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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Saturday’

A Week after Phone Call, U.S., Iran, Exchange Doubts

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Entangled as he is, in a government shutdown in its fifth day, President Barack Obama devoted only a marginal portion of his interview with the Associated Press Saturday to his diplomatic outreach to Iran, in an attempt to bring an end to Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. A week or so after Obama’s phone conversation with President Hassan Rouhani—the first direct talk between American and Iranian leaders in more than 30 years, some of the initial excitement appears to have given way to pragmatism.

“Rouhani has staked his position on the idea that he can improve relations with the rest of the world,” Obama told the AP. “And so far he’s been saying a lot of the right things. And the question now is, can he follow through?”

Obama acknowledged that Rouhani is not Iran’s only “decision-maker. He’s not even the ultimate decision-maker,” he added, alluding to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Israel and other countries have questioned whether Rouhani’s public relations effort represents real change in Iran’s leadership.

The supreme leader Khamenei himself said on Saturday that he supports Rouhani’s attempts at moving closer to the West, but said that the U.S. leader is “untrustworthy, arrogant, illogical and a promise-breaker.”

He could probably win if he ran on a Republican ticket in most southern and mid-western states…

“We support the movement in the government’s diplomacy, including the New York visit, since we hold trust in the government and we are optimistic about it, but some of what happened in the New York visit were not proper because we believe the U.S. administration is untrustworthy, conceited, illogical and unfaithful to its pledges,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing a cadets graduation ceremony in Tehran on Saturday.

Obama was careful to distance U.S. assessments of when Iran might have the capacity to build a nuclear weapon from what Israel is predicting. Israeli officials have been saying that Iran is a mere months away from building a bomb, but Obama said today that Tehran is at least a year away from having that capability.

The president used the same time frame last March, before his visit to Israel.

The Fars News agency reported that, in their phone conversation, Presidents Rouhani and Obama stressed the necessity for mutual cooperation on different regional issues. Then Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary Kerry were commissioned to begin follow up talks between the two countries.

“But after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, the US president made a U-turn, and said that ‘we take no options off the table, including military options,’” Fars complained, saying this “revealed the U.S. administration’s lack of independence and decision-making power.”

Oh, Bibi, Bibi, why must you rule so harshly over poor President Obama…

‘Australia’s Sarah Palin’ Quits Race over Islam Gaffe (Video)

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Stephanie Banister, 27, a candidate for Australia’s anti-immigration One Nation party, dropped out of the election race on Saturday, after an interview in which she referred to Islam as a country.

“I don’t oppose Islam as a country, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia,” Banister said in a Wednesday interview to the Seven Network. The interview went viral in short order, endowing Banister with the nickname “Australia’s Sarah Palin.”

She went on to tell the riveted—if somewhat horrified—masses that only two percent of Australians follow the “haram” – referring to the Koran – and then voiced her enthusiastic support for kosher food for Jewish people, because “Jews aren’t under haram. They have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ.”

Bet you didn’t know.

On Saturday, Banister withdrew her candidacy for the September 7 election, which she was contesting for anti-immigration zealot Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party in Queensland.

Party leader Jim Savage insisted the resignation came not over IQ issues and her a lack of familiarity with current events, but because of Islamic persecution: “Due to the threats against Stephanie’s family, herself, her children, the abuse she’s copped and the enormous pressure she’s been put under, Stephanie has decided she wants to withdraw from the candidacy for the seat of Rankin,” Savage said.

Fear of persecution appears to be a running theme in One nation. In 1997, founder Pauline Hanson recorded a video which was to be screened to One Nation members and supporters in the event of her assassination.


Zechut Avot : An Eternal Birthright

Monday, August 5th, 2013

The first time was many years ago. I had just concluded explanations about Yeshivat Knesset Yisrael” which arrived in Hebron from Slobodka, in Lithuania in 1924. The Hebron Heritage Museum at Beit Hadassah features an exhibit about this illustrious Torah-learning academy, nicknamed the ‘Hebron Yeshiva,’ which includes a ‘class picture’ from 1928.

As I finished my brief account, an older man approached me, put his finger on a picture of one of the yeshiva students and asked me, ‘do you see him? That’s me.’

That was Rabbi Dov Cohen, a phenomenal Torah genius, who, following my tour, came back to Hebron and gave us his tour.

I always thought that this was a ‘once in a lifetime event,’ having someone point themselves out in a photo taken so many decades ago, here in Hebron.

But it happened again.

On Friday afternoon the Farbstein family came into Hebron for Shabbat. Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Farbstein, today dean of the ‘Hebron yeshiva,’ now located in Jerusalem, arrived with his wife and many grandchildren. And his mother, Rabbanit Chana Farbstein.

Chana Farbstein was born in 1923. Her father was Rabbi Yechezkel Sarna, a Torah giant. Her grandfather was the legendary Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein, dean of the yeshiva, located then located in Slobodka, which, a year or so later, moved to Hebron. Chana lived in Hebron until the 1929 riots, in an apartment next to Eliezer Dan Slonim and his family.

Friday afternoon, before Shabbat, the Farbsteins took a short tour of Hebron, which began in the museum. When we approached the Hebron Yeshiva exhibit, she moved, as hypnotized, to one of the photos on the bottom row, stared at it, and then pointed to a small girl in the right corner, saying, ‘that’s me.’ To her right, a young woman had her hand on little Chana’s shoulder. ‘That’s my mother.’

A ‘once in a lifetime event.’ And it happened to me for a second time.

Chana later told us that she must have been about four years old at the time the photo was taken.

Even though she was barely five and a half at the time of the riots, she remembered them quite clearly: “I remember a big truck going through the streets. They were throwing rocks at our house and calling out my father’s name ‘Chezkel.’ They were looking for him. It was our good luck, he was in Jerusalem.”

“Do you remember what was told to you, what was going on?”

“No one had to explain. We knew exactly what was happening.”

She said that on Saturday afternoon, her family was removed from Hebron and taken to the ‘Strauss Building’ in Jerusalem, across the street from ‘Bikor Cholim hospital. Asked when she ‘left’ the city,’ she replied: “We didn’t leave. The British came, on Shabbat, and took us to Jerusalem.”

Later she also spoke about remembering the pain of having to pray at the 7th step at Ma’arat HaMachpela, not being allowed to enter the structure. “We would stand there for a few minutes, and then leave.”

Were relations with Arabs always poor? “No, when we went shopping in the market an Arab with a large round basket would go with us. We would put the produce we wanted into the basket, he would carry it and later bring it to our home.”

Chana Farbstein is a phenomenal woman. She also stood with us on Friday afternoon, at the cemetery in Hebron, where 59 of the 67 massacre victims are buried. Her son, Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Farbstein, recited two Psalms at the site, his voice breaking, sensing the atrocities and pain of the events occurring 84 years ago.

The next morning, Mrs. Farbstein walked from Beit Hadassah to Ma’arat HaMachpela for morning prayers, and later in the afternoon, to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood to attend a special class presented by her daughter-in-law, Dr. Esther Farbstein, an expert on Holocaust studies, author of the book, “Hidden in Thunder.”

After Shabbat, as I arrived to interview her, I found her sweeping the floor.

Her son, Rabbi Farbstein, told me that that last winter she had been very ill, and there was grave concern that she might not recover. But recover she did, and despite only meeting her for the first time, her inner strength and iron will were quite obvious.

Syrian Rebels Post Video of Outcome of Assad’s Chemical Weapons

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

A video uploaded to YouTube by Syrian rebels on Saturday seems to indicate that Syrian President Bashar Assad is attacking opposition forces with chemical weapons.

The video is allegedly taken in a suburb of Aleppo, where Syria’s largest stockpile of chemical weapons is believed to be stored.

Warning: Video is graphic and potentially disturbing to children

London’s Sunday Times reported that Israeli commandos have infiltrated Syria with the mission of recording information about Assad’s weapons depots and the transportation of chemical weapons to new locations.

On Wednesday, the London Times reported that the US and other allies were considering launching military reprisals on Assad’s forces in response to the chemical weapons use.

Syria is believed to hold the world’s third largest chemical weapons hoard.

Assad’s forces have killed an estimated 42,000 people in the almost two years since Syria’s Arab Spring began.

Italy Foiled Weapons Smuggling to Egypt Based on Israeli Information

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

The smuggling of weapons through Italy, intended probably to Egypt and from there to Gaza, was thwarted in the southern city of Naples, based on information provided by Israeli authorities, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Saturday. According to the report, Naples police arrested an Egyptian citizen on suspicion of attempting to smuggle five containers, one of which contained a rocket launcher.

“The operation that thwarted the smuggling attempt was done based on information received from Israel, and at this time the containers are being checked by police which were called to the scene,” said a police report.

The containers were seized in Naples at 5 in the morning, Saturday, by undercover police agents.

Menorah Made Up of Menorahs

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Not exactly. What you see here is the Israeli Packer Steel Industries plant in Kiryat Malachi (yes, where the Arab missile hit an apartment a couple weeks ago), which produce steel Chanukah Menorahs for the IDF.

Last year, the company forged thirteen steel menorahs. They each weigh a little over 400 pounds and stand about 9 feet tall. They’re lined up like this not so that each menorah be lighted by the “shamash” menorah, although you must admit the concept is nifty. They’re standing like that waigting to be picked up by trucks for delivery to different IDF bases.

In case you were wondering, Chanukah this year starts Saturday night, December 8, after havdalah.

Jewish Boy Does Good: Producer Jeffrey Katzenberg Honored For Philanthropy

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Jewish Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg was honored for his philanthropic work on Saturday, receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Katzenberg, as well as documentary filmmaker DA Pennebakers, arts advocate George Stevens and stuntman Hal Needham were recognized at a black-tie dinner.

Katzenberg is the founder and CEO of Dreamworks Animanation and former chairman of Walt Disney’s movie division.

Katzenberg was honored for raising funds for the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, but said the real thanks belongs to his colleagues in Hollywood who gave generously to his causes.

Katzenberg also sits on the boards or serves as a trustee of AIDS Project Los Angeles, American Museum of the Moving Image, California Institute of the Arts, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Geffen Playhouse, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and The Simon Wiesenthal Center.

He and his wife, Marilyn Siegel, have two children.

Updated: Rumors From Syria

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Not a week passes without some new rumor from Syria tearing up the Arab social media channels. Usually these rumors are sent out by the Syrian Free Army Rebels as a mixture of propaganda and wishful thinking.

Today’s rumor is of a senior Syrian official taking off from a closed airport in Damascus and heading straight to Moskow on flight SYR411, which landed at 11:00 PM on Saturday.

This rumor says the passenger is none other than Assad himself.

Of course, as in previous social media rumors where they say Assad has died, most versions of this rumor say he’s dead too, in a few others, that Assad ran away to sanctuary and exile in Russia.

It probably didn’t help that Syrians didn’t have internet for the past 3 days and need to let loose today.

This rumor was so widespread that the Russian Minister of the Interior felt compelled to respond to it on Saturday evening to say there was no truth to it at all.

We’re waiting to see what next week’s Syrian social media rumors bring.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rumors-from-syria/2012/12/01/

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