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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘majority’

NY High Court: Ramaz Nurse Can Sue Under Whistleblower Law

Monday, April 16th, 2012

A former school nurse at the Ramaz School in New York who says she was fired for reporting a possible case of child abuse can sue the school under the state’s whistleblower law.

The New York State Court of Appeals (which is that state’s highest court) ruled on April 12 in a 3-2 vote that Joyce Villarin can sue the school for retaliatory termination, upholding a 2010 decision from Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling.

In 2007, a student at the school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side came to Villarin with a “prominent injury” on his cheek that he told her was inflicted by his father. The father admitted to Villarin that he had hit his son and did not express remorse, according to the lawsuit.

Ramaz encouraged Villarin, who had been working at the school for a year when the incident occurred, not to report the incident to authorities. She was fired in April 2008 after reporting the incident because the school said she was “not a team player.”

Villarin sued the school in Manhattan Supreme Court in 2009, arguing that the state’s Social Services Law obligated her to report the potential abuse. Under the law, school officials must report to state authorities a reasonable suspicion that a child is being abused or mistreated.

The majority of judges agreed with Villarin, saying that her claim “falls within both the letter and the spirit of the private-employee whistleblower statute.” The judges said if she had not reported the potential abuse she would have been subject to “civil liability for failing to report it.”

JTA

Knesset Speaker: Elections in September; New Law Will Reduce Power of High Court; Pollard Will Go Free

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) is convinced that elections for Israel’s next government will be held in five months, this coming September. In his opinion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing at least two serious problems—the Tal Law and the state budget—which require setting priorities under pressures from special interest groups within the coalition government.

“There are social and economic issues, there are also elections in the United States. Netanyahu will prefer to put those problems behind, not before him, which is why he will seek the ballot box,” Rivlin told Ma’ariv in a special holiday interview, to be published Thursday.

There’s one major reason why Rivlin is interested in going to the voter soon: he does not believe that the current Knesset could pass the legislation titled “Basic Law: Legislation,” which has been stirring up a political storm in recent days. Rivlin believes that the proposed law, much of it his own brainchild, could receive a majority in the current Knesset, especially if Netanyahu decided not to support it.

Rivlin delivered the new Basic Law regarding legislation to Justice Minister Ya’akov Neeman. The bill is designed to dramatically change the balance of power between the Supreme Court and the Knesset. According to the proposed law, the Supreme Court will, for the first time, be given explicit authority to overturn laws – but a majority of 65 Knesset members will suffice to overturn the court’s decision.

Rivlin believes that much of the resistance to his bill is not based on the merit of giving the legislator a more equal footing with the court over disputed laws, but, rather, over the size of the special majority needed to overturn a court decision. He thinks that many more MKs would join him if the bill called for a special majority of 70.

To date, inside the coalition government, Rivlin’s bill is being opposed by ministers Ehud Barak, Benny Begin, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan, by Likud MK Yariv Levin, and by senior legal officials.

Rivlin explained in his particularly unique language the issues his bill is intended to resolve:

“MKs from the right have been complaining that they are legislating on the basis of political considerations, and then the court comes and interprets their intentions in a way that is the exact opposite of what they had in mind. It’s like (Israel’s poet laureate Nachman) Bialik’s poem ‘Ken La’Tzipor’ (The Bird’s Nest). I can say that the bird is an eagle, someone else can say that the bird is a parrot, a third one says it’s a hoopoe. Comes the Court and determines that the bird is an elephant. This cannot be.”

In the same interview, Rivlin says he is certain that the efforts being made by President Shimon Peres to free Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard will be successful.

“Peres will bring him home,” Rivlin declares, and with the same breath he attacks US Jews, who stayed clear of the Pollard affair. “Unfortunately, they abandoned Pollard,” says Rivlin. “They all think he’s lucky they didn’t give him the death penalty.”

Jacob Edelist

Fleeing Islamists to US, Omar Sharif’s Grandson Comes Out as Gay and Jewish

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

“I write this article in fear,” starts Omar Sharif Jr.’s revelatory article in the Advocate, which dishes out coming out stories to fit every pallet. This one involves an Egyptian TV and screen actor, grandson of a Hollywood legend, who fled his homeland for the safety of America. And he’s probably Jewish, too.

His coming out has taken place against a background of “fear for my country, fear for my family, and fear for myself. My parents will be shocked to read it, surely preferring I stay in the shadows and keep silent, at least for the time being.”

He left an Egypt that is becoming progressively intolerant of all kinds of minorities, as extremist Muslim parties have gained absolute majority in Parliament. He confides:

“I write this article despite the inherent risks associated because as we stand idle at what we hoped would be the pinnacle of Egyptian modern history, I worry that a fall from the top could be the most devastating. I write, with healthy respect for the dangers that may come, for fear that Egypt’s Arab Spring may be moving us backward, not forward.

“And so I hesitantly confess: I am Egyptian, I am half Jewish, and I am gay.”

Actually, since his mother is the Jewish, the tormented star is a Jew. So now he has two very good reasons not to go home.

Yori Yanover

‘No’ To A Jewish Super District

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The current New York State Senate redistricting map championed by the Republican majority calls for the establishment of what has been characterized as a super Jewish district. Under the plan, Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, spanning four separate districts but which have recently exhibited Republican tendencies, would be redistricted into one district with an overwhelming majority of Orthodox Jews. We believe this plan to be ill advised.

Currently, though they do not constitute a majority, Orthodox voters have become so pivotal in the various districts that elected official must take notice of their concerns. The new plan would replace that reality with just one district in which just one elected official would have to take notice.

Proponents of the new plan say that since Republicans have scant chance of being elected in Brooklyn, the new super district would guarantee the election of a Republican and ensure a State Senate Republican majority that has pledged to do the Orthodox community’s bidding.

It’s an argument that on its face may sound compelling, but it seems to us that when it comes to providing for constituents’ needs, four points of access are better than one.

Editorial Board

Reuters Poll: Majority of Americans Back Strike Against Iran, Even if Gas Prices Were to Rise

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

A recent poll by Reuters/Ipsos revealed that a majority of Americans would support US military action against Iran if there were evidence that it is pursuing nuclear weapons.

The poll, conducted from March 8-11, reported that 56% of respondents would support US military action, while 39% opposed.

In response to the question of whether they would back US military action if it meant an increase in gasoline prices, a majority -53%- still expressed support for military action, while 42% said they would not.

The poll also found that 62 % of Americans surveyed would support Israel undertaking a military strike against Tehran.

The Obama administration has said that higher gasoline prices are one likely result of a military attack on Iran, and has urged the international community – and particularly Israel – to give sanctions more time.

Unsurprisingly, the poll also revealed that Republicans were more supportive of military action than Democrats – whereas 70% of Republicans would back military force, only 46% percent of Democrats agreed.

The poll was conducted among 1,084 adults across the United States, and has a margin of error of 3.1%.

Solomon Burke

Popular Israeli TV Host Calls for Reducing Number of “Ultra Orthodox Grandchildren”

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

I met talk show host Yaron London only once—the same Yaron London who on Tuesday urged secular Israelis to, instead of drafting the Ultra Orthodox into the army en masse, “we should aim to reduce their birthrate.”

Back in 1994, Yaron London was doing a story for Israel TV on Lubavitch messianism in America and promised to pay me $1000 to introduce him to key movement figures (my book, “Dancing and Crying,” on the demise of the Rebbe, had just come out).

He never paid, but I still believe Yaron London is a decent man. And if he resorted to an article that’s more than a little bit reminiscent of Der Stürmer, it must mean that a tectonic shift has occurred in Israel’s secular society, and it may also mean that many of my own preconceived notions no longer apply.

London writes today in Ynet: “Israeli society is sick. The illness is Jewish fundamentalism. National service to Haredim who refuse to join the army is the medicine offered by the witch doctor. Yet there will be no wide-scale national service, and should it be established after all because of weak politicians, it would be corrupt and terribly expensive.”

He’s not entirely wrong. Some Haredim I’ve spoken to are pained over the slowness of the process of mainstreaming their sector’s contribution to Israel’s society at large, particularly through compulsory service of some kind. Many Haredim have told me point blank they’d do anything to avoid service.

London analyzes astutely why any attempt which is in motion these days is doomed to failure. He floats quickly through his reasoning, assuming his readership already knows all of it and agrees with him to begin with. He must be right.

And so, London proposes: “As Haredi education rejects a life of work and participation in defending the homeland, and as we cannot imprison tens of thousands of yeshiva students (and those pretending to be such), and as national service would hold justice in contempt, and as purely Haredi regiments are a recipe for an armed civil war, and as the Haredi community mushrooms as a result of natural growth – the national majority has no choice but to embark on a determined cultural war.”

Spelling stuff out, on occasion means it has been brewing beneath the surface for quite some time. I get the feeling London had been sitting on this view for years, moving, like many secular Israelis, from bemused dislike of things Ultra Orthodox to outright loathing of anyone wearing a black hat and a beard.

“Time is of the essence,” this wager of a cultural civil war is urging. “Should the majority lose this war, the Zionist enterprise would be remembered as a short-lived historical episode.”

You see? When Jewish settlers in the land of Zion are uprooted onto trucks, lock stock and barrel, when Jewish dwellers are attacked by government goons who illegally rip off their name tags before grabbing helpless women and children off the land they call Zion – that is done in support of the Zionist enterprise. When an army of Arab thugs are imported from North Africa armed and uniformed and given dominion over whole regions of Zion – that, too, is done to promote the Zionist enterprise.

When the Arab Waqf is handed the keys to Temple Mount, five minutes after a Zionist army had conquered the place, spilling its blood to bring us home, at last, to our holiest sanctuary – that was one heck of a trick in service of Zionist enterprise.

But when tens of thousands of Ultra Orthodox men are not responding fast enough to a social experiment which is already bearing fruit; when several thousand such men are already doing their national duty with pride and distinction – but a majority of their brethren are still reluctant to take the same leap of faith – they must be annihilated, figuratively or symbolically, in a cultural war.

And so, London, at last, articulates his agenda: “There is no choice but to let the draft-dodging Haredim be, but we should aim to reduce the number of their grandchildren. This is not an impossible mission. It is not an abusive mission either. This is a mission of salvation.”

I’m tempted here to break my long-time rule that whoever mentions Hitler in an Internet debate first loses. Holding myself back, I still have to say clearly that the method anyone chooses for limiting the number of Jewish grandchildren doesn’t matter. I don’t believe London is suggesting concentration camps for the Ultra Orthodox, God forbid. But he is recommending starvation – cutting off funds, state stipends, housing allowances, and food.

I am appalled. And I demand my thousand dollars back.

Yori Yanover

Eco-Activists Defend the Environment In Judea & Samaria

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Pollution is everywhere, generated by everyone, and affecting everyone’s life. Eco-activists all over the world, together with government agencies, work to combat it by monitoring polluters, promoting legislation, and providing creative solutions to complex situations.

One would hope to find the same activity in Israel, but unfortunately, this is not the case. The majority of eco-activists in Israel choose not to operate over the Green Line, neglecting to address the eco-needs of the people there. Some of the challenges in Judea and Samaria are unique to the vicinity, while other hazards are common everywhere. However, the lack of suitable legislation and enforcement have resulted in irreversible damage to the land, affecting everyone’s life.

These are just some examples of environmental disasters in Judea and Samaria:

The Palestinians have established unauthorized, makeshift dump sites, one of them at Silwad, near Beit El. Trash was dumped in the open here and not properly treated, contaminating the earth, destroying the landscape, and damaging ancient olive groves. The refuse seeped into the earth, contaminating the ground water under it. Some trash was burnt, generating air pollution.

Improvised charcoal production plants, found primarily in the Jenin area, have been a hazard for decades, but more recently, their heavy air pollution has turned the lives of citizens in the vicinity into a nightmare. “People who live 400 meters away from these plants look out the window, see a black cloud moving towards them and have nowhere to hide or go,” commented one of the residents. Tests conducted by experts show that there is an abnormal concentration of delicate breathable particles 37% of the time. An assessment submitted to the IDF and to the Ministry of Environmental protection stated that: “Exposure to these particles can hinder lung function and is especially dangerous to those who suffer from respiratory complications, which may lead to subsequent hospitalization and even death.” Residents around these charcoal plants suffer tremendously. The air pollution affects everyone, and life expectancy among local Palestinian residents is just 40 years, but the issue is considered sensitive because the plants provide a livelihood to Palestinian families.

Pirate stone quarries, which can be found all over Judea and Samaria, are randomly situated with no prior planning and with complete disregard for the landscape or the environment. The dust generated by stone-grinding is a source of air pollution, while ground water can be contaminated by metal particles from machinery used to cut into hillsides. Specific metal machinery should be used, but there is no supervising entity to enforce the necessary protocols. These quarries are causing irreversible damage to the land.

Yarok Achshav, Green Now, is the only non-governmental organization dedicated exclusively to the issue of environmental hazards everywhere in Israel. The group was established in 2008 to provide a response to ecological and environmental problems, and to preserve the nature, landscape, and heritage of the Land of Israel.

Green Now provides legal advice and services in the face of environmental hazards, and promotes pertinent legislation. They are the only organization that runs a public petition hotline, enabling anyone who encounters an eco-hazard to turn to them and receive the required support. They also organize environmentally-related educational and cultural activities and create and promote ecological projects in the community.

Green Now believes that pollution and contamination have no boundaries, and that environmental activists should be everywhere. “Green Now has chosen to address issues that no one else will touch upon,” says Acting Director, Ofer Inbar. “Therefore, the majority of our activities are focused in Judea and Samaria. We address issues that affect all populations, including the Palestinians, and have attempted to cooperate with them in various ventures, such as educational programs and eco-projects. We offered assistance in planning the infrastructure of Rawabi, the new Palestinian city under construction, to ensure that construction meets the proper standards. In every case, we found an utter unwillingness to cooperate. The Palestinians have made an all-encompassing decision not to cooperate with Israelis.”

Green Now has exerted legal and political pressure on the various governmental agencies responsible for addressing these eco-hazards, and their activity has generated results. The makeshift dump site at Silwad was closed by the authorities, the trash was buried, and the site was covered with earth. Today, greenery has returned.

The site of a former illegal quarry in Judea and Samaria

The 400 improvised charcoal production plants are a more complex matter. In June 2011, eleven of them were shut down, but they have since resumed their activity. Green Now will continue to pursue the case through legal venues. Unfortunately, the quarries still present a grave hazard, and are not properly monitored or controlled.

There is still much to be done over the Green Line, both in terms of eco-activity and many other issues, none of which are properly addressed because of an imaginary border.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/eco-activists-defending-the-environment-in-judea-samaria/2012/02/20/

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