Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 26th, 2017

Jewish diaspora angry as Netanyahu scraps Western Wall mixed prayer plan

Decision to abandon landmark deal described as a ‘slap in the face’ and prompts charity to cancel gala event with Israeli PM

A high-profile body that liaises between Israel and the Jewish diaspora has reacted with fury at a decision by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to in effect abandon a plan to allow men and women to pray together at the Western Wall.

The Jewish Agency has cancelled a gala dinner with Netanyahu in Jerusalem and is to discuss the ramifications of the decision at a meeting this week.

The Israeli cabinet decided on Sunday to scrap a compromise agreement made 17 months ago, which was intended to resolve a battle lasting more than a quarter of a century over equal rights for women praying at the Western Wall. (In 1967, both genders prayed together)

Netanyahu came under intense pressure from ultra-Orthodox parties in his coalition government and the religious authorities that manage the site, the holiest place that Jews can pray.

The plan would have created a new area for worship at the Western Wall for men and women to pray together. At present, prayer areas are segregated, with a small stretch of the wall of the ancient temple reserved for women.

The deal, made in January 2016, was welcomed by liberal and reform Jews, and the feminist group Women of the Wall, which has mounted monthly protests at the Old City site since 1989. The gatherings frequently ended in physical tussles and arrests.

Women of the Wall also demanded an end to ultra-Orthodox bans on women praying aloud, reading from the Torah and wearing traditional prayer shawls, known as tallit.

The compromise followed three years of intense negotiations between liberal Israeli and American Jewish groups and the Israeli authorities and was seen as a significant breakthrough in promoting religious pluralism in Israel, where ultra-Orthodox authorities govern almost every facet of Jewish life. (If this lame issue needed such intense negotiation, what the Palestinians should expect from the right parties in Israel?)

But opposition from Israel’s ultra-Orthodox religious establishment has prevented the agreement from being implemented

Speaking after Sunday’s announcement, Moshe Gafni, the leader of the ultra-religious United Torah Judaism party, said: “We are happy about this, and thank the holy one, blessed is he, on this great success.”

But Anat Hoffman, the chairwoman of Women of the Wall, accused Netanyahu of reneging on a “historic” agreement with liberal Jewish denominations.

“This is a bad day for women in Israel,” she wrote on Facebook.

“The Women of the Wall will continue to worship at the women’s section of the Western Wall with the Torah scroll, prayer shawls and phylacteries until equality for women arrives at the wall as well.” (If there is No equality in praying, what kind of liberal and democratic system are we talking about?)

Natan Sharansky, a former government minister and chairman of the Jewish Agency, who helped broker the original deal, said the move was a “deep disappointment”.

The agreement would have established “a dignified space for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall,’’ Sharansky said. “[The] decision signifies a retreat from that agreement and will make our work to bring Israel and the Jewish world closer together increasingly more difficult.”

The Jewish Agency’s board of governors, which is meeting in Jerusalem this week, said: “In light of [Sunday’s] decisions by the government of Israel, the board of governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel will be changing its entire agenda for the remaining two days of its meetings in Jerusalem, in order to address the ramifications of these decisions.

“The scheduled dinner with the participation of the prime minister has been cancelled.”

A ceremony to mark the opening of the board of governors at the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, on Monday was also cancelled

Salai Meridor, a former head of the Jewish Agency and former ambassador to the US, said the decision was “a slap in the face to world Jewry” and the Western Wall “belongs to all Jews”.

The American Jewish Committee said the decision would weaken ties between American Jewry and Israel.

“The Kotel [Western Wall] belongs to all Jews worldwide, not to a self-appointed segment,” said its chief executive, David Harris. “This decision is a setback for Jewish unity and the essential ties that bind Israel and American Jews, the two largest centres of Jewish life in the world.”

The cabinet decision came before a deadline set by Israel’s high court of justice on Sunday for the state to respond to petitions on its failure to implement the agreement.

Thousands of Jews pray every day at the site, the last remnant of the retaining wall of the Temple Mount, pushing scraps of paper bearing handwritten prayers into the cracks between stones.

The wall also attracts thousands of tourists and international dignitaries, with Pope Francis, Donald Trump and Madonna among global figures who have visited.

Ultra-Orthodox rabbis strictly govern Jewish practices in Israel such as weddings, divorces and burials.

The ultra-Orthodox religious establishment sees itself as responsible for maintaining traditions through centuries of persecution and assimilation, and it resists any inroads from liberals it often considers to be second-class Jews who ordain women and gay people and are overly inclusive toward converts and interfaith marriages.

Note 1: Saudi Kingdom cannot appreciate any Israeli policy Not satisfying gender discrimination and contemplate full support to Israel. Kushner demanded this restriction too.

Note 2: Erecting new settlements by American Jews are matters of doing business and illegal tax dodging on lands robbed from Palestinian owners

This is what the Syrian refugees did to our Egyptian economy

Tuesday, the world celebrated the World Refugees Day.
United Nations and its organizations above them UNHCR as well many countries in the world used that day to highlight their efforts to help the refugees around the globe.
The world is facing the worst refugees crfisis problem that it has not seen before since the WWII.
Back in our corner of the world, there has been one hell of silence when it comes to the Arab governments or Arab media.
In a sad irony, the Middle East or rather the Arab world is the Source of more than the half of refugees around the globe now.
Aside from Palestinian refugees who have been in limbo since 1948 and 1967, we have got Syrian refugees, Iraqi refugees, Yemeni refugees, Sudanese refugees and Somali refugees.
The media is busy with Ramadan TV season and at the same time the internal Gulf crisis as far as I could tell.
In Egypt, we got also Ramadan TV season, bad economy and a worse political situation with the ongoing Tiran and Sanafir Islands Saga.Yet I have not forgotten about this important day.It is never too late to post something about the refugees in Egypt or any other place in the world.

Earlier this month, I have read interesting facts that made me love the Syrian refugees in Jobs Make difference report published by UNDP, International Labor Organization “ILO” and World Food Programme “WFP.

For example; the inflow of Syrian direct investments headed to Egypt, Jordan and Turkey as things escalated from revolution to civil war in an easy way.

The report says that Syrian refugees in Egypt injected in those years not less than $800 million.
Yes, $800 million were injected into our economy through Syrian investors and businessmen who moved to Cairo.
The $800 million could have been more if it were not for the restrictions on foreigners to invest in Egypt as they lack to access to credit and banking.
They also must have Egyptian partners.

Two Syrian young men working in ful and falafel restaurant
Two Syrians working in a falafel and beans shop at the Syrian street in October City
in 2016. See more photos here 

I believe the source of those millions is the textile factories. Yes, Syrian textile factories that found a huge demand in Egypt.

In 2016, there have been only 450 Syrian textile factories in Egypt producing fine products carrying the label “Made in Egypt by Syrian hands” and creating job opportunities for both Syrians and Egyptians.

The success of that sector in our country made the ministry of the industry think of making a Syrian industrial zone in Egypt in 2017

Both Pre-existing Syrian community in Egypt and the Syrian business association in Cairo played a huge role in giving support to other Syrians fleeing the countries with their money.

Greek refugees in Syria in 1942
ِAn old Palestinian magazine from 1942
on its cover, a Syrian lady giving clothes
to Greek refugees from kids in Syria

In other words, the Syrian refugees contributed positively to our Egyptian GDP and our Egyptian economy in very difficult and hard times.

Both the Egyptian and Turkish markets have been open to Syrian businessmen and investors who hired nationals as well Syrians than other countries in the Middle East region.

The report says Egypt and Turkey allow Syrians to provide services to other Syrians like teachers and doctors.

The Egyptian government allowed 2,000 Syrian teachers to work in Syrian community schools in Cairo, Giza and Ismailia governorates.

I must add that in Egypt, Syrian doctors also provide services to Egyptians as well especially dentists in October City and New Cairo suburbs.

According to UNHCR in April, there are 122,228 Syrian registered in Egypt officially with the UN refugees organization.

According to Egyptian official estimations backed by NGOs and activists, there are not less than half million Syrians staying currently in Egypt aside from the refugees who consider the country as a transit station to Europe.

Here is a graph showing the number of Syrian refugees registered with the UNHCR as well the total number of refugees in Egypt since 2011. You will notice that there was a huge jump from 2011 to 2012.

FYI, the total number of registered refugees in UNHCR in Egypt in 2016 was 263,426 people.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the Egyptian government claimed that the number of refugees in Egypt reaches to 5 million.

The report also says that the unemployment rate among the Syrian Refugees community in Egypt reached 20% compared to 13% of Egyptians.

Now to the alarming facts.

54% of the Syrian Refugees community in Egypt lives under the poverty line whereas 26% of the Egyptian population lives under the poverty line.
The labor force participation rate in Egypt was not available. I think this goes to the fact that many hire Syrians in an informal way to avoid work licenses ..etc.
The unemployment rate among Syrian refugees reached 25% according to the report estimations.

By the way according to the UNHCR report on Funding issued earlier June, the current funding gap for the Syrian crisis response for 2017 is $1 Billion only.
I think both Saudi Arabia and UAE as well Qatar can pay this sum very easily instead of all those fancy weapons they buy. In fact, they can support the refugees and improve their lives and buy crazy weapons.
Heavens forbid I ask them to help in stopping the wars they are part of it directly and indirectly.
I won’t even speak about the League of Arab States because it is a dead organization, only used by Egypt or Saudi Arabia now when it is needed.

Anyhow, all I want to say to the right wing all over the world especially in Europe and North America that the Syrian refugees won’t steal your jobs as they will create their own jobs if you allow them.

Eid al-Fitr: Muslims around world celebrate end of Ramadan fast

Eid al-Fitr celebrates the end of the holy month of fasting

This weekend, Muslims all over the globe begin celebrations for Eid al-Fitr, to mark the end of Ramadan.

The name translates as “the festival of breaking the fast” as during the month of Ramadan, Muslims perform one of the five pillars of Islam: the fast.

Food, water and sexual activity are all banned until after sunset.

eidegypt.jpg

Egyptian Muslim men and women are separated from each other as they gather for a prayer in the village of Dalgamon, Tanta, some 120 kilometres north of Cairo, Egypt (EPA / Khaled Elfiqi)

Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is believed that the Quran’s first verse was revealed during the last 10 nights of this month.

The exact date of Eid depends on the lunar cycle, and it is traditionally celebrated for three days – although from country to country, the festival can last anywhere from one to four days.

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Muslims offer prayers outside the Grande Mosquee de Paris (Great Mosque of Paris) (AFP / Zakaria Abdelkafi)

Muslims in the UK generally celebrate Eid for a single day.

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Saudis and foreigners perform prayer at the al-Masmak grand mosque of Prince Turki bin Abdulla palace in Riyadh (EPA / STR)

It’s not to be confused with Eid al-Adha, the “sacrifice feast” – so-called to honour Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Ishmael – which takes place two months later and coincides with the annual Mecca pilgrimage.

eidsyria.jpg

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (3rd R) attends prayers on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, inside a mosque in Hama (SANA Handout via Reuters)

To commemorate Eid, prayers are offered in the morning at the mosque, with readings from the Quran.

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Pakistani residents offer Eid al-Fitr prayers on the outskirts of Peshawar (AFP/Getty Images)

Celebrations then take place with friends and family, as well as among the whole community.

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Bangladeshi Muslims travel home for celebrations on a crowded ferry in Dhaka (Rex Features / Sony Ramany)

Children often receive new clothes and their first pocket money, and parents exchange gifts and pastries.

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Afghan children ride swings during celebrations in Herat (EPA / Jalil Rezayee)

 

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In Albanian capital Tirana, prayers take place on recently renovated Skanderbeg Square (AP / Hektor Pustina)

 

eidegypt2.jpg

Egyptians try to catch balloons released after prayers, in a public park outside Cairo’s El-Seddik Mosque (Reuters / Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

This year marks the first time since 1996 that the White House will not host a celebratory iftar dinner to commemorate Eid.

First held in the White House in 1805, Hillary Clinton made the ritual an annual tradition in 1996 after learning more about it from her daughter Chelsea.

eidafghanistan.jpg

An Afghan woman and her son beg at a Kabul mosque on the first day of Eid (Reuters / Omar Sobhani)

The White House issued a statement on Saturday evening: “Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity. Now, as they commemorate Eid with family and friends, they carry on the tradition of helping neighbours and breaking bread with people from all walks of life. During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion and goodwill. With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honour these values.”

The statement ends with the traditional greeting: Eid Mubarak (blessed Eid).


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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