Tribute to Israel
Reborn out of the ashes of the worst period in human history, Israel has blos-somed into a country that should truly be and in many ways is the envy of the world. While it has produced one of the world’s most robust and dynamic econo-mies, a flourishing civilian army and has exported life-saving medical technolo-gies around the globe, we must never forget Israel’s role as a safe haven for global Jewry. Reports indicate that violence against European Jewry has increased, and Canada witnessed 68 hate crimes against Jews in 2011. If history is any guide, there’s no indication that such acts will decline in the future. With the recent Jew-ish day-school shooting in Toulouse, France, and the rash of antisemitic incidents that plagued Brooklyn, N.Y., last November, we are constantly reminded as to how much we need Israel.
Although the rest of the world routinely subjects Israel to the gravest of double standards in the court of world opinion, and kindergartners in Sderot and Ash-kelon routinely spend their afternoon recesses in bomb shelters, Israel continues to flourish as the world’s only Jewish state, while justly and vehemently defending itself, even though the odds are and have been stacked against it.
We thank you Israel for all you have done for us these past 64 years. You have been there for us and we will always be there for you. There will never be a time when you will be taken for granted, forgotten or neglected by the Jewish People. We need you at 64 more than ever and will continue to celebrate the days of your rebirth for eternity.
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Turkey cast Jewish refugees adrift
Although Israel was cleared by the United Nations of any wrongdoing in the 2010 flotilla incident involving the Mavi Marmara, Turkey continues to press for a formal Israeli apology and financial compensation for the deaths of nine Turkish activists, using its veto power to bar Israel from next week’s NATO summit in Chi-cago (“Turkey nixes Israeli involvement in NATO summit,” April. 26).
Turkey need not hold its breath. We are still waiting for an official Turkish apology and restitution for its shameful role in the tragedy of the S.S. Struma 70 years ago. Packed with Romanian and Bulgarian Jewish refugees fleeing the Holo-caust during World War II, the ill-fated Struma limped into Istanbul harbour in December of 1941. Instead of offering those poor souls refuge or allowing them overland passage to safety in British-controlled Palestine, the supposedly neutral Turks towed the hapless and inoperative Struma and its human cargo into the Black Sea and cast it adrift. All of its 769 passengers, save for one sole survivor, perished on Feb. 24, 1942, when the Struma was torpedoed and sunk by a Russian submarine. Perhaps Turkey ought first to finally apologize and offer redress for the S.S. Struma before continuing to make similar demands of Israel for the Mavi Marmara!
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Pollard is dying
Over 27 years have passed since Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life impris-onment for spying for Israel. He is the only person in American history to receive a similar sentence for passing classified information to an ally. Such a harsh sen-tence is in large part due to then-U.S. secretary of defence Caspar Weinberger’s well-known personal antipathy to Jews and the State of Israel. Since then, Pollard has spent almost half of his life in prison. His health has deteriorated tremendous-ly. In the meantime, important U.S. officials and members of the security estab-lishment have called for his release, including former CIA director James Woolsey, former secretary of state George Schultz, former deputy defence secretary Law-rence Korb and Senate select intelligence committee chairman Dennis Deconcini. I ask, where is Canadian Jewry? Where are our leaders? Why have they not added their voices publicly to the call for Pollard’s immediate release? Pollard is dying. When will Canadian Jewry join with Jews worldwide in saying: “Enough is Enough! Justice for Jonathan Pollard”?
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Children thrive at JPPS
I’ve been a Jewish People’s and Peretz Schools parent for the last three years and currently have two children at the Van Horne campus (“Layoffs needed to ensure JPPS-Bialik’s future, leaders say,” April 12). The truth is that all Jewish schools are suffering. Enrolment is down across the board. Private schools are expensive, and parents are choosing to send their children elsewhere. Low enrolment translates into a surplus of teachers, which unfortunately leads to positions being terminated. This is the reality all Jewish day schools are facing.
The fact remains that JPPS is a wonderful, warm and caring school. Children thrive in its environment. JPPS promotes parental involvement, educational support and, most importantly, excellence in achievement, tzedakah, friendship, mutual respect and tolerance. It is a privilege for me to be able to send my children to this amazing school, and I know that all JPPS families feel the same.
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Iran no threat? (1)
How unfortunate that David Tal holds the Kahanoff Chair of Israeli Studies at the University of Calgary and will be moulding impressionable graduate students with his faulty, hostile, anti-Israel version of Middle Eastern history (“Iran no real threat, Israeli historian says,” April 12). To say that “Iran is not an aggressive state. It has never attacked its enemies first,” ignores the Iranian/Hezbollah bombing of the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish community centre (AMIA) in Buenos Aires in 1992 and its recent attacks on Israeli embassy employees in New Delhi, India, and Tbilisi, Georgia.
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Iran no threat? (2)
“Iran no real threat, Israeli historian says” (April 12)? Rubbish. There are none so blind as those who will not see.