Tuesday, July 11, 2017
FEMALE MKS TO TAKE ANTI-PROSTITUTION FIGHT TO KNESSET NEXT WEEK.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE
Female MKs to take anti-prostitution fight to Knesset next week-Justice Ministry committee wraps up year-long evaluation on punishing the clients of prostitutes, to present findings to Ayelet Shaked next week; other lawmakers not waiting-By Marissa Newman July 10, 2017, 10:41 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Female lawmakers on Monday announced they would present legislation punishing the clients of prostitutes on Sunday, as the Justice Ministry wrapped up a year-long evaluation of the issue.While prostitution itself remains legal in Israel, pimping, sex trafficking, and running a brothel are punishable by law. The formation of the Justice Ministry committee in April 2016 followed nearly a decade of efforts by female lawmakers to spearhead legislation to criminalize purchasing sex services.The issue in recent months earned overwhelming support in the Knesset, with 71 lawmakers from both the coalition and opposition lending their support to criminal action against “johns,” as is the practice in Sweden, Norway, and France and other countries.On Monday, Justice Ministry Director-General Emi Palmor ruled out leveling fines against those who paid for sex, saying it was not legally viable. However, Palmor said she was “very, very much in favor” of instituting gradual criminal penalties against those who pay for sex, beginning with a warning and building up to court-ordered “John school” attendance, and other criminal punishments.Addressing the Knesset’s Subcommittee on Combating Trafficking of Women and Prostitution, Palmor said the committee was set to present its findings to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked next week, who will then decide whether to pursue legislation that would both punish clients and set up rehabilitation programs for the sex workers.A spokesperson for Shaked could not confirm when she would reach a decision. In the interim, Shaked’s fellow Jewish Home MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli, Meretz MK Zahava Galon, and Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie said Monday they would present their respective bills to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation — which is headed by Shaked — on Sunday, calling for the criminalization of paying for prostitution services.The justice minister’s spokesperson said it was “too soon” to know whether Shaked would back the private legislation in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation or delay it until a government ministry bill is formulated.Palmor — who headed the Justice Ministry committee — said she was set to present the overview of studies, laws in different countries, and the “complex” legal issues to Shaked, but resisted describing the report as recommendations.She did express a preference for the seminars for offenders, or “john school,” as an effective “shaming” tactic.“Social shaming is very significant,” she said. “It would be enough for a prostitution consumer to meet his friend from the military reserves or work just once [during these seminars] and he would think twice if he wants to be caught again purchasing prostitution [services].”Lavie, who heads the subcommittee, said the “ball from here is moving it to the legislator’s court.”“Next week, we will bring the law to the Knesset,” she said. “The support for the law and the cooperation from across the political and civil society spectrum is unprecedented. Over 70 MKs are signed on to the various bills and I believe the upcoming year can be the year in which Israel joins the ranks of progressive countries and spearheads a social and historic reform.”Even if the bills soar through the Knesset and become law, it remains unclear whether it would be rigidly enforced by police.That was an issue also raised by Palmor on Monday, who noted that although Israel has existing laws against purchasing sex services from minors, just 18 cases were opened in the past three years, and just three ended in convictions.According to a Welfare Ministry report from 2016, the first of its kind, there are an estimated 11,420-12,730 sex workers in the NIS 1.2 billion ($318 million) industry in Israel.Some 95% of prostitutes are women, 89% of whom are over 18. Between 970 and 1,260 (11%) are minors. The figures place the number of prostitutes per 100,000 Israelis at 121-128 — less than countries such as Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Sweden; more than the Czech Republic, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, according to the ministry.Some 97% of the women hold Israeli citizenship, and 86% are Jewish. Most are over 30 (70%), have at least one child (62%), and a slim majority (52%) were born in the former Soviet Union. The majority entered prostitution due to financial woes (66%), and 7% due to drug addiction. One-fifth have a college degree.Some NIS 510 million ($135 million) is made annually in the 265 “discreet apartments,” 43% of the total yearly sum (1.2 billion in 2014) generated by the industry. Escort services racked up some NIS 220 million ($58 million) and massage parlors that offered sexual services NIS 190 million ($50 million). Street prostitution generated just NIS 70 million ($18 million) in yearly earnings, some 6% of the annual total. Some one-quarter of Israeli prostitutes see more than seven clients a day (the average is 5.5), according to the report.Financial straits were found to be the force driving women to prostitution (66%), and for most (71%) it was the reason they stay (the remaining 23% said because “it suits them”). Most of the women said they want to leave (76%), 10% said they don’t, 7% don’t know, and 7% said “not right now.”Punishing prostitution clients was first introduced by Sweden in its 1999 Sex Purchase Act, which has since been adopted by Norway, Iceland, Canada, France, and Northern Ireland, and requires consumers to pay a fine or face up to six months in jail. Defending the apparent contradiction in making buying sex illegal, but selling it legal, Sweden contended that prostitution is essentially an act of exploitation and violence by the customers, who hold a position of power and should bear the brunt of the penalty.
Western Wall crisis has American Orthodox community leaders dancing around the issue-The deal to construct a pluralistic prayer platform at the Kotel was always complicated for Diaspora Orthodoxy; the plan’s freeze is even more so-By Amanda Borschel-Dan July 11, 2017, 1:01 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
According to all indications, Diaspora Jewry is experiencing a “vey iz mir” moment. The June 25 unraveling of a long-negotiated compromise cementing the equal status of non-Orthodox Jews at the Western Wall has caused a crisis of faith between Diaspora Jewry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.Instead of the promised visible and permanent pluralistic prayer pavilion under their control at Jerusalem’s Western Wall — passed as a government decision in January 2016 — non-Orthodox Jewry is again to be shunted to second-class prayer status on a slim platform in the corner of an archaeological park. Thus the Western Wall kerfuffle has been narrated as a battle between Israeli Orthodox and liberal streams of Diaspora Judaism in international media.But where does that leave American Orthodoxy? Through a series of conversations with major Orthodox Diaspora figures — who are all supportive of sex-segregated prayer — The Times of Israel has discovered a catholic array of views on the plan — and its suspension.On the Israeli side of the pond, ultra-Orthodox political parties greeted the suspension with a near triumphal, almost unison chorus of praise. Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, from the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, commended the cabinet decision to freeze the compromise, saying that it “sends a clear message to the entire world that Reform Judaism does not and will not have access or recognition at the Western Wall.”Likewise, ultra-Orthodox Shas party head and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said dividing the Western Wall “destroys Jewish unity.”And although Education and Diaspora Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, vocally supported the Western Wall plan, some Modern Orthodox national religious lawmakers, including Jewish Home Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, also embraced its freeze.“We succeeded in preventing an unnecessary split among the Jewish people and an attack on the social and religious fabric of Israeli society and the Jewish people,” Ariel said in a June 25 statement.But while religious observance in Israel is de facto Orthodox, in the Diaspora the overwhelming number of engaged Jews align with non-Orthodox denominations. To them, Netanyahu’s reversal on implementing the hard-won compromise is nothing less than a “betrayal” and a “slap in the face,” which is leading many to rethink their emotional and financial support for the Jewish state.Do the Diaspora Orthodox, who often live in communities with their non-Orthodox brethren, feel this apparently widening gap between Israel and the Jewish world? Do they too see this moment on the Jewish historical timeline as a “schism,” as some liberal Jews fear? In a series of conversations with Orthodox rabbis and thought leaders in North America, The Times of Israel found echoes of conservative Israeli politicians, confusion at what the compromise may have meant for them, as well as deep pain at the sidelining of their non-Orthodox Jewish brothers.What are we, chopped liver? Rabbi Avi Shafran,Spokesman for Agudath Israel of America (AIA)-Agudath Israel of America (AIA) is an umbrella organization for ultra-Orthodox or conservative Orthodox Jews in North America. Its prolific spokesman is Rabbi Avi Shafran, a longtime Jewish educator who was ordained at the right-wing Orthodox Ner Israel Rabbinical College, in Baltimore.Immediately following the June 25 freeze, AIA released a statement saying, “The Israeli Cabinet’s decision to not upend the status quo of normative, traditional Jewish religious worship at the Kotel Maaravi, or Western Wall, is a prudent and proper one. The Kotel was a place of peace and Jewish devotion for decades after its liberation in 1967. That peace was shattered, and the holy place turned into a place of protest in the guise of prayer, by Women of the Wall and its allies overseas. That has been a tragedy.”In a follow-up piece originally printed in The Forward last week, the witty op-ed writer bemoans the collective use of “Diaspora Jewry” in international media in which non-Orthodox Jews decry the freeze of the Western Wall pluralistic pavilion.“Why is the American Orthodox community being ignored in all this? Why are leaders speaking in our name? Why is the media duly swallowing that arrogation whole?” asked Shafran. “Do they not realize that the American Orthodox community exists, and in fact is rather robust? That we Orthodox harbor different sentiments from them?”‘There would be no Orthodox threats to withdraw support from Israel, and no cutting off of donations by wealthy (or not) Orthodox Jews’For Shafran, the fact that there is a standard of sex-segregated prayer at the Western Wall is an aid to Jewish unity, rather than a division. Aside from a few activists on both sides of the issue, Orthodox penitents at the Western Wall have watched the “disruptions” The vast majority of Haredim and other Orthodox Jews at the Wall are quietly anguished, he wrote, by the “monthly protests in the guise of prayer services.”Shafran added, “The Kotel was once a Jewish societal oasis, probably the only place on earth where Jews of different religious convictions prayed side by side… What allowed for that minor miracle was the maintenance at that holy place of a public standard — that of time-honored Jewish religious tradition. Men stood on one side, women on another; vocal public prayer reflected millennia-old halachic norms.”Asked by The Times of Israel whether his community would have expressed a vocal backlash to the implementation of the Western Wall pluralistic pavilion, Shafran responded, “Backlash? Disappointment, to be sure.”Stating that the issue of pluralistic prayer was “essentially symbolic in nature,” he postulated that had it been resolved “in favor of the shouters, it would be a step in the direction of foisting American-style ‘Jewish religious pluralism’ on Israel,” said Shafran.“But, no, there would be no Orthodox threats to withdraw support from Israel, and no cutting off of donations by wealthy (or not) Orthodox Jews,” said Shafran, referring to a multitude of statements from American Reform and Conservative Jewish leaders.Support for Israel must be unconditional-Rabbi Efrem Goldberg-Senior rabbi of the Boca Raton Synagogue-Senior rabbi of the Boca Raton Synagogue Efrem Goldberg was in Poland when he heard about the freeze of the Western Wall compromise. His congregation has more than 700 families — and over 1,000 children — and is the largest Orthodox synagogue in the southeast United States, where there is a growing Jewish community.In a blog on The Times of Israel, he wrote that he was “greatly sympathetic to the pain and anguish of so many of our Jewish brothers and sisters.” “No matter how complicated these issues, I understand their desire to be recognized and to have access. I respect their right to advocacy and to pursue their agenda vigorously,” he wrote.“What I cannot possibly understand, however, and frankly find unconscionable, is any call for withdrawing support of Israel,” wrote Goldberg. “As American Jews are struggling with unprecedented levels of assimilation and intermarriage, threatening our very future in this country, is anyone in America really in a position to withdraw support of Israel?”Communicating by email with The Times of Israel immediately after his trip to Poland, Goldberg, who is also the director of the Modern Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America’s South Florida Regional Beit Din for Conversion, said that after the initial announcement of the January 2016 pluralistic pavilion deal, his congregation did not react strongly, “as most of my community understood the importance of making the Kotel accessible to all and the existing services already taking place at Robinson’s Arch.”Now that the deal is frozen, however, “there is certainly a great buzz as this controversy has erupted and escalated. The unprecedented response including calls and threats for discontinuing support of Israel has been a great source of concern in our community,” Goldberg said.‘American Jews need Israel more than Israel needs American Jews’-“We have no tolerance for those who call for BDS against Israel as a form of protest against the policies set by Israel’s democratically elected government. Today, those threatening support feel this [the Western Wall deal] is an exception, but tomorrow someone will feel something else is the exception.“I fear the escalation of outrage is setting a horrible precedent of linking support for Israel to liking her policies which is exceedingly dangerous. American Jews need Israel more than Israel needs American Jews. Leaders must find a better way to address this issue.With the genocide of six million Jews in mind, Goldberg wrote, “Pledging to never forget means not only preventing another Holocaust, but remembering how fortunate and blessed we are to have a strong State of Israel and therefore, doing all we can to support Israel, unconditionally.”Power corrupts; religious power corrupts religiously-Rabbi Reuben Poupko-Rabbi of Montreal’s Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation-In a Canada Day conversation with The Times of Israel last week, Rabbi Reuben Poupko of Montreal’s Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation sounded disgusted over the friction caused by the Western Wall freeze.Poupko opened the conversation by saying, “Everybody is wrong” and joking that Israel should “turn the whole thing into a racquetball court.” Poupko, who hails from a rabbinic dynasty, is a steadfast Zionist who is disappointed that ultra-Orthodox pressure swayed the Israeli government, calling it an “insult” to the liberal Jewish movements.“There’s broad disappointment in the Modern Orthodox community with the recent decisions. People would love to see a world where everyone feels welcome,” he said. However, he cautioned, it is “reckless to speak about economic pressure; highly irresponsible and destructive.”Added Poupko, “It should be recognized that Robinson’s Arch has been used as a legitimate egalitarian prayer space and will continue; nothing is changed.”Poupko is regarded as a dynamic rabbi and the leading spokesman for Canadian Jewry on issues relating to Israel advocacy and anti-Semitism. Alongside a coalition of pluralistic Canadian rabbis, Poupko sent a letter to Netanyahu expressing his condemnation of the freeze.‘The Knesset shouldn’t be talking about prayer times; religion should not play a role there’For Poupko, there is a “radical” way to prevent continual challenges such as Western Wall prayer.“The best solution is division of prayer and state. The Knesset shouldn’t be talking about prayer times; religion should not play a role there,” said Poupko.While he definitely supports the Jewish identity of Israel, he warns that history has taught us that “those countries that entangle religion with state end up with empty churches,” citing France and Italy as examples. “Separation is the healthiest thing.”“What I would love to see is something that is currently unrealistic… To make fundamental changes: I would like to see rabbis in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem deal with the real world like those in New York do. I would dismantle the Rabbinate. It should be decentralized and privatized,” said Poupko, who joked that Jews managed pretty well like that for 1,900 years.Poupko, who grew up among the ultra-Orthodox and respects that community, said,”What people don’t understand about the Haredi community… is the idea that once they have the power to conform to their ideas, not using that power would be bewildering. It’s a concept they can’t contemplate, it would never occur to them that there are longterm consequences” in the greater Jewish world for religious coercion.The Jewish state, and the Chief Rabbinate has “turned rabbis into bureaucrats, and put the worst face of Judaism forward.” Said Poupko, “If you want Israel to be more religious, the best thing is to disentangle religion from the government.”The Western Wall is not an Orthodox synagogue-Rabbi Asher Lopatin-Head of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah-In keeping with his personal and professional policy of opening the doors of Torah to all, head of the Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, Rabbi Asher Lopatin told The Times of Israel in a brief phone call from his home in Riverdale, New York, that he is concerned that new measures being taken by the Israeli government — including the Western Wall freeze — which are shutting the gates of the Jewish state on the Diaspora.“Israel is reaching a new dangerous level — whether it’s about the Rabbinate’s lists or whether the state will accept someone as Jewish for purposes of citizenship. This is a fundamental threat to the Law of Return,” said Lopatin.What is happening right now is “an existential threat to the Jewish state.”“Once you challenge who is Jewish, your are undermining the Jewish nature of Israel. It’s ironic, but it’s real,” said Lopatin.Lopatin said it is “essential” that Diaspora Jews be emotionally connected to the Western Wall.“We have to do all that we can to connect the next generation to Israel. Everything we do to damage that connection is not only harming Jews in the Diaspora, but Israel,” he said.In battling measures taken at UNESCO, “Israel is trying to show the world that the Kotel and Har HaBayit [the Temple Mount] are the heart of every Jew and the Jewish people. The more you exclude people from these places, the less of an argument there is,” he said.‘We have to do all that we can to connect the next generation to Israel. Everything we do to damage that connection is not only harming Jews in the Diaspora, but Israel’Assigning the status of Orthodox synagogue to the Western Wall is “another existential threat,” said Lopatin. “Once we start saying that the Kotel is an Orthodox synagogue, it doesn’t have that universal centrality it should have. The Kotel is the central place for all Jews. We must do everything we can to make it work,” he said.Lopatin said that although he supports a divider between men and women penitents in prayer, he does not consider the Western Wall a synagogue. Furthermore, he wouldn’t necessarily have shunted non-Orthodox prayer to the Robinson’s Arch platform.“I’m not sure that ‘separate but equal’ is always good. It’s usually not good, but it’s a compromise,” he said.What is important is that all streams of Judaism feel at home at the Western Wall, which is why it shouldn’t be consigned as a synagogue. “I love Orthodox synagogues. I want more Orthodox synagogues,” he laughed, but “I don’t want to exclude Jews.”At the Western Wall “there shouldn’t be a struggle for control, there should be a struggle to bring the Jews together and unify them.”One wall for one people — except maybe me? Sharon Weiss-Greenberg,Executive Director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA)-When the January 2016 compromise was announced, Sharon Weiss-Greenberg, like many Orthodox feminists, wondered what it meant for her. The head of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA) told The Times of Israel while briefly in Jerusalem that there was “a lot of confusion, it was unclear what it would exactly end up looking like.”As an Orthodox woman who would like to participate in a partnership minyan, an Orthodox prayer quorum which allows women to more fully participate in prayer and reading from the Torah, she said she was worried it would not be a possible anywhere at the Western Wall under the new deal.‘The deal was leaving a lot of people out of the fold’The compromise had made allowance for women-only prayer groups, as well as a temporary divider to be housed in the Robinson’s Arch area for Orthodox prayer. But Weiss-Greenberg wondered if that included the feminist Orthodox prayer she is accustomed to.“I was concerned there would be no place for me, that the deal was leaving a lot of people out of the fold. An egalitarian place would exist and traditional Orthodoxy, but we were still missing. There was no nuance and no in-between,” she said.Now that the plan will not be implemented, she hopes there is a chance for “re-strategizing.”“If we’re truly saying ‘one wall for all’ — be true to that hashtag,” said Weiss-Greenberg.
Family of fallen soldier held by Hamas launches campaign for policy change-Video clip urges pressuring Hamas by denying benefits to prisoners until terror group returns remains of fallen servicemen-By Stuart Winer July 10, 2017, 5:42 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
The family of a fallen IDF soldier whose remains are held by the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip launched a campaign Sunday calling on the government to change its tactics and increase pressure on Hamas.The campaign by the family of Hadar Goldin comes amid media reports of progress in negotiations between Israel and Hamas via Egyptian mediators to reach a deal for a prisoner swap. Both sides have played down the extent of the progress.A 2:40 minute video clip titled “Changing the Equation” explains the goal of the Courage Project, which calls for a shift in policy to secure the return of two Israeli soldiers, Oron Shaul and Goldin, believed to have been killed in the 2014 war in Gaza and their remains held by the Hamas rulers of the Strip.In addition, three Israeli civilians are believed to have entered Gaza and to be held by Hamas.They are Avraham Abera Mengistu, an Israeli Jew of Ethiopian descent, and two Muslim Bedouins, Hisham al-Sayed and Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima.The cartoon video begins by discussing two approaches to dealing with Hamas, neither one of which has brought about the return of the missing soldiers: military might, as espoused by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman before the last elections — but much less so since — which is not a realistic option because Israel would rather avoid a war, or accepting Hamas’s vision that sees the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails in return for the missing Israelis.Either way, the video asserts, no progress has been made. An alternative, a narrator suggests, is to “change the equation” so that Hamas no longer sees the fallen soldiers it holds as a valuable bargaining chip but rather as costly.Pressure, the campaign asserts, can be applied by denying benefits to Hamas such as visits by family members from Gaza to prisoners held in Israel, medical services that Israel provides for Palestinians from the Strip, and the daily convoys of hundreds of trucks on average that bring supplies into the Palestinian enclave.According to the video, the government has in theory already adopted the policy but never implemented it.The video ends with a personal appeal by Tzur Goldin, brother of Hadar, for the public to support the Courage Project and encourage the government to change its approach.Speaking to Army Radio Monday Simcha Goldin, father of Hadar Goldin, explained why he felt the campaign was needed.“There is a lot of international pressure on Hamas,” Goldin said. “The only entity that isn’t applying pressure is Israel. We continue to send [supply] trucks. The prime minister said that if we touch the electricity in Gaza there will be mortars. We turned off the electricity — did they shoot mortars?”Goldin was referring to an ongoing electricity crisis in Gaza, which has been under Hamas control since a bloody coup that ousted the Fatah party-dominated Palestinian Authority in 2007. As part of an internal Palestinian rivalry between Fatah and Hamas, the PA asked Israel to stop supplying electricity that Hamas wasn’t paying for, in an effort to pressure the Gaza rulers. Israel agreed although Egypt stepped in to truck fuel supplies, bringing the Gaza power station back on line.Earlier Monday Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman repeated his denial that Israel was negotiating with Hamas for the release of the two fallen IDF soldiers. But, he said, unspecified efforts to return the bodies are “unceasing.”“There is no breakthrough, period,” he said, disputing reports.Education Minister Naftali Bennett said he would oppose releasing Hamas prisoners in exchange for the soldiers remains.“The security of the citizens and soldiers of Israel requires us to vote in the cabinet against the release of terrorists for information, for the bodies of soldiers, since we must bring back our boys not with a deal, but with an attack,” said Bennett at the start of his Jewish Home faction meeting in the Knesset. “That is, by increasing the pressure on Hamas in Gaza and on its terrorists in Israeli prisons.”In what appeared to show support for the Courage Project, Bennett paraphrased the campaign’s slogan.“The time has come to change the equation and change the holding the bodies of abducted soldiers from an asset to a burden,” he said. “When they hold the bodies of our soldiers, each day should be more difficult [for Hamas] than the previous one.”He said concessions to the terror group would only encourage it to kidnap other soldiers and urged Likud ministers to adopt his position.
Labor hails Gabbay victory as ‘a new hope’-Amir Peretz congratulates newcomer on surprise win, as party members vow to help ex-Kulanu minister topple right-wing government-By Alexander Fulbright and Raoul Wootliff July 10, 2017, 11:10 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Labor party members on Monday offered their praise for freshly elected party chairman Avi Gabbay, after his surprise victory over veteran lawmaker Amir Peretz, describing it as a fresh start for the left-leaning party that has long-languished in the political doldrums.Conceding defeat, Peretz said in a tweet that he called Gabbay “to congratulate him on being elected to the position of Labor Party leader and its candidate for prime minister.”In a show of unity, Peretz said that he and his supporters “will stand by his side and help him to return the Labor party to power.”Incumbent party chairman Isaac Herzog, who was bounced out of the leadership contest after finishing third in the first round of voting, congratulated Gabbay on his victory and said he would work with him to help return the party to power.“I made it clear to [Gabbay] that I will stand by his side to help strengthen the party and replace the government,” Herzog tweeted, after having supported Peretz in the runoff.Tzipi Livni, whose Hatnua party makes up the Zionist Union faction along with Labor, said Gabbay’s victory marked an optimistic turning point for the party.“The shared mission between us at the moment is to produce renewed and true hope for replacing the government and to offer a new way, [that is] better for Israel and its citizens,” Livni said in a statement.“Now that the Labor party has finished its democratic process, we must together turn to the public and widen the ranks of a large bloc that will be an address for the same tremendous public in Israel, that believes in our way and is striving to replace the government and its path,” she added.Labor MK and Gabbay supporter Stav Shaffir also offered her praise for the party’s newly elected chairman, describing it as a fresh chance for the party.“Victory! The start of a new way,” she tweeted.Former prime minister Ehud Barak — the last Labor leader to serve as premier — said Gabbay’s election as the party’s new leader is evidence of “a revolution” within the party.“Members wanted victory,” he said in a tweet. “Bibi is sweating, and rightfully so.”In addition to Labor party leaders, a number of other politicians offered their praise for Gabbay following his victory.Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid welcomed Gabbay as Labor’s new leader, saying the Israeli political landscape “needs good people.”“I am glad that Gabbay decided to contribute his knowledge and experience to the citizens of Israel,” he said in a video message posted on Twitter.The leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett wrote on Twitter that he spoke with Gabbay on the phone after his win, saying that he congratulated the former Kulanu party minister on his victory, which “expresses the desire of the Labor party members for renewal.”Taking 52.4 percent of the vote compared to Peretz’s 47.6, Gabbay came from a near-2,000 vote deficit in the first round of the primary that was held last week to win, getting 16,080 votes compared to 14,734 votes for Peretz.Gabbay’s victory sees him immediately taking the post of party leader, but he cannot be the Knesset opposition head, as he is not a sitting Knesset member. He must pick a lawmaker for that position, and a majority of opposition MKs must approve his choice. He has said that he will keep Herzog in the position.Herzog’s downfall as party leader came after he alienated many of his party members in holding secret coalition negotiations with Netanyahu in 2016, which fell apart in May of that year. Since then, the opposition leader has advocated other center and left-wing parties to forge a bloc to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from power, though parties such as Yesh Atid have demurred.The primaries came after Labor had plummeted over the past year in opinion polls, receiving a projected 10-12 seats (combined with the Hatnua party that makes up the Zionist Union faction), down from its current 24 seats.Gabbay’s leadership will likely determine whether the center-left party, plagued by internal divisions, is able to become the main challenger to Netanyahu’s Likud in the next elections, and, consequently, whether it could seize the premiership.Meanwhile, the centrist Yesh Atid party appears to have wooed most of Labor’s voters, climbing steadily in surveys, and at this point poised to become the top contender against Likud, according to the polls.Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
After interrogation, police remand suspects in submarine probe-Ex-senior public officials questioned on string of suspicions relating to the $480 million purchase; PM reportedly to be summoned for testimony-By Raoul Wootliff July 11, 2017, 12:31 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Following a day of interrogation at the anti-fraud unit’s headquarters in Lod, police extended the remand Monday night of three prominent officials suspected of corruption in a multi-million dollar purchase of naval vessels from Germany. A fourth suspect, a close confidant and lawyer of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was sent to house arrest.Six suspects were brought in for questioning Monday morning as part of an ongoing investigation into the so-called “Case 3000,” or the “submarine affair.” They are suspected of attempting to sway the deals in favor of the German shipbuilder ThyssenKryupp.Police initially withheld the names of the suspects. However, later Monday, it was revealed that two of the suspects are former deputy head of the National Security Council Avriel Bar-Yosef and ThyssenKryupp’s Israeli agent Miki Ganor. The names of the other four still cannot be reported.The suspects were questioned under caution for more than 12 hours, over suspicions of fraud, bribery, tax evasion and money laundering, the Israel Police and the Tax Authority said in a joint statement. “At the time of the events under question, some of the suspects were public servants and some worked in the private sector,” the statement said.Following the interrogations, three of the suspects were brought to the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s court where Chief Justice Einat Ron agreed with the police request to hold two — Bar-Yosef and Ganor — for a further four days, and send another, an attorney who is a very close associate of Netanyahu to three days of house arrest.Netanyahu is not a suspect in the case. However, police are planning to summon him to testify on what he knows about the entire issue and specifically as to whether he knew of the corruption allegations against Avirel Bar-Yosef when he named him deputy head of the National Security Council in 2016, Channel 2 news reported.Bar-Yosef’s candidacy was later withdrawn when it emerged that he was suspected of accepting bribes in exchange for promoting the interests of German businessmen involved in the development of Israel’s offshore gas fields.Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ordered Israel Police to formally look into the submarine affair in November 2016, after accusations surfaced that Netanyahu may have been swayed to purchase vessels by business ties one of his lawyers, David Shimron had with ThyssenKrupp. The deals for patrol boats and submarines came under intense scrutiny late last year, after it was revealed by Channel 10 news that Shimron also served in an advisory capacity for ThyssenKrupp, which was awarded the contracts for building Israel’s submarines and naval attack boats.In December, officers from the Lahav 433 police anti-corruption unit entered the office of legal adviser Ahaz Ben-Ari at the Defense Ministry building in Tel Aviv and removed information from computers there. The data concerned the cancellation of an international tender to build four new warships to protect Israel’s offshore natural gas rigs in the Mediterranean Sea.The contract was awarded instead to ThyssenKrupp. Under the 2015 deal, worth €430 million ($480 million), ThyssenKrupp is to supply Israel with four “Sa’ar 6 corvette” ships over a period of five years.The purchase was opposed by parts of the defense establishment, including then-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, who has since threatened to “tell all” on Netanyahu’s involvement, if the prime minister is not indicted as part of the probe.Shimron claimed at the time that he “wasn’t in touch with any state official over the issue of Israel’s purchase of naval vessels” and said that his work for the German company while also serving as the prime minister’s lawyer did not constitute a conflict of interest.However, after Israel issued the initial tender in 2014 for the purchase of the ships, Shimron called Ben-Ari, the defense minister’s legal adviser, to inquire why the tender was issued, allegedly saying he wanted the contract to be given to ThyssenKrupp directly.In August of that year, the chairman of the Histadrut labor federation, Avi Nissenkorn, met with Shimron and Ganor, who was reportedly poised to earn 30 million euros from the deal should it go ahead. A proposal was reportedly presented in that meeting for the German firm to take over the maintenance work, in Israel, from the navy.In January, police opened a full criminal investigation into the affair, but stressed that the prime minister was not a suspect.Responding to the decision, the Prime Minister’s Office published what it said was the full timeline of the process by which the state decided to purchase submarines from a German shipbuilding company, in an effort to demonstrate that Netanyahu did not attempt to influence the deliberations in any way.
Historic 179-year-old New York City synagogue to go condo-Head of city’s third oldest Jewish house of worship says construction of apartments needed for community to remain solvent-By JTA July 11, 2017, 1:12 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
A historic 179-year-old Conservative synagogue in New York’s Upper West Side is moving forward with plans to house a 14-story apartment building.The proposed project for the Shaare Zedek synagogue includes 20 condominiums, with a community center for the synagogue in the building’s first three floors, The Real Deal, a website focusing on New York real estate news, reported last week.Some community members, concerned about issues such as increased traffic in the area, had asked the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider naming the synagogue’s building a city landmark, but the commission issued a decision in October that the building didn’t “rise to the level of an individual landmark,” The Real Deal reported.Synagogue president Michael Firestone said in September during a community board member meeting that the congregation could not remain solvent without partnering with a developer, as several New York synagogues have done in recent years, The Real Deal reported, citing DNAinfo.The synagogue, the third oldest in New York City, was established in 1837 by Polish immigrants, according to its website. It started on the Lower East Side and moved to Harlem before building at its current location. The current synagogue building was dedicated on April 15, 1923, and in 1944 the congregation paid off the mortgage.
Iraq’s PM hails victory over ‘brutality and terrorism’ in Mosul-US-led coalition congratulates Iraqi forces for retaking city; army still tackling pockets of Islamic State resistance-By Tony Gamal-Gabriel and W.G. Dunlop July 10, 2017, 10:22 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
MOSUL, Iraq (AFP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared a victory over “brutality and terrorism” in Mosul on Monday after his forces ended the Islamic State terror group’s rule over the country’s second city.Flanked by soldiers, Abadi hailed the retaking of Mosul — from where IS declared its self-styled “caliphate” three years ago — as a historic moment in the battle against the jihadists.“Our victory today is a victory over darkness, a victory over brutality and terrorism, and I announce to the whole world today the end and failure and collapse of the mythical terrorist state,” Abadi said in a televised address from west Mosul.The US-led coalition that backed the Mosul offensive and is supporting another assault on IS’s Syrian bastion Raqqa hailed the victory, but warned it did not mark the end of the war against the jihadists.“This victory alone does not eliminate (IS) and there is still a tough fight ahead. But the loss of one of its twin capitals and a jewel of their so-called caliphate is a decisive blow,” Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the commander of the operation, said in a statement.From the Old City we announce the liberation of Mosul and remember the heroic sacrifices of our armed forces and their families pic.twitter.com/9GyZ7gzXV5— Haider Al-Abadi (@HaiderAlAbadi) July 10, 2017-Iraqi forces earlier on Monday were still fighting to eliminate the last pockets of IS resistance in Mosul, with jihadist fighters surrounded in a sliver of territory in Mosul’s Old City.Attention was also turning to the huge task of rebuilding and helping civilians, with aid groups warning that Iraq’s humanitarian crisis was far from over.-Devastation in Old City-Mosul’s Old City in particular has been devastated, with many buildings reduced to little more than concrete shells and rubble littering the streets.Abadi said that as well as continuing to tackle IS, Iraq had other challenges including “the mission of stabilization and the mission of building.”A senior commander said on Monday that Iraqi forces were still engaged in “heavy” fighting with the remnants of jihadist forces, but that the battle was near its end.Soldiers armed with machine guns and sniper rifles fired from atop ruined structures in the Old City on Monday, and air strikes sent plumes of smoke rising over Mosul’s historic center.Lieutenant General Sami al-Aridhi of Iraq’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service said the jihadists had been reduced to an area of the Old City of about 200 by 100 meters.“They do not accept to surrender,” Aridhi told AFP.But “operations are in their final stages,” and “it is likely that (the fighting) will end today,” he said.Aridhi said his forces had information that there were between 3,000 and 4,000 civilians in the area, but that could not be independently confirmed.Backed by the US-led coalition, Iraqi forces launched their campaign in October to retake Mosul, which had been seized by the jihadists during the mid-2014 offensive that saw them take control of large parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria.Army, police and special forces, backed by waves of US-led air strikes, seized the eastern side of the city in January and launched the battle for its western part the next month.The fight grew tougher when security forces entered the densely populated Old City on the western bank of the Tigris River, which divides the city, and intense street-to-street fighting followed.The cost of victory has been enormous: much of Mosul in ruins, thousands dead and wounded and nearly half the city’s population forced from their homes.The United Nations has said 920,000 people fled their homes during the Mosul operation, and while some have returned, the vast majority remain displaced.“It’s a relief to know that the military campaign in Mosul is ending. The fighting may be over, but the humanitarian crisis is not,” said Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Iraq.The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Monday said it could be many months before civilians are able to return to their homes.“It is likely that thousands of people may have to remain in displacement for months to come,” the UNHCR said.-‘Nothing to go back to’-“Many have nothing to go back to due to extensive damage caused during the conflict, while key basic services such as water, electricity and other key infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, will need to be rebuilt or repaired,” it said.Twenty-eight aid groups working in Iraq issued a statement calling for international support for rebuilding efforts and urged authorities not to press civilians to return.“Remaining insecurity; lack of basic services; explosive hazards contamination; and damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure — including schools and hospitals — all continue to pose barriers to return,” said the statement signed by groups including the Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam and Save the Children.It also raised concerns for Iraqis still in areas under IS control, including the towns of Tal Afar and Hawijah in the north, as well as territory in western Anbar province.“For the expected offensives in Hawijah, Tal Afar and western Anbar, where approximately 150,000 civilians are thought to still be trapped, it is vital that lessons are learnt from pass offensives,” they said, calling for access to safety and assistance to be prioritized.France, Britain and the European Union congratulated Iraqi forces on Sunday, with the EU hailing “a decisive step in the campaign to eliminate terrorist control in parts of Iraq.”Iran, a key ally of Abadi’s Shiite-led government, gave its congratulations too and offered help in rebuilding.IS has lost most of the territory it once controlled, and the coalition is also aiming to oust the jihadists from their Syrian stronghold Raqqa, which is under assault by US-backed Arab and Kurdish forces.
Links to this post: