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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘leaders’

President Rivlin Asking Jewish, Muslim Faith Leaders to Heal Muezzin Rift

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday morning hosted a meeting of Jewish and Muslim leaders in Israel, in an effort to resolve the debate surrounding the proposed bill prohibiting muezzin calls from 11 PM to 7 AM.

“In our lives together there are issues which are very close to the hearts of many of the residents of this country,” the president told his guests, noting that “Jerusalem has always brought together the various voices, the Jewish prayers with the Muezzin’s call to prayer along with the Church bells.”

“I am the son of a man who translated the Quran and observed the Jewish commandments, and I recognize the need to tread a fine line,” President Rivlin said. As such, he endeavored “to sit and speak with you in order to see if there is a way to tread this line even when there are conflicts. I thought that perhaps such a meeting could have an impact on the whole public, and that it would be a shame that a law should be born which touches on the issue of freedom of faith of a specific group among us. Perhaps the voices heard today can be used to pave the way.”

Rabbi Aryeh Stern, the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, told the meeting: “I see the need for a joint call for dialogue, which should be issued by the highest Jewish and Muslim religious leadership in the country – and which in turn will possibly pull the rug from under the need for such a bill to be passed. I think it should be a joint call, which on the one hand will stop the legislation itself and on the hand will deal with the places where the volume of the muezzin is an issue.”

President of the Islamic Sharia Court Sheikh Abdel al-Hakim Samara stressed that “through an agreement and discussion we can reach solutions wherever the loudspeakers are a problem. Once the law goes through without us attempting to resolve the issue through dialogue, it causes us to feel that our freedoms are vulnerable. Solutions can be achieved even without the threat of the law looming over our heads. We all agree there is a need to lower the volume in problematic areas and we will act to ensure this, regardless of the law.”

Rabbi Yosef Yashar, Chief Rabbi of Acre, shared his experience of coexistence in his mixed city, saying, “I want to tell you the story of Acre – a city where Arabs and Jews live together as a fact. For years now we have been doing fieldwork in terms of dialogue. This way has proven itself. It is s not without problems, but we are talking.”

“Can I say that it is easy? It is not easy,” he continued. “Can I say that there is no hatred? There is hatred. But we’re talking. We are in contact. I do not make them Zionists or Jews and nor does the opposite happen. The dialogue has proven itself. We, too, have experienced acts of provocation in increasing the volume in defiance, but we have talked, we realized the problems and solved them. The problem can be overcome with dialogue and I invite everyone to come and see how it happens on the ground. Dialogue is stronger than legislation. We still have a lot of problems that revolve around coexistence but they will not be resolved with legislation.”

Sheikh Mohammed Ciooan, Head of the Imam’s organization which represents around 400 Imams, told the participants, “Human dignity should guide us. We’ll watch over each other. We are connected to each other, we have no other choice and I hope we can reach an agreement through talks, without such laws. We have already made a public request to lower the volume in all the communities involved. It will be difficult for us to accept and deal with such a law. We have one destiny and one future. We will continue to act to correct this, through our communities, we will bring engineers that will check everything and we will issue a call to all worshipers to work for consideration and decrease the volume anywhere that constitutes a problem.”

David Israel

French Jewish Leaders Condemn Presidential Candidate’s Anti-Semitic Comment

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

French Jewish leaders have criticized Francois Fillon, who will likely win Sunday’s second round of a Conservative party presidential primary, for his comment to Europe 1 radio that “in the past Jews did not respect all the rules of the French Republic,” EJP reported.

Fillon, a former Prime Minister under then President Nicolas Sarkozy, made the faux pas while describing the need to fight radical Islam.

“We must fight that fundamentalism, in the same way that in the past … we fought some forms of Catholic fundamentalism and we fought the drive by Jews to live in a community that did not respect all the rules of the French Republic,” Fillon said.

France’s Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia discussed the comment with Fillon, noting that Jews in the past were forced to live in isolation from society, but that was “in no way Jewish citizens’ choice, but the consequence of French society not accepting their peers at the time.”

Sacha Ghozlan, leader of the French Jewish students’ union UEJF, stateded that “those surprising comments raise questions about how Francois Fillon defines fundamentalism.”

“The UEJF wonders what period Francois Fillon is referring to when he says Jews refused to abide by the rules of the French republic, if he might not mean the time of Vichy (the war-time government that collaborated with the Nazi occupation) when Jews were forced to hide and wear a yellow star,” Ghozlan said in a statement.

Fillon, who faces former Foreign Minister Alain Sunday to become the candidate of the right and center for next year’s presidential election, eventually posted on his Facebook page that his comments had been misunderstood.

“I never meant to call into question the Jewish community’s attachment to our common values and to the respect of the rules of the Republic,” he promised.

David Israel

The Prime Responsibility Of A Nation’s Leaders

Friday, November 18th, 2016

As Donald Trump prepares for his presidency, Jews all over the world are hoping his Middle East policy will be favorable to Israel.

Of course we know and believe that the destinies of all governments are ultimately in the hands of God. Man was granted freedom of choice, but up to a point. Man cannot derail God’s Master Plan, culminating in the Messianic era.

And regardless of what Trump’s policy will be, the prime responsibility of Israeli leaders, now as always, is to protect the citizens of Israel.

We must therefore ask: Do the leaders of Israel offer adequate protection for the Jewish lives they are entrusted with? Is their policy direction leading toward greater or lesser security?

We read (Shemot 17:12) that when the Jewish people were attacked by the Amalekites shortly after their departure from Egypt and Moshe raised his hands in supplication to God for victory, his hands were “heavy.”

Rashi comments that “his hands became heavy because he had been lax in the mitzvah [of battling Israel’s foes] and had appointed another one [Yehoshua] in his stead.”

Since Moshe’s old age did not affect his physical strength, we know that wasn’t why his hands grew heavy. But why ascribe it to laziness? Perhaps it was because he postponed the battle to the following day, or because the people doubted God’s power when they asked (Shemot 17:6), “Is then God in our midst?”

We can assume that Moshe must have had good reason for appointing Yehoshua to fight this battle, since we know that on other occasions Moshe was ready and willing to lead Israel’s wars from the forefront, as he did, at age 120, in the battle against King Og (Bamidbar 21:34, Devarim 3:2).

So what could his good reason have been?

Moshe reasoned that there was a big difference between this battle against Amalek and the war against Og: the latter was miraculous, with God having stated openly that “you shall do unto him as you have done against Sichon; do not fear him.”

The same applied to the splitting of the Red Sea. In such clearly miraculous situations, Moshe believed that nothing could stand in the way of victory and that therefore the usual norms for warfare (strong young soldiers) were not necessary and even a 120-year-old man could lead the way.

At the time of the battle against Amalek, however, the Jews had displeased God, so Moshe reckoned that this particular fight had to conform to the usual norms of warfare – relying on young, strong warriors and refusing to rush into battle without adequate preparation (therefore Rashi can’t accept that Moshe was being faulted for postponing the battle by one day).

In Rashi’s final analysis, however, Moshe did not do what he should have: If the premise is that God had commanded this battle to take place (even though the verse states that Moshe, rather than God, commanded Yehoshua to fight Amalek), Moshe should have led the battle himself, offering a short prayer on the battlefield to secure God’s help, notwithstanding whatever the Jews may have been guilty of.

If God commands, one has to act with alacrity.

On the other hand, the premise might be that Moshe acted on his own based on the strength of simple reasoning: a Jewish leader does not stand idly by while his people are being attacked. That could explain why Moshe reasoned that a battle not commanded by God had to be fought according to normal conventions – conventions that don’t see old men on the battlefield.

But even then, Moshe erred: When the Jewish people have to be protected from their enemies, the battle against those enemies becomes in and of itself the greatest mitzvah and it is as if a Divine command had expressly been given to fight such a battle.

Along with proceeding according to the tactics of normal warfare, one is also assured of victory associated with fulfilling this great mitzvah (to wit: the Six-Day War). There is therefore a limit to the tactical “calculations” a leader directing this action must make. He has to lead by being there personally, both on the fighting end and the praying end. Thus, Rashi is correct: Moshe was at fault in not being involved personally – so, measure for measure, his hands grew lazy and heavy.

What are current Israeli leaders doing? They contemplate all manner of political maneuvering and security concessions and take counterproductive actions such as releasing hordes of convicted terrorists in exchange for…pies in the sky. Which of course invites and encourages further acts of terrorism.

We pray these leaders will finally realize they need to move in a totally different kind of direction. If only they’d emulate Moshe Rabbeinu so that they would err only to the extent that he did.

Rabbi Yeheskel Lebovic

Foreign Leaders Eulogize Peres – for the Wrong Reason

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Abu Yehida}

As I write, the funeral for Shimon Peres is in progress at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.

Numerous “world leaders” like Barack Obama, Prince Charles, Justin Trudeau, Francois Hollande, Bill Clinton, Ban Ki-Moon, Tony Blair, the EU’s Donald Tusk, and many other important and not-so-important personages are there. Even Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah movement demonized Peres as recently as yesterday, is present. Obama will be the last foreign speaker.

The main roads between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv will be closed before and after the event. Many streets in Jerusalem are closed, and traffic on alternate routes is expected to be nightmarish. Hamas has declared today a “day of rage” in honor of “criminal” Peres. I can imagine that every policeman and security person in the country is on duty. Arab and Jewish “extremists” have been preventively detained. The funeral itself will be closed to the Israeli public for security reasons.

I am sure that this is what Peres wanted – enjoying adulation was a weakness of his – but personally, I find it distasteful, even offensive.

The funeral should have been held on the day that he died, as is customary in Judaism. Then it would have been impossible for most of these political celebrities to be here, and that would have been as it should be. The people of Israel who actually care for Peres would have come, the Israelis who know about his tireless work in the 1950s and 60s when he managed the relationship with France that got Israel military hardware that no one else would sell us, when he created the Israeli arms industry and spearheaded the development of Israel’s nuclear deterrent. There are even some that remember and appreciate Peres’ support for the settlement project in the 1970s.

The foreign guests don’t know much about Peres’ contributions to our security, and I suspect he wouldn’t be quite so popular with them if they did. What they admire about him was his leading role in the Oslo Accords, which several commentators have called “the greatest strategic mistake in Israel’s history,” and his continued support of the “peace process,” despite its profound and bloody failure. They are sorry to see him go because he could be used to support their objective of piecemeal dismemberment of the land of Israel.

Future historians will decide whether Peres’ early successes cancel his later disastrous failure. But there is no doubt of his sincerity. He did his almost superhuman best, sacrificing his personal life for his work. He dedicated himself to the state of Israel and the Jewish people. And there is no doubt that many of our guests would like to see that state disappear and that people finally leave the stage of history, which is why they laud Peres’ worst hour as his finest.

I wish they weren’t here, not the ones responsible for the millions that European nations give to subversive Israeli NGOs, or the one who freed Iran to develop nuclear weapons and gave them billions for terrorism. We don’t need to listen to another lecturing, self-serving Obama speech, or to Bill Clinton comparing Shimon Peres to John Lennon. We certainly don’t need more traffic and security headaches.

But all things pass. Later today, the politicians that are praising Peres for the wrong reasons will go home. Hotel guests that were kicked out of their rooms to accommodate their entourages will be able to return, and the traffic jams will finally thin out. Soon it will be Shabbat, and then the Jewish people will mourn their loss among themselves.

Vic Rosenthal

BULLETPROOF – What’s the Real Reason World Leaders are Coming to Peres’ Funeral? [audio]

Friday, September 30th, 2016

What’s the real reason why world leaders, and even Mahmood Abbas are attending Peres’ funeral? It may not be why you think. Ari gives his take on the matter.

BULLETPROOF 29Sept2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Far East Meets Middle East in Summit for Religious Leaders

Monday, September 12th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Over 20 religious leaders from east Asia arrived in Israel Monday for a four-day summit in Jerusalem. Participants came from countries such as China, South Korea, India, and Japan, representing spiritual traditions of Taoism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Jainism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. Throughout the upcoming week, they will come face to face with Arab and Israeli religious leaders of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

“It is time to expand the Israel-Asia dialogue from only diplomatic and economic spheres to religion, spirituality and faith,” summit coordinator Simona Halperin told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “This is a first meeting in history between the religious leaders of Judaism and those of the eastern faiths.”

The summit was a joint project between the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the American Jewish Committee and the World Council of Religious Leaders (WCRL). Notable guests included the president of the Buddhist Association of China, Xuecheng, Swami Avdeshanand Giri, spiritual leader of millions of Indian Hindus, and Bawa Jain, Secretary-General of the WCRL.

President Reuven Rivlin greeted summit participants.

“Welcome to Jerusalem, the holy city to the religions of the sons of Abraham,” Rivlin told the guests. “Your arrival is a very special event, for many years the interaction between our religions hardly even existed.

“This is no longer the situation, as your visit today shows,” Rivlin said.

Xuecheng and Swami Giri also addressed the summit, saying religious leaders should take a leading role towards solving worldwide social and environmental challenges.

“I’m very happy to be here,” said the Swami. “We have a saying in our colloquial tongue: ‘When you have dialogues, then the wisdom dawns and knowledge comes.’ Dialogue imparts clarity.”

Xuecheng expressed his hope to make lasting friendships among religious leaders in Israel. “Only if we make true friends we can really set the goal of mutual respect and understanding. the Chinese religions are working very hard to call out other religions to help in the construction of a peaceful world,” he said.

According to Halperin, during the four days of the summit the religious leaders will meet with rabbis from all Jewish streams, as well as with Muslim, Druze and Christian leaders. The group will tour holy sites and discuss current events including global warming, the environment, the status of religion in contemporary society, the role of religion in peacemaking and more.

“Our spiritual worlds are very close to each other in that they are not missionary religions which makes them very open and tolerant,” Rabbi Daniel Sperber, a professor of Talmud at Bar-Ilan University and Orthodox rabbi. “I feel a unity and comradery between our peoples, more so than with the western world and Christianity.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Jews Outraged As Canadian Greens Endorse BDS Against Leader’s Recommendation

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Canadian Jewish groups are furious at the Canadian Green Party for passing a resolution supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel over the weekend. The party’s national convention in Ottawa adopted a policy resolution declaring support for the use of BDS targeted at the sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the “ongoing occupation … until such time as Israel implements a permanent ban on further settlement construction in [Judea and Samaria], and enters into good faith negotiations with representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state.”

The resolution passed over the objection of Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who said she prefers to endorse “action that can work,” and told a workshop meeting about the policy: “I would rather not, as leader, be leading a party that has endorsed BDS.”

“This is a perfectly legitimate movement,” May continued, “There is nothing illegal about it, and within the Charter of Rights of Freedoms. So, I am uncomfortable with the demonization of this movement. But there is for me, no question that there’s a better way to put pressure on Israel, bearing in mind the history of Israel; the fact that it’s, I think, a tactic that won’t work.”

“We need a two-state solution, and the way things are going there will be no Palestine for a two-state solution,” May said. “So it comes to the point where, what’s our best method going forward? And I think tactics like BDS, that make the people and the state of Israel think that they are under assault, and that they have lost allies and friends around the world, is not going to succeed.”

Paul Estrin, who is Jewish and a former President of the Green Party, wrote on Facebook before the vote that “a vote for BDS is a vote by those who seek the delegitimization of Israel, and ultimately seek to have it, and its population, wiped off the map.” Estrin was forced to step down as party president in 2014 over his pro-Israel views.

Another policy resolution that called on the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund of Canada, passed committee by a comfortable margin, only to be modified later by the party leadership, which removed the J word from it altogether, and turned it into a call on the CRA “to revoke the charitable status of or to refrain from conferring charitable status upon any organization that is complicit in the violation of Canadian or international human rights law.”

Canadian Jewish organizations reacted swiftly and harshly to the pro-BDS resolution. Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada, issued a statement saying, “With the Green Party’s support for unfairly singling out the world’s only Jewish state for contempt, it has firmly entrenched itself beyond the fringe of mainstream Canadian politics. Greens have chosen to embrace the policy position of shills for 9/11 conspiracy theories and terror apologists rather than side with the democratic and environmentally-friendly State of Israel. This clearly reflects how out of touch the Green Party has become with Canadian culture and values and it has made itself less relevant after its convention this weekend by voting for the politics of division and demonization.”

“All Canadians should be very concerned by these developments,” Mostyn added. “A political party with representation in Parliament chose to adopt an anti-Semitic policy, contrary to a recent resolution in Parliament condemning BDS as discriminatory. B’nai Brith will continue to expose the bigotry that festers within Green Party ranks.”

The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, issued a statement saying, “We condemn the Green Party’s decision to endorse this outrageous resolution. The BDS movement, which seeks to censor and blacklist Israelis, is fundamentally discriminatory and utterly at odds with Canadian values.” The statement continued: “Green Party leader Elizabeth May was right to oppose this toxic initiative as well as the disturbing assault on JNF, in keeping with her longstanding rejection of BDS.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jews-outraged-as-canadian-greens-endorse-bds-against-leaders-recommendation/2016/08/08/

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