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Israeli Studies initiative at University of Calgary researching experience of Sephardic women

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Canadian Conservative leader Erin O’Toole: “It will really take a change in government to have (Iranian terror) issue taken seriously.” (Photo: TheJ.ca files)

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Conservative leader fields question from TheJ.ca

From among the Jewish media in Canada, only TheJ.ca was invited to take part in a special virtual ethnocultural press conference held this week by the Leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament, Erin O’Toole. And our submission was the only question related to international policy chosen for a response.

A Member of Parliament since 2012, O’Toole was a member of Stephen Harper’s cabinet and Foreign Affairs critic under his predecessor, Andrew Scheer. He won the race to become Conservative leader in August and went straight to work establishing ties with the national ethnic media, holding his first virtual session in October. This event was to mark his first 100 days in his new role.

O’Toole delivered opening remarks to 44 media outlets by reflecting upon the economic effects of the pandemic, and the logistics of a COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. “We need a real plan from the Mr. Trudeau’s government, because Canadian families across this country want their lives back.” He also noted he has raised issues concerning national unity with the Prime Minister and stood for Keystone XL pipeline, addressing the influence exerted by the regime in China, and spoke of “the values I bring to public service – to stand up for Canadian workers, for the families, for the seniors.” 

“Canadian conservatives have always championed multiculturalism and inclusion,” he said, signaling his hope the party base will expand. Many of the questioners focused on fiscal or immigration issues, and O‘Toole took aim at massive federal deficits with no fiscal plan tabled but a reliance on vague policy “guardrails” such as low interest rates enabling more spending.

“As all of you know, the bill will come, and our children will be forced to pay the debts of Mr. Trudeau’s government and the Liberals are already planning to raise taxes.”

The Publisher of TheJ.ca, Ron East, was called upon to ask a question, which he said, “has been top of mind of the Jewish community for some time. Under your leadership, will Canada finally list the IRGC as a terrorist organization and move forward with that designation?”

“You’re raised a great point“O’Toole replied, saying the Tories had raised concerns with the government about groups requiring both designation and tracking any potential malign influence within Canada. According to Public Safety Canada, “one of the consequences of being listed is that the entity’s property can be the subject of seizure/restraint and/or forfeiture. In addition, institutions such as banks, brokerages, etc. are subject to reporting requirements with respect to an entity’s property and must not allow those entities to access the property.” 

O’Toole reminded the media, “We passed a motion 2 1/2 years ago… and the Liberals themselves voted for it – and then they did nothing on it.”

Noting the destruction of the Ukrainian airline with Canadians aboard earlier this year by members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, he said Conservatives will continue to push the government to deal with terrorism. In concluding his reply to East, O’Toole asserted “the Liberals have dragged their feet for several years. It will really take a change in government to have this issue taken seriously.”

UCalgary welcomes inaugural postdoctoral fellow in Israeli Studies

(news.ucalgary.ca) The support of Israeli Studies initiatives at the University of Calgary has been revitalized in an innovative fashion thanks to a generous donation by well-known philanthropist Jenny Belzberg and her late husband, Hy Belzberg. 

Establishing the Dr. Jenny and Hy Belzberg Scholar in Israeli Studies Endowment within the Faculty of Arts, the university recently welcomed the program’s first postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Angy Cohen, PhD.  

Based in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, Cohen will be researching the experience of Sephardic Jewish women as they have struggled to embrace feminism in a way that does not clash with their cultural traditions. 

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Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, Cohen achieved a BA in psychology and an MA in philosophy. Moving to Israel in 2013 she earned a joint PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Universidad Autónoma of Madrid in 2017. 

Cohen’s PhD dissertation was of a deeply personal nature. Her family on her father’s side came from Spanish Morocco, her ancestors having originated in the Iberian Peninsula. Cohen researched the life stories of Moroccan Jews born and raised in the former Spanish protectorate in Northern Morocco. Her comparative study of Moroccan Jews who immigrated to Israel and those who moved to  Argentina was eye-opening. 

“The Spanish Moroccan identity that evolved in Israel was very different from the one that evolved in Argentina, and this had to do with the experience of immigration,” says Cohen. “I really delved into the impact of prejudice and discrimination and how we are affected by the way we are perceived.” 

Early and frequent supporters of the University of Calgary on a number of fronts, the Belzbergs have long been key patrons of Israeli Studies and Canada-Israel academic exchange initiatives on campus dating back to 1985.

Following the passing of her husband Hy in 2017, after 68 years of marriage, Jenny was determined to breathe new life into Israeli Studies at UCalgary. The generous gift which allowed for the creation of the Dr. Jenny and Hy Belzberg Scholar in Israeli Studies Endowment is the demonstration of her commitment. 

Belzberg feels that Israel is often misunderstood and vilified. Israeli Studies is important to the university, the Jewish community and society at large, she feels. “I feel there is a need for Israeli professors to speak the truth about our homeland,” she says. “Yes, it’s a country with a lot of problems but also a lot of greatness, a lot to be proud of, and it needs to be better understood.” 

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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