LOPEZ VISITS ISRAEL, DAN HOTEL WELCOMES HER
TEL-AVIV - The Dan Tel Aviv Hotel had the pleasure of welcoming internationally acclaimed singer, Ms. Jennifer Lopez and her family to the hotel.
The famous singer and her family stayed in the hotel’s Royal Suite, which has breath-taking views over the Mediterranean Sea.
Dan Tel Aviv’s new General Manager, Ms. Rama Oram, welcomed Lopez, her children and fiancé – Mr. Alex Rodriguez.
Lopez arrived in Tel Aviv for one concert, which took place on Thursday, August 1st and was crowned a great success with 57,000 people in attendance at the event. Lopez said to the excited crowd “Tel Aviv, we’re only here for one night, let’s make the best out of it!”
This was Lopez’s first visit to Israel. The star and her family enjoyed their time and traveled to Jerusalem, saying that they will definitely return.
In the photo, Ms. Lopez on her departure with Ms. Rama Oram, the מק’ General Manager of Dan Tel Aviv.
JEWISH GROUPS CONDEMN ATTACK ON ICE PROTESTERS IN RHODE ISLAND
Following the news of a violent attack on Jewish and immigrant justice protesters during a Never Again Action protest at a Rhode Island detention center, where a corrections officer appeared to drive his truck into a crowd, injuring several, followed by protesters being pepper sprayed as local police stood by, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, National Council of Jewish Women, J Street, and Torah Trumps Hate released the following statement:
“We are appalled by this brutal act committed against Jewish, Latinx, and immigrant justice protesters courageously taking nonviolent action to resist the violence that ICE inflicts on immigrant communities every day. We stand in solidarity with our fellow activists, we pray for the healing of those injured, and we recommit to taking action to shut down the system of cruelty that underlies our nation’s unconscionable treatment of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
“Jewish communities have seen the effects of bigotry, of scapegoating immigrants, and of dehumanization before. The video of this attack is a reminder that the agents carrying out this administration’s cruel agenda are willing to see groups of people, whether immigrant communities, Jewish protesters, or political opponents, as less than human. Never again means stopping this mass atrocity.
“Jewish communities overwhelmingly agree on the importance of protecting immigrant communities from President Trump’s white nationalist agenda. This act of violence comes on the heels of thousands of Jews and allies joining nearly 60 nonviolent actions across the country this weekend that we organized on the Jewish holiday of Tisha B'Av. We will not allow violence or threats to deter us from speaking and acting against policies that put immigrant communities in harm’s way. We cannot rest. We will continue to join together to defeat the hatred spreading throughout our country that threatens us all.”
AMERICAN-ISRAELIS PROTEST #CLOSETHECAMPS IN TEL AVIV ON TISHA B’AV
TEL AVIV -- The Jewish led protest against immigrant detention camps separating families on the American border will be held by Democrats Abroad Israel in Tel Aviv in solidarity with concurrent events around the United States in partnership with Bend the Arc, J Street, HIAS, the National Council of Jewish Women, Torah Trumps Hate, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
Members of the Jewish community embarked on this event on the most somber day in the Jewish calendar in order to express the tragedy of the events at the American border, which is considered on par with other catastrophes of historic proportions. This includes the ongoing mistreatment of immigrant families, in which children as young as four months old are separated from their parents, sent to overcrowded facilities that lack basic safety and sanitary items such as soap, toothbrushes, blankets, adequate food, and adult supervision. At least six children have died in these facilities over the past year, that we know of.
“We must bear witness. We must stand up and object. It is our duty and obligation--especially as children of immigrants who crossed through Ellis Island yearning to breathe free. We cannot forget our history,” said Heather Stone, Chair of Democrats Abroad-Israel. “As Jews, we should follow the directive of the Torah: “the stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself--for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.“ (Leviticus 19:34)
The Trump administration’s actions have also made it extremely difficult to reunite families. Record-keeping of separations has been notoriously inefficient, and many children have been given away for adoption even as their parents fight to get them back. Some children were left in closed vans for 36 hours while authorities tried to locate their families. In addition, those who leave water in the desert for migrants as an act of compassion are now being prosecuted in the courts—though in the first jury trial of such a case, the jury refused to convict the accused.
“Many of the hallmarks of fascism listed on a poster sold by the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. are present now in America,” Ms. Stone added.
Moreover, privately-run facilities are being paid $750+ per day per child for running detention centers – which adds up to tens of millions of taxpayer dollars – despite the fact that the centers are overcrowded, understaffed, lacking the most basic services, and evolving into major health hazards. Some centers are owned by political contributors to the Trump campaign, raising severe ethical questions about political and financial motivations for keeping immigrant children incarcerated.
“One day, our children and grandchildren will be asking what we were doing during this dark time in our history,” Ms. Stone said. “We owe it to them to stand up and fight for the children.”
The #CloseTheCamps protest will take place on Sunday, 11 August, 2019, 18:30-20:00, across from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, 71 Hayarkon. For more information, or to get involved, contact Democrats Abroad-Israel chair Heather Stone.
WOMEN OF THE WALL HOLDS SHOFAR WORKSHOP
JERUSALEM – Women of the Wall recently held a Shofar Workshop in Jerusalem. Teacher Inbar Shiffrin guided women and girls of all ages in learning the proper technique to blow the Shofar.
Her instruction contributed to an environment WOW's Chairperson Anat Hoffman described as "supportive and encouraging, where it's safe to try new things, fail, and try again." Hoffman added: "While the Rabbinate in Israel continues its attempts to silence women's diverse voices in Jewish life, WOW invites women to use the Shofar to let our voices resonate aloud."
Photos by Hebrew Union College Rabbinical student Kelly Whitehead, and WOW Media Associate Elizabeth Kirshner.
AMERICA-ISRAEL FRIENDSHIP LEAGUE MOURNS THE LOSS OF HONORARY CHAIRMAN KENNETH J. BIALKIN (z'l)
The Board of Directors and Staff of the America-Israel Friendship League (AIFL) mourn the loss of its longtime champion and past Chairman, Kenneth J. Bialkin. He conducted a purpose-ﬁlled life as a lawyer, a longtime partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a community activist, and as a prominent leader of the American Jewish community.
This translated into many leadership roles in the Jewish community of the U.S., including as Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, National Chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, Chairman of the American Jewish Historical Society, and President of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Mr. Bialkin was the Chairman of the America-Israel Friendship League (AIFL) and Vice Chairman of both The Center for Jewish History and the Jerusalem Foundation.
In 2018, AIFL awarded Ken with a special tribute at its annual Partners for Democracy Awards Dinner for his dedication to strengthening the ties between the United States and Israel, and this year AIFL has announced the new Kenneth Bialkin Award For Leadership, an annual award in recognition of Mr. Bialkin’s leadership, to be awarded to a recognized leader who promotes commercial activity between the United States and Israel.
“Ken was a great man, one who was filled with love and respect: for life, for his family, for those who were close to him, and for his two countries – the U.S. and Israel. These were at the foundation of so much that he had achieved over his remarkable life, and which made him such a great leader of our organization. He belonged to a generation of giants, and will be sorely missed by all.”
We extend our deepest condolences to Ken's wife, Ann, who first accompanied Ken on a trip to Israel in 1959, to his daughters Lisa and Johanna, and grandchildren Samuel and Gideon Bialkin. May they be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
-AIFL Chairman, Eric J. Gertler & AIFL President, Jonathan Barsade
JEWISH REFUGEE DESCENDANTS CHALLENGE GERMANY OVER CITIZENSHIP
Jacqueline Boronow-Danson (right) said she was not granted citizenship because she was adopted -- BBCi
British descendants of Jewish refugees who fled the Nazis are challenging the German government's rejection of their citizenship bids. Anyone deprived of citizenship during the Nazi regime is eligible for it to be restored.
But some claim they have been turned down as they were adopted, or their parents left Germany before 1941.
The German Embassy said people can apply for citizenship under a different law starting this month.
Some of the people who spoke to the BBC have been fighting for citizenship for years.
Jacqueline Boronow-Danson, from Golders Green in north London, has been trying to get German citizenship for five years, but says her application was rejected because she was adopted.
"We can't be both biologically related and adopted, but in as far as I know, we don't feel any different to any close relationship between a child and its parents and that's why the German thing is so upsetting," she said. "It's insulting because it doesn't acknowledge the truth."
New figures show the number of Brits applying for German citizenship has increased since the 2016 EU referendum. In 2015, only 43 requests were made via Article 116, which applies to the descendants of anyone who was deprived of their German citizenship during the 12 years of Nazism on political, racial or religious grounds. Since the Brexit vote, that number has increased to more than 600.
Sally Morgan, from London, who has also been fighting for citizenship for years, said Brexit had been "a catalyst to make me reflect on who I am, and I am European".
She claims she was rejected because her nationality request was based on her mother being German, not her father. Ms Morgan added: "The European links have grown because my in-laws are Polish, my son's married to a French woman... but it stems from my mother being German and I feel an entitlement for that citizenship to be acknowledged."
Diana Cook, from Leeds, said she was "trying to reclaim something that was stolen from my mother".
She said she had not been successful with her application because she was born "too early". "I think there's a lack of understanding about how simple the solution is. "For most people like me it's simply a matter of dates, and I was born a little bit too early. It feels bizarre."
Peter Guillery, also from London, said: "It feels quite wrong. There was no question [my father] had to leave Nazi Germany.
"He would not have become British if it were not for the fact that their lives were in peril and other members of the family died in the camps.
"I had a European passport for all those years and it just felt natural being half English and half German, and I don't want that taken away."
The German Embassy said it was aware there were cases of individuals that were not covered by the law, but who were equally interested in restoration of their German citizenship.
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RASHIDA TLAIB REJECTS ISRAEL'S OFFER OF 'HUMANITARIAN' VISIT
US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has rejected Israel's offer to allow her to make a "humanitarian" visit to her grandmother in the occupied West Bank. Ms Tlaib said that she could not comply with the "oppressive conditions" being imposed.
A critic of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, she had been blocked by Israel from making an official visit. But it said a private visit could go ahead after she agreed "not to promote the boycott of Israel during her stay."
How did we get here?
Ms Tlaib and fellow Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar had originally been due to make an official visit to the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Sunday.
Under pressure from US President Donald Trump, Israel denied permission for the visit to territory it controls.
A statement from the Israeli interior ministry on Thursday confirmed the entry ban, saying it was "inconceivable that those who wish to harm the state of Israel while visiting would be granted entry".
Ms Tlaib and Ms Omar have voiced support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign -- which aims to put economic pressure on the Israeli government - because of their opposition to Israel's policies towards Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But in a series of tweets on Friday, Ms Omar hit back at claims that she and Ms Tlaib hadn't asked to meet with Israel's government or opposition officials.
The Minnesota congresswoman said that, during their visit, they had planned to meet Jewish and Arab members of Israel's parliament, along with Israeli security officials. Among other plans, they had also intended to tour the West Bank city of Hebron with Israeli military veterans, she said.
Ms Omar added that two Democrat congressmen had visited Israel last year "with an almost identical itinerary" and "other members of Congress have done similar trips" in the past.
The entry ban was widely criticized - including by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), a prominent pro-Israel lobbying group.
On Friday, Israel's interior ministry said it had given Ms Tlaib permission for what it termed a humanitarian visit to family after she had promised in a letter to "respect conditions imposed by Israel".
Israeli media published Ms Tlaib's letter, which said: "I would like to request admittance to Israel in order to visit my relatives, and specifically my grandmother, who is in her 90s.
"I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit."
What does Tlaib say now? In a series of tweets on Friday, she categorically rejected Israel's offer - even though it meant she would not see her grandmother.
"Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me," she said of her grandmother.
"It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in."
She said that winning her seat in Congress had given Palestinian people "hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions."
In response, Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said: "Last night, she sent me a letter asking her to allow her to visit her 90-year-old grandmother 'because this could be my last chance to meet her'.
"I approved it on humanitarian grounds, but it turns out that it was a provocation to embarrass Israel. Her hatred for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother."
Why were the two women banned?
Israeli law blocks entrance visas to any foreigner who calls for any type of boycott that targets Israel - either economic, cultural or academic.
The law attempts to suppress the BDS movement, which has drawn support across Europe and the US. Israeli officials had earlier said they would make an exception for the elected US officials, before backtracking.
According to US media, their trip was meant to begin on Sunday, and would have included a stop at one of the most sensitive sites in the region - the hilltop plateau in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as Haram al-Sharif. They also planned to visit Israeli and Palestinian peace activists, and travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank cities of Bethlehem, Ramallah and Hebron.
What's Trump's involvement?
Ahead of the move to ban the women's visit, President Trump had taken to Twitter to urge that the two lawmakers be blocked from visiting, adding that "they hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds".
Mr Trump, who has a close relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has frequently feuded with the two congresswomen.
In remarks widely condemned as racist, he recently told them to "go back" to the countries that their families were from.
Who are the two women?
Ms Tlaib - the first member of the US Congress of Palestinian descent - was born in Michigan. Ms Omar hails from Minnesota but was born in Somalia.
They have both been critici[z]ed for their stance on Israel, but have denied charges of being anti-Semitic. After the Democratic-led House of Representatives voted against the boycott against Israel movement in July, Ms Tlaib said: "I can't stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government and the state of Israel."
The House also voted to condemn hate speech in a move directed at Ms Omar for her criticism of US support for Israel.
"It's all about the Benjamins baby," Ms Omar had tweeted in a reference to the US $100 note, leading to allegations that she was using a negative stereotype for Jews.
She later apologi[z]ed, and said the tweet was meant to critici[z]e lobbyists, not Jews. She also thanked "Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes".
Has this happened before?
An Israeli ban on foreign dignitaries is rare but not unprecedented.
Makarim Wibisono, a UN special rapporteur on human rights, was denied entry in 2015 after Israel said his mandate was anti-Israel.
And Fouad Ahmad Assadi of Spain's Socialist Party was barred from entering Israel last month because he was deemed a threat to national security. The Lebanese-born politician had traveled there to participate in the annual Socialist International conference in Tel Aviv and Ramallah - but he was denied entry at Ben Gurion Airport. However, no members of US Congress had been blocked before now.
Israel often hosts congressional delegations. Earlier this month, 41 Democrats and 31 Republicans attended a visit sponsored by Aipac. ----BBCi