Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
-"Adventures in Star Gazing", the night sky of Machtesh Ramon, nature's own planetarium.
On this tour, we welcome you to nature's own planetarium, the only Dark Sky Preserve in the Middle East, Machtesh Ramon, the Ramon Crater.
Join the Starman of Mitzpe Ramon ™ as he takes you on a guided tour of the heavens as you have never seen it before. From the dark skies of Machtesh Ramon, we will show you how to find constellations, identify bright stars, and experience the sky's wonders with our telescopes. See the star clouds of the Milky Way, observe planets, and discover celestial marvels. Recommended for ages 6 and up.
Date: July 7 Cost: 320 Meeting location: Inbal hotel 2:00 THIS IS A NEW TIME Return after midnight Bring a sweater and something to appease your bellies. We will also visit Tel Lachish and Moshav Lachish where we will see an amazing cactus garden. -------------------------- July 20 - a day in the Galil - Golan
Thousands of Arriving Passengers Line Up for COVID-19 Tests at BGI Airport
Thousands of travelers lined up for COVID-19 tests Monday at Ben Gurion International Airport after several planes landed at the airport simultaneously.
Yossi Fattal, president in the Inbound Tourism Bureau, told Israel's Kan Newspublic broadcaster, "The responsibility for everything that happens at Ben Gurion Airport must be transferred to the management of Ben Gurion Airport.
"They know better than any official in the Health Ministry how to management the movement well," he said.
Interior Minister and Yamina party co-chair Ayelet Shaked on Sunday proposed imposing a significant fine on Israeli travelers who return from overseas and violate their quarantine.
Under the plan, Israelis returning from abroad who fail to comply with a quarantine mandate would not have been allowed to leave Israel for an entire year — in addition to the current fine of NIS 5,000 imposed by the government on those who violate quarantine.
However, Shaked's plan was rejected during a meeting of the Coronavirus Cabinet on Sunday night.
According to the approved outline, Evyatar's residents will leave the place by the end of the week, all the homes will remain intact, and the defense ministry will establish a base for an IDF company on the grounds immediately.
Then, on Rosh Chodesh Elul, in about six weeks, a new Hesder yeshiva will be established on the site, which will employ some of the residents and provide housing to the students.
A Hesder yeshiva program combines advanced Talmudic studies with military service in the IDF, usually within a Religious Zionist framework.
Meanwhile, a directive will be issued to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to complete a land survey of the area within six months, and the land that will be cleared by the survey will be declared state land, on which a settlement will be established in coordination with the prime minister, the defense minister, the head of the Samaria regional council, and the Nahala movement.
The head of Nahala is Daniela Weiss, possibly the most authoritative voice within the settler movement, and if she is part of the plan, it is an expression of approval on the right for the Bennett government's move.
Alas, Otzma Yehudit chairman MK Itamar Ben-Gvir did not have it in him to congratulate Bennett and Shaked on their peaceful, not to say bloodless solution, so he responded like a life-long member of the opposition who lives in a world where the government can do no right: "Sure, they promise to examine the status of the land," Ben-Gvir reacted, "but the nature of the promises made by Bennett's cabinet members is well known, so how will we know this time whether it is a core promise or not? In any case, this is outline ludicrous, seeing as the Israeli government regulates thousands of Bedouin homes in the Negev, there's no reason why they shouldn't regulate the settlement of Evyatar."
Here is a proposal: If the Hesder yeshiva is established in Evyatar come Rosh Chodesh Elul, it might be nice to invite MK Ben-Gvir to give a shiur there on hakaras hatov-gratitude.
Ben-Gvir's colleague in the Religious Zionism faction MK Orit Strook was more magnanimous when she tweeted: "Congratulations to Ministers Shaked and Gantz who endeavored together to galvanize this agreement, and I call on the government not to succumb to pressure from coalition members on the left, and not cancel in any way the agreement with the settlers, which is the minimum required."
So, still no congratulations to Bennett, but at least some show of appreciation.
Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, pointed out the outline includes both a military presence and a horizon for settlement, making it a strategic outline. Establishing settlements in the Land of Israel and the Samaria settlements at the heart of the state is a difficult national mission. The Land of Israel is paid for with pain, and neither side here has defeated the other. In the end, our main mission is to build the Land of Israel and maintain unity among the people of Israel with love for Israel."
According to Channel 12 News, the defense establishment estimated that the evacuation of the outpost would have cost at least NIS 10 million (roughly $3 million). That's due to the extent of the massive construction on the site and the need to evacuate at least 50 permanent buildings and dozens of families. The operation would have required paving access roads, recruiting heavy engineering equipment, and providing heavy security – an estimated 2,000 police, Border Guard officers, and IDF soldiers.
The assessment above was brought up at a preparatory meeting for the evacuation at the beginning of last week. The agreement on the outline brings closure to the Bennett-Lapid government's first major success. Incidentally, the outpost was supposed to be vacated under the Netanyahu government – but Bibi would be Bibi, and he kicked that can full of hot potatoes down the street to his successor.
Well, at this point it's advantage Bennett, assuming he keeps his word
On Wednesday, Bernie Madoff, made infamous by an enormous Ponzi scheme that caused devastation throughout the Jewish world, died in a federal prison at age 82.
While Jewish tradition puts serious emphasis on honoring the deceased, the death of someone like Madoff, who caused tremendous pain within the Jewish community, is an emotionally fraught challenge to that principle. We asked a group of rabbis to share their thoughts on how the Jewish community ought to reflect on Madoff's death. These are their responses.
Rabbi Shlomo Zuckier, McGill University
Upon seeing the news of Bernie Madoff's passing, one verse came immediately to mind (Yirmiyahu 17:11): "As a partridge hatches eggs she didn't lay, thus he who gains wealth by injustice; it shall leave him in the middle of his days, and his end will be shameful."
Madoff caused unspeakable suffering to so many, decimating people's life savings, leaving the elderly in poverty and crippling Jewish and other institutions.
That he persisted in this ultimate con job for decades, ruthlessly cultivating more and more victims, is horrific. That he exploited communal trust, utilizing his ill-gotten wealth to burnish his public image within the Jewish community, and using his position in turn to harm even more people, is unspeakable.
I think it is normally not proper to criticize public figures right when they pass, but Madoff's betrayal was so heinous that he qualifies for an exception.
He has already been judged by public opinion and in the courtroom. Now God will judge him.
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, National Council of Jewish Women
We don't know if Bernie Madoff began to do the work of teshuvah — repentance and accountability — or began to do the work of trying to comprehend the harm that he caused and truly understand the lives he ruined. We do know that he could never truly make amends to them all. I hope that those that he victimized were able to rebuild and heal, both materially and emotionally, as much as possible. Our obligations as a Jewish community remains, as always, to care for one another, most especially those who are most vulnerable or socially marginalized, and to move through the world with integrity and mentschkeit.
Rabbi Daniel Pernick, Beth Am Temple, Pearl River, N.Y.
A rabbinic teaching asks "who is truly wealthy?" The response: "those content with their lot."
The death of Bernie Madoff reminds us that happiness is based on our attitude, not our bank account. Madoff enjoyed unimaginable wealth and prestige, but it wasn't enough for him. He was willing to risk all of his relationships and his possessions in the quest for more triumph and glory.
Bernie Madoff went from being a source of pride to the dictionary definition of a "shandeh" in the Jewish community. He reinforced negative stereotypes about Jews and money because he violated a foundational principle. As Hillel teaches in the Talmud "what is hateful to you, do not to any other person. That is the whole Torah…"
Madoff's actions caused enormous damage to his family, friends and associates. They bankrupted and disrupted charitable foundations, universities, sports teams and thousands of families.
And yet, Judaism teaches that we are all created in God's image. We can learn from both the saints and the sinners. Madoff reached the heights of the financial world, but he was felled by a weak moral and ethical foundation. By working to strengthen our spiritual core and avoiding the moral lapses of Madoff and others, we can transform their lives into a source of blessing.
Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Yeshiva University
When Simon Wiesenthal was in a concentration camp during World War II, a Nazi on his deathbed had Wiesenthal brought into his hospital room to act as his confessor. The Nazi, Karl, told Wiesenthal of the atrocities he committed against the Jews and asked for his forgiveness. Wiesenthal refused.
Not because of lack of compassion. Not because he chose to ignore the ideal of divine mercy or of granting "understanding" to a human sinner.
Wiesenthal understood a greater truth. It was not his right to forgive on behalf of the 6 million victims. The Talmud tells us that the Hebrew word domim has two meanings: money and blood. What Bernie Madoff did was not merely a financial crime; it literally destroyed lives and was a form of murder.
How dare people today, in the aftermath of the death of the architect of the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time, take it upon themselves to suggest that we ought to find it within our hearts not to speak ill of the dead, and to demonstrate "a divine sense of morality" by way of compassionate forgiveness?
Bernie Madoff's death in no way absolves him of his unconscionable acts of evil. For those gratefully not his victims, it is nothing less than unwarranted and misplaced compassion to express any sign of mourning for a man who to the very end never showed true contrition for his damnable legacy of evil.
Rabbi Shmuel Hain, YIOZ of North Riverdale/Yonkers and Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow, Harvard University
When I heard about the death of Bernard Madoff, my mind went straight to Maimonides and his introductory comment to the "Laws Concerning Mourning." Maimonides explains his strange placement of these laws within the "Book of Judges" — a tract that deals with the structuring of society's central institutions — by stating he placed the laws there because "one does not mourn for those who have been put to death by order of the Court."
How does this seemingly technical link justify this placement?
For Maimonides, mourning is first and foremost a statement about the status and honor of the deceased, not a means for restoring the mourner's spirit. Through mourning, society expresses its regard for the deceased. Mourning, then, is a mechanism for constructing the basic social order, signifying the full membership of a person in the Jewish community.
That is why the prohibition on mourning an executed criminal is not a marginal detail that just happens to link these laws to the overall subject of the "Book of Judges." If mourning is primarily a means for recognizing the standing of the deceased, certain egregious sinners are not worthy of the recognition expressed through the mourning rituals.
I hope that Madoff's victims and loved ones overcome his passing in a healthy fashion. I also hope that it is clear that he is not to be mourned as a member of the Jewish community in good standing.
Rabbi Ben Greenfield, Greenpoint Shul
Should we rejoice at the downfall of the wicked? Depends: are you an angel or are you a victim?
The Talmud describes how, at the Splitting of the Sea, the Ministering Angels wished to sing in celebration before God. But the Holy One said to them, My handiwork — meaning the Egyptians — are drowning in the sea, and you would dare sing?!
This episode is frequently invoked to discourage gloating at our enemies' downfall. Suffering, even when "they deserve to suffer," is still tragic. God, if you will, does not sing at such moments.
But this Talmudic passage also contains a counter-teaching. Sure, God tells the angels not to sing, but God does not prevent the Jewish people bursting into song! Moshe, Miriam, and the entire people sing a rather elaborate Song at the Sea, with no Divine censure. Unlike the angels, the Israelites actually suffered under Pharoah's hand; it was their children who were drowned in the Nile. To invoke a grim example: must we expect a survivor of Dachau to feel emotionally neutral at the execution of those who imprisoned him?
Madoff and Pharoah are our people's two greatest pyramid schemers. Victims of their cruel plots deserve justice, and are fully in their right to cheer at the gift of that justice. But the Holy One Itself, is not singing. And in most cases, neither should we.
These Three Loopholes at Israel's Airport Let Delta Variant Spread
Lax enforcement, delayed COVID tests, electronic bracelets languishing in warehouses: Israel talks tough on unauthorized travel to high-risk countries, but the flights keep coming in
Almost a year and a half after the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Israeli government has decided the time has come to appoint a supervisor for the main entrance to Israel – Ben-Gurion International Airport, which has turned out to be the country's Achilles' Heel.
At the outset of Sunday's cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the appointment of Ronny Numa, the retired general who was the project manager for dealing with the coronavirus outbreak in the Haredi community, as the new COVID commissioner for Ben-Gurion Airport.
Bennett's decision came a week after the coronavirus testing system for arriving passengers broke down, letting hundreds of people into Israel untested. At the same time, the number of confirmed cases of COVID is rising by the day, and some of them have been found to have the delta variant of the virus, previously known as the Indian variant.
These are the three issues Numa will have to face on his first day on the job:
Israelis flouting travel ban on "red" countries
At the beginning of May, the previous government approved Health Ministry regulations banning travel by Israelis to a number of countries with especially high rates of coronavirus infection. So far, the government hasn't imposed any sanctions or enforced the rules against those who violated them.
to the regulations, an Israeli citizen may travel to one of the
countries on the "red" list only if they live there permanently, or if
they have approval from the exceptions committee of the Population and
Immigration Authority in the Interior Ministry. In the request for
approval from the committee, a person must note the reason for the trip
to the banned country – for example, for a humanitarian or life-saving
reason. But it is also possible to mark: "Other" and provide an
explanation and supporting documents for the request.
It seems the committee is only for show. On the list of countries today are Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico and Russia. There are no direct flights to most of these countries, so to reach them Israelis need to change planes in a third country, which is not on the "red" list, providing a loophole. The loophole works on the return, too: An Israeli can spend weeks in one of the banned countries, and when they return they can take a connecting flight through a third country and arrive in Israel without having to go into isolation.
But even for the countries Israelis can fly to directly, such as Russia, it seems there is no enforcement – and anyone can fly there without any scrutiny.
Data provided by the Population and Immigration Authority show that since the cabinet added Russia to the list of forbidden destinations on June 1, and through June 24, the exceptions committee has turned down 2,200 requests by Israelis to enter Russia – and approved only 557 requests.
Russia is also a connection destination for other countries, but even
if we take this into account, it is clear that not all of these
passengers continued on. Another indication of the persistent travel to
Russia is the two-to-three daily El Al and Aeroflot flights to Russia
and back. If the demand wasn't there, they would quickly be taken off
the schedule.- Advertisment -
The Health Ministry said: "If citizens travel to these countries through a connecting flight, this is of course an improper and illegal action that endangers them, their family and their community. Every one of us has personal responsibility. In addition, the issue of enforcement is in the hands of the Israel Police."
In response to a question from Haaretz concerning enforcing the regulations, the Population and Immigration Authority admitted that "there is no way to know where people are going to and from where they are coming." Most of the passengers passing through Ben-Gurion go through the border control points without any interaction with an inspector, as everything is done digitally.
Isolation orders delayed by bottleneck in airport testing
Passengers who are fully vaccinated and return from overseas are required to take a coronavirus test less than 72 hours before their flight and an additional test at the airport on landing. While unvaccinated arriving passengers who land in Israel are required to leave the airport directly into isolation, vaccinated passengers have no such restriction.
people are required to enter isolation only if the test they took at
the airport comes out positive. Until then, a long time can pass, often
more than 24 hours – during which they can spread the virus.
When the Omega company ran the coronavirus testing compound at the airport for incoming passengers, the system worked smoothly, and most people received their results within eight hours. In a highly criticized move, the Health Ministry decided to end its contract with Omega and two weeks ago brought in a new company, Femi Premium, to do the testing.
Omega used a lab it set up at the airport for its testing, because it understood that speedy results were critical. But things changed with the switch to Femi. Today, passengers sometimes receive their results only after 36 hours.
Unlike Omega, Femi doesn't have its own labs but uses the services of three labs approved by the Health Ministry. Two of these labs are located in the south in Be'er Sheva and Omer. In order to make money off its investment, Femi has to wait until enough coolers with enough test tubes are ready to send off for testing – and even then, the trip takes a long time, especially at rush hour.
From May 1 through June 16, 139 travelers who had been vaccinated entered Israel and tested positive for COVID at the airport. If the test results take days, another solution will need to be found to prevent vaccinated passengers from moving around freely before they're officially cleared.
No possibility of enforcing isolation without technological supervision
Arriving passengers who have not been vaccinated are required to enter isolation for two weeks immediately upon leaving the airport. Do they do it? According to police data concerning all the violations of isolation rules in the past two months, at least some of those who returned from overseas did not go into isolation. In May, the police issued 156 tickets for violating isolation requirements, while in April they issued 253 such fines – and another 5,880 warning tickets.
The new law on technological supervision of isolation was drafted months ago and was finally approved by the previous Knesset in March. The law gives the government the authority to require arriving passengers to wear an electronic monitor while they are in isolation; if they refuse, they will be sent to a hotel for a supervised isolation. Even though the law was passed by the Knesset, the cabinet hasn't yet moved to implement it. That is why for over three months after the bill was passed into law, people required to enter isolation do not wear the electronic monitors. For now, the enforcement relies on surprise visits by the police and inspectors.
About 10,000 electronic bracelets are waiting in the warehouse of SuperCom, the company that won the competitive bidding tender to supply the monitoring – and they are ready for immediate use. In addition, the company said it is able to manufacture another 1,000 new electronic bracelets a day, if needed. Now all that is left to do is implement the law in practice.
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
A new Tel Aviv University study reveals that perceiving marriage as unsuccessful is a significant predictor of death from a Cerebrovascular accident (CVA) and premature death among men, no less than well-known risk factors such as smoking and lack of physical activity. The study was based on extensive health data from more than 30 years of research that tracked the deaths of 10,000 Israeli men.
The study was led by researchers from the School of Public Health at the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University: Prof. Uri Goldbort from the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, who initiated and managed the long-term study; Dr. Shahar Lev-Ari, the head of the Department of Health Promotion; and Dr. Yiftah Gapner, from the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine. The article was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine (Dissatisfaction with Married Life in Men Is Related to Increased Stroke and All-Cause Mortality).
As part of the study, the researchers conducted statistical analyses of a database that started gathering data in the 1960s and, for 32 years, tracked the health and behavior of 10,000 men, all Israeli state employees, with special attention paid to death from strokes and premature death in general. At the beginning of the study, most of the participants were in their 40s. Since then, 64 percent died from a range of illnesses. "We wanted to analyze the data gathered longitudinally using various parameters to identify behavioral and psychosocial risk factors that can predict death from a CVA and premature death for any reason," Dr. Lev-Ari explains.
The researchers say that, early in the 32-year long study, participants in the longitudinal study were asked to rank their level of marriage satisfaction on a scale of 1 (marriage is very successful) to 4 (marriage is unsuccessful).
To the researchers' surprise, the analysis showed that this scale was a predictive factor vis-à-vis life expectancy, very similar to smoking and lack of physical activity. For example, the number of deceased from a stroke was 69 percent higher among those who ranked their marriage satisfaction at 4 (i.e. marriage is unsuccessful) compared to those who ranked their marriage satisfaction very highly – 40.6 dead among the very dissatisfied versus 24.0 among the very satisfied (Note: The statistical comparison was conducted over 30 years and with a reference to rate per 10,000 person-years.).
When it came to death from any cause, the gap was 19 percent in favor of the happily married. The data show that while among the unhappily married there were 295.3 deaths for any reason (see footnote 1), among the very happily married there were only 248.5 (see footnote 1). The researchers note that the gaps were even larger among men who were relatively young (under 50) at the beginning of the study.
In addition, the researchers conducted a statistical analysis of all known risk factors contributing to death from cardiovascular diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, excessive BMI, and socioeconomic status. Here, too, the data was highly surprising. It turns out that the relative risk for death for any reason among the unhappily married versus the happily married was 1.21 higher among those dissatisfied with their marriages. This rate is similar to data in the literature regarding smokers and those leading a sedentary life.
Dr. Lev-Ari summarizes: "Our study shows that the quality of marriage and family life has health implications for life expectancy. Men who reported they perceived their marriage as failure died younger than those who experienced their marriages as very successful. In other words, the level of satisfaction with marriage has emerged as a predictive factor for life expectancy at a rate comparable with smoking (smokers versus non-smokers) and physical activity (activity versus inactivity). Furthermore, it's important to note that we observed a higher risk among relatively young men, under the age of 50. At a higher age, the gap is smaller, perhaps due to processes of adjustment that life partners go through over time. These findings were consistent with other studies that have shown the effectiveness of educational programs fostering good life partnerships as part of a national strategy to promote health and wellness for the public at large."
Every Best Picture Winner. Ever. (1927-2019 Oscars)
All 93 Academy Award Best Picture Winners (1929 - 2021)
A Montage of all 93 Best Picture Winners at the Academy Awards from 1929 to 2021. All dates refer to the year each winning film represented, not the year of the Oscars ceremony (which would happen the following year) and not necessarily the year of the individual film's release. A few films were eligible for the Best Picture (or equivalent title) award despite officially being released outside of California two years before the ceremony. These films are as follows: Wings - released in 1927, winning for the years of 1927/28, picking up the award at the inaugural Oscars in 1929. Casablanca - released in 1942, winning for the year of 1943, picking up the award at the 1944 Academy Awards. Patton - released in 1969, winning for the year of 1970, picking up the award at the 1971 Academy Awards. Crash - released in 2004, winning for the year of 2005, picking up the award at the 2006 Academy Awards. The Hurt Locker - released in 2008, winning for the year of 2009, picking up the award at the 2010 Academy Awards. Crediting the 3 Tracks used in the video: Portrait ----- Pain ----- Mood All Beats Provided By https://freebeats.io and all Produced By White Hot
Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir at the White House, 1969
September 25, 1969: President Nixon spoke on the South Lawn at the White House where Prime Minister Golda Meir was given a formal welcome with full military honors.
In this remarkable and historic November 6, 1949, correspondence on his presidential letterhead, Chaim Weizmann writes to the Chief Rabbi of Aden, Rav Yichey Avraham:
. . . I send to the Jewish community in Aden a greeting from the bottom of my heart. Your community has had a great privilege – to be an "emergency exit" to the masses of our brothers, the Yemenite exiles, prisoners of poverty and hope, laden with yearning for complete redemption. May the exile of Yemen and Aden end, and they will return to their land. With the blessing of a redeemed Israel . . .
Weizmann forwarded a copy of this letter to Yosef Sprinzak (1885-1959), chairman of the Knesset. Sprinzak, a Weizmann supporter, was speaker of both Israel's provisional parliament and the Knesset and became acting and interim president upon Weizmann's illness and death.
Weizmann is referring to the fantastic story of "Operation Magic Carpet," sometimes referred to as "the Yemenite Exodus," which brought virtually all of the Jews of Yemen home to Eretz Yisrael shortly after the birth of Israel in 1948. For centuries, Yemenite Jews, a pious people, recited the biblical verse, "I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself" (Exodus 19:4), never imaging that their dreams would become a reality when the "eagles' wings" turned out to be the aircraft that would fly them to freedom in their Promised Land.
By 1949, shortly after this letter was written, Israel had successfully moved nearly the entire Yemenite Jewish community to within its borders, marking the first time in history that a transfer of this scope had ever been attempted, let alone accomplished.
* * * * *
Yemenite Jews, or "Taimanim," trace their lineage to the biblical Jacob, but the origins of their settlement in Yemen are lost to antiquity.
Some claim that they are descended from a group of Jews that rebelled against Moses during the Exodus from Egypt, but according to a longstanding Yemenite tradition, 75,000 Jews left Jerusalem after hearing Jeremiah's prophecy regarding the destruction of the First Temple in 629 B.C.E. (42 years before the actual destruction of Jerusalem). According to another account, Yemeni tribes converted to Judaism after the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon, who sent Jewish merchant ships to Yemen to prospect for gold and silver with which to adorn the Beit HaMikdash.
Today, most historians agree that King Solomon's trading and naval networks brought Jews to Yemen from Eretz Yisrael circa 900 B.C.E. and that there was a Jewish community in Yemen from at least the time of the Second Temple (destroyed 67 C. E.).
Over the course of 2,000 years, Yemenite Jews came under the control of a succession of rulers, most of them malevolent. Jewish life took a short-lived turn for the better under the rule of the Imams in the 18th century, but the Imamic loss of power in the 19th century marked one of the worst times in the long history of the Taimanim, which included Yemenite Jews being forcibly converted. Notwithstanding strict prohibitions barring their leaving Yemen to go to Eretz Yisrael, they embarked for the Holy Land when they learned about the nascent Zionist resettlement there.
Thus, contrary to the broad perception that the Taimanim commenced aliyah upon the birth of Israel in 1948, that movement actually began in 1881, even earlier than the European "First Aliyah," when some 2,500 Taimanim arrived in Eretz Yisrael. The new Yemenite immigrants, who settled primarily in agricultural communities in Jerusalem and Jaffa, wrote to their relatives in Yemen urging them to join them in Eretz Yisrael, resulting in a small but steady stream of immigrants from Yemen at the turn of the 20th century. By early 1948, there were 35,000 Yemenite Jews living in the Holy Land.
Moreover, Jews in Eretz Yisrael were marshalling their efforts on behalf of Yemenite Jews well before Operation Magic Carpet. Exhibited here is a 1944 poster in which Ezrat Achim makes a Yom Kippur appeal for "our wretched brethren who are seized with hunger and illnesses in the Yemenite Exile and in the deserts of Yemen and have left many orphans . . . "
The news of the UN resolution partitioning Eretz Yisrael reached Yemenite Jewry at a time when Yemen was chaotic and lawless in the wake of the murder of Imam Yahya Muhammad Hamid el-Din, who had reigned for four decades and had been generally benevolent to the Jews under his rule. Arabs protesting against a Jewish state launched savage pogroms reminiscent of Kristallnacht in which at least 82 Jews were murdered, the Jewish quarter was torched, hundreds of Jewish homes were destroyed, and Jewish businesses were looted.
Many pious Taimanim, whose attachment to Eretz Yisrael never wavered, saw the establishment of a Jewish homeland there as a miracle heralding the fulfillment of their centuries-old messianic dreams and commenced aliyah preparations. However, as a result of pogroms in Yemen and the difficulty of facilitating direct transport to Israel, many Taimanim fled to Aden, a British protectorate that had been captured by the British in 1839, which was then home to a sizable Jewish community.
The Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jewish Agency had established a camp in Aden – which it named "Geula" (redemption) – to welcome the refugees and to serve as an aliyah transit station. However, they came up against the perfidious British who, even after the end of the British Mandate, were doing everything they could to block Jews from immigrating to Israel. The British successfully incited the sultans governing the territories between Aden and the interior of Yemen to block the passage of Jews through their lands, and thousands of the refugees who had left their homes were reduced to wandering aimlessly along the border, making them helpless and an easy prey.
When British Prime Minister Clement Atlee reversed course in September 1948, the JDC and the Jewish Agency ramped up their preparations to send the Jews then under their auspices in the Geula camp to Israel. However, because of Israel's ongoing war with Egypt, the Taimanim could not be sent to Israel by ship and, as such, chartered aircraft had to be secretly secured for that purpose.
Although Israel was nearly bankrupt after its War of Independence and had already incurred massive expenses to support the refugees arriving from Europe after the Holocaust, Prime Minister Ben-Gurion insisted that the Yemenite Jews had to be saved at all costs and, under a cloud of secrecy and in the face of monumental obstacles, Operation Magic Carpet formally began.
A few months after the February 1949 Israel-Egypt armistice, the Iman of Yemen agreed to permit "his" Jews to leave for Israel – but only if they satisfy three conditions: they must pay the notorious annual poll tax on Jews; they must dispose of all their property before leaving; and, as uniquely skilled artisans, they must teach their trades – including iron and silver smithing, carpentry, masonry, weaving, masonry, and tanning – to local Arabs.
When this news spread through Yemen, most of the remaining Taimanim embarked upon the long walk to Aden, covering hundreds of miles. "They arrived at the Aden camp tattered, exhausted, thirsty, and ill, and Israeli doctors there restored them to health while other Israeli representatives saw to their other needs and prepared them for their transport to Israel." The flights were carried out by American and British pilots, the unsung heroes of Operation Magic Carpet who ran Alaska Airlines, a "renegade" airline.
Alaska Airline's chief pilot for Operation Magic Carpet, Robert F. Maguire Jr. – who a grateful Ben-Gurion called "The Irish Moses" – flew 300 hours each month flying Taimanim to Israel, more than three times the maximum limit permitted by American aviation authorities. In one amusing and memorable incident – which was far from funny at the time – Maguire ran out of fuel, was forced to land in Egypt, and had to think quickly when Egyptian airport officials charged the aircraft. He told them that his passengers had to immediately be taken to a hospital because of their smallpox, and the Egyptians could not refuel his plane and send him off fast enough.
Operation Magic Carpet proved to be not only an emotional experience for the rescued Taimanim, many of whom kissed the ground upon their arrival in Eretz Yisrael, but for the Alaska Airlines staff as well. One flight attendant recalled, "One of the things that really got to me was when we were unloading a plane at Tel Aviv, a little old lady came up to me and took the hem of my jacket and kissed it. She was giving me a blessing for getting them home…. We were the wings of eagles." In Sixty Years After the Magic Carpet Ride, Eric D. Gould and his co-authors cite this hauntingly beautiful description of Operation Magic Carpet by one of the pilots:
It is difficult to put into words, but it gives me a strange feeling to see these Jews…. They wander about on foot for weeks till they reach the camp near Aden. They arrive hungry and sick and naked… but you'll find every man carrying his Bible, and every other man clinging to a huge holy parchment scroll clasped in front of him. That camp is just a piece of desert with almost nothing on it, just a few tents and straw mats, but they behave as if they had just stepped into Paradise. Then we pile them into those planes and they're terribly confused, but they keep mum…. They look to me like people going awake through a dream.
They look like prophets stepping out of the Bible…. their average weight was seventy or eighty pounds, and up to a hundred and forty of them could be put on a plane normally carrying less than half that number. It was a strange experience for them to travel by air – not only were they unfamiliar with airplanes, but the steep metal ladders used for climbing aboard planes had to be replaced with wooden ramps with shallow steps to enable them to go aboard. However, they behaved admirably and gave little trouble.
With waves of Yemenite Jews arriving in Aden, Israeli support organizations at the camp, who anticipated having to accommodate 1,000 Jews, suddenly found themselves having to care for the 13,000 Jews who were arriving every month. To handle this great and unanticipated demand, Israel chartered six additional large Skymasters planes able to fly 120 passengers at a time.
Arriving at refugee camp in Aden. Arriving in the Promised Land.
By a few months after Weizmann's letter, Operation Magic Carpet had brought 48,818 Taimanim to Israel on 430 flights. In October 1950, 2,072 Yemenite delegates from 82 settlements across Israel met at a joyous conference in Rechovot to celebrate the end of Galut Yemen (the Yemenite exile) – although, as we will see, there were still some Taimanim remaining in Yemen whom Israel later rescued in 2016.
The new immigrants, who have been aptly characterized as "the most Jewish of all Jews," suddenly found themselves uprooted from their ancient, traditional way of life. With no knowledge or understanding of Western culture or the operation of modern society, they put their trust in the Israeli authorities to make decisions for them and to determine where they would go.
Israel placed them in crude and bleak absorptions camps, where they often slept in tents with no running water, sanitation facilities, or electricity. Most the new immigrants were randomly relocated after a few months to either small agricultural moshavim or to maabarot, where they were mixed together with new Jewish immigrants from all around the world. While, in general, the Taimanim passively followed instructions issued by Israeli authorities, many of these pious Jews, who had remained true to their faith through thousands of years, protested being forced into a secular environment.
It is incontrovertible that, as the Taimanim claim, many of the original Yemenite Jews arriving in Eretz Yisrael and their descendants were discriminated against by Israelis of European origin. However, the highly provocative and controversial allegations that Israel was "kidnapping" healthy Taimani children, advising their families that they had died, and giving them to Ashkenazi couples unable to conceive, are well beyond the scope of this article.
Although, through the "great equalizer" – Israel's schools and mandatory military service – Taimanim have largely become fully integrated into Israeli society, many, whether by choice or circumstance, have maintained their ancient traditions as a somewhat insular group living in Yemenite communities.
By 2009, there were only about 400 Jews left in Yemen, most of whom had remained because family members did not want to leave their elderly and ill behind. In October 2015, the Yemeni government announced that, because of its continuing war with Houthi rebel tribes, it could no longer protect the few remaining Jews, who would be forced to convert. In a secret Israeli operation coordinated with the U.S., Yemen's final Jews were airlifted to Israel on March 21, 2016, leaving only about 50 Taimani Jews who still refused to leave. Among the new arrivals was the rabbi of the town of Raydah, who arrived clutching a 500-year-old Torah scroll.
More than 3,000 years of the glorious history of the ever-faithful Taimanim in Yemen thereby came to an end, and there are now some 750,000 Jews of Yemenite descent living in Israel. Kanfei Nesharim ("on the wings of eagles") Street in Jerusalem was named in honor of Operation Magic Carpet.
The lasting legacy of Operation Magic Carpet is far more than just the rescue of 50,000 Yemenite Jews. It was also a stark demonstration to the world of the importance of every Jew and that the new State of Israel would go to extreme lengths to rescue Jews from wherever they may be found and to bring them home to Eretz Yisrael.
PM Bennett Issues Special Call to Israeli Youths to Get Vaccinated ASAP
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday morning issued a special appeal to young people in Israel asking them to go get vaccinated as soon as possible.
"Dear young people," the PM said, "The vaccine will both protect your health and prevent you from missing all the fun of the summer vacation."
"Look," Bennett continued, "the new Delta variant of the coronavirus is running amok around the world. It is very contagious and it hurts unvaccinated people, meaning you, young people. At the moment, there are enough vaccines for everyone. But there's a catch. They are due to expire soon and then we won't have enough vaccines on hand for everybody."
"There's a short, 11-day window, and we are in a race against time," the PM urged young Israelis. "The last date on which it would be possible to get vaccinated with the first dose is July 9; three weeks later you will receive the second dose and then the vaccines we have in stock will reach their expiration date. I, therefore, call on parents and on young people who can get vaccinated – go get vaccinated, while you still can."
"I know how much you want to enjoy the summer, and you will be able to," Bennett assured his future voters, adding, "I also have four children your age and they also want to enjoy the summer. We don't want to impose any restrictions on anyone, not on parties or hikes, we don't want to bring back the capsules. But for this to happen you need to talk with your parents and go get vaccinated so we'll have a wonderful summer without lockdowns or restrictions. I'm counting on you."
Religious Zionism chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich on Monday added his voice to his former political ally's appeal and called on parents to get their children vaccinated.
"While children do not usually develop severe symptoms at present, we don't know what the future consequences of the coronavirus will be for those who became infected, and those may be disastrous," Smotrich explained. "So run and vaccinate the children as much as possible (currently from the age of 12) and do not pay attention to the nonsense of vaccine opponents. Until then, keep your children from getting infected. Convince them to put on facemasks and maintain social distance and hygiene. This is their future, and it's in your hands," Smotrich concluded.