Shabbat with Ukraine’s Refugees

March 16 2022

A group of volunteers from Israel has been helping Ukrainian Jews as they make their way to the Holy Land. Cole Aronson writes about his Shabbat with refugees in the Moldovan capital of Chișinău (formerly Kishinev):

Tonight is different from all other nights. “Stand and leave the tumult; too long have you lived in the valley of tears” reads the third verse of L’kha Dodi, the central hymn of Friday night’s liturgy. Tonight, God has brought these people to a safe waystation between war in Ukraine and a Jewish nation free in its land.

A man in his early thirties standing next to me knows the first few lines of the sh’ma, the central Jewish prayer recited twice each day, which he says, eyes shut, while holding an infant son. After he finishes his own recitation, he gestures at me to say the rest of my own prayer louder, so he and his child can hear what our ancestors have said for thousands of years. After the sh’ma, we continue: “He is the Lord our God, there is none besides Him, and we are Israel His people. The One who saves us from the grasp of kings—our King, who redeems us from the hands of tyrants . . . ”

In Kishinev, these lines aren’t a memory but a description. My sh’ma companion, his son, and the others are traveling to new lives under the guard of a Jewish army, itself much of the answer to two millennia of dispersal and powerlessness.

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Read more at Common Sense

More about: Judaism, Moldava, Refugees, Sh'ma, Shabbat, War in Ukraine

 

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela