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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘suicide’

A Failed Suicide Bomber

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Last year, a female suicide bomber tried to enter downtown Jerusalem and blow herself up, but she was stopped at the Al-Zaim checkpoint just outside of Jerusalem. She then tried to blow herself up with the policeman who stopped her.

A major tragedy was avoided Sunday morning when a 45-year-old police officer stopped a female suicide bomber at the al-Zaim checkpoint near Ma’ale Adumim, about three miles from downtown Jerusalem.

According to police, the vehicle looked suspicious as it traveled slowly in the bus lane on Route 437 shortly after 7 am, so the traffic police officer signaled for the driver to stop.

She obeyed, but as the policeman began to approach the vehicle, the driver yelled “Allahu Akbar!” and detonated a bomb in her car.

According to Israel Radio, the bomber was trying to reach downtown Jerusalem. Instead, she was badly injured in the blast.

MDA teams who arrived treated the police officer at the scene and then evacuated him to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem with burns to his face and upper body.

The 32-year-old terrorist, Isra Gabas, who survived her attack, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Monday.

Photo of the Day

Report: ISIS Launching Suicide Attacks on Allied Forces Fighting to Retake Mosul

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

In a statement released online after the beginning of the Kurdish and Iraqi assault on Mosul in northern Iraq, ISIS has claimed that it is launching deadly suicide car bomb attacks against the invaders.

More than two years after ISIS forces had entered the city of Mosul, Iraqi Army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces have begun their attack to recapture the city. Fears of an impending humanitarian crisis have already created more refugees, with only about one million civilians estimated to remain in the city, out of a population of two and a half million.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the assault in a televised address on Monday, announcing, “Today I declare the start of these victorious operations to free you from the violence and terrorism of Daesh (ISIS).”

With US air power, Iraqi forces are still keeping their distance from Mosul itself and are expected to lay siege before directly engaging the jihadists. The terrorist forces are vastly outnumbered, with only an estimated 8,000 warriors in the city and surrounding area.

David Israel

Israeli Secret Service Nets Hamas Terrorist Who Plotted Suicide Bombing

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

An operation of the GSS in collaboration with the central unit of Jerusalem Police has led to the arrest a month ago of Mohammad Fawaz Ibrahim Joulani, an Israeli resident living in the Shuafat refugee camp, on suspicion of plotting serious terror attacks, the GSS revealed in a statement Tuesday morning.

Joulani’s interrogation revealed that the man, a member of Hamas, has committed to carry out attacks for Hamas officials in Gaza with whom he was communicating over the Internet. Joulani was asked to recruit more activists and shared with his operators in Gaza the names of a few individuals.

The Joulani interrogation revealed he and his Hamas bosses considered the following violations:

1. Kalashnikov shooting attack at the Hizmah checkpoint.

2. Integrated bomb attack at a Jerusalem store where he had worked in 2011.

3. Throwing a pipe bomb at a checkpoint in the Shuafat refugee camp.

4. Bomb attacks in central areas of Jerusalem such as the central bus station or the Malha Mall, which were rejected due to increased security in these locations.

Finally they decided on a suicide bombing in a bus at the Pisgat Zeev neighborhood near Joulani’s home.

Joulani was directed to collect a large quantity of materials he would use to produce explosives, as well as nails, batteries and other components for an improvised explosive device. Joulani turned in his stash after his arrest.

Joulani was told that the date for his suicide bombing would be the Holiday of the Sacrifice, which fell on Sept. 12-15 2016. The date was picked so that the attack would not result in the closing off of the Temple Mount to Muslim worshipers.

Joulani was sent to Hebron to pick up about 7,000 shekels (about $1,845) to finance his attack. He wrote a will and scanned it, but was unable to email it to his operators due to technical failure.

The interrogation has also revealed that Joulani had planned to carry out a knife attack in Pisgat Zeev last year, but had a change of heart because he became concerned that his parents’ home would be demolished as punishment.

The GSS also picked up Joulani’s relatives Mohammad Robin Joulani and Iyad Joulani, who admitted to concealing weapons.

The GSS investigation exposed the ongoing effort on the part of Hamas in Gaza to initiate serious attacks in Israel, using Israeli residents with an easy access in and out of the green line.

David Israel

Kerry’s Last Ditch Effort to Get Netanyahu to Commit Political Suicide

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

According to a report in Haaretz Sunday, we have no idea what was said in the Friday meeting in New York between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State John Kerry. This is important to note, because both versions of the report, Hebrew and English, have zero information regarding the “hastily organized” meeting, and yet the headline and the story are presented as if Kerry had said really mean things to Netanyahu’s face. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, no one knows.

Kerry is in the midst of his final attempt to shape the Israel-PA conflict resolution in his image, and he has been going at it with everything he has including the kitchen sink. Haaretz, which cites Kerry’s leaked comments in a Monday, Sept. 19 meeting of the PA donor states, is implying that the Secretary of State, who was “extremely agitated” at last Monday’s meeting, on Friday told Netanyahu that Israel is bound to end up as a binational state, unless it capitulates to the PA’s demands. Could be.

The Kerry-Netanyahu meeting took place following a meeting of the foreign ministers of the “Middle East Quartet” — the US, Russia, the UN, the EU, as well as the foreign ministers of France and Egypt. They all hated the idea of Jews living in Judea and Samaria, and said so in a statement that attacked those pesky Jewish communities who “are steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution. The Quartet stressed the growing urgency of taking affirmative steps to reverse these trends in order to prevent entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict.”

As usual, no one considered the possibility of those Jewish communities remaining as part of a new Palestinian State. Just as Netanyahu had noted in his much vilified video a week or so ago, that new Palestinian State must be cleansed of its Jews.

The Ha’aretz report relied heavily on leaked portions from Kerry’s agitated speech before the PA’s donor countries, where he cited the ailing former president Shimon Peres who had warned that continued Jewish life in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, in Kerry’s words, “will bring one war, not one state. Make no mistake about it, I believe that is the risk if we continue on the current course.”

It’s almost bizarre to hear Secretary of State Kerry, whose country is mired in an endless war across the entire Middle East, threatening the one country in the region who wins its wars. Save for the Iranian nuclear threat, securing which Kerry was responsible for more than anyone else, Israel has no real enemies in the region, and those who are crazy enough to do war with the Jewish State would not lay down their arms and rockets because it signed a deal with Mahmoud Abbas.

Kerry asked the assembled foreign ministers last Monday: “How does increasing the number of settlers indicate an attempt to create a Palestinian state? The status quo is not sustainable. So either we mean it and we act on it, or we should shut up.”

In his famous recent video, Netanyahu asked (in mock innocence) how can the fact that a few thousand Jews build homes and work the land impede a Palestinian State. It can only do so if the envisioned state must be free from Jews (try Google translating it into German). Israel has a sizeable Muslim minority, close to 20%, why can’t the PA have a sizeable Jewish minority? The argument didn’t catch on, especially not by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who called the Netanyahu idea “absurd.”

Kerry was livid at Israel for not keeping its promises to him 100 percent, and said bitterly, “I was told the Allenby Bridge [between the West Bank and Jordan] would open 24/7. It never did. I was told that the 3G [PA cellular service] agreement signed nearly a year ago would take place within months. It still is not fully implemented.” He also stated that in order to hurry the process towards the two-state solution, “we need to fundamentally change the dynamic by resuming the transition to greater Palestinian civil authority in Area C, which was called for in prior agreements.”

Here’s what happened in Area C: under the 1998 Wye River Memorandum, Israel was going to withdraw from 13% From Area C (full Israeli control), turning it into Area B (PA administration, IDF security). Israel withdrew from 2%, and then, a suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya during the 2002 Passover seder killed 30 civilians and injured 140. So Israel took back those 2% and launched a campaign to destroy the terror infrastructure across Judea and Samaria.

In the end, the Secretary of State along with the rest of the civilized world want Israel to go back to a situation where those mass bombings are once again possible. Which is what the two-state solution was all about in the first place, from the PLO’s point of view.


Opioids, Suicide, And Accidental Overdose

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

When I was 18, a friend, someone who was a member of the same community and shul, died under strange circumstances. That was many years ago and I do not remember all the details.

What I do recall vividly is that roughly six months after the person passed away a rumor spread that he died of an overdose – because his body had been found completely undisturbed in an empty lot. I was shocked by the revelation but since there were some changes in his behavior prior to his death that were not otherwise explainable, I reluctantly accepted the news. I also knew of others in the community who were using illegal substances to get high. But what I was most troubled by even then was that no one seemed to want to address the problem. It was hushed up – even denied – by all the adults.

Not much has changed since then. It is true that there are now many more agencies addressing the problem, even in our communities, but we still seem to be ignoring the causes, underlying issues, trends, and best practices.

According to the primary sources, among them the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control, we are in the midst of a drug epidemic driven primarily by prescription drug use. The drugs of choice today are primarily opioids – painkillers. The best known among them is OxyContin. It is estimated that each day in the U.S. some 44 people die of an opioid overdose.

Opioids work like heroin – they suppress body functioning. The high comes from their sedating effects. It is that which makes heroin-type medications lethal. Prescription drug users who become addicted to their medications often turn to street heroin for their high when the medication runs out.

People resort to drugs for a variety of reasons, among them a simplistic or reflexive approach to coping with pain, an attempt to hide anxieties, or for random recreational reasons.

Alcohol, of course, is one of the most readily available of drugs. But our society turns a blind eye to the alcohol epidemic affecting so many families. And it is not just a phenomenon among college students; alcohol use today impacts children as young as 12 along with their parents and grandparents. And not just at Kiddush clubs.

In addition to elevated rates of alcohol consumption, marijuana is now legal in many places and some take that to mean it is not a substance to be used carefully in a very limited and prescribed fashion. Gateway substances such as alcohol and marijuana are dismissed as being of no consequence, but some people are rapidly addicted to them and go on to more addictive substances. Some become addicted when they are given medications that trigger an addictive response. Some become addicted when seeking a way to numb psychic pain. We see a lot of that among people who have been abused.

There has been concern recently regarding opioid use and suicide rates. As I write this, a report is circulating that claims dozens of people have committed suicide in our communities over the past few months (most of them using opioid substances). But is that necessarily an appreciable increase over previous years? The number, while alarming, does not tell us anything about prior rates of suicide because it was difficult to obtain accurate data on these issues in the frum world.

I believe that making a statistical leap of faith occurs when we conflate issues. Yes, there has been a significant increase in opioid-related addiction problems, including death, as documented by the CDC and several departments of health in several states. (Several organizations are attempting to address that fact while other organizations are capitalizing on it.)

But while we may reasonably hypothesize that suicide is, in part, related to opioid abuse, to suggest – in the absence of hard evidence – that there has been an increase in the suicide rate in our community is not justified. Well before there was an opioid epidemic young people were dying from a wide range of causes (including suicide). And while there is no doubt a link between suicide and a history of abuse, suggesting that all suicide is linked to abuse is premature at best and foolish at worst.

What all this suggests is that as a community we are finally, perhaps begrudgingly, starting to acknowledge that addiction, abuse, mental illness, suicide – all of the ailments that plague humanity – exist in our world too. If, however, we mishandle this awareness and are irresponsible with the data, we will not be able to intervene in a healthful helpful way.

Dr. Michael J. Salamon

Oriana Fallaci And The Suicide Of The West

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Oriana Fallaci, the Italian journalist who late in life did a profound about-face – going from leftist supporter of revolutionary movements to resolute defender of the West and vocal opponent of Islamic fundamentalism – died ten years ago this week in Florence.

The 77-year-old Fallaci had been battling cancer for years, but her illness had no discernable effect on her legendary combativeness – which after 9/11 was directed almost exclusively at what she described in vivid, often angry, prose as the threat posed by radical Islam to Western values and the suicidal indifference to that threat on the part of Western elites, particularly those in Europe.

Fallaci was always a fighter; raised in an anti-Fascist family, her father was a leader in the underground battle against Mussolini and she herself was involved at a young age in the Resistance. Although for decades as a journalist her worldview was decidedly left wing and shot through with an abiding cynicism toward the U.S., her thinking underwent a swift evolution with the rise of jihadism.

Her book The Rage and the Pride, published in Italy just months after the 9/11 attacks and in the U.S. in September 2002, unabashedly celebrated the United States as a bastion of freedom even as it acknowledged the country’s “flaws and mistakes and faults.”

In a follow-up book, The Force of Reason, published in the U.S. a few months before she passed away, she detailed the legal attacks – Muslim groups in France and Italy filed lawsuits against her and called for a ban of The Rage and the Pride while the Swiss government asked that she be extradited to stand trial for incitement – and the death threats that had come her way since she’d begun writing on Islam.

In The Force of Reason she stated that Islam “sows hatred in place of love and slavery in place of freedom” – a choice of words that reflected the tone of her writing in her final years and that led critics to slam her for what they said was a blanket condemnation of all Muslims.

Although Fallaci was for decades decidedly pro-Palestinian, she painted a wholly unflattering picture of Yasir Arafat after interviewing him in 1972.

“He was…five feet three, I’d say. And even his hands were small, even his feet. Too small, you thought, to sustain his fat legs and his massive trunk, with its huge hips and swollen, obese stomach.”

When he spoke, “His voice had a kind of funny whistle in it. And something feminine.”

But when Arafat got angry, “his soft voice becomes a loud one, his eyes become pools of hatred, and he looks as though he would like to tear you to pieces along with all his enemies.”

Under Fallaci’s prodding, Arafat inadvertently exposed the shifty parameters of the then-still nascent myth of Palestinian nationhood.

Fallaci: But what does Palestine mean?…The Turks were here, before the British Mandate and Israel. So what are the geographical borders of Palestine?

Arafat:…. From an Arab point of view, one doesn’t speak of borders; Palestine is a small dot in the great Arabic ocean. And our nation is the Arab one, it is a nation extending from the Atlantic to the Red Sea and beyond….

When Fallaci continued to press him on the matter of borders, a flustered Arafat reiterated: “I repeat that borders have no importance. Arab unity is important, that’s all.”

In April 2002, Fallaci publicly repudiated her longtime (and largely uncritical and unquestioning) support for the Palestinian cause in a scorching essay on anti-Semitism.

As the journalist Ruth Ellen Gruber described it, “Repeating over and over the assertion ‘I find it shameful,’ Fallaci unleashed a brutal indictment of Italy, Italians, the Catholic church, the left wing, the media, politically correct pacifists and Europeans in general for abandoning Israel and fomenting a new wave of anti-Semitism linked to the Mideast crisis.”

In Fallaci’s memorable words, she was “disgusted with the anti-Semitism of many Italians, of many Europeans” and “ashamed of this shame that dishonors my country and Europe.”

“I find it shameful,” she wrote, “and I see in all this the resurgence of a new fascism, a new Nazism.”

Acknowledging that in the past “I fought often, and bitterly, with the Israelis, and I defended the Palestinians a lot – maybe more than they deserved,” Fallaci was characteristically unambiguous about where she now stood:

“…I stand with Israel, I stand with the Jews,” she wrote. “I defend their right to exist, to defend themselves, and not to allow themselves to be exterminated a second time.”

In an interview published shortly before her death, Fallaci drew the battle lines for what she viewed as an escalating war between the West and an enemy all too similar to the Fascists her family fought in the 1930s and ‘40s.

“I am convinced,” she told The New Yorker’s Margaret Talbot, “that the situation is politically substantially the same as in 1938, with the pact in Munich, when England and France did not understand a thing.

“With the Muslims, we have done the same thing…. I reject them, and this is not only my duty toward my culture. Toward my values, my principles, my civilization. It is not only my duty toward my Christian roots. It is my duty toward freedom and toward the freedom fighter I am since I was a little girl fighting as a partisan against Nazi-Fascism.

“Islamism is the new Nazi-Fascism. With Nazi-Fascism, no compromise is possible. No hypocritical tolerance. And those who do not understand this simple reality are feeding the suicide of the West.”

Jason Maoz

Let’s Talk Responsibly About Suicide

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

There is a tendency in some circles to take a tragic event or series of events and try to turn it into a trend that reflects poorly on religious Jews.

There has been a wave of people going public in recent years with memoirs about their rebellion against religious life and the unfortunate misery they endured while forced to adhere to a lifestyle they did not value.

Jewish and secular media are constantly on the lookout for validation or elevation of the concept that the more strictly Orthodox a Jew’s upbringing, the more likely he or she is to be dysfunctional and unhappy – unless they are fortunate enough to escape and write a bestseller about it.

Do not misunderstand me. As president of Our Place, a non-profit organization that provides support, shelter, and counseling for our troubled youth, I will not for a moment dismiss the urgent need for such people to find their comfort level and be true to who they are at heart.

It has been one of my life’s missions to help individuals on that path find peace. I have seen far too many tragic outcomes when drugs and conflict take hold and hope is extinguished, along with a young life that held enormous value and promise.

But perspective is important, and perspective is very elusive when it comes to the media. One life – one single precious life – that is snuffed out because suicide seemed the only remedy is a thousand times too high a price to pay. And it is not one life, it is many.

But in recent months, following a few high profile suicides, numbers have been thrown around that strain credibility and present a far more frightening picture than what I and others know actually exists.

I do not believe that more than 70 frum Jews have committed suicide since last Rosh Hashanah, as some have recently asserted in the media. This fits into the narrative of an increasingly dysfunctional community that some would like to see, but it is at odds with the evidence. I pressed one individual who was linked to that figure in a media report, and he assured me it did not come from him.

What’s at stake here is not just pride and accuracy and indignation at media mistreatment. Human lives are at stake because of this irresponsible talk. Because suicide is a disease – and it’s contagious.

Just as unstable people sometimes commit copycat crimes based on what they’ve seen on TV or read about in a newspaper or magazine, so can troubled individuals contemplate suicide when they see the level of attention it draws in its aftermath.

Perhaps some of those using the 70-plus figure are including drug overdoses in their total. In many cases, perhaps most, such deaths are unintentional, the result of unexpectedly potent drugs or inexperience with dosages. In many cases I have seen, such people, while troubled enough to be drawn to drugs, did not intend to end their lives.

Drug abuse can be cured, the toll of an overdose reversed. But suicide is irrevocable.

The Centers for Disease Control recognized copycat suicides as a dangerous phenomenon as far back as 1989, when a workshop was held to address the issue of “media-related suicide contagion.”

Experts agree that the reporting of drug overdoses can be beneficial to the public if it helps publicize the availability of programs such as hotlines and prevention and support groups like Our Place or The Living Room. But it can be detrimental and promote copycats if the coverage focuses on the method of suicide, the outpouring of love for the deceased at the funeral or memorial service, and all the positive attributes of the deceased without also mentioning that the person was deeply troubled.

The attachment of suicide to the idea of “escaping” a religious community is also highly dangerous, especially if it is depicted as a phenomenon larger than it really is. For example, the suicide rate in the general population, according to the American Society for Suicide Prevention, is 12.93 per every 100,000 people. With about 600,000 Orthodox Jews in the New York tri-state area, 70-plus suicides would amount to more than 15 people per 100,000.

I would never ask media outlets to stifle news of an actual tragedy, nor should anyone expect this. What I would ask for is more of the kind of skepticism we see when politicians or corporate leaders make public statements that are often less than truthful and/or self-serving.

Let’s have a smart dialogue about suicide that leaves behind hurtful and dangerous narratives and focuses where it counts most – on extending a compassionate hand to those who need one.

Eli Verschleiser

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/lets-talk-responsibly-about-suicide/2016/08/28/

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