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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘death’

Report: Radiation Expert Says “No Way” Arafat Was Poisoned by Israel

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Dr. Roland Masse, a teacher of radiopathology at Percy Military Training Hospital, where PLO chairman Yasser Arafat was hospitalized before his death on November 11, 2004, has given the first interview related to Arafat’s death in eight years, telling The Times of Israel that there is “absolutely no way” the blood libel blaming Israel for poisoning the leader is true.

In the days leading up to the exhumation of Arafat to test him for polonium poisoning, Masse told The Times of Israel polonium poisoning symptoms would have been “impossible to miss” and said Arafat was tested at the hospital – which specializes in radiation detection – for radiation poisoning.

Masse said Arafat’s blood work did not present any of the symptoms of polonium poisoning, but did show a decrease in platelets.

Masse said that “abnormal levels of radioactive polonium Swiss scientists said they found eight years after Arafat’s death this July would have meant he was put in contact with such high levels of the material that doctors could not have missed it.

Masse was responsible for supervising national radioactivity in France in the 1990s as head of the Bureau for Protection against Ionizing Radiation.

When Arafat arrived at Percy, he was diagnosed with a blood disorder which caused blood clots throughout the body, a condition which could have been caused by a number of diseases.

Arafat’s condition deteriorated quickly, he fell into a coma on November 3, and died eight days later.

Arafat’s tomb will be exhumed on November 26 for further investigation.

Rumors have circulated around the Arab world that Israel is responsible for Arafat’s death – Israel has denied this allegation.

Neturei Karta Observe Arafat’s Yahrtzeit in Ramallah

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Last Sunday, representatives of Neturei Karta participated in the annual memorial service in Ramallah marking the day of the passing of PLO Chairman Yassir Arafat. They stood out in the crowd in their black clothes, each wearing identification tags over a background of a Palestinian flag.

During his speech at the gathering, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas restated his intention of petitioning the United Nation’s general assembly this month to grant the Palestinian Authority the status of an observer state.

Abbas said he is determined to carry out his plan, in spite of pressure and threats from the United States and Israel.

“We will make our request as early as this month, and, within a day or two, the Arab League will let us know exactly on which date this month to do it,” Abbas declared, adding: “Even though they don’t want us to petition the UN. We will not deny the legitimacy of Israel and we do not wish to deny it, but we do want to undermine the legitimacy of the settlements.”

Abbas also referred to the circumstances surrounding Arafat’s death eight years ago and said that Russian experts requested the Palestinian Authority to join the French and Swiss team which will investigate the “strange” death, as he put it.

Title: One Shot

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Author: M. Wiseman
Publisher: Israel Bookshop Publications

One Shot, authored by M. Wiseman, is an emotional drama that focuses on issues faced by some teens nowadays.

In Suburbia, U.S.A., lived three extraordinary young men, Baruch, Nadav and Rafi. Nadav and Rafi have been friends forever, and Baruch joins the crew in his later teens. Pain is the bond that brings the threesome together. Baruch and Nadav have emotional pain and Rafi suffers from a physical pain; he discovered that he had advanced-stage cancer. The cancer was serious – too serious for the doctors, so they eventually stopped treating him.

Nadav’s older brother, Ari, who was very gifted, decided that his parents were too paradoxical for him; they told Ari to follow the Torah, but didn’t fully do so themselves. In a fit of rage he left home. Nadav pondered his brother’s words and found himself full of questions. From then on Nadav became the bad boy to his teachers and had a hard time learning Torah. That was why he became attached to the charismatic Rafi, who had the ability to help him in times of crisis.

Baruch had a different challenge. His parents wanted him to learn in a kollel in Lakewood after learning in Israel and getting married, but Baruch couldn’t do that. The worst part was, he wished he could. Baruch also attached himself to Rafi, seeking inspiration.

Baruch, Nadav, Rafi – they were all afflicted with different types of pain. Did they all overcome it?

One Shot is a very inspiring book with serious themes including death and fulfilling one’s potential. The prologue and epilogue, stressing that the Torah was given to everyone, were extremely meaningful and true. M. Wiseman’s writing style, playing the part of author and narrator, is also very good. Sometimes she even has a conversation with the reader. One Shot is definitely an emotional and worthwhile read, and I would recommend it for all teenagers.

B’nai Brith Canada: ‘Silence Is Not An Option’

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Some of you are looking at the title of my column and wondering two things – why I am writing about B’nai Brith Canada – arguably Canada’s version of the Anti-Defamation League and why would it be of interest to anyone who does not live in that country – as most of you don’t.

It’s because I think you will sleep slightly better at night – as I do – knowing there is an additional organization in North America whose mandate is to fight anti-Semitism – – one that is quite loud and insistent.

B’nai Brith Canada was created in 1875, making it the oldest Jewish organization in Canada. From inception, its agenda has been the promotion of human rights and battling anti-Semitism and racism. Now more than ever, their staff, who for the most part are observant Jews, takes very seriously the Biblical injunction to “watch over your soul.”

B’nai Brith Canada has repeatedly exposed the biases and prejudices of the powerful United Church of Canada. This summer the Church voted to boycott products exported from Israeli businesses in the West Bank and expressed remorse for previously asking Palestinians to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state.

B’nai Brith Canada has not hesitated to take legal action against the Church for its anti-Semitic rhetoric – which resulted in an apology from the Church.

The organization is meticulous in keeping an eye on Jew-hatred in all it’s manifestations, and is very vocal when it comes to supporting the State of Israel – in particular Yesha. Its Parliament Hill office connects regularly with politicians, civil servants and ambassadors, providing a strong voice on issues of concern to the community.

A decade ago, B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights, was the only human rights organization given intervener status by the court in the hate crime trial of David Ahenakew, a national chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada. In an interview he gave in December 2002, Ahenakew stated that Jews were a “disease” and that Hitler was justifiably trying to “clean up the world” when he “fried six million of those guys.” (Unlike in the US where “freedom of speech ” can to some extent, legally allow the spewing of racist remarks, Canada has made hate speech a criminal offence).

If I were a cartoonist, I would draw B’nai Brith Canada as a ferocious, tenacious dog, determinedly biting down on the ankle of a surprised and panicked thug.

Very recently, B’nai Brith was alerted that a costume store in Montreal was selling what looked like a concentration camp uniform bearing a Star of David made of yellow and red triangles. The store apparently rents costumes to theatrical groups but makes them available to the public for Halloween.

Due to the organization’s intervention, the offensive costume was removed.

There are those in the community who feel that B’nai Brith is made up of a bunch of “fear-mongers.” They insist that Jews are safe in North America; that America and Canada have a track record of being a goldeneh midina – a golden land for the Jews with incredible freedoms and rights. Yet it wasn’t that long ago that there were signs on hotels saying, “No Jews or dogs allowed.”

And there is the infamous statement allegedly made by an immigration official after WWII who insisted, in regards to Jews coming to Canada, “none are too many.”

In 1939, both countries denied entry to over 900 Jewish refugees on board the MS St Louis, who were desperately trying escape genocide in Europe. The ship was forced to return to Europe. While some countries took in handfuls of Jews, most returned to their countries, where several hundred ultimately perished in the death camps.

(B’nai Brith Canada recently published a student resource book on Canadian immigration policies of the past, present and future titled, Welcome to Canada? to educate a new generation of youngsters, many of whom are first generation Canadians, whose parents come from the four corners of the world. The story of the St. Louis is included).

Those who are confident that there will never be a return to the days when Jews were persona non grata are in extreme denial.

No one wants to dwell on unpleasant realities. It’s easier not to think about loss or death – or anti-Semitism and the potential ominous threat to you and your loved ones. Maybe you do for a few minutes during a Shoah commemoration, but allowing it to infiltrate your daily life is too hard, too stomach churning, too depressing.

The Death Of Rebbi

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

When Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, the redactor of the Mishnah known as “Rebbi,” lay dying, he made his sons promise him that after his death they would set the Shabbat table and light the candles for him every Friday night.

There is a connection between the righteous, the world to come and Friday night. All are invested with kedushah (holiness). Kedushah is synonymous with peace. Shabbat is synonymous with peace. Shabbat Shalom. Peace is a state of harmony between body and soul when they no longer fight each other and no longer pull in different directions.

Perhaps nobody suffered more from internal strife than King David. Abigail’s words of farewell to King David as he lay dying were “May your soul be bound up in the bundle of life.” In the world to come, when the body is separated from the soul, there is eternal peace.

The soul, having left the body, settles in its eternal resting place under God’s heavenly throne. This, however does not happen immediately. According to the Talmud, for the first twelve months after death, the soul wanders restlessly between heaven and earth trying to reunite with the body. The lifelong partnership with the body, however volatile it may have been, is not easily terminated. It is only when the soul has reached the eternal level of holiness that it finally comes to rest in the presence of God.

Hence the Kaddish is recited during the first eleven months of restlessness to assist the soul in its quest for peace. On Friday night we rest in peace from the physical toil of the week and have a taste of the world to come. Indeed, Shabbat is referred to as a mirror of the world to come.

Few people have managed to live in eternal peace during their own lifetime. One such person was Rebbi, who lived in the second century. As he lay dying, he lifted his ten fingers toward heaven and said, “You know that I toiled with my ten fingers in the study of Torah. May it be your wish that there be peace in my place of eternal rest.” The Torah is a tree of life to those who cling to it. Its roads are harmonious and its ways are peaceful. No wonder, then, that Rebbi, who toiled his whole life in the streets of the Torah, found peace during his own lifetime. Indeed, he was known as our holy Rebbi, Rabbeinu Hakadosh.

It seems that Rebbi was so content in this world that he did not want to leave. “Why are you crying?” asked Rabbi Chiyah, the disciple of Rebbi. “You know it is a good omen to die with a smile.”

“I am crying on account of the Torah I will no longer be able to study and the commandments I will no longer be able to perform,” answered Rebbi.

Rebbi’s disciples did not want him to leave either. Neither, of course, did his “maidservant” (Amtei deRebbi). So they decreed the day a public fast and gathered around Rebbi’s home in the mountain village of Tzipori and prayed for his recovery.

“Anybody,” they warned “that breaks the news of Rebbi’s death will himself be put to death.” And as long as they prayed, Rebbi did not die. But he suffered terribly. And his “maidservant” could see him suffer no more. So she ascended to the roof carrying an earthenware jug. She turned her eyes heavenward and cried out, “the angels seek to take Rebbi and the people seek to keep Rebbi. May it be Your wish that those above overcome those below.”

But the disciples would not stop praying and would not release Rebbi from his suffering. So Rebbi’s “maidservant” held the earthenware jug aloft and cast it down into the street below where the disciples stood praying. The crash of the earthenware on the street below silenced their prayers for an instant and Rebbi’s soul departed. “Bo b’shalom” – come in peace – the angels greeted him.

The soul of Rebbi was equally at peace both in this world and the next. His soul did not suffer the distress of the wandering souls. And so we are told that each Friday night when Boi B’shalom was recited, he would return home, sit at the Friday night table and say Kiddush for his family. One Friday night, however, a neighbor saw him. Fearing that those who saw him would elevate him in their minds above his peers, he departed and was never seen again.

News Prior to Halloween: PLO Chief Arafat to Rise From the Dead

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

News just in time for Halloween: deceased PLO terror chief Yasser Arafat will rise from the dead next month, being exhumed by criminal investigators from France to determine how he died, according to a report by the Associated Press.

French officials announced on Tuesday that they have reached an agreement with the Palestinian authority in which a Swiss investigative team would arrive in Ramallah and unearth the body.  They will then test his body to determine if polonium-210 – a deadly radioactive isotope found on Arafat’s clothes – was used to poison him.

Arafat died on the 25th of October from a massive brain bleed, but exhibited flu-like symptoms days before his death.

Theories as to his cause of death include AIDS, stomach cancer, cirrhosis, and poisoning.

French officials have refused to publicize information on Arafat’s final illness, citing privacy laws.

Ki-Moon Passes on Offer to Take Flying Leap With Baumgartner

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Sound barrier-breaking world record skydiver Felix Baumgartner was politely declined by an unlikely protégé on Tuesday, after offering to teach UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to sky dive.

Baumgartner and Ki-moon met during a photo opportunity, following Baumgartner’s 24 mile-above-the-Earth dive.  When Ki-moon spoke about Baumgartner’s achievement, the death-defying Austrian offered to teach him the tricks of the trade.

Ban did not take Baumgartner up on his offer, but called him “the most courageous person in the world”.

The Ongoing Nightmare of the Jailed Doctor in the UAE

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

It’s a news story that directly affects just one man, but the implications of what is being done to Prof. Cyril Karabus are horrific, and of particular note to air travelers planning to fly Qantas at some future time. (The background is in two blog posts of ours: Dubai, Dubai, Dubai and Back to Dubai: Australian travelers might want to factor this report into their plans).

The short summary: A distinguished professor of medicine aged 78, with a lifetime of service to the community in his native South Africa, passed through Dubai airport in the UAE on August 18, en route back home following his son’s wedding in Canada. In Dubai, he was arrested and notified that he was convicted a decade earlier on charges arising from the death of a three year old child he had treated for terminal cancer. No notification had ever been given to the doctor at the time of the child’s death or since then up until his fateful transit visit to Dubai. Lawyers were retained, and the doctor formally denied any involvement in what was described as the killing of the young leukemia patient. The prosecution was unable FOUR times to produce the files on the basis of which the elderly doctor was convicted, and so four times his application for bail could not proceed. Meanwhile he remained incarcerated in an appalling prison.

The Guardian wrote on October 3, 2012 that he is an “old, frail and very sickly man” according to his lawyer, Michael Bagraim.

He has no travel documents or any means of escaping or jumping bail. There doesn’t seem to be any heart in what is taking place. “My reports from people who were in the court were that the man appears to be broken. He was hunched. He was shackled. He is almost 78 and he has a pacemaker and a stent because of problems with his heart.

Now to the update. The report below comes from one of the UAE’s English language newspapers, the Khaleej Times:

Doc in the dock to be released on bail
12 October 2012

The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court issued a primary ruling on Thursday assigning the UAE’s Higher Committee for Medical Liability to give its expert opinion on the charges addressed to the South African doctor, Cyril Karabus.

The doctor has been accused of committing a medical error that led to the death of a girl and of falsifying a prescription to hide his mistake earlier in 2002 while he was in the UAE as a visiting doctor.

The court explained in its ruling that the case is not ready for adjudication as it calls for technical opinion to resolve and clarify some of the issues and the points raised, and therefore decided to assign the Higher Committee for Medical Liability to give its opinion whether or not the accused committed a medical error while the victim was receiving treatment under his supervision.

The court also asked the committee to give its opinion whether the error, provided it is established, was the direct cause of the death or there were other reasons which hastened the child’s death.

At a hearing, the court also decided to release him on bail on security of his passport or the passport of a guarantor plus a bail amount of Dh100,000… the value of the blood-money the court may order him to pay if found guilty.

The court also scheduled the next hearing for November 20 when the claimant of the civil damages will appear along with his attorney.

We understand that the Karabus family was having a hard time raising the bail/”blood” money, which equates to US$54,000. The Guardian quoted Prof. Karabus’ lawyer saying “During the apartheid system, he concentrated on helping children of colour, so much so that he is an impoverished man himself today…” [source].

As we said here last week, there is not much we ordinary people can do to express our fury in the face of outrageous injustice by people with power. Signing a petition is one (the online petition is here – please consider signing it).

Letting the good people at Qantas, one of the world’s really good airlines, know [as a Sydney lawyer did] how the special relationship with Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi feels to us, is another.

Meanwhile, the latest (from Henry Benjamin’s excellent JWire site in Australia) is that Prof. Karabus was released from jail on bail following his arrest at Dubai airport whilst in transit on August 18. It quotes a family member saying: “He was released on Sunday night to stay at a colleague’s flat. He is free to move around the UAE but cannot leave as his passport has been confiscated.” His next court date is November 20. No word on whether the authorities have managed to find the missing paperwork.

Visit This Ongoing War.

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