Why Tunisian Jews Can’t Wait to Vote in an Arab Election
December 15, 2014
Jaco Halfon spent the last week of November glued to his computer at home in L.A. Presidential election results were coming in from his homeland of Tunisia. Halfon, a Tunisian citizen, wanted to make sure that he was up-to-date and that readers of his popular Jewish website Harissa got the relevant commentaries.
Tunisian citizens voted in a free and direct presidential election for the first time on November 23. It had been three years since the Jasmin revolution that overthrew ruler Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Following an interim government and October’s parliamentary elections, it was time to for Tunisian citizens to vote on who would lead the new democracy.
Among the 11 million citizens living in Tunisia, there is still a tiny Jewish community; it has shrunk from more than 100,000 in 1948 to about 1,800 Jews today, mostly in Tunis and in the southeastern island of Djerba. Most Tunisian Jews have emigrated to Israel and France over the years, while a few thousand have moved to North America. Read the rest »
Huge Israeli Arms Buy Nobody’s Talking About
December 5, 2014
The Israeli parliament has become a turbulent place in the past few weeks — even more so than usual. What with key politicians getting fired, there’s been lots of chatter about what this shake-up will mean for the Israel-U.S. relationship. But it may not mean very much at all.
It’s worth noting that while coalition disputes (supposedly) led to the dissolution of the parliament this week, the cabinet still functioned well enough to approve on Sunday a $2-billion deal to purchase stealth fighter jets from American aerospace company Lockheed Martin.
The cabinet authorized this purchase of 14 F-35As following an agreement between American and Israeli defense chiefs in October. This is just one part of a long-term deal that includes a 2010 purchase of 19 warplanes (which won’t arrive until 2016) for $2.75 billion, and maintains the option of purchasing 17 more in the future.
If the deal, which all together entails 50 jets, is completed, Lockheed Martin has agreed to purchase $6 billion worth of security equipment from Israel. It will also give Israel comfortable credit conditions. Read the rest »
The Jews of Africa
October 4, 2013
Last Sunday at Cooper Union’s Great Hall on Manhattan’s Lower West Side, hundreds of people–who paid between $20 and $10–gathered to watch a discussion by Elie Wiesel and the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, that was titled: “Genocide: Do the strong have an obligation to protect the weak?”
The organizers of the event were an organization called This World along with The Jewish Values Network and New York University’s branch of Hillel (the Jewish student organization). The conversation, says the flyer, is related to the upcoming twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide and the world’s focus on the Syrian gas attack. Read the rest »
Jewish security organisation plays fast and loose with the law
July 19, 2013
Two other guys grabbed me. There were about ten guys in the car park. A guy who wasn’t in black – he was just wearing pants and a shirt – grabbed me. He cable tied my arms behind my back… and then they threw me on the concrete in front of a car and pulled my jersey over my head… and this one guy kept on shouting at me, ‘Don’t look at me, don’t look at me.’ … He kept on shouting, ‘What’s your name? What’s your name?’
And I kept on telling him my name. I kept on saying ‘it’s Emily,’ but he wasn’t really listening and every time I’d say my name he just pushed my head into the concrete in front of this car and he’d shout, ‘Don’t try look at me, what’s your name bitch?’ Over and over and over…
Emily Craven took part in a protest action against Israel’s policies in a Jewish community celebration for Israeli Independence Day in April. During an authorised demonstration outside Johannesburg’s Gold Reef City, eight activists were able to get into the venue. Among them were Emily, Uyanda Mabece, Thando Meth, and Kwara Kekena. Last week, the four of them pressed charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm against a security organisation called the CSO. Read the rest »
NY’s Syrian Jewish Community, Small but Growing in Influence
Two and half years ago, just before the uprising in Syria broke out, the Syrian government invited 70 Jewish people from the New York area to visit Syria and Lebanon. Everyone in the group, including rabbis and community leaders, was either born in Syria or has Syrian origins. Then the war started and the government postponed the trip. It was never rescheduled.
“Yes, we had personal friendships with government officials from Syria,” said the Lebanon-born Rabbi Elie Abadie at his synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “As Jews from Syria we were invited by the Syrian government with open arms.” Read the rest »
Is Al-Qaeda really ‘alive and well’ in SA?
June 19, 2013
Syrian Doctor in US Weighs Whether to Go Home
Fleeing Syria: Caught Between the Immigration System and Reuniting a Family