To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.
WASHINGTON – Even before the debt deal was signed Tuesday in Washington, U.S. Jewish groups and recipients of government largesse were asking the same question: Who’s going to get cut?
It’s still too early to say. But the new “super committee” created to hash out the details of $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion in spending cuts by the end of the year, and the arguments that surely will arise from the committee’s work, will provide the clearest sign yet of which government grants or programs are on the chopping block.
In the Jewish community, the areas of concern range from funding for elderly care to environmental issues to democracy promotion overseas. Federal funding makes up a significant chunk of the budgets of many of the groups that operate in those fields.
Joyce Garver Keller, the executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities, which lobbies state lawmakers for Ohio’s Jewish federations, said Ohio Jewish service providers already are reeling from cuts mandated last month in the state budget. That included up to 14 percent in cuts for nursing homes and 3 percent cuts for home- and community-based providers.
The largest Jewish facility for the elderly in the state, in the Cleveland area, already is dealing with $2 million in cuts on the state level even without any cuts at the federal level.
Keller said the homes for the elderly were examining solutions including freezing salaries and retirement benefits for staff, and cutting back on utilities such as electricity. Others are considering opening up in-house medical practices to outsiders to create revenue.
The National Council for Jewish Women expressed concern particularly about cuts that could affect women and children.
“The deal does require deep cuts in government spending, cuts that will likely affect Head Start, K-12 education, Title X family planning, job training, domestic violence prevention, meals on wheels and other services for vulnerable people,” NCJW said in a statement.
Mark Olshan, the associate executive vice president for B’nai B’rith International, which runs 38 homes for the elderly across the country, said federal cuts would burden a system coping with a growing number of retirement-age baby boomers.
“The reality is we’re probably not going to be building a lot more buildings, but there will be more people who need these kinds of programs,” he said.
Jewish groups are also closely watching cuts in areas where they do not receive direct assistance. Jason Isaacson, the director of governmental and international affairs for the American Jewish Committee, anticipated cuts in programs promoting energy alternatives and democracy overseas.
Isaacson said cuts in democracy promotion would be especially unfortunate just as reform was sweeping the Arab world, noting the upcoming elections in Tunisia in October as an example.
“We need to lower the deficit, but we have big opportunities and responsibilities around the world,” Isaacson said.
The key to preserving funding is to intensify lobbying between now and when the new super committee votes in November on proposed cuts, said William Daroff, the Washington director of the Jewish Federations for North America.
“We will be lobbying heavily to ensure that the $550 billion in immediate discretionary domestic cuts do not come from the programs that fund key Jewish federation services to the vulnerable,” Daroff said. “No decisions have been made yet on the Hill as to where those cuts will come from.”
Under the deal struck over the weekend and passed by both houses of Congress – in the House of Representatives on Monday and the Senate the next day – about half the cuts are to come from the defense sector and the other half from domestic programs, with some cuts designated for foreign assistance.
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Three Gazans were captured overnight when they crossed over the security fence into Israel.
Over 200 hair salons across Israel took part in the annual nationwide drive to collect hair for the Zichron Menachem Cancer Support in Israel in partnership with Pantene Products Israel.
In 2014, cruise ship traffic to Israel decreased by almost two-thirds in comparison with the year before.
“The Israeli government is not interested in the collapse of the Palestinian Authority,” said Arbell, a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution who teaches at American University here. “There may be faults in Abbas and the leadership and in what they’re doing, but they’re still the safest bet.”
Shas head Aryeh Deri said this evening on Radio Kol Chai that if Netanyahu met his two non-negotiable conditions, Shas could join the coalition.
The man, a resident of Beit Safafa, tried on three different occasions last week to burn down the section of the hospital building where he worked.
The terrorist’s wife will now have to return to the Palestinian Authority, following the decision by Interior Minister Gilad Erdan.
The IDF says it will change its policies on soldiers who grow beards for religious reasons.
The proposal includes some extreme measures to fight the current wave of terrorism.
The Kinneret rose 3.5 centimeters overnight due to the heavy rainstorm that hit the country.
The father-son team recently gave a check to the family of Druze policeman Zidan Saif for his role in stopping the Har Nof Massacre.
The police fought hard to not have it revealed that Netanel Arami was murdered in a Petach Tikva terror attack, but now a court has lifted the gag order…
The three were walking along the side of the highway when the accident happened.
“We have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable. We have cleared up misunderstandings and held exhaustive discussions on every element of a possible text.”
“The Jewish community is going to have to work harder,” said one veteran official who has worked both as a professional in the Jewish community and a staffer for a Jewish lawmaker.
The disagreements don’t seem to have gone away, despite a cease-fire that appears to be firmly in place.
“On the Hill and with some people with whom I have spoken who are robust Israel supporters, people are concerned if not angry,” one of the staffers, a Democrat, told JTA
President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.
Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.
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