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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘July’

The Levy Report: Reinvigorating the Discussion of Israel’s Rights in the West Bank

Friday, July 27th, 2012

First published at: BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 176, July 31, 2012

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was presented with the report of the Commission to Examine the Status of Building in Judea and Samaria, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy (the “Levy report”). The report has drawn a flurry of overwrought criticism due to its inclusion of a section concerning the lawfulness of Israeli settlement activity.

In contrast with the misinformed and sometimes outright disingenuous criticism, the report’s discussion of the lawfulness of settlements is surprisingly modest in substance. The report does little more than endorse the traditional official Israeli position that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply de jure to the West Bank, and in any event does not bar Israeli settlements. While the report’s analysis is far from comprehensive, it is more detailed and more persuasive than that usually offered by anti-settlement activists.

The Levy report adduces one of two fairly compelling reasons for concluding that the laws of belligerent occupation do not apply de jure to Israel’s presence in the West Bank. One of the sine quibus non of belligerent occupation, as reaffirmed recently in an expert conference organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross, is that the occupation take place on foreign territory. While recent years have seen some debate on the meaning of foreign territory, considerable state practice supports the traditional view that captured territory is “foreign” only when another state has sovereignty. The Levy Commission is on solid ground in observing that neither Jordan nor any other foreign state had territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in 1967 and that the territory cannot therefore be “foreign” for purposes of the law of belligerent occupation. Indeed, had the Levy Commission chosen to so argue, it could have argued cogently that Israel itself was already the lawful sovereign over the West Bank in 1967.

Unmentioned by the report, Israel’s peace agreement with Jordan constitutes a second reason for questioning the de jure application of the laws of belligerent occupation to the West Bank. As Yoram Dinstein wrote some time ago, the rules of belligerent occupation cannot be applied to Israel’s presence in the West Bank “in light of the combined effect of … the Jordanian-Israeli Treaty of Peace of 1994 and the series of agreements with the Palestinians. There is simply no room for belligerent occupation in the absence of belligerence, namely, war.” While Dinstein qualified his observation by holding several idiosyncratic views regarding the definition of occupation and the status of the Palestinians, as well as by joining a small group of legal scholars who believe in a “post-belligerent occupation” that shares many of the rules of belligerent occupation, the majority position is still clearly that the rules of belligerent occupation do not apply to an agreed-upon peacetime presence.

On settlements, the Levy report likewise adduces several strong arguments to the effect that even if the laws of belligerent occupation applied to Israel’s presence in the West Bank, the Fourth Geneva Convention poses no bar to the kinds of actions that are subsumed under the term “settlement activities.”

The Fourth Geneva Convention forbids “transfers” and “deportations” by the occupying state of parts of its population into occupied territory, but not “settlements.” Officials of the state of Israel have provided services to settlers and sometimes encouraged them, but the state of Israel has not transferred any Israeli to the West Bank against his or her will. In fact, as even anti-settlement activists like Talia Sasson acknowledge, “there was never a considered, ordered decision by the state of Israel, by any Israeli government” on settlements. While some governments of Israel have favored the physical expansion of settlements or the increase of their population, settlement growth has been driven by the preferences of private citizens not by official Israeli population transfers. There is no precedent for any other state being adjudged to have violated the Fourth Geneva Convention simply on the basis of permitting or facilitating private preferences in the way Israel has done. Indeed, this is the reason that the Arab states sought to redefine the bar on “transfers” in international law by including a crime of “indirect” transfers in the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court. However, Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute and it is therefore not bound by the alternative, more restrictive standard.

We’ve Learned Nothing in 2000 Years

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Baruch Hashem, I am a student of the Daf Yomi daily Talmud study and will be finishing the entire Babylonian Talmud for my first time. For the last 7+ years I have attended Daf Yomi classes in 4 countries, listened to lessons online and learned many pages myself on various airplanes (thanks to ArtScroll!). I am excited to be finishing and am quite proud of my discipline and effort, Yet, despite this accomplishment, I will not be attending the celebrations being held around the world for the culmination of this round of study. Allow me to explain.

The most wonderful thing about the Daf Yomi is that it unites world Jewry. I have often thought of my fellow Jews in Australia, Brazil and South Africa and how they are studying – and struggling – through the same page of the Talmud as I am. Jews of all kinds; Sefardim, Ashkenazim, Haredim, Yeshivish, Modern or any of the other silly labels we love to slap on ourselves, are all united in this amazing project. One nation, one people, one page of Gemara – now THAT is the unity we desperately need!

I remember traveling to London about 5 years ago. Naturally, I asked about the times of the morning minyan and found that this Shul also had a Daf Yomi class. After prayers, I simply joined the class and opened my Gemara. I didn’t ask what page they were learning and within 8 seconds, felt right at home. This scenario repeated itself in Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Houston, Boca Raton, Los Angeles, Kew Gardens Hills, the Catskills and across Israel; in the Golan, Hebron and even in Eilat! Sitting next to me – in all those cities – were Jews of all kinds; white shirts and black pants, suits and ties, shorts and sandals etc. One nation, one people, one page of Gemara. Unfortunately, this unity was short lived.

For what are we crying on Tisha B’av? Why do we mourn, fast and say “Kinot”? People think it is because of the destruction of the Bet Ha’Mikdash but they are wrong. We are still crying – 2,000 years later – because that beautiful Bet Ha’Mikdash has not been rebuilt!!! Please remember that, according to most opinions, when the first Bet Ha’Mikdash was rebuilt, there was indeed no fasting on Tisha B’av. Of course not! Why fast when the Bet Ha’Mikdash is standing in all its glory? Therefore, we fast today for the simple reason that 2,000 years have passed and we have still not learned from history. Every child will tell you that the second Bet Ha’Mikdash was destroyed because of “sinat chinam” (baseless hatred) a horrific sin that exists to this very day. For had there been “ahavat chinam” (baseless love – or a better term: true Jewish unity) the third – and final – Bet Ha’Mikdash would be standing today in our capital city!

I have always felt that the Daf Yomi would be the leader of that “Ahavat Chinam”. In all my experiences attending those various Daf Yomis across the globe, nobody ever asked me what Kashrut I observe, how big my Kippa was or if my wife covers her hair. We were all one nation, one people studying the same page of Gemara.

And then it came crashing down.

That beautiful unity, that amazing “achdut” and that wonderful feeling of being one family was shattered with the announcement – here in Israel – of the Siyum Ha’Shas.

Monday – the 11th of Menachem Av (July 30th) will be – and this is a direct quote: Siyum Ha’Shas for Sefaradim in Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem. Tuesday – the 12th of Menachem Av (July 31st) will be Siyum Ha’Shas for Haredim in a special complex being built for this occasion in Maalot Dafna, Jerusalem. Thursday – the 14th of Menachem Av (August 2nd) will be Siyum Ha’Shas for Religious Zionists in Binyanei Ha’Uma, Jerusalem. There it goes, or as a famous sports announcer used to say when a player hit a home-run: “Kiss it good-bye”. For 7+ years there was one nation and one people, but for the conclusion of this Kiddush Hashem there are three nations and three people. Knitted Kippa? Your place is on Thursday. Black hat? Your siyum is on Tuesday. Sefardi? Better hurry, you guys go first!

Global Minute of Silence to Be Held on Day of Olympic Opening Ceremony

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

There Will Be a ‘Minute for Munich’ on Friday.

The British Zionist Federation has decided to ask people to join them in commemoration of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. The worldwide event will take place at  at 11 AM London time (1 PM Jerusalem, 6 AM New York) on the morning of the opening ceremony, Friday, July 27. This measure follows the International Olympic Committee’s decision not to have a minute of silence in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics on the same Friday.

“As you are aware, there have been a number of campaigns urging the IOC to hold a minutes’ silence during the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics,” begins BZF Executive Director Alan Aziz’s announcement on their website. “Unfortunately the IOC has decided against this commemoration. So, The Zionist Federationis inviting you to join us in remembering the 11 murdered Israeli Athletes.”

The plan, according to Aziz, will go as follows: “On the morning of the Opening Ceremony, we are asking people everywhere to stop for one minute and stand in silence as a personal tribute to those who lost their lives in the 1972 Munich Massacre. Wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing, please join us and stand in silence for one minute in silence as we remember.”

The BZF will also be holding a short memorial service that will be streamed live via a webcast from 10.45 AM and will a memorial prayer and the lighting of candles in the presence of Israel’s Ambassador to Britain, Daniel Taub. Visitors will be able to view this at www.zionist.org.uk

If you are part of an organization, Aziz is asking you to email minutesilence@zfuk.org to see how you can get involved.

A Facebook page has been set up for this event and can be found by typing in ‘Minute for Munich’ into the search box on Facebook.

Alan Aziz told EJP: “We believe it is wrong that the IOC refuses to commemorate the Munich massacre at the opening ceremony. We must not let people forget and the groundswell of support that our campaign has received has demonstrated that not only do people remember the horrific events of Munich, but they also understand the importance of remembering it and the innocent victims of that fateful day.”

He added: “Let us celebrate the Olympic Games as it brings the world together as a family, but don’t let it forget those it has lost.”

IOC Adds Insult to Injury: Widows ‘Get’ their Minute of Silence 4 Days Too Soon

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge on Monday went ahead and paid tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were killed in Munich 40 years ago. According to the AP, Rogge lead a “solemn minute of silence in the athletes village.”

Indeed, the AP story eagerly noted that it was “the first time the IOC has honored the slain Israelis in a ceremony inside an Olympic village.”

It’s difficult to articulate just how insulting and callused this empty gesture on the part of the IOC and its president has been.

Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, widows of slain Israeli athletes whose murder and the murders of their teammates have gone unacknowledged for forty years, have been pleading for months now, along with thousands upon thousands who have signed their petition, for the officials at the helm of IOC to act human, to tell the world, just as it is getting together to celebrate the best that humanity has to offer: When athletes are slaughtered in broad day light in the middle of the Olympic games it is a horrible things which we will never forget and never forgive.

Instead, four days before the actual opening ceremony, President Rogge threw these widows a bone.

For months Rogge has rejected calls to hold a moment of silence during Friday’s opening ceremony of the London Games. He kept saying as late as this past Saturday that the opening was not the “appropriate place” to remember the Israeli team members killed by Palestinian gunmen in Munich during the 1972 Olympics.

“We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident,” Rogge said on Saturday.

Perhaps he would have gone for 30 seconds of silence?

I suggest Monday, July 23, 2012, will go down in the annals of Olympic history as Throw the Widow a Bone Day, or simply Bone Day.

On Monday, Rogge strolled over to the Olympic village in London, and in the midst of a quickly assembled crowd of officials, reporters and photographers, announced:

“I would like to start today’s ceremony by honoring the memory of the 11 Israeli Olympians who shared the ideals that have brought us together in this beautiful Olympic Village. The 11 victims of the Munich tragedy believed in that vision. “They came to Munich in the spirit of peace and solidarity. We owe it to them to keep the spirit alive and to remember them.”

And then, like a scene from a Fellini film, President Jacques Rogge bowed his head, and a crowd of 100 IOC executive board members, dignitaries and Olympic athletes and officials stood in silence for a minute.

For absolutely no one and nothing.

Four days before the thing began. Four days before the wonderful statement would have made an actual difference to the millions of viewers across the planet, across the Middle east, where those cowardly murderers were raised and where their crime was designed and financed. In short, four days before these words would require an actual man to say them.

“As the events of 40 years ago remind us, sport is not immune from and cannot cure all the ills of the world,” Rogge said.

Oh, wiser words have not been said by a heartless bureaucrat in some time.

Incidentally, Rogge and the IOC will also honor the murdered Israeli athletes at a private reception in London on Aug. 6.

The IOC will also take part in a ceremony in Germany on the anniversary of the attack on Sept. 5 at the military airfield of Furstenfeldbruck where most of the Israelis were killed.

Then, in March, in a small café in Rome, Rogge and a group of friends will be waiting in silence for their lunch, which should also count for something. In fact, right now, I’ll bet many IOC are sitting in their offices doing stuff while being absolutely silent.

Just as long as it’s not on Friday night at the opening ceremony, because, let’s face it, it can put a damper on the whole humanity happiness thing.

The Tribe of Shimon

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Israel’s President Shimon Peres donned tribal gear for his meeting with Osei Tutu II, king of the Ashanti Empire, West Africa, at the President’s residence in Jerusalem on Sunday.

If only they could keep him in these very colorful meetings which his predecessors used to engage in as the core of their service, and leave him no room for unhelpful comments on real things, like the Levy committee.

At 88 years of age, Peres is the world’s oldest democratically elected head of state. He was sworn into office on July 15, 2007, for a seven-year term. That means he has a little less than two years to go.

Keep those folks from exotic places coming!

Azkara Held For Rabbi Yoseph Oziel

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

The Shul of Bal Harbour, 9540 Collins Avenue in Surfside, held an askara (commemoration) marking seven days since the passing of Rabbi Yoseph Oziel on Tuesday, July 10. Minchah services were followed by divrei Torah from prominent rabbis and concluded with Arvit.

Rabbi Oziel was the beloved and highly regarded spiritual leader of Hechal Shalom-Sephardic Congregation of Surfside. The rabbi was a respected talmid chacham and rav and had opened a kollel in his synagogue only two months ago. He was 42 years old.

Rabbi Oziel is survived by his devoted wife and eight children. His wife is expecting their ninth child.

The grief-stricken community is trying to put together a trust fund for the family. Please contribute by mailing your check to: Young Israel of Bal Harbour, POB 545985, Surfside, Florida 33154. Please make a notation that you wish this contribution to go the Oziel family.

Chabad House Hosts Joe Kaufman For Lunch & Learn

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

The Chabad House in Miami Beach hosted a lecture and “the best lunch in town” on Wednesday, July 11, at its location, 669 Lincoln Lane North. The congregation’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Zev Katz, started the program with a dvar Torah. The talk was followed by guest speaker Joe Kaufman, who spoke on the direction of political movements in the Middle East and the Maghreb. Kaufman’s presentation was titled “Arab Spring or Nuclear Winter?”

Kaufman is an expert in the fields of counter-terrorism, energy independence and Middle Eastern and Southern affairs. He has been a lecturer for the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and his articles can be found at FrontPageMag.com, the Hudson Institute, Pajamas Media and National Review. Kaufman is also a candidate for United States Congress.

The riveting talk was followed by a delicious lunch sponsored by Scott Abraham in loving memory of his father, Shalom ben Chaim Menachem.

For more information about the Chabad of Miami Beach adult education series or other activities contact Rabbi Katz at 305-CHABAD1 or visit www.chabadonwheels.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/south-florida/chabad-house-hosts-joe-kaufman-for-lunch-learn/2012/07/21/

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