October 12, 2023
Over 200 people last night contributed over $800,000 in solidarity with Israel. We heard from the Consul General of Israel, Israel Bachar, Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Noah Farkas, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Mr. Sam Yebri, Esq. the eloquent leader in our community, as well as Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh, the Iranian Rabbi, whose parents told her that she should focus her Rabbinate on Israel. Two of the speeches are printed below. You will also find some photos below.
My comment to the community was that we need to see ourselves as Israelis tonight and to see ourselves as the two and half tribes who chose to stay outside Israel boundaries envisioned by Moses. Moses agreed with the proviso that they first had to go fight for the Land of Israel and then return. I reminded the audience that we are now the two and a half tribes who live outside Israel and have the duty to defend her.
We will no doubt have to raise money in the future to support the anticipated prolonged war to eradicate the terrorists from anywhere near Israel. If you would like to contribute, please use the donate button below and add a note “For Israel”. All the money will be dedicated to Israel.
A distribution committee will divide up the funds to organizations that support victims of terror.
As promised, we are rolling out our new website. You should have access to our programming and all past newsletters. The website is: http://www.iajf.org.
M. Elie Alyeshmerni
The God of Creation and the Land of Israel: Bereishit
خدای آفرینش و سرزمین ایسرائل
The trajectory of the Torah begins from disorder and distrust, but concludes with an orderly society in the Promised Land based on laws, commandments and teachings of a unified leadership. At the start of Bereishit, we see humankind’s first struggle was the struggle of accountability; failing to take responsibility of our actions. The early chapters of Genesis focused on two stories of Adam and Eve, where the two lie and blame others for the results of their choices. The second is of their children, Cain and Able, where Cain refuses to take moral responsibility for the well-being of others. These two stories are an account of humankind’s tendency to deny their mistakes and imperfections – and it is compassionate and wise leadership that we later discover is the answer.
Rabbi Marvin Hier
Founder, CEO and President – Simon Wiesenthal Center
What Hamas and Iran are doing to the world now is a repeat performance of the great tragedy that the world experienced during the Hitler era. On March 7, 1936, Adolf Hitler sent over 20,000 troops back into the Rhineland, an area that was restricted and demilitarized according to the Treaty of Versailles.
Hitler was gambling because Germany was not yet strong enough to face the French army. When he saw that his hunch was right, that the French as well as the British did nothing, he left his troops there.
That very same strategy occurred at the Munich Conference in 1938, when the leaders of Britain, France, and Italy looked the other way and allowed Hitler to annex the Sudetenland. Instead of putting their feet down, the allies appeased Hitler. To the extent that Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain landed in London with a big smile, waving his agreement and calling it “peace in our time.”
Only Winston Churchill, understood the tragedy about to occur.
In a Jan. 1939 speech, Hitler himself remarked. “In connection with the Jewish question I have this to say: it is a shameful spectacle to see how the whole democratic world is oozing sympathy for the poor tormented Jewish people, but remain hard-hearted when it comes to helping them”.
All of these examples show how the leading governments of the world paid lip service, reacting when it was too late, bringing the world to a war in which more than 50 million people, Jews and non-Jews, paid with their lives.
And here we are, some 84 years later, and the world is again making the same mistake. There was little action on the part of the United states and our allies when the ayatollahs took over Iran in 1979. Rather than being a friend of the West, the new Iran became the greatest danger to world peace, becoming an atomic power with an insatiable thirst of hating Jews, and acquiring nuclear weapons, to seek the destruction of the State of Israel.
Iran has never kept its promises barring international inspectors from examining secret nuclear laboratories and never telling the truth about what their intentions are.
Since that time, we allowed Iran to continue its nuclear weapons program, which can only invoke memories of Chamberlain’s “peace in our time ” comments. Iran is the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism with little price to pay for it, and has gone as far as to plan and finance its Hamas client’s descent into mass killings and butchery within the Jewish state, attacking innocent civilians, women, children and the elderly without any compassion and trace of humanity. Marking October 7th, 2023 as the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust. This could have all been prevented had the world put its foot down initially.
Sadly, a threat that few countries beside Israel are taking seriously enough. The time has come for the world to wake up and fight the terrorists of Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran, to do what the Nobel Prize Committee did, awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to a young lady, beaten and tortured- still locked in a cell for speaking the truth. The time has come for the world to unlock its silence. To follow in the footsteps of Simon Wiesenthal, who lost 89 members of his family in the Holocaust, gave up his career as an architect to fight back – bringing 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice and who said to the world, let us never forget that “Freedom is not a gift from heaven, it is something you have to fight for it each and every day”.
So, let us stand up to the terrorists, continue to promote tolerance and human dignity and restore peace and freedom to our world. AM YISRAEL CHAI!
Sam Yebri, Esq.
This week, many of us have been asked by friends, neighbors, and colleagues: do you have any family in Israel? Are they OK?
Many of us have close family in Israel, some of us distant cousins. But as I thought about that word “family,” I realized that all of us have seven million family members in Israel, because every Israeli is family because Israel is home.
Many of us are grieving and find it difficult to function, but now is the time to turn that sadness and anger into action.
We must tell the world – through our actions – that you do not mess with our family and our home. We are not the weak-kneed trembling Jews of prior genocides and pogroms.
There are several things that we can and must do right now.
First, we must unite as a community. We must set aside our differences as Jews – whether political, religious, ethnic, or tribal. We are Am Echad (One People), with one beating heart.
Second – we must be proud Jews and step into the fray publicly. Every social media post, every rally, every private conversation is an opportunity to share Israel’s story and rebut the lies that are coming.
Third – we must build strong enduring allies and coalitions. While Israel largely has the public’s support and attention right now, things will change quickly and get worse soon. We are a small community. We must leverage every relationship we have to amplify the truth about Hamas and the war that was thrust upon Israel.
Fourth – we must engage politically. Our community’s financial and philanthropic power pales in comparison to the military, financial, and diplomatic aid that the U.S. government can mobilize for Israel. That means getting involved with organizations like AIPAC, who have worked tirelessly for over 60 years to ensure a strong bipartisan U.S.-Israel relationship. I spent the Sunday morning after the heinous genocidal attacks of Hamas on the phone with a dozen Members of Congress, from both parties, progressives, and conservatives, urging them to issue strong unequivocal statements in support of Israel and helping them craft the language. We must all commit to engaging and investing in this critical political work.
Finally – we must all give. We must give generously. We must give from the heart. We must give until it feels uncomfortable. We cannot pick up guns, but we can share with our Israeli family whatever financial resources with which we have been blessed.
I want to conclude with a famous, though possibly apocryphal story, about David Ben-Gurion, one of founding fathers of the modern State of Israel and its first Prime Minister. It was May 1948, and all of the religious, business, political, and military leaders of the Jewish people in Palestine gathered at a meeting. They were debating whether it was time to declare Israel’s independence. There was a vigorous debate. They all knew that announcing Israel’s independence would lead to an immediate war and the death of thousands of Jews. Many argued that they were not ready, that they should wait, keep planning, keep asking for the world’s support.
David Ben-Gurion, who was leading the meeting, abruptly stopped the debate and left the room. When he returned, he said that after conferring with the most important people in the world, his decision was that it was time to announce Israel’s independence. The room was stunned and asked whom Ben-Gurion had spoken with because every major Jewish leader in Palestine was already in the room.
He said he spoke with his grandparents and his grandchildren. But, Ben-Gurion, a man in his early sixties, had neither living grandparents nor living grandchildren at the time. But he knew that the actions they were taking at that moment in Jewish history was essential to honor the sacrifice of prior generations of Jews and ensure a better, safer future for generations to come.
That is exactly where we are right now, another seminal moment in Jewish history. Our actions in this war effort will honor those came before us and ensure that the words we often repeat – Am Israel Chai / The Jewish People Live – remain true for our grandchildren and our grandchildren’s grandchildren.
We have updated our factsheet on the current conflict in Israel
against Hamas in Gaza:
This is an evolving situation. More information to follow.
Dillon L. Hosier
Chief Executive Officer
ICAN: Israeli-American Civic Action Network