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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

As Trump Confirms Kushner Will Broker Israel-PA Deal, Don’t Take Jared for Granted

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Speaking to the Times of London in his first UK interview as president-elect, published Monday, Donald Trump confirmed that he intends to appoint son-in-law Jared Kushner to broker a Middle East peace deal. Trump also urged Britain to veto any new anti-Israel UN Security Council resolution, and had nothing but harsh criticism regarding President Obama’s handling of the Iran nuclear deal.

The new appointment is very much in the familiar Trump style of management, whereby he sets up competition between top executives he appoints to parallel positions. In the case of brokering a peace deal, Trump has previously announced the appointment of his loyal attorney Jason Greenblatt, who was his adviser on Israel during the campaign, to negotiate a Middle East peace as Trump’s special adviser on international agreements.

This should be interesting to watch: two competing peace deals between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Or perhaps one Trump envoy will take Gaza. There’s no doubt the president-elect continues to do the unexpected and remains unpredictable. The question is, do Israelis have anything to worry about in son-in-law Jared Kushner?

The grandson of Holocaust survivors, Kushner was raised in a wealthy Orthodox Jewish family in New Jersey that made its fortune in real estate, and graduated with honors from the Frisch School, a coed yeshiva high school, in 1999.

One of the formative events in Jared’s life was the fall of his father, Charles Kushner, who in 1985 founded Kushner Companies. In 2005, US Attorney Chris Christie made his career on the back of Jared’s father, getting him convicted of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering, and landing him in federal prison. Christie thumped his chest victoriously and pushed for a three-year sentence for Charles Kushner, humiliating him publicly by exposing how he had hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law on tape in retaliation against his sister, who was a witness for the prosecution. Christie announced then: “It shows that no matter how rich and powerful you are in this state you will be prosecuted and punished for crimes you commit.”

It was the Kushner case that helped make Christie governor of NJ in 2009. Jared Kushner, who was an intern for Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau at the time of the trial, later described Christie’s abusive handling of his father’s case as the reason why he changed his career course.

In 2016, Jared Kushner’s intervention with the Trump transition team was widely believed to be the reason why Gov. Christie was dropped from the president-elect’s roster, having served the campaign loyally for much of 2016.

So Jared Kushner is a man who knows how to keep a grudge, and knows the secret of revenge being best served ice cold. It should serve as a stern warning to both Israelis and Arabs as he embarks on yet another US administration’s attempt to broker a long lasting peace deal in the Middle East: don’t underestimate him, don’t mess with him, don’t take him for granted. The man is extremely bright, unbelievably ambitious, and has a very long memory.

Netanyahu’s circle seemed elated last November, when a victorious Donald Trump told the NY Times he was mulling making Jared Kushner his envoy to the peace negotiations. Ambassador Ron Dermer said, “There’s no question that he feels a strong commitment to Israel’s security and Israel’s future.” But the Times pointed out that Kushner is not on a first name basis with the business and political elite in Israel – his only friend in Israel is Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Kushner was a child when he met Benjamin Netanyahu when the latter visited Charles Kushner at his NJ home. Trump told the Times that his son-in-law “knows the region, knows the people, knows the players.” But that might be an exaggeration.

Kushner was a valuable asset to Trump in making the connections for him with Netanyahu and Dermer, as well as Sheldon Adelson and other right-leaning, influential American Jews. His start point is probably more favorable to Israel than any of his predecessors in the thankless job of trying to broker peace between Israelis and Arabs. But that’s no guarantee. If, for instance, PM Netanyahu tries his usual yes-but-not-now approach to the two-state solution, he might not get far with Kushner. The PA, by the way, are besides themselves with anxiety over the emphatically pro-Israeli new White House. Which could mean they’d be willing to give up more to Trump than to say, the ever-beseeching John Kerry. Such a change in attitude might, paradoxically, give them a leg up with Kushner.

Indeed, while recent polls have shown that a majority of the PA and Gaza Arabs have given up on the two-state solution, many Arab pundits, such as Ramzy Baroud, suggest there never was a real Arab consensus in support of partition. The new trend for both rank and file and intellectuals on the Arab side is to embrace the one-state approach, just make sure it won’t be Jewish.

This might be a rougher ride than the Israeli right imagined.

JNi.Media

Bomb Threat at Jewish Community Centers (JCC) in London and America’s East Coast Cities

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Jewish community centers in a widespread number of American states were evacuated due to bomb threats on Monday morning, while across the ocean, the same phenomenon was taking place in London, England as well.

Jewish schools across the United Kingdom were placed on alert after bomb threats were called into metro London Jewish schools in Roehampton, Ilford and Brent on Monday morning. The schools were “warned” that explosive devices had been planted on the premises. Thorough searches were conducted at all three sites and other schools were placed on precautionary lock-downs until the “all clear” was received.

Bomb threats were also called in to a few non-Jewish schools as well, according to the British Jewish Chronicle news site.

“Police were alerted at around 10:30am hrs on Monday, 9 January, to phone calls made to schools in Roehampton, Ilford and Brent in which bomb threats were made. Police officers attended the schools. All three incidents were stood down a short time later. An investigation into the threat will be conducted,” Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in the United States, bomb threats were called into Jewish Community Centers (JCC)s in Delaware, Tenafly, New Jersey; Miami Beach and Jacksonville, Florida; in Rockville, Maryland; in West Nashville, Tennessee, and Columbia, South Carolina.

In Delaware, police were called to search the Siegel Jewish Community Center north of Wilmington on Monday, after a bomb threat was called into the facility at around 11:45 am. The caller reportedly said there was a bomb inside the complex, according to Seth J. Katzen, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Delaware, who spoke with Delaware Online, The News Journal.

The building was alerted, Katzen said, and everyone was evacuated from the four facilities at the site, including the JCC, the Jewish Federation of Delaware, the Albert Einstein Academy (K-5) and Jewish Family Services of Delaware. Although police arrived quickly, they told Katzen it would be “a few hours” before they could declare an “all clear.”

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the Jewish Community Center on Palisades in Tenafly sent out a text to its membership warning it had received a bomb threat shortly after 12 noon. As a precaution, officials evacuated the building, which contains a preschool, a senior center and an adult daycare facility for people with disabilities. Parents of preschoolers were asked to pick up their children and all JCC programs were canceled for the day. The “all clear” was received a short time later from the bomb squad that swept the building.

About 450 students and 70 teachers and staff members were evacuated from the Alper JCC School at SW 112th Avenue in southwest Miami-Dade as a precaution at around 11 am, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said. A second Miami-Dade Jewish Community Center was also evacuated, according to CBS Miami, which reported the threat was called in to the main operator line of the facility.

Miami Beach police also were called to the Jewish Community Center on Pine Tree, where only a handful of people were in the building at the time. A thorough search that included K-9 units turned up nothing and the “all-clear” was given. In addition, the Jewish Community Alliance building in Jacksonville, Florida was also evacuated in response to a bomb threat as well. Both were called in at around 10:45 am. Both were given the “all clear” within an hour or two, after sweeps of the buildings turned up nothing.

A woman called a bomb threat into the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville, Maryland, according to CBS News. Officials immediately evacuated the building, Executive Director Michael Feinstein said.

In West Nashville, Tennessee, metro police responded to a report at about 10:30 am of a bomb threat at the Gordon Jewish Community Center, in the 800 block on Percy Warner Boulevard. Officials quickly evacuated the 80 people who were in the building, which functions as a childcare center during the week, according to The Tennessean, part of the USA Today network. Special Agent Michael P. Knight of the Nashville field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told media the ATF is standing by to provide “technical assistance” as needed.

In South Carolina, the Columbia Fire Department and the Richland County bomb squad were also called in just before 11:30 am Monday to scan the Katie and Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center on Flora Drive in Columbia, WBTV reported. After a thorough scan of the building, nothing was found and the “all clear” was given.

This is a developing story.

Hana Levi Julian

Public Menorah Vandalized by Teens in South Orange, NJ

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

A group of three male teenagers was spotted late Thursday night (Dec. 29), the sixth candle of Chanukah, vandalizing a public menorah in the city of South Orange, New Jersey.

One of the vandals was seen damaging the menorah, accompanied by two other teens in Spiotta Park, n ear the Village Plaza.

Their crime was spotted by security cameras, and the footage was publicized by the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism.

Hana Levi Julian

NJ Rabbis Call on Fellow Jews to Pray for the People of Syria, in Aleppo

Friday, December 16th, 2016

While the world has been watching with horror as hundreds of thousands of Syrians are losing their homes – and their very lives – in the once vibrant commercial hub of Aleppo, a congregation in Englewood, New Jersey is asking friends to pray for the victims.

In a letter entitled, Prayers for Aleppo, Rabbis Shmuel Goldin, Chaim Poupko and Mordechai Kuessous write: “We who have experienced so much persecution throughout our history cannot help but be deeply dismayed by the continuing images of blameless civilians assaulted and murdered indiscriminately. The words “Never Again” ring hollow as again we witness murder and massacres with no one to come to the aid of the victims.”

The rabbis state that while all feel powerless, they are writing to ask everyone to “please Daven (pray) and recite Tehillim (psalms) for the innocent victims.”

Two years ago, they write, the Bnei Akiva youth movement in Israel approached Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, a leading head of a yeshiva, for guidance on how to pray for the ‘People of Syria.’ Rabbi Cherlow suggested Psalm 37 and Psalm 120, which speak of the plight of the innocent righteous when evil men plot against them. In addition, the rabbi wrote his own prayer for the Syrian people, and passed it along to volunteers, telling them they could share it with others.

The three rabbis write under the name of the Englewood Synagogue, Congregation Ahavath Torah, that they will recite these prayers and psalms (see below) between Mincha (the afternoon service) and Maariv (the evening service) and over the Sabbath, “but we request of you to please recite these prayers over these next few days, wherever you may be.”

Rav Cherlow’s Prayer for the People of Syria נוסח התפילה המלא שחיבר הרב יובל שרלו:

ריבונו של עולם, העושה שלום במרומיו, אף שלא הוסמכנו לתקן תפילות – אין אנו יכולים עוד להביט אל הטבח הנעשה בעולמך ולא להתפלל על כך; אף שאנו יודעים כי שני הצדדים במלחמה הם שופכי דמים פראיים – אין אנו מסוגלים לשתוק בשעה שנפגעים רבים שהם מחוץ למעגל הלחימה. אנו פונים אליך בתפילה כי תעורר ברוצחים את האנושיות הפשוטה ואת מידת הרחמים, את ההכרה כי כולנו נבראנו בצלם א-לוהים וכי גם למידת האכזריות יש גבולות, ותופיע בעולם את מה שכתבת בתורתך “שופך דם האדם באדם דמו יישפך, כי בצלם א-לוהים עשה את האדם”. שלח בנו גם את התבונה לדעת מה לעשות בשעה הקשה הזו, בו שוב מתגלה הצד האפל שביצרם הרע של בני אדם, ואין אנו יודעים מה מוטל עלינו מול מציאות מרה זו; שלח בנו את היכולת לפעול ככל יכולתנו כדי למנוע שפיכות דמים בעולם, ובמיוחד בארץ הקדושה והרחבה, עליה כתבת בתורתך “וְלֹא תַחֲנִיפוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּהּ כִּי הַדָּם הוּא יַחֲנִיף אֶת הָאָרֶץ, וְלָאָרֶץ לֹא יְכֻפַּר לַדָּם אֲשֶׁר שֻׁפַּךְ בָּהּ כִּי אִם בְּדַם שֹׁפְכוֹ”. עושה שלום במרומיו, הוא יעשה שלום עלינו, ועל כל ישראל, ואמרו אמן. Master of the universe, who makes peace on high, we are not accustomed to new formal prayers, we can no longer look at the slaughter taking place in Your world and fail to pray about it. Though we know that both sides in the war are guilty of wanton bloodshed, we are unable to keep silent when so many who are beyond the circle of conflict have fallen victim. We beseech You in prayer to arouse in the killers their basic humanity and evoke mercy in their hearts, that they may recognize that we are all created in the image of God, and that there are limits even to human cruelty. May You bring to pass what is written in Your Torah: “He who sheds the blood of man, by man his blood shall be shed, for in God’s image was man created.” Grant us the wisdom to know how to act in this hour of distress, when the dark face of humanity’s evil inclination is once again fully exposed and we are unsure how to stand against it. Enable us to act with all our energies to prevent bloodshed in Your world, above all in the Holy Land and its environs, as it is written in Your Torah: “You shall not pollute the land where you are for blood pollutes the land; and the land will not expiate the blood shed upon it, but with the blood of he that shed it.” May God who makes peace on high, make peace upon us and upon all Israel, and let us say Amen.

Hana Levi Julian

Wikileaks: Huma Abedin ‘Corrected’ Haim Saban on Scrutinizing Muslims

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

In November, 2015, after Hollywood mogul Haim Saban, whose support for Hillary Clinton is matched only by his love for his country, Israel, told Itay Hod (from Nazareth, Israel) of The Wrap that the U.S. should tighten its control of Muslims (Hollywood Mogul Haim Saban Calls for ‘More Scrutiny’ of Muslims — Exclusive), he was rebuked by a curt email from Clinton’s closest adviser, Huma Abedin, a string of recently hacked Wikileaks emails reveals.

Saban was delighted with his Wrap interview, and on Nov. 18 sent the Clinton team the link, with the comment: “Hey Guys. Read and get a kick from my statements about Bernie sanders, Rubio and Trump w/o even mentioning their name. Hope all is well.”

The interview was given in the wake of the ISIS murderous Paris attack, and Saban told Hod: “I’m not suggesting we put Muslims through some kind of a torture room to get them to admit that they are or they’re not terrorists, but I am saying we should have more scrutiny.”

Saban insisted the Paris attack, which shocked the world almost a year ago, was the ultimate game changer. “It’s a wake-up call,” he said. “I fully believe we’re in a different kind of World War III. What ISIS has proven is that they’re not only active in Syria and Iraq, but they’re active in Europe. We can’t afford the next president, basically the leader of the free world, to be an amateur that has done nothing other than missing votes, or a clown, to be making the decisions as to how to react.”

In response to her boss’ biggest fan’s proud email (By Nov. 2015, Saban had already given $2 million to Clinton’s Super PAC Priorities USA Action, and he and his wife had hosted a fundraiser that raised another $2 million) Clinton’s closest advisor wrote the following, very cold response:

“Good interview. Thanks for sharing. But what you are saying about Muslims not consistent with HRC. Are you aware of that?”

This is the stuff that keeps Jews and Israelis up at night, that cool, persistent, pro-Muslim voice that will remain, deep and poisonous, inside the president’s ear. Especially since Clinton actually sides with Haim Saban on this issue, as she articulated in September, after Ahmad Rahimi, the US citizen son of Afghan immigrants had been identified as the suspect in a string of bombing attempts in Manhattan and New Jersey:

Clinton said: “I am absolutely in favor of and have long been an advocate for tough vetting, for making sure that we don’t let people into this country — and not just people who come here to settle, but we need a better visa system. Let’s remember what happened on 9/11. These were not refugees who got into airplanes and attacked our city and our country. So let’s not get diverted and distracted by the kind of campaign rhetoric we hear coming from the other side.”

Clinton’s “tough vetting” is practically identical, by the way, to Republican candidate Donald Trump’s call for “extreme vetting.”

Huma Abedin will continue to be a major concern, should Hillary Clinton win in November (which at the moment appears like a foregone conclusion). To be fair, other than a few expressions of derision about AIPAC which rattled US Jews, rightfully so, and the unkind email to Hillary’s rich Israeli supporter from Hollywood, the media, Jewish and otherwise, have yet to catch Abedin in a scandalous anti-Israel statement, the kind that White House staff resignations are made of. All we have at the moment is innuendo, and our sleepless nights.

JNi.Media

3 Dead, 100-Plus Injured in NJ Transit Hoboken Train Crash

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

At least three people are dead and more than 100 others injured on Thursday — including the engineer, who was in the lead car — after a New Jersey Transit train crashed into the Hoboken terminal. Many dual-nationals living in Israel are from the New York-New Jersey area.

The collision took place during the morning commute, just before 9 am, according to officials at the scene quoted by the New York Post. The train departed from Spring Valley and was due at Hobboken at 8:38 am but was running late, WABC reported.

The terminal is NJ Transit’s fifth-busiest station, serving some 50,000 commuters and other travelers daily. Hoboken is the final stop for a number of different train lines, and is a stop where at least 15,000 people board for other destination every week day, according to CBS Local News.

Pacack Valley Line Train No. 1614 on Track 5 went straight through the wall of the terminal, a NJ Transit source told the newspaper. WFAN anchor John Minko, who witnessed the crash, said the train sailed “right through the barriers and into the reception area.”

The crash caused major structural damage to the terminal building, and part of the arched roof appeared to have collapsed in photos posted on social media, along with part of the roof of the train shed. Water was spraying from the site of the accident as well. Officials worked quickly to evacuate the area due to the apparent instability of the structure.

Many of the injured are listed in critical condition, according to CBS Local news. The broadcaster cautioned passersby not to stop with and snap photos with their cell phones, since passengers were still trapped within the train, including some who could be in very serious condition, and might not want their families to know yet.

A triage center was set up at the site to initiate treatment prior to evacuation. At least 40 of the injured were evacuated to Jersey City Medical Center. Others were taken to area hospitals across the region. One of the passengers on the train told The Post, “There was no brakes, all of a sudden just crash. Something happened.” Another told Reuters, “I noticed, ‘He’s not slowing up, we’re going too fast,’ and with that there was this tremendous crash.”

Federal Railroad Administration investigators have arrived at the site of the crash, and the National Transportation Safety Board has said it will also send a team to probe the accident. A law enforcement official told media that although “nothing has been ruled out,” so far the crash appears to have been an accident due to derailment.

Rail service in and out of Hoboken terminal has been suspended, with NJ Transit bus and private carriers honoring passes and rail tickets in lieu of railway transport. PATH service to the Hoboken station is also suspended, and the Lackawanna entrance connecting NJ Transit to PATH is also closed.

Hana Levi Julian

US Jewish Leaders Briefed by Dept. of Homeland Security Ahead of High Holy Days

Monday, September 26th, 2016

U.S. Jewish leaders participated in a pre-holiday conference call Friday that included briefings by a top official from the Dept. of Homeland Security, and the head of security for the Jewish Federations of North America.

Paul Goldenberg is the director of Secure Community Networks — the agency that manages security for JFNA.

Goldenberg told officials from more than a hundred Jewish agencies that were on the call that it is important to keep their security measures unobtrusive so as not to disturb worshipers during High Holy Day services.

“We have come to learn that the goal of terrorists is to wear down our citizens’ spirits and endurance, destroying national morale,” he said.

The barriers that European security personnel have placed around Jewish houses of worship, Goldenberg noted, have created a bunker mentality.

A poll conducted earlier this month by the European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Center of Europe showed that some 70 percent of the Jewish population on the continent are afraid to leave their homes and attend High Holy Day services this year.

Huge Majority of Europe’s Jews Say They’re Staying Home for the Holy Days

Participants in the call were briefed on the recent terrorist attacks that have taken place in the United States, including the New York-New Jersey bombings that left 29 people injured in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

The officials reviewed security procedures, including pointers on how to deal with active shooters, and establishing relationships with local police.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-jewish-leaders-briefed-by-dept-of-homeland-security-ahead-of-high-holy-days/2016/09/26/

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