Feb 5, 2008

updates since the anti-violence meeting last week in bet Shemesh

I received by email the following status update as a follow-up to the anti-violence meeting that took place with the mayor last week.

A few things have taken place in the last 36 hours which I want to share with you.

1)E-mails in Hebrew about all of our activities over the last 2 weeks have been sent to a few local Hebrew lists and they have generated a very positive response from native Israelis who are generally unresponsive and passive to the types of threats we have been facing. There is a group of native Israelis slowly developing to mirror some of our committees and ideas with the goal of ultimately joining forces and working together.

2)Meeting with Avi Dichter - last night a few of us had the chance to present our concerns about the police and the threat from the extreme chareidim to Avi Dichter, the Interior Security Minister in the cabinet, as part of a broader event for him in Bet Shemesh. After our initial presentation, many others in attendance including Russian immigrants and native Israelis joined in and echoed our concerns regarding the police. Mr. Dichter took notes and was also presented with a letter with 15 testimonials regarding the failings of the police with regarding to providing all of us with a sense of security. We will have to wait to see if there are any tangible results from the meeting but the message of the anxieties which all of us feel were certainly conveyed to him.

3)Meeting with Aharon Franco - there was a meeting this afternoon with Aharon Franco who is in charge of allocations for the police in the Yerushalyim region. This meeting did not go as well as we had hoped in terms of immediate results and any acknowledgement from him regarding our needs, but the message was once again conveyed and significant pressure is being felt.

4)The first meeting with the mayor as a follow up to last Monday night's onslaught has been scheduled for late next week. I will inform you regarding its successes/failures as soon as I receive the report from our representatives at that meeting.

5)Gift from chareidim across Herzog - tonight, the extreme chareidim from across Rechov Herzog delivered a gift with a letter of apology to the family they had threatened on Rechov Gad. This is in addition to the personal apology which I witnessed and related in the last update. I have been in almost daily contact with the group across the street and this act of theirs is certainly cause for further cautious optimism on the dialogue front. [I find this the most amazing of all the progress mentioned - my comment]

6)Melave Malka planning - we have begun discussions with the chareidim across the street regarding organizing a Melave Malka which will enable our community to connect with theirs on the level in which all Jews should be connected - Torah, singing, and, of course, food. I will keep everyone updated as those plans take shape and develop.

7)A big thank you to Shmuel Katz who has already chaired his second meeting of the Community Protection committee and has really organized a well oiled machine to deal with scenarios we hope will never arise in a variety of ways.

8)We need you!!! - We are still looking for volunteers to help with:
a)the petition committee (gilad73@gmail.com)
b)the community protection committee (shmukatz@bigfoot.com)
c)the mishloach manot project (hadassa_field@yahoo.com)
d)Women in Dialogue (jyelenik@gmail.com)
e)the men's dialogue committee (ddlipman@aol.com)
f)trained citizens patrol through the police (ddlipman@aol.com)

Please e-mail the addresses above if you want to be involved in any of these.

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