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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘vote’

MK Ahmed Tibi: “I Would Vote for Bernie Sanders in the US Election”

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

On IDF radio this morning, Member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi announced that he would vote for Bernie Sanders — if he could vote in the US presidential election.

Tibi said, “All Palestinians and most Arabs would vote for Sanders…the candidate’s political views are more important than their ethnicity.”

Now that’s a ringing endorsement if I ever heard one.


Knesset to Vote on Paternity Leave

Monday, June 20th, 2016

The Labor, Welfare and Health Committee on Monday unanimously approved for its second and third readings at the Knesset plenum a bill presented by MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) making Israeli fathers eligible for five days of paternity leave after their spouse has given birth.

The leave, to run parallel to the leave granted mothers, will consist of three vacation days and two additional days on the account of the father’s sick-pay allocation—this in addition to the father’s permitted absence on the day the baby is born.

Since May 1998, fathers have been allowed to take paternity leave instead of — rather than in addition to — their wives, as well as one day of leave when the baby is born and a second day for the circumcision ceremony if the baby is a boy.

“This is nothing less than an historic achievement,” Zandberg said. “For the first time, a father will have the legal right to be at home during the first days after the birth, and this is the first time the term ‘paternity leave’ will enter the book of laws in Israel.”

“A birth is a family event which does not belong to the mother alone,” Zandberg continued. “The proposed bill was born of necessity — out of employers’ lack of support for their workers.”

Zandberg thanked Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) for his support in advancing the legislation.

Labor Committee Chairman MK Elie Elalouf (Kulanu) said, “This is a real improvement. Families should be together during these important moments.” Elalouf added that he would promote legislation that would enable the 270,000 self-employed Israelis to also take paternity leave.

MK Dov Khenin (Joint Arab List) said, “This is the beginning of a significant revolution. I stayed at home for three months with each of my children after they were born, and I enjoyed it very much.”


Shaked’s Anti-Terror Law Approved for Second and Third Knesset Vote

Monday, May 30th, 2016

The Knesset Constitution Committee on Monday approved the Fight Against Terrorism Act submitted by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), in preparation for its second and third reading in the plenum, and in the process annulling many of the emergency defense laws which have been in effect since the establishment of the state. The bill was approved in its first reading last September.

The new Fight Against Terrorism Act dispenses punishments from 25 years to life in prison to individuals who lead terrorist organizations. The law also sets mandatory punishments of 10 to 20 years, as well as fines, for using and transferring weapons.

Training terrorists is subject to 9 years in prison, while receiving the training is punishable by 7 years. Recruiting terrorists or providing transportation, food, clothing and money for terrorists is punishable by 5 years in prison. Voicing or publishing support for terrorists will be punished by 3 years.

According to the Shaked bill, the defense minister or the prime minister may issue a decree designating a terrorist organization based on a request from the head of Shabak, supported by the AG. The security cabinet may do the same concerning a terror group organized abroad based on the decision of an authorized foreign body, or the UN Security Council.

Justice Minister Shaked issued a statement Monday, saying her bill will give security forces the power to fight terrorism while maintaining human rights.


A Vote For ‘None Of The Above’

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

I don’t know what it is about Republican voters this year but it’s deeply troubling. That goes double for Americans generally as Bernie Sanders’s campaign continues to roll on despite little chance of replacing Hillary Clinton as this year’s Democratic nominee.

What this heralds, if no act of God intervenes, is a presidential election going into November with two bad choices: Hillary or Bernie on the Democratic side vs. Donald Trump, the loudest mouth in the race and certainly the biggest boor, on the Republican.

What does this say about us, the voters, when these are the people who win our allegiance in either of our two major parties?

Sanders is a single-minded socialist with a beef against business per se and a vision of this country as rigged against the “little guy,” a charge he levels against a country that has led the world in opportunity and wealth creation.

Yet today a significant number of American voters clearly think as he does, preferring a system that leads to economic stultification a la Europe’s and a stifling of individual liberty. As the Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz put it:

In an era when the young emerge from years of schooling that portrays the U.S. as the world’s leading threat to peace and justice in the world – as a militarist aggressor awash in racism, in a system run by and for Wall Street – the Sanders campaign was a magnet. Long instructed in the progressive faith that is now established religion on the nation’s campuses, they found in Mr. Sanders’s politics, and his view of American society, a confirmation of all they have been taught.

But it doesn’t stop there, for an equal if not greater proportion of voters these days are drawn to the gesticulating, camera-mugging Donald Trump, real estate magnate and reality TV impresario extraordinaire, whose outraged and outrageous rhetoric on the stump has tickled their ids and raised anger politics to a whole new level.

Blithely unaware of Trump’s manipulative methods, as he channels great orators like the late Benito Mussolini and insults his way to the nomination, Republican voters who support him seem to found their hero and leader in a man whose prior claim to fame lay in having parlayed his self-stoked personal celebrity into a billion dollar business.

Trump’s the guy who has told us, repeatedly, how great he is and how everyone else isn’t and that, unlike the others, he doesn’t need advisers because, of course, he consults with himself. A man, we can see, of substance and wisdom.

Against Sanders in the Democratic primaries, and against a presumptive Trump candidacy in the general, we have Hillary Clinton, a woman who is shrill, tired, and deceptive beneath an array of Damocletian swords dangling precariously above her head, swords stemming from Benghazi to ‘e-mailgate’ to the activities of the Clinton Foundation, not to mention the huge speaking fees racked up by the then-secretary of state and her former president husband, fees that dwarf what ordinary folks in the political or business world typically command, fees that suggest . . . what? That perhaps her paying hosts figured such costs were a good investment?

And Clinton not only promises to be a third term for the outgoing incumbent, doubling down on President Obama’s most controversial decisions to date, she bids fair to come down even further to his left, trumping the Vermont socialist himself.

This presidential election season is shaping up to be a humdinger with no one on the ticket for whom a rational conservative can cast a vote, and, if nothing changes between now and November, a president in the White House who’s as likely to sell the sheets in the Lincoln Bedroom as rename it as just one more bauble in a gaudy treasure trove of his personalized properties. Perhaps the Trump Taj South?

Maybe a nice casino on the White House Lawn would kick up property values in the neighborhood.

In this incredible election season the American electorate at last seems to have lost its collective mind.

Stuart W. Mirsky

Demographers Weigh In On Jewish Vote In 2016

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

America’s primary election season is inching closer to its conclusion: the Republican National Convention in Cleveland from July 18-21 and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia from July 25-28.

As of Tuesday morning, five candidates remained in the primary race: Democrats Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and Republicans Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), Ohio Governor John Kasich, and businessman Donald Trump.

When it comes to projecting the Jewish vote in 2016, understanding demographics might lend some semblance of sanity to an election that most observers would compare to a roller coaster ride.

While Jews represent just 2 percent of the American population, surveys indicate that more than 90 percent of Jews who are registered to vote make it to the polls, compared to 74 percent of all Americans.

Additionally, in 2013, 70 percent of U.S. Jews were living in New York, California, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, and Pennsylvania – states whose combined 167 electoral votes make up more than half of the 270 electoral votes a presidential candidate needs to win the election.

In 2013, the Pew Research Center’s “Portrait of Jewish Americans” survey showed that 70 percent of Jewish voters were Democrats, compared to 49 percent of the general American public. But the survey found that 57 percent of Orthodox Jews identify or lean Republican, while 36 percent identify or lean Democrat.

Other Jewish groups likely leaning Republican are what Cohen calls “ethnic Jews” – those who are more “culturally conservative,” including immigrant Russian-speaking Jews, who “see a conservative political philosophy as most opposed to the government that oppressed them for decades.”

While 21st century American Jews lean overwhelmingly Democrat, that wasn’t always the case.

“In the late 19th century, from roughly 1864 until roughly 1916, American Jews voted Republican in overwhelming numbers. We don’t have a lot of data to substantiate that…but what we do know allows us to make a judgment call,” said Dr. Steven Windmueller, a demographer from Hebrew Union College’s Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management.

Dr. Ira Sheskin, a demographer at the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami, explained that “the nature of the parties does change over time” and that “back in the 1800s, Republicans and Democrats held different views than they do today.”

From 1916 onward, the Jewish vote went to the Democratic Party. By the time President George H. W. Bush ran for reelection in 1992, he received only 16 percent of the Jewish vote, Sheskin noted.

Jews continued voting predominantly Democratic through President Obama’s two campaigns. But while Obama garnered anywhere from 74 to 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008, depending on whose data is used, his Jewish support dropped to 69 percent in the 2012 election.

“Was that a reaction to some of [Obama’s] policies? His relationship with the government of Israel, or other issues? It’s difficult to say,” Windmueller told JNS, but we think there has been some small trending over the last 15 to 20 years toward voting for more Republicans on the part of some Jews who are maybe historically voting Democratic.”

This growth in Jewish Republican votes might be attributed to younger Jews who don’t affiliate with a party and who register as independents, although only 17 percent of Jews ages 18-29 identified as Republican in Pew’s 2013 survey. America’s growing Orthodox Jewish population and single-issue voters who focus exclusively on Israel and Middle East foreign policy are additional factors that may lead to more Jews voting Republican.

Sheskin, however, cautions against reading too much into the aforementioned factors when it comes to the Jewish vote. He said the uptick in Jewish Republican voting had already started after George H.W. Bush’s 1992 campaign.

Alina Dain Sharon

On April 19, You Can Cast the Most Important Vote of Your Life

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

It’s rare for frum communities to be pivotal in elections that have nationaI impact, but on this Tuesday, April 19, how Orthodox Jewish voters cast their votes, particularly in the Five Towns, Long Beach, Oceanside and West Hempstead, will have a very real, very serious impact not only here in New York, but nationally and potentially on Israel as well.

In a special election in 2011 to replace Congressman Anthony Weiner, Orthodox communities in Brooklyn and Queens sent shockwaves throughout Washington and the national political class when they rejected a well known and generally popular longtime local Jewish Democratic legislator, David Weprin, to instead lead the victorious campaign of a politically unknown Catholic Republican businessman, Robert Turner. The issues there were similar: Orthodox communities banded together primarily to send a national message to Obama and the Democrats in Washington of grassroots dissatisfaction with their treatment of Israel.

On April 19, frum voters have the opportunity to send the same message – but this time it is not merely symbolic or a protest, this time the practical stakes are vast and quite specific and directly impact the work both of us and many other Jewish activists are doing to combat the malevolent threat of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (“BDS”) movement. This may seem like a local election, but one of us fights BDS nationally from New York and one of us from California, and we, like our enemies, pay attention to all the states in between.

BDS is not a protest or boycott of Israeli policies and is not aimed at bettering anyone’s life – BDS is an aggressive campaign of lies and libels dedicated to one goal, plain and simple: to destroy the Jewish State.

“The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel. There should not be any equivocation on the subject.” Those words belong to BDS leader As’ad Abu Khalil, a professor at the University of California. “BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state…BDS is not another step on the way to the final showdown; BDS is the final showdown.” That was written by BDS Leader Ahmed Moor.

Because they are clear, we too must be clear. In the words of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Those who wear the BDS label should be treated exactly as we treat any anti-Semite or bigot.” While Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog has called BDS “unacceptable and hypocritical in every shape and form” and “an onslaught against Israel all over the world.”

And the impact of BDS is not just ugly libels against the Jewish state or terrorists 6000 miles away who are empowered by the blame John Kerry or the UN place on Israeli

“oppression” – though for those surely, “dayenu.” But BDS is also the basis of a newly emboldened and vicious anti-Semitism around the world including right in New York.

American Jews are being targeted by BDS. This is especially acute for Jewish college students, who are being targeted for harassment by other students and by the faculty and staff of universities. BDS is not academic freedom – it is the opposite. BDS routinely punishes, shouts down and shuts out open discourse in order to incite hatred and violence against Jews. Last week, in San Francisco, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat – a mild-mannered, middle-of-the-road Israeli not known for extremist views – was shouted down by BDS hoodlums and forced to abandon a speech he had been invited to give at the State University. The campus police were called in and neither arrested the protestors, nor ejected them, instead simply standing on the side as the outrageous harassment against Barkat became more and more aggressive.

According to a study published this past year, fueled by the blood libels of BDS, three of the top 10 most anti-Semitic universities in America are in New York – including the top two, Columbia and Cornell. NYU is in the midst of a BDS struggle and, if you have not been following it, we urge you to read about the terrible ongoing battles at SUNY and at CUNY where the New York Senate has heroically voted to slash funding to CUNY because of the egregious anti-Semitism. The message the New York State Senate sent has been heard in legislatures and universities around the country. There are many friends in the Senate who have helped, and we want specially to single out Senator Jack Martins for his dedicated leadership in the fight against BDS and Higher Education Committee Chairman Ken LaValle for making it a priority for his committee.

In state capitols around the US and in Washington, we and our colleagues in many anti-BDS groups have been working with legislators to fight BDS. Collectively these efforts have resulted in dozens of state and federal laws being passed that – like the New York State Senate’s votes against BDS – chip away at our enemies legally and, at least as importantly, that repudiate their libels and lies. The legislations have been cautious, because the issue is so significant that there has been a reluctance to hand even a single victory to the enemies of Israel and the Jews. And yet, to date, BDS is winning in New York, home to the largest concentration of Jews outside the State of Israel.

Republicans in Albany have been dedicatedly pushing anti-BDS legislation and it has passed the Senate for one reason only: that Republicans control the Senate. In the Assembly, however, the Democrats have made abundantly clear that while they remain in control they will not allow anti-BDS legislation. They cynically claim BDS is a matter of “free speech” – even while a major part of BDS itself is the denial and restraint of pro-Israel speech (or even the rights of Israelis and Jews to speak, regardless of the topic or their views). Serious questions have been raised by a number of our fellow anti-BDS activists about Todd Kaminsky’s own approach to BDS which is substantially weaker than the Republicans’. But the sincerity of his intentions are rendered irrelevant by the circumstances of this race. If on April 19 this Senate seat goes to a Democrat – even a sympathetic Democrat – control of the Senate will change hands to the pro-BDS party. The national ripple effect is palpable.

By quirk of fate or hashgacha, this issue is in your hands. You have an opportunity to turn out in force to make it clear to the Democrats in Albany – and all lawmakers nationally – that refusing to fight BDS is to stand for the destruction of Israel. Frum Jews must let them know that fighting the blood libels of BDS does not even really require a lawmaker to be pro-Israel, it simply demands that they be a human being with a conscience and a memory. If the Democrat leadership in Albany will not fight against BDS then they stand with the anti-Semites now libeling Jews and terrorizing our children in college.

There is no justification for this having become a partisan issue. In California, as in many other states, we managed to bring both parties together. We are not happy that the Democrats’ leaders have made this a party fight in Albany and it is in their power to change that – but they will only do so if voters turn out in force and show them there is a price to be paid.

As for the other parallels to the last time our vote really mattered, Rabbi Twersky’s open letter laments the disgraceful smearing of Chris McGrath as an anti-Semite. We have seen an e-mail trying to tie him to Nazis. Rabbi Twersky, like many in our community, know McGrath to be a longtime committed friend to Jews. Politics can be nasty, but that doesn’t mean we should tolerate such tactics, which deserve to be repudiated. (In 2011, identical tactics were used against Turner, with his opponents even executing a robocall campaign to Orthodox homes pretending it was from Jews for Jesus calling to turn out votes for Turner). Enough. Those who would manipulate us need to understand that we are not naïve or gullible, we are not driven by fear and loathing of Christians, and there is a price to pay for adding such insult to the injury of their policies.

One of us is lives in the district and one of us lives 3000 miles away, but on April 19, both of us along with fellow anti-BDS activists around the country have our eyes on this election. There certainly are other valid issues which all voters must examine. As those who spend a significant part of our days fighting BDS however, we know that much of what has been happening has been behind closed doors and we feel it is our responsibility to give you a glimpse into this ongoing struggle in Albany and its very serious ramifications. We implore you to consider the gravity of these issues, research them yourselves, and to please take the fight against BDS into account as you decide whether and how to cast your vote.


Jeff Ballabon and Rabbi Pini Dunner

Supporting Trump Should Be A No-Brainer For Jews

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

In 1980, New York City decided to renovate Central Park’s ice skating rink. The cost of the two-year project was estimated at $9 million. Six years and $13 million later, the renovations were nowhere near complete. Enter Donald Trump. He asked then-Mayor Ed Koch if he could take over the job. Six months later the rink was ready.

Trump is a man who gets things done. He is a man who strives for excellence. He is a man who before 9/11 wanted to build the tallest building in the world. Ivanka Trump recalls that her father used to tell her as a child, “You’re going to be thinking anyway. Might as well think big.” In short, Trump is a man who values greatness and seeks the same for his country.

Trump’s critics pounce on his every mistake over a business career of 50 years. But they’re ignoring the larger picture: Trump is a multi-billionaire with flourishing enterprises all over the world. To conclude that Trump is a terrible businessman because not all his endeavors succeed is like concluding that Benjamin Cardozo was a terrible lawyer because he occasionally lost a case. Both inferences are sheer lunacy.

Trump’s critics also like to attack him for being unhinged. But think for a moment: Can anyone succeed in Manhattan’s real estate market – with all its regulations and zoning laws – by being unhinged? By embracing an attitude of “my way or the highway”?

In fact, those who know Trump best testify that he is a “reflective, gentlemanly, decent” man (in the words of longtime friend Rudy Giuliani). When Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was asked why she supports Trump for president, she said, “I see a different Donald Trump, I think, than a lot of people see. I see the way he interacts with his kids…. He’s a great dad. His employees adore him. I think they would jump off a cliff for him, and I think that’s speaks a lot about a person.”

Indeed, it does. As do Trump’s numerous quiet acts of kindness over the decades. Just two weeks ago, for example, a former Miss Wisconsin tearfully recounted the moment she received a handwritten note from Trump as she lay in a hospital bed fighting for her life. “He is the kindest man I have ever met,” she told FOX News. “I think he has a heart of gold.”

What about Ted Cruz’s reputation? In a word, it’s terrible. He helped win the White House for George W. Bush in 2001, but virtually everyone on the campaign team – including Bush – “couldn’t stand him,” a prominent Bush aide recalls. “People wouldn’t go to a meeting if they knew he would be there,” he said.

Cruz’s freshman roommate at Princeton University remembers him as “a nightmare of a human being.” Another Princeton acquaintance remembers him as an “arrogant jerk.” Yet another remembers Cruz speaking to her in such a “vicious” supercilious fashion that she literally broke down in tears.

Cruz’s reputation in Congress isn’t much better: “Everybody who knows him in the Senate hates him. And I think hate is not an exaggeration,” political pundit Charles Krauthammer recently said.

Is character everything? No. But when so many colleagues and acquaintances find you – not your ideas – detestable, something is wrong.

How do the candidates rate on policy? Cruz isn’t bad, but Trump approaches problems with a certain clarity and straightforwardness that Cruz simply doesn’t possess. Thus, while Cruz hems and haws about water-boarding terrorists, Trump approvingly repeats the story of General “Black Jack” Pershing allegedly executing 49 Muslim terrorists in the Philippines with bullets dipped in pig’s blood. He also dares suggest that allowing hundreds of thousands of Muslims into this country at a time of worldwide jihad may – just may – not be wise.

This straightforward thinking – unmarred by the obfuscations of politically correctness – will likely benefit Israel too. For the question isn’t whether this or that candidate likes Israel. The real question is: What will the next president say when Saudi Arabia threatens to desolve its friendship with the U.S. if it doesn’t pressure Israel into making concessions? For that is precisely the threat made to George W. Bush, as Elliott Abrams recounts in his book Tested by Zion. As a result, Bush – who was about as instinctively pro-Israel as they come – supported a Palestinian state, condemned Israel’s anti-terror campaign in the West Bank, and pushed for negotiations with the Palestinians. Why should we believe Cruz will act any differently?

Trump, however, might. As a non-politician, he harbors no instinctive reaction to cave to Saudi Arabia. Indeed, he has publicly attacked the oil-rich country. It’s true that two months ago Trump talked of acting neutral while negotiating a Middle East peace deal – a deal Netanyahu has publicly begged for, incidentally – but since then he has stated several times that a peace deal is impossible unless the Palestinians stop teaching their children to kill Jews.

And Trump doesn’t play games. He isn’t a politician. He is a businessman who has made a career out of reading people. If he perceives that the Palestinians are inveterate liars – which they are when it comes to making peace with Israel – he will walk. Will Cruz?

Judaism teaches us not to put faith in any human being. God runs the world, not man. But when I look at Cruz and Trump, I see a politician on one side (have you ever heard Cruz utter a natural-sounding sentence?) and, a smart, clear-thinking, politically-incorrect patriot with an enormously successful business career on the other side. To me, the choice is a no-brainer.

Elliot Resnick

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/supporting-trump-should-be-a-no-brainer-for-jews/2016/04/14/

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