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When the Caribbean Islands became home to hundreds of thousands of Jews escaping persecution – Face2Face Africa

Posted By on December 13, 2019

The tricky politics of world historiography is what it is because of the concern todays world shares for identity and natural rights. An example of this challenge is the care needed in recounting the history of Jews.

For one of the most persecuted groups of people in recorded history, it is not out of place to say a significant amount of Jewish history is the people looking for a home.

This treacherous quest took Jews all over the world. But one of the most unlikely destinations European Jews would settle at was the Caribbean islands.

Although discrimination against Jews was well sewn into European life by the 6th century, the Spanish edict known as the Alhambra Decree of 1492 is a solid place to contextualize the history of state-backed ostracism.

The infamous decree expelled Jews from the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile. But even before Alhambra, persecution had forced over half of Spains Jews to convert to Catholicism before the 15th century.

All across Europe, a similar situation persisted.

As arts photographer and historian Wyatt Gallery referred to the situation: From the 1500s until the 1700s. Jews couldnt enter anywhere; no one wanted us.

With the expansion of European naval expeditions came the opportunity for Jews to leave the continent. It was the time the so-called New World presented itself.

By the mid-17th century, the biggest Jewish populations in the western hemisphere were in the Portuguese colony of Brazil and the Dutch-controlled territory of Suriname.

The Caribbean also hosted thousands of Jewish people during this period, with a majority of them settling in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Barbados.

These would become their new homes with Sephardic Jews importing into the cultures of the islands, the uniqueness of Judaism.

But this would not be the only flight of Jews to find safety in the Caribbean. At the beginning of the 20th century and German Nazism, Jews once again had to leave Europe.

This time, they travelled by boats, ships and a few did too, by planes. The scourge of antisemitism knew no bounds and fear drove Jews farther and farther from Europe.

In the early 1930s especially, they settled in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados.

A few of the new Jewish homes had no visa requirements and that made things easy. While some went to the Caribbean as qualified professionals with a hunger to make themselves useful, others were penniless, just scraping through.

Initially, the islanders were not enthused about their new guests. But it is known that newspapers of the day carried news about the war in Europe and this softened the hearts of Jamaicans, Trinidadians and others.

In the history of the Caribbean, Sephardic Jews would be the other group of people who were forced to find settlement apart from enslaved Africans, although the latters was under much severer condition.

Today, there are hundreds of thousands of self-professing Jews on the islands. They are a happier people with the horrors of yesteryears far behind them.

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When the Caribbean Islands became home to hundreds of thousands of Jews escaping persecution - Face2Face Africa

For some British Jews, elections feel like the walls are closing in – JTA News

Posted By on December 13, 2019

LONDON (JTA) Linzi Pinto surveys a familiar urban landscape through her car windshield as she runs errands in north London. Very little has changed in her native city in her lifetime.

But on the eve of a fateful and close general election, Pinto feels like a foreigner here. Like many British Jews, she fears the vote may bring anti-Semites to power.

Everything looks the same, but I dont even recognize the country that I was brought up in, said Pinto, a mother of two. Im pretty terrified, actually.

The prospect of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister is chilling to British Jews. Following his election to lead the party in 2015, anti-Semitic incidents have proliferated in its ranks, with watchdog groups documenting thousands of incidents of hate speech.

Corbyn has dismissed allegations of complicity in this phenomenon, and has vowed to punish anyone caught engaging in it. But many of his Jewish critics perceive him as being part of the problem. A staunch supporter of Palestinian rights, Corbyn has endorsed a blanket boycott of Israel and called Hamas, whose charter calls for killing Jews, a group bringing about peace and social justice. He has called both Hamas and Hezbollah his friends.

Britains chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, broke with precedent last month with an op-ed calling on Britons to not vote Labour. His predecessor, Jonathan Sacks, went even further and saidthat Corbyn is an anti-Semite.

Even if Corbyn doesnt win, the anti-Semitism he is accused of unleashing in Labour, once the political home of British Jews, has opened up a pandoras box that means that reality has changed for us Jews, Pinto said. She has advised her two college-aged daughters to leave, possibly for Israel, and build their lives there.

Already today, some Jews have trouble working in some professions, studying at certain universities. And I dont see it improving, only getting worse, said Pinto.

David Collier, a Jewish 52-year-old Londoner who has exposed multiple anti-Semitism scandals in Labour on his political blog, Beyond the Great Divide, shares Pintos pessimistic view.

Win or lose, and I think he will certainly lose, the hard-left has gained substantial ground, Collier wrote on Facebook. By creating unions with other hostile forces, [Labour] is now a major political threat to Jewish life in the United Kingdom.

Colliers daughter, he added, decided to turn her back on the United Kingdom. Always intending to go to university here, [she] is enrolling in a lone soldier program next year in Israel.

So far, immigration by British Jews to Israel has not seen a substantial increase. But that could change not only because of Labour, but also because of its chief opponent.

The Conservative party under Boris Johnson has promised to forge ahead with pulling Britain out of the European Union, a move that would cast a shadow over the future of thousands of Jewish Europeans who came to live here because of growing anti-Semitism in their home countries.

One of them is a 43-year-old French mother who spoke to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency anonymously, citing potential negative career implications. Last week, her 6-year-old son came back from his Jewish school with a drawing he made of the British flag captioned with the Conservative slogan, Get Brexit done.

She smiled heartily and complimented the boy, who said he heard the slogan from schoolmates rather than faculty. But it made my heart sink in fear, both from what happens to the community under someone like Corbyn, and what happens to our family under Johnson, she said. Its like the walls are closing in.

Adam Perry, a 47-year-old procurement specialist, recently obtained Portuguese citizenship based on his Sephardic Jewish roots, largely in reaction to the Conservative Partys Brexit agenda, which he believes to be ruinous, dogmatic and rooted in what he calls a misguided imperialist sentiment.

But realistically speaking, no one in this family is leaving anywhere, Perry said. He and his Jewish wife have three children, all younger than 15, and they lead comfortable lives in Muswell Hill, an affluent and multicultural neighborhood of London.

Perry is a volunteer for Luciana Berger, a lawmaker who left Labour over the anti-Semitism issue and is now running for parliament as the representative of the centrist Liberal Democrats in the heavily Jewish constituency of Finchley and Golders Green. She is hugely popular among Jews here, but they make up only a fifth of the Conservative-held constituency, where her party clinched just seven percent of the vote in the 2017 election.

Im not terrified, Perry said. I think our kids will have a sheltered life in this neighborhood.

Still, like Pinto, Perry is increasingly feeling like a stranger in the United Kingdom.

His brother, Ashley, says that hes an outsider in these elections because he moved to Israel 19 years ago. Yeah, Im an outsider too, Adam quips with typical English irony.

Another Perry brother, who is haredi Orthodox, prayed in his synagogue on Wednesday for a Labour loss. They read from the Book of Psalms, a text used momentous occasions.

On the eve of the election, two of the Perry brothers put a hockey match on the living room television set as a diversion from the non-stop political coverage in the media.

I just cant take it anymore, Adam said. Were screwed either way.

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For some British Jews, elections feel like the walls are closing in - JTA News

Anti-Zionism Is Not Antisemitism – Jacobin magazine

Posted By on December 13, 2019

Few people would trust Donald Trumpto protect Jews from a rise in antisemitism. In the United States alone, there were more than a hundred cases of physical attacks, arson, vandalism, and threats in 2018, including last Octobers assault in Pittsburgh that left eleven Jews dead at the Tree of Life synagogue. Tuesdays shooting at a Jersey City kosher market appears to be the latest anti-Jewish attack.

Trump once called himself the least antisemitic person that youve ever seen in your entire life. But his December 11 executive order, which claims to target antisemitism on campuses, ironically employs an antisemitic trope. By defining Judaism as a nationality, Jews, the logic flows, are inherently foreign. This should come as no surprise, given the home that white nationalism and antisemitism have found in the Trump White House.

This isnt new territory for Trump, who famously refused to call out antisemitic white supremacy after the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Most recently, he told a room full of Jews at the Israeli American Council:

Youre brutal killers, not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me you have no choice. Youre not gonna vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that. Youre not gonna vote for the wealth tax. Yeah, lets take 100 percent of your wealth away! Some of you dont like me. Some of you I dont like at all, actually. And youre going to be my biggest supporters because youre going to be out of business in about fifteen minutes if they get it. So I dont have to spend a lot of time on that.

But the intention of the executive order is plainly not to protect Jews, but to silence the movement for Palestine. As Peter Beinart put it: It is a bewildering and alarming time to be a Jew, both because antisemitism is rising and because so many politicians are responding to it not by protecting Jews but by victimising Palestinians.

The executive order adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which so broadly defines the term that it includes such items as: Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor. And by defining Judaism as a nationality, the order has power to withhold federal money from educational institutions that dont adequately clamp down on these broadly and cynically defined affronts.

Trump isnt actually trying to fight antisemitism here. Hes cynically trying to shut down criticism of Israels barbaric policies the latest episode in Zionisms long history of allying with antisemites.

Trumps order is but the latest salvo in a years-long campaign to redefine antisemitism for the purposes of shutting down criticism of Israel.

As Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told the New York Times: Israeli apartheid is a very hard product to sell in America, especially in progressive spaces. And realizing this, many Israeli apartheid apologists, Trump included, are looking to silence a debate they know they cant win.

Across the ocean, Frances parliament recently passed a resolution equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. And in Britain, todays elections, in which a victory for Jeremy Corbyns Labour party would dramatically turn around the state of British politics, have already been marred by nonstop smears purporting endemic antisemitism within the Labour Party. These attacks havemirrored the attempts to silence Ilhan Omar, an outspoken critic of Israeli aggression.

Supporters of Israel have been waging a coordinated, well-resourced counteroffensive to discredit the Palestine movement. The charge of antisemitism has been their weapon of choice, and campuses have been their ground zero.

As the Guardian recently reported, this strategy has been quite explicit, and it has been driven by a sundry assortment of right-wing forces. At a conference this summer of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative network that promotes right-wing policies, Republicans met with pro-Israel lobbyists.

Their aim was to draft laws that, in the words of Randy Fine, a Republican representative from Florida, would mean that antisemitism [will] be treated identically as how racism is treated. Students for Justice in Palestine is now treated the same way as the Ku Klux Klan as they should be.

Joseph Sabag of the Israeli American Council the same group that hosted Donald Trump and applauded his openly antisemitic speech agreed:

[Students for Justice in Palestine] is one of Americas most prominent anti-Israel propaganda groups and has material connections to organizations designated by the US justice department as terrorism co-conspirators. In the course of promoting BDS, or national-origin based discrimination against Israel, SJP members typically employ classic antisemitic themes and blood libels.

In fact, US lobby groups have a long history of working with the Israeli governments Ministry of Strategic Affairs and its hasbara (propaganda) efforts to sabotage Palestinian activism on campuses. Particularly, they have targeted the advances made by Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaigns to pass resolutions to divest their universities from companies that support Israeli occupation.

Thankfully, a growing chorus of voices is making it clear that criticism of Israel cannot be equated with antisemitism including a significant and ever-growing number of Jews and Jewish organizations.

Some progressives choose to differentiate between criticism of Israels most indefensible policies and deeper objections to the Zionist project as a whole. But this is a mistaken concession to a project that, no matter its claims, has always been one of colonization rather than Jewish emancipation. Not only does Israel not speak for the worlds Jews, but there is no correlation between support for Zionism or Israel on the one hand, and opposing antisemitism on the other.

Until the rise of fascism in Europe, Zionism was a fringe movement among Jews. Most had no interest in moving to Palestine, let alone driving out its native population. Between 1880 and 1929, almost 4 million Jews emigrated from Russia and Eastern European countries. But only 120,000 moved to Palestine, while more than 3 million moved to the United States and Canada.

In 1914, there were only 12,000 members of Zionist organizations across the entire United States. The Socialist Party had that many Jewish members in the Lower East Side of New York alone.

Modern antisemitism was born out of the tumultuous period of Eastern European and Russian history when feudalism was giving way to capitalist development. In Russia, antisemitic scapegoating deliberately organized and provoked by the czar was used as a means of dividing and weakening workers struggles. A wave of pogroms anti-Jewish riots exploded through Russia from 1881 onward, spreading to Poland and other Eastern European countries. Another outbreak of anti-Jewish violence reached even more barbaric proportions in 1903. Not coincidentally, both 1882 and 1904 saw waves of immigration to Palestine and other countries.

From its inception, Zionism was a secular rather than a religious movement and, in that sense, was never a Jewish idea. Religious Jews, by and large, opposed the growth of Zionism at that time, and some Orthodox groups still do today, on the basis of Jewish religious law.

Jewish liturgy refers to a return to the Holy Land on a spiritual level, and some Jewish religious pilgrims had emigrated to Palestine in the past to form religious communities but not to establish a state. Political Zionism which sought to form an exclusive Jewish state was a new phenomenon that arose in Eastern Europe in response to the growth of modern antisemitism.

But Zionism was just one (minority) response to antisemitism, among many. Many more Jews flocked to socialist and communist movements, which were critical in the fight against fascism. Zionisms response, on the other hand, was one of resignation to antisemitism and, at times, even collaboration with it.

The basic ideological starting point of Zionism was the idea that antisemitism could never be defeated. The notion that Jews and non-Jews couldnt live together was raised by Zionists to a scientific principle. Leon Pinsker, an early Zionist leader, claimed that antisemitism was a psychic affliction, it is hereditary and as a disease has been incurable for 2,000 years. Theodor Herzl, commonly referred to as the father of Zionism, wrote of how his experience of antisemitism during the notorious Dreyfus affair in France allowed him to achieve a freer attitude toward anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to pardon. Above all, I recognized the emptiness and futility of trying to combat anti-Semitism.

As a member of the (now-defunct) Israeli Socialist Organization put it, Zionism accepts at least tacitly the basic assumptions of racism. That is, there is something inherent either in Jews or non-Jews that necessarily warrants a separation.

A number of leading Zionists concurred with popular racist ideas aimed at Jews themselves. Herzl accepted the idea that Jews were an economic burden to non-Jews, and in this way brought antisemitism on themselves anywhere they went. Thus, there has always been a disquieting symmetry between Zionism and antisemitism.

At minimum, Zionism resigned itself to antisemitism. Some major strands within the movement consciously articulated a common interest between Zionism, on the one hand, and antisemites even fascists. One particularly appalling example of this attitude was expressed by Joachim Prinz, a Zionist leader in Germany in the 1930s. Commenting on Hitler, who pushed to institute total separation between Jews and non-Jews, especially a prohibition on intermarriage, he wrote:

The theory of assimilation has broken down. We have no longer any refuge. We want assimilation to be replaced by the conscious recognition of the Jewish nation and the Jewish race. Only those Jews who recognize their own specificity can respect a state founded on the principle of the purity of nation and race ... From every last hiding place of baptizing and mixed marriage [the Jews] are being pulled out. This does not make us unhappy. In this coercion to acknowledge and clearly stand by ones own community, we see at the same time the fulfillment of our dreams.

Practically speaking, the most overarching reason that emerged for why so many Zionists could view antisemitic regimes in a favorable light wasnt necessarily that they actively preferred antisemites (though sometimes they did), but that the Zionist project was, and remains, dependent on the backing of imperial powers first the Ottoman Empire, then the British, then the United States.

A minority settler community simply could not colonize a majority native population without the military support of one or more of the major powers. Zionists, including those in the mainstream Labor camp, werent discriminating as to where that backing came from, even when it was motivated by a disdain for Jews.

For instance, the British ruling class agreed with the Zionists that it would be mutually beneficial to support a Jewish state in Palestine, because a Zionist state could act as an important counterweight to growing Arab nationalism as well as to the tendency of many Jews in Britain to join radical and revolutionary movements.

Winston Churchill made this argument in an article called Zionism versus Bolshevism, which argued that it was important to develop and foster any strongly-marked Jewish movement such as Zionism that could lead directly away from the worldwide conspiracy of the International Jews (and here he mentions Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Emma Goldman, and Rosa Luxemburg) for the overthrow of civilization.

In 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, formally declaring support for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Lord Balfour, who wrote the declaration, was a known antisemite who had sponsored legislation against Jewish immigration into Britain.

British officials began to give economic and political support to the burgeoning Zionist proto-state in Palestine. For instance, 90 percent of economic concessions were granted to Jews even though they made up a fraction of the population. As settlers drove Palestinians from their lands and workplaces, Arab nationalism grew in response to what was clearly an unfolding disaster.

It was with the rise of fascism in Europe that the Jewish population in Palestine experienced its greatest growth. But it was also in this period that Zionism showed its ugliest face with regard to Europes Jews. Within months of Hitlers coming to power, the leading German Zionist organization sent him a memo offering collaboration. While the Nazis were smashing socialist and Jewish resistance organizations, they allowed the Zionists to continue operating. The leading Zionist organizations, for their part, worked to undermine a worldwide anti-German boycott.

Zionist leaders believed that fighting antisemitism in Europe was a distraction from winning a Jewish state in Palestine. Time and again, they chose to negotiate for more immigration of Jews to Palestine rather than confronting antisemitic regimes. In the process, they decided which immigrants were desirable. Chaim Weizmann, for instance, declared:

From the depths of this tragedy I want to save young people. The old ones will pass. They will bear their fate or they will not. They are dust, economic and moral dust in the a cruel world ... Only the branch of the young shall survive.

Similarly, the Jewish Agency, the central Zionist organization in Palestine, refused to devote funds to the rescue of European Jews. It decided to spend the money on acquiring land in Palestine.

And David Ben-Gurion, who was to become Israels first prime minister, opposed a plan to allow German Jewish children to emigrate to Britain. His explanation:

If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them to Israel, then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children but also the history of the people of Israel.

By 1947 on the eve of Israels establishment Jews still made up less than one-third of the population of Palestine. Settlement alone couldnt create a Jewish state. The other arm of the strategy had to be the transfer of the Arab population (an antiseptic euphemism for ethnic cleansing.)

This idea was embraced by the majority of Zionist leaders, from Herzl to Ben-Gurion. As Yosef Weitz, the head of the Jewish Agencys Colonization Department, said:

Between ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both peoples together in this country. We shall not achieve our goal if the Arabs are in this small country. There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries all of them. Not one village, not one tribe should be left.

The UN partitioned Palestine in 1947, reserving 55 percent of the land for a Jewish state and leaving the Arab majority with only 45 percent of their own country. The Zionist leadership publicly accepted the partition, but privately drew up plans to capture the rest of the country and drive the Arab population out. In the months between the partition and the British armys withdrawal, Zionist militias took the opportunity to terrorize the Arab population. It was at this time that atrocities like the infamous Deir Yassin massacre in which every man, woman, and child in the village, 254 in total, were killed took place.

The final irony of Zionism is that it turned the oppressed minority Jews of Europe into an oppressor majority in Palestine. Rather than challenge domination, Zionists accepted discrimination and separation as natural principles of humanity. The rise of European fascism not only created a massive impetus for immigration to Palestine, it also, in the eyes of many Zionists, legitimized the ethnic cleansing of Arabs. The most right-wing strands of Zionism embraced ideas of racial purity as their own.

Ultimately, the fight against antisemitism has to be linked to the wider fight against oppression. For that reason, the fight against Palestinian oppression has far more in common with the struggle against antisemitism than Zionism does. This struggle must avoid compromising with the slanders against it whether they come from the likes of Donald Trump or Israeli hasbara.

A movement that includes Jewish Voice for Peace and Bernie Sanders as much as it does Ilhan Omar and Jeremy Corbyn can get us a step closer to a world where the brutality of pogroms and occupations are consigned to the dustbin of history.

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Anti-Zionism Is Not Antisemitism - Jacobin magazine

American Jews to vote for 35th World Zionist Congress in 2020 – Cleveland Jewish News

Posted By on December 13, 2019

Thirteen slates representing the diversity of the American Jewish community will compete in an election to join the38th World Zionist Congress (WZC), set to convene in October 2020 in Jerusalem, announced the American Zionist Movement.

The slates, comprised of more than 1,800 candidates, will fight for 152 American seats for the 38th World Zionist Congress in an election organized and facilitated by the American Zionist Movement.

Jewish American residents who are 18 or older will be eligible to vote from Jan. 21 through March 11, 2020. Voting will take place primarily online, with an option for mail-in ballots.

Those elected from the United States will join delegates from Israel and around the world at the 38th World Zionist Congress to help determine the allocation of nearly $1 billion in funding for and the priorities of the World Zionist Organization, Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Theodor Herzl, considered the father of modern-day Zionism, convened the first Zionist Congress in 1897. To date, WZC is the sole democratically elected global Jewish forum.

The 13 slates running in the 2020 World Zionist Congress elections are:

Americans4Israel: Unity, Peace & Security

American Forum for Israel

Dorshei Torah VTziyon: Torah and Israel for All

Eretz Hakodesh: Protecting the Kedusha and Mesorah of Eretz Yisrael

Hatikvah: Progressive Israel Slate

Herut Zionists: The Jabotinsky Movement

Israel Shelanu (Our Israel)

Mercaz: The Voice of Conservative/Masorti Judaism

Ohavei Zion: World Sephardic Zionist Organization

Orthodox Israel CoalitionMizrachi: Vote Torah

Vision: Empowering the Next Generation

Vote Reform: ARZA Representing the Reform Movement and Reconstructing Judaism

ZOA Coalition: Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Torah from Sinai, MIG (Make Israel Great) & National Pro-Israel PartnersCourageously Defending Israel, Sovereignty & the Jewish People.

With more slates than ever before, Herbert Block, executive director of the American Zionist Movement, told JNS that he is expecting a large turnout of voters as well.

The 2015 election had nearly 60,000 voters. We are on track to achieve an even higher turnout this time around, partially because American Jews are in a voting mindset with alikelythird election coming up in Israel and the 2020 U.S. election cycle well underway, he told JNS.

Were excited for so many people representing the diversity of the American Jewish community to affirm their connection to Israel and Zionism by voting in this election, continued Block. The World Zionist Congress is the parliament of the people, and this is the best way for American Jews to vote for their voice in Israel.

He added, American Jews are increasingly engaged with Israel and want to be involved in the political process. With so much attention focused on Israeli elections, this is an opportunity for American Jews to declare their Zionism and participate in an election that will impact not only Israel, but all world Jewry.

Information on how to vote/eligibility is available at:

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American Jews to vote for 35th World Zionist Congress in 2020 - Cleveland Jewish News

Survey Shows Shaked, Smotrich, Bennett to Win United Religious Zionist Party Primaries, R. Peretz 7th – The Jewish Press –

Posted By on December 13, 2019

Photo Credit: Ben Dori/Flash90

A large and comprehensive survey conducted Wednesday by the Miskar surveys institute, which specializes in data analysis pertaining to the Religious Zionist sector in Israel, suggests that if there were primaries for a yet to be established united religious Zionist party, including all the parties to the right of Likud, then Habayit Hayehudi chairman Rabbi Rafi Peretz would only come seventh.

Ayelet Shaked, Bezalel Smotrich and Naftali Bennett would lead the slate of such a party, and Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir would come in sixth.

It should be noted that the current co-leader of the New Right party, Naftali Bennett, has already announced his intent to run with his current party, thank you very much.

It should also be noted that both other parties to the right of Likud, Habayit Hayehudi and Otzma Yehudit, are yet to break through the vote threshold of 3.25%.

And lest you make the natural assumption that adding those two parties to Bennetts and Shakeds would raise it from its current 6 seats in every conceivable poll since the summer, it should be noted that even if the new party receives every last vote committed to its prospective partners, it is also likely to lose as many votes, seeing as its own followers are not crazy about Smotrich, and certainly not about Ben-Gvir.

With all of the above in mind, the survey, which included a variety of aspects of religious Zionism, such as the identities forged by the three different parties of the sector, asked respondents to choose the 5 candidates they would like to see on the United Religious Party list. The names were thrown at the respondents without a discernible order.

And so, according to the survey conductor, Dr. Ido Lieberman, if primaries were held for a single Religious Zionist party, this would be the Knesset slate picked by the (imaginary) membership:

1. Ayelet Shaked 84%.

2. Bezalel Smotrich 77.8%.

3. Naftali Bennett 69.8%.

4. Orit Struk 40.3%.

5. Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan 36.3%.

6. Itamar Ben-Gvir 36.1%.

7. Rabbi Rafi Peretz 28.4%.

8. Matan Kahane 25.4%.

9. Moti Yogev 24.2%

10. Shuli Mualem 22.2%.

11. Idit Silman 11.8%.

12. Ophir Sofer 10.2%.

13. Edva Biton 8.6%.

14. Ronnie Sassover 4.8%.

15. Yossi Cohen 2.9%.

16. Shai Mimon 2.7%.

17. Itzhak Wasserlauof 1.4%.

The sample of the national religious sector represented in this survey contains 500 men and women ages 17 and over, who were selected from a group of about 1,700 full respondents to the survey. The complete survey was sent to 5,900 people, and was closed one day later. The margin of error is +-4.4.

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Survey Shows Shaked, Smotrich, Bennett to Win United Religious Zionist Party Primaries, R. Peretz 7th - The Jewish Press -

Nefesh B’Nefesh ‘Initiative for Zionist Innovation’ grant applications open –

Posted By on December 13, 2019

(December 12, 2019 / JNS) Together with the Steinmetz Herskovitz Family Fund, aliyah agency Nefesh BNefesh is seeking applications for its 2020 Initiative for Zionist Innovation grant, which aims to empower new immigrants to Israel committed to strengthening and building their communities in Israel.

The grant will offer mentorship, networking assistance, seed funding and logistical support to impact Israeli society through new initiatives and community-building.

While it can take time for recent arrivals to find their place in Israeli society, according to Nefesh BNefesh, many newcomers embrace the opportunity to innovate and build communities through a variety of creative ideas.

From the moment theystep off the plane, they are looking for a sense of community to help them integrate and adjust into their new lives, said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh BNefesh. While there are already many incredible communities and infrastructures that exist in Israel, we applaud and support those olim who seek to build and improve within their own neighborhoods to create a model of community-building throughout the country.

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Israel immigrant and philanthropist Marty Herskovitz added that his partnership with Nefesh BNefesh would enable grant recipients to create new models of community structure that will enrich Israeli society for many years to come.

The Steinmetz Herskovitz Fund places a high importance on the concept of community building and leadership within Israel, he said.

Eligible candidates must have made aliyah from North America and the United Kingdom, or have a confirmed aliyah date before Jan. 1.

Applicants must submit a mission statement for their initiative, a business plan and explanation of how Nefesh BNefesh can help advance their venture, by Jan. 10. Successful candidates will be announced by March 25.

JNS works around the clock to provide high-quality, pro-Israel content. Weve taken numerous steps to improve the quality, quantity, and distribution of our content for even greater impact. We intend to keep on growing, and to do that we need your help.

Please help us take pro-Israel journalism to the next level with a tax-deductible sponsorship, either on a one-time or recurring monthly basis. Jewish News Syndicate is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

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Nefesh B'Nefesh 'Initiative for Zionist Innovation' grant applications open -

Israel’s Third Elections Might Not Be Such a Disaster, After All – Mosaic

Posted By on December 13, 2019

After weeks of negotiations, the members of the Knesset again failed to form a governing coalition ahead of the legal deadline, which means that Israelis will go to the polls yet again in Marchmarking the third national election in less than twelve months. The consequences, write David Horovitz, are serious:

The sheer cost of these repeat votes is embarrassingtens of millions of shekels (spent) each time just on election propaganda; two days off work nationwide in April and September and possibly another in March, unless they decide weve had enough national election holidays; and a staggering total of almost $3 billion for all the combined direct and indirect costs of the three elections. And, oh, how we could do without the weeks and weeks of more political infighting on the campaign trailthe bitching, and the spinning, and the demonizing of left and right, ultra-Orthodox and secular, Arab and Jew.

Certainly there is more than enough blame to go around, argues Horovitz, upbraiding most of the major political players for their mistakes. But he also believes there is room for hope:

Rather than looking at round three of elections as proof of the systems failure and paralysis, perhaps it is enabling the electorate to work through the hugely sensitive decision of who should lead this country, and thus how and where it should be led, a little more protractedly than is the norm. Perhaps our system is actually working for us rather than against us. . . . Our politicians have been tested twice, were about to test them again, and that might just enable us to make a more definitive decision.

[Israels] electorate, [political] system, and politicians have combined to force a third election in less than a year. We might not like it, but ultimately, we chose it; we did it to ourselves. Election Three is our creation. And maybe . . . well finally manage to make up our collective mind.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2019, Israeli politics

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Israel's Third Elections Might Not Be Such a Disaster, After All - Mosaic

The return of the Jewish Question | Michael Unterberg | The – The Times of Israel

Posted By on December 13, 2019

Why has President Trumps new executive order exploded in the Jewish Twitterverse? Why is Jewish identity a central topic in the UK elections? Why are the French debating the definition of anti-Semitism? Why does it feel like ground is shifting under the feet of Jews in the Western world? History may be repeating itself, and this may be the return of an old problem.

The term Final Solution is quickly identifiable by educated people as a Nazi euphemism for the Holocaust. But what was it solving? The solution to what, specifically? Decades after the term has fallen into disuse, most have forgotten the phrase Jewish Question, which is what the Nazis were talking about.

And so while many are troubled by the quantifiable rise in global anti-Semitism, they may not realize that something else has changed. The Jewish Question has returned.

The term used by the Nazis was Endlsung der Judenfrage. In English, the final solution to the Jewish Question. There were also other answers to the Question. Perhaps the most notable was Zionism. How two such opposite movements can be responding to the same question requires some explaining.

What was the Jewish Question?

Detail of cover page of The Jewish Question in Hungary or Die Judenfrage in Ungarn by Ottokr Prohszka , 1920, Hamburg Permitted for reuse.

When the Jews of the West were emancipated, a profound transformation was expected. The idea was that the formation of secular Nation/States would create places where people of different (or no) faiths would exist in harmony. Assimilation into French, German, and British nationals would make Jews indistinct from their neighbors. The Jews of Denmark, Belgium and the US could expect to blend in with a citizenry that replaced faith and ethnicity with nationality as the marker of belonging.

The hypothesis was based on the assumption that anti-Semitism was a religious intolerance, and secular nationalism would eliminate it along with other forms of racism and bigotry. Modernity would eliminate the base hatreds of the Middle Ages with enlightened humanism and healthy coexistence.

It didnt work out that way.

And so the Jewish Question was born. Essentially it asks, Why are the Jews still different, and what should we do about it? It is essentially a neutral question that can be discussed by anti-Semites, philo-Semites, and Jews themselves. How one answers the Question will determine which of those categories one fits into.

Early Zionist thinker Leon Pinsker stated it this way,

This is the kernel of the problem as we see it: the Jews comprise a distinctive element among the nations under which they dwell, and as such can neither assimilate nor be readily digested by any nation.

A brief stroll through the relevant Wikipedia page will take you through the historical use of the term Jewish Question (and the synonymous Jewish Problem) from the mid-18th to the mid-20th centuries. For our purposes we need to understand that there was a vigorous debate about the distinctness of the Jewish minority, the continued presence of (a now secular and racist) anti-Semitism and what should be done about it. It was used by anti-Semites, philo-Semites, and Jews themselves when discussing these matters. Solutions included assimilation, Communism and Zionism.

And, of course, the Nazis ultimately chose yet another approach, elimination, as their Final Solution. In the aftermath of that horror, it became socially inappropriate to even discuss the Question. Anti-Semitism persisted, but was officially condemned by establishments. The place of the Jew in Western Nation/States became inviolate and unquestionable, and the Question became unmentionable.

Where has it appeared again?

We have all noticed the rise in anti-Semitic violence and vandalism over the last decade. This is deeply unsettling and much discussed. But it is only part of the change we are seeing. The Jewish Question is being asked again in mainstream conversations, in ways that it hasnt been asked since World War II.

The opening paragraph of this essay contains just a few examples of triggers for the current iteration of the Question in the US and Europe. It is being argued over by anti-Semites, philo-Semites, and Jews themselves when discussing these matters.

This time, however, there is a major difference. In the past, a Jewish State was one of the answers to the Question. Today, that State exists, and is often a trigger for the Question.

Here are some aspects of the Question commonly being discussed:

In other words, the role and identity of Jews in Western countries is being discussed and debated in mainstream political and social discourse. You can take whatever side you choose in these debates. But the role of Jews, and how to talk about them, is unclear and debatable again. The Jewish Question, in its 21st Century iteration, is being asked aloud by anti-Semites, philo-Semites, and Jews themselves. And again, how one answers it will determine which of those categories one fits into.

Why is it back?

It will require the historical reflection of future thinkers to explain the return of the Jewish Question. But two observations seem apposite.

The first of these problems is probably best addressed by non-Jews. Other than identifying anti-Semitism when it appears, and calling it out, there is not much Jews can do to reduce it.

But the second problem is one that Jews themselves must wrestle with. Complex self definitions will be weighed and chosen. Values will be prioritised differently by various groups, leaving clear lines of demarcation hard to come by. Jews will debate questions of their own identity with varying levels of respect and tolerance. This is inevitable, traditional, and positive in many ways.

What might this mean for the future?

There is no way to know. Apocalyptic doomsaying seems incredibly premature, if not also immature. But Jews should be aware and attentive to their place in Western democracies. And they should listen to how their role is understood by others. When people tell you what they think, believe them.

Perhaps more importantly, Jews should continue to think about and identify their own answers to the Question.

Zionists long ago answered that the Jews are a nation/people, and Judaism is that peoples culture/religion. Where do you stand on that formulation?

To quote my Makom colleague, Robbie Gringras,

In the end, beneath the contemporary politics, there lies a fundamental question of Jewish identity you might wish to explore around a Friday night dinner table.

Theodor Herzl used the term freely and frequently. In his address to the First Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland in 1897, he said,

We Zionists, seek for the solution of the Jewish question, not an international society, but an international discussion. We wish to place the question under the control of free public opinion.

It may be disquieting to acknowledge that the Jewish Question is being asked again. To quote Ahad Haam, The truth is bitter, but with all its bitterness it is better than illusion.

Even if it is somewhat uncomfortable to discuss it, it should also be exciting and enriching. Let the conversations continue.

The rest is here:
The return of the Jewish Question | Michael Unterberg | The - The Times of Israel

Iran Guards Deny One Of Their Generals Threatened Israel From Lebanon – RadioFarda

Posted By on December 13, 2019

Spokesman of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' (IRGC), Brigadier General Ramazan Sharif, has accused the media of misquoting recent remarks made by a veteran IRGC General, threatening to reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from the Lebanese territory.

Earlier on Tuesday, December 10, Mizan, a conservative website in Iran had cited the IRGC General Morteza Qorbani as saying, "If the Zionist regime (Israel) makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon."

While claiming that his words were "a response to Israeli statements about launching military action against Tehran," General Qorbani said, "Iran is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and Israel is too small to make any mistake toward Iran. If the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) orders a missile attack against Israel, all Zionists will raise their hands and surrender."

Gen. Qorbani's remarks triggered a series of bitter criticism from Lebanese officials, including some closely allied to Tehran.

Lebanese caretaker Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab deplored Qorbani's comments as a violation of Lebanon's sovereignty.

Bou Saab, who belongs to the Free Patriotic Movement allied to Iran-backed Hezbollah, stressed, "The independence of the Lebanese must not be affected in any way."

"These statements are unfortunate and unacceptable. They are a violation of the sovereignty of Lebanon, which enjoys ties of friendship with Iran that should not infringe on its independent decision-making in any way, shape or form," Bou Saab twitted.

Lebanese Minister of Information, Jamal Al-Jarrah, also dismissed Qorbani's remarks, asserting, "Iran can defend itself however it wants, but Lebanon is not a mailbox for the IRGC and is not an arena for external use by any country. These words are completely unacceptable."

Now, the IRGC spokesman Ramazan Sharif has rushed in to downplay Qorbani's remarks.

"Reviews show that General Morteza Qorbani's remarks have been misinterpreted and misquoted by the media," General Sharif said on Wednesday, December 11.

The spokesman said, "General Qorbani in fact meant to speak of a response to Israel by possible various means and capacities."

Furthermore, according to Sharif, General Qorbani "is not an advisor to the IRGC commander at present," and works elsewhere at the Iranian Armed Forces.

However, local news outlets have frequently referred to Gen. Qorbani as the senior advisor to the IRGC Chief Commander, and an advisor to the Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, IRGC Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri (Bagheri).

As recently as May 25, 2019, Russia Today also presented Qorbani as a senior advisor to the IRGC Chief Commander.

Referring to Qorbani, as an adviser to Iran's military command who does not mince his words, RT cited him issuing a warning that should Washington "commit the slightest stupidity; we will send these ships to the bottom of the sea along with their crews and planes."

Iran, he promised, would do so "using two missiles or two new secret weapons." He did not specify what type of "secret weapons" he was referring to, RT reported.

Continue reading here:
Iran Guards Deny One Of Their Generals Threatened Israel From Lebanon - RadioFarda

Want to celebrate Hanukkah? These Atlanta synagogues and temples are hosting events –

Posted By on December 13, 2019

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the Maccabees win over the Syrian Greek army and the subsequent miracle of rededicating the holy temple in Jerusalem and restoring its menorah, or lamp.

This year, it will start at sundown Dec. 22 and end at sundown Dec. 30, and local synagogues and temples will celebrate the holiday with numerous services over that time period.

Though most local Jewish synagogues and temples will host events and services throughout the week of Hanukkah, the Neighbor is only listing the main events per house of worship.

Here is a list of local Hanukkah celebrations, according to each house of worships website:

Ahavath Achim

Ahavath Achim Synagogue, 600 Peachtree Battle Ave. in Buckhead, will host Sparks of Light, its Hanukkah celebration, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. The event will include fireworks, games, crafts and food with cookie decorating, menorah and candle making, arts and crafts, food and more.

Tickets are $18 per child and free for prepaid Shabbat and Holiday Package holders, and can be purchased in advance by visiting the website below. Attendees are also asked to bring a new toy to donate to the Zhavah Sisterhoods toy drive.

Information: 404-355-5222 or

Congregation Bnai Torah

Congregation Bnai Torah, 700 Mount Vernon Hwy. in Sandy Springs, will host its Hanukkah healing service Dec. 14 at 10 a.m.

Information: 404-257-0537 or

Congregation Beth Tefillah

Congregation Beth Tefillah, 5065 High Point Road in Sandy Springs, will host its first Mincha/Maariv Hanukkah service Dec. 22 at 5:15 p.m.

Information: 404-843-2464 or

Congregation Or Hadash

Congregation Or Hadash, 7460 Trowbridge Road in Sandy Springs, will host Hanukkah Fryday Dec. 27 at 5:15 p.m. The event will include fried fish, salads and holiday goodies. The candle lighting begins at 5:37 pm.

The cost is $18 per family or $4 per person. Online RSVP is required.

Information: 404-250-3338 or

Congregation Or VeShalom

Congregation Or VeShalom, 1681 N. Druid Hills Road in Brookhaven, hosted its Hanukkah Bazaar Dec. 8 but will also host some regular services during Hanukkah.

Information: 404-633-1737 or

Temple Emanu-El

Temple Emanu-El, 1580 Spalding Drive in Sandy Springs, hosted most of its Hanukkah-related non-service events before Dec. 22 but will host Shabbat services Dec. 27 and 28.

Information: 770-395-1340 or

Temple Sinai

Temple Sinai, 5645 Dupree Drive in Sandy Springs, will host its Congregational Chanukah Dinner Dec. 27 at 5:30 p.m. It will include dinner, dreidel spinning, crafts and a photo booth.

The cost is $15 for adults, $7.50 for children 4 to 17 and free for children 3 and under.

Information: 404-252-3073 or

The Temple

The Temple, 1589 Peachtree St. in Midtown, will host three special events during Hanukkah: Shabbanukkah at The Temple Parts 1 and 2, family affairs set for Dec. 20 at 5 p.m. and Dec. 27 at 6 p.m., respectively, and Project Merry Mitzvah, a volunteer opportunity for teens, Dec. 20 at 5 p.m.

Information: 404-873-1731 or

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