We are still in celebratory mood after the festivities of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, so this Good News Friday installment will reflect that as well as the historic visit of President Donald Trump to Israel which occurred just before the celebrations began.
Let’s work chronologically, with Donald Trump’s visit. It was a great success both for Trump and for Israel. Despite the diplomatic hiccups prior to the trip, it all went off without a hitch, and without any mis-step from either side.
Here is Trump’s video with highlights of his trip:
Israelis particularly appreciated Trump’s blunt talking with both the Saudis and the Palestinians about the impossibility of bringing closer any prospects of peace while they promote terror. Trump did not mince his words when he met with Palestinian President-for-Life Mahmoud Abbas:
President Trump rebuked PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority at their joint statement in Bethlehem on Tuesday morning.
During his talk, Abbas talked about easing the conditions for the PA’s terrorists being held in Israeli jails, some of whom are currently holding hunger strikes so they can get more cable TV channels and earn college degrees. Many of these jailed terrorists are mass murderers.
Abbas repeatedly called for a 2-state solution.
President Trump began his speech sending his condolences to the people of Manchester following the horrific terror attack last night.
Using strong language, Trump repeatedly called the Manchester perpetrators “evil losers”. He said they aren’t even monsters, which they want to be called, just “losers.”
Trump said the terrorists must be driven out from our society and their ideology obliterated.
Trump expressed his commitment and desire to reach a peace agreement, at which point he clearly rebuked Abbas and the PA.
The President said that “Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded,” in an undisguised criticism of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas.
It is estimated that the PA pays out hundreds of millions of dollars every year to terrorists.
The payout program works on a sliding scale. The more Jews the terrorists killed, the more money the terrorists and their families receive from the PA.
Kol hakavod to Mr. Trump on his outspokenness. We have been waiting for someone to tell that to the Palestinians for years! Now we just have to see if the Americans follow through and if the Palestinians take the slightest hint.
Going back to the Yom Yerushalayim celebrations, here is the incredible Shacharit (morning services) yesterday at the Kotel attended by tens of thousands of worshippers:
Later in the day there was the traditional flag march – Rikud Degalim – in which tens of thousands of Israeli youth march down teh center of Jerusalem and into the Old City, where they dance in front of the Kotel. Reports are that thsi was the biggest march in its history, with some 75,000 youngsters participating! (Including my own granddaughter!). Just look at the following photos and clips:
Here is the dancing in the jam-packed plaza in front of the Kotel:
My hometown of Petach Tikva did not miss out on the celebrations either. Here is a parade of all the schoolchildren of my neighbourhood, marching in the streets with balloons and flags:
It was not only Jerusalem of course that was liberated. Hebron too, one of the Jewish people’s holiest cities, also marked its 50th anniversary of liberation:
The Jewish community of Hevron on Thursday celebrated 50 years since the city’s liberation of Hevron with a star-studded gala event at the Tomb of the Biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
Thousands of Israelis joined celebrity performers Rami Kleinstein and Amir Benayoun for a ceremony, concert, and state-of-the-art light show on the walls of Cave of Machpelah (Cave of the Patriarchs) in the holy city.
Guests joining Thursday’s event include Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), and other ministers and Knesset members.
Hevron was liberated the day after Jerusalem, and joins Jerusalem and the communities of Judea, Samaria, and the Golan in celebrating 50 years since their liberation in the 1967 Six Day War.
Rabbi Shlomo Goren, then-Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces and later Chief Rabbi of Israel, wrote in his autobiography that one day after the dramatic liberation of Jerusalem, he decided to venture to Hevron.
Thinking he was going to catch up with the IDF, he and an army driver arrived alone in a jeep to discover the city streets empty. White flags hung from balconies as the population anticipated a fierce conquest and revenge for the Hevron massacre of 1929.
In honor of the event, The Hebron Fund has also issued special commemorative coins for the event.
The 50th anniversary Hebron Citizen Medallion depicts Rabbi Shlomo Goren superimposed over an Israeli flag, above an image of the Cave of Machpelah. The back of the coin features the number 50 with the logo of the Jewish Community of Hevron.
Thousands flocked to Hevron for the commemoration ceremony and concert honoring veterans of the Six Day War and the pioneers who braved the return to Hevron to reestablish the ancient Jewish presence there.
“50 years ago this week the Cave of Machpelah was in territory ruled by Jordan,” Hebron Fund Executive Director Rabbi Dan Rosenstein said. “Before that Jews were officially barred from entering the Machpelah for 700 years starting in 1267 with the Mamelukes.”
“It’s awe inspiring to see Jewish life flourish again in Hevron, to return to Jewish children to the fathers and mothers, and to be a part of Hevron Day celebrations today.”
These inspiring events are a natural lead-in to the upcoming festival of Shavuot next week. Today is Rosh Chodesh Sivan, another festive day in the Jewish calendar.
So I will wish you all Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh tov!