City Notes 370347

Ashkelon and Beersheba youth enjoy ‘cease-fire time’ in the North.

Left to right: KKL-JNF US Chairman Russell Robinson, Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi and KKL-JNF chairman Efi Stenzler with children in a protected indoor playground in Sderot. (photo credit: ADI YISRAEL)
Left to right: KKL-JNF US Chairman Russell Robinson, Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi and KKL-JNF chairman Efi Stenzler with children in a protected indoor playground in Sderot.
(photo credit: ADI YISRAEL)
Some 70 youngsters from Ashkelon and Beersheba went up north to Acre last week for a few days of peace and quiet away from the constant rocket fire emanating from Gaza. The Local website reported that members of the Mechinat Gal pre-military preparatory academy in Acre organized fun-filled days for their southern visitors.
The activities included a trip to Nahal Kziv, a visit to Acre beach, a tour of the Baha’i Gardens and a bonfire on the beach. In addition, the organizers invited lecturers to speak to the young people with the aim of raising their spirits.
“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to leave the unpleasant routine that we have been in recently,” said one of the southern visitors to their hosts. “You have improved our current situation and enabled us to see that there are good people along the way.”
Young people from Mechinat Gal also volunteered to help the people of the South with ongoing activities for children and youth in the bomb shelters. They will also host more southern youngsters in Acre this week. Additionally, community centers around Acre hosted families from the South last week.
Group discusses women’s role in wartime
A group of some 20 women gathered in an apartment in north Tel Aviv on Sunday evening to discuss the role of women during times of war. The meeting was the second of its kind, run by the grassroots organization Shalom Bayit (A Peaceful Home), set up by 10 women with the aim of fueling dialogue between women about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The initiative aims to allow participants to ask questions, discuss the situation and hear others’ opinions regarding the conflict and possible solutions.
The focus of the discussion in this week’s meeting was the weak presence of the female voice in politics, the media and the military during this time of war.
The conversation also opened up ideas of whether a female perspective in wartime differs from a male one. The discussion was led by Nurit Hajaj, a group facilitator and women’s leadership program coordinator.
The group hopes to expand and to run sessions around the country.
Jewish Agency takes southern kids to water park
Some 1,200 children from southern Israel participated in recreational activities organized by the Jewish Agency at the Nahshonit water park in Nahshonim last week. The Jewish Agency stated that since the start of Operation Protective Edge, it has taken 65,000 children from towns and communities near Gaza to enjoy recreational activities outside the line of fire. The initiative was made possible by contributions from the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod-UIA and the United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) UK.
Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky said, “This is a massive expression of solidarity between world Jewry and the State of Israel. Thanks to the swift action of our partners, the Jewish Agency has been able to help tens of thousands of children from Israel’s South in real time.”
Delegation of Jewish American leaders visits Sderot kids
A delegation of American Jewish leaders visited children in Sderot last week during a trip to Israel aimed at showing solidarity with the country. The delegation met with Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi and attended a performance by singer David D’Or. They also visited the country’s largest protected indoor playground in Sderot. The playground is a donation of Keren Kayemet Le’Israel-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), made possible by US donors, many of whom arrived with the delegation to show their support for the residents and see the results of their contributions.
KKL-JNF Chairman Efi Stenzler thanked the donors, telling them that their generosity and determination to stand proudly with the State of Israel “have been proven for decades, and even more so now during a time of war.”
He added that their donation of the protected playground had, regrettably, proven itself very necessary and was being used on a daily basis.
He emphasized that their visit was not taken for granted: “You show not only solidarity that reinforces us all but also emphasizes that every single Jew, wherever he is, is part of us, and we are one nation.”
The playground was established in May 2009 in response to the unstable security situation that Sderot residents have faced for the past 10 years, particularly to enable the children to play safely without having to worry when the Color Red alert sounds. The play area includes inflatables, ball ponds, an indoor football pitch, video and computer games, dance mats, boxing rings, toy cars for preschoolers, arts & crafts, a room for birthday events, a climbing wall, a discotheque and seating areas for parents.
German solidarity mission ‘responds to terrorism with tourism’
A 30-person delegation from Germany arrived in Israel this week as part of a solidarity mission. Politicians and members of various pro-Israel organizations aim to offer comfort and encouragement to the people of Israel and take a stand against rising anti-Semitism around the globe.
Over the course of the trip, participants will meet with various groups around Israel, including a visit to Holocaust survivors in the Eshkol region and wounded soldiers at the Soroka University Medical Center, as well as speaking with victims of terror and their families and arranging an activity for children in southern Israel.
They are also due to meet politicians and military personnel, such as Lt. (res.) Shadi Halul, who is responsible for the recruitment of Christian Arabs to the IDF; MKS and journalists in Jerusalem; and Beersheba Deputy Mayor Tal El Al. The trip will be documented in a daily blog by filmmaker Ilona Rothin.
The group also plans to donate blood via Magen David Adom.
“At a time when we see how anti-Semitism is flourishing throughout the world, these leaders will bring an important message of support for Israel back to Germany,” said Moshe Gabay, associate director of Keshet Educational Journeys.
The solidarity mission is a joint project of Keshet Educational Journeys in Israel and the Israel Reise Travel Agency in Germany.
Cyber police arrest man over alleged incitement against Arabs
The national cyber unit arrested a 21-year-old Beersheba resident last week on suspicion of disseminating material inciting violence and racism. The investigation was opened with the approval of the state attorney after dozens of such racist publications were discovered, including a Facebook page.
At the end of last week, investigators searched the suspect’s house and seized his computer. Police arrested the suspect, questioned him and will bring him to the Rishon Lezion court for a hearing upon a request to release him under restrictive conditions.
The police said they take this type of material seriously and are working diligently to investigate other such allegations.