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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘October’

Romney Sweeps Ex-Pat Vote in Israel, ‘I Vote Israel’ Delivers 20-25% of All Overseas Ballots

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

In the last week of October, I Vote Israel has reported that it sent some 80 thousand ballots, weighing 500 lbs., to the U.S. embassy in Tel-Aviv (which should, naturally, be moving to Jerusalem by the end of January, if candidate Mitt Romney makes good on a promise made traditionally by every presidential candidate in the past few decades).

According to the I Vote campaign National Director Elie Pieprz, those represent close to a quarter of all the overseas ballots filled out by U.S. citizens around the planet. We are one involved tribe, aren’t we.

So, here’s some information regarding those ballots, filled out mostly in the offices of the Association of Americans & Canadians in Israel:

First, how crucial were those ballots? Well, to paraphrase the well known adage, some folks are more crucial than others. The most crucial were Ohio ex-pats, who sent in 3500 ballots. Pennsylvanians, whose state is baby-bluish, leaning Democrat, also sent in 3500 ballots. And Floridians (who presumably came to Israel for a change of climate?) sent 7500 ballots.

Obviously, besides the presidential choice, each ballot also offered individuals to vote for the Senator from their state and the congressperson from their district.

The Shaviv Strategy and Campaign service conducted an exit poll among the ex-pats (no one asked us, in faraway Netanya, incidentally), so here goes:

With a sample of 1,572 voters, and a margin of error of around 2.5%:

Warm-up question: What was the most important issue for you in these elections? Taxation 0.9%; Healthcare 2.7%; Jobs and the economy 11.2%; Iran 11.2%; Israel-centered issues like the Palestinians and the status of Jerusalem 61.3%; other 10%.

In the overall congressional vote: Republicans 62%, Democrats 28.2%.

Very similar results in the Senate vote: Republicans 63%, Democrats 27.8%.

Finally, for the Chief Executive: Republican Mitt Romney 85.0%, Incumbent Democrat Barack Obama 14.3%. Daffy Duck and other write-ins 0.6%.

Life Beyond Politics

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Dedicated to the politicians

The coming winter is going to be a hot one.  The smell of it is already wafting through the national-religious community, which for some time now has been in the middle of an unprecedentedly egotistical primaries campaign.

For those who have had enough of advertisements saying how great one candidate is and how problematic another, here is a story about two national-religious pioneers in Judea and Samaria, one a fighter in the army and the other a fighter in the public sphere.  Just a reminder that there is life beyond egocentric political campaigns.

***

The day before this past Yom Kippur, I was waiting for a hitchhike to a mikveh(ritual pool) in Gush Etzion.  Yehuda Mali, an educator from the City of David in Jerusalem, stopped and gave me a ride.  He also was on the way to amikveh, he said: he was going to visit Menashe Mizrachi.  Menashe is a purifying human mikveh whom it is quite fitting to visit prior to Yom Kippur, explained Yehuda.

I went with him.

For the past forty years, ever since the Yom Kippur War, Menashe has been paralyzed and confined to his home.  He was a Shaked commando in the IDF back then, and took two bullets to his neck during the battles over the Suez Canal.

Seeing him and talking with him as another Yom Kippur approached nearly forty years later was indeed a purifying experience.

Our personal ambitions and achievements suddenly are much less impressive in light of one man’s struggle against the difficulties and complications of being paralyzed for decades.

But he didn’t say that.  I’m the only one complaining here.

Menashe, the popular young man from the Bnei Akiva trips to the Judean foothills, who had the strength to carry the jerricans for his friends in arms and the endearing laugh to capture everyone’s heart, continues to laugh to this day in his bed.  On this occasion he was having an especially happy time, since he had just returned from a long stay in the hospital.

He wasted no time reading the somber expression that came over my face when I entered.

“Smile!” he ordered.  “Laugh!  Give twenty percent!  Be happy!”

Twenty percent?

“Twenty percent of his capacity to function and breathe,” explained his friend Yehuda.

Penina, Menashe’s wife, told me that she learns something new about faith from him every morning.  When she asks Menashe how he’s doing, he answers, “Thank God!  We’ve gotten up!  We’re awake!”

For Menashe, every day he wakes up is a holiday.  The prayer thanking Him “Who returns souls to deceased bodies” (“hamachazir neshamot lifgarim meitim”), which we say while still sleepy and bleary-eyed, is the song of his life.  He was, after all, brought back from the dead, after being discarded among the ranks of bodies in the sand by the canal.  His paramedic friend Avner saw signs of life and resuscitated him.

The struggle was not yet over.  In the hospital, when the doctors had finished performing surgery, they called in Menashe’s relatives to say their farewells.

But the parting ceremony was cancelled due to Menashe’s immense love of life.

Today Menashe is a “settler” in Bat Ayin.  His message: be happy with what you have, even if it is only twenty percent.

***

Rabbi Moshe Levinger, the great leader of Jewish pioneers in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”), is now partially paralyzed as a result of a stroke.  He is better known than Menashe, but only among those old enough to remember.

For the youth, it goes without saying that Jews live in Judea and Samaria.  They have no memories of the mass movement of people to a new site to put facts on the ground, no memories of “Reb Moishe” pushing through the return of Jews to Hevron—and from there to the rest of Judea and Samaria.

Rabbi Levinger deserves the Israel Prize for all of his achievements.

On the other hand, then the Israel Prize would no longer be the Israel Prize and Reb Moishe would no longer be Reb Moishe …

The days when Reb Moishe would run tirelessly from place to place to recruit activists for the great revolution are long gone.  Like Menashe, he was in mortal danger until he was successfully rehabilitated, and the complications are not all over.

My wife, who works as a nurse, tells me that a person’s greatness is on display when he is ill.  Rabbi Levinger is no exception.  His greatness is especially on display every Friday.

For years before he became ill, Rabbi Levinger would visit an old age home in Jerusalem every week to sing Shabbat songs (even some children’s songs!) and share words of Torah in advance of Shabbat.

This musical career of his began when he was sent there to perform community service in lieu of imprisonment for one of the illegal demonstrations that the “settler rabbi” organized.  After Rabbi Levinger had finished serving his time, the doctor at the home contacted him and asked him to keep coming, and Rabbi Levinger agreed.

Hardcore activists of Gush Emunim wondered, how many leaders does our nation have who are so important yet go to volunteer at an old age home?  They took to accompanying him sometimes to participate, volunteer, and sing.

Recently, after Rabbi Levinger emerged from the hospital and from critical condition and recovered partially from his stroke, he asked to come back to the old age home.

Since then, every Friday, Rabbi Levinger leaves his home in Hevron and piles himself into a neighbor’s car with his wheelchair and attendant, and the laden vehicle makes its way to the old age home in Jerusalem.

The old-timers who knew him in better days ask how he is.  He beams.  “Everything is fine.”  Despite the stroke, he still remembers all their names.

An old, blind pianist plays the songs.  The other old-timers and the rabbi sing.  They light candles in honor of Shabbat, say a bracha and smell besamim(spices).  And finally the rabbi limps purposefully from one old-timer to another, wishing each one “Shabbat shalom.”

***

Shabbat shalom, everyone.  There are good people in our country, and they are happy with what they have—even Menashe Mizrachi’s twenty-percent breathing and Rabbi Levinger’s twenty-percent walking.

“Who is wealthy?

“He who is happy with what he has.”

Originally published in Makor Rishon (Hebrew), October 2012. Translated from Hebrew by David B. Greenberg.

The Nation of Islam Discovers Scientology

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

The Nation of Islam’s historic role as a bridge between American blacks and Islam ended in 1975 when W. Deen Mohammed followed his father, Elijah Muhammad as leader of the Nation and immediately disavowed his father’s folk religion, bringing his followers to normative Islam, the Islam of the Middle East. From then on, despite the theatrics of Louis Farrakhan, the Nation has been in a long downward trajectory. Now comes evidence, thanks to Tony Ortega in the Village Voice and Eliza Gray in The New Republic, of a jaw-dropping turn by Farrakhan, 79, to Scientology; as Gray’s subtitle puts it, “America’s two weirdest sects join forces.”

The connection goes back seven years, Gray explains:

the story of how Farrakhan came to embrace it concerns a Nation minister in Los Angeles named Tony Muhammad. In 2005, Muhammad was beaten by the LAPD at a prayer vigil he’d helped organize for a young man killed in a drive-by shooting. The incident plunged him into an agitated, depressed state. A concerned friend introduced him to Scientology, which he credits with saving his life. When Farrakhan later met with Muhammad, he was amazed by the transformation and, as Muhammad tells it in an audio clip posted on YouTube, exclaimed: “Whatever you’re on—I want some of it.”

Five years later, things moved into high gear:

The first large-scale introduction of Scientology to Nation members took place in August 2010, when hundreds of believers from around the country traveled to Rosemont, Illinois, near the Nation’s headquarters, for a seminar in Dianetics, a foundational belief system of Scientology. There, they were guided through auditing sessions—a kind of hybrid between hypnosis and confession—in which a Scientologist purges painful experiences from his subconscious in the presence of an “auditor.” At the end of the seminar, Farrakhan told the group he wanted everyone in attendance to become a certified auditor.

“I’ve found something in the teaching of Dianetics, of Mr. L. Ron Hubbard, that I saw could bring up from the depth of our subconscious mind things that we would prefer to lie dormant,” Farrakhan announced on July 1, 2012. “How could I see something that valuable and know the hurt and sickness of my people and not offer it to them?” Farrakhan plans to build a Scientology training center in Chicago and has even stated that “Nobody can lead in our Nation until and unless they become clear,” a reference to Scientology’s most enlightened state. He also voiced a hope that the two organizations maintain a “long and beautiful relationship.”

In turn, the head of Scientology, David Miscavige, finds bringing blacks into his organization super cool, praising “a most influential culture. … I’m speaking of those who truly set cultural trends, and across every avenue: fashion, music, you name it. So talk about a pervasive culture, talk about a permeating and penetrating culture, or to put it another way: Most white folks wouldn’t have a clue of what it means to be cool if it weren’t for black America.” To smooth the way for NoI’s members to rise through the notoriously expensive Scientology ranks, Miscavige even cut them some financial breaks.

Comment: This fascination with Dianetics probably marks the terminal point for NoI. Normative Islam reigns supreme in America. (October 25, 2012).

Originally posted on DanielPipes.org and Blouin News on October 25, 2012. 

Parshas Lech Lecha

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Vol. LXIII No. 43                                          5773

 

New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
October 26, 2012 – 10 Cheshvan 5773
5:39 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

Sabbath Ends: 6:43 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Lech Lecha
Weekly Haftara: Lama Tomar (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)
Daf Yomi: Sabbos  23
Mishna Yomit: Nazir 4:2-3
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 143:2-4
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Kelim chap. 27 – Hilchos Mikva’os 1
Earliest Time for Tallis and Tefillin: 6:25 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 10:00 a.m. NYC E.D.T.

Israel Deports Estelle Infiltrators

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Israel deported 15 international protesters arrested for trying to infiltrate an Israeli security zone set up around Gaza with their flotilla, Estelle.

Infiltrators hailed from Greece, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and Canada.

Israeli naval commandos boarded Estelle on October 20.  Estelle is Swedish-owned, Finnish-flagged.

The attempt follows in the wake of the Mavi Marmara, a ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists who claimed to be carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in May 2010.  When Israeli commandos boarded the illegal vessel, they were attacked by the activists who stabbed several and beat others with pipes and sticks.  Defending themselves against the attackers, soldiers killed nine Turkish activists before quelling the attack.

 

Calendar Of Events

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

WHAT: PJ Library Miami, along with Jewish Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy and the Galbut Family Miami Beach JCC will host a special morning with Ronni Litz Julien. Julien is a nutritionist and author who will present “Think Outside the Lunchbox,” new ideas for feeding healthy food to your kids. A light kosher breakfast will be served.

WHERE: Galbut Family Miami Beach JCC, 4221 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach

WHEN: Tuesday, October 30 at 9:30 a.m.

CONTACT: For more information or to RSVP e-mail: pjlibrary@jewishmiami.org

* * * * *

WHAT: Author, Doreen Rappaport presents her latest book, Beyond Courage, the untold story of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. This is the tale of the defiance of tens of thousands of Jews across 11 Nazi-occupied countries during World War II. The presentation is open to the community

WHERE: Dave and Mary Alper JCC, 11155 SW 112 Avenue

WHEN: Friday, October 26, 1:15 p.m.-3 p.m.

COST: No Charge

CONTACT: Marcy Levitt, e-mail mleavitt@alperjcc.org or call 305-9000 ext 268

* * * * *

WHAT: Kesher’s Annual Holiday Shopping Boutique – amazing merchandise all under one roof

WHERE: MAR JCC Gymnasium, 18900 NE 25th Ave., North Miami Beach

WHEN: Thursday, November 1, 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

CONTACT: Ilene Weinkle (e-mail IWeinkle@Kesherld.com or call 305-792-7060)

* * * * *

WHAT: The Holocaust Memorial of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and the New World Symphony will Present “Inside the Music: Songs of the Holocaust,” a musical celebration of the incredible spirit that kept many alive during the time of the Shoah and a tribute to those who perished.

WHERE: The New World Center, 500 17th Street, Miami

WHEN: Tuesday, November 13 at 7 p.m.

CONTACT & COST: Tickets are free of charge and must be reserved in advance. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-673-3331

Romney Stumbles on Foreign Policy

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

The final presidential debate focused disproportionately on the Middle East. Four of the six segments were on the Middle East, just two on other topics (one about the U.S. role in the world, the other about China). Egypt was mentioned 11 times, Libya 12 times, Iraq 22 times, Pakistan 25 times, Syria 28 times, Afghanistan 30 times, Israel 34 times, and Iran 47 times. In contrast, the European crisis got no mention, nor did India, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, or Australia.

Barack Obama has a weak record in the Middle East, but one would not learn this from the debate, where Mitt Romney praised Obama’s achievements (“It’s wonderful that Libya seems to be making some progress”), agreed with Obama more than he disagreed, and rarely pointed out his failings. Presumably, Romney took this mild approach to establish his likability, competence, and suitability to serve as commander-in-chief.

When asked about Egypt, Romney digressed to the need for a strong U.S. economy. When asked about American’s role in the world, he touted the achievements of 4th graders in Massachusetts during his governorship. Perhaps his recurring emphasis on the economy will win over the elusive undecideds, but it left this viewer frustrated.

The Libya topic was Romney’s great surprise and his missed opportunity. Asked a softball question about the mistakes made in the aftermath of the attack on Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, he talked about better education, gender equality and other worthy goals – but ignored the opportunity to establish that the Obama administration is not only inept but engaged in fabrications. Most agonizingly, Romney congratulated Obama for taking out Osama bin Laden without noting that this did limited good, for Al-Qaeda still had the ability to attack and kill Americans in Benghazi.

In terms of policy, Obama made statements about Iran worthy of note: “As long as I’m president of the United States Iran will not get a nuclear weapon. … A nuclear Iran is a threat to our national security, and it is a threat to Israel’s national security. … We are going to take all options necessary to make sure [the Iranians] don’t have a nuclear weapon.” Oddly, Romney replied with a detailed program of actions (such as indicting Ahmedinejad under the Genocide Convention) but did not make parallel statements of intent.

Like senators who vote leftwards for six years but then campaign as moderates during election season, Obama presented himself in this and the other debates as profoundly different from the president he has been. Someone not versed in his ideology and his record would not realize his distaste for a powerful United States. He sounded like a nationalist, making punchy patriotic statements (“I said if I got bin Laden in our sights I would take that shot”), speaking with a smooth eloquence, and showing himself at ease and in control. The question is, how many people will be fooled by this performance? (October 22, 2012)

Oct. 23, 2012 update: Having been criticized by some for my response to the 2nd debate, it might be useful to explain what I am and am not doing in these analyses.

* Although sympathetic to Romney, I am not flacking for his campaign. I write to express my sincere opinion and assume that readers want that from me.

* My opinions focus on the Middle East dimension of the debate, rather than its possible impact on the presidential race. Perhaps this debate stopped Romney’s momentum, perhaps it did not; that is not my topic.

Originally published at DanielPipes.org and the National Review Online, The Corner October 22, 2012 and updated on October 23. 

The Ongoing Nightmare of the Jailed Doctor in the UAE

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

It’s a news story that directly affects just one man, but the implications of what is being done to Prof. Cyril Karabus are horrific, and of particular note to air travelers planning to fly Qantas at some future time. (The background is in two blog posts of ours: Dubai, Dubai, Dubai and Back to Dubai: Australian travelers might want to factor this report into their plans).

The short summary: A distinguished professor of medicine aged 78, with a lifetime of service to the community in his native South Africa, passed through Dubai airport in the UAE on August 18, en route back home following his son’s wedding in Canada. In Dubai, he was arrested and notified that he was convicted a decade earlier on charges arising from the death of a three year old child he had treated for terminal cancer. No notification had ever been given to the doctor at the time of the child’s death or since then up until his fateful transit visit to Dubai. Lawyers were retained, and the doctor formally denied any involvement in what was described as the killing of the young leukemia patient. The prosecution was unable FOUR times to produce the files on the basis of which the elderly doctor was convicted, and so four times his application for bail could not proceed. Meanwhile he remained incarcerated in an appalling prison.

The Guardian wrote on October 3, 2012 that he is an “old, frail and very sickly man” according to his lawyer, Michael Bagraim.

He has no travel documents or any means of escaping or jumping bail. There doesn’t seem to be any heart in what is taking place. “My reports from people who were in the court were that the man appears to be broken. He was hunched. He was shackled. He is almost 78 and he has a pacemaker and a stent because of problems with his heart.

Now to the update. The report below comes from one of the UAE’s English language newspapers, the Khaleej Times:

Doc in the dock to be released on bail
12 October 2012

The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court issued a primary ruling on Thursday assigning the UAE’s Higher Committee for Medical Liability to give its expert opinion on the charges addressed to the South African doctor, Cyril Karabus.

The doctor has been accused of committing a medical error that led to the death of a girl and of falsifying a prescription to hide his mistake earlier in 2002 while he was in the UAE as a visiting doctor.

The court explained in its ruling that the case is not ready for adjudication as it calls for technical opinion to resolve and clarify some of the issues and the points raised, and therefore decided to assign the Higher Committee for Medical Liability to give its opinion whether or not the accused committed a medical error while the victim was receiving treatment under his supervision.

The court also asked the committee to give its opinion whether the error, provided it is established, was the direct cause of the death or there were other reasons which hastened the child’s death.

At a hearing, the court also decided to release him on bail on security of his passport or the passport of a guarantor plus a bail amount of Dh100,000… the value of the blood-money the court may order him to pay if found guilty.

The court also scheduled the next hearing for November 20 when the claimant of the civil damages will appear along with his attorney.

We understand that the Karabus family was having a hard time raising the bail/”blood” money, which equates to US$54,000. The Guardian quoted Prof. Karabus’ lawyer saying “During the apartheid system, he concentrated on helping children of colour, so much so that he is an impoverished man himself today…” [source].

As we said here last week, there is not much we ordinary people can do to express our fury in the face of outrageous injustice by people with power. Signing a petition is one (the online petition is here – please consider signing it).

Letting the good people at Qantas, one of the world’s really good airlines, know [as a Sydney lawyer did] how the special relationship with Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi feels to us, is another.

Meanwhile, the latest (from Henry Benjamin’s excellent JWire site in Australia) is that Prof. Karabus was released from jail on bail following his arrest at Dubai airport whilst in transit on August 18. It quotes a family member saying: “He was released on Sunday night to stay at a colleague’s flat. He is free to move around the UAE but cannot leave as his passport has been confiscated.” His next court date is November 20. No word on whether the authorities have managed to find the missing paperwork.

Visit This Ongoing War.

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