hope that the Israeli technology that we supply to Vietnam will significantly help to improve water conditions in the country,” Water Gen President Mikhael Mirilashvili said after the signing in Hanoi, according to a statement. Read More

Comment

Comment

Program brings 2 millionth free book to Arab-Israeli preschoolers

(photo: Maktabat al-Fanoos promotional video, YouTube)

(photo: Maktabat al-Fanoos promotional video, YouTube)

By JTA - April 4, 2017

Originally appeared here in the Times of Israel 

A program to distribute free books in Arabic to Arab-Israeli preschoolers is distributing its two millionth book.

Maktabat al-Fanoos, Arabic for “Lantern Library,” is operated by the Ministry of Education, in partnership with the Grinspoon Foundation Israel, founder of the Hebrew book program for Jewish Israeli preschoolers, Sifriyat Pijama, and Price Philanthropies, which funds Bidayat early childhood centers. The Grinspoon Foundation also sponsors the PJ Library, which provides Jewish-themed books in English for Jewish-American pre-schoolers.

Maktabat al-Fanoos was founded in January 2014 and gives out eight books a year to 97,000 Arab-Israeli children ages 3-5 in kindergarten and pre-k classrooms. All children in government preschools get the books for free and children in semi-private schools get the books at cost. Read More

Comment

Comment

Jerusalem Jews and Arabs bond over backgammon

(Photo: Shabtai Amedi)

(Photo: Shabtai Amedi)

By Abigail Klein Leichman - March 19, 2017    

Originally appeared here in Israel21c 

On a winter night inside the Mayer Davidov Garage in the Talpiot industrial area of Jerusalem, some 500 university students, mechanics, high-techies and senior citizens — wearing kippahs, kaffiyehs and everything in between — played or cheered on contestants in a backgammon championship accompanied by live Arabic music.

Backgammon (“shesh-besh” in this part of the world) is thousands of years old and remains a popular pastime among Arabs and Jews.

In Jerusalem, a surprising number of them are playing the board game together since the spring 2016 launch of Jerusalem Double, a project of the nonprofit organization Kulna Yerushalayim (We Are All Jerusalem).

“Backgammon is played throughout the Middle East, so we have this game in common. It’s fun, down to earth, accessible and inclusive,” relates Zaki Djemal, one of the founders of Jerusalem Double along with Dror Amedi, Mahmoud Schade, Hiday Goldsmith, Kamel Jabarin, Mahmoud Jamal Al-Rifai, Matan Hayat, Noa Tal-El and Shir Hoory. Read More

Comment

Comment

Israeli aid group sends solar light to Yazidi refugees in Iraq

(Photo: Shutterstock.com)

(Photo: Shutterstock.com)

By Viva Sarah Press - February 26, 2017

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

Israel-based international humanitarian aid group, iAID, has announced that it will be providing solar panels to a Yazidi refugee camp in northern Iraq to help 330 families access electricity.

“Persecuted Yazidi families living in horrible conditions in remote regions on the mountains of northern Iraq will receive [solar panels] which will be used to help provide lights in over 330 family tents and in bathroom and shower structures so to prevent gender-based violence,” Shachar Zahavi, founder of iAID, said in a statement. Read More

 

Comment

Comment

Afghan toddler undergoes live-saving surgery in Israel

By Itamar Eichner - February 25, 2017 

Originally appeared here in Ynetnews

A worldwide effort has saved the life of a two-year-old Afghan toddler named Yakub, who was secretly brought to Israel after suffering from a heart defect from birth. The child was rushed to an operating room immediately upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport, where doctors saved his life.

Yakub was born in a remote village in Baghlan, where soon after his birth, his parents noticed the child did not eat, cried often and did not grow and develop like other children.

After seeking out doctor after doctor, a family friend put the parents in touch with a man named Farhad, who dedicated his life to helping sick children in Afghanistan.
 
Farhad made contact with the organization Save A Child's Heart (SACH), based out of Wolfson Medical Center, where doctors analyzed Yakub's tests and decided to operate in an attempt to save his life. Read More

Comment

2 Comments

Israel Police Seek Christian Recruits

(photo: Israel Police) 

(photo: Israel Police) 

By Eliyahu Kamisher - February 7, 2017 

Originally appeared here in The Jerusalem Post

Police met with a representative of the Christian community in Israel on Tuesday to discuss enlisting more Christian recruits into the Israeli police force.

The meeting at National Police Headquarters in Jerusalem was held between attorney Nader Safari, a leader of the Christian community, and the head of the police’s manpower division, Asst.- Ch. Gila Gaziel. Both sides agreed to hold more meetings and develop a framework for police to visit schools in Christian communities to promote careers in the force.

There are currently 423 Christian police officers in Israel and 66 Christians doing their national service with the police and Border Police.

Zionist Union MK Eitan Broshi, who initiated the meeting, praised it as a step in diversifying police ranks.

“I see great importance in recruiting members of the Christian community,” he said in a statement. “This is another layer of full integration into Israeli society, and I thank the Israel Police for their cooperation, and I am pleased with this step.” Read More

2 Comments

Comment

Arab, Jewish Israeli youth leaders to teach Syrian kids in Greece

(Photo: Nicolas Economou/Shutterstock)

(Photo: Nicolas Economou/Shutterstock)

By Abigail Klein Leichman - February 12, 2017

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

Educators and counselors from Jewish Israeli youth movement Hashomer Hatzair and the Arab Israeli youth movement Ajyal soon will embark on a joint voluntary mission to set up a community center and school for Syrian refugee children on the Greek island of Lesbos.

The first delegation of two from each movement, plus coordinator Yair Leibel from Hashomer Hatzair, expects to leave Israel February 19 and stay for three weeks. The second delegation will be accompanied by Rnin Kahil, the Ajyal coordinator.

Members and leaders of the two youth movements have been meeting periodically for almost a decade, usually for informal dialogues.

“The problem is that after we sit and talk, we go our separate ways,” Leibel tells ISRAEL21c. “In one of our last meetings the Syrian situation arose … and there was the thought to do something together to help people who are suffering in a nation in our area, even though Syria is considered an enemy country to Israel.” Read More

Comment

Comment

The ‘never again’ imperative: Why and how Israelis are helping Syrians

 (photo: Nave Antopolsky/iAID)

 (photo: Nave Antopolsky/iAID)

By Dov Lieber - January 25, 2017

Originally appeared here in the Times of Israel 

The scale of destruction and death caused by the Syrian civil war has struck an old, dark chord in the hearts of many Israelis. For more than half a decade, a war has raged just across the border from the Jewish state, reportedly claiming the lives of nearly half a million souls and driving millions more from their homes.

The Israeli government has declared itself neutral in the complex conflict, careful not to get sucked into the violent whirlwind threatening the whole region. But Israel has not avoided the gravitational pull of the massive humanitarian catastrophe at its own doorstep.

Israel and its northern neighbor have formally been at war for seven decades. But following the outbreak of the civil war, the Jewish state has been treating Syrian casualties, including wounded fighters. More than 2,000 Syrians have been treated in Israeli hospitals since 2013, according to the Israeli army. Still, Israeli civilians, who are forbidden to enter Syria both under Israeli and Syrian law, have had little ability to act on any sympathy they may feel for the war-struck nation.

But two recent Israeli civilian initiatives, driven by the oath of “never again” — understood by Jews worldwide as a moral imperative to prevent any genocide after the Holocaust — are giving everyday Israelis a chance to help. Read More

Comment

Comment

Israel plans to adopt orphaned victims of Syrian war

(Photo: Gili Yaari/FLASH90)

(Photo: Gili Yaari/FLASH90)

By Abigail Klein Leichman - January 29, 2017

Originally appeared here on Israel21c

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri has approved a plan to absorb approximately 100 orphaned Syrian children who have survived the fighting in their war-torn country and are in desperate need of warm homes to provide care and rehabilitation.

Despite the fact that Israel and Syria have no diplomatic relations, Deri authorized the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority last week to begin contacting relevant agencies to facilitate the absorption of children who have survived the fighting. They are to be integrated into Arab-Israeli families.

“The situation in Syria is very harsh. Civilians have been slaughtered for years only a few dozen kilometers from Israel,” said Deri. “I have decided to order professionals in my ministry to work toward absorbing children on humanitarian grounds in order to render assistance and rescue 100 of them from the horrors and afford them good and normal lives in Israel.” Read More

Comment

Comment

Nazis’ descendants sing ‘Hatikva’ to Holocaust survivors

(Photo: Yair Sagi)

(Photo: Yair Sagi)

By Itay Ilnai - January 6, 2017

Originally appeared here in Ynetnews

It was an emotionally charged moment: A young German woman, the granddaughter of a Nazi officer, sitting next to a Holocaust survivor and specifying what her grandfather had done to Jews during World War II. There was no anger there, just a lot of sadness.

“Both sides of my family, my paternal side and my maternal side, were devout Nazis,” Anna Reiner confesses with a serious look on her angel face. “My great grandfather took part in burning the synagogue in the city of Darmstadt, Germany. Another grandfather was a policeman in the Krakow ghetto. Another grandfather was in the Wehrmacht, the German army, and took part in the occupation of Belarus.”

While 25-year-old Reiner describes the horrible acts committed by her grandparents, Yevgenya Chaika sits next to her and strokes her arm, calming her down. It’s quite possible that Chaika, a Belarus-born Holocaust survivor, ran into Reiner’s grandfather at some point. She was only eight months old when Hitler’s soldiers stormed eastern Belarus and jailed all the Jews in crowded ghettos. Together with her family members, she was tossed “like a sack of potatoes” into a crate on a large truck, which took her to the ghetto. She barely survived there for four years, a helpless baby. After the ghetto was liberated, the family returned home, only to discover that the house had been bombed and robbed. Read More

Comment

Comment

Amar'e In Israel: Fresh Start In The Old City

By Jon Wertheim - January 12, 2017

Originally appeared here in Sports Illustrated 

Much as Middle East politics cleave public opinion, maybe everyone can agree on this: For a spit of land roughly the size—and population—of New Jersey, Israel plays a wildly outsized role in the theater of geopolitics. Last month the U.S. abstained from a United Nations resolution condemning Israel for the construction of settlements in disputed territory. This bit of inaction triggered multiple international news cycles, an explanatory speech by Secretary of State John Kerry, a blistering rebuttal from the U.K. and, inevitably, a pointed tweet from the President-elect. 

Amid all this meshuggaas, the most famous power forward in all the land remained camped out on the perimeter, as it were. Amar’e Stoudemire lives a few blocks from the prime minister’s residence and a 25-minute walk from Jerusalem’s Old City—where so many raw nerves are exposed—but, as he says in his impossibly deep voice, “the politics aren’t for me.”

Otherwise, though, Stoudemire is thoroughly engrossed in what he calls his “adopted homeland,” maybe the most unlikely celebrity resident in Israel’s 69-year history. To some fanfare and more bemusement, Stoudemire announced last summer that he would be leaving the NBA, his workplace since 2002, to close out his gilded career in Israel, where he’d long felt a spiritual connection. Read More

Comment