16 Days of Activism

Jewish Organisations assist in countering violence in South Africa against Women

By Bev Goldman

Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a profound human rights violation with major social and developmental impacts for survivors of violence, as well as their families, communities and society more broadly.

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It is disproportionately directed against women and girls and can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial or structural.  It can be perpetrated by intimate partners, parents, acquaintances and strangers irrespective of the victim’s race, social or economic status, age, culture, religion; it undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims; it leaves scars that the victims bear all the days of their lives; and it is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world.

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“Dark And Heavy Shadow Across The Land”. Crime statistics against women reads more like a horror film.

Victims suffer psychological trauma; they suffer behavioural and physical consequences; they lose confidence in themselves and trust in others; they often feel guilt at having ‘invited’ the abuse by their speech, their dress, their openness; they tend to blame themselves because in certain societies they are made to feel that way.

It is without doubt one of the scourges worldwide that is affecting society; and its prevalence in South Africa is horrifyingly common. According to a recently released report, GBV in South Africa “pervades the political, economic and social structures of society and is driven by strongly patriarchal social norms and complex and intersectional power inequalities, including those of gender, race, class and sexuality.”

And according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 12 in every 100 000 women are victims of femicide in South Africa each year – a figure which is nearly five times worse than the global average of 2.6.

One of the main reasons for this is the gendered power inequality rooted in patriarchy here. South Africa is a particularly patriarchal society which treats men as superior to women and denies women the right to protect their own bodies, meet their own basic needs or participate fully in society.  Men are therefore allowed to perpetrate violence against women with impunity; and as the culture of GBV takes root among younger men, more women and girl children are at risk of becoming victims.

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Influencing Change. Each year the ‘Sixteen Days of Activism’ campaign has provided a rallying point for the governments, NGOs, CBOs and other stakeholders in the region to mount events aimed at raising awareness, influencing behaviour change and securing high level political commitment to end gender violence.

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign (16 Days Campaign) is a United Nations campaign which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). Also happening during this time are World Aids Day (1st December) and the International Day for Persons with Disabilities (on 3 December annually).

The South African government places much importance on this scourge and is implementing the Emergency Response Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, which was announced by President Ramaphosa in September 2019.  The 16 Days Campaign forms the centre point of government’s comprehensive 365 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children; and at the end of the campaign on 10 December 2019, government will officially launch the 365 Days Behavioural Change Campaign.

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State Of Emergency. Protests during September 2019 in Durban. At an emergency sitting of parliament, President Ramaphosa said the figures for violence against women and children were similar to those of a country at war.

Shalom Bayit and the Co-ordinating Council of National Jewish Women’s Organisations (which comprises the Union of Jewish Women South Africa, WIZO South Africa and the United Sisterhood) are this year assisting the African Diaspora Forum’s Women’s League in its project dealing with the 16 Days of Activism.  The project will be reaching out to the most vulnerable women suffering under GBV, and children, primarily those in the townships in and around Johannesburg, as well as migrant and refugee women. The townships of Katlehong, Orange Farm, Diepsloot, Alexandra and Johannesburg CBD will be visited; clothing and food parcels will be distributed  to those affected, including the victims of the September 2019 horrendous xenophobic attacks; women will be given an opportunity to be assessed, counselled and empowered both socially and psychologically; and they will be taught how to deal with many of the causes of GBV, including marital issues, socialisation and self-identification. Empowering women is one of the strongest ways of countering GBV; and the need among South African women is overwhelming.

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Across the world, every woman as well as every girlchild has the right to live free of violence and abuse. If the 16 Days of Activism succeeds in empowering the hundreds of women who will be targeted in these townships, their lives will be changed for the better and they will be able to pass their knowledge onto their daughters and future generations, enabling them to break the cycle of this endemic evil.  

 

 

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The Israel Brief- 25-28 November 2019

 

The Israel Brief – 25 November 2019 – Netanyahu indicted. Israel goes red against gender based violence. Israel to Mars?

 

 

 

The Israel Brief – 26 November 2019 – UK Muslim and Christian leaders support Chief Rabbi. Day of Rage. Secret negotiations?

 

 

 

The Israel Brief – 27 November 2019 – Naphtali Bennett threatens terrorists. Rally for Netanyahu. Corbyn interview Trainwreck.

 

 

 

The Israel Brief – 28 November 2019 – Germany to ban Hizbollah. Bill at Knesset to outlaw UNRWA. Pompeo off to Morocco.

 

 

C’mon – Tell The Truth

A failure in professional journalism at Deutsche Welle or antisemitism?

By David E. Kaplan

There are only two Israeli ‘residents’ in the Gaza Strip  – and they are both mentally challenged and held hostage by Hamas which denies them Red Cross visitation; in violation of International law. So where did Germany’s state-owned public international news organisation, Deutsche Welle come up with reporting that over 600,000 Jewish settlers reside in Gaza?

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In the paper’s op-ed on November 16 2019, Dr. Rainer Hermann of the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung newspaper  wrote:

  “The first is the situation in Gaza — an area where more than  600,000 Jewish settlers have built residences in what is internationally recognized as territory belonging to the Palestinian National Authority.”

How could a respected German Islamic scholar and journalist in an esteemed publication publish such outright lies? It took CAMARA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)   to expose the untruth that:

 “There is not a single Israeli settler in the Gaza Strip. Israel withdrew all of its civilians and soldiers from that territory in 2005.”

Are we to believe that Dr. Herman – who since 2012 is employed in the political department of the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung’s central editorial office in Frankfurt focusing on the Middle East and the Islamic world, and is the author of six books on the Arab world – did not know that there are no Israelis in the Gaza Strip besides the mentally challenged civilians held there as hostages by Hamas?

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Falsifier Of Facts. Dr. Rainer Hermann Head of the political section of the German Frankfurter Allgemeine

Are we further expected to believe that the journalist and Middle East scholar did not know that that there were only 8,500 settlers not over 600,000 in the Gaza Strip but they were all evacuated in 200514 YEARS AGO?

Back in 2004, an article in The Guardian reported that “Israel started demolishing evacuated homes in Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip today, as troops forcibly entered two synagogues at the centre of protests against Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan.

Cranes began pulling apart pre-fabricated buildings in the small settlement of Kerem Atzmona, the first homes to be taken down in Gaza’s main settlement bloc.

“It is not easy to do this. We hope to continue with the process of destroying structures. How long it will take depends on various factors, including the end of the evacuation,” Levi Golan, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, said.”

One of the most traumatic periods in Israel’s history when its settlers from the Gaza Strip were forcibly removed in an endeavor to achieve peace and which was extensively reported throughout the world, the editors of Deutsche Welle and its correspondent Dr. Rainer Hermann had conveniently forgotten?

Dr. Herman is either a totally inept journalist or has a clear agenda of besmirching the Jewish state with deliberate falsehoods.

Take your pick!

Deutsche Welle did because they corrected the “error” but not totally….

While the editors – following the complaint from CAMARA – amended the article by removing the false assertion that 600,000 settlers residing in the Gaza Strip, they failed, says CAMARA, to adhere to “journalistic correction standards”. CAMARA asserts that Deutsche Welle’s editors of failed to “append a note alerting readers to the change.” The anti-Israel position remained sans the lie about 600,000 Jewish settlers living in Gaza.

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Truth Be Told. Jewish children cry as a soldier forces them to evacuate their home in the Gaza Strip in 2005. Today, there are no Jewish residents living in Gaza – contrary to the article by Dr. Rainer Hermann in Deutsche Welle that there are “over 600,000 Jewish settlers”.(Flash90)

Deutsche Welle appears to have a bad track record on reportage on Israel.

In June, it blocked a prominent Indian journalist on Twitter because he criticized one of its articles that quoted an antisemitic Muslim politician in India without citing “the politicians crude anti-Jewish hatred.”

Vijeta Uniyal, who is widely considered one of the leading experts on Israeli-India relations, had told The Jerusalem Post at the time: “As an Indian journalist living in Germany, I regularly analyze German media coverage. I have repeatedly tweeted about the anti-Israel bias in Deutsche Welle’s coverage… I was appalled to see an Indian politician with a track record of making antisemitic remarks being quoted by the broadcaster as a representative of the Indian Muslims.”

Clearly, leopards do not change their spots and one has to be on the constant lookout for daily lies and distortions in the media about Israel.

As Matti Friedman writes in The Atlantic, “The Western press has become less an observer of this conflict  [Israel/Palestine] than an actor in it, a role with consequences for the millions of people trying to comprehend current events, including policymakers who depend on journalistic accounts to understand a region where they consistently seek, and fail, to productively intervene.”

The first casualty of conflict is “truth”.

Today it was Deutsche Welle, tomorrow  – take your pick!

Seven Things I’ve Learnt In Seven months

By Gabi Crouse

Arriving in the Holy land from South Africa in early April of 2019 was surreal – my long awaited dream come true. We were floating somewhere between holiday vibes, newbies and tourists for a while until the dust settled and slowly, we began the descend back down to earth.

To go into detail about the emotional rollercoaster from our arrival to this point is another article in itself – entitled “the all you could feel Aliya buffet”. There is great learning and hardship, to say the least and potential is forever being reached and stretched. The struggle, as they say, is real. But for some, myself included, humour is the metaphorical sugar to help the medicine go down. A policy to live by is when all else fails – laugh! On that note, I would like to share with you some key observations I have about my new life in the holy land.

  1. Every Israeli owns a cat. Not every Israeli is aware of such ownership, in fact, the likelihood of the  situation is that every cat owns an Israeli. These cats are so well fed by the begrudging Jewish mama (who complains all the way to put the bowl of leftovers out) that the odd mouse or rat strolls around on its back feet, chest out and inspects the would-be left over’s from the cats!

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    Looking to be PUR’ified. Time out at the Western Wall, one of Israel’s over two million cats, who enjoy public generosity and warm Israeli atmosphere.
  2. Not all Israelis working at kupot (check-out counters) are limited to only the Hebrew language.  Some of them do speak English but will only let you in on that bit of information after you’ve said something untoward whilst believing you’re safely hidden behind a language barrier.
  3. The Mazgan (Air conditioner) becomes a sacred part of your structure. The reason for this is that when the moment of its inevitable hum begins, all people (including children) thank the good Lord above, perhaps likened to an informal prayer of techiat hametim (resurrection of the dead).
  4. All roads, when traveling on foot are uphill. This is a phenomenon which, I recon, affects olim chadashim (new immigrants) in particular and can be taken metaphorically as well as literally. Meaning that if you walk uphill to a store, enter the store and then leave again, the very same store which was once at the top of the hill is now magically at the bottom of the hill and the walk home with all your purchased items is now uphill again. You have to live here to believe it.
  5. Your level of emuna (faith) is at its peak when traveling by bus. The very fact that we get on another bus, or a connecting bus after just having survived countless near death experiences is the testimonial of truth to my statement.

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    Ride To Revelations. Life in Israel is best revealed as a passenger on a bus.
  6. The Hebrew language is one big exception to the rule. Every time I think I finally have an idea of how all the tenses are used, out pops the exception to the rule. It is this very inhibiting reality which makes me think they keep changing it to keep me on my toes!

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    Language Of Love. Even if struggling with the Hebrew language, no difficulty in recognising the Ahava (Love) sculpture at the Jerusalem Israel Museum.

The last thing is something that is not easy to explain but I’ll try my best.

  1. Nothing is urgent but everything is urgent to Israelis. Meaning that there is casual approach to getting things done in Israel – everything takes time. Registering processes that could take one or two days drag on for two weeks. Everyone seems to be okay with this for the most part. But on the other hand, G-d help anyone who is slightly obstructed on the road which affects traffic flow – the line of cars instantly becomes a symphony of impatience as if every driver is racing against the clock to save the world.

I would like to add one more lesson which I think is the most valuable to any potential oleh. I have learnt to embrace whatever it is that comes your way and understanding the following:

We haven’t ‘made Aliyah’ – we make Aliyah. It is not something we did, it is something we do every day in all the challenges we face. But as long as we don’t mind walking up the hill all the time, we are good to go and G-d willing everything will be alright. 

 

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Gabi Crouse – Based in Israel, Gabi writes opinions in fields of politics, Judaism, life issues, current social observations aswell as creative fiction writing. Having contributed to educational set works and examinations, as well as interviews, Gabi will usually add in a splash of humour.

Israel And The Southern Coexistence

Exploring the complex relationship of Jews and Muslims in southern Israel

By Ziv Israeli

For many people around the world, Israel’s southern district is probably imagined as a combination of Arab villages mixed with Jewish settlements and towns in the middle of the desert where it constantly rains missiles.

Luckily, this harsh and unrealistic image that we often get from people that are depending on mainstream media mostly, has nothing to do with reality.

In this article I will try to explain some surprising facts about Israel’s southern area – a region that for over ten years has been exhausted by almost constant warfare; but is also surprisingly flourishing, developing and refusing to abandon its natural coexistence and hope for peace.

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Border Crossing. Crossing more than physical boundaries, Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip pray as they wait on the Israeli side of the Erez terminal to cross back into Gaza. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

So let’s start, shall we?

First, here are some basic facts:

  • Israel’s southern district is the largest of all six, spreading around 14,185 square kilometers (approx. 5,476 squared miles).
  • The district is populated with approximately 75% Jewish, 20% Muslims and 5% other religions.
  • The largest city is called Ashdod, but the district’s capital city is called Be’er Sheva (“the seventh well” by loose translation!)
  • Even though the town of Sderot is usually a news star because it is the closest city to the Gaza Strip and usually the first in the line of fire, it’s actually one of the smallest towns in Israel.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians work in Israel on a daily basis, and thousands of them come from the infamous area called the Gaza Strip.

Wait, what?

Gazans working in Israel?

Yes! You are reading it right.

Let’s try to explain this awkward fact – and understand what it means, from both sides.

Despite the fact that the Gaza Strip is being held hostage by Hamas and other terror groups committed to the destruction of Israel as part of their jihad against the Jewish state, there is another side to the story!

Hardly known and never appearing in the foreign media, Israel hands out permits allowing the entry of thousands of citizens from the Gaza Strip to provide them with work on a daily basis.

As reported in The Times Of Israel on November 1st, It appears “that Israel has expanded a program in which it had long provided hundreds of permits to business owners to travel to Israel and the West Bank for commerce. Palestinian officials say it is now providing some 5,000 so-called merchant permits and awarding them to Palestinians working as laborers in construction, agriculture and manufacturing.”

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New Israeli Tech, Old Bedouin Ways At Wadi Attir. A revolutionary sustainable agriculture, dairy-farming and tourism initiative is taking root in the Negev Bedouin community

This is positive news of improving relations for the benefit of all.

Sadly, before Hamas took over Gaza, there was a time when around 60% of Gaza’s work force was employed in Israel. Then came Hamas and with it –  executions, wars, unemployment and despondency. Today there are older brave voices from Gaza revealing the truth  – how people are missing the “good old days” of working in Israel. Peace, security, employment and trade with Israel has given way under Hamas to frustration and misery.

However, all this does not detract from  the coexistence of Jews with over 300,000 Muslims in Israel’s southern district.

Here are some lesser known facts:

  • Most of the Muslims in our southern district are Bedouin living a traditionally pastoral nomadic lifestyle.
  • Israel is investing huge sums of money any resources in opening doors and closing gaps for the Bedouin, including, but not limited to – funding education, health care, affirmative actions and ease of entry to higher education.
  • As a result, an ever-increasing number of Bedouin students are attending Israeli colleges and Be’er Sheva’s Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) – the only university in the south of the country.

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    Bedouin Education Conference. Bedouin students on January 3, 2018 at the Teach First Israel (TFI) conference at Ben-Gurion University’s Jusidman Science Center for Youth on TFI’s work with the Bedouin community in Israel. The conference brought together educators, civil society and government leaders to share knowledge about improving quality and access to education in Bedouin society at large.
  • In 2016, the Robert H. Arnow Center for Bedouin Studies and Development, dedicated a special student center serving Bedouin women students. It was the first of its kind, a social center and “warm home away from home” for Bedouin women students who study at the University.
  • Bedouin are employed in all type of professions and jobs from doctors, lawyers, pharmacists to working in education and the police force.
  • Another cool fact is a city named Rahat. With a population of approximately 70,000 – Rahat is the largest Bedouin city in the entire world!

With the city of Beersheva  in close proximity to Rahat, most Bedouin students from Rahat study at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, some also at Sapir Academic College in Sderot.

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Revelations In Rahat. Not only the largest in Israel, Rahat is the largest Bedouin city in the world.

And where in the entire western/eastern/Muslim world would you find such a city?

Only in Israel!

But what about the military?

Can you find Bedouin in the IDF and are they allowed to join?

Yes!

Although Bedouin are not obligated to join the IDF, many choose to join voluntarily!

And they’re a huge asset.

They’re some of the world’s best trackers, and an Israeli combat soldier will tell you that they trust them even if they were blindfolded.

Many soldiers have stories of military operations that would’ve gone completely wrong without their Bedouin commerades-in-arms.

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Education & Empowerment. A Bedouin student at Sapir College, Sderot, Israel, March 6, 2018. Although their number is still low in comparison to the general public, the number of Bedouin students enrolled in undergraduate programs in Israeli institutions has doubled over the last decade, according to data from the Council of Higher Education.

Wait, Muslims that are being integrated completely in Israel?

Isn’t Israel supposed to be an apartheid state…?

Well, now you know that the facts on the ground tell a different story.

But is it all sweets and roses besides for Hamas?

Unfortunately it is not.

Let’s look at a more complex example, shall we?

Take for example a small Palestinian town called Idna.

Just a few minutes’ drive from my hometown, called Qiryat Gat.

Many people from Idna have work permits, because they’re living on the other side of the Green Line border, which means that they are actually under the jurisdiction of the Palestinians.

As a result, many Palestinians are working with us every day – for years – in our area that contains mainly agricultural fields, farms and various types of factories.

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Turning Desert Into farming Land. Project Wadi Attir’s ecosystem restoration initiative is combatting desertification. (Photo: courtesy)

We know them well, and deep friendships have formed over the years.

There’s even a local hero in my town – a guy that works as a construction contractor from Idna inside Israel that became famous for pulling a woman out of a car after witnessing a car accident. There was an article about him in our local newspapers!

I know him and his sons personally.

Wait, what?

Palestinians working in Israel again?

Relationships?

I Bet you didn’t hear that on any mainstream news channel!

Although you should have.

You should probably be asking yourself:

“Why didn’t I?”

But that’s a different topic again.

So what happens to the coexistence when horrible incidents actually happen?

Beside barrages of missiles from Gaza that may indiscriminately kill everyone, that is.

Well, to be honest, it’s not easy.

It’s never easy, the feelings are heavy on both sides.

Let’s describe a real incident that actually happened – right outside my house.

One Friday night, my wife and I were watching Lord Of The Rings for the who knows how many times.

Suddenly I heard something that sounded like a woman crying.

I put on my shoes, told my wife that I’ll be right back and went outside.

I found two women – one in her 20’s and one in her 40’s, wearing jogging clothes, sitting and crying, holding their necks. They had been stabbed.

What would you do?

I ran back to my house, told my family to lock the doors, that there’s a terrorist around somewhere and went to assist the two victims, not knowing who’s the attacker and where he was. I just hoped that he wouldn’t return.

Since we’re still talking about Israel, in about five minutes the place was swarming with armed people.

Policemen, soldiers on vacation, other security forces – my quiet neighbourhood turned into a war zone in minutes.

And all because of one brainwashed young man from Idna.

Yes, Idna.

The same town we have trusted to send him in from, with a permit.

About 30 minutes later they captured him hiding in my neighbour’s yard.

Because that specific terrorist chose to surrender when the security forces found him and since Israel is a law abiding democracy, he was arrested.

Unfortunately, even in towns like Idna, extreme Jihad brainwashings by radical Muslims may affect people, usually the young ones.

But how did this incident influence the coexistence between the folks in Idna and in Israel?

Well, the first few days were hard, especially for the workers that came from Idna.

Israel did the right thing to allow them in despite of that incident.

But the feelings were difficult.

Most of them looked ashamed, the moment we started talking about it they’d start sounding apologetic, and that kept going for about 3-4 days.

That’s it.

Anyone surprised?

After all, most of the people on both sides don’t want or care about any wars.

Certainly not about a made up lie about Israel being an apartheid state or another lie – that all Muslims want a pointless Jihad.

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Star Material. Winners of the Desert Stars’ 10th grade social entrepreneurial challenge. Desert Stars is a not-for-profit organization developing a cross-tribal network of young Bedouin leaders in the Negev. (Photo: courtesy)

To sum up this tip of the iceberg article about the incredibly resilient coexistence in Israel’s southern area,

Let me ask you one thing:

Is anyone still surprised why our southern district, even after years of horrible terrorist attacks and barrages of missiles is refusing to lose hope in peace?

And why should we?

When the other side still has hope as well?

Missiles, Jihad, air raids, violent demonstrations and terror might be a part of our lives here – but it’s definitely not the only narrative in our area.

Every obstacle to our coexistence with our neighbors, as cruel as it may be, is only a milestone in our continuous striving for peace and normalization.

Israel will never lose the hope for peace,

And nothing will change that.

 

About the writer:

Ziv Israeli1.pngZiv Israeli is a family guy from Israel,

A proud Zionist with a passion for accurate journalism.

 

 

The Israel Brief- 18-21 November 2019

 

The Israel Brief – 18 November 2019 – Negotiation updates. Austrian cities ban BDS. University of Toronto discriminates against Jewish students.

 

 

 

The Israel Brief – 19 November 2019 – Rockets from Syria. Dramatic US announcement. Closer to government? University of Toronto update.

 

 

 

The Israel Brief – 19 November 2019 – Is Israel headed to 3rd elections? IAF strikes Iranian targets in Syria. Dutch parliament takes stand against mandatory labeling.

Cooling Relations To Hot Realisations

By David E. Kaplan

When Israelis woke up to the day’s news earlier this month that “NASA is set to send a prototype of an Israeli-developed miniaturized solar-power generator to the International Space Station (ISS) in its first launch of 2020,” it hardly raised an eyebrow!

Nor would they have been astounded to read lower down the same article that “Future prototypes are being planned for private space initiatives as well as space agencies pursuing new missions that require high power for electric propulsion and for operation in deep space such as missions to Jupiter and Saturn.”

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Far Out. NASA to send Israeli solar-power generator to International Space Station. View of the full installation at which testing will be performed within the framework of NASA’s Materials International Space Station Experiment. (photo credit: BEN GURION UNIVERSITY OF THE NEGEV)

Such news today in Israel maybe “news” but hardly surprising revelations!

Israel is in the vanguard of preparing for tomorrow and more and more countries and international companies and agencies are realising the value of partnering with Israel – collaborating on projects for the benefit of all mankind.

However, what did raise eyebrows as reported in the international media, was when earlier this month, Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa, expressed in public that South Africa can learn from Israel that was “leading by leaps and bounds” – notably in the hi-tech sector.

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa makes his State of the Nation address in parliament, in Cape Town, South Africa, February 7, 2019. (Rodger Bosch, Pool via AP

And why the surprise?

Well, it was only a month earlier that South Africa confirmed its intention to downgrade its Tel Aviv embassy to a liaison office.

This was like a cart or carriage being pulled by horses hitched in the front and the back!

In which direction, if any, was South Africa’s foreign policy headed?

The diplomatic downgrade had been due to the nefarious influence of BDS on ANC policy at the ruling party’s December 2017 biannual conference. As warned at the time and shown over events since, the fateful short-sighted resolution was set neither to help the Palestinians nor to materially harm Israelis. In fact, the only harm inflicted was on  the majority of citizens of South Africa.

With Ramaphosa’s public address, are fresh winds of change blowing in South Africa?

Speaking at a Women in Business Conference in Johannesburg, the State President said that: “There is money: Come with plans and innovative ideas which we can fund, and then we can seed your business.”

In Israeli parlance, Ramaphosa was talking “tachlis”. In plain English – “Let’s get down to brass tacks.”

Ramaphosa was telling the conference and by extension the people of South Africa how the country could economically benefit from engagement with Israel.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking at the BWASA Presidential dialogue 2019, 29 October 2019 (Photo: Nigel Sibanda)

Right On Ramaphosa

It was the right time for the South African president to deliver this message as the conference was the launching pad of his country’s three-day investment drive led by the State President, where the country hoped to commit trillions of dollars to economic investments; even before the conference ended.

Most revealing was that Ramaposa recognised Israel’s “challenge funds” as a role model for South Africa to fuel enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship in its hi-tech sector.

If it works in Israel, why not South Africa?

Addressing the conference, Ramaphosa said:

The Israeli hi-tech sector funds enterprises in tech, in the technology space, and you call it a ‘Challenge Fund’. To me this is a very interesting nomenclature to say it is a ‘Challenge Fund’, because it challenges the private sector, but it can also challenge the entrepreneurs themselves, who come out of the woodwork. There is money: Come with plans and innovative ideas which we can fund, and then we can seed your business.”

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On a roll, the President continued:

“In many ways, that is what has gotten Israel to lead in the technology space. They are leading by leaps and bounds, and they are actually innovative in a number of sectors of the economy, in agriculture, in maritime and in a number of other areas. They have shown that they can lead. And we can learn a lot from what they do.”

This is a far cry from South Africa cutting off its nose to spite itself when in 2016, a Johannesburg conference dealing with the water crisis in South Africa was canceled due to the inclusion of Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa.

The then Ambassador, Arthur Lenk, was to be part of a panel at the conference organised by the Mail and Guardian newspaper on “equitable and sustainable water management for poverty alleviation.” It is globally recognised that Israel is the world’s expert in water management.

After Ramaphosa’s recent conference address, Israel’s present Ambassador to South Africa, Lior Keinan, took to Twitter to welcome the State President’s statement:

“We are delighted to see #Israeli tech discussed by President @CyrilRamaphosa . Israel has become a world leader in #innovation and #entrepreneurship and will continue to encourage avenues of cooperation between Israel and South Africa.

???????????????? https://t.co/FeKq793XyC 

???????? Lior Keinan (@LiorKeinan) November 7, 2019

Has Ramaphosa pressed a reset button that common sense may prevail over ignorance? During the worst of the water crises in Cape Town in 2018; and with Israel offering help, typical of the WhatsApp messages was this one received by Darren Bergman, a Jewish member of parliament in South Africa which read:

 “There is NO water crisis! Day zero is a Zionist plot planned by the DA Zionists…. They have been using scaremongering and by laws [sic] to create a water ‘crisis.’ The ‘created’ drought is a Zionist plot to control Cape Town’s water supply and profit from it.”

Rise To The Challenge

Times may be A ‘Changin’ when Ramaphosa says of Israel:

 “We can learn a lot more of what they do with regard to Challenge Funds, and I would like to learn more.”

Most encouraging words from the State President, but part of the process of learning about “Challenge Funds” is also accepting the challenge of rejecting the attitudes of the likes of BDS whose vocabulary when it comes to Israel is less about finding  a solution but more in advocating the country’s dissolution.

South Africa is currently facing Challenging times. In rugby, the World Champions need no counsel but there are many areas that Israel can assist and wants to assist.

Ramaphosa’s recent words are a good beginning!

 

 

*Feature picture: ewn.co.za – President Cyril Ramaphosa addesses a dialogue, convened under the theme ‘The Economy is Woman’, which is organised by the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (BWASA) on 29 October 2019. Picture: GCIS.

The Arab Voice

A selection of opinions and analysis from the Arab media

This month’s selection of articles reflect on the repercussions and ramifications following of the death of Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Iraqi-born leader of ISIS as well as the  nationwide demonstrations taking place in Lebanon, Iran and Iraq.

 

Baghdadi and Bin Laden … What’s the Difference?

 By  Waheed Abd al-Majeed 

Al-Etihad, UAE, November 7

When Osama bin Laden announced in 1988 the creation of what he called the “Global Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders,” known as al-Qaida, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had just turned 17. When bin Laden claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks, Baghdadi was an anonymous preacher at a Baghdad mosque. This generational difference between Baghdadi, born in 1971, and bin Laden, born in 1957, influenced the path the two men took.

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Death Of ISIS Leader. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed himself after US special forces found him in north-west Syria.

The circumstances surrounding the establishment of Islamic State in 2013 were considerably different from those in which al-Qaida was born. Although it is tempting to compare the assassination of Baghdadi just a few weeks ago to that of Bin Laden in May 2011, it is important to remember that the two events and their impact on the two organizations are inherently different. Bin Laden was able to play a pivotal role in his organization even while hiding, based on two factors: – First, his historical record in the war in Afghanistan and also the fame he gained during that war, which enabled him to lead global terrorism. – Second, his ability to communicate and attract attention, as demonstrated in his countless speeches.

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Revealing Reality. Zeid Ali, 12, left, and Hodayfa Ali, 11, comfort each other after their house was hit and collapsed during fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants. (Felipe Dana/AP)

In contrast, Baghdadi had neither of these factors. There is no remarkable historical record and no markers indicating that he was a strong or influential figure. From his supporters’ point of view, Baghdadi’s main achievement was in transforming a terrorist organization that operated only in Iraq into a larger movement operating in other Middle Eastern countries as well. By these measures, the impact of his death on ISIS may appear less important than that bin Laden’s assassination had for al-Qaida. But this conclusion may be hasty because it overlooks an important variable: Both men spent their last few years in hiding. Therefore, it was extremely difficult for them to play an effective leadership role in their respective organizations. Bin Laden’s role was considerably diminished in his final years and he became essentially irrelevant from an operational standpoint. Meanwhile, Baghdadi was killed after his organization was defeated militarily and expelled from areas it controlled in Syria and Iraq. But Baghdadi’s weakness was even more dramatic because he lacked the moral authority that bin Laden had. Yet this difference, however important, is not enough to conclude that the repercussions of Baghdadi’s killing for ISIS will be less monumental than the effects of bin Laden’s death on al-Qaida. If al-Qaida became weaker after bin Laden’s death, it was linked to the emergence of ISIS, which attracted some of its cadres and many of its supporters. Therefore, the fate of ISIS after the killing of Baghdadi may depend on two central questions: The first is the fate of Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashemi Al-Qurashi, who was coronated as ISIS’s new leader. Will the movement consolidate behind Qurashi’s back? The second relates to al-Qaida:

Will it be able to exploit the confusion and disorder within the ranks of ISIS to regain the forefront of global terrorism?

Or, alternatively, will a third organization, separate from these two, emerge in the region and vie for leadership?

History tells us that this is certainly possible.

Waheed Abd al-Majeed (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

 

 

Trust: Basis of Social Contract between Ruler, Ruled

 By Muhammad Al-Sheikh

Al-Jazirah, Saudi Arabia, November 6

One of the most important things that have emerged from the ongoing demonstrations in Lebanon is that confidence is an indispensable requirement in the so-called “social contract” between the ruler and the ruled.

The people of Lebanon, who have grown accustomed to all of their sects and parties, do not trust their elected politicians anymore. Lebanese politicians, like many of their counterparts around the world, fail to deliver on their campaign promises as soon as they are elected. It seems as if this has been particularly true in Lebanon and Iraq, where leaders handed out promises only to pave their way to the throne but then turned their backs on the people as soon as they won the election. Politicians hiding under the cloak of democracy, speaking of accountability and transparency, have been the first to abandon these concepts when assuming power. The problem with Lebanon, just like the problem of Iraq, is that sectarian loyalties triumph political competence. People are elected to office based on ethnic labels, not political credentials; this inherently diminishes any prospect for equal opportunity in society while creating a deep sense of clientelism and injustice. Therefore, it can be argued that the first condition for democracy is the abolition of sectarianism because when sectarianism meets patriotism, only one survives.

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Lebanese Demand Change. Following nationwide cross-sectarian rallies across Lebanon since October 17, 2019 demanding a complete overhaul of an inefficient and corrupt political system, the government resigned and spurred promises from political leaders, who have vowed to enact serious reforms to combat corruption.

In Iraq, sectarian loyalties have allowed the country to fall into the hands of Iran. The Iraqi parliament is simply unable to make an independent decision and lacks any capacity to pursue its own national agenda. This is true, at least to some extent, in Lebanon as well. Thankfully, I am confident that the uprising in Lebanon will be sufficient to turn the table against the Iranian regime trying to take over the country. The people of Lebanon are going through a historic opportunity to liberate themselves from the hateful Iranian occupation. We must remember that Iran is extremely weak from the inside. The Iranian people are closely watching what is happening in Iraq and Lebanon. Revolutions can easily spread from one country to another, as the Arab Spring has taught us.

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Rise Of Fuel Price Rises Tensions. Iranian protesters block a highway following fuel price increase in Tehran, Iran, 16 November 2019 CREDIT: REX

The Iranian regime might unwillingly find itself being the next target of demonstrations, but this time, from the inside.

Muhammad Al-Sheikh (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

 

 

 Can Iraqi Regime Be Changed?

By Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed

Asharq Al-Awsat, London, November 7

A handful of revolutions have shaken the region of late, but none has paved the way to the rise of a new regime. Leaders resigned and governments fell, but the regimes remained strong in Egypt, Tunisia and Sudan. In Libya and Yemen, state institutions have completely collapsed, yet the two countries are still in political limbo, finding themselves without alternative political systems or effective state institutions. The protests in Iraq caught the world by surprise since no one truly expected them to erupt, let alone be sustained at such intensity throughout the entire country.

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Anger At Leadership. Discontent over economic hardship and corruption, Iraqi demonstrators take part at ongoing anti-government protests at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq November 2, 2019. (REUTERS/Saba Kareem)

Although Iraqi phone lines had been cut off and Wi-Fi signals suspended, the Iraqi people have not backed down. The sad truth, however, is that despite the protesters’ admirable insistence, they are unlikely to topple the regime. The Iraqi masses who have taken to the streets are certainly able to force the government to resign. But this will change very little on the ground. The biggest achievement of these protestors is the ability to send Iran a message that its influence over Iraqi politics is not wanted. This is what brought hundreds of protestors to demonstrate outside the Iranian consulate and set it on fire. The people of Iraq are well aware of the fact that their government might be Iraqi, but its orders come from Tehran. Unfortunately, previous experience teaches us that the alternative to a government that steps down is not always clear. Sometimes, the resignation of the government is the easiest thing to offer because the alternative is not much better.

Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

 

 

 

Heroes of Israel

By Andi Saitowitz

Life coach, Andi Saitowitz, shares her thoughts and feeling about what life is like under bombardment of rockets and how ordinary people are the heroes of Israel.

Heroes of Israel1.jpgToday I gave an intensive workshop and presentation to a team in a nearby city. Just before I left, Code Red alarms were still blaring on the app on my phone as our brothers and sisters in the south continued to be bombarded with rockets. As I picked up my phone to check the address I was going to, I suddenly realized that I was going to street called גיבורי ישראל  (“Giborei Israel”) – translated into the “Heroes of Israel”.

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Seeing Red. The Red Color (Hebrew: (Tzeva Adom) is an early-warning radar system installed by the Israel Defense Forces in towns surrounding the Gaza Strip to warn civilians of imminent attack by rockets. Outside of areas serviced by the Red Color system, standard air raid sirens are used to warn of rocket attacks.

 

I couldn’t help but pause and think about all those families who are living within such a close radius to the line of fire. I couldn’t help but think about our armed forces, who risk their lives daily to protect our nation and homeland. I couldn’t help but think about the heroes who have fallen – and the injured and the hurt and the scared. I couldn’t help but think of the past heroes who in their merit and honor, we have a state and a home. I couldn’t help but think about the first-responders and the defenders of Israel around the world who with such pride, courage and resilience, stand for Israel against all odds. I couldn’t help but think of all the people who choose to make Israel their home. I couldn’t help but think of all the people who pray for Israel, from near and far. I couldn’t help but think of the friends of Israel who want to see her grow and blossom. I couldn’t help but think of the unity we manage to hold together, even when everything around us seems to be falling apart.

So as I drove to The Heroes of Israel Street for a jam-packed day of personal development, growth, team building, training and leadership – I thought of the real heroes of Israel:

Every person who prays for peace.

Every person who fights for peace.

Every person who finds the resilience to keep the faith when times are tough.

Every person who holds Hatikva in their heart when all hope sometimes seems lost.

Every person who lives the values and ideals that we hold so dear.

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Heroes In Uniform. Protecting the people, Israeli police sappers remove a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in farmland near the Israel Gaza border, November 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Every parent who has a few seconds to run for shelter with small children.

If you are already here, you are a Hero of Israel.

If you love and protect us, you are a Hero of Israel.

If you dream of being here; you are a Hero of Israel.

If you pray for us wherever you are, you are a Hero of Israel.

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Sirens In Sderot. People take cover during a rocket warning siren in Sderot, southern Israel November 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

If you represent us with integrity, you are a Hero of Israel.

If you spread truth about us, you are a Hero of Israel.

If you want us to thrive, you are a Hero of Israel.

If you stand with us, you are a Hero of Israel.

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Anguish In Ashqelon. Adults assist children running for cover as rocket alarms sound in the Israeli city of Ashqelon, on Wednesday, November 13, 2019.(Ilan Assayag)

If you want to live with us and beside us and close to us and in peace with us: you are a Hero of Israel.

And it doesn’t matter who you are.

 

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Resilience Under Rockets. A woman in the southern city of Ashkelon injured by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip is treated by paramedics on November 13, 2019. (Screen capture: Twitter)

 

Heroes of Israel4

Andi Saitowitz, a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, published author and lover of inspiration. Also a Personal Development Strategist, Life Coach, Mentor and Transformation Leader.

 

The Israel Brief- 11-14 November 2019

 

The Israel Brief – 11 November 2019 – Remembering Kristallnacht. Negotiation updates. Jordan does not renew 24 year lease.

 

 

 

The Israel Brief – 12 November 2019 – ISRAEL UNDER FIRE – updates.

 

 

 

The Israel Brief – 13 November 2019 – #ISRAELUNDERATTACK day 2 updates.

 

 

 

The Israel Brief – 14 November 2019 – Update on situation in South. Unity goverent negotiations. EU labelling of Israeli goods.

 

 

 

The Schilling Show – 13 November 2019 – Rolene Marks (20:30 min – 31:30 min)