Africa

Israel sends humanitarian aid to Congo

By Jennifer Lipman, July 13, 2010

An Israeli medical team has arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo to treat burn victims, following a fuel tanker explosion which killed and injured hundreds of people.

The delegation from Tel Aviv’s Sheba Medical Centre has taken medical equipment to treat those wounded in the disaster

More than 60,000 litres of fuel went up in flames in the city of Sange in the east of the country on July 2.

The doctors, sent there by Israel's National Agency for International Cooperation (MASHAV), are all specialists in plastic surgery and burns.

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Katie Levy pounds high-altitude streets of Ethiopia for charity

By Candice Krieger, January 7, 2010

When avid runner Katie Levy was offered the chance to race in Ethiopia, she knew it was an opportunity not to pass up.

Miss Levy, 34, spent 10 days with her local London running group, Serpentine, touring the northern highlands of the African country before arriving in the capital to take part in the 10K Great Ethiopian Run, started by world record holders for the marathon, Paula Radcliffe and Haile Gebreselassie.

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Ethiopian aliyah may restart

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 3, 2009

The lobby calling for the renewed emigration of the Falashmura to Israel scored a significant victory this week after the Jewish Agency confirmed that it would support bringing more than 8,000 members of the Ethiopian community to Israel.

The Jewish Agency chairman Nathan Sharansky will ask the Israeli government to renew its efforts to bring over the members of the Falashmura currently living in a compound in the Ethiopian city of Gondar. This is a reversal of the agency’s previous policy and of the government’s decision that all Falashmura emigration was to end in 2008.

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Women back protest over Congo atrocities

By Simon Rocker, November 26, 2009

A Progressive rabbi was among the participants in a high-profile event to call for an end to the atrocities in the one of the world’s worst conflict zones, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk of Westminster Synagogue joined a multi-faith rally last Thursday at London’s Albert Hall to highlight the rape and torture of women and girls in the eastern part of the country, in particular.

The event marked 100 years since the Great Congo Demonstration, held at the same venue, to protest against murder and slavery at that time.

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A day of pride for Ethiopians

By Ben Lynfield, November 19, 2009

For their forebears in Ethiopia, the Sigd was a religious holiday renewing their covenant with God and expressing longing for Zion. But for many among the thousands marking it in Jerusalem on Monday, the festival was more of a day of ethnic pride.

“The sigd is very empowering,” said Aviva Nagosa, 32. “It is the only thing left that joins us all together.”

While in Ethiopia, the Sigd highlighted the uniqueness of the Beta Yisrael — the ancient Jewish community — amongst their Ethiopian neighbours, today it defines them as a distinguished group among other Israeli Jews.

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Zimbabwe needs money, says South African Rabbi

By Moira Schneider, November 12, 2009

The community in Zimbabwe is still in dire need of financial help because of the erosion of the value of their currency, says the South African rabbi in charge of aid efforts.

Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft will be awarded the 2009 Commonwealth Jewish Council and Trust Anniversary Award by London Mayor Boris Johnson on Tuesday.

One of three recipients, he was selected for his “dedication and service to the Jewish people of sub-Saharan Africa and in particular for his brave support and crucial visits with supplies for the remaining Jewish community in Zimbabwe.”

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Lev Leviev agrees to debt deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 5, 2009

Israeli billionaire and Lubavitch philanthropist Lev Leviev has reached an agreement to refinance the loans that his company took out from banks and pension funds in Israel.

Africa-Israel announced two months ago that it would have trouble repaying the loans, which total £1.2 billion. Mr Leviev will pay about ten per cent of the debt from his private funds and be allowed to retain control of the company.

Part of the loans will be repaid in Africa-Israel shares and the rest of the repayments will be spread over the next ten years.

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Nurses find 'Hebrew' African village

By Robyn Rosen, October 29, 2009

Two Jewish nursing students had a pleasant surprise when they travelled to an impoverished town in Ghana only to discover a health clinic decorated with Stars of David.

Katie Susser and Sarah Mercer, both third year students at Birmingham University, have just returned from a two-month trip to Tamale, northern Ghana.

They volunteered at the Shekhinah Clinic, which was founded by Dr David Abdulai in 1989 and is run by local volunteers, helping patients with malaria, HIV and leprosy.

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Graduate joins Rwandan mercy mission for WJR

By Robyn Rosen, October 29, 2009

An Oxford graduate has taken part in a charity trip to Rwanda to help current or former street children reintegrate into family life and wider society.

Hannah Goldie, 22, spent a week in Kayonza, an eastern Rwandan province as part of a 10-person World Jewish Relief mission. She was chosen from close on 20 young applicants for a place largely financed by “a generous subsidy” from the Ansel Harris Memorial Fund.

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South Africa calls for expat Jews to return

By Leon Symons, September 3, 2009

A call by new South African president Jacob Zuma for expatriate Jews to return home has received a lukewarm response in the UK.

President Zuma made his plea to an 800-strong audience at the national conference of the South African Board of Deputies in Johannesburg on Saturday night.

“This country has a massive skills shortage as a result of decades of neglect and deliberate under-investment,” he said. “This problem is exacerbated by the emigration of skilled people. We must reverse the trend.

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