Will the “Freedom Flotilla” Reach Gaza?

Will the new mission of the so-called Freedom Flotilla, set to launch for Gaza this week, go off as planned after multiple delays and disappointments for organizers? And whose job is it to enforce the blockade against Gaza? Israel’s Security Cabinet has officially ordered the IDF to keep the flotilla from reaching Gaza, but it is not clear whether the IDF or the government has made special plans to safely capture the flotilla ships. And though the flotilla has fewer members and ships this year, it is receiving a publicity boost thanks to the presence of Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple.”

Meanwhile, the Jewish State’s concerns over violence are also pointing inward this week, after the arrest of the leading rabbi of the West Bank settlements, Rabbi Dov Lior, over allegations he’s endorsed violence against non-Jews. And on the fifth anniversary of the capture of missing IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, Hamas is said to be requesting the release of one thousand Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for Shalit.

This week’s field segments include a look at a new film about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the specific area of Hebron, and a report on how one group of Jewish women is working to eliminate social inequalities in Israel.

“This Is My Land…Hebron,” Reporter: Christian Niedan
Lincoln Center is hosting the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, which screened the documentary, This Is My Land… Hebron on Monday afternoon. The film explores the contentious relationship between Hebron’s enclave of roughly 500 Jewish settlers, and the city’s roughly 160,000 local Palestinian Arabs.
The film received a mixed reception from the Lincoln Center audience, with accusations of one-sidedness that were addressed in a Q&A session by the documentary’s co-directors, Giulia Amati and Stephen Natanson. Also answering questions was former-IDF soldier, Dotan Greenvald, who served in Hebron and now shares his experiences there through his work with Breaking The Silence — a group of former-IDF soldiers working to (among other things) expose what they call abuse toward Palestinians in the occupied territories.

NCJW’s Israel Benefit Luncheon, Reporter: Rebecca Honig Friedman
Against the picturesque backdrop of the Boat Pond in Central Park, the National Council of Jewish Women held its annual Israel Benefit Luncheon last week, to raise money for the organization’s Israel Granting Program, which funds grassroots organizations that work to eliminate social and economic inequalities in Israel.
Supporters of this progressive Jewish women’s organization heard from Israel’s Consul General to New York, Ido Aharoni, who noted the growing importance of tackling Israel’s internal, social problems alongside external security threats; Forward editor Jane Eisner, who delivered the event’s keynote address on the subject of poverty in Israel; and event honoree Florida State Senator Nan Rich, a former president of NCJW, who stressed the need for increased vigilance on behalf of the organization’s progressive social agenda in the U.S., because, she said, “I assure you, the social issues have not taken a backseat for the right-wing conservatives.”
Senator Rich also shared with TJC her future plans for her own political career, after she hits her term-limit in the Florida Senate in 2012.