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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘status’

J Street Recruiting Obama’s Jack Lew to Rob Regavim of Non-Profit Status

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

The leftwing, anti-Netanyahu group J Street is pushing this month a petition titled, “Ask the Treasury to review the tax-deductibility of donations to groups aiding settlement expansion and Palestinian dispossession.” The umbrella cast by the petition appears to be broad, but the real target, as disclosed in an email sent out this week by Meretz MK Michal Rozin, is Regavim, a movement dedicated to enforcing the rule of law regarding illegal Arab construction everywhere.

In another email Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, sent his members in early September, he announced that he was pressuring the Obama Administration to revoke the US tax-exempt status of the Israeli NGO Regavim in response to their supposed activity against the two-state solution. Regavim has been very effective recently in forcing the Israeli authorities to apply Supreme Court rulings on demolishing illegal Arab construction in Area C of Judea and Samaria. Borrowing a page from the play book of Peace Now, which has been documenting every minute construction in Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, Regavim has become a pesky companion to every Arab attempt to defy the law, especially in cases where the courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court, have ruled in favor of demolition. As a result, the Netanyahu government and its law enforcement agencies can no longer ignore these rulings and permit illegal Arab construction to flourish.

One of the most outstanding recent focal points of the Regavim efforts has been their campaign against a squatter camp outside the Jewish community of Susiya in Judea, which the US and the EU insist must stay put despite the fact that its existence violates every signed agreement between Israel and the PA.

Ben-Ami wrote his followers that he was shocked to discover that the “settler movements” aiming to destroy Susiya are partially funded by donations from the US — including Regavim which has systematically mapped out the Susiya shacks and lean-tos, pointing Israeli police at the precise location of structures that violate the law. Ben-Ami sees this well-organized campaign to enforce the law as a threat to a future Palestinian State, which, he believes, must some day be handed the entire area.

As MK Rozin told J Street members in her email: “In 2016, they have already demolished more Palestinian homes than in all of last year. … This process is led in part by influential right-wing NGOs (like the group Regavim), which have been systematically mapping out strategically located Palestinian villages — like Susya — and lobbying the Israeli government to demolish them. Their goal is simple — to destroy the dream of the two-state solution.”

By “lobbying to demolish,” MK Rozin, who is entrusted with the rule of law in Israel, is referring to Regavim’s relentless efforts to push government agencies to enforce court rulings. Alas, that obedience to the law in Israel appears to be an affront to US foreign policy, which Rozin would like to thwart by taking away their American tax exempt status. “Incredibly, Regavim and their fellow settler groups often benefit from tax-free contributions coming from the USA — even while they actively oppose the two-state solution, undermining key US and Israeli interests,” Rozin wrote, adding, “That’s why J Street has called on the US Treasury Department to review whether the activities of Regavim should make them ineligible to receive tax-free contributions.”

Now, as promised by Ben-Ami in his email, J Street is making Regavim the target of Obama’s Jewish Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew. In a three-paragraph appeal to Lew, next to the petition described above, J Street is directly challenging the Secretary of the Treasury to take away the tax exemptions of pro-Zionist NGOs whom, they say, obstruct US policy regarding the two-state solution.

The J Street spiel is reasonable on its face: “While the US has consistently opposed illegal settlement expansion, it has allowed Americans to make tax-deductible contributions to groups actively engaged in dispossessing Palestinians of their land and aiding the spread of settlements,” which is why “we’re calling on the Treasury Department to review whether tax-deductible treatment for donations to such groups meet the relevant requirements — and, if not, to cut off the flow of tax-deductible US dollars.”

But the above statement, like all political hackwork, is bereft of specifics and context, lumping together real and imagined targets. The most crucial omission is the fact that Regavim’s official mission has nothing to do with Jewish settlements or with the two-state solution. Instead, as their website states, “The mission of Regavim is to ensure responsible, legal, accountable and environmentally friendly use of Israel’s national lands and the return of the rule of law to all areas and aspects of the land and its preservation.” As such, they are just as effective regarding illegal Bedouin and other Arab construction inside 1967-border Israel as they are about Area C of Judea and Samaria.

The reason Regavim is being attacked by name is because they are not a Zionist movement of slogans and demonstrations (their rallies so far have been pitifully under-attended). They are a Zionist movement dedicated to upholding the law, and as such they beat the opposition at its own game.

Which is why it is highly unlikely that Secretary Lew would devote any time in the next three months to going after Regavim’s tax exempt status — but someone inside the IRS might. Stay tuned.

JNi.Media

Leftwing J Street Going After Pro-Israel Regavim’s US Tax-Exempt Status

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of leftwing, anti-Netanyahu group J Street, sent an email to his group’s supporters announcing that he is pressuring the Obama Administration to revoke the US tax-exempt status of the Israeli (and pro-Israel) NGO Regavim in response to their supposed activity against the two-state solution.

The urgent need to harm Regavim’s US donations resulted from the effective work the group has done in forcing the Israeli authorities to apply Supreme Court rulings on demolishing illegal Arab construction in Area C of Judea and Samaria. One of the recent focal points of the Regavim efforts has been the squatter camp outside the Jewish community of Susiya, which the US and the EU insist must stay put despite the fact that its existence violates every signed agreement between Israel and the PA.

Ben-Ami wrote his followers that he was shocked to discover that the “settler movements” aiming to destroy Susiya are partially funded by donations from the US — including Regavim which has systematically mapped out the Susiya shacks and lean-tos, pointing Israeli police at the precise location of structures that violate the law. Ben-Ami sees this well-organized campaign to enforce the law as a threat to a future Palestinian State, which, he believes, must some day be handed the entire area.

Ben-Ami attributes to his organization’s work behind the scenes with the US State Dept. the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman have responded to international pressure and postponed the evacuation of the illegal Arab squatters until November 15.

The president of J Street shared in his email how enraged he is by the fact that groups that work against “the future of the State of Israel” and in direct defiance of US foreign policy and “perhaps” even US law, enjoy a tax-exempt status in the US, which is why J Street will continue to pressure the US government to revoke Regavim’s special status.

Should Ben-Ami be interested in learning what happened the last time the IRS has taken on a pro-Israel group, he should Google “Z Street,” a feisty organization headed by Jewish Press Online reporter Lori Lowenthal Marcus. As Lowenthal Marcus and others have reported over the past seven or so years, the IRS was “slow-rolling” discovery in lawsuits about how it slow-rolled applications by conservative non-profits in general and Z Street in particular.

In 2009, Z Street filed for 501(c)(3) status and was caught in the net of IRS targeting for groups that opposed Administration policy.

An IRS agent confirmed on the phone that Z Street’s application had been sent for special screening for groups connected with Israel. Z Street sued the IRS in 2010 for political discrimination that violated the First Amendment, and IRS Exempt Organizations Determinations Group manager Jon Waddell actually said in a December 2010 sworn declaration in federal court that the IRS flagged Z Street because “Israel is one of many Middle Eastern countries that have a ‘higher risk of terrorism.’”

“That’s hilarious,” wrote the Wall Street Journal last August, “since Z Street supports a country targeted by terrorism. But it also is untrue, which the Administration apparently knew before Mr. Waddell gave his statement to the court. In an October 25, 2010 internal IRS memo on the Z Street case produced in discovery, the IRS acknowledged that when Z Street’s application was being scrutinized Israel wasn’t on the list of terrorist countries, and that an agent may have been using an outdated list.”

If Jeremy Ben-Ami believes the Obama Administration is prepared to go after the tax-exempt status of yet another Zionist group — he should probably check with someone in the State Dept. Perhaps President Hillary Clinton would be inclined to alienate her Jewish voters and Israel by using the IRS for political purposes. It’s quite clear President Donald Trump won’t.

As to the self-congratulations of Ben-Ami on how he and J Street got the US and the EU to condemn Israel’s legal activities in Susiya — it stands to reason they knew all about it on their own. Why, the EU has been building illegal structures in Area C (which Regavim has successfully gotten demolished) without any help from J Street.

JNi.Media

PA Demands Terrorists Receive POW Status

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday announced its support for the demand of “our heroic prisoners” who are serving jail terms for murderous terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, to receive recognition as Prisoners of War and treatment which is consistent with international convention regarding POWs. The PA is appealing to states who are signatories to the Geneva Convention to compel Israel to apply its principles to the murderers in its security prisons.

The PA’s announcement praised the steadfastness of those hero prisoners, calling on Arab youth to emulate them.

The PA also demanded an end to administrative detentions based on Shabak information that cannot be proven in court.

As of April 2016, 6,295 non-Israeli Arabs security prisoners are in Israeli facilities, 334 of whom are from the Gaza Strip. An additional 749 Arabs are behind bars for staying in Israel illegally, 14 of whom are from Gaza.

David Israel

Lost Property The Status of the Shomer Aveidah

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

As you are leaving the synagogue on a Shabbat morning, you find a diamond ring on the floor. The loss is publicly announced in the synagogue three Shabbatot in a row. But no one steps forward to claim it. According to Jewish law, you, the finder, are a shomer aveidah, a guardian of lost property, and must guard the ring in your possession until the owner claims it from you.

So you take the ring home and place it in a safe. When the owner finally comes forward and claims the ring, you go to the safe to retrieve it, but alas, the ring is gone. Somebody, you don’t know who, stole the ring. Are you now liable to pay the owner the value of the stolen ring?

That all depends on the status the halacha attributes to the shomer aveidah. There are two possibilities. The shomer aveidah either has the status of a shomer chinam, an unpaid bailee, or he has the status of a shomer sachar, a paid bailee. A shomer chinam is a person who volunteers to guard a deposited item free of charge. Accordingly, the halacha does not hold the shomer chinam responsible for the theft of the article so long as he guarded it in a responsible manner. A shomer sachar is a person who receives compensation for guarding a deposited item. Accordingly, the halacha holds the shomer sachar responsible for the theft of the article.

Is a shomer aveidah considered a shomer chinam or a shomer sachar?

According to Rabbah, the shomer aveidah is a shomer chinam because he receives no compensation for fulfilling the mitzvah of guarding lost property. According to Rav Yoseph, the shomer aveidah is a shomer sachar.

The reasoning of Rav Yoseph is as follows: While guarding the lost property, the shomer aveidah is performing a mitzvah. Now, the rule is “ha’osek bemitzvah patur min hamitzvah,” if you are busy performing a mitzvah you are exempt from performing another mitzvah. Therefore, explains Rav Yoseph, the shomer aveidah is exempt from the mitzvah of giving charity to the poor. The amount he saves in charity is deemed to be the payment he receives for guarding the lost property and the shomer aveidah is therefore a shomer sachar.

The Shulchan Aruch rules that as long as the lost property is in his possession, based on the dictum of ha’osek bemitzvah patur min hamitzvah, the shomer aveidah is a shomer sachar. The Rambam rules that as long as he is preoccupied with taking care of the lost property in his possession, based on the dictum of ha’osek bemitzvah patur min hamitzvah, the shomer aveidah is a shomer sachar.

Clearly, one’s liability for guarding the lost ring depends on the interpretation of the Talmudic dictum of osek bemitzvah.

Does the osek bemitzvah exemption apply only in circumstances where it is impossible to perform both mitzvot simultaneously, as in the case when the poor man comes by when you are preoccupied with polishing the diamond, a situation we shall refer to as the “Impossible Case”? Does it also apply where it is easy to perform both, as in the case when the poor man comes by when the ring is lying locked away in the safe, a situation we shall refer to as the “Easy Case”? Does it apply where it is difficult yet still possible to perform both, as in the case when the poor man comes by when you are holding the ring in one hand, a situation we shall refer to as the “Difficult Case”?

According to Tosafot and the Rosh, the osek bemitzvah exemption applies only in the Impossible Case. Clearly, argue Tosafot, one is not exempt from mitzvot just because one wears tzizit all day or because one is warehousing somebody’s lost property. Rashi holds that the osek bemitzvah exemption also applies in the Easy Case. Accordingly, a person traveling by day on Sukkot to perform the mitzvah of visiting his rabbi, is, says Rashi, exempt from the mitzvah of eating and sleeping in the sukkah when he sojourns at night.

According to the Ran, the osek bemitzvah exemption does not apply in the Easy Case but does apply both in the Impossible Case and the Difficult Case. The Ran cites several proofs for the application of the osek bamitzvah exemption in the Difficult Case as follows: In Talmud times, a bridegroom was exempt from reciting Kriyat Shema on account of his preoccupation with his wedding night. Similarly, cites the Ran, a person performing the mitzvah of guarding the unburied dead or digging them a grave is exempt from all mitzvot.

In all these cases it is possible, though difficult, to recite Kriyat Shema while preoccupied with the first mitzvah. Yet, says the Ran, the exemption applies. In explaining the reason for the application of the osek bemitzvah exemption in the Impossible Case and the Difficult Case as opposed to the Easy Case, the Ran points out that the Talmudic dictum is “ha’osek bemitzvah” (one who is busy with a mitzvah) and not hamekayem mitzvah (one who is merely fulfilling the mitzvah).

The halacha, as expressed by the Rema, adopts the approach of the Ran and this would seem to accord with the position taken by the Rambam in the case of the shomer aveidah.

 

Raphael Grunfeld’s new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim, Nezikin, Kodashim, Taharot and Zera’im,” will be published shortly.

Raphael Grunfeld

Putin to Arab League Summit: ‘Status Quo on Palestine Unacceptable’

Monday, July 25th, 2016

In a message of greeting to the heads of state of the Arab League assembling in Nouakchott, Mauritania on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow considers the existing status quo on Palestine unacceptable and called for re-launching the negotiation process, TASS reported.

“We also intend to continue to provide all possible assistance in resolving the Palestinian problem acting through both the bilateral channels and within various multilateral formats,” Putin said, adding, “We believe the existing status quo is unacceptable and favor creating the conditions for the speedy re-launching of the negotiation process that will be aimed at creating an independent, viable and integral Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem peacefully coexisting with its neighbors.”

The annual Arab League summit’s agenda includes combating terrorism and the ongoing civil wars in Libya and Syria. Political analyst Youssef Cherif told Daily News Egypt that the Arab League is having one of its weakest meetings ever, since so many of its member nations are facing internal turmoil. The Moroccan delegation is boycotting the summit, saying the reason for its withdrawal is that “in an absence of decisions and concrete initiatives, this summit will be a mere gathering for speeches that imply fake unity among Arab countries.”

Only nine Arab heads of state are attending the summit—13 heads of states said they will not be able to come. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi will not be at the summit and Egypt will be represented by Prime Minister Sherif Ismai.

Nevertheless, President Putin urged the Arab League states to fight against terrorism in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and other tense areas. “Russia is ready to strengthen in every possible way its interaction with the Arab League in ensuring regional security, first and foremost, in the struggle against the threat of international terrorism,” Putin said in his address to the summit.

JNi.Media

Communist MK at Committee on the Status of Women: ‘Our Society Lives in Fear’

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

“Israeli society lives in fear, and that is awful,” MK Dov Khenin, whose Communist party is part of the Joint Arab List, told the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality on Monday, adding, “Unfortunately, there are those who build their politics on fear. There are different aspects to the Israeli women’s sense of lack of personal security – physical, sectorial, economic, and social. One of our most important challenges is dealing with this fear and creating a society in which people will feel safer.”

The committee discussed possible courses of action in light of a recent study that showed Israelis in general have a low sense of personal security. The study, conducted by the Knesset’s Research and Information Center, examined various aspects of Israelis’ sense of personal security, ranging from how safe they feel in public spaces to how they rate their employment, health and economic security. The study, commissioned by the Committee on the Status of Women, surveyed a representative sample of 1,028 Israeli adults, more than half of them women.

According to the study, 59% of women and 54% of men said they worried about damaging behavior by state agencies that would negatively affect their personal security. Among Arab women the figure rose to 74%, compared to 59% of Jewish women born in Israel, 51% of ultra-Orthodox women and 49% of female immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

“The national-security discourse allows generals to exclude us from the debate and from many budgets, and only when we realize that cultural and economic security is just as important, the budgets will change accordingly, and the generals will discover that they have a lot to learn,” Committee head MK Touma-Sliman (Joint Arab List) stated.

MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Camp-Labor) said that in Israel the family is not perceived as an “anchor of personal security,” and argued that the Knesset does not address the issue sufficiently. “The study found that there are 27 different types of families in Israel, and when we see that the family is the second most influential factor when it comes to personal security, then it is obvious that we have to deal with this issue and see how we can view the Israeli family in a different way.”

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) addressed Sunday’s assault on an Arab supermarket employee in central Tel Aviv by a group of Border Guard police who refused to identify themselves, and mentioned that the victim’s father is not sure about filing a police complaint. “The study includes data about the fear of turning to the police, which is the body that is supposed to offer solutions to the lack of personal security,” Lavie lamented. “I’m not sure what happened there, but it certainly must be examined, even without a complaint by the father.”

The study indeed showed that, overall, 20% of women and 24% of men said they wouldn’t feel safe calling the police.

MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu) said she is very concerned about the fact that more than 20% of Israeli women are afraid to turn to the police. “Last week, the committee chairwoman and I met in Ireland with the local police commissioner, who told us that in the past some 80% of the population did not trust the police, but they managed to turn the situation around. Having 10% of women being afraid is problematic, but let’s start by trying to reach that number and return to examine the situation on a yearly basis.”

Chairwoman Touma-Sliman said the debate was aimed at “trying to figure out how we move forward from here, after being shocked by the study’s findings, which should terrify every man and women who cares about the sense of personal security of all Israeli citizens. This is merely the beginning of the path towards introducing a different discourse to the political arena and towards a conscious change of the concept of security.”

JNi.Media

The Walter Bingham File – What is the True Status of Jerusalem? [audio]

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Walter talks about the status of Jerusalem. You will want to hear this show!

Israel News Talk Radio

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/israel-news-talk-radio/the-walter-bingham-file-what-is-the-true-status-of-jerusalem-2/2016/05/10/

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