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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ongoing Hatred in Malmo, Sweden for Israel and Jews

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                    

Sweden used to be a country Jews found refuge in when facing deadly anti-Semitic attacks in Europe.  This isn't the case anymore.  With the influx of many Muslims over the past several decades, they are now the brunt of attacks.                                                   

There are now about 2,000 Jews left in Malmo, Sweden's 3rd largest city,  with about 600 as regular synagogue goers.  If a male Jew wears a kippa ( small round head covering) on the street, he most certainly will be accosted by the Muslim population there.  Sweden was once thought of as a place for multiculturalism, but this has besmirched their record and their ideals.

Hate crimes are on the rise, and not committed by the Jews.  They are the ones being attacked.  "Typically, but not exclusively, the perpetrators of anti-Semitic hate crimes are "young men with roots in the Middle East," according to Jehoshua Kaufman.  Around 1/3 of Malmo's 310,000 residents are foreigners with the largest minorities coming from the Balkans, Iraq and Denmark.  In 2012, 66 anti-Jewish crimes were committed with 60 reports made to the police.  31 occurred in Stockholm, the largest city of about 900,000 residents.  For 2013, 35 attacks were already committed.

    A hate crime occurs when one person intentionally subjects another to offensive physical contact, threatens or inflicts physical injury, or threatens or causes damage to the property of another person because of their race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. A hate crime may also target a person's family member.

Many Jews have already left Malmo for Israel, a country that was created for Jews who have been affected by anti-Semitism.  It is not easy for anyone to give up jobs, homes and neighbors and move to a new land with a different climate and language, for in Israel everyone speaks Hebrew, which is a different matter from reading it in prayer books.  However, most Swedes are already bi-lingual, speaking  Swedish and English,  so the young ones will pick up the language easily, but not the older ones.  If they speak English, they should move to the larger cities where others do, too.

Jews living in Germany before WWII also had to make this decision of whether to leave or not.  Then, they did not have Israel as a refuge but had to rely on the whims of other countries as to whether or not they would give political asylum to Jewish refugees.  Many countries, especially in South America,  refused to do so.  Many Jews thought such new rules and regulations would eventually blow over as people came to their senses.  They never did, and we had 6 million die horrible deaths.  Even the USA had strings attached to taking in Jewish refugees.  Then, the door was closed in 1939 in Germany and Jews couldn't escape from there at all.                                                    
Synagogue in Malpo
Orthodox men are the objects of torment from the Muslims as they are easier to spot.  One such person is  Shneur Kesselman, an American orthodox rabbi who dresses in his traditional Hasidic black suit, fedora hat and wears a beard.  He is of the Chabad group.  He has been insulted and has had things thrown at him right on the street in Malmo so many times that he has lost count.  The young Muslim guys that are doing this come from countries where they are taught to be racist and anti-Semitic through their family, education and their audio-visual culture such as TV.

Ala-Eddin Al-Aut, head of Sweden's Islamic Association, said the group were changing attitudes after getting Muslim organizations to address anti-Semitism in their Friday sermons.  Some signs have now been banned from its anti-war demonstrations.  Al-Qut  distinguishes between Jews and Israelis.  Evidently with him it's okay to hate Israelis and to show it.  This gives little assurance to the Jews.

It seems like the only reason the rest of Sweden is concerned about all this is that others will call attention to their bringing in too many Muslims into their country.  The Jewish community finds that anti-Semitism is not limited to just Malmo but is happening in Stockholm as well but is just more visible in Malmo because the city is more compact and has a less segregated center.  If could also be that many of the Muslim families were directed towards Malmo as the immigrant center being many Jews had been living there who came as refugees from WWII.  Now the Jewish residents are faced with the same old anti-Semitism from a new batch of people, but had also been influenced by Hitler.

Sweden has been faced with this problem for several years, now, and nothing seems to be done about it.  The only good thing is that Iimar Reepalu is now a former mayor of Malmo.  Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh is the new mayor.  She said that schools were providing special training for teachers to combat this anti-Semitism.

An ugly thing  happened, though,when  the local youths in Velinge, a middle-class town with few immigrants, but on the outskirts of Malmo were found shouting Nazi slogans at people who were attending a weekend event for children at a Jewish  recreation center, something like our Jewish community centers in the states.  These young hoodlums were throwing eggs at the building. Perhaps  this behavior did not stem from their families but was influenced by the Muslims of Malmo as a copy-cat type of learned or admired behavior.  So, evidently the educational aspect is not enough.  Is anyone being punished for such behaviors?

An explosion ripped through the Jewish community center last September and security has been upgraded.  Arrests were made for committing a hate crime.
One way the Jews are fighting back is with Kippah walks that were started in December 2011.  This was in reaction to the persecution and intimidation that the Jews were experiencing.  Other Swedes are joining them in this walk, and all wear a kippah.  The sad situation is that the Swedish politicians are not taking such anti-Semitic acts seriously enough to really act on them.

Resource: Arutz Sheva  "Anti-Semitism in Sweden Forces Jews to Question their Future

Monday, July 29, 2013

Israel Wants Peace-Will Free 104 Prisoners As Proof

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                   

It's a scary thought to be forced into freeing terrorist murderers who have blood on their hands, but Israel decided that when you have a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, to take the least offensive offer.  The Israeli cabinet has agreed to free 104 terrorists that they have in order to restart talks. This is painful for the whole nation, but Israel truly wants peace.  What are the Palestinians doing?  They are just agreeing to come to the table.  Israel has been waiting for 65 years for a peace pact.

These prisoners are people who have served for at least 20 years already.  Some are Palestinian militants who threw fire bombs.  One case was of throwing firebombs at a school bus full of children.  Other prisoners had stabbed and shot civilians, even women, elderly Jews and other Arabs thought to be collaborators for Israel.  Some of the prisoners are in prison for ambushing and killing border guards, police, security agents and soldiers.  Many were there with a life sentence.

104 prisoners will be freed in 4 stages  over the next 9 months.  The first group will take place soon after the initial peace talks occur in Washington this week.  More will be freed as negotiations continue.  Every Palestinian provocation will result in stopping the prisoner-release process.  

Netanyahu has rejected the Palestinian demand that he put a freeze on new construction in Judea, Samaria's towns and cities and in East Jerusalem.  As many as 1,000 new units (apartments or homes) may be approved for construction .  The Palestinians had a 3rd demand that Netanyahu hasn't been able to answer now.  The Palestinians expect Israel to go back to the 1967 armistice lines  which would exclude all of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.  To me, this is an outlandish expectation.

Qaddura Fares is president of the Palestinian Prisoners' Society and stated that freeing prisoners was "the right decision for negotiations."  He also said, "It shows that the state of Israel really does want peace."

Palestinians see these terrorists as "freedom fighters struggling to reclaim their homeland and oust the occupiers."  The whole statement is a fallacy since Israel is not the homeland of the Palestinians.  Their homeland is Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and other Middle East countries.  Only a few people were ever from Palestine, which was not a country but the name given by the Romans to  Israel and Judea which they took by force from the Jews.  The sad truth of the matter is that the Palestinian Arabs have been fed a crock of lies and the world as gone along with it.

 Occupiers?  It was Jordan who was the occupier of Judea and Samaria in 1948 to 1967.  What the Palestinians are fighting over is land that was finally given back to Jews through the League of Nations as the Jewish Homeland; all very legal that all the countries of the world signed on in agreement.  Way back then Palestine for the Arabs was planned on, but the Arabs said NO and have been saying that ever since, preferring to fight against the Jews and drive them out.

 We all know that Israel has done everything possible to show they are willing to have a peaceful state of Palestine next door, but that what has happened with Gaza has been just the opposite.  Gaza's Hamas and Fatah are always at odds with each other fighting for domination.  The only thing they have agreed to is to destroy Israel.  Need I keep commenting that they have rained down thousands of  rockets, mortars and missiles on southern Israel since 2000?  Israel gave up Gaza for peace that was promised.  Israel has been attacked before it's birth in 47-48-49, then in 56, 67, 73, and has had battles in between such as 82.  Life has been one big battle for Israelis in order to exist.  They have not been swayed to leave but to remain strong and dig in.  They have returned home and home it was, it is and will be.

Resource: Oregonian newspaper, 7/29/13 page A3, Israeli Cabinet frees prisoners to restart talks by William Booth from the Washington Post- Excellent article

Saturday, July 27, 2013

What Happened to Jews of Damascus, Syria

Nadene Goldfoot                                                   

"The website of the Talisman Hotel in Damascus says the structure used to be a Jewish house which was restored into a hotel. Considering that not so long ago the word “Jew” or “Jewish” uttered on the streets of Damascus would be accompanied by uneasy looks and whispers, this sudden openness and turn to multiculturalism is surprising. After all, not so long ago the last Jewish inhabitants of this quarter had their phones cut off, were banned from traveling abroad and forbidden to talk to foreigners. But visitors to this trendy boutique hotel will never hear a word about it".

3,228 Jews left Syria in 1973.   Most of the remaining Jews left in the 28 years following 1973, due in part to the efforts of Judith Feld Carr, who claims to have helped some 3,228 Jews emigrate; emigration was officially allowed in 1992.  

"In 1994, the Syrian authorities gave the green light to some restoration projects, and such jewels as Beit al-Mamlouka, Beit Zaman and the Old Vine Hotel received a second life. Some were purchased by elite Syrian and Lebanese figures, such as Noura Jumblatt, Druse leader Walid Jumblatt’s wife. Others were turned into boutique hotels, each with its unique style and ambience. Spending a night in one of these hotels might cost a tourist $250 to $300."  These jewels were homes of Jews who had left Damascus's Jewish quarter, Harat al Yahoud.  The homes had been deserted and were neglected.  

This was the same year that  the last remnant of Jews were uplifted to Tel Aviv, Israel. In an undercover operation in late 1994, 1,262 Syrian Jews were brought to Israel. The spiritual leader of the Syrian Jewish community from 1976 to 1994, Rabbi Abraham Hamra, was among those who left Syria and went to New York (and later Israel). Syria had granted exit visas on the condition that the Jews did not go to Israel. The decision to finally free the Jews came about largely as a result of pressure from the United States following the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference. Neighbors still remember the families that lived in these houses that are about 200 to 300 years old.  The synagogues and schools are still there.  

The Farhi family was very influential.  Rafael Farhi, or Muallem, was an advisor to the Ottoman Empire sultan.  He was a Nassi "president" of the Jewish community and owned dozens of the homes in the Jewish quarter.  His home was called Beit (house) Farhi, which was across the ally from the Talisman Hotel.

People  might never know just how  the Jewish Quarter and its houses were stolen from their legal owners. By 1950 when the Syrian government passed a law seizing Jewish property, only 5,000 Jews were left in the country. Since the early ’40s the community experienced riots, anti-Jewish campaigns and laws, intimidation and terror. Naturally, the elegant tourist brochure of the Talisman doesn’t say a word about this black page in Syrian history.

"Alain Farhi, a businessman who now resides in the US and a descendant of Muallem Rafael Farhi, said that he was happy about the current restoration of Jewish houses, as “it is important to preserve this precious heritage for future generations.” Farhi was born in Egypt, where his family immigrated from Damascus at the beginning of the 20th century. He is deeply involved in genealogical research about the Farhi family, which can be found on his website Fleur d’Orient.

Here is what one American Jew said about Damascus in 2010 before the Civil War. He must not have known about the Jewish history there.  "Damascus has, in my opinion, the best Arabic dialect, and the country is incredibly inexpensive. There are good people to be found, and I am sure that if I told more of my friends that I am Jewish there would not have been too much of a problem.   

“On March 1, 2013, the ancient Jobar Synagogue in the Jobar disctrict of Damascus was severely damaged by Syrian regime forces after shelling of the opposition military in the area.. On March 31, the synagogue was looted and burned to the ground while Syrian government forces and rebel militias blamed the other for the destruction. The rebels said the Syrian government looted the synagogue before burning it to the ground while the government said the rebels burned the synagogue and that so-called Zionist agents stole its historic religious items in an operation that had been planned for several weeks.”

Damascus had large communities of Jews ever since 1492 when the Spanish Inquisition caused Jews to flee from Spain.  Many had sought refuge in Syria.  They were then known as the Shami Jews.  Today it is thought that about 14 Jews remain in Damascus.  40,000 Syrian Jews live in Israel and have an Association of Damascus Jews in Israel.  Many also live in New York, USA.  

Resource: 9/24/13  beautiful pictures
Update: 8/11/13 excellent interview of Jewish lady from Damascus who fled in 1967 to Iran, etc.  
Alain Farhi:  Fleur d'Orient  website

Friday, July 26, 2013

Jerusalem Facts You May Not Know

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                     

King David made Jerusalem his capital more than 3,000 years ago, and Jewish people have lived in this city for over 3,000 years.  It was also well known as "The City of David."  Jews have constituted the largest single group of people living in Jerusalem since the 1840's.  In 1844 there were 7,120 Jews, 5,000 Muslims and 3,390 Christians.    This city has played a central role in Jewish existence.  The Western Wall in the Old City is the last remaining wall of the ancient Jewish Temple and has been the object of Jewish veneration and a focal point for Jewish prayer.

Three times a day since 70 CE Jews have prayed "To Jerusalem, thy city, shall we return with joy."  Israel became reborn on May 14, 1948, but Jews couldn't enter east Jerusalem.   Jews have united the whole city through the terrible war when they were attacked by neighboring Arab countries in  1967.

Muslims have their own special places which are outside of Israel.  Their cities of reverence are Mecca or Medina in Saudi Arabia.  Jerusalem has no major Islamic importance.  They are only interested in the majestic Dome of the Rock that is in Jerusalem.  Jerusalem has never served as a provincial capital under Muslim rule.  Nor was it ever a Muslim cultural center.  If anyone has the audacity to say that Jerusalem need not be the capital of Israel and are Americans, then they should consider someday losing Washington DC.   How would they feel to return to the land and consider having to take another city as their capital when they have always had Americans residing in Washington DC.  Does that make sense?  The USA's history started only almost 400 years ago with the 1620 ship, Mayflower landing.  Israel's history goes back to the 2nd millennium BCE which would be about 4,000 years ago.

Let's look at Jerusalem's population history with Jews and Muslims living there. Muslims lived in the East section, and Jews lived in the rest of Jerusalem.  It is no longer a divided city but united.
1876- 12,000 Jews and 7,560 Muslims
1896- 28,112               8,560
1922- 33,971             13,411
1931- 51,222             19,894
1948-100,000            40,000
1967-195,700            54,963
1990-378,200          131,800

The former mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek had said that, "Throughout centuries of exile, Jerusalem remained alive in the hearts of Jews everywhere as Jerusalem was the focal point of Jewish history.  It is the symbol of ancient glory, spiritual fulfillment and modern renewal.  This heart and soul of the Jewish people engenders the thought that if you want one simple word to symbolize all of Jewish history, that word would be, Jerusalem."

Leon Uris and his wife, Jill, wrote in Jerusalem.  "Jerusalem "has known only 2 periods of true greatness, and these have been separated by 2,000 years.  Greatness has only happened under Jewish rule.  This is so because the Jews have loved her the most, and have remained constant in that love throughout the centuries of their dispersion...It is the longest, deepest love affair in history.  Uris wrote "The Source", a history of Israel through finding artifacts in digs.

What has happened to Jerusalem since 1947?  The UN took up the Palestine question then and they recommended that all of Jerusalem be internationalized.  The Vatican and other Catholic delegates wanted this, but the real reason for this decision was the Soviet Bloc's need to embarrass King Abdullah and his British patrons.  It was this king who would take Judea and Samaria in 1948 illegally even though it was designated to become part of the Jewish National Home, passed by all in the League of Nations.

The leaders to be of Israel, the Jewish Agency, then agreed in 1947 to this internationalization hoping to protect their dear city from conflict.  The Arab states were against the idea as well as the partition plan itself.  They wanted it all.  Abdullah then invaded in 1948 and occupied east Jerusalem along with Judea and Samaria.  Jordan's army drove out thousands of Jews whose families had lived in the city for centuries in exile.  The UN's partition plan and internationalization went up in smoke.

The Arabs had rejected UN Resolution 181.  The UN established the UN conciliation Commission for Palestine on December 11, 1948 after Israel's birth on May 14, 1948.  Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion said that Israel would no longer accept the internationalization of Jerusalem.

The city was divided between Israel and Jordan from 1948 to 1967, when the Arabs lost their attack on Israel in the 67 War.  During this period between 48 to 67, Israel had made its capital in the western part of Jerusalem while Jordan occupied the eastern section.  There had been no peace pact yet with Jordan, so they were officially in a state of war, like all the other Arabs were.  The city was divided with concrete walls and bunkers, barbed-wire fences, minefields and other fortifications that military people use.
1967 after Six Day War, Jews could finally after 20 years see Jerusalem once again.  Here they are celebrating with dancing.  

When the 1967 Arab attack started, Israel pleaded with Jordan not to be a part of the attack and to stay out of the war, but they didn't listen.  Within about 2 days, the IDF drove out the Jordanians and after the war Israel moved to unite the city.

Steven Schwebel, international legal scholar, wrote that because Israel was defending itself from aggression in the 1948 and the 1967 wars, it has a better claim to sovereignty over Jerusalem than that of its Arab neighbors.  The land was all to be the Jewish National Home once again as it had been long ago.

There has been no other people who have been picked on as much as the Jews.  They have suffered from anti-Semitism since they were exiled in 70 CE by the Romans till today.  Since Jews have been such an anathema to the world, the least it can do is back their right to inhabit their old homeland.  The UN has been doing quite the opposite.  In every which way they back the Arabs who would like to see Israel disappear and who have taken it upon themselves to finish Hitler's goal.  Every country in the UN has a history of anti-Semitism, so it's like asking the fox to become a vegetarian.  One nation only has stood up to the injustice against Israel, and that has been the USA.
Back in biblical history, Joshua entered Canaan with the Israelites in 1320 BCE and defeated the Canaanite king of Jerusalem, Adoni-Zedek.  The city was then an independent city between the tribes of Benjamin and Judah.  In the 12th century, Jebus-Jerusalem maintained its independence with some Philistine help, until its was captured by David in about 1010 BCE and became the capital of a united Israel.  This is documented in II Samuel 5: 6-8; and I Chronicles 11:4-6.  King David was lenient with the Jebusites.  He added the fortress of Zion and a House of Heroes for his guard.  Then he built a tomb inside the city for himself and his dynasty.  The Ark of the Covenant was transferred to Jerusalem and it became the religious center.  His empire reached from the Red Sea to the Euphrates.

King Solomon, his son, (970-930 BCE) added to the city with his commercial ventures and heavy taxes.  He added the Palace and the Temple.  It was then that Jerusalem truly became the religious capital.  When Solomon died, the northern tribes seceded.  Judah was created out of Israel who kept Jerusalem as their capital.  The Davidic dynasty lived in Judah.  All went well until it's destruction in 701 BCE by Sennacherib of  the Assyrians. The city fell again in 586 BCE to Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonians who deported most of the population and destroyed the temple and Royal Palace.  Fifty years went by and most of the exiles returned and rebuilt the Temple in 519 BCE.  Jerusalem then became the capital of a Persian province but was autonomous in internal matters under the rule of the high priest of the House of Zadok.  All nobles and a 1/10th of the of the people were brought in to fill the half-empty city. Theocratic rule continued in Hellenistic times when the city was prosperous.

The city was captured by the Parthians in 40 BCE and fell after a long siege to Herod in 37 BCE who was a Roman vassal who was the ruler.  He built a palace in the NW quarter of the city with 3 giant towers.  One is still there and is called the "Tower of David."  He even rebuilt the Temple with a huge surrounding esplanade.  This outer wall  still stand and is called the Western Wall.  It had been called the "Wailing Wall."  Herod died in 4 BCE which caused the city to be ruled by a Roman Procurators except when Agrippa I reigned from 41 to 44 who built a 3rd wall to the North.  When the procurator, Pontius Pilate was in charge, Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem  in 29 CE.  Roman rule was unbearable and the people revolted in 66.  They were independent for 3 years when it was again besieged by the Romans under Titus and fell in 70 CE.  The Temple and most of the buildings were destroyed.

Bar Kochba revolted from 132 to 135 and Jerusalem was then liberated.  The Roman emperor Hadrian had had it rebuilt as a Roman colony, Aelia Capitolina and forbade Jews  to near it with a death decree if they did.

Finally, the Roman Empire was Christianized and under Constantine, Jerusalem became a Holy City for their new religion.  His mother, Helena, visited Jerusalem in 325 and had the Church of the Holy Sepulcher built in 335.  Now it became a city of churches and monasteries, pilgrimages and religious disputes.  In 363, Emperor Julian tried to restore the Temple unsuccessfully.  In 614, it was occupied by the Persians who were assisted by a Jewish force, but by 628, Byzantine rule was restored by emperor Heraclius.

In 638, the city fell to Caliph Omar who set up a place of prayer in the Temple esplanade, which was rebuilt in 691 as the Dome of the Rock by the Umayyad caliph Abed-el Malik.  The Arabs allowed the Jews to return, but the city began to decay after they transferred the center of Abbasid rule to Baghdad in 750.  The Fatimids in the 11th century built the 2nd mosque, El-Aksa, on the Temple site.  Then in 1099 Jerusalem was invaded by the Crusaders  led by Godfrey of Bouillon.  They made Jerusalem a capital of the Latin Kingdom.  Not for long, though, because by 1187 the Ayyubid sultan Saladin took the city for Islam again and it remained in Muslim hands.  Under the Ottomans, it decayed and in the 18th and 19th century the population sank below 10,000 and part lay in ruins.
                              Paratroopers see Western Wall for first time after 1967 War

The Jewish community was destroyed by the Crusaders and was almost non-existent in the 13th century, but not for long.  The Spanish Inquisition of 1492 caused many Sephardim Jews to pour into Jerusalem when the government was restricting their entrance.  In 1625 the local pasha Muhammad ibn Farukh killed many of them.  A revival of population started in the 1880's when the first aliyah from Russia returned.  By 1838 the population rose from 11,000 to 68,000 with 50,000 being Jewish.
Women at Western Wall in early 1900s by looks of clothing  ..

Who does Jerusalem like best?  The Jewish people.  Why?  Because they take care of her.  They love her.  Nothing was done with Jerusalem when the Jews were forced out.  It lost its special aura, its sheen, its specialty.  It was just a city without the Jews.

Resource:  The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Myths and Facts-a concise record of the Arab-israeli conflict by Michell G. Bard, Joel Himelfarb

Thursday, July 25, 2013

September Goal of Boot Camp in Gaza For Portland's Start Up Business Program

Nadene Goldfoot                                                               

Portland is the home of “The Rogue Venture Partners” which  is managed by one of two partners, Tom Sperry. Rogue is a private equity firm.  Sperry is also the CEO of “Exit Games Inc”, a venture capital backed technology company which works on video games industry.  They have offices not only in Portland but Hamburg, Germany.   They are funding another Portland venture, “Mercy Corps,”with cash  which is also out of Portland.  Mercy Corps opened Gaza Sky Geeks in March 2012 using money from a Google grant of $900,000 for investment in Gazan tech entrepreneurs.

According to this morning’s Oregonian, they are sowing seeds in the Middle East in Gaza by backing start up businesses.  They also offer mentorships with a “coterie of international players” which also include Google.  This was announced by “Gaza Sky Geeks” who plan to launch the area’s first startup accelerator.

Jordan’s “Oasis500" is also putting in cash, mentorship and is promising to co-host the first class of startups with Gaza Sky Geeks.  It’s great to see such interest in business when all that comes from Gaza since 2000 as far as Israel knows  has been mortars, missiles and rockets aimed into Southern Israel.

It’s taken 17 months to get the program going.  “The startups are planned to spend 4 months of tutoring in Gaza and Amman, Jordan where they’ll learn about product concepts, consumer reach and implementation.” The mentors of Oasis500 and GazaSkyGeeks plan to link them to investors for financial assistance.

John Ross is the MercyCorps’ director of a digital economy program for West Bank and Gaza.  He has recruited Tom Sperry who is the managing partner of Rogue Venture Partners.  It is Tom who has created the program’s agenda and has found investors in Cairo, Amman and Doha, Qatar.

Gaza’s inventors are focusing heavily on gaming and app development because living in Gaza makes online businesses suitable.  John Ross estimates that there are about 120 high-tech startups in Gaza.  Also in Gaza are 5 universities with technology and engineering subjects in a few of them that help to develop the skills needed. Applicants for their program has now started.  They expect about 100 applicants. 40 will be selected out of which about 12 will be picked.   In their “boot camp” at Gaza Sky Geeks in September.  Out of the 12, they plan on finding about 5 or 6 for the first class by September 29th.

 Ross blames the lack of exposure and opportunity  of starting up start-up businesses on the inability of  traveling beyond Gaza as a problem, not realizing perhaps why?  The fact of the matter is that Gaza had elected Hamas, a terrorist organization as their leadership and kicked out Abbas in doing so, who was relegated to the Judea/Samaria areas instead.  From then on, Gaza men  have been putting all their creative juices into bombing and attacking southern Israel.  There is no peace between Gaza and Israel yet.   While Israel went on to become the world’s 2nd largest start-up nation, Gaza has remained the attackers of Israel.
Since Mercy Corps has opened, they have given the Gaza tech scene some hackathons, events, workshops and high-speed Internet, computers, Androids and iPads.

 Then they realized they needed more and obtained Sperry,  whose job is to provide more money and mentorship.  Sperry has helped to frame the programming and offered advice in growth of businesses and how to select partnerships.  Sperry and Ross traveled for 10 days last July to Cairo, Doha and Amman where they met with investors and other techies about their idea of Gaza sky Geeks.  By the middle of July, Oasis500 committed to be the “accelerator’s partner.

“Now Sperry is trying to to get 1 or 2 of the startups to Portland and work with Upstart Labs.  Rogue Venture Partners is an investor in Portland-based accelerator. “   It sounds like these businesses will be operating from the web.

Resource: Oregonian newspaper, 7/25/13, page C1 Business Section:   Sowing seeds in the Middle East-“startups the world over possess much the same relentless DNA”.....

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When Jews Offered the Moon to Arabs and It Wasn't Enough

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                 

                                                  Chaim Weizmann, 1st President of Israel

Back around 1920, our harassed Zionist leaders made so many concessions in the hope of appeasing the Arabs that it caused an argument between the Zionist schools of Chaim Weizmann and Ze'ev Jabotinsky

Vladimir "Ze'ev" Jabotinsky (1880-August 4, 1940) was a Revisionist Zionist" who were in opposition to the official Zionism.  He along with Joseph Trumpeldor had founded the Jewish Legion of the British Army in WWI.  He established the Zion Mule Corps.   He favored political cooperation with the British.  One of his accomplishments was to organize the Irgun, Beitar and Hatzohar groups.  He must have changed his opinion of the British by 1923 when he resigned from the Zionist Executive board because they failed to oppose the British policy with enough vigor. That was probably due to his imprisonment by the British because he fought against the Arabs in their 1920 attack on Jewish communities.  It was then that he had organized the first Jewish self-defense group which he led.  He did his best to get Polish Jews out of Europe in the 1930's and could see what was happening to Jews and how important a Jewish state was. According to historian Benny Morris, however, documents show that all Zionist leaders of the 20s, 30s, and 40s, including Jabotinsky, favored the transfer of Arab populations if required for establishing a (still-proposed) Jewish state."

Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) was a Jewish scientist who assisted all the allies and especially Great Britain to win WWI with his scientific achievement of improving weapons use.  He brought about the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917 in which Britain made the commitment to establish a Jewish Home out of Palestine, the land The Brits held the mandate on.  He had successful meetings with Emir Feisal,  son of Sharif Hussein of Mecca who was the head leader of all the Arabs.  They had an agreement to create an Arab and a Jewish state.   

Weizmann's ideas had prevailed.   Chaim was chosen to be Israel's first president.  Feisal changed his mind about Israel  when he realized that Great Britain had given  more land than he had expected to the Jews.

Both of these Zionist leaders, Jabotinsky and Weizmann, were Russian Jews  who were tired of pogroms and restrictions on Jews and saw the perils their people were facing, but didn't imagine such a thing as the future Holocaust that would wipe out 6 million of their people.    Their future was bleak and about to become extinct as they saw it in the 20's.  .  

It was the Arab leaders' antagonism which was  inspired, organized  and financed by the British Authority  that did the undoing of cooperation between the Jews and the Arabs.  The Jewish leaders knew how contrived and unrealistic the pretensions of the Arab national movement was.  They knew that there wasn't any burning desire to have their own country when they met them back in the 1880's.  Arabs just wanted jobs.                                                                

                                                    Emir Feisal Ibn ul Hussein, King of Iraq

Concession after concession was proposed to the Arabs.  In the early 1930's the Zionists  offered the Arabs political recognition which would have jeopardized the very foundation of their own independence, but it wasn't accepted.  Parity was the offer made.  This is  constitutional equality regardless of majority and minority,  "the quality or state of being equal or equivalent."   If they disagreed, the vote was to be cast by the British government which the Jews still trusted in those days.  "No reasoned reply was ever made to this offer;  it died in the flames of the pan-Arab attack of 1936.

The next year in 1937, the Zionist leaders made the decision for the sake of peace to share the country with the Arabs by dividing what remained of the original mandated territory of Palestine  after eastern Palestine had been given to the Arabs by the British.  This was a partition scheme proposed by the British Royal Commission and the Jews accepted it even though the  proposed  miniature Jewish state would have been completely indefensible.  They must have been desperate to do that as they saw what was happening in Europe to the Jews.  Our  higher power must have been protecting the Jews from such a bad decision as the Arabs rejected the plan and the British government buried it!  The proposed Israel would have been extinguished faster than the blink of an eye since the Arabs were already meeting with Hitler and plotting the end of the Jews.
A 3rd proposal was made in 1947 after WWII when Hitler was dead.  The Jewish underground had finally forced the British to give up their hold on Palestine.  Their mandate was running out of time anyway as it was up in 1948.  The Zionist leaders announced that they were willing to accept a plan of partition as a way of putting an end to the conflict they were experiencing.  They accepted the UN partition proposal which still included a  ludicrously vulnerable Jewish state by telling themselves again that a heavy sacrifice would win the heart of the Arabs.

Of course it was just an illusion and this acceptance was met with bloodshed. and destruction.  The Arabs of Palestine were in an uproar and the Arab League invaded in 1948 when Israel was declared a state on May 14th.  Still, the Zionist leaders refrained from using their military advantage gained from all the past fighting they had been enduring.   Some feel they could have restored all of western Palestine, but instead they accepted a compromise which left Palestine partitioned and Israel with improved but still strategically weak frontiers.  Israel signed the Armistice agreements with the Arab government counting on peace with their neighbors who breached each clause, one by one.

There hadn't been any movement from the Arabs of Judea and Samaria to make peace with Israel in the cramped lines of the 1949 Armistice.  They continued to think of themselves as people wanting to eliminate Israel.  In May of 1967,  just before the Six Day War that started on June 5th, outbursts of joyful participation could be heard in their general pan-Arab plotting

The Palestinian Arabs have had a very short modern history as they were people who had emigrated to Israel from neighboring states seeking jobs and better living conditions in the 1880's.  Only a few could qualify as native-born Arabs.  Many landowners had long since left and had sold their land to the Jews as they were able to receive very high inflated prices for worn-out land no one wanted except the Jews.  The Arabs leaders who were now dickering for all the land were following the lead from outsiders.  There was no base to them needing or even thinking about having their own state.  "It is no accident nor the result of any overwhelming pressure that they did not establish a state of their own even when it was offered to them on a silver platter by the United Nations."  They said no to an agreement for their own state in 1949 when the war ended.  The Armistice had been signed by Israel, and the Arab army of Transjordan was occupying Judea and Samaria.  What more did they want?

Nineteen years later in 1967, the Arabs hadn't shown any desire for independence nor taken any action to get their own state.   King  Abdullah had created Transjordan in 1946 and made it an independent Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan.  He had formally announced the annexation of Judea and Samaria to his kingdom during the 1948-1949 War and the Palestinian Arabs said nothing.  The king renamed the land "Jordan."  The Arabs living there suddenly became Jordanians or even called themselves "West Bankers" and no one complained. There are more "Palestinian Arabs" living there than the original Hashemites.  In reality, this is the Arab "Palestine."   They found out that this move angered other Arab states, but Great Britain and Pakistan recognized this move.

There never was a nation called Palestine.  It was the former Jewish land of Israel and Judah renamed by the Romans.  Arabs living in what was called Palestine were always a fragment of the large Arab world.  The inner desire, and spiritual feeling, the passion of creating a nation hasn't been there without the egging on of the Brits and their Arab brothers of the surrounding nations. They always had thought of themselves as Syrians.   They have really been treated as pawns in a game of chess with the goal of taking over all of Israel from the dhimmis of the past, the Jews.  Their national character has been turned into terrorists who have constantly attacked Jews.  Deep inside of each Arab is more of an attachment to their family, clan, village and city.  Most haven't changed from the people TE Lawrence found in 1918 except for one way;  they are now ready to sacrifice their children's lives to gain the upper hand.

It's been 65 years since Israel was re-established on May 14, 1948.  Israel's heart has been hardened by all wars they have had to fight to keep their tiny country which is only 8,000 square miles.They have lost their naivety.   There needs to be another Emir Feisal to come along and make a peace that both Israel and the Arabs can live with.  Third parties may have their heart in the right place but not their souls.  This must be between the people who must live together.  Israel has continued to offer them the olive branch. Either the Arabs are ready to live as others do, in peace, or not.  The choice is theirs.

Resource:  Battleground-fact and fantasy in Palestine by Samuel Katz p. 220-225.'ev_Jabotinsky

Monday, July 22, 2013

To Talk or Not to Talk, That is the Question John Kerry is Asking

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                

Evidently neither Israel nor the Palestine Authority were aware of Secretary of State John Kerry's decision to publicize a story announcing on Friday evening that both of them had agreed to resume talks in Washington, possibly as early as this week.  It was news to both of them!

Some people think this has been done as a pressure tactic and is trying to dare both of them not to show up.  The truth is that neither party has publicly endorsed Kerry's framework for restarting talks.  Gosh, and Arabs like to think that Israel is so untrustworthy. Israel has Gaza to remember which turned into a shooting platform to hit southern Israel.  Israel gave that back for an exchange of peace.  How honest were the Arabs with Israel?  How can Israel trust them?

 Look at Kerry go.  He's such a newbee at the shuk!  One of the spokesmen is Yasser Abed-Rabbo, secretary-general of the PLO.  He talked on Palestine radio and said that "direct talks would be "conditioned on many clarifications about core issues," and that several "sticking points" remain unresolved.  But his side has not yet confirmed it will resume direct talks.

Yes, Yasser.  That's what a meeting is for:  to talk about the core issues and to clarify them as well as these unresolved sticking points.  I guess he wants it all settled before they all sit down for tea and crumpets to sign papers.  The Palestinians don't want to do the palavering.

Pressure on Israel is coming from the EU who on Friday decided to not award any funding, grants, scholarships or prizes to Jews living in Judea and Samaria or in the Golan Heights or East Jerusalem.  They are pushing harder to make Israel accept a peace deal with Palestine, which would look something like handing over all of Israel to them, no doubt and kicking everyone out except a few 90 year old sabras. Pressure is coming from Kerry as well as the media who keep rubbing in the fact that this is his 6th trip to the region to try to restart talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.  Of course Kerry doesn't talk about the Palestinian leadership which is divided between Hamas and Fatah with Hamas having taken over Gaza years ago and just happen to be out and out terrorists.  What kind of a deal can be made with a minor representative such as Abbas of Fatah?

Kerry has set his working sites on this situation in his new position.  Is he starting with the easiest or hardest or most important goal on his list?  He's ignoring the 2 year old civil war "raging" in Syria that has taken over 100,000 lives so far (100,191+) that has affected the lives of the 22,505,000 Syrians.  Is he ignoring the threat of Iran against Israel with nuclear weaponry?  Believe me, that will affect all the countries surrounding Israel as well.   Netanyahu feels that Iran has about 2 more weeks to reach the red line, he said last week. He spoke on July 14th about their nearness and the world's distraction to this problem by Syria and Egypt.     Aren't the EU people worried about these other problems?  Why are they trying to interfere with  the  borders of Israel?  That's not in their realm of decisions.
About 320,000 Jews live in 250 towns and cities in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem.  1.6 million Arabs are living in Israel and are citizens, just like the Jewish ones.  Is the EU made up of only Catholics?

Oh yes, the Palestinians keep on saying that they WANT all of Judea and Samaria as a state and will call it Palestine.  Actually, they lost that chance, didn't they, in 1967 when they declared war on Israel and lost?  They have been asked since then, for 46 years, to make peace with Israel and haven't.  Was there really any reason why Israel should stay out of land they won fairly and squarely that was theirs anyway according to the League of Nations in about 1922?  For people to wait for 46 years to establish a state of their own, I wonder as to the necessity of such a move or if they are prepared to be state builders?

Now we know that the EU is backing down from Muslim pressure.  They are backing the Palestinians who are demanding to take land illegally.  Why?  All the Arab states stand with the Palestinians and they have oil.  It's a matter of the righteous losing over the mighty.  They seem to forget that back in 1967 Israel stood up to them all and overcame all the odds.  Israel won.  Just who was on Israel's side then?  Perhaps the EU is backing the wrong horse in this race.

Resource: Oregonian Newspaper; 722/13 page A4, News Update-Middle East

Saturday, July 20, 2013

So, You Want to Talk About the Six Day War of 1967?

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                 

The Palestinians are talking to Netanyahu and Kerry only on the basis of talking about the pre-1967 borders of Israel.  In other words, they want to get what Israel has after being attacked by all the Muslim countries in 1967's June 5th to June 11th Six Day War.  They lost that terrible attack and now they want to erase that fact because it cost them.  Secretary of State John Kerry had to give Mahmoud Abbas a letter saying that the meeting is centered on this.

They had lost face again and they lost the rights to Judea and Samaria which rightfully was not theirs to be had in the first place.  Jordan had illegally just taken it over and occupied it in 1948 when Israel was battling for its very life.  It had been awarded to Israel as part of the Jewish Homeland by the League of Nations which every country in the world had signed onto.  As it turned out, Israel had to be satisfied with 20% of the promised Holy land while the Arabs, who have more land than they can handle, got 80% of it.  Why?  Oil.  The land they sit on has oil that the rest of the world needs.  Therefore promises have been broken in the name of economics and greed. The 67 war allowed Gaza, Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem to come into Israel's hands as they did not start this war.  That must have been quite a picture:  4 large Arab nations with help from other Arab states against the only Jewish state of infinitesimal size who has the audacity to win!

So far, the Arabs have lost every battle they've started with Israel, and so they also blame the USA for that because Israel has bought weapons from the USA.  However, there never has been an American soldier fighting in America's name; only Jews, and mostly have been Israelis.  Jews entered Canaan under G-d's directions.  We feel we have still had G-d help. After all, the odds were all on the Arab's side to win in 1967, and they didn't.
   Where the 12 Tribes of Jacob Lived in Israel on 17,500 square miles; 45% being in Trans-Jordan.
    Israelites lived here under King David and son King Solomon (I Kings 5:4)Moses had led the Israelites out of Egypt.  Moses (1391 BCE-1271 BCE)  Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 CE.  Jews have been suffering from anti-Semitic actions ever since.  Israel was re-established May 14, 1948.

What they should rehash is the escalation which resulted in the Six Day War which consisted of 5 stages so that they won't happen again.

President Nasser of Egypt threatened on March 8, 1965, "We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand.  We shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood."  This war was highly pre-meditated and was to be a bloodshed for the Jews of Israel.

1. Syria, Egypt and the Soviet Union spread false reports of concentrations of Israeli forces on the Syrian frontier. They ignored on the spot reports by the UN that no such concentrations existed.  They fabricated such lies to have an excuse to attack.  Their reason for attack was to destroy and take Israel's 8,000 square miles.  Syria has 71,500 square miles and Egypt has 387,048 square miles already.  The Soviet Union had 8,144,228 square miles.

2.  The false reports were used by Egypt as a pretext for concentrating the bulk of its army in Sinai- 90,000 men and 900 tanks.

3. Egypt demanded that the UN Emergency Force withdraw on May 16th and they did which concluded the barrier they had been between Egypt and Israel.  Therefore Israel can never depend on outside help.They had been there since the 1956 Arab attack.

4. Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran  on May 22, 1967 to all navigation destined to Israel and called for war.THEY DECLARED WAR AGAINST ISRAEL.

5.  The Arab States formed a war pact against Israel.  The armies of:
     EGYPT, -led the pack
    SYRIA  began to concentrate their forces along the frontiers with Israel.  The Jordanian army was under the command of an Egyptian officer.

Arab leaders made speeches during this period affirming publicly their intention to destroy Israel.
President Nasser said on May 26, 1967:
"The Arab people want to fight.  We have been waiting for the right day when we would be fully prepared.  Recently , we have felt strong enough to triumph with God's help if we enter into battle with Israel.  On that basis, we have decided to take the actual measures.  Taking this step makes it imperative that we be ready to embark on a TOTAL WAR with Israel.

President Aref of Iraq spoke on June 1, 1967 on Radio Baghdad and said,
"We are resolved, determined and united to achieve our clear aim of wiping Israel off the map.  This is the day to wash away the stain.  God willing, we shall meet in Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Leader of PLO-Ahmed Shukairi on June 4, 1967 on native born Israelis:
"Those who survive will remain in "Palestine," but I estimate that not many of them will survive."

Israel waited for 3 weeks from May 15th for international intervention to stop the escalation and remove the threat from its frontiers.  The Great Powers and the United Nations were incapable of effecting any change in the situation.  On June 5th, war broke out.

About 250,000 Arab troops with almost half in the Sinai, more than 2,000 tanks and 700 aircraft ringed Israel.  

In 6 days, Israel destroyed the armies that had massed along its frontiers and menaced its vital centers.  Cease-fire lines were established along the Suez Canal, the Jordan River and the Golan Heights.  The Straits of Tiran were once again open to navigation.  Jerusalem was re-unified.  Israel had conquered more than triple the size of the area it controlled from 8,000 to 26,000 square miles.  Israel won the Sinai, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria and unified Jerusalem.  Israel lost 777 soldiers and 2,586 were wounded.  It compares to the USA's 8 years of fighting in the war in Vietnam as far as population goes.  Cease fire was invoked on June 10th as Israeli forces broke through enemy lines and were in a position to march on Cairo, Damascus and Amman, Jordan.  The Arabs called "UNCLE!"

I would give them Bupkas!  Netanyahu is giving them back some of the killer Palestinians that have been in Israeli prisons. The Arabs want 350 of which 100 had been the deadliest of killers.   They are to be released in phases.  Their charges range from rock throwers, deadly assaults, shooting attacks to bombers.

Tzipi Livni, Israel's female negotiator, said she is hopeful after years of mistrust.

Myths and Facts by Dr. Mitchell G. Bard and Joel Himelfarb, Near East Reports
Facts About Israel, Division of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
The Secret War Against the Jews-how western espionage betrayed the Jewish people, by John Loftus and Mark Aarons--oil kerry, Palestinians

Friday, July 19, 2013

In the Days of Spanish Jewish Pirates and World Explorers

Nadene Goldfoot                                                          

Josephus Flavius (whose real name was Yoseph ben Mattityahu ha-Cohen, the Jewish Roman writer, told of Jewish sailors attacking Roman ships in the port of Jaffa.  He was born in about 38 CE and lived to 100 CE and was a member of a priestly family in Judah.  That was one way of getting back at the Romans who had taken Jerusalem in 70 CE, which would be when Josephus started writing for the Romans.
We Jews also took to the oceans in 1492 when the Spanish Inquisition made Jews either convert to Catholicism or leave Spain. The Genoese Italian Explorer,  Cristobal Colon,  known to us as Christopher Columbus (c.1446-1506), decided to sail for India at this same time.  Many historians have noticed this "coincidence."   His mother tongue just happened to be Spanish.  He had boasted cryptically of his remote origins and clearly tried to conceal something of his immediate background.  He had a mysterious signature to which he attached much importance.  It could have had a Jewish interpretation.  In one place he used an inaccurate Jewish chronological tradition and seemed to have avoided sailing on the 9th of Av, a day in Jewish history of when the Temple fell both times in history; once to the Assyrians and the next to the Babylonians.  He found encouragement and financial help from Jews and hidden Jews and his first reports of success were addressed to his hidden Jewish patrons.  It was formerly believed that 5 members of his crew were Jewish, but recent research has shown that only his interpreter, Luis de Torres, was Jewish. Of course the other 4 could have been better at becoming hidden Jews.   Especially interesting is that Columbus carried on written letters in Hebrew to his son.  Even Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Nazi hunter noted the presence of Jews in the 3 ships, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria that were Columbus's flotilla of exploration.

"Spanish and Portuguese Jews are a distinctive sub-group of Sephardi Jews, mostly descended from families forcibly converted to Catholicism in Spain and Portugal which later left for other countries where some could revert to Judaism. "  The main Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities are in Western Europe, Italy and the Americas."

The Spanish Inquisition had driven some of the Spanish Jews to seek refuge in Portugal, where many settled only to be forced from there if they remained Jewish.  Jews not wanting to convert in both countries became hidden Jews, or secretly kept their religion but pretended to become Catholics.  Evidently a few Jews became pirates as they must have been motivated by a thirst for revenge against the Spanish Crown.  They crossed the seas in ships named "Queen Esther, Shield of Abraham, and Prophet Samuel and attacked Spanish ships.  They were intelligent enough to have had political alliances with other European powers that were enemies of Spain to get away with this.

Records from the Jewish community of Amsterdam, Holland, the Mikveh Israel, tell of  Rabbi Ioshua de Cordoba, preaching sermons in 1753 on the Caribbean island of Curracao, about his concern of how to prevent pirate raids on the high seas and the need of fraternal solidarity when a Spanish ship attacked a Jewish ship.

There were 2 types of pirate ships.  One was the Corsair.  This type had an agreement with a ruler to capture and loot ships hostile to it and distributed the goods found.  It had a "license" to to attack and plunder.  The pirate ship had no contractual relationship with anyone and kept the loot for himself.  Thus we have the Buccaneers.  This name was for those pirates attacking Spanish ships and settlements, especially in the West Indies in the 17th century.  It was also used to describe an unscrupulous adventurer in politics or business, perhaps an anti-Semitic term of that period. A Privateer ship was an armed private ship commissioned to cruise against the commerce or warships of an enemy.  The commander of such a ship was a Privateer.   Personally, I'm very happy to find out that Jews were able to fight back against the terrors caused from the Spanish Inquisition this way.
From the American journalist, Edward Kritzler's research, we learn about Sinan Reis, Admiral of the Turkish fleet and ally of the well-known Barbarossa.  In 1538 he battled the united fleet of Liga Santa, which was made up of the Papal States, Holy Roman Empire, Republic of Venice and the Order of Malta.  This was in the battle of Preveza, which gave the Ottoman Empire control over the Mediterranean for more than 30 years.

Simon Fernandez was a Spanish Jewish privateer who escaped from the Inquisition and collaborated with the  Welsh pirate, John Callis by harassisng Spanish and French ships which then earned him the permission to anchor in the ports of the king of England.  He sailed for the West Indies, North America and the Pacific Ocean along with Sir Walter Raleigh.

Yaacov Curiel was descended from a family of Jewish converts to Christianity or hidden Jew and became captain of the Spanish fleet.  He was captured by the inquisitorial agens and rescued by their own Marrano sailors (hidden Jews).  Then he went back to attack the Spanish ships in the Caribbean until his cabbalistic retirement in the Holy Land, which at that time was called "Palestine."

David Abrabanel, a descendant of rabbis,  was a Dutch Jewish Corsair feared by the British who had a remarkable family lineage.  He went by the alias of Captain Davis and named his ship "Jerusalem" and was known to observe Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest and observance of studying the Torah. He had earned the nickname of Pirate Rabbi.   He seized Spanish ships for 10 years.  His family had died in a Spanish attack on the high seas when he was a teenager, probably during the time they had to flee from Spain.  His family of Abravanel was a distinguished family of Spanish origin.  Isaac (1437-1508) was a statesman, philosopher and Torah exegete and served as treasurer to Alfonso V of Portugal but fled to Spain in 1483 to escape charges of conspiracy leveled by Alfonso's son against his father's ministers.  In Toledo, he entered the service of ferdinand and Isabella but was unable to avert the decree of expulsion from Spain in 1492 and so went with other Jews to Italy where he worked in the court of Naples.

Samuel Pallache was the Ambassador of Morocco in Madrid, Spain.  He was also a Corsair of the Dutch and a global trader.
Moses Cohen Henriques was a prominent Jewish  Portugese pirate in Amsterdam whose voyages took him to Cuba and Brazil.  He ended up being moderator of the most famous pirate of all time, Henry Morgan. The Henriques family were Sephardis that were hidden Jews and were found in Holland, Italy, England the West Indies and America.  The best-known branch is that of Quixano Henriques who emigrated to England from Jamaica in the 18th century and included Sir Basil Lucas Quixano Henriques (1890-1961).  He was a social worker active in welfare work in London and was the founder and leader of the Bernhard Baron St. George's Jewish settlement and was an authority on juvenile delinquency.  He became a leading advocate of Liberal Judaism.  Other descendants include a lawyer and king's counselor, and a soldier and author.

The brothers, Pierre (1770-1821) and Jean Lafitte (1776-1823) had ancestors that had fled from Spain and France. The Inquisition had followed people to Mexico, so it is not surprising that Jews would have left after 1492 quite suspiciously, fleeing from the Inquisitors.  Contemporary biographers believe that the Lafittes were born in Orduna, Spain, but they told people they were born in France.  They became two of the most famous Corsairs of the late 18th -19th centuries.  Under the aegis of France and from the swamps of Louisiana, they attacked the British ships that sailed for the Gulf of Mexico.  In 1812 at the battle of New Orleans, Jean fought victoriously alongside Andrew Jackson, the future President of the United States.  He ended his days of the Corsair life in the Yucatan.   Pierre was known for his wit and charm.  He died in 1821 near Dzilam de Bravo, Yucatan, Mexico.  .

One can go to Curacao and look up the old Jewish cemetery.  There is the tomb of Lea Jana Shneur, wife of a Jewish pirate.  On the tombstone is engraved his name and the skull and the crossbones of the pirate icon.  That surname is mighty close to Shneour, which is the surname of the rabbi of Chabad, Zalman Shneour of Vilna, Lithuania (1887-1959).  His ancestor was Zalman ben Baruch Shneour of Lyady (1747-1813) of Lyady who was the founder of Chabad, a Hassidic movement. It's very possible that this Polish-Lithuanian Ashkenazi family had its origins as Sepharidic Jews.

Resource: Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World... by Edward Kritzler (Nov 3, 2009)
 Guesharim Magazine article by Ernesto Antebi on Rabbi Ioshua de Cordoba
Information from Ana, translation from Spanish
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Revolt Against Syrians By Jews; the Hasmoneans

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                         

Israel was divided in half in 933 BCE when King Solomon died.  The southerly of the 2 kingdoms was Judah and the northerly kingdom remained as Israel.  The last king of Judah was Zedekiah who ruled from 597 to 586 BCE.  This is when the Babylonians attacked and large numbers of the inhabitants were deported.  An attempt to perpetuate a subject state was made under Gedaliah, a member of the former royal house, who became governor of Judah by being appointed by the Babylonians after the destruction of the 1st Temple in 586 BCE.   His rule ended with his assassination  in 582 BCE by the commander Ishmael ben Nethaniah and his followers who were planning a revolt against Babylon.  Gedaliah's supporters then had to flee to Egypt for safety.  .

The descendants of the exiled Jews living in Babylon continued to love their national and religious ideals. Their condition improved when the ex-king Jehoiachin was let out of prison and was given the royal honors in 561 BCE.   After 538 BCE the exiled were able to renew Jewish life and return to the area of the former kingdom of Judah because Cyrus of Persia permitted them to return to Judea if they wanted.  He had just overthrown Belshazzar of Babylonia.   They had been kept away for about 70 years.     The canonical prophets carried on their activity and great parts of the Bible were composed and the essential traditions of Judaism were developed and preserved during  this period.

The Hasmoneans were a priestly family and dynasty founded by Mattathias of Modiin in Israel.  The priestly line was started by Aaron, brother of Moses.  They were probably called Hashmonai (Hasmonean) after his ancestor, Hashmon, but  the name could have come from a place-name found in Josh.5:27.
Mattathias was a patriot, a priest and a landowner of Modiin. He had 5 sons; Judah the Maccabee, Jonathan, Simon, John, and Eleazar. Mattathias killed the royal official who was sent to make the Jews worship Zeus.  This was the focus of the revolt of his sons against Antiochus Epiphanes.  Mattathias was the leader of the revolt and was staying in the Judean hills and waged a guerilla war on the Syrians.  He was killed and his son, Judah the Maccabee, took over.  He was later called the Hammerer because he hammered away at the Syrians.  We remember Judah and his brothers being victorious over Antiochus Epiphanes and their rededication of the Temple that the Greeks had taken over.  They had placed statutes of their gods in the Temple which was for the one and only unseen G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the people that believed in one G-d who came to be known as the Jews.  We remember these brave brothers during Hanukkah, which always happens in close proximity to Christmas.

Antiochus was the name of 13 Greek kings of the House of Seleucus who ruled Syria in the Hellenistic Period.  Antiochus III reigned from 223 to 187 BCE.  He transferred 2,000 Jewish families from Babylon to Lydia and Phrygia.  He captured Jerusalem in 198 BCE and treated the Jews with understanding.  Antiochus IV Epiphanes followed him and reigned from 175 to 163 BCE.  He fought against Egypt in 168 BCE but was turned back by Rome in his 2nd expedition.  He occupied Jerusalem, plundered the Temple treasure and tried to Hellenize Judea by force in order to convert it into a frontier-province that was reliable.
The Hasmoneans were rebelling against the hellenizing policy by the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes.  It was from 166 to 164 BCE that the Hasmoneans fought a number of successful battles against the Syrians which caused the Syrians to fight back against them with great cruelty.  Thousands of Jews were killed and many were sold into slavery.  Antiochus E.  brought in gentile settlers into Jerusalem and fortified the Acra as a stronghold of the Hellenizers to rule the city.  Then he began a religious persecution of the Jews, and forbid circumcision and the observance of the Sabbath.  He desecrated the Temple altar and set up pagan altars in other towns and compelled the Jews to take part in pagan ceremonies.  This caused the Hasmonean uprising.  His son, Antiochus V reigned from 164 to 162 BCE and continued the war against the Jews until 163 BCE when he granted them religious and some political autonomy in return for their acceptance of his rule.  In 164 BCE, however, Judah had captured Jerusalem back and rededicated the Temple.

This was followed by a series of raids to rescue the Jewish populations of Ammon, Idumea, Gilead and the Galilee They were defeated in 163 at Bet Zechariah where Eleazar was killed.  The Hashmoneans were able to obtain terms securing Jewish religious freedom, but Judah and his party, aspiring for political freedom also, continued the fight and Judah fell at Elasa in 160 BCE.  John was murdered shortly afterwards and Jonathan took over the leadership.  He was able to secure the high priesthood and governorship of Judah in 150 BCE.  Simon succeeded in gaining exemption from tribute by 147 BCE and was confirmed by the people as hereditary high priest, ethnarch and general in 142, but was murdered in 135 BCE.

His son, John Hyrcanus, who succeeded him, suffered a crushing defeat by Antiochus VII Sidetes.  Jerusalem was taken by the Syrians after a prolonged siege and Judea once more became a Seleucid province.  After the defeat of Antiochus in his war against Parthia, John launched a successful offensive against Transjordan, Samaria and Idumea, which marked the change of the Hasmoneans to a semi-Hellenized secular military dynasty.  This led to his adherence to the aristocratic Sadducee party.  He was succeeded by his sons Judah Aristobulus (105-4) and Alexander Yannai (104-76), one of whom was the first to adopt the royal title.  .

Josephus (Flavio Josefo) told of an argument recorded in 63 BCE between the father, John Hyrcanus and his son, Judah Aristobulus, about winning the favor of Pompey and get the scepter of his people.

Pompey (106-48 BCE) was a Roman general who arrived in Syria in 65-3 BCE and became the arbiter in a dispute between Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus I (104-103 BCE)  for the throne of Judea. Aristobulus  was the eldest son of John Hyrcanus and was to have been high priest with the administration of the state of Judah being left in his mother's hands.  However, he murdered his mother and his brother, Antigonus and imprisoned his other brothers.  He then extended the northern boundaries of Judea.  He was an admirer of Greek culture and called himself Philhellene.

Ultimately Pompey favored Hyrcanus II.  He captured Jerusalem and the Temple from Aristobulus' supporters.  He left the shrine intact, although he entered the Holy of Holies.  The state of Judea was made a tributary and stripped of the territories acquired by the Hasmoneans.  Aristobulus and his family were taken to Rome to grace Pompeys triumph.  Pompey terminated Jewish independence that had been enjoyed since Simon the Maccabee.

 Either the father or his son had accused the other of encouraging piracy.  There is evidence of Jews who fought pirates in the 1st century before the common era, or 100 BCE.  This was written about by Jose Chocron Cohen in an article written for the Center for Sephardic Studies in Caracas. Flavio Josefo told about Hebrew sailors in Roman ships that fought against attacks from the port of Jaffa.

The 2nd son of John Hyrcanaus, Alexander Yannai (104-76),  set up a standing mercenary army and conquered Transjordan, Idumea and the coastal plain.  He was against the Pharisees who opposed his war policy, and this led to a civil war in which he was the winner.  Yannai's widow was Salome Alexandra (76-69).  With her death, the Hasmoneans declined.  Her sons, Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II had a lot of strife which led to the intervention and eventual domination of Antipater and his son Herod, with Roman assistance.

Pompey reduced the country's territory in 63. He had seized the Temple in Jerusalem.  This is when, after a civil war, the 2 brothers appeared in Damascus to urge their claims before Pompey  Hyrcanus became king after his mother's death,  but Aristobulus II had usurped the throne.  He remained a puppet, while the efforts of Aristobulus II and his sons, Alexander and Antigonus Mattathias  tried to regain power but failed to do so.However,   Aristobulus II the younger son,  reigned from 67-63 BCE as King of Judea.

When Julius Caesar rose to power, Aristobulus II was released from prison in 49 and was promised 2 legions with which to attack Pompey's supporters in Syria.  He was poisoned before he was able to start.

 Aristobulus II had a son, Antigonus (Mattathias) who was the last Hasmonean king and ruled from 40 to 37 BCE.  With the support of the Pathians, he captured Jerusalem in 40 and put Herod's brother, Phasael, to death and mutilated his own uncle Hyrcanus so as to disqualify him for the high priesthood.  Then he was high priest and King of Judea.  The Romans then drove the Parthians from Syria in 39 and Herod attacked Antigonus who was defeated in battle.  He fortified himself in Jerusalem, but was captured after a 5 months siege and put to death.
 Hyrcanus's granddaughter, Mariamne,  had married Herod but was put to death by him in 29.  So were the surviving Hasmoneans; Aristobulus II in 35, Hyrcanus II in 30, and Mariamne's sons, Alexander and Aristobulus in 7.  Mariamne's brother was Aristobulus III. and was the last Hasmonean high priest.  He was the grandson of Aristobulus II.  Herod was suspicious of him but feared Mark Antony, so he appointed Arisobulus III as the high priest at the age of 17.  The people showed that they accepted and liked him very much when he appeared in his robes on the Feat of Tabernacles and this made Herod jealous.  He had him killed by drowning in a swimming pool in Jericho.

Resource:  The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Jose Chocron Cohen's article for Center for Sephardic Studies in Caracas