I am sure that most of you are aware of our chaotic snowstorm in Israel. They say nothing like it for 100 years. Indeed in Shilo, my home town, we have been without heating, phones, internet, electricity and water since Thursday night, and we are not the only ones. If you follow the reports you will read how many not only were stuck in their homes and communities without heat, but the many who were stuck on the roads getting home, the many who needed medical attention or to be taken to hospitals without a means to do so. In short, as we say a "Balagan".
My cellphone service returned on Sunday morning and my phone has barely had a chance to rest to the thank GD many reports of how equipment supplied by One Israel Fund has been instrumental in not only assisting the many stranded, but crucial in saving many lives not only in Judea and Samaria, but in Jerusalem also.
The various emergency and security lighting needs we supplied have been used none stop. Many residents taking pride in seeing the One Israel sticker shining in the beam of the rescuers approaching them. Our portable thermal cameras, the Tac Sight, being used to spot people stranded in the snowed over, cut off roads of Judea and Samaria. One Israel Fund Advanced Life Saving Kits making the rounds where needed, again the One Israel Fund emblem reflecting proudly in the beams of light.
Yesterday, I received a call from the Megillot Search and Rescue Teams medical representative telling me proudly how due to the recent, and I mean just over a week ago, One Israel Fund sponsored Ambulance Upgrade Project, specifically refitting their ambulance for tough terrain, their ambulance was called into Jerusalem and was directly responsible for saving the lives of over ten people. Not the medical assistance other calls they responded to, but real life saving response... Because many of the other ambulances could just not make it.
I personally feel this is one of our greatest hours or days as it turns out. Many of you often hear of our successes in thwarting terror, and protecting our people from this viral threat in our land. This is a side many do not get to see, nor do many realize. One Israel Fund is also about keeping people safe, enabling our brave to do their job, properly. It is about Achdut...Unity, about how when our people work together, we accomplish miracles, that lives are not only saved, but protected.
I have been through my share of warfare, and have experienced and responded directly to more terrorism than most, and I say to all of you, this is one of the high points in my "career" of working with our people, seeing this Achdut, and knowing many of you personally are part of this wonderful team, this One Israel Fund team, making that small difference, that small difference we call life.
May GD grant us all continued success!
Friday, December 20, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
I recently spent a few days in New York City. While this was actually nothing out of the ordinary for me, what I experienced, was.
My trips usually deal with speaking and discussing the various security issues occurring in Judea and Samaria. During this most recent trip I met a number of very special Jewish college students who were very much involved in the “Zionist” cause as they termed it.
What made it special was that these kids were very much against not only a Jewish presence in our historical heartland, but the concept of a Jewish state also. Even more extraordinary, more appalling, more devastating, this group was quite diverse, they came from religious homes, “Israeli” homes, and “Mizrachi” (Syrian and Egyptian to be precise) homes as well as the usual main stream “Federation” homes.
I listened to their arguments, their passions and their claims against Israel. The common denominator was that they had the majority of their facts twisted and perverted beyond belief. That and the claim that they are all ardent Zionists and lovers of Israel.
Naftali Bennet happened to be the focus that particular day, and their shouts against the “Occupation” their battle cry.
I decided not to argue with them, but discuss the issues with them, not as “who I am” or “what I do”, but as someone who was interested in what they had to say. It was great and I truly enjoyed the dialogue. They had valid points, at least in their minds as to what they think has to be done to bring peace, and of course the “crimes” committed daily by us Jews in the hood.
After showing another side of the picture, and pointing out how much they are missing due the fact that they do not listen to the statements made in Arabic, nor read Arab media, I was able to open their eyes and supply them with many facts of which they were not aware. Watching the realization that they have been duped and mislead regarding the “situation” in Israel flood their faces brought joy to me.
More important, was seeing just how many kids, who supposedly have a strong identity and connection due to their “ethnic” upbringing are now being targeted by anti-Israel “Jewish” organizations and their questionable sources of funding.
On the other hand, when I asked the “opposing” Pro Zionists to defend their positions, the majority were unable to hold a match to the well-manipulated and deceived protestors. They couldn’t tell me why we the Jewish people/ Israel have rights to be in Judea and Samaria, they barely knew any history, and more disappointing were the statistic and info sheets they read from, received from some of the better known pro-Israel Israel college organizations. Names available upon request.
In short, the stench of a wide spread epidemic of ignorance among both sides.
I admit and am proud to belong to the side that supports the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria. But I am continuously amazed at the ignorance of so many, especially our future “Diaspora leaders” who claim to side with me in my convictions and opinions.
More alarming is the fact that due to their ignorance they are prime targets to be inducted into a plethora of anti-Israel movements, that infect mainstream US Jewry, this being accomplished by deceit, misinformation and manipulation.
Even more saddening is the fact that so many of their very pro-Zionist parents do not care enough to educate them or expose them to the needed knowledge as they go forth in combat on most US college campuses.
Sure, they donate to the pro-Israel Advocate organizations that attempt to fight this disease, but that is the limit for most. Feeble attempts at defense, rather than fighting an enemy that looks to end a Jewish future in our land, an enemy that would take their “Amusement Park” away, so many call Israel, from their vacation itineraries.
I have started visiting campuses, synagogues and other Jewish groups on my own time, just to listen and to learn what they do not know. There is no doubt the numbers are growing. It would seem that there should be an alternative quantitative result to the recent Pew poll, not only as to how many Jews are leaving the fold, but how many are being yanked out by the ever growing anti-Israel groups working the campus turf and “mainstream” Jewish haunts.
Not to sound too morbid, but we can note too many similarities to the Jewish communities in Europe upon hearing of Nazi intent and efforts against the Jews… only to wake up too late.
One of the reasons Israel was created was to supposedly protect the Jewish people all over the world from our enemies. I am sorry to say that the Israeli government is not standing up to the challenge, and is actually an accessory to this crime, by trying to be too P.C. and not answering the calls of so many young Jewish students who travel here, who actually yearn to learn about their history and connection to the land. Rather than show them historical facts and making their Hebrew School teachings a reality, our government wearing the hat known as the Jewish Agency bends to the whims of cash-laden Federations who insist on limited travel and knowledge, and advocate for a new Muslim, Jew-free entity within the borders of the State of Israel.
I heard with my own ears, at the General Assembly of North American Federations, a “Resource Development “ head in the Jewish Agency admit to how proud she was, that after two years in Israel (after Aliyah) she was proud not to have visited sites intimately connected to her past.
Sure, I could just say, the “heck” with it, but I have yet to meet the young Jewish participant on these Birthright and Masa trips who is not interested in seeing their own history and connection to this land, and furthermore is looking to visit the actual places they have only read about and heard about growing up in Hebrew schools and synagogues.
In the real world, Israel has learned that we cannot wait for our enemies to act against us in our existential challenge of being, we must be proactive and act first against our enemies. In the challenge facing our young today who live far from our land, we must do the same. Our arsenal must be re-fit with better education and motivation, with better means to spread true facts. As more and more of these anti-Israel organizations and groups are created and funded by mis-lead and hateful people it is imperative that we become more proactive and not just respond.
Here in Israel more and more of our people are learning and connecting, the same must happen to our young on the other side of the ocean. There is no choice.
Just as our enemies during the first Chanuka wished to pry us from our land, our heritage, and our identity, the same challenge exists today.
The Maccabees joined together in unity to fight this effort. We must mirror the effort, and join together as one, and fight for our kids… all over the world.
It can be done.