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Posts Tagged ‘deal’

How Do You Answer Evil? Ten Years After the Bali Terror Bombing

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Today marks ten years since jihadist terrorists carried out a ghastly bombing attack on night club spots on the Indonesian island of Bali. The Kuta Beach massacre was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia: 202 people were killed that night. 164 were foreign nationals, 38 were Indonesian citizens. 209 people were injured.

Almost immediately after it happened on 12th October 2002, the then editorial team at the Melbourne (Australia) Herald-Sun newspaper contacted Arnold Roth. This was only a year after the death of the Roths’ daughter Malki. Arnold and Malki had both been born in Melbourne. The Herald-Sun requested a first-person response, an open letter to the families of the Indonesian attack victims.

Malki‘s death, like those of the Bali massacre victims, came at the hands of terrorists acting in the name of Islam. Arnold felt he had something to say and set everything else aside to quickly write an op-ed [background here].

He sent it off to the Herald-Sun. Then… silence. For reasons that have never been explained, his article never appeared in the pages of the Melbourne newspaper. The paper’s editor at that time never responded to several emails asking for an explanation.

Eventually, the Jerusalem Post picked it up and published it in the paper’s December 9, 2002 edition. Here are excerpts:

A letter to the families of the Kuta Beach victims 

By Arnold Roth, Jerusalem

I never felt more like a father than when taking the hand of my little daughter Malki and crossing the street with her. There is something so right and solid about being your child’s protector.

I never felt more wretched, frightened and alone than on the night the call came saying her body had been identified. My daughter was murdered by a deliberate act of explosive horror. I was not there to protect her.

If you’re asking what can be done, I want to offer this. When a young life ends, a huge empty space is left behind. How do you fill it? With hatred, thoughts of revenge, evening up the score? After our daughter’s death, we sat down as a family and asked ourselves how her life and actions should be remembered. We decided to raise money and give practical help to families raising a child with disabilities. Malki, a very practical teenager, did this herself and believed in it. It would have made her smile.

Perhaps it’s not politically correct to say this, but I believe evil does exist in the world – a great deal of it.

How do you answer evil? For us, the right response has been to do things which we hope will increase the stock of good in the world. We know this will have no impact on the barbarians who killed our children and loved ones. But we’re absolutely determined that they won’t be impacting us any more than they already have. They and their values are irrelevant to our lives.

Visit This Ongoing War.

I Don’t Buy It

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

There are a lot of newspaper advice columns out there. But what makes this one different is that sometimes, you don’t want to ask an expert. Sometimes you want to ask a regular guy who might not actually know more than you.

If you ask an expert, he’s going to give you real advice, and you have to follow it. But if you ask me, you can feel free to say that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and then go do your own thing. Like if you ask, “Who’s right, me or my wife?” and I say that your wife is right, you can say, “Well, I’m still gonna go with me.”

People don’t write to me for advice, they write to me for justification.

Dear Mordechai,

If I stand when I eat, do I get fat feet?

S.S., Brooklyn

Dear S.,

I don’t know if this is scientifically accurate. They really should conduct a study. I say this because I’ve seen a lot of people standing when they eat, especially at a kiddush, but I’ve never actually seen anyone with fat feet. It’s not really something you can hide with baggy clothes.

The logic behind the saying, I guess, is gravity. When you eat something, it goes all the way down to your feet, right? You learn that in biology. But I’ve got to tell you: If you sit when you eat, the food doesn’t go down and just stop at… Oh, actually it does. I see what you’re saying now. There really is no good position for eating.

But I’ll tell you this: Sitting when you eat is a good practice to get into. If you have to sit down with a plate every time you eat, you’ll gain less weight, because you’ll eat less often. It’s kind of like the Sukkos diet, where every time you want to eat, you have to put something on, go outside, roll up a tarp, sit down, and then get up and come back in for silverware. And then a drink. And then a cup. For goodness sakes.

Dear Mordechai,

My daughter brings home arts and crafts every day, and that’s great. I make a huge deal about it and I hang it up on the fridge. But it’s every single day. Should I get a bigger fridge?

S.S., Far Rockaway

Dear S.,

I don’t see how you really have any other choice. What are you going to do, hurt her feelings?

It doesn’t help either that these kids don’t make nearly enough magnets in school. For every twenty things they make that have to be hung up with magnets, they make maybe one magnet. And to be honest, it’s not a very sticky magnet.

And then the question is: How long do you have to wait before taking it down? If you take it down too soon, the kid gets insulted. If you take it down too late, the kid gets embarrassed.

See, that’s the good thing about Sukkos — all those projects could go up in the sukkah, and then a week later, you get to take it down. Or, if you’re not particularly good at hanging things, you get to watch them blow away. Either way, you don’t have to insult anyone.

I have the same issue with my daughter, especially in the summer. Arts and crafts are fun to put together, but I don’t have fun figuring out where to put it. It’s kind of like how some people enjoy shopping, but then they come home with a bunch of stuff, and where are we going to put it? We don’t have nearly enough magnets. I say that you can enjoy shopping, but every few days, you should bring it all back. The shopping part is done. Do you love finding places for things too? It’s like when your kid plays a game, and you make him clean it up. He doesn’t love cleaning, but he loves playing a game. This is part of it.

Dear Mordechai,

What should I do about telemarketers?

P.H.R., Philly

Dear P.,

Hang up. They can’t really stop you, can they? I find that the easiest way to hang up is to do it during one of your own sentences. That way, they think there’s no way you actually hung up on yourself.

Report: Netanyahu Agreed to Return Entire Golan to Syria

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed in principle in 2010 to give back the Golan Heights to Syria, the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot reported.

The paper quotes unnamed American sources as saying that in 2010 “Netanyahu agreed to a full withdrawal from the Golan, to the shores of Lake Kinneret, in exchange for a peace agreement with Syria.” The initiative reportedly collapsed amid the outbreak of Syria’s civil war.

In response to the report, the Prime Minister’s Office said the talk of withdrawal was “an American initiative, one of many discussed with Israel, which was not adopted at any stage,” the newspaper said.

According to the account in Yediot, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, was supportive of the initiative. The Israelis “expected” a deal would mean the severing of ties between Iran and Syria, though this was not stated as an explicit demand, the report said.

The Americans quoted in the report said the talks about the proposed deal were at an advanced stage and that the American side was “surprised by the willingness shown by Netanyahu, who offered the Syrians more than his predecessors.”

Insiders: Rumors of Deri’s Return to Shas Premature

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Tuesday’s announcement of early elections has given new life, among other things, to speculations about former Shas leader Aryeh Deri’s return to the top. But Deri associates on Wednesday denied the rumors.

The charismatic Deri has served 22 months in prison between 2000 and 2002, for taking a $155 thousand bribe while serving as Interior Minister. He was replaced by the current Interior Minister and Shas leader Eli Yishai.

In recent days the rumors were flying about a Deri’s recent coup, whereby he has managed to gain enough favor with the party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, to reinstate him in the top post while Yishai will be demoted to second place on the Shas Knesset list.

But Deri supporters on Thursday confided with Israel Today thattheir man is in “a serious bind” and would require a miracle to retake the top spot.

Deri’s predicament is, according to insiders, that after having made a commitment not to run on an independent list, he still hasn’t been able to unseat his rival Yishai.

“We offered him in recent months to compete against Shas, but that’s probably not going to happen,” an insider told Israel Today. Still, Deri “has to be present in these elections. If he doesn’t enter now, the story is over, and he only has the Shas option. I’m sorry to say only a miracle would cause Rabbi Ovadia to push aside Yishai and award the party stewardship to Deri.”

The question remains open as to whether or not Deri would acquiesce to take the second spot. In the past the disgraced politician has stated unequivocally that second place is “out of the question,” the insider added. “But under these new circumstances, you never know.”

Minister Yishai on Wednesday denied reports about a deal that’s being worked on inside Shas. His office said “there is no such deal.”

As to Deri’s possible return, Yishai said: “There’s Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and the Council of Torah Sages, and they decide. I’ve said many times that I would be delighted if Deri comes back to Shas according to the Rabbi’s decisions. Deri, too, respects the Rabbi’s decisions, and whomever doesn’t respect the Rabbi’s opinion has no place in Shas.”

Israel Newspaper Staffs Go On Strike

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Employees of Haaretz have gone on an open-ended strike, while Maariv employees are burning tires outside their office building, due to the anticipated firing of nearly 2000 people in Maariv, as well as anticipated staff staff cutbacks at Haaretz.

This comes in addition, according to a report on Galei Tzahal, of staff firings that have already begun in the recent days at Globes, Yediot, and others.

The strike was timed to coincide with a special Directors meeting at Haaretz.

Some of the striking newspaper staff are demanding that the government bail out the newspapers, because of their “important role in safeguarding Israeli democracy.”

In addition, there are new difficulties in the Makor Rishon acquisition of Maariv.  Maariv may be in more debt than previously disclosed, and it’s sales projections are less than were previously estimated placing the deal in a precarious position. Shlomo Ben-Zvi is reportedly working on renegotiating the deal.

FYI, you will still be able to get your news today from JewishPress.com.

Keeping the Faith

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

I am wholly inadequate to deal with this subject. That said I cannot leave it untouched. There is a phenomenon taking place that is highly disturbing to a believer and a rationalist like myself. The phenomenon I refer to is that of an increasing number of Orthodox Jews that are questioning their faith. Emunah has never before been tested like it is now. At least in my lifetime.

It used to be a bigger problem in the more open world of Modern Orthodoxy. That is where Rabbi Eliyahu Fink suggests the majority of the problem lies. But with the advent of the internet, everyone is at risk.

Tablet Magzine has an article by Ari Margolies, an 18 year old that is going through this. He was raised in a religious home. He was someone that loved his Judaism as a child. But then after his Bar Mitzvah he started asking the difficult questions. Questions that are difficult to answer. Thus he has become a skeptic – joining the community of skeptics who have had the same questions.

These are not people who went OTD because of dysfunction in their lives. Nor are they particularly the ones whose educational needs are not met because they are not up to the fierce completion in Yeshivos, whether it is in the area of Limud HaTorah or in the area of academic studies. These are the bright kids. These are the good kids from good families. And in some cases these are adults who at some point in their lives ask hard questions that end up leading them into becoming skeptics.

I have dealt with this topic in the past. I have offered my own views as to why I have Emunah. But I fully admit that I do not have satisfactory answers to all the questions asked by these highly intelligent people. For example it is almost impossible to answer a question put to me many times by different people – and one that precipitated Ari’s descent into the world of skeptics. From the article:

One morning, I woke up and a thought fell on me like a ton of bricks. I realized I was only an Orthodox Jew because it was what I had been taught since birth. I knew no other way. If I had been born into a Christian family, I would have been on the Jesus train. If I’d been born into a Muslim family, I would’ve jumped on the Allah bandwagon. If I had been raised in the splendor of the flying spaghetti monster, then I’d have spent my mornings praising his noodle appendages. I was an Orthodox Jew by chance, I realized, and the realization shook me to my core.

I honestly do not know how to answer a question like this. And yet I have complete faith in Judaism as it has been handed down to me by my forefathers. Am I lucky to be born a Jew in a religious home? Yes! You bet I am. But that does not answer the question of why I get to be so lucky.

One of the things I deal with here (which my last post touched upon) is the fantastic stories of faith that strains credulity. As described by Ari:

I would hear stories of people who had their lives saved by their tefillin. One guy was praying while driving and got into a car accident; the only thing that stopped his head from smashing through the windshield was his headpiece. Another devout man, about to board a plane, realized he left his tefillin at home and missed the flight while retrieving them, and—you guessed it—the plane crashed. It all sounded like a bit much.

These kinds of stories tend to bring out the skeptic in me as well. Not that they are impossible to believe. But that they are so frequently used to prove that a miracle occurred because of an act based on one’s religious belief… Or taken a step further, because one participated in one of those Segula Tzedaka campaigns.

When people start questioning their faith, stories like this only accelerate the process.

I don’t have any answers to this increasing problem. But at the same time, there is absolutely nothing being done to address them in a communal way. At least not as it pertains to nipping it in the bud in one’s formal educational experience.

Egypt and China Signing Deals and Building Ties

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

In the wake of Egyptian President Morsi’s recent visit to China, Morsi returns to Egypt with 8 partnership deals and a 71 million dollars gift to his government. The deals are in the fields of agriculture, environment, communications, tourism, as well as to import Chinese cars for the Egyptian police force.

One of the deals is for the purchase of security cameras. The cameras will be placed around Cairo, and specifically in Tahrir Square.

The camera deal replaces a deal that Egypt previously had with the US, signed with former Egpytian president Mubarak.

An Egyptian source said that it is believed that the American cameras allowed the US to spy on Egypt and see everything that was being filmed, while the new deal with China has a section in it explicitly prohibiting China from spying on them with these cameras.

Maybe the US cameras were connected to the Mossad sharks?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/egypt-and-china-signing-deals-and-building-ties/2012/09/01/

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