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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘decision’

Landmark Case: Israel Court Has Jurisdiction Over Suits Against Palestinian Authority

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The Jerusalem District Court, in a landmark decision 10 years in the making, ruled on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority can be sued in Israeli court for damages suffered by an Israeli Arab tortured and kidnapped by their security forces on suspicion of spying for Israel.

The case will not only enable Arab victims of PA intimidation to find justice, but will allow terror victims to sue the PA for compensation.

According to a report by The Times of Israel, the case was brought in 2002 by a man who was suspected by the PA of being an informant for Israel.  In 1999, the man was kidnapped twice – once in Israeli-controlled Hebron and once in Jerusalem outside the school in which he taught.  PA security forces allegedly tortured Rajoub during questioning, even firing a gun next to his head in a mock execution.

He was severely disabled, and tried bringing a suit against the PA in Israeli court for NIS 10 million.  However, the PA said it could not be sued in Israeli court, and that the man should attempt to sue in PA court.

Judge Moshe Drori ruled that the man could sue the PA in Israeli court for injuries and suffering, and set in motion deliberation over the amount of compensation to be paid out.  The method of extracting the settled amount is undetermined.

Malkah Fleisher

Netanyahu OKs Fortified Daycare Centers Near Gaza

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

The Cabinet on Sunday unanimously approved an allocation of NIS 7.6 million in order to complete the financing of building protected daycare centers in communities with 0-7 kilometers from the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Our advance preparations and the speed with which we are meeting citizens’ needs have proven themselves time and again. This decision is the continuation of previous Government decisions in the framework of which billions of shekels have been allocated to protecting residences and educational institutions and to strengthening the resilience of citizens in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip.”

Malkah Fleisher

The Voice of a Child

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Children should be seen and not heard. It was a maxim that I heard many times throughout my childhood and which caused me a fair amount of frustration. When, I often wondered, would I cross that invisible line and move out of the periphery to which I was assigned, into the arena of adulthood and be given the chance to express an opinion that people would listen to? Life ran its course, I became an adult, was granted the right to express my opinion and found out that very few people listen to me. Interestingly, in contrast to the past, popular psychology today has touted the need to build a child’s self-confidence so successfully that children are both seen and heard quite clearly. Despite this, I wonder how many communities would make a decision based on the perception of a child. Judaism does.

Last Shabbos the clear, strong voice of the baal korei (reader) rang through the attentive synagogue as the weekly section of the Torah was read out loud. Suddenly it came to a standstill. There was a moment of utter silence and then the sudden swish of numerous prayer shawls, the thud of footsteps and the mutter of deep voices. Peeping through the lattice that separates the women’s section from the men’s, I watched the crowd of men thicken around the table on which the open Torah scroll lay.

Apparently, there was a problem with the Torah scroll. A kosher Torah scroll is treated with great respect. For example, it is not permitted to leave it unattended; a person is required to stand in its honor and may not turn his back to it. A non-kosher Torah scroll is not awarded the same level of respect. If even one letter of a Torah scroll is problematic, the entire scroll is invalidated until the problem is fixed. Most authorities maintain that a non-kosher scroll cannot be used to read the weekly portion. Since the reading must take place from a written text, reading from a non-kosher scroll is akin to reciting by heart making the reading invalid and the blessings recited over it said in vain and the Torah reading must be repeated.

Taking the above into account, every Torah scroll that is written is scrutinized for accuracy. Today, computers help out. A megiah (checker) scans the scroll into a computer running a program that checks the letters and their sequence. The computer then points out possible problems: sometimes a letter hasn’t been written correctly. Some Hebrew letters are very similar: yud, vav and nun sofit are all shaped similarly to a number one, but vary in length. Other letters are written by combining one or more two letters: for example, an aleph, which looks something like an X, is actually made up of three letters: a slanted vav, and two yuds, one above the vav and one below. Sometimes a letter is actually missing and the computer picks this up too. The scroll is then checked by the megiah himself. It seems very unlikely that any problem with the letters could creep in after all that, but, sometimes the computer and the megiah do miss problems and sometimes the problems develop later. The ink used to write a Torah scroll is usually a mixture of tannic acid, which is derived from gallnuts formed on the leaves of oak trees by wasps, copper sulphate to give it a strong black color, and gum arabic to make the glue slightly elastic so that the ink doesn’t crack when the scroll is rolled. Sometimes the letters can become smudged or cracked—after all, the scroll is being used regularly.

In this case, my son informed me, one of the congregants, a Torah scholar of standing, had spotted a letter vav that he claimed was too long—so long that it could be mistaken for a nun. That being the case, the reading was suspended while the men debated whether the letter really did pose a problem or not. In a synagogue in which number of Torah scholars rivals the number of stars in the sky on a moonless night, there was no lack of differing opinions. I watched fascinated as varying opinions of men who spent their days and night toiling in the sea of Torah were whispered urgently. Finally, the decision was made: since the mistake was debatable, a child would be asked to identify the questionable letter.

Rhona Lewis

Barak and Barack

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

An interview with Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak — thinly disguised as “the decision-maker” created a sensation in early August, when he suggested that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities was imminent:

As the Iranians continue to fortify their nuclear sites and disperse them and accumulate uranium, the moment is approaching when Israel will not be able to do anything … For the Americans, the Iranians are not yet approaching the immunity zone − because the Americans have much larger bombers and bombs, and the ability to repeat the operation a whole number of times. But for us, Iran could soon enter the immunity zone. And when that happens, it means putting a matter that is vital to our survival in the hands of the United States. Israel cannot allow this to happen. It cannot place the responsibility for its security and future in the hands of even its best and most loyal friend.

Barak explained that Israel could not depend on an American commitment to destroy the program in the future, even if it were made today:

Ostensibly the Americans could easily bridge this gap,” he believes. “They could say clearly that if by next spring the Iranians still have a nuclear program, they will destroy it. But the Americans are not making this simple statement because countries don’t make these kinds of statements to each other. In statesmanship there are no future contracts. The American president cannot commit now to a decision that he will or will not make six months from now.

So the expectation of such a binding American assurance now is not serious. There is no such thing. Not to mention that President Obama doesn’t even know if he’ll still be sitting in the Oval Office come spring. And if Mitt Romney is elected, history shows that presidents do not undertake dramatic operations in their first year in office unless forced to. [my emphasis]

Suddenly last week, Barak began to sing a different tune. In an interview with the UK Daily Telegraph’s David Blair, he backed off:

His gnawing concern is that Tehran will fortify its nuclear plants, particularly the enrichment facility dug into a mountainside at Fordow, to the point where they become invulnerable to the striking power of Israel’s air force. If Iran reaches this “zone of immunity”, Israel would lose its ability to deal independently with a crucial threat, forcing the country to trust the rest of the world and break the principle of self-reliance that underlies its very foundation.

Earlier this year, however, Iran delayed the arrival of that moment. Tehran has amassed 189kg of uranium enriched to 20 per cent purity, a vital step towards weapons-grade material. In August, the country’s experts took 38 per cent of this stockpile and converted it into fuel rods for a civilian research reactor, thus putting off the moment when they would be able to make uranium of sufficient purity for a nuclear bomb.

Mr Barak said this decision “allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by eight to 10 months”.

We can relax for a while, right?

I don’t think so. The problem is that the conversion of some relatively highly-enriched uranium into fuel rods does not stop Iran’s progress toward the “immunity zone,” even if it may delay the arrival of the day that a bomb can be assembled. The regime can still “fortify and disperse” its facilities so as to reduce the effectiveness of an Israeli attack. And they are doing so, continuing work on the deeply-buried Fordow plant.

Barak’s logic in August was that what was driving Israel’s decision wasn’t Iran’s progress towards a bomb per se, but rather its progress towards the “immunity zone.” And this progress hasn’t stopped. The argument is no less sound today than it was then.

We also need to keep in mind that fuel rods can be reprocessed, and that there are certainly things that we don’t know about the Iranian program (what Rumsfeld called “unknown unknowns”).

Vic Rosenthal

Likud Approves ‘Biberman’ Deal, Polls Show Zero Gain

Monday, October 29th, 2012

At the Likud meeting on Monday evening, Likud Central Committee members overwhelmingly voted to allow Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu to run together with the Likud as a joint list.

The attempts led by Likud MK Michael Eitan to have the vote done by secret ballot failed to collect enough signatures.

Netanyahu said that the decision to run together won’t change the Likud, but it would allow the Likud to change the State of Israel.

Liberman said the decision was a historic and important one that will strengthen Israel.

Liberman will take the number 2 position on the list, and Netanyahu reportedly offered him the choice of receiving the Finance, Defense or Foreign ministry. Liberman chose to remain as Foreign Minister.

The new joint list will receive 42 seats in the next Knesset elections next January, a Channel 2 News poll found on Sunday. It means that the parties will retain their current power.

The poll found that Shelly Yachimovich’s Labor party will get with 23 seats (up from 8). Shas 13 seats (up from 11) and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party 9 seats. Left-wing Meretz will grow from 3 to 6 seats. The new National Union-New National Religious Party will drop to 5 seats, United Torah Judaism will stay at 5. Ehud Barak’s Independence party will get 3 seats. Kadima will drop from its current 28 seats to 3 seats. The Arab lists will get 10 seats altogether.

Jewish Press News Briefs

The Safety Net You Need

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

The last time you were at the circus did you gasp as the trapeze artist swung through the air?

Even though his antics might be scary, there’s a strong safety net catch him in the event of a fall. Hopefully, the trapeze artist won’t ever need to use it. But it is always there – just in case.

Even the world’s best acrobats have safety nets to catch them if the unfortunate occurs. So what does that say for the rest of us, who aren’t the world’s best?

Even if you’re not a trapeze artist, you need a safety net. As long as you have dependents, you need a safety net to save you from fiscal free fall.

Sometimes, the “fall” can be the result of poor financial planning and decision-making, but often it’s due to circumstances that are beyond your control.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure you have a safety net in place. In terms of personal finance, this is a two-pronged approach: making sure that you have adequate insurance and having an emergency savings account.

If you have young dependents, insurance is absolutely vital. What would happen if your family’s breadwinner(s) died or was seriously injured? While insurance won’t solve every problem, it definitely helps alleviate some fiscal concerns.

And in a situation that is far less drastic, but still costly, emergency savings can make all the difference between being unable to put food on the table or repairing the car.

Review your insurance portfolio to make sure that your family is covered in the event of a possible disaster, and evaluate your bank accounts to ensure that you have an emergency savings plan in order to catch you in case you fall. And like the trapeze artist, let’s hope that you never actually need to use it.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Arab Teachers’ Rejection of Holocaust Education Highlights Arab Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard once commented that, sometimes, the only proper reaction to a particular event is despair. The following represents such an example.

According to a recent report, rumors of a U.N. decision to introduce Holocaust studies in schools in Palestinian refugee camps run by UNRWA  have outraged Jordanian teachers, who say they will refuse to teach history that “harms the Palestinian cause.”

Roughly two million Palestinian refugees are registered with UNRWA’s Jordan offices, and they operate 172 schools in 10 refugee camps across the kingdom.

The Executive Committee of UNRWA teachers in Jordan responded to news that Holocaust studies would be added to the curriculum on ‘conflict resolution’ by issuing a statement stating that, “We condemn this decision, which equates the butcher and the victim,” (emphasis added).

The teachers’ statement demanded instead classes on the Palestinian “right of return” to Israel.

The statement continued, objecting to the fact that “Teaching UNRWA students about the so-called “Holocaust” as part of human rights harms the Palestinian cause … and changes the students’  views regarding their main enemy, namely the Israeli occupation.

“We shall monitor the curriculum being taught under the title ‘concepts of human rights’ [which is] aimed at reducing [Palestinian] students’ awareness of the right of return…”

The reaction by Jordanian teachers follows a decision last year, by the association of UNRWA employees, to ban the introduction of Holocaust studies in UNRWA schools.

Remember that these are not Islamist extremists we’re talking about, but middle-class Jordanian educators, ordinary men and women who evidently are outraged by “rumors” of a U.N. decision to teach children about the Nazi slaughter of one out of every three Jews on earth.

Identifying with six-million victims of Nazi genocide is evidently seen as harming the Palestinian cause.

Moreover, it’s important to understand that though the Holocaust did not come close to putting an end to anti-Semitism across the world, news of the unspeakable horrors in extermination camps such as Auschwitz, Sobibor, Treblinka and Majdanek did attach to expressions of Judeophobia, in most of the enlightened world, a significant moral stigma.

Holocaust memory in our times creates a bulwark of sorts against the most virulent expressions of antisemitism, as it demonstrates the potential deadly consequences of unchallenged racism against Jews – and, indeed, against other minorities.

It is indeed telling that the central address of anti-Semitism in modern times is the Arab and Muslim Middle East, where the cultural antibodies against Jew hatred have failed to materialize.

If the citizens of the Middle East were to internalize the lessons of the Holocaust they would be forced to confront their own society’s often homicidal  anti-Semitism – a self-reflective habit of mind which the honor-shame culture of the Arab world does not promote.

The reaction by Jordanian teachers to the suggestion that they educate Palestinian children about the unspeakable crimes committed against Jews is, therefore, not surprising, as such a curriculum would necessarily turn a mirror on their own extensive moral and cultural shortcomings.

Finally, how can anyone seriously contemplate Palestinian peace with living Jews if they are often unable to reconcile themselves with even the humanity of murdered Jews?

The only healthy response to such stories is simply despair.

Originally published at the CifWatch blog.

Adam Levick

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/arab-teachers-rejection-of-holocaust-education-highlights-arab-anti-semitism/2012/10/17/

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