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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘government’

Destruction in Gush Etzion: It’s Only ‘Anatevka’

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

When the IDF soldiers and Border Police officers who destroyed the homes of seven families and a kindergarten in Gush Etzion take off their uniforms to lay down for the night, will they be able to sleep when they close their eyes? What images will they see?

Hundreds of security personnel were involved in today’s (Wednesday) in demolitions, making sure the small playground vanished where Ma’aleh Rehavam’s children once learned and played.

A like number of Arab workers – just pour a little salt on the wounds please — were present to shove their precious few belongings into big metal shipping containers. When it was over they were sent who knew where.

A few scattered pieces of shelving lay broken on the rocky ground, carelessly tossed in the rush to finish the job done before media could report the gory details. Pitiful bits of furniture left here and there gave testimony to the presence of seven families and their small children. They didn’t have much.

It was only Anatevka. Or some Bedouin clans. Frankly, in this day and age, they don’t look much different, do they?

If you live in Israel and travel the Negev or the hills of Judea and Samaria, or around the Galilee and the Golan Heights, you know the truth. You know that Jews who choose to help settle the Land – as Jews are commanded to do in the Bible – don’t do it because it is easy.

They do it out of a commitment to their People and their nation, and to their Creator. They bring their faith and sometimes their small children and whatever few things they manage to pull together for a home. And then they live in a caravan for a while. Eventually, if they’re lucky, the caravan becomes a “real” house – but usually it’s a hut with a corrugated tin roof. Just like those of the Bedouin in the Negev and up north.

We’re basically the same. We’re only different when it comes to how our government treats us.

Fear of the European Union, which generously funds the radical leftist Peace Now movement, has driven the government to discriminate against the settlers. Peace Now files hundreds of lawsuits that whip the courts and the government into expelling Jewish settlers from their homes. They don’t bother to do the same with Arab settlers.

According to Peace Now, Arabs own all the land outside of the 1949 Armistice line. Peace Now would never dare to harass the Palestinian Authority into “enforcing” any law – nor would it attempt to force the PA to formulate a law to control settlement or housing construction.

They are too busy harassing Jews. It’s also safer. Harassing Hamas or Fatah would earn a death sentence for anyone attempting to “enforce” anything and well does the European Union’s proxy agency know it. So they aim at those who are committed to holding the land won in 1967 in a war not even of Israel’s making. Land that was ours decades before, and millenia before, towns whose names were written eons ago in the Bible. They persuade Israel’s military – who rush with an agenda – to clear out the settlers. They figure it will eliminate the “facts on the ground” and create an atmosphere of “peace” with the Arabs.

The saddest and most destructive part of what happened today at Ma’aleh Rehavam, however, is the haste with which the entire demolition was carried out.

What on earth was that about?

Here is a copy of the Supreme Court restraining order, clearly stating that the IDF forces are not to take any steps that carry “irreversible outcomes.”

Government Plan to Hand King David’s Tomb to the Vatican?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Is there a deal in the works to hand the Tomb of King David over to the Vatican?

Rumors of such an agreement appear to have enough substance to have prompted Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) to write a query to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Hotovely reminded the prime minister of the importance of the tomb of the Biblical monarch, noting its sanctity to the Jewish nation. She warned Netanyahu not to make the same mistake with King David’s Tomb that previous administrations made with the Temple Mount – that is, handing sovereignty over the sacred site to a foreign power.

In the case of the Temple Mount, the Jordanian-linked Islamic Waqf Authority controls all matters over the site, even though it is located in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City and is the holiest place in the Jewish faith. Because the Waqf is in control, Jewish access to the Temple Mount is severely restricted – and Hotovely warned Netanyahu that handing the Tomb of King David to the Roman Catholic Vatican could create exactly the same situation for Jews there too.

There has not yet been any announced response to Hotovely’s letter.

Although an Israeli government source has denied any intention of transferring control over the site to the Vatican, other sources have said otherwise – including journalist Gulio Meotti, an editorial contributor to Arutz Sheva, who maintains there is truth to the rumors a deal is still in the works.

Egyptian Government Resigns

Monday, February 24th, 2014

In what is apparently a surprise move, the army-backed Egyptian government just resigned, following a 15 minute cabinet meeting.

According to the Egyptian Al-Ahram website:

Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi announced his cabinet’s resignation Monday on state TV. Interim President Adly Mansour is expected to accept the resignation and commission Ibrahim Mahleb, minister of housing in Beblawi’s government, to form the new cabinet.

There is no information yet as to why they resigned, or what the ramifications are.

Earn an MA in Homeland Security, Counter-Terrorism, Diplomacy and Government

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Besides swiftly becoming one of Israel’s leading academic institutions, the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzliya has also become a beacon thanks to the iconic annual Herzliya Conference – organized by the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS), and the IDC’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) – a joint forum that organizes seminars, workshops and forums for policy makers from all over the world. Alongside its program in Political Psychology and Decision Making (POPDM) and the workshop series on “Improving Public Policy in Israel” – these represent the core within the IDC’s prestigious MA Program in Government. This is where the next generation of Israeli and global leaders, scholars and educators are being educated.

Students at the program study with leading lecturers in the field and gain an all-encompassing introduction to the State of Israel. Theofani Tzakiri from Greece is a Merit Scholarship student. In addition to learning key theories, models, and concepts in government, she receives the analytical and practical tools needed to conduct policy-relevant research and deal with policy dilemmas, challenges and problems. “Studying at IDC is a lifetime experience,” she says. “The cultural and social student mix creates a beautiful and fascinating background that needs to be experienced; and the warm and welcoming environment provides a home where I can study and work peacefully to acquire the knowledge and skills I need to focus on issues of international concern.”

Many of IDC’s graduates have found positions at the UN, in Israeli government offices, international security consultancies and NGOs, or have continued to prestigious PhD programs abroad. Students network with leaders, policymakers and colleagues from dozens of countries around the world. They meet with heads of state, foreign ministers, negotiators, journalists, and others. And they even go on field trips to peace-keeping forces in the region (UNDOF, UNIFIL), and visit NATO headquarters in Brussels. The IDC’s prize-winning debate club, college-associated public advocacy groups and the development of entrepreneurial skills are amongst the many extracurricular activities that nurture leadership.

Eric Schorr

Eric Schorr


Eric Schorr was a member of the 2013 IDC Hult Prize team that participated in the Semi-Final Competition in London; he is currently working at the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response in Jerusalem. “I’ve been passionate about counter-terrorism for most of my adult life,” he says. What I loved most at IDC was how the professors, research, and projects we did highlighted aspects of the subject I had never thought about before. It’s a truly unique program in terms of graduate studies.”

When IDC’s founders established Israel’s first private university, their goal was to create an institution where personal achievement is fostered alongside social responsibility, and where academics are studied alongside practical, hands-on training and experience. Thus, IDC’s involvement with the community, as well as its interaction with the myriad of enterprises located in the nearby Herzliya Industrial zone have become a model now emulated in many other institutions.

Ayal Feinberg

Ayal Feinberg


Diplomacy MA student, Ayal Feinberg – a Trinity College graduate, believes that “the single greatest feature of IDC-Herzliya is its people. The classroom environment, created by a combination of remarkable faculty and eager students, allows for unparalleled intellectual growth. Whether pursuing a degree with the goal of becoming a practitioner or continuing on to academia, you will leave IDC with all the tools necessary to be a success.”

For more information, visit the IDC-Herzliya website.

 

 

Israel: the Impudence Accompanying Betrayal

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

I’ve always been amazed that anyone thought the United States would ever act against the Iranian nuclear threat. There was never any chance that such a thing would happen. The United States would never go to war with tens of millions of people.

Moreover, there was never any chance the United States would let Israel “attack” Iran.

In a Huffington Post article by Steven Strauss, the author quotes Netanyahu:

“‘I believe that we can now say that Israel has reached childhood’s end, that it has matured enough to begin approaching a state of self-reliance… We are going to achieve economic independence [from the United States].’ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a Joint Session of the United States Congress – Washington D.C., July 10, 1996 (Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs).”

Unfortunately, today, almost 20 years later, this is not a fair statement to quote. Strauss continues: “In 1997, Israel received $3.1 billion in aid from the U.S. In 2012, Israel was still receiving $3.1 billion annually in U.S. aid.”

This, however, is not an appropriate comparison today. Let us look at the current situation: Egypt will receive $2 billion in U.S. aid; Saudi Arabia will receive military aid as well as the anti-Asad Syrian rebels; Turkey will receive billions of dollars and probably military equipment. Moreover, the United States and Europe will also reach out to Iran, and Hizballah and Syria will receive aid from Iran. In addition, the Palestinians have not made the least bit of commitment on a two-state solution. In other words, only Israel would lose. And this is the childhood’s end?

Strauss further notes, “Israel has become an affluent and developed country that can afford to pay for its own defense.” But the point is that other hostile countries will be receiving more while Israel will get the same amount.

He continues, “… Israel has a well developed economy in other ways.” But again, Israel will be placed at much more of a disadvantage.

The article’s claim, “Other countries/programs could better use this aid money,” does not state the reality.

“Even domestically, the aid that goes to Israel could be useful. Detroit is bankrupt, and our Congress is cutting back on food stamps, and making other painful budget cuts.” Again, the United States does not face an immediate threat from its neighbors, while Israel does. Moreover, this is shockingly implying that Israel is stealing money from poor people in the United States.

In other words, this is not equivalent.

“Israel and the United States have increasingly different visions about the future of the Middle East.” But again, so what? This is absolutely irrelevant.

“A major (bipartisan) goal of the United States has been the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Once again, this is a policy that is impossible, but the United States is going to try to force it on Israel anyway.

Note that the less security the United States and the West provide to Israel, the more difficult it makes it to secure or promote a desirable two-state solution. Strauss adds, “However, the current Israeli government is clearly not committed to the U.S. vision, and has done everything possible to sabotage American efforts.”

The problem with this last point is that the Palestinians have always tried to sabotage this. If this concept hasn’t gotten across in a quarter century, I can’t imagine when it will get across.

The current Israeli government has tried for many years to achieve a two-state solution and has made many concessions. And if Kerry can’t take Israel’s side on this issue, then I can’t imagine how decades of U.S. policy has been carried out. To say that the Israeli government is not committed is a fully hostile statement.

This claims Israeli settlement and not Palestinian intransigence has blocked the peace process.

Note that the author of this article has “distinguished” credentials: “Steven Strauss is an adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.”

Yet if this is what the U.S. government understands, it will end badly. Moreover, the issue of Iran and nuclear weapons is not the important point; rather, it is the transformation of the U.S. Middle East position that is significant. I do not believe there is any chance Iran will use nuclear weapons. The problem is that this is reversal of the U.S. policy. In other words, it is like going back to 1948 and opposing partition.

Finally, what this is all about is money and greed. Many European countries are drooling about the money to be made. For example, Vittorio Da Rold writes (Il Sole 24 ore), “Italian SMEs are hoping for a rapid agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue in order to return as soon as possible to trade without limits with Tehran and the rich Iranian market in hopes of finding new markets in a time when the European market flirts with deflation.”

I’m a Feminist and the Women of the Wall Don’t Represent Me

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Ha’aretz reported that a group of activists from the Women of the Wall organization are opposed to an Israeli governmental proposal to permit Reform Jewish congregants to have their own area to pray, independent from where both Orthodox Jewish men and women pray. In other words, these activists rejected a compromise proposal that designates an area of the Kotel where they are permitted to pray as they desire, in order to insist that Orthodox Jewish men and women be forced to conduct their prayers surrounded by individuals who don’t respect their religious customs.

As a modern orthodox Jewish feminist, I am outraged by the behavior of these activists, who dirt the name of feminism by their actions. Just as Reform Jews feel that they should have the right to pray as they are used to at one of the holiest sites in the Jewish religion, Orthodox Jews feel the exact same way. Furthermore, while Reform Jews are religiously permitted to pray in accordance with the Orthodox tradition, Orthodox Jews aren’t permitted to pray in a Reform manner, since their prayer services must follow a certain format according to Jewish law.

Even though nothing bars a Reform Jew from praying at the Kotel in an Orthodox manner, the Israeli government was respectful enough to offer Reform Jews their own location at one of the holiest sites in Judaism in order to pray as they please, without disturbing others. But instead of jumping on the opportunity and saying thank you to the Israeli government, activists from the Women of the Wall organization aren’t content. Why? Because the compromise proposal permits Orthodox Jews to continue praying as they have for thousands of years and this bothers them. While they demand religious toleration from others, they refuse to give others the same favor in return.

While Women of the Wall claims that it is not egalitarian to pray in an Orthodox manner, I would like to remind them that Jews have been praying for thousands of years a certain way and changing the religion is not in the hands of men. We cannot decide in the place of G-d what is Jewish law, based upon modern trends. Even if we don’t understand everything in Judaism, G-d always makes things a certain way for a reason and humans should never question G-d.

Nevertheless, Judaism remains to be one of the most egalitarian religions today, as women are believed to be at a spiritually higher level than men and countless Jewish women have held prominent positions both in the Tanakh and throughout Jewish history. Moses granted Jewish women the right to inherit at a time when women having such rights were unheard of. Even if one doesn’t desire to obey Jewish law due to ones own Reform belief system, the bare minimum that one should be able to do is to respect others that wish to and to do as one likes in a location that won’t disturb others.

I also would like to point out to these individuals that there are many more pressing issues facing feminists today than whether or not Jewish women will be able to wear a Tallit like the men and host a so-called “egalitarian” prayer service at the Kotel. I call upon any one who believes that having “egalitarian” prayer services at the Kotel is the most pressing issue facing women today to take a look at the world that we live in.

Women are getting raped en masse in Syria, either by government forces or by Islamist rebels as part of their sexual jihad. Around 50 percent of Yemen’s brides are under the age of 18. The UN stated that over 5,000 women are murdered each year in honor crimes. 2,500 brides in India are burnt to death each year, primarily due to dissatisfaction over the dowry. One young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, was almost murdered by the Pakistani Taliban for insisting on young girls in her country having the right to have an education. Around 125,000,000 girls in Africa and the Middle East are victims of female genital mutilation.

Closer to home, hundreds of young underage Jewish girls are seduced by Arab men each year. Many of these cases evolve into abduction, rape, and abusive marriages. This problem is especially acute in Southern Israel, where sexual harassment by Bedouin men is a major issue. Furthermore, according to the OECD statistics, the Israeli police recorded 17.5 cases of rape within the country per 100,000 people within the Israeli population in 2012. There were only 9 OECD members who had worst statistics than these in regards to rape, one of them naturally being the United States. Recently, Jerusalem Online News reported that only two female mayors were elected to serve in the 2013 municipal elections. This means that out of all of the Israeli municipalities, there are only 4 female mayors in the entire country.

Britain: ‘A World Capital for Islamic Finance’

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

The London Stock Exchange will be launching a new Islamic bond index in an effort to establish the City of London as one of the world’s leading centers of Islamic finance.

Britain also plans to become the first non-Muslim country to issue sovereign Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, beginning as early as 2014.

The plans are all part of the British government’s strategy to acquire as big a slice as possible of the fast-growing global market of Islamic finance, which operates according to Islamic Sharia law and is growing 50% faster than the conventional banking sector.

Although it is still a fraction of the global investment market — Sharia-compliant assets are estimated to make up only around 1% of the world’s financial assets — Islamic finance is expected to be worth £1.3 trillion (€1.5 trillion; $2 trillion) by 2014, a 150% increase from its value in 2006, according to the World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, published in May 2013 by the consultancy Ernst & Young.

But critics say that Britain’s ambitions to attract investments from Muslim countries, companies and individuals are spurring the gradual establishment of a parallel global financial system based on Islamic Sharia law.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the plans during a keynote speech at the ninth World Islamic Economic Forum, which was held in London from October 29-31, the first time the event has ever been held outside the Muslim world.

“Already London is the biggest center for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world,” Cameron told the audience of more than 1,800 international political and business leaders from over 115 countries.

“And today our ambition is to go further still. Because I don’t just want London to be a great capital of Islamic finance in the Western world, I want London to stand alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world.”

Cameron said the new Islamic bond index on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) would help stimulate fixed-income investments from Muslim investors — especially investors from oil-rich Persian Gulf countries — by helping them identify which listed companies adhere to Islamic principles.

Investors who practice Islamic finance — which is said to be structured to conform to a strict code of ethics based on the Koran and Sharia law — refuse to invest in companies that are linked to alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons or pork. Islamic finance also forbids collecting or paying interest and requires that deals be based on tangible assets.

Unlike conventional bonds, sukuk are described as investments rather than loans, with the initial payment made from an Islamic investor in the form of a tangible asset such as land. The lender of a sukuk earns money as profit from rent, as in real estate, rather than traditional interest.

Cameron says the British Treasury will issue £200 million (€235 million; $320 million) worth of sukuk as early as 2014. The objective is to enable the government to borrow from Muslim investors. The Treasury plans to issue fixed returns based on the profit made by a given asset, thereby allowing Muslims to invest without breaking Islamic laws forbidding interest-bearing bonds.

The Treasury also said some sukuk bond issues may require the British government to restrict its dealings with Israeli-owned companies in order to attract Muslim money.

Although Britain has already established itself as the leading secondary market for sukuk — the LSE has listed 49 sukuk bonds worth $34 billion during the past five years — such bonds have rarely been issued from local firms and never from the government.

“For years people have been talking about creating an Islamic bond, or sukuk, outside the Islamic world. But it’s never quite happened,” Cameron said. “Changing that is a question of pragmatism and political will. And here in Britain we’ve got both.”

According to Cameron, this “pragmatism and political will” is being influenced by the fact that Islamic finance is “already fundamental” to the success of the British economy. Indeed, it is.

Britain is already the leading Western center for Islamic financial and related professional services. It is a leading provider of Sharia-compliant finance, with reported assets of $19 billion, according to Islamic Finance 2013, a new report published by The City UK, a financial sector lobby group.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/britain-a-world-capital-for-islamic-finance/2013/10/31/

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