The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has upgraded an exhibit, featuring the pen given by President Harry Truman to then B’nai B’rith President Frank Goldman at the conclusion of the 1949 ceremony at which he signed U.S. de jure recognition of the nascent State of Israel.
The display honors the work of B’nai B’rith member (and long-time Truman friend and business partner) Eddie Jacobson and B’nai B’rith leaders for their advocacy on behalf of U.S.' recognition of the State of Israel.
Truman gave the pen to Goldman, who presented it in an elaborate silver box to then Israel ambassador Eliyahu Eilat for donation to the State of Israel.
The display now features a photo of the historic ceremony and a explanatory plaque in Hebrew and English. Last summer, B’nai B’rith World Center Director Alan Schneider, Goldman’s grandson Frank Daniel Goldman and his wife Margo Alexandra Rocklin, visited MFA to pay tribute. The upgrade of the display was initiated by the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “I think that most (world leaders) understand — or are at least starting to understand — that this terror committed by extremist Islam represents a clear and present threat to peace in the world in which we live… Islamist terror … is not just the enemy of the Jewish people but of all humanity. It is time all people of all cultures united to eject these elements from among us.”
He hailed the power and resilience of the Jewish people, who have “managed to rise from the ashes” to build “a thriving state” in which the Jews determine their own destiny.” Israel, he said, would always receive Jews “with open arms. The more Israel is the Jewish homeland and the more Jews there are here the stronger we will be in our homeland.”
French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal, representing the French government, said in her eulogy, that France will not tolerate anti-Semitism and will "unfailingly" fight it.
She declared that "Anti-Semitism has no place in France" and that she seeks to assure those assembled of the "unfailing determination of the French government to fight against all forms and acts of anti-Semitism," noting that the four victims were posthumously decorated with the Legion of Honor.
Israel opposition leader Isaac Herzog note that his great grandfather was rabbi of a major Parisian synagogue, but that since then life had grown difficult for Jews. "We welcome you to Israel", he said.
B’nai B’rith World Center Director Alan Schneider briefed on February 23 some 30 Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) emissaries preparing for postings around the world.
Schneider’s presentation included a review of B’nai B’rith’s history and current activities, along with observations on the interaction between Israeli diplomatic representatives and Jewish communities.
Representatives of the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Jewish Federations of North America and the World Jewish Congress also briefed the MFA envoys who are poised to take up positions in Oslo, Panama City, Dublin, San Francisco, Moscow, Atlanta, Vienna, Marseilles, New York, Tokyo, Sofia, Mexico City, Brussels, Istanbul, London and Copenhagen, among others.
An eight-member BBI delegation attended the two-day session of the Zionist General Council held on February 18-19 in Jerusalem.
The delegation included B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman Dr. Haim V. Katz and director Alan Schneider, David Geller (Florida), B’nai B’rith Israel President Michael Nathan, B’nai B’rith Israel deputy president Avraham Huli, Dr. Baruch Levy, Chairman of the WZO’s Comptroller’s Committee and Ofri Ben Porat. The delegation was coordinated by the World Center.
At the plenary, WZO Chairman Avraham Duvdevani said that the WZO has hit a financial crisis due to the lack of state budget and the reclassification of the Jewish National Fund (KKL) as a public trust company.
Until this is resolved following the elections, the WZO will struggle to maintain current programs and will not be able to executive new projects it had planned for 2015. He noted that the WZO’s goals basically remain the same since the first Zionist Congress was convened in Basel by Theodore Herzl in 1897 – 1) establishment of a state led by Zionist values; 2) in gathering of the exiles. Both these goals have been only partially fulfilled.
A series of resolutions were adopted at the session including: encouraging Hebrew Hasbara and Jewish Zionist education; WZO action against growing antisemtism and assimilation; implementation of youth representation per the WZO constitution; establishment of a committee to review the convention between the WZO and the government of Israel.
A B’nai B’rith proposed resolution to amend the WZO constitution so that the Comptroller’s Committee will be independent of the WZO Finance Committee and will be elected each term by the Congress also passed with near-unanimous support.
B’nai B’rith World Center chairman Dr. Haim V. Katz and director Alan Schneider meet in Jerusalem on February 19 with the President of the Romanian Parliament Mr. Valeriu Zgonea on his first visit to Israel.
Other members of the Romania delegation included Mr. Gabriel Vlase, Chairman of the Romanian parliamentary friendship group with the State of Israel and Head of the Romanian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Mrs. Alina Gorghiu, leader of the National Liberal Party and de facto opposition leader, Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania Mr. Aurel Vainer, Romania’s ambassador to Israel Mrs. Andreea Pastarnac and Israel’s ambassador-designate to Romania Tamar Catarivas Samash.
Topics discussed included: B’nai B’rith's long history in Romania (from 1888) and current activity there; tolerance and Holocaust-denial legislation in Romania; the good bilateral relations between Romania and Israel;Romania’s position in multilateral organizations on Middle East issues.
In a subsequent letter to the World Center Zgonea noted that “the leadership and the members of the Chamber of Deputies value the special relation with the State of Israel and stand ready to further develop it. It was a great satisfaction for us to approach issues of main importance for all of us during our talks. At the same time, I would like to reassure you of our commitment to support measures aimed at improving both the security of the citizens and the culture of tolerance."
Trip Marked 50 Years of Israeli-German Relations
One of the world's leading women's soccer teams, FFC Turbine Potsdam, visited Israel on January 18-23 to mark 50 years since the establishment of German-Israeli diplomatic relations. B’nai B’rith World Center Trustee and B’nai B’rith Frankfurt Lodge President Ralph Hofmann initiated the visit that was organized by the World Center.
The team’s trip was a milestone for women's soccer in Israel and provided an opportunity to improve the local sporting level, while also increasing interest in women's soccer and improving ties between the two countries. The Israel Ministry of Culture and Sport, the German and Israeli Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the Israel Ministry of Tourism, the Embassy of Germany in Israel, the Netanya municipality, the Israeli Embassy in Germany and the Israel Football Association partnered with B'nai B'rith to realize this ambitious project.
Turbine Potsdam- is the most accomplished women’s soccer team ever to visit Israel - is a top team in the women’s Bundesliga, the professional soccer league in Germany, and is one of the leading teams in Europe. Founded in 1971 in what was then East Germany (GDR), Turbine Potsdam won the GDR league six times in the 1980s. Since reunification, the Turbine Potsdam has claimed the league title in 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2012. They won the German Football Federation (DFB) Cup in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and won the UEFA Women's Cup in 2005 and UEFA Women's Champions League in 2010. Turbine Potsdam also took home the DFB Hall Cup in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2014. A number of team players served on Germany's under-20 national team that won the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup this year in Canada. Several are also members of the German national team. At home the team enjoys a large devoted fan base. Bernd Schroder, who serves as a volunteer, has coached the team for the entirety of its 43 years of existence.
The team's visit to Israel included an official friendly match with the Israeli national Under-19 team, a visit to the Wingate Institute, Israel’s national sports academy, training clinics and visits to significant national and historical sites including Jerusalem's Old City, Masada, Haifa and Yad Vashem.
Thirty players and professional staff along with two representatives of the German television station RBB – none of whom had visited Israel before – participated in the mission.
To view photos and videos form the visit go to our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bbworldcenter.
B’nai B’rith World Center director Alan Schneider opened a seminar on the rescue of Jews by Jews during the Holocaust held on March 15 by Yad Vashem – Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority. The seminar signaled the launch of a new Yad Vashem book entitled “Jews Rescuing Jews in the Holocaust”.
The 467-page Hebrew-language anthology, that includes 36 accounts of rescue of Jews by fellow Jews as illustrations of thousands of known stories of Jewish self-rescue, was edited by Yad Vashem historian Dr. Avraham Milgram. Milgram classified the stories into ten descriptive chapters including “Rescue under false Arian identify”, “Extrication of Jews from Ghettos”, “Rescue in the Camps”, “Rescue of Children” etc. and prefaced each chapter with an introductory essay.
The publication of the book – the first dedicated entirely to various means and circumstances under which Jews tried, and in many cases succeeded, in rescuing fellow Jews from murder at the hands of the Germans and their collaborators - had been urged by the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers in the Holocaust that Schneider helped found in 2001 and that has since engaged in numerous activities to promote public awareness of the phenomenon of Jewish rescue.
In his opening statement, Schneider termed the publication of the book “nothing less than a watershed in Holocaust research and raises for the first time Jewish self-rescue to a level of an independent academic field of research.”
With Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, in attendance, Schneider asked the Authority to reconsider some of the proposals the Committee had made over time to bring the phenomenon of Jewish self-rescue to a wider audience and to make up for lost decades during which other Holocaust-related topics received greater attention.
“The time has arrived for these stories - that represent the most lofty realization of the age-old Jewish principles ‘Every Jew is responsible for the other’ and ‘You shall not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor’ – to reach the general public in Israel and the world” Schneider said. Dr. Bella Gutterman, former director of Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research who oversaw work on the book in its initial stages, seconded Schneider’s appeal that the book be translated into English for the benefit of a much wider audience.
Avner Shalev said that the book proved that Jewish solidarity did not cease during the Holocaust as some researchers argue and that its publication would encourage more research on the topic of Jewish self-rescue efforts.
Other speakers at the seminar included Irena Steinfeldt, Director, Department of the Righteous, Prof. Dan Michman, Head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem and Jewish rescuer David Gur.
The B’nai B’rith World Center initiated a pilot project aimed at making live touring in Israel accessible from any computer.
Named “B’nai B’rith Live Tourism”, the three part pilot series included tours in Jerusalem, the Old City, Mt. Herzl national cemetery and Mt. Zion (all three tour recordings can be viewed here).
The tours were narrated by senior tour guide Gil Perez, accompanied by B’nai B’rith World Center Director Alan Schneider.
The unique live nature of the tours allows viewers to experience the spontaneous and unscripted reality in Israel and featured chance encounters and impromptu asides.
B’nai B’rith LiveTourism is a project of the B’nai B’rith World Center and is produced by LiveGiving – a company that specializes in live streaming over the internet that provides an interactive platform allowing viewers to text questions during the tour and the and proposed the project concept.
With the completion of the pilot broadcastings, the World Center will consider extending the project beyond Jerusalem.
B'nai B'rith World Center
The B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem is the hub of B'nai B'rith International activities in Israel. The Center serves as the key link between Israel and B'nai B'rith members and supporters around the world.