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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘public’

Israel’s Hospitals Go On Strike to Demand More Resources For Public Health System

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

The Ministries of Health and Finance continue to find themselves at odds with the Israel Medical Association as hospitals went on strike in Israel on Thursday morning, insisting that more resources be allocated to the public health system.

Although employees at all government hospitals and psychiatric facilities will be on strike, hospitals will still run at limited capacity and continue emergency medical treatment. Nevertheless, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman said that the strike itself would not at all contribute towards reaching a solution.

“This strike is unnecessary and without any real reason,” Litzman told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “It has no real goal and will bring little benefit to public health and to the health system.”

The health minister also dismissed complaints from the doctors about a new clause that had been added to the Economic Arrangements Law that would prevent senior doctors from practicing private medicine.

“The main concern of the doctors regarding the restriction of department managers from engaging in private practice does not exist since that legislative clause was removed from the draft of the Arrangements Law,” charged Litzman.

Even without the change to the Economic Arrangements Law, the doctors are still insisting that the 2017-2018 budget proposed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon include an additional several hundred million dollars (NIS 1-2 billion) to be spent towards extra hospital beds, doctors, and manpower.

Finance Ministry officials and representatives of the union for doctors appeared to be on the verge of reaching an agreement on terms at a certain point during negotiations last night. However, Yossi Cohen, director of the Finance Ministry’s salary division, sent an ambiguously worded letter to the doctors that did not include an explicit commitment to agree to the terms in writing, which quelled hopes for an agreement.

A doctor working at Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem spoke with TPS on condition of anonymity about her dissatisfaction with the current allocations in the public health system and with doctors’ salaries in particular.

“Are doctors satisfied with the current numbers? In a word, no,” she told TPS. “We must examine the basic salary as a measure of comparison and not doctors’ combined salaries that include other jobs and being on call. When doing so, the average gross salary of a doctor in Israel drops to only NIS 16,360 (4,292 USD).”

“Doctors believe that a reasonable basic gross salary for a doctor given his education, training, and earning capacity outside the public system should be NIS 30,000 to NIS 40,000 a month before any on-call work, shift work, or any other forms of work,” the doctor explained.

Health Minister Litzman said that his ministry has been engaged in efforts to improve and increase the amount of financial resources invested in the public health system as well as in its doctors in particular.

“The Ministry of Health has intensive contacts with the Ministry of Finance to strengthen the public health system with additional beds, manpower, and other resources,” Litzman told TPS. “This is in correlation with the many other moves we made for the benefit of the patients, doctors, and healthcare system.”

Michael Zeff contributed to this report.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israeli Public Security Minister to Outlaw Hizb ut-Tahrir Organization

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced on Monday that he intends to outlaw international Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir.

“It is inconceivable that an organization that incites and supports terrorism and that shares the same ideology as the Islamic State terror group is active in Israel,” said Minister Erdan. “I intend to do everything in my power to outlaw the organization.”

According to the Public Security Ministry, Erdan is scheduled to hold a meeting with the Jerusalem District Police in which they will outline a course of action as to how to execute the ban.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is an international political organization dedicated to pan-Islamism. The Sunni Islamic organization’s stated goal is the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate from North Africa to Southeast Asia, much like the Islamic State.

The organization was founded by Taqiuddin al-Nabhani in Jerusalem in 1953 when the city was under Jordanian occupation and has since then grown and spread with a branch on every continent. In Israel, the organization is active mostly in Jerusalem and specifically on the Temple Mount compound, which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Al-Nabhani also wrote the organization’s constitution, which serves as the draft constitution of the potential caliphate as well. The constitution calls for the complete eradication of the State of Israel without compromise.

Hizb ut-Tahrir was an unlawful organization in most Arab countries until the Arab Spring of 2006 and it is only legally currently legal in Lebanon, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates. The organization is also outlawed in several European countries, including in France and Spain, while it is considered a terror organization in Russia and Kazakhstan.

According to the Public Security Ministry, Erdan recently saw intelligence about Hizb ut-Tahrir that highlighted the activity of the organization on the Temple Mount.

“Leaders of the organization hold regular classes and preach on the Temple Mount and their influence in that compound is growing,” said a Public Security Ministry spokesperson. “These sermons and classes are of a radical and inciteful nature; they encourage terrorism and challenge Israel’s right to exist.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Defense Minister Liberman Attacks Predecessor’s Public Conviction of Hebron Shooter

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) on Monday criticized his predecessor, MK Moshe Yaalon (Likud) on the latter’s public comments following the incident of IDF medic Sergeant Elor Azaria who shot dead a terrorist that had already been neutralized. “Deciding in advance [that Azaria had broken the law] was a serious mistake,” Liberman said.

Liberman was visiting the IDF reception and screening center, where, he said, “I enlisted in the IDF 37 years ago, in 1979, and now I’m coming back as defense minister.” A combat recruit who enlisted in the Golani and Givati brigades, asked Liberman about the rules of engagement, to which the defense minister answered: “We want to maintain the most battle ready and the best operational army, and also the most moral army. These are the values that guide us.” Liberman recommended that soldiers who are not sure about the rules of engagement ask their superiors.

Answering a question from another recruit regarding the political horizon of the Israeli-Arab conflict, Liberman said that “whoever believes that a political maneuver would improve our situation vis-à-vis terrorism is wrong. Terrorism is not rational, ISIS and the crazies devote their lives to dying as shahids. You can’t appease them through a political maneuver.”

Liberman added that Hamas is no different from ISIS and Al Qaeda. He told the recruits, “Look at what’s going on in the Muslim world. More than 90% of the victims are within the Muslim world. We live in a very tough neighborhood, a neighborhood of deep changes. Moses committed a strategic blunder when he brought us here and not to the Swiss-Italian border. We’re in a very problematic neighborhood.”

Regarding his summoning last week of the Army Radio commander for a hearing over the broadcast of a program about anti-Israeli poet Mahmoud Darwish, Liberman said, “I suggest everyone go back and read the goals of the military station as they were set by Ben Gurion at its establishment. [For this same station to devote time] to someone whose entire work is a call to the Jewish people to go away, and in one of his poems he describes eating the liver of the ‘occupier’ — someone got confused here. It’s my duty as defense minister to clarify; but we don’t get involved in content but in the army’s spirit.”

David Israel

One Third of Public Complaints to Israel’s Ombudsman ‘Justified’

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Retired Judge Joseph Shapira, who serves as both State Comptroller and Ombudsman, on Monday submitted his annual Report to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

Edelstein noted that the number of public complaints filed with the Ombudsman’s office last year – 15,000, marks an increase from 2014.

“This is a positive statistic which shows that the citizens are fighting bureaucracy and foolishness, but it also shows that there are many more issues which must be dealt with, particularly when a third of the complaints were found to be justified,” said the Knesset speaker.

“The complaints were handled in a professional, thorough and fair manner, and perhaps this will motivate citizens to file more complaints,” Edelstein added, saying, “I am certain that the people in the State Comptroller’s Office, whom I thank for their dedicated work, will provide the appropriate professional service wherever necessary.”

State Comptroller Shapira said in response that “it’s important that the public is showing concern and is not willing to ignore [violations]. There are companies where the percentage of justified complaints was [very high]. At the Israel Postal Company, for instance, some 69 percent of the complaints were found to be justified. It is [gratifying] to see that the public is taking this matter seriously. It contributes to a better society.”

Besides the postal service, the government bodies with the highest number of justified complaints were: Ministry of Transport and Road Safety – 52%, Broadcast Authority – 48%, the IDF – 44%, Israel Electric Company – 41%, and Ministry of Education – 40%.

Government agencies with 100 complaints or more in 2015 were: National Insurance Institute (Israel’s Social Security agency), The Israel Postal Company Ltd., Israel Police, Ministry of Economy and Industry, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Transport and Road Safety, Ministry of Housing and Construction, and Israel Tax Authority.

Shapira said that in 2015 he issued 20 orders which legally protect citizens who expose corruption, 15 temporary and 5 permanent. “This is above the average [number of orders],” he noted.

2015 saw an increase of 25% of complaints filed online.

State Control Committee Chairperson MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid) said the report indicates that the complaints filed with the Ombudsman’s Office relate to the daily affairs of the country’s citizens. “I call on all the government offices to [work together] so that corruption will gradually subside,” she said.

The principal function of Israel’s state comptroller is to review the legality, regularity, efficiency, economy, and ethical conduct of public institutions. The reviews are performed by ongoing as well as spot inspections of the financial accounts and activities of all ministries, the armed forces and security services, local government agencies, and any corporations, enterprises, or organizations subsidized or managed by the state to any extent.

By law, the State Comptroller also functions as Ombudsman to whom members of the public may send complaints about actions by governmental bodies that have caused them harm.


What’s Wrong With the Star-K Kosher Phone?

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

About a month ago the Star-K, a world renowned Kashrus agency, announced that they were certifying kosher phones. These phones have no access to the Internet, cannot place or receive text messages, cannot take photos, and most importantly, cannot be hacked to perform any of these tasks.

It’s not troubling to me that people would want a phone that is insulated from certain tasks. Although I think it is an unnecessary measure and perhaps counter productive, I don’t begrudge people their personal self control restraints.

What is troubling is that a kashrus agency is part of this initiative. A kashrus agency should be concerned with one thing and one thing only. Their singular concern should be the kosher status of the food. I don’t even think that a kashrus agency must concern itself with humanitarian or other ethical issues that may arise. I have no problem with a secondary agency coming in and providing a secondary level of supervision. But the kosher status of the food cannot be affected by anything other its status as kosher food.

So when I see a kashrus agency entering into the phone market, I see an agency that should be worried about kosher status of food but is now legislating morality. It’s not even as if the technical skills involved in kosher supervision overlap the neutering of cell phones. They have nothing to do with each other. I don’t think it is smart for kosher supervision to be intertwined or even related to morality supervision.

Similarly, when kosher supervision agencies make demands on the clientele or ambience of an eating establishment I believe they are overstepping their bounds. There are restaurants that are not allowed to be open at certain hours because they will lose their hechsher if they are open. This is far beyond the scope of kosher supervision. Tell me if the food is kosher and I will decide if I want to patronize the restaurant. That is all we need from a kashrus agency. The stretching of their authority serves no important purpose for the public. It seems to me that it is merely a self-serving, self-righteous way to legislate their morality. If they can legislate phones and who can eat where, what’s next?

I am not making a slippery slope argument. I am pointing out that there is no logical connection between the kosher status of food and the kosher status of a phone. There is also no relationship between the kosher status of a restaurant and whether teenagers are hanging out. In other words, the kashrus agencies are already legislating their morality. There is no reason to think it only will apply in these two instances because there is no connection between these two things and the kosher status of food.

We need to stop using the word kosher for things other than food. Yes, the word is a general term but it has evolved into a word that describes whether food can be eaten by orthodox Jews who keep kosher. We don’t eat anything that is not kosher. Using the word kosher for phones and Internet implies that the non-kosher versions are not allowed to be used. This is sophomoric and divisive.

If anything, the kashrus agencies should be concerned with the ethics and morality of the actual food. This is something they have resisted time and time again. I am not recommending they get into the ethics of food business, but if they must expand their business and purview of supervision I think that is the first place they should be looking to legislate seeing as they have the knowledge and expertise to monitor and report on that aspect of food production. But teens mingling and phones? They don’t belong there at all.

Visit Fink or Swim.

Rabbi Eliyahu Fink

Krugman’s Lament

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Originally published at The American Thinker.

Paul Krugman laments but does not condemn the voting public for getting it wrong. We are, after all,  “… often misinformed, and politicians aren’t reliably truthful.” So it is at least not our fault when we get it all wrong. Get what wrong?

Well, Krugman wondered whether the public was clueless about whether “the deficit has gone up or down since January 2010.” He got one of his pals, Hal Varian, to run a Google Consumer Survey on the question. And guess what? We got it wrong, “A majority of those who replied said the deficit has gone up, with more than 40 percent saying that it has gone up a lot. Only 12 percent answered correctly that it has gone down a lot.” So, according to Krugman, under [in spite of?] Obama the deficit has gone down a lot since 2010.

The amount of the deficit in 2010 was 1.3 trillion. The amount of the deficit in 2011 was 1.3 trillion.

Obama’s 2011 deficit same as 2010: $1.3 trillion

That means big things must have happened in  2012, right?

For fiscal year 2012 the federal budget deficit will total $1.1 trillion

Wow. Did we get that wrong. For Krugman the move from 1.3 trillion to 1.1 trillion is “down a lot.”

Now maybe Krugman had the projected government deficit for 2013 in mind. That is projected to be .7 trillion.  But he didn’t ask that did he? He didn’t even ask if the deficit for 2012 is lower than the deficit in 2011. He just asked if the deficit has gone up or down.

But which is it Mr. Krugman? You’ve been telling us that deficits don’t matter. If they don’t matter why should we, the clueless misinformed, pay attention? But now you seem to be suggesting that a reduced deficit is a good thing and that you and the Obama administration should take credit for the reduced deficit in 2013 – forced sequestration, condemned by you and the Obama administration, had nothing to do with the 2013 drop in the deficit?

So if deficits go up it doesn’t matter but if they go down it’s a good thing? Well, count me among the clueless.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/08/krugmans_lament.html#ixzz2cRV1ZhGB
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Richard Butrick

The Importance of Day Schools

Monday, August 12th, 2013

I never thought I would have to make this argument in 2013.

Jordana Horn, the former New York bureau chief of The Jerusalem Post,  has written an article in the Forward defending the premise that one can be raised as a proud and productive Jew without ever attending a day school. She proceeds to document her own attendance in public school and that of her siblings to prove her point. Which is that one can be fully Jewish, relatively knowledgeable about one’s Judaism and fully proud and participatory in it at many levels. She then presents a list of suggestions instructing us how to go about doing so successfully. It is a list of very practical suggestions with which I agree. But it falls woefully short in my view.

I have to ask, is her definition of being a Jew the correct definition? Is Judaism only about marrying Jewish? Or reading Hebrew? Or the ability to read the Torah? As laudable as these things are, they fall far short of what being a Jew is all about. The entire concept of following Halacha is missing from her definition. And in my view being an observant  ‘Halakhic Man’ is the essence of being a Jew. Everything we do as a Jew should be viewed through the lens of Halacha. That is what God desires of the Jewish people… and no less. That many of us fail in that regard one way or another does not make it any less so.

That said, I must concede that it is possible to raise a child to be Halachic Jew without sending him to day school. I am sure that there are some cases where that has happened even in our day. But I would not recommend it.

I understand the incentive for a parent too try and do something like that. The tuition crisis in America is real. There is no two ways about it. Any parent with children in a day school will verify that. But there is a reason that is so

Day schools today are not what they used to be in their early days (…fifties and early sixties) – a school with teachers so underpaid that they could barely survive even with second jobs. No enrichment programs. No school psychologists. No real curriculum development. No special classes for learning disabled children.  Nothing except the bare bones of studying Limudei Kodesh  (religious studies) in the morning and Limudei Chol (secular studies) in the afternoons.

Funding Jewish education in those days was a joke. Tuitions were tiny back then because day schools were struggling just to get parents to send them their children – even for free. Generous philanthropists didn’t exist yet. As a result, religious teachers sometimes went unpaid their meager earnings for months at a time. I don’t know how they existed.

And yet, somehow the day schools of that time managed.

Today, things are much better. Teachers make livable wages. Fundraising is much better. Teachers are paid mostly on time. Schools are therefore much better now. It is easier to recruit good teachers for a school if you pay them a livable wage. And as a school grows – so do programs they offer their students. All this costs money. Hence the increased tuitions today.

Meanwhile parents who themselves have gone through the day school system recognize their value and no longer need convincing to send their children.  All of this translates to the impossibly high tuition that are demanded of parents today. Even though scholarships are given to those who need them – every spare dime a parent may have is asked for by the schools that have no choice but to demand it in order to fund their exploding budgets. Budgets that are for the most part necessary in order to serve the demands made by parents who expect the best and most enriching education possible. (Although trimming what is in some cases bloated school budgets is a subject for legitimate discussion – it is beyond the scope of this post.)

For parents with four, five, six or more children who feel they are squeezed to the max for every dime, the thought of sending a child to a free public school while teaching them about Judaism at home must be very tempting. But it is a losing proposition in most cases. It would take a most unusual family and an unusual child to overcome the influences in a public school.

Harry Maryles

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/the-importance-of-day-schools/2013/08/12/

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