Browsing Posts in Citizen Press Conference

Tomorrow, Thursday, September 22nd, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council and Israel’s Ministry for Public Diplomacy and the Diaspora is launching a very special event, one in which you can take part in!

We’re calling it “Open Tent” and it’s exactly what it sounds like. With everything going on this week at the United Nations, Israel realizes how important it is to have an honest, open dialogue. A free, no taboo discussion on Israeli society and the future of the Jewish state.

In addition to speakers ranging from Minister MK Yuli Edelstein, the event will feature leading experts from a wide array of disciplines. Most importantly, this event is about YOU! Your voice, your questions, and your involvement.

One of the panels you should be most excited about focuses on Multi-Culturalism in Israel. Realizing that diversity creates both challenges and opportunities, we want to give our followers on social media the chance to talk to real Israelis from a variety of backgrounds. No question is off limits. What do they think about the upcoming UN vote? What role do minorities play in a Jewish state?

Below, you can read a little about some of the faces of Israel we’ll be talking with tomorrow. You can submit questions you would like to ask them or Minister Edelstein below, on our Facebook page, or send us a tweet @israelconsulate.

 

Raneen Khoury

Born and raised in the city of Nazareth, Raneen has lived in the midst of Israeli co-existence, always trying to progress Arab – Jewish relations within Israel through various co-existence projects such as the establishment of the National Service Organization.

Currently she is the manager of “Lehava” project whose aim is to decrease the digital gap within Israeli society.

 

Adam Asad

Adam is a 19 year old Druze from Sajour, a village situated in the North of Israel. Throughout university, Adam was involved in community work with Muslims, Jews and Christians.   Adam is currently an English teacher and in pursuit of his second degree, a BA degree in International Relations at the University of Haifa.

 

Kasaey Keren Damoza

I was born in a small village in the Ghondar region of Ethiopia to a family of six. In 1983, my family and I set out on our journey to the land of Israel, passing through the Sudanese desert and Red Cross camps. I served at the Israeli Defense Force as a communication officer and discharged as a lieutenant. Now,I am finishing my Masters in Management of Non-Profit Organizations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

 

Clara Cohen

36 years old.  Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Moved to Israel at the age of 21. Works as Director at Latin America & Spain Department in a privately owned company.

 

 

Hadas Yossef

Born in Ethiopia, at two years old she began the journey to Israel with her family by foot, all the way from Ethiopia through Sudan.

After completing her studies in Architecture at the Bezalel High Institute for Arts, Hadas began working as a professional architect at one of the biggest firms in Israel.

Thanks again to all of you who sent in your questions and comments! We answered a ton of them live but there were many more you all sent in that we would like to respond to! Below, find our “overtime” segment for the twitter press conference! continue reading…

Consul General had an interview with the Huffington Post last week and gave a good description of the goings-on.  He also cites some facts and figures, about which we have gotten a number of good questions.

A sample:

The United Nations estimates that 25 percent of Palestinian casualties in the present incursion are civilian. Shariv said that as of this Wednesday morning, the IDF estimated the proportion of Palestinian civilians among those killed in the current incursion was “closer to 12 to 13 percent” and emphasized that most of those killed were being used as human shields by Hamas, which wages war from inside schools, hospitals and United Nations facilities.
He added, “When they hit [Israeli] civilians, there’s celebration. When we hit [Palestinian] civilians, there’s an investigation.”

On 19 June, a “state of calm” began between Israel and Hamas.  The goal of this arrangement was to end Hamas’s rocket fire on Sderot and to gradually open up the border crossings into Gaza for civilian goods.  You can see details of the arrangement in our previous post.   This arrangement was due to last for 6 months, with possible renewal thereafter.

As you can see from the following graphs, while rocket and mortar fire from Gaza slowed during the “lull,” it never fully stopped.  (The graphs are taken from a report published last month.)

In addition, rather than use the “state of calm” to promote peace and to build a civilian infrastructure in Gaza, Hamas took advantage of the situation to expand its terrorist capabilities.  In addition to continuing to fire rockets and mortars, Hamas also smuggled weapons and other materiel from Egypt, and expanded its tunnel network, going so far as to dig a tunnel under Israeli territory to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

When Israeli forces acted on intelligence reports and went to investigate the tunnel on 04 November, they came under fire from “Palestinian gunmen” (see news item).  The firefight resulted in the death of 1 gunman and the wounding of several others, and the wounding of 4 Israeli soldiers.  During the following two days, Hamas launched 47 rockets and 10 mortar shells against civilian areas in Israel.  Hamas declared that it had responded to Israel’s actions, and leaders of Israel and Hamas maintained their desire to prevent further escalation of the situation.  However, Hamas continued to attack Israel–mostly by rocket and mortar fire–throughout the next few weeks.  In order to protect its civilian population, Israel took occasional action against these Hamas terrorists (see the list of Palestinian casualties in November 2008 from B’Tselem–all were killed while carrying out hostilities).

In fact, as the “lull” was due to expire on 19 December, Israel still held out hope that Hamas would renew the agreement.  Instead, Hamas declared its unwillingness to renew any agreement and commenced firing rockets and mortars at a higher rate than previously.

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On January 4th, at Bethel Gospel Assembly in Harlem, over 1,200 people stood in support of Israel.

Bishop Carlton T. Brown, Senior Pastor of the Bethel Gospel Assembly, Inc. in Harlem lead his congregation in a special prayer for the State of Israel and all of the lives affected by the recent events in the region. continue reading…

People have asked us this question through our twitter account and the blog. Here is what Consul David Saranga has to say on the matter of today’s ground operation:

Hamas still maintains the capacity and will to engage in terrorism. With Iranian assistance, Hamas has extended the reach of its missile strikes to threaten close to one million Israelis. By using Mosques, private homes and other public institutions as arsenals and bases of operation, Hamas has effectively taken the Palestinians of Gaza hostage, using them as human shields.

Over many years Israel has tried to bring an end to the terror attacks from Gaza and was unsuccessful. Hamas abused its truce with Israel not only to keep firing missiles against the civilian population, but also to stockpile weapons and prepare for a confrontation with the IDF.  Israel has no intention to govern Gaza, but operation “Cast Lead” must continue, for the time being, as the IDF acts to gain control over areas from which rockets are being launched on Israeli towns.

Israel must persist in order to achieve its stated objectives: to significantly disable the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas and produce lasting change in the security predicament affecting residents of southern Israel.  No sovereign nation would tolerate the daily targeting of its people.  Still, Israel is not an enemy of the Palestinian residents in Gaza: 400 trucks of humanitarian aid and 10 ambulances were allowed passage into Gaza this week; this assistance will continue.

Thank you again to everyone who submitted questions to us yesterday.  In yesterday’s posts, we went over and “transcribed” the questions and answers from the Twitter session. During the session itself, we had time to answer only a limited amount of questions. This post summarizes the first batch of our answers to questions we could not answer at the conference itself.

As promised, we have continued to answer your questions posed to us during the “Press Conference.”  A number of the questions were similar to each other, so we’ve posted some of the unique ones below.
We are working on posting other questions similar to the ones below together with links to the appropriate answers.

@rataelprince Is a 48-hour ceasefire (as proposed by France) a possible scenario for assessing Hamas intentions?
Israel believes there is no place for a unilateral ceasefire. During the last 6 months the cease fire was used by Hamas to gain power and arms, the effects of which we are seeing now. Israel  isn’t rejecting a cease fire, if that cease fire will be a bilateral one. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/01/world/middleeast/01mideast.html?hp continue reading…

Hamas Charter 1988

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During yesterday’s Twitter conference, we got a few questions about Hamas. While the answers to the specific questions will be coming shortly, following are selected sections from the charter of Hamas (aka the Islamic Resistance Movement) with some emphasis added. The full document can be found at http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp.

Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it. (Preamble, quoting Hassan al-Banna) continue reading…

The fourth and final part of our summary from the Civilian Press Conference that took place on twitter earlier today. The conversations were ‘expanded’ (meaning we removed the short ‘twitter talk’ and re-wrote fully spelled words) but otherwise unchanged.

This may be the end of the questions that we got to answer during the “Press Conference” today, but now we can turn our attention to the questions we couldn’t answer due to lack of time. Thanks again! and stay tuned for more answers. continue reading…

The third part of our summary from the Civilian Press Conference that took place on twitter earlier today. The conversations were ‘expanded’ (meaning we removed the short ‘twitter talk’ and re-wrote fully spelled words) but otherwise unchanged. continue reading…