The full membership of the Gush Etzion Council will convene on Wednesday to debate the removal of Gush Etzion Council Head Davidi Pearl, over reports that Pearl was forced to pay hundreds of thousands of shekels to a young woman from Jerusalem who complained against him. An email sent out to the Council members called for restraint in conducting the session over whether or not Pearl should be removed from office.David Israel
Posts Tagged ‘Council’
Following a lively debate Tuesday, the New York State Senate, led by Majority Leader John Flanagan, voted to overturn the NY City Council’s recent passage of a plastic bag tax.
Championed by Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn, caucuses with Republicans) and Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island), Senate bill S.7336 will amend the general city law, to prohibit the imposition of any tax, fee or local charge on carry-out merchandise bags. The bill was introduced by Felder after what the Senator considered an unjust effort by the City Council to impose its will on a majority of New Yorkers who disagreed with the measure.
“The last thing New Yorkers need is another regressive tax,” said Felder when he introduced his bill. Standing with Assemblyman Cusick and flanked by his colleagues in the Senate, including Senators Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn), Roxanne Persaud (D-Brooklyn) and Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), Felder introduced his bill at a press conference last month and initiated an online Stop the Bag Tax petition, which allowed his constituents and other New Yorkers to weigh in on the issue. Felder and the Senate’s Cities Committee also held a public hearing in Manhattan. The Senate’s Cities Committee voted unanimously in favor of moving the bill forward.
Felder began fighting the bag tax as a member of the NY City Council, when the measure was introduced in 2008. “I’ve been disgusted every time I’ve heard the absurd plastic bag tax legislation introduced,” he said. “New York City has to stop nickel-and-diming New Yorkers. This tax placed an undue financial burden on countless low- and middle-income residents who already struggle.”
Following Tuesday’s vote, Felder thanked his colleagues in the Senate for passing his bill. “I appreciate the support that we had today, but I wasn’t surprised by the outcome because my colleagues have followed this issue closely and heard the concerns of New Yorkers far and wide,” he said. The Senator noted that Assemblyman Cusick is now leading the charge in the Assembly where the bill has already passed the Cities Committee. “I’m hopeful that the bill will now pass in the Assembly,” he said.Jewish Press Staff
Employees of the Haifa Religious Council have deceived more than 100 couples who said they wanted to be married through the national-religious rabbinic organization Tzohar, Israel Police announced on Wednesday. A Tzohar initiative has made it possible for couples to register for marriage anywhere, and not strictly in their area of residence as used to be the case in Israel. The idea was to make less stringent Orthodox rabbis available to Israelis who didn’t wish for their wedding to be officiated by a Haredi rabbi. That change was received with great resistance on the part of the Chief Rabbinate, which is concerned for losing its monopoly on Orthodox weddings.
Police launched an investigation following a complaint by Tzohar that elements in the Haifa Religious Council are acting systematically against couples who register to be married by a Tzohar rabbi. Among other things, Tzohar accused the council of entering false information regarding the personal data of registrants. The complaint cites more than 100 such cases.
Police interrogated with a warning two employees of the Haifa Religious Council, one of them senior. Police also collected testimonies, seized documents, and executed a variety of investigative actions. As a result, police are saying they have sufficient evidence showing the alleged violations had indeed taken place because of the council’s objection on principle to Tzohar’s legitimacy. Police believe the senior council employee was aware of and turned a blind eye on the other employee’s mass violations.
Tzohar emailed JNi the following statement in response to the news story:
“Effectively investigating criminal action is critical for our national desire to rid out corruption and restore the public’s faith in those responsible for religious services in our country. It is deeply distressing that the rogue actions of a small group can so negatively tarnish the Jewish spirit in ways that have caused irreparable damage to the people of Israel.”JNi.Media
“Brussels, Istanbul, Lahore–and now Jerusalem must tragically be added to the long list of cities brutalized by terror in recent weeks. Our hearts go out to the bus bombing’s victims and their families, and to all Israelis, at this difficult moment. There is simply no moral or political justification for this act of savagery. Hamas’ statement that it “welcomes the Jerusalem operation” proves beyond a shadow of a doubt the barbaric values of those who seek Israel’s destruction. We proudly stand with the Israeli people in their ongoing struggle against terror.”David Israel
Online visitors to the Binyamin Regional Council virtual tour can fly over the gorgeous landscapes and get a real feel for the region, then click on whatever grabs their fancy for an in-depth explanation.
In recent months the increase of tourism to Judea and Samaria has made international headlines with talk of the over 200 hundred Bed and Breakfasts options available, fifty of which are just in the Binyamin Region, north of Jerusalem. In the last five years, tourism has increased significantly across Judea and Samaria, and tourism-related businesses have more than doubled. Fifteen new visitors centers have opened, all of which offer presentations in multiple languages. The wine industry has also blossomed with more than 20 boutique wineries, making internationally acclaimed wine.
An estimated 1.5 million tourists visit sites across Judea and Samaria annually. The major demographic is faith-based tourists, both Jewish and Christian, with a special interest in Judeo-Christian history. A record number of Biblical sites have recently initiated new and extremely high-quality audio-visual presentations in multiple languages, including Shiloh, Hebron and the Herodian.
In recent years the Yesha Council together with the 6 regional councils and 13 local councils that it represents has invested a great deal of funds in telling its story to the world. Finding that the best way to explain the Israeli resettlement of Judea and Samaria is to invite people on life-changing visit of the area.
The Binyamin Regional Council has launched two new initiatives to highlight the abundance of new tourist attractions and internationally accessible programs this Passover. One is a video showcasing some of the 36 activities available from visiting ancient Shiloh to swimming in the 9 springs and riding camels at Eretz Bereshit to visiting internationally acclaimed wineries and breathtaking hikes across multiple nature reserves.
In addition, the council has launched a new website to showcase its wares, which includes a state of the art new virtual tour (still in beta version) which offers viewers a birds-eye view of Western Binyamin with the aid of hours of interactive drone footage.
The website offers additional resources and information to maximize and personalize tours.
“This Passover we are expecting a huge rise in tourism to the Binyamin region in particular and Judea and Samaria in general, because there is just so much more for people to do here. We are especially looking forward to welcoming all of our supporters from abroad that are visiting Israel for the holiday and understand the importance of visiting the Biblical heartland of Israel” Said Miri Maoz-Ovadia, spokesperson for the Binyamin Regional Council.
Opposition by Germany and Britain to the Palestinian Authority bid to join the International Olive Council has forced the Palestinian Authority to freeze their application in applying to become a member state of the intergovernmental Madrid-based organization.
The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry in Ramallah prepared the application this past summer in order to be voted upon at the annual olive council meeting held in Madrid last week.
According to European diplomatic sources, cited in Haaretz, British and German representatives claimed that letting the Palestinians join the council could sabotage current Israeli-Palestinian talks led by the United States.
Resuming peace talks were made on the condition that Israel’s release of Palestinian prisoners would be done in exchange for the Palestinian Authority’s promise not to join various UN organizations and not to address The Hague’s International Criminal Court (ICC).
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has committed to continue talks for a nine-month period, during which time the Palestinian Authority has pledged to avoid any diplomatic actions against Israel. Thus far, Israel has released 52 Palestinian prisoners, many of whom were convicted of murdering Israelis, out of the 104 Palestinian prisoners who will be freed as talks progress.
Germany and Britain are the member states of the European Union’s joint delegation to the International Olive Council, which is made up of 16 states in addition to the EU that produce olives and olive oil. If the states within the EU delegation are unable to reach a consensus, then the EU delegation must abstain from voting.
In any case, the Palestinians realized that the European Union would not vote in their favor for the olive council membership and preferred not to suffer diplomatic failure. Palestinian officials told Haaretz that the PA had instead decided to postpone their application to a more “opportune moment.” The next International Olive Council annual session will be held in November 2014.Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency
Originally published at Gatestone Institute.
As Israelis prepare to cast their ballots in the municipal elections next week, tens of thousands of eligible Arab voters in Jerusalem will once again boycott the democratic process.
In the past few days, the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO], Hamas and several other Palestinian organizations have called on the Arab residents of Jerusalem to stay away from the ballot boxes.
These organizations maintain that Arab participation in the municipal election would be interpreted as recognition of Israel’s decision to annex the eastern part of the city in the aftermath of the 1967 Israeli-Arab war.
As such, the vast majority of the Arab residents have since been boycotting the local election, mainly out of fear of being dubbed “traitors” by various Palestinian organizations.
But if anyone stands to lose from the boycott it is the Arabs themselves.
First, the boycott has done nothing to undermine Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Some would even argue that Israeli dominion over the city has never been as strong as it is these days, especially in wake of the Arab residents’ failure to take part in crucial decisions concerning their neighborhoods and villages.
Second, the boycott has severely harmed the interests of the Arab residents, who have been denied the chance to have representatives in the municipal council who would fight for better services and the improvement of their living conditions. The Arabs make up 25-30% of the city’s eligible voters, which means that they could have 7-8 representatives in the 31-seat municipal council. The boycott has denied the Arabs the opportunity to be directly involved in the planning of their neighborhoods.
While it is true that some Arabs boycott the municipal elections for ideological reasons, there is no denying the fact that many are also afraid of being targeted by extremists if they present their candidacy or go to the ballot boxes.
A few Arabs who in the past dared to challenge the boycott have faced death threats. One of them was newspaper publisher Hanna Siniora, who back in 1987 announced his intention to run in the municipal election. Siniora’s car was torched by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a move that forced him to retract his candidacy.
Eleven years later, another Arab, Mussa Alayan, defied the boycott by running at the head of an independent list. He received fewer than 3,000 votes and did not make it to the city council. Alayan could have probably become the first Arab council member had he and his supporters not faced a brutal and violent campaign by Palestinian activists.
Yet while Arab residents are boycotting the election, most of them continue to deal with the same municipality which they are not supposed to recognize. They even continue to pay taxes and fees to the municipality.
The Jerusalem Municipality has more than 1,500 Arab employees, and its various departments continue to provide many services to the Arab neighborhoods and villages in the city. These activities are taking place despite the Arab boycott that has been in effect since 1967.
Arabs who complain about lack of municipal services often seek the help of representatives of left-wing parties in the municipal council, such as Meretz.
Today, many Arabs in Jerusalem are not afraid to declare openly that they prefer to live under Israeli rule, and not under that of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. The problem remains, however, that the overwhelming majority is still afraid of the radicals.
What is needed is a strong Arab leadership that would not hesitate to stand up to the radicals and question their goals. Such a leadership would have to make it clear that there should be a complete separation between the political issues and the day-to-day affairs of Jerusalem’s Arab population.
Until such leaders emerge, the Arabs in Jerusalem will, by boycotting the municipal elections, unfortunately continue to act against their own interests.Khaled Abu Toameh