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June 26, 2016 / 20 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘meeting’

In Netanyahu Meeting with Putin Tuesday Syria on the Table, But Not Iran

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to hold talks on Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on a state visit to Moscow marking the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This is the second meeting between the two leaders in Moscow in the past month and a half, and the fourth over the past year. Netanyahu only met once with President Obama over the same period of time.

Speaking on Monday at a ceremony commemorating the Six-Day War, Netanyahu noted that the hostile Arab armies that circled Israel back in 1967 were “armed, trained, supplied and supported by the Soviet Union.” He added quickly: “Look what a tremendous difference there is nowadays. Russia is a world superpower and the relations between us are getting ever tighter. I’m laboring over tightening this connection and it serves our national security these days, and it has prevented needless, dangerous confrontations on our northern border.”

It could be said that Israel is experiencing its best relationship with Russia on record, with the volume of trade, tourism, security and political coordination at a peak—much of it credited to Avigdor Liberman’s stint as foreign minister. But there are obvious areas where Russia is not coming across as a friend of the Jewish State, if anything, it appears to be leading and supporting Israel’s most vehement enemies — Iran with its proxies, and the Palestinians.

The Russians are supplying Iran with advanced S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems, and are in the process of selling the Iranians many more weapons, because the Iranians can now afford it, their multi-billion dollar accounts having been restored by the Obama-Kerry team.

The Russians are fighting in Syria alongside Hezbollah, and are facilitating—actively or tacitly—the leakage of weapons, advanced and otherwise, from Syria into south Lebanon, where they will some day be used against Israel.

In 2015-16 the Russians have spearheaded several critical anti-Israel UN votes: they supported the Egyptian proposal to impose UN supervision on Israel’s nuclear facilities; they’ve been voting regularly with the anti-Israel majority at the UN Human Rights Council; they supported the Palestinian proposal to create a blacklist of companies that trade with the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria; and they’ve supported the shameful UNESCO resolution that removed all trace of recognizing a Jewish presence in Jerusalem.

So perhaps the friendship between the two countries could get a little friendlier.

According to the Kremlin press service, Putin and Netanyahu are going to have a detailed exchange of opinion on the Middle East regional issues, with special emphasis on the struggle with international terrorism. The agenda will be expansive, says the Kremlin, “since relations between Russia and Israel are at an advanced stage and have the character of partnership.”

Russian Ambassador to Israel Alexander Shein told TASS that the two sides plan to sign an agreement on pensions to Russian-born Israelis who did not keep their Russian citizenship after emigrating from the former USSR. A Russian good will gesture in this case would go a long way to boost Netanyahu’s promise to his new coalition partner Liberman, who conditioned the move into government on an increase in those pensions.

There is certainly a renaissance in Russian-Israeli ties: since the year 2000 Israeli Prime Ministers have made thirteen visits to Russia, Netanyahu accounting for seven of those visits. Putin visited Israel once during the same period.

JNi.Media

A Meeting Made In Heaven

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

On a Thursday, Shlomo* had been in and out of the hospital over the last few years. Among the most difficult times for him, was when he could not be home for Shabbat with his family. This time, however, he was told that he would go home that day. He just needed to wait for a portable oxygen tank to be brought to him.

The day dragged on, and yet the promised oxygen unit had not yet arrived. He was eventually informed that the unit would be available late that evening. It would be too late in the day for Shlomo, who tired easily now. They would wait until the morning, Erev Shabbat.

The next day, while Shlomo waited for his release, another family waited for help. A call had gone out to the emergency line. An ailing man of almost 90 had stopped breathing. CPR was applied by first responders. An ambulance team arrived. The old man’s heart beat was restored, but he was in critical condition. They rushed the man to the hospital, accompanied by his wife and son, Pinchas.

Meanwhile, Shlomo was getting upset. There were more delays in regard to the arrival of his oxygen. The unit finally arrived at 2:00 pm. There was still time before Shabbat to drive home with his wife. In the end, it was not meant to be. No doctor could be found in time to sign a release for Shlomo. Once again, he would be spending Shabbat away from home.

Shlomo was trying to deal with his disappointment when a new patient was wheeled into his room. A curtain was closed around the bed of the new arrival. He was accompanied by his tearful wife and his son Pinchas.

Shlomo and Pinchas looked at each other in amazement. They had been neighbors for many years. Their families knew each other well. Pinchas told his friend how he had felt that he would need to be with someone he knew to help him and his mother through a very difficult Shabbat. Hashem granted him and his mother this chesed.

Shabbat was fast approaching. The old woman stood next to Shlomo’s wife during a very emotional lighting of the Shabbat candles. As the old man lay unresponsive in his hospital bed, Pinchas found some grape juice and made kiddush for all of them. The two friends sang zemirot and shared divrei Torah. The two women sat quietly talking.

Early Shabbat morning, Shlomo and his wife took a short walk through the halls of the hospital. They were not gone long, but when they returned, Pinchas told them that his father had passed away. Once things settled down, the two friends went to the hospital shul. Later on, they also discussed some of the laws involved in aveilut in this case.

Meanwhile, Shlomo’s wife wondered where the newly widowed woman was. She found her sitting in a corner, alone. She went over to her and put a comforting hand on the distraught woman’s shoulder and sat down next to her. While Pinchas found comfort in his tefillot, his mother was comforted by sharing tears and memories with a very caring woman.

Shlomo no longer questioned why his discharge had been delayed. His meeting up with his friend that erev Shabbat was Yad Hashem at work.

*Names and some details have been changed to protect the privacy of the families.

Debbie Garfinkel Diament

3 Hours After their Meeting, Netanyahu, Ya’alon, Say They ‘Clarified Things’

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Almost three hours after the “rebuke” meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon Monday morning, the two parties finally issued a joint statement, saying, “Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon met this morning and clarified things between them.”

The statement continued, “There is no doubt, nor has there ever been, that the army is subordinate to the political echelon and that officers are permitted to voice their opinions in the relevant forums.”

According to JNi.media, “Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday night got on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wrong side when he urged IDF leaders to speak their mind in public and not fear reprisal. At this point it appears that some reprisal may be coming Ya’alon’s way from the Prime Minister, who summoned him to what the Israeli media described as a “rebuke meeting” Monday morning.” (See Netanyahu Confronts Ya’alon Over Call to IDF Officers to ‘Speak their Minds’)

But if reprisal is indeed coming Ya’alon’s way it will not happen today.

David Israel

Tefillah: A Meeting With Hashem -Sefirah Days Are Chol HaMoed!

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Just two weeks have passed since we put away our Pesach dishes, but it seems like ages ago. But that is a great mistake! Did you know that Pesach doesn’t end until Shavuos? The Ramban tells us at the end of Emor (23:36) – this week’s sedra here in Eretz Yisroel, next week’s for those of you in chutz la’aretz) –

“These days of counting are similar to the days of Chol HaMoed that are in between the first and last day of Sukkos . . .”

Knowing this should make us jump for joy! All those weeks of preparation did not end after eight days –

they continue all the way until Shavuos!

But how are they similar to Chol HaMoed and what should we be focusing on during these special days?

 

49 Days of Self-Growth

Last time we saw that one of the primary purposes of the ten plagues was to awaken Klal Yisroel’s faith in Hashem so that they could act upon it. Indeed, they reached the level of being able to slaughter the Egyptian god without any fear, and leap into the raging Red Sea upon Hashem’s command. But that was not sufficient.

During Yetzias Mitzrayim they were raised to a level higher than what they were really worthy of. But once the light of that special day stopped shining, they would have fallen down to where they had been before if they had not taken immediate action. They began counting toward the day they would receive the Torah and 49 days of preparation commenced. The result was that they became truly worthy of receiving the Torah.

It is clear that intense self-perfection in many areas was necessary to merit the great revelation of Hashem’s glory on Har Sinai. But it is also possible to suggest that one of the things they focused on was living with the reality that Hashem was their Master. Thus, they internalized the clear lessons in emunah they had been shown, and returned to the level where they had been when they left Mitzrayim – through their own efforts.

This was not merely a historical event. The Ramchal in Derech Hashem tells us that during every important event in Klal Yisrael‘s history there was a spiritual light and it shines each year, on a smaller scale, when that time of the year comes around again. To gain the most from that light, we must prepare ourselves to tap into it.

 

Tapping The Light

The Maharal tells us that there is an integral difference between the meal offering sacrificed in the Bais HaMikdash on Pesach and the one that was brought on Shavuos. On Pesach we offered the omer from barley, which is animal food, but on Shavuos, the shtei halechem, the two loaves of bread, were from wheat, which is human food. This teaches us that in order for us to retain the level we reached on Pesach we must throw away our animalistic character traits. Only then can we hope to reach great spiritual heights.

One of the ways in which we act similar to an animal is in forgetting to think about the source from which all things come. Does an animal think about where its food comes from? It sees food in the feeding trough or grass in the meadow and doesn’t give two hoots who put it there. During the days of sefiras haomer we must rise to the level of being a human who understands the source of his food: the Master of the Universe.

One of the reasons Hashem wanted Klal Yisrael to offer this korban was for this reason. After all the effort the farmer invested in his field throughout the winter, there was a danger that when he reached the harvest he would pat himself on the back and think he accomplished it all. Thus, the Torah forbids him to harvest or consume his crop until after he has sacrificed the Korban Omer to Hashem. (Nowadays, when we unfortunately do not sacrifice the Omer, the new crop becomes permitted once the day when it used to be offered has passed.) This instills in him, and the rest of Klal Yisroel, the reality that Hashem is the One taking care of him.

Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus

Tefillah: A Meeting With Hashem – E-ZPass To Olam Haba?

Friday, April 15th, 2016

Anyone who wants to avoid tollbooth lines knows that an E-ZPass device allows you to go through without any delays. And actually, on a recent trip I borrowed one and whizzed past the booth. Suddenly, I noticed a sign telling me to slow down to 15 MPH, but it was too late. A screen notification told me that my E-ZPass had not registered.

Hmm. Okay, I’ll be more careful at the next booth. When I reached tollbooth #3843, I made sure to creep through at 5 MPH, sure that this time the light would turn green. But to my chagrin that same gloomy message informed me that I could expect another fine in the mail. What did I do wrong this time, I wondered? Oh, my E-ZPass was sideways, so the sensor didn’t detect it. I began to realize that the E-ZPass is only e-z if you know how to use it.

This reminded me of the Gemara (Brachos 4b) that seems to offer an E-ZPass straight to Olam Haba. Rabi Yochanan said: “Who inherits the world to come? The one who follows the Geulah immediately with the tefillah.” At first glance it seems quite easy. I just have to start Shemoneh Esrei immediately after I say the blessing of “Ga’al Yisroel” and presto: Instant entry to Olam Haba! But this seems quite strange. We all know that good things take hard work – so how could someone become a “ben Olam Haba” through one small action?

Indeed, the students of Rabbeinu Yonah (Brachos, ibid.) ask this question and answer that only if one understands what he is doing will one receive this reward. Here is one of their explanations as to how it works: “When a person mentions the redemption from Egypt and then immediately turns to Hashem in prayer, he shows that he is putting his trust in Hashem through these prayers. One who does not place faith in his friend will not ask him for anything.”

Through this seemingly small action, a person shows that he trusts Hashem. Since this trust is the basis of all our service to Hashem, he has turned himself into a member of Olam Haba. Let us explain.

 

Three Seminars

It states in Parshas Ha’azinu (Devorim 32:11) that Hashem came “ke’nesher ya’ir kino – like an eagle arousing its nest.” The Vilna Gaon explains that this refers to the exodus from Egypt. During the days of enslavement, Klal Yisroel had emunah, but they were in a state of slumber. When a person is asleep, even if he is blessed with the greatest skills and talents, he is doing nothing. In order to entice the Jews to sin, the Egyptians offered a brief respite from the harsh labor and oppression to any Jew who agreed to worship idols. Many succumbed to the pressure until they eventually became complete idol worshippers.

Nevertheless, deep in their hearts, a spark of faith could still be found. Witnessing the ten plagues, that spark was fanned into a roaring flame of faith, and they woke up, until they actually lived based on that faith. How?

The Haggada states that Rabi Yehuda divided the ten plagues into three groups: Detzach, Adash, and Be’achab. The commentators explain that these three groups were in truth three different seminars in emunah. Each one began in Pharaoh’s secret riverside bathroom with an introductory lecture by Moshe, who explained the theme of that session. This was followed by the three plagues that taught that lesson.

The first seminar was to teach that Hashem is the master of the world and that there are no other powers. Therefore, Moshe began (Shemos 7:17), “Bezos teidah ki ani Hashem – Through this you will know that I am Hashem.” The Egyptians worshiped the Nile River as their source of life. When Hashem turned it into blood, He demonstrated that if He so desires, it can be a source of death. They saw the same when the Nile spewed out millions of frogs that wreaked havoc and made their lives miserable. And to prove that Moshe was not just a great sorcerer, Hashem turned every speck of dust into disgusting and painful lice. (Sorcery does not work on something smaller than barley.)

Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus

Netanyahu Dares Abbas to Meet: “I’ve Cleared My Schedule for the Week”

Monday, April 4th, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) ‒ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took advantage of his meeting with the Czech foreign minister to challenge Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, April 4.

“President Abbas said on Israeli television a few days ago that if I invite him, he’ll come,” Netanyahu told Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office. “I’m inviting him. I’ve cleared my schedule for the week. Any day he can come, I’ll be here.”

“The first order of business will be ending the Palestinian campaign of incitement to murder Israelis,” Netanyahu added. “My door is always open for those who want peace with Israel.”

Last week, Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, said in a televised interview with Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan that he would be willing to meet Netanyahu “at any time” to negotiate a peace settlement.

“I suggested to him to meet, by the way,” Abbas continued, before stopping himself mid-sentence. “No, no, it’s a secret. He’ll tell you,” he chuckled, going silent at Dayan’s requests that he elaborate.

This is not the first time Netanyahu and Abbas have accused one another of refusing to meet.

Abbas told Israeli journalists in January that a meeting between the two men was arranged and he “agreed and haven’t heard any response from Netanyahu ever since.” Netanyahu’s spokesman, however, called this account “not true.”

Netanyahu dared Abbas that same day at the World Economic Forum in Davos to meet him during an interview with CNN”s Fareed Zakaria.

“I say, okay, you know what Fareed? Issue the invitation to Abu Mazen, President Abbas, and it will give me an excuse to stay in Davos a long time, and we’ll just wait until he comes. Okay?” Netanyahu announced. “I’ve said it any place that I’ve been and he’s refused to come. And that remains the problem.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

White House Upset After Learning of Netanyahu’s Cancellation from Media Reports

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has decided to cancel his upcoming visit to the US, where he was supposed to speak at the AIPAC conference, as well as possibly meet with President Obama in the White House. Netanyahu will instead address the conference by satellite on March 20.

Among the reasons that Netanyahu cancelled his visit, was that it coincided with US President Obama’s visit to Cuba, and therefore the two would have been unable to meet during his time in the US. The AIPAC conference is from March 20 to 22, and Obama is to be in Cuba from March 21 to 22. The White House claims they offered to meet Netanyahu on March 18.

The Prime Minister’s office explained the cancellation, saying Netanyahu did not want to “travel to Washington at the height of the US election season.”

Netanyahu would like to avoid meeting US presidential candidates before the elections, so as not to appear as if he is interfering in the US elections. His presence at AIPAC would have been a magnet for the candidates.

And finally there is speculation that since the ongoing discussions on the “Memorandum of Understanding” – the military aid package and US-Israel military cooperation agreement – haven’t yet been concluded, there would have been nothing concrete to announce at any Netanyahu-Obama meeting.

Apparently though, the White House only learned of Netanyahu’s cancellation from the media, and are upset they found out that way.

Ned Price, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said they had been looking forward to hosting Netanyahu on March 18, and were surprised to learn from media reports that the meeting was cancelled, according to Reuters.

Price wrote in an email, “Reports that we were not able to accommodate the prime minister’s schedule are false.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

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