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Sunday, January 04, 2009

"Rally For Israel's Self-Defense, Enough is Enough" Jan 6th 2009, 7 pm Tues. Temple Beth Sholom, Sarasota FL, John Loftus speaker.

Middle East crisis sends ripples locally [The Bradenton Herald, Fla.]

January 3rd 2009. For $28 a month, Ofer Nissan gets Israeli TV on DISH Network in his Sarasota Florida home (Click image to enlarge).

Since Israel is seven hours ahead, Nissan stays up late and watches live news reports on Channel 2 out of Tel Aviv.

He watches live rocket attacks launched from Gaza, including those on the Israeli town of Beersheva, 28 miles to the northeast, where his father lives. He also sees Israel's attacks on Gaza, some that have left the homes of civilians in rumble.

Nissan, a physical therapist who worked at Manatee Memorial Hospital for four years, often wakes his father with a morning phone call -- it's the next morning in Israel, but it's still the previous night in Sarasota -- if there is something urgent to report.

"I usually find out what is happening in Beersheva before he does," said Ofer Nissan, who may be among an estimated 200 Israeli-Americans living in Manatee and Sarasota counties. In this new digital age, when the planet's people have been stitched together by satellites, the Palestinians, who occupy the Gaza, and the Israelis, about 20 miles to the north, seem not able to see eye to eye.

There's a community event, expected to draw a large audience, called Rally For Israel's Self-Defense scheduled 7 p.m. Tuesday at Temple Beth Sholom, 1050 S. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is also heavily involved, launching an online petition drive on Dec. 31 to collect one million signatures urging American leaders to "speak in favor of peace and justice for all parties in the current humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Gaza Strip."

Like many locals, Nissan has strong opinions on the conflict. "The hatred between the two countries began several centuries ago as a fight over land," Nissan said. "Israel is the size of New Jersey, a country of 6.5 million and it's surrounded by 230 million Arabs and pretty much all of those countries would be happy not to have Israel where it is today."

The Herald called a handful of Muslim sources to get their thoughts on the crisis in Gaza, including Ahmed Bedier, Tampa executive director of The Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Samir Khatib, president of the Islamic Society of Bradenton and Sarasota.

Bedier's (he is no longer linked to CAIR as of May 2007 click here) phone was too full to take messages and Khatib did not return a call by deadline.
Nissan's wife, Orna, also an Israeli-American and an outreach coordinator at the Sarasota-Manatee Jewish Federation in Sarasota, is concerned about her parents, Naftali and Elizabeth Kenner, who live in the Israeli town of Ashklon, about 24 miles north of Gaza.

Her father, 71, is a Holocaust survivor who recently told her, "I am done running away."

Life in Israeli towns is difficult, as it is in Gaza. Arik Nissan, like many Israelis, has a concrete bomb shelter in his home. When he hears a siren in Beersheva, a city of 300,000, he has 60 seconds to get inside the shelter. He doesn't stray far from it.


An Evening with John Loftus; This special event features one of the most noted intelligence experts in the world, who will discus "World Terrorism: America and Israel's Response.

The Sarasota-Manatee Jewish Federation presents "An Evening with John Loftus," a special event with one of the most noted intelligence experts in the world. Loftus will discuss “World Terrorism: America and Israel’s Response” at Temple Beth Sholom (1050 S. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota) at 7:00pm.

As a former Justice Department prosecutor, Loftus once held some of the highest security clearances in the world. The St. Petersburg resident is now completing his fifth book, “Prophets of Terror: Jonathan Pollard and Peace in the Middle East.” Free and open to the community. RSVP online www.SMJF.org

Bill Warner
Private Investigator