A Meaningful Week in Israel

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Dear Friends,

It’s a particularly meaningful week, as world leaders gather in Jerusalem to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, at the 5th World Holocaust Forum with an emphasis on eradicating antisemitism in all its forms. Israel’s President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu are joined by so many countries in sending an important message of solidarity, to fight antisemitism.

Jerusalem’s residents face an almost complete shutdown of the city for this occasion, starting at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and continuing through our capital city. Vice President Pence won’t miss the opportunity to visit the Old City of Jerusalem, always supportive of the Jewish people’s historic bond to this special city of gold. Putin leads the list of dignitaries we would have been surprised to see together, just a few decades ago, and now they come together in this city of brotherly love, to proclaim that no one shall question the rights of the Jewish people to safety and prosperity – as well as people of other races and religions, protected together under this umbrella call for tolerance.

Am I dreaming, or perhaps next year along with the former USSR we will see heads of Arab countries in the Middle East join us in Jerusalem as well!

Inshallah, b’ezrat hashem, God willing.

In political news, Israel continues its seemingly endless election-time work; the major parties rolled out their campaigns with large rallies this week and we got a great taste of Netanyahu wit. The ads dont translate well to english but I’m hoping to be able to share some with you as the campaign develops.

In real developments, head of opposition party ‘Blue and White’ Benny Gantz has announced that the Jordan Valley is and will always be Israel’s eastern border. He spoke of annexation, a word not used lightly in these circles. He probably also got heads spinning in his camp – a party compiled of public figures with accomplishments, to be sure, but with varied opinions on diplomacy, borders and conflicts. Will be interesting to see if this turns into an internal conflict for their campaign messaging!

Watch while conservative right-wing supporters urge Netanyahu to take the step he has already spoken about, and possibly lead a government decision to officially extend Israel sovereignty over the Jordan Valley. This can be seen as a natural extension of recognizing the Golan Heights, and for some of us, to continue to ensure Israeli sovereignty in all parts of this land. What a welcome change of pace and a return to some of the messages that were acceptable to a huge majority of Israeli citizens for decades. Now’s the time for brave, responsible leadership to step up and make these decisions.

It’s been raining here nonstop, and even snowing in our Gush Etzion hills. The Sea of Galilee is rising and our spirits are too. Bring it on!

Ruthie

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Modern history this time, a great piece on long-forgotten railways now coming back to life in Israel. Enjoy!

This is a super cool way to visit Jerusalem and feel like you’re part of the action in ancient times! Wow – cutting edge technologies in this start-up nation – come see for yourselves! #tourwithus

The ancient mikve on derech ha’avot (the paths of the patriarchs) in Gush Etzion, South of Jerusalem, is the fullest we’ve ever seen it and will hopefully be in use this year for the first time in two thousand years!

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Please share comments and upcoming Middle-East focused activity so we can weigh in and provide insight that can help better inform and advocate for our joint interests…

 

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