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Grapevine: Old city issues
The argument against soldiers in the area doesn’t wash, because Jewish Quarter residents Pamela and Abba Claman regularly have large contingents of soldiers in their home.
THE HOSTILITY by certain sectors of the haredi community toward the IDF goes beyond their opposition to army service. Those who live in the Old City do not want to see large groups of soldiers there – despite the fact that 50 years ago, it was the IDF that made it possible for Jews to merely enter the Old City, let alone live there. The rabbis and other haredi residents of the Old City are disturbed by the intention of the Defense Ministry to open a training center for members of the Educational Corps of the army. They believe that the existence of such a center will attract hundreds of soldiers whose presence will change the character of the area and may provoke an increase in crime.

A large delegation met recently with Avi Abuhatzeira, an adviser to the defense minister, and tried to impress on him that the presence of the soldiers would mar the tranquility of life in the Jewish Quarter.

But that’s not the only issue. The building for the center was put up for sale, and bidders included the Kol Yehuda Yeshiva, which is headed by Rabbi Moshe Brandwein, whose family once owned part of the building. Apparently, the ministry wanted the building so badly that it put in a bid for NIS 33 million, which was NIS 10m. more than the next highest bid.

The argument against soldiers in the area doesn’t wash, because Jewish Quarter residents Pamela and Abba Claman regularly have large contingents of soldiers in their home and give large-scale support to the IDF in many ways.

THE GREAT Synagogue will hold a Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration on Wednesday, April 18, at 8 p.m., with former defense minister Moshe Arens as guest speaker.

Arens corrected an important historical omission with regard to the Holocaust, specifically the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, in his book Flags over the Warsaw Ghetto, in which he explained that although Mordechai Anielewicz and his colleagues from Hashomer Hatza’ir were for decades credited with being responsible for resistance within the ghetto against the Nazis, there was also resistance on the part of young Betarists headed by Pawel Frankel, who, thanks to Arens’s efforts, has also been recognized by Polish historians and the Polish authorities.

POLITICAL CLASHES and crises have lately put media as much in the news as reporting the news – and not only in Israel. So it stands to reason that some real heavyweights from the global media will be attending an international conference on Press Freedom in a Digital Era that will be hosted on May 8-9 by the Jerusalem Press Club.

Among the confirmed speakers is Carl Bernstein, who worked together with Bob Woodward at The Washington Post when they broke the story of the Watergate scandal. Some of the issues to be discussed at the conference are: governments and the press – friends or foes? Journalism ethics under pressure; innovation and press freedom; and war coverage in the digital era.
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