- Written by IDF
By launching the rockets from positions within the civilian population of Gaza, the terror organizations are committing a double war crime: the targeting of Israeli civilians while using their own civilian population as human shields.
Following sniper attacks on Israeli soldiers that took place yesterday (Friday, 3 May 2019), wounding of two IDF officers, the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations initiated today (Saturday, 4 May) a massive rocket attack of over 430 rockets that were launched on Israeli towns and villages in southern Israel. Several Israeli civilians were injured in the attacks, including one fatality. The shelling also caused severe damage to homes and property.
In response to the rocket attacks, the IDF targeted terror facilities belonging to the Islamic Jihad and Hamas terror organizations in the Gaza Strip, destroying dozens of terror targets including an Islamic Jihad terror tunnel from Rafah, rocket launchers, underground weapons manufacturing facilities and terror training bases.
The rockets were launched from positions within the civilian population of Gaza. The terror organizations are thus committing a double war crime: targeting Israeli civilians on the one hand while using their own population as a human shield on the other.
Both terror organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad (which acts as an Iranian proxy), are acting against the interests of the residents of the Gaza Strip and are the main barrier to the peaceful development of the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which also receives direct support form Iran, ruthlessly rules the Gaza Strip and bears full responsibility for any attack. This murderous regime holds the residents of the Gaza Strip captive and endangers their lives.
Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system was activated dozens of times on Saturday to intercept the barrage of rockets launched at Israeli communities from Gaza. Israel will continue to do its utmost to defend its citizens and ensure their security against the aggression of the terror organizations controlling the Gaza Strip.
Scenes of destruction in Israeli towns in the wake of the rocket attacks from Gaza. Photo: IDF Spokesperson.
- Written by Silvia
This year's closing ceremony for the Holocaust Memorial Day will mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of 'Kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta'ot' and the Ghetto Fighters' House – The world's first Holocaust Museum and the first one built by Holocaust survivors. Nathan Goshen will perform at the ceremony in front of the Commander of the Northern Command, Major General Amir Baram and many others.
Thursday, 2.5.2019 | 19:30 | Ghetto Fighters' House
The Holocaust Memorial Day at the Ghetto Fighters' House will take place at the Museum's open Amphitheatre and will mark the 70th anniversary of the Museum and Kibbutz' founding.
During the Holocaust Memorial Day, Thursday 2.5, the Ghetto Fighters' House museum and the children's memorial museum "Yad LaYeled" will be open free of charge to the general public.
Shlomo Richard Almog
Born in Tunisia. In November 1942, the Germans and Italians invaded North Africa where many Jews were subsequently sent to forced-labor camps.
In 1944, with Germany's final invasion of Slovenia, the family had to separate and Avery was concealed behind a fake identity and hidden with a Catholic family. Avery will light the torch in memory of his aunt Gizi Fleishman, who headed the "Labor Group" which operated in secret against the Slovakian government, to stop the Slovakian Jews "deportation of death" to Poland. However, in 1944 Gizi Fleishman and most of the Slovakian Jews were sent to the Auschwitz's gas chambers. Today, Avery lives in Kfar Masaryk.
Wolf & Shlomo Galperin
The leaders of the "131 Kovno Children" group, gave hope to 131 children who began their difficult journey in the Kovno ghetto, which ended for those who succeeded in surviving the war, in the Birkenau camp. Thanks to Wolf's leadership, the children of the Kovno ghetto received his authority. Together with his brother Shlomo, the "131 children from the Kovno ghetto" formed, of whom 40 were saved. 25 of them succeeded in immigrating to Israel. Wolf lives in Sderot and Shlomo lives in the north of the country.
She was born in 1926 in Hungary to a family of nine. Upon the German invasion in 1944, Esther was sent to a labor camp. Her father and older brother were sent to a forced labor camp and she never saw them again. The mother and the three sisters were sent to Auschwitz, while Esther rolled from camp to camp. Six weeks before the end of the war, she was sent to the death camp at Mauthausen. Esther was saved, she returned to her home and found that her sisters had survived, but both parents and the older brother had perished. Esther immigrated to Israel in 1950 to Kibbutz Matzuva, married and has two sons, three granddaughters, and a great-grandchild.
Shimon Almog Huter
An orphan with no family or memories of them, without a clear past and with a thrilling survival story, filled with turbulence in Europe and in Israel. Shimon does not remember how and at what age he was brought to the Catholic family in the town of Zabrze, Poland, which hid him until the end of the war. After his appearance in the program "Lost Identity" with the late Manny Pe'er, a researcher on behalf of the program went to Poland to search for his birth certificate, which was found in the hospital near Zabrze, but could not find any information about his family. Shimon lives in Kibbutz Evron, he proud to be a father and a grandfather in the land of Israel.
Prof. Yoram Harpaz
Son of Holocaust survivors – the late Tzipora and Uzi Harpaz. A former journalist, writer, and educator. He devoted one of his books to the children of the second generation of Holocaust survivors, "Ma'ayan Children." Uzi and Tzipora managed to survive and immigrate to Israel. They met at 'Kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta'ot' and were among its founders.
- Written by GPO
Passover will take place in Israel this year between sunset on Friday 19 April, and sunset on Friday 26 April. The first and last days of Passover – Saturday 20 April and Friday 26 April – are legal holidays in Israel. Passover marks the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt, from slavery to freedom. Jews are commanded to tell the story as if it had happened to them personally and not as a mere historical event, in order to emphasize the importance of our hard-won and precious freedom.
Preparations for Passover
The period preceding Passover is marked by extensive preparations and several special ceremonies. The most important of these concerns the removal of hametz, i.e. any food product that contains leavened wheat, oat, barley, rye, or spelt products. In keeping with the Biblical command in Exodus 12:19 and 13:7, Jews will, before Passover, thoroughly clean their homes to remove any crumbs or bits of food, etc. that may be hametz. This cleaning culminates in a ritual candlelight search for hametz in one's home, accompanied by a special blessing and the renunciation of formal ownership over any remaining hametz. The hametz collected during the search is then burned on the morning before Passover. It is also customary to sell one's hametz to a non-Jew – usually by authorizing a rabbi to act as an agent for the sale – as a supplementary measure. While certain types of dishes and utensils can be made kosher for Passover, many Jews will have separate sets of dishes and utensils solely for use during Passover.
In the absence of leaven, Jews will eat specially prepared unleavened bread, or matzah, on Passover. Many Jews will also eat products made with matzah "flour" – unleavened bread that has been finely ground. Matzah dates back to the Exodus, where the Jews, not having had time to wait for dough to rise before leaving Egypt, journeyed into the desert with unleavened bread.
First-born males over 13 are required to fast on the day before Passover – in commemoration of the fact that first-born Jewish males were spared when first-born Egyptian males were killed during the tenth plague – but may be released of this obligation by participating in a special festive meal, such as accompanies the conclusion of study of a tractate of the Talmud or a circumcision, on the morning before Passover.
The Sabbath before Passover – 13 April this year – is known as “the Great Sabbath,” and is marked by a special reading from Malachi 3:4-24. In the afternoon, it is traditional for rabbis to give special sermons, usually on the laws associated with Passover.
The Seder and the First Day of Passover
On the evening of Friday 19 April, after festive evening prayers, families will eat a special ceremonial meal known as the seder, which commemorates the Exodus from Egypt. The guide for the seder is detailed in a book known as the Haggadah, literally "narration," which relates the story of the Exodus from Egypt. A plate placed on the seder table contains several special foods: a roasted egg, symbolizing the special sacrifices which were brought in the Temple; a roasted shank bone, recalling the special Passover lamb offered and eaten in Temple times; a mixture of chopped apples, nuts, wine and cinnamon known as haroset, symbolizing the mortar that the Hebrew slaves in Egypt used to make bricks; sprigs of parsley and lettuce, symbolizing spring; a bitter herb symbolizing the bitterness of slavery; and salt water, recalling the tears shed by the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. Three sheets of matzah – marking the division of the Jewish people into priests, Levites, and the general population – are also placed on the table.
During the course of the seder, the Ten Plagues are recalled. When each of the Plagues is mentioned, each participant dips a finger into his/her cup of wine and removes a drop; even though the Jews were oppressed in Egypt, we are reminded that we must not rejoice over the Egyptians' suffering. Our cups of wine cannot thus be full.
One of the more popular seder customs for children concerns the afikoman, a special piece of matzah that is the last food eaten during the Seder. The head of the household customarily hides the afikoman somewhere in the house, and the children then search for it. Once found, the afikoman is "ransomed," since the Sender cannot continue until the afikoman is eaten. This helps to keep the children focused on the seder and to pique their curiosity regarding the entire Passover epic.
On the morning of Saturday 20 April, festive prayers (including a prayer for abundant dew during the spring and summer) and special readings, including the Song of Songs, will figure prominently in synagogue services.
Saturday, 20 April is a full public holiday, i.e. there is no public transportation or newspapers, and shops will be closed.
The Intermediate Days of Passover
While the intermediate days of Passover (this year from sunset on Saturday 20 April until sunset on Thursday 25 April) are not full public holidays, special prayers and readings are recited in the synagogue. Schools will remain closed, as will many businesses. Post offices and banks will be open but will have reduced hours. Newspapers will be published.
Jewish tradition maintains that the parting of the Red Sea and the destruction of the Egyptian army occurred on the seventh day of Passover, but even though Passover celebrates the Exodus from Egypt, Jews nevertheless do not rejoice over the death of the Egyptians in the sea and only an abridged version of Hallel (Psalms 113-118) – a holiday prayer – is recited after the first day of Passover.
From the evening of Saturday 20 April, Jews will keep a nightly count of the 49 days (seven weeks), until the evening of Friday 7 June, one day before the holiday of Shavuot. This count commemorates the Temple offering of the omer, or sheaf of new grain, in keeping with the Biblical injunction of Leviticus 23:15-16.
The Seventh Day of Passover
The celebration of the seventh day of Passover as a full holiday is specified in Exodus 12:16 and Leviticus 23:8. This year, the seventh day begins at sunset on Thursday 25 April and lasts until sunset on Friday 26 April. On Friday morning, there will be festive services and readings in synagogues; special memorial prayers for the departed will also be said.
Friday 26 April is a full public holiday, i.e. there is no public transportation or newspapers, and shops will be closed.
Maimouna – an informal, yet widely celebrated holiday which originated among the Jews of North Africa, particularly those from Morocco – is celebrated the day after Passover or the second day after Passover if the last day of Passover falls on a Friday as it does this year. Accordingly, Maimouna will be celebrated this year beginning at sunset on Saturday 27 April and lasting until sunset on Monday, 28 April. According to custom, families prepare elaborate tables with various sweets and baked goods and host friends and family members. Whole neighborhoods often close as celebrations spill out into the streets and parks.
Passover in Film
Following are clips from six films (courtesy of the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive) that depict the various ways in which Passover has been celebrated:
Ideal Travel Talks 1934 – Travelogue shot in Eretz Yisrael in 1934. The film includes rare scenes of Samaritans celebrating Passover on Mt. Gerizim and their high priests sacrificing the paschal lamb in the presence of the British High Commissioner of Palestine, Arthur Wauchope (from 30:55 min). (Note: The Samaritan community will celebrate Passover this year beginning on Thursday evening 18 April.)
Road to Liberty 1946 – Film about the Jewish Brigade which fought in World War II as a unit of the British Army. Includes scenes of Jewish soldiers celebrating the seder in Europe (from 8:03 min.)
To Save One Life 1952 – Docudrama about two sisters who immigrated to Israel from Yemen through Youth Aliyah. Includes scenes of Pesach cleaning, preparations, and seder in a youth village. (from 39:55 min.)
Seder De Pesach 1980s – A Jerusalem family from North African conduct a model Sephardic seder. The film is interspersed with stories and animations depicting the Exodus from Egypt. (French)
Operation Exodus Honors American Troops At A Special Seder In Israel 1991 – American soldiers stationed in Israel participate in a special seder with new immigrants from the CIS and Ethiopia, shortly after the Gulf War.
Our Way: Sarajevo 1993 – The JDC and Jewish leaders in Sarajevo, Bosnia hold a special seder during the civil war in the presence of Moslem and Christian clerics. (from 3:28 min.)
Photo Stella Szpira
- Written by Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel
On Monday 29 April 2019, the European Union Delegation to Israel and EU Member States' Ambassadors held a joint Yom Hashoah remembrance event with the Convoi 77 Project for victims of the Holocaust who were deportees from Drancy to Auschwitz. The event was hosted by EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret, at his residence in Herzliya.
Convoi 77 Project, founded and headed by Mr. Georges Mayer, focuses on education and remembrance for the people who were deported from Drancy to Auschwitz on July 31, 1944. 1309 deportees are commemorated with the support of various ministries of education in EU MS and other European countries, by connecting high school students from the towns and villages of the deportees with the victims' stories. Their memory is being revived in a very tangible way, through students' research so that individual lives will be remembered.
The event also included Violins of Hope, a project of a world-renowned violin maker, Amnon Weinstein who has spent the last two decades locating and restoring violins that were played by Jewish musicians in concentration camps and ghettos during the Holocaust.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Emanuele Giaufret, Head of EU Delegation said: "We should never forget that Holocaust remembrance is not an effort unto itself, but is fundamental in the fight against anti-Semitism. In addition to the millions murdered in the Shoah, there were also millions who were nearly murdered, maimed, traumatized, orphaned and humiliated. Information and education are key elements in our fight against Antisemitism. Our Union was built as a reaction to the horrors of the Holocaust and the second world war. Remembering it and fighting Antisemitism is our duty towards the European Jewish citizens and indispensable to protect our common European values. The EU will continue to show resolve and to step up its efforts to promote education, combat bigotry and protect EU Jewish citizens."
Georges Mayer President of Convoi 77 said: “What motivates us is our desire that the history of these 1309 people won’t be lost forever in the maelstrom of the Shoah; the wish to see these lives, violently interrupted, remembered in the form of narrative biographies, photographs, written traces, or, why not? shows or artistic works; concern for the urgency of transmission, at a time when the last witnesses of this period disappear. And the conviction that this period of history should be taught, beyond compassion and duty to remember, through active pedagogy."
The European Commission has a range of actions to combat Antisemitism, such as monitoring how European legislation combating Antisemitism is implemented and guiding the Member States on how to tackle anti-Semitic hate crime and hate speech.
In 2015, First-Vice President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová appointed a Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism to liaise with Jewish communities and strengthen the collaboration with international organizations, Member States' authorities, and NGOs.
In May 2016 the European Commission concluded a Code of Conduct with IT companies to take down illegal hate speech and created a High-level expert group to improve recording of hate crime across the EU. See: https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/combatting-discrimination/racism-and-xenophobia/countering-illegal-hate-speech-online_en
In January 2017 Commissioner Jourová endorsed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition on Antisemitism as a useful tool for educational purposes in countering Antisemitism. The European Union also acquired Permanent International Partner status with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in November 2018.
On 6 December 2018, the European Council unanimously adopted a Declaration on the fight against antisemitism and the development of a common security approach amongst EU member states to better protect Jewish communities and institutions.
Upon request of the European Commission, the Fundamental Rights Agency published, on 10 December 2018, the largest survey ever held among European Jews on their perception and experience of Antisemitism. The survey will serve as a basis for further fact-based policy making to counter anti-Semitism.
The 12th EU – Israel High-Level Seminar on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Antisemitism took place in Brussels in December 2018.
- Written by Silvia G Golan
29 Days ‘til Eurovision KAN, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation: This is How Eurovision 2019 Will Look
The second wave of ticket sales will begin tomorrow, Tuesday, April 16 at 18:00 Israel Local Time on the Leaan website
At the official press conference held this morning, April 15th, the Eurovision Song Contest 2019’s official events were presented including the Orange Carpet event which will be held at Habima Square overlooked by Israel’s historic Habima Theater in Tel Aviv on May 12th. Other announcements included the release of another wave of tickets which will go on sale tomorrow (April 16) at 18:00 Israel Local Time.
Zivit Davidovitch, KAN’s Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 said, “The Eurovision Song Contest is not what we knew 20 years ago and certainly not 40 years ago. In 1999, there were only 23 participating countries and this year 41 countries will participate. As people across the globe look to Israel as the 2019 Eurovision hosts, we want to present Israel in the best way we can. The Israeli team working on the Eurovision Song Contest is of the most experienced, both in terms of production and creativity. The Israeli Eurovision team are working on the project with the deep aspiration and mission to represent Israel and to produce the best Eurovision Song Contest in the 64 years of the competition’s existence”.
At the press conference, many of the Eurovision interval acts were announced. The interval acts will play a central role at each of the three performances of the Eurovision Song Contest. Yuval Cohen, TV and Show Producer, Deputy Executive Producer Eurovision Song Contest 2019 said, "After twenty years we are excited to host the world's largest music competition, in which 41 unique songs from different countries around the world will take center stage. A great deal of thought was invested in developing the line-up of the performances, with the aim of relating to the 200 million viewers watching across the globe and in the same breath bringing an Israeli experience to the screen".
The First Semi-Final will take place on May 14th, the Second Semi-Final will take place on May 16th and the Final will be held on May 18th, under the direction of the four Israeli Eurovision Hosts: Erez Tal, Bar Refaeli, Assi Azar, and Lucy Ayoub. For the first time, the final broadcast in Israel will begin at 21:40 with a special broadcast developed by Yardena Arazi, 40 years after she co-hosted the first Eurovision Song Contest held in Jerusalem on March 31st, 1979.
Announcing the Eurovision Interval Acts and the Artistic Programme
- The 41 Eurovision Postcards - the artists representing each country flew to Israel to 'Dare to Dance' each in a different location in Israel.
- The Idan Raichel Project will perform the song "Bo’ee – Come to Me" accompanied by 24 singers.
- A glimpse of the multi-media video artist Kutiman, has redesigned the Eurovision Song-track.
- Israel's very own Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, will show Tel Aviv and Israel as never before.
- Shalva Band who taught us all a lesson in the power of a dream and the courage to realize it, will perform.
- Past participants from various participating countries will also perform at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 including, Conchita Wurst, Eleni Foureira, Verka Serduchka, Måns Zelmerlöw, and Gali Atari winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1979.
- Winner of the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest, Dana International will also receive due respect and recognition and will appear in the Semi-Finals and Final.
- Izhar Cohen, the first Israeli to bring the Eurovision Song Contest to Israel will give the score of the Israeli judging team (and will close all the judges' votes).
- Winner of the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest, Dana International will also receive due respect and recognition and will appear in the Semi-Finals and Final.
- And of course, we will also have Netta Barzilai, who a year ago, in Lisbon, fulfilled her personal dream and that of all of us. Netta will perform with a world-premiere song and an unforgettable performance of "TOY".
Ticket Sales: From 200 New Israeli Shekels
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and KAN, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, announced today that the remaining tickets to the Eurovision Song Contest will open tomorrow (Tuesday) at 18:00 Israel time in a final wave of ticket sales.
All tickets will be available for purchase through Leaan’s official ticket website (link for purchasing tickets is here: https://bit.ly/2SZNBAt ).
In this second wave of ticket sales that will open today, ticket prices will be from 200 NIS (for rehearsals of the semi-finals) and at most 2000 NIS for the VIP Green Room (available for the Final only).
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) cooperates with the Consumer Federation, Ticket Check. The federation's logo on the website is the sign that this is the official ticket-buying site. The EBU and the KAN recommend buying tickets only from the official website. Further information and updates can be found on the Eurovision.tv website.
Further information and official updates can be found on the website: Eurovision.tv/tickets
How is the Eurovision Song Contest Broadcast from Tel Aviv to 50 countries where the competition is aired and viewed by 200 million people?
KAN, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation transfers the broadcast to the EBU in two different locations in Europe, and from there, the broadcast is distributed to all other countries.
The backup procedure is a complex operation. Each of the three shows are filmed and recorded during the general rehearsals and is used as a backup in parallel to the live broadcast, so that at any point in time during the live broadcast, it is possible to immediately switch to the backup recording of the rehearsals with the touch of a button.
The process of constructing the Eurovision arena takes 54 days and requires 450 trucks carrying containers which are managed and operated by some 300 technicians and expert workers from abroad, who together work in excess of 3,000 shifts during this time. In addition, it takes more than 96 hours to unload the 220 kilometres of cables and fibres that are used by the production teams.
1600 people, work on the production, including about 500 volunteers.
Pavilion 2 contains 7,280 places for the public and 46 commentator booths
Pavilion 1 will accommodate the delegations. There will be 1,500 places for the public and Green Room.
General information for the press: https://eurovision.tv/press
Keep updated on KAN’s Eurovision Twitter account (English): https://twitter.com/kaneurovision?lang=en
Eurovision’s international online platforms:
Eurovision 2019 will be broadcast by KAN, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, on 14, 16 and 18 May. The Eurovision Song Contest will be held for the 64th time and for the first time in Tel Aviv with the participation of 42 countries under the slogan 'Dare To Dream'.
Photos Silvia G. Golan