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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘funds’

Former Australian PM: Move Embassy to Jerusalem, Cut Off PA Funds

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has called for Australia to cut off the $40 million in aid it gives the Palestinian Authority annually, over the Abbas regime’s support for “terrorists and their families.” The Liberal politician also supported moving the Australian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Last month Mr Abbott attended the Australia-Israel-UK Dialogue in Jerusalem, as did Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and other federal MPs. Last Thursday, writing under the headline “Jerusalem Diary” for The Spectator Australia, the 60-year-old, London-born Member of Parliament, wrote: “In discussions with the Australian MPs, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah claimed that his people accepted Israel’s right to exist behind secure borders; but this is hard to credit given Palestinian TV’s consistent glorification of suicide bombers, reference to Jews as the ‘sons of monkeys and pigs’ and claims that the state of Israel is a ‘satanic project.’”

Pointing out that “Israel’s GDP per person is about $40,000 a year” and “Palestine’s is about $2000,” Abbot stressed that “this is not due to inherent riches on one side of the [border],” but due to the ineptness and corruption of the PA bureaucracy. He quoted Australia’s “highly-regarded ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma,” who had told him that “it can cost as much to ship a case of Palestinian beer from the West Bank to port at Haifa than from there to Japan.” Abbot’s concluded that the PA’s ” basic problem […] is a focus on politics over economics and the all-pervading sense of grievance.”

In order to improve the lives of PA Arabs, Abbot recommends “lesser issues that could be fixed before [the issue of Palestinian statehood] is resolved. It should be easier for people and goods to move from Palestine into Israel and Jordan. The UAE should join Jordan and Egypt in operating direct flights into Tel Aviv. And Australia should cut our $40 million a year in aid to the Palestinian Authority while it keeps paying pensions to terrorists and their families.”

And, while he’s at it, Abbot suggested that “another way for Australia to demonstrate its unswerving support for Israel, as the Middle East’s only liberal, pluralist democracy, might be to join any move by the Trump administration to move its embassy to Jerusalem.”

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop issued a quick statement rejecting Abbot’s ideas: “The Australian Government does not have any plans to move the Australian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

However, she did announce that Australia’s aid program to the PA was already under review: “The Australian aid program has robust risk management and due diligence assessment processes which are also applied to partner agencies and governments,” she stated, noting that “the Australian Government has a zero tolerance policy with regard to fraud and corruption.”

Bishop made it clear that “Australian aid to the Palestinian Territories is under review after the aid program for World Vision in the Palestinian Territories was suspended last year.”

As you may recall, the head of the World Vision operations in the Gaza Strip turned out to be a Hamas agent who diverted much of the aid funds to Hamas military projects as well as to the restoration of Hamas leaders’ villas.

Labor senior politician Kate Ellis also rejected Abbot’s ideas, saying, “What we see here is Tony Abbott using policy on the Middle East to try and undermine [Liberal Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull.”

Similarly, Izzat Abdulhadi, head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, told SBS that Abbot’s “statement, argument, is baseless, ideological, biased and lack evidence of the aid to Palestine.” Adding a touch of melodrama, the representative of one of the most corrupt regimes in the Middle East, with Swiss accounts to show for it, said about Abbot: “If he has some issues with the Prime Minister here it should not be [at] the expense of the suffering of the Palestinian children and Palestinian refugees.”

JNi.Media

Three Republicans Introduce Bill to Cut Funds to PA over Pay to Terrorist Murderers

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Taylor Force, 28, was a former US Army Officer and a student at Vanderbilt University, who was stabbed to death by an Arab from the Palestinian Authority in Jaffa, Israel last March 8. On Wednesday, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dan Coats (R-In), and Roy Blunt (R-Ms) introduced the Taylor Force Act, aimed at cutting funding for the Palestinian Authority if it continues to incite and reward acts of terrorism.

The new bill

• Requires the Secretary of State to certify to Congress the Palestinian Authority is taking credible steps to end acts of violence against United States and Israeli citizens that are perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control, such as the attack on Taylor Force;

• Calls on the Palestinian Authority to publicly condemn such acts of violence and is taking steps to investigate and cooperate in investigations bringing perpetrators to justice; and

• Terminates payments for acts of terrorism against United States and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been imprisoned after being convicted of terrorist acts, to any individual who died committing a terrorist act, or to family members of such individuals.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Sen. Graham said, “To pursue peace, you have to reject killing. … This bill is not a result of animosity towards the Palestinian people. It’s pushback against state-sponsored terrorism.”

“This legislation shines a light on a very real problem,” Graham said, asking, “Why is the Palestinian Authority paying young Palestinians to commit acts of terror against innocent Americans like Taylor Force or Israelis? The Palestinians need to decide – do they condemn these horrible acts or do they reward them? You can’t be a partner in peace when you are paying people to commit terrorist acts. The choice the Palestinians make will determine the type of relationship they have with the United States in the years to come.”

Senator Coats said, “To provide American taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority so that it can treat terrorists as heroes or glorious martyrs is morally unacceptable. Our hope is that applying this budgetary pressure will end this immoral program of rewarding and encouraging terrorists.”

Senator Blunt said, “Israel is one of our closest allies and a stalwart of democracy in the Middle East. It would be absolutely unconscionable to allow U.S. taxpayer dollars to be used by the Palestinian Authority to reward convicted terrorists for acts of violence against Israel. I urge all of my colleagues to back this effort to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable.”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) voiced his opinion about the proposed legislation: “I’ve repeatedly demanded that President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority work to prevent Palestinian terrorist attacks and end all government-sponsored incitement of violence. It’s unacceptable that our taxpayer dollars are still being used by the Palestinian Authority to pay terrorists who have Israeli and American blood on their hands, and to brainwash young Palestinians with hatred for the Jewish people. The U.S. should condition assistance to the Palestinian Authority on it stopping these despicable practices.”

Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) said, “The United States should hold Palestinian leadership fully accountable for continuing to incite violence against Israeli and American citizens and provide financial support to terrorists and their families. This is a no-brainer that’s critical to encouraging the emergence of a credible partner for peace with Israel, a fellow democracy and our closest ally in the Middle East, yet this Administration refuses to do it.”

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) said, “This bill stands for a simple principle: U.S. taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund terror against our own citizens or our ally Israel. The American people and the Israelis believe in helping the Palestinians build a better and more prosperous society. But that better society will never be possible if Palestinian leaders continue to funnel cash to terrorists and their families. The Obama administration and future administrations should hold Palestinian leadership accountable on this issue and tell them that as long as they continue to fund terror, they should not expect another dollar of U.S. economic assistance.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, “Earlier this year, Texas native Taylor Force was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv. Taylor’s murder is a grim reminder that the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism targets Americans and Israelis, Christians and Jews, indiscriminately. Our unshakable alliance with Israel will remain our strength as we face this threat together. The legislation introduced today will put the Palestinian Authority on notice that American taxpayers will not continue to fund them unless they take concrete steps to end the abhorrent practice of rewarding terrorists and their families. I’m proud to stand with Senators Graham and Coats as well as my other colleagues in solidarity against not only the terrorists attacking our citizens, but also all who fund and enable them.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement saying, “The American people would be appalled to learn their tax dollars have been subsidizing terrorist attacks on Israel – all the more so because Americans have frequently been the victims of these attacks, and their murderers are the ones benefiting from these U.S. subsidies. By conditioning future U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority on 1) the PA taking credible steps to suppress terrorism in the areas under its control, and 2) the PA ending payments to incarcerated terrorists and the families of dead terrorists, the Taylor Force Act would end this affront to American values.

“The RJC thanks Senator Graham for leading the charge to end this gross abuse of taxpayer dollars. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and we urge all Senators – Republicans, Democrats and Independents, to back this important legislation.”

JNi.Media

New Israeli Crowdfunding Platform Starts Micro Funds Named After Donors [video]

Monday, September 26th, 2016

LivinGift, a new Israeli crowdfunding platform, www.LivinGift.org, has been launched a few days ago and is now raising donations for its first two social impact projects: a course training Haredi men and women seeking employment in finance, the other supporting the fair hiring of security guards and medics. The service offers donors an evergreen fund in their name, starting at $25. Donors may also launch a memorial fund or make it a gift.

The evergreen or endowment fund is made possible thanks to a unique mechanism to solve social problems: the donor chooses a social project which he or she are passionate about and donates. The social project receives the donation as a zero-interest loan. Once the social project starts repaying the loan, the donor can roll the donation for a new social project.

LivinGift’s Public Advisory Council is headed by Prof. Meir Heth, Israel’s former Banks Commissioner, Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange Chairman , Bank Leumi Chairman and Chairman of Teva Pharmaceuticals. The credit rating for ventures, will be performed by the international rating agency D&B.

Social impact enterprises seeking to get a loan from LivinGift will have to show a double impact strategy: social or environmental impact, alongside a sustainable and profitable economic model and a fixed income.

In addition, LivinGift is open for applications to all forms of organizations from around the globe: non-profits, NGOs, for-profit companies, and cooperatives. Registration is open to social impact enterprises from all sectors: health, education, animal protection, social impact technologies, environment, and support for disadvantaged populations.

Shiry Eden, LivinGift founder, said in a statement, “We believe that significant social problems can only be solved over time by organizations that have a sustainable economic model. In the long-term, our objective is to support the formation of a strong, stable and profitable fourth sector, which can be a positive influence on a range of social problems throughout the world.”

JNi.Media

Despite Possible Diversion of Charitable Funds to Hamas, Guardian Writer Slams Israel.

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s eponymous blog}

If something bad happens to Jews or the Jewish state there are some, inexplicably, in British media or politics who cannot pass up the opportunity to use it against the former.

Ex-Liberal Democrat MP felt that the Jews hadn’t learned from the Holocaust. When an Egyptian judoka lost to his Israeli opponent in Rio and promptly refused to shake his hand The Economist used the opportunity to attack Israel as being an “apartheid” state.

Now, after the arrest of World Vision’s Gaza director Mohammad Halabi on allegations of diverting tens of millions of dollars to Hamas Dr Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, secretary general and CEO of CIVICAS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, uses the arrest as an opportunity to attack Israel’s new transparency law.

This new law obligates NGOs that receive more than 50% of their funding from foreign governments or organisations to report where the funding derives from. It doesn’t restrict their activities at all.

In an age of calls for more transparency this can hardly be classed as controversial especially when there are NGOs whose main objective for operating within the Jewish state is merely to destroy it.

But for Sriskandarajah it seems it is controversial. He sees the recent arrests of Halabi and Waheed al Borsh, a UN worker accused of diverting aid resources to help building a jetty for Hamas, as part “of systematic efforts by Israeli authorities to intimidate and undermine civil society”.

As you can see the link Sriskandarajah provides as evidence of such “systematic efforts” is to an article for Al Jazeera by arch anti-Zionist activist Ben White who once wrote “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are”.

One would think that Sriskandarajah would welcome the investigation into and possible long-term incarceration of anyone convicted of such a heinous crime as diverting funds away from mentally ill and physically disabled patients in Gaza to help the Hamas terror organisation build tunnels into Israel from which to murder innocent Jewish Israelis.

Instead, Sriskandarajah merely sees it as “yet another example of states cracking down on civic space.”

World Vision is one of the DEC charities. DEC advertised widely in the UK for aid for Gazans after Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas. Therefore, the British public has possibly been inadvertently duped out of their hard-earned money in to supporting a terror group instead.

However, The Guardian’s headline to Sriskandarajah’s article “Human rights activists are being portrayed as terrorists and foreign puppets” and using a photo of activists claiming Halabi is “a man of humanity” (see above) suggests total innocence on Halabi’s part.

It is, however, very noble of Sriskandarajah to state that “Israeli government has the right to hold to account any individual or organisation found guilty of corruption.” Halabi and al Borsh will have a chance to state their cases and employ lawyers to defend themselves against the allegations.

We await the outcome of these important criminal investigations, and any more that might arise, with interest and so should Sriskandarajah.

Richard Millett

Gazans Attack UN Building with Hamas Advance Notice

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Dozens of Gazans broke into a United Nations facility in Gaza on Wednesday and caused great damage to the building. The protesters jumped over the walls, smashed windows and burned tires. The Gazans were protesting the freeze in transfer of funds from the UN for rehabilitating their region. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry said in a statement that he was “outraged” by the incident.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization reportedly knew in advance about the “protest” and warned Tuesday the enclave was on the brink of chaos.

“The Special Coordinator is outraged by the assault on the UNSCO (United Nations Special Coordinator) compound in Gaza this morning,” Serry said in his statement Wednesday afternoon, Jan 28, 2015. “During a pre-announced demonstration, of which Hamas was well aware, a number of protestors climbed the perimeter wall and entered the compound causing damage to United Nations premises and property.

“Due to precautionary measures taken, United Nations personnel working in the compound were fortunately unharmed. The Special Coordinator notes with deep concern that, despite repeated assurances, the security forces in Gaza did not take the necessary and timely measures to protect UNSCO’s compound.

“Pending a full transfer of security responsibilities to the legitimate Palestinian Authority, we continue to hold Hamas fully responsible for the security and safety of all United Nations personnel and operations in Gaza. As this serious incident took place in the context of increasing incitement against the United Nations in Gaza, the Special Coordinator is conducting an urgent review of operations in Gaza.

“As reported to the Security Council, the situation in Gaza has become extremely volatile again and will continue to deteriorate unless a number of critical underlying issues are addressed with both determination and a heightened sense of urgency. We also continue to urge donors to support humanitarian operations and fulfill the commitments they have made in Cairo for the reconstruction of Gaza,” the statement said.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) had announced earlier in the week that it has nearly run out of funds to help in rebuilding Gaza due to a huge shortfall in pledged contributions from donor nations.

“Virtually none” of the record $5.4 billion pledged by the international community for the rehabilitation of post-war Gaza months ago has managed to reach grassroots people in the region, Gaza’s UNRWA director Robert Turner said. “This is distressing and unacceptable,” he added, without specifying which countries had defaulted on their pledges or precisely how much was outstanding.

Infrastructure in the enclave was significantly damaged during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge because Hamas and other allied terrorists attacked Israel while embedded within Gaza civilian neighborhoods, using the residents as human shields.

Only $135 million of the promised donations to the UNRWA cash assistance program for 96,000 refugee families made homeless by the war was received, Turner told media. The program is intended to pay for repairs of homes and rent subsidies as well as help rebuild homes that were destroyed in the war.

“While some funds remain available to begin reconstruction of totally destroyed homes,” he said, there is no more money left for repairs and rent subsidies.

In addition, hundreds of Hamas civil service workers have been rioting off and on for weeks as well. Few if any have been paid over the past six months. Nor has the terrorist group received any money from its partner in the Palestinian Authority unity government, the rival Fatah faction based in Ramallah, Samaria.

The Fatah-ruled PA government in Ramallah pays generous monthly salaries to convicted terrorists incarcerated in Israeli prisons, however, some of which are higher than salaries paid to its own government workers.

Jewish Press Staff

Israel-Gaza Cease Fire Talks Appear Deadlocked on Disarmament

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Cease fire talks in Cairo appear deadlocked on the issue of disarmament, according to sources close to the negotiations.

This is the same issue that created an inconclusive end to the Second Lebanon War with the Hezbollah terror organization in the summer of 2006. Despite an eventual resolution to the conflict, Hezbollah ultimately never disarmed, and has continued as a threat to Israel from the Lebanese side of the border.

“We are facing difficult negotiations,” Hamas spokesperson Moussa Abu Marzouk told the Palestinian Arab Ma’an news agency, based in Bethlehem, on Tuesday. “The first ‘pause’ passed without any significant achievements.

“This is the second and final cease fire,” he warned.

Israeli officials, meanwhile, predicted that another 72-hour cease fire would be needed to hammer out any type of real agreement with Hamas, according to a report broadcast on Voice of Israel public radio. That, in addition to the cease fire currently in place, due to end Wednesday at midnight.

The arsenal of Hamas rockets and missiles has yet to be de-fanged, and some 300,000 Israelis remain internally displaced due to the life-threatening situation in their residential areas as a result.

A second Palestinian Arab source in Cairo who is close to the talks told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday that it would take another 24 hours before anyone could say whether an agreement could be reached.

“So far we can’t say that any breakthroughs have been achieved,” he said. “Twenty-four hours and we shall see whether we have an agreement.”

The Palestinian Arab delegation is demanding that Israel open all border crossings, allow a seaport and an airport, extend Gaza’s coastal fishing rights to 22 kilometers, increase the number and variety of materials allowed into the region and permit funds to flow into Gaza, ostensibly to pay the salaries of Hamas officials.

Israel is insisting that Hamas and all allied terrorist entities disarm, and that the region be demilitarized.

The issue of the seaport and the airport, as well as the influx of funds and free flow of materials into the region, all impact on the issue of disarmament. Hamas and its allies have misused funds and materials flowing into the region for humanitarian and civil purposes to build terrorist tunnels and purchase and create weapons with which to attack Israel instead.

Hana Levi Julian

Impurity, Heresy, and Immorality

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Although purity and impurity figure as essential dimensions of Judaism and Jewish law, the truth is that without the Beis HaMikdash we have little connection to the world of tahor and tameh, the pure and impure.

We have ritual washing of hands and we have the mikveh, but essentially we all remain in a state of ritual impurity.

It seems we have found a substitute, though, focusing instead on ideological purity and impurity. In recent years especially, we have seen members of the Orthodox community seeking to identify and root out heresy – whether suspected, imagined, or genuine.

We have seen this in efforts to ban books and label people as standing outside the camp. There has been particular anxiety over the “left” boundary of Orthodoxy. (Interestingly, there has not been a similar worry over heresy on the “right” boundary, despite the fact that some of what passes for basic Yiddishkeit on that end of the spectrum seems contrary to what we find in sources from Pirkei Avos through the Rambam.)

We have seen a similar focus on what we might call genetic purity and impurity, observable in heightened suspicion of and hostility to potential converts and even to people years or decades after their conversion. We have heard increasing talk of the “Jewish neshamah,” as if it is some genetic or otherwise essential aspect of our souls that makes us different from (and, in some unclear sense, “better” than) non-Jews.

The alternative perspective is that the souls of Jews and non-Jews do not differ; rather, Jews have been chosen to bear a special responsibility in this world, to be a “light unto the nations.”

What is most striking, however, is not simply the current concern with ideological heresy and impurity but the increasing passion and panic with which it has been expressed. The language and actions are strong, such as concerted efforts to push rabbis out of the Rabbinical Council of America. And the freedom of the Internet has made the “exposure” of alleged heresy easier; one only has to browse some of the comment threads on Orthodox websites to see the vitriol and unkindness expressed, often anonymously, by so many.

What happens when we step back and take a broader view of the concerns and rhetoric in the Orthodox world? It seems the most excited and passionate voices, among both centrist and right-wing groups, target ideological heresy, as if that were the greatest threat. But might we not say that the greatest threat is ethical impurity?

Why have we not mobilized with a greater or at least similar zeal to root out wrongdoing, to push people out of the Orthodox camp for corruption and criminal activity, for extortion and misuse of funds, for verbal and physical intimidation and violence?

The cynical answer, perhaps, is that we do not see morality as a matter of purity and impurity; that someone who is born Jewish and maintains proper ritual practice but engages in corruption has no lack of purity, whereas someone who is absolutely upright in his or her relationships and business dealings but whose beliefs are on the edge is an impure heretic.

Is there nothing wrong with this picture? Why are crime and corruption not considered a sort of heresy in themselves, a kind of denial of the Torah and its precepts?

Let us consider the reasons for the destruction of the two Temples: the first for the three cardinal sins of murder, sexual immorality, and idol worship; the second for sinas chinam, baseless hatred. Are these matters of ritual purity and impurity? Not really. Maybe one could argue that sexual immorality falls, in part, into such a category. Are they matters of ideological purity and impurity? Well, for idol worship, yes. Are they matters of moral purity and impurity? With the possible exception of idol worship, certainly.

When the prophets railed against the people, did they do so because of incorrect beliefs or because of corruption and immorality?

We lost our Temples largely due to ethical failure. Not heresy, but immorality. And yet today, when we claim to mourn our ongoing exile and the loss of the Beis HaMikdash, how do we direct our passion, our anxiety, our anger?

Alan Krinsky

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/impurity-heresy-and-immorality/2013/08/22/

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