Comment

10 American Jewish baseball players to become dual Israeli citizens to boost nation’s Olympics bid

 (Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

(Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

By JTA - October 10, 2018

(JTA) — Ten Jewish-American baseball players will become dual Israeli citizens partly to help the country’s team make the 2020 Olympics.

Some of the players, who will visit Israel’s Interior Ministry next week to begin the process, also represented Israel in last year’s World Baseball Classic, where Team Israel shocked followers by reaching the quarterfinals.

Jewish Baseball News first reported the development on Wednesday.

While players in the World Baseball Classic only have to be eligible to be a citizen of the team’s country, players have to be actual citizens of the country they represent in the Olympics. They also must be citizens of that country for a year before they can start officially playing in pre-Olympic competition, which begins with the European Championship B Pool in the summer of 2019.

Read More: JTA

Comment

Comment

Palestinian baby gets heart transplant from Jewish child in medical first

1-heart-transplant.jpg

By Jenni Frazer - October 11, 2018

A desperately-ill six-month-old Palestinian baby is bravely fighting for his life this week after receiving a heart transplant from a Jewish child.

The surgical team at Israel’s Sheba Hospital in Ramat Gan are waiting, hoping and praying after a unique operation – the first time heart transplant surgery has been performed on such a young child at the hospital and the first time a Palestinian baby has received a heart transplant from a Jewish child.

The Palestinian boy, Musa, was born with a variety of life-threatening conditions, chief of which were tumours surrounding his heart.

Doctors in his home city of Ramallah, in the West Bank, were unable to cope with his growing medical problems and sent him across the border to Sheba’s Safra Children’s Hospital on several previous occasions to treat and stabilise him.

But three weeks ago Musa’s condition began to deteriorate, his heart reaching “end stage” failure.

Dr David Mishaly, chief surgeon at Sheba’s paediatric and congenital heart surgery unit, said: “There were several miracles associated with this complicated surgery. There is no such thing in the Palestinian Authority as an organ donor or organ waiting list.

“While organ donor and waiting lists exist in Israel, there was no Israeli baby on the waiting list when Musa was brought to Sheba in very critical condition.

“But by a miracle, Musa was able to receive a new heart from a Jewish child, whose parents had agreed a few hours earlier to the donation.”

Read More: JewishNews.TimesofIsrael.com

Comment

Comment

Israeli disaster aid team to head to quake-hit Indonesia

 (Photo: Dita Alangkara/AP)

(Photo: Dita Alangkara/AP)

By TOI Staff - October 4, 2018

A non-governmental Israeli aid group said Thursday it will send a team of disaster experts to Indonesia as the country recovers from a devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 1,400 people and left hundreds of thousands in need of assistance.

Israeli humanitarian aid NGO IsraAID said in a statement it will deploy an emergency response team to the island of Sulawesi.

IsraAID did not provide details on the size of its team or when they will arrive in Indonesia, which does not have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

“The team will distribute vital relief items, provide mental health support to vulnerable groups and conduct an initial needs assessment to determine immediate and long-term needs, including medical care, psychological support and safe water provision,” the organization said.

Read More: Times of Israel

Comment

Comment

A New Dawn for Bedouin-Jewish integration in the Negev

doinggood-1168x657.jpg

By Brian Blum - October 2, 2018

The 30 young men and women studying software development, graphic design and 3D printing at Yeruham’s high-tech incubator earlier this month did not seem out of place in the Startup Nation. But for at least half the participants, it was a new world.

The two-week Tech2Peace seminar was sponsored by A New Dawn in the Negev, a non-profit organization founded in 2009 to improve the quality of life for Israel’s Bedouin community. Some 130 candidates applied. Half of those accepted were Bedouins and other Arab Israelis; the other half were Jewish residents of Israel’s south.

The integration of the two populations in the seminar was intentional, says Jamal Alkirnawi, the 39-year-old founder and CEO of A New Dawn. “Change will only come through working together,” Alkirnawi tells ISRAEL21c. “We are less powerful if we are separate.”

That’s been Alkirnawi’s modus operandi since he started A New Dawn, following a seven-year position as the academic counselor for Arab students at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev.

“Arab students face a lot of difficulties because they usually live with their families in their communities until the age of 18,” Alkirnawi says. “So when they get to university, it’s often the first time they’re exposed to Israeli society, to being an Israeli citizen. It can be shocking.”

Read More: Israel21c

Comment

Comment

Thousands of Christians Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem

 (Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

(Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - September 23, 2018

During Sukkot, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) hosts thousands of Christians from more than 100 countries.

The holiday draws some 5,000 Christians to Jerusalem each year. Not only is the event a spiritual boost in which people come to express their love for Israel’s eternal capital, it also gives an economic boost, injecting $15-20 million into Israel’s economy each year.

The ICEJ began hosting the annual Feast of the Tabernacles gathering in 1980 as a visible show of solidarity and support for the city. That summer, the last of 13 embassies left Jerusalem for Tel Aviv in protest of the of the Knesset’s passage of the Jerusalem Law. This year can be seen as a triumphant shout now that the US Embassy has returned to the holy city.

Israelis, great and small, have always welcomed the event with open arms. Jerusalem’s mayor Teddy Kollek addressed the 1,000 pilgrims who attended the first gathering. The next year, prime minister Menachem Begin attended, establishing a tradition for high-ranking Israeli politicians like prime minister Ariel Sharon and President Reuven Rivlin to attend the event.

The week is focused on the biblical feast of Sukkot, when pilgrims from nations around the world came to Jerusalem to participate in the Temple festivities in praise of the God of Abraham. This year, the 39th Feast of the Tabernacles will be held during the intermediate days of the holiday from September 23 to 28.

The festival has significance for Christians. In the New Testament, Jesus is described as attending the Temple service on Sukkot. The universal aspect of the holiday also has prophetic overtones, as Zechariah foretold of a time when all nations would ascend to Jerusalem each year.

Read More: The Jerusalem Post

Comment

Comment

Afghan man sends gravely ill kids to heart center in Israel

 (Photo: Save a Child’s Heart)

(Photo: Save a Child’s Heart)

By Abigail Klein Leichman - September 12, 2018

Noorina is five years old and lives in Afghanistan. In July, her father brought her to Israel for lifesaving heart surgery arranged by Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), an Israeli medical charity based at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.

When she is older, Noorina may be surprised to learn that an Afghan stranger willingly put himself and his family at risk to give her the gift of health.

Noorina was the fifth child from Afghanistan sent to SACH through the efforts of that same young Muslim father, who asked ISRAEL21c to call him Jangzapali, a pseudonym to hide his true identity.

“Jangzapali,” he explains, “means ‘victim of war.’”

Jangzapali is involved in all types of charity work and has built up an international social-media network over the past few years. Children needing urgent medical care are his top priority.

“Almost 10,000 [medical need] cases are registered with the Afghan Red Crescent. They are unable to do all cases, so through our broad network on social media, we arrange surgery for poor children in Afghanistan or India. For complicated cases they cannot handle, we work with Save a Child’s Heart,” he says.

Read More: Israel21c

Comment

Comment

Israeli water filters donated to Cameroon to fight cholera

NUF-cameroon.jpg

By Abigail Klein Leichman - September 9, 2018

Water filtration systems from Israeli company NUFiltration were donated to Cameroon to help fight a cholera epidemic there.

As ISRAEL21c reported in July, NUFiltration acquires and sterilizes used kidney dialysis filters that would otherwise be discarded and repurposes them in several filtration products.

One of these products, meant especially for hard-to-reach rural areas of developing nations, is a portable crank-operated machine capable of taking water from a polluted source such a river and purifying up to 500 liters per hour – enough to supply all the daily water needs of 300 to 400 people.

Last May, Israeli Ambassador to Cameroon Ran Gidor displayed NUFiltration’s portable unit at a public event showcasing innovative Israeli products for beekeeping and water purification.

Read More: Israel21c

Comment

Comment

Israeli medical team brings CPR skills to Africa

Rambam-Africa-1.jpg

By Brian Blum - September 10, 2018

Into a country where medicine, manpower and equipment are all in short supply came the Israelis. Their goal: to teach advanced CPR in the heart of Africa.

A senior delegation from the Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa recently gave an emergency medicine course to local doctors and nursing staff in the village of Nakuru, Kenya.

The course, which included lectures, simulations and individual training, was initiated by Prof. Ruth Margalit, who is responsible for Global Medicine at the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology.

“It’s very important to understand what we were up against,” explained Prof. Itay Shavit, director of Rambam’s Pediatric Emergency Department and head of the medical team.

“Through Israeli eyes, it is hard to imagine how quality medicine can be given to patients in the hospitals in rural Kenya. The infrastructure is old or non-existent, there is a great shortage of basic medical equipment … doctors are almost non-existent and most of the work is done by nurses.”

Read More: Israel21c

Comment

1 Comment

US vets combat PTSD by sifting through the past at archaeological dig in Israel

39810784_1549289301842541_7097181037117046784_o-1024x640.jpg

By Amanda Borschel-Dan - September 7, 2018

Seven United States military veterans recently completed an unusual tour of duty — at Israel’s Beth She’arim archaeological excavation. The group participated in one of a growing number of international programs which send former servicemen back into the field — with shovels, not swords.

By digging into the dirt, the veterans — most of whom suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — hope to find piece of mind, connect to the roots of their trauma, and be part of a cohesive team reminiscent of their former military units.

For the group of US vets in Beth She’arim, coming to Israel offered an added therapeutic element: returning to the Middle East, the source of their trauma, and working alongside a diverse team of Israeli Arabs and Jews, mostly military vets themselves.

During their two-week stint of physically digging into the past, the US veterans’ stereotypes about Israel and the Middle East also crumbled, according to founder of the American Veterans Archaeological Recovery (AVAR) Stephen Humphreys.

“The team was excavating alongside Israelis from all walks of life — Jews who had served in the military, Muslims. They saw how multicultural the people are, but also how kind,” said Humphreys in a phone conversation this week.

Read More: Times of Israel 

1 Comment

Comment

Where David and Dawud play together at recess

 (Photo: Dave Brown/Pears Foundation)

(Photo: Dave Brown/Pears Foundation)

By Abigail Klein Leichman - September 2, 2018

Afnan Abu Taha doesn’t want her two daughters feeling alienated from their Jewish peers as she did when growing up in an Arab village. She doesn’t want them to struggle with Hebrew as she did in college. Neither does she want them to lose their own identity, language, heritage and culture.

So she and her husband sent their girls to the Hagar School, the only Israeli public school in the Negev providing bilingual multicultural education.

Hagar is in Beersheva, close to the Abu Taha home in suburban Omer.

“I want my daughters to speak Hebrew fluently and to have Jewish friends and to feel we can live together and do things together for a peaceful future,” she tells ISRAEL21c in English, a language all Israeli schoolchildren study.

Hagar began in 2007 with a single kindergarten and now has 330 children from kindergarten to sixth grade. Administrators do some creative calendar juggling to provide the requisite number of instruction days despite closing for major Jewish, Muslim and Christian holidays.

“When you hear the song played to signal the start of recess — alternating between an Arabic song and a Hebrew song — the children tear outside and play together and you can’t tell the difference between them,” says Hagar Executive Director Sam Shube.

Read More: Israel21c 

Comment

Comment

Is this where Jesus turned water into wine? Lost tunnels unearthed in Israel could unlock secrets of 2,000-year-old miracle

 (Photo: Pen News)

(Photo: Pen News)

By Neal Baker - August 30, 2018

A mysterious secret tunnel network unearthed in Israel could be the site where Christians believe Jesus turned water into wine.

The discovery could put an end to centuries of debate over where Christ performed his first miracle.

Pilgrims have long been flocking to Kafr Kanna — a town in northern Israel that some believe is built on top of the ancient settlement of Cana.

It was here in Cana that the Gospel of John says Jesus attended a wedding where the wine ran out.

He ordered the servants to fill the jugs with water — which then miraculously transformed into wine.

But now some archaeologists believe the Cana of Biblical times may be a dusty hillside five miles further north.

It is the former site of Khirbet Qana, a Jewish village between the years of 323 BC and AD 324 — where archaeologists have discovered a number of compelling clues.

Excavations there have revealed a network of tunnels used for Christian worship.

They are also marked with crosses and references to Kyrie Iesou — a Greek phrase meaning Lord Jesus.

And amazingly, an altar and a shelf hold the remains of a stone vessel with room for five more.

Read More: The Sun

 

 

Comment

Comment

Meet The Christian Israeli Who Is On A Mission To Create The First Aramaean Christian Town In Israel

img-20180820-wa0012.jpg

By Kassy Dillon - August 28, 2018

A patriotic Christian Israeli is seeking to found a city exclusively for Christian Aramaeans in northern Israel in his quest to preserve the Aramean culture and language.

Captain Reserve Shadi Khalloul is a 42-year-old Aramean Christian who is a fellow of the Philos Project, and the chairman of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association. He also was a candidate for Knesset with the Jewish Zionist party in the 2015 elections. In an interview with The Daily Wire, he explained his dream to create his city and the progress so far.

Khalloul describes himself as an Aramean Christian and believes that modern Arameans are indigenous to the land of Israel as well as descendants of the very first Christians. He made it his life mission to preserve his people’s culture while he was in a “Bible as English Literature” class at the University of Nevada where he studied. He said that during a class, the professor referred to Aramaic as a “dead” language, to which he responded that he and his family spoke Aramaic and that it was not dead. Since then, Khalloul returned to Israel and has worked to preserve the Aramaic culture and language.

Khalloul plans to call the town "Aram Hiram" and explained that "Aram" is the name of all Aramaic kingdoms from the Bible, and "Hiram" comes from King Hiram of Lebanon who supplied King Solomon with wood from cedar trees for King Solomon's Temple. He says the land he is asking for consists of barren hills close to where the village of Kafr Bir’im was once located, where he claims his forefathers lived for the last 400 years until the inhabitants were evacuated during the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. Prior to the evacuation, Kafr Bir’im reportedly had a total population of 1050 Christians who Khalloul says belonged to the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch.

“We need to build bridges through a Christian positive attitude to ask for our rights in a way to lead towards coexistence with Jews and this can come by being positive citizens of the state, defending the state, integrating into the state, and asking for our rights at the same time,” he said.

Khalloul has had various meetings with government officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2013, which he said later led to a 2014 measure that allowed Christians in Israel to register as “Aramean” on their identity card instead of as Arabs. Last week, he met with the General Director of the Prime Minister’s Office, Yoav Horovitz, where he pitched his proposal for Aram Hiram and discussed other Christian needs in Israel.

Read More: The Daily Wire

 

Comment

Comment

At Jewish-Arab summer camp, children declare color war on cancer

 (Photo: Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

(Photo: Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

By Jacob Magid and video by Luke Tress - August 26 2018

Every day at Camp Sunrise begins with children from every age group gathering together at the amphitheater for a talent show.

The campers organize and emcee the affair; and on this particular day, 8-year-old Liron is called on stage to perform.

Katrix & Doron Biton’s “She’s Free” starts blasting from the loud speakers and the young girl sings along without missing a single word of the rather fast-paced summer hit.

Liron finishes to a round of applause from the nearly 200 campers and staff in the crowd and Samer is called up next.

Another song begins playing but instead of belting out the words, the 9-year-old drops to the floor and starts breakdancing as friends cheer below.

The scene — which included quite a few counselors trying to chase down children uninterested in watching — seemed rather standard for any summer camp.

That’s exactly what the staff at Camp Sunrise, which caters to kids suffering from cancer and their siblings, is aiming for.

“It’s not about taking kids with cancer to [Disney World], but rather showing them that they’re just like everyone else — doing the same activities, running around, going crazy and having a good time,” said 27-year-old counselor Lior Svirsky.

The campus where he works in the central town of Beit Yehoshua is just one of three camps across the country that have been serving cancer patients as well as their siblings since 2010.

Read More: Times of Israel

Comment

Comment

‘This Is Our Heritage,’ Zulu King Declares Following Emotional Visit to Israel

 (Photo: SAFI)

(Photo: SAFI)

By Algemeiner Staff - August 23, 2018

A descendant of Shaka kaSenzangakhona — the legendary 19th-century Southern African king more commonly known as Shaka Zulu — has returned from a visit to Israel with a pledge to mobilize solidarity with the Jewish state among his fellow South Africans.

“I landed in Israel during trying times whereby the people of G-d are being persecuted,” said Nkosi Zwelakhe Mthethwa — a Zulu king from the Mthethwa tribe — in remarks carried by this week’s edition of the South African Jewish Report.

“I came to lend my voice of support that as a believer myself, I can’t keep quiet,” the king stated. “I will mobilize Christians all over the world to support, because this place [Israel] is our tangible and intangible heritage site.”

Read More: Algemeiner

Comment

Comment

Meet Zoolod, a Jewish and Arab Israeli hip-hop duo

Untitled_design_1-2.jpg

By Rebecca Stadlen Amir - August 22, 2018

Teddy Neguse and Anan Hafaga are best friends with two different personalities and backgrounds. They form a rap duo called Zoolod.

Growing up in Lod, where the group gets its name, Teddy was from a Jewish Ethiopian family and Anan from a Muslim Arab family. They met in high school and bonded over a shared appreciation for music.

“We were a group of young people that loved hip-hop and I think it all started there,” Hafaga tells ISRAEL21c.

“My family and friends at school drew me to music. It’s the environment we grew up in,” adds Neguse.

The 22-year-old rappers have been making music under the group name Zoolod for several years, each writing their own lyrics and appearing as guests on each other’s tracks. However, now they are creating and performing songs together.

“They were always known in the underground scene, but in the past two years they’ve become more popular outside,” says Tal Bekerman, who has been managing Zoolod for several months and working in Israel’s underground hip-hop scene for many years.

While they haven’t had a “big break” moment yet, Bekerman says Neguse’s release from the IDF last year allowed the duo to focus more on music together.

“They make music and they don’t care about politics and all of that other stuff. They’re like any other young men who want to succeed. They care about girls, about friends. You don’t see that he is Jewish and he is Arab,” says Bekerman.

Read More: Israel21c

Comment

Comment

IsraAID sends team to help flood victims in southern India

 (Photo: Santhosh Varghese/Shutterstock.com)

(Photo: Santhosh Varghese/Shutterstock.com)

By Abigail Klein Leichman - August 21, 2018 

Israeli humanitarian NGO IsraAID announced today that it is sending an emergency response team to the southern Indian state of Kerala, which has been hit by the worst flooding in living memory.

More than 350 people have been killed since the monsoon began at the end of May, and at least 220 have died since the August 8, when the rains grew heavier.

About 725,000 people have fled their homes to emergency relief camps, and thousands have been left stranded in areas rendered inaccessible by the floodwaters. The monsoon rains have been significantly heavier than usual and have covered the region.

The emergency team traveling to Kerala this week consists of international and Nepali staff from IsraAID’s office in Nepal, who will distribute urgent relief items and assess the longer-term psychosocial and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) needs of the affected communities. Members of this same team responded to heavy flooding in the Terai region of southern Nepal last year.

Read More: Israel21c

Comment

Comment

Can basketball influence change in Jewish and Arab youth?

peaceplayers-middle-east-main-1.jpg

By Rebecca Stadlen Amir - August 12, 2018

Despite growing up in the diverse city of Jerusalem, where Jews and Arabs encounter each other at the grocery store, cinema and public transportation, a Jewish teenager named Toot had never spoken to an Arab her age.

She joined PeacePlayers, which works to unite communities through sport, and became a member of one of the first mixed Jewish and Arab basketball teams in Israel.

While training and playing alongside Arab girls her age, Toot formed friendships that existed on and off the court.

“It’s very unique that they’re a mixed team in the league and it really accelerates the impact on the girls. They are together sometimes up to six times a week, practicing and traveling around the country together for games. It’s an accelerator for friendships,” says Karen Doubilet, managing director of the Middle East branch of PeacePlayers, a nonprofit organization that  uses basketball to unite, inspire and educate young people in divided communities around the world.

As part of a report monitoring change as a result of the program, Toot recalled that when Israel and Gaza experienced a tense period of fighting in the summer of 2014, her Arab teammate and friend Aysha sent a text after a siren went off to see if Toot and her family were okay.

Read More: Israel21c

 

Comment

Comment

2,200-year-old gold earring found in Jerusalem parking lot

 (Photo: Clara Amit/Israel Antiquities Authority)

(Photo: Clara Amit/Israel Antiquities Authority)

By Brian Blum - August 13, 2018

Did you ever find a shiny penny in a public parking lot and think “this is my lucky day?” That must have been how archaeologists digging in the Givati parking lot outside Jerusalem’s Old City felt when they discovered a rare golden earring dating back to the second or third century BCE.

The 2,200-year-old earring – a tiny gold filigree piece from Jerusalem’s Hellenistic era – was discovered during an archeological dig in the lot next to the City of David National Park.

The hoop earring bears the head of a horned animal, possibly an antelope or deer. Excavators also found nearby a gold bead with intricate embroidered ornamentation resembling a thin rope pattern.

While the earring’s owner and gender are a mystery, archaeologists are sure that it “definitely belonged to Jerusalem’s upper class. This can be determined by the proximity to the Temple Mount and the Temple, which was functional at the time, as well as the quality of the gold piece of jewelry.”

Read More: Israel21c

Comment

Comment

Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter wins gold at European Championships

  (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

 (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

By TOI Staff - August 9, 2018

Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter won the women’s 10,000-meter run at the 2018 European Athletics Championships in Berlin Wednesday, completing the race in 31 minutes, 43.29 seconds.

Israeli-Kenyan Salpeter came 9 full seconds ahead of Susan Krumins of the Netherlands, winning the gold medal. Sweden’s Meraf Bahta came third.

The 29-year-old became the first Israeli to be crowned European champion.

Read More: Times of Israel 

 

Comment

Comment

Shared love of soccer draws Jews and Arabs to Jaffa Gate

 (Photo: YouTube Screenshot)

(Photo: YouTube Screenshot)

By Israel21c - August 2, 2018

While the FIFA World Cup in Russia was capturing the world’s attention in July, a less famous but no less remarkable soccer game took place at the historic Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City as 100 Jewish and Arab teens competed in Goals and Gates, a penalty shootout sponsored by the Kulna Yerushalayim (We Are All Jerusalem) nonprofit organization.

Read More: Israel21c

Comment