25 Tevet, 5763
Weekly Jewish Solidarity Update
(For the week of 19 - 26 December 2002)
MANIFESTATIONS OF SOLIDARITY
· The President of Israel, Moshe Katsav, visited Germany on December 8. During his trip he participated in the dedication of a new synagogue in the city of Wuppertal, together with the heads of the Jewish community as well as with German President Johannes Rau. President Katsav stressed the importance of Jewish immigrants to Germany enhancing their connection to Judaism, the Jewish People, and the State of Israel. During a visit to Italy, President Katsav took part in a ceremony at Rome's Great Synagogue, in which 2000 members of the Jewish community participated. The President met with the Pope at the Vatican and requested that a catalogue be compiled that lists all Judaica items and documents in the Vatican's possession – its library, museum, etc.
· The United Jewish Communities (UJC) of North America has committed to transfer $18 million to Israel for special needs through its Israel Emergency Campaign. The assistance is being given through the Jewish Agency's Fund for Victims of Terror. In the nine months of existence, the Fund has distributed $229 million. In coordination and consultation with the government and the Home Front command, it was decided to use the money to purchase emergency rescue vehicles, fire trucks, protective suits for rescue workers, emergency equipment, lighting systems, and security devices for fences.
· Some 2000 participants from throughout Great Britain took part in the Limud learning conference, which was held in Nottingham from December 22 to 26. Representatives of the "Confrontation Line" area in the Western Galilee, which is linked to Great Britain in the Partnership 2000 program, also participated in the gathering. The conference was designed to strengthen Jewish identity and to demonstrate solidarity with Israel.
· A solidarity fact-finding mission of 9 journalists from Jewish media of the United States, France, Argentina, and Australia were in Israel for a seven-day visit. They visited Jewish Agency absorption centers and “Partnership 2000” regions, and met with new immigrants as well as with Jewish Agency Chairman, Sallai Meridor, Treasurer, Shai Hermesh, and with Government officials. Prior to their visit in Israel, the delegation had toured Jewish Agency facilities and viewed Agency operations in Kiev.
· Students from all over the world continue to show interest in coming to volunteer in Israel. To date, the Jewish Agency has received 3,500 inquiries; of these, 1,200 volunteers have already come to Israel to serve. Twenty volunteers from abroad are currently participating in a Magen David Adom First Responders Course for Foreign Volunteers. Upon completion of the course graduates will serve on ambulances and MDA stations throughout Israel.
SELECTED ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS
· December 7, 2002. Warsaw, Poland. The regional prosecutor's office has begun to investigate the activities of a bookstore that sells anti-Semitic literature.
· December 10, 2002. Richmond, Canada. An anonymous phone call to a Jewish school in the city warned of a bomb hidden in the school. The school was evacuated, but nothing was found.
Anti-Semitic incidents may be monitored on the joint Jewish Agency-Government of Israel site www.antisemitism.org.il.For additional information contact
the Office of the Spokesman:
Liaison to Foreign Press and Media
Jewish Agency for Israel