Three days prior to the November 1 elections, the Labor Party will hold a memorial ceremony to mark the 27th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Unlike previous mass commemorations, which were held in Tel Aviv, this one on Saturday night, October 29, will be held in Zion Square, Jerusalem, where in October 1995, just a few days before Rabin was murdered, there was a rabid anti-Rabin rally by right-wing elements, who circulated photoshopped portraits of Rabin wearing a kaffiyeh.
The memorial rally, at which Rabin’s values will be highlighted, comes just a month after President Isaac Herzog, a former leader of the Labor Party, condemned the increase in verbal and physical violence and incitement.
It was just as bad in 1995, and one of the reasons for holding the memorial rally in Jerusalem is to remind the public where hatred, incitement and political extremism can lead.
Herzog’s predecessor, Reuven Rivlin, in an extremely courageous act of conscience, in November 2016, admitted that he had been present at the anti-Rabin rally, but clarified that he had not been on the balcony of the hotel overlooking Zion Square.
At the time, he was a Likud MK and a committed right-wing ideologist opposed to the Oslo Accords. That was his reason for being there.
What he witnessed shocked and angered him, because the voices he heard were not, in his opinion, the legitimate voices of opposition.
Though fearful of what those voices represented, Rivlin had never imagined that the incitement would lead to Rabin’s murder.
Benjamin Netanyahu, who was opposition leader then as now, was on the balcony, but on more than one occasion has condemned incendiary rhetoric. He has stated on his Facebook page that Rabin’s murder was “a shocking political assassination abhorred by all.”
It is somehow fitting that the Rabin memorial event is to be held in Jerusalem during the 100th anniversary year of his birth, because it was in Jerusalem that he was born, and it was to Jerusalem that he came in June 1967 as chief of staff, to celebrate the reunification of the city.
Ambassadors or head of diplomatic missions in Israel visit Baha'i Gardens in Haifa
■ SOONER OR later almost every ambassador or head of a diplomatic mission in Israel gets to visit the stunning Baha’i Gardens in Haifa. This is because Baha’i representatives, like heads of other faiths, are on the diplomatic guest lists. The frequent social mingling results in invitations being issued to visit the Baha’i Gardens.
Bahrain Ambassador Khaled al Jalahma recently took up the invitation and later tweeted that although the tour of the gardens was fascinating, what made the day even more magical was meeting an Egyptian volunteer of the Baha’i faith who knew and had visited al Jalahma’s Baha’i childhood friends and neighbors in Bahrain.
Ukrainian refugees in Israel
■ MANY OF the Ukrainian refugees who came to Israel are increasingly experiencing financial difficulties. This adds to the culture shock of a new lifestyle, a certain loss of independence, and sometimes being made to feel like a charity case when not so long ago in Ukraine, they were well off.
Such people include family members of Righteous Among the Nations, who are descended from forebears who saved Jews during the Holocaust. One such family is the Odarchuks.
At the start of the bombing, Anatoly and Lydia Odarchuk fled to Israel from Rivne in Ukraine, with seven of their nine children. Lydia’s father, Peotr Sanevich, was recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations for risking his life to save Jewish children during the Holocaust.
Almost 80 years later, Peotr’s family sought refuge with Dimitri Schmeiger, one of the children he had saved, who now lives with his family in Beersheba.
The Odarchuks were happy in Ukraine and did not believe until the last moment that a war would break out. The decision to leave was very difficult because they love their homeland. They had no idea of how long they would be away, and their family was larger than most.
Still, in Israel, they discovered many good, caring people who have helped them. Help has come not only from Israeli individuals and organizations, but also from organizations and individuals from other countries who frequently contribute to projects in Israel.
These include the British philanthropic organization Jewish National Fund UK, and the Matan-Investing in the Community NGO, which decided to distribute approximately half a million shekels worth of gift vouchers to a thousand Ukrainian refugees to be used to purchase basic supplies.
Assistance ranges from NIS 1,000 to NIS 1,500, depending on the size of the family. As exceptions to the rule in view of the fact that their family is so large the Odarchuks received additional vouchers for NIS 10,000.
Tim Kendal, director at JNF UK’s executive board, said that his organization feels honored and privileged that Lydia and Anatoly chose to seek safety in Israel, and was pleased to provide additional financial assistance to them. Kendal lauded the great bravery and limitless courage that Lydia’s father had demonstrated, at enormous risk to himself and his family, by saving a young, defenseless Jewish boy and his sister.
“His actions, at the cruelest and darkest period in history, still shine and set an example to the world,” Kendal said.
■ MOST SUPERMARKET chains have charitable causes to which they contribute, or to be more accurate to which their customers contribute through them. The extra NIS 5 or NIS 10 added to a supermarket bill adds up to a significant sum of money, which the supermarket management presents to its charity of choice. In all probability, it adds to the amount collected from its clientele, but the bulk comes from people who receive no credit for their generosity.
The management of Tiv Taam did something a little different. They held a fundraiser at their Netanya store where they collected NIS 84,965, and for whatever reason, did not bring it up to the round figure of NIS 85,000.
Chagai Shalom, the owner and CEO of the Tiv Taam chain, together with deputy general manager of marketing, Avivit Levi-Naim, who is also the manager of sales and customer relations, were delighted to present the check to the Israel Cancer Research Fund. Accepting the donation at an informal ceremony at the store were Tamir Gilat and Lior Lapid, chairman and CEO respectively of the ICRF.
They stressed the importance of cancer research, and of encouraging the best and the brightest who are researching different types of cancer and who are looking for cures or ways in which to prevent cancers from spreading through the body.
Melabevdaycare center for people suffering from dementia or Alzheimers
■ FEW THINGS are more tragic in a marriage than when one of the partners is stricken with dementia or Alzheimers, and fades away mentally even though they are physically present. It’s bad enough when they don’t remember where they put things, or how to get from point a to point b, but when they no longer recognize their nearest and dearest, the realization of their mental departure is painful for their relatives.
Jerusalemite Barbara Diamond celebrated her birthday last Thursday by launching podcasts of chapters from “The Dementia Diary – A Chronology of Caring.” When her husband, who was once an athlete and active in many spheres, began to show signs of dementia, Diamond realized that her life was about to change and would never be the same. So she started keeping an online diary about those changes and the changes in her husband.
It wasn’t all dreary. There were moments of humor and there was a learning process to which she had not been previously exposed. It occurred to her that not everyone was born with her resilience or ability to turn lemons into lemonade. So she kept working on the diary, turning it into an online book that was launched at Melabev this past June.
Melabev is a daycare center that identifies the needs of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and treats them accordingly. Diamond took her husband to Melabev, where he was helped considerably. Her book launch was also a payback, as it was also a fundraiser.
Through her Dementia Diary, Diamond has helped a lot of people, and hopes to help more through her podcasts, available at www.thedementiadiary.com. Click on the invitation to listen and select the chapter of choice. The podcasts are also available on YouTube.
United Hatzalah and Yeshiva University fundraising concerts
■ THE HEBREW month of Tishrei is a great time for music lovers in the religious community, with some of their favorite entertainers providing the music in venues that can hold very large crowds.
Both United Hatzalah and Yeshiva University have chosen the Jerusalem International Convention Center for fundraising concerts this month. The United Hatzalah concert, featuring Avraham Fried with singer Mordechai Shapiro and mentalist Lior Suchard, will take place on Thursday, October 13; the Yeshiva University concert featuring Ishay Ribo will take place on Tuesday, October 18.
“This concert will be an unforgettable evening for the YU community, especially our YU community studying in Israel,” said Stephanie Strauss, executive director of YU Israel.