Monthly Archives: February 2018

AIPAC Policy Conference 2018 To Take Place March 4-6


By Joel Leyden

Israel News Agency

Washington — February 23, 2018 … The AIPAC Policy Conference, the largest gathering of America’s pro-Israel community, will take place in Washington, D.C. March 4-6.

The mission of AIPAC is to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel.

AIPAC’s staff and citizen activists educate decision makers about the bonds that unite the United States and Israel and how it is in America’s best interest to help ensure that the Jewish state is safe, strong and secure.

AIPAC illustrates Israeli innovations, embraces keynote speeches by American and Israeli leaders and coordinates educational sessions over three days.
Attending the conference will be over 18,000 pro-Israel Americans, more than two-thirds of Congress, over  3,600 students from more than 630 campuses, 283 Student Government presidents from all 50 states and 275 Jewish synagogue delegations.

Among the confirmed speakers are Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Vice President of the United States of America Mike Pence, Ambassador Nikki Haley, United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Daniel Ayalon, Former Israeli Amb. to the United States, Israeli Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett, Ambassador John Bolton, Former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Irwin Cotler, Founder and Chairman of Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Founder and Director Shurat HaDin – Israeli Law Center and United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Executive Director Institute for Policy and Strategy Chair, Annual Herzliya Conference Series Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Gilead, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador Nikki R. Haley, Editor-in-Chief of the The Jerusalem Post Yaakov Katz, Editor of The Times of Israel David Horovitz, Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked and Congressman Lee Zeldin.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee was founded in 1951 by Isaiah L. “Si” Kenen who had worked at Israel’s Office of Information at the United Nations. AIPAC’S current CEO, Howard Kohr, has been with the organization since 1996.

Following the September 11th attacks in 2001, AIPAC stepped up its agenda to make sure that the United States continued to ensure Israel’s security by working with Congress to isolate and financially constrict such terror groups as Hamas, ISIS, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Today, AIPAC has over 100,000 people involved with their pro Israel activities.

Iran Attacks Israel With Drone, Syria Shoots Down F-16

Pieces of an Israeli F-16 that crashed in northern Israel on Saturday after coming under anti-aircraft fire. The pilot ejected, according to a military spokesman.
PhotoJack Guez/AFP

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — February 10, 2018 … Iran attacked Israel with an armed drone as it entered the skies over Northern Israel. The Israel Defense Forces responded by shooting the drone down and targeting the Iranian drone control station in Syria. Israeli civilians then came under fire by Syrian and Iranian rockets which resulted in Israel dispatching several fighter jets to destroy the missile and anti-aircraft stations. One Israeli F-16 was shot down over Israel with both pilots ejecting.

The IDF said that the jet had crashed after the formation it was flying in was targeted by Syrian ground antiaircraft fire.

IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the two pilots had bailed from the downed aircraft “as per procedure.” One pilot was severely injured as a result of “an emergency evacuation,” he said.

“Iran is responsible for this severe violation of Israeli sovereignty,” said Conricus.
“We are willing, prepared, and capable to exact a heavy price on anyone that attacks us. However, we are not looking to escalate the situation.”

IAF aircraft targeted the Syrian Aerial Defense System and Iranian targets in Syria. At least 12 targets, including 3 aerial defense batteries and four Iranian military bases were destroyed.

Following the attack of an Iranian drone into Israeli territory, President Reuven Rivlin was briefed on the operational situation and spoke with Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin.

Rivlin commended Israel’s security forces for their firm and resolute defense measures in the face of further proof of the danger of Iranian consolidation in the region, which the State of Israel would not allow.

The President asked them to convey the appreciation and thanks of the entire nation to the commanders and soldiers, and to all the forces working to defend Israel, for their full control over the operational events, and for the greatly valued return to calm for all the residents of the north and the many travelers who visited the area.

In the last hour, the President spoke with the pilot who was lightly injured. The President thanked him and heard from him about his recovery.

“My heart is with you and your comrades, and I hope that I will meet you soon. You and the entire squadron have proven that you do not come back until your mission is fulfilled, and I thank God together with the entire nation that you have returned.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement:

“I have been warning for some time about the dangers of Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. Iran seeks to use Syrian territory to attack Israel for its professed goal of destroying Israel. This morning Iran brazenly violated Israel’s sovereignty. They dispatched an Iranian drone from Syrian territory into Israel. And this demonstrates that our warnings were 100 percent correct. Israel holds Iran and its Syrian hosts responsible for today’s aggression. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect our sovereignty and our security.”

Israeli security sources have confirmed that IDF reserves have been placed on high alert and are reinforcing both the Lebanese and Syrian borders.

Jeremy Issacharoff: Israel Thanks Germany For Taking Responsibility For Holocaust – Other Nations Must Follow

Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff 

Edited by Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

The following is the text of a speech by Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff to the German Foreign Ministry in honor of the opening of the Yad Vashem exhibit, Beyond Duty. Beyond Duty highlights diplomats who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

Germany — January 2018 … His Excellency Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Distinguished Friends and Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen:

As we commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I must confess that I feel a certain weight of history on my shoulders as the Ambassador of Israel to Germany at this time and to be here today in this place with the Foreign Minister of Germany.

In our respective ways we represent two peoples that have such a complicated past and today is heavier than most.

Even several decades after first learning about the Holocaust and then living in Berlin and travelling around Germany – I still cannot fully grasp or comprehend the meaning and impact of the systematic extermination of six million men, women and children of the Jewish people.

In some ways living now in Germany for several months and seeing firsthand the present vibrant relations between the two peoples, makes it even more difficult to understand and
contend with our common history. Clearly I am not alone in struggling with this sense of bewilderment.

In the years after the war, when the true extent of the Holocaust became apparent, each Jew internalized his own lessons and conclusions regarding the immensity of the tragedy. Both of my parents’ families lived in Israel in Jerusalem before and during
World War II and neither family was touched directly by the tragedy of the Shoah.

For me it became a lot more personal when I married my wife Laura who is with me today, whose mother’s family was from Dortmund Germany. Her great grandfather was killed in
Theresienstadt and her great grandmother died in the Dortmund ghetto.

Laura’s grandfather took his wife and two daughters to Brussels and they survived by remaining in hiding. Subsequently her grandfather was betrayed to the Gestapo, captured in Brussels and deported to Auschwitz where he was gassed a short time after
his arrival. Now my children have this horrific legacy that my wife has always lived with, and also share this sense of bewilderment and consternation.

During these last months in Germany, I have met and spoken to many Germans from many walks of life in several cities. In these conversations my interlocutors mostly initiate reference to the Holocaust and I have been moved by how Germans have not shied
away from their historic responsibility with regard to the Shoah, unlike some other countries.

In one such conversation, a person did not hesitate to tell me openly that his grandfather was a Nazi war criminal in one of the more notorious concentration camps and was killed in 1945. My interlocutor clearly rejected his grandfather’s crimes. I was really
taken back by this blunt admission. It was then I realized that on the one hand, I see my wife and her family still trying to cope with the senseless death of her grandparents and on the other hand it made me wonder how does one contend with a grandparent that actually
carried out these murders?

I do not have the answers to these questions but I have come to realize the following:

First: Germany accepted responsibility for the Holocaust and the more the two peoples continue to share their respective experiences, the greater the chance that our complex relationship can give way to a new paradigm of deeper mutual understanding, reconciliation and cooperation.

Second: We can never understand the true impact of the Holocaust or even begin to grasp what the six million who died could have contributed to humanity had they lived.  How many great scientists, scholars, artists, athletes musicians, philosophers and masters in all
areas of human activity were lost?

Third: The more we remember and try and understand what transpired, the greater the chance that the relations between the Jewish people as a whole and the German people and maybe others will never go down this path of antisemitism, intolerance, notions of
racial superiority and genocide.

And finally: My most important objective as Ambassador to Germany will be to help ensure that the burden of our history can actually be transformed into a unique bond that strengthens our bilateral ties.

Israeli Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff with Sigmar Gabriel reviewing
the exhibition Beyond Duty at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Tomorrow, Minister Gabriel will embark on a brief but meaningful visit to Israel that I am sure will contribute to that end.

In this spirit, I think the opening of this exhibition today regarding Diplomats recognized as Righteous Among Nations conceived by the Israeli Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, fulfills a vital role. If there are elements of the Holocaust that can never be truly fathomed, these stories of courageous diplomats who saved many thousands of Jews can be
understood, admired and must never be forgotten.

These are stories of great personal courage, integrity and heroism that should be engraved on our collective consciousness and remind us that where there has been a great evil there can always be a greater good. These are diplomats from Great Britain, Japan, Czechoslovakia, Portugal, Germany, Peru, Spain, Turkey and Sweden.

These are indeed inspiring stories – Aristides de Sousa Mendes from
Portugal said that “I would rather stand with G-d against man – than with man against G-d’. Raoul Wallenberg of Sweden who saved thousands of Jews in Hungary said “I will never be able to return to Stockholm without knowing that I had done all a man could do to save as many Jews as possible”.

Sadly Raoul Wallenberg fulfilled his mission but never returned home and tragically
perished in a Soviet prison after the war.

These are all stories of how one dedicated human being could make a difference and tip the scales between disaster and salvation. In the final analysis we cannot change history but history can change us. The dreadful images of the Shoah can never be deleted
from our memory nor should they be. But now we can also see other images in addition to the inspiring images in this exhibition.

The sight of Israeli and German students working together on joint research projects – the sight of German and Israeli start-ups energetically pursuing joint ventures – the sight of both our fighter pilots conducting joint maneuvers in the eastern Med – the sight of
discreet and intimate cooperation between both our Governments to save German and Israeli lives – the sight of German car companies seeking out new Israeli advanced mobility technologies and more.

The future does not wait for anyone and all these images are fast becoming reality. Together they begin to forge a profound complementary partnership freer of anger and guilt and one inspired more by hope and common cause.

This event and exhibition today is another modest step that amplifies the essence of humanity in this tragic story. May the memories of these righteous diplomats be blessed.
Thank you.

 

For more information on the Holocaust, please go to HolocaustRemembranceDay.org 

 

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