|Israel Resource Review
||27th August, 2004
The Problems With Jewish
Here are some of my opinions (composed after
conducting my interviews) on what is wrong with Jewish journalism.
#1. Failure of imagination.
Jewish journalism is predictable. It rarely catches the reader offguard. You read the headline and you know the story. There's no need to read more. It's just the same old actors on the Jewish stage repeating the same old lines. To hold the attention of an infant or an adult, you have to defy expectations.
#2. Lack of courage.
Why would you want to write something critical about somebody you will see again? This particularly applies to fellow Jewish journalists. Not one, except Yossi Abramowitz, was willing to offer me an on-the-record criticism of Gary Rosenblatt, "Mr. Jewish Journalism," even though the quality of the journalism he's published has declined dramatically at The Jewish Week compared to his previous employer, the independent Baltimore Jewish Times.
#3. Lack of clarity on mission.
You can be good. You can be truthful. You can be kind. You can investigate. But neither an individual nor a newspaper can do all these things equally well. Jewish newspapers need to clarify if they are primarily in the propaganda game (which is where I would place all Jewish weeklies except the Forward) or in the news game. You need to know what your primary mission is. Is it to report the news in your community or is to act omnisciently in the best interests of the community by frequently withholding the news (the stance of virtually all Jewish weeklies except the Forward)?
#4. Lack of technique.
It is rare to read a Jewish weekly and feel that you are right
there in the story. To emotionally rivet the reader, you must:
- Employ scene-by-scene construction moving towards a climax. There must be desire, struggle and realization, the three acts of a screenplay.
- Realistic dialogue.
- Abundant attention to status details.
- Multiple points of view.
#5. Stuck in the past.
Blogs are an increasingly preferred way of getting news, yet few if any Jewish newspapers offer blogs, or use blogging techniques in their print editions. First person news accounts written with attitude can be more interesting and powerful than the old standby objective stance. There's no inherent reason why the journalist writing a news story has to be less interesting than the people he's writing on. Jewish journalism could develop stars by allowing those with talent to experiment with different techniques of telling a news story. We need more Yossi Klein Halevis.
#6. Desire to be loved.
Many Jewish journalists yearn to be loved by their readers (or, have greater fear of being hated than they desire to be respected). This attitude rarely makes for compelling reading. We need more J.J. Goldbergs who place their commitment to journalism above their desire to be popular.
# 7. Delusions of grandeur.
Jewish weeklies could do a good job of covering their community if they wanted to, but most of them, particularly the Jewish Journal, suffer from delusions of grandeur. They devote considerable resources to national and international stories where they have no expertise. They are rarely going to improve on what The New York Times has to offer on Israel or national politics, but they insist on publishing second rate material anyway because it makes them feel like they are big time.
#8 Unwillingness to treat religion with the same seriousness and specificity that it treats politics.
That's where The New Rabbi was revolutionary. It gave a large synagogue the same treatment other institutions of similar size receive routinely.
#9 If you only publish positive book reviews, you don't take ideas seriously.
The only weekly that takes books seriously is the Forward. All the others treat Jewish authors with kid gloves.
#10 Sensitivity, tact, restraint are only three good traits among many.
Some stories call for insensitivity, tactlessness, and lack of restraint.
ME writes: add:
11) Lack of sense of social justice
How else could legitimate news stories on Rabbinical figures such as Lanner, Tendler, Weinberg, Bryks, Brenner, Gafni /Winiarz been ignored so long.
12) No commitment to a comunity with institutions with accountability/transparency
Just look at the old JNF scandal and the current payroll at the Wiesenthal Center.
13) Arbitrary journalistic criteria for publishing stories
For example, Gary Rosenblatt has some strange criteria he uses for publishing stories about abusive community leaders that ensure that most stories never make it too press. He requires very recent allegations. Although one can question how his expose of Lanner was ever printed (at the time he had no allegatons in the past ten years). Only after his story was printed did the recent victims (who helped convict Lanner) come forward.
Certainly, papers like the Washington Post and the Boston Globe have no such criteria in exposing abusive priests in the Catholic Church.
All this arbitrary criteria does is ensure that the worst abusers who prey on the youngest of victims are protected. As the younger the victim, the longer it usually takes for them to disclose their abuse. That's why Lanner, Tendler and Weinberg are ultimately exposed by the Jewish press but Bryks, Brenner and Gafni/Winiarz (to some extent, as the more serious allegations involve children) are not.
14) Poor research and fact-checking skills
15) Failure to do thorough stories.
Most articles raise more quesions than they answer and give very poor background to the players and situation.
For example, the Forward story doesn't address many facets of the Tendler story that a reader would want to know about, his background, why groups in the Orthodox community/his extended family have nothing to do with him, his involvement in the agunot organizations and the knowledge/reaction of the agunot leadership to the allegation.
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Is the U.S. Restraining Israel
From Carrying out a Preemptive Strike on Iran?
On August 15th, The Revolutionary Brigades of the Iranian Army
held a military parade in which they displayed the Shaab 3
missile that Israeli intelligence experts estimate has a range
of 1300 kilometers, that even with a potential nuclear payload
can reach any target in Israel. Not only can the Shaab missile
hit Israel, but it could also hit U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf
and other American bases throughout Turkey.
Meanwhile, Israel's chief of military intelligence, Major General Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, told the Israeli government last July that Iran had supplied hundreds of Iranian-made missiles to Hezbollah that can hit all of northern Israel and territory as far south as Tel Aviv. In addition, another several dozen missiles can reach the southern city of Beersheba in southern Israel's Negev desert.
Last September, the Iranians conducted a test launching of the Shaab 3 missile and thousands of Iranians cheered the banner and slogan which accompanied the test: "WE WILL WIPE ISRAEL OFF OF THE FACE OF THE EARTH."
Iran had pioneered the Shaab missile in 1992. Modeled after the North Korean "Nu-Ding 1" weapon, it was improved by German, Russian and Pakistani technologies.
Two weeks ago, a senior official of Israeli Air Force Intelligence testified at a closed session of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel's Arrow missile defense capability could do little to stop any such barrage of this kind of missile. Israel's Arrow missile is designed to intercept S.C.U.D. missiles or other lower grade potential missiles only.
This week, U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton confirmed that Iran indeed told European representatives that it would be able to manufacture nuclear weapons within four years and that within a year it would be able to enrich uranium itself that can be used in such weapons of mass destruction. Bolton said that Iranian representatives made these statements in meetings with representatives from Britain, Germany and France. Bolton also said that the United States is consulting not only with officials from those three countries, but also with representatives from Russia and Japan and other governments regarding Iran's nuclear capability. He said that the consultations are taking place before a meeting of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency next month.
Israeli nuclear expert Dr. Gerald M. Steinberg, writing in The Jerusalem Post on August 20th, 2004 agreed that International Atomic Energy Agency head, Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, is trying to find a "non-confrontational solution." However, Steinberg expressed skepticism about the need for dialogue and negotiations, since, in Steinberg's words, "The evidence of Teheran's violations of commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is clearly presented in IAEA reports, but there is little willingness to do anything about it."
Israel responded to a comparable threat in 1981 by bombing the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq, incurring the wrath and condemnation of the world, including the U.S. Today, the world understands Israel's actions.
But asked if the United States would support a pre-emptive strike, such as Israel did against Iraq in 1981 to end Iran's nuclear program, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) said, "I'm not going to speculate for a moment on a pre-emptive strike or any specific action."
With mounting concern in the Bush administration that Israel might be planning to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland mentioned in his April column that "A grim warning from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to President Bush that Iran is much closer to producing nuclear weapons than U.S. intelligence believes, has triggered concern here that Israel is seriously considering a pre-emptive strike against Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor." According to Hoagland, who quoted U.S. and Israeli sources, Sharon brought Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant, his army liaison officer, "to shower a worried-looking Bush with photographs and charts from a thick dossier on Iran's covert program."
However, Israeli officials said that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not mention the possibility of an Israeli pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear reactor at Bushehr when he met with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington last April.
Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and former CIA Director Robert Gates, co-authors of a new study on Iran, said it was unlikely such a strike would be effective and it would "damage" U.S. interests.
To carry out such a strike, Israel would almost certainly have to fly over airspace controlled by the United States, meaning America could be judged complicit with the Israeli action, Brzezinski said.
He added that military action would harm prospects for political change in Iran by galvanizing nationalistic fervor and this could further damage U.S. interests, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq
(As if nationalistic fervor was not already existent in the Islamic fundamentalist dictatorship).
In a document issued in May, the Report of an Independent Task Force, written by former Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and former CIA Director Robert M. Gates, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, these experts posited that "Since Washington would be blamed for any unilateral Israeli military strike, the United States should, in any case, make it quite clear to Israel that U.S. interests would be adversely affected by such a move. In addition, any military effort to eliminate Iranian weapons capabilities runs the significant risk of reinforcing Tehran's desire to acquire a nuclear deterrent and of provoking nationalist passions in defense of that very course. It would most likely generate also hostile Iranian initiatives in Iraq and Afghanistan."
In conclusion, these two experts write, "This time the stakes are higher, more complicated and the consequences could be graver. An Israeli strike on Iran would endanger the lives of the 138,000 a.m.erican troops currently deployed in Iraq, who could fall prey to Iran's vengeance. Iran is unlikely to take the bombing of its nuclear facilities lying down. Iran would never buy into the belief that an Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities was not carried out with the approval, or at least an inferred green light, from Washington."
Since that report was written, Israeli intelligence sources report that American officials are demanding assurances that Jerusalem has no plans to launch a unilateral strike as reported in the Forward, an American-Jewish daily newspaper.
According to Israeli intelligence sources, Israel would prefer any way that the United States handle the problem through either diplomatic means or force and that Israel would like to maintain a low profile, letting the Americans lead the campaign against the Iranian program. To that end, Israeli officials are not commenting right now.
The New York Sun reported on August 5, that the United States would not rule out covert military action against Iranian nuclear installations.
Meanwhile, sources in Israeli intelligence have intercepted communications from senior Iranian military officers who have implored the Iranian defense ministry to take pre-emptive action against Israel and the U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At a time when Iran sees itself surrounded on both sides by American military forces, Israeli intelligence has warned the U.S. that the Iranians may act sooner than expected.
This piece ran in Front Page Magazine on August
23rd, 2004 at:
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The Present Allegation of an
Israeli Mole at the Pentagon: GROUNDLESS BUT
Intelligence Analyst, Yediot Aharonot
It is hard to
exaggerate the scale of the damage caused by the Pollard affair
to [Israel's] relations with the United States. The residue will
linger on for a long time in the intimate fabric of relations
between the two countries. Whoever leaked the story about the
new alleged spy scandal, was trying to take advantage of that residue.
The present affair appears to be groundless. Officials in Israel
denied any link to the affair and this sounds credible. It is reasonable
to assume that nobody in Israel, in the era after the Pollard affair,
even dreamed about operating a spy in the United States.
It so happens that I met Larry Franklin at research conferences on
the subject of Iran. Franklin is an analyst dealing with subjects such
as Iran and Iraq. He gave the impression of being very well informed.
You have to know the situation in Washington to understand the
background on which academics (who previously worked in the
administration), meet researchers from all over the world, with
administration officials, journalists and sundry lobbyists. In contrast
to the situation in Israel, where academics have little influence on the
decision-making process, in Washington these conferences and meetings
play a very important role in shaping policy.
Officials of AIPAC, the Israeli lobby, have an important role at
these conferences. They contribute and receive ideas and information.
They give and take. They influence and are influenced. It is possible
that Franklin broke some rule or divulged something forbidden. What is
clear is that the State of Israel had no connection with the matter, and
no knowledge of it. AIPAC, who are always the first suspects in every
affair of this kind, never dreamed of operating agents inside the
Yesterday's disclosure will be found to have been nothing more than a
breach of discipline, with no connection to Israel, but the miniscule
significance of the story will not reduce the major damage which it has
already caused and will cause in the future. Yesterday some people in
Washington remembered that about a month ago the reporter who uncovered
the affair, Lesley Stahl, interviewed General Anthony Zinni, a former
mediator between the US administration and Israel and the Palestinians.
In that interview Zinni attacked in very blunt terms "a group of people
in the Pentagon" who had dragged the United States into the war against
Iraq. It was clear that Zinni was referring to a group of Jews known as
the "neo-conservatives," including Doug Feith and his boss, Paul
Wolfowitz, who supported the decision to go to war.
And lo and behold, a month later the same Stahl reveals that the
Israeli mole is operating in the office of one of the heads of that
group. What more is needed for the reader to accept this as another
layer of the Jewish conspiracy to navigate the world towards the edge of
the abyss. Even when the affair itself fades out with a whimper, the
sinister "Elders of Zion" impression will remain.
This appeared in Yediot Aharonot on August
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What Jews Can Learn from The
Message of Dr. Martin Luther King
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen
"The March on
Washington" was a great civil rights rally on behalf of African
Americans which took place on August 28th, 1963. Among the civil
rights leaders who spoke at the rally was Reverend Martin Luther
King, an African American minister with a universal vision which
was influenced to some degree by the writings of the Jewish
prophets. For example, in his famous speech at the rally, "I
Have a Dream," he expressed the following vision of the Prophet
"I have a dream that one day every valley
shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low,
the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will
be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
and all flesh shall see it together."
(See Isaiah 40:4,5)
Although Martin Luther King devoted his life to
the needs of African Americans - who were then called "Negroes"
- he also spoke out on behalf of other oppressed peoples,
including the Jewish people. The following are some examples of
his statements in support of our people:
1. This letter of Martin Luther King appeared in The New York Times, on January 16, 1965:
Dr. King Joins Protest
To the Editor:
I am profoundly shocked by the treatment of the Jewish people in the Soviet Union. I would like strongly to endorse the moral protest and appeal of conscience to the Soviet Union published as an advertisement in The Times (January 14).
I should like to add my voice to the list of distinguished Americans of all faiths who have called the injustices perpetrated against the Jewish community in the Soviet Union to the attention of the world.
The struggle of the Negro people for freedom is inextricably interwoven with the universal struggle of all peoples to be free from discrimination and oppression. The Jewish people must be given their full rights as Soviet citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution of the U.S.S.R. itself.
The anti-Jewish tone of the economic trials must cease. The free functioning of synagogues should be permitted. There should be no interference with the performance of sacred rites. The religious and cultural freedom of this old Jewish community should be re-established.
In the name of humanity, I urge that the Soviet Government end all the discriminatory measures against its Jewish community. I will not remain silent in the face of injustice.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Atlanta, Ga., January 14, 1965
2. The next statement is from Dr. King's 1966 Address to the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry (predecessor to NCSJ):
While Jews in Russia may not be physically murdered, as they were in Nazi Germany, they are facing everyday a kind of spiritual and cultural genocide. The absence of opportunity to associate as Jews in the enjoyment of Jewish culture and religious experience becomes a severe limitation upon the individual. These deprivations are a part of a person's emotional and intellectual life. They determine whether he is fulfilled as a human being. Blacks as well understand and sympathize with this problem. When you are written out of history, as a people, when you are given no choice but to accept the majority culture, you are denied an aspect of your own identity. Ultimately you suffer a corrosion of your self-understanding and your self-respect.
3. Professor Seymour Lipset describes a dinner in Cambridge held to allow Dr. Martin Luther King to meet with and speak to black students at Harvard and other campuses in Boston. One student made some anti-Zionist remarks and Professor Lipset recorded Dr. King's response:
"Dr. King snapped at him and said, 'Don't talk like that. When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism.' " (The Socialism of Fools: The Left, the Jews and Israel, page 7, by Seymour Martin Lipset )
Although Martin Luther King spoke on behalf of the Jewish people and other peoples, he devoted his life to the physical and spiritual betterment of his own people. There are some Jews, however, who will speak up on behalf of every other people, but they will ignore the needs of their own people.
They should therefore learn from the example of Martin Luther King.
And if this great African American leader protested against anti-Jewish prejudice - including the prejudice which would deny the Jewish people the right to live in their ancestral homeland, then shouldn't all Jews who are active in progressive, new age, and other universal groups do the same? Should they not protest against the anti-Jewish hatred and violence which is spreading all over the world? As U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated at the U.N. Seminar on Anti-Semitism on June 21st, 2004: "It is hard to believe that, 60 years after the tragedy of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is once again rearing its head. But it is clear that we are witnessing an alarming resurgence of this phenomenon in new forms and manifestations.
This time, the world must not, cannot be silent."
Martin Luther King expressed concern over those Jews that are facing "a kind of spiritual and cultural genocide." Ironically, there are assimilated Jews who contribute to that genocide through their refusal to seriously explore their own spiritual roots. They should therefore think carefully about the other statement of Dr. King concerning Jews who lose their unique identity and who accept the majority culture: "Ultimately you suffer a corrosion of your self-understanding and your self-respect."
To be "universal" does not mean that one should deny one's unique identity and culture; to be universal means that one should develop one's identity and culture in order to make a unique contribution to human civilization.
This is especially true with regard to the Jewish people whom
the Unifying One assigned the following universal mission at the
very dawn of their history: "And through you, all the familes of
the earth will be blessed" (Genesis 12:3, 28:14). This means
that our "family" has the responsibility to become an ethical
and spiritual model for all the "families" of humankind.
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen is the author of "The Universal Jew -
Letters to a Progressive Father" (Feldheim). He is also the
director of the e-mail Torah study program, "Hazon - Our
Universal Vision": www.shemayisrael.co.il/publicat/hazon
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One Year After Their Murder:
We Miss The Angels of Chesed and Rachamim:
Dr. David Applebaum,
Applebaum Z"L H"YD
The drive into
Jerusalem from downtown Efrat was quiet as one could think and
approach the highway for last night's program. The soldier
smiled as he waived us forward to continue through the tunnels
and onto Gilo. On this night, Emek Refaim Street in the German
Colony section was the route to get to our destination on King
George Street in Jerusalem. It was 7 00 p.m. as the traffic was
quite heavy for this time of the night as there seemed to be a
'slowing' of cars opposite Cafe Hillel. The cars were indeed
slowing down as we glanced over to Cafe Hillel on this 13th day
of Elul. There were two guards, some patrons, and a few candles
that passersby were lighting on this night at Cafe Hillel.
It was one year ago when the explosion of a pigua(terror attack) caused by a terrorist who had been freed from prison rang through the street of Emek Refaim at Cafe Hillel. It was a night when a father and a daughter were to spend some time together, only 18hours before the young 19year old, named Navah Applebaum, would walk down her chupa for the wedding night. Her father, Dr. David Applebaum, had just returned from a lecture series in New York to tens of doctors at NYU who were hearing from the top emergency room physician in Israel on how the Israeli medical society was 'dealing' with terror and treatment of terror victims from the heinous crimes of the Arabs to the Jews.
The father and his daughter were getting some late night food for their family on this, the night before the wedding, at Cafe Hillel, when both father, Dr. David Applebaum, and daughter, Navah, were murdered by the terrorist who was set free by the Israeli government only a few weeks before September 9, 2003.
We arrived at the Great Synagogue after our quick glance at Cafe Hillel for the 1st yahrtzeit(hazkara) memorial for David and Navah. The blocks around the Great Synagogue were filled with cars, pedestrians, and lots of teens. The guard at the Great Synagogue was directing the thousands of us to Heichal Shlomo, next door, as there was confusion over the venue for this 1st yahrtzeit. Were we going to the wedding which was being held at the Great Synagogue or to a memorial for David and Navah Z"L H"YD? As was the case last year, all of us were planning on attending a wedding, and instead we arrived at a double funeral. The Heichal Shlomo was the correct venue last night. The elevator was filled to capacity as the thousand or so of us climbed the four flights to the Heichal Shlomo hall.
The stage was set with a black curtain which is ironically, the same color on this 'stage' throughout the year. The seats were occupied and the balcony was opened as were the hallways, stairs, and foyer of the Heichal Shlomo. In the background, we could hear the music from the wedding at the Great Synagogue, how fitting to listen to wedding music, as Rabbi Spero, David's father-in-law, an esteemed retired pulpit Rabbi who was one of the rabbinic figures for many years in Cleveland, began the first speech for the hazkara/yahrtzeit.
We were silent and somehow the music from the wedding was no longer being heard as the wedding that did not take place last year between Navah and Chanan turned into hespedim and eulogies for David and Navah, father and daughter. Rabbi Spero spoke about the 'innovator' of David Applebaum, the doctor and Torah scholar who brought Israeli emergency medicine to the forefront of time in Israel. Rabbi Spero reviewed the many projects and dedications and programs that were 'born' in the last 12months from the 'death' of his son-in-law and his granddaughter.
The senior Rabbi Spero from Cleveland, who now resides in Jerusalem, broke several times in his description of David and Navah. A grandfather was crying, an audience was sniffling in tears, and we stared at the stage with the black curtain, as the wedding continued next door of another couple.
Professor Dr. Yonatan Halevy, the Director General of Shaarei Zedek Hospital recounted how in the 15months that David Applebaum took over the Emergency Room of Shaarei Zedek Hospital, the entire system of emergency medicine had changed so rapidly due to David. Dr. Halevy reminded us about the David Applebaum, who would show up at 3 a.m. and at 3 p.m., or on Shabbat or on Yom Kippur in his Kittel to tend to a sick patient at Shaarei Zedek. Dr. Halevy kept crying and explaining how he 'misses' David each day and how David used to walk into his office, unannounced, 3-5times a day to offer advice and coooperation for a busy Director General of a hospital like Dr. Halevy.
The grandfather was crying, the head of the hospital was crying, and the audience was increasing its volume of cries.
Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik of Ramat Beit Shemesh, one of the sons of the late Gadol Hador, Rav Aron Soloveitchik Z"TL, spoke on behalf of the Soloveitchik families about David and Navah Applebaum. David would be the baal tokea, the shofar blower for Rav Aron Z"L, David was the student who continued for years after his days at yeshiva in Chicago that would call Rav Aron and the Rebbetizin every Friday from around the world to wish his Rebbe, "Good Shabbos." On the days that David did not phone, Rebbetzin Soloveitchik, according to her son, Rabbi Chaim, would ask her husband, Rav Aron, if perhaps, David Applebaum, was too busy saving lives to phone us?
Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik remembered that after his father death,
when David Applebaum became a grandfather, David phoned Rabbi
Chaim in Ramat Beit Shemesh. "I have to tell a Soloveichik the
good news. So David would phone the next generation of his late
Rebbi, Rav Aron Z"TL". On Hoshana Raba, when David was in
Chicago, Rav Aron would ask him to join him in his sukka to say
goodbye to the sukka together.
A grandfather was crying, a hospital director general was
crying, and the next generation of Soloveitchiks, Rabbi Chaim,
was crying, and the audience was wailing in tears.
Chaim Erentrau, the founder of Zichron Menachem, which serves
the cancer stricken children in Israel began to remember Navah,
who did her national service(sherut leumi) at Zichron Menachem.
"Navah worked 20/7 with our children, she never gave up, she
played with them, worked with them, made them smile, and kept
away their cries of pain and despair. Navah would go to the
airport, even after hours, at 3 a.m. to see a teenager with
cancer who was going to the US for special treatment. Navah was
supposed to get some time off to prepare for the wedding and
each time that she was told to take some extra hours for a dress
fitting or for other preparation, Navah would sneak back into
Zichron Menachem to keep her kids smiling. If a child had extra
chemotherapy, Navah would volunteer to stay with that child of
cancer for hours and hours. One of our counselors had back
trouble and was unable to take the bus with the Zichron Menachem
children to an outing. Navah was off that day, but somehow she
heard about her fellow counselor's back problems which would be
aggravated by the long bus ride to the tiyul.
Navah was on the bus and made her co counselor get off to lie
down and rest her back."
The Zichron Menachem stories continued about Navah Applebaum, as we watched some of the cancer stricken children cry as they heard their director's stories about Navah last night.
A grandfather was crying, a hospital director was crying, a Soloveitchik was crying, Chaim Erentrau of Zichron Menachem was crying, and the audience was crying with the children who were living with their cancer, and without their counselor, Navah.
Tehila, a close friend of Navah, took the stage as we stared with dry eyes at the black curtains and she began to talk and cry about how she was in the USA two weeks before Navah's wedding(death)day. Tehila was with Navah for 12years in Horev schools. Tehila could not avoid her National Service(sherut leumi)commitment in the USA and was already at her school location and would miss Navah's wedding day.
Tehila spoke about how the girls sang "NAVAH and Tehila" from
the prayers from Psalm 147, "Halleluya Ki Tov Zamrah Eloheinu Ki
Naim Navah Tehila" which are said daily in our Shacharit. The
girls would shout Navah Tehila for both girls as they recited
their morning prayers at Horev.
Tehila broke down and told us how she got the phone call in the
late afternoon in the USA about David Applebaum's murder. At
that moment, the news about Navah was not yet confirmed, one
year ago, last night. Tehila asked her friends on the phone,
"Let me speak to Navah." The phone was silent as the friends
then told Tehila that Navah was murdered as well. Tehila began
to sing on the phone, Psalm 147, Ki Tov Zamra . . . . . . . etc
. . . . Navah Tehila . . . . . and screamed over the 7000 miles of
Tehila could not finish her speech last night . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A grandfather was crying, a hospital director was crying, a Soloveitchik was crying, the director of Zichron Menachem was crying, Tehila was crying . . . . . and the audience had no more tears left
Tzvi Sand, the father of the groom, and the would have been father in law to Navah spoke about his would have been mechutan, Dr. David, and his would have been daughter inlaw . . . . . . . Tzvi was passionate and told us about E.L.Y to me . . . . .E was the Esau, L was the Lavan and Y was the Yosef . . . . . . . . . "We have to deal with the Esau of each generation, we learned how to get through the Lavan of our generations, but the Yosef, the brotherly sinat chinam(hatred of our fellow Jews) was still being circulated in 2004. How the government of Israel was throwing away the "Yosefs" of our Gush Katif, how Jews in 2004 were threatened to be thrown by other Jews into the pits and holes such as was done to Yosef.
A grandfather, a hospital director general, a Soloveitchik, a Zichron Menachem director, a best friend, and a father in law to be were crying, as the audience sat in silence and mourning looking for tears . . . . . . . . .
Finally, the shomeret, or the guardian, Efrat, was the girl friend of Navah that was supposed to be with her to watch over her for the last 12hours before the wedding night. Efrat told the story how she spoke to Navah as Navah and her father, Dr. David, were driving over to Cafe Hillel. "Navah, when you're through with your private time with your Abba, call me, and I will come over to stay with you." "Navah, remember we cannnot stay up all night on the night before your wedding, as we have to be at the Kotel for 8 a.m. for Shacharit on your wedding day. "Navah, we then have to get the hair done, the dress fitting, etc. etc. etc." Efrat kept calling Navah and Navah's cellphone would only ring at midnight one year ago. Efrat was supposed to 'guard' the bride. Efrat heard about the pigua at Cafe Hillel, and she burst out in tears remembering that Navah and Dr. David were headed to Cafe Hillel for their last private time together.
Navah's brothers, began their conclusion of mishna Uktzin to complete the six books of mishna . . . . . . . . . the kaddish was recited . . . . . . . . . the entire audience of thousand answered AMEN, while the tears and screams shouted out to the heavens above us in Heichal Shlomo. As we quietly exited the hall, we began to hear the music of the wedding next door for the last dance of the other groom and bride at the Great Synagogue.
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Why I'm Moving to Israel
When I tell people I spent the last year of my life studying
abroad in Israel (search), they usually look at me funny and
When I tell them I'm planning to move there permanently in August, the flabbergasted look on their face demands an explanation.
I'm a 21-year-old student at NYU majoring in journalism. I have blonde hair and blue eyes and a boyfriend. I come from the average American family, and look like the average American girl. So why am I leaving the land of opportunity to live, permanently, in a land ravaged by war?
A rabbi once told me that when God took Abraham to Canaan (search) and showed him the land, promising it to Abraham's future generations, He also showed him every Jew that was ever to be born. The rabbi went on to explain that, according to the legend, when a Jew stands in the exact spot where thousands of years ago Abraham first beheld him, he becomes intimately and eternally bound to the land.
Like many Jews, I had been to this land, now called Israel, numerous times, to see the holy sights and visit the home of my forefathers. And while I felt a connection, and perhaps had the feeling of "coming home" that many Jews boast of, I never viewed the country as anything more than a place of religious and historical significance to visit every once in a while.
But two summers ago, when I visited Israel with my family, something was different. I suddenly felt a visceral need to identify with the people and the culture, and so I decided to spend a year abroad studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (search). The only explanation, albeit fantastical, that I can offer is that perhaps that summer I stood in the very place where Abraham first regarded me, so many years ago, and my soul anchored itself in the sacred soil.
I was overcome with the realization that there was a country whose land had been promised to me, where millions of my people lived, yet their lives were so different from mine. I wanted to see that land and that life, learn about it, be part of it.
I quickly became part of life in Israel. I got used to having my bag checked every time I went into a store or restaurant, I got used to seeing my Israeli soldier friends walking around with huge M-16s on their shoulders. I mastered haggling with the taxi drivers. Taxis, not buses - that was the rule my parents, and many of my friends' parents, issued before we left. With all the suicide bombings on buses, it just isn't worth the risk. And though I don't travel on buses, I'll admit I still feel frightened walking by a bus, or sitting at a red light in a taxi with a bus in the next lane. It's just too hard to get the television images of blown-up buses out of my head.
Two weeks after I arrived, I was lucky enough to land an internship at The Jerusalem Post, which was an invaluable opportunity for me as a young journalist. There, I was thrown right into the thick of things, with no choice but to learn quickly. On my very first day, I wrote an article that appeared in the newspaper, and while it wasn't front-page news, it was my debut into the world of journalism.
The internship was my first step into the "real world." The Post staff treated me like a full-fledged reporter, giving me assignments and deadlines and sending me around the country to gather information. It was great training, and it was often fun.
But, living in Jerusalem was also often very stressful.
I remember one night that was particularly nerve-racking. It was a Saturday night. My parents' plane had just taken off after a brief visit, and all my friends were on a weekend get-away hiking in the Golan. I was in my dorm at Hebrew University when I got a phone call from a friend in the Israeli army. He said he couldn't talk, but he wanted to warn me not to leave my dorm that night.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because we're on our way to Jerusalem right now to look for a terrorist who's on the loose, who according to intelligence is planning on blowing himself up in Jerusalem tonight."
I was terrified. I was all alone. I couldn't call my parents, and I was scared to leave my dorm. I had never before experienced such real fear and danger.
But in Israel, that sense of fear and danger is the norm. In Alaska, it's normal to wear snow boots all year round. In New York, that would be absurd. In Israel, the snow boots are simply bulletproof vests.
Life is about adjusting, and I'm still struggling with the adjustment.
When I told my best friend that I was going to Israel for a year, she couldn't believe it. She couldn't understand why I was going to spend a year of my life in a country filled with angry extremists who would jump at the chance to kill me.
She was correct in that what we see on TV is scary - images of the burned frames of blown-up buses or cafes, the Israeli military in the slums of the Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza.
But the majority of the cafes in Israel are modern, popular places where Israelis spend their evenings or lunch breaks, and many Palestinians are not the suffering, impoverished people we see on TV. Many live in mansions in developed Arab villages.
I explained all of this to my friend as best I could, but I didn't say what I was really thinking: Honestly, how safe is it to live anywhere these days? Today, terrorism is a global threat. How many New Yorkers were scared to go to work at the World Trade Center on that Tuesday morning in September 2001? But today, everybody is wary, everywhere in the world. The point is that we still go on living. Not just existing, but actually living. We can't live life scared to go around every corner, or none of us would ever leave the house.
It's no different in Israel. Living means putting the fear behind you.
Of course, managing the fear is a personal battle. On the one hand, no one wants to forget the 3-year-old child killed by a Palestinian rocket while he was walking to nursery school with his mother. On the other hand, we do want to forget. We want to move on and not dwell on all the sorrow and tragedy.
Yet while their survival requires Israelis to harden their hearts to the pain, to take a deep breath and push the grief out of their minds, doing so is slowly turning Israel into a very hardened country. I fear once I live there, I might harden with it; so while some may worry that I will lose my life, I worry more about losing my heart.
It is Israel's mostly futile effort to block out the pain of all the death that is causing them to lose the media war. The Palestinians bring the journalists and cameras into their homes, showcasing their anguish for the world.
Everyone can remember the last time they saw an Israeli bulldozer destroying a house, or an Israeli tank plowing through a Palestinian village. But rarely do we see the footage of the Israeli mothers, wives and children crying for lost relatives. We hear the names of the dead, but rarely do we see the victims who remain maimed and crippled. They do exist, but Israel avoids revealing its vulnerable side.
So instead, Israelis appear tough and military.
Oddly, once I arrived in Israel, I felt further from the war-torn country I was familiar with than when I was at home, watching suicide bombings and shootings on the news every day. There I was, living in what is technically considered East Jerusalem, and I was oblivious to the danger around me. Despite the terror, bombings and deaths, there is a living side to the country, and that's the Israel I became a part of.
And that's my answer to those who can't understand my decision to live in Israel, exactly what Israelis want the world to remember: People are actually living life there. It's not a third-world regime. It's not Afghanistan or Iraq. It's a modern democracy, just like the United States, trying to exterminate terrorism. The roads are paved, there are prestigious hospitals and universities and they even have The GAP and IKEA.
But none of that makes news, so we don't see it - hence the flabbergasted looks when I say that after spending a year in Israel, I'm moving there permanently this summer.
So while perhaps it was my religious beliefs that led me to explore the country in the first place, it was the country itself, the people, the culture and the life, that kept me there.
Erica Chernofsky will graduate from NYU with a degree in journalism in January 2005, completing her last semester at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She was an intern with Foxnews.com this summer, and moved to Israel earlier this month.
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Israel Resource News Agency
How US AID Acts to Circumvent
NGO Anti-Terrorism Requirements
On August 2nd, 2004, the Near East Report of AIPAC ran an article by AIPAC staffer Danielle Rogoff, entitled "Dollars and Sense", in which Rogoff noted that "this year's foreign aid bill contains key policy provisions".
Since AIPAC lobbies for the foreign aid bill in its entirety, that means that AIPAC also lobbies for funds that are earmarked to the non-governmental organizations that operate under the aegis of the Palestinian Authority.
According to a spokesperson of AIPAC, that means that AIPAC lobbies for $75 million that is allocated to these NGO's.
Another aspect of the Foreign Aid bill is the $100 million allocated to UNRWA.
According to Rogoff, this year's bill will "place stricter auditing procedures that will force Palestinian non-governmental organizations to demonstrate that funds are in no way linked to terrorism before they qualify for US aid"
However, officials of US AID in Jerusalem have found a way to circumvent the legislated requirement of NGO's to sign a statement that they oppose terrorism or terrorism incitement by not requiring "Contractors and sub-contractors" who receive US AID grants to sign the anti-terror waiver.
What follows is a letter that our agency received from US AID. Please note paragraph 3.
As a result, the agents who receive the money from US AID for educational programs in the Palestinian schools and UNRWA are "contractors and sub-contractors" and not the agencies themselves.
At a time when both the PA schools and UNRWA are firmly based on the idea that the Palestinian Arab people have a right to "liberate all of Palestine", the US Congress and groups like AIPAC have a right to know how US funds are being used.
As has already been documented in the two books on UNRWA that
appear at the home page of www.israelVisit.co.il/BehindTheNews, Hamas
runs the UNRWA school teachers union, at a time when the UNRWA
schools receive grants from the US AID.
Letter received from US AID to our office in response to the
question as to whether NGO's who receive us aid have signed the
required document that they will desist from any encouragement
of terrorist activity.
January 4, 2003
Dear Ms. Kushner:
In answer to your questions:
#1 Some Palestinian NGOs have signed; some have not.
#2 Per U.S. law, any NGO worldwide that has not signed the certification is not eligible to receive funding.
#3 All grantees and sub-grantees must sign the certification in order to
receive funding. Contractors and sub-contractors are not required to sign
the certification. (Grants are free money; contracts are for services
provided.) Please note that we give grants to Palestinian NGOs, not to "PA" NGOs - the PA (Palestinian Authority) is a governmental body.
I hope this helps.
Public Affairs Officer
USAID - West Bank/Gaza
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Israel Resource News Agency Policy Statement:
Sharon Implements Plan Without Appropriate Fiduciary Authorization
August 31, 2004
"Without Knesset Authorization and Without Ministry of Finance Funding, The Prime Minister of Israel
cannot implement his plan"- Giora Eiland, Director, Israel National Security Council, Office of the
Prime Minister of Israel, Foreign Press Briefing, June 20th, 2004.
The Prime Minister of Israel has received no authorization from the Knesset and no funding from the Israel Ministry of Finance to carry any aspect of his plan.
The spokespeople of the Israel Ministry of Finance and the office of the Prime Minister of Israel have confirmed that there is no authorization of the Knesset and/or the Israel Ministry of Finance to spend any money in regard to the Prime Minister's plan.
The spokespeople of the Israel Ministry of Finance and the office of the Prime Minister of Israel also confirm that they have no idea where the Prime Minister has received funds to establish a facility to organize the relocation of Israeli citizens from Katif or from the Shomron.
The chairman of the Knesset Law Committee, Michael Eitan, told me on Monday that although he supports the Sharon Plan, the PM cannot operate it without Knesset authorization or the funding from The Israel Ministry of Finance.
At a time when Israel government TV, Israel government radio and Israel Defence Forces Radio all reporting that Sharon's plan is a "fait accompli",
Sharon implements it without appropriate fiduciary authorization
Bureau Chief, Israel Resource News Agency, Beit Agron, Jerusalem
Fellow, Center for Near East Policy Research, Wellesley and Jerusalem
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