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Arab-Israelis stun on US campuses: 'Let Israel be! Israel enables women, Muslims & Christians, like us, freedoms, equalities & opportunities Islamists never will"

Anti-Israel activism is a formidable foe on Univ. of Calif  campuses  (2014 Photo: Daily Bruin)

Though Los Angeles may have America's second largest population of Jews, University of California at Los Angeles ("U.C.L.A.") has an anti-Israel attitudes problem - from its leftist and Muslim constituencies - both students and faculty. Even Jewish and Israeli faculty are leftist - either from their own leanings or professional/ social pressure not to vary from leftist shibboleths.  UCLA has provided a forum for "Breaking the Silence" -
former soldiers critical of their I.D.F. actions - which has been used to bolster the popular notion that Israel is hypocritically unjust towards Muslims and other minorities - both inside the country and towards the irredentist Arabs in the disputed territories.

Reservists on Duty (RoD), a pro-Israel organization founded to combat anti-Semitism on college campuses, toured America in October with a two-week-long ‘Arabs Breaking the Silence.’  Five speakers with diverse backgrounds from the Arab community in Israel gave presentations and answered audience questions.

These speakers, comprised of Christians, Muslims, Druze, Bedouins and Palestinians—including one from the West Bank, shared their experiences living in Israel and serving in the Israel Defense Forces. They toured colleges and communities across the United States in California, Arizona, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and New York, covering 12 locations over some 4,000 miles.

RoD has been active on American campuses in coordination with Students Supporting Israel (SSI), especially during the Boycott, Divest and Sanction Movement’s (BDS) “Apartheid Week,” to correct the BDS narrative of Israel.

The upcoming tour departs from previous ones that focused on contesting BDS propaganda. RoD has faced violent threats from BDS supporters at the University of California, Irvine, when Students for Justice Palestine (SJP) disrupted an IDF reservist speaking panel, which SSI hosted, by shouting expletives, leading to the reservists and pro-Israel student exiting the room with security, and university sanctions on SJP.

“This speaking tour is very important because it highlights the real experiences of Israeli Arabs of minority populations in Israel, and provides a forum for them to express their views without censorship or derision from people who base their opinions on propaganda that comes from people who have never lived in Israel,” said Jonathan Elkhoury, RoD’s Minority Coordinator.

Mr. Elkoury continued, “I am proud to help Americans—especially those who are not knowledgeable about Israel—to hear from people who are not Israeli Jews. These Israelis have a perspective that is often ignored, and their stories, their energy and their enthusiasm paint a more honest portrait of our country.”

“We are here to tell the truth about Israel: a diverse country with patriotic citizens who are Bedoiun, Druze, Arab, Christian, Muslim, and more. We are proud IDF veterans and Israeli citizens who know firsthand how our country treats minority groups with respect and compassion,” said Mohammed Kabiya, a Muslim Israeli-Bedouin IDF veteran.

Mohammad Kabiya, a Muslim Bedouin and former IDF soldier
Ram Asad, a Druze-Israeli ex-IDF raised in Isfiya
Ms. Dema Taya, a Muslim-Israeli Arab raised in Qalansawe

Mohammed Kabiya, a Muslim Israeli-Bedouin IDF veteran says, “We want to make clear that coexistence isn’t just possible—it’s been real in Israel for decades. It is time for young Americans to hear our story.”

Having filmed and interviewed the RoD presenters at UCLA, this reporter conveyed his perceptions about the tour on the Israeli podcast, "A Hebrew in the Heartland," hosted by David Ha'Ivri. To fast-forward to segment start, please advance to 12min 19sec point.

The anti-Zionist forces organized against support for Israel (even accurate academic depiction of Palestine vs Israel) are formidable. In previous years, the US NGO, Stand With Us, has withdrawn from its original counter-demonstrations off-campus, and later on-campus, creating a vacuum for a socio-political counter. It's unclear that the Israeli-Arabs' testimonial visit is an effective way to counter the storm against campaigns against "occupation and persecution of Muslims in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza."
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White House's Hanukah gift to Israel & Am Yisrael strengthens pride, displays; 2017 mitzvah to contribute

National Menorah at The White House Ellipse
President Donald Trump dubbed December 7th evening's White House Hanukah party one that "will go down as especially special" and declared that this year's soiree was "all about Jerusalem." The holiday party came one day after the president's announcement that the U.S. embassy will be moved there from its current location in Tel Aviv. "Well, I know for a fact there are a lot of happy people in this room. (Applause.)  Jerusalem! Thank you! And Melania and I are thrilled to welcome you and so many wonderful friends to the White House. We wish you a very happy Hanukah, and I think this one will go down as especially special." (Applause.) 

Donald J. Trump Donald J. Trump
"The miracle of Hanukkah is the miracle of Israel. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have endured unthinkable persecution and oppression.
But no force has ever crushed your spirit, and no evil has ever extinguished your faith. And that is why the Jewish people shine as a light to all nations. And right now I’m thinking about what’s going on and the love that's all over Israel and all about Jerusalem. (Applause.)
On behalf of all Americans, I also want to say how grateful I am for Jewish congregations throughout our country. You cherish your families, support your communities, and uplift our beloved country.
Hanukkah is a time for Jewish families around the world to celebrate the miracles of the past and promises of the future. We are proud to stand with the people of Israel and to renew our enduring bond.
This evening, we are blessed to have two very special Hanukkah lamps for this celebration. The menorah on my left has been lit every year since the earliest days of our nation. It comes from the First American Jewish Congregation, whose original members came to this land in the 1650s. That's a long time ago. It’s a symbol of the history and home the Jewish people made in the United States. Today, we are honored to have with us the congregation’s 10th spiritual leader since the American Revolution, Rabbi Soloveichik. (Applause.) That wasn’t bad. You think that's an easy one? It’s not. (Laughter.) Thank you, Rabbi, very much for being with us. Thank you, thank you for being with us. We're also -- but he’s so happy with yesterday, that he doesn't care if I get it exact. (Laughter and applause.) Thank you, Rabbi."

Unlike former Pres. Obama's Hanukah parties, Pres. Donald Trump mentioned G-d and Israel.

Rabbi Yossi Cunin feels that the ubiquity of religious Christmas 
decorations around L.A. makes Jewish families feel alienated 
Beverly Hills Gardens Park has both an illuminated Menorah on the left,
and a Christmas Tree on the right side of the sign
Adults, Mayor Lili Bosse, Mrs. Nechama and Rabbi Yossi Cunin
of Bev Hills Jewish Com'ty Chabad lit a more prominent menorah which 
Chabad erected on private land fronting Santa Monica Blvd 

In 1973, the Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe Menachem M. Schneerson began a campaign: Help Jews across America light the menorah on Hanukah. Religious law commands Jews to light the menorah on Hanukkah, preferably in public. In addition to distributing tin candleholders, the organization orchestrated and sponsored menorah lightings in American parks, city halls, and village greens—on government-held land, in other words. By 1979, President Jimmy Carter was participating in a lighting ceremony. . . . 

Today, these giant menorahs are just a part of the American winter landscape. The White House menorah lighting is an annual tradition. No doubt, this public visibility has been one reason why Hanukkah has risen in prominence in American culture. (Source: "Hanukkah, Why?" by Emma Green in The Atlantic Dec 9, 2015)

Great Debates: The Public Menorah’s Legal Battle

In 1996, a federal appeals court ruled that (in 1986) the city of Beverly Hills violated the Constitution by allowing Chabad to erect a menorah in a public park, while prohibiting other groups from displaying their own symbols in the same park.

The suit challenging the city’s action in permitting the menorah display was filed by the local chapter of the American Jewish Congress and four Jewish residents of Beverly Hills, with the Anti-Defamation League filing a friend-of- the-court brief. The two Jewish organizations are opposed to religious displays on public property and have previously tangled with Chabad on the issue.

In 1989, the court said, Beverly Hills had denied one group the right to erect a cross in a park, and prevented another from mounting a winter solstice display.

In 2017, Beverly Hills Jewish Community Chabad supplanted Beverly Hills' city park menorah with other ones in more visible areas.  JooTube asked Mayor Lili Bosse and Rabbi Yosef Cunin's family about it.

Rabbi Yosef Cunin's brother, Rabbi Tsemach Cunin, of Chabad of Century City, led a public, family celebration at the Westfield Century City Mall, where the band and young daughters were included in the video above.

On December 17, 2017 Chabad of The (San Fernando) Valley held it's 16th annual Chanukah Concert at Universal CityWalk. Surprise guest stars, Eighth Day, peformed their hit "Miracle of Light" (introduced by Meir Kay) who jumped into the mosh-pit with students from the Jewish Educational Trade School, a technical, vocational high-school and college in Granada Hills, California.

For the final night's menorah lighting, Rabbi Yosef and Nechama Cunin welcomed her British WWI veteran grandfather, Mark Braham, 96, to light the large, electric-light menorah on private property for people passing-by a popular intersection on Sunset Boulevard. Mr. Braham is escorted by grandson-in-law Rabbi Yossi Cunin and great-grandson Tuvia, age 5.

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JooTube is a Kiddush Hashem, which ensures blessings when you contribute to sustain it. Please click here - as well as knowing that you're contributing to spreading the light about Israel and the survival of the Jewish nation, you'll be blessed! Happy holidays to you and yours for a safe, healthy 2018!

U.N Partition Plan granting int'l recognition to the Jewish right to an independent state- 70-years ago today

Prof. Judea Pearl and Steven Geiger commemorate UN's 70th
Anniversary of Partitioning Palestine for a Jewish Israel 
at Sinai Temple ceremony, L.A. 27 Nov '17
"November 29 – the Jewish Thanksgiving Day" by Judea Pearl - Jerusalem Post, November 27, 2017

Finally, let us remind the Arab world that the UN voted for two states, not for a Jewish state only.

"For several years now, I have been campaigning to declare November 29 the Jewish Thanksgiving Day; a day where we give thanks to Lady History and to the many heroic players who stood behind the historic UN vote of November 29, 1947, an event which has changed so dramatically the physical, spiritual and political life of every Jew in our generation.

I have argued that Jewish communities in every major city in the world should invite the consuls general of the 33 countries who voted yes on that fateful day to thank them publicly for listening to their conscience and, defying the pressures of the time, voting to grant the Jewish nation what other nations take for granted – a state of its own.  . . .

This year, on its 70th year anniversary, I will celebrate November 29 by myself, if needed, and if you and you community care to join me, it would make the celebration so much more meaningful.

The 70th anniversary of the U.N.'s Partition Plan was commemorated with a panel discussion before an audience at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles on 27 Nov. Shown in this JooTube.TV video-playlist, it was emcee'd by actor/director Mike Burstyn and featured remarks from Professors Judea Pearl, Michael Berenbaum, and Michael Bazyler.

Hungarian-American Steven Geiger presented his annual Mensch Awards on that occasion to Prof. Michael Berenbaum, Meir Fenigstein (Israel Film Festival), Ms. Zane Buzby (Survivor Mitzvah Project), and Sinai Temple's Rabbi Emeritus Zvi Dershowitz.

Let us give thanks to the 33 countries who voted yes on the spectacular turn that Jewish history took in November 1947, and for the dignity, pride and self-image that every Jewish soul has enjoyed since.

Let us give thanks to Eddie Jacobson, president Harry S. Truman’s friend and former business partner from Kansas City, who risked that friendship and wrote to Truman on October 3, 1947: “Harry, my people need help - and I am appealing to you to help them.”

Let us give thanks to Albert Einstein who pleaded, albeit unsuccessfully, with Jawaharlal Nehru, then prime minister of India, to vote for “the august scale of justice.”

Let us thank Cardinal Spellman, head of the Catholic Church in New York City who, days before the vote, used his personal influence in Latin American countries urging them to vote yes.

Let us thank the many ordinary yet courageous people, from Peru to the Philippines, who understood the collective responsibility that history bestowed upon them in 1947, and used everything in their power, from person - al pleading to arm twisting, to get their governments to vote yes.

Let us thank 33 ethnic communities in our hometowns and remind them that we Jews do not forget friends who stood with us on the side of justice – we give thanks and ask for nothing in return.

And while we thank history for its miracles, let us remind ourselves and others of a few basic facts.

Let us remind the world that Israel is there by historical right, not by force or favor.

How a Palestinian-stabbed, 20-year old Israeli was rescued by a NY-born oleh

Brooklyn-born, Aaron Adler, a first-responder with Israel's Magen David Adom, is reunited with rescued 20-year old Israeli, Gilad Mezamer. Gilad tells the story of  having been stabbed in head by Muslim Arab in Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, Israel and how he was rescued by Magen David Adom. Recorded in Beverly Hills, Oct 30, 2017.

Israeli TV- an American success story?- Israel Film Festival debuts Mossad 101- action-suspense series' 2nd season premiere

C.A.A. TV's Adam Berkowitz (left) moderated discussion among Israelis and
Americans involved. Panelists include (l to r) Mossad actor Tsakhi Halevi,
Udi Segal (Sumayoko), Michael Gordon (C.A.A.), Danna Stern, YES Network
VP Channels and Pgmg; TV writer David Shore ("House," "The Good Doctor")
(Photo: Guy D. Gazit) 
Israel's Fauda (Netflix) and Reshet 13's action drama television series Mossad 101 had their world and U.S. second season premieres, respectively, at this year’s 31st Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles, each followed by a television panel featuring creators and talent from the shows. The events were held last week at Laemmle's Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills. 

In “Mossad 101” (“Hamidrasha” Hebrew for “The Academy”) cadets from every level of Israeli society undergo intense training to join their country’s elite, classified intelligence service, the Mossad. Two-years ago, Israel Film Festival organizer Meir Fenigstein (drummer in "Ha Lehakah" 1977 and band "Poogy") introduced "Fauda" to American audiences- which led to C.A.A. selling the subtitled action/suspense series' rights to Netflix.   This year, the Fest debuted the 2nd season opener to Israeli series "Mossad 101," which Adam Berkowitz of C.A.A. TV intends to sell the format rights to internationally.

(Arrows advance you through the Playlist).

The November 15th "Mossad 101" screening was followed by a live, “Israeli TV: An American Success Story” television panel, sponsored by Reshet Media was held which included moderator Adam Berkowitz, TV honcho at Creative Artists Agency along with C.A.A. Formats agent Michael Gordon; David Shore (TV writer, "House," "The Good Doctor"); actor Tsahi Halevi (in both "Mossad 101" and "Fauda"); and Sumayoko executive producer Udi Segal.

Israel Film Festival honors Israeli and American Zionists on (and behind) the screen

by Benson Simmonds | November 7, 2017 

Benson Simmonds on the Red-Carpet premiere of the
Israel Film Festival in Beverly Hills
The 31st Israel Film Festival opened in Beverly Hills on Sunday November 5th with a gala, opening- night screening of director Yariv’s Mozer’s transcendent documentary "Ben-Gurion, Epilogue." Mr. Mozer discovered a lost candid interview given by an 82-year old Ben Gurion (in 1968), who had withdrawn from politics five years prior. Mozer's documentary is a fascinating account of one of Israel’s most remarkable statesman.
Adam Berkowitz and Jeffrey Tambor

What’s distinguishes the Israel Film Festival of Los Angeles from other Jewish film festivals is that the mandate of the founder Meir Fenigstein and festival chairman Adam Berkowitz (Co-Head of Television at Creative Artists Agency), is to not only showcase films from Israel, but to promote talented Israeli directors, writers, producers and actors in Hollywood. Mr. Berkowitz has been instrumental in helping introduce both American and international audiences to Israeli films and hit Israeli TV series' such as Fauda and Mossad 101, currently on Netflix. 
Yariv Mozer 

Along the premiere's red-carpet festival luminaries spoke with JooTube. Responding to why was he feels it important that international audiences see his compelling documentary about David Ben-Gurion, Mozer told us his hop that people all over the world “will be inspired by the way he [Ben-Gurion] takes the bible as a moral guide to the Jews in the land of Israel in the remaking of the Jewish state. Current leaders rarely share their vision about the values of the Jewish people and the goals in the land of Israel," he added vaguely.

I challenged Mozer to share how making his film personally changed his life and attitude towards his beloved country and his response was candid and heartfelt, reminding me of Ben-Gurion himself in the documentary. 

Mozer replied, “This was my first real opportunity to get to know David Ben-Gurion. Before he was a picture that hung on the wall in school. He was the voice declaring the state of Israel. Now he has given me clarity as to exactly why I continue to choose to live in Israel and why others need to return to Israel. Ben-Gurion states clearly that our mission is to be a nation of higher values. From the prophets he takes the message that we as a Jewish people chose to be a nation of higher values and we need to reclaim that responsibly as we move forward.”

In screening his documentary, I was consistently impressed with Ben-Gurion’s genuine humility and no-nonsense down-to-earth sensibilities. He was a great statesman who chose to withdraw from politics and live simply on a small, new settlement in the desert. When asked about his personal contributions to Israel, he had no false humility, but stated simply that one man can’t change everything. It was all of the people around him who helped create and guide the state of Israel. The Ben-Gurion we meet is funny, sincere, direct and incredibly wise.

Lior Ashkenazi accepts I.F.F.'s
Cinematic Achievement Award 
Regardless of your personal politics, you have to be impressed by how much Ben-Gurion stayed true to his convictions. When asked about giving away land, he was adamant that he would never give back Jerusalem or the Golan Heights, but that he would, albeit reluctantly, give back all the other territories to have a lasting peace in Israel.

What really distinguishes Ben Gurion from modern day politicians is his resolute refusal to condemn or blame other politicians. When asked about Golda Meir, although Ben Gurion did not see eye to eye with her, but he never says a negative word about her or any of his political contemporaries. He’s direct but never hurtful in any way. It’s impossible not to be inspired by this documentary - by Prime Minister Ben-Gurion himself and by the film’s director Yariv Mozer. May we all be blessed to joyously reclaim our responsibility to commit to living a life of higher values, both personally and nationally.

Jeffrey Tambor accepts I.F.F.'s
Achievement in Television Award

Honorees at the opening gala for the 31st Israel Film Festival included Jewish actor Jeffrey Tambor, who was presented the IFF Achievement in Television Award and Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi, who received the IFF Cinematic Achievement Award.

Mr. Tambor, 73, an Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor has been making TV audiences laugh for over 4 decades. He’s best known for his brilliant award-winning work as a trans-gendered Jewish father / mother in "Transparent" currently on Amazon Video. Mr. Tambor also received numerous Emmy Award nominations for his work on Arrested Development and on The Larry Sanders Show.

Having personally admired his work for many years, I was determined to ask Mr. Tambor something about his spirituality. I asked if he would offer a bracha to JooTube viewers. I suspected he might be surprised.

My request evoked a genuine feeling of warmth and thoughtful introspection. He clearly took the question very seriously and wanted to be authentic. He spoke with reverence as he said, “be kind, be empathetic, and let’s get through this - and let’s get to the other side. And listen to the children. The children’s heart will tell you what to do.”

I couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to give Mr. Tambor a blessing in return. As I blessed him he was touched and jokingly asked if I could follow him around 24 hours a day and bless him. He took a very personal interest, even asking my name. It was evident that Tambor is soulful and kind, both personally and professionally, as well as being spontaneously funny.

Even though Mr. Tambor has received and been nominated for many Emmy and Golden Globes, he revealed that he was nervous about receiving the award from the Zionist organization. When I asked why he said, “I am a Jew - and this is important! I wish my rabbi were alive to see this,” he added.

When asked what has kept him going strong for so many years he replied, “Life is about sharing stories that help people.”

Upon receiving his award on stage at the Saban Theater, he shared a funny story about being kicked out of cheder (Hebrew school) for asking too many questions.

The world is so much richer because Jeffrey Tambor continues to ask important questions and courageously portrays characters who inspire us all to “be kind and be empathetic.”

In "Azimuth" at Israel Film Festival, director Mike Burstyn portrays Arab-Israeli conflict in microcosm

This summer, the Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles screened the new Israeli movie, "Azimuth." “Azimuth” exposes conflict and salvation between two soldiers — an Israeli (Yiftach Klein) and an Egyptian (Sammy Sheik) — deadlocked in an abandoned U.N. outpost, during the ceasefire that ended the Six Day War. ( S.F. Gate)

Following the screening, director Mike Burstyn, Egyptian actor Sammy Sheik, and L.A. Jewish Journal editor David Suissa held this conversation before the amassed audience. JooTube exclusive video:

In order to qualify for the 2017 Academy Awards, Azimuth will run for a full week beginning December 14th in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Encino Town Center Cinema.

Jews calls for justice from Arabs & Iranians that expelled them; And for Palestinians they hold hostage for nearly 70-years

Jewish wedding in Baghdad (photo: JIMENA)
The Israeli Consulate to the Southwestern US participated in an event to remember the Jewish Refugees from Arab & Persian lands last December at the Sephardic Temple in Los Angeles and draw attention to this year's Sephardic Jewish Refugee Day, November 30th.

The 850,000 Jewish people (exceeding number of Palestinian refugees during Israel's defensive battle for  Independence) expelled by the Arab and Iranian countries they lived in for centuries. These citizens had their assets, homes, businesses seized and were expelled within days during the 1950's. Calls are made for justice and restitution - and calls to the world to request Arabs reciprocate the refugees they created and absorb the Palestinian refugees they have refused to for 68-years.

Luminaries featured in JooTube's 41-minute TV news story: Sam Grundwerg, Israel's Consul General to Southwest USA; 

Tifereth Israel's Senior Rabbi Dr. Tal Sessler;

David Suissa, publisher of Jewish Journal of L.A.; 

Turkish-American, Hy Arnesty, Jewish War Veteran of WWII & Korean War (and Chairman, Cemetery and Burial Committee for the Los Angeles National Cemetery); 

Mr. Yaki Lopez, Consul for Political Affairs, Israeli Consulate for Los Angeles;

Nathaniel Malka,  President of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East & North Africa ("JIMENA");

Rabbi Moshe Parry, scholar on teachings of Sephardic-supported, late Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the Israeli political party, Kach, which argued for completion of the population exchange- that the Arab governments which expelled their Jews to Israel finally absorb the Palestinians they sequester in refugee camps as a political tool against the Jewish state of Israel.