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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Jewish Palestinian Agency

Former Ra'anana mayor Zev Bielski continues to disappoint as Ariel Sharon's handpicked choice for head of the Jewish Agency. You can bet that Natan Sharansky (the Likud's choice to head the Jewish Agency - go follow that first link) would not have supported this.

The European Jewish Press is reporting that a conference took place in London last Thursday in which "leading figures within the British Jewish community explored how to increase donations to Israeli Arabs." The event was backed by the 'Jewish' Agency headed by Bielski.
The Pears Foundation, a Jewish organisation which says it "seeks to promote human and civil rights for all citizens of Israel" organised the event, and said it was designed to bring community leaders together to discuss how best to increase funding to the Arab sector.

"The aim of the event was to create an opportunity where the mainstream of the Jewish community could learn more about, and give more to, the role of Arabs in Israel," Charles Keidan, the organisation’s director told EJP.

“The key questions we explored were, why should a Jewish person in Europe, England or the US give to non-Jews in Israel? Why is it important to do so?

"Our view is, if we do not give to these causes, we create inbalances within Israeli society which only serve to undermine our own aim to create a prosperous, just and stable Israel."
Keidan claims that his organization is "not leftist," but Israel's leftists are falling all over themselves with glee over this 'initiative.'
In a letter to the Pears Foundation ahead of the meeting at London’s Lincoln Centre, Yuli Tamir, the Israeli Education Minister, welcomed the initiative as "enlightened and progressive".

"Israeli leaders have long understood the importance of creating an equal and inclusive society," she wrote.

"Enlightened and progressive initiatives such as this demonstrate the commitment and concern that many Jewish people around the world share with the inhabitants of the State of Israel to create a just, stable and democratic country."

Ze’ev Bielski, executive chairman of the World Zionist Organisation and Jewish Agency, wrote to say: "It is my honour and pleasure to offer my blessings on the occasion of the London symposium on Israeli Arabs.”
Arutz Sheva reports why Bielski agrees with this:
A spokesman for the Jewish Agency explained to Arutz-7 that Bielski has long felt that the Arabs of Israel, as full-fledged citizens of the State, must not be discriminated against. "We are not just the Jewish Agency," he said, "but the Jewish Agency of Israel, and this includes all its citizens."
Really? I didn't know that the organization was called the "Israeli agency." And it's not the "Jewish Agency of Israel," but the "Jewish Agency for Israel." The Jewish Agency's own web page says, "At the Jewish Agency, we believe that Israel stands at the heart of the Jewish future." The Jewish Agency also promotes making aliya (immigrating to Israel as I and my family did), which is something that only Jewish people can do:
The Immigration and Absorption Department is committed towards maintaining Israel as a prominent focus of Jews everywhere and of stimulating interest in Israel as a viable living option. [If I were drafting that, it would say "a viable living option for Jews," but I guess Bielski left that out. CiJ] The return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is an integral part of what Israel stands for and the department plays an active part in every aspect of that dynamic process.
By the way, what's missing here is criteria. Which 'Israeli Arabs' are going to receive support from English Jewry? The ones who call themselves 'Palestinians'? Raed Sallah? The Islamic Movement's 'northern front.'

Arutz Sheva reports that many people within the Jewish Agency are as bothered by this as I am:
Danny Danon, elected Chairman of the World Likud last year, said that Bielski's position is "very grave and stands in opposition to the Zionist movement and the Jewish Agency. It is true that Arabs must be treated equally - but that's for the government to deal with. The Jewish Agency was created by the Nation of Israel for the people of Israel - but now he's turning it into UNRWA or something. If someone wants money for the Arab sector, he can go to the Waqf or other bodies in Israel."

Danon said that Bielsky has introduced a change in Jewish Agency policy without bringing it before the Executive Board and the Zionist Congress for discussion and vote. "If he wants to institute changes," Danon said, "he will find that he is in the minority and that the majority wants the Jewish Agency to concentrate on Jewish problems." [I can only hope that is true and that Danon is not the minority. These days, I have to wonder. CiJ]

Danon said he is still waiting for an answer from Bielsky as to how much money raised during last year's emergency war campaign was diverted to Arab causes. "I asked him how much, and he said it was 'not a lot.' But that could be millions! How can it be that money raised to help Israel during a war is given to Arab municipalities, some of which declared their support for Hizbullah?!"

The Jewish Agency was created in 1929 to represent the Jews in the Holy Land, and its mission statement today still specifies goals in keeping with that objective: "Aliyah, Jewish-Zionist Education, and Partnerships with Israel."

Within two months of the end of last summer's war, some $320 million had been raised for refurbishing the north. Accusations were raised that up to 30% of the money had been used for Arab causes, while a Jewish Agency source said at the time that it was "only" 3%.
For those of you who still live overseas, Danon has some suggestions:
Danon explained that donors in the United States could make a difference by informing their local Jewish Federations that they will stop donating money until they hear that all of their money will be used for Jewish causes.

"The way it works," explained Danon, "is that 70-80% of money raised by the Federations is used for local causes, and the rest is funneled back to the Jewish Agency in Israel. If some large donors and many smaller donors threaten to stop giving, the Jewish Agency will have to take notice."
Just ask Brandeis University.

By the way, as to the Pears Foundation noted above, one of the organizations they support is the New Israel Fund. In the past, I have mentioned the New Israel Fund's support for Machsom Watch and Women in Black. If any of you are not familiar with the New Israel Fund, follow the link above to their website.

Now, go back and re-read the article I posted several months ago about Nobel Prize Winner's Robert Aumann and Aaron Ciechanover. See how this fits in?


At 1:40 PM, Blogger Weiner said...

Why do we love to so much to destroy ourselves?

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

That's an old story. It says in Yeshayahu מהרסיך ומחריביך ממך יצאו.


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