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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Committee’

I Surrender…

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

I try not to be defeatist; not to give up hope. I try to believe that it will all be okay. I really do. I do believe I have faith and I do trust God. And having said all of that, I hate to introduce a “but” in there…but…

I surrender. I just give up. I’ve been reading about the Munich massacre in 1972. Only weeks before, I had come to the conclusion, at 12 years old…the age my youngest daughter is now…that I wanted to live in Israel. I watched the Israelis march into the stadium with the Israeli flag and my heart soared – that was my flag! I was proud of the American flag; I really was, but my heart was already Israeli.

And then the report of an infiltration in the Olympic village. The Israelis. The hostage situation and the bungled rescue. A report that the Israelis were safe…and such relief…and then utter and complete shock that not one had survived…not one of the hostages. It would be only later we would learn of the incredible, criminal incompetence of the German police and “rescue” squad.

For weeks now, I’ve been posting and writing about the International Olympic Committee’s pathetic, disgusting and disturbing decision not to grant one moment, sixty seconds, of silence in memory of the Israeli athletes murdered in Munich – not once…in forty years. And today, I read an article about the heightened security concerns. Days after Israelis were attacked in Bulgaria, I surrender.

“In London, Israel’s Olympic team of 38 athletes is training under tight security at the Olympic village, and British forces have even placed surface-to-air missiles at six locations.”

–Reports Israel National News

“More than 17,000 troops and 7000 private security guards will protect the London Olympic Park and 26 other venues, with a further 12,500 police patrolling city streets in a series of ‘rings of steel’.”

– The Australian

Tight security; 24,000 guards and an additional 12,500 police. Is it worth it? If this is what we need to have these games, does it truly represent the great gathering of all nations? Where is the peace and brotherhood that should be symbolized? I surrender – it just isn’t worth the risk. I don’t want the Israelis to go to London. I don’t want to spend my time checking the news to make sure they haven’t been attacked.

I don’t want to trust those guards, those police and those missiles. I don’t ever want to feel what I did back when I was 12 years old watching as the world moved on and continued their games while I watched them loading coffins on planes that flew home to Israel. I couldn’t bring myself to watch them play while we cried.

Let them play – let them play among their missiles; praying they can finish before they are attacked. Let them watch the skies for missiles, the buildings for snipers, the roads for explosives. I know the Israeli team will go; I know they will play. I know others will hope they bring home some gold, some silver, some bronze.

I just want them to come home safe so that we never have to beg the International Olympic Committee’s cold-hearted members for sixty seconds to remember them. Go in peace, I’ll pray to each one…and most important, come home in peace.

The Tribe of Shimon

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Israel’s President Shimon Peres donned tribal gear for his meeting with Osei Tutu II, king of the Ashanti Empire, West Africa, at the President’s residence in Jerusalem on Sunday.

If only they could keep him in these very colorful meetings which his predecessors used to engage in as the core of their service, and leave him no room for unhelpful comments on real things, like the Levy committee.

At 88 years of age, Peres is the world’s oldest democratically elected head of state. He was sworn into office on July 15, 2007, for a seven-year term. That means he has a little less than two years to go.

Keep those folks from exotic places coming!

Peres: Settlements a threat to Israel

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Israeli President Shimon Peres called Judea and Samaria settlements a threat to Israel.

The remarks were made on Tuesday at the annual ceremony in memory of Zionism founder Theodor Herzl, and addressed a report released Sunday that said “Israel does not meet the criteria of ‘military occupation’ as defined under international law” in the West Bank, and that therefore settlements and West Bank outposts are legal.

“It is doubtful that a Jewish state without a Jewish majority can remain Jewish,” Peres said, inferring that settlements would lead to the inextricable inclusion of the Palestinians living on the West Bank.

The Obama administration criticized the findings of the Levy Committee report.

“We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters Monday evening in answer to a question about the Levy Committee report. Ventrell added that the State Department is “concerned about it, obviously.”

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns could bring up the report during meetings this week in Israel. Burns will be there with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to the region.

The Levy Committee, which was formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and headed by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, called in its 89-page report for the legalization of all outposts and allowing people who built homes on Palestinian-owned land to pay compensation to the alleged owners, recommends changing the legal regulations concerning Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria in the areas of zoning, demolitions and building.

Leftist Jewish groups in the United States criticized the report.

Americans for Peace Now in a statement called on the government of Israel “to repudiate the findings of the commission it appointed to address the problem of illegal outposts in the West Bank.” APN added that Israel “would cause terrible damage to its international standing, to its relationship with the United States, and to prospects for peace with the Palestinians and the Arab world” if the government adopted the report.

J Street called on the Israelis “to reject the committee’s recommendations and to choose instead a path that leads to two states, thereby securing both Israel’s Jewish and democratic future.”

The findings of the committee are subject to the review and approval of Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Netanyahu established the committee in January after settler leaders called for a response to the 2005 Sasson Report on illegal outposts, which concluded that more than 100 West Bank settlements and outposts constructed from the 1990s and forward were illegal.

State Dept. Objects to Levy Committee’s Legalizing Outposts

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

In a Monday State Deartment daily press briefing by Patrick Ventrell, director of the press office, the latter was asked by a reporter for his reaction to the Edmond Levy committee report which recommended legalizing most outposts which until now have been either in legal limbo, or on their way to being demolished. (The transcript was redacted for this report)

The reporter asked: “There’s an Israeli Government appointed committee which was asked to look into the legality of the settlements and has come forth with a ruling saying that they believe that essentially these settlements should be authorized, which is the Prime Minister’s position. The Israeli Government hasn’t accepted this ruling yet, but sort of stands ready to be accepted. Do you take any view on this creeping legalization of the settlement process? And is this useful at this point, ahead of Deputy Secretary Burns and the Secretary’s trip to Israel? Is this the kind of thing that you like to see happening?”

Ventrell: “The U.S. position on settlements is clear. Obviously, we’ve seen the reports that an Israeli Government appointed panel has recommended legalizing dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts.”

Question: “So you would urge the Government of Israel not to accept this panel’s recommendation?”

Ventrell: “My understanding is this is just a panel recommendation at this point.”

Question: “Is that going to be something that Deputy Burns brings up when he’s in Israel?”

Ventrell: “I’m not sure. I can’t read out his meetings in advance.”

Question: “Is it something that you can say that you’re sufficiently concerned about?”

Ventrell: “We’re concerned about it, obviously. The Deputy Secretary will be en route, and let’s see how his meetings go and see if we can report back to you when they’re over.”

Special Committee: Judea and Samaria Communities Legal, Let Construction Resume

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Despite criticizing Israeli administrations for failing to prevent unauthorized Jewish outposts to crop up throughout Judea and Samaria, the three legal experts on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “outpost committee” have issued a recommendation to Israel’s highest echelons to legalize and expand them.

Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, former Foreign Ministry attorney, international law expert and ambassador to Canada Alan Baker and former deputy president of the Tel Aviv District Court – and daughter of famed Six Day War IDF chief rabbi Rav Shlomo Goren – Tchia Shapira were appointed by the prime minister in late January to investigate the legal status of non-permitted Jewish building in Judea and Samaria.

On Sunday, the team submitted their 89-page “Levy” report on the ramification of the outposts under domestic and international law to the Ministerial Committee on Settlements for approval.

Though the United Nations position is that new Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are all illegal, the report found that conventional laws on occupation “as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades,” and found “Israel does not meet the criteria of ‘military occupation’ as defined by international law” in Judea and Samaria.  Therefore, says the report, Jewish settlements and outposts are legal.

The groundbreaking report found that Israelis have the right to build and develop in the biblical heartland to the north and south of Jerusalem, which include such ancient and famous cities as Hebron, Bethlehem, Shechem and Beit El.  “Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria and the foundation of settlements cannot, in and of itself, be considered illegal,” said the report.

Yet the report faulted the government for tacitly agreeing and even encouraging the development of some 100 new Jewish hamlets without permits between 1991 and 2005, saying the building was carried out with the full knowledge – and even assistance – of senior politicians, government ministers, and even the prime minister himself.

Because the building was done with the government’s knowledge, the committee found that the government “implied agreement”, meaning the prime minister could retroactively legalize the construction.

The committee urged the government to make its stand on Jewish settlement activity public and open, to exercise transparency in authorizing building and issuing permits, and to ensure that all building adheres to the code of law.

“Pending completion of these proceedings and examination of the possibility of granting building permits, the state is advised to avoid carrying out demolition orders, since it brought about the present situation by itself,” the report recommended.

Among the recommendations made by the committee are:

• New Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria should be established only by the government or an empowered ministerial committee.

• The Civil Administration should no longer be able to presume that land settled by Jews is Palestinian-owned without a Palestinian complainant demanding that squatters be removed.  Jews would therefore not be subject to evictions unless a case is brought against them in court by a bona fide complainant.

• Expansion of community borders or jurisdiction must be done only after receiving the approval of the defense minister, with notification then being sent to the prime minister.

• Construction inside existing or future Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria should not require government or ministerial approval, but will still need to meet planning and zoning standards.  This includes communities built on land seized by military order.

• Israelis should be afforded the right to directly purchase and register land in Judea and Samaria, with property and land registration conducted and completed within a reasonable period of time.

• The Land Registry records will be open to the public.

The report was received with cautious optimism by leaders in the movement to reestablish Jewish life in the areas made famous in the bible and reclaimed after 2,000 years of exile in the battles of the Six Day War.

“This new report is long overdue. We see this as a step by this government to right some of the wrongs of the past,” said David HaIvri, Director of the Shomron Liason Office, representing Jewish communities in Samaria. “I hope that the government adopts all recommendations that allow Jewish growth and explanation in Israel’s heart land.  For the past many years we have seen the communities in Judea and Samaria unfairly restricted due to the former report written by the extreme left wing activist Talia Sasson.  We look forward to the expansion and development of the communities of Judea and Samaria.”

My Machberes

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Cemetery Restoration:
The Jewish Press At The Forefront

With the contributions of Torah Editor (and rav of Khal Bnei Matisyahu) Rabbi Yaakov Klass and the editorial leadership of Senior Editor Jason Maoz, The Jewish Press and this column have been privileged to assist in the resolution of cemetery preservation efforts abroad.

We are particularly proud to have been of assistance in the cemetery preservation and restoration impasse deliberations in Romania and Spain that were favorably moved ahead and successfully resolved. The following press release from the Admas Kodesh organization reflects the positive results of the many efforts invested:

Admas Kodesh Resolution on Jewish Cemeteries
Ratified by the Council of Europe

At the initiative of Admas Kodesh, the Standing Committee of the Council of Europe has unanimously adopted a landmark resolution on the protection of Jewish cemeteries at its meeting in Tirana, Albania, on May 25, 2012.

This milestone has been reached after a seven-year campaign of intense lobbying at this major European body based in Strasbourg, representing 47 European member states and composed of 636 parliamentarians.

Brooklyn-based Admas Kodeshis the American arm of the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe, also known as C.P.J.C.E., has extensive legal and political experience in the fields of human rights, freedom of religion, protection and preservation of cultural heritage, and education. This leadership has been recognized in the Council’s resolution.

The initiative for this important resolution, which will hopefully have a major effect on the protection of hundreds of thousands of Jewish graves in Europe, came from Rabbi Abraham Ginsburg, secretary general of the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe. Having actively been involved in campaigns to protect Jewish cemeteries and mass graves in a number of Eastern and Western European towns, Rabbi Abraham Ginsburg realized that recognition of the importance of protecting Jewish cemeteries must be addressed within a European political and legal framework.

With the active support of the revered Rosh Yeshiva and President of the C.P.J.C.E., Rabbi Elyakim Schlesinger, and Rabbi Simcha Bunim Ehrenfeld, Mattersdorfer Rov and leading member of the American Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah, and Rabbi Yitzchok Zekel Pollak, Dayan of Machsike Hadass Kehila of Antwerp, together with Rabbi Chaim David Zweibel and David Moskowitz of New York, Mr. Nathan Rothschild of Zurich, and Professor Zvi Loonstein of Amsterdam, the long slow bureaucratic processes of Council of Europe were gradually set into motion, leading to this significant outcome.

Raising awareness of the particular Jewish sanctity of all Jewish burial sites including Jewish mass graves made a tremendous Kiddush Hashem throughout the Council’s different committees involved.

Admas Kodesh praises the open-mindedness of Council delegates who were presented for the first time with a comprehensive explanation of the Jewish laws pertaining to burial sites. They truly marveled at the beauty of the halacha.

The necessity of consulting with world-recognized Rabbonim on questions relating to Jewish burial sites at risk was emphasized, and C.P.J.C.E. compiled a special treatise on “The Sacred Obligation of Burial and Life After Death in Jewish Belief,” containing explanatory notes on this subject written by Rabbi Schlesinger, revered Rosh Yeshiva Horomo in London, and head of the CPJCE’s Rabbinical Board. The role and dedication of the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe has been highlighted in the resolution and its leadership in this field has been recognized.

The massive legal research involved in this campaign was conducted by Professor Christians, expert in religious freedom at Louvain-La-Neuve University, who also compiled, at the request of Admas Kodesh, a major study on “Protection and Preservation of Jewish cemeteries and Mass graves in European and national law.”

Meeting with the consul general of Romania.

The resolution, based on these major essays, declares: “The Assembly asserts that right of freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights upholds the right of the deceased to rest in peace in accordance with their religious belief and the responsibility to protect human dignity in a broader sense, by ensuring that deceased persons are preserved in their place of burial in a manner compatible with their religious practice.”

The explanatory memorandum of the resolution has been built on a detailed report written by C.P.J.C.E. experts. It contains a description of Jewish burial sites, the threats they face, consequences of desecration, case studies, examples of difficult cases and good practices for protection of Jewish burial places.

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

More Debate On Gays And The Orthodox Community

 

Standing Up To Bullies I just wanted to tell Chaim Levin (“Surviving Bullying, Silencing and Torment for Being Gay in the Frum Community,” Family Issues section, Jan. 27) that I’m so sorry for everything he has gone through simply because he is gay. There is no excuse for bullying or for other people to judge him.

I was bullied as a child from the age of 6 until 13, and it was terrible. I thought about suicide as a child due to the bullying. No one deserves to go through that. My daughter is the “little Naama” from Beit Shemesh, who was bullied and harassed for allegedly being dressed immodestly. Because I was bullied as a child, I could not let anyone do that to my child.

Kol Hakavod to Chaim for standing his ground and not letting people trash him. I hope he won’t let any of the negativity get to him. Hadassa Margolese Beit Shemesh, Israel

 

Feels For Chaim But… Chaim Levin is a fellow Jew who is clearly in a very painful place. My inner being hurts for him simply because he is my brother and the Torah commands me to ache for him just as I would for my own wounds and sores.

If Chaim’s only message was to stop the harassment of LGBT youth, I and many others would be supportive. God did not grant us ordinary Jews the power to penalize or degrade anyone for not following halacha as we see fit. We can gently and lovingly express our concerns to the individual but we can never employ physical, emotional, or verbal abuse in the process.

But what comes through in his article, his video, and his interview last week on Zev Brenner’s show is deeply disturbing. Though Chaim claims not to be advocating for a change in halacha, he apparently wants halacha-abiding Jews to accept an idea the Torah does not. Yes, we should be accepting of Chaim as a human being and fellow Jew – but we cannot embrace homosexuality as the Torah does not embrace it.

Chaim also expresses anger toward the coalition of rabbis who put their names to the Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality. Chaim needs to understand that this was not a personal attack on him. Rabbis have an obligation to make the Torah’s position on homosexuality clear. Why is it that Chaim feels he should have the right to say what he wants but is bothered when rabbis say what the Torah wants?

Having said that, I wish Chaim inner peace, tranquility, happiness and fulfillment in all his endeavors in life. Malka Bergstein (Via E-Mail)

 

Emerge From The Dark Ages After reading Chaim Levin’s eloquent appeal for compassion and then hearing him plead his cause with obvious sincerity and good will on the Zev Brenner Show this past Saturday night, one cannot help being overcome with a deep sense of pain for his plight.

However, before the frum community is able to render people like Chaim the acceptance they so badly need and deserve, we need to emerge from the dark ages of thought reflected in a letter to the editor last week by reader Jacob Richman.

Mr. Richman implied that the Torah frowns on an individual with same-sex attraction even if he or she refrains from acting on it. But the Torah does not frown on people for the way they were created so long as they refrain from sinning. The challenge for individuals born with an attraction to the same sex is not that they attempt to change themselves into something they cannot be – but rather that they try to conform their behavior to what the Torah demands of all of us. Lawrence Kulak Brooklyn, NY

 

Evidence Of An Agenda Chaim Levin’s recent article and appearances on video and Jewish radio provide ample evidence of an agenda far more wide-ranging than merely opposing bullying and reparative therapy.

It’s an exact duplication of the militant homosexual activist playbook: Desensitize society through constant discussion of homosexuality, urges, etc. Create feelings of guilt in others by exaggerated, unsubstantiated claims of Jewish homosexual suicides due to “bullying,” discrimination, etc. Gain public sympathy by using the media, and then solidify gains by forming organizations like Jewish Queer Youth.

Rashi (Devarim 25:18) describes Hashem’s eternal enemy, Amalek, as practitioners of homosexuality. Rambam rules that one who is tempted to sin disguise himself, sin secretly and act the hypocrite in public so as not to desensitize society to sin. Urging youth to join in a group that identifies itself with Amalek-type behavior reinforces negative self-identification and more often than not results in sinful misbehavior.

Imagine a Jewish adulterers’ Shabbaton, an “intimacy for the under-aged” shul or an adult incest organization forming a minyan. How about articles by and organizations of mamzeirim who demand sympathy and change because Jews are halachically forbidden to marry them? These are all spiritual oxymorons and would constitute a fifth column in the Torah community.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-198/2012/02/08/

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