Jerusalem Opens New Urban Park in Time for Tu Bishvat

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Across from the busy Pat Junction, a nature reserve and park is being developed. Meet the young volunteers who planted trees.
Tree planting for Tu Bishvat

Tree planting for Tu Bishvat

Across from the busy gas station at the corner of the Pat Intersection just before it turns into Begin Highway is a large patch of undeveloped land called Emek Hatzva’im, or Gazelle Valley. This month, work began to turn the area, also referred to as Pri-Har Valley, into a park with a soccer court and open space for the small herd of native gazelles to graze. A tough fight in the Jerusalem Municipality resulted in plans for new commercial area to be cancelled.

On Tuesday, a group of volunteers planted trees in anticipation of the holiday of Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year for the Trees which began Wednesday evening and will last until sunset Thursday.

Rotem Palti, a young national service volunteer from the north of Israel spoke to Arutz Sheva’s Israel National Radio about the land and his work.

Gazelle Valley Interview

To hear the interview in streaming audio click here.

“This is considered an urban nature park because it’s like an oasis within the city limits,” Palti explained. “There a lots of buildings, people, cars and noise and right here there’s a place where people can come and connect to nature and just forget about the troubles of the city for a bit. We need to preserve this place.

Among his jobs are planting and trimming trees, and making sure wild jackals don’t break through the fence and attack the gazelles. “Jackals are attracted to garbage and scraps of food that they can eat.” he explains.

He and his fellow young national service volunteers sit next to an old one story, one-room stone building, used as a storage facility, and play guitar during their break time as cars race past in the background.

Rabbi Shaul Judelman of JiVE! – Jerusalem Volunteers for the Environment, and the Teva Ivri (Hebrew Nature) organization was there as well, leading a group of volunteers in transforming a barren slope into a mini garden with diverse trees. The area was once owned by Kibbutz Ramat Rachel and used for apple groves. This month tractors began working to transform one third into children’s park areas, one third a nature center and one third to remain a wildlife preserve.

“We’re here to recreate the hillside that was damage due to construction,” he stated, as he set down a shovel. “We’re planting almond, Israeli pistachio, mastic trees, and pines. In a couple of years we’ll have a little forest.”

With the Holyland apartment complex looming in the background Rabbi Judelman described what the future neighborhood would look like.

“The vision for the future is we will recreate what would be the natural Jerusalem hills environment. The visitor’s center will be a welcoming place for kids,” he explained.

“This is a low income neighborhood and people don’t always have the money to take a long trip to a park. For 2,000 years we’ve prayed to return to Jerusalem, but in the past thirty years people have actually been leaving due to high rents, and small apartments. Studies have been done (which show) that proximity to parks and gardens indicates a higher quality of life. So the municipality of Jerusalem has been trying to increase funding for such projects,” he related.

Rabbi Judelman highlighted the desire for the park with an anecdote about riding the bus past Tzomet Pat Junction.

“I remember when there was a vote going on in the city as to whether this was going to be a commercial zone or a park and it was a hot Jerusalem July afternoon.

“I was on the 32 bus from the center of town at about 5:00 p.m. and everyone was hot and annoyed and we were anticipating going to war, and we got stopped at the red light in heavy traffic… And every single person’s head was turned to the right looking out the window and gazing at this green area. It encapsulated what this place means for the city.”

For the full interview plus Tu Bishvat music, download Arutz Sheva’s – Israel Beat by clicking here. For the Israel Beat archives click here.






 
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Steven Harper: Flowers, Flags, Honor Guards and More

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Normally, only presidents of countries and a King or Queen would have their national flags hanging on major streets for an official state visit to Jerusalem, Israel.

This week, however, Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper has received that and much more for a royal welcome.

His speech in the Knesset got several standing ovations. The Prime Minister of Canada in front of the world said that Canada would go through fire and water to stand with Israel? WOW!

photo Steven Harper, picture Prime minister Canada and Israel , image Canada Prime minister in Israel

Not only were flags and flowers put out for the Prime Minister of Canada and his wife,

image red carpet, Israel honor guard photo, picture red carpet for Canada Prime Minister

but also red carpets lined with honor guards . (Please note all pant legs for men are tucked into boots, while women wear cute little white socks. Israeli dress style does not have pants with neat, sharp creased cuffs.)

But there is more – Israel went the whole kit and caboodle for the visiting Canadians.

image sushi table, picture of sushi for reception Harper, picture sushi

A mound of  sushi at one of many food stations was just part of the repast for guests at the Israeli Prime Minister’s office for the official welcome. (Ok, I still have not recovered from shock of 10 shekel charge for water at Obama’s speech in Israel last year.)

image Israeli leaders, photo Israeli politicians, picture reception line for Harpers

For the Harpers’ visit, Israeli politicians stood quietly, waiting in a reception line,

image Israeli political leaders, photo Knesset leaders, picture reception line israel leaders

and dressed in very ‘unIsraeli’ style, with dark suits, pressed dress shirts and blue-striped ties.

image Israeli politicians, photo Israeli leaders, picture Knesset leaders

Well… almost all the men wore a suit and tie.

image Jerusalem leaders, photo Jerusalem mayor with religious leaders, picture Jerusalem political and religious leaders

For the Harpers, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat stood along with leaders of various religions, and waited in the very long reception line.

image Steven Harper with Bib Netanyahu, photo Harper and Netanyahu, picture Steven Harper in israel

First, they stood and listened to an Israeli army band play the anthems, O’Canada and Hatikvah.

image Harper and Netanyahu, photo Canadian Prime Minister in Israel, picture Prime ministers

No, the prime ministers were not holding hands as they walked the red carpet. But this visit certainly has given Israeli PM much to smile about.

image tuba, photo two tuba players, picture Israel army musicians

From red carpet welcome with big brass band

image state limo, photo Israeli limo, picture state ceremony

to official limo service into and out of the welcoming ceremony,

image Larueen and Steven Harper, photo of Steven Harper in Israel , picture Steven Harper and wife

Prime Minister Steven  and Laureen Harper have received as royal and stylish a welcome as little Israel with big heart can put on.

Israel went the whole nine yards to say thank you.

 

Yoynbee- Herzog debate McGill University 1961

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March 24, 1961

JERUSALEM (Mar. 23)

President Ben-Zvi said today he had sent a communication to Yaakov Herzog, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, praising the envoy’s initiative in inducing British historian Arnold Toynbee to engage in a public debate on the historian’s anti-Israel charges in February.

The President expressed gratification at the tone and content of Mr. Herzog’s presentation in a two-hour debate with Dr. Toynbee on February 1, at the Hillel House at McGill University in Montreal. The envoy issued the challenge after Dr. Toynbee repeated to Hillel House audience a week earlier his public stand that there was a moral parallel between the Israeli treatment of the Arabs during the War of Independence and the Nazi genocide against the Jews.

Read more: http://www.jta.org/1961/03/24/archive/israel-ambassador-in-canada-lauded-for-his-debate-with-toynbee#ixzz2r0h93u00

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen have arrive in Israel today (Sunday) on an official four-day visit. The Canadian Prime Minister is accompanied by ministers, MPs and business people. This is Harper’s first visit to Israel and the first by a serving Canadian Prime Minister since 2000.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah will welcome Harper and his wife in an official ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The Netanyahus will later host the Harpers for dinner at their official residence in Jerusalem.

On Monday, Prime Minister Harper will be the first Canadian Prime Minister to address the Knesset.

On Tuesday morning, the Canadian PM will meet with President Shimon Peres and attend a joint meeting of the Israeli and Canadian governments at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The Netanyahus will, afterwards, accompany the Harpers to Yad Vashem. An official dinner for Prime Minister Harper, his wife and the accompanying delegation will be held Tuesday evening in Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, the Harpers will tour Christian holy sites in northern Israel, after which they will go to Tel Aviv University, where Prime Minister Harper will receive an honorary doctorate and meet with students.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Prime Minister Harper have previously met in London in April 2013 and in Ottawa in March 2012.

Harper: Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you

Canadian PM met with many standing ovations, but in the end, was treated like family and interrupted by Arab MKs who relegated him to the Likud’s benches.

Stephen Harper, January 20, 2014

Stephen Harper, January 20, 2014 Photo: GPO/AMOS BEN GERSHOM

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper received a very warm welcome in the Knesset Monday.

The first speech in the Knesset by a Canadian prime minister was peppered with standing ovations, the enthusiastic likes of which may not have been seen since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the US Congress in 2011.

Statements like “through fire and water, Canada will stand with you” were met with rousing rounds of applause, and though clapping is against Knesset protocol, even Speaker Yuli Edelstein joined in.

The Canadian premier said he believes “it is right to support Israel because, after generations of persecution, the Jewish people deserve their own homeland and deserve to live safely and peacefully in that homeland.

“Let me repeat that: Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so,” he emphasized. “It is… a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular.”

“The friendship between [Israel and Canada] is rooted in history, nourished by shared values, and it is intentionally reinforced at the highest levels of commerce and government as an outward expression of strongly held inner convictions,” Harper said in French and English.

Some of those shared values are “freedom, democracy and rule of law,” in which Israel “has long anchored itself,” he said.

“These are not mere notions,” he added. “They are the things that, over time and against all odds, have proven to be the only ground in which human rights, political stability and economic prosperity may flourish.”

Palestinians also deserve these things, Harper said, expressing support for “a viable, democratic Palestinian state, committed to living peacefully alongside the Jewish state of Israel,” though, “sadly, we have yet to reach that point.”

“I believe that a Palestinian state will come, and one thing that will make it come is when the regimes that bankroll terrorism realize that the path to peace is accommodation, not violence,” Harper stated.

Despite the nearly wall-towall support for Harper’s words as expressed by the many standing ovations, the “robustness of Israeli democracy,” as Netanyahu called it, was demonstrated several times with Arab MKs interrupting the Canadian minister as he spoke about anti-Semitism in some criticisms of Israel.

“We have witnessed in recent years the mutation of the old disease of anti-Semitism and the emergence of a new strain…. People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East. As once Jewish businesses were boycotted, some civil-society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel,” Harper stated.

“Don’t mislead; we want to boycott settlements,” MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) interrupted in English.

“Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state,” Harper continued, as MK Taleb Abu Arar (UAL-Ta’al) shouted: “It is.”

“Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, [a state] that is condemned – and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening. But this is the face of the new anti-Semitism,” Harper went on.

Tibi pointed at the coalition’s side of the plenum, shouting “That’s where the Likud sits; you should be there,” and then he and Abu Arar demonstratively walked out as the audience cheered Harper for his comments against anti-Semitism.

“What else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to defend itself while systematically ignoring – or excusing – the violence and oppression all around it?” the Canadian prime minister asked. “What else can we call it when Israel is routinely targeted at the United Nations, and when Israel remains the only country to be the subject of a permanent agenda item at the regular sessions of its human rights council?” Edelstein, who spoke before Harper, commented to him after his speech: “You’re not a guest, you’re family, because there were interruptions, which is unusual for foreign guests.”

Earlier, Netanyahu gave a speech in support of Harper, breaking protocol to give large swaths of it in English.

“You are a true friend in Israel,” he said. “The people in Israel thank you for your steadfast support.”

Netanyahu commended Harper for his “courage to stand for the truth and courage to say it” when faced with people “who try to deny the connection between [the Jewish people] and our land. You know the facts of our past well.”

Describing the necessity of security arrangements in the event of a peace agreement, Netanyahu quipped: “If I’m not mistaken, Yonge Street [in Toronto] is longer than the State of Israel, so we have no margin of error.”

“There are thousands of miles between the large Canada and the small – larger than life but physically small – Israel, but our nations are close.

It’s deep in our hearts,” Netanyahu stated. “We will always see Canada as a close friend.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) dedicated much of his speech to the Toynbee- Herzog debate at McGill University in 1961, in which his uncle, then-ambassador to Canada Yaakov Herzog, debated notoriously anti-Semitic British historian Arnold Toynbee.

“Since you’re part of the family, I won’t hide our disagreements,” Herzog said. “I believe we need to separate ourselves from the Palestinians while protecting Israeli security.

We need a Palestinian state near an Israeli one, based on 1967 lines with land swaps while annexing settlement blocs… We have to try everything for peace and back the great effort US Secretary of State John Kerry is investing and give him a chance,” Herzog stated.

“Enough is enough,” he added in English, and in a reference to Canadian-Jewish singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen called to “let the dove free.”

Herzog also did not miss the chance to take a dig at Netanyahu and his breach of protocol, pointing out that “the official languages here are Hebrew and Arabic, not English.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu said Sunday, “Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a great friend of the State of Israel. He has strongly opposed against attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel and has taken a praiseworthy moral stand against these attempts. I welcome his arrival together with his wife and the members of his delegation. We will work together to further enhance the important relations between our two countries.”

DOES CROSSING THE GREEN LINE AFFECT BOWEL MOVEMENT?

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The “Green Line” is the pre-1967 border of the State of Israel, and “crossing it” means going into the ancient Jewish regions of Judea and Samaria, AKA the West Bank.

And apparently is does make one’s bowel movement more odorous, this according to the Sept. 30, 2013 PNN ( Palestine News Network) Headline : Israel Uses Settler Feces as Bio-Warfare.

Here is a quote from the article:

The Israeli army has developed a large vehicle for spraying sewage waste and feces at Palestinian protestors and homes, reportedly, in the towns of Abu Dis, Aizariah, Bil’in and Nabi Saleh.

Spraying sewage waste has become so common a weapon used by the Israeli Army that the combination of sewage water, feces, and human urine has been named “skunk”.  B’Tselem reports that ‘skunk’ and the vehicle used to disperse it, have been added to Israel’s armory for crowd control.

Here’s a short youtube about the skunk mixture.

Let’s analyze this together. [Try to keep a straight face]

  1. Premise: The Palestine News Network reports only facts.
  2. Premise: The PNN made the scientific determination that the skunk mixture contains excrement of “settlers” (as per the story headline: Israel Uses Settler Feces as Bio-Warfare).
  3. Premise: The editorial board has no access to the Skunk laboratory, rather they identified the settler BM odor solely based on its distinct smell.
  4. Conclusion: Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it: Crossing the Green Line into the Jewish villages of Judea and Samaria absolutely and positively affects the odor of one’s bowel movement.
The Skunk lifts its tail

I am shocked that the US State Department has not yet come out with a notice to US Citizens travelling in these areas.

Ayelet Shaked: Stop Worrying and Apologizing for Being Zionist

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Stephen Darori

Ayelet Shaked is my  favourite MK. Naftali Bennet is my favourite Minister. Both eloquently speak Zionism as it should be spoken .. with rip roaring ” in your face” enthusiasm.

Calling building in Judea and Samaria ‘the lifeblood of Zionism,’ MK Ayelet Shaked urges Israel to stand strong on building plans.

MK Ayelet Shaked

MK Ayelet Shaked

In light of increasing pressure from the European Union (EU) and other international powers to stop building in Judea and Samaria, MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) has urged Israel not to back down.

“Building communities throughout all of the Land of Israel has always been the lifeblood of Zionism,” Shaked explained, “from the immigrant groups who arrived pre-state, through the establishment of border communities after the War of Independence and the establishment of communities in regions liberated in the Six Day War.”

“These communities symbolized the Jewish people’s return to the Land of Israel, the home of its ancestors, and has defined the state of Israel’s security,” Shaked continued. “Unfortunately, we have seen that where there are no Israeli communities, there is no security.”

“In recent times, these settlements have become devalued in the eyes of our leaders,” Shaked stated. “Suddenly, the establishment of a new community – once celebrated all over the country – has become a rare event. The pulse of Zionism throbbing in the veins of our country has begun to weaken.”

“Especially now, when the flourishing communities in Judea and Samaria are facing external threats, we must say [to the world]: ‘Building communities in Israel – this is Zionism,” she continued.

Shaked called on the government to stop apologizing, to stop being afraid of world powers, and to tell the world that “we must return to the values ​​that led to the rebirth of Israel in its land – the establishment of new communities.”

Last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed the EU for summoning envoys over recently unveiled plans for some 1,800 new homesfor Jews in the ancient Jewish capital of Jerusalem, and the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.

“This is hypocrisy. The EU calls our ambassadors in because of the construction of a few houses? When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors about incitement that calls for Israel’s destruction?” Netanyahu asked foreign correspondents at his annual new year reception.

“It’s time to stop this hypocrisy,” he said. “This imbalance… doesn’t advance peace, I think it pushes peace further away.”

The European Union has been unrelenting in its criticism of Israel’s construction in Judea and Samaria. The EU promotes boycotts of products made beyond 1949 Armistice lines, and has effectively redrawn Israel’s borders to those lines in policies to its member states.

Recently, the EU has gone so far as to offer “unprecedented” aid packages to both Israel and the PA in the event that a two-statesolution – and a withdrawal – results from negotiations.

Sheldon Adelson’s pro-Netanyahu tabloid now the most widely read paper in Israel

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The rightwing free tabloid “Israel Hayom” (ישראל היום, Israel today) is now the most widely read daily paper in Israel, with, for the first time, a slight lead over Yedioth Ahronoth on weekdays.

Israel Hayon is known for his support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The paper’s publisher, gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson, is a close friend and political ally of Netanyahu, and according to reports, the papers editor, Amos Regev, was part of Netanyahu’s inner circle for some time.

Most papers in Israel don’t disclose the number of copies they distribute, so their share of the market is evaluated by the TGI poll, taken twice a year by TNS Tlgal surveying company. Advertising prices are also determined according to the TGI poll.

The Jan-June 2010 TGI survey, released yesterday, had Israel Hayom leading with 35.2 percent of daily papers readers, comparing to Yedioth’s 34.9%. Readers’ exposure Ma’ariv is at 12.5% (median 14.4% last year), exposure to Haaretz is 6.4%. The free paper Post has 7.9% exposure.

On weekend Yedioth has a share of 43.7, and Israel Hayom, who just began distributing a weekend edition, 25.7%.

Yedioth Ahronoth has been the most widely read paper in Israel since the 70′s. At times, it controlled more than 50 percent of the market.

Since its first appearance, the paper has taken an extreme pro-Netanyahu line. Mr. Adelson has rejected claims of his paper’s political bias.

The introduction of Israel Hayom sparked a war between Israel’s daily papers. Yedioth and Maariv, who were rivals for half a century, are now joining hands in fighting Adelson’s paper (with little success so far). The two papers were said to be behind the unsuccessful attempt to introduce an anti-dumping law that would have forced Israel Hayom to start charging money for its copies. PM Netanyahu had the Likud party oppose the bill, which failed to pass in the Knesset.

Ironically, Israel Hayom is printed and distributed by Haaretz. Estimates are that the high prices Haaretz’s publisher, Mr. Amos Shoken, is charging for these services, are part of the reason for his paper’s ability to survive these days.

Needless to say, Haaretz opposed the dumping bil