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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘chief’

Responding to Meretz Petition, State Tells Court Rabbi Karim Does Not Believe in Raping Enemy Women

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

The State on Tuesday responded to a petition served by Meretz against the appointment of Rabbi Eyal Karim as IDF Chief Rabbi, saying the Chief of Staff has picked Karim believing he is the right man at the right time for the job — based on his abilities, knowledge and military background.

Col. Rabbi Eyal Moshe Karim, head of the Rabbinate Dept. at the IDF Military Rabbinate, also served as commander of the paratrooper division’s special forces. In July he was picked by Chief of Staff Gabi Eizenkot to become IDF Chief Rabbi. But then the Israeli media discovered a few “controversial” legal opinions authored by Karim in the online Orthodox news website Kipa. Written as halakhic responsa, Karim’s passages included a reference to the status of a captive enemy woman in time of war, which the Torah deals with from within the socio-political milieu of the second millenium BCE. He also discussed the halakha’s view on women’s military service and on homosexuality.

Needless to say, Karim’s opinions, written some 14 years ago in the context of a discussion involving Orthodox readers, did not go down well with Israeli leftwingers such as Meretz Chairwoman Zehave Galon. Meretz appealed the appointment to the Supreme Court, which suspended it pending an explanation regarding the differences between Israel 3,000 years ago and today.

In its response on Tuesday, the State noted that Rabbi Karim’s responsa were prefaced with a proviso that these are not his legal rulings but rather his review of rabbinical law. Regarding the fact that the Torah permits nonconsenting sex with a captured enemy woman in time of war, the State assured the court that Rabbi Karim does not espouse this as a policy to be followed by IDF soldiers nowadays.

MK Motti Yogev (HaBayit HaYehudi) told Israel Radio on Tuesday that the Supreme Court once again overstepped its boundaries by rudely intervening in IDF appointment decisions. Yogev noted that so far the court has fought the legislative and executive branches and now has added the IDF to its list of targets. Yogev called on his colleagues in the Knesset to find way of stopping the court from uninvited interference in halakhic discussions.

Rabbi Karim is expected to start serving as IDF Chief Rabbi on Thursday, unless the court continues to block his appointment.

David Israel

Report: US Muslim Brotherhood Arm Paid for Mecca Trip of DNC Chief Wannabe Ellison

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

The House Ethics Committee in 2008 investigated Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Min), a practicing Muslim, for failing to disclose receiving funds from a Muslim-Brotherhood affiliated group to finance his 2008 pilgrimage to Mecca, the Washington Free Beacon reported Monday. Ellison is considered among the top finalists in the race to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

In 2008, the Muslim American Society paid $13,350 for Ellison’s 16-day haj (pilgrimage), on which he was joined by Asad Zaman, who sits on the MAS board. According to the Star Tribune, Ellison described the trip as a transformational personal experience, saying “I didn’t want to turn it into a politics thing.” But eight months or so later, Ellison faced a House Ethics Committee review of his concealing who financed his spiritual journey and how much it cost, seeing as it was considered a gift to a public official.

Ellison said he was not “privy to the internal workings of the organization” that paid to connect him with Allah. But Tax records show the Muslim American Society of Minnesota received close to $900,000 in taxpayer money in 2006 and 2007.

According to a 2004 Chicago Tribune article, Muslim American Society is another name for the US chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 following “a contentious debate among Brotherhood members. Some wanted the Brotherhood to remain underground, while others thought a more public face would make the group more influential. Members from across the country drove to regional meeting sites to discuss the issue.”

According to Wikipedia, in November 2014, MAS was designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

MAS co-founder Jamal Balawi was listed among the “unindicted co-conspirators” in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, which the US government designated as a terrorist organization, seized its assets, and closed it down. Following several years of trials, the founders of the organization were given sentences of between 15 and 65 years in prison for “funneling $12 million to Hamas.”

Balawi also endorsed “combative jihad” and suicide bombings, and publicly celebrated Hamas terrorists as “martyrs.”

A former MAS Communications Director, Randall Royer, was arrested in 2003 by federal agents and charged of conspiring with Lashkar-i-Taibi (Army of the Righteous), a Pakistani Wahhabi terrorist group to engage in terrorist operations in Chechnya, Kashmir and elsewhere. Royer was a member of the “Virginia Jihad Network,” a network of jihadists centered in North Virginia, and he acknowledged supporting several members of that circle to access Lashkar-i-Taibi training camps.

Also, a significant number of advertisers in the MAS publication The American Muslim, which often contain references to suicide bombings as martyr operations, were later uncovered by the US authorities a being involved in terror financing: Global Relief Foundation, which had its assets frozen in 2002 for providing funding to al-Qaeda; Kind Hearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development, which the US authorities qualified has “the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving;” and Islamic African Relief Agency, now Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA), which the US Treasury qualified as a specially designated global terrorist organization for its support of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the Taliban in 2004.

JNi.Media

Trump’s Chief Israel Adviser: ‘He Does Not Define Settlements as Obstacle to Peace’

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Donald Trump’s chief Israel adviser Jason Greenblatt on Thursday told Army Radio that his boss “does not define settlements as obstacle to peace, and he would prove this by pointing to the situation in the Gaza Strip, where the Jewish settlements were evacuated and peace still has not arrived.”

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Greenblatt suggested that “Trump thinks Israel is in a difficult situation and must defend herself. Peace must arrive through a bilateral initiative and he has no plan to get involved in it.”

Regarding the UNESCO resolution ignoring the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, Greenblat said the President Elect recognizes the right of the Jewish nation to its eternal capital Jerusalem and is disgusted by the resolution.

To keep things balanced, Army Radio also interviewed former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, who said, with noted condescension, “If the Israeli right knows what Trump position regarding Israel is, I believe they know more than Trump does.”

Indyk urged Israelis to take the President Elect’s promises with a grain of salt, since his position on Israel “is quite unclear, he says different things to different groups. We simply don’t know.”

According to Indyk, Trump will follow all past presidents who promised to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “He is not the first presidential candidate to promise this, which is why I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t do it,” Indyk said.

JNi.Media

NGO Monitor, Australian Jews, Pose Disturbing Questions to Christian Charity Chief on Eve of Hadassah Speech

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

On Wednesday night, the CEO of the charity World Vision, Rev. Tim Costello, will be the keynote speaker at Hadassah Australia’s annual oration at Glen Eira Town Hall in Caulfield, Victoria, Australia. The Jewish Labor MP for Melbourne Ports, Michael Danby, on Tuesday “slammed” the appearance, in light of World Vision’s dubious ties with Hamas, The Age reported. Danby said it was time for people to “stop weeping about World Vision” and to focus on how “Australian taxpayers’ money” ended up in Hamas coffers.

Costello, for his part, confirmed that he still plans to speak at the Hadassah event, calling the allegations against his group a “storm in a teacup.”

And Hadassah Australia president Ron Finkel told The Australian Jewish News, “There’s a saying in football that you play the ball, not the man, and so it would be terrible if Tim is attacked because someone may have perpetrated a fraud within World Vision.”

Let’s play ball.

World Vision’s senior official in the Gaza Strip Mohammed el Halabi was arrested last August by Israel’s GSS and confessed to usurping some 60% of World Vision’s Gaza budget on behalf of the terrorist organization Hamas. Since then, World Vision has declared its support for el Halabi, then made public a smattering of information regarding its finances in Gaza, while heatedly denying the accusations of its anti-Israel bias. NGO Monitor on Tuesday published an extensive list of concerns regarding World Vision’s conduct, which is critical both of its political and ideological agendas as well as its financial management and due diligence.

Under the World Vision agenda issues, the NGO Monitor article points out the following issues:

World Vision officials have a record of pro-Arab bias and hostility to the Jews’ right to a share of the land of Israel. Some recent attacks on Israel and on Christian Zionism made by World Vision officials, while virtually ignoring the Hamas policy of terrorism, as noted by Australian Rabbi James Kennard, were “highly problematic.” World Vision, particularly its CEO Rev. Costello, must address this problem, preferably before Costello’s scheduled Hadassah keynote speech.

According to NGO Monitor, a number of officials working for WV-IL, the Israeli branch of World Vision, are also working for vehemently anti-Israeli NGOs:

Sami Khoury, WV-IL’s financial manager, is senior member of Sabeel, an anti-Semitic theological group.

Raffoul Rofa, WV-IL’s board member since 2008 and chair since 2009, is also the director of anti-Israel NGO Society of St.Yves.

WV-IL founder Michel Sabbah co-authored the 2009 Kairos Palestine document, promoting BDS in churches, comparing Israel with South African apartheid, and denying Jews’ historical connection to Israel.

Anton Asfar, member of the WV-IL board of directors, also serves on the board of St. Yves.

NGO Monitor notes that, according to Sabeel’s 2013 Report to the Israeli Non-Profit Registrar, World Vision provided financial support to Sabeel, although the exact amount is omitted. World Vision has informed NGO Monitor that it “does not fund or partner with the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center.” Would the charity organization care to explain this discrepancy?

As to World Vision’s financial involvement in Gaza and the PA, NGO Monitor observes:

WV-IL’s financial report shows it spent about $1.5 million in 2014 on the salaries of its “150 staff across Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza,” 120 of whom work in Gaza — out of its overall local budget of $14.7 million. How are the other employees being paid, out of what budget? World Vision says its Gaza budget was $22.5 million over the past 10 years, so how much of it went to salaries and how much to projects? This is crucial, considering el Halabi’s confession that 60% of this budget in reality went to Hamas.

Also, World Vision says its overall expenses during the same 10 years came to more than $100 million, a figure supported, and then some, by the WV-IL financial reports. So how much out of this amount was used for Gaza, how much for the PA, and how much for overhead?

It turns out that when the Israeli Registrar for NGOs asked WV-IL those questions, WV-IL repeatedly failed to comply with the requirements for proper reporting, and would not provide “details on the transfer of funds to projects, including the purpose of the transfers.”

What if they just stole all this money and stashed it in numbered Swiss bank accounts? Can World Vision enlighten the world and its generous donors, including Australian taxpayers, with an accounting for those funds?

In 2014, the WV-IL reported to the registrar that it made “local donations” to the tune of $790,000, none of which supposedly exceeded about $5,000. When the Registrar asked for precise documentation, the WV-IL attorney responded that the association “is not dependent on any Israeli [financial] sources.” So what are those sources? Would World Vision come clean regarding the origin of those funds?

Finally, according to news reports, the el Halabi corruption was no surprise to World Vision: an accountant he had fired went and complained to the home office that his boss was stealing money for Hamas. World Vision sent an outside investigator in 2015 to look into those allegations, but the investigator, according to the charity, didn’t find anything suspicious. Would World Vision care to share who hired this investigator and who received and processed their report? Were the Israeli authorities questioned in connection with the investigation? In short, was the el Halabi multi-million-dollar corruption known and supported by someone inside World Vision?

MP Danby told The Australian Jewish News: “While this Hamas/World Vision trial is in process, it is disturbing that a local meeting is taking place to promote the contentious Hadassah/World Vision relationship.” He added: “At a time when one of its senior managers stands accused of engineering and concealing – for years – a massive diversion of funds to the Hamas terror organization that has cost Israeli lives, this is not the right moment for a local communal organization to promote the interests of World Vision.”

“Nor is it a time for public apologia concerning what World Vision has been doing in Gaza,” Danby concluded.

JNi.Media

Friend of Israel Slated to Become HRC’s WH Chief of Staff

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta is the top choice to serve as White House chief of staff come January 2017, Politico reported Thursday. The choice of chief of staff will signal the presidential candidate’s expectations of her relationship with Congress, as well as her international plans.

A close Clinton ally told Politico that, on the campaign, Podesta was part of a small group of advisers the candidate “can already shorthand with.” Expectations are that should he agree to serve, it would be only for one year. “The question is can she convince him to do it for a year,” the source said, adding, “He could get the administration stabilized, and get hiring done.”

Podesta served as President Clinton’s Chief of Staff from 1998 until the end of Clinton’s time in office in January 2001.

As reflected from the thousands of his emails dumped by Wikileaks, Podesta is a great advocate of transparency, and has frequently criticized Hillary Clinton’s tendency for secrecy and cover-ups. In a 2004 speech at Princeton University, he condemned what he called the U.S. “excessive government secrecy” and “bloated secrecy bureaucracy.” He supported President Clinton’s Executive Order 12958 which helped declassify 800 million pages from the U.S. diplomatic and national security history. He called Executive Order 12958 “perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the Clinton administration.”

Podesta and Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s likely appointment for National Security Advisor (he is currently serving as Vice President Biden’s NSA), are considered friends of Israel, a fact supported by countless leaked emails. Podesta and Sullivan come across in these emails as associates of the pro-Israel circle of Hillary Clinton advisors, some of whom have been on close personal terms with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. Dermer used their good services to communicate a message from Prime Minister Netanyahu to the presidential candidate, asking her to curb her enthusiasm in support of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

One particular leaked email exchange, between John Podesta and his daughter, Megan Rouse, offers an un-staged insight into the former’s stand on US-Israel relations. Rouse wrote her father: “I’ve heard a concern from some folks who care deeply about Israel that Hillary will be the president ‘most unfriendly to Israel in our history, worse than Obama.’ Thoughts on how I might respond in conversation?”

Podesta replied: “That’s a bit crazy. Obama developed a real feud with Bibi, but she has been a staunch defender of Israel since her Senate days. Probably her very best supporters are Haim Saban, and Danny Abraham who would not be with her if she wasn’t totally committed to Israeli security.”

Incidentally, Podesta would much rather serve in Hillary Clinton’s cabinet as energy secretary, and was behind President Obama’s climate initiatives. The problem is that getting the job would require Senate confirmation, a road paved with months and months of hearings on those nasty Wikileak emails bearing his name and address. Apparently, not all of them were as sweet as his exchange with Megan…

JNi.Media

Justice Minister Shaked Issues Manifesto on Jewish Democracy, Based on the Teachings of Chief Justice Barak

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

“The Knesset is attempting to legislate away our lives and the High Court is invading territory to which it is not entitled,” declares Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), in a lengthy but exciting essay in the inaugural issue of Hashiloach, an Israeli Journal on thought and policy. The essay, titled “Tracks toward Governing” (the Hebrew title is a play on words between Mesilot-tracks and Meshilut-governance), suggests that the behavior of some of Israel’s branches of government is threatening individual freedoms as well as the ability of elected officials to govern. Shaked is urging a return, as soon as possible, to the proper governing on the proper tracks, from within Israel’s definition as a Jewish and democratic state.

“Good governance is not a blind force, certainly not a strong but silent engine,” writes Shaked, stressing that “the ability to carry out goals in the way they have been defined is a prerequisite condition for good governance, but is far from being sufficient in itself: good governance is measured above anything else by the ability of government ministers to establish their own goals.”

“A politician who knows how to bring the train to its destination, but is unable to set the destination, as senior as he may be — is not governing but merely subcontracting; he may have been appointed Minister, and he may get to cut ribbons in the end, but he is nothing more than a contractor,” Shaked argues. “To move down a track laid down by others does not require leaders; any driver could do it just fine. The essence of governance is always setting down directions and posting goals. This requires of elected officials to lay down new tracks only after they had decided for themselves where they would like to take the train.”

Shaked asserts that every time the Knesset votes in favor of any given law, it is also voting against the freedom of individuals to take care of their issues on their own. She calls it a vote of no confidence in the autonomy of communities and individuals. Indeed, as Chair of the Ministerial Legislative Committee, Shaked laments that she has processed more than 1,500 legislative proposals, from amendments to existing laws to fully realized, new bills. Suggesting the Knesset is by far the most prolific parliament in the entire Western world, Shaked describes this abundance of new laws as a hospital that’s being built underneath a broken bridge to care for the people who fall off.

Referring to economist Milton Friedman’s impressions following his visit to Israel in the 1960s, when he predicted that the historic spirit of Jewish freedom would eventually overcome the newly bred spirit of Socialist bureaucracy in Israel, Shaked admits she’s not so sure Friedman was right. “Without our firm push on the brake pedal of this locomotive, week in and week out, those legislative proposals would have created for us an alternative reality, in which government controls the citizens through the regulation of more and more economic sectors, with the individual being left with precious little freedom to manage his own affairs.”

Shaked provides several examples whereby proposed legislation would have, for instance, created a world in which a landlord would be forbidden to raise the rent for several years. Of course, rents would soar on the eve of this new law going into effect, followed by a loss of interest on the part of investors in creating new rental stock, leading to a drop in available apartments and, of course, another rise in rents. It would also be a world in which employers must comply with pensions set by the legislator, until, of course, they go bankrupt. And a world in which police would be bound by a two-strike law that compels them to arrest any individual against whom someone has filed two complaints. Running down some of these “bizarre” proposals, as she calls them, Shaked eventually describes a proposal to compel the state to solve terrorism by distributing bulletproof vests to every citizen against knife attacks, as well as a proposal to eliminate the reference in the law to “Beit Av,” which is the Biblical term for Household, because it has a reference to a father rather than to a mother.

Shaked reports that she requested, for the 2017-18 budget, that the ministerial committee would no longer consider bills that add new criminal offenses to the law books, without a thorough investigation of similar legislation in other countries, of the ramifications of the new criminal law on the books in Israel’s society, and, most important — of existing, non-criminal alternatives.

Alongside the need to restrain the legislator, Shaked sees a dire need to restrain Israel’s expansionist Judiciary. She notes an ongoing war between the Supreme Court and the executive branch, which necessitates the passing of a new constitutional-level legislation (Foundation Laws in Israel’s system) to regulate once and for all this combative relationship. She cites several cases in which government was blocked by the high court in areas that are clearly the executive’s domain, such as the law regulating the treatment of illegal infiltrators from Africa, and the government contract with natural gas companies to exploit Israel’s rich deposits.

Shaked laments the fact that the Supreme Court so often usurps the right to kill an entire legislation, as if it had appointed itself the 121st Knesset Member (or more than that, since it so frequently joins with the opposition parties to defeat a majority coalition). She has no problem with individuals seeking remedy in the lower courts to damages they claim to have suffered from, say, the new gas contract. That’s a legitimate use of the court system. But how can the unelected high court delete an entire legislation passed by elected officials? Who, after all is said and done, is the sovereign, the people or their appointed judges?

As a result, the art of politics in Israel is practiced as follows, according to Shaked: first the different parties vie for the voter’s trust; then, in the Knesset, the coalition negotiates with and fights against the opposition over a proposed bill; finally, after the bill was passed, the opposition parties appeal it before the Supreme Court, which reverses it. That, in a nutshell, was the story of the natural gas bill earlier this year.

JNi.Media

The Chief Rabbinate’s Folly

Monday, September 26th, 2016

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

Israel needs a Chief Rabbinate. If we are going to have a Jewish country, it has to be Jewish in more than name only – or even as a culture. It has to based on the very thing that makes the Jewish people a distinct nation, the Torah. Without which we are not a distinct people at all. It is the Torah that separates us from the rest of the world and gives us the right to exist as an independent nation in the land of Israel. As I often  heard Rav Ahron Soloveichik say, ‘Without the Torah, the Arabs would be right’. We have no more right to that land than the Arabs.

But there is a Torah that gave us the land of Israel.We therefore have every right to be there – as a Jewish State. And defining that is key. Without a body that can interpret what does and does not make us  Jewish, we may as well just give up the title ‘Jewish State’.

So when the issue of conversion to Judaism came up, I supported the idea of a central governing authority that would assure that all conversions to Judaism are legitimate. To an Orthodox Jew there is no other legitimate expression of Judaism than Orthodoxy. Which is defined as full acceptance of fundamental principles of our faith and uncompromising fealty to Halacha as interpreted by the most learned rabbis of each generation.

In furtherance of that goal the Chief Rabbinate has strengthened its control over what is and is not an acceptable conversion and has fought all non Orthodox movements attempts to have their conversions recognized. They have further coordinated their efforts with the North American rabbis in both the right wing and Centrist camp. The latter of which is represented by the RCA.

The RCA for its part tightened up its own conversions by certifying which of their conversion courts’ converts would be considered legitimate. This needed to be done. I am personally aware of wholesale conversions in the past by certain Orthodox members of the American rabbinate that by most standards were sham conversions – done to satisfy parents who could not face the fact that their child was marrying out. This move has for the most part ended that practice.

Unfortunately the Chief Rabbinate has apparently not been the honest broker that these steps should have made them. There has been more than one instance where legitimate Orthodox converts have been rejected by them. In some cases there was some back-pedaling where those that had been rejected had later been deemed legitimate after all.

But that problem has not been solved. I don’t know what it is, but I suspect that there is a lot of incompetence in the rabbinate. Because in my view the unthinkable happened. If the story in Ha’aretz as reported in the Forward is true, one of America’s most Torah knowledgeable and ethical elder rabbis has been dishonored. Not just any rabbi, but the sitting head of the RCA Beis Din, Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz:

The haredi Orthodox-dominated rabbinate rejected the conversions approved by Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, according to documents obtained by Haaretz… Itamar Tubul, who heads the rabbinate’s conversion department, rejected three conversions approved by Schwartz. He accepted a fourth, but it was turned down by the rabbinate. Ultimately, the four converts in question were not recognized as Jewish by the Chief Rabbinate, according to Haaretz. All of the converts had approval letters signed by Schwartz, according to Itim, an organization that helps Israelis navigate religious bureaucracy.

I could not agree more with the reaction of the RCA:

Rabbi Shalom Bau, president of the RCA, said, “We have already begun an investigation into this latest disgrace and we demand a thorough report of how this could happen.”

To call this a disgrace is an understatement. In my view this casts the entire current  enterprise of the Chief Rabbinate into question. They either have no clue what they are doing, or have let power go to their heads. Or both. I have been defending them albeit with some reservation because I believed they were acting in the best interests of the Jewish people. Even when they made some mistakes – which they clearly did. Some of which were corrected. Mistakes happen and as long as there is a good faith effort to correct them, I stood behind them. But this goes too far.

I hate to admit it, but all of the critics of the Rabbinate as currently constructed and empowered seem to have been right all along! If this is not corrected… if their decision is not reversed with a public apology to Rav Schwartz, they have lost all legitimacy in my eyes.

That said, I am still a strong believer in the need for a Chief Rabbinate for the reasons I mentioned above. But not this one.  They are an embarrassment to the Jewish people! If they don’t change their ways, I call upon them to disband and be replaced by a new Chief Rabbinate – or at the very least I call for the resignation of those in leadership positions responsible for this kind of behavior to be replaced by rabbis that have a lot more integrity than they appear to have.

Harry Maryles

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/the-chief-rabbinates-folly/2016/09/26/

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