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18B Federation Star January 2014

ISRAEL & THE JEWISH WORLD

BRIEFS NOTHING LIKE IT IN HUMAN HISTORY

There’s been nothing like it in human history. A small and ancient people loses its land and forgets how to speak its language; wanders defenselessly for hundreds, thousands, of years throughout the world with its God and its sacred books; meets with persecution, violence, dispossession, banishment, mass murder; refuses to give up; refuses to surrender its faith; continues to believe that it will one day be restored to the land it lost; manages in the end, by dint of its own efforts, against all odds, to gather itself from the four corners of the earth and return to that land; learns again to speak the language of its old books; learns again to bear arms and defend itself; wrests its new-old home from the people who had replaced it; entrenches itself; builds; fructifies; fortifies; repulses the enemies surrounding it; grows and prospers in the face of all threats. (Hillel Halkin, Mosaic)

ISRAEL VS. THE IRANHIZBULLAH AXIS

In southern Lebanon and the Beka’a Valley in eastern Lebanon, Hizbullah is pointing over 80,000 rockets and missiles at Israel, representing a new level of threat to the Israeli home front. The scale of Hizbullah’s offensive arsenal has been made possible by Iranian funding, arms shipments, and use of Syria as a transit route. In Israel, a military response to this challenge is being prepared, designed to quickly deliver a devastating knock-out blow to Hizbullah. The IDF plans to implement a combination of unprecedented air power capabilities and a swift ground maneuver to eliminate Hizbullah as a fighting force for years to come. This approach is predicated on new intelligence resources, and an air force strike power – which has not yet been used to full capacity – that enables fighter jets to destroy hundreds of targets a day with precision-guided bombs. The ground forces have been preparing for a new conflict with

Hizbullah by drilling a blitz invasion of southern Lebanon and the destruction of Hizbullah infrastructure using a massive combination of tanks, infantry, artillery and the engineering corps. (Yaakov Lappin, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies - Bar-Ilan University)

ISRAEL INCREASINGLY COURTING CHINA AS AN ALLY

As an Israeli diplomat, Dore Gold has sat down with Palestinian negotiators in search of that elusive solution to the Middle East conflict. But the shifting tides of geopolitical power brought Mr. Gold to China recently, where he found himself hosting a Sabbath dinner with guests not traditionally invited to this Jewish gathering: Chinese officials. That Mr. Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, was in Beijing explaining the Hebrew prayer for wine and the need for defensible borders to Chinese military brass reflects a growing desire by Jerusalem to bring a rising China over to Israel’s side of the negotiating table on Iran and the Palestinians. He was joined in Beijing by retired Gen. Uzi Dayan, a former deputy chief of staff for the Israel Defense Forces and a former national security adviser. Together they spent several days meeting with Chinese military officers, becoming the first Israelis to speak at the Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The Israelis came prepared with materials translated into Chinese, vital for an audience largely unfamiliar with the details of Israel’s security requirements. That meant framing the situation in ways the Chinese could understand, like a map of 263-milelong Israel juxtaposed on a map of China. At one meeting a Chinese official asked Gold: “Who is Israel with, the United States or us?” “I was very clear in my discussions with the Chinese that the United States and Israel are allies,” Gold said. “But nothing

Create a Jewish Legacy I give, devise and bequeath… Create a legacy to benefit the Jewish Federation of Collier County and our overall Jewish community in your will or trust. Call 239.263.4205. "I did not find the world desolate when I entered it. And as my parents planted for me before I was born, so do I plant for those who will come after me." -The Talmud

in international affairs says you can only be friendly with one state.” (Dan Levin, New York Times)

CANADA’S GREATEST WORLD WAR 2 AIR ACE ALSO HAILED AS HERO IN ISRAEL

Flight Lt. George (Buzz) Beurling, Canada’s deadliest air ace in the Second World War, earned the nickname “the Falcon of Malta” after his eagle eyes and quick trigger finger sent a record number of attacking German and Italian pilots spinning to the ground in flames. Hailed in Canada for racking up 31 aerial dogfight kills, he’s also a hero in Israel after signing up to fight in that country’s 1948 War of Independence. In 1948 he was sought out by the Arabs, who offered him large amounts of money to train their pilots, but he turned them down because his sympathies lay with Israel, though he was not Jewish. The Israelis were reluctant to take him on, however, because he had been approached by the Arabs. Former RCAF ace Sydney Shulemson, who was locating planes and recruiting pilots for the fledgling Israeli Air Force at the time, said that Beurling quoted Bible passages when he asked him why he wanted to fly for the emerging state. He replied he believed the Jewish people were supposed to go back to Israel. “He wanted to be part of it,” Shulemson said. George Beurling was finally accepted and was to teach tactics to Israeli recruits. One of his first duties was to ferry a new aircraft to Israel from Italy. The plane burst into flames shortly after getting airborne on May 20, 1948. The Canadian government asked his family if they wanted to return him to Canada at their expense. They opted to go with a heartfelt offer from Israel saying it would be their honor to inter the pilot in their country because he was an “inspiration.” He was laid to rest in Haifa and is still honored by the Israeli military decades after his death. (Nelson Wyatt, Canadian Press)

IN ISRAEL, WATER WHERE THERE WAS NONE

On the chalky lower slopes of the Hebron Hills, in an area that gets less rainfall than most parts of Texas, Yatir forest – a man-made forest of more than 4 million trees – and the vineyards it surrounds are potent symbols of Israel’s battle with nature. With science, technology and a good amount of chutzpah, the arid country has figured out how to squeeze enough water from a parched landscape to sustain a nation. As spreading deserts, growing populations, and pollution make water an increasingly precious commodity around the world, Israeli companies are investing, relocating and seeking partnerships in Massachusetts to build a U.S. platform from which to launch their global ambitions State officials and entrepreneurs see collaboration with Israel as an opportunity to build another world-class technology sector, one that will create potable water from the ocean; nurture crops with treated sewage; manage water quality with software; and mine for water in much the same way precious gems are unearthed. If water consumption continues to grow at its current pace, demand will outstrip available resources by 40% within the next 20 years, according to a study by the global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. (Erin Ailworth, Boston Globe)

ISRAELI FIELD HOSPITAL RESTORES EYESIGHT OF FOUR BLIND PHILIPPINES RESIDENTS

The Israeli medical team in the Philippines has restored the eyesight of four local residents, aged 40 to 74, who were blind as a result of pterygia – growths in the eyes. “Many locals had this disease, but those who are poor couldn’t afford surgery,” said Lt.-Col. Dr. Erez Tsumi. “The patients, who all of a sudden could see after the operation, were so excited – it’s a miracle happening before your very eyes.” (Yoav Zitun, Ynet News)

LIGHTING UP AFRICA WITH ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY

In central Africa, the Kaliro School and Orphanage is located miles away from the nearest electric lines. Innovation: Africa, an Israeli organization that specializes in bringing power to the powerless in Africa, set up a solar energy system for the school, which enabled the school to run evening programs and give children greater opportunities to learn. For the past five years, Innovation: Africa has been bringing not only solar power, but also clean water, food and medical care to more than 500,000 people in Ethiopia, Tanzania,

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Profile for Jewish Federation of Collier County

Federation Star - January 2014  

Monthly newspaper of the Jewish Federation of Collier County

Federation Star - January 2014  

Monthly newspaper of the Jewish Federation of Collier County

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