BAHRAINI KING’S DECLARATION OF RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE UNVEILED AT SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER  













Rabbi Hier showing Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa The Hitler Letter.Photos: Ruth Andal, Monica Almeida


LOS ANGELES -- The Bahrain Declaration on Religious Tolerance – a plain-speaking attack against terrorism authored by HRH King Hamad of Bahrain - was released at an historic event co-sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

The document, the first of its kind to be written by an Arab Head of State, calls for people of all faiths to show respect for, and protection of, the rights of everyone to practice their religious affiliations in dignity and peace.

HH Prince Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa,representing his father, HRH King Hamad,  signed the Declaration along with Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.  A 40-person delegation from Bahrain accompanied Prince Nasser to Los Angeles and joined with him for his visit to the Museum of Tolerance.

Arab diplomats from across the Middle East, along with representatives of 15 nations from 5 continents and 300 Interfaith leaders from around the world represented Christians, Jews, and others at the historic gathering.
      
During his speech, Rabbi Hier, spoke of his recent meeting with HRH King Hamad in Bahrain, "The most exciting part of the visit was listening to His Majesty outline his vision for a new Middle East — one solidly based on the principles of inclusion and human dignity that rejects extremism.”

Hier told the gathering,"May the day come soon when His Majesty’s plane lands at Ben-Gurion Airport, and when the anthems played here tonight will be heard around the world ushering in that long-awaited era of lasting peace and tranquility.”

Also participating in the event were Rev. Johnnie Moore, recipient of the Wiesenthal Center’s Medal of Valor for his work with Christian refugees, Mohammed Khan, director of Interfaith Outreach, King Fahd Mosque as well as Dr. Judea Pearl, father of journalist Daniel Pearl who was beheaded by terrorists and a Saudi mother whose son was killed by a suicide terrorist at a mosque.

Mary Hart, former Entertainment Tonight host and Simon Wiesenthal Center Trustee emceed the evening. Religious leaders from Bahrain toured the Museum of Tolerance.


THE FELLOWSHIP AND FIDF PROVIDE $1.5M IN SUPPORT FOR IDF SOLDIERS THROUGH NEW YEAR’S GIFT CARDS


The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), led by Founder and President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), in collaboration with Yachad Lema’an Hachayal (The Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers and The LIBI Fund), are providing $1.5 million in annual Rosh Hashana “Fellowship Gift Cards” to more than 12,000 soldiers in need and Lone Soldiers currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) so they can celebrate the new year.

Over 10,000 eligible soldiers will be receiving a gift card in the amount of NIS 500, or about $140, and some 2,200 soldiers are eligible for a gift card of NIS 350, or about $100. Soldiers will be able to purchase supplies such as food, clothing, shoes, sporting goods, and leisure products.

The gift cards will allow the soldiers to celebrate the new year without the burden of financial stress. They can be used at about 90 major retail chain stores across Israel.

STATE MEMORIAL HONORS ISRAEL

SHIMON PERES










photos by Josef Avi Yair Engel (Jucha)


By SHANI SASSON

On last week an official Israel State Memorial in honor of the late Ninth President Shimon Peres took place at the Great Leaders of the Nation plot on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. The event was attended by the President of the State of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, former US Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair, and the Peres Family. They were joined by heads of state, leaders from global companies, and honored friends and guests of the family and of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation from Israel and around the world.

Chemi Peres, Chairman of the Board of the Peres Center and son of the late President Peres said: "My father struggled all of his life with his tremendous love for the State of Israel. While he fought to build the nuclear bomb in Dimona, he also fought against mountains and demons to make the impossible possible. It took courage to dream, and even more courage to achieve the dream and to see it become reality.

His biggest dream – peace – my father did not get to see realized. My father knew that this dream would not bring recognition and acclaim. I ask you today to look at the future that he lays out in his autobiography. Here he explains that the battle for peace requires courage, even more so than the sacrifice of war. I ask, in the spirit of my father, that you don't stop dreaming and daring, because it’s the best thing that could happen to our beloved country."

President Rivlin: “We have not yet achieved peace and tranquility - we must act with determination to reduce the social gaps and to share with all citizens of Israel the right and responsibility to be part of this home – the home of all of us. You have left us much more to do, but the path you paved, the dream you spoke of, and most of all, your determination and faith, will be with this people for generations to come, and you will continue to be an advocate of all of us. May your memory be a blessing.”

Tony Blair: "The country he wanted to create was to be a gift to the world. It drew upon the best of the Jewish character developed over the ages, sustained through pogroms, persecution and holocaust, often battered but never subdued. This spirit is the spirit of striving: to make oneself better, to make the world better, to increase the sum of knowledge and understanding; to examine the variegated flotsam of human existence and the contradictions of the human condition and see not a cause for despair but a path to progress.

This was what animated Shimon Peres.  He never gave up on peace with the Palestinians or on his belief that peace was best secured by an independent State of Palestine alongside a recognised State of Israel. One of our last conversations was on how to change the plight of the people of Gaza.

Despite all the frustrations of the peace process, in his last years he could see the Middle East changing and the possibility opening up in the region, with its new leadership, of a future partnership between Arab nations and Israel.

He grasped completely the extraordinary potential there would be if Israel and the region were working together, not simply on security, but on economic advance, technological breakthrough and cultural reconciliation"

The Jewish Observer,

Los Angeles

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NU & BGU SIGN WATER RESEARCH MOU, CHICAGO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL LOOKS ON










Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (top left) & Aviv Ezra, consul general of Israel to the Midwest (top right) witnessed the signing


TEL AVIV -- Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Northwestern University (NU) signed a research memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Tel Aviv recently to collaborate on water research. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel participated in the signing.
 
The MOU was signed by BGU President Rivka Carmi; Professor Dan Blumberg, BGU’s vice president and dean for research and development; Professor Aaron Packman of NU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Center for Water Research; and Profesor Fruma Yehiely, NU associate vice president for research.
 
The agreement is a follow up to successful collaborations between the University of Chicago (UC) and BGU. Mayor Emanuel was also present during the signing of that agreement in 2013 at the Israeli president’s residence.
 
 “Four years ago, Ben-Gurion University and the University of Chicago started a joint project. We already have one commercial product out of that and numerous papers have been published,” Chicago Mayor Emanuel said.
 
An interdisciplinary team from BGU’s world-renowned Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research and the Northwestern Center for Water Research will include hydrologists, soil scientists, geologists, chemists, microbiologists, and engineers. The result will be a groundbreaking scientific partnership to investigate environmental challenges and develop solutions for water-related problems through new research projects, as well as student and faculty collaborations.

NU’s Center for Water Research was created in March 2016 to link its water research efforts in basic sciences, technology development, law and policy, and systems analysis and simulation to addressing challenges in water systems’ sustainability and efficiency. BGU’s Zuckerberg Institute was founded in 2002.
 
Two projects between NU and BGU are already underway: Novel Tools for the Cross-cultural Assessment of Water Insecurity and Water Interventions: Sera Young, Northwestern; Noam Weisbrod, BGU; and Hwong-wen Ma, National Taiwan University
 
Next Generation Water Treatment Technology for Brine Management and Decentralized Water Supply: Kyoo Chul Park, Northwestern; Neelesh Patankar, Northwestern; and Jack Gilron, BGU.

A number of successful joint research projects have emerged from the UC-BGU ongoing collaboration that began four years ago. The collaboration is led by Prof. Moshe Gottlieb from BGU and Prof. Matthew Tirrell from UC:
 
Professor Moti Herskowitz (BGU) and Professor Steven Sibener (UC) led the team that developed a novel catalytic system for decomposition of industrial organic waste. The commercialization process is underway.

A novel method for marine cleanup of oil spills. Large scale experiments will be carried out in the near future. (UC scientist Dr. Seth Darling secured funds independently after the initial joint project). The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Israel’s largest and leading water institute, conducts interdisciplinary, cutting-edge research and graduate education in water sciences, aimed at improving human well-being through technologies and policies for sustainable use of water resources. World-renowned Zuckerberg researchers are focused on desalination technologies and groundwater production, water quality and microbiology, as well as water resource economics and management.