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July 27, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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July 27, 2012

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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 27, 201:) TJCDate Profile: Yifat613 ABOUT ME" Creative, funny, warm-hearted, religious, and a great cook! Looking to settle down, but not to settle. MY LIFE & AMBITIONS: rm a graphic designer, sick of doing bar mitzvah invitations, looking to take my career to the next level. ON OUR FIRST DATE, REMIND ME TO TELL YOU THE STORY ABOUT How a refrigerator light left on over Shabbat led to my losing a roommate. DON'T BOTHER ASKING ME TO Come to your Shabbat dinner if your idea of a fine wine is "the blue bottle." By Feliee Frledsen allowed to patrol and conduct popular Birthright program, and Linda Gradstein searches in the plaza, whichhassofarbroughtalmost The Media Line An uncomfortable moment300,000 Jews between the ages for the group ensued when of 18 and 26 to Israel for free The participants gather Muslim guards refused to let ten-daytripstostrengthentheir outside the AI-Aqsa mosque in the Christian delegates inside Jewish identity. The family of Jerusalem's old city for a group the mosque, saying entry was casinobillionaireSheldonAdei- photo. They look like any group restricted to Muslims. Western son has announced that they of college students visiting tourists were also excluded, will donate an additional $13 Jerusalem on a summer trip. Several group members, in- million to Birthright to reduce The photographer counts to cluding Rabie's wife Rocio, the long waiting list. three."FreePalestine!"theyyeli who is an Ecuadorian citizen, Rateb Rabie says the Know in unison, and laugh, went to the administration and thy Heritage trip is different The 41 delegates, half of complained. Most of them did than a Birthright trip. them Christian and half of eventually manage to enter. "The Jewish people offered them Muslim, all between the "It was very disappointing," somegoodthingsandwethank ages of 18 and 25, are here on said Mohammed Iftaiha, a them for bringing this (idea) a two-week trip called "Know financialadvisor andthe group to us," he said. "But we have a Thy Heritage,"sponsoredbythe leader from Virginia. "This was completely differentagendaand Holy Land Christian Ecumeni- the first time the issue ofreli- wearenotinvolvedwithpolitics cal Foundation. gion had ever come up. What or religion." MostareffomtheU.S buta madeitworsewaswesawlsraeli Rabie says that even the fewareffomAustralia, Canada, security escorting a group of world "diaspora" is a Jewish England and France. All but Israelis into the mosque. So the term, which the Palestinians seven are women, says Rateb Christians thought, whyarewe have now adopted to refer to Rabie, president and founder being singled out? the seven million Palestinians of the sponsoring group. The students stay in Bethle- living abroad. "This is good because they hem but they are also warmly JustastheBirthrightpartici- are the ones who are going to welcomed in Ramallah, the pants do not meet Palestinians raise the children, and thiswill Palestinain financial capital, from the West Bank, (although help them understand their Hashim Shawa, the chairman they do meet Arab citizens of roots," he told The Media Line. and general manager of the Israel), the Know thy Heritage Theparticipantspayfortheir Bank of Palestine, tells the delegates do not meet Israelis. airline tickets and the Founda- young people that they should Rabie says he is open to the tion, with additional sponsor- consider what they can do to idea of holding a dialogue with ship from the Bank of Palestine help build a future Palestinian either Israelis or Jewish Birth- and the Palestinian telephone state, fight participants. company, Paltel, picks up the "The country should not"Dialogueisthemostimpor- other costs, just be built from American tantthinginanythingyouwant "They see how the Palestin- aid--what's really neededis in- to do," he said."When people sit lans are living here," Rabie said. vestment from our own people," face-to-face, they come to their "They see how Palestinians are hesaid."Doinggoodisinvesting senses. It would be a pleasure building a state under occupa- in bricks and mortar. Consider to do that, but we need that tion. An agreement is coming working here for ayear or two." cooperation." regardless of what we hear on He also said that Visa and Someofthestudentsalsosay the news and we will be ready Master Card used to consider they would like an opportunity to run this state." theWestBankpartoflsrael, but toholddiscussionswithlsraelis. Many of the participants theBankofPalestineconvinced 'I would like to meet the have visited relatives in the themtoconsidertheWestBank young generation of Israe- West Bank before, andspeakat as a "separate country" and lis," Wassam Rafidi, 21, from least some Arabic, but they say now all processing of credit Houston, Texas, told The Media this trip is strengthening their cards goes through the Bank Line."Theoldergenerationwas Palestinian identity, of Palestine, the largest bank involved in wars and fighting "I'm getting to know who in the West Bank. and there's too much harsh my people are and what I want Severalstudents complained sentiment on both sides. You for the future," Noor Diab, 23, that the Israeli security forces always remember, you never a recent college graduate from detained them for seven hours forget, but we have to learn San Diego told The Media as they crossed the Allenby how to forgive. It's the young Line. "It's given me a sense of Bridge from Jordan into Is- generation that will make or pride but I'm also saddened by rael.TheChristianEcumenical break this thing." the situation here and by the Foundation's Rabie seconded But for most of the partici- (Israeli) occupation and the their frustration, pants, the focus of the trip is in separationbetweenIsraelisand "We all have Western pass- strengthening their ties to the Palestinians. Throughout the ports and instead of helping West Bank and to their Pales- trip, you feel happy, frustrated us out, the Israelis hold us and tinian heritage. HadeelAbnadi, and sad but at the same time question us," he said. from San Diego, is visiting for you're experiencing the reality Shawaurgedthestudentsnot the first time. Her mother was of the holy land:' to let these kinds of incidents born in Jordan, her father in Diab is wearing a sky-blue frustrate them. Lod, whichistodaypartoflsrael. head covering or hijab, which "You're always going to be In 1948, he fled and moved to she put on when she went into held up--is that going to stop Jordan. At age 14, he moved to themosque,anddecidedtokeep you from visiting?" he asked theU.S.andattendedMichigan on for a subsequent visit to the them. "In Israel these days, you StateUniversity.After collegehe Church of the Holy Sepulcher. get stuck in a traffic jam. Let's returned to Amman, where he She said she found the visit to not use that as an excuse." met his wife. the mosque inspiring, but was ThedelegatesalsovisitedPai- "Iwanted to do this program angered by the Israeli security tel,whereKamalAbu-Khadijeh, because I kept hearing stories checks before she reached the the Deputy CEO, described the about our land," she told The site. difficulty his company faces. Media Line. "I would watch '%Vhen I'm in the mosque, "We can't service Area C," he CNN and A1-Jazeera and see I feel like I'm home," she said. says, referring to the 60 percent the land that was being fought "But the journey there was a of the West Bank that is under over.Iwantedtolearnaboutthe little difficult because going sole Israeli administrative and cultureandmyroots.Wheyyou through metal detectors and military control. "If we can't come and see it, it puts it all in checkpoints really takes away install our own towers, we perspective." fromthespiritualityoftheland, can't provide service. You have Sarah Ikhnayes, 23, tells a I would like to come here one to be part of an Israeli network similar story. Her father was daywithoutbeingaskedmyrace to operate from one place to born in Surif, and lived in the or my religion." another." Deheishe refugee camp adjacent To reach the mosque, the That means that many Pal- to Bethlehem. She was born in third-holiest site in Islam, estinians have two cell phones, Kuwaitwhereshewasraisedin visitors must pass through onewith aPalestinian number a refugee camp called Talibiye an Israeli-controlled security and onewith an Israeli number until she was 8 years of age and checkpoint. They then walk up to cover the whole West Bank. then headed to New York. a narrow bridge onto the large Healsosaidthatthecoreequip- "It was nice to come back plaza where both the AI-Aqsa ment switches are located in to the land where my father, mosque and the gold-cupola Jordan and London while the my grandfather and my great DomeoftheRockstand.Onthe company operates in the West grandfather were born," she plaza, the independent Muslim Bank. said. "This took us to a whole WaqfTrust is in charge ofsecu- The Know thy Heritage pm- new level of knowing our rity, althoughIsraelisoldiersare gram is ioosely modeled on the heritage."