a different side of Israel

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Holocaust Beauty Pageant Causes Controversy

A beauty pageant was held in Israel. Unlike a typical pageant, the contestants were not women in their early 20s with model-like figures. The 14 participating contestants were actually Holocaust survivors.

All the women were between the ages of 74 to 97. The contest was held in the city of Hafa, and each contestant walked in front of a red carpet and described the grisly details of their personal experience during their detention in the concentration camps.

After listening to personal accounts, a four panel judge awarded the crown to 79-year-old Hava Hershkovitz, who was forced to flee her home in Romania with her family.

While the pageant was clearly held to honor the victims – both the ones who perished as well as those who lived to tell their tales – not everyone sees it that way. Critics are slamming the event as being in poor taste as well as being outright offensive.

The pageant was organized by Shimon Sabag, who said the finalists were selected based on their personal experiences as well as contributions to their communities. While physical appearance did play a role in the selection, Sabag insists the role was minimal.

After being crowned the winner, Hershkovitz says that for her, this was her way of showing that she is still alive and well.

However, Collette Avital, the chairwoman of Israel’s Holocaust Survivors, says that it was not appropriate to judge these women based on their appearances, especially considering the harrowing experiences they endeared.

Roughly six million Jews were slaughtered in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. About 200,000 Holocaust survivors are still living today, with most of them residing in Israel.

Though there are mixed feelings about the pageant, it should not take anything away from the participants, who experienced a living nightmare that no one can even come close to relating to unless they’ve experienced it first hand for themselves.

Austria to Renovate Mauthausen

The Jewish Telegraph Agency reported that in a $2.4 million restoration project, Austria is to renovate the site of the Mauthausen concentration camp.

Mauthausen  LiberationThe two-year project includes building a hall of names in memory of the camp’s victims, similar to the one at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and a new display about the Shoah and upgradings of the permanent exhibition.

A statement on the website of the Austrian Interior Ministry said:

“We are sending a signal that the republic is assuming its national and international responsibility to commemorate the victims of the Nazi regime,” Interior Minister Maria Fekter said in a statement. “We are also standing against intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism.”

At least 95,000 prisoners died in Mauthausen; more than 14,000 of whom were Jewish. About 200,000 people visit Mauthausen each year.


Rafal Betlejewski, a Polish performance artist burned down a barn in the central region of the country in a commemoration of the July, 1941 Jedwabne incident.

In this deadly pogrom, in the presence of Nazi German Ordnungspolizei, approximately 340 Jewish people were locked inside a barn and burned alive by gentile Polish nationals.

Betlejewski said:

“Poland is a completely different country than it was 80 years ago when there was a big and significant Jewish minority, which participated in Poland’s cultural, social and scientific development…These people are gone after the Holocaust and later waves of emigration, and I miss them more and more. This performance is addressed to Poles first and foremost, to those ignorant who know nothing about Jews’ input in Poland’s history.”

A typical shtetl, consisting of 757 Jewish people, that is 61.9% of the town’s total population, Jedwabne was established sometime during the 18th century.

More than 1,000 people were present to witness the barn burning ceremony.

Betlejewski read out the names of people who sent in their thoughts and left their notes inside a barn rebuilt outside of the town of Zawada. He poured petrol inside the structure and lit it.

As the wooden bar went ablaze, the Polish artist rushed out of it.

So today I think of the pressure on the Jewish Country to give up its settlements in the Golan Heights and in east Jerusalem.

I think of Helen Thomas’s recent comments; and I think of the post-Nazi Kielce pogrom on July 4th, 1946 when a false tale of child kidnapping and blood libel allegations resulted in the murder of 39 Jewish Poles.

Let us never allow it to happen again and let us never forget.

Am Israel Chai…


At least seven people have been killed by a Warsaw flood, as officials closed the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site last Tuesday to protect its archives and artifacts.

Heavy rains in central Europe also caused flooding in areas of Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, with rivers banks bursting and leaving low-lying homes and roads inundated.

Thousands of residents were evacuated and electricity was knocked out in most surrounding areas. Rail travel was paralyzed, making some areas unreachable.

Hungary’s Prime Minister, Gordon Bajnai declared a state of emergency in the northeastern Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen county. Those suffering financial losses were able to claim compensation.

In Krakow, an important bridge was closed as the waters of the Vistula River nearly reached it.
At Auschwitz-Birkenau, which draws about a million visitors per year, authorities carried historical documents and artifacts, including brushes and bowls which once belonged to Shoah victims, to the upper floors of old barracks, which are now used to house educational and memorial exhibits.
As waters rose in the nearby Vistula and Sola rivers, the museum was closed – the first time this has happened due to a flood.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland went to the area to meet with angry residents of the village of Proszowki, near Krakow. They complained of not receiving sufficient help.

Survivors to See Their Bills Subsidized

In time for the recent Yom HaShoah, the national remembrance day, a series of measures being approved by the cabinet will reduce the cost of monthly electricity bills for survivors of the Holocaust living in Israel.

National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reached an agreement in which survivors living below the poverty line will see a subsidization of electricity bills, up to 50%.
Netanyahu already gave a preliminary approval for the action which should be implemented within the next 45 days with the assistance of Isaac Herzog of the Welfare and Social Services Ministry, and the agreement of the Finance Ministry.

Netanyahu said:

“We are talking about an important humanitarian step…The government has a responsibility to assist Holocaust survivors and make all efforts to prevent to take care of them properly. Their advanced ages means that we need to act on this as quickly as possible.”

In addition to this, last week the Welfare Ministry announced subsidies of up to 90% on essential health and medical supplies for Holocaust survivors – that includes reduced costs for dental treatments, cheaper eye glasses, hearing aid implements and personal psychological counseling.

Altogether there are roughly 80,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel, and an estimated 7,000 of them live below the poverty line.

Nazi’s Infiltrated the Vatican

Nazi SoldiersBritish intelligence, on Monday, revealed that during World War II, Nazi Germany planned to infiltrate the Catholic Church, with the use of spies dressed up as monks. A Nazi sympathizer residing in Rome formulated the plan in 1943 and had won the support of the Third Reich. Senior Nazi officials saw it as a way to follow the Allied Forces on their way to conquer Italy.

Operation Georgian Convent consisted of the purchase of a building in Rome by Michael Kedia, a Russian anti-communist Nazi sympathizer from Georgia.
The plan (involved the)…”set up of a Georgian cloister in Rome under Vatican protection and among the monks introduce agents who were to keep contact with German intelligence,” the MI5 report says.

The operation was thwarted by Giuseppe Dosi, an Italian policeman who was acting as an informant to the British intelligence service. Dosi wrote to agents in London that the Nazis planned to set up two rooms “for the use of the agents for storage of transmitters, batteries and any other secret material.”

The Nazis believed that dressing up the spies as monks would be the perfect cover due to the Vatican’s neutrality during the war. Vatican officials became suspicious because of the agents’ ignorance of Catholic doctrine and observed interest in women. Later the Vatican received confirmation of their suspicions by an anonymous warning sent by British intelligence. The agents were subsequently sent back to Germany and the Vatican complained to Berlin’s ambassador.

The operation was the second to be revealed by the MI5 after when last week it disclosed that the Nazis also planned to infiltrate the Boy Scouts in order to gain the support of its founder.

Guilty as Charged: Being Jewish

The Zionist country has issued a formal complaint with Spain, charging individuals in Spanish elementary schools of promoting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel ideas among young children. The letter comes after Israel’s ambassador to Spain, Rafi Shotz, received recently dozens of postcards from Spanish school students bearing statements such as:

“Jews kill for money,”

“Leave the country to the Palestinians”


“Go somewhere where they will accept you.”

A Foreign Ministry official confirmed that the handwriting appears typical of children six to nine years old. The official said:

“Apparently there are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel individuals who get permission to operate within schools…Each time, the embassy has received several dozen postcards from a different school. And it seems as though whoever is doing this is moving from school to school.”

The Foreign Ministry considered summoning Spain’s ambassador to Israel, Alvaro Iranzo, but spoke to the envoy by telephone instead.

Naor Gilon, the ministry’s deputy director for Europe, called Iranzo on Sunday saying

“Israel is greatly distressed”

by the postcards. The envoy insisted the letters are not part of any Spanish Education Ministry program, but the initiative of private citizens.
Meanwhile, in higher education news: universities campuses in more than 40 cities across the world are holding, Israeli Apartheid Week.” They are marking the week with multimedia events, films, lectures, cultural performances and demonstrations.

The participation of several Israelis in the anti-Zionist events is “atrocious,” said David Katz, a member of Britain’s Jewish Board of Deputies who grew up in South Africa and has fought the comparison between that country’s racial segregation and Israel’s ethnic divisions.
Katz said:

“They are free to do as they please, but it’s atrocious…I think they don’t understand the analogy they are making… which is insulting to those who suffered under apartheid…It’s like calling things ‘holocaust’ which are not the Holocaust or terming something ‘genocide’ which is not genocide.”

One Jewish charity brought over Benjamin Pogrund, a South African immigrant to Israel who is the former deputy editor of the Johannesburg-based Rand Daily Mail, to speak to British university students about why Israel is not by any stretch of the imagination, an apartheid state.
He said:

“The game plan of those who seek the destruction of Israel is to equate us with South Africa, a pariah state which had to be subjected to international sanctions…Israelis coming to take part in this week should know better.”

In Canada, the legislature in the province of Ontario unanimously condemned Israeli Apartheid Week, and are voting on a resolution that denounces the campus events.

Conservative legislator Peter Shurman told Shalom Life, a Toronto-based Jewish Web site:

“If you’re going to label Israel as Apartheid, then you are also… attacking Canadian values…. The use of the phrase ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ is about as close to hate speech as one can get without being arrested, and I’m not certain it doesn’t actually cross over that line.”

Abbas Comis?

So often tidbits of news and history become philosophical mind-benders…so as beholders of the Truth, as we at happen to be, we try and leave our stories open to the good rational minds of our readers…that is to say, we respect you.

So here’s the scoop, readers:

Pope Benedict XVI insists on a “great respect” between Catholics and Jews. Here’s a pocket-full of benefit of the doubt for the good Vicar…

The Pontiff is on his way to visit a synagogue in Rome… even as we speak. He says the visit will be a “further step on the path of harmony and friendship between Catholics and Jews,” he says there is a “climate of great respect and dialogue” between the two religions. This Roman synagogue is said to be the spiritual home of the oldest Jewish community in the Diaspora.

Jewish groups are divided however, due to Benedict’s praise of Pius XII – the World War II Pope. Some say, that this Pope did not do enough to save the Jews of these years from their fate of Holocaust. Now Pope Benedict is moving to Canonize Pope Pius.

In his 1940 encyclical Summi Pontificatus, Pius rejected anti-Semitism and he did protest to save certain Jewish populations from deportation to Poland. Despite this, many are still skeptical. He could not or did not save the fate of one-third of Italy’s Jewish population, who were murdered or expelled.

Jewish skepticism about the current Pope was sparked when it became known his German origins and service in the Hitler Youth program, beginning in 1941. But it became known that the program was compulsory for all German boys, and that the Pope witnessed firsthand, Nazi brutality towards German Catholics.

On one hand, Pope Benedict visited the Park East synagogue in New York City, during the eve of Passover in 2008 – and this came after his 2006 visit to Auschwitz and later Jerusalem and Yad Vashem.

He also visited a West Bank refugee camp during one of these trips, and spoke out about the need for a sovereign homeland for the Palestinian people. Needless to say this left many a questioning Zionist brow…

In 2007, Benedict issued the Summorum Pontificum, which allows wider use of the Tridentine Mass, which includes this Good Friday Prayer:

Let us pray also for the Jews: that almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts; so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us pray. Let us kneel. Arise. Almighty and eternal God, who dost also not exclude from thy mercy the Jews: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Then, in 2009, he lifted an excommunication off of a British Bishop who denies that Jews were killed in Nazi gas chambers.

Me thinks, this guy is about as hard to decode as the Latin language. Nicer then some Popes have been, but tricky, yeah? Does he do it on purpose? Sorry Father, but Israel will not be embracing Jesus any time in the near future…at least, not on any sweeping basis…


The Vanishing American Jew

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of one of the most prominent American families, is marrying a Jew, Marc Mezvinsky, who comes from a family of businesspeople and politicians. At one angle we might say, this is great. Look how far Jews have come in American society; and isn’t it wonderful that gentiles, today, accept Jews into their very families. But at another angle, we should be concerned – very concerned.
The answer is simple: We must congratulate the church in America, in its ability to befriend and stand by the nation of Israel; and especially its success in ridding itself of the anti-Semitic elements, which the history of old Christian churches, which have found a home in America, are all too laden with.

The Clinton’s are true friends of Israel and the Jews. When Hillary spoke, as first, on the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day, she began her speech by quoting the weekly Torah parsha. It should be noted that few Israeli politicians ever do this. Hillary proved that she is a very hip shixa. During the fight to restore Holocaust victims’ property from banks in Switzerland, Hillary recruited Bill to the effort. This does not make it right for a Jewish boy to marry into their family – especially because Chelsea has no plans to convert.

The number of mixed marriages in the Diaspora has increased by 200% in the last 50 years. About 55% of all Jewish marriages are mixed ones. In one-quarter of families, the children of the next generation will no longer be associated as Jews. A look at the future shows that within a number of generations, American Jewry will nearly disappear.

The sad part is that not only is this opinion obsolete in the American mind, both gentile and Jewish, but it is so taboo to say Jews should romantically stick to Jews, that I risk being called a racist. The truth is our nation’s impressive longevity and survival depends completely on our solely sticking to one another. Assimilation and mixed marriages destroyed entire European communities, even before the Holocaust.
Judaism, as opposed to its sister religions Christianity and Islam – is not a missionary religion. It does not seek to increase the number of its believers. Not by persuasion and not by force. At the same time it is also not a closed religion, which people cannot enter. Those who wish to join can do so, but under the conditions and stipulations of Jewish Law.

Just something to think about,
Next Year in Jerusalem

The Future of Jewish Web-Surfing

jewish InternetLast August saw the release of 4Wall LLC’s Jewish Internet Metric Study. It is a project aimed towards helping the Jewish community understand the “hurdles and opportunities” presented by the Internet. Certainly the idea behind this research flies in the face of fliers posted in residential ultra-orthodox areas in Israel which read, “אינטרנט מביא סרטן” or ‘The Internet Brings Cancer‘.

Using the practices of the Mckinsey Consulting Firm to get a close-up look at the “Jewish Web”, 4Wall examined data from search engines, taken from between April and June of 2009 to get an understanding of “Web engagement, traffic, demographics, content architecture and market response.” The study analyzed current traffic volume and the four year change in traffic volume of 32 Jewish search terms.

Researchers were surprised when they found an apparent steady decline in Jewish Web-surfing. The main five terms on the decline of the four year spread included: “Judaica” (-54%), “Reform Judaism” (-66%), “Anti-Semitism” (-74%), “Jewish Dating” (-85%) and the largest drop, “Kabbalah” (-87%).

The five highest searches were: “Jewish,” “Israel,” “Holocaust,” “Jerusalem” and “Kosher”. Still even these terms generate less traffic than they did four years ago. The complete sample set of 32 Jewish terms drew an average decrease in search traffic of 25%.

Five search terms, however, became more popular since 2005, these are: “Rosh HaShanah” (49%), “Chabad” (21%), “Challah” (16%), “Matzah” (10%) and “Yom Kippur” (9%).

Despite the decline in Jewish search terms, though, the study DID find a rise in traffic to Jewish news, blogs, education and general information sites. Actually there was a 62% increase in traffic to Jewish news Websites, just within this past year.

Yom Hashoa and John Demjanjuk’s Extraction to Germany

DemjanjukIn a way, it seems almost fitting that former concentration camp guard John Demjanjuk is on the verge of being extradited to Germany as this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day begins. Demjanjuk is being extradited from the USA to stand trial in Germany for his part in one of Mankind’s most horrendous acts of cruelty in modern times. Demjanjuk, now nearly 90, had originally been extradited to Israel where he had been convicted and sentenced to death for his role as the notorious “Ivan the Terrible” at the Treblinka concentration Camp where nearly a million Jews and others were killed during WWII. Demjanjuk had been living quietly in Cleveland Ohio for years since coming to the USA in 1953 from his native Ukraine.

He was freed from Israel after new evidence shed a reasonable doubt that he was indeed the notorious Treblinka camp guard who was personally said to have killed many inmates himself in various cruel ways. His arrival back in the US was centered in controversy, and many people sought ways to have him deported to some other country, such as Poland or the Ukraine. But no one wanted him; even the country of his birth.

New evidence secured in (of all places) Germany implicates Demjanjuk as being a guard at a much smaller camp, Sobibor, in southeastern Poland, where more than 200,000 people are said to have been killed, at least 29,000 during Demjanjuk’s duty tenure. Demjanjuk’s son, John Jr., was quoted as saying that he and his family “will do everything possible” to prevent “this cruel and inhumane punishment” from happening to his father, who is now in a very bad state of health.

Cruel and inhumane punishment, eh? Many people, especially those surviving Holocaust victims who still remember this man, may be remembering how he expressed his “humanity” to camp inmates he was in charge of – especially those as old and as feeble as he is now. Would he have been as concerned for their welfare as Demjanjuk’s family are concerned about him now? Concentration camp survivors, many of whom are well into their 80’s (as Demjanjuk is) still have nightmares concerning the horrors they experienced during their incarceration in a number of death or forced labor camps, including those as notorious as Auschwitz –Birkenau, Buchenwald, Treblinka, and others. Perhaps any “compassion” Demjanjuk may have shown to his charges was to kill them quickly, and not torture and humiliate them as he has been accused of doing.

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2009 is being commemorated as usual with ceremonies and events to remember the more than 6,000,000 Jews who were slaughtered between 1938 and 1945. But few will shed a tear for this man, Ivan John Demjanjuk; especially the few remaining camp survivors who had the “distinction” of knowing him personally.

The Holocaust Memorial Day In Pictures

Tonight at 8:00 PM we start the Yom Hashoa (Holocaust Memorial Day). In light of today’s recent events and the great UN Summit Against Racism that is pushing Iran ever closer to what will surely be an explosive end. We would like to remind you why when someone who denies the Holocaust ever existed deserves to have his country turn into the world’s largest parking lot.

“To collect as much proof, films, testimonies, because the day will come when some ‘son of a bitch’ will say this never happened”
Answer given by General Dwight D. Eisenhower as to why he had so many photographs taken of the victims of German Concentration Camps
The difficult decision has to be taken, to cause this people to disappear from the earth.
Heinrich Himmler, 1943

Giant hat tip to The Holocaust History Project

Durban II and The Horribly Racist Israel

Racist Jews?I am not sure if some of the countries boycotting the Durban II summit are doing it out of solidarity for Israel or the Jewish people. Regardless, I think its very symbolic that today the eve of the Holocaust memorial day the UN conference on racism is on its way with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad taking center stage and meeting with the Swiss President. As I write this I hear that as he started to speak, attacking Israel immediately, people started leaving the hall. What a shock.

R I PThe channel 10 News morning show today showed some Holocaust survivors who were invited to visit one of the Air Force’s largest and oldest bases. The seniors met with the pilots and saw some of the jets on the runway. There was a point where one of the visitors spoke to a pilot and asked him to assure her that there will be no more Holocausts. When asked if these air crafts can reach Iran, he answered that they could reach anywhere they were needed.

This is just one example and extension of the general mood lately. The powers in Israel are preparing the Israeli psyche for the next phase which would be the annihilation of the Iranian Nuclear program. In this case a UN summit “dedicated” to fighting racism and whoring itself out to a notorious Holocaust denier who clearly is calling for destruction of Israel (a UN member) is just the sort of confirmation that the Israeli government is looking for.

I hope the UN books an alternate speaker for the next Durban summit because I have a feeling President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won’t be available.

This is One Movie You Simply Don’t Want to Miss

Adam Resurrected is a new movie based upon the 1968 acclaimed novel by Yoram Kaniuk. The novel is titled “Adam Ben Chelev” in Hebrew, which might be loosely translated as “A Man, Son of a Dog”.

The film stars American Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe alongside Israeli Ayelet Zurer and Hanna Laslo.

The story goes back and forth between two very bleak “battle fields”: A Nazi concentration camp, and an Israeli mental asylum in the desert. Yet through all the horrors of life, Adam — a Jewish holocaust survivor, and a former star entertainer in Berlin — manages to find pockets of love, laughter, and humanity wherever he may find himself.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, since it only starts playing in Israeli theaters this Thursday, but the trailer is very moving and extremely intriguing.

Alarming Trends

A survey conducted by the “Massuah Institute for the Study of the Holocaust” reveals that 35% of high-school youth believes that the Israeli society is racist.

In addition, 82% of the respondents believe that the Holocaust can happen again!

The 27th of January — this Tuesday — is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In Israel, we commemorate the Holocaust Remembrance Day at the 27th of Nisan (which falls either on April or May).

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