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Jewish Journal

Israel and the world Pt. 2:  weekly news from Israel

by Noga Gur-Arieh

April 8, 2012 | 4:46 pm

• An Israeli Hockey team that went abroad for training landed in Austria to discover Swastikas scrawled on a player’s luggage. The team flew to Vienna for training, while several team members took a later flight from Canada on a connection that passed through Düsseldorf. When they landed, one of the players was shocked to find Nazi symbols drawn on his duffle bag. The Swastikas were reportedly drawn around the words “Israeli National Hockey Team”. The team member chose to refrain from making a scene and left the airport without pressing any charges.


• A fire that occurred about a month ago at a family house in Rosh Ha’Ayin, took the life of the family’s youngest member and their entire property. The fire reportedly started due to a short circuit. When the parents realized it was spreading, the mother ran outside with the two older children, while the father tried to rescue the two-year-old from the flames. The rescue failed, the father nearly lost his life, and the remaining family members were left with nothing. Last week, a former Israeli resident who lives in the States, donated a new apartment for the family to live in, until they are able to get back on their feet. The donor chose to remain unknown. The family thanked him for the generous donation, saying: “nothing can really make us happy now, but there is some comfort in this.”


• The former S.S. member and Nobel Prize winner poet, Günter Grass, published a new poem last week, in which he accused Israel of being a threat to the world. He wrote about his concerns about Israel’s intention to “wipe out the Iranian people,” and mentioned Israel as a threat to the world. Some commentaries referred to this poem as a blood libel, or a “European tradition of accusing Jews of committing violent rituals before Passover.” “Many years ago, it was the libel that claimed Jews are using Christian children’s blood to make Matzzo, now it’s the accusation that Israel wants to ‘erase’ Iran” said a delegate of the Israeli Embassy in Berlin. Today, the papers published Grass’ clarification, saying that he meant to criticize the current Israeli government, and not the entire Israeli people, or the state of Israel.


• As the fence which is being built as a border between Israel and Egypt is in its final stages before completion, Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority is on a new mission: “persuading” the ibex to stay on the Israeli side of the fence. The placement of more reachable water sources in Egypt and more wheat and food here in Israel makes the ibex wander between the two countries. As the border closes, however, Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority wishes them to remain in Israel, due to the fear that they will be exterminated by hunters if they stay on the other side of the border. Nowadays, the NPA puts a line of feeding spots on the Israeli side of the border, in hope that the ibex will choose to stay here.


• Nathan Cook received his Masters degree in Math from the renowned Cambridge University in England. Not much long after, he surprised his loved ones by deciding to pass up on a dreamy paycheck for sleeping in a tent. Cook, a 26 year old British Jew, told the Israeli papers that even with having everything he could possibly dream of, something was still missing. Eight months ago, Cook came to Israel, all by himself, and voluntarily joined the IDF. After going through a three-week Hebrew course, he is now on his way to boot-camp. Later on, Cook will expect 18 months of service. Such stories, of young people feeling such a powerful connection to Israel and the IDF, are pretty common here, but still manage to touch the hearts of us all.

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