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HJELP JODENE HJEM (HJH)

Help Jews Home


Translated from Norwegian


Issue 2


Where are we sliding into?...


When something happens


1. Where are we sliding into?


OIVIND BERNATEK

Chairman of HJH


Of late we have been receiving numerous horrible evidence of the growing anti-Semitism around the world. Synagogues are being desecrated. Jews are attacked in broad daylight. The most serious cases occurred in Venezuela, a country whose leader supports the current regime in Iran: this fact alone speaks for itself and suggests awful prospects.


It has been particularly disturbing to see the Norwegian reaction, or rather complete lack of it, to the widely-known declaration of the chief religious leader of the Moslem-Sunnites. In his fetwah, broadcast by Al-Jazeera TV channel, he approved of the genocide of the six million Jews during the Second World War and, moreover, he promised that Moslems would complete the cause started by Hitler.


The Islamic communities of Norway, in obedience to the decisions of their leader, could not openly disagree with his declaration, but they had to move the responsibility for it to someone else. After all it was a political declaration of a religious leader. If this opinion on the genocide, coming from a religious leader, was a purely political action and did not imply religious relations and a dialogue among religious confessions, which he denies in general, then it means that the world has become so deeply immersed in evil and darkness that the situation is simply beyond any words. Is it not obvious that values of the religious leader who considers the murder of six million Jews as normal and even good are really distorted? Where is religious integrity in a person who rejoices at the murder of half a million children and youngsters and promises a new genocide of the Jewish people? How could the individual Moslems in Norway fail to protest against this declaration, if only instinctively? Why did they need time to think it over? How can they follow the decisions of such a leader in other matters?


Why were silent all those, who are the first to cry out every time Israel does something, which might offend the civilian population of Palestine? Where were those, who express their indignation with the violations of the international law by organizing protest marches with torches painting children with red paints to look like blood? Or those carrying slogans in Arabic demanding the annihilation of Jews? Or those involved in urban vandalism to protest against violence in Gaza? Perhaps they think that what is now going on is not so dangerous? After all it concerns only Jews. However, this open declaration that the entire Jewish people all over the world should be liquidated carries a threat to all of us, to our civilization as a whole. Indeed, our much praised public education has obviously suffered a fiasco.


Luckily, there are still honorable people in this mad world, those who are not afraid to denounce such declarations. People who are brave enough to criticize the activities of Hamas for their cynical exploitation of the civilian population and for their laws, which proclaim a worldwide liquidation of the Jewish people. These people find the courage in our disturbing times to assert the obvious right of Israel to defend itself and its sovereignty. These people will not tolerate extreme racism preached by the Islamists.


We are grateful to you for the very fact of your existence. We are grateful to you for your support, both moral and material, in our struggle for justice. We are grateful to you for your continued support of Israel and the whole Jewish people.


2. When something happens


ELI FINSWEEN

Executive director of HJH


It is important that you remember your Jewish compatriots when something happens.


Many people in Israel believe that the world does not understand their problems. They are showered with severe criticism, which is biased and unjust, particularly that which comes from the UN and European Union. Many Israelis, travelling abroad, or simply reading the international press, become aware of open anti-Semitism. Israeli papers, too, often write of such cases and cover investigations taking place in other countries, and this, naturally, makes an unpleasant impression on the people of Israel.


When I visited Israel in January, people there reacted very painfully to the disturbances caused by the demonstrations in Oslo. Broken windows, hurled stones, fire-crackers thrown into crowds, but above all, the finance minister Kristin Halvorsen with the left-wing radicals from the Blitz group marching with the demonstration for peace in Gaza. These photographs appeared in all the papers. For the Israelis that is one more evidence that they are alone in this world.


But what we, friends of Israel, can do for them? Apart from using every opportunity to defend Israel in our conversations with our families, friends and colleagues here, we ought to remember Israeli people when something happens there. We ought to stand by them and be with them. It is important that in all the emergency situations we should demonstrate our solidarity with them and render assistance. Let them see that our hearts care for both our countries. Those who have friends in Israel can regularly send them postcards or emails, or telephone them to tell them that we know of their hardships and sympathize with their grief and pain, that we are ready to hear them out. These are very simple things but they mean much for Israeli people.


You can also speak out in their defense in major newspapers, and as part of the projects to which you render financial assistance, or at the Israeli embassy. Let our brothers and sisters know that we care for them, that they are not alone in the world, that here in the North they have friends.


Shoulder to shoulder with the people of the southern district of Israel. Reliable roofs and bomb shelters for the southern district.


In the course of the last eight years the residents of Shaar ha-Negev, a commune at the Gaza border, were subjected to 7,000 Hassam rocket attacks.


Now they hope the war is over. But they cannot be absolutely certain. So again our compatriots appeal to HJH and Norwegian sponsors because they need to restore their bomb shelters and street shelters, to reinforce roofs over school buildings and kindergartens, to organize reliable refuges for children, to render economic assistance to the victims.


Here are some directions of our activities and support:


Shaar ha-Negev


The following sums have been sent to Shaar ha-Negev: 400 060 Crowns for the restoration of bomb shelters and 400 060 Crowns for the repairs of schools and kindergartens. Shaar ha-Negev is located close to the Gaza border, not far from the town of Sderot. In most kibitzes they installed electricity and toilets in their bomb shelters; they also painted the walls and put in some furniture.


In many kibutzes they had to reinforce the walls and roofs of their kindergartens and schools. They also erected reinforced awnings over childrens playgrounds. Just imagine what it means to be responsible for the little kids when the alarm signal sounds and there is only 15 seconds to take the kids away into the shelter.


In his letter of gratitude, published in the December issue of our Newsletter, Head of the Regional Council Alon Schuster emphasized that the above measures were of supreme importance for the population of Israels southern districts located so close to the Gaza border. Without any doubt, the reason for the relatively small number of casualties on the Israeli side were the renovated bomb shelters, reinforcement of school buildings and kindergartens, erection of small bomb shelters intended for just a few persons. Special awnings have been erected along streets, in parks and other public places. All these measures were taken several years ago. HJH sponsors thus helped to save many lives in the south of Israel.


A World in Grace:


HJH provides assistance to the Ashkelon project helping new immigrants to find jobs. The immigrants are instructed how to write their CVs correctly, which points attract particular attention in the interview with the employer, what are the rules of behavior at the work place, what laws they should know about. All the above may differ very much from those in the countries they had come from. For example, in Ethiopia there is no tradition of signing a written contract.


Our organization is also spreading information among employers in order to find vacancies for the immigrants. In many cases these employers later become our permanent clients: instead of advertizing their vacancies they call our office with the request to find a worker with particular professional qualifications. There is a possibility of concluding temporary agreements when an employee works on a probation basis for a few days so as the employer could see if he is suitable for this particular job. Thanks to this system many immigrants were able to find jobs, which means they could feed themselves and pay taxes, they became active citizens with an optimistic outlook.


Center for the Crises Management SELAH:


Special note should be made about this organizations work with people in crises situations. Volunteers from SELAH come to peoples rescue in cases of emergency, terrorist acts, or diseases. SELAH is set up to help those in need of help but left alone to cope with their grief. The activities of SELAH are of enormous importance for the immigrants living in the south of Israel. If you dont speak the language, or if you are illiterate, or still too young, you may need help with paper work. Just imagine that suddenly you lost your dear ones, you would want someone to take care of you and prompt you in what needs to be done. Suppose a rocket hit your house, you end up wounded in the hospital, and you have nowhere to go, then SELAH will come to your help. They will hear you out, feed your cat, find you a temporary lodging, and help you with many other minor and major problems this is the task of SELAH. They will not abandon you until you go back to normal life. Often it takes years.


A large group of volunteers spends their free time to help those in need. Such support is essential for many immigrants, who have no relatives or friends in their new homeland. People like you donate their money to be spent on fulfilling this important work. As time goes, people are increasingly aware of the importance of their donations for such projects.


Shiluv:


Shiluv is a project which takes care of young soldiers, who have no relatives in the country. Employees of this organization take the place of relatives for the lonely soldiers, especially those in the south of Israel. In December and January some Shiluv volunteers went to Ashkelon where their boys were spending their leave. We were assured that this leave enables them to have a respite from the service: the lonely soldiers spent a long good day on the Dead Sea in a health resort completely at their disposal. They were well fed. A number of specially trained volunteers stayed there with the soldiers to keep them company, talk to them, and help them in various ways.


At the same time, the volunteers appointed as parents of the lonely soldiers watered their plants at home and received their mail. During the war there was a strict deadline for submitting documents to the higher educational establishments, so there appeared volunteers, who saw to it that all applications were submitted on time. Some other volunteers assumed the duty of providing soldiers with dry socks, which is something very essential for them. Once a friend of ours, a very creative person, who has nothing to do with Shiluv, came by truck carrying fifteen different plugs for recharging mobile telephones. The boys could then call their friends back home this had been forbidden while they were crossing the border and talk to them to their hearts content because they no longer had problems with the batteries.


Other projects


Beyahad, Ayalim, Yad Sarah, and the Israeli Association for the Children of Immigrants these are some of the other long-term projects functioning in the south of Israel. They organize distribution of food, interest clubs, school groups for children from needy families, medical centers.


They take care of immigrants and render them assistance in problem situations. All these projects have been organized by volunteers. Financial support from HJH sponsors is very welcome there: without it this many-sided help could not have been rendered to the needy. Thanks to you life has become easier for many immigrants.