Ilan Ramon Remembered 11 Years After His Death

This is a re-post as the original “vanished”~sorry…
On 01 February 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry to earth~killing all seven astronauts on board. On board the shuttle was one of Israel’s brightest stars, Colonel Ilan Ramon.

Israel Air Force (IAF) Colonel Ilan Ramon (20 June 1954~01 February 2003) was an engineer (electronics and computers), a pilot, a husband and father of four children. His Polish mother and grandmother were survivors of Auschwitz. 

As a combat pilot in the Israel Defense Forces, Ilan Ramon was awarded for his service in the Yom Kippur War, the 1982 Lebanon War, and was the youngest participant (flying in the last, and most dangerous position) in the 1981 raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak. He was also the only foreign recipient of the United States Congressional Space Medal of Honor, which was awarded posthumously.

When he was selected as payload specialist on the shuttle, Ilan Ramon said he considered himself to be “the representative of all Jews and Israelis”. He recognized the importance of maintaining Jewish identity, cultivating unity, and remembering the history of the Jewish people, and the impact of the fact that he~the child of a Holocaust survivor~was the first Israeli astronaut.

Ramon was the first astronaut to ask for “Kosher” food for the trip and consulted a rabbi on “Observing Shabbat in Space” (the period between sunrises in orbit is only 90 minutes). The personal items he took into space were also a thoughtful reflection of his heritage, and the effect his choices might have on future generations.
Among the personal items that Ramon brought with him, was a miniature Torah scroll saved from the Holocaust and in a way it became his “mission within his mission”.  As the shuttle passed over Israel, Ilan spoke to the Prime Minister of Israel, and displaying the tiny parchment he repeated the story of how the tiny scroll had risen “From the Depths of Hell~Rose to the Heights of Space.”

Other items included a pencil sketch from Yad Vashem, “Moon Landscape”, drawn in the Terezín concentration camp by 14-year-old Petr Ginz (who later died in Auschwitz), a barbed wire Mezuzah by artist Aimee Golant commissioned by the 1939 Club~a group of Holocaust survivors and their families, a microfiche copy of the Torah given to him by the president of Israel, and a dollar of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

This movie, “Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope” follows the lives of the crew of the shuttle as they prepare for their mission, and gives a personal insight into the man who was Ilan Ramon. I strongly recommend it to everyone.

 * If you can not view the video below, do click on this link

Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope

Media~Norway Shooter is Right-Wing Christian Fundamentalist

When a shooting as horrible as the one in Norway happens the first thing people do is ask Why? If the shooter is Muslim, everything possible is done to separate him from the religion of Islam. Nobody is ever willing to call it as it is.
In the Norway tragedy, why is the media immediately screaming “Right-Wing Christian Fundamentalist”? Where is the separation here?
What has happened in Norway is an unbelievable horror. What the media is doing with it will only complicate the issues. Please listen to this report, and consider how the news is being presented in your area. We must hold our news outlets responsible for biased reporting~especially in cases such as this where there is clear bias against the white, Christian population.

Choices~What are Yours?

With all the problems the world is currently facing people are forced to make choices. for their own survival and governments undertake to make choices for the people.  Not all choices made are necessarily correct, or for that matter good. In this program Glenn Beck touches on a number of sensitive issues. Do watch and consider–what choices have you made? What choices will you make in the future?

Another Disaster~Please Help Us Pray

We just received this Urgent Prayer Request from Australia from Deslee Campbell…



This part of the country has suffered so much since the start of December.

Please pray there be no loss of life.

That all children will be kept safe and not take risks.

Pray for a slowing of the force of the cyclone.

For the peoples’ courage not to fail.

Pray that people will seek God’s help and guidance.

That State Premier Anna Bligh’s heart will be turned to the Lord by Holy Spirit power.

For guidance, strength and courage for the Lord’s people as they reach out to their communities. 

Thank you for your loving concern
(Dr) Deslee Campbell

Europe 2029: Believe It!

Please watch carefully. The figures at the end are most likely low and the danger much greater. What will the people of the free western world do? What will you do? Think fast because the time for action is almost past. All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.

ZAKA~Chesed Shel Emet (True Virtue)

David Rawlings & ZAKA Team

About a year ago Israel Vision.TV created a promotional video for ZAKA (a Hebrew acronym for Disaster Victims Identification). David Rawlings spent time following and filming ZAKA in action and interviewed some of their volunteers.  When the earthquake stuck in Haiti David was with the team at Ben Gurion airport as they prepared to leave. You can  watch these touching interviews on the Israel Vision.TV website. These amazing men speak of their experiences and the strength that it takes to carefully sift through every disaster to insure that no human remains–no matter how small–are left behind. There are also links you can follow to the ZAKA home page.

The following information was posted on Israel 21C by Abigail Klein Leichman on 21 December 2010. Do visit their excellent site for many other interesting reports about Israel.
ZAKA founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav
Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, Founder of ZAKA

In a special Knesset gathering in November, Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz presented an award to ZAKA Rescue and Recovery Organization founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav for raising awareness and promoting road safety. The moment was noteworthy not just because it acknowledged ZAKA’s role in responding to thousands of car accidents and encouraging safer driving, but also because it underlined the warm relationship between Israel’s secular officials and Meshi-Zahav, an ultra-Orthodox (haredi) former anti-Zionist agitator. Yehuda Meshi-Zahav evolved from an anti-Zionist firebrand in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood into the founder of ZAKA, a unique rescue and recovery organization.

Since founding ZAKA in 1995, the 51-year-old father of seven has gained a reputation as an international rescue authority and as one of Israel’s greatest champions of tolerance among both Jews and Arabs. His post-9/11 work in New York earned him an invitation to participate in a special commemoration on the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attack, and he chose to take along Sheikh Akel Elatrash, commander of ZAKA’s Bedouin Unit in the Negev. “We slept in the same room, ate our meals together, and toured Manhattan together,” Meshi-Zahav tells ISRAEL21c. With one sporting a black velvet skullcap and long gray sidelocks and the other in traditional Arab robe and headdress, the two caused quite a stir. “People asked if we were part of a film,” he recalls. 

Though Meshi-Zahav’s life story could easily be mistaken for a screenplay, he is as real as the flesh and blood he encounters at the scenes of accidents, crimes and terrorist attacks. Brought up in the insular Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea Shearim, he was ingrained to distrust “the other” and to disdain Zionism as evil.

Arrested 34 Times for Anti-Zionist Agitation

“The haredi community is set up with ‘walls’ to protect us from outside influences” Meshi-Zahav says, speaking in Hebrew translated by his foreign media spokeswoman, Lydia Weitzman, and ZAKA development director David Rose. “I never knew there were Jews who act and behave differently and that they are also good people.” The 11th generation Jerusalemite was taught that there was a correct and incorrect way to do things, “and if we did something the incorrect way, we were called Zionists.” This same man, who proudly lit the torch ushering in the State of Israel’s Independence Day celebrations in 2003, was arrested 34 times at anti-Zionist demonstrations as a youth.

At some point, the young Meshi-Zahav developed an affinity for the police who apprehended him time and again. “I began to see them as regular people who wanted to go home to their families after a day’s work,” he relates. “I started to see that a lot of things could be settled more easily by just sitting and talking to one another.”
With this revelation as a backdrop, on July 6, 1989 Meshi-Zahav heard the explosion and subsequent screams emanating from a bus driven into a ravine by a terrorist. He and some friends rushed to the scene, determined to help tend the wounded and collect scattered body parts and blood for burial.
Though his mother had set a volunteering example with her regular visits to terminally ill patients, Meshi-Zahav knew neither first aid nor forensics. But he knew Jewish laws regarding human remains, and he discovered that no organization in Israel was authorized to do this gruesome but sacred work.

Free Access to Palestinian hospitals

His life took on a new purpose: “Even though we Israelis have different opinions about how the state should be, the time had come to live together.” Over the next six years, he lay the groundwork for ZAKA–the only group of its kind worldwide, it is recognized by the United Nations as an international volunteer humanitarian organization. Donations make up most of its funding; about 10 percent of the budget comes from the government.
ZAKA in Haiti

During the Arab uprising or intifada from 2000 to 2006, Meshi-Zahav and about 600 volunteers rarely slept, constantly on alert for the next call. Working knee-deep in blood, Meshi-Zahav was fortified by his faith. “At the time, I thought we were dealing with kavod hamet–honoring the dead. By the end, I realized that we were actually honoring the living, because a family whose loved one cannot receive a full Jewish burial has no rest.”
ZAKA developed an avenue for transferring the remains of terrorists to the Palestinian Authority. “Our humanitarian message is the key that allows us to open doors to all communities,” Meshi-Zahav says. “Even during [those years], we were going into Palestinian hospitals when we needed to.”
ZAKA in Haiti

Today, some 1,500 Jewish, Muslim and Druze ZAKA volunteers carry out lifesaving, rescue and recovery operations in Israel and around the world, garnering numerous awards including a citation from New York City for assistance following 9/11. The organization was one of those from Israel that was active in Haiti after the earthquake. Awareness of ZAKA’s mission has grown in Israel and abroad.

I have no strikes or vacations

“Before ZAKA, if there was a traffic accident in Israel, paramedics would take care of the injured and a private ambulance would come to take the dead…but if there were body parts, nobody collected them,” says Meshi-Zahav. “The firemen would wash down all the blood and that was the end of it. Now it is in the Israeli consciousness to call us instead.”
ZAKA has also changed attitudes in the haredi community, now one of its largest pools of volunteers. In the early years, Meshi-Zahav’s children were derided at school for their father’s close cooperation with official Israeli agencies. But even when the social pressure eased, the time pressure did not. Calls come day and night from ZAKA’s hotline or from the army, emergency services, police, firefighters, Homefront Command or foreign governments.
“My typical day’s schedule is not fixed by me, but by the angel of death,” Meshi-Zahav says. “I have no strikes or vacations.”

ZAKA rescue scene
ZAKA at Burned Bus in Carmel Fire

The Carmel Forest fire earlier at the beginning of December was a case in point. ZAKA volunteers rappelled down a hill to reach the site of the burned bus carrying prison guards and sift through the charred wreckage to uncover all human remains before the victims were buried. Another team worked to identify the charred bodies. “The people of Israel owe you much gratitude for the holy work that you have been doing,” Interior Minister Eli Yishai told them. While awaiting better times with perfect faith, Meshi-Zahav remains dedicated to his twin missions of disaster response and bettering society. “In the same way that enemies don’t distinguish between different types of Jews, we too must be for everyone,” he says. “Our guiding principle is our belief that all men were made in the image of God.”

Joy and Grief~Update to the Carmel Fire

After fighting for his life for two weeks, Danny Hayat became the 44th victim of the disastrous Carmel fire on the 19th of December. On Tuesday, ten days after he succumbed to his burns, his widow, Hofit gave birth to a healthy girl at the Afula hospital–mother and daughter are both doing well.
Danny Hayat, his partner Uri Samandayev along with 16-year-old volunteer fireman Elad Rivan were called to the scene where the bus was trapped. The three fought the flames that engulfed the bus which had been carrying cadets to help with the evacuation of Damon Prison, which held terrorist prisoners. Samandayev and Rivan died at the scene, while Hayat was rescued in critical condition, suffering from burns to 65 percent of his body. He was hospitalized for two weeks at Rambam, and only recently had begun receiving artificial skin grafts. Family and friends had felt that he was getting stronger and would recover.
Danny Hayat was the founder and commander of the Jezreel rescue unit. The unit’s flag hung outside the intensive care room while Hayat was in the hospital. In addition to his wife and baby daughter Danny left behind two sons.

Pray for Israel~The Disaster Continues

Fleeing the Bus Shot thru Back Window by R. Sofer

This information is taken from several blogs and news reports. The first story is from a blog called Shearim. This link is to an Israeli newscast that followed Israeli photographer Roni Sofer back to the location where he observed the burning bus and in fact saved three of the people from the burning wreck. He is an expert photographer and wanted to get pictures of the disaster. He describes the road as they drive down is saying that very quickly there were “walls of fire”.  He soon realized he must make a quick escape and turned around to drive to safety. There were two other cars and the bus full of prison guards coming and he warned them to make a run for it. The two cars turned around (Note: the driver of one of the cars–from Tiberias–is still missing). The bus, unable to turn around was already on fire and Roni saw three people–a woman and two men–running towards him asking for help. The video shows the pictures he was able to snap of them running from the bus through his rear window. They escaped to safety, but the guards and Haifa police commander, Ahuva Tomer, who was in one of the cars did not. Ahuva Tomer is now in critical condition burned over 60% of her body and fighting for her life.

American 747 Supertanker
The American ‘Evergreen 747 Super Tanker is now over Carmel joining fighters from many nations in the fight to control the massive fire that is still burning.
Meanwhile the crew of an air force plane fighting the fires spotted two men in a pickup truck trying to start a fire near one of the areas where a part of the blaze had recently been put out. The air force crew contacted police on the ground with the location of the truck and minutes later police arrived on the scene and arrested the suspects. In the last days arabs around the country have been starting fires to disrupt the efforts in Carmel. Hezbollah is celebrating the lost of life and forest in Northern Israel. “The great Carmel fire has embarrassed Israel’s firefighting capabilities and proved its almost complete incompetence,” crowed the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar TV news network. The arab press is  claiming that Ithis shows Israel is weak and no longer able to defend itself because we had to ask for help–and the dancing in the streets continues.

PA Firefighters Arriving to Help Israel
On the positive side, twenty-one Palestinian Firefighters have entered Israel through the Salem crossing accompanied by Administration Personnel. According to Ayash, the Palestinian people viewed the disaster with a great deal of sorrow.  He said the cooperation has nothing to do with the relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. “We came here to help without addressing the issue of Jews and Arabs,” Ayash added. “We will stay in the Carmel region until the fire is put out.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had telephoned President Mahmoud Abbas to express his thanks at “neighbours helping neighbours”.
This disaster is estimated to cost 3-4 billion dollars and take decades to recover from. Israelis have already started the long task. They begin by laying their dead to rest, taking in the displaced and starting to rebuild. During this week of Chanukah we know one thing, that miracles do happen and that is proven by the biggest miracle of all–we are still here and we are still standing together.
Video~Commander Ahuva Tomer Driving into the Blaze (0:30)
Overview of the Events and Firefighting Efforts