Israel Brief May 23, 2013: Sheldon Adelson & wife Miriam donate another $40 million to Birthright Israel Foundation

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Adelsons donate another $40 million to Birthright

Source: JTA, 5-23-13

Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, donated another $40 million to the Birthright Israel Foundation….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 7, 2013: White House: President Barack Obama hopes to reach young Israelis

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White House: Obama hopes to reach young Israelis

Source: JTA, 3-7-13

President Obama hopes to address young Israelis on his visit to Israel, a senior administration official said….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 11, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Injured, Tears Leg Ligament Playing Soccer with Jewish, Arab Youth

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Netanyahu injures leg playing soccer with Jewish, Arab youth

Source: JTA, 6-11-12
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu injured his leg during a soccer match with Jewish and Arab youth.

Netanyahu pulled a tendon in his leg during the Monday afternoon game in Jerusalem, Walla! News reported.  The prime minister slipped on the grass, rose and continued to play and scored a goal, according to Walla!

Netanyahu’s personal physician, Dr. Tzvi Berkowitz, examined the prime minister and diagnosed the pulled tendon, according to the news website. The injury caused the postponement of a Likud Party meeting.

PM Tears Ligament at Children’s Soccer Game

The prime minister scored a goal, but pulled a tendon in the process – fouling out a Likud Knesset faction meeting as a result.
PM shows off torn ligament

PM shows off torn ligament
Israel news photo: PMO

The prime minister scored a goal, but pulled a tendon in the process – fouling out a Likud Knesset faction meeting as a result.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is as agile as ever on the political field, but not quite as light on his feet on the soccer field.

Taking part Monday afternoon in a Jewish-Arab children’s soccer game, the prime minister missed a swing at the ball after about five minutes of game time.

The game was being held at Jerusalem’s Kraft Stadium, and was staged for Peter Greenberg’s show “The Royal Tour.”

Down he went, straining a tendon in the process.

Photo: GPO

Likud Knesset members canceled their regularly scheduled faction meeting in deference to the injury.

“Today I was playing soccer to promote tourism and to show off the youth and the truly beautiful side of Israel — but I tore a ligament during the game,” Netanyahu explained with a slightly sheepish glance at his foot in a video clip sent a few hours later to media outlets.

“It’s not exactly the Euro,” he kibbitzed, showing off the cast on his left foot. “Tomorrow I will be back at the game as a prime minister,” he added, “to continue in other fields, once again on behalf of the State of Israel.”

PM Netanyahu Participates in Soccer Game Between Jewish and Arab Youth

Source: PMO, 6-11-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this afternoon in Jerusalem, participated in a soccer game between Jewish and Arab youth, in the framework of an international project to promote tourism to Israel.  During the game, the Prime Minister slipped on the field, rose, continued to play and scored a goal.

During a subsequent examination, expert orthopedist Dr. Leon Kaplan diagnosed a suspected tear in one of the Prime Minister’s tendons.  A CT scan at Hadassah-Mt. Scopus Hospital confirmed the diagnosis.  The Prime Minister’s left leg was placed in a cast for several weeks.

Prime Minister Netanyahu returned home and will be back at work at his office tomorrow.

 

Israel Political Brief May 23, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with National Union of Israel Students Leaders from Around the Country on the Occasion of National Student Day

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PM Netanyahu Meets with National Union of Israel Students Leaders from Around the Country on the Occasion of National Student Day

Photo by GPO

Source: PMO, 5-23-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, on the occasion of National Student Day, in his office, met with National Union of Israel Students leaders from around the country, led by NUIS Chairman Irzik Shmuli. Education Minister Gideon Saar, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, Deputy Minister for Student Affairs Gila Gamliel and Deputy Minister for Senior Citizen Affairs Leah Nass also attended the meeting.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “We have a great commitment to higher education. It starts with investments in resolving students’ problems in order to help them learn and lead the State of Israel in all fields – security, society, the economy, science and others.” The Prime Minister also commented on the Government’s actions to lower the cost of living for students and citizens: “Competition is the most social thing there is. We are working to increase competition and thereby lower the cost of living. See what has happened to the price of cellular phones, for example. Also in the housing sphere, we are working to break the state’s monopoly on land in order to lower housing costs. Additionally, we are working on behalf of young couples, some of whom are students, and in the coming months we will implement the law on free education from age three.”

NUIS Chairman Shmuli noted the complete cooperation between the Government and the NUIS in the fields of education, public transportation, bringing students and senior citizens closer together through voluntary community projects, and advancing cultural issue. “I have been active on behalf of students in various frameworks for seven years and there has never been a partnership like that with the Education Minister. There are also similar partnerships with other ministers.

Perhaps there are areas in which we agree less but given the major reform in higher education, the Sheshinski report, the recent welcome news in the cellular phone sector, we also know how to show gratitude and we appreciate these things very much. It is clear to us that when so many ministers are working on behalf of the students, there is a guiding hand from above and this is not a coincidence. Therefore, Mr. Prime Minister, I thank you personally.”

Education Minister and Council on Higher Education Chairman Saar informed those in attendance that the next meeting of the Council, he intends to submit for approval new benefits that have been formulated for students serving in the IDF reserves. The benefits will be in regard to eligibility to be absent from classes, postponement of courses and assignments, eligibility to take exams at later dates, extending studies, etc. Minster Saar added, “The great change in higher education is the multi-year plan that was launched in August 2010. Higher education is moving forward in impressive fashion while strengthening excellence and increasing accessibility. Today, students are more involved in the higher education system, which will continue to strengthen and move forward.”

Transportation Minister Katz noted that over the past two years, his ministry has instituted many improvements and major discounts in public transportation for the student public in order to encourage the use of public transportation.  He said, “The Transportation Ministry has even expanded the system of discounts on all bus lines and on the railways, to all academic institutions in which students learn.  It has also upgraded and improved lines to all institutions of higher learning and the various campuses.”

Culture and Sports Minister Livnat said, “The student public in Israel is an important public. It is the human future of Israel in which we must invest. It is a public active in culture and sports and it is my intention to work to enhance cooperation with students so that culture and sports in Israel are accessible and available to them. This year I initiated basic scholarship grants for students from the periphery who study at schools for the arts around the country and I intend to consider ways to expand them. The ministry also supports higher schools for the arts at a cost of NIS 20 million per annum.”

Deputy Minister for the Advancement of Youth, Women and Students Gamliel described the various actions being led by her office, including a year’s free study at academic institutions in the periphery, the construction of an additional 10,000 residential units, and expanding the student village in Lod. She said, “The fact that the Prime Minister has – for the first time – appointed a deputy minister to deal with students’ affairs speaks for itself. It provides students with a channel for direct dialogue with the Government and has led to many achievements. Investing in Israeli youth is not an expenditure but a national investment. We are working to lower tuition so that it will depend on contributing to the state and to various social projects. Thus, we will be able to help students and they will be able to help us, the population.”

Deputy Minister Nass updated those in attendance on the success of the initiative to award scholarships of up to NIS 5,000 to students who volunteer in various projects and assist Holocaust survivors, and on the success of the ‘students for senior citizens’ program, which was created in cooperation with the NUIS. This was in order to promote students as agents of change in Israeli society, strengthen senior citizens and enhance the link between young people and the older population. “Thanks to the joint activity by students and senior citizens we are creating an important bridge between the generations.”

Main points of activity by the Netanyahu Government on behalf of students

* NIS Seven billion investment in higher education in the framework of the multi-year plan to promote excellence and increase accessibility;

* Plan to establish centers for research excellence and to bring back scientists from abroad;

* Recognizing students who serve in the reserves and in social frameworks;

* A free first year of study at academic institutions in the Negev, Galilee, Judea and Samaria, Ashkelon and Jerusalem;

* The construction of 10,000 additional housing units as student dormitories;

* Gradually expanding the student village in Lod;

* Amending the students Rights Law – easements for pregnant and postpartum students, and for those undergoing fertility treatment;

* Public transportation discounts: 50% on all Israel Railways lines for those holding student fare cards and 30% for those who do not; 50% discount on buses whether by single-ticket purchase, fare cards or electronic cards;

* Upgrading and improving lines to institutions of higher learning and the various campuses, with special emphasis on students’ needs in the framework of the greater Tel Aviv area transportation reform;

* Culture and Sports Ministry support for higher schools of the arts, at a cost of NIS 20 million per annum;

* Basic scholarships for students from the periphery who learn at schools for the arts around the country; and

* Scholarships in the framework of the “students for senior citizens” plan which includes seven projects that involve students in the community in exchange for grants of up to NIS 5,000.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 22, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the MASA Mega Event — Tells Masa Participants: Israel is Your Country

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Netanyahu to Masa Participants: Israel is Your Country

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses the thousands of young Jews who came to Israel as part of the Masa Israel project.

Source: Israel National News, 5-22-12

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed on Tuesday the thousands of young Jews from around the world who came to Israel as part of the Masa Israel project, which is co-sponsored by the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency.

In his speech, Netanyahu called on the participants to make aliyah to Israel and to defend Israel in their countries.

“You come from many different countries, but deep down this is your one ancestral home,” said Netanyahu. “Israel is your homeland, Israel is your birthright, and Israel is your future.”

He added, “We embrace and welcome all of you who are coming here physically to join us to build a Jewish future and we send with love all of you who are planning to go back to your countries. You’re taking back with you the truth. You can speak the truth about Israel, and that’s what I expect you to do.”

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky mentioned Aaron Zindani, the Jew who was murdered in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, and said to the youth, “We must do everything to protect the Jews of Yemen and Iran. On a day like this, when someone was killed just for being Jewish, you should know that if you are thinking about making aliyah you should not hesitate, but do it now.”

The Masa Israel project brings each year about 10,000 young Jews from around the world for study and volunteer in Israel. The project aims to strengthen ties between Israel and the Jewish world. Upon their return to their countries, many participants assume key positions in their communities and become ambassadors of Israel in their countries. In recent years, many Masa Israel participants have made aliyah.

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the MASA Mega Event

Source: PMO, 5-22-12

Natan Sharansky just said something absolutely shocking.  He said that there are differing opinions among Jews.  No!  That may imply that you have four people with four opinions.  See, it’s not true – it’s four people with eight opinions.  We debate, we argue, we discuss, we disagree.  Then we agree.

I’ll tell you what we agree on.  See, when Natan, who is a hero of the Jewish people, when he was jailed in the Soviet Union and he could have avoided going to jail; all he had to do was give up his desire to come to Zion, to come to Israel.  All he had to do was do that.  But he wouldn’t.  So they put him on trial, and they sentenced him to a long prison term.  And then they asked him, “Do you have anything to say?”  He said, “To you, this court, I have nothing to say, but to my people and to my beloved wife, I say, ‘Next year in Jerusalem'”.  That’s what we agree on.  This year in Jerusalem.

I am very happy to see all of you here, this year in Jerusalem.  I know that you’ve come here from many countries.  I have to say that I saw some of you outside, but you come from all over the world.  You come from Mexico, from Britain, from France, from Australia, Canada, Brazil.  What about Russia?  Or from the Ukraine?  But I gather there is no one here from the United States?

So, you come from many different countries, but deep down this is your one ancestral home.  This is your country.  Israel is your homeland; Israel is your birthright; and Israel is your future.  So, I want to ask a direct question: how many of you plan to make Aliyah?  Stand up if you’re making Aliyah.  That’s great.  Let’s give them all a round of applause.  Thank you.

Now, first of all, we embrace and welcome all of you who are coming here physically to join us to build the Jewish future, and we send with love all of you who are planning to go back to your countries, and I think Natan said a very important thing: you’re taking back with you something very, very precious.  You’re taking back with you the truth.  You can speak the truth about Israel.  And that’s what I expect you to do.  You see, there are many people around the world who, day in and day out, malign Israel.  It used to be acceptable to spread the vilest lies about the Jewish people, and now, unfortunately, it’s acceptable to spread the vilest lies about the Jewish state – to slander and malign Israel.

But all of you have gotten to see the truth for yourselves.  You’ve seen what a great nation this is.  You’ve seen the signs.  You’ve seen the technology.  You’ve seen the progress.  You’ve seen the growing, bustling cities.  You’ve seen fun.  There’s a lot of fun in Israel.  By the way, it’s not true that it’s only fun in Tel Aviv; it’s also fun in Jerusalem.  It’s great.  You’ve seen that Israel is an open, pluralistic society.  You’ve seen that in the Middle East, where the rights of women, gays, minorities – anyone who’s different or anyone who’s a minority or anyone who’s not cut from that rigid ideological cloth – you see that in Israel people are free; people are endowed with rights; that Israel as a liberal democracy stands out.  And you’ve seen about something else: how this nation cares about each and every individual.

You know, today we had a terrible tragedy in the North.  It was an entire family, eight souls that were lost in a tragic car accident.  And you know, the whole country is focused on one survivor, a little girl called Rachel.  Rachel, the entire nation is with you.  The entire nation embraces you.  Everybody embraces this little girl, and that’s the truth about Israel.  The whole world wondered how we could unite and sacrifice so much for a single soldier, just to return one soldier: Gilad Shalit.  We did that because we care about each and every life.  See, our enemies think that because they celebrate death – they have a cult of death – they think they’re strong and they think that because we celebrate life, we’re weak.  But it’s exactly the opposite.  We’re strong because we celebrate life and we’re strong because we’re prepared to defend our lives.  And Israel will win because Israel loves life.

I want you to go back to your countries, and I want you to do two things.  One: I want you to reconsider Aliyah, that’s the first, because you have a brilliant future here, brilliant future.   This is a cutting edge country – in technology, in agriculture, in medicine, in art, in literature.  In anything.  This is a country not only of a lot of opinions, but a lot of talents.  You know we have more Nobel Prizes per capita than any other country in the world?  Maybe one of them is sitting here.  We have tremendous opportunities for young people, but we have something that we can offer you that I think you’ve figured out in the time that you’ve been here, and when you leave, you’ll have a perspective.  This is where the heart is.  This is where the Jewish past and the Jewish future blend.  This is where you can shape not only your own individual lives, but the lives of our people, and we’ve travelled for nearly 4,000 years – 3,000 years in this city alone – to ensure our future.  Be part of it.  Don’t pass it up.  You can give deep meaning to your lives.  So I want you to reconsider Aliyah, and defend Israel.  Defend Israel by saying the truth and defend Israel by being proud – proud of your heritage, proud of your Jewish identity, proud of the fact that together, we’re building and ensuring our common Jewish future.

Thank you very much.  Thank you Masa.

Israel Brief May 18, 2012: Students Visit Jerusalem in Honor of Yom Yerushalayim — Reunification Day

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Students Visit Jerusalem in Honor of Reunification Day

More than 10,000 students from all over Israel visit Jerusalem in honor of Yom Yerushalayim.
Students visit Jerusalem

Students visit Jerusalem
Haggai Huberman

More than 10,000 students from all over Israel visited Jerusalem on Thursday, in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Reunification Day) which will be celebrated on Sunday.

The students toured the city together with the Education Ministry’s director general Dalit Stauber, visited major sites and learned about the city’s history. The day ended with a youth rally held at the Sultan’s Pool.

The visit was part of a commitment by Education Minister Gideon Saar who, upon taking office, declared that one of his goals is to strengthen the Zionist and Jewish values in the education system, including strengthening the students’ connection to Jerusalem.

In accordance with Saar’s vision, the Education Ministry began this year a program called “Going Up to Jerusalem”, which takes students on tours of Jerusalem and aims to significantly increase the number of students who visit the city. Thanks to the program, the number of students who visited Jerusalem this year currently stands at 500,000.

According to Itzik Ross of the Ministry of Education’s Southern Region, visits to Jerusalem are essential, because it is the eternal city no matter what one’s political opinions may be.

“There is an increase in visitors to Jerusalem,” he told Arutz Sheva. “This is an educational process in which students learn about Jerusalem and connect themselves to the city’s history. Through the visit, the students’ connection to the eternal city becomes stronger. They learn about the settlement in Jerusalem, starting from the Old Yishuv and until the city’s unification in the 1967 Six Day War.”

Ross noted that all parents and students welcome the project and added, “Jerusalem is our eternal city no matter what side of the political spectrum you are on. We do not engage in politics; this is our capital city. I have not encountered parents or students who are opposed to the project. Everyone is excited about it.”

Israel Brief November 30, 2011: Adelsons give Birthright Israel another $5 million donation

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Adelsons give Birthright another $5 million

Source: JTA, 11-30-11

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are contributing an additional $5 million to Birthright Israel, which the organization says will move 2,000 applicants from waitlisted to traveling this winter.

The contribution announced Wednesday, a day after the Adelsons were honored in Washington by the group, doubles their contribution for this year to $10 million.

“In light of this announcement, Taglit-Birthright Israel is now sending letters to 2,000 North American young adults who had applied for a trip this winter but were waitlisted, informing them that they will now be able to go on the free, 10-day educational trip in the coming months thanks to the new funding,” the group said. “Nearly 22,500 North Americans had registered for Taglit-Birthright Israel trips this winter and over 10,000 young adults had been waitlisted.”

The Adelsons’ foundation has given Birthright more than $100 million since 2007.

Adelson, a casino magnate, is a major giver to Jewish and conservative causes.

Arie Hasit: Keeping the Jewish flame alive, even from afar

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Arie Hasit: Keeping the Jewish flame alive, even from afar

Students who participate in programs in Israel return home impassioned and engaged; the challenge is for Jewish communities abroad to reach these excited, newly captivated students to maintain their level of interest in their Jewish roots and Israel.

Source: Haaretz, 10-27-11

Like most Israelis, I spent Tuesday, October 18 glued to the television. I listened to the radio incessantly and checked my phone for news updates every few minutes. I wanted to keep as up to date about Gilad Shalit’s return to Israel as possible, and I wanted to share it with as many people as I could.

But more than anything, I wanted to share my excitement about the news with my friends and loved ones abroad.

Of course, I was not the only one excited about this historical event – my Facebook newsfeed was loaded with status updates and shared articles on the prisoner exchange. However, I was particularly pleased to see how many of my former students and campers from Jewish programs that I have worked with over the years were eager to share the news as well.

Over the last number of years, I have been involved with different programs that give Jewish high school students the opportunity to come to Israel from anywhere from six weeks to four months. Once in Israel, these students undergo a transformative experience.

As Jewish educators in Israel we have unique opportunities that our North American counterparts lack. For many participants, being abroad without parental supervision is an adventure, and a new culture and language give the experience added appeal. More importantly, we have students excited to be in Israel not for the beach, but to become more intimately acquainted with their Jewish roots….

I am proud of my students who have made aliyah, as well as those who volunteer in underprivileged communities and even become educators themselves. These individuals have been inspired by their time in Israel and wish to impart their values on another generation.

Although knowing that I, along with other educators in Israel, have had a role in these achievements, it is up to the Jewish community in North America to give these teenagers and others like them the opportunity to stay involved with Israel even after their return home.

birthright - Erez Ozir - February 11 2011 Birthright participants at the organization’s ‘Mega Event’ in Jerusalem, February 2011.
Photo by: Erez Ozir

It is inspirational events like the return of Shalit that remind us of the lasting impression that positive experiences in Israel can have on Diaspora youth, and maintaining their impassioned relationship with Judaism and Israel for years to come.

Arie Hasit is an educator at Ramah Programs in Israel and is beginning the Israeli bet midrash program at the Schechter institute.

 

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