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July 23, 2016 / 17 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘air’

Netanyahu Tells Knesset Inquiry of his Suspected Corruption ‘a Lot of Hot Air’ [video]

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday fielded questions he did not get a chance to read in advance from MKs, in a fashion reminiscent of the British Parliament’s Question Time. This was Netanyahu’s first-ever Question Hour appearance.

Question Hour is a new parliamentary feature in the Knesset’s plenary sessions. Each year, the opposition has the right to invite 10 ministers to answer questions they did not see in advance. One of those times, it can be the prime minister. At least three-quarters of the questioners must come from the ranks of the opposition.

MK Yael Cohen Paran (Zionist Camp) asked Netanyahu, “It was written that an allegation is being checked [by police] that your son, Yair Netanyahu, used a passport with a fake name that the Mossad gave him to open a bank account in Panama to which hundreds of thousands of dollars were funneled. I want to ask you, did your son Yair Netanyahu get a falsified passport, and in which situations can a citizen get a passport with a fake name?”

In response, Netanyahu said, “There’s no passport, no Panama, no bank account, nothing. There is a flood of foolishness, of nonsense, of fabrications, of lies. Although they’ve been dealing with this for many years, they haven’t found anything for one simple reason: there isn’t anything and there never was anything. There’s no fire and no smoke. There’s hot air – a lot of hot air. Spoiler alert – nothing will come of this, because there is nothing. Therefore, I ask all those who are asking questions and those who may have hope in their hearts: don’t hurry to have suits made. Stop the tailors. Spoiler alert – nothing will come of this, because there is nothing.”

“Since there are those who are still interested in all sorts of things like this, I want to give you all a tip: In the beginning of September I am going to Holland and afterwards I’m continuing to the UN General Assembly,” Netanyahu continued. “Since I’ve noticed that these piles (of nonsense) usually come in certain proximity to my political travels, here I’m giving you the time to come up with new things.”

Netanyahu told the House he was delighted to have this opportunity to speak to the MKs, whom he said asked better and more challenging questions than the press does. “I’m enjoying every minute,” he said, and looked it.

Addressing a question by MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) on the anti-gay remarks made by Rabbi Yigal Levinstein and why he did not address them, PM Netanyahu said “I’m not a professional internet commentator and neither do I work on MK Zandberg’s schedule, but the comments are unacceptable. The LGBT community is part of us. They are citizens like everyone else. Israel needs to be a home for all Jews.”

Asked by MK Esawi Frej (Meretz) whether he would “launder the land theft in Amona,” the prime minister said “I do not support the laundering or appropriation of lands anywhere, and I suggest that you be careful when using such terms, because they apply to many places. The court ruled that [the Jewish settlement Amona in Samaria] should be evacuated, even if there is no specific ownership over it. It is private land, but it is not known who it belongs to exactly.”

“Amona is a matter of doing justice in an issue that’s been going on for many years. Several proposals have come up, and the Defense Minister asked for a few days to examine the matter. All involved parties would like to see a settlement rather than anything else.”

MK David Amsalem (Likud) asked PM Netanyahu about the US Senate report establishing that the US State Department had interfered with the previous Israeli elections by funding the V-15, or “Victory in 2015” organization, which operated with the explicit goal of causing Netanyahu to lose the election. “I want to explain what is improper about V15,” Netanyahu said. “We have non-profits that need to work with the minimum transparency, but there is one thing that we cannot accept – bypassing the election law. How does the [election] financing law work in Israel? It sets out how each party should fund its election [campaign]. The law limits the amounts. V15 bypassed this. How? They said ‘we’re not giving to a party but rather opposing a party.'”

Netanyahu said the money was used to influence the results of last year’s Knesset election. “We in Likud complained about this loophole and didn’t get relief from the court. It’s clear to me that this is intervention. These are huge sums. This needs to be stopped, for everyone, by the way.”

Addressing a question by MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) on the conversion crisis, PM Netanyahu said, “The rabbinate is not mine. It was established in arrangement in the State of Israel from the time [the country] was established and even before that. I can’t tell you that I have managed to reach a consensus. I haven’t.”

MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Camp) asked Netanyahu about the “expulsion bill.” Netanyahu said, “In the United States [a legislator) can be dismissed with a small majority without any explanation. I believe that in Israel’s Knesset there cannot be MKs who support terror or the annihilation of Israel.”

MK Hilik Bar (Zionist Camp) mentioned a video clip from a 1990s talk show that resurfaced recently, in which Netanyahu said he supports a two-term limit for prime ministers.

Netanyahu – who is now on his fourth term, third consecutive one – said “When I made that remark I was referring to direct elections [for prime minister]. There are restrictions if someone is elected in the presidential system. I voted in favor of changing the system of government in contrast with my party’s position. If you strengthen governance, limit the number of terms, and if you do not strengthen governance, do not limit the number of terms.”

MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) asked Netanyahu what his diplomatic plan was. “The desirable solution for us is a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state,” he said, adding that the Arab League’s peace initiative could be a basis for peace talks with the Palestinians, but only in a revised form.

“If it’s a script, then certainly we cannot [agree to it]. If it’s a basis to open talks, then sure,” he said.

JNi.Media

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part IV)

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?

Menachem

 

Summary of our response up to this point: The Talmud (Berachot 54b) states that there are four people who must say HaGomel, with the Rivash and Rav Gershon dispurting whether this list is exlcusive or not. Rabbi Tuvia Goldstein maintains that modern-day air travel cannot be compared to the types of danger listed in the Gemara, and thus one need not say HaGomel after flying. Rav Moshe Feinstein, however, argues that flying is inherently dangerous since only the airplane separates the passengers from death. If the airplane suddenly stops functioning, the passenegrs will almost certainly die.

* * * * *

I recently received the following e-mail:

 

Dear Rabbi Klass,

As I see that you are about to embark on a discussion on saying HaGomel after air travel, I thought I would share with you something that was said by Rav Y. Ruderman zt”l.

I returned to Ner Yisroel in Baltimore one August after a year in Eretz Yisroel. My first Thursday back I had an aliya and bentched Gomel. After my aliya the rosh yeshiva called me over and asked me why I had benched Gomel. When I told him the reason, he rebuked me and said that one does not bench Gomel for air travel even if one crosses an ocean.

I don’t think it is well known that Rav Ruderman held this opinion.

Sincerely,
Michael Katz
Miami

 

Evidently, then, HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Yitzchok HaLevi Ruderman, zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Ner Israel in Baltimore, was also of the opinion that one does not recite Ha’Gomel after flying.

Rabbi Goldstein writes: “And as to the halacha in this matter, one can follow the opinion of Rabbi Feinstein and say HaGomel if his reasoning is clear to him. Yet, his reasoning is not compelling [enough] for me; therefore…if a person says HaGomel after air travel, he has not absolved himself of the problem of reciting a safek beracha. As such, he should not say it.”

And yet, common practice is to follow Rav Feinstein’s view (at least when it comes to travelling over an ocean).

Let us try to understand the reasoning behind the two views. The Gemara (Shabbos 32a) quotes R. Yannai as stating: “One should not stand in a place of danger and say that a miracle will be wrought for him.” Indeed, both the Rambam (Hilchot Rotze’ach u’Shmirat Nefesh 12:6) and the Rema (Yoreh Deah 116:5) rule that it is prohibited for a person to place himself in any situation that may lead to to danger. The Rema goes even further, ruling “chamira sakanta m’issura” – that we are more strict regarding dangerous situations than we are regarding possible (rabbinical) violations.

Now, if air travel were dangerous, clearly we wouldn’t be allowed to fly. The fact that halachic authorities allow us to fly is evidence that flying is not really dangerous. Those who maintain that we don’t say HaGomel after flying clearly believe this to be the case. How do we explain Rabbi Feinstein’s view, though?

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part III)

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?
Menachem
 

Summary of our response up to this point: At the outset, we cited the Talmud (Berachot 54b), which quotes R. Yehudah as saying in the name of Rav that four people must say HaGomel: those who have crossed the sea, those who have traveled through the desert, those who were sick and recovered, and those who were incarcerated and set free. We also cited the dispute between Rav Gershon, who opines that only these four people say HaGomel, and Rivash, who rules that people in similar situations say HaGomel too. The Taz and Magen Avraham write that common practice today follows Rivash. Last week, we cited the Gaon Rav Tuvia Goldstein, zt”l (Emek Halacha, vol. 2:7), who writes that he doesn’t say HaGomel after flying on an airplane since air travel is not dangerous. He cites other authorities who agree.

* * * * *

Rabbi Goldstein also cites the Gaon Rav Moshe Feinstein who argues that one should say HaGomel after flying (Iggrot Moshe, Orach Chayim, vol. 2:59). Rav Feinstein writes that there is a difference between traveling by land and traveling by sea. Under normal circumstances, people are not particularly worried when traveling by land (whether by automobile, bus, or train). It is the equivalent of sitting in one’s own home.

A trip over the sea, in contrast, is inherently fraught with danger. A person cannot long survive in the water, and it is only the vessel one is in (a ship or plane) that keeps him from drowning. Thus, even though modern ships and airplanes are far safer than ships in the time of Chazal, it is still the ship or airplane that is saving him from danger. Therefore, he must say HaGomel.

Rav Feinstein argues that the danger in flying – on a theoretical level – is even greater than the danger in traveling by ship. If a ship sinks, there is at least a chance that one will survive in the water until one is rescued. The same cannot be said about a plane that crashes. All the passengers will almost surely die in such a case. Thus, a plane, even more than a ship, is the only thing keeping a person from death. His life while flying on an airplane (whether over land or water) thus truly is hanging in the balance.

Rav Feinstein acknowledges that automobile travel is statistically more dangerous than air travel. Yet, this fact is irrelevant to the above analysis. Rabbi Feinstein concludes: I have heard that some rule that one should not say HaGomel after flying, but their ruling is of no consequence. Rather, one must say HaGomel.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part I)

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?

Menachem

Last week we cited the Talmud (Berachot 54b), which quotes R. Yehudah as saying in the name of Rav that four people must say HaGomel: those who have crossed the sea, those who have traveled through the desert, those who were sick and recovered, and those who were incarcerated and set free. We also cited the dispute between Rav Gershon, who opines that only these four people say HaGomel, and Rivash, who rules that people in similar situations say HaGomel too. The Taz and Magen Avraham write that common practice today follows Rivash.

The Gaon HaRav Tuvia Goldstein, zt”l (Emek Halacha Vol. 2:7), discusses this matter at length. At the outset he notes: “My own personal practice in regard to air travel is not to say HaGomel even though we do say it for other miraculous deliverances that are not exactly like the four cited in the Gemara (Berachot 54b), as both Taz and Mishneh Berurah (Orach Chayim 219) note.

“[A person should only say HaGomel] if he actually encountered danger and was [miraculously] delivered from it – e.g., a wall fell upon him or an ox gored him and he was saved from harm. [He says HaGomel if he crossed the sea, etc.] because he passed through a place of danger, even though he did not encounter strong winds. Such a journey is considered dangerous since he passed a place where it is known that dangerous things may occur. Similarly, travel in the desert is fraught with danger; the very place is dangerous. … However, travel by airplane does not entail any danger; thus, there is no reason to say HaGomel.

“Well known is the ruling of the Belzer Rebbe, zt”l (Admu’r HaRav Aharon Rokeach), that a person who travels by air, even though he travels over water, should not say HaGomel. I was also told by a trustworthy person, in the name of the Chazon Ish, zt”l (HaRav Yeshaya Karelitz), that a person should not say HaGomel even if his travel path took him over a body of water.”

Rabbi Goldstein cites from Sefer Kinyan Ha’Torah (Vol. 1, 16:3): “Now let me mention here regarding air travel across a body of water that there are many different opinions as to whether one says HaGomel or not. Rabbi Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik, zt”l (Reb Velevel, the Brisker Rav), was once in Switzerland where I visited him and had the opportunity to ask him his opinion as to whether one says HaGomel in such a situation. He answered me with these exact words; ‘You know that it is known that I don’t issue any rulings, but this let me tell you: I came here by airplane and I did not say HaGomel.’ This is a sage’s practice.”

These gedolim (great sages) did not offer a reason not to say HaGomel. It is unlikely, though, that they agree with Rav Gershon that only the four people mentioned in the Gemara say HaGomel, and no one else. Rather, they likely believe that air travel does not entail any danger.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part I)

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?

Menachem

Answer: I am flattered by your compliment. However, it is not entirely my knowledge but rather my good fortune to have at my disposal the great geonim of the day and their responsa from which I can quote.

First let us review the source for HaGomel. The Talmud (Berachot 54b) states that R. Yehuda says in the name of Rav that four people are required to say HaGomel: one who has crossed the sea, one who has traveled through the desert, one who was sick and healed, and one who was incarcerated and then set free. The Talmud bases this ruling on Psalms 107. The Talmud also rules that one should say HaGomel before a minyan.

Tosafot notes that our custom is to say HaGomel after receiving an aliya. Tosafot also remarks that a “sick person” refers to someone who was bedridden, not someone who merely had a headache or a stomachache.

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 219:9,10) writes that there is a dispute (between the Rivash and Rav Gershon) whether only these four people say HaGomel or others do as well. The Rivash argues that people who find themselves in similar situations also say HaGomel. He concludes that people should say it without saying Hashem’s name.

Both the Taz (sk 7) and Magen Avraham (sk 10) write that common practice today is to say HaGomel in all “similar situations.” Presumably they mean saying it with Hashem’s name.

The question now arises: What constitutes danger? Who is considered to have been delivered from danger? The text of the Mechaber regarding “similar cases” points to cases of unusual danger. Your point is well taken that, statistically, air travel is safer than automobile travel, yet we know that a person who reaches his destination after traveling by car does not say HaGomel since driving is considered a normal activity by today’s standards. Furthermore, driving is not considered unusually dangerous, notwithstanding the fact that there are many careless drivers on the road.

The Mechaber (ibid. 219:7) writes that in Germany and France one did not say HaGomel when going from one city to another, since the blessing is only recited by those who travel in the wilderness where wild animals and robbers roam. However, he adds that HaGomel was said in Spain because all the roads there were considered dangerous.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Google Acquires Israel’s Air Force [video]

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Israelis are still reeling from the discovery of a special salute to Internet mega-giant Google performed by the men and women of Israel’s air force, yes, the same airforce that gave us the elimination of the flying capacity of three Arab armies in six days, and the bombing of an Iraqi nuclear plant, is now using its facilities in a publicity stunt for a search engine. When Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was visiting Israel, his tour included the Hatzerim Air Force base in the Negev, he was received with a special video that was produced by the base, shot by artists Udi Even Haim, showing dozens of base soldiers forming with their bodies the brand name “Google.”

© JNi.media

© JNi.media

The story was exposed by Israel Radio military reporter Carmela Menashe, who heard it from the father of one of the participating soldiers. The father related how his son received an order to report for duty in the scorching heat at the Negev desert base, to be part of the special humanographic event.

As we said, shocked reactions have been pouring in from both sides of the aisle. MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) tweeted: “You don’t need a search engine to understand that these gestures must be stopped. There cannot be a Google logo, nor events for the wealthy on [IDF] bases.”

Shelly Yachimovich (Zionist Camp) posted on her Facebook page: “What a disgrace. In 35 degree heat (that’s 95 degrees to you and me), an entire base, with its pilots, soldiers, commanders, budgets, planes and drones — dancing before the management of a private company who came to visit, bowing before them and pleasing them with modeling twists. … Where are the limits? Where is the national honor? And who will decide which company gets flattered and why, and how is this related to state security and the IDF ethos, and how much did this humiliation cost, and what for?”

“What’s next?” Yachimovich wondered. “Soldiers modeling the Nike logo? Tanks laid up in the shape of the Gerber Baby? Fighter planes leaving behind smoke streaks promoting a coffee and croissant campaign?”

MK Amir Ohana (Likud), who chairs the Knesset subcommittee on IDF HR, tweeted that “the IDF’s role is to provide security, not be a decorating committee. … This is not the reason why we have a compulsory draft.”

Ohana promised he would use his power as the Knesset member in charge of how IDF soldiers are utilized to reduce such shameful phenomena.

The IDF spokesperson’s office released a curt response saying the event was initiated by the local Air Force base commander as part of the visit. The spokesperson added, “The issue will be checked and lessons will be learned.”

Incidentally, Google, like so many other gazillion-dollar Internet giants, doesn’t pay taxes in Israel for its Israeli ads or VAT. According to Guy Ophir, an activist promoting taxing those giants, Google should be dropping about a quarter billion dollars annually in Israel if it were taxed fairly.

JNi.Media

Next US Air Force Chief Battle-Tested and Jewish

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Gen. David Goldfein, a command pilot who flew combat missions in the Gulf War, the Afghanistan War, and in NATO’s 1999 air war in the former Yugoslavia, has been nominated to be the US Air Force’s next chief of staff, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. Gen. Goldfein is Jewish. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Dawn A. Goldfein, since 1983. They have two married daughters; the oldest is serving in the USAF and the youngest teaches first grade in Dallas, Texas.

If approved, Goldfein will start his new commission on July 1. He has been the Air Force’s vice chief of staff since August 2015.

“I’m extremely humbled by the nomination to serve as the Air Force’s 21st chief of staff,” Goldfein said in an Air Force press release. “If confirmed, I pledge to serve our airmen and their families unwaveringly and honor our remarkable heritage and legacy of integrity, service and excellence.”

Gen. David Goldfein

Gen. David Goldfein

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James lauded Goldfein’s selection in the same release: “Gen. Goldfein possesses the experience and vision needed to address dynamic global challenges and increasing military demand. He knows how to build and sustain key partnerships, has important warfighting experience, and will exercise the critical judgment required to balance our manpower and resources as we shape tomorrow’s Air Force. There is not a better person to lead our airmen into the next century of airpower dominance.”

According to AirForce Times, Goldfein has more than 4,200 hours flying the C and D variants of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the stealth F-117A Nighthawk and the unmanned MQ-9 Reaper, as well as the T-37, T-38 and MC-12W. While flying a combat mission over Serbia in 1999, Goldfein was shot down when his F-16 was hit by a surface-to-air-missile.

Goldfein ejected, and trekked across farm fields, evading enemy patrols, until he was picked up by a rescue helicopter, that then flew into enemy fire, taking five bullets in the fuselage.

In 2007, Goldfein told the El Paso Times that he sends the men who rescued him in Serbia a bottle of “single malt, good quality” Scotch every year as a sign of his gratitude.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/next-us-air-force-chief-battle-tested-and-jewish/2016/04/27/

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