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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘pay’

Three Republicans Introduce Bill to Cut Funds to PA over Pay to Terrorist Murderers

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Taylor Force, 28, was a former US Army Officer and a student at Vanderbilt University, who was stabbed to death by an Arab from the Palestinian Authority in Jaffa, Israel last March 8. On Wednesday, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dan Coats (R-In), and Roy Blunt (R-Ms) introduced the Taylor Force Act, aimed at cutting funding for the Palestinian Authority if it continues to incite and reward acts of terrorism.

The new bill

• Requires the Secretary of State to certify to Congress the Palestinian Authority is taking credible steps to end acts of violence against United States and Israeli citizens that are perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control, such as the attack on Taylor Force;

• Calls on the Palestinian Authority to publicly condemn such acts of violence and is taking steps to investigate and cooperate in investigations bringing perpetrators to justice; and

• Terminates payments for acts of terrorism against United States and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been imprisoned after being convicted of terrorist acts, to any individual who died committing a terrorist act, or to family members of such individuals.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Sen. Graham said, “To pursue peace, you have to reject killing. … This bill is not a result of animosity towards the Palestinian people. It’s pushback against state-sponsored terrorism.”

“This legislation shines a light on a very real problem,” Graham said, asking, “Why is the Palestinian Authority paying young Palestinians to commit acts of terror against innocent Americans like Taylor Force or Israelis? The Palestinians need to decide – do they condemn these horrible acts or do they reward them? You can’t be a partner in peace when you are paying people to commit terrorist acts. The choice the Palestinians make will determine the type of relationship they have with the United States in the years to come.”

Senator Coats said, “To provide American taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority so that it can treat terrorists as heroes or glorious martyrs is morally unacceptable. Our hope is that applying this budgetary pressure will end this immoral program of rewarding and encouraging terrorists.”

Senator Blunt said, “Israel is one of our closest allies and a stalwart of democracy in the Middle East. It would be absolutely unconscionable to allow U.S. taxpayer dollars to be used by the Palestinian Authority to reward convicted terrorists for acts of violence against Israel. I urge all of my colleagues to back this effort to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable.”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) voiced his opinion about the proposed legislation: “I’ve repeatedly demanded that President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority work to prevent Palestinian terrorist attacks and end all government-sponsored incitement of violence. It’s unacceptable that our taxpayer dollars are still being used by the Palestinian Authority to pay terrorists who have Israeli and American blood on their hands, and to brainwash young Palestinians with hatred for the Jewish people. The U.S. should condition assistance to the Palestinian Authority on it stopping these despicable practices.”

Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) said, “The United States should hold Palestinian leadership fully accountable for continuing to incite violence against Israeli and American citizens and provide financial support to terrorists and their families. This is a no-brainer that’s critical to encouraging the emergence of a credible partner for peace with Israel, a fellow democracy and our closest ally in the Middle East, yet this Administration refuses to do it.”

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) said, “This bill stands for a simple principle: U.S. taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund terror against our own citizens or our ally Israel. The American people and the Israelis believe in helping the Palestinians build a better and more prosperous society. But that better society will never be possible if Palestinian leaders continue to funnel cash to terrorists and their families. The Obama administration and future administrations should hold Palestinian leadership accountable on this issue and tell them that as long as they continue to fund terror, they should not expect another dollar of U.S. economic assistance.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, “Earlier this year, Texas native Taylor Force was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv. Taylor’s murder is a grim reminder that the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism targets Americans and Israelis, Christians and Jews, indiscriminately. Our unshakable alliance with Israel will remain our strength as we face this threat together. The legislation introduced today will put the Palestinian Authority on notice that American taxpayers will not continue to fund them unless they take concrete steps to end the abhorrent practice of rewarding terrorists and their families. I’m proud to stand with Senators Graham and Coats as well as my other colleagues in solidarity against not only the terrorists attacking our citizens, but also all who fund and enable them.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement saying, “The American people would be appalled to learn their tax dollars have been subsidizing terrorist attacks on Israel – all the more so because Americans have frequently been the victims of these attacks, and their murderers are the ones benefiting from these U.S. subsidies. By conditioning future U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority on 1) the PA taking credible steps to suppress terrorism in the areas under its control, and 2) the PA ending payments to incarcerated terrorists and the families of dead terrorists, the Taylor Force Act would end this affront to American values.

“The RJC thanks Senator Graham for leading the charge to end this gross abuse of taxpayer dollars. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and we urge all Senators – Republicans, Democrats and Independents, to back this important legislation.”


Tamar Yonah Show – Jews Who Fight For Freedom and the Price We Pay [audio]

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

Since the beginning, the Jewish People have been fighting for freedom. As evil regimes and power-hungry dictators try to rise up, feeling themselves ‘superior’ to others and enslaving them under their empires, the Jewish People stand up and say “No!” to tyranny. Until this day, power-hungry regimes try to kill the Jewish People and the light to the world they carry. Guest, Aaron Braunstein from the Jewish Covenant Alliance,  talks to Tamar about how Israel must continue to hold the torch of freedom, in order to prevent oppressive regimes like Iran, from taking over and spreading their evil empire.

Also, Shifra Hoffman of VictimsOfArabTerror.org  and Shuva.net  talks about joins us and talks about the rise (again) in terror attacks against Israel.

Tamar Yonah Show 18Sept2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

A First: Kibbutzniks to Pay Personal Income Tax

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Individual kibbutz members will be required to pay a 25% personal income tax as well as the Social Security Healthcare tax starting next January, according to a move by the Finance Ministry, Israel Hayom reported Thursday. The new taxes are expected to enrich the Finance coffers by close to $80 million annually, and the Social Security income by about $50 million.

Since the beginning of communal history, each kibbutz used to pay a corporate tax for all the members, and even after the change in taxation kibbutz members without outside income will not be required to file individually. But over the past few decades many kibbutz members have been working off the kibbutz grounds, contributing a portion of their income to the cooperative — and the Israeli tax authority would like to take a peek at those monies.

The Finance Ministry’s new rule must still go through the Knesset Finance Committee for approval, and the agricultural lobby is expected to put up a hard fight against the changes.

Amitai Porat, the Religious Kibbutz Movement Secretary General, and Nir Meir, the Kibbutz Movement Secretary General, on Wednesday wrote Prime Minister Netanyahu requesting that he halt Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s proposed changes in the tax code regarding kibbutzim. They told the PM that “Minister Kahlon is not interested in meeting us to find a solution that would make it possible to reexamine the tax code while maintaining and protecting the kibbutz character and the communal life in which we believe.”

David Israel

German Technology Giant Siemens AG to Pay $44 Million to Settle Israeli Corruption Case

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

German technology giant Siemens AG has agreed to pay Israel $44 Million to settle a charge that it bribed executives at the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to win a bid to supply turbines from 1999 to 2005, Israel’s Justice Ministry announced Monday. The company has also agreed to appoint an external inspector to supervise its business in Israel.

“We are pleased that the Israeli State Authorities chose to have an arrangement that does not include an indictment against Siemens AG recognizing…. that Siemens fully cooperated in the course of the investigation,” Siemens said in an e-mailed statement.

Siemens AG says it plans to continue its business in Israel on a major scale, including purchasing Israeli products and services and investing in Israeli companies.

Six IEC executives are facing charges in Tel Aviv court for bribery and money laundering. They are accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash bribes or, for the discriminating corrupt officials, transfers to their Swiss bank accounts.

Last October a former finance officer for Siemens in Argentina admitted to paying $100 million in bribes to government officials to secure a contract to produce national identity cards.

And prosecutors in Germany are investigating Siemens for allegedly charging $2.2 million for work that was never done at Berlin’s long-delayed new airport.


On the Job but Not Getting Paid?

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

I’m very glad Congress and the president decided to make sure the uniformed military will get paid during the government shutdown.  That was the right thing to do.  The move averts a game-of-chicken mistake made in late 1995, when Bill Clinton was dispatching troops to Bosnia while their pay was in jeopardy.

As long as preparations are made beforehand, meanwhile, there’s enough in the trusts to make sure Social Security and veterans’ pension payments go out next month as well as this month. That’s a relief to millions of elderly who can’t just go start harvesting vegetables or sweeping floors if their checks don’t come in.  We can assume Congress will keep a sharp eye out for the potential problems, and make provision for them.

That leaves our Border Patrol, FBI, other federal law enforcement agents, federal firefighters, and air traffic controllers, some of the 80% of federal workers who will remain on the job during the shutdown.  At least some of them are reportedly being required to work without their latest-due paychecks being in the bank, until the government is “open” again.  It’s not fully clear how many or which of these workers are having to show up for work with their pay suspended.  I’ve seen reports that suggest some are being paid; other reports seem to indicate that law enforcement and essential-services people are working without pay (i.e., presumably, pay delayed, not “pay never coming”).

In any case, as happy as I am to see the EPA and other agencies off the job, I’m concerned about morale among the hard-working law enforcement and essential-services folks.  They do a tough job 24/365, and a lot is being asked of them today, and for as long as the shutdown lasts.

We can hope the shutdown will last only a couple of days.  Presumably, Congress will be looking out for these workers, and have a care for the hardships they will face if the shutdown goes longer than that.  (In extremis, much could probably be done, even within the current debt ceiling, through issuing IOUs to the Social Security trust fund.)  As with those in all professions, the younger workers – with kids, mortgage and college-loan payments, living paycheck to paycheck – will be the hardest hit.

If the shutdown does become extended, those who have the means can consider donating to organizations that provide a helping hand to these particular federal workers in their time of need.  Here are some links to get you started:

Federal Law Enforcement Foundation

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Foundation

Wildland Firefighters Foundation

Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (especially for non-law enforcement personnel; air traffic controllers are members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, or NATCA, a labor union with some funding for mutual aid, as well as its own charitable foundation)

I (Heart) Public Safety Network (umbrella network coordinating various forms of assistance to public-safety programs, public-safety workers, and their families)

Note:  per the Washington Post summary at the first link, U.S. Postal Service workers should be getting paid on schedule.  Except for its annual requests for bailouts, USPS is “self-funding,” and should last through the shutdown, however long it goes.

J. E. Dyer

Israel Shouldn’t Be The Main Course

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Israel has always suffered from an inability to form an all-inclusive strategy. In the words of former secretary of state Henry Kissinger: “Israel doesn’t have a foreign policy; it has only internal politics.”

This failure to form a strategy is not due to some Jewish intelligence deficiency; it is because we have been evading the fundamental truth of our national existence. We justify the existence of the state of Israel with pragmatic – not destiny-based – reasons. The Holocaust memorial museum, Yad Vashem, has become our holy temple. The Temple Mount, on the other hand, is a source of primal fear for Israel’s leadership, which will do everything possible to rid itself of it – and the sooner the better.

So despite the fact that we are the most (actually the only) advanced state in the region, we are the only state in the region that has no regional interests. Our only interest is to survive. That is why we are capable of nothing more than reacting. We will never initiate. If the Syrians attack, we will attack them even harder. Until then, though, we will simply wait.

Strategy means formulating general policy to foster a goal that is beyond mere existence. Tactic is a policy of actions and reactions.

In the Middle East, you either sit down for the dinner – or you are the main course. Western democratic countries can maintain static relations between them; in other words, “I do not desire what is yours, and vice versa.” Israel would love to conduct its foreign policy in such a reality. But the Muslim culture in our region rules that out. Here the rule is: if you do not trample me, I will trample you.

Strategically, Israel must strive to be a regional power in the Middle East. Due to the fact that we see ourselves as strangers and foreigners in our own land, we show no interest in strategic objectives – nothing beyond basic survival.

The Middle East is crumbling, taking on the shape of the original, pre-World War I Sykes-Picot Agreement. It will fall into the greedy hands of Iran or Turkey. Everybody wants to be the new Salah al-Din of the greater Arab nation, which is shedding the national masks forced upon it by the West. Iran bids for hegemony by threatening Israel with nuclear annihilation. Turkey does the same by repeatedly humiliating Israel.

Meanwhile, the vacuum that has been created is sucking in the world’s superpowers. First Russia, and now, reluctantly, the U.S., which is taking advantage of the chemical weapons massacre in Syria in an attempt to rehabilitate its image.

Having a strategy means that if there is a massacre in Syria, Israel must intervene and prevent it from happening again. What? Are we crazy? We should intervene on behalf of the Syrian nation and be the target of missiles in Tel Aviv?

Tragically, we are heading straight for a repeat of the U.S. attack on Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 1991. If the U.S. attacks Syria (for its own interests) it will be Israel that will pay a heavy price. In 1991, Israel passively sat out the Iraq war, relegating its security to the U.S. As a reward for our “good behavior” we got Iraq’s Scud missiles exploding in Ramat Gan and diplomatic pressure that led to the Madrid Conference, Oslo, the Expulsion in Gaza, and the serious deterioration in Israel’s existential legitimacy that we witness today. If there is an American attack on Syria, we will pay the same price for our passivity.

If we take the initiative, our first step should be the neutralization of Syria’s missile capabilities. This would diminish potential harm to Israel and in the future, whoever would want to exert influence in the Middle East would understand that they must include Israel in the equation – not to exact a price, but to pay Israel its strategic due. In other words, in the Middle East, either you sit down for dinner or you are the main course.

I know that currently, this idea does not have many supporters in Israel. Israelis feel like guests in their own land. They cannot yet absorb this line of thinking. For now, this is food for thought. Until I am elected to lead Israel, we can all relax in our sealed rooms, contemplating life on the Saudi dinner plate.

Moshe Feiglin

Honoring our Parents: Can We Learn from China?

Monday, August 26th, 2013

It is well known that millions of elderly Americans are neglected at their most vulnerable time. Jewish law, however, requires multiple times and in multiple ways that we honor our parents (Exodus 20:11, Exodus 21:15, Exodus 21:17, Leviticus 19:3, Deuteronomy 27:16).

The ancient exhortations to honor one’s parents endure into our age. As of July 1, 2013, China has required that adult children take care of their parents. The amended Law for the Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly states that adult children must visit their elderly relatives, and they are prohibited from insulting, mistreating, or abandoning them under pain of lawsuit. Wu Ming, the deputy department head in China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs said, “Family members should not ignore and isolate the elderly. And they should come often to visit.” Today, millions of Chinese workers live thousands of miles away from their parents, families are limited to one child per family, and the tradition values of filial piety have become more challenging to put into practice. But those who fail to take care of their parents will now be fined. This act may be in recognition of the aging of the Chinese population: There will be 221 million elderly (age 60 and older) in the country in 2015, and the percentage will reach about a third by 2050.

In Japan, another country with the longstanding value of filial piety, modern legislation assists families in paying for hired caregivers (although they cannot be family members). Elsewhere, many nations mandate some level of care for the elderly. While the Soviet Union no longer exists, some of its policies survive in the areas it used to control. For example, in much of the former Soviet bloc, the elderly can sue their children for child support, and siblings can sue each other to make sure the money is raised and the burden shared. In Western Europe, eldercare is typically ensured through social insurance programs. The most inclusive policy for the elderly can be found in Norway, where all of the elderly are guaranteed long-term care.

How does the United States, which has traditionally been reluctant in implementing social welfare policies taken for granted in Europe, compare with rest of the industrial world? Currently, nearly 10 million adults age 50 and older care for elderly parents, with little governmental assistance. This number has tripled in 15 years, so now about 1 in 4 adult children provide personal or financial care for their parents. A study conducted by a group of insurance, caregiving, and policy think tanks concluded that, taking into account wages and Social Security and pension money, the average adult who becomes a caregiver for an aging parent spends nearly $304,000. In addition, caregivers undergo tremendous stress, and suffer higher rates of cardiovascular disease and alcohol abuse, among other illnesses. On top of this, Social Security benefits here do not increase when personal care costs rise, as they do in some European nations.

One bright spot is that many adults can now take up to 12 weeks off from work to care for an ill parent (or any other family member) without losing their job under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Unfortunately, this does not go far enough, because this leave is without pay and therefore an unaffordable option for nearly all working Americans. Medicare may help pay for some short-term care, and Medicaid can cover expenses for those with in adequate resources, although these are dependent on individual state requirements, which are constantly under attack today. Currently, as the Medicare website notes, private funds are used for eldercare: “About half of all nursing home residents pay nursing home costs out of their own savings. After these savings and other resources are spent, many people who stay in nursing homes for long periods eventually become eligible for Medicaid.” In other words, if you want nursing care as an elderly person, be prepared to lose all your resources. Other programs, such as Meals on Wheels, are also dependent on state funding (with some federal aid that is also under attack), and we cannot assume that it will continue as is in the current atmosphere of austerity. Other options usually rely on independent insurance or health plans that require additional payments.

While the United States remains a wealthy nation, and many can afford their own care, we should heed Jewish law and truly honor our parents. The rabbis tell a story which is codified as law (Shulkhan Arukh YD 240:3).

They inquired of Rav Ula: “How far does honoring/dignifying parents extend?”

He said to them: “Go out and see what one [non-Jew] did in Ashkelon. His name was Dama ben Netinah. Once the Sages sought merchandise for a price of sixty myriads, but the key was resting under his father’s head, and he did not disturb him…. When Rav Dimi came, he said: Once he was wearing a gold diadem and sitting among the greats of Rome, when his mother came and tore it off him, and hit him over the head and spit in his face, but he did not humiliate her” (Kiddushin 31a).

Even when mistreated and shamed by a parent, many demands to honor parents still remain. To be sure, there are limits too!

One whose mother or father breaks down mentally – He must make the effort to behave with them in accordance with their condition until [Hashem] has mercy on them; but if he it is not possible for him to stand it, because they have become greatly insane – he may go and leave them behind, so long as he commands others to treat them properly (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 240:10).

Jewish law wisely and prophetically notes the mental and physical strain that an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s or dementia can have on a family. However, the law also mandates that we provide some degree of proper care for them. We should not force families to go into bankruptcy in order to avoid placing their parents in virtual warehouses where their parents will be neglected and mistreated.

The thing is that this is not only an ossified, unrealistic demand based on an idealized or no longer extant religious society. We see models for contemporary implementation around the world today, in China, Norway, and beyond. Our parents sacrificed so much for our well-being throughout their lives, when we were not able to fend for ourselves. As a society, we must recognize this and provide for them when they are no longer physically independent themselves.

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/honoring-our-parents-can-we-learn-from-china/2013/08/26/

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