With the exception of holiday conflicts and summer break, NH4Israel hosts biweekly talks with refreshments at Manchester’s Temple Israel (TIM) at 6:30PM on alternate Wednesdays. If other venues and weekdays are scheduled, word of the change will be publicized in advance as well as posted on the calendar of events at NH4Israel.org. NH4Israel guest speakers generally address current issues surrounding the state of Israel as well as historical analyses of topics such as the Diaspora, Jew-hatred and the making of Israel.
On January 6th, Emil Campeanu, an Israeli member of NH4Israel, presented “The Ingathering”, Part II of the multipart Tkuma series on the rebirth of Israel and its first 50 years. The segment covered the return of the Jews in the Diaspora from 1948 to 1998 when the country counted some 6.5 million Jews and 1.8 million Arabs. The greatest periods of immigration were the period immediately following WWII and a second big wave following Israel’s rebirth. The former were survivors of the Holocaust; the latter were evicted from Mohammedan countries following Israel’s independence. Particularly gripping was the plight of the Yemeni Jews who trekked on foot through the desert via Saudi Arabia suffering many casualties along the way. This led to Israel’s first massive airlift, “Operation Magic Carpet” lifting Diaspora Jews from Yemen back to the land of their forefathers’ forefathers.
Israeli airlifts also brought back entire communities of Ethiopian Jews. Despite the fact that Israel’s immigrants were Jews one and all, multiculturalism took some wrestling with Jacobs descendents to be called one Israel. Those who came from European cultures might have thought themselves “more cultured” than their north African and Middle East brethren, but those Sephardic Jews who for generations lived in the Holy Land. Well, they knew better.
The documentary narrates in detail Israel’s housing (and water, sewage and utility) shortage for the new immigrants. Yet the newcomers did not look back; they knew life would be uphill from these beginnings. Most importantly – regardless of their material quality of life; in Israel they felt safe.
On the 20th, Emil hosted the Tkuma portion on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The IDF is truly a “peoples’ army” since both males and females are conscripted; males for 36 months, females for 21. Israel is the only country that conscripts its young women. The Israeli military moreover is based on the small conscripted force with reserve forces (of those who completed their service). Their small force of younger soldiers has proven to be up to the job of defending the country if there is no invasion. And Israel was first to use small elite units to attack as uniformed commandos. This proved highly effective in taking the battles across the “Green Line” in the form of raids. The commando’s commander, young Ariel Sharon, chose the number 101st for the commando unit in order to make Arab armies think there might be one hundred more such indefatigable units.
The viewer becomes a true spectator during the coverage of the rest of Israel’s battles of the twentieth century as the technology of battlefield cinematography advanced. Footage moved from shades of grey to color to make Israel’s many wars seem so real. Every decade saw struggle. There was the Suez Crisis in the fifties. The sixties brought the successes of the 1967 Six-Day War – only to be cemented with near defeat at one point in the Yom Kippur War.of 1973. The seventies saw massacres by Israel’s enemies at European airports and the Munich Olympic Games. Hijackings did not always end like the successful Entebbe raid of 1976. The eighties saw the war with Lebanon and the destruction of the Iraq’s nuclear program. And the nineties saw Israel suffer from Iraqi scud missiles, which miraculously saw one casualty, and that was from a heart attack caused indirectly from missiles.
More lectures on the Tkuma series and other educational films on Israel are planned for the 2016 season. Find out more and sign up for email updates at NH4Israel.org.