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September 15, 2014 / 20 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘October’

Parshas Noach

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
October 19, 2012 – 3 Cheshvan 5773
5:49 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

Sabbath Ends: 6:53 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Noach
Weekly Haftara: Roni Akara (Isaiah 54:1-55:5)
Daf Yomi: Shabbos 16
Mishna Yomit: Nazir 2:5-6
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 139:5-7
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Kelim chap. 6-4
Earliest Time for Tallis and Tefillin: 6:18 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:56 a.m. NYC E.D.T.

Erdoğan at War

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Why does the Turkish government act so aggressively against the Assad regime of Syria?

Perhaps Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hopes that lobbing artillery shells into Syria will help bring a satellite government to power in Damascus. Maybe he expects that sending a Turkish war plane into Syrian air space or forcing down a Syrian civilian plane en route from Russia will win him favor in the West and bring in NATO. Conceivably, it’s all a grand diversion from imminent economic crisis due to borrowing too much.

Erdoğan’s actions fit into a context going back a half-century. During the Cold War, Ankara stood with Washington as a member of NATO even as Damascus served as Moscow’s Cuba of the Middle East, an arch-reliable client state. Bad Turkish-Syrian relations also had local sources, including a border dispute, disagreement over water resources, and Syrian backing of the PKK, a Kurdish terrorist group. The two states reached the brink of war in 1998, when the Assad government’s timely capitulation averted armed conflict.

A new era began in November 2002 when Erdoğan’s AKP, a clever Islamist party that avoids terrorism and rants about a global caliphate, replaced the center-right and -left parties that long had dominated Ankara. Governing competently and overseeing an unprecedented economic boom, the AKP’s share of the electorate grew from one-third in 2002 to one-half in 2011. It was on track to achieving Erdoğan’s presumed goal of undoing the Atatürk revolution and bringing Shari’a to Turkey.

Feeling its oats, the AKP abandoned Washington’s protective umbrella and struck out on an independent neo-Ottoman course, aiming to be a regional power as in centuries past. With regard to Syria, this meant ending decades-old hostilities and winning influence through good trade and other relations, symbolized by joint military exercises, Erdoğan and Bashar al-Assad vacationing together, and a bevy of their ministers literally raising the barrier that had closed their mutual border.

Starting in January 2011, these plans unraveled, as the Syrian people woke from forty years of Assad despotism and agitated, at first non-violently, then violently, for the overthrow of their tyrant. Erdoğan initially offered constructive political advice to Assad, which the latter rebuffed in favor of violent repression. In response, the Sunni Erdoğan emotionally denounced the Alawi Assad and began assisting the largely Sunni rebel force. As the conflict became more ruthless, sectarian, and Islamist, effectively becoming a Sunni-Alawi civil war, with 30,000 dead, many times that injured, and even more displaced, Turkish refuge and aid became indispensible to the rebels.

What initially seemed like a masterstroke has turned into Erdoğan’s first major misstep. The outlandish conspiracy theories he used to jail and cow the military leadership left him with a less-than-effective fighting force. Unwelcome Syrian refugees crowded into Turkish border towns and beyond. Turks overwhelmingly oppose the war policy vis-à-vis Syria, with special opposition coming from ‘Alevis, a religious community making up 15-20 percent of Turkey’s population, distinct from Syria’s Alawis but sharing a Shiite heritage with them. Assad took revenge by reviving support for the PKK, whose escalating violence creates a major domestic problem for Erdoğan. Indeed, Kurds – who missed their chance when the Middle East was carved up after World War I – may be the major winners from current hostilities; for the first time, theoutlines of a Kurdish state with Turkish, Syrian, Iraqi and even Iranian components can be imagined.

Damascus still has a great power patron in Moscow, where the government of Vladimir Putin offers its assistance via armaments and United Nations vetoes. Plus, Assad benefits from unstinting, brutal Iranian aid, which continues despite the mullah regime’s deep economic problems. In contrast, Ankara may still belong, formally, to NATO and enjoy the theoretical privilege of its famous Article 5, which promises that a military attack on one member country will lead to “such action as …necessary, including the use of armed force,” but NATO heavyweights show no intention of intervening in Syria.

A decade of success went to Erdoğan’s head, tempting him into a Syrian misadventure that could undermine his popularity. He might yet learn from his mistakes and backtrack, but the padishah of Ankara is doubling down on his jihad against the Assad regime, driving hard for its collapse and his salvation.

Events In The West

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Events In The West: Over Shabbat, October 26-27, David Makovsky, a Ziegler distinguished fellow, the director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and one of the foremost experts on the current Israeli-American political landscape, will be the scholar-in-residence at Beth Jacob Beverly Hills… On November 2-3, Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Valley Village, CA will host an AIPAC Shabbaton on “The 2012 Elections: What you need to know about the upcoming elections and their effect on the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Shul Updates: If you live in the Hancock Park/La Bea area of L.A. and don’t know what to do with your water bottles or can’t spend the time standing in line to recycle them, you can resolve the problem and give tzedakah at the same time. Contact Congregation Tifereth Tzvi, and they will send someone to pick up your bottles.

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Birth: Leon and Avishag Kaplan, a daughter.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Edmundo and Esti Rosenberg, a son (Grandparents Michael and Sheryl Rosenberg)… Rabbi Aaron and Avigayil Gartner, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Meyer and Shulamith May)… Ben and Elana Vorspan, a son (Grandparents David and Bonnie Vorspan; Sol and Pearl Taylor)… Shmuel and Shoshana Halprin of Yerushalayim, a son (Grandparents Reuven and Yehudis Orloff)… Yisroel and Nechama Munitz, a daughter (Grandparents Rabbi Sender and Gitty Munitz)… Dov and Rachele Teichman of NY, a son (Grandparents Sidney and Marcia Teichman)… Barry and Sari Stricke, a son (Grandparents Les and Stella Stricke)… Andy and Luaren Lauber of NY, a daughter (Grandparents Sam and Lila Pfefferman)… Yoni and Tali Weiss, a son (Grandparents Yaakov and Rayme Isaacs).

Mazel Tov – Engagements: Mimi Mendelsohn, daughter of Ed Mendelsohn and Frances Mendelsohn, to Jake Green of Teaneck, NJ… Brian Schames, son of Dr. Yossi and June Schames, to Debbie Schwartz of West Orange, NJ.

Congratulations: Rabbi Eli Broner is the new director of Campus Life and Alumni Relations at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Birth: Eitan and Leah Esan, a son.

Mazel Tov –Bar Mitzvah: Benyamin Helwani, son Yosef and Gail Helwani.

Mazel Tov – Bas Mitzvahs: Daniella Engel, daughter of Alan and Rachel Engel… Chaya Daffner, daughter of Shmuel and Tonda Daffner.

VALLEY VILLAGE, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Birth: Shmuel and Shoshana Drossman, a daughter (Grandparents Rabbi Israel and Dr. Phyllis Hirsch).

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Elyah Weiser, son of Rabbi Simcha and Betty Weiser.

DENVER, COLORADO

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: David Last, son of Rabbi Benjamin and Sheryl Last.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

Mazel Tov – Engagement: Pesha Kletenik, daughter of Rabbi Moshe and Rivi Kletenik, to Chezky Werzberger of New York.

Parshas Noach

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
October 19, 2012 – 3 Cheshvan 5773
5:49 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

 

Sabbath Ends: 6:53 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Noach
Weekly Haftara: Roni Akara (Isaiah 54:1-55:5)
Daf Yomi: Shabbos 16
Mishna Yomit: Nazir 2:5-6
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 139:5-7
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Kelim chap. 6-4
Earliest Time for Tallis and Tefillin: 6:18 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:56 a.m. NYC E.D.T.

Barack Obama’s October Surprises

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

In October 1972, and twelve days before the presidential election, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger made a surprise announcement of a peace agreement ending the war in Vietnam, thus giving birth to the term “October Surprise.”  In nearly every election cycle since, one party or the other has attempted to spring some last minute opposition research or policy announcement in the immediate weeks prior to an election.   However the Democrats, with their near stranglehold on the mainstream media, have been overwhelmingly more successful in the use of this strategy.  That is until this year.

Barack Obama and the Democrats have been blindsided by not one but two October surprises.  The first actually occurred in September: the Al Qaeda-sponsored attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the second: Obama’s abysmal performance in the first presidential debate.

The Libyan consulate attack was the catalyst that prompted Obama and his sycophants to obfuscate the failures of the Obama foreign policy by incessant lying regarding the true nature of the Benghazi attack, choosing instead to blame it on some obscure internet video trailer.  This deliberate cover-up is now rapidly unraveling making it a potential election game-changer and the epitome of a self-inflicted October surprise.

Obama’s debate debacle was startling, as he could not live up to the well-crafted image of being one of the most adept, well-liked and intelligent politicians in American history.  In fact that balloon was thoroughly deflated.  His performance was indicative of an unprepared and unqualified president unable to defend his four years in office or present a cogent plan for the next four years.  As he stands for reelection, the global and domestic landscape is one of turmoil, indecision and uncertainty stemming from his stubborn adherence to a failed ideology and personal narcissism.

Barack Obama assumed the office of President as a man brought-up and steeped in 1960′s radicalism which advanced two distinct doctrines.  The first, that America, as the lone Western super-power, represented the evil nature of colonialism and capitalism’s exploitation of the masses — whether there was any truth in this assertion or that the United States was guilty of these sins was irrelevant.  The material and military success of America and the West could only have come about from expropriating the wealth and labor of the peoples of the world.

This manifests in the deference Obama has shown to the Muslim world and his willingness to travel around the globe apologizing for America.  A by-product of this obeisance and philosophical bent has been the unchallenged and at times promoted ascendancy of radical Islamists either into the control of various Middle-East governments or openly operating in new safe havens.   The premeditated Benghazi attack and the death of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans is just the first harvest of this myopic doctrine.  Unfortunately for Obama it came seven weeks before an election.

The second primary doctrine of the 1960′s radicals is that by utilizing the vehicle of a massive central government, they could control the citizenry and create their concept of a “fair” society.  It is the ideal philosophy for those who, so enamored with themselves, can wallow in their self-importance and rule with a heavy hand the same masses they claim to protect.   Obama and his fellow-travelers can thus justify bankrupting the country as a necessary part of the transformation of the United States.   However, this same approach tried in other nations has never accomplished its stated goals and has been an abysmal failure, leaving the people deeper in poverty and with a greatly diminished standard of living.

In a still open society and up against someone willing to contest this failure, the adherents cannot successfully defend and promote these tenets.  Further, when combined with excessive narcissism, ineptitude and an inability to articulate their thinking without external aid, the results are what the people of the United State saw in the debate on October 3rd.

But more important than the context and reaction to these “October surprises” is what they portend for a second Obama term, were he to be re-elected.

During the Obama years, the international scene has been led by arguably the most incompetent and easily intimidated leaders of the past twenty plus years.  At the front of the line has been Barack Obama.  If he is re-elected, combined with a continuation of the deferential foreign policy pursued in his first term, the United States will no longer be the leader of the free world but will instead be just another moribund quasi-socialist member of the global community watching the global ascendancy of China and Russia.

Is Netanyahu Again Offering the Golan Heights to Syria?

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Shimon Shiffer reports in Yedioth Ahronoth that in secret talks in 2010 via U.S. government mediator Frederic C. Hof, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed in principle to a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights to the June 4, 1967, lines in return for the “expectation” of Bashar al-Assad cutting ties with Iran, and that the nearly-completed negotiations ended because of the anti-Assad uprising that began in January 2011.

How plausible is this claim?

Here is a summary of the report published by Yedioth Ahronoth:

According to American sources, Netanyahu and Barak agreed to withdraw to the 1967 lines in exchange for a comprehensive peace deal that would include an Israeli “expectation” for the severing of ties between Syria and Iran. However, the sources said, the burgeoning deal did not include an explicit commitment by Assad to sever ties with the Islamic Republic.

The report said the sides did not agree on a timeline for the Israeli withdrawal: Syria wanted the agreement to be implemented within one and a half to two years, while Israel asked for more time before pulling out of the region.

Yedioth quoted a senior American official as saying that the negotiations were serious and far-reaching and would have likely ended with an agreement had they not been interrupted by the uprising against Assad. The official estimated that Netanyahu resumed the talks with Assad to justify the stalemate in the negotiations with the Palestinians and because he viewed Syria as the weak link in the so called “axis of evil,” which also includes Iran, Lebanon and Hezbollah.

According to the documents written by Hof, the discussions were held at the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem. Netanyahu and Barak kept the talks a secret, but in early 2011 a Kuwaiti newspaper reported that special U.S. envoy Dennis Ross met Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem and said that Damascus was willing to resume talks with Israel and that the Jewish state was willing to return the Golan Heights. The Prime Minister’s Office denied the report.

Yedioth said U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were aware of the negotiations, as were Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and Dennis Ross. Syria’s representative to the talks was FM Moallem, but Hof also met with Assad, the report said.

Netanyahu’s office replied to the Yedioth Ahronoth report that “This was one of many initiatives proposed to Israel over the years. Israel has never accepted that proposal. It is an old and irrelevant proposal.” In contrast, the State Department partially endorsed the report: “Prior to the eruption of all of the violence in Syria, there were efforts to try to support contacts between Israel and Syrian officials. This was part of the mandate of George Mitchell.”

Comments:

(1) As the author of the exposé of Netanyahu’s 1998 agreement to hand over the Golan Heights, “The Road to Damascus: What Netanyahu Almost Gave Away,” I find this report entirely plausible. If the first-time prime minister was ready for a deal, why not the second-time prime minister? And if Netanyahu inaccurately denied the first round, why not the second one?

(2) Ariel Sharon stopped this mistaken policy the first time and the Syrian people the second time.

(3) Let’s hope that the upheavals of the past two years close down these misguided ideas of reaching Arab-Israeli treaties before real reform has come to the Arabic-speaking countries. (October 14, 2012)

This entry originally published at DanielPipes.org on October 14, 2012, and was crossposted from the National Review Online, The Corner.

NIS 1 Billion in Mortgages Granted in First Half of October.

Monday, October 15th, 2012

In the first half of October, NIS 1 billion have been granted in new mortgages.  Considering that seven days were taken up by Jewish holidays, this is a robust number, according to a report by Israel’s Globes business magazine online.

The report states that Israel’s housing market has been heating up all summer, with many of the properties being purchased for investment.  NIS 3.2 billion in new mortgages were granted in September, a drop from the record NIS 5.8 billion granted for mortgages in August, but a 7% increase above the same month last year.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/nis-1-billion-in-mortgages-granted-in-first-half-of-october/2012/10/15/

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