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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Union’

Airline Strike Ends after Deal with El Al

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

The Histadrut national labor union has called off its planned shutdown of Ben Gurion Airport Tuesday morning, and workers of Israeli airlines have ended their strike following a special agreement between the government and El Al.

The agreement was signed Monday evening in Israel, less than two hours before the Labor Court was to meet on a petition to issue an injunction against shutting down the airport.

Flights of El Al, Israir and Arkia airlines have been grounded since Sunday because of the Open Skies agreement that the Cabinet approved at the beginning of the week.

The Finance Ministry agreed to reimburse El Al for almost of all of its extraordinary security expenses, which make it less competitive against European airlines that can fly more planes to Israel under the Open Skies agreement.

Polish Court Rules Against Ritual Slaughter

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

A constitutional court in Poland reportedly has ruled against allowing Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter in that country.

The Warsaw court’s ruling, which was made known on Tuesday, said the government had acted unconstitutionally when it exempted Jews and Muslims from stunning animals before slaughtering them as their faiths require, according to Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland.

Kadlcik told JTA that in addition to the special exception announced by the Polish Ministry of Agriculture, Jewish ritual slaughter—shechitah—is permissible under the 1997 Law on Regulating the Relations between the State and the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland.

“It appears there is a legal contradiction here and it is too early to tell what this means,” he said. “We are seeking legal advice on this right now.”

Poland has approximately 6,000 Jews, according to the European Jewish Congress.

According to Kadlcik, Poland has no kosher slaughterhouses but locally slaughtered kosher meat is nonetheless served at kosher canteens across the country.

“I’m not sure we will be able to keep serving meat there,” he said.

Puerto Rico, Not Israel, May Soon Become the 51st State

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

In a two-part referendum held on Tuesday, Puerto Rico voted in favor of becoming a U.S. State.

Congress would need to approve Puerto Rico’s full entry into the Union, if this move goes forward.

Puerto Rico became an American territory in 1898, an it’s residents acquired U.S. citizenship in 1917, but the 3.7 million Puerto Ricans living on the island aren’t allowed to vote in U.S. elections unless they are actually living in the U.S. 4.6 million Puerto Ricans live within the United States.

It looks like Israel may lose it’s unofficial title as “The 51st State”.

Palestine Committe of Arab Lawyers Union Honors Attorney Who Murdered Children

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

It happens to be that we’re both lawyers here. And while lawyers come in for more than their fair share of criticism, it’s clear that like most professional groups, some are good, some are bad and some are just ugly. We have some observations about lawyers from that third group.

One of the world’s respected associations of lawyers has just made a special award in honour of one of its deceased members. Her career was not long. But it was not the quality of her contract drafting, her client interview technique or her appearance work before the courts that earned her the award. It’s the way she departed from the profession.

And quite an award it is – described by the association who created it as “the highest honor awarded by the Union in esteem for any lawyer in the Arab homeland” [source].

Now think for a moment before you read on. The fact that you saw the word “Arab” in that last sentence – does that change your expectation of the ethical values embodied in that award? Does it lower the bar for you (double entendre fully intended)? We hope not, because there is no acceptable reason for us to assume these lawyers, compared with lawyers from other places, should be held to a different standard. The legal profession operates globally, and lawyers and their clients are entitled to know if and when the law is being ridiculed or abused by its practitioners.

The award about which we are writing was presented in the form of a plaque to the family of Hanadi Jaradat, formerly from Jenin in the Palestinian Authority territory, “on the sweet anniversary of her martyrdom“. It’s formally signed by the chairman of the Arab Lawyers Union, Palestine Committee [source].

Here’s what the honoree did. On October 4, 2003, she walked into a restaurant called Maxim, on the seafront at the southern edge of Haifa. It was popular with both Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews and a symbol of peaceful coexistence in a city that has long had that kind of character. She exploded, and took with her 21 innocent lives including two complete family groups, among them an infant of two months.

The planners of the massacre were sentenced in an Israeli court to many life terms in prison [Haaretz report].  Incidentally Hanadi Jaradat was not a lawyer at the time, but a law student who was going to qualify as a lawyer a few weeks later [Wikipedia]. A small detail that changes nothing in this ugly story.

Killings, death, families who bask in the glory of the murders carried out by their loved ones. Nothing at all new in any of this when, as we do, you look closely at the culture of terrorism and hatred that has been the hallmark of the society living just the other side of the fence from our home.

But what’s striking in this particular tale is the connections that are involved, and the silence from those who professionally are connected with the terror-intoxicated charlatans who call themselves the Arab Lawyers Union.

First the ALU itself: the Union’s home page says it is headquartered in Cairo, with consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). It is an observer at the NY-based International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) and is accredited to several UN committees. It proudly states that it took a role in founding theArab Institute for Human Rights (AIHR), and has more than 200,000 individual lawyer members and 27 bar association members.

The good people at UNESCO might be surprised (or not) to learn what ALU actually stands for. Here is the entire description of its work that a visitor to the UNESCO site is given:

Act in the interests of the Arab Nation to achieve its national objectives; facilitate contacts between Arab lawyers; safeguard and develop legislative and judiciary language; assure the freedom of lawyers in their work and the independence of magistrates; allow all Arab lawyers to take cases in any Arab country; harmonize the conditions of the legal profession; establish and harmonize links with international legal organizations; restore the study of Muslim law as a basis for law; promote and protect human rights. [UNESCO]

So it’s all about harmonizing, facilitating, safeguarding and assuring, right? Not so fast. Here, from the Arab Lawyers Union website, is the way the ALU itself describes its mission [selected points]:

* To develop the profession of lawyer in the Arabic countries to make it a true auxiliary of justice. * Promote and protect human rights, basic freedoms and the primacy of law Struggle with the Arab Palestinian people to liberate Palestine from Zionist settlers colonialism. * Struggle against Zionism and its greed as a form of racism. * Resisting all forms of naturalization with the Zionist enemy and all projects which aim at dominating the Arab region and eradicating its identity. What do you think? Did the UNESCO people read the ALU mission statement and then decide to ignore it? Did they fail to do minimal due diligence before posting a descriptive paragraph that entirely skips the ALU’s hatred of Zionists? Will they be surprised to know where the ALU stands on the murder of children?

Mendelevich: ‘Educating Young Jews Is at the Core of my Being’

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

In Unbroken Spirit: A Heroic Story of Faith, Courage and Survival (Gefen Publishing), the newly released English translation of his memoir, internationally renowned former Soviet refusenik Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich tells a compelling story of struggle and victory. He spoke to The Jewish Press during his recent U.S. book tour.

The Jewish Press: You’d already published your memoir in Hebrew years ago. Why an English version at this particular time?

Rabbi Mendelevich: A group of American Jews who were involved in the struggle to free Soviet Jewry came up with this idea about a year ago. Pamela Cohen, the president of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews from 1986 through 1996, called and asked me why I never published my book in English. She and others like her saw my life as more than a simple story. It is the story of a young boy struggling to find his Jewish identity in a spiritual wasteland and of a young man challenging the draconian dictates of the Communist monolith in a struggle for freedom.

She came to the conclusion that my story published in English would inspire young and often alienated Jews searching for their own identity.

Describe your life as a young child in Stalinist Russia.

I grew up as an atheist. My parents were not interested in me having a Jewish education. My father was involved in the Communist underground in Riga, but both my parents spoke Yiddish and I was taught Jewish history. Back then in the Soviet Union Jewish tradition did not exist but Riga was the center of the renaissance of the Jewish movement. Before World War II, books were published in Russian about the great Revisionist Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky.

In the 1960s an underground movement of Jews supporting Israel began to take hold. One could tell the difference between life under Stalin and life under Khrushchev. You could sit in jail forever under the Stalin government for learning about Jewish culture, language and thought. In 1963, the first book on Jewish vocabulary was printed and many books on Hebrew poetry served as a catalyst for Jews to become closer to their identity. It was like a miracle.

When did you take an interest in activism on behalf of Israel and Jews?

While still a teenager, I gravitated toward activism in 1964. I attended a technical college for four years and studied electronics and computers. I worked as an engineer in a big plant in Riga, and in terms of technology it was advanced. The moment I became an engineer, I wanted to leave the Soviet Union and go to Israel. I had a big decision to make. If I obtained my degree I would have to stay in the Soviet Union forever, so I sacrificed my career by not getting the degree. It boiled down to either staying in the Soviet Union or living as a free man whose destiny is in his hands.

Where was your life heading after you finished your studies?

In 1968 I was fired from my job as an engineer for inquiring about emigrating to Israel. At that juncture I was also heavily involved in various Zionist organizations and in 1969 I assumed the position of editor of a national journal on Jewish issues. Everything had to be top secret so we met clandestinely in forests or perhaps in someone’s apartment. I was in charge of deciding what to write and what articles to publicize, and it was sent all over the Soviet Union. We had only published two issues before my arrest.

Why did you hijack a plane in 1970?

Soviet antipathy toward Israel continued to increase in the years following the 1967 Six-Day War. Israeli soldiers were called hooligans in the Soviet press but we in the Jewish underground only yearned for the freedom to go to Israel, study in yeshiva and be part of the Zionist dream. We decided to hijack a plane to the West to spotlight our plight, even though we knew how risky it was. While undertaking this action, we dreamed about fighting in the Golani Brigade in Israel. We also wanted to counter the incessant Soviet propaganda that told the world there was no Jewish issue in Russia and that Jews were very happy to be proud Soviet citizens. We wanted the world to know there was a growing number of Jews who wanted to connect to their Jewish heritage, to study Hebrew and dedicate themselves to studying Torah.

An Anglo in the Knesset: Catching Up with Jeremy Saltan

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Why don’t you tell our readers a little about yourself. Where are you from? When did you make aliyah? What is your professional and education background?

My name is Jeremy ‘Man’ Saltan. I am 28 years old and I am married with one daughter. I made aliyah with my family from Chicago to Bet Shemesh in 1995 at the age of 11. I have been a resident of Mevaseret Tzion since 2006.

I spent my IDF service as a commander in the PDCs (Palestinian Detention Centers) for Security Prisoners. My first post was in Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield. I had an eventful service, and received ‘soldier of the year’ honors in 2005 for the Efraim district near Tulkarem. By the end of my service I was Deputy Warden of one of the jails. I’ve been in the reserves since my release from active duty, and I am a veteran of the second Lebanese war.

Following my army service, I worked for the OU (Orthodox Union) in Jerusalem as Assistant Director of NESTO (Native English Speaking Teen Olim), a sister youth group of NCSY that helped integrate Anglo teens into Israeli society.

I also opened Israel’s first comedy club in Jerusalem, Off The Wall Comedy Basement, with a partner. I served as manager for the club’s first two years before taking a more backseat role. I am in my fifth year as a house comedian. My routine focuses mostly on Israeli politics.

Aside from comedy, I have been active in other areas of the entertainment industry as a director, producer, actor, writer and model in theater, television and film.

I also spent a short while as managing director of a Jerusalem commercial real estate company.

I founded “Knesset Jeremy,” the only blog in English that documents all plenum discussions and bills passed, in 2010, and I write about Israeli politics in the Times of Israel.

I graduated two ICPT (Israel Center for Political Training) Bar-Ilan University programs on Knesset legislative work and political campaign management. I have an associates degree in political science from Liberty International University. I also completed various Dale Carnegie Business and Managment programs.

What do you do in the Knesset? How did you get that job?

I work in the Knesset for National Union Chairman Ya’akov “Katzeleh” Katz. I work on his social media and run his personal website. I also draft legislation and persuade Knesset Members from other parties to co-sponsor his bills. My most well-known work was on the Grunis Law, which canceled the minimum tenure for the Supreme Court president position, clearing the way for Asher Dan Grunis to get the job. I also worked very hard on the Outpost Bill which did not pass. I also work for the Faction Manager Uri Bank and help him with the factions’ daily Knesset tasks. When Bank was on vacation I led the weekly faction meeting with the MKs and I take over Bank’s role when he serves in the reserves.

I have volunteered for the National Union in each election since 1999. In the 2009 election I was the head of the party’s campaign in the Bet Shemesh area, which gave the National Union the highest percentage of the vote among the top 20 largest cities in Israel. After completing my studies at the ICPT in 2010 I started working with MK Katz.

Are there many Anglos in Israeli politics? Do you work with many? If so, what do they do?

I wouldn’t say there are many Anglos in Israeli politics but there are around a dozen of us. I work with them from time to time. To name a few of the Anglos I work with: National Union Faction Manager Uri Bank; Jonathon Javor, the Foreign Affairs Advisor to the Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Deputy Chairman Otniel Schneller; and Jonathon Daniels, who works for the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee Chairman and Deputy Speaker Danny Danon.

What would you say is the general attitude towards Anglos amongst Israeli politicians, if any?

Most Israeli politicians don’t understand why Anglos would make Aliyah because of the financial difficulties of living here. Some of the more cynical politicians think that Jews will do a better service to Israel if they stay in their home countries and make Israel a campaign issue there. The ideological politicians appreciate Anglos the most.

Germans to Pay Holocaust Restitution to Former Soviet Union Victims

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

In what the Holocaust Claims Conference is calling a “historic breakthrough”, the German government decided on Monday at pay restitution to victims of Nazi Germany now living in the former Soviet Union.

The group of 80,000 living survivors of the German genocide attempt had never received any compensation.

Former US Ambassador to the European Union Stuart Eizenstat, the Claims Conference’s Special Negotiator, praised Germany  for “its willingness, so long after World War II, and in such challenging economic times today, to acknowledge it’s still ongoing historic responsibility.”  The Chairman of the Claims conference claimed the group has been working for decades to get the country to pay restitution to this group of victims.

The compensation package comes just days after a German court’s decision to ban ritual circumcisions, halting one of the most fundamental practices of Jewish faith and raising an uproar of protest throughout the Jewish world.

Estimates are that the new compensation package will be worth approximately $300 million.

Most of the money will come from the Hardship Fund, and will consist of one-time payments of approximately $3,150 to Jews who fled the Nazis during their eastward push. Applications for Jews from Ukraine, Russia and other non-European Union countries in Eastern Europe will begin November 1.

Victims from the east will also now receive as much restitution as victims from western countries – approximately $370 per month.

Germany also decided to relax eligibility rules for those who receive restitution payments for being forced to go into hiding. Eligibility had only been for those who went into hiding for at least 12 months.  Now the eligibility threshold will be six months.

German restitution to victims of the Holocaust was controversial when the idea was originally floated by West German leadership in the 1952 Luxemborg/Reparations Agreement.  Signed by Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, the agreement held Germany responsible for paying Israel for Jewish slave labor used by the Nazis and paying damages for persecution of Jews during the Holocaust.  Private victims would also be paid for property stolen by the Nazis.

Advocates of the measure argued that the funds were a significant contribution to the building of Israel, helping Israel to absorb 500,000 refugees from war-torn Europe, and also helped create awareness of the Holocaust around the world.  In the ten years following the signing of the agreement, West Germany paid three billion marks to the State of Israel for victims who left no surviving heirs.  The money was used to build Israeli infrastructure and other projects.  Half a million private victims have been paid over $60 billion.

Menacham Begin, then Herut party MK in Israel’s first Knesset, former Irgun fighter and future prime minister of Israel, was vehemently against the agreement, leading a large and violent demonstration against the measure.  At the event, Begin told protesters  “Our honor shall not be sold for money, our blood shall not be atoned by goods, we will wipe out the disgrace!”.

The opposition of some members of Israeli society of being given money to appease the loss of the Holocaust was so great that many attempts were made to thwart the agreement.  In 1952, Dov Shilansky, a Holocaust survivor and former commander in Europe’s  Jewish underground tried to bring explosives into Tel Aviv’s Foreign Ministry building in order to stop Israeli-German negotiations.

That same year, an assassination attempt on Adenauer led investigators back to Israel’s Herut party and its members from the Irgun.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/germans-to-pay-holocaust-restitution-to-former-soviet-union-victims/2012/07/11/

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