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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘London’

Kerry, Abbas Meeting Set for London

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

He’s ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-c-c-c-k . . . . Well, sort of.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Thursday in London.  State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed the meeting at a briefing Monday on Capitol Hill.

“While the door remains open to a peace process, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss our ongoing relationship with the Palestinians,” she said in a curt statement. “As he has throughout the process, Secretary Kerry will reiterate a call he has made to both sides to maintain restraint and refrain from steps that would be unhelpful.”

Last week American special envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk took care to blame both sides for the failed nine-month talks. He was especially careful to equate municipal and home maintenance with a unilateral attempt to establish sovereignty in the international arena.

For Israel’s portion, Indyk pointed to ‘settlement building’ – the endless international euphemism for basic repairs and general construction by private Israeli citizens and also by Israeli local authorities within the municipal bounds of towns or neighborhoods in areas won during the 1967 Six Day War.

The Palestinian Authority, he said, should not have signed on to membership in 15 international conventions and agencies – a direct violation of the agreement with which the failed talks began in the first place.

Abbas backed out of the talks when Israel refused to free the last of four groups of terrorist prisoners on schedule, after 78 had already been released. Israel’s government balked over the composition of the group, which included at least 20 Israeli Arabs, rather than PA Arabs. Since no progress at all had been made in the prior eight months of talks, and Abbas had not bothered to show up in person to the table for months, Israel chose to wait and see whether the final month would bring any change – or see if the PA would at least extend the talks in exchange for freeing the last group and possibly releasing more prisoners as well.

But Abbas refused.  Instead, a day later he signed a flurry of international conventions that had obviously already been prepared and ready to go. It was clear the strategy had been planned – the PA was simply waiting until the last group of terrorists were freed.

Israel formally ended the talks on April 24 when Abbas signed a unity pact with the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza. Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and is committed to its destruction, a core principle in its founding charter. The group is backed, armed and generously funded by Iran.

The current agreement calls for the deployment of 3,000 PA government paramilitary police in Gaza, under the command of Hamas. Those forces were trained, armed and equipped by the United States armed forces — ostensibly to “fight terrorism” in Judea and Samaria in preparation for the establishment of a peaceful “two state solution” with Israel.

Last year, the Ramallah-based PA government received approximately $440 million in U.S. foreign aid, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013. The figure was taken from a Congressional Research Service report quoted by Reuters.

Under American law, no U.S. funds may reach Hamas, nor “any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.”

But the Ramallah government in Samaria has for years been sending money to Gaza. Allegedly it was sent to cover the salaries of PA civil service workers. The same government still pays generous monthly stipends to Arab terrorists serving prison terms in Israeli jails.

‘Red Ken’: Rich Jews Vote for Torries

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Ken Livingstone, the anti-Semitic former mayor of London, has lashed out again at Britain’s Jewish community.

Speaking to the BBC’s Newsnight program, the radical politician known locally as “Red Ken” fell back on the classic stereotype that “Jews have money” to accuse Britain’s Jewish community of supporting the Conservative Party today because the community has become rich.

“As the Jewish community got richer, it moved over to voting for Mrs. [Margaret] Thatcher as they did in Finchley,” he said, referring to one of London’s northern districts with a large Jewish community.

“The defining issue is not your color or your religion,” Livingstone said. “It’s your level of income. People vote according to their income.”

Adrian Cohen, Chairman of the London Jewish Forum, responded to the comment in The Telegraph newspaper, saying “politicians shouldn’t write off parts of the electorate based on crude assumptions about their perceived relative affluence.

“Many Jews are not rich, indeed many struggle to make ends meet. In any event there are many factors which influence how a person chooses to vote and one shouldn’t refer to Jewish Londoners as if they were homogeneous,” Cohen said.

There is no indication whether Ed Miliband, the Labour Party’s Jewish chairman, has responded to Livingstone’s latest outburst.

Synagogue Worshippers in London Save Family from Burning Car

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Two worshippers in a synagogue on Passover saved a child from death in a burning car that exploded shortly after the rescue.

The worshippers rushed to the burning vehicle after hearing the family’ scream for help, and they found the toddler strapped in a car seat. The worshippers, Moshe Kupperman and a second man, identified only as “Shlomo” and an IDF veteran, survived the intense heat from the burning car while unfastening the child’s seat belt and freeing him.

Two other passengers fled on their own before the Peugeot 307 exploded, the London Evening Standard reported.

The family was taken into the synagogue to recover as firefighters rushed to the scene and extinguished the fire, which destroyed the car.

Michael Block, who worships at the synagogue, told the Standard, “The people in the car realized there was going to be a problem and tried to get out, then fire started coming out. The family in the car was beside themselves and in shock. Shlomo is a lovely chap and he hasn’t been in this country for very long…. He was very brave…. He is a well-meaning guy who saw there was a problem and went to try and help. He is definitely a local hero.”

British Lawmaker Rankles Jews with Tweet Attacking Ariel Sharon

Monday, January 20th, 2014

British lawmaker David Ward has raised Jewish ire again for tweeting two days after the death of Ariel Sharon. “Sharon’s death makes you think. The brutal, genocidal treatment of Jews must never be forgotten but … the Palestinians were not responsible.”

One tweet in response to Ward, by British Jewish gay rights activist Benjamin Cohen, read, “I’m not sure who has implied the Palestinians were, other than you of course.”

“We are disappointed to see David Ward tweeting about sensitive issues in such a way,” read a joint statement from the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies of British Jews, the London Jewish News reported. “It raises questions about his motives and his real intentions.”

Ward also tweeted on Jan. 13: “Signed #Holocaust Memorial Book of Commitment in advance of the Holocaust Memorial Day — we must stand up for oppressed wherever they be.”

Previously, Ward had angered the Jewish community on International Holocaust Memorial Day last January when he said he was “saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could, within a few years of liberation, be inflicting atrocities on the Palestinians in the new State of Israel — and continue to do so.”

The controversy was renewed when reports emerged that Ward asked his staff if replacing “the Jews” with “the Jewish community” would mollify his critics, leading to another round of complaints and sanctions including a requirement that he attend language classes.

In July, Ward was suspended from the party for three months after tweeting: “Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the #Zionists are losing the battle – how long can the #apartheid State of #Israel last?”

British Rabbis Scold Orthodox Shul for Letting Women Hold Torah

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

The British organization of orthodox communities has scolded a London orthodox synagogue for allowing women to hold and pass around a Torah scroll in the women’s section during prayers on Shabbat.

The incident has caused far less sensation than the more extreme and public campaign of the so-called Women of the Wall, a group of approximately 100 women who for years have campaigned to claim that “equality” means they can not only hold a Torah Scroll but also can read it at the Western Wall, adjacent to the Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount, and in violation of the desires of most daily worshippers there.

Men, unlike women, have an obligation to pray in a minyan with at least nine other men and to hear the Torah scroll being read on Mondays, Thursday, holidays, Shabbat and holidays.

Women’s involvement in public prayer has become more pronounced in recent years, and orthodox Jewish “women’s only” minyans are not uncommon in the United States.

In almost all orthodox synagogues, the Torah scroll is taken out of the ark for reading and is carried through the men’s section, although women in many synagogues are able to touch it as it passes their sections.

The Golders Green United Synagogue has now allowed it to be handed over to a woman, who then passes it around the women’s section until it is returned for reading or to the ark.

Rabbis could raise the issue of Jewish law that perhaps a man cannot touch a Torah scroll that has been handled by a woman who is not ritually clean because of her menstrual period, but the overwhelming issue is the traditional separation of sexes and involvement in prayers as a matter of modesty. The fear is that once one traditional barrier is broken, all of the barriers will be battered down.

Professor Benny Chain, chairman of Golders Green United Synagogue, said, “People have said what an emotional experience it is and that they feel much more involved in the service,” the London Jewish Chronicle reported.

Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, head of the rabbinate of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, condemned the practice as “Reform-influenced,” explaining that women handling the Torah and “breaches of this nature” come “from the influence of the Reform.”

The issue in the Diaspora usually arises during Simchat Torah, following the holiday of Sukkot. Women in American communities in Israel and others in the United States hold their own minyan for the holiday, read from the Torah scrolls and dance with them, as men have done for centuries.

The most outstanding aspect of the event of women holding a Torah scroll in the Golders Green synagogue is that is has not captured attention among the anti-Orthodox crowd and media elsewhere.

The New York Times took it on itself this year to sponsor the Women of the Wall campaign on its pages, inciting the American Jewish community to fury over the very idea of women not having the “right” to disturb centuries of tradition  at the Western Wall, all in the name of democracy and not Judaism.

Their claim that the Western Wall is a public place, and therefore open to all, holds not water. The Western Wall is a synagogue and is legally under the authority of the Western Wall Rabbi, misguided or not in not allowing women to hold their own minyan in other areas that would not disturb the public at large.

Unlike the Women of the Wall, the carrying of the Torah scroll by women in an orthodox synagogue is not a political campaign and is far more of a challenge to orthodox Jewry in the Diaspora. It raises a far more serious challenge to Orthodox rabbis throughout the world.

In Israel, where most Jews are “secular” but observe many Jewish laws and are generally respectful of tradition, “women’s rights” is of far less interest, The New York Times and the Women of the Wall notwithstanding.

Seventh Hanukkah Candle to Be Lit in Seven Nations Simultaneously

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Immigrants to Israel from seven countries will light Hanukkah candles Tuesday night simultaneously with Jews in seven other countries in a ceremony organized by the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and The Jewish Agency for Israel.

The candle lighting in Israel will take place at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, where 300 young olim  from France, Ethiopia, the United States, Yemen, Latvia, Latin America, and the Bnei Menashe community of India will be joined by Jews lighting at the same time in Paris, London, Moscow, Kiev, Tashkent and Budapest.

The event will be broadcast live  here at 3:30 p.m. Israel time (8:30 a.m. EST).

London Rabbi Suing Billionaire Philanthropist over Property Deal

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

A Ukrainian billionaire living in London is being sued by his rabbi over a joint property venture.

Rabbi Yonah Pruss claims that he and Gennadiy Bogolyubov, a philanthropist who is involved in the Chabad movement, entered into a deal to find, purchase and manage investment properties in Britain along with a surveyor, Colin Gershinson, according to the Times of London.

Bogolyubov put up the money for the properties identified by Pruss, a Chabad rabbi, and Gershinson, the newspaper reported. Pruss and Gershinson were to share in the profits.

But the rabbi, who reportedly eased Bogolyubov’s way into London Jewish society, discovered that two of the most valuable properties were placed into trust for Bogolyubov and his family. Pruss and Gershinson are now demanding millions of dollars for their share of the deals.

A lawsuit has been filed in a lower court, according to The Independent, and Pruss has threatened to take the case to Britain’s High Court.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/london-rabbi-suing-billionaire-philanthropist-over-property-deal/2013/11/20/

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