It’s Gabby Deutch, your regional Israel Affairs Vice President. For those of you who are new to the ListServ (woo!), every week, members of the Israel Affairs General Board and I will send out an “Israel Update” with everything you need to know about what’s currently happening in Israel. And check out my flyer introducing my Israel Affairs theme for this year, Israel @ 65!
So, what’s going on this week?
A lot, as always. The ongoing conflict in Syria continues and gets even more complicated. Last month, Syrian President Assad killed 1400 of his own citizens with chemical weapons – essentially, he gassed them. Since then, the world has been pondering a response. President Obama has given Congress the power to act, saying he will use force to prove that human rights violations will not be handled if Congress votes to authorize it. However, on Tuesday, Syria agreed to a proposal put forth by Russia to put its chemical weapons under international control and stop producing them, thereby ending the need for a show of force by Obama or any other world leader. Israelis are cautiously breathing a sigh of relief because Syria and Iran both threatened to attack Israel if America attacked Syria, so hopefully Israel will no longer need to worry about that. Let’s pray this is the end of the awful civil war and instability in Syria!
Recently, the last group of Ethiopian Jews was airlifted from Ethiopia to Israel. Since Operation Moses in 1984, the Jewish Agency and the worldwide Jewish community have brought 90,000 Ethiopians to Israel through organized efforts. Many in this most recent trip kissed the Israeli ground as soon as they stepped off the plane. Some ran into the arms of Ethiopian relatives who had awaited their arrival for years. However, controversy exists: some people in Ethiopia claim to be Jews, but their genealogy have not been verified by the Israeli government. Since the official emigrations are over, if their Jewish heritage proves to be valid, they would have to find their own way to Israel.
Remember – these two stories need not be your only source of Israel knowledge for the week! Go to Israeli-English publications such as Haaretz.com or Jpost.com and stay updated on the goings-on in Eretz Yisrael.
Lastly, don’t forget it’s #throwbackthursday! Enjoy this jam-worthy ‘70s Israeli song:
Shana tova, HaNegev, and have a meaningful fast!
2013-2014 HaNegev Israel Affairs Vice President