WORLD WIZO PRESIDENT’S NEWSLETTER
Issue no. 13
World WIZO President
There is no doubt that we live in challenging times. Yet my mantra has always been to view the glass
half full, even when the burden that we have to bear weighs heavily on the Jewish people, on Israel
and on our collective sense of security.
It is not easy to be ever the optimist. Sure, we stand proud of the manifold achievements that Israel
has, by sheer diligence, determination and brain -power, donated to the world. But when that same
world seems to be swept up in the rising tide of anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism; a world that judges
unfairly and points the finger indiscriminately, I admit there are times when I will sigh in exasperation.
Again, Israel is ‘obliged’ to make painful concessions in the name of a peace that is far from assured. I
watch the news, and my heart is heavy when I see murderers with Israeli blood on their hands dancing
in the streets celebrating their freedom - and I think of the victims of terror and their loved ones, for
whom there is no release from their heartache. How must they feel? Where is the justice?
When we read of an anti-Semitic attack in Sydney, it is as if it happened to our own children. When the
animosity of the ‘boycott Israel’ brigade boils over on the streets of the UK, when Swastikas are
daubed on synagogues in France, we feel the pain just as if the dagger is pointed directly at our hearts.
Such is the link that joins every Jew everywhere. The trials and tribulations of our brothers and sisters
in the Diaspora are sorely felt by us and vice versa. And yet, it is this phenomena of the collective
Jewish heart that cheers me and restores my optimism. Yes, life is challenging but as the Jewish
people, we here in Israel, together with our friends around the world, must remember the words of
Golda Meir, “Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself.”
Every Jew around the world knows that the Israel in his or her heart is the assurance of a better
tomorrow for ourselves, our children and our children's children. It is the reason we WIZO chaverot
volunteer our time, effort and energy in the service of the people of Israel and all their tomorrows. It is
this collective spirit of the Jewish people that will prevail over the challenges of today, as it did
yesterday and for all future days. Am Israel chai!
President - World WIZO
Hatred pours doubt on the Peace Process
On Sept. 26, the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the United Nations General Assembly that
the Palestinians "keep reaching out to the Israelis saying: let us work to make the culture of peace reign."
Honourable sentiments, to be sure, but sadly not free of hypocrisy.
Just after returning from his U.N. speech, Mr Abbas hosted the celebrated Egyptian poet Hisham
al-Gakh, who proclaimed in prose that "our enemy is the fork-tailed Zionist devil." That evening, Mr al-Gakh
received award from the Palestinian minister of culture for his prose. In July, the program "Palestine This
Morning" featured two sisters reciting a poem referring to "sons of Zion" and "barbaric monkeys" and
These are just a few of the thousands of examples of Palestinian incitement against the Jewish state and
the Jewish people. There are even numerous instances of the glorification of Hitler on the Facebook pages of
some government-supported Palestinian schools and in children's publications funded by the Palestinian
Authority. The population at large, and children in particular, internalize such messages, propagated daily in P.A.
media and classrooms.
Two decades ago, I was a chartered member of Israel's Peace Now movement and an unabashed
supporter of the peace process. Since then, I and many Israelis like me have become deeply sceptical about
Palestinians' real intentions. Not just because of the terrorist attacks that have emanated from areas handed
over to Palestinian control, but also because of the repeated Palestinian calls for Israel's destruction. Jewish
history has taught us the hard way never to underestimate the power of hatred.
The Palestinian Authority's television and radio stations, public schools, summer camps, children's
magazines and web sites are being used to drive home four core messages. First, that the existence of a Jewish
state (regardless of its borders) is illegitimate because there is no Jewish people and no Jewish history in this
piece of land. Second, that Jews and Zionists are horrible creatures that corrupt those in their vicinity. Third, that
Palestinians must continue to struggle until the inevitable replacement of Israel by an Arab-Palestinian state. And
fourth, that all forms of resistance are honourable and valid, even
if some forms of violence are not always expedient.
Instead of being schooled in the "culture of peace," the next
generation of Palestinians is being relentlessly fed a rhetorical
diet that includes the idolization of terrorists, the demonization
of Jews and the conviction that Israel should cease to exist.
The fact that this anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic indoctrination
persists, despite the much-touted relaunch of Israeli-Palestinian
peace negotiations, constitutes a huge obstacle on the road to
peace. It should have disappeared 20 years ago, because of a
clear Palestinian commitment to end all forms of incitement
included in the Oslo Accords. And until it ends, the current round of talks cannot hope to reach a successful
outcome. Progress toward a peace agreement requires that both Palestinians and Israelis foster an environment
conducive to productive dialogue. Israel's anguished decision on July 28 to release over 100 convicted terrorists,
as well as to help the Palestinian economy, were a courageous attempt to build trust and improve the
atmosphere surrounding the negotiations, and I supported it.
Palestinian leaders must now reciprocate by immediately and fully halting their encouragement and sponsorship
of hatred. If they do not, attempts at renewed diplomacy are doomed to fail, Israelis will become more sceptical
about the peace process, and we in the Israeli government will have greater difficulty taking the additional
confidence-building steps that we have been considering. Indeed, with each passing day, my colleagues and I will
find it more and more problematic to authorize any further release of prisoners.
If Israelis are ever to believe that peace with Palestinians has a chance, the first step Mr Abbas must take is to
swiftly terminate the campaign to delegitimize the Jewish people and its state.
Edited from an article first appearing in the International New York Times, written by Yuval Steinitz - Israel’s
minister of intelligence and international affairs.
In the last days of October, Israel seized a cache of weapons at Ashdod Port comprising of over
14,000 fire arms bound for the Palestinian Territories. This came in the wake of the discovery on
15th October by the IDF of a terror tunnel. the Coordination and Liaison Administration to Gaza
(CLA) coordinated a tour for representatives of the major international organizations operating in Gaza to see
the terror tunnel that was recently discovered by the IDF. The tour of the tunnel included a briefing for the
participants given by the commander of the Gaza Division, Brigadier-General Mickey Edelstein. The
participants entered into the tunnel, accompanied by the liaison officers to the international organizations of
the CLA Gaza. The sophistication and structural engineering of the tunnel took the tour participants aback. The
aim of the tour was to demonstrate Hamas building capabilities as well as the Israeli concern for the safety of
the area. This is the third terror tunnel to have been exposed in the last year, and it is estimated that the
tunnel was under construction for more than a year. The tunnel's depth is approximately 18m underground
and spans nearly 1.7km in length. The tunnel itself is equipped with electricity, lighting and communication
infrastructure as well as tracks for conveying a mechanical cart used to transfer the concrete blocks in the
tunnel. This tunnel was dug from the southern Gaza Strip well into Israeli territory near Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha.
In 2010, the civil policy towards the Gaza Strip was expanded to include the import of building materials into
Gaza. In 2012, as part of the understandings following operation "Pillar of Defence", the civil policy was further
expanded; despite the security risks, Israel increased the quota of building materials and approved 20 trucks of
building materials to cross into the Gaza Strip's private sector via the Kerem Shalom border crossing each day.
Just a month ago, this number was increased to 350 trucks per week (about 70 trucks of building materials per
day) – out of understanding of the importance of building and development in the Gaza Strip.
The import of building materials into the strip has been put on hold until further notice. "This tunnel is
testimony to the fact that Hamas continues its attempts to carry out terror attacks against the State of Israel
and its citizens" stated the commander of the Gaza Division, Brigadier General Mickey Edelstein. "Instead of
advancing and developing infrastructure projects and building schools or apartments for the population,
Hamas prefers to use the building materials to construct terror tunnels."
"Every security incident in the area directly impacts the civil policy towards the Strip" stated Major Or Elrom,
Head of the International Organizations section of the CLA. "We hold Hamas responsible for what happens in
the Strip; the more the calm is preserved, the more security risks Israel can afford to take in order to
advance civil policy and make life easier civilian population in Gaza."
COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories
In the online news blog, National Interest, (www.nationalinterest.org ) John Allan Gay writes that the
status of Jews in Europe remains delicate. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights reports that nearly one
quarter of European Jews avoid doing things or wearing symbols that identify them as Jewish. Forty-nine
percent of Swedish Jews avoid recognizably Jewish clothing and symbols in public. Eighty-eight percent of
French Jews said anti-Semitism has become worse in the last five years. Thirty percent of Hungarian Jews
have experienced an anti-Semitic incident in the past twelve months and around Europe, two-thirds said
reporting assaults and other anti-Semitic incidents to the police wasn't worth it, or wouldn’t make a
Surveys like this cast doubt on the belief that the history of the West has been one of steady progress.
Sure, the Europeans seem to have finally been civilized, with their bloody, multi-century stream of wars
and revolutions supplanted by social democracy and multinational union. But in 2012, France led the
world in violent anti-Semitic incidents. The media would have you believe it is the far right to blame Greece swarming with Golden Dawn black shirts and crypto fascists flexing their muscles almost everywhere east of the Elbe. But participants in the EU survey, many drawn from Western Europe, saw it
differently - just 19% pinned it on the extreme right, 22% faulted the extreme left. However, Europe’s
Muslims are cited by 27%. This brand of anti-Semite has imported the hatred of Jews to countries where it
was historically less severe, such as Denmark. The
Jewish online magazine, Tablet, relates the tale of
Martin Krasnik, a journalist and a liberal Jewish
Dane who decided to take a long walk through the
immigrant neighbourhood of Nørrebro with a
yarmulke perched on his head. He is quickly
harassed, told to "go to hell, Jew," told to remove
his cap, and so forth. There were plenty of
threats—men tell him that "we have a right to kick
your ass," that his religion may tell him to wear the
yarmulke but that it doesn’t tell him to get killed.’ Krasnik was extremely uncomfortable, telling Tablet’s
Michael Moynihan that he thought, "If I keep doing this for an hour or two, something will happen. And if I
did this every day, I would get my ass kicked around.”
The rise of Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe is well documented—and widely ignored. Krasnik told
Moynihan that the press and other elites give the phenomenon little attention and little energy—“The
mayor of Copenhagen says ‘we will not accept anti-Semitism, but that we shouldn’t overdramatize the
situation. We should breathe calmly, he said.” Moynihan noted that some school principals in heavily
immigrant areas have begun warning Jewish parents away. Europe’s multiculturalists prefer to apologize
for their more troublesome charges—and to bend native society to accommodate foreigners’ prejudices.
At a recent government-sponsored “multicultural festival” in Nørrebro, intended to promote cultural
“diversity,” a Jewish group was barred from displaying the Israeli flag. TaskForce Inclusion, one of the
organizers of the event, claimed that the measure was taken as a “safety precaution” (a precaution that
applied, it seems, only to Jewish groups and a tacit admission that the mere sight of a Star of David would
drive certain other attendees into spasms of violence). One government official later said that, initially, the
Jewish group was to be completely excluded for fear of offending Muslim participants.
Modern liberality veils Europe’s history—and it is the same veil behind which some of Europe’s less
pleasant impulses lurk. There is a fatal flaw, after all, in European claims of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism really can enrich societies. And there is no better testament to this than the history of the Jews in
Europe. They gave Europe Einstein and Kafka, Freud and Arendt. They made Europe the world’s intellectual
centre of gravity—until the Europeans killed them and drove them out. So why would Europe’s selfproclaimed multiculturalists sweep their shining example
under the rug, unless something more unsa4
voury were at play?
by Tricia Schwitzer
Conceived at the hapless 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa and incubated
through the Second Intifada, the Boycott/Divest/Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel is presented as a
pro-peace initiative. Wrong! This evil phenomenon arrived kicking, screaming and defaming in 2005. One of its
founders, Omar Barghouti, quite bizarrely, holds a masters degree in Philosophy from the Tel Aviv University. He
and his cohorts have systematically waged academic and economical jihad against Israel, bullied showbiz celebs
to cancel appearances in the Jewish State and persuaded churches, unions and an unwitting public to support this
high profile campaign of antagonism, which is really a thinly-veiled, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic tool whose
ultimate goal is the demonization, delegitimization and ultimate demise of the Jewish State. Modelling itself on
the worldwide campaign against the South African Apartheid regime of the late twentieth century, BDS casts its
global anti-Israel net on campuses, among unions, consumers, entertainers and churches and Joe Public.
The BDS camp's goal, by its own definition, is to use 'punitive economic means' to pressure Israel to rectify
wrongs done to human rights in the Palestinian Territories. That theory is no more than a cloak of deception to
hide its true objective, which is to bring the Jewish State to its knees. The BDS movement steadfastly refuses to
acknowledge Israel's disproportionately large contribution to science, medicine, technology and agriculture.
Instead, it paints Israel in insidious colours, likening it to South Africa's Apartheid regime and Nazi Germany. But
bizarrely, in doing so, it turns a blind eye to mass genocide, honour killings, and brazen flagrancies of human rights
violations in every other part of the Middle East.
The 'soft' war waged by the BDS movement, has taken its toll on Israeli companies, entertainers and
academics since 2001, and it continues to gather momentum amongst those looking for a suitable platform from
which to launch their own particular brand of anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli hatred. BDS Supporters have been
vociferous in their demands of Israel. The UK's major trade and teachers' unions have led campaigns to divest from
Israel. Irish and Canadian major trades unions have followed suit. As early as 2001, major UK department store
Selfridges cleared its shelves of Israeli Ahava Dead Sea products. The Harvard and MIT faculty called for their
universities to divest from Israel. The American Episcopal Church, the United Church of Canada and the
Presbyterian Church have all voted to divest from Israel. In 2004, the first 'Israeli Apartheid Week' was held in
North American and British campuses. That same year, 93 authors, filmmakers, musicians, and performers sign a
letter calling for a cultural boycott of Israel.
Each year since then, the BDS campaign has gathered support from all over the world and its tentacles
reach out far and wide. In 2010, the Olympia Food Co-Op in Washington State became the first American grocery
store to boycott Israeli goods. Germany' Deutsche Bank sold its holdings in Israel's Elbit Systems. The British
Methodist Church began boycotting products originating in Israeli settlements. Gay residents of Tel Aviv were
banned from joining a gay pride march in Madrid. Swedish port workers have refused to process Israeli ships, as
have port workers in Norway and the USA . The cultural boycott of Israel gained the support of 500 artists from
Montreal. Actress Meg Ryan cancelled participation to a festival in Israel, and the South African Transport and
Allied Workers Union called for an 'escalation of the boycott of Israeli goods.' French singer Vanessa Paradis and
husband Johnny Depp acceded to calls to cancel a Tel Aviv show made by Palestinian boycott campaigners.
Palestine solidarity activists gathered at the Occupy Wall Street encampment in lower Manhattan to promote the
BDS campaign. The University of Johannesburg suspended ties with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University. Israeli chocolate
company Max Brenner was targeted by Australian Palestinian activists. Former Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters
has been particularly vocal in his support for the BDS
cause joining artists such as Carlos Santana and Elvis
Costello supporting a boycott against Israel using
continued on page 6
Continued from page 5
When pop icon Madonna named her Tel Aviv concert a
'peace concert,' and offered some 600 tickets to Israeli
and Palestinian groups, her offer was rejected by the
Against the Wall and Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity groups.
One supermarket at the University of York initiated a
boycott of Israeli goods, but continued to sell Iranian
pistachios, an industry controlled by the Iranian
government. At the Ninth Annual Israeli Apartheid
Week, the Students Union at Oxford voted to boycott
Israel. That particular hate fest saw hate mail,
accusations of racism, and a furious exit from a debate
by pro-Saddam Hussein former MP George Galloway,
who said: "I refused this evening to debate with an
Israeli, a supporter of the Apartheid state of Israel. The
reason is simple: No recognition, No normalization.
Just Boycott, divestment and sanctions, until the
Apartheid state is defeated." True colours he showed
The aforementioned is just the tip of the iceberg. The BDS movement gathers momentum, based on myths
perpetrated by those for whom Israel's mere existence is a travesty. This is anti-Semitism, pure and simple.
Nowhere in the BDS propaganda is there any mention of the historical facts, the shared success stories of Israeli
companies in the Palestinian Authorities that give jobs and excellent working conditions to its staff, nor to the
multitudes who benefit from Israeli expertise, innovation and 'tikkun olam.' Ask the Palestinian mother whose
baby receives life-saving open-heart surgery in Israel, funded entirely by the Israeli government. Do you really
think she supports this BDS? No, neither do I.
The BDS movement has done nothing to ‘ease the plight of the Palestinian people,’ Indeed in many of
the demonstrations it stages so dramatically on the high streets of the UK and Europe, when challenged with
facts the BDS protestors turn a deaf ear - because quite simply they cannot give credence to their hate. They are
unable to substantiate their claims.
As Jews, as supporters of the State of Israel, we have an obligation to fight this ugly phenomenon and
show solidarity with Israel by fighting these lies with truth, with facts and with our voices and pockets. We are
but a small voice in a loud chorus of haters, but if that voice speaks the truth and educates with facts, maybe
just maybe, we can turn the tide. T
Israeli Researcher to lead European battle on murder of women
social services to
Israel since 1920
Warm Homes for
children at risk
for Girls at risk
For the first time, COST, an inter-governmental
framework for European Cooperation in Science
and Technology, will sponsor an Action initiated by
an Israeli researcher to prevent femicide across
Europe. Femicide, the killing of a woman because
she is female, is a leading cause of premature
death for women globally. The Action will establish
a pan-European coalition on femicide, with
researchers who are already studying the phenomenon in their own countries, in
order to agree on definitions, improve policies for femicide prevention, and
publish guidelines for the use of national policy-makers.
To date, 26 countries have joined the initiative proposed by Dr. Shalva Weil,
senior researcher at the NCJW Research Institute for Innovation and
Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Doctor Weil has been
unanimously elected as the chairperson for the action and is the only Israeli
to hold such a position. The proposal emerged out of Weil’s own research
on wife-murder/femicide among Ethiopian immigrants in Israel.
First woman governor for the Bank of Israel
Dr Karnit Flug has been appointed as governor of the
Bank of Israel , making her the first woman in the post.
The deputy governor since July 2011, Flug has been
serving as acting governor since Stanley Fischer
stepped down in June. “Karnit Flug has the appropriate
background and experience, and she has fulfilled her
position in recent months very well,” Netanyahu said
in a statement following the approval. “In addition to
the fact that we are successfully navigating the Israeli economy in the face
of the global crisis, Israel’s economic leadership must continue to advance
growth and employment, increase exports and lower housing prices.”
Israeli women outscore men in PhD awards
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced this year that it awarded the most
doctorates ever since the university was
established, bestowing 375 doctor of
philosophy and doctor of law degrees. With
205 women receiving their doctorates, this
marks the second year running that women
graduates outweighed men.
The Hebrew University is not alone, at least when it comes to science. At
three major Israeli universities, more women than men earned their PhDs
this year. At Tel Aviv University, 105 women received doctorates in the
exact sciences, life sciences, engineering and medicine, as opposed to 95
men. Similarly, at Bar Ilan University 33 women received PhDs in the
sciences, compared with 27 men.
This newsletter is edited by
World WIZO Executive Member Tricia Schwitzer
Email: [email protected]