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Our Kiwi in Israel 2017

Michael Kuttner


July 17, 2017 by Michael Kuttner

Living in Israel is exciting and rewarding for those of us not consumed by the endless stream of negative dramas which the media loves to peddle.

Here are another three examples of good news which may have escaped your notice this week.


A brand new nighttime presentation in the City of David is opening. It tells the saga of our return and rebuilding of Jerusalem spanning 2,500 years since the Babylonian exile. This unique cinematic experience takes place at the very place where it all happened and is a dramatic response to all those who wish to delegitimize our presence here. Next time you are in Jerusalem make a point of seeing this amazing show.


In an event which can only be describes as a miracle of Biblical proportions, Israel's Knesset Speaker, Yuli Edelstein, was given red carpet treatment on his recent visit to Russia.

As the first Israeli to speak in the Federation Council, the Upper House of the Russian Parliament, this former Prisoner of Zion, incarcerated by the Soviet Union for teaching Hebrew, spoke to the assembled deputies in the very language he had been imprisoned for teaching.

“Thirty-three years ago, I was a prisoner here in Moscow, [held] by the authorities of the Soviet Union, for the crime of teaching the Hebrew language,” Edelstein said. I was imprisoned because I taught the language that told the world of the rejection of tyranny and the rise of just rule, love of humanity and the hope for freedom. The language in which the prophets of Israel prophesied about the day that ‘nation will not lift up sword against nation, and they will no longer learn war.’ I was imprisoned because I acted to spread the language in which Abraham, the founder of the Jewish people, was told: ‘Go from your land, the place you were born, the home of your father, to the land I will show you.’ Only after nine years as a refusenik, including three years of hard labor in the Gulag, could I also follow in Abraham's footsteps.

The Knesset Speaker also visited the courtroom where he had been tried and the cell where he had been kept prior to his exile to Siberia.

The Soviet Union is no more but the Jewish People still live in their historical homeland.


The undoubted highlight of the recent visit to Israel by the Indian Prime Minister was an emotional meeting with the young survivor of the Mumbai massacre in which Moshe's parents (Chabad Shlichim) were murdered. Meeting with Moshe, his Indian Nanny who saved him, grandparents and Israel's PM this reunion was recorded by many media outlets. Watching this, one can hardly fail to be moved.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel where he is J-Wire's correspondent.