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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘president’

‘Open Orthodox’ Rabbi Alters Shabbat Prayer for the President to Omit Trump

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Shmuly Yanklowitz, an Open Orthodox rabbi and author, listed by The Daily Beast as one of the 50 most influential rabbis in America, posted on his Facebook page that “starting this week, I can no longer recite or say amen to the Shabbat prayer for the success of the US President.”

The prayer for the well-being of the gentile ruler (His Highness the Kaiser, His Highness the Czar), and in Israel the prayer for the state and its president and ministers, is inserted in most Orthodox Jewish services after the reading from the Torah and before the prayer of Mussaf.

The common text in today’s sidurim (prayer books) goes:

“He who gives salvation unto Kings, and dominion unto princes, He who delivered his servant David from the sword of the Enemy, He that made a way in the Sea, and a path in the strong waters, may He bless and keep, preserve and rescue, exalt and magnify, and lift up higher and higher, our Ruler [insert here: the Pope, Emperor, Kaiser, Czar, King, Duke, President, or any other potentate under whom the Jews are living]. The King of kings defend him in his mercy, making him joyful, and free him from all dangers and distress. The King of kings, for his goodness sake, raise up and exalt his planetary star, and multiply his days over his Kingdom. The King of kings for his mercy’s sake, put into his heart, and into the heart of his counselors, and those that attend and administer to him, that he may shew mercy unto us, and unto all the people of Israel.”

It should be noted that these prayers, which first appeared in the early 14th century, have been served up for some awful rulers, including openly anti-Semitic Spanish kings, Russian Czars, German Kaisers, and even, as documented in Makor Rishon recently, in many German synagogues, for Kanzler Adolf Hitler – at least until 1938.

Is the good Open-Orthodox rabbi suggesting President Trump is worse than, say, Czar Nicholas I, creator of the pale of settlement (never mind AH)?

Yanklowitz, who, clearly, misunderstands the purpose of the prayer of “He who gives salvation to kings,” wrote this week that he had “drafted a new prayer that I will plan to recite each Shabbat morning. If you also feel it’s important to pray for the US government but also feel you cannot pray for the success of this President.”

He noted that he “felt that it was not enough to simply avoid the US President in the prayer for the government but to remind myself of the billions of vulnerable people who are at risk under his rule, and challenge myself each Shabbat to build up the strength for another week of spiritual resistance.”

Yanklowitz’s alternative prayer is lengthy and self-righteous and pompous, just as you would have expected. Read it here and enjoy, if you’re curious. It’s got a lot to say about protecting citizens fortifying the bonds between liberty and justice, and fair treatment under the law, and expanding welfare.

So we searched the text of this socially conscious, alternative prayer, and discovered it has no mention of three words: “Jews,” “Jewish,” and “Israel.”

Nuff said.

David Israel

NY Councilman Asks Obama to Commute Rubashkin’s Sentence, Too

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

New York City Council member Chaim Deutsch has sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama in a last-ditch attempt to ask the president to commute the sentence of Rabbi Sholom Rubashkin, owner of the once-huge kosher meat packing plant in Postville, Iowa.

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama announced that he had commuted the sentences of 209 individuals and pardoned 64 others. “I was dismayed to see that Sholom Rubashkin’s name was not among those issued clemency,” Deutsch said in a statement to media. “In response, I prepared a letter with several of my colleagues to the President as a last ditch effort to ask for his compassion for Mr. Rubashkin, a 51-year-old father of 10 children who was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

Including Deutsch, 10 members of the New York City Council wrote to President Obama with the request:

“We write to request your attention to a serious instance of injustice in the case of United States v. Sholom Rubashkin. As citizens of the United States of America and as elected officials in New York City and State, we are outraged at the lengthy, disproportionate sentence imposed upon Mr. Rubashkin. Sentenced in 2010 for financial fraud, the first-time offender and family man was condemned to an unprecedented 27 years in federal prison. The sentence imposed was not only extraordinary, but also two years longer than what was recommended by prosecutors.

“Given your decision to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning, convicted of serious charges including espionage, theft, and computer fraud, we believe that it is appropriate to re-visit the Rubashkin case and consider it for commutation. A bi-partisan collection of fifty-one members of Congress in sixteen states1 have written to the Justice Department to request an investigation into the potential judicial and prosecutorial misconduct that led to Mr. Rubashkin’s unjust sentence. Additionally, prior to sentencing, six former United States Attorney Generals and other former DOJ officials wrote a letter2 expressing concern about the possibility of an unduly harsh sentence to the Honorable Justice Linda R. Reade, Chief Justice of the US District Court for the Northern District of Iowa. Furthermore, a letter supporting Mr. Rubashkin’s motion to vacate his sentence was signed by more than one hundred bi-partisan officials including current and retired attorney generals, US attorneys, district court judges, and law professors in April of 20163. The letter included a request for the US Attorney to review mounting evidence of prosecutorial misconduct in the case of Mr. Rubashkin.

“In light of your desire to right perceived injustices, as demonstrated by the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence, we respectfully ask that you consider freeing Mr. Rubashkin, who, like Manning, has already served seven years of his sentence. In your eight years as president of our great country, you have asserted that you seek truth, justice, and equality for all. It would be a truly fitting conclusion to your term to demonstrate that by freeing Sholom Rubashkin.”

“Mr. Rubashkin has already served seven years for his non-violent offenses,” Deutsch told JewishPress.com.

“In April of 2016, 107 officials signed a letter to the U.S. Attorney in support of Mr. Rubashkin’s motion to vacate his sentence. These signatories included six former United States Attorney Generals, federal judges, and other Department of Justice officials.

“I sent my letter to President Obama, Senators [Chuck] Schumer and [Kirstein] Gillibrand, the U.S. Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, and the White House Counsel to the President. I believe that Mr. Rubashkin deserves to be freed,” he added, saying that readers who agree should “get involved by calling the White House at 202-456-1414 or email President Obama at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact.”

Note, however, that as of Friday, January 20, 2017, it will no longer be relevant to ask President Obama to commute Sholom Rubashkin’s sentence.

It may, however, be relevant to ask for clemency from incoming President Donald J. Trump — although it may also be a good idea to give the new president a few days to get used to his surroundings first.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Watch: Jerusalem Mayor Calling on Israelis to Sign Letter Congratulating Incoming President Trump [video]

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has launched a website calling on Israelis to sign his letter congratulating President Trump on his inauguration Friday and thanking him for his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. In the video that accompanies the invitation to sign, Mayor Barkat recalls some of the foreign policy shortcomings of President Obama, expressing his hope for better decision making on the part of the new leader of the free world.

The short letter goes:

“Welcome President Trump,

“Israel thanks you for your enduring, unequivocal support for the state of Israel and welcomes your ambassador to Jerusalem.

“Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem”

David Israel

‘Truth Is Not A Political Position’: An Interview with ZOA National President Morton Klein

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, took the helm of a declining organization in 1993 and blew new life into it with his robust championing of Israel.

In an interview with The Jewish Press, Klein shared his views and visions concerning the ZOA and Israel.


The Jewish Press: How did you get involved with the ZOA?

Morton Klein: Years ago, my wife, an ardent Zionist, complained that I wasn’t utilizing my talents enough as a bio-statistician to help our people. With Israel in trouble, she bothered me to do something and I began to worry about losing her respect. So I started to educate myself on the issues.

When my daughter came home one day with numerous anti-Israel lies in her history textbook, I launched a campaign demanding that the publishers rewrite it. Within six months they rewrote the textbook based on the corrections I sent them. Then a friend of mine showed me a Baedeker guidebook on Israel and Jerusalem filled with over a hundred lies. After writing a series of articles in the Jerusalem Post about it, I was invited and paid by the German publishers to rewrite the travel guides.

My activism steadily increased and I was approached in 1993 to run for president of the ZOA. I didn’t want to run, but I campaigned as if I did because I don’t know any other way to do things except with my whole heart and soul. I won by a handful of votes. Probably a big chunk of the speech I gave at the convention was in Yiddish. Most of the elderly audience wept when they heard a younger man speaking Yiddish in defense of Israel.

Your parents are Holocaust survivors. How has that impacted on your view of Israel and Jewish survival?

My father was an Auschwitz survivor and lost his entire family. My mother was in Siberia and lost half her family. After the war they met in a DP camp, where I was born. My parents’ experience was a big factor in my having a strong sense of fighting to protect Jews and the Jewish state. My father, a Satmar chassid with semicha from Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, was also a Zionist. He thought there was nothing in the Torah that says we can’t have a state now. That fervent support of Israel was transmitted to me.

You are outspoken in an era of political correctness, especially among Jewish organizations. How has this hurt or helped you?

We speak the truth as we understand the truth. When people say we’re right wing, I fervently disagree. Truth is not a political position. We tell the truth – that the Arabs are not interested in peace, that statehood will not solve the problem, that Jerusalem is not holy to them, and that Jews have every right to live in Judea and Samaria.

We are really in the rational center but every other Jewish organization is to the left. They support a Palestinian state, which we firmly oppose because it will be a Hamas-Iran-Fatah terrorist regime devoted to destroying Israel. No other organization supports the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria and denounces the propaganda myth that Jerusalem is holy to Muslims. The positions of these mainstream groups allowed President Obama to feel much more comfortable allowing the recent vicious and anti-Semitic UN resolution to pass.

Israelis initiated the push for a two-state solution, the Oslo Accords, and the Gaza Disengagement. Aren’t they also culpable?

Yes, I blame the Israelis also. They supported a Palestinian state and have not built homes in Judea and Samaria in any serious way out of fear. In part, the Israeli government’s policy position of not stating definitively that we have more of a religious, historical, legal, and political right to be in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem than do the Arabs allowed for this sort of resolution to pass. If they had taken a proud, strong, principled position, I believe the world and now Obama wouldn’t have been able to get away with what they’ve done.

Is it difficult to lobby American policy makers to support the ZOA’s positions when those positions conflict with the Israeli government’s positions?

There were difficulties because organizations like AIPAC, ADL, and AJC were telling people on Capitol Hill that Oslo and the Disengagement were wonderful, that they were uncomfortable about Jews living in Judea and Samaria, and comfortable with a state and with aid to the Palestinians. This made it hard for us to explain why all these positions are wrong.

The PA, starting with Arafat and continuing with Abbas, has violated every aspect of its agreements in Oslo – it didn’t outlaw terrorist groups as required, it didn’t stop promoting hatred and violence against Jews, it didn’t stop naming schools, streets, and sports teams after terrorists, and it didn’t stop giving pensions and salaries to the families of suicide bombers. When we explained this to politicians they were in shock and wanted to know why the other Jewish organizations didn’t tell them about it. I said if they tell you this it would make it difficult for them to promote a state or money for the Palestinians.

How has your success in foreseeing the failure of these policies affected the ZOA?

We now have a lot of major donors we never had before. Even my colleagues in the other organizations grudgingly recognize we’ve been right. But even today these organizations still support the so-called two state solution, do not support the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria, and refuse to propagate the truth that Jerusalem is not holy to Muslims. They seem to believe that once there is a state, things will be fine.

Do you think religion plays a role in the attitude of Jews toward Israel, with the unaffiliated and non-Orthodox feeling increasingly alienated from Judaism and thus from Israel?

That’s a very powerful, valid point. The polls show this. Around 20 percent of Reform Jews care in a sincere way about Israel, 40-45 percent of Conservative Jews do – but 90 percent of Orthodox Jews do. The closer Jews are to traditional Torah Judaism, the more they care about Israel. Plus, among Conservative and Reform Jews you have intermarriage rates of 50-80 percent, so their spouses tend not to be Jewish. Unless they marry an evangelical Christian, Israel is going to become less important to them. For many Jews, their Judaism is actually liberalism. They have no real attachment to Judaism and no attachment to Israel.

Is there merit in trying to persuade these non-Orthodox Jews or do you write them off?

Absolutely not. I give more speeches in Reform and Conservative synagogues than in Orthodox shuls. And after laying out the facts, I get standing ovations. They don’t know the facts. Their rabbis either don’t know or don’t preach them because they’re afraid they’ll be condemned for being “against peace.” And the Jewish newspapers, with the exception of The Jewish Press, rarely talk about the facts.

When I speak in these synagogues, especially when I talk about the propaganda lie of Jerusalem, the rabbis there say we have no right to tell Muslims what’s holy to them. I say that if there’s no basis in proclaiming that Jerusalem is holy to them, they have no right to say it. We need to publicly proclaim that Jerusalem has been the capital only of the Jewish state and no other state. When Jordan controlled eastern Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967, the Jordanians let it become a slum that no Arab leader other than King Hussein visited. The name “Jerusalem” doesn’t even appear once in the Koran.

What is the ZOA’s position on moving the American embassy to Jerusalem?

Move it immediately. Legislation was passed by Congress in 1995 with 95 percent of House and Senate members voting to move it. Clinton, Bush, and Obama evoked a waiver because of security, but Arabs have been terrorizing Jews since Oslo began. By not moving it you show that you are afraid of their threats of terrorism and their threats that they won’t negotiate peace. Well, they won’t negotiate peace anyway.

Trump and the Jewish community should stand up like giants and tell the truth that Jerusalem is not holy to Muslims. Israel is the only country in the world where the American embassy is not in that country’s capital. Temporarily there might be an outbreak of violence [if the embassy is moved] and Israel should crush it. But I believe such a move will actually increase the likelihood of peace because the Arabs would realize the jig is up. They will know they’ll get nothing unless they finally recognize Israel as a Jewish state and end the Arab-Islamic war against Israel.

The ZOA has been in the forefront of fighting BDS and campus anti-Semitism. Can you describe what is being done?

We are very worried that the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities of BDS will increase dramatically. To this end we have a dozen full time campus professionals, in addition to the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, headed by Susan Tuchman. She got Title Six of the Civil Rights Act to apply to Jews on campus, which empowers them in the fight against campus discrimination and anti-Semitism.

We also bring 120 kids to Israel every year and we’re the only Jewish organization that brings college and high school kids past the ‘67 line to Chevron, Ariel, and Efrat. These kids frequently say that this is the most exciting part of the trip. They realize these are real cities with wonderful people, and not the crazy religious fanatics they imagined them to be.

Do you think BDS will get worse as a result of the UN resolution?

Yes. This legitimizes BDS. Now they can proclaim that Israel is violating international law under the UN. And Jewish organizations that support boycotting Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem are really boycotting Israel itself, because large numbers of companies in Israel proper sell to Jews in those areas and have offices there.

These frightened, appeasement-minded Jews care more about Islamophobia than they care about Jews. Many of them are ready to do anything in the belief that major concessions will stop the Arab-Islamic hatred of Jews because the holy land of Israel is not that important to them. I care about Israel because I believe in the Torah. I believe that God gave this holy land to the Jews. End of story.

Sara Lehmann

President Rivlin Getting Pacemaker

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

President Reuven Rivlin over the weekend will undergo a procedure to be fitted with a pacemaker. In order for the procedure to be carried out, the President will be admitted to hospital for around 24 hours, before returning to work, a spokesperson for the President said in an email statement.

The President’s doctors have recently detected cardiac arrhythmia requiring greater monitoring capability. The procedure will be carried out without general anesthesia, and, following a short hospitalization period, the President is expected to return to his official Jerusalem Residence.

Rivlin, 77, a vegetarian since the late 1960s, was elected as President of Israel on June 10, 2014. He is married to Nechama Rivlin, and they have four children.

David Israel

Goodbye President Obama from the Settlers

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Dear President Obama,

I wanted to say goodbye and show you the respect due to a tenacious adversary. Many US Jews, and even a few here in Israel, thought you were a friend. But for us settlers, there was no question that you were a challenger, a formidable foe.

It was easy to determine.

Your Condemnations

You and your team condemned our homes and lives in the West Bank as “illegitimate,” and branded us “occupiers.” Now, it is one thing to theorize that Israel should rip up settlements and part with our ancestral lands for the sake of a compromise to end the conflict. But it is quite another to say that our presence in these areas is “illegitimate” or that Israel is an “occupation.”
For us “settlers,” the West Bank of the Jordan River — Judea and Samaria — is the Jewish historic heartland, where most of our people’s foundational stories took place. From our perspective, living here is key to giving the modern state of Israel its rooting in Jewish history and connecting it to the two previous Jewish commonwealths that existed on this very soil. If we weren’t here, the historic foundations of our connection to this land would be undermined. If we have no rights to ancient Hebron, we certainly won’t have them to modern Tel Aviv.

Our Security

Furthermore, it is a core settler belief that evacuation from Judea and Samaria — Israel’s mountainous highlands — would undermine Israel’s security. The 2005 Gaza evacuation and immediate takeover by Hamas proved us right. Today, three wars and more than 1,000 of our casualties later, more than half of our country agrees that, as jihad becomes prevalent in the region, the last thing Israel needs is Palestine looking down on us from the mountaintops.

So, while you obsessively condemned us in Paris, at the Security Council, and in your last interview, as illegitimate occupiers, we see ourselves as historically legitimate, having a deep connection with our land and on the front lines of the battle to defend our small country.

The Scorecard

However, your attack on Israel went beyond criticism of the settlements. If we were keeping a scorecard of the boxing match between you and Israel, I would say that you landed three big punches:

Iran — In your steadfast embrace of Iran, you dropped the sanctions and released millions of dollars into the coffers of the world’s number one terror exporter and a dangerous and determined hater of Israel. You legitimized the jihadists while delegitimizing the only light of liberty in the region, the Jewish state. Big point for you.

Jerusalem — In the Supreme Court case “Zivotofsky v. Kerry,” lawyers for your State Department successfully defended the idea that Congress cannot require the State Department to indicate in American passports that Jerusalem is part of Israel. In other words, you pushed hard to perpetuate the lie that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel all the way up to America’s highest court, and won. Point for you.

Settlements — In your last days in office, you called for America’s abstention from an anti-Israel resolution at the UN, which derided the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem in such famous Palestinian landmarks as… the Western Wall. You even supported a last-ditch delegitimization conference in Paris literally a week before you were no longer going to be a policy-maker in America — once again, to condemn Israelis as illegitimate occupiers on the world stage. Another big point for you.

However, the boxing match was not one-sided and you, President Obama, took a few punches as well:

The Middle East meltdown — You wanted the Arab world to rise during your presidency, but in fact, it plummeted into chaos. Without a strong American will and presence, the jihad turned on itself, killing half a million Syrians, with millions more displaced. The Arab Spring turned into a repressive blood-letting that we all lament. However, due to the infighting, many of our enemies have become weaker in the process. Point for us.

Donald Trump — Your policies, President Obama, which alienated the American people, allowed, in part, for the Trump phenomenon. The new president may be a wild card, but most indications show that he does not share your contempt for Israel, for Jerusalem and for the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. We are looking forward to the next four years. Point for us.

A stronger Israel — Strangely, we can thank you for the positive growth in Israel since you came into office. Inadvertently, you, President Obama, made Israel stronger. The average Israeli never bought into your charm and knew that you were an adversary. This helped Israel gain a new sense of self, a realization that though we have friends and allies, we cannot be a puppet state, and must act independently with our own best interests at heart. You helped bring about this healthy evolution in the Jewish state. Furthermore, your pro-Iran stance propelled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a player on the world stage and gained him, and Israel, popularity in the US and around the globe.

Moreover, with all the threats of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement damaging Israel, which you have tacitly supported, Israel’s economy is booming and the world can’t get enough of what we have to offer. Finally, in spite of your efforts, and probably to your great consternation, there are more Israelis in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem today than when you started. Indeed, Jewish communities are flourishing, and there is more political support for the Jews of Judea and Samaria then ever. Big point for us.

The Final Tally

On balance, given that you’re not living on Pennsylvania Avenue anymore, but we’re still living in Beit El, Efrat, Ma’ale Adumim and Shilo, I think Israel wins. But we have no doubt that you’re not down for the count. I hear that you are the first US President since Woodrow Wilson who will remain in Washington after his term, and I bet you will find a way to affect global affairs and spar with us once again. I assure you, though, that we here in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem intend on staying put, as well.

We wish the American people well, as they — and we — put your presidency behind us.

Until next time,

Yishai Fleisher

Yishai Fleisher

Polish President Brings Stone From Warsaw Ghetto to Grave of ‘Hero’ Yoni Netanyahu

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Polish President Andrzej Duda paid his respects to the resting place of Yoni Netanyahu on Tuesday, placing a bouquet of flowers on the grave during his visit to Jerusalem.

The Polish leader went together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit his brother’s grave at Mount Herzl military cemetery.

President Duda said that he knows the story of Yoni Netanyahu, and that he is a “hero.” He placed a stone on the IDF commander’s grave that he brought with him from the Warsaw Ghetto especially for the occasion.

President Reuven Rivlin welcomed President Duda of Poland upon his arrival Tuesday, thanking him also for attending the funeral of Israel’s Ninth President, Shimon Peres.

The Israeli president spoke of the close ties between the two countries, and underscored the importance of helping Israel in its efforts to continue coordinating relations with the European Union.

“Our meeting with officials of the Polish Government are always replete with content and interest, and are a testament to the close ties between our states and our peoples; close historical ties, alongside dealing bravely with a complex, rich, and painful past. Today, there is perhaps no field in which there is not unique cooperation between the two countries. Among them, there is enhanced trade and relations in the fields of science, culture, sport, and security – and I hope we will tighten this cooperation even further,” he said.

“The ties between Israel, the European Union, and Poland are a cornerstone for our foreign policy. We are not only trade partners, we share values, challenges, and geographical proximity, and it is important we coordinate positions in relation to the emerging international agenda,” he continued.

“Mr. President, you come to Israel, to Jerusalem, at a time when we are facing a wave of terror. We have lived for many years in the shadow of the threat of terror, yet we keep our heads high. Despite this struggle, we succeed in developing here an industry of innovation, of creativity, and initiative, and we want to deepen the cooperation between us.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/polish-president-brings-stone-from-warsaw-ghetto-to-grave-of-hero-yoni-netanyahu/2017/01/17/

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