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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘bill’

Rep. Sherman At Wallenberg Luncheon

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Jewish community leaders gathered recently in Washington to recognize the accomplishments of Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) on issues dear to the Jewish community. Sherman is known for his unwavering support for a strong U.S.-Israel strategic relationship, for sponsoring a tough Iran sanctions bill, and for cosponsoring legislation that would require the State Department to immediately move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

(L-R) Los Angeles County Commissioner Howard Winkler; Rep. Brad Sherman; and Stanley Treitel at the Wallenberg luncheon in Washington.

Sherman joined others at the Congressional Gold Medal Kickoff Luncheon for Raoul Wallenberg, the heroic Swedish diplomat and humanitarian who saved approximately 100,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust. The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to award Wallenberg the Congressional Gold Medal in time for the 100th anniversary of his birth in August.

“By sacrificing his personal safety, and ultimately his life, to protect the lives of a generation of Jews, Raoul Wallenberg exhibited the kind of noble courage that we prize in America,” said William Daroff, the director of the Washington office of the Jewish Federations of North America. Daroff’s organization led the lobbying efforts to honor Wallenberg at this time. “On behalf of the countless Jews saved through his mission, we are grateful for the House’s action to permanently honor a global hero.”

EJC’s Kantor Unveils Model Bill for Europe on Regulating Ritual Slaughter

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor unveiled a model bill designed to set “strict legal terms” on religious freedoms for the continent.

Kantor, who is also co-chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, or ECTR, presented the model bill on Oct. 15 at the European Parliament.

Designed to delineate the legal boundaries of tolerance in light of “anti-Semitism, racism and attempts to limit freedom of worship in Europe,” the document proposes to enshrine Jewish and Muslim religious slaughter practices, shechitah and halal, as well as ritual circumcision. It also recognized the state’s right to regulate the practices.

Citing “overriding” public safety reasons, the bill proposes to ban burkas and other face-covering headgear. Kantor said he hoped the parliaments of European Union member states adopt the principles laid down in the model bill in legislation, as “only by defining the boundaries of real tolerance can we ensure it.”

The model bill was co-authored by Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former Polish president and co-chair of ECTR, a Brussels-based NGO comprised of Nobel Peace Prize laureates, several former heads of states and others recognized for urging tolerance.

Under the model bill, “migrants who refuse to learn the local language may face deportation due to their unwillingness to integrate,” said Yoram Dinstein, one of the documents’ co-authors and an Israeli expert in international law.

“Many support tolerance as an abstract idea but find it hard to specify how it should be applied,” Dinstein told JTA. “This document tries to translate aspirations into practice.”

NJ Gov. Christie Signs Law Imposing Sanctions on Iran

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

(New Jersey Jewish News) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed into law new sanctions against Iran that prohibit public contracts with any company or person that invests in Iran’s energy and finance sectors.

Christie shared the announcement of the new legislation in remarks at a gala in Whippany on Tuesdasy celebrating the merger that created the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.

With Christie’s signature, New Jersey becomes the sixth state after New York, Florida, California, Indiana and Maryland to enact such legislation. The state Senate and Assembly had approved the bill in June with broad bipartisan support.

Max Kleinman, executive vice president and CEO of the Greater MetroWest federation, had testified before the Assembly supporting the legislation in June.

“We are very pleased to see that the governor has signed the Iran Sanctions Act and would like to thank him as well as all the sponsors who moved the bill,” said Gordon Haas, chair of the Community Relations Committee of Greater MetroWest NJ. “Our gratitude goes to both the Assembly and Senate, who voted for the bill unanimously.”

The move to impose sanctions follows a July 2010 law signed by President Obama that gives states and local governments the authority to prevent contracting with companies that do business in Iran.

“With this law, the State of New Jersey is bolstering the United States government’s stand in support of the rights of the people of Iran and against the dictatorial regime and the economy on which it relies,” according to a news release from Christie’s office.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat who signed on as a prime sponsor of the legislation, noted the latest bill goes beyond a resolution he introduced last year urging more aggressive federal sanctions.

“By exercising the federal authority granted to the states by enacting our own state sanctions,” he said, “New Jersey’s message remains strong and clear: Until Iran confirms that it will curtail its nuclear ambitions and join in the pursuit of peace, we will continue to act forcefully to meet the danger that a nuclear Iran poses to everyone.“

Gov Cuomo Vetoes Orthodox-Endorsed Religious Special-Ed Bill

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have made it possible for many special-education students to be placed in private schools using public funds, the NY Post reports.

Under the school districts would have been obligated to consider a child’s religion when placing them in a school.

Under the current law, families of special-education students are able to get tuition reimbursement from the government if nearby public schools do not provide the services their child need.

According to Cuomo, the new bill created new criteria that were too open-ended.

Catholic and Orthodox Jewish groups had lobbied for the bill, arguing that children learn best in settings that resemble their home environment.

Public school advocates lobbied against the bill, saying it would start a slippery slope towards a voucher system.

“This bill unfairly places the burden on taxpayers to support the provision of a private education,” Cuomo said in his veto message.

He argued that the measure would “result in incalculable significant additional costs to be borne by every school district and taxpayer.”

The bill gave school districts 90 days to act on parents’ requests and 30 more days to reimburse the family for their child’s private-school tuition.

Congress Boosts Sanctions—Which Are Working—But President Gets to Roll Them Back Selectively

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Congressional negotiators have settled on a bill enhancing Iran sanctions, and President Obama announced new sanctions targeting fronts for Iran.

“This bipartisan, bicameral Iran sanctions legislation strengthens current U.S. law by leaps and bounds,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committee and a chief sponsor of the bill, said in a statement released Monday after House and Senate negotiators finalized the legislation.

“It updates and expands U.S. sanctions, and counters Iran’s efforts to evade them,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “The bill sends a clear message to the Iranian regime that the U.S. is committed, through the use of sanctions, to preventing Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold.”

Obama administration officials likely will cite the enhanced sanctions bill, due to pass both houses in its final version before week’s end, in their efforts to persuade Israel not to take military action against Iran in the coming months.

But the Obama administration, with backing from Senate Democrats, managed to roll back some provisions backed by the House and Senate Republicans.

Under the final version, for instance, the president has considerable leeway to postpone sanctions on insurers in order to give them time to comply.

Also omitted from the final version are sanctions that congressional hard-liners had sought on individuals associated with SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, as long as the body continues to deal with Iran’s central bank.

Obama administration officials in a conference call with reporters would not commit to signing the bill or endorsing all its facets, but said they were “optimistic” about working with Congress to continue isolating Iran.

Ehsan Mehrabi reported in insideIRAN.org (Report from Tehran: How Sanctions Hurt the Lives of Ordinary Iranians) that the sanctions are having a significant effect on the lives of most Iranians. Razie Sadeghi, an economic journalist who is in regular contact with the country’s economic officials, told Mehrabi that Iranian officials believe declining oil revenues as a result of the sanctions on the Central Bank and the country’s oil sector “could deliver a big blow to Iran’s economy.”

Mehrabi points out that one of the consequences of the sanctions has been the refusal of many companies to sell auto parts to automobile companies in Iran. He cites a 36% reduction in car manufacturing in the country, “which can have unpredictable consequences in regards to labor unrest.”

According to Mehrabi’s report, the majority of people blame Iran’s leaders and believe that the government’s insistence on carrying out the nuclear program is the cause of the economic problems. Nonetheless, he believes that ultimately these sanctions will hurt the people more than the regime.

CBS News reported earlier this week that financial sanctions and oil embargoes imposed upon Iran by the international community are having an effect upon Tehran’s ballistic missile program, with experts saying Iran’s ability to develop and build missiles capable of striking targets in Western Europe and beyond has been significantly impeded.

On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the sanctions are having a “serious impact” on the Iranian economy, even if their results may not be immediately obvious.

Panetta’s comments come just a day after US President Barack Obama’s Republican challenger Mitt Romney, during his trip to Jerusalem, backed Israel’s right to attack Iran’s nuclear program.

In a separate move on Tuesday, Obama introduced new sanctions that target fronts for Iranian entities already subject to sanctions.

The new sanctions, Obama said in a statement announcing his executive order, are “authorized for those who may seek to avoid the impact of these sanctions, including against individuals and entities that provide material support to the National Iranian Oil Company, Naftiran Intertrade Company, or the Central Bank of Iran, or for the purchase or acquisition of U.S. bank notes or precious metals by the Government of Iran.”

Singled out for citation were the Bank of Kunlun in China and Elaf Islamic Bank, for having “facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars on behalf of Iranian banks that are subject to sanctions for their links to Iran’s illicit proliferation activities.”

“By cutting off these financial institutions from the United States, today’s action makes it clear that we will expose any financial institution, no matter where they are located, that allows the increasingly desperate Iranian regime to retain access to the international financial system,” Obama said in his statement.

Members of Congress to Hold Moment of Silence for Munich 11

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a moment of silence for the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches slain by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

“We’re going to give one-minute speeches on the House floor and devote a substantial moment of that to silence on Thursday,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said in a conference call with the media on Wednesday. Following that, he and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) will lead a group of lawmakers to the Capital grounds for another moment of silence.

Engel and Lowey are cosponsors of a bill calling on the International Olympic Committee to hold a moment of silence for the Israelis during Friday evening’s opening ceremonies of the London Games. The bill unanimously passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but a vote has yet to be scheduled by the full body. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a similar resolution.

“On Friday, millions of people around the world will tune in to the Olympics opening ceremony,” Lowey said. “A minute of silence would be a reminder that we must be constantly vigilant against prejudice, hate and intolerance, and it would pay tribute to the Munich 11 and their families.”

President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, along with several governments around the world, have joined the call for a moment of silence at the opening ceremonies, but the IOC has rejected the request.

“For them not to do a moment of silence, that’s being political because frankly they’re afraid of offending some of the Arab nations,” Engel said, adding later that “If you have this fiction of fraternal bonds and commonality of feeling, then it’s appropriate for the IOC to act without any politics whatsoever. The only reason they haven’t done this in 40 years is because it’s Israeli athletes, and that makes it even more disgraceful.”

Rep. Ted Deutsch (D-Fla.) added on the call, “There is still time for the world to honor these athletes and to unite against terrorism. We can’t allow the 40th anniversary of their murder to pass by, and we can’t allow it to be overshadowed by geopolitics.”

In the past, Olympics officials have attended private Israeli or Jewish ceremonies marking the tragedy, but other than the day after the murders themselves, the IOC has not held a commemoration during the Games for the Munich victims. There was a brief mention of the killings at the close of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when then-IOC head Juan Antonio Samaranch called for a moment of silence for the victims of a bombing during those Games as well as the slain Israelis.

Evolution Vs. Revolution in Struggle over Haredi Draft

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

The Knesset was humming with the sound of bells on Wednesday as the call to vote for an equal service bill filled the building.

“You have a responsibility to contribute to your country, to the state that you get benefits from,” FM Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu spokesperson said. “Those who serve will receive.”

The proposed bill was shot down by a 74-20 vote.

The opposition in large part came from the Haredim. Avraham Chasida, 32, is a Chassid from Jerusalem and an army veteran. He believes that the army is a method for protecting the Jewish people. In turn, he also said that continuing to learn Torah is the only way the Jewish people will really be protected.

Chasida set up a tent in Wohl Rose Park outside of the Knesset in protest of the new bill. He explained that there has already been a natural increase in army service in the Ultra Orthodox community without force or punishment. In 2007, 305 Haredi men were serving, and in 2011 that number has increased to 2,372. The sentiment was a confusion at changing something that is already working.

“Don’t just be right, be smart,” he said. “After 64 years, you can’t take people and turn it around and switch it in one shot.”

Knesset members are also aware that the transition must be smooth. “We can’t have a revolution, we have to have evolution,” MK Tzipi Hotovely said, adding that the Army needs to be prepared for the Haredim just as much as the Haredim need to be ready for service.

However, time is of the essence, and not only because of the August 1 deadline posed by the Supreme Court. Hotovely said that the window of opportunity exists now – because in the near future Knesset representation will change.

A spokesperson for Yisrael Beytenu echoed her statement. “We’ve had 64 years to evolve,” he said. “Demographically, it will be impossible to pass this bill 20 years from now.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu is now working on a bill that is quite similar to the Tal Law, and if all goes well, should be passed before the end of the month.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/idf/evolution-vs-revolution-in-struggle-over-haredi-draft/2012/07/19/

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