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May 28, 2016 / 20 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘finance’

Despite Fervent Objections by All Seven ‘Green Line’ Universities, Ariel U. Becomes a Reality

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Samaria will have its first full university, pending the go-ahead of the Israeli military.

The Ariel University Center on Tuesday was recognized as a full university by the Judea and Samaria Council for Higher Education, which handles educational concerns in the “disputed territories.” The center, which has more than 10,000 students, Jewish and Arab, would be called Ariel University.

The 11-2 vote came despite a vehement recommendation against approval by the planning and budget committee of Israel’s Council for Higher Education, as well as opposition from the country’s other seven universities, and from public figures, all of whom objected to upgrading a college which had passed all the prerequisites for the boost, but was still unable to conceal the damning fact that it was located in the “West Bank.”

Last month, in a letter to Netanyahu, the presidents of Israel’s seven universities said that an eighth university would deal a “fatal blow to the higher education system in general, and the universities in particular.”

On Sunday, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz announced that his ministry would earmark extra funds for the Ariel University Center, so that it would not cut into the funding of Israel’s other universities. Steinitz said he will ask the government to grant an allocation of some $5 million to $7.5 million for the next two fiscal years, with plans to increase the sum in future years.

That’s an approximately $4 million a year fatal blow.

Professor Daniel Zajfman, head of the Weizmann Institute of Science, said he would cancel all academic and professional cooperation with Ariel U.

Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson was concerned about gentile reaction to the move, specifically Norwegians and Swedes, warning: “We are putting the next Nobel Prize in danger.”

MK Einat Wilf, head of the Knesset Education Committee, said it was still all about the money: “If the Finance Minister and the Education Ministry have tens of millions of extra shekels for higher education, they should have been used to assist the existing universities, which are recovering from a decade of tough budget cuts.”

Again, that’s approximately $4 million a year.

For comparison, as of 2010, the Hebrew University deficit was estimated at $2.5 billion.

And the Tel Aviv University salaries and pensions alone have reached $165 million a year.

No doubt, depriving the fledgling Ariel of $4 million a year would go a long way to balance those hemorrhaging deficits.

Of course, the report on the center’s progress that was submitted to the committee of Israel’s academic establishment praises Ariel’s accomplishments and left no doubt as to its ability to take its rightful place as a major academic institution.

The final authorization for making the Ariel center a university will be made by the IDF central commander in the West Bank, Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon. At this point, Alon is expected to back up the Judea and Samaria council’s decision.

The Judea and Samaria council was established in 1997 after the Council for Higher Education refused to discuss academic issues concerning the “West Bank.”

In 2007, the Ariel academic center was granted temporary recognition as a so-called university center, and its status was to be reexamined within five years. The city of Ariel, with a population of about 20,000, is located southwest of the biblical city of Shchem, where the patriarch Jacob was hoping to settle down and study some Torah, when unexpected thing started to happen.

Like it or not, Jacob’s dream is becoming a reality now.

JTA content was used in this report.

Yori Yanover

Alex’s Blog Round-up

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

 

Where’s the Line Between Tznius (Modest) and Sexy?

In this post, Jew in the City responds to questions about dressing modestly in a positive way.  Coming from a secular background, I see people make judgments about orthodox Jews all the time, sometimes even just based on their appearance.  While I don’t think every woman should dress so modest that they’re Tznius, I do think that modesty could be practiced a little better among young adolescent women.  Or a lot better.  Portraying modesty in a way that is approachable and still attractive can make it more connective.  Clothes are meant to cover, not expose.  That being said, dressing in a modest way can take away the distraction in the way of discovering who that person is on the inside.

 

My Frizzy Curly Jewish Hair

Reading Talia Levin’s story is comical, true, and hits home.  One night I was walking down the boardwalk on the beach with some friends when one of the shopkeepers asked me if I was Jewish.  I asked him why he was asking that and without words, he touched the bridge of his nose.  I was stunned.  Yes, maybe I had a big Jewish nose, but are you serious?  Sometimes I am amazed by the anti-Semitism that still exists, being that I’m surrounded by Jews a lot of the time.  Regardless, I certainly am proud of my own Jew-fro, even if it does frizz up on those rainier days.

 

Stuff Jewish Girls Like

Stuff Jewish Girls Like focused her most recent post on a DIY (do it yourself) project that any J-Girl could tackle on a weekend.  My friends and I are looking for fun new projects all the time.  A couple of them are becoming really talented jewelry makers actually.  I just question why the title of the blog itself is ‘Stuff Jewish Girls Like’. Non-Jews like jewelry too, no?

 

Jewish Women’s Archive: Jewesses with Attitude

This blog is one any young Jew should keep bookmarked.  It’s part of a national nonprofit whose mission is to uncover, chronicle, and transmit the rich legacy of North American Jewish women and their contributions to the world.  Amen to that. This week, one blogger posted about Gilda Radner and the legacy she left.  She would have been 66 this week, but spent the many years she was here devoted to raising awareness about hereditary cancers.  Ashkenazi women are more likely to develop breast cancer than others, at a rate of ten to 40 percent.  Honoring Gilda Radner by getting the word out about breast cancer and its daunting contraction rate is definitely a message worthy of a retweet.

 

Jewish Boy Problems

If you’re on Twitter these days, you’ve probably seen the hashtag, #insertstereotypehere followed by problems.  Whether it’s #firstworldproblems, or #citygirlproblems, each one is meant to poke fun at some of the ridiculous things people say in those lifestyles.  They’re stereotypical yes, but have taken over the Twitterverse.  One of my personal favorites is Jewish Boy Problems.  If you’re unfamiliar with this character, you can get a better idea from the bio listed: “I have brown eyes and hair. My legs are uncomfortably hairy. My dream is to crack 5’8. I think my Dad works in finance. My Mom loves to spend his money.”  Growing up in a Jewish town in northern New Jersey, this boy is one I encountered frequently.  The Twitter handle has turned into a blog, in which sentences or phrases are posted that typical ‘Long Island-style’ Jewish boys might say.  Some gems from this week:

  1.  #overheard at my office: “Which Melissa Schwartz are you talking about? The one I know went to Mich, not UPenn.”
  2. According to my father, no food expires. Not even produce.#JewishBoyProblems
  3. “My grandparents are letting me stay in their Upper East Side apartment while they’re in Boca for the season.” #Overheard

Happy Stalking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Abel

Planned Polish Jewish History Museum to Receive $7 Million Grant

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which is set to open next year, will receive a $7 million grant from two Jewish philanthropic foundations.

The gift from the Koret and Taub Foundations will finance eight galleries that will take visitors through 1,000 years of Jewish history in Poland. The exhibits will include a scale replica of a 17th century synagogue roof’s interior and will feature original artifacts from the Polish Jewish community, as well as multimedia.

Work on the museum began in 2005. It is a joint project of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, the City of Warsaw and the Polish Ministry of Culture.

“Poland is where my parents and grandparents were born,” said Tad Taube, president of the Koret Foundation and chairman of the Taube Foundation, in the press release. “This is their story. Poland is where I was born. This also is my story.”

JTA

McCain Says Adelson Contributions Are ‘Foreign Money’

Friday, June 15th, 2012

The former GOP presidential candidate, himself a devout campaign finance reformer, is accusing the current GOP candidate of accepting foreign money in exchange for influence over U.S. policy. The plot thickens more than a little when the agent of influence is a Jewish billionaire and the foreign power in question is the State of Israel.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., asserted that the involvement of anonymous donors and super PACs in American elections will lead to corruption, PBS reported.

McCain alleged specifically that money from outside the country may be helping one PAC: billionaire contributor Sheldon Adelson, owner of casinos in the United States, Macau and Singapore, has pledged $100 million to Republican interests this election cycle.

“Maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign,” McCain told Judy Woodruff on Thursday.

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee has been a critic of the Supreme Court decisions that paved the way for super PACs.

McCain and former senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) were the chief sponsors of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, known as the McCain–Feingold Act, which regulates the financing of political campaigns.

According to PoliPundit.com, the active ingredient in McCain’s borderline xenophobic objections, as well as in Adelson’s move to bear hug Romney into submission, is Israel.

On a trip to Las Vegas late last month, Romney and Adelson had a private meeting, according to that website, after which Adelson attended Romney’s dessert fundraiser for those who contributed $50,000 or more.

People close to Adelson said that he wants to be certain about Romney’s positions on support for Israel. Adelson has publicly criticized President Barack Obama’s support of Israel as too weak.

Woodruff also asked McCain about the comparisons between the president’s “doing fine” gaffe and what McCain said about the fundamentals of the economy during his 2008 run as the Republican nominee. Specifically, she probed his feelings on the striking similarity between the attack ad the Romney campaign issued on Thursday, and Team Obama’s ad that many have said was McCain’s fatal blow.

“We’re in the midst of a fiscal meltdown. When I said, look we’re in a terrible fiscal crisis but the fundamentals of our economy are strong,” McCain said. “So I think there is a difference between the two.”

Yori Yanover

Jewish Senator Wannabe in FBI Probe over Campaign Donations

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Republican U.S. Senate candidate and Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel is returning $105,000 in campaign contributions, because those contributions may have been given in a fraudulent manner. The FBI is investigating possible campaign finance violations.

The Cleveland Jewish News reports that the donations in question came from 21 employees of the Suarez Corporation Industries in North Canton and from their spouses.

On the company website, Benjamin and Nancy Suarez tout their own philanthropic efforts on behalf of women, particularly breast cancer research and women’s shelters, which “give hope to thousands in need and inspire their associates to do the same.”

But their employees’ contributions to Mandel’s campaign raised suspicions, because they were made by individuals who never before had made campaign donations, and whose income didn’t appear high enough to enable them to be this generous.

FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson confirmed on Wednesday to the Cleveland Jewish News that the Bureau had interviewed the SCI employees in question and have already requested documents from the company and the campaign.

The FBI is also probing the campaign of U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R., Wadsworth), who received similar-sized contributions from SCI personnel.

Mandel Campaign spokesman Travis Considine on Thursday said the money was returned on Tuesday to the 21 individuals. Mandel, who was sworn into office as state treasurer in January, 2011, is running against Democratic incumbent Ohio U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer got hold of a letter from Mandel’s campaign treasurer Kathryn Kessler, saying the campaign is giving back “any contributions that appear to be under investigation by federal authorities.”

“We believe we have no reason to be concerned with the contribution, but out of an abundance of caution and until the investigation is complete, we believe this course of action is most appropriate,” Ms. Kessler’s letter said.

Democrats were delighted Mandel had to give back the funds.

“Josh Mandel is a politician who can’t be trusted, and the fact he has been shamed into returning $105,000 in illegal contributions only after an FBI investigation became public goes right along with hiring unqualified political cronies and missing every single board of deposit meeting his first year in office,” said Justin Barasky, a spokesman for Friends of Sherrod Brown.

Federal campaign finance law prohibits a donor from contributing in someone else’s name to get around the $5,000 limit. Election law also prohibits a corporation from reimbursing employees for their contributions.

Benjamin Suarez said his employees were not reimbursed by him or his company.

Josh Mandel is the 48th Treasurer of the State of Ohio, having been elected as the top vote-getter of all statewide executive candidates, winning 80 of Ohio’s 88 counties.

Mandel enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in 2000, where he graduated first in his class from Marine Corps Boot Camp and first in his class from Marine Corps Intelligence School. His Marine Corps career spanned eight years, including two tours in Anbar Province, Iraq. During both tours he was awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal for “superior performance of his duties.”

Jacob Edelist

New American-Affiliated Party Launches Knesset Bid

Monday, May 7th, 2012

‘Calcala’, a new political party started by American-Israeli businessman Danny Goldstein, officially launched its Knesset bid by registering with Israel’s Party Registry Office on May 1. “We are focused on making Israel a better place to live and a better place to invest, by merging the best of Israel and America,” Goldstein – founder and chairman of the party – told The Jewish Press.

Goldstein was born in the U.S. and made Aliyah with his family in 1971. He later returned stateside, but as he says, “enough’s enough. I’m here to stay, I’m here to make change.” He sat down with The Jewish Press and discussed the new party’s platform, his motivations for creating it, and his aspirations for its future.

Goldstein says he’s for a free market economy, supports lowering taxes, and supports investment in alternative energy. “Lets help small businesses develop and grow instead of suffocating them with stifling taxes and regulations. Lets encourage people to open businesses.” Goldstein speaks from experience, as he ran a successful mattress company while living in Israel, and then moved on to real estate development in New York City.

“Too many people in Israel are struggling to make ends meet,” he laments. “Why is it so hard for American olim (immigrants) to adjust to life in Israel? Because the infrastructure is laden with unnecessary bureaucratic layers.”

He gives an example of an every-day problem in Israel: “A park wants to install a pergola to beautify its premises, but the government won’t provide the money. Why? Because there’s no room in the budget. But why go the government route? I personally spoke to Bank Mizrachi, and they said they’d be glad to donate a pergola, with a little acknowledgment to Bank Mizrahi…Why not encourage this? Why not allow people that want to spend the money to do this, especially when the government can’t? What, are they afraid that the bank will have an undue influence? Come on….free enterprise!

“Its not about spreading the wealth, but rather about making this place a good place for Israelis to live and an attractive place for potential olim. We have a great team of experts in finance, economics, and law…a young, dynamic group that wants to bring change, from the bottom up.”

Addressing the obvious question of whether Calcala is a single-issue party, Goldstein says: “Calcala is not a single issue party, but we recognize that many problems in Israel emanate from the financial aspect. We want to maintain focus on the daily needs of the people, we want to improve the infrastructure, we want government employees to treat individuals with dignity. Later, as the campaign unfolds we will flesh out our positions on the other issues, like the Tal Law.”

Goldstein stresses that Calcala is unique in that it is “the first party in Israeli politics that has American ideals and American ways..It’s not that we want to bring America here, but we want to have a stronger Jewish state that benefits from the American experience.

“American ideas. That’s how we’re different. We bring a novel perspective to the political arena, one that is badly needed. We are able to co-opt the best of both worlds in crafting solutions to the financial issues facing the country…And by making it easier for immigrants to live here, you make it easier for native Israelis to live here and vice versa.” Having said that, the fact that Goldstein was raised in Israel and speaks Hebrew fluently allows him to avoid the ‘outsider’ stigma.

Still, Goldstein says, “our focus is expansive, not for a particular type of person in a particular area. Our focus is those people that are dissatisfied with the way the economy is going…the 18-25 year olds who aren’t voting, and women.” He cites Calcala’s inclusive platform, which entails seven principles: Welfare & Livelihood; Less Taxes & Fees; Health Without Worry; National Security; Bureaucratic Efficiency & Diminution; Higher Education For All; Social & Environmental Consciousness.

Goldstein has high hopes for Calcala: “We didn’t start this party to keep a few Knesset seats warm, we want to be part of a governing coalition…We started this to bring change.” And though he admits there is added pressure with the recent news of early elections, he says that Calcala has already established relationships with other like-minded organizations, as well as a presence in the country: “Unlike bigger parties and politicians, we are going from the bottom up…grassroots. We are in touch with all the local newspapers – over 200 spread over 43 cities or towns around Israel – and we meet them in person and discuss issues they have and what Calcala can do for them.”

With time to prepare, Calcala can look to the 2006 election for inspiration, where Rafi Eitan’s Pensioner party ‘came out of nowhere’ to win 7 Knesset seats and secure a place in the governing coalition.

Rafi Harkham

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/new-american-affiliated-party-launches-knesset-bid/2012/05/07/

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