Sunday, June 29, 2014
I had the opportunity of visiting the village of Peki'in. This village has 70% of Druze population, 20% of Christians , 9% of muslin and just 1% of Jews. In the village there is one Jew , very old, who takes care of the beautiful and ancient synagogue.
Druze came out of Egypt in 1100 and migrated to the Galilee. Their religion in very similar to Judaism, in fact they also have the commandment but theirs are just 9 because they don't observe Shabbat. Their holy book called Book of Wisdom , is secret and also his meanings are strictly reserved to Druze.
Druze believe in reincarnation and usually happens that young kids talk about their previous life very precisely.
The Druze flag in made up by 5 colors: white, yellow, green, red and blue. Each color represents a very important value of Druze tradition. White is the purity of the mind, green is the nature , blue is the superior entity who controls the world, red is the blood of the Druze poured during the persecutions and yellow is the morality of the people.
The order of the colors of the shape of the flag isn't relevant because the basic thing is the presence of those 5 colors. Muslims don't respect Druze because they think that the way of keeping the Book of Wisdom seems like if that book doesn't exist.
The only nation to have recognized the ethnic group of the Druze is Israel. Druze must take part to the IDF and during the independence war there were relatively more Druze causalities than Jewish. Today there are a few generals and pilots who are Druze because the State of Israel believes in them.
All the deepest and most important comments or explanation are kept as a top secret information.
Druze population is divided in medium religious and very religious people. This small village is the prove of how it can be possible the co-existance of the 3 monotheist religions and demonstrates that peace is possible.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
6 years ago, I stood in front of a Wall. I had no emotion and I did not feel there was any significance to it. I stood in front of this same Wall yesterday, however, instead of not feeling at emotions, I cried.
We got to the entrance of the Kotel and discussed the amount of time we would need at the Wall. We decided on 45 minutes. I did not understand why we would need 45 minutes to stand at a Wall, but I didn't complain.
After taking around one hundred pictures, we started walking up towards the Wall. There may have been 50 other women there, but I immediately felt as though it was just me and the Wall.
I began to approach it, slowly and tentatively. I don't know why I was so scared. As I got closer, my eyes started to well up. I couldn't explain it. There was something there, something powerful and something real. The pain that the Jews felt when they lost the temple now was my pain. I was
connected to the history of the Jewish people.
I ended up wanting to spend more time. Not wanting to leave. I've grown up since I was 10 years old. I understand the hype. I understand the significance. And I understand what it means to be a Jew standing in front if the holiest place in the world. The Kotel.
2000 years. Not a long time in the history of the world but forever in the hearts of the Jewish people. Ever since I can remember one word saturated my mind. Jerusalem.
My heart was beating fast, pounding against my sternum as we drove towards the Old City. I slowly watched the holiest city transform from a modern metropolis into the city I'd dreamed about in my childhood. The city of my peoples past.
Walking through security I caught a glimpse of the wall, a symbol of the Jewish people throughout the centuries. By then my blood was rushing in my ears and I wanted nothing more then to run at it full speed. I had never felt such a strong love and devotion for any place in my life.
As I walked towards the wall slowly taking it all in, I felt my heart swell a million times with love. This was it, this was what my life had led up to. As I pressed my fingers to the warm ancient stone time began to freeze. I was the realization of my ancestors, "next year in Jerusalem." They would pray each year at Pesach, a hopeful plea to return to the ruins of our beloved temple.
Tears swelled up in my eyes and poured freely, eventually turning into broken but powerful sobs. The love I felt for my people and our history overwhelmed me. I was in mourning. I was in mourning for every Jew before me whose pleas to return to the temple each year wasn't realized. I was in mourning for every man and woman who died trying to return to the wall. But mostly I cried because I had never felt as much love for Hashem as I did in that moment. The Western Wall is commonly called the wailing wall, I can confirm though that it wasn't adopted due wails of despair, sorrow of course but mostly just love, immense and powerful love.
When we pray in the states our hearts turn to the east, to Jerusalem, to the Kotel. We are constantly remembering the destruction and longing to return. The immense love we have no matter where we are in the world for the wall reaches and permeates through it's smooth facade to the heart of the mount creating an eternal heart for the Jewish people to last centuries.
To spend the holiest day of the week at the holiest place in the hearts of the Jewish people is not an experience that can be conveyed in words. It's an emotionally powerful and spiritually intense experience. The love and the spirituality I felt then was a line to the past, connecting me with every Jew whose heart turned to the wall, to our home.
Leeor Acrich, 16, California
In tutta Europa i partiti neo-nazisti sono in crescita. In Francia alle ultime elezioni europee ha vinto l'estrema destra del partito di estrema destra guidato da Marine Le Pen, che è, secondo Shlomo Malka, antisemita e razzista.
Questo è stato l'argomento principale del discorso di Shlomo Malka, produttore di un programma radiofonico ebraico in Francia, che è stato durante la primo Media Summit Ebraico che ha avuto luogo a Gerusalemme il 25 giugno 2014. suo discorso era all'interno del pannello problema di immagine di Israele.
La presenza ebraica in Europa è molto debole, quindi non ci sono abbastanza rappresentanti della nostra identità. Invece vi sono molti musulmani e la loro autorità è udita e conosciuta. Questo confonde gli europei tra ebrei e arabi.Male perché in realtà uno dei problemi più grandi di Europa è l'immigrazione dai paesi arabi come la Tunisia, Libia e Algeria. I partiti che sono contro gli immigrati clandestini sono anche antisemiti perché non capiscono le differenze di questi 2 popoli.
In Francia il fenomeno è molto più grande perché i musulmani sono molto più concentrati, in modo non vi sono grandi conflitti tra arabi e l'estrema destra. In Europa esiste una politica estera molto sinistra e pro-palestinese perché la maggior parte dei paesi, soprattutto arabi Italia dipendono dalla benzina e dal gas russo.
Molti governi, come quello Berlusconi , dovevano essere gentili con Putin o Gheddafi per ottenere le loro risorse primarie. Percio l'immagine di Israele sta diventando peggiore non solo per l' antisemitismo ma anche per la nostra dipendenza energetica da paesi antisemiti.
Quindi se diventiamo energeticamente indipendenti, i nostri governi potrebbero mostrare apertamente la propria amicizia con Israele.
This was the main topic of Shlomo Malka speech, producer of a Jewish radio show in France, that was during the first Jewish Media Summit that took place in Jerusalem on 25 June 2014. His speech was inside the panel Israel's Image problem.
The jewish presence in Europe is very weak so there aren't enough reppresentatives of our identity. Instead there are many muslim and their authority is heard and known. This brings confusion to the europeans between jews and arabs.Bad thing because actually one of the biggest problems of Europe is the immigration from arab countries such as Tunisia, Libia and Algeria so the parties who are against hosting clandestine immigrants become also antisemitic because they don't understand the differences of those 2 people.
In France this phenomenon is much bigger because muslims are much more concentrated there, so there are bigger conflicts between Arabs and extreme right authorities.
In Europe there is a foreign politic very leftist and pro-palestinian because most of the countries especially Italy depend on Arab petrol and Russian gas on their energy need. So many governments such as Berlusconi's one had to be friendly to Putin or Gheddafi in order to get their primary resourses. Because of that Israel's image is becoming worst only because if anti Semitism but also because our dependence on antisemitic countries.
So if we become energy independent our governments could show openly their friendship with Israel.
Then I took a step back. Again, in the words of Jewish mothers across the world: I had simply lost money...not a limb, and not a head. Furthermore, I had began to realize how lucky I was. Lucky that I was In a social and economic status where I could afford to lose 150 shekels. Lucky to even have the opportunity to spend the night in such a beautiful and inspirational city. And most importantly, lucky to be alive and healthy, because otherwise the money I lost would have been worth as much as dirt.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Today's travels involved a lot of just that, travel. An hour drive from Kibbutz Degania to Deir al-Asad, at least another hour to the Druze village Peki'in, and three hours from there to Jerusalem. It is nearly impossible for one to do that much driving in Israel without riding along borders, climbing the winding mountain roads of the Galilee, crossing checkpoints, and seeing the country's trademark red-roofed villages. Every glance out the window was another breathtaking view and another picture that I simply had to take, despite my refusal to be a camera-fixated tourist. Every piece of land has thousands of years' worth of history behind it, saturated in culture and conflict. Every fence is more than a fence; it's a strict line of separation that transcends physical limits and dabbles in personal and political hostility. It seems that there is always another layer to the story.
Peki'in is a village in the Galilee that is 70% Druze with Christian and Muslim minorities and only a single Jewish woman. It's incredibly old, with a synagogue and landmarks that date as far back as just after the 2nd Temple. The narrow alleys, stone walls and picturesquely artsy ironwork on the doors mingle with loud cars and graffiti. The Druze themselves are about a millennium old. They broke off from Islam in the 11th century, were persecuted, and now have a population of 2.5 million scattered throughout the Middle East. Their lifestyle in Peki'in reflects this antiquity and uniqueness. Our group ate lunch at a special restaurant, where a Druze host sat us down at a long, red-clad table and fed us plate after plate of traditional food. The building itself was the former home of the village leader, refurbished to look exactly the way it did 100 years ago when it was last inhabited. We drank Turkish coffee and watched tea candles burn in handcrafted mosaic bowls. The meal absolutely radiated with tradition. Only in Israel can a centuries-old culture remain so genuine and so appealing to a restless group of teenagers. As the meal drew to a close, we talked to a Druze man about the history of the religion and the village. The story of their people and struggles is remarkable. They've been living in the Middle East for a thousand years; that's 3 times as old as the United States. While Americans are all-too-eager to push their beliefs on other people, the Druze keep their religion and beliefs secret.
How is America supposed to compare to all of this? We have a painfully brief history, little ethnic diversity in "mainstream" society, none of our own food, and no unique culture. We are a nation of conformity and materialism, not one of heritage.
Both Israel and America feature an impressive variety of people from different races, countries, religions and backgrounds. In the States, it seems that everyone is mashed together into a bland slush of secular, assimilated "culture." Israel is what I like to call a mosaic: every person, past and present, is individually molded into the fabric of the country. Every story is layered and mixed, but kept pure and whole at the same time. The diversity in Israel is just so obviously beautiful.
So, yes, I will go back to America terribly disappointed and hopelessly bored. I won't abandon the American summer traditions of swimming pools and barbecues, but the whole time, my mind will be with the beauty of the Israel mosaic.
- Kim Robins
Thursday, June 26, 2014
|Lunch in the Druze Village|
|Pictured from left to right: Saleem Al Dabbah, Alsa Saa, |
Aseel Al Dabbah, Lily Buder, Lily Greenberg-Call,
Hadas Ben David, Sydney Sussman, Leeor Acrich
It is often said that ignorance is bliss. Yet in a world of senseless hatred and antisemitism, Jews simply cannot afford this luxury
This is especially relevant in Jewish journalism, where writers have been reporting about Israel for decades without ever even visiting Israel. In fact, Yigal Palmor the spokesperson of the ministry foreign affairs, stated in a panel session discussing Israel's global image problem "Nearly 80% of Jews around the world have never visited Israel". After all, journalists know better than any one that nothing should be taken for granted unless seen with your own eyes.
So how do we progress towards a future where Jewish journalists provide truthfull and passionate information about the state of Israel? Easy. We bring the media to Israel, and allow them to see the truth by themselves. Israel must stop convincing, and begin eyewitness reporting.
The same can be applied to ordinary Jews. As passionate Zionists, we [journalists] have an obligation to spread the truth, and provide Jews around the world with the opportunity to love Israel.
In essence, a positive image of Israel can only be achieved by giving the greater Jewish community the chance to report the pure objective truth. Ideally, we will quit persuading, and instead allow people to begin experiencing the truth.
Often times, the media doesn’t particularly like what they hear. So the real question is, why does the media force an opinion? Chances are, if states and governments worldwide weren’t constantly being bombarded with questions about Israel, their thoughts about Israel would be more positive. Perhaps, Israel’s image problem is created by the Jews themselves. Eyal Arad made the point that maybe the Jews are pushing it and have reached “overdose” by demanding answers from everyone and every place.
Susan Fishkoff, editor of the successful magazine Jweekly of San Francisco, also present at the conference, said that “Our (Israel’s) image problem should not be viewed as a tragedy, but as an opportunity.” In this case, perhaps the Jewish media should take the opportunity to back down a bit on the questioning about Israel and find another common ground to break news on. Overall, Eyal Arad an Susan Fishkoff brought up an important issue that most everyone looks past, and made it a great and informative conference, along with all the other speakers.
--Leeor Acrich, 16, California