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Canadian Solidarity Mission to Israel,July 21-23, 2014

2014-07-21 04:01:13 PM



To show our unity with the people of Israel during the Gaza War of 2014


Day One


Well, not really day one, since it started with dinner tonight at the hotel in Tel Aviv at 7 pm. But the truth is, my day started in Israel with the limo from the airport to Tel Aviv. My driver was a very animated gentleman who wanted to make sure I knew that in addition to being a driver, he’s a medical clown who performs for children and adults in the hospital. I told him he’s got double Olam Haba: One, because he brings smiles of joy to the sick, and two, because when he drives, he causes everyone to daven. But this is just another piece of the fabric of our holy people who, even in the midst of warfare, are compassionate and caring.

I’m very grateful to UJA Canada for allowing me to join this mission at the last minute. I literally signed up Motzai Shabbos to be able to leave the following day and arrive in Israel on Monday morning. So many others have done the same, and I encourage you to think about this also. I know that there is a grass roots effort afoot in Toronto to bring a delegation of “amcha”, members of our community, to Israel next week, leaving Sunday July 27 and beginning that Monday. If you’re interested, please contact Joseph Fried, at Let us hope that the fighting will be over very soon.

Back to our mission: We had two speakers at dinner: First, Yossi Tanuri, the director general of UJA Canada. He shared with us that the support among the Israeli public is virtually unanimous in its great admiration and praise of the army and the current operation. He showed me a short film of chayalim camped out outside Gaza dancing in a circle, singing the words, “Anachnu ma’aminim b’nei ma’aminim, v’ein lanu al mi l’hisha’ain ela al Avinu shebaShamayim!” (We are believers the children of believers; we have no one to rely on other than our Father in Heaven!) What a moving clip, to see our soldiers, many with kippot and tzitzit dancing with great joy and achdus as they prepare to protect our people. You can see a similar clip of chayalim dancing to the same song at the Kotel, here.

Currently, Israel is working on staving off two threats: the missile threat is baruch Hashem being averted through the technology of the Iron Dome system, another brilliant Israeli invention. But the other threat is the very elaborate tunnel system, hundreds of well-built, cement-reinforced tunnels that run throughout Gaza and many that come underneath land in Israel. This is currently the greatest threat because it’s impossible to know where the next tunnel will emerge from. Israeli intelligence is working on neutralizing this problem as well.

We then heard from Canadian ambassador to Israel, Her Excellency, Vivan Bercovici. The message that resounded from the ambassador and from everyone around the table is that there’s never been a better time to be a Canadian Jew, and the level of support, unequivocal and unqualified support for Israel, is unprecedented in the history of Canadian-Israeli relations. Our prime minister, Stephen Harper, has done an incredible job, together with his foreign minister, John Baird, as well as his entire cabinet, to be beacon of moral clarity to the rest of the western world. So much so, the ambassador explained, that she gets constant calls and emails from politicians of other countries, asking her, “What is Canada saying?” We have, due to a vacuum of unambiguous support from the U.S., become the moral beacon and voice of support. Whereas Canada was out of limelight in the past, being always ancillary to her big sister in the South, Canada is now the voice that is “moving the needle” on the world stage and having real influence. You can see a reminder video of our prime minister’s office’s strong support here.

Ms. Bercovici urged us all to follow her on twitter where she’s getting out the consistent message. It’s important for us to be vocal in social media since Hamas supporters are so vocal in the media today.

You can see a photo of our delegation below. Important for us all to know that two of the men with us on the mission are also fathers of soldiers who are in active duty right now. We also have parents at the BAYT and I’d like to ask us all to be mindful of these children of ours in our daily prayers. The names of the two sons from our mission are: Aryeh ben Sheva and Yaakov Aharon ben Silka Tema. Please also keep our BAYT members, Yirmiyahu Moshe ben Rivka Leeba in your prayers, and for those parents who have children in the army, please send me their Hebrew names and we’ll be sure to add them to the list.

As your representative here on the mission, I feel your warm embrace of support as we move forward on our journey tomorrow. Please keep all of us in your prayers. We will be in Sderot and Beer Sheva and then on Wednesday to Ashkelon and Ashdod. May the Shomer Yisrael continue to watch over His first-born Son, Am Yisrael.



Mon, July 13 2020 21 Tammuz 5780