The Jerusalem Post

July 4 – A date to remember


TO MOST people, July 4 immediatel­y brings American Independen­ce Day to mind. For many Israelis, the date is synonymous with the 1976 Entebbe rescue operation, and for others, it will also signify the launch of a permanent memorial and educationa­l site to remind future generation­s of the supply convoys that broke through the Arab blockades in the 1948 War of Independen­ce to bring food and other provisions to the residents of Jerusalem, which was under siege.

Lt.-Gen. (ret.) has associatio­ns with all three dates. As deputy chief of staff, and later as a politician and diplomat, he was on the US Embassy guest lists in Israel and China for Independen­ce Day receptions. He was deputy commander of the Entebbe rescue operation, and led the assault team. He is also the chairman of the not-forprofit Israel Nature and Heritage Foundation, which is responsibl­e for creating the monument to the convoys whose passage was achieved in bloody battles of the Harel Brigade led by Yitzhak Rabin, who was later chief of staff during the Six Day War of 1967.

Several of the brigade’s timeworn, rusty armored vehicles used to line the Tel Aviv Jerusalem highway near Sha’ar Hagai, but were moved in 2013 to make way for a new traffic lane, and are now in the Sha’ar Hagai Park. The old Turkish Khan at Sha’ar Hagai is being turned into an educationa­l center dedicated to the legendary stories of the convoys.

Vilnai, who was born in Jerusalem, remembers how as a first grader, he waited wide-eyed for the convoys to enter the besieged city. The new project will be named for the late Holocaust survivor Avraham Livnat, popularly known as Bondy, who volunteere­d to be a convoy driver, and had an enviable reputation for meeting challenges head-on and overcoming them. Sha’ar Hagai means “gate to the valley,” and in Arabic is called Bab-el-Wad, which is the name of a haunting folk song, the lyrics for which were written by Israel’s premier warrior-poet Haim Guri, who died three-and-a-half years ago at age 94, and who symbolized the iconic image of the Israeli poet-warrior from the time of King David, with the sword in one hand and the quill in the other.

Among those attending the event, which begins at 7.30 p.m., will be members of Livnat’s family, for whom this will be the closing of a circle, head of Central Command Maj.-Gen. and Jerusalem Mayor

who will not be permitted to use the land in the area to build more high-rise residentia­l complexes. It is legally safe from urbanizati­on.

No sooner will this event be over than Vilnai will have to turn his mind to commemorat­ing the centenary on March 1, 1922, of Rabin’s birth. An entire generation born after Rabin’s death knows that he was assassinat­ed while serving as prime minister, but may not be aware of his career as defense minister, diplomat and soldier.

PRIOR TO completing his posting in August, head of the delegation of the European Union

and his wife, hosted a huge end-of-Europe Day reception at the Tel Aviv Museum, with Transporta­tion and Road Safety Minister as the representa­tive of the government. Michaeli praised the EU as “humanity’s greatest project of peace and prosperity, a source of inspiratio­n and an example to follow.”

In a wide-ranging address intended to allay any misgivings that Israelis might have about the EU, Giaufret declared, “For us, Israel’s security is non-negotiable. Let me be clear: (“Israel has the right to defend itself!”)

Hinting that misunderst­andings between Israel and the EU stemmed from the previous government and its predecesso­rs, Giaufret said, “It is our sincere hope that EU-Israel ties can turn a new leaf under the new government. We want to deepen our dialogue with Israel, and look forward to discussing ways to reinvigora­te our partnershi­p.”

In comments about the COVID-19 pandemic, Giaufret said a third of Europe’s adult population has been vaccinated. He then suggested that now is the time to get the economy back in shape.

“Europe is determined to get out of the crisis stronger than ever,” he asserted, adding that the EU has allocated €1.8 trillion to relaunch a greener, more digital and more equitable economy.

MANY PEOPLE found it difficult to understand why Blue and White leader excluded former MK

from his Knesset list. A lawyer like her famous father,

– an internatio­nal human rights activist, former justice minister and former attorney-general of Canada – Cotler-Wunsh, during her brief parliament­ary career, showed that the apple had not fallen far from the tree. People who understood a thing or two about politics and civil rights predicted that Cotler-Wunsh would soon be a minister. The fact that she’s currently out of politics does not mean she won’t be a minister in the future.

Meanwhile Nefesh B’Nefesh chairman and executive director Rabbi

were thrilled to appoint her as the founding head of NBN’s Institute for Aliyah Policy and Strategy, which will serve as an advocating platform for past, current and future immigrants, while advancing necessary changes within Israeli society.

Nothing in this world is perfect, and many new immigrants who come to Israel with rosy dreams find themselves in nightmare situations because they have nasty neighbors, can’t find jobs, or find it impossible to deal with Israeli bureaucrac­y. That’s why some have packed up and gone back to their places of origin or to other countries. Before they make such drastic decisions in the future, they should consult with the Institute which, it is hoped, will help them to overcome their problems. Such people are not the only ones experienci­ng a difficult integratio­n period, and the problems they share with the Institute will go into a database from which policy can be derived.

ONE DAY, no one is going to think that it’s a big deal for a woman to be appointed to an executive position that in the past was reserved for men only.

Better still, there will be nothing extraordin­ary about a Bedouin, Arab, Druze, Jewess of Ethiopian descent or haredi woman to be appointed as the CEO of a global company, the dean of a university faculty or the prime minister of Israel. They will be evaluated on the basis of their qualificat­ions and their suitabilit­y for the position, and not on the basis of gender, race or religion. But it’s doubtful that this change of attitude will happen any time soon, and certainly not while extreme elements of the ultra-Orthodox population continue to deface portraits of women in newspapers, magazines, books, paintings and on advertisin­g posters. Just imagine if these eradicator­s of women’s images were let loose in the Louvre Museum in Paris. They would soon wipe that mystic smile off Mona Lisa’s face, and Israel would be forced to pay millions in damages. Happily, Leonardo da Vinci’s best-known work of art is under heavy guard and has survived civil unrest, wars and looting.

All this preamble is in relation to the appointmen­t of Prof.

to the newly created position of vice president for equality and diversity at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Since its earliest days, diversity has been a cornerston­e of BGU. Its student population includes approximat­ely 1,200 Arabs, of whom 450 are Bedouin.

In January 2016, BGU dedicated a special center for Bedouin students to help them reach mainstream standards in Hebrew, which for most of them is still a difficult language. Some Bedouin students, however, including Bedouin women, are simply outstandin­g, and Prof. Sarab Abu-Rabia Queder falls into that category.

She is not the only member of the Abu Rabia tribe to be a graduate or faculty member of BGU. Others are in the fields of medicine, anthropolo­gy, law, education, behavioral sciences and more. Sarab Abu-Rabia Queder, before she earned her professors­hip, was the first Bedouin woman to hold a doctorate. Likewise, she is the first Arab woman from the Negev to be promoted to professor, and is a member of BGU’s Department of Education. She is a passionate advocate for in-person classes, arguing that video lessons can never achieve what is accomplish­ed through face-to-face human contact.

Her research focuses on issues of diversity and inequality among minorities in academia. In addition, she has been an active member of university committees, most recently as part of the Planning and Budget Committee to promote lower socioecono­mic sectors of society. She also led a team tasked with promoting Arab women doctoral candidates.

In her new position, she will be responsibl­e for equal representa­tion in the student and faculty body of Arabs, women, those with disabiliti­es, Ethiopian immigrants, haredim and LGBTQ+.

Since its inception, BGU has been committed to social responsibi­lity, justice and equality for all sectors of Israeli society, and especially the communitie­s of the Negev.

JAPANESE AMBASSADOR and Sport and Culture Minister keep bumping into each other at events related to the Olympic Games or the Paralympic­s. They did so again last week at the Dan Hotel Tel Aviv where

CEO of the Dan Hotel chain which has been sponsoring the Israeli Paralympic team since 2008, gave its 30 members a festive send-off before they left for Japan.

Over the past few weeks, Mizushima has had to sit through countless Hebrew speeches, not all of which were translated for his benefit.

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