Tel Aviv, Israel … August 14, 2019 – Nefesh B’Nefesh, a Jewish non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing Aliyah (immigration) from North America and the UK, brought 242 new immigrants (Olim) from North America to Israel today. The flight landed at Ben Gurion Airport and was greeted by hundreds of Israelis, music and dancing in a joyous, landmark celebration.
This was Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 60th chartered ELAL flight to Israel.
This morning’s flight was coordinated with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel (KKL), and Jewish National Fund-USA.
The new Olim are from a variety of backgrounds culturally and demographically – hailing from 22 US states and two Canadian provinces. They include 103 children under the age of 17, 21 medical professionals, three sets of twins, and a 28-day-old baby, who officially became the youngest Oleh to make Aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh this summer.
In addition, the flight also carried 41 future Lone Soldiers – those joining to serve in the Israel Defense Forces without immediate family living in Israel and who will join the close to 1,000 Lone Soldiers from North America, and the close to 4,000 Lone Soldiers from around the world. These young men and women, once they become Israeli citizens, enlist in the IDF as required of all Israelis at the age of 18, some of whom will be doing so through Tzofim-Garin Tzabar.
Today’s flight also saw a diverse group of professionals bringing their talents to Israel, including artists, chemists, lawyers and non-profit leaders, who are moving to communities throughout Israel. In fact, 78 Olim on the flight will be part of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Go Beyond program, which provides enhanced Aliyah packages and increased services to new Olim moving to Israel’s periphery regions and Jerusalem.
A special welcome ceremony was held at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv upon arrival and included the wife of Israel’s Prime Minister, Sara Netanyahu; Minister of Aliyah and Integration, Major General (ret.) Yoav Galant; Chairman of The Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog; Chairman of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel and Mayor of Modi’in- Maccabim -Reut, Haim Bibas; Mayor of Beit Shemesh, Aliza Bloch; Mayor of Bat Yam, Tzvika Brot as well as Co-Founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart.
“As the Jewish Agency marks 90 years since its founding, I am delighted to have hundreds of new Olim arrive in the State of Israel,” said Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog.
“Together with our partners and the Israeli government, we have brought over three million Olim, from dozens of countries around the world, and helped fulfill their Zionist dreams to live in their homeland. These Olim have built Israeli society and our country. I would like to extend a Mazal Tov to the new Olim who have come here from North America to build their homes and futures here. The Jewish Agency will accompany and assist the Olim through this next stage.”
“Each and every Oleh brings a world of their own to Israel – culturally, ideologically and professionally as they strengthen the Jewish nation,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh.
“As we celebrate our 60,000th Oleh today, we reflect upon how, Nefesh B’Nefesh, as an institution, has been privileged to not only help tens of thousands of Jews fulfill their Aliyah dreams, but has also contributed to building and developing the state of Israel through these Olim.”
“We view Aliyah as a value of utmost importance, especially the Olim who plan on serving the country and will one day create permanent homes in Israel,” said Danny Atar, World Chairman of KKL.
“To help realize this dream, we are currently launching a long-term flagship program, Israel Relocation 2040 – KKL Building the Land of Tomorrow, aimed at bringing a million and a half new residents to the Negev and Galil. We will do everything we can to give these young Olim a stable ground during their military service, while providing the proper tools for integrating into this country to ensure the long-term success of their life in Israel.”
Ra’anana, Israel —- August, 2019 …… There are many smart and innovative companies in Israel. But even with the finest minds, products and services, quite often business people in Israel trying to penetrate the US market run smack head-on into cultural walls.
Leyden Communications (Israel), a full service, worldwide business to business marketing, media placement, Internet marketing, social media, crisis communications, reputation management and e-commerce consultancy organization, has been providing the doing business – the do’s and don’ts of cross-cultural business training in Israel in dozens of seminars and workshops over 20 years. At one point this author served as the director of cross-cultural programs for Berlitz Middle East.
While working at Berlitz Israel, I was once quoted by TIME magazine: “Israel is very “civilized” within the framework of a struggling and pressurized Middle Eastern nation that strives very hard to be Western. Israelis have perceptions of time, space and values that are completely different from those of North Americans. Those in Israel see Americans as artificial and square, when they are actually just showing respect. Americans think Israelis are arrogant, rude and pushy, when in reality they are being direct and honest. Israel is a very small country whose population is one big family. In a family people can be as direct and honest as they want. But now that family members are selling their goods and services outside the clan, Israelis are adapting.”
In meeting several requests from both governmental and commercial organizations in Israel and as a public service to develop more successful commercial relations between Israel and the US, Leyden Communications will now provide some critical cross-cultural business advice for those in Israel wishing to work with US businesses and governmental organizations.
Over ninety percent of the problems which arise in developing and maintaining commercial relations with Americans, comes directly from differences we share in cultural perceptions – not rates, services or products!
No culture is good or bad – just different!
Israelis, Americans, Europeans and Asians all view space, time and values from a different place. If we are all to expect the Israeli, or the Japanese or the French to act, to behave in the exact manner – then we will be greatly disappointed!
Many business people from the States come to Israel, expecting to do business, as if they were still in New York, California or Texas. The smiles and handshakes look the same, even the suits and ties, but after a few minutes have passed, both sides, which have have come together with great respect and mutual admiration – feel something is not right!
The Israeli, who is often perceived as being arrogant, aggressive and pushy, is actually being direct and honest. And the American, European and Asian, who are seen by the Israeli as being artificial, phony and weak – are actually displaying politeness and respect. If both sides are to go into a commercial venture, without taking the time to understand each others cultural traits – they are heading for disaster!
Don’t be fooled by the modern office furniture, mobile telephones, new shopping malls, the one million McDonalds restaurant outlets and the 100 dollar ties. The Israeli is a different animal – and to be successful in business with him you must understand how they see you and where they come from.
Israel society is what is referred to as a polychronic culture (relationship-oriented), in contrast to American, British or German culture which is monochronic (rule-oriented).
In the relationship oriented Israel culture feelings and emotions are primary, while intuition and objective facts are secondary! Israel culture can be viewed as witnessing one large family. In a family, one can dismiss formality and act in a direct, immediate and honest fashion. What can be excused in a “family” as being direct – is often interpreted outside of the family or Israel’s borders as being rude or impolite.
“WE DON’T SEE THINGS AS THEY ARE…WE SEE THINGS AS WE ARE” – Anais Nin
How we see and judge others are by their behaviors (the tip of the iceberg) which includes: punctuality, greetings, business etiquette, management styles, planning, verbal and written communication, negotiation styles and the all important non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication with the human animal accounts for over 80 percent of our total ability to understand one another!
Our gestures, expressions, eye contact, use of silence and personal space. What lies below that white, icy iceberg tip which arises over the blue water, is a submerged mountain of attitudes and values.
So without taking you through a full days cross-cultural seminar, for which we highly recommend and have witnessed great success and results from – we will now try to provide you with a few “key” tips in dealing with your Israeli partner. Again – please remember that these “tips” are by no means a substitute for spending valuable time for both yourself and your employees to enjoy a full day’s cross-cultural training! And the information below is only a generalization of the typical Israeli.
Many Israel business people have traveled and learned about other cultures and have been successful in working abroad. Although – they can still learn – as we can all still refresh and beware of our behavior.
New York is not Chicago and Chicago is not Los Angeles. The US is so large that Israel can actually fit in as state park. As such, there is no one business culture in the US, but rather several sub cultures with their own norms and values.
When I was working in my international PR and advertising agency in New York’s World Trade Center in the 1980’s, I often had to hide my New York accent. Forget the fact that those from Israel have a problem in the US, Americans have problems in their own country! As a New Yorker many in California perceived me to be neurotic, as we talk and walk faster than anyone else in the States. For us in New York, we saw those living in California as being “astronauts” being out of touch with reality as they focused on Yoga, mediation, health foods and surfing. As for those coming from the Midwest or “bread belt” or New England – these very conservative Americans had as much clue as to who Woody Allen is as I had knowing who the stars of country music were.
Let’s start with some very general US cultural traits such as greetings and space.
Israelis are very “tachlas” – that is bottom line oriented. When meeting another Israeli, they will often go straight to business. Sometimes there is not even a “hello, how are you.”
The lack of small talk must be addressed. When meeting an American, small talk shows respect for the person and people that one is meeting. It also provides a position to know where to start from. Getting to know the other persons personal interests is critical in doing business. For example, if one from Israel and one from the US studied the same subjects in university or served in the same type of army units, or enjoy the same sports or art – now you have a place or comfort zone to start from. To share common comfort zones is often more important than the value of commercial transaction.
They say that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. And psychologists and sociologists state that is a hard reality. Within the first three seconds of a new encounter, you are totally evaluated.
People judge your visual and behavioral appearance from head to toe. Americans observe your demeanor, mannerisms, and body language and even assess your grooming and quality accessories – watch, handbag, briefcase, pens and cufflings. Within only three seconds, you make an indelible impression.
You may intrigue some Americans and disenchant others.
This first impression process occurs in every new situation. Within the first few seconds, people pass judgment on you – looking for common surface clues – those comfort zones I spoke about. Once the first impression is made, it is virtually irreversible.
If you appear to be of comparable business or social level, you are considered suitable for further interaction. If you appear to be of higher business or social status, you are admired and cultivated as a valuable contact. If you appear to be of lower business or social standing, you are tolerated but kept at arm’s length. If you are in an interview situation, you can either appear to match the corporate culture or not, ultimately affecting the outcome.
It is human nature to constantly make these appraisals, in business and social environments. You may hardly have said a word, however once this three-second evaluation is over, the content of your speech will not change it. When you make the best possible first impression, you have your audience in the palm of your hand. When you make a poor first impression, you lose your audience’s attention, no matter how hard you scramble to recover it.
Through behavior modification and cultural awareness, you can learn to make a positive and lasting first impression, modify it to suit any situation, and come out a winner. Doing so requires you to assess and identify your personality, physical appearance, lifestyle and goals in accordance with the subculture of the US for which you are making contact. Those who do will have the advantage.
When greeting an American, smile, maintain eye contact and shake hands.
Never look down. Looking down in Western culture says that you lack confidence and there is nothing more attractive than the word confidence (not to be confused with arrogance).
In Israel we dress down. That is, most business people can be seen wearing jeans and maybe dress pants from time to time. The factors for this have their source in that Israel weather is very hot and unforgiving. We try to maintain being physically comfortable. Just a few decades ago, the average Israeli wore nothing more than shorts and sandals. Israel is also a high tech society, and as such we have taken on the dress code of Silicon Valley – jeans.
But when meeting anyone from the US, always wear a two piece suit. Navy blue pin strip or grey is fine. The quality and fit of the suit is important for if it is not up to par the American may think that you have the intelligence of a bicycle messenger.
Keep at arms length. Israelis act as if they are in a family. Close distance between two people is the norm. Hugging, touching – one can even see young females holding hands as they walk down the street – and they are not lesbians.
But the American demands much personal space. Reach over to shake hands rather than being cheek to cheek. And maintain that physical distance. Stepping back one step will keep you safe.
Make up quality business cards. Not offset printing. But rather thermography (raised lettering) or engraved. Many in Israel do not use business cards – culture in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem is just too informal. We go by addressing people by their first names. Not in the states. Always hand out your business card in the first few seconds to help the other party to know your corporate title and how to pronounce your name. And always address the other party from the US with the titles of Mr. or Ms.
Your American counterpart will let you know when you can drop the title and call them by their first name. Wait for that direction, don’t break down a formal relationship without mutual consent.
When in Rome act as a Roman!
In Israel, you can always expect a friendly and real invitation for sharing coffee as a meeting begins. Not in the US. I remember a meeting I had with a global PR firm a few years back and was waiting, just waiting for the coffee to be offered. I, as many in Israel, have become conditioned to getting a caffeine fix as the meeting begins. I finally asked for a cup of coffee and the other side obligated with a smile. We never met again. It was not for me to ask for coffee in someone’s office in New York. What I do suggest, is that the Israeli gets a caffeine fix right before the meeting so that he or she will not feel any discomfort. Remember, if the American does not offer a drink, it is not good or bad – just different.
When asking a woman for coffee in Israel – be careful for those could be silent words for “do you want to go to bed with me,” as opposed to being in the states where asking one for coffee is just that. If you are interested in going to bed with someone, chose an alcoholic drink! Israelis are much more relaxed about sexual activity than Americans. But they don’t discuss it.
Both those in Israel and in the US share some very conservative areas. But they are not the same. When walking down a street in London, Paris and New York, if you make eye contact with another person it is normal to smile and say “good morning.” In Israel, if you are not a tourist asking for directions and you make verbal contact with a stranger, he or she will most likely give you an awkward look followed by “me ata” or asking in English “who are you”?
Many Israeli’s will not feel comfortable discussing very personal or intimate subjects or problems with you – i.e.- their marriage, sex, divorce, medical problems and army service (prohibited by law). So if the American wants to discuss their love life with you fine, follow on this – do not lead. But never ask the American what their salary is. That is a real no-no.
When getting ready to enter a bus or any crowded area (i.e. – bank, post office, restaurant or open marketplace) we don’t expect those from Israel to form a line. This is where you are expected to use the gentle nudge of your elbow to enter. If you wait – you will be last! As a footnote, in recent years in Israel I have witnessed the banks, post offices and major supermarkets slowly put into effect crowd management control with ropes, creating orderly lines. Expect to wait in lines in the states, never jump in front of someone else.
The Israeli is ready for immediate action. You can witness this by how many Israelis sit – leaning forward with legs spread apart – ready to stand at a moments notice. The American on the other hand can interpret this body language as saying that you are too aggressive, too hungry. Most Americans will sit with good posture, not slumping in their chair. Follow, mimic and or echo the body language of your associate in the US and you will find yourselves being on the same page.
The Israeli will ask you to wait by placing their hand up, palm towards their body with fingers coming together – and the hand may shake. By mistake, I did this to a policeman in New York City once – he thought I was giving him the “finger”. It was difficult explaining to him that I was from Israel, speaking with my New York accent! Learn hand gestures in the states and abide by them.
Israelis are a very passionate and expressive breed. As such, if they raise their voices, this is how many Israelis normally communicate with one another. The Israeli can yell and scream at a colleague one moment and a few minutes later be seen hugging the guy. If the Israeli speaks in a low tone and smiles for hours with you – it means he is not being real, honest and relaxed with you! Again, please remember – there our exceptions to this rule as for those Israelis who have lived outside of Israel.
The American plays it cool. Never raise your voice. Don’t show more passion than a warm smile and a good laugh.
Another beautiful and psychologically healthy aspect of the direct, honest and sometimes loud Israeli – is that they are just letting off steam in a truly good manner. It may not appear polite, but the result is that Israeli’s very rarely make violent contact with one another. Instead of swallowing all of the anxiety and letting it out in a harmful and negative neurotic or psychotic fashion i.e. – road rage. The Israeli is actually a healthier social animal than many of their global counterparts who repress their feelings and take such mood altering drugs such as Valium or Prozac!
Israelis want things today – now!
As they come from a young and traumatic society where war has been the norm – trying to get the most out of today is the expected rule. If you are talking in terms of months and years – you may lose your Israeli partner’s interest. In this circumstance he may very well perceive you as not being serious. Try to meet him or her half way – try to speak realistically in terms of days and weeks. Expect the American to talk in weeks and months rather than hours. If so, be patient. If they do speak in hours or days, it means that they are serious – maybe even desperate.
Meetings in Israel can be and are often spontaneous. Again a reflection of the informal and family oriented culture. Embrace this openness and good things will happen! In America expect meetings to be made at least a week in advance if not a few weeks or even a month.
Punctuality is relaxed in Israel. Always allow up to 15-20 minutes before thinking that your party is late in Tel Aviv. Even here, things are rapidly changing, especially in the hi-tech environment where many Israelis pride themselves on being on time. After work hours, you may notice a more relaxed tone. When setting work deadlines, be sure to leave some advanced buffer period. But in the US, 9 a.m. means 9 a.m. – coming late in the states translate into saying that you don’t respect the American. In some subcultures, being late can be fashionable – for the very rich and famous.
The Israeli is not used to “doing lunch or breakfast”. They see this time as being too valuable – instead suggest sandwiches and drinks to be brought into the meeting room in Israel. Dinner is very accepted. This is an excellent opportunity to discuss family, compliment Israeli culture, history, sports and continue with business discussions.
Do not speak about Israel government, politics or religious issues. If they bring it up – be a good listener! Find out if your Israeli partner is religious or “observant” before going out for a meal – if he or she is – respect their values and find a “kosher” restaurant.
Israelis are not big drinkers – inviting your counterpart for a beer is acceptable. Being invited to do breakfast, lunch or dinner is one of the finest compliments one can provided with in the States.
And when doing lunch or dinner, expect the American to order an alcoholic drink. Israelis are not big drinkers – other than an occasional beer or two when watching a soccer game. When your American counterpart asks you what drink you care for over lunch, just tell him you have a bad stomach and your getting over jet lag – that you would prefer a cup of coffee. At dinner – go for a glass of wine and make believe that it is Shabbat. Do not allow the American to get you drunk – Americans can hold their alcohol, they have built up a tolerance for it. Too much drink could spell disaster for you as you reveal your true feelings about a business deal or start agreeing to all of their demands.
Try to avoid making jokes. What may be funny in Tel Aviv in Hebrew may not be funny in Atlanta in English. Speak and compliment your guests on their local culture – arts, buildings and sports. Never discuss sex or religion. Never make any jokes about sex – remember what happened to Chaim Ramon over a simple and innocent kiss – well that happens every day in North America. Any talk about sex can be construed as harassment.
During a meeting the Israeli may take telephone calls and allow others into his office or the meeting room. Interruptions such as these are common in Israeli culture – do not take it as being rude, impolite or arrogant. This is a very informal society, where those in Israel are expected and able to do many tasks at the same time. North Americans, for example, are the complete opposite in their behavior – taking one chore at a time, finishing it and then moving onto the next task.
Give the American all of your attention, all of the time. Turn off your cellphone and never speak Hebrew in the midst of those who do not speak Hebrew.
Israel businessmen are good – in many cases superb! When it comes to negotiating tactics – they wrote the book! Be prepared for tough and friendly negotiations. There is little difference between the modern, air-conditioned wall to wall carpeted Israeli boardroom and the ancient and dusty marketplace in the old city of Jerusalem! If you are seeking to sell your apple for 100 dollars – start high and then look for a fair compromise in the middle. Israelis love to negotiate. Read up on negotiations and don’t be offended by what may appear as a “ridiculous offer” in Israel. In the States, in business the same rules apply. Everything is negotiable, just relax and take your time.
Hiring a professional translator would prevent the Israeli from breaking into Hebrew and consulting with his associates – leaving the American in the dark. Having a translator on site would be very powerful and positive, given that you will always be on the “same page” with your Israeli partners and the translator could also serve as a “cultural bridge” in regards to verbal and non-verbal communication.Get things in writing! No matter how warm and friendly your relationship may become – a handshake is good – but never good enough. A Letter of Intent and or a contract will leave no room for misunderstandings down the road. Do not bring an attorney to your meetings, rather fax your attorney all papers and contracts for them to review.
The Israeli may request to conclude all negotiations immediately. This is not a sign of desperation or weakness – this is a basic difference in how the Israeli perceives time. Most Israelis are seen as being impatient – wanting everything done “today”. The reason for this is their traumatic historical and military service experiences, they are not always secure as to where they will be tomorrow. In the States, the American may smile and say: “yes, we will do business.” When in fact he is being nothing more than polite. Don’t get your expectations up. Americans created the card game Poker. Learn how to develop a “poker face” an unemotional face as you negotiate.
Israelis are a very warm and friendly people. When they invite you to their home or out for dinner – they are not just being polite – they are displaying sincere friendship.
When they say “stop by at any time” – they truly mean it! Accept the invitation and create a good personal relationship. Remember, in Israel, relationships count just as much if not more than a solid commercial portfolio. Unlike many other cultures, substance, not style takes the lead in Israel. When coming to someone’s home, good gifts to bring are flowers, chocolates or a good bottle of wine. When coming to someone’s office good gifts to bring are a culture book from your home country, a pen set with your company’s logo or a global desk clock. Framed pictures of yourself and your Israeli associates make an excellent gift and wall decoration – reminding the Israeli of the personal ties that you share!
When the American tells you to drop by at any time or come to his home – wait for a formal invitation to be extended before taking him or her up on their polite overture.
My last words of advice – speak slowly.
As you speak slower you will be able to organize your thoughts and words that much better, while the American will be able to understand and hear you better through your Hebrew accent. Always say the magic words: please and thank you. And end your conversation with consistent eye contact and a warm smile.
Joel Leyden, a veteran journalist who is a professional cross-cultural, international public relations, public affairs and media consultant has served as director for Berlitz’s Middle-East cross cultural programs. Leyden who has served as a cross-cultural and international media, social media and digital consultant to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Ministry of Trade, has created several local and international community and professional on-line forums.
Hartford, CT — July 12, 2019 … As President Trump orders nationwide raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to arrest thousands of members of undocumented families, hundreds of synagogues, churches and mosques plan to provide sanctuary.
Immigration attorneys have made it clear that the migrants that ICE is targeting are not criminals but may have only committed a civil offense in crossing the US border to legally claim asylum. The attorneys state that in the majority of cases, ICE lacks search warrants to enter homes and or religious facilities.
The raids, which are expected to begin over the weekend will include “collateral” deportations, according to officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the preliminary stage of the operation. In those deportations, the authorities might try to detain immigrants who happened to be on the scene, even though they were not targets of the raids.
One Connecticut Rabbi has responded to the impending raids saying: “Being kind takes an act of courage.”
Rabbi Jeffrey Glickman of Temple Beth Hillel of South Windsor issued the following statement:
“We are privileged to live in the safest times humanity has ever known. For most of our history, harsh weather, starvation, wild beasts and disease limited our average lifespans to the mid-thirties. Today, there is very little risk of anything limiting our life to twice that span. Diseases are in check, good shelter and nutrition is the norm for most of us, and we need only push some buttons on a contraption in our pockets to get assistance.”
Glickman continues: “Still, we live in fear. Our leaders have dealt in fear as though it were political currency, and we accept it as leadership. It often is a ruse for greed.
Let’s remember a few important terms:
The opposite of fear is faith. Faith means that you don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but you keep your eyes open and you might find blessings you had no idea of; you might find that seeds you have planted have borne fruit.
Faith means tomorrow will be better than today. Fear means that you don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but you guard your rear to try and prevent something being broken or lost.
It is hard to look forward when you are always looking backwards. Fear means that today is the only certainty – preserve it at all costs.
Our Bible was written in a much more dangerous time. Yet, our ancestors had the courage to say, “All who are hungry, let them enter and eat,” “Love the stranger,” and “Don’t stand and do nothing while your neighbor bleeds.”
We need to have courage.”
Glickman concludes: “Today, being kind takes an act of courage. Today, recognizing that we are all children of God takes an act of courage. Today, seeing that everyone is worthy of love takes an act of courage.”
In Washington, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that undocumented immigrants don’t have to open the door to immigration agents.
Pelosi made the declaration Thursday ahead of the weekend raids by ICE Agents who are planning to round up illegal immigrants with deportation orders issued by immigration judges.
“An ICE deportation warrant is not the same as a search warrant,” Pelosi said, reading from a card she earlier recited to concerned illegal immigrants at events around the country. “If that is the only document ICE brings to a home raid, ICE does not have a legal right to enter a home.”
She urged Trump to call off the “heartless” raids, warning it was upsetting his Evangelical base.
“These raids were not what they signed up for with President Trump,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi said if ICE lacks a warrant, “a person may refuse to open a door and let them in.”
Immigration defense lawyers are likely to file motions to reopen the families’ immigration cases, which would significantly delay, if not stop altogether, their removal from the United States.
Jerusalem, Israel — July 12, 2019 … Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara were hosted this week at the residence of Egyptian Ambassador Khaled Azmi, in honor of celebrations for Egypt’s National Day.
Following is an excerpt of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s remarks:
“We’re celebrating 40 years of peace between Israel and Egypt. On the 40th year of our peace, we hope to achieve many other things between us and in our region. We have to understand the historic achievement of having this peace approach now the fifth decade. It has had to weather some storms. It is weathering storms now.
I don’t mean between us, I mean a storm that is ravishing our region right now and seeks to impose on us an unforgiving, violent creed.
And we both – Egypt and Israel and many others in the region — are fighting this extremism, this violence and this terrorism.
I want to commend my friend and colleague, President A-Sisi, for standing strong against this tide of extremism and terrorism, and I want to say that it’s not obvious that it is possible in the face of so much and so many assaults to stand firm, but President A-Sisi and Egypt have stood firm, as has our peace. Our peace is the cornerstone, exactly as you said, of peace and stability in the region. We cannot imagine what our region would be without this peace.
In my meetings with President A-Sisi, I’ve been impressed, not only by his leadership, but also by his wisdom. He has given me a lot of insights about the nature of the challenge that we face. We have discussed together how we can meet those challenges in the best ways possible.
We cooperate in many areas that can increase the economic well-being of our two nations. There is now I think Israeli gas flowing into Egypt, an experimental effort. In four months, there’ll be more. We’re talking about something that could work not only both ways, but in many ways, including other countries in the region.
We have commitments to security, prosperity and peace, and we’d like to see a broader peace.
We are all expecting to see what President Trump will put forward. Everyone should have an open heart and an open mind to consider the specific proposals when they’re put forward.”
Jerusalem, Israel — June 17, 2019 … Iran announced on Monday that it would abandon the 2015 nuclear pact and violate a central element of the 2015 agreement to limit its nuclear program. Iran is making the threat to secure help from Europe to offset the effects of American sanctions which addresses Iranian terror activities and more recently attacking commercial ships in the Gulf of Oman .
Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said that within days it expects to have produced and kept in its stockpiles more low-enriched uranium — the sort used to fuel power plants — than allowed by the 2015 deal, which the Trump administrationwithdrew from last year. The agency made clear it would begin enriching the uranium to much higher levels of purity, edging it closer to what would be necessary to produce nuclear weapons.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the Iranian threat: “Israel stands at the forefront with the US, with moderate Arab countries and with other countries, in opposition to Iranian aggression.”
“Today Iran threatened to enrich uranium to higher levels beyond that which is permitted by the nuclear agreement. This does not surprise us because just as when we brought the secret nuclear archive from Teheran to Israel, we discovered the extent to which Iran has violated its promise to the international community – its promise to report truthfully on its nuclear program. Should Iran make good on its current threats, and violate the nuclear agreement, the international community will need to immediately impose the sanctions on the regime that was agreed upon in advance, the ‘snapback sanctions’.
In any case, Israel will not allow Iran to achieve nuclear weapons.”
Netanyahu concluded: “Alongside the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, we are tightening – in an unprecedented manner – relations with additional countries in the Arab and Islamic world. These countries increasingly understand that Israel is not their enemy. On the contrary, Israel is a steadfast and stable ally that – with them – seeks to ensure the future of our region.”
Speaking at the Arak heavy water facility in a live broadcast Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said on state TV: “We have quadrupled the rate of enrichment and even increased it more recently, so that in 10 days it will bypass the 300 kg limit. Kamalvandi said Iran needs 5 percent enrichment for its nuclear power plant in the southern port of Bushehr, and 20 percent enrichment for a Tehran research reactor.
The 20 percent level is only one step away from weapons-grade material.
Iranian officials continue to threaten Israel by saying that they are improving the accuracy of their country’s missiles and warning that terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah were prepared to unleash an “inferno” on the Jewish state. One of the core pillars and revolutionary ideals of the Islamic Republic is destroying the Jewish state.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently stated that “the Zionist regime will perish in the not so far future. Our strategy is to erase Israel from the map.”
New York — June 15, 2019 … A massive fire in Brooklyn, New York destroyed at least three buildings early Thursday morning, injuring at least 12 people, including a baby.
The fire broke out just after 4 AM at the two-family home of Rabbi Jonathan Max, and quickly spread to both neighboring houses.
“There is no question that everyone is alive today because the houses had working smoke detectors,” said Misaskim director Yanky Meyer. “There were only seconds for people to be able to get out here. There were no minutes.”
Meyer said that a Jewish family with a six week old baby was trapped in the attic in one of the adjacent homes as the fire raged on the stairs, their only exit. The family was evacuated by the fire department who used a ladder truck to extricate them from the burning building.
Video from the scene showed flames leaping from the roof of one home, and the structure to its left already little more than a charred hulk. Firefighters reported that two roofs had completely collapsed.
While Investigators are tight lipped, sources say the fire is believed to have been set by at least one man, who has a history of anti-semitic acts and targeted Rabbi Max, a teacher at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin.
An accelerant is believed to have been used in the fire with raw video footage showing the massive blaze erupting in a matter of seconds.
In a press conference held this morning, Fire Chief Thomas Richardson said that it took less than five minutes for the FDNY to respond to the fire, with all three homes already engulfed by the time fire crews arrived on scene. The fire was upgraded to a three alarm fire within five minutes, with 40 fire units, 25 EMS members and 170 firefighters keeping the flames from spreading to additional homes. The fire was upgraded to a four alarm fire before it was finally brought under control after 7 AM this morning.
Three adults, a baby and one firefighter were all hospitalized for injuries and/or smoke inhalation. All are in stable condition.
The Jewish community in the United States experienced near-historic levels of anti-Semitism last year, with attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions doubling in number, according to new data from the Anti-Defamation League.
A total of 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents across the United States were reported in 2018, the third-highest year on record since the tracking of such data in the 1970s. Those incidents included cases of assaults, harassment and vandalism.
A professional, non-profit organization JewishSecurityServices.com has been created in the US to address anti-semitism with the creation of security plans for synagogues that includes security training for hundreds of Jewish communities. Jewish Security Services is presently seeking investors and partners with the mission of securing all Jewish communities in the US. The founders of Jewish Security Services are security and anti-terrorism professionals from both Israel and the United States.
Jerusalem, Israel — June 4, 2019 … Nechama Rivlin, the wife of President Reuven Rivlin, died Tuesday at the age of 73, a day before her 74th birthday.
A statement from the family Tuesday said: “The Rivlin family wishes to thank the people of Israel and religious leaders who have continued to be concerned about Nechama’s welfare, who have sent letters and children’s drawings to the hospital and the President’s Residence and who have prayed for her recovery every day, every hour.”
The family expressed their gratitude to “the staff of the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva for their devoted, sensitive and professional treatment during the past few months, night and day, with open hearts and shining faces.”
They asked for “the general public and the media to allow the family to gather in mourning at this time and to refrain from contacting family members directly.”
The funeral is set to take place on Wednesday afternoon in Jerusalem.
Nechama Rivlin had suffered for several years from pulmonary fibrosis, a condition in which scar tissue accumulates in the lungs and impedes normal breathing. Rivlin was seldom seen without her portable oxygen tank. Yet despite her illness, she accompanied her husband on most of his state visits abroad including to India and Spain.
Mrs. Rivlin was a popular first lady who focused on the arts, the environment and children with special needs, and was a trusted adviser to her husband.
Nechama Rivlin was born on June 4, 1945 on Moshav Herut, a farming community in central Israel co-founded by her parents, Mendi and Drora Shulman, who immigrated from Ukraine. She enrolled at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1964 studying botany and genetics, and began working there as a researcher three years later. She then worked as a scientific secretary at the university’s Institute of Life Sciences.
In 1970 she met her husband at a party. They were married a year later, and had three children, Rikva, Anat and Ran.
A young Nechama Rivlin
In September 2016, during a presidential visit to Kiev, Ukraine, Mrs. Rivlin found it difficult to hold back tears as her husband, in the Kiev parliament, read aloud the names of her family members who had perished on Ukrainian soil.
After his speech, she said: “To hear my mother’s name was a difficult moment for me, the tears were choking me. After a few minutes, I collected myself and listened to the speech with pride. I, Nechama, daughter of Drora Mintz, wife of the president of the State of Israel, was on Ukrainian soil and saw victory in this moment.”
Mrs. Rivlin was careful to keep herself out of the media spotlight since her husband’s election as a Likud MK in 1988, and she was not significantly involved in his political life.
At the height of the 2014 presidential race, she wrote on her husband’s Facebook page: “Rubi, my beloved and my friend, I did not marry the president, so whatever happens, you will always be my lover and my friend.”
In March, she underwent a lung transplant at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, receiving the organ of 19-year-old Yair Yechezkel Halabali, who died in Eilat days earlier. Nine days after the transplant, she underwent another surgical procedure to support the transplant.
In their message Tuesday, the Rivlin family expressed their gratitude to the Halabli family, “for their inspiring dignity and the wonderful thing they did.”
The president did not leave his wife’s bedside during her stay in hospital. In great pain, Mrs. Rivlin had to learn to breathe again.
During her rehabilitation, her medical team created the illusion of her still being attached to an oxygen tank, while in reality she was spending several hours breathing on her own. When she learned of their trick, she was incredulous.
At the beginning of May, Mrs. Rivlin’s condition worsened, leaving her suffering from severe shortness of breath and exhaustion. The president, who was on a state visit to Canada at the time, immediately decided to cut short his trip and return to Israel to be with her.
Nechama Rivlin at the President’s Residence in 2018
“Together with every Israeli citizen, my wife Sara and I are deeply saddened at the passing of the wife of the president Nechama Rivlin,” Prime Minister Netanyau said.
“We all prayed for her recovery during this recent period in which she fought heroically and with spirit. We send condolences from the bottom of our hearts to the president and all his family.”
Although there is no official First Lady in Israel, Reuven Rivlin bestowed the title on his wife, and occasionally declared that he was married to the wife of the President of Israel.
Nechama Rivlin is survived by her husband, three children and seven grandchildren.
New York, NY — June 1, 2019 … Governor Andrew Cuomo; Mayor Bill de Blasio; New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli; New York Attorney General Letitia James; New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer; City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Members of the City Council; U.S. Representatives, Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Tom Souzzi, and Elliot Engel; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez; Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark; Consul General of Israel in New York Amb. Dani Dayan; Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon; and other local and international officials are expected to join 40,000 marchers at the 2019 Celebrate Israel Parade.
The Parade kicks off on Sunday, June 2, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, from 57 Street to 74Street.
Grand Marshal Edward A. Mermelsteinand Honorary Grand Marshals, including Ted Comet, Founder of the Celebrate Israel Parade; Siggy Flicker, Author and TV Personality; Liel Leibovitz and Stephanie Butnick, Co-Hosts of the Unorthodox podcast; Sid Rosenberg,Co-Host of Bernie & Sid in the Morning; and Elizabeth Savetsky,Founder of Excessories Expert,will march in the parade.
Performers at this year’s parade include Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, DJ Itay Galo, The Moshav Band, Barynya Entertainment, Holocaust Survivor Band, Matt Weiss aka Matt Dubb, Young Gravy, Omri Anghel, Kosha Dillz,SOULFARM, and Milk & Honeys.
This year’s creative theme for marching groups and floats is “Only in Israel” from the renowned Hebrew song Rak B’Yisrael.
DATE: Sunday, June 2, 2019
TIME: Parade – 11am – 4pm
WHERE: Parade Route – Fifth Avenue, from 57th St. to 74th St.
Tomorrow’s @CelebrateIsrael Parade in New York is our answer to Iran’s show of hatred against the State of Israel. In the face of this continued wave of anti-Semitism, we will demonstrate our strength and unity with UN ambassadors. Join us tomorrow at 1:00pm! #StandWithIsraelpic.twitter.com/IQVDd6ByfH— Ambassador Danny Danon | דני דנון (@dannydanon) June 1, 2019
By Yisroel Goldstein Rabbi Goldstein is the Rabbi of Chabad of Poway, Calif.
San Diego — April 29, 2019 … Today should have been my funeral.
I was preparing to give my sermon Shabbat morning, Saturday, which was also the last day of Passover, the festival of our freedom, when I heard a loud bang in the lobby of my synagogue.
I thought a table had fallen down or maybe even that, God forbid, my dear friend Lori Gilbert Kaye had tripped and fallen. Only a few moments earlier I had greeted Lori there; she had come to services to say Yizkor, the mourning prayer, for her late mother.
I went to the lobby to check on her. What I saw in those seconds will haunt me for the rest of my days.
I saw Lori bleeding on the ground. And I saw the terrorist who murdered her.
This terrorist was a teenager. He was standing there with a big rifle in his hands. And he was now aiming it at me. For one reason: I am a Jew.
He started shooting. My right index finger got blown off. Another bullet hit my left index finger, which started gushing blood.
After the massacre in Pittsburgh, we had a community training. Now that training kicked in. Somehow my brain directed my body to the synagogue ballroom, where the children, including two of my grandchildren, were playing. I ran toward them screaming “Get out! Get out!” I grabbed as many as I could with my bloody hands and pushed them out of the building.
One of our congregants that day, Almog Peretz, a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, ran after me to help get the children to safety and took a bullet in the leg. His eight-year-old niece, Noya Dahan, took some shrapnel to hers. Then an amazing miracle occurred: The terrorist’s gun jammed. Two other heroic congregants — an Army veteran named Oscar Stewart and an off-duty border patrol agent named Jonathan Morales — rushed toward him and he fled.
The ambulances had not yet arrived. We all gathered outside. I don’t remember all that I said to my community, but I do remember quoting a passage from the Passover Seder liturgy: “In every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand.” And I remember shouting the words “Am Yisrael Chai! The people of Israel live!” I have said that line hundreds of times in my life. But I have never felt the truth of it more than I did then.
Rabbi Goldstein, a victim of the shooting at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue
I am a religious man. I believe everything happens for a reason. I do not know why God spared my life. I do not know why I had to witness scenes of a pogrom in San Diego County like the ones my grandparents experienced in Poland. I don’t know why a part of my body was taken away from me. I don’t know why I had to see my good friend, a woman who embodied the Jewish value of hesed (kindness), hunted in her house of worship. I don’t know why I had to watch Lori’s beloved husband, a doctor, faint as he tried to resuscitate her. And then their only daughter, Hannah, sob in agony as she encountered both her parents collapsed on the floor.
I do not know God’s plan. All I can do is try to find meaning in what has happened. And to use this borrowed time to make my life matter more.
I used to sing a song to my children, a song that my father sang to me when I was a child. “Hashem is here,” I would sing, using a Hebrew name for God, pointing with my right index finger to the sky. “Hashem is there,” I would sing, pointing to my right and left. “Hashem is truly everywhere.” That finger I would use to point out God’s omnipresence was taken from me.
I pray that my missing finger serves as a constant reminder to me. A reminder that every single human being is created in the image of God; a reminder that I am part of a people that has survived the worst destruction and will always endure; a reminder that my ancestors gave their lives so that I can live in freedom in America; and a reminder, most of all, to never, ever, not ever be afraid to be Jewish.
From here on in I am going to be more brazen. I am going to be even more proud about walking down the street wearing my tzitzit and kippah, acknowledging God’s presence. And I’m going to use my voice until I am hoarse to urge my fellow Jews to do Jewish. To light candles before Shabbat. To put up mezuzas on their doorposts. To do acts of kindness. And to show up in synagogue — especially this coming Shabbat.
I am a proud emissary of Chabad-Lubavitch, a movement of Hasidic Judaism. Our leader, the great Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, famously taught that a little light expels a lot of darkness. That is why Chabad rabbis travel all over the world to set up Jewish communities: I have colleagues in Kathmandu, in Ghana, as well as in Paris and Sydney. We believe that helping any human being tap into their divine spark is a step toward fixing this broken world and bringing closer the redemption of humanity. It is why 33 years ago my wife and I came to this corner of California to build a house of light.
Because we are obviously Jewish, identifiable by our black hats and beards, it has also meant that some of us have been targets before. Eleven years ago, my colleagues Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who ran the Chabad of Mumbai, India, were murdered with four of their guests. They were targeted by the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba because they were Jewish. And over the years people I know have been harassed and assaulted by thugs in the neighborhood where I grew up, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in incidents that typically go unreported by the press.
In his vile manifesto, the terrorist who shot up my synagogue called my people, the Jewish people, a “squalid and parasitic race.” No. We are a people divinely commanded to bring God’s light into the world.