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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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