Although there has been unfortunately no shortage of bad news, I decided that since I missed the last Good News Friday installment, I’d at least start the week with a dose of good news before the nasty stuff takes over.
Firstly, my father-in-law is thank G-d making good progress and I thank all of you for your kind comments, thoughts and prayers.
Some great news from the end of the week: Naor Shalev, the 13 year old boy who was so critically injured when a teenage terrorist stabbed him, celebrated his Barmitzvah at the Kotel on Thursday:
A 13-year-old Jerusalem boy, who was rushed to hospital two months ago with life-threatening injuries from a terror attack by two Palestinian teenagers, recovered to celebrate his bar mitzvah Thursday at the Western Wall.
Naor Shalev Ben-Ezra was riding his bike in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood on October 12 when he was stabbed by 13-year-old Ahmed Manasra and his cousin Hassan, 15.
<…> Ben-Ezra was accompanied during the festive celebration Thursday by dozens of family and friends, as well as Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Meir Turgeman, and a horde of media reporters. Also there was David Dalfon, a Magen David Adom paramedic who was the first medical responder at the scene of the terror attack, and was credited with playing a key role in saving the boy’s life.
Speaking to Channel 2 television, Ben-Ezra told of his bar mitzvah, as well as the benefits and downside of his recent celebrity status.
“It was a lot of fun, the whole family was together, everyone was dancing,” he said. “It is nice when there are a lot of photographs taken of you, and you are in the news, and all of the Jewish people see you. But it is not so nice when people ask you about the terror attack you were in. It is not nice to recall some sad when you are having fun.”
There are more great pictures at Arutz Sheva.
This is such wonderful news. Mazal tov to Naor and his family on this wonderful simcha, which is doubly enjoyable since it also marks his miraculous escape from a terrible injury. May Naor continue to celebrate life in good health until 120!
Back to the distant past once again, another archaeological discovery, a 1,500 year old Hebrew inscription on a slab of marble found on the eastern shores of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), confirms that the area was the site of Jewish or Jewish-Christian settlement 1,500 years ago:
An inscription in Hebrew letters engraved on a large, 1,500-year-old marble slab, first of its kind to be found in Israel, was excavated in the Kursi Beach National Park on the east coast of the Sea of Galilee. The inscription confirms for the first time that the ancient settlement in the area was Jewish or Jewish-Christian. The common assumption has been for years that this was the location of the settlement of Kursi or “Land of the Gergesenes,” which is mentioned in Matthew 8:28. Now, that assumption has received significant support.
Prof. Michal Artzi of the Institute for Maritime Studies at Haifa University said that “this first evidence of the existence of a Jewish settlement strengthens the theory, which until now was considered folklore, that the settlement is Kursi.” Artzi is the director of the excavation, along with Dr. Haim Cohen, in collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
The existence of an ancient settlement at the site, on the northeastern coast of the Sea of Galilee, was already known in the 1960s, when the remains of a large pier were discovered below sea level. Later, a short distance away, the remains of a city were found, whose main characteristics made it appear like a Byzantine Christian site. The entire complex became a national park in 1980, and was given the name Kursi, after a nearby Syrian village. The sharp drop in the water level of the Sea of Galilee allowed researchers to return to the location of the breakwater, and after intensive work they realized that the ancient harbor is much bigger than they had thought, and may even be a separate settlement. They were surprised to find there a 59.05 by 27.6 inches marble tablet, with an Aramaic inscription in Hebrew letters. Two of the words on the tablet are “Aman” and “Marmaria.”
Apparently the Hebrew inscription was probably engraved in 500 CE, and according to the researchers, there was a Jewish settlement there which evolved into a mixed town. “The existence of a Jewish settlement on the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee is a very rare thing. Until now we had no proof that Jewish settlements, which have disappeared over the years, actually existed during that period on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, except for the town of Migdal,” said Prof. Artzi.
No doubt some Israel-haters will latch on to the word “settlement” and accuse the Jews of a 1,500 year old “occupation”. But let us enjoy this amazing discovery and take satisfaction that our Biblical sources are not just the stuff of legend but are the history book of our nation.
And to conclude this post, although this news is a week old, it is still worth mentioning: Last Sunday, to counter the growing BDS phenomenon, the Sussex Friends of Israel , North West Friends of Israel and other pro-Israel activists around the world embarked on an “IsrAction Day“, in which supporters would “buycott” Israeli goods, buying them and then donating them to charity:
Pro-Israel grassroots groups plan to combat the boycott and help the homeless with the second installment of a popular campaign.
IsrAction Day on December 13 will encourage members of the community to buy Israeli products and donate them to homeless charities.
The Board of Deputies, Zionist Federation and Jewish Leadership Council will join the event’s founders, Sussex Friends of Israel and North West Friends of Israel, as well as the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, to promote activities across Britain.
IsrAction Day attracted the support of more than 1,000 participants last year, with donations feeding hundreds of homeless people.
SFI’s Simon Cobbs said the group now wanted to make the event an international success.
“We’re hoping to get four or five other countries on board, and build from there to make it a worldwide event. It’s certainly building momentum.”
Mr Cobbs insisted that despite receiving criticism for the campaign last year, IsrAction Day was a force for good which “made a huge difference”.
“We’re trying to do something that doesn’t involve hate, that is very positive in every aspect. It’s important that by the simple act of tikkun olam (healing the world) we show what we believe Israel stands for.
[…] JLC chief executive Simon Johnson said: “It’s a great win-win: it counters the boycotters, it helps those in need, and it allows grassroots groups and the establishment to come together in something that is simple, visible and impactful.”
I can’t for the life of me imagine why on earth the campaign received criticism last year. The idea is ingenious, elegant, and as Mr. Johnson said, a win-win situation.
So how did the project work out this year? Excellently judging from these posts:
From South Africa:
A hearty Yasher Koach to SFI, NWFOI and to all the activists around the world who took part, bought, donated and supported this wonderful project. Kol hakavod to you all! I can’t wait to see what else you have up your sleeve!
With these happy thoughts, I wish you all shavua tov