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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘member’

Rejected by Voters, Meridor Contemplating Run for Jerusalem Mayor

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

An initiative of some members of the Jerusalem Likud branch could help keep soon-to-be-former MK Dan Meridor gainfully employed: The Begin Heritage Group, led by Avi Moyal, Yoram Gamish and Jerusalem city council member Meir Turgeman, yesterday proposed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would throw his support behind Meridor, who had been rejected by Likud primary voters, to become Jerusalem’s mayor in the October, 2013 elections. Turgeman, who is also member of the Likud Center, told Israel Today that “Netanyahu welcomed the idea.”

Sources in the prime minister’s circle said the issue “has not been discussed,” and that, in any case, “the prime minister said that he wants Dan Meridor at his side in the next government he would put together, God willing.”

Americans for Peace Now Backs Palestinian UN Bid

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Americans for Peace Now called on President Obama to support the Palestinians’ bid to upgrade their status in the United Nations to non-member observer state.

The stance by the left-wing group issued in a statement Tuesday places it at odds with the pro-Israel community. The statement by the group’s president and CEO, Debra DeLee, was issued two days ahead of the anticipated vote in the UN General Assembly on the Palestinians’ application for enhanced status.

“In the wake of the latest Gaza War, we believe the international community, led by the Obama administration, must take urgent action to restore faith in a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” DeLee wrote.

A number of major Jewish groups, including the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and B’nai B’rith International, oppose the bid and are lobbying against it among UN member nations.

Some leading lawmakers in Congress have threatened to cut assistance to the Palestinian Authority should its affiliated Palestine Liberation Organization press ahead with the bid.

J Street, also a left-wing pro-Israel group, released a position paper that did not tsupport the bid but pledged to oppose any effort to penalize the Palestinians for making it.

DeLee called on “all nations, including the United States and Israel,” to endorse the Palestinians’ request and adds that the two countries “should likewise refrain from and reject punitive measures against the Palestinians in the wake of this initiative, including efforts by Israel or any other party to exploit this initiative as a pretext for actions that further erode the possibility of peace.”

APN’s Israeli sister group, Peace Now, expressed similar support for the bid in a letter to Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman.

The PLO was rebuffed last year in its bid to have the UN Security Council recognize Palestine as a state; the United States successfully lobbied against the move, threatening to use its veto.

There is no such veto in the General Assembly, where the Palestinians have an assured majority. Observer state status does not carry with it the privileges of full membership; observers must still apply to become members of UN constituent groups. The PLO is currently a non-member observer entity.

Good Morning, We’re Having a Palestinian State and Israel Kind of Approves

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

In yesterday’s State Department press conference, Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirmed that the U.S. will be voting “no” on the effort by Mahmoud Abbas to raise the United Nations status of the Palestinian Authority so that “Palestine” will move from being merely an “observer” to what is known as a non-member observer state.

At this time, the only official U.N. non-member observer state is the Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, which is the representative of the Vatican.

Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas landed in New York last night.  The Resolution endorsing the change is expected to be voted upon in the U.N. General Assembly this Thursday, Nov 29.

The government of Israel is adamantly opposed to the change in status for the Arab Palestinians, and is hoping that other countries will support its position.

But, in a surprise announcement, a top diplomatic Israeli official in Jerusalem told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday that Israel no longer intends to dismantle the Oslo Accords if Abbas goes through with his UN gambit.  Technically, such a move negates the Oslo process, and Israel has long threatened to consider the Oslo Accords fully abrogated if the Arab Palestinians attempt to achieve results outside of negotiations.

It was not readily apparent what response, if any, the government of Israel will have to a change in status for “Palestine” at the U.N. But the announcement made Tuesday was in conflict with statements made over the past few weeks by Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in which he threatened that the Oslo process would be cancelled if Abbas went forward with his effort at the U.N.

Thus far only the U.S. has officially declared its intention to vote against the Palestinian statehood resolution.  Nuland explained the U.S. position to reporters yesterday, Nov 27:

We’re focused on a policy objective on the ground for the Palestinian people, for the people of Israel, which is to end up with two states that can live peacefully next to each other. Nothing in this action at the UN is going to take the Palestinians any closer to that. So yes, we’re going to oppose it because we think it is the wrong move. We think it makes other steps that might improve the lives of Palestinians and Israelis harder. Other countries will make their own decision. This is not a new issue. We’ve been talking about it for more than a year, and so we’re just going to have to see what happens later on in the week.

It is anticipated that Canada will vote against the Resolution, and Germany may abstain, but already both France and Britain have publicly stated they are committed to voting in favor of the resolution.  Switzerland and Portugal are also expected to support the measure.  No doubt the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will all vote in favor of the measure.

Unlike a Resolution in the Security Council, in the General Assembly there is no such thing as a veto.  A simple majority vote is all that is necessary for the measure to pass. Full member status can only be obtained through a vote at the Security Council. Last year Abbas went to the Security Council to seek full member status for “Palestine.” The United States, however, made clear its intention to veto the measure, and the effort was withdrawn.

After some badgering by reporters over whether the change in status would have any impact on the peace process, Ms. Nuland said, categorically, “We oppose any move in the General Assembly. We think it’s going to make the situation harder.”

And Abbas is going to the UN with the support from an unexpected source – longtime political rival leadership of Hamas is now supporting the U.N. bid.  No clear explanations have been offered for this about-face.  However, there are those who suspect Hamas anticipates victory over Abbas’s Fatah as the sole representative of the Arab Palestinian people.  If so, then they will be the representative party at the United Nations.

It is widely expected that the U.N. Resolution will pass, but even if it does “Palestine” will not be a full member of the UN.

A draft copy of the Resolution, dated 26 Nov 2012,  was obtained by The Jewish Press.  The Resolution reiterates all of the demands the Arab Palestinians have made, with no concessionary language whatsoever, and includes demands for the release of prisoners, the “right of return,” the cessation of all Israeli “settlement” activities, including in “East Jerusalem,” that the capital of “Palestine” will be “East Jerusalem,” and,

the attainment of a peaceful settlement in the Middle East that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and fulfills the vision of two States, an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with Israel, on the basis of the pr-1967 borders.

The Resolution also calls on the Security Council to favorably consider the application submitted last year to the United Nations for full membership for ”Palestine.”

The City that has Problems with Synagogues

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

My congressional campaign is over, but one of the main reasons I ran remains. What first impelled me to seek public office was the feeling of powerlessness to stop Muammar Kaddafi from coming to stay in the home immediately next door to me in Englewood, N.J., in the autumn of 2009.

And though we ultimately succeeded, with God’s blessing, in pushing him out, I could not persuade my city to challenge the tax exemption of an international terrorist which forced me, and all the other residents of Englewood, to be complicit in evil in having to subsidize a murderous government’s compound in our midst. (The staff living there did not have the decency to even once lower their flag to half-staff in the wake of the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi.)

If only my city were to treat me with the same courtesy they accorded Kaddafi.

For the past year my congregants and I have been locked in a bitter struggle with Englewood to get our home properly zoned as a Synagogue. We have hosted prayer, religious services, and educational events for more than 13 years, but the city continues to cite us as requiring a variance in order to host communal worship. The same city that could not, for three decades, muster the courage to challenge the Libyans’ tax-exempt presence in our town has obstructed a fair hearing of our congregants’ right to establish a house of worship. As the Chairman of our Board, Michael Fromm, has put it, “It’s an outrage. We have had hearings canceled for nefarious reasons, the rules have been changed mid-game, city officials have abused their power to thwart us, board members have publicly displayed prejudice against us, and we have been held to a higher standard than international terrorists.”

The city’s efforts to block our Synagogue application have been brazen. First, they canceled our hearing at the Board of Adjustment – for which we had prepared for months at considerable expense – on the very same day it was to take place on October 24, 2011. Then, after having our hearing unlawfully canceled by one Board, we spent thousands more to ready ourselves for a hearing at the Planning Board, appointed and overseen by the City’s mayor, Frank Huttle. Unbelievably, they too found a legal loophole to deny us from even being heard. The full video of the hearing is available here and you may draw your own conclusions as to the fairness of their arguments and vote.

So, thousands of dollars later we were back at the Board of Adjustment for a hearing scheduled for May 21, 2012. Then, just a week before the hearing we were forwarded a letter, authored by Ken Albert, the City Engineer, dated March 27, 2012, that demanded, for the first time, a host of new improvements in order for us to even qualify for the hearing. Bizarrely, the city stamped his letter April 24th, 2012, suggesting they had sat on the letter for a full month prior to forwarding it, thereby making it impossible for our hearing to go ahead as planned.

We acquired a new date of June 25, 2012 only to have that hearing canceled by Chairwoman Rosemary Byrne a mere four hours before it was scheduled, wasting thousands more of our organization’s money. Was the city’s strategy to have us squander all our funds without even a hearing so that we would throw in the towel?

We finally decided to go public about the many obstacles and cancellations thrown in our path for the creation of a House of Worship, while leaving the Libyans to live peacefully at Englewood taxpayer expense. We also prepared a Federal lawsuit against the city under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Once the newspaper reports appeared, we were granted a hearing.

We’ve had two since. Unfortunately, the hearings have been characterized by what would seem to be a predetermined outcome. A simple read of the transcripts provides a great deal of illumination, with one board member in particular, Harry Reidler, seeming particularly vexed by our application.

Reidler, who is a member of the local Democratic Municipal Committee, several times raised my Congressional bid in the district (Republican) even though it was never germane to our Synagogue’s application. When, for the first time, he brought up my race for Congress he was interrupted three times by the Chairwoman and told, “Wait.” Still he objected, saying ‘…I mean, we know that this Rabbi is running for Congress.”

PLO Sources: Fayyad Not Resigning, Proposing New Government

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has not offered his resignation, but has presented instead a plan to the PLO leadership to form a more inclusive factional government, two PLO executive committee members in Ramallah told Ma’an Wednesday.

Ahmad Majdalani told Ma’an that Fayyad suggested forming a government including officials from every faction so as to evenly distribute responsibility before President Mahmoud Abbas returns to the UN in November.

Majdalani said the proposal was not met with applause during the most recent meeting.

Wasel Abu Yousef, another member of the executive committee, said Fayyad did not intend to resign, but “during the last meeting a few days ago there was discussion about forming a government of factions,” which would bring in more of the opposition.

Abu Yousef quoted Fayyad as saying that the Palestinian Authority is under pressure from a financial crisis that required a government of all factions.

Raya press reported Wednesday that Fayyad would discuss his resignation with Abbas soon. The president’s office denied that report.

Fayyad, who was replaced as finance minister in a government reshuffle in May, has indicated he would be willing to step down as premier if the electorate insisted.

Protests in September largely blamed Fayyad, a former economist, for a financial crisis resulting in part from the failure of foreign donor countries to meet pledges on time.

Noam Chomsky Visits Gaza

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Professor Noam Chomsky, a Jewish professor of linguistics known for staunch pro-Palestinian rhetoric, visited Gaza on Thursday.

Chomsky was denied entry to Israel two years ago, and delivered a lecture intended to be given at Birzeit University in Palestinian-controlled area in Samaria from a location in Jordan.

The Gaza visit included attendance at a conference at the Islamic University.  AFP reported that Palestinian television broadcast comments he made, including his statement – a quote of a member of Gaza’s legislative council and head of the university administration, that “The Palestinian people have a right to live peacefully and in freedom.”

Suspected!

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

“I arranged with Simon Cooper, the plumber, to clear the blockage in the kitchen sink this morning,” Mr. Laks told his wife.

“Oh, great!” she replied. “I’ll clean the kitchen before he comes.”

At 10 o’clock Simon arrived. Mr. Laks showed him into the kitchen. “This sink is blocked terribly,” he said. “I’ve tried drain cleaner and a snake, but haven’t been able to clear it.”

“I’ll get to the bottom of it,” replied Simon confidently.

“Do you need help?” asked Mr. Laks.

“No,” said Simon. “You can go about your business; leave the sink to me.” He worked for about a half hour, going in and out of the house to bring tools from his car.

Mrs. Laks came into the kitchen and opened the drawer near the sink. “Have you seen my ring?” she asked Simon.

“No, I haven’t,” Simon responded.

“I left my ring in the kitchen drawer when I cleaned the kitchen this morning,” Mrs. Laks confided to her husband, panic-stricken. “There was no one else in the house other than Simon all morning, and he’s been in and out to his car numerous times.”

“Are you sure you left it in the drawer?” Mr. Laks asked her.

“Absolutely positive,” she said. “I also noticed the drawer was ajar and had been rummaged through.”

“Did you confront Simon?” Mr. Laks asked his wife.

“I asked him if he saw the ring,” replied Mrs. Laks, “but he claims he didn’t. I’m sure he took it, though.”

“I’m going to confront him directly,” Mr. Laks said.

Mr. Laks went over to Simon. “My wife is missing her ring,” he said. “She is positive she left it the drawer near the sink this morning, and only you were in the house today.”

“How dare you accuse me?” said Simon indignantly. “Your wife probably moved it and forgot where.”

“She is sure she left it in the drawer,” said Mr. Laks emphatically.

“You have no evidence I took it,” said Simon, shaking his head angrily. “Anyway, I just finished clearing the blockage. That’s $150 for the repair and I’ll be off.”

“I’m not paying anything,” said Mr. Laks. “I’m holding the payment in lieu of the ring, until we discuss this with Rabbi Dayan.”

“We’d better do so,” retorted Simon. “Let’s go right now!”

“My wife left her ring in the kitchen drawer, and it was taken,” Mr. Laks told Rabbi Dayan. “Mr. Cooper was working in the kitchen and was the only other person in the house. What recourse do we have?”

“A person who makes a definite claim but has no evidence or testimony an impose an oath, shevuas heses, on the other party who denies the claim,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “Although in general a person cannot impose an oath without a definite claim, Rama writes that a person can impose an oath if there is a strong basis, raglayim ladavar, for the claim, even if it is not definite.” (C.M. 75:17)

“What is an example of something considered a strong basis?” asked Mr. Laks.

“Let’s say someone was in your house. You find the moneybox broken and the contents stolen, and you suspect that person – you can impose an oath upon him,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “However, the Shach [75:63] questions the Rama’s ruling. He concludes that it depends on the evaluation of the beis din; if they see sufficient basis for the allegation, they can impose an oath upon the accused.”

“I understand that nowadays beis din is wary about imposing an oath,” said Mr. Laks. “Anyway, I want to withhold Mr. Cooper’s wages!”

“This is a complicated issue,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “The SM”A [75:49] writes that if the plaintiff grabs payment from the suspected thief unobserved, so that there is no evidence that he grabbed, he can keep the payment. Shach [75:64] and Taz [75:17] vehemently disagree; a person cannot take money from another when there is an element of doubt. Pischei Teshuvah [75:20] cites varying opinions of later authorities. Bottom line, since the plaintiff is already in possession of the money, he can keep it when he has clear basis for his claim.” (See Pischei Choshen, Geneivah 1:13)

“Then I should be able to withhold the wages,” said Mr. Laks, “since I am in possession of the money.”

Likud Set to Approve Primary Elections Scheme, Barak Excluded

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The method of the primaries for the Likud’s Knesset list was drafted by the Likud’s Constitutional Committee last night and is set to be approved by the party’s Central Committee this evening in Ganei HaTa’aruchah in Tel Aviv.

The scheme does not include the reserving of secure spots on the list – spots within the number of seats Likud is certain to win – for candidates chosen by Party Chairman PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

It was rumored that Netanyahu wanted such spots for Defense Minister Ehud Barak and possibly other members of Barak’s Independence faction which broke off from Labor some time ago.

MK Danny Danon spoke out vigorously against the possibility and Netanyahu consistently denied that he had any plans for such a thing, despite a report in Ma’ariv which said Netanyahu sought to create one reserved spot for every ten spots on the list.

Like the Likud’s 2006 Knesset list, the party’s list for the upcoming elections will include spots for immigrant, women, non-Jews and various geographic districts in the bottom of the first thirty-five spots on the list, while the top will be filled by candidates ranked nationally by voters.

The date for the primaries will be November 25th, slightly later than the mid-November – November 22nd dates which had been reported, giving candidates additional time to campaign. That should help the elections become more of a contest instead of a mere ratification of the previous Knesset list.

While the Likud has not formally released the draft primary scheme, according to Ma’ariv, the list will be as follows:  The first spot will go to the party chairman, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who was reelected to that post in January of this year. (By law the party chairman is the party’s candidate for Prime Minister). Spots 2-21 will be for nationally ranked candidates.

The next 14 spots will be “mashbetzot” – separate races among special districts or demographics in the follow order: The Shphelah (Plain) district; the Dan district;  the Women’s spot; the Druze spot; Galil and Valleys district; the Negev; Jerusalem; another women’s spot; an immigrants spot; Tel Aviv; Haifa; the Coastal Plain;  and the young members spot at number 34.

In addition, Ha’aretz has reported that under the scheme, if there is no immigrant or female candidate ranked at number 20 and 21 or above, then a female or immigrant candidate on the national portion of the list will be moved up to those spots. This is considered a nod to Coalition Chairman MK Ze’ev Elkin who is an immigrant.

Ha’aretz‘s report also differed from Ma’ariv‘s in that it said the women’s spot Ma’ariv had placed at number 24 will actually appear at 29.

It does not appear that there will be any problem in adopting the scheme as Moshe Feiglin, a candidate for the Likud’s list and leader of the anti-establishment Manhigut Yehudit faction  - which is said to comprise thousands of Likud members and hundreds of Central Committee members – urged his supporters in the Central Committee to approve the primaries scheme in a text message sent last night.

The approval of the scheme by which candidates will be elected in primaries, puts to rest, at least for now, another scheme which had been proposed by MK Mickey Eitan to have the Knesset list chosen by a body comprised of several thousand activists and another reported proposal to have the Central Committee once again choose the Knesset list. Those would have required amendments to the Likud’s Constitution.

Editor’s Note: The writer is an active member of the Likud and a member of the Likud’s Central Committee.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/likud-set-to-approve-primary-elections-scheme-barak-excluded/2012/10/17/

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