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November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘percent’

Female IDF Officer Upgrades Diet & Exercise

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Speaking at the International Women’s Conference sponsored by Stand With Us, IDF Officer Lieutenant Colonel Shirly Subul, a resident of Tel Aviv, said she had the aspiration to serve Israel in the armed forces since age 4. She currently serves in the IDF combat fitness department, where she has personally transformed the Lifestyle Branch, which is responsible for army athletics and encouraging Israeli soldiers to live a healthy life-style, into one of the most influential branches in the IDF.

She was a professional athlete as a teenager but put her athletic dreams on hold in order to serve the State of Israel. In March of 1993 she served in the intelligence unit and continued on to officers training course. Later on she served in the foreign relations department of the intelligence department. During the Second Lebanon War, Lt. Subul’s best friend Anat was murdered in a suicide bombing and she spent five weeks in an underground bunker as the head of the operations division. Her army career took a different direction when she transferred to the combat fitness department. There Lieutenant Colonel Subul sought to combine her passion for serving Israel with her love of athletics and sports.   

Lieutenant Colonel Subul places special emphasis on IDF commanders, believing that their physical condition has a great effect on the army as a whole. Subul is also known for whipping high ranking officers into better shape and has even put obese Israeli commanders on a six month program of diet combined with exercise. In order to keep Israeli soldiers in shape, she has organized four marathons and is planning a fifth. Subul also organizes swimming and bicycling sessions and has special programs for women.

Subul also has a BA in gender studies and sociology from Tel-Aviv University and was a pioneer in this field. As a female IDF officer, Lieutenant Colonel Subul emphasized that women serving in the IDF enjoy full gender equality, stating that 92 percent of the positions within the IDF are open to women, nearly 59 percent of Israeli women enlist to serve, representing 33 percent of the IDF’s manpower, and that the number of female IDF officers continues to rise. Israel is the only country in the world to have mandatory military service for women. “There are so many opportunities for women in the Israeli Defense Forces,” she claimed. Israeli women can be found in the artillery corps, armored divisions, infantry and intelligence units.

Visit United with Israel.

Nothing ‘Reasonable’ about Mideast Divide

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Thanks to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to swallow a painful and embarrassing concession to please the Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry had his moment of triumph.

In announcing the start of a new round of Middle East peace talks, Kerry has seemingly justified the way he has concentrated his efforts on an issue that was not in crisis mode and with little chance of resolution while treating other more urgent problems such as Egypt, Syria, and the Iranian nuclear threat as lower priorities.

But now that he has had his victory, the focus turns to the talks where few, if any, observers think there is a ghost of a chance of that the negotiations can succeed despite Kerry’s call for “reasonable compromises.”

The reason for that is that despite the traditional American belief that the two sides can split the difference on their disagreements, as Kerry seems to want, the problem is much deeper than drawing a new line on a map.

Ironically, proof of this comes from a new poll that some are touting as evidence that both Israelis and Palestinians support a two-state solution. The poll was a joint project of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. It shows, among other often-contradictory results, that a majority of Israelis (62 percent) supports a two-state solution while 33 percent oppose it. Among Palestinians, 53 percent support and 46 percent oppose the two-state solution.

But the question to ask about this poll and the conflict is what the two sides mean by a two-state solution. The answer comes in a subsequent query:

We asked Israelis and Palestinians about their readiness for a mutual recognition as part of a permanent status agreement and after all issues in the conflict are resolved and a Palestinian State is established. Our current poll shows that 57% of the Israeli public supports such a mutual recognition and 37% opposes it. Among Palestinians, 42% support and 56% oppose this step.

In other words, Israelis see a two-state solution as a way to permanently end the conflict and achieve peace. But since a majority of Palestinians cannot envision mutual recognition even after all issues are resolved and they get a state, they obviously see it as merely a pause before the conflict would begin anew on terms decidedly less advantageous to Israel.

There are many reasons why the peace negotiations are likely to fail. The Palestinians are deeply split, with Gaza being ruled by the Islamists of Hamas who still won’t even contemplate talks with Israel, let alone peace. Kerry has praised Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, but he is weak and hasn’t the ability to make a peace deal stick even in the unlikely event he signs one.

Though Netanyahu went out on a political limb to enable the talks to begin by releasing scores of Palestinian terrorists, Abbas has shown in the past that he will say no, even when offered virtually everything he has asked for. Netanyahu will rightly drive a harder bargain and refuse to contemplate a deal that involves a complete retreat to the 1967 lines or a Palestinian state that isn’t demilitarized. But it’s hard to imagine Abbas ever recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn.

The real problem, however, isn’t about where negotiators would draw those lines. As the poll indicates, even after Israel withdraws from almost all of the West Bank (reports indicate Netanyahu is ready to give up 86 percent of it), a substantial majority of Palestinians still can’t fathom the possibility of mutual recognition and normal relations.

How can that be?

The reason is very simple and is not something Kerry or his lead negotiator Martin Indyk (a veteran of numerous diplomatic failures who hasn’t seemed to learn a thing from any of them) can fix. Palestinian nationalism was born in the 20th century as a reaction to Zionism, not by focusing on fostering a separate identity and culture from that of other Arab populations. That doesn’t mean Palestinians aren’t now a separate people with their own identity, but it does explain why they see that identity as indistinguishable from the effort to make Israel disappear.

Fixing Egypt’s Economy: No More Military Macaroni

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

Since July 3, Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi has made it clear who runs Egypt: he does. He faces two great challenges. One is the Islamist element, spoiling for a fight to take back the power it so recently lost. The other, my focus here, is the economy.

The country once famous as the “breadbasket of the Nile” now imports something like 70 percent of its food. To make matters worse, decreasing income could mean that the money will just not be there – other than gifts from Saudi Arabia and other governments – to fend off starvation. Plus, the prospect looms of severe cuts in the country’s Nile water allotment. What to do?

There is only one choice if Egypt is to break the bonds of poverty: pull the military out of the economy. As detailed by Shana Marshall and Joshua Stacher for MERIP and Nimrod Raphaeli for MEMRI, what’s sometimes known as “Military, Inc.” controls somewhere between 25 and 40 percent of the economy. Its products

range from consumer goods such as laptops, flat-screen televisions, sewing machines, refrigerators, pots and pans, plastic table covers, butane gas bottles, olive oil, and bottled water to medical equipment, tourism, real estate, and gas and energy. The military owns and operates no fewer than nine factories for macaroni.

The military has grown so large because of preferential tax treatment, subsidized labor, an extra-legal status, old-boy networks, and many other privileges. As can be imagined, its enterprises run along socialistic lines and are steeped in nepotism and baroque forms of corruption.

Egypt’s economy can only take off if Sisi has the courage to tell his colleagues that the gig is up, that the armed forces are leaving the macaroni and other businesses so that Egyptians can build a proper economy. I can’t imagine he will do this of his own accord, for officers have become accustomed to the good life, with plenty of money and an abundance of free servants.

Hammering at this message is one of the more important actions that foreign governments can take when meeting with Sisi and the military leadership.

The Ever Reliable Jewish Voter

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

In recent years, two of the Monitor’s stimulating offerings elicited more than the usual amount of reader consternation. One of those columns argued against the presidential viability of a certain Alaska governor turned television oddity named Sarah Palin (remember her?); the other dismissed any hopes then being expressed by Republicans that President Obama would lose a significant amount of Jewish support in 2012.

Not to say the Monitor told you so but…the Monitor told you so. Three years ago, both on Commentary magazine’s Contentions blog and in The Jewish Press, your modest correspondent argued that Obama enjoyed two important advantages that made it all but certain he would enjoy another landslide victory among Jewish voters: He’s an articulate, non-threatening black man (a factor not to be underestimated when considering the voting psychology of liberal and moderate Jews) and he is adamantly opposed to and by the Christian Right.

The Monitor suggested that readers look to the presidential election of 1984 for a little historical context.

For a Republican, Ronald Reagan had done well among Jews in 1980, winning 39 percent of their votes and holding the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter, to a 45 percent plurality. (Third-party candidate John Anderson got the rest.)

And then came the 1984 National Survey of American Jews, conducted between April and August of that year, which found that while 39 percent of respondents acknowledged having voted for Reagan in 1980, some 53 percent said that, in hindsight, Reagan was the candidate they would have preferred.

So Reagan seemed poised to at least hold on to his 1980 share of the Jewish vote and quite possibly exceed it.

In addition to Reagan’s performance in office, there was, in 1984, the Jesse Jackson factor. The civil rights activist was running for the Democratic nomination, and during the course of the campaign many of his past derogatory comments about Jews and Israel resurfaced, fueled both by his reference, in what he thought was an off-the-record conversation, to New York City as “Hymietown” and his reluctance to separate himself from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

The Jackson factor was widely thought to threaten the Democratic Party’s decades-old hold on Jewish loyalties. But once the votes were counted in November, Reagan actually ended up losing significant ground among Jewish voters. Exit polls on Election Day indicated Reagan only won between 31 and 35 percent of the Jewish vote, while between 65 and 69 percent went to Democrat Walter Mondale.

Indeed, roughly 30 percent of those Jews who had voted for Reagan in 1980 went for Mondale in 1984.

Reagan’s increasingly vocal embrace of the New – specifically, the Christian – Right scared Jews more than anything said by either Jackson or Farrakhan. Nearly 80 percent of Jews, for example, had an unfavorable opinion of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the most visible face of the Christian Right (never mind that Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin had presented Falwell with the Jabotinsky Prize in recognition of his strong support of the Jewish state). Falwell, in fact, was significantly more unpopular among Jewish voters than Jackson.

How does this relate to Obama and Jewish support?

For one thing, the Republican Party’s identification with the Christian Right is immeasurably stronger today than it was 28 years ago, making it unlikely that liberal or moderate Jews will find a comfort level with the GOP anytime soon. For another, the current generation of American Jews is not nearly as supportive of Israel and Israeli policies as were their parents and grandparents – and support for Israel was the one factor that in the past might have swayed some liberal Jews to vote for a Republican.

But never mind 1984. If Jimmy Carter, fresh off a disastrous term in office and displaying a palpable animus toward Israel, could, in 1980, still outpoll his Republican opponent among Jews (and absent the Anderson candidacy Carter would have won at least 55 percent of the Jewish vote), there was never any reason to believe a mediocre Democratic president – especially a likeable African-American who talks a good liberal game – was in any danger with Jewish voters.

Dealing with Adult who Sexually Abuses Children

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

A sexual abuser is someone with visceral urges who often spirals down into an abyss from which he usually cannot fully recover. Research shows that sex offenders are among of the most difficult to treat, as their behavior is caused by such powerful forces.

There are clear mental dysfunction and depravity that go along with being an adult who sexually abuses children. This is an explanation, not an excuse. Perpetrators deserve our empathy – possibly – but need to be dealt with justly and in methods that ensure our children’s safety, without any compromises. It is a sad fact that for each perpetrator there isn’t only one victim, but more likely there are sometimes scores and even hundreds of victims. That sounds hard to believe, but simple math tells us that stopping just one perpetrator may protect hundreds of potential victims.

Most abusers have at one time themselves been abused and now prey on others. For many of us this is difficult to fathom; how could someone so acutely aware of the pain and suffering abuse entails now mete out those same feelings onto another?

Let us try to understand this psychological phenomenon from a theoretical perspective. When people are sexually abused, much of the inherent power and control they once had over their bodies and minds becomes either severely compromised or downright damaged. When the abuse takes place repeatedly, the power and control we speak of can become a distant memory, and victims often develop serious trauma.

The question for the victim now becomes, how can I regain that elusive power and control? Unfortunately, the form of power and control he knows best is sexual abuse – and to regain it he perpetrates what happened to him onto another. It is important to note that the former victim, now abuser, is most likely unaware of the trajectory and evolution of his own thoughts; he is merely desperate to recover what has been missing from his life all these years. This absolves none of his personal responsibility; he remains fully culpable for his actions, but it is important to examine his motivations.

Now that we understand why abuse occurs, the question becomes, what can we do about it? There are many ways, and addressing only one aspect or having one direction won’t fully incorporate what is necessary to eliminate abuse from our midst (although, complete eradication is most likely impossible).

I believe an increase in education as to the effects of sexual abuse on victims – rather than dry statistics of abuse prevalence – may help. Too often I hear, “It happened so long ago, can’t the person just get over it?” Many fail to comprehend the association between abuse and long-term trauma, and don’t understand why there is a significantly increased risk of serious mental issues in victims, such as depression, anxiety, addiction and suicide.

In addition, as described above, abuse becomes repeated and multigenerational. The facts are out there, they merely need to be disseminated. An increase in knowledge invariably causes an increase in sensitivity and understanding. Sadly, almost ninety percent of abuse never gets reported – in all communities. But the courageous few who do come forward, need our full backing and support.

As to our own community, it has been copiously documented by the media how we responded in the past to cases of abuse – everything from, “this doesn’t happen in our communities,” to “it’s a chillul Hashem to allow this to get out.” By increasing our understanding of what abuse causes, rather than merely stating that abuse exists (which at this point is difficult for anyone to deny, though some inevitably try), we might discourage cowardly individuals from within from attempting to prevent deserved justice. While this may be only a small step towards eradicating wrong from the world, it can, hopefully, be a start.

 

Obama Garners 69 Percent of Jewish Vote in CNN Exit Poll

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

President Obama won 69 percent of the Jewish vote according to an exit poll.

The poll, posted on CNN’s website, was commensurate with projections by preelection polls by Gallup, the American Jewish Committee, among others, that Obama would win between 65 and 70 percent of the Jewish vote.

Both parties blitzed Jewish voters in swing states, particularly Ohio and Florida, ahead of the election.

Jews constituted 2 percent of the overall CNN response group, but the network did not reveal the total number of people polled, so it was impossible to assess a margin of error.

Republicans noted the discrepancy between Tuesday’s numbers and the 78 percent Obama garnered in 2008 exit polls.

Democrats, citing a more recent broader study of the 2008 results, now say Obama earned 74 percent of that year’s Jewish vote, and suggested that Tuesday’s showing was within the margin of error.

On social media, Republican and Democratic Jews argued over whether Tuesday night’s results showed a substantial drop in Jewish support for Obama.

Two organizations — J Street and the Republican Jewish Coalition — planned to release separate exit polls on Wednesday morning.

Ha’aretz’s Good News Poll

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Can we trust Haaretz reporting on polls?

After Eldar and Levy on those “apartheid” stories?

Here’s the latest, “For the right man, Israelis would make peace” which makes the claim that

“The consensus is moving to the right, but that doesn’t mean Israeli Jews won’t support a deal with the PA if the right leader comes along, a new study shows.”

The May (five months ago!) data is from Tel Aviv University’s Walter Lebach Institute for Jewish-Arab Coexistence, but it seems not even to be up at its site.

Some findings:

- 80 percent of Israelis don’t believe it’s possible to make peace with the Palestinians. Half of them don’t believe it’s ever possible to make peace, while half don’t believe it’s possible in the foreseeable future. About two-thirds support a diplomatic solution, but many more still eagerly buy the convenient argument that there’s no partner.

- 87 percent of secular Jewish Israelis believe in the need for peace with the Palestinians, but only half the religiously observant and a smaller percentage of the ultra-Orthodox believe this. Traditional Jews have moved to the right and are now in the middle of the road.

- Only about 20 percent of secular Jews see the demographic threat as an existential problem and only one-third believe the occupation and the settlements are creating a security threat to Israel.

- Nearly half the respondents consider Palestinian terror a major security problem.

- Within the Green Line, the number who consider themselves rightists or right-leaning has increased from 41 percent to 48 percent. Two-thirds of this increase comes at the expense of those who say they hold centrist positions. But between 2002 and 2012 the left has strengthened; it has grown from 20 percent to 25 percent.

- 60 percent of the public supports a democratic solution to the conflict, 22 percent of Jewish residents of the West Bank prefer the authority of the rabbis to the authority of the elected institutions.

-  Six percent of the respondents (14 percent of the settlers ) see the use of violence to prevent withdrawal from the West Bank as legitimate, while 59 percent (70 percent of the settlers ) believe that the public only has the right to fight for its beliefs within the law (compared with 31 percent and 45 percent respectively at the beginning of the decade ).

- Around 37 percent of the secular respondents see the settlers as pioneers, compared with 32 percent in 2005, and 35 percent see them as “the bedrock of our existence,” compared with 23 percent in 2005.

The really silly item Eldar emphasizes that

the hard core of settlers as represented by Gush Emunim, which has pushed the Israeli government and public to settle in the territories, hasn’t spread its messianic ideology among the public, or even among the settlers. It turns out that the main motivations for living in the territories, including among many of the religious, are comfort and quality of life.

But that was the point, that it is natural for Jews to live in their homeland.  The vanguard always needs a more powerful ideological motivation but in pulling over the masses, the reasons for their remaining can assuredly be such mundane, for Eldar, ones.  Doesn’t alter the reality.

He also claims the report indicates

…it’s possible to evacuate half the settlers with their consent if they are offered compensation equivalent to up to 300 percent of the value of their property.

but also the public is split

between people with a neo-Zionist outlook who emphasize a nationalist-religious agenda and a moderate Zionist majority that focuses on the land inside the Green Line and promotes a social agenda.  Therefore, the right is advancing its agenda unhindered, the researchers say…the occupation remains on the margins of the[centrists'] political concerns.

I think that’s good news.

Visit My Right Word.

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