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August 15, 2014

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PAGE 16A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 15, 2014 After fifth attack at home, a Dutch chief rabbi says he'd leave if not for job Cnaan Liphshiz Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs and his wife, Biuma, by the glass window of their home damaged in an attack on July 17, 2014. By Cnaan Liphshiz AMERSFOORT, The Neth- erlands (JTA)--After the latest attack on his home, Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs sat down on his couch, picked up the phone and made three calls. A chief rabbi of the Neth- erlands, Jacobs first phoned police and a Jewish com- munity leader to tell them that late on the night of July 17, just over aweek after the onset of the latest round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, four bricks were hurled through a window of his home. Itwas the fifth time in recent years Dr. Frank D. Curcio for SCPS Board DI" Opening Day of School Sunday, August 17 Kindergarten through 7th Grade Rabbi Joshua Neely Principal 9:00 am Registration / Bagel Schmooze / Medical Form Pictures - Roth Social Hall 9:30 am Opening Assembly - Rein Sanctuaw 10:00 am Parent Meeting - Rein Sanctuaw Reach Out to Temple Israel's Meitin Religious School that Jacobs' residence had been attacked. Then Jacobs called his friend Roger van Oordt, director of the Netherlands- based Christians for Is- rael organization. Within an hour, van Oordt, his wife and two of their children were at the rabbi's door, with its prominent mezuzah and He- brew sign bearing the name of the Chabad Hasidic sect to which Jacobs belongs. "They didn't allow Bluma, my wife, and me to touch anything, they cleaned up all the mess," Jacobs told JTA in an interview at his home 25 miles southeast of Amsterdam. "The attacks do not inspire much hope. The response by Christians, Mus- lims and other friends do." To Jacobs, a 65-year-old rabbi who has worked in- tensively to build bridges between non-Jews and Hol- land's Jewish community of 40,000, the latest attack sharpens the dilemma facing Dutch Jews. A perceived rise in anti-Se- mitic incidents this summer has led many Dutch Jews to consider leaving the country, according to Jacobs. Yet the country's reputation as a lib- eral bastion has not entirely dimmed their hopes that the situation can be reversed. After the latest attack, Jacobs shocked many Dutch- men when he told local media that if not for his obligations to the commu- nities he serves, he would leave, in part because of the anti-Semitism problem. His statement grabbed headlines and generated a passionate response from other reli- gious leaders. "No onewill tell uswhen to leave Holland," Jacobs said. "I'm staying here because it's my shlichut, or mission. But would we stay here if we were private people? I don't think so." PJ Librawfi'! Community Stow Time In our newly renovated Savage Family Chapel Sunday, September 7 - 10 am to 12 pm Children with an adult - Older siblings are welcome - Free without reservation Reading of Today is the Birthday of the World Hear the shofar blow, make an apple print & snack on apples & honey Building Community Since 1954 50 South Moss Road -Winter Springs, FL.32708 407-647-3055 Anti-Semitism is only part of the problem, Jacobs says. Along with intermittent threats and violence, much of it sparked by events in the Middle East, he cites the 2011 passage of a law that effectively banned kosher slaughter--a measure later reversed by the Dutch Senate. "And then there's as- similation in a liberal society where many people have anti-religious sentiments," Jacobs said. "It all comes as part of a package." Immigration from the Netherlands to Israel has remained relatively stable over the past decade, with an average 63 new arrivals in the Jewish state each year. Still, the growth in anti-Semitism has created significant unease for Jacobs and his family, who now have six police cameras installed outside their home. In 2010, a stone was hurled at his front window, missing him by a few inches. Jacobs says he tries not to walk near schools in his middle-class neighborhood and else- where in Holland because he doesn't want to be cursed at by children. "It's a very uneasy feel- ing when someone attacks your home like that," said Bluma Jacobs, the rabbi's British-born wife. "When I come to the door at night, I switch on the light of my cellphone so people think I may be filming." Six of the Jacobs' eight children live outside the Netherlands. Jacobs was born in raised there and is the country's senior Chabad emissary. He also serves as president of the Rabbinical Council of Holland. In 2012 he became an officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau, a civic honor similar to British knighthood, for his inter- faith efforts, among other activities. His comments about leav- ing the country prompted a passionate response from the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, the coun- try's second largest church. On July 28, the church's secretary, Arjan Plaisier, published an open letter in which he vowed to oppose anti-Semitism with other church leaders. Plaisier concluded with a plea: "Chief Rabbi Jacobs, please stay in the Nether- lands." His sentiments were Gazans point finger at Hamas By Joshua Levitt (The Algemeiner)--A sur- prising televised report from Gaza showed residents last week busily going about their lives, shopping in a bustling andweil-stocked marketplace, despite the nearly month-long conflict between Israel and Gaza's rulers Hamas. The report featured voices seldom heard, including Gazans with harsh words for the Hamas government, and a yearning for peace with Israel. The Christian Broadcasting Network said the surprising attitudes reflected a poll taken days before the conflict began that found 70 percent of Gazans supported better rela- tions with the Jewish state. George Thomas, senior Ccorrespondent for CBN, interviewed several Gazans in the marketplace, including the local pita bread baker, and women at a community center. Raghda Hejazi, a mother of five, said, "We need peace with the Jewish people, good relations, not war. "Hamas needs to find a way to solve these differences with Israel, America and Arab countries," she said. Salim Hejazi said, "My message to the Israelis and Palestinians is find a way to solve the issues so we can live an honorable life, a good life." She said, "We need to be united and have peace." Most surprisingly, after reports of intimidation by Hamas and the execution of dozens accused of collaborat- ing with Israel, CBN spoke to Faiza Ahmed Za'aneen, a woman whose family was reported to have ties to the regime, who openly criticized the government on camera. "The government in Gaza doesn't do anything," she said. "Even on the radio, they don't talk about how we are suffer- ing," referring to the local propaganda that only paints Israel as suffering casualties. "May Allah curse them!" echoed by several other religious leaders, includ- ing leaders of the national Catholic Church and several imams who know Jacobs from his outreach efforts to non-Jews. Last Hanukkah, Jacobs climbed into a crane to light a giant menorah built by Christians for Israel, an international network of Christian Zionists. Also last year, Jacobs spoke to 150 youths from Arnhem, a city in eastern Holland where some Muslim youths expressedvirulent anti-Sem- itism in interviews with a university researcher. Many Dutchmen were shocked by the expressions, which included one youth saying he was "happy about what Hitler did to the Jews." Esther Voet, director of CIDI, the Dutch watchdog on anti-Semitism, says she is confident of Dutch Jewry's ability to weather the storm. Dutch authorities are taking the issue seriously, she says, as are other civic groups. But Voet acknowledges that Jacobs encounters a different reality. "I'm not recognizably Jewish and I live in the Jordaan," she said, referring to her central Amsterdam neighborhood. "But Rabbi Jacobs, in his travels across the country and in his own neighborhood, faces a differ- ent set of problems."