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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Bridge’

In Strongest Showing, Trump Fails to Bridge Gap with Women

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Had Donald Trump been as in command of his demeanor and of the debate subject matters in his previous bouts with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and had he been able to restrain his impulsive reactions to her skillful provocations, he would probably not be trailing her in the polls as badly as he is doing these days. The big story most media outlets have run with right after the third presidential debate in Las Vegas Wednesday night has been Trump’s refusal to commit to honoring the results of the November 8 elections—the first presidential candidate to have done so before the actual vote. But it’s doubtful that his coy response, that he’ll keep us in suspense, will actually hurt his numbers in the coming nineteen days. After all, he has done just that during the early primary debates, refused to commit to supporting the Republican nominee, no matter whom he or she would be — and his poll numbers increased. Trump’s devastating failure this third debate has been to move the needle on his appeal to American women.

A new CBS poll of 13 battleground states taken a couple of days before Wednesday night’s debate showed women voters favor Clinton by 15 points over Trump, compared with 5 points a month earlier. Regardless of how he got there, how unfair that hot mic recording of his uttering really vulgar words on the bus had been, how the media were ganging up on him and how the Clinton campaign was to blame for the ten or so women who came out to portray him as an abusive man — it worked, and it was Trump’s job to fix it.

He didn’t have to win over the swing state women, he just needed to bring their support back to what it had been — a +5 for his opponent, because he had the majority of male voters on his side. Making peace with women had to be his top priority, if he wanted a shot at winning Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, the must-win-2-out-of-3 states for Republican presidential candidates. He failed abysmally.

He didn’t even have to be contrite, he didn’t have to apologize, he didn’t have to make any of the PC gestures he—and many of the rest of us—despise so much. He just had to show empathy, take the high road, look and sound like a mensch. Instead, he willingly conceded the women’s corner to his opponent, and became entangled in a string of denials that focused attention on the accusations against him, rather than build him up as a human being. It wasn’t enough to repeat the line, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody,” which elicited one of the very few roars of laughter from the audience. He had to show respect, and he had a perfect opportunity right there and then, seeing as his opponent happens to be female. He couldn’t do what a number of better skilled American politicians have done with grace — including, most emphatically, presidential candidate Bill Clinton, who, during the 1992 campaign, was floored several times by very serious allegations of sexual misconduct. Bill Clinton showed the skill and smarts that were required to dig himself out of the hole every time some woman from Arkansas had stood up to remind him of their quality time together.

Instead, Trump went on the attack against his accusers, not understanding the fundamental rules of the complex game known as American politics: you can’t ever appear like the bully, you can’t ever express contempt towards people who are weaker and poorer than you, and you can’t ever, ever, tell a rape victim she’s a liar, even if she’s lying.

But when it came to hitting his opponent hard where she deserved to be hit, Trump was weak and unforcused. Hillary Clinton evaded the moderator’s hard-hitting questions with admirable facility, at one point turning Chris Wallace’s poignant question on the corrupt “pay to play” conduct of the Clinton Foundation into an infomercial on the good works of the same foundation, but Trump stood and watched, overmatched, as his rival was taking his lunch.

The media are congratulating Wallace on his strength and competence, and he certainly has been better than everyone before him, but look at this exchange, and notice how Trump was unable to deliver a devastating blow against his opponent, despite the enthusiastic support from the moderator on this issue:

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, during your 2009 Senate confirmation hearing you promised to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest with your dealing with the Clinton Foundation while you were secretary of state, but e-mails show that donors got special access to you, those seeking grants for Haiti relief separately from non-donors and some of those donors got contracts, government contracts, taxpayer money. Can you really say you’ve kept your pledge to that Senate committee and why isn’t what happened and what went on and between you and the Clinton Foundation […] what Mr. Trump calls pay-to-play?

Clinton: Well, everything I did as secretary of state was in furtherance of our country’s interests and our values. The state department has said that. I think that’s been proven, but I am happy — in fact, I’m thrilled to talk about the Clinton Foundation because it is a world-renowned charity and I’m so proud of the work that it does. I could talk for the rest of the debate. I know I don’t have the time to do that, but just briefly the Clinton Foundation made it possible for 11 million people around the world with HIV AIDS to afford treatment and that’s about half of all the people in the world that are getting treatment in partnership with the American health association.

Wallace then reminds Clinton, “The specific question is about pay to play —” and he asks Trump for his input.

Alas, Trump is unable to form a coherent, razor-sharp attack and resorts instead to anecdotal arguments. He is not in command of the facts in those Wikileaks, he can’t make the case, and falls flat instead, coming across yet again as grumpy Trump.

Trump: It’s a criminal enterprise. Saudi Arabia given $25 million, Qatar, all of these countries. You talk about women and women’s rights? So these are people that push gays off business, off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly and yet you take their money. So I’d like to ask you right now why don’t you give back the money that you’ve taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money? I think it would be a great gesture because she takes a tremendous amount of money. And you take a look at the people of Haiti. I was in Little Haiti the other day in Florida, and I want to tell you they hate the Clintons because what’s happened in Haiti with the Clinton Foundation is a disgrace. And you know it and they know it and everybody knows it.

There’s a reason why the vast majority of American politicians are Law School graduates. Law School is where you learn to think on your feet to form a counter argument quickly and convincingly, before a critical judge who isn’t interested in your trip to Little Haiti and how the folks down there hate Hillary. And while Trump was busy going nowhere, Hillary was preparing a massive counter attack. And, remember, she didn’t have to destroy her opponent, only to divert attention from the very real accusations made by Wallace against her conduct as Secretary of State, affording access to her foundation’s donors.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: Well, very quickly, we at the Clinton Foundation spend 90%, 90%, of all the money that is donated on behalf of programs for people around the world and in our own country. I’m very proud of that. We have the highest rating from the watchdogs that follow foundations. And I would be happy to compare what we do with the Trump Foundation which took money from other people and bought a six-foot portrait of Donald. I mean, who does that? I mean, it just was astonishing. But when it comes to Haiti, Haiti is the poorest country in our hemisphere. The earthquake and the hurricanes, it has devastated Haiti. Bill and I have been involved in trying to help Haiti for many years. The Clinton Foundation raised $30 million to help Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake and all of the terrible problems the people there had. We’ve done things to help small businesses, agriculture, and so much else. And we’re going to keep working to help Haiti because it is an important part of the American experience.

This is how it’s done.

Finally, close to the end, when most pundits were prepared to declare him the winner, at least by points, Trump shot himself in the foot and provided the opposition with a golden slogan. The topic of discussion was entitlement programs, including Social Security, that “third rail of American politics,” where countless Republicans have lost to countless Democrats who knew that any voter over age 50 doesn’t care about the program’s solvency, they just want to be reassured their checks will be in the mail for as long as they live once they retire. Which is what Hillary gave them, possibly without a shred of real figures to support her:

Clinton: Well, Chris, I am on the record as saying we need to put more money into Social Security Trust fund. That’s part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My Social Security payroll contribution will go up as will Donald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it, but what we want to do is —”

And Donald Trump leaned into the mike and said hoarsely: “Such a nasty woman.”

Clinton either hadn’t heard him or chose to ignore him, but millions of women saw an angry man belittling and attacking one of their own. Expect T-shirts saying “I’m voting for the nasty woman,” very much like the Obama campaign’s T-shirts from 2008, with the slogan, “I’m voting for that one,” following Sen. John MacCain’s unfortunate reference to his debate opponent Sen. Barack Obama. And, as has been the theme of this post 3rd debate analysis, should he lose the election, Donald Trump will have mostly himself to blame for rigging it.

Finally, in the discussion of third-trimester abortions, Hillary Clinton presented the familiar, feminist argument about the woman’s right to make decisions about her body, with the support of her family, her doctor, and her spiritual adviser. Jewish law, which does not believe that we own our bodies, since they belong to the Creator, we are merely the custodians of our bodies, nevertheless sides with those who permit third-trimester abortion, for a completely different reason.

In a case where the birth of the fetus poses a threat to the life of the mother, before the birth has begun, as long as the fetus is completely in the womb, the fetus that threatens its mother’s life is considered a “rodef,” a person who wants to kill another person and should be killed first. In such a case, the midwife is permitted to even cut the fetus up and pull it out in pieces, to save the mother. In fact, Donald Trump described in great detail precisely what the halakha encourages the midwife to do should the fetus risk its mother’s life:

Trump: Well I think it is terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that is okay and Hillary can say that that is okay, but it’s not okay with me. Because based on what she is saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take a baby and rip the baby out of the womb. In the ninth month. On the final day. And that’s not acceptable.

Had he asked his Orthodox Jewish daughter Yael, she would have told him that this is exactly how our tradition describes what is permitted in that tragic case where the mother’s life is at stake.

However, everything changes in our halakha when it comes to partial birth. If most of the baby is out of the womb, we’re no longer dealing with a fully realized life—the mother, versus a potential life—the fetus. Now we have two fully realized humans with equal rights to life. According to our laws, if the baby’s head has emerged completely (the maximalist view), or 51% of the baby’s body has emerged (the minimalists), we can no longer kill the baby.

Two of our major scholars, Maimonides and Rashi, hold different views on abortion for reasons other than the health of the mother. In a cases where the fetus is likely to be born deformed, Rashi, who holds it is not a realized human, would permit an abortion, Maimoides does not.

By the way, all Jewish authorities agrees that for the first 40 days of pregnancy a woman may terminate without any question, because the fetus only receives a soul on its 40th day.

But overall, Jewish law never views the killing of an unborn fetus as murder, at most it would be a case of manslaughter, but more likely a case of civil damages, if done against the woman’s will.

JNi.Media

Emes Ve-Emunah: The Bridge Builder

Monday, August 15th, 2016

(Originally posted to the author’s blogsite, Emes Ve-Emunah}

I know Yechiel Eckstein. We are friends. Yechiel completed Shas together with me and about 20 others doing Daf Yomi in Rabbi Yosef Bechhofer‘s Shiur (10th cycle).

He started doing Daf Yomi in the Chicago Community Kollel (Lakewood) and was expelled when he one day blurted out that he founded the IFCJ and was partnering with Evangelical Christians. The Roshei Kollel asked a Shaila about whether they should allow him back into the Shiur. They were told they could. But the Avreichim at the Kollel boycotted him – walking out of the Shachris Minyan  there which he attended every day after the Shiur. Which caused him tremendous hurt and embarrassment.

He searched for another Daf Yomi Shiur and found us. Rabbi Bechhofer asked R’ Dovid Cohen if he should accept him. He was told that he could. He was a marvelous and quite brilliant participant in that Shiur.

(After completing Shas, Yechiel sent Rabbi Bechhofer a profoundly grateful letter. Which Rabbi Bechhofer read to our Shiur soon after we began the new 11th cycle. It was an amazing expression of Hakoras HaTov!)

To say that Rabbi Eckstein is controversial is an understatement. But I happen to believe that he is getting a bad rap from most of the Orthodox world. And that they are mostly mistaken about him. Although I can surely see why they would be suspect of what he does.

Yechiel is the director of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. In that role he has raised tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars – almost all from Christian sources. While I do believe that he has crossed some lines in doing so (lines similar to those crossed by Open Orthodoxy and its flagship institution, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah) I do not think he is guilty of what he has been accused of: supporting Christian missionary work to the Jewish people.

But his close personal relationship with many Evangelical preachers, his attendance at some of their rallies and some of the things he’s said has made him seem like one of them.  A Jewish rabbi (with Semicha from Yeshiva University no less) who is now an apostate. Who in reality wants to convert us to Christianity.

He is not like that at all. He is a sincere and devout Jew that in my view has made some serious errors. But he has not God forbid secretly converted to Christianity with a mission to convert us. That is the furthest thing from the truth. His complimentary words about Jesus are not much different than Rabbi Shlomo Riskin referring to Jesus as ‘Rabbi Jesus’.

Nonetheless, with this negative image in mind, he has been boycotted by just about the entire rabbinic leadership in America and Israel. They believe that he does in fact does contribute to their missionary work, whether intentional or not. The most respected Charedi rabbinic leader of his time, Rav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, ZTL, forbade any Orthodox institution from accepting money from the Fellowship. He said that accepting money from the Fellowship was tantamount to supporting missionary work! This was followed by many other religious leaders from a wide cross section of Orthodoxy who jumped on Rav Elyashiv’s bandwagon. All saying the same thing.

This did not stop Yechiel. He has a good heart and does not discriminate. Where he sees poverty, he tries to help. It is no secret that the Charedi world in Israel is among the poorest segments of the Israeli population. He has therefore attempted to give them money. A lot of it. But it was refused because of what I believe was a mistaken belief about him.

I personally think that Christian money that is given without any strings attached should be accepted and put to good purpose. It’s a shame that this community won’t take advantage of it.

It is true that Yechiel has an ego problem. He has actually admitted to that in a recent article in JTA. He wants recognition for what he has done. And he has been refused that recognition.  But I think recognizing him and where that money came from is a small price to pay for the millions of dollars the Torah world would get.

It is a sad commentary on the character of those who would take Fellowship money in spite of the ban as long as they don’t have to publicize where they got it. Here are a few examples, taken from an authorized biography by Zev Chafetz.

Nefesh B’Nefesh the widely touted organization that generously finances Jews of all religious stripes make Aliyah was co-founded by Yechiel. It was financed entirely by the Fellowship in its inaugural year. But in all their publicity about it, they did not mention Yechiel or the Fellowship at all. Despite the fact that it was completely financed by them.

Rabbi Dovid Grossman, of Migdal Ha’Emek happily conducted tours for Christian donors who came to see their money in action. With Yechiel’s help, the institution flourished.  But when he announced he was going to run for Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem he dropped Yechiel’s support and publicly promised to stop taking Fellowship money.

In 2012 when the Sephardi part Shas (founded and led by Rav Ovadia Yosef who denounced Yechiel and his ‘tainted’ money) was excluded  from the governing coalition, Yechiel started receiving messages welcoming him to come visit.

In 2006, Charedi Kenesset member Meir Porush approached Yecheil to help fund a seniors’ home in the Charedi town of Emmanuel. Yecheil agreed to give him $30,000. When that was made public, Rabbi Porush was embarrassed into admitting where he got the money and claimed it was a big mistake, not having realized where Yechiel got his money. He then severed any connection he had to Yechiel.

Three years later, Rabbi Porush asked for another meeting with Yechiel. There he asked him for money for an Ashkeanzi girls school in Emmanuel. Rabbi Porush was reminded of his earlier condemnation of Yechiel and his Fellowship calling them Christian missionaries.  He denied it. Yechiel than sent him a copy of the newspaper article in which he attacked their work in Israel. Needless to say, Rabbi Porush did not get the money.

As  indicated at the start of this post, I do think Yechiel has crossed some lines. But at the same time, I believe his money is Kosher. And so too, must those who approached him privately for funds after attacking him publicly.  They would never have done that if they truly believed they were supporting missionary work. I think the ban should be lifted.

Harry Maryles

Israel On My Mind – Brexits and Bridge Breaking [audio]

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Tune in this week as Jono and Jason explore the awesome news flowing out of Israel! We explore amazing new science, mull over our love and fear of heights, discuss the Brexit and Jason’s opinion as an Englishman in what it ‘really’ means for the UK, Europe and Israel, as well as covering many, MANY more interesting topics.

Don’t forget you can join the conversation at Facebook!

Israel On My Mind 30Jun – PODCAST

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Israel News Talk Radio

New Film Depicts Arab Queers as Bridge to Peace [video]

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Khader Abu Saif, Faddy Daim and Naim Girayes are three Arab homosexual friends living in Tel Aviv, a city where the last census counted 25% of the population as self declared gay. They’d like nothing more than to enjoy the gay life in the gayest city on the planet, and yet the term “Palestinian homo” conjures in the mind of most people they meet a kind of cartoon image, a stereotypical tag that has very little to do with them as individuals. “Oriented,” by Jewish British filmmaker Jake Wiesenfeld, is a new documentary making the rounds in festivals these days, examining their lives as they reject all these stereotypes, both as Arabs and as Israelis.

Khader Abu Saif is seen in one of the first scenes in the movie giving a lecture about his life as part of “a new Palestinian generation.” He relates an encounter with a British journalist who wanted to tell the world about Khader’s miserable life as a Palestinian homosexual and the daily suffering he must endure because of his two underdog identities. “So I told him, wait a minute, I think you reached the wrong person, because my parents know about me, they’ve accepted me and they totally love and support me. This things [you’re describing] doesn’t exist. So he tells me, ‘can you find me a gay Palestinian who is suffering?'”

His audience laugh, but soon enough Khader gets into a confrontation with a heckler over his identity. What kind of Arab is he, anyway? Does he carry the blue ID card or the orange one?

But the film leaves no doubt about the fact that in a region where gay people are thrown off rooftops, tied to chairs, Israel offers a paradise of equality and personal safety to Arab homosexuals, at least west of the green line and outside the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip. But the film is not political, rather it examines everyday scenes in the lives of the three friends as they meet with family, and travel to a festival in Amman, Jordan, as well as the daily dialogue and existential conflicts they maintain with the Jewish and Arab society around them.

The three friends are far from being identical in their preferences and attitudes, especially when it comes to politics. Faddy Daim, who is depicted as the most anti-Zionist of the trio, refused to attend the gala screening of the film at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, and refused to give interviews to Israeli media. Abu Saif explained that Faddy sees the film as “pink washing,” a term leftwing gays have coined to describe how Israel tries to cover up all its other “crimes” by showing how nice it is to gays, including Arab gays.

In the film, Faddy is tormented by the conflict between his ideology and his libido, when he falls in love with an Israeli man. “I’m feeling weak,” he says, “I’m in love with a Zionist.” He is not joking, he laments: “I’m in love with my enemy. I’m in love with everything against which I fight. I don’t have a problem with the fact that he is Jewish, I have a problem with the fact that he doesn’t think there’s such a thing as an Israeli occupation.”

The film depicts an Arab society which has gone a long way towards tolerating its gay members. It also offers criticism and praise of Israeli society from the Arab point of view. Which is why Khader Abu Saif is convinced both Arabs and Jews will hate the film, because it does not pander to anyone’s ideology. The three Arab characters appreciate the enormous advantages of living in a Western democracy, but are also angry at having to spend so much longer at the passport counter than their Israeli friends.

And because it doesn’t pander, and does not adopt either of the competing national narratives, the film can be the basis for real conversation between the two societies, never mind the politics.

The film “Oriented” will soon be available for downloading via iTunes, GooglePlay, and Amazon.

JNi.Media

Bridge & Tunnel

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Aerial views of the bridge and tunnels between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion.

Gush Etzion Bridge & Tunnel

Gush Etzion Bridge & Tunnel

Photo by Corinna Kern/Flash90

Photo by Corinna Kern/Flash90

Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90

Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90

Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90

Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90

Photo of the Day

Terror On the Roads: 4 Firebombs Thrown at Gush Etzion Checkpoint

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Overnight, terrorists threw four firebombs at the Gush Etzion checkpoint near the tunnel entrance to Jerusalem.

There were no injuries or damage from the attacks.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/terror-on-the-roads-4-firebombs-thrown-at-gush-etzion-checkpoint/2013/06/21/

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