Category Archives: Israel

Politics, culture, people, life, religion and general info on Israel.

Haveil Havalim #271: Catchy Title Goes Here

Ima on the Bima posted this week’s Haveil Havalim “Catchy Title Goes Here” – a great collection of blog posts written over the past week. Thanks Phyllis and shavuah tov to all.

Summertime, Freedom and Captivity

Growing up in the United States, summertime equalled freedom. We were free from school, free to play, ride bikes, sit by the lake, free to spend much of our time in our imaginations. Celebration of America’s Independence Day on the 4th of July amplified the focus on freedom.

This year, more than the previous 2 years, my thoughts turned to Gilad Shalit as we celebrated American Independence Day. Gilad Shalit has not known freedom for 3 years. He sits in captivity, captured in a cross-boarder raid by Hamas. None of his family, friends or colleagues have heard from him in years. Hamas, the terrorist government of the Gazan Palestinian Authority does not allow even the Red Crescent, the Muslim version of the Red Cross to see him. This is in violation of international law and practice. (By the way, I wrote Gazan Palestinian Authority because the PA in Gaza does not get along with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank led by Fatah.) While he is not free, none of us are free.

Freedom is precious and cannot be taken for granted. I pray that Gilad will know freedom some day soon.

If you would like to learn more about Gilad Shalit, visit the website HaBanim.

Prayer Placed by Pope in Western Wall

(Quick follow-up to my last post on the Pope’s visit:)

Here is the text of the beautiful prayer he placed in the Western Wall (courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs). View the prayer as well as a photograph of its placement in the wall.

Written prayer by Pope Benedict XVI

God of all the ages,
on my visit to Jerusalem, the “City of Peace”,
spiritual home to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike,
I bring before you the joys, the hopes and the aspirations,
the trials, the suffering and the pain of all your people throughout the world.
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
hear the cry of the afflicted, the fearful, the bereft;
send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East,
upon the entire human family;
stir the hearts of all who call upon your name,
to walk humbly in the path of justice and compassion.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him!” (Lam 3:25)

Pope’s Visit to Israel

Pope Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage visit to Israel is creating quite a bit of press coverage. Unlike Pope John Paul II visit a few years ago, Benedict XVI seems to be on a personal/church/religious mission rather than on a mission of interfaith understanding, bridge building and politics.

Many interesting stories accompany his visit:
Trembling Before the Pope (the story of the Latin Patriarch, Fouad Twal, and his view of Catholics in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip)

A Muslim cleric and head of the Palestinian Sharia court, Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi, gave an unscheduled speech today at an interfaith gathering attended by the Pope.  Once the Pope heard a translation of the  Sheikh’s remarks he walked out, perhaps fulfilling one of Patriarch Twal’s concerns. Read another take on this story on CNN.

The Pope’s comments after visiting Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust musuem, instigated many comments.  Read a few in Ha’aretz, al-Jezeera, BBC, the Forward and YNet.

I hope that the Pope’s visit leads to greater respect, understanding and peace between peoples and a willingness of all to turn away from hate and intollerance.

UPDATE:  A Holocaust Survivor says that the criticism of the Pope is exagerated (YNet).

Israel21c Report for CNN on Coexistence Collaboration

Israel21c has been publishing news about Israel that often goes ignored for years. They do amazing work. Recently, two pieces by an Israel21c reporter were on CNN. One is about some inspiring coexistence work in Lod, a city with many struggles. Watch the report here.  The other is about how two scientists in Israel are making all of the world’s flowers more fragrant.

Watch and enjoy.

Haveil Havelim is up

Eric of The Israel Situation has posted Haveil Havelim.

More on the Horrors in Mumbai

Shabbat’s usual rest and joy was, of course, overshadowed by the tragedy of the horrific terrorism in Mumbai.  As of the writing of this email, at least 195 are dead and hundreds injured.  The mourners are only just beginning to be able to be aware that their loved one is (or horribly in some cases loved ones are) dead.

Latest News Includes:

NYTimes – India Faces Reckoning as Terror Toll Eclipses 170

Ha’aretz – 9 Dead in Mumbai Chabad House Attack

Poingnat & Heartbreaking

BBC Video of Rabbi Holtzberg z”l and his son Moshe two months before the attack.

The death, destruction and human devastation of these attacks weighs heavily on my heart and spirit as we begin this new week.

Post from Baka Diary

With thoughts and prayers for all those affected by the Mumbai attacks.

Update:

Ynet story on the Chabad attack with pictures (some a bit graphic).