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September 1, 2016 / 28 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish.’

Burkini Bans and Jewish Democracy

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

{Originally posted to the Commentary Magazine website}

The ban on wearing burkinis at the beach, which was recently enacted by some 30 French municipalities and even won support from French Prime Minister Manual Valls, was rightly deemed an unconstitutional infringement on several fundamental liberties by France’s highest court this weekend. Yet the French controversy highlights something about Israel that is too often overlooked: the degree to which being a Jewish state, far from undermining Israel’s democracy, actually reinforces it.

The burkini ban was enacted in explicit reaction to Islamist terror attacks in France and the concerns they have raised about the integration of the country’s Muslim minority. As Christian Estrosi, the deputy mayor of Nice, told the New York Times, these full-body swimsuits, worn mainly by religious Muslims, constitute “unacceptable provocations in the very particular context that our city is familiar with,” referring to a July 14 terror attack that killed 86 people.

Yet Israel has suffered far worse Islamist terror and over a far longer period of time. Terror attacks in France have killed 234 people over the last 18 months, according to one British newspaper’s tally. That is just over half the 452 Israelis killed by terror during the single worst year of the second intifada (2002). And since France’s population is 7.6 times the size of Israel’s, that means that as a proportion of the population, Israel’s losses during that one year–without even mentioning all its losses to terrorism in other years–were almost 15 times as large as France’s have been over the past 18 months.

Moreover, as a proportion of the total population, Israel’s Muslim community is much larger than that of France. Muslims comprise an estimated 7.5 percent of France’s population, but almost 20 percent of Israel’s population–and that’s counting only Israeli citizens and legal residents, i.e. the Muslims who would still be there even if Israel quit the West Bank tomorrow.

Finally, though Israel’s Muslim population has largely shunned terror, its leadership is actually far more radical than France’s Muslim leadership seems to be. Israeli Arab Knesset members openly back anti-Israel terror organizations, actively incite to anti-Israel terror, and tirelessly libel Israel overseas. The head of one of the country’s largest nongovernmental Muslim groups–Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, which has tens of thousands of supporters–routinely spews anti-Semitic blood libels such as accusing Jews of baking matzo with Christian blood. And all that is without even mentioning the Palestinian leadership in the territories, where both the main political parties, Fatah and Hamas, routinely deem killing Israelis to be their main accomplishment.

In other words, if any country were going to lash out in response to Islamist terror by restricting Muslims’ freedom to observe their religion in public, one would expect it to be Israel, not France. But in Israel, no one has ever even suggested banning burkinis. Nor has anyone ever suggested forbidding civil students or schoolgirls to wear headscarves, as stipulated by other French laws that the courts have upheld. Nor has anyone ever suggested barring mosques from building minarets–a law approved by popular referendum in Switzerland, even though that country has so far no had no Islamic terror problem at all.

Clearly, Israel’s religious tolerance can’t be attributed solely to its democratic norms. After all, France and Switzerland have impeccable democratic credentials, but that hasn’t stopped either from passing anti-Muslim laws. Nor is it because Israeli Arabs are a powerful enough minority to prevent such legislation: Arab Knesset members’ anti-Israel positions make them unacceptable as coalition partners in any government, and they would actually have no power to block anything the coalition majority wanted to pass. And it certainly isn’t because Israelis are saints who remain serenely forgiving of Arab terror and anti-Israel incitement; there’s plenty of anti-Arab sentiment in Israel.

Rather, the main reason why Israel never has and never would consider legislation like France’s bans on burkinis and headscarves is precisely because it is a Jewish state. In other words, it was created to take Jewish interests into account, and those interests include the freedom to observe traditional Jewish praxis. But the moment a democratic country starts making allowances for one religion’s traditions, those allowances inevitably spill over to other religions as well.

For instance, Israel could never ban headscarves in the civil service, because religious Jewish women also wear head coverings. It could never ban modest swimwear because religious Jews also insist on modest clothing. It could never ban minarets because the analogy to banning synagogues would be all too apparent. In contrast, France and Switzerland can do all those things, because they have no interest in accommodating any religion in the public square.

In short, Israel’s identity as both a Jewish and a democratic state is the main reason why Islamist terror has never prompted the kind of anti-Muslim legislation that it has in secular democratic France. So the next time someone tells you Israel’s Jewish identity is inherently at odds with its democratic identity, remember the burkini. And remember that sometimes, Israel’s Jewish identity is precisely what protects its democratic one.

Evelyn Gordon

UN Mid-East Peace Envoy Pins Jewish Homes as Source of Strife

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council in his regular briefing Monday that recommendations offered by the so-called Middle East Quartet, comprising the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, on the way forward in the peace process have been ignored by Israel, pointing to a surge in Israeli settlement-related announcements and continuing demolitions of illegal Arab construction in Area C, which is under full israeli control. The Quartet’s recommendations include an end to Israel’s settlement policy and a halt to the PA’s incitement to violence.

Mladenov reported that a major threat to peace is the fact that since the beginning of July Israel has advanced plans for more than 1,000 housing units in eastern Jerusalem, which has been part of Israel proper for almost 50 years. He pointed to promised new apartments in Pisgat Ze’ev, Ramot, Har Homa, and Gilo, as well as to 735 units in Ma’ale Adumim and other Judea and Samaria communities as the culprits.

Mladenov also noted that Israel has published tenders, some new, for 323 units in eastern Jerusalem and reissued tenders for 42 units in Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, for which it also allocated more than $13 million in new funding.

The envoy had nothing to report on efforts to reduce anti-Semitic PA and Hamas incitement, so all must be well on that front. He did report violent incidents over the past month that included the extrajudicial execution by the Palestinian Security Forces of a man in custody; the firing of two rockets from Gaza, to which Israel responded by directing some 60 missiles and shells at 30 suspected military installations in Gaza; and the killing by the Israeli Security Forces of an Arab man who was reportedly under psychiatric care.

Turning to Gaza, Mladenov said that while progress has been made on reconstructing the physical damage since the ceasefire agreement two years ago, repairing the psychological damage of the conflict is “miles away” from being over. “We need a radical overhaul of how we deal with the problems of Gaza,” he said. He failed to mention the arrests and indictments by Israel of an international charity administrator and a UNDP employee, both of whom confessed to directing millions of dollars in international funds to the terrorist activities of Hamas — which may have had something to do with the fact that all those ruined buildings are yet to be rebuilt.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released a statement in response to the envoy’s report, saying, “The UN envoy to the Middle East’s remarks to the Security Council distort history and international law and push peace farther away. Jews have been in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria for thousands of years and their presence there is not an obstacle to peace. The obstacle to peace is the unending attempt to deny the Jewish People’s connection to parts of their historic land and the obdurate refusal to recognize that they are not foreigners there. The claim that Jewish construction in Jerusalem is illegal is as absurd as the claim that American construction in Washington or French construction in Paris is illegal. The Palestinian demand that a future Palestinian state be ethnically cleansed of Jews is outrageous and the UN must condemn it instead of adopting it.”

JNi.Media

Helping Jewish Children Of Incarcerated Parents Have A Summer Camp Experience

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Having a loved one in prison is a transformative and painful journey for an entire family. Spouses, children, parents, and siblings are affected by the experience. Often there is sorrow and shame, anger and depression. Children are especially impacted. They want their dad (or mom) to come home. They feel deserted and afraid. Wives (or husbands) also suffer. They are alone with all responsibilities and often have less money coming in to cover expenses.

It was already June and Anna Katz, the mother of three from northern California, didn’t know how she would keep her kids busy all summer. After her husband made a bad business decision that landed him in prison in February 2014, life as she knew it came to an abrupt end. With her meager income, and no longer able to rely on a steady paycheck from her husband, Katz could barely afford the basics. Paying for summer camp for her children seemed out of the question.

“I was worried about my daughter,” she said. “It’s so easy for kids to make the wrong choices and take a darker path. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to afford camp.”

The Aleph Institute stepped in. A nonprofit based in Florida, with additional offices in New York and Los Angeles, Aleph works to serve the needs of Jewish prisoners and their families throughout the U.S. prison system.

In 2011, Aleph launched the Summer Camp Placement and Scholarship Initiative, since renamed “The Aleph Institute Jonathan Stampler Camp Fund.” The endowment enables hundreds of children with parents in correctional facilities to attend Jewish summer camp by arranging all the logistics from beginning to end, while offering generous subsidies and scholarships to make camp a reality.

Aleph’s family services director Rabbi Shua Brook had been in touch with the family since shortly after the husband’s incarceration. The worried mother said, “The rabbis at Aleph were and still are my human angels here on earth. They became my extended family, helping in every detail of our life.”

Realizing the children had no summer plans and had never attended a Jewish camp, Rabbi Brook offered a full camp scholarship for all three kids, and found donors willing to cover the cost. The 13- and 11-year-old boys flew to overnight camps in the northeast while the youngest stayed in a local Jewish day camp. This summer, all three children have returned to those overnight camps and are having a blast.

Although Aleph helps hundreds of families with their urgent necessities – covering costs of housing, food, utility bills, etc. – and advocates for a long term solution of the family’s financial and emotional needs, Brook feels that certain “luxury” items, like camp can have an incredible impact on a child’s life.

“The benefits of camp are many,” he says. “First, it provides the parent at home going through the torture of having a spouse in prison a much needed respite. Also, it creates a fun and meaningful experience for the kids, in which they can make new friends and explore essential Jewish values. It helps the entire family have a positive Jewish experience and become more involved with their local Jewish community.”

This summer alone, Aleph sent 96 children to Jewish camps across the country. Forty-One children are attending overnight camps such as CTeen Heritage Quest, CTeen Xtreme, Camp L’man Achai, and CGI Poconos among others.

To reach out to Aleph for someone in need or to donate, e-mail family@aleph-institute.org.

The Aleph Institute, founded in 1981 at the direction of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and headed by Rabbis Sholom and Aaron Lipskar, provides crucial financial, emotional, and spiritual assistance to thousands of shattered families – helping them persevere through extraordinary crises – while providing support for their loved ones in prison and mental institutions. Aleph’s benevolent mandate also encompasses spiritual assistance to thousands of soldiers in the United States Armed Forces across the globe.

Shelley Benveniste

Jewish Settlements are Legal

Monday, August 29th, 2016

The misperceptions, misrepresentations, and ignorance surrounding the general attitude toward the legal status of Jewish settlements in the disputed area of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), reflects the general attitude toward the unique phenomenon of the reconstruction of the Jewish national home in the Land of Israel.

“Fidelity to law is the essence of peace” opined Prof. Eugene Rostow, a former Dean of Yale University Law School, Undersecretary of State and a co-author of the November 22, 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242.

Rostow resolved that under international law: “Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa.”
Prof. Rostow determined that according to Resolution 242, which he co-authored: “Israel is required to withdraw ‘from territories’, not ‘the’ territories, nor from ‘all’ the territories, but ‘some’ of the territories, which included the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights.” 

Moreover, “resolutions calling for withdrawal from ‘all’ the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly…. Israel was not to be forced back to the ‘fragile and vulnerable’ [9-15 mile-wide] lines… but to ‘secure and recognized’ boundaries, agreed to by the parties…. In making peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai… [which amounts to] more than 90% of the territories occupied in 1967….”

Former President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, stated:

“[The 1967] Israeli conquest of territory was defensive rather than aggressive… [as] indicated by Egypt’s prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat, and the amassing of [Egyptian] troops in Sinai, coupled with its ejection of the UN Emergency Force…[and] Jordan’s initiated hostilities against Israel…. The 1948 Arab invasion of the nascent State of Israel further demonstrated that Egypt’s seizure of the Gaza Strip, and Jordan’s seizure and subsequent annexation of the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem, were unlawful…. Between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967 ]according to Article 52 of the UN Charter[, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has better title in the territory of what was [British Mandate] Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem…. It follows that modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those States within former Palestinian territory are lawful….”

The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following authoritative, binding, internationally-ratified treaties, which recognized that the area has been the cradle of Jewish history, culture, aspirations and religion:

(I) The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, issued by Britain, called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people….”

(II) The April 24, 1920 resolution, adopted by the post-First World War San Remo Peace Conference of the Allied Powers Supreme Council, incorporated the Balfour Declaration, entrusting both sides of the Jordan River to the Mandate for Palestine: “the Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the [Balfour] declaration… in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” It was one of over 20 Mandates (trusteeships) established following WW1, responsible for most boundaries in the Middle East.

(III) The Mandate for Palestine, ratified on July 24, 1922 by the Council of the League of Nations entrusted Britain to establish a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River, as demonstrated by article 6: “[to] encourage… close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands….” The Mandate is dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights.

(IV) The October 24, 1945 Article 80 of the UN Charter incorporated the Mandate for Palestine into the UN Charter.  Accordingly, the UN or any other entity cannot transfer Jewish rights in Palestine, including immigration and settlement, to any other party.

The November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly Partition Resolution 181 was a non-binding recommendation – as are all General Assembly resolutions – superseded by the binding Mandate for Palestine. The 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbors delineated the pre-1967 ceasefire – non-ratified – boundaries.

According to Article 80 of the UN Charter, and the Mandate for Palestine, the 1967 war of self-defense returned Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria to its legal owner, the Jewish state.  Legally and geo-strategically the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply to Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, since the area is not “foreign territory,” and Jordan did not have a legitimate title over the area in 1967. Also, the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply in view of the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty.

While the 1949 4th Geneva Convention prohibits the forced transfer of populations to areas previously occupied by a legitimate sovereign power, Israel has not forced Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, and Jordan was not recognized, internationally, as its legitimate sovereign power.

Furthermore, the 1993 Oslo Accord and the 1995 Israel-Palestinian Authority Interim Agreement do not prohibit Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, stipulating that the issue will be negotiated during the permanent status negotiations, enabling each party to plan, zone and build in areas under its control. If Israeli construction prejudges negotiation, then Arab construction – which is dramatically larger – dramatically prejudges negotiation.

Finally, the term “Palestine” was a Roman attempt – following the 135 CE Jewish rebellion – to eradicate Jews and Judaism from human memory. It substituted “Israel, Judea and Samaria” with “Palaestina,” a derivative of the Philistines, an arch enemy of the Jewish people, whose origin was not in Arabia, but the Greek Aegian islands.

The campaign against legal Jewish settlements in the disputed – rather than occupied – area of Judea and Samaria is based on gross misrepresentations, fueling infidelity to law, which undermines the pursuit of peace.

{Yoram will be in the US in September and November, available for speaking engagements}

Yoram Ettinger

Catholic Bishop Calls Destruction of 17 Belfast Jewish Graves ‘Shameful’

Monday, August 29th, 2016

A gang of youths used hammers and blocks in an attack on the walled-off Jewish section of a cemetery in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Friday, local media reported. Seventeen Jewish graves were destroyed and vandalized in the organized attack inside the cemetery. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is investigating the incident as a hate crime. Some of the graves date back to the 1870s.

Bishop Noel Treanor, head of the Irish diocese of Down and Connor, said that “these shameful acts are a blemish on our society.”

“What a tragedy and blemish then that the long-present, beloved and treasured Jewish families of our community should suffer yet again such actions of disrespect, violence to the memory of their beloved dead and the regrettable outworking of a latent xenophobia that stalks the minds of some,” Bishop Treanor said.

The Most Reverend Noel Treanor Bishop of Down and Connor / Photo credit: Youtube Screenshot

The Most Reverend Noel Treanor Bishop of Down and Connor / Photo credit: Youtube Screenshot

Inspector Norman Haslett of the PSNI said the attack was “a particularly sickening incident, which we are treating as a hate crime,” stressing that “to disturb the sanctity of a cemetery in this way is completely unacceptable and I can assure the public that we will conduct a robust investigation.”

Speaking at St Peter’s Cathedral in Belfast, the Bishop said: “As a society, as neighborhoods and communities, we must honestly consider if we harbor attitudes that are negative to those whom we too easily classify as ‘foreigner,’ rather than see them as sisters and brothers in Christ and in humanity.”

Well, that was a little embarrassing. But he meant well.

“As a society, we need to build co-operation between our homes and schools to ensure that our children are educated in heart and attitude, in mind and action, to respect every person without exception,” Bishop Treanor continued, suggesting that “as we build here in Northern Ireland a society fit and able to accommodate the contemporary reality of the mobility of peoples, willing to cherish the multi-cultural and multi-faith mosaic that is every contemporary society generally and in its most local communities and neighborhoods, there can be no compromise on these imperatives to build minds and hearts that are open to, respectful of and treasure diversity.”

JNi.Media

Samaria Jewish Resident Arrested by Shabak

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

A Jewish man, 18, resident of Givat Ronen in Samaria, was arrested before dawn at his home by Shabak forces, Honenu legal aid society reported. The agents searched the man’s home and took him to a Shabak interrogation facility.

The agents presented a court order preventing the detainee from seeing his attorney, Adi Keidar from Honenu. The charges against the detainee are not yet clear. He will likely see a judge in Petakh Tikvah Magistrate Court.

David Israel

Philly Jewish Woman Painting Flowers Over Swastikas

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

Esther Cohen-Eskin, a Jewish resident of suburban Philadelphia, a week ago, August 19 at 9:39 AM filed this on her Facebook page:

“I walked outside this morning to take out the trash, and on my can someone spray painted a swastika. We have lived here for almost 20 years. I have happily raised my kids and celebrated the openness and safety of this town. I am so saddened by this occurrence. The fact that someone, in 2016, can actually have that kind of hatred and target it at me and my family makes me angry and sad for the ignorant, absurdly uninformed, uneducated asshole that felt it necessary to express his/her thoughts in this way.

“If anyone reading this has any information on who may have done this, or any other similar experiences in the area, please let me know. It’s time to put up cameras. Today.”

But on August 19 at 4:03 PM, Cohen-Eskin wrote this:

“Early this morning or late last night someone targeted me and my family by painting a swastika on our trash can. I was mad, scared and angry, and then our fellow neighbor and one of my dearest friends said, ‘Nothing conquers hate more than love.’ So I am asking you, in this neighborhood, (and beyond if you want to share), paint something positive on your trashcan! We can, in our little way, turn this symbol of hate into something beautiful. A flower, a peace sign, an animal, a doodle… anything your imagination can come up with. The only criteria is to start with this negative symbol, the swastika, and make it positive. Tag me in the photo or PM me after you create your masterpiece. I think when we all put our positivity forward it will make the fear and anger from this action transform into something that will be beautiful.

“Thanks in advance!”

Then she went ahead and painted a big, beautiful flower on her garbage can’s swastika.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/philly-jewish-woman-painting-flowers-on-swastikas/2016/08/27/

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