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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Despite Pressure, Ethics Committee Votes to Keep MKs Off Temple Mount

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The Ethics Committee on Tuesday voted to uphold its decision from seven months ago, banning Knesset Members from entering the Temple Mount compound. In its November 2015 decision the committee said it had been told by senior Israel Police officials that visits by MKs to the holy site in eastern Jerusalem would significantly deteriorate the security situation throughout the country.

The Ethics Committee stated that, until further notice, visiting the Temple Mount, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims, may be considered an ethics violation that carries sanctions. It cited the ethics rule that MKs are supposed to act for the good of the country.

The Ethics Committee said it discussed the matter again on Tuesday following pleas by committee member MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) and Jewish MKs. Jerusalem District Police Commander Major-General Yoram Halevy briefed the committee and said that for the time being Police position on the ban remains unchanged.

The committee said it was further informed that in light of the relatively calm situation, Israel Police is considering allowing Arab MKs to visit the Temple Mount towards the end of the month of Ramadan, and allowing Jewish lawmakers to visit the site as well after the Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

“In light of what the committee has heard, it has reached a majority decision to uphold its previous decision for the time being,” the Ethics Committee said in statement, adding that it would change the decision should the security forces decide that MKs may be allowed to visit the Temple Mount once again.

David Israel

Whatever Happened To Ethics And Menschlichkeit?

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

FBI raids in Ramapo, Monsey, and Williamsburg.

NYPD officers with ties to “prominent businessmen” questioned about bribes and disciplined by the department.

Leader of civilian security patrol arrested for bribery.

Prominent politician charged, convicted, and sentenced.

The headlines scream what can only be called pure chillul Hashem. There seems to be no end to the embarrassing and disheartening news.

Despite it all, there appears to be no determined move to press the community to pursue true ethics and proper behavior. To the outside world it seems all we get from our leaders are dangerous deflections.

Perhaps it is not really surprising. There are still some leaders who believe that childhood sexual abuse is virtually non-existent in the Orthodox world and that women who are attacked are basically “asking for it.” These leaders have the audacity to take strong positions and double down even in the face of facts. Organizations are ever-protective of status and their members.

Is it any wonder that in the face of such unyielding rigidity, hypocrisy, and cognitive dissonance there are so many young people who are questioning their faith and their commitment to a leadership that is perceived as unresponsive even to breeches in basic ethics?

Young people see and hear all manner of rationalizations to justify corruption. If leaders can act this way, they think, then so can we.

A 23 year old asked me if I believed it was okay to bribe someone in order to obtain a gun permit. I asked him why he would want a weapon. After the predictably robotic “We all should be able to defend ourselves” response, he offered the true reason – “It’s cool to be able to carry!”

If this were someone who lived or worked in a dangerous neighborhood where there is poor police protection I might give him a pass for naiveté. But he is a student in a prominent religious school and lives in one of the safest neighborhoods in the world. He has no cause to carry and could not legitimately obtain a gun permit based on need.

It is true that one comment from one person does not generalize well. But he is far from the only one. If it were possible to conduct a survey of the beliefs of our 18-to-30 year olds we would very likely find many like him – able to recite esoteric tractates with little regard for the ethics of daily living.

Perhaps an even more telling comment is the one I heard from a 25 year old – that those involved in the high profile media cases were “just not smart enough. Very few get caught.”

As if illegal and immoral behavior can be acceptable as long as you are discreet and lucky enough to slip between the cracks of honesty and legitimacy.

It is true that most people abhor illicit and corrupt activities. It seems, though, that among a growing number among us there is a determination to avoid addressing the issue of basic honesty. Apparently, it is easier to ignore and focus on other matters – even blaming the victims of abuse or, absurdly, the FBI for “setting” people up to get arrested, as if the offenders did no wrong. I kid not – I have heard this from more than a few people.

It was not so many years ago that being religious meant you lived an honest life. Today it seems it’s all about the shortcut and the show. We load ourselves up with religious stringencies that in and of themselves do nothing to enhance a spiritual life, but forget that the primary obligation is to be an upstanding, honest member of society.

The goal should not be to amass large sums of money to remodel a kitchen with two sinks, two stoves, and even two refrigerators. But that seems to be what’s driving too many of us. Is it halachically acceptable to avoid paying taxes in service to the illusion that having two of everything in the kitchen – even when it makes no sense to do so – makes for a holier, more spiritual Jew? Clearly not, but the mentality is not being addressed. Nor is the pervasive attitude that “as long as you don’t get caught, it’s fine.”

A few years ago there was a push to teach business ethics in the community. I am not sure if it is still ongoing and am also unclear as to whether or not it was successful to any significant degree.

Business ethics are indeed necessary but they touch on only one area of life. Basic ethics must be part of a Jewish curriculum. Teaching morals and ethics requires a total communal approach. Families, schools, and shuls must put this basic Jewish principle at the top of the agenda. If this moment is squandered we will have a generation of superficial adherents to rigid irrelevancies who at heart have no connection to the essence of Yahadut and menschlichkeit.

Dr. Michael J. Salamon

Israeli Medical Association: Doctors Must Treat the Worst Injury First, Including Terrorists

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

(JNi.media) An appeal of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has led to a dramatic change in the guidelines of Israel’s Medical Association, imposed by its Ethics Bureau: from now on, medical teams must provide medical care to victims at the scene of a terrorist attack, including the terrorist perpetrators, according to the severity of their injury.

To date, EMTs were instructed to treat all the victims of an attack first, before the attacker, in line with the rule of “The poor of your city come first” (the rabbinic version of “charity begins at home”); but from now on, according to the dramatic resolution, reported by Israel Hayom, the medics must triage only according to the severity of the injury.

The IMA Ethics Bureau is the only entity in Israel in charge of setting the standards of medical ethics for all doctors and medical teams. Its instructions have a profound influence on all the emergency medical professionals, including paramedics, medics, nurses and administrators. However, the change in the existing triage procedure that was decided earlier this week was not publicized, but was merely entered in the guidelines published on the IMA website, for fear of “political and public criticism of the decision during the widespread wave of terror,” Israel Hayom reported.

The dramatic decision was made after a long discussion that took place at the Ethics Bureau last week, at the request of Physicians for Human Rights, a not-for-profit NGO whose stated view is that “Israel’s prolonged occupation over Palestinian territory is the basis of human rights violations. For this reason we oppose the occupation and endeavor to put an end to it. PHR-Israel stands at the forefront of the struggle for human rights – the right to health particularly – in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Between 2008-2014, the anti-Zionist New Israel Fund (NIF) authorized grants worth $1,275,815 to PHR-Israel, according to NGO Monitor. The Israel PHR has received additional donations from the Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), Diakonia (Sweden), Medico International (Germany), Bread for the World (Germany), the European Union, HEKS-EPER (Switzerland), Germany, Norway, Switzerland, and UNHCR. Its operating budget is assessed at between $1 and $2 million annually. It buys a lot of ethics.

PHR-Israel addressed the IMA Ethics Bureau, saying that the former directive seriously contradicts the principles of internationally accepted medical ethics and international humanitarian law. Chairman of the IMA Ethics Bureau, Dr. Tammy Karni, told Israel Hayom that the reason for changing the rule is that “doctors are not judges. The meaning of keeping the directive intact was to tell the doctor to investigate who is to blame and punish them by denying care. In a multiple-injury event it’s very easy to make mistakes in identification, and the treating physician clearly can’t do a precise identification of the victims. The doctor must be focused on saving the lives of as many people as possible. It isn’t decent to add to the doctor’s triage task criteria that are unrelated to the health of the casualties.”

The principle of “The poor of your city come first” at the scene of an attack was part of the guidelines of the Ethics Bureau that were written in 2008. The earlier directives were formulated by a group of doctors, including Prof. Pinchas Halpern, director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, and a leading expert in emergency medicine in Israel. According to Halpern, removing the former directive was a mistake, and instead there needed to be a hearing on the issue which in the end would specify the guiding principles for treatment of an enemy.

JNi.Media

Israeli Call-In Show Debating Using Terrorist Body Parts for Implants

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

(JNi.media) Razi Barkai, who hosts a call-in show on Israel’s Army Radio, on Sunday took a call from Alaa, a Christian Arab who had come up with an original idea of how to deter terrorists: “Take all the internal body parts of the terrorist and use them for patients” waiting for implants.

Barkai, who is associated with the Israeli left, would probably, on a normal day, have either hung up on the caller or rebuked him for his macabre proposal. It was probably a testimony to how weary Israeli society has become of the seemingly ceaseless onslaught of Palestinian Arab violence, the Barkai kept the caller on the line and, in fact, began to discuss the various ramifications, as well as the application of his idea.

Barkai said he understood the caller intended to punish and deter terrorists, but pointed out that the proposal could run into legal problems, because the terrorist would not necessarily have signed an Adi card before going out on his murderous mission.

Named after Adi (Ehud) Ben Dror, a young, healthy resident of Petach Tikvah who, at age 26, fell ill with an acute kidney disease which deteriorated to terminal renal failure. He spent two years waiting for a suitable kidney for a transplant, but when a kidney was finally found his body was too weak to take the transplant and he died two months later. Adi and his parents came up with the idea of asking people to sign their approval to donate organs after their demise, and in October 1978 the Adi association was set up, revolutionizing public awareness of organ donations in Israel, signing up Israelis to the ADI card.

Again, not something a terrorist set on hurting as many Jews as he can would consider a high priority. Barkai also suggested that the family of the “martyr” would also, in all likelihood, not be in a very giving mood. The listener, Alaa, suggested that the prime minister and the legislator should change the law, enabling doctors to harvest terrorists for parts without consent.

Then Barkai wondered if a Jewish patient would accept a transplanted part from a dead terrorists. It went on like that for a while.

Doron Shultziner wrote in Ha’aretz on Tuesday that the Razi Barkai incident offers a kind of summary of the story of the Israeli media during the current crisis, as many are sliding down a slippery slope, not necessarily to the right or to the left, but to a gory and ghoulish indulgence in te details of the bloody terror campaign all around.

On Sunday night, as Channel 2 News was streaming direct reports from the Be’er Sheva bus station that was under attack, viewers at home were exposed to unfiltered reactions of people at ground zero, traumatized to the point of expressing their delight at the blood poring from a terrorist’s body in words they wouldn’t have dreamed of saying in normal conditions. When it turned out the bleeding man was not a terrorist, but a migrant worker from Eritrea who was fleeing for his life, those exorbitant howls became unwitting testimonies of a lynching that had never really been intended.

The problem with the discussion of forced organ harvesting as a legitimate deterrent isn’t that the proposal has a chance in hell of ever being realized, Shultziner wrote, but that someone who is considered a serious, senior journalist thinks it passes the most basic moral standard and is appropriate for a broadcast on a legitimate, national radio station. How much more trauma would Israeli society require, Shultziner wondered, to get closer to the spirit of China’s totalitarian regime, which actually harvested the organs of Falun Gong members.

As to Razi Barkai being a serious, senior broadcaster, it would be unfair to the reader who is unfamiliar with the history of Israel’s media not to mention Barkai’s claim to mythological fame, when, in 1996, during a live broadcast, he ordered his producer to get him on the phone the person “in charge of the internet.”

In the words of the immortal Persian adage: Īn nīz bogzarad – this, too, shall pass…

JNi.Media

Minister Uri Ariel: Keep Administrative Detention for ‘Time Bombs’

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Hunger-striking Palestinian Islamic Jihad administrative detainee prisoner Mohammed Alla’an is still in very serious condition at Barzilai Medical Center, but is not being force-fed, and technically he is free at this time.

The High Court of Justice has suspended his administrative detention after it became clear that his medical condition had deteriorated and he had caused himself brain damage as a result of refusing food for more than 60 days.

Attorneys for the suspected terrorist and for the state have been debating over what has been the core cause of Alla’an’s condition — his hunger strike or the administrative detention that led him to refuse food in a bid for freedom.

Few are pointing to the behavior that led to the administrative detention in the first place, in part because the evidence has not been made public.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel told Galei Tzahal Army Radio in an interview this morning (Aug. 20) he opposes the use of administrative detention except for when the suspect can be classified as a “ticking time bomb.”

“The State of Israel resorts to the practice of administrative detentions too easily and too often,” Ariel said. “It should only be used in cases in which there is an imminent threat of an attack.”

Ariel said the state, rather than the High Court, has mishandled the current situation with the hunger-striking Alla’an.

“My problem is not with the High Court of Justice,” the minister said. “It’s the fact that the representatives of the state don’t force-feed him and make sure that [Allan] stays alive.”

“They can’t find any doctor in the entire country willing to force-feed him,” Ariel said. “It boggles the mind. The situation that has been created is more than strange.”

Hana Levi Julian

Feiglin Bans Arab MK from Podium for Calling Him ‘Fascist’

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Knesset guards forcibly removed an Arab Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka from the podium Monday evening on orders from Acting Speaker Moshe Feiglin for calling him a “fascist.”

For good measure, Zahalka added that considering he was talking about Feiglin, the word fascist was a “compliment.”

The guards removed him from the chamber, but Feiglin, remaining the parliamentarian, told them he only ordered that Zahalka be taken away from the podium. As he returned to the chamber, pandemonium broke out in the circus, and everyone had a good time shouting at each other.

Other Arab MKs and Labor MK Shelley Yechomovich rushed towards the podium to protest Feiglin’s action, which he said he carried out according to the Knesset code.

Prior to Zahalka’s “fascist” comments, Feiglin had evicted Hadash party Arab MK Mohammed Barakeh from the Knesset for telling Feiglin he should “be choked.”

The mayhem revolved around the  daily circus’ event of the day, a no-confidence motion over the “Jewish State Bill” that would define Israel as a Jewish state.

Zahalka managed to get in a few words against the idea, quoting Jewish philosopher Hanna Arendt, who fled the Nazis and lived in the United States and railed against the idea or re-establishing the State of Israel because it would make Arabs second-class citizens.

Zahalka said Arendt used the term “Palestinians,” prompting Feiglin to interrupt and ask him if that was the actual word she used.

Zahalka replied that she indeed said “Palestinians” and then began to lecture Feiglin that he should read the source and perhaps “learn something.” He said Arendt was anti-fascist, but he turned to Feiglin and called him a fascist.

The acting speaker, in his usual calm manner, said that Zahalka could not continue speaking, but he ignored or didn’t even hear Feiglin. Within seconds, the guards came to remove him, and he went into a rage, grabbing the podium to resist his ouster.

Can a Knesset Member called another MK a “fascist”? Can he call him a “Nazi”?

Or how about “dirty Jew?”

Or “dirty Arab?”

Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog sharply criticized Feiglin for removing Zahalka from the podium, accusing him of violating “freedom of thought and democracy.”

What would he had said if Feiglin had called an Arab MK a “terrorist?

The video of the Knesset show is in Hebrew but that shouldn’t keep anyone from understanding what happened.

The action starts at two minutes in the video.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Haredi MK Banished from Knesset Two Weeks for Handcuff Gimmick

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

The Knesset will be lacking one of its more colorful Knesset Members for two weeks following an Ethics Committee decision to punish Haredi MK Meir Porush for handcuffing himself to the Knesset podium last July in an outstanding theatrical appearance..

MK Porush was enraged over the bill, now law, that almost all Haredi youth must serve in the IDF. Porush, a member of the United Torah Judaism party, stole the show with his handcuffing act, which lasted for several minutes until guards were able to unlock the handcuffs and separate Porush from the podium.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein filed a complaint with the Ethics Committee, which now has decided that the honorable MK insulted the honor of the legislature.

Jewish Press News Briefs

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