Global Forum For Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem: Inside and Outside

Global Forum For Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem: Inside and Outside

Antisemitism is not a thing of the past.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, here in Jerusalem,  said “I would really like to make it clear that the struggle against racism and anti-Semitism is important to me.”

Also this week French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian while in Jerusalem said, “There is a friendship between France and Israel that is deep and enduring, and expresses itself in many, many ways. I wish to send through you my best regards to President Macron.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Affairs hosted The 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem, Israel, from March 19-21.

Global Forum against antisemitism in Jerusalem opening plenary

Together we can fight online hate speech was the opening plenary of the first day. The night before a large gathering listened to US Ambassador David Friedman.

Man from Australia wearing kippa with Aboriginal designs

People came from around the world, with 87 countries represented. This friend as you might guess came from Australia, but I also met a man from Trinidad, and several people from South African countries.

Global Forum Justice Ministers Israel, Germany, Greece and Italy

Ministers of Justice from Germany, Greece, and Italy joined Israel Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked in signing a joint statement confronting online hate.

Facebook regional director of policy at Global Forum in Jerusalem, Israel

Delphine Reyre, Facebook regional director of policy in southern Europe, told of Facebook efforts to curb terror sites.

This week it was reported that Facebook closed down a Hamas page.

However, Twitter has not closed even one hate site.

Former Prime Minister of France Manuel Valls speaking at Global Forum in Jerusalem Israel for Combating Antisemitism

Near the end of the Global Forum, the former Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, speaking in French, received applause for stating anti-Zionism is antisemitism.

Bulgarians with Presidential visit to Jerusalem Israel

The Israeli Foreign Ministry spent plenty of shekels on this event. Here the delegation with the President of Bulgaria arrived and waited politely to be seated at lunch.

Abe Foxman introducing President of Bulgaria at Global Forum in Jerusalem Israel

Abe Foxman was given the honor of introducing Bulgarian President Rumen Radev.

Radev remarks were in English. Not only is his English excellent, he showed amazing patience while being stopped for selfies during his visit.

Bulgarian Ambassador, President Rumen Radev, and Ron Yaakoby

Here Radev (center) posed with the Bulgarian Ambassador to Israel on the left and Ran Yaakoby,  Chairman of the Global Forum (right) of MFA.

Dessert tray at Global Forum in Jerusalem Israel

With lavish food and desserts, oh how very sweet the Global Forum was. Facebook photos HERE

But will it make a global difference to curb antisemitism?

Celebrity guests like Mayim Bialik got media coverage. Anti-Zionism, manifested in Israel Apartheid Week, has spread to India for the first time this year.

Meanwhile, for most locals what was happening to the streets was of more immediate concern.

Jerusalem new center under construction

Outside the International Convention Center where the Global Forum was held the streets change daily due to construction.

New roads in Jerusalem, Israel

This road expansion was open after weeks, or months, of work.

Jerusalem street construction fixing crossings.

I had to wait to cross until this small earth mover moved out of my way.

Jerusalem Israel new housing near future fast train to Tel Aviv

This is one of the new neighborhoods near those streets reaching completion.

Bridge for Tel Aviv to Jerusalem fast train outside of Jerusalem as seen from highway

The fast train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv will not open this month.

Train station in Jerusalem for fast train to Tell Aviv

But when it does, those apartment dwellers are near the fast train station, and can be in Tel Aviv in half an hour.

Coming soon Gan Sacher

Coming soon?

Whatever they are doing in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, is to be completed soon.

Gan Sacher trees in bloom on spring day with blue sky

Meanwhile, as I walked along Gan Sacher on my way home from the Global Forum, I saw something which all can appreciate now.

With spring weather and trees in bloom, we can appreciate what we have today and hope for a better future.

Spring is in the air. This year all Easter celebrations coincide with Passover, so tens of thousands of visitors are arriving daily.

Street sign Happy spring holiday

Happy Holiday of Spring in Jerusalem.

חג שמח

Chag Sameach.

 

New Signs of Spring in Israel

New Signs of Spring in Israel

Pesach, Passover,  the holiday of Freedom and the holiday of Spring,

begins two weeks into the Hebrew month of Nisan.

Spring flowers in Jerusalem, Israel in Beit Hanasi garden

In Israel, spring is a time of green and of spring blooms of all colors popping up in the warm sun after the winter rain.

Clouds in sky, power lines and green along road in southern Israel

On a recent trip south toward the Negev, clouds billowed over the power lines.

Negev green after winter rain as seen from highway

All along the highway, green was the predominate color.

Fields of green vegetables are ready to pick for the holiday tables.

Hasslat Gush Katif vegetable packing plant in southern Israel

Our trip was to see a new vegetable packing plant in the Negev called חסלט Hasalat.

The facility was impressive on many levels.

Trucks unloading vegetables at packing plant in southern Israel

The size and capacity are impressive. Those openings are for two large trucks filled with produce to be delivered.

Vegetables marked with red stickers were rejected by packing plant for kosher customers

Not all produce is accepted, and these crates with red stickers contained rejected produce.

Gush Katif packing plant water being checked for insects

Samples of deliveries are washed and rinsed and checked in the lab, through a series of fine filters.

Man inspects for tiny bugs in vegetables in southern Israel packing plant

The specially trained inspectors are looking for insects less than a millimeter in size.

Man uses magnifying glass to examine small bug found in vegetable rinse water in packing plant in southern Israel

They know how to tell tiny insects that are not easily washed away from those that are.

Packing Gush Katif vegetables in southern Israel

Once the produce has been checked and declared clean, it then to goes to the packers, who have to dress warmly, as the rooms are kept cool.

People inspecting cabbage in packing plant Israel Gush Katif

The cabbage checkers check and recheck for insects, before the cabbages are sent along to be put in plastic bags.

Work room in Hasslat packing plant for Gush Katif vegetables

This is a large plant, with multiple rooms that process a variety of vegetables.

With Passover approaching, the demand for romaine lettuce will surge.

Ready-cut carrots, parsley and cabbage for salads will also be in great demand.

Israel green from winter rain people working in fields

Along the road agricultural workers were working in the green fields.

Bomb shelter on farmers for safety from Gaza missiles in southern Israel

These bomb shelters for farmers were built for protection as the rockets rained in from Gaza.

Now they are being used for storage, but if an alarm sounds, in the Negev there is no time to head home. Some workers have less than fifteen seconds to run to shelter.

After 12 years, Gush Katif produce, though no longer from Gush Katif, stands for quality and bug-free vegetables with low pesticide use, and some are grown organically.

Cabbage growing in hot house in southern Israel

Farmers are growing in special green houses in the Negev, sending their produce to be packed at Hasalat and then sent to stores in Israel and around the world.

Not all the farmers who left Gush Katif have permanent homes yet, so many years after they were expelled.

Kfar Darom building sites ready, but still no homes built

These are the housing plots for the new Shavei Darom community.

Gush Katif Kfar Darom playground built though no homes yet

The JNF playground is built and ready, but there are no children yet to play there.

Kfar Darom mikvah built before any homes Gush Katif

The community mikvah is state-of the-art with access for those with disabilities.

Land for homes Kfar Darom Gush Katif to rebuild

The Shavei Darom infrastructure is ready, but there are no homes built yet.

12 years after the destruction of Gush Katif, those expelled are still living in temporary residences.

Southern Israel bomb shelter next to bus stop

Bomb shelters next to bus stops are real and ready.

Cabbage in hothouse in Southern Israel for Gush Katif vegetable

But it was good to see that greener days are ahead for some of the former residents of Gush Katif.

It’s also good to see the new signs over the Jerusalem streets for Passover.

Street sign Happy spring holiday

 Chag Aviv Sameach Be Yerushaliyim

Happy Holiday of Spring in Jerusalem.