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August 10, 2018

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 10, 2018 PAGE 15A From page 1A to individual farmers, but only about half of the funds have been transferred thus far, said Meidan. Amitai said the beehives are not located inside the kibbutzim, but in open land all around their periphery. He explained that in addition to the bees themselves being scorched, when the fields are burnt then any remaining bees cannot produce honey because there are no flowers on which to graze. "Flowers do not grow over- night, so in the near future there will not be enough flowers to make honey," he said. Fewer bees also mean "that they will not be able to pollinate the fields." 'Nearly all the grove was burnt' According to Meidan, the country produces around 3,500 tons of honey per year, of which little or none is ex- ported. The country imports about 1,000 tons of honey, which together with local production just meets the needs of Israelis, especially around the holidays. He said Israel's northern farm- ers and imports this year should make up for the loss of the honey in the Sha'ar HaNegev Region, and honey prices should remain stable through the High Holidays and Sukkot. Meidan said Israel has around 120,000 beehives, including 5,000 located near the border with Gaza. Of those 5,000, some 200 hives have been destroyed and thousands more indirectly impacted by the fires. And while annual plants can be planted and regrown with little impact on next year's honey season, he explained, other varietals, like eucalyp- tus trees, cannot be grown in a year. As such, there will be long-term impact on the industry that has yet to be determined. Additionally, Amitai said the situation has taken an emotional blow on the bee- keepers who worked all year only to watch their efforts undone in a blaze. "It is terrible to watch your hives burn up alongside eucalyptus trees, flowers and grazing land," said beekeeper Ido Eden. "Nearly all the grove was burnt, and with it, my hives. We are talking about eight dunams of land with 32 hives. I was planning to go on vacation with my family, but now I'm not s~ sure. It just feels terrible." 'It is not only hurtin,~ the Jews' Yahel Ben-Aris, voluntee coordinator for the MetroW est New Jersey Federation- Kibbutz Erez partnershiI, expressed similar sent~ ments. "I don't know what to sa, you just look out at th fields and see fire--anothe kite, another balloon--it' crazy," said Ben-Aris. "I doesn't make sense." Ben-Aris lives in Kibbut Erez. He said there are minimum of six fires pe week, and sometimes as many as three a day. The best way to contain them is to arrive on the scene fast. The kibbutz has put together an emergency response firefighting team with equipment purchased largely from donations made by the MetroWest New Jersey Federation. He said there is a constant need to replenish items like fire hoses, which are quickly worn down from the fires. "There were days that teams would go out to ex- tinguish the fire and holes in the hoses would have water spraying everywhere," Ben-Aris said. "These are firefighters with day jobs, and when it happens on Shabbat, they have to leave their families three times. It's very hot right now, and these fires are so hot, too." Retirees from across the country have been volun- teering in the area, sitting in watchtowers to monitor for aerial attacks and inform the firefighting response team. Strikingly, even as their fields are destroyed and fires sting the production of the area's sweet honey, residents and leadership alike say they have empathy for the plight of the Gazans and do not want to go to war with Hamas. Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council Mayor Alon Shus- ter told JNS that arson is not something new for the region. Rather, there were rounds of fires set by Gaza activists near the border for years. The big shift now is that these fires are reaching further into the region, propelled by kites and balloons. While he said that the results are tragic economically, emotionally and agriculturally, "we are lucky none of the burning kites have put people in danger." Shuster said he doesn't want a military solution to be the only solution. "Awar will just temporari- ly stop the fires, but it will not stop Hamas from attacking us again," he said. "Of course, Hamas is a terrible partner for negotiations But we must move to a situation where Israel opens dialogue with Hamas--for the people of Israel and Gaza. While this is hard on us, the people in Gaza are suffering in ways we cannot even imagine or describe." Meidan added that"Hamas should know that not only does the arson not help them, it is not only hurting the Jews. It is bad for nature and killing bees--innocent insects that don't deserve to die." And he believes the people of the Sha'ar HaNegev Region are resilient. "We will not be broken," he said. Ben-Aris said the first flowers that pop up as the land starts to recuperate are striking red anemones, which he said will ignite the fields in vibrant color. "It will be very pretty," he said. "This new life--that is the message I would send back to Hamas." From page IA "We appreciate the Ameri- can administration that ap- preciates the importance of us living here and the connection of the Jewish people to their homeland," said Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi, who also serves as Yesha's foreign envoy. Asking Huckabee to convey to the presidentwhat life is like in his city, Revivi said he hoped the White House would come to realize the importance of settlement building. While Trump initially de- clared settlement expan- sion to be "unhelpful," he subsequently changed his tune, declining to condemn Israel's decision to approve the construction of more than 2,000 settlement homes in May. According to Peace Now, Israel has approved plans and tenders for nearly 14,000 units since the 2016 elections, a significant increase over the 4,476 units approved in the year-and-a-half before Trump's victory. Earlier this week, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman visited the fam- ily of a terror victim in the Adam settlement. In prior administrations, embassy officials generally refrained from paying visits to areas over the pre-1967 lines, such as eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank. Huckabee's visit to the settlement and Friedman's condolence call constituted a message that "we should separate between the posi- tive and negative vectors in this area," said Yesha Council Chairman Hananel Dorani, meaning, respectively, the 435,000 Israelis and 2.75 million Palestinians living in the West Bank. Comparing Israel to the United States in its commit- ment to liberty and peace, Dorani described the Palestin- ians as a violent people who "believe in terror and educate to hate." He said that lasting peace will only come when millions of Jews have been settled in the West Bank and the Palestinians realize that they have "no choice but to live side by side and not fight us." Yesha Council CEO Yiga Dilmoni was enthusiasti about the future, saying th settlers felt like there was " new spirit in the period C Trump" and that the U.S. ant Israel together could buih up Judea and Samaria. Yesh. is an acronym that include Judea and Samaria, biblica names for the disputed are~ that are commonly used il Israel. Settlement leaders dis counted the possibility tha their embrace of Trump -styh rhetoric could make the settlement enterprise evel more of a partisan issue thal it already is. Polls show that majority of Republican voter~ support settlement expan- sion and most Democrats oppose it. "You can see the attitude of our PM, which [is] the same," said Dorani, referring to Is- raeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump "truly loves Israel, and we think it's an opportunity for us to get the process forward." New York physician Josepll Frager, a vice president of the National Council of Young Israel and one of the orga- nizers of Wednesday's event along with Yesha and the Efrat municipality, approved the Trumpian rhetoric, saying it "helped the president in the United States get elected." "The idea is that Judea and Samaria have to grow," Frager said. "The president, I think, likes to see demonstrations of that fact. I think this catches his eye and his interest, and it could be helpful." Israeli politicians and American Orthodox Jewish leaders have been effusive in thanking Trump for his support for Israel and its government. During a re- ception celebrating the U.S. Embassy's move to Jerusa- lem from Tel Aviv in May, Orthodox Union President Mark Bane described Trump as "God's messenger," while Israel's justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, called him "the [Winston] Churchill of the 21st century." Commenting at the time, Dan Shapiro, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel un- der President Barack Obama, said it was understandable that Israelis and American Jews were engaging in "hyper- bole" because "it's become ac- cepted in international circles that the way to gain favor with President Trump is to engage in excessive flattery." "The settlers are euphoric about Trump's victory," said Hagit Ofran of Peace Now, which regards the settlements as an obstacle to the two-state solution. "Together with Ne- tanyahu, they feel they can do whatever they want in settle- ments. Netanyahu is seizing the opportunity of the carte blanche he got from Trump to set facts on the ground in order to prevent the possibility of a two-state solution. This is bad news for anyone who cares about Israel and wants to see it living in peace and prosperity side by side with its neighbors." In one of Obama's last actions as president, the ad- ministration abstained rather than veto a U.N. Security Council resolution that de- clared Israel's settlements il- legal and demanded the build- ing stop. When the parties to the peace process seemed committed to restarting it a year ago, Trump cautioned Israel against settlement expansion, saying it could frustrate the process, as his predecessors had. Now that the process is moribund, however, Trump and his administration of- ficials barely mention set- tlement--a break from the Obama administration, which would speak out against any announced building in the settlements or eastern Jerusalem. While happywith the lifting of Obama-era censure, Dorani said settlement leaders still feel stifled. "During eight years of Obama we couldn't build like we wanted, and now under Trump we are building but not enough," the Yesha CEO said, turning to Huckabee and asking him to intervene with the president. "There are still limits. We can't build new settlements or big neighbor- hoods." From page 1A Hillel Israel in a two-step process that included his nomination to the board by Hillel Israel's shareholder assembly and his election to serve as chair by Hillel Israel's board. Both decisions were unanimous. "After a long career serv- ing the people of Israel, I am thrilled to expand my role to serve the global Jewish peo- ple," said Beilin. "I will work hard to create and strengthen the bonds of Jewish students around the world to one an- other and to Israel." Beilin replaces Avraham Infeld, the former president of Hillel International, who stepped down as chair of the Hillel Israel board afte~ six years of service. Infeld remains an active board member. "Hillel Israel's mission is to make Judaism relevant to the lives of young Israeli Jews, and to strengthen their sense of belonging to the global Jewish people" said Alon Friedman, Director General of Hillel Israel. "We enthusi- astically welcome Dr. Beilin to the Hillel Israel family and are confident that his leadership will add immense value to our students and our work." Dr. Beilin's career in public service began with his ap- pointment as Cabinet Secre- tary. As a member of Knesset for 20 years, Beilin has held ministerial positions in the governments of Prime Min- isters Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak. He has devoted his career to the pursuit of peace, Jewish continuity and a strong Israel- Diaspora relationship. The shareholders of Hillel Is- rael also appointed Israeli busi- ness leader and philanthropist Arie Mintkevich to serve on the board as a new member. Mintkevich previously served as General Counsel at Israel's Ministry of Finance, chair of Israel's Securities Author- ity, chair of Israel's Discount Bank and Vice Chair of IDB Holdings, a prominent Israeli business group. From page 4A holy sites. A stabbing murder of a Jew this week may well have been directly inspired by the latest P.A. lies about the Temple Mount. So while Jews fight each other over prayer at the Kotel, Palestinians continue to seek to deny all of them the right to be there. Even the supposed moderates of Fatah seem to want not just a Jew-free West Bank, but also a Jerusalem where Jews have no rights-- whether they are Orthodox or non-Orthodox. Serious observers should know that it's pointless for mortals to ponder whether their Creator moves around rocks, even the sacred ones of the Kotel, to send them messages. Rather, they should remember that it's that the contemporary wars of the Jews against each other--like the battles that took place inside Jerusalemwhile the Ro- mans besieged the city--that undermine the unity needed to defend the Jewish people against thosewhowould harm them and deny them their ancient home. Instead of using the rock as a weapon in a domestic squabble, this would be an apt moment for all Jews to stop trying to insult each other. And if it's the only way for the message to get through, let's say that God moved that stone in order to send them a reminder to behave them- selves and understand that their enemies make no such distinctions when seeking to spill their blood. Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS Jewish News Syndicate. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans tob in. From page 5A we never knew, and as the only Israeli born child in our family, has a unique respon- sibility to carry with him the obligation to live for them. They could never imagine that 75 years after.their murder, a child with their DNA and name would be thriving in the Judean Mountains. With every soccer ball he blocks at the goal, as he reads from the Torah affirming God's Oneness, as he grows and excels in school, and one day joins the IDF, he will carry forward the responsibil- ity to never forget, and to be part of ensuring that we as a people will never be in the same position that we were generations ago. With God's help and each of my children understand- ing their responsibility, and despite my feeling of a need to protect them, they will be part of building abright future for us and all of Israel. Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the U.S. and immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Or- thodox Jew in Israel. He writes a regular column for Standing With Israel at charismanews. com and other prominent web sites. He can be reached at firstpersonisrael@gmail. com.