Monday, May 26, 2014

VIDEO: Pope Francis Departure Ceremony From Israel

PM Netanyahu's Remarks to Pope Francis at Memorial to Victims of Terrorism on Mt. Herzl

Edited by Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel --- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Monday, 26 May 2014), at the memorial to victims of terrorism on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem, made the following remarks to Pope Francis:

"When my son was ten years old, his best friend was a girl, a beautiful Ethiopian girl, who sat next to him in class. One day she didn’t come. She was blown up in a bus not far from here because there was no fence, no security wall.

I’m grateful for your words today. Israel wants peace. Here we have a hospital, Hadassah Hospital. Palestinians come to this hospital. With the wall, they come. We cannot go to their hospitals, they come to our hospitals. We don’t teach our children to plant bombs. We teach them peace. But we have to build a security wall against those who teach the other side. But it cannot prevent the incitement to hate and terror and the destruction of Israel that permeates so much of the society on the other side of the fence. If that changes, then the walls could come down and we will have peace."

Pope Francis Visiting The Memorial to Victims of Terrorism in Jerusalem, Israel

Pope Francis Visiting The Memorial to Victims of Terrorism in Jerusalem, Israel

Follow the Pope's visit to the Holyland here:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Israel Welcomes Pope Francis

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Within 24 hours, the fourth Pope to visit Israel will arrive in the Holy Land.
Pope Francis is under no obligation to visit Jordan, Israel and Palestinians.
He is not running for office. He is not closing a business deal. Nor is he seeking to find a cheaper source of gas for the Vatican from the newly discovered gas and oil fields off the shores of Israel.

The Catholic church was not always welcoming of Jews and of Israel.
For centuries, Jews were portrayed as the rejecters of Christ, “perfidious” objects of contempt to be isolated and humiliated until they “saw the light,” a non-people shorn of their covenantal heritage including the ancient and biblical right to the Land of Israel.

Inquisition, blood libel, pogrom, burning of the Talmud and burning Jews at the stake, ghettoization and the Holocaust – these were the fruits of 2,000 years of vicious Christian anti-Semitism.

In our generation, one Pope was complicity silent throughout the Holocaust. Another Pope warmly embraced Egyptian born Yasser Arafat way back when (in 1982) when no one else would go near the terrorist mastermind. It took until 1993 for the Vatican to establish diplomatic recognition to the State of Israel.

But Pope Francis is a different Pope offering different solutions to a 2014 Middle East.
He comes to the Middle East, not as a politician but rather as a pilgrim on a religious journey.
Pope Francis comes to Israel with deep respect for the Jewish religion, for Muslims and the poor.

In Jordan today, he spoke out against the violence in Syria, where over 100,000 civilians have been murdered by President Assad. He will then take a helicopter to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ.
There he is expected to embrace himself in deep prayer. He may call for a Palestinian state but this must be balanced with a call for Palestinians to recognize the Jewish state of Israel.

The Pope, who is truly a man of peace, should also address Islamic Jihad - whose sole purpose is to convert or murder every Jew and Christian.

Pope Francis before leaving for Bethlehem needs to make a plea to end the Palestinian incitement against Jews. That propaganda posters that portray Israeli soldiers kicking and beating Jesus Christ be removed from every wall. If the Pope truly wants to create bridges of understanding - he must confront the hatred presently being taught by Palestinian Arabs to their children.

 Palestinians use blood libel and hate posters to welcome the Pope.

He must say to  Palestinian leaders: "Don't try to play divide and conquer between the Jews and the Catholics and Christians."

Pope Francis will visit the Western Wall, will lay a wreath on the tomb of Theodor Herzl and walk through the Holocaust museum of Yad Veshem in Jerusalem. He will show deep respect for the global Jewish community. And Rabbi Avraham Skorka head of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary of the Conservative Movement in Buenos Aires, who is accompanying the Pope to Israel, will make certain that there are no cultural mistakes.

Rabbi Skorka and Pope Francis are long term friends. Close friends who deeply trust one another.
They both embrace and practice interfaith dialogue, creating bridges of understanding and respect.
It is up to these two men to openly request of the PA and of the Muslim community to stop the seeds of hatred and incitement against the Jewish community.

Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently said that the prevalence of anti-Semitism in the West Bank, as noted in the Anti-Defamation League's global survey of the phenomenon released last week, is the direct result of the Palestinian leadership's incitement.

Ranking anti-Semitic sentiments by region, the ADL determined that the most anti-Semitic regions were found to be the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Palestinian anti-Semitism is “pervasive throughout society,” the ADL found, with 93% of respondents affirming anti-Jewish stereotypes.

When President Ronald Reagan visited Berlin in 1987 and demanded of the Soviet Union to "tear down this wall" - it is now up to Pope Francis to state "tear down the hate".

Israel warmly welcomes Pope Francis to Israel. We invite you, the reader to join us on Facebook to show your support. He is a good friend. He is an ally. Both Catholics and Jews face a common enemy.
If the Pope does not address Islamic Jihad and it's intolerance of "infidels" - Jews and Christians - he will have missed a potent opportunity.

The Pope is now going to visit the only democracy in the Middle East.
Israel which practices freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
Let's pray that the Pope speaks out against Islamic hatred and intolerance.
He will not be able to state such words in any other nation in that region.

Joel Leyden is a respected journalist and international media consultant who has lived in the Middle East for over 25 years. Leyden has served as a senior consultant to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has assisted Israel in the development and use of digital media.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Palestinians Welcome Pope Francis To Bethlehem With Anti-Semitism

By ADL with Joel Leyden

On Sun­day, when Pope Fran­cis cel­e­brates mass in Bethlehem’s Manger Square, he may be con­fronted with bill­boards depict­ing Jesus being attacked by Israeli soldiers.


This not-so-subtle mod­ern day ver­sion of the dei­cide is trans­par­ent clas­si­cal anti-Semitism in the guise of crit­i­cism of Israel.  The posters are a prod­uct of The Pales­tin­ian Museum, which announced that at the request of the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity (PA)’s Supreme Pres­i­den­tial Com­mit­tee for Church Affairs, it had pre­pared spe­cial bill­boards to dec­o­rate Manger Square which “com­bine recent media pho­tographs of the Pales­tin­ian land­scape and its peo­ple with West­ern baroque paint­ings of bib­li­cal scenes.”

The posters, some of which depict Jesus suf­fer­ing at the hands of Israeli sol­diers, will high­light “the ten­sion between the pop­u­lar image of the Holy Land and Palestine’s ongo­ing his­tory of suf­fer­ing under occu­pa­tion and oppres­sion,”  accord­ing to the Museum.

Pales­tin­ian efforts to present them­selves as the direct descen­dants of Jesus are noth­ing new.  Nor is the manip­u­la­tive and anti-Semitic com­par­i­son of Pales­tin­ian suf­fer­ing at the hands of Jews just as they claim Jews were respon­si­ble for suf­fer­ing and death of Jesus.

The mes­sage care­fully cho­sen by an offi­cial Pales­tin­ian body to pub­licly wel­come Pope Fran­cis demon­strates how deeply inter­min­gled anti-Jewish and anti-Israel atti­tudes are in the Pales­tin­ian pub­lic sphere.

At the weekly meet­ing of Israel’s cab­i­net, Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu decried Pales­tin­ian incite­ment, cit­ing the ADL Global 100 Sur­vey find­ings about the high level of anti-Semitic atti­tudes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

While the PA reg­u­larly com­plains that incite­ment is an Israeli-manufactured excuse, there is no deny­ing that extreme anti-Israel and anti-Semitic mes­sag­ing appears rou­tinely in offi­cial Pales­tin­ian pub­li­ca­tions and institutions.

Ear­lier this week, the May 21st edi­tion of the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, fea­tured an op-ed by one of its fre­quent writ­ers, Yahya Rabah, enti­tled “No One Believes Shy­lock,” fea­tur­ing the denial of the Jew­ish con­nec­tion to the Land of Israel, com­par­isons of Israel to the Nazis and other out­rages.   Rabah writes:
… Israel lives on a broad and exten­sive sys­tem of laws from the British Man­date, on illu­sion­ary Torah maps, as well as on hal­lu­ci­na­tions from the Baby­lon­ian cap­tiv­ity or from the Roman, the exis­tence of nei­ther has no sin­gle evi­dence. (It also lives) on prac­tices bor­rowed from the Nazis, cur­rently imi­tated by the Israelis against the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple, as clearly estab­lished by a num­ber of intel­lec­tu­als, authors and his­to­ri­ans in Israel these days.”
The issue of Pales­tin­ian incite­ment, and the PA’s chronic fail­ure to pre­pare the Pales­tin­ian pub­lic for peace with Israel was on ongo­ing con­cern cited by Israeli offi­cials dur­ing the recent cycle of US-brokered peace nego­ti­a­tions.

And with these egre­gious exam­ples appear­ing almost-daily, it is cer­tain to con­tinue to alarm all those com­mit­ted to true Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Pope, Israel PR And Christ Killed By Jews

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

After living in Israel for over 25 years and consulting the government on both public relations and public affairs, I may have truly found the major source of conflict against the Jews and Israel.

It took coming to the US for three years and seeing the United States as an Israeli and as an American. You see, we don't have anti-semitism in Israel. We only have war. Anti-semitism is much more covert. Much like an iceberg, only a very small part is visible to the eye. In fact, the ADL recently revealed that one of four people worldwide hold anti-semetic views. But most are silent about it and keep it to their family and friends.

It was about one year ago that I went to exchange some money at a very well known, commercial money wire company that I heard it. As I was waiting for my change, the clerk said to me: "don't worry, I won't Jew you down." I have heard of this expression being used but never had my own ears receive it. This combat solder from the IDF does not tolerate attacks on Jews. I had to ask her again what she said. "Don't worry, I won't Jew you down." With that I responded: "If you made that comment to a Jew, I think they would find it very offensive." With that her face turned white. She was visibly embarrased and explained that it was "just a saying." I believed her. But such a racist attack which has become "just a saying" is about as dangerous as it gets.

When you live in Israel, you read about anti-semetism. You don't experience it. When living in the US or Europe, you might just see it. But where does it come from?

As Pope Francis is about to arrive in Israel, the Israeli government, in particular, Prime Minister Netanyahu have a very special opportunity. Netanyahu should reguest that the Pope denounce any belief that the Jews killed Christ.

Actually, it is not a rumor, but is written in the New Testament.

In the Gospel of John, the phrase "the Jews" is used at least nine times to denote those who encouraged and assisted in Jesus' execution. In the Book of Matthew (27: 25-26) the Jews accept responsibility for the execution. When the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate hesitates over deciding Jesus' fate, the Jews assembled before Pilate demand that Jesus be crucified, proclaiming "His blood be on us, and on our children." It is these words that Catholics and Christians are taught. And our Islamic enemies attempt to divide Christian and Jew with these words.

We have no greater friends in the world than modern day Christians. Just look at the millions who belong to the Facebook group: "Christians United For Israel".

If the Pope can openly denounce this blood libel, and state that these gospels are not accurate, it would bring much more harmony between Jews and Christians and could eliminate much of the source of anti-semetism.

To have Pope Francis denounce Jews killed Christ would follow and reinforce a precedent. Several Christian denominations have denounced the claim that the Jews killed Christ. In 1965, the Second Vatican Council issued the Nostra Autate statement, which declare that "what happened in His [Jesus'] passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today."

If Pope Francis can openly declare to all publishers and teachers of the bible to delete those sentences which condemn the Jewish nation, then we will see a more peaceful world. 
Less hate, more understanding and support for the democratic State of Israel. 

After all, there is no nation in the Middle East which is more democratic and tolerant to Christianity, and openly enforces the basic, human right of freedom of religion.

Joel Leyden is the publisher of the Israel News Agency and operates,
Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Israel Urges United Nations To Mark Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur

Israel: United Nations Needs To Recognize Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur

(Reuters) - Israel on Friday called for the United Nations to officially mark the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, a day of atonement in September or October when Jews seek forgiveness by fasting and praying.

Of the 10 holidays already recognized by the United Nations, four are religious: the Christian holidays of Christmas and Good Friday, and the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
"There are three monotheistic religions, yet only two are recognized by the U.N. calendar. Such discrimination at the U.N. must end," Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor wrote in a letter to all envoys at the 193-member world body.

A vote by the U.N. General Assembly is likely needed to approve the holiday, during which buildings would be closed and no meetings held. Yom Kippur sometimes conflicts with the annual General Assembly of world leaders in September.

"On the one hand, the United Nations advances values of cooperation and engagement among nations, on the other hand, it is prioritizing one religion over the other," Prosor wrote. "It is about time Jewish employees at the U.N. won't be obligated to work on Yom Kippur."


Joel Leyden: Why Is Social Media Critical For Government, Business?

By Joel Leyden

New York --- May 20, 2014 ... It appears that many but not all governmental, commercial and non-profit organizations are embracing social media. The days of print news are very numbered.
Who wants to read about a news story that happened over 24 hours ago when you could be tracking it live on Twitter or Facebook?

Transcending the news cycle, are the sheer numbers.
There are now over 700 million people using Facebook!

So if branding and real time messaging is important to you, ya got to be on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube with an anchor to a Website or blog.

Most of those still using conventional media are doing so because of ignorance or computer phobia.

Over 17 billion dollars in revenue is expected from social media advertising and PR in 2014 - at least half of that coming directly from mobile apps. From a retail B2C perspective - buying panties at Victoria's Secret to booking your next hotel - online marketing is the place to be.

Joel Leyden: Gartner Research predicts
social media revenue
will reach $34 billion by 2016.

For governmental organizations which are facing a political crisis - real information in real time pours out from both Twitter and Facebook to millions. Though Twitter blossoms during real time events and Facebook has become more of a feature news venue to upload photos and discuss it.

For commercial organizations, it could mean life or death.

Today, it is being reported that McDonald's says that its new "Happy" mascot will bring "fun and excitement" to its children's meals, but social media posts - real feedback that makes focus groups appear weak contend that the toothy, red box-shaped character will have the opposite effect.
Twitter responses to McDonald's mascot announcement on Monday complain that the animated red Happy Meal box, with its shark looking dark mouth and rows of large white teeth, is scary and will create nightmares for children instead of joy. McDonalds now has a real time branding, crisis communications PR situation which it must respond to on social media in real time on Twitter and Facebook. They need to get out a news release for Google News. They need to engage millions of children and their parents on social media.

You can be sure that Burger King is smiling. And if they are smart promoting their own friendly food products on social media to children during this crisis. You can bet they will be responding to McDonalds posts on their Facebook page. It's called market share!
Who is smarter? Who is more aggressive? Who's using social media to engage, promote and sell?

If you have a Website, it's not enough.
You need to create a Facebook business page.
And with that add a Google Adwords and Facebook advertising campaign.

You need to work it day and night.
You need to add new friends.
You need to network smarter and harder - even if that means hiring someone to be online for you 18 hours a day.

And let's not forget
Great place to locate people and network for business.

The days of being found on a Google search are basically over. The results may not be real, irrelevant and even negative from a competitor. But when engaging with a live person on Facebook and or Twitter and seeing them in action on Youtube, then you know you have the real deal.

Only beware of avoiding getting hacked.
Make sure to click on Websites you are familiar with.
Never download apps you know nothing about.
And when it comes to donating to a cause - always get their real name, address and tax ID number before providing your own information.

Want to learn more about social media?
How to increase your revenue using Facebook, Youtube and Twitter?
Contact Joel Leyden today in New York or in Israel at or

For more information on Joel Leyden, click here

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Jewish Mayor Who Was Shot In Ukraine Begins Recovery In Israel

 By Israel News Agency / JTA 

The Jewish mayor of Ukraine’s second-largest city regained consciousness in an Israeli hospital following an assassination attempt. 

Gennady Kernes, who heads the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, awoke Monday at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa after two surgeries, Kharkov’s chief rabbi and Chabad emissary, Rabbi Moshe Moskovitz, told

Kernes was shot in the neck on April 28 during his routine morning jog. He was airlifted to Israel for treatment.

Ukrainian officials reportedly have opened an investigation into the shooting.
Ukraine has seen deadly clashes between political opponents since the eruption in November of a revolution that started with protests over then-President Viktor Yanukovych’s perceived pro-Russian policies. Yanukovych was ousted from power in February and replaced with an interim government that has scheduled elections for next month.

Kernes reportedly has played a major role in the confrontations between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces in the city. He had been a supporter of Yanukovych and then changed his stance, saying he does not support the pro-Russia insurgents or the annexation of Ukrainian territory.
Several anti-Semitic attacks, including two stabbings and two attempts to torch synagogues, have occurred since November in Ukraine.

According to the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, the 2009 election campaign in which Kernes became mayor was mired with anti-Semitic hate speech targeting him and other Jewish candidates.

Israel Defense Forces veterans who come from elite units are reported to be on the ground in the Ukraine. Acting as private citizens, they have begun patrols in major Ukrainian cities and gathering INTEL on Russian chain and command units in Ukraine who they believe are behind the anti-Semitic attacks.

Ukraine Jews From IDF Combat Units Defend Themselves From Anti-Semitism

By Israel News Agency / JTA

Ukrainian and Israeli Jews with extensive combat and intelligence skills have formed a rapid intervention force to stop anti-Semitic attacks.

The force, which was set up in recent weeks, currently is made up of eight men who served in the Ukrainian or Israeli armies or have martial arts skills, the team’s founder, Tzvi Arieli, told JTA Thursday. 

The Israel News Agency quoted security sources in Israel two weeks ago that Israel Defense Forces veterans were coordinating a potent effect to identify sources of  anti-Semitic attacks in the Ukraine and take the battle to the attackers. The INA said that much of the coordination was actually coming from the Russian government in order to create Jewish support for Russian troops.

Security sources have told the INA that over 200 Israelis from special forces units in the IDF are now on the ground in the Ukraine. These forces, which are acting as private citizens, are prepared to confront Russian command and control military units and expose their activities.

The defenders are armed with baseball bats that an American donor whose family hails from Kiev sent the team, he added. 

“We are trying to raise funds for bullet-proof vests which would greatly increase safety if the situation escalates,” said Arieli, a Latvia-born former soldier of a special forces unit in the Israel Defense Forces who lives in Ukraine.

Arieli said he set up the task force — which now has its own Facebook page – at the request of Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, a chief rabbi of Ukraine, following a series of anti-Semitic attacks that occurred in Kiev and beyond in the wake of a bloody revolution that erupted in November over former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s alleged corruption and perceived allegiance to Russia.
Yanukovych was ousted from power in February. The following month, Russian-backed troops seized control of the Crimean Peninsula – an area which used to belong to Ukraine and which Russia promptly annexed, claiming residents had sought Russian protection for fear of Ukrainian nationalism in the post-revolution period. Hundreds have died in clashes between different interest groups and militias.

“In talks with officials, it became clear the authorities could offer limited protection to the Jewish community so we needed to take security into our own hands,” said Arieli, who in March helped organize the medical evacuation of Ukrainians who had been wounded in fighting to Israel. He said the self-defense team was acting with Ukrainian authorities’ knowledge and consent.

Arieli also noted that Ukraine, where anti-Semitic assaults used to be rare occurrences, has seen four serious physical assaults against Orthodox Jews and two attempts to torch synagogues.

“These attacks were well-planned,” said Arieli, who blamed pro-Russian militants whom he said were trying to justify Russian aggression.

The Kremlin and some pro-Russian Ukrainians have blamed far-right Ukrainians for the attacks.
“The current reality means that even tomorrow we could find 20 people with firebombs outside the synagogue. We need to be prepared,” said Arieli.

The team is scheduled to deploy on Friday in Kiev to fend off any violence against Jewish targets during events that commemorate the May 9 surrender 69 years ago of Nazi Germany to the Russian army.