Despite it all, the terrorism and hatred and simmering violence that we have seen in the last weeks, we are now approaching Sukkot, the happiest of our festivals. But first we have Shabbat in between, so I bring you this week’s Good News Friday installment.
I will start first with some astonishing speeches by Arab human rights activists. These activists are extremely brave, as they talk about and work for human rights for everyone, not just for Palestinians. And they call out the Palestinian leadership for their human rights abuses of their own people rather than blaming Israel for their miserbale plight.
Watch the amazing Mudar Zahran as he addresses the European Parliament earlier this month:
And here is the equally courageous and outspoken Bassam Eid at the same meeting:
Similarly,here is Mark Halawa, an UNRWA-registered Palestinian refugee, calling out they myth of Palestinian refugees for what it is – a myth:
On the same subject, here is American pro-Israel activist Dumisani Washington talking about the myth of Palestinian refugees:
These courageous speakers give us hope that if the myths can be successfully debunked there is hope for peace in the future.
Since we’re on the subject of strengthening Israel, we can all find enormous inspiration from the fantastic family of Ari Fuld Hy’d who was murdered last week. See how they marked the end of the shiva:
Here are Ari’s brother Hillel’s words:
This morning, the extended family met at Ari’s grave to talk, pray, remember.
After that, we thought, “So what would Ari do now?”
The answer was pretty clear. He would have gone back to the very location where the murder took place, and he would have made his presence felt there. He would have proven to the world that we are still here and we are not going anywhere ever.
And so we did.
With the wall, the glass that was shattered from his fall, and the whole scene.
After that, we all agreed that Ari would not have hesitated and would have suggested, no, demanded, that we go eat.
And so, the entire Fuld and Loecher families hit up Greg Cafe in the Gush, a few meters away from where my brother became a national hero.
He left us with legacy that can be summed up in three simple words “We. Choose. Life!”
The Fuld family’s strength in their hour of sorrow is inspirational, an example to us all. May Hashem grant them the strength to continue thus with their lives and to carry on with Ari’s legacy.
Israel’s defence and security is provided by the IDF. This week I am proud to say my nephew Chanan was sworn in together with his comrades as a full IDF soldier, in a very moving ceremony in Latrun. Watch the soldiers as they swear to protect the country, and the military Rabbi blesses the soldiers with the Birkat Cohanim (the Priestly Blessing):
This is such an Only in Israel moment, when the religious and the military meet, and even the non-religious soldiers are happy to be blessed and the religious soldiers are happy to celebrate their new task.
May Hashem watch over all the soldiers, keep them safe and bring them home safely.
And now, one final video before Shabbat. We all know that on Yom Kippur the country comes to a standstill, but we’ve never actually seen it in action (or rather, non-action), since the streets are empty.
But here we have drone footage of the streets of Tel Aviv, normally a vital, bustling 21st Century city full of vibes and excitement, in its eerie, serene silence on Yom Kippur, and it is a wonder to behold:
With all these inspirational thoughts, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom, a Shabbat of peace and safety.