The head of the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate, Mehmet Gormez, Orthodox Christian Patriarch Bartholomew I and Hakham Bashi (Chief Rabbi) Ishak Haleva on Saturday issued a joint declaration condemning the coup.
“From wherever and whomever it comes, terror and violence cannot be displayed as a legitimate thing and it cannot be supported,” their statement said, adding that “those who have faith within them cannot approve any killing, as murdering a human being is no different than murdering the whole humanity.”
“We hope terror will be wiped out from Turkey and the world,” the statement concluded. “May God protect our country and all humanity.”
Rabbi Haleva was the deputy to Rabbi David Asseo for seven years and became the new Hakham Bashi after his death in 2002. As a 7-year-old, he came with his father to Istanbul from Edirne, near Turkey’s western border with Bulgaria and Greece, to study in a Jewish school. As a teenager he studied in a yeshiva in Israel to become a rabbi. According to his acquaintances, Haleva was a prankster in his youth, and he still maintains a humorous, informal manner, peppering his words with folksy Hebrew and Turkish sayings.
The new General Security Services (Shabak) chief Nadav Argaman told a Knesset committee on Tuesday that more than 40 women were involved in the current wave of terror, and that in almost every case the background to the individual woman taking up arms in a suicidal attack was internal family conflict over disapproval of the woman’s sexual conduct. In some cases, he said, it was even known that family members delivered the women to the scene of the attack.
Argaman argued that the women were sent to their certain death as an act of redemption for their misconduct, and also as a means for their families to earn a monthly stipend from the Palestinian Authority.
Argaman appeared before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in his first presentation. He showed the committee charts proving that the peaks in the wave of terror have been related to tension surrounding the Temple Mount compound. He warned that a heated situation on the Temple Mount could bring about a new explosion of terror.
The new chief of clandestine operations also remarked that Hamas, which is in the midst of a strategic duress, is not interested in going to war at the moment. He noted that there is a tight cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in intensively perusing Hamas in Judea and Samaria.
Like many other in the security apparatus leadership, Argaman stressed the value of issuing work permits in Israel to Judea and Samaria Arabs, suggesting that these working people are a source of calm in the Arab society there, who also prevent terror attacks. Today there are about 120 thousand Judea and Samaria Arab residents who work in Israel, legally and otherwise, supporting about one third of the population at home.
Argaman said that since the start of the new wave, security forces and Shabak have foiled about 240 significant attacks, and in the first five months of 2016 alone 11 suicide bombing attacks were thwarted, as well as 10 kidnapping attempts, and more than 60 shooting attempts, most of them by Hamas members.
According to Argaman, since the official date of the current escalation, October 1, 2015, there have been more than 300 significant attacks and attempted attacks (not including the countless daily incidents of stone and Molotov cocktail throwing). Out of those there were some 180 stabbing attacks, more than 90 shootings, and some 30 ramming attacks using a car. He noted that most of these attacks were carried out by lone individuals, while the number of attacks carried out by terror organizations has been relatively low.
Argaman told the committee that the decline in the number of attacks in recent months, compared with October 2015, can be explained by the high number of prevented attacks, improvements in the Israeli alert capacity regarding lone attackers, and the focusing of deterrence on the attackers and their close environment.
In yet another vivid proof that Israel may be the state of the Jews but is most definitely not a Jewish state, certainly not your grandfather’s Jewish state, Israeli media have drawn and quartered Col. Eyal Krim, the current candidate for the post of IDF Chief Rabbi, not over any black spot on his stellar resume, but over his views, which also happen to be the mainstream Orthodox Jewish views. It turns out that over the years the popular military rabbi has been asked many controversial questions, online and in person, to which he provided to the best of his ability what he believed was the Torah’s views on all these issues. Those views have been archived online, and so, when reporters were given their marching orders to dig up the dirt on the man who would be the next IDF chief rabbi, they came back with a treasure trove.
Many, if not all these “controversial” responses by Rabbi Krim can be easily explained within the context in which they were provided, but Israeli media, possibly among the top five most vicious on the planet, were not interested in context, they wanted hot quotes, and so, armed with ignorance of Torah learning and the flame of hate for religious Jews burning in the heart of every self-respecting leftwing reporter, hot quotes they dug up: homosexuality is a sickness; women don’t make credible witnesses; all terrorists must be killed on the spot; it’s OK to segregate against non-Jewish workers; in special war circumstances it is permissible to rape a captive woman.
If you spent even one year in a Jewish school where they took out the Talmud a few times a week and taught you Jewish tradition, you’re probably aware that every one of the above issues should be learned in the context of life in an agricultural society some 3,000 years ago; vast differences in definition between Torah and modern terminology; the common rabbinic belief that a Jewish court should be invested in acquitting rather than convicting in capital cases; and an across the board rabbinic recognition of the supremacy of state law over Torah law in most issues. But if you work for, say, Ha’aretz, you’d much rather ignore all of those important subtleties and go straight for the kill.
Such as in the case of the “Yeffat Toa’ar” – the beautiful enemy captive, whom the Torah sets rules for dealing with (Deut. 21:10-14): When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.
Rabbi Krim explained that rather than to attempt to set impossible limits on a soldier in a time of war, the Torah compels him to follow a set of rules to be able to marry her. This was described in a headline in the Days of Palestine website as: “Israeli rabbi: Israeli soldiers can rape Palestinian women.” And leftwing pundit Yossi Gurvitz elaborated: “[Krim] came up with a new military doctrine, which replaces Napoleon’s: an army marches on its phallus. According to this logic, perhaps the IDF should appoint to each unit not just a supply officer, but also a Comely Woman Officer (CWO), to make certain no soldier is left unsatisfied.”
The facts that everything Rabbi Krim wrote and said had been offered with the understanding that Jewish halakha bows before the law of the land, and that a discussion of Torah laws does not a fatwa make, were lost on the left, and so the usual leftwing suspects took umbrage: Zehava Galon (Meretz) said that his “horrific, racist and violent expressions which permit the blood of women would not have passed in any case where a person is appointed to a senior position…” especially not the IDF.
And Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp), that intellectual oracle, told Channel 2 News: “The fact that the appointed chief rabbi even dealt, even if theoretically, with the possibility of raping women and advocating against women’s military service (he wrote on that, too) disqualifies him from service in the IDF.”
You got that? Even a purely theoretical engagement in a debate of a PC-locked isue such as rape should not be allowed in the IDF, “the most moral army in the world.”
It isn’t clear as of Wednesday afternoon Israel time whether or not the chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot will bow to the incredibly intense, relentless pressure on him from the left to dump Col. Rabbi Karim. Krim has been endorsed by just about every rabbi in Israel, including by one Reform rabbi. But the gap between Krim’s willingness to fearlessly entertain theoretical Torah issues and the leftwing media’s heated investment in seeing him dead may prove too much for the leader of that otherwise still very moral army.
Following a meeting in New York with Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Rabbi David Stav, founder and president of the Tzohar rabbinical organization on Tuesday expressed his full support for the rabbi after the Petach Tikva Rabbinical Court had nullified conversions which had been performed by Rabbi Lookstein.
Also on Tuesday, Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Rabbi David Lau, overruled a decision by the lower rabbinic court, officially accepting the conversion performed by Rabbi Lookstein.
Rabbi Lookstein, the spiritual leader of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and for many years principal of the Ramaz School, also converted Ivanka Marie Trump, daughter of Republican party preumptive presidential candidate Donald Trump.
However, because in 2009 Rabbi Lookstein participated in the National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the primary American modern-orthodox rabbinic association, took exception to his presence, stating that “participation in a prayer service held in the sanctuary of a church is prohibited,” ruling that “any member of the RCA who attends such a service does so in contravention of this policy and should not be perceived as representing the organization in any capacity.”
Last month, a woman who was converted to Judaism by Rabbi Lookstein was refused recognition as a Jew by an Israeli Rabbinical Court in Petach Tikvah, which stirred up the ongoing international controversy over who outside the Israeli Rabbinate is allowed to perform conversions to the Jewish faith. The Israeli court simply couldn’t find Lookstein’s name on the RCA list of accredited conversion rabbis.
“This decision causes three several major problems which cannot be ignored,” Rabbi Stav said in a statement. “First, there is an explicit halakhic ruling that we should not oppress a convert. The conversion that has been nullified by the court was of a clearly well-intentioned, ‘righteous convert,’ and it is inconceivable that simply because of outright bureaucratic considerations a conversion would be nullified.”
“Second, this decision further deepens the already troubling divide between Israel and the Diaspora,” according to Rabbi Stav. “And, most troubling of all, it leads to a situation where assimilation, both here in Israel and in the Diaspora, is allowed to go unchecked. Because when we have a situation where well-intentioned converts are being disregarded simply because their conversion was officiated by a nationalist and modern Orthodox rabbi, what message does this send to those interested in converting according to halakha?”
The rejection of conversions performed by Lookstein was condemned by the Jewish Agency for Israel, which is the world body “responsible for the immigration … and absorption of Jews and their families from the Diaspora into Israel.”
Rabbi Lau said in letters to key Israeli politicians that the Chief Rabbinate Council, due to convene on Wednesday, will hear an appeal of the Petach Tikvah rabbinic court decision, adding he was confident the Chief Rabbinate’s position would clear away all the concerns regarding conversions by non-Israeli Orthodox rabbis.
Jerusalem (TPS) — Rabbi Michael (Miki) Mark, who was killed on Friday in a terrorist shooting attack, was laid to rest on Sunday afternoon in Jerusalem. Thousands attended his funeral, which began in his home town of Otniel and ended with his burial in the Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Givat Shaul.
Rabbi Mark was the director of the Otniel Yeshiva and a teacher at Yeshivat Torat Shraga, Yeshiva University’s post-high-school yeshiva for American students in Jerusalem. He is survived by his wife, Chava Rachel Mark, who sustained serious injuries in the attack and remains hospitalized, and ten children, two of whom were also wounded in the attack.
“When he started as principal this past year, he took a real interest in the overseas students,” Phil Katz, the head of the overseas program at the Otniel Yeshiva, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “He would constantly speak to us, and he put a major effort into improving our learning experience in Israel. It’s a terrible loss.”
The funeral service began at the Otniel Yeshiva, where many current and former students came to pay their last respects. President Reuven Rivlin, a distant cousin of Mark’s, delivered a eulogy.
“I stand here today before your bier, Michael, Miki, in sadness and pain. With me stands an entire grieving nation,” President Rivlin said. “You were a pillar of the Otniel community and the whole Hebron hills region. The Hebron hills region, the historic cradle of Jewish civilization, keeps losing the best of its children to terrorism. But our roots here are strong, and terrorism will not defeat us.”
Once the eulogies at the Otniel Yeshiva were completed, the Mark family, accompanied by hundreds of mourners, supporters, and an army escort, traveled in a funeral procession to Jerusalem, where Mark was laid to rest.
On the way to Jerusalem, the family stopped at the site on Route 60 where the terror attack took place.
By the time the procession reached Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul cemetery, thousands of mourners had arrived. A police spokesman told TPS that in his estimation, at least 4,000 people attended Rabbi Mark’s burial.
According to Hadassah Medical Center spokesperson Hadar Elboim, Chava Rachel Mark remains in serious but stable condition, though she is breathing on her own.
The Marks’ 14-year-old daughter, Tehila, who also sustained serious injuries in the attack and is confined to a wheelchair, was released from the hospital to attend her father’s funeral.
Both of Israel’s chief rabbis eulogized Rabbi Mark at the burial, as did Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, Mark’s first cousin.
“I swear in the name of the Israeli defense establishment to keep the State of Israel, which you loved so much, united within and protected from without,” Cohen said. “Farewell, my dearest Miki. You were a man of peace, and I loved you with all my soul.”
Michael Bachner and Tzvi Yedidyah Lev contributed to this article.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot has recently ordered the cancellation of the Hannibal Directive, to be replaced by a new directive which is being worked out, Ha’aretz reported on Tuesday, citing a senior IDF source who claims the chief’s decision had been reached independent of a leaked draft of the State Comptroller which recommends taking out the Hannibal option.
According to Israeli media, the Hannibal Directive was conceived in 1986 by a group of top Israeli officers following the capture of two Israeli soldiers during a Hezbollah ambush in South Lebanon in June 1986. Both soldiers presumably died during the attack, and their bodies were returned to Israel in an exchange with Hezbollah in 1996. The directive authorizes stopping abductors by shooting at them, even if it puts captured Israeli soldiers at risk. There is a dispute as to whether the directive includes authorization to kill captured IDF soldiers when it becomes clear that they cannot be rescued. Some reports have claimed that the policy actually promotes the killing of captured soldiers to prevent the need for prisoner exchanges.
On Tuesday Israeli media reported a leak from a draft recommendation by State Comptroller Retired Judge Joseph Shapiro, which had been handed to seniors in the political, military and judiciary echelons as part of the comptroller’s report on the 2014 Gaza War.
The Hannibal Directive was last executed in connection with the kidnapping of Lt. Hadar Goldin of the Givati special force, during the Rafah battle in August 2014, remembered as Black Friday. Once it was known that Goldin had been kidnapped, a widespread chase ensued, which included infantry units as well as a mass shelling of the area, which resulted in the deaths of many civilians.
Eventually it turned out that Goldin had been killed during the kidnapping attempt, and his body is being kept as a bargaining chip by the Hamas. The Military Attorney General at the time, Gen. Danny Efroni, and the new MAG Gen. Sharon Afek have both considered and decided to forego a criminal investigation of the event, because of international criticism over the large number of collateral civilian casualties.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Wednesday met in his office with Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh to request clarifications on a recently leaked secret police document known as the “MKs List,” a.k.a. “The Yitzhaki Report,” detailing evidence on alleged offenses committed by dozens of Knesset members, including seven sitting ministers, which police allegedly keep on a shelf for an opportune time.
Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon and the head of the police Investigations and Intelligence Branch, Meni Yitzhaki, were also present at the meeting.
On Sunday, Channel 10 revealed the existence of “The Yitzhaki Report” that had allegedly been compiled by order of Yitzhaki and reportedly completed in 2014. According to Channel 10, it contains all investigative information collected by police on the 120 members of the previous Knesset, including information on suspected crimes and corruption.
Alsheikh informed Edelstein that police are forbidden to initiate investigations on public officials without first receiving instructions to do so by the Attorney General or the state attorney. The document, he said, was for internal use to ensure that nothing fell through the cracks during investigations of Knesset members, and that all relevant information was passed on to the Attorney General. Alsheikh said police would investigate who leaked the existence of the document.
Speaker Edelstein accepted the police chief’s explanation, but said that the leaked document casts a cloud over all MKs and creates the public perception that dozens of MKs are suspected of criminal offenses. The Knesset Speaker stressed the importance of releasing — as soon as possible — an official clarification regarding the document and its relevancy, if it has indeed remained relevant.
Such a clarification, Edelstein said, would show the public that Israel Police is doing its job faithfully and is investigating MKs when necessary, and it would also indicate to the lawmakers that they can be certain that police are not holding information against them which could be revealed at some point down the line and hurt their work or chances of obtaining a certain position.