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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘washington’

Netanyahu Consoles Obama over US Navy Yard Massacre

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu communicated to President Barack Obama Tuesday “heartfelt condolences” following the massacre at the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington on Monday.

“On behalf of the people of Israel, please accept following the tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard,” he wrote. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of this heinous crime, and we pray for a speedy recovery for the injured.

Twelve Killed in Shooting Spree at US Navy Base (Video) UPDATES

Monday, September 16th, 2013

UPDATE: 3;30 p.m. Aaron Alexis, 34, of Fort Worth, Texas has been identified as a suspected shooter. Alexis was a civilian contractor. He reportedly used the identification card of a former Navy Yard employee to gain entrance to the complex and the building.
UPDATE:
3 P.M. et – Police now say that at least 12 people were killed. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray said that no motive has been found for the murders but that the massacre was a terrorist attack.

“This is not over,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, the U.S. Navy’s chief spokesman, told reporters. “The building is still in lockdown, as are other buildings. Still being treated as an active search. No one is moving right now.”

UPDATE: 1:30 p.m. ET – D.C. police are searching for possibly two additional shooters at large, one described as a black male wearing khakis, a beret and carrying a handgun, the other a white male dressed in olive drab military style uniform, carrying a long gun.  Authorities are saying that although the possible shooters are dressed in military style clothing, they are not believed to be members of the military.

UPDATE: 11:40 a.m. ET – there are multiple reports that a shooter is dead.

UPDATE: 11:20 a.m. ET at least eight people are confirmed dead by two police sources.

Washington and federal police reportedly have shot and wounded two gunmen and looking for a possible third attacker after they killed at least four people and wounded 8-10 others at the Washington Navy Yard in the capital late Tuesday morning.

One of the gunman, dressed in black and armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, had been holed up inside Building 197, the Naval Sea Command Headquarters. Approximately 3,000 workers employed in the complex rushed to shelters during the shooting. At least one of the shooters reportedly was wearing army fatigues.

The Associated Press reported that an eyewitness said the gunmen began shooting at the first-floor cafeteria from the fourth floor that overlooks the area.

Authorities shut down Ronald Reagan Airport as a precautionary measure, but flights since have been resumed. Area schools were placed on lockdown.

The Navy Yard  hosts one of the Navy’s five system commands and builds ships and submarines.
The White House stated, “The President directed his team to stay in touch with our federal partners, including the Navy and FBI, as well as the local officials. We urge citizens to listen to the authorities and follow directions from the first responders on site.”

The Navy Yard hosts one of the Navy’s five system commands and builds ships and submarines.

Read more at: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/gunman-escapes-after-shooting-spree-at-us-navy-base-video/2013/09/16/

Egyptian Christians Rally to Protest US Policy and Media

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

A group of hundreds of Egyptian Christians from around the U.S. held a series of rallies in Washington, DC, on Thursday to protest U.S. policy in Egypt and Western media coverage.

The rallies were organized by an online campaign. One of the group’s organizers, Amro A. Gadd, wrote that the rallies are “intended also to expose the clear bias for the Obama administration and the American media in support of MB (Muslim Brotherhood) and its terrorism ideology,” according to a post on his Facebook page.

The rally began at the White House before marching to the office of the Washington Post, CNN and Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an American Muslim group which the protesters accuse of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

“We are against the Muslim Brotherhood,” protester Ramez Mossed told the Washington Free Beacon. “He [Obama] supports the Muslim Brotherhood. He has a big hand in Egypt and the mess in Egypt. We’re trying to tell him, ‘Don’t support the terrorists. Please be fair.’”

Meanwhile, a petition started by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a Washington, DC-based public interest Christian law firm, calls on Obama to condition American aid to Egypt on the protection of Christians.

“It’s time to take sides—for religious freedom and against the Muslim Brotherhood. Comply with human rights requirements. American aid must be conditioned on the protection of Christians, and it must be used to oppose our jihadist enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood,” the petition reads.

As of Aug. 22, the petition had garnered roughly 41,000 signatures.

Obama’s Foreign Fiasco

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

It’s a privilege to be an American who works on foreign policy, as I have done since the late 1970s, participating in a small way in the grand project of finding my country’s place in the world. But now, under Barack Obama, decisions made in Washington have dramatically shrunk in importance. It’s unsettling and dismaying. And no longer a privilege.

Whether during the structured Cold War or the chaotic two decades that followed, America’s economic size, technological edge, military prowess, and basic decency meant that even in its inactivity, the U.S. government counted as much or more in world developments than any other state. Sniffles in Washington translated into influenza elsewhere.

Weak and largely indifferent presidents like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton mattered despite themselves, for example in the Iranian revolution of 1978-79 or the Arab-Israeli conflict in the 1990s. Strong and active presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush had greater impact yet, speeding up the Soviet collapse or invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

But now, with Barack Obama, the United States has slid into shocking irrelevance in the Middle East, the world’s most turbulent region. Inconstancy, incompetence, and inaction have rendered the Obama administration impotent. In the foreign policy arena, Obama acts as though he would rather be the prime minister of Belgium, a small country that usually copies the decisions of its larger neighbors when casting votes at the United Nations or preening morally about distant troubles. Belgians naturally “lead from behind,” to use the famed phrase emanating from Obama’s White House.

Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo was a very long time ago.

Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo was a very long time ago.

Qatar (with a national population of 225,000) has an arguably greater impact on current events than the 1,400-times-larger United States (population: 314 million). Note how Obama these days takes a back seat to the emirs of Doha: They take the lead supplying arms to the Libyan rebels, he follows. They actively help the rebels in Syria, he dithers. They provide billions to the new leadership in Egypt, he stumbles over himself. They unreservedly back Hamas in Gaza, he pursues delusions of an Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” Toward this end, the U.S. secretary of state made six trips in four months to Israel and the Palestinian territories in pursuit of a diplomatic initiative that almost no one believes will end the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Doha, now more influential than Washington in the Middle East.

Doha, now more influential than Washington in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of defense called Egyptian leader Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi 17 times in conversations lasting 60-90 minutes, yet failed in his pleas that Sisi desist from using force against the Muslim Brotherhood. More striking yet, Sisi apparently refused to take a phone call from Obama. The $1.5 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt suddenly looks paltry in comparison to the $12 billion from three Persian Gulf countries, with promises to make up for any Western cuts in aid. Both sides in Egypt’s deep political divide accuse Obama of favoring the other and execrate his name. As dozens of Coptic churches burned, he played six rounds of golf. Ironically, Egypt is where, four long years ago, Obama delivered a major speech repudiating George W. Bush policies with seeming triumph.

Obama’s ambitions lie elsewhere – in augmenting the role of government within the United States, as epitomized by Obamacare. Accordingly, he treats foreign policy as an afterthought, an unwelcome burden, and something to dispatch before returning to juicier matters. He oversees withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan with little concern for what follows. His unique foreign policy accomplishment, trumpeted ad nauseam, was the execution of Osama bin Laden.

So far, the price to American interests for Obama’s ineptitude has not been high. But that could change quickly. Most worrisome, Iran could soon achieve nuclear breakout and start to throw its newfound weight around, if not to deploy its brand-new weapons. The new regime in Egypt could revert to its earlier anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism; already, important elements in Egypt are calling for rejection of U.S. aid and termination of the peace treaty with Israel.

As an American who sees his country as a force for good, these developments are painful and scary. The world needs an active, thoughtful, and assertive United States. The historian Walter A. McDougall rightly states that “The creation of the United States of America is the central event of the past four hundred years” and its civilization “perturbs the trajectories of all other civilizations just by existing.” Well not so much perturbation these days; may the dismal present be brief in duration.

Palestinians Accuse Peace Negotiators of Treason

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

At the request of the Palestinian Authority leadership, the first round of peace talks with Israel, which was launched in Jerusalem on August 14, was held away from the media spotlight.

The Palestinian Authority leadership requested that no journalist or photographer be permitted to cover the meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

Even the location of the peace talks was kept a secret, again at the request of the Palestinian Authority leadership.

The Palestinian Authority’s request for secrecy in the peace talks does not stem from its desire to secure the success of the negotiations.

It is not as if the Palestinian Authority is saying: We care so much about the peace talks that we prefer to avoid media coverage in order to make sure that the peace process succeeds.

The main reason the Palestinian Authority does not want the media to cover the peace talks is related to its fear of the reactions of Palestinians and the Arab world.

Mahmoud Abbas is already facing widespread opposition among Palestinians to his controversial decision — which was taken under heavy pressure from US Secretary of State John Kerry — to return to the negotiating table with Israel.

When the heads of the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams, Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat, met in Washington earlier this month to announce the launching of the peace talks, many Palestinians and Arabs seized the opportunity to ridicule Erekat and accuse the Palestinian Authority leadership of treason.

A photo of Erekat and Livni standing together in Washington has since been exploited by Facebook and Twitter activists to hurl insults and profanity at the chief Palestinian negotiator.

Palestinian sources in Ramallah said that Erekat felt so offended by the insults and obscene language directed against him that he decided that there was no need for “photo op” with Livni or any other Israeli.

Both Abbas and Erekat are fully aware of the growing opposition among Palestinians and Arabs to the resumption of the peace talks with Israel under the terms of the US Administration.

That is why the two men do not want to be seen sitting in a room with any Israeli representative. They know that any photo of Erekat and Livni shaking hands or sitting together would provide their enemies with additional ammunition.

Those who think that the opposition to the peace talks is coming only from Hamas and other radical groups are either ignorant or turning a blind eye to the reality.

When Abbas agreed to resume the peace talks with Israel, he went against the recommendation of the PLO leadership, whose members rejected Kerry’s attempts to force the Palestinian Authority president to abandon two of his pre-conditions — namely, that Israel accept the pre-1967 lines as the basis for negotiations and freeze all construction in settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Last week, the PLO officials once again reminded Abbas of their opposition to the peace talks.

During an August 15 meeting in Ramallah, several PLO leaders told Abbas that they remained opposed “in principle” to the idea of resuming peace talks with Israel under the current circumstances.

The only Palestinian official who has come out in public to voice support for Abbas’s move is the powerless Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah.

Abbas and Erekat know that Hamdallah’s public endorsement of the peace talks does not carry any weight. After all, Hamdallah is an unelected public servant with no grassroots support or political base.

To further complicate matters for Abbas and Erekat, several Palestinian factions are now in the process of forming a “national alliance” the main goal of which is to thwart any deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This rejectionist front will consist of various PLO and other factions and organizations and could create many problems for the Palestinian Authority.

But there is another reason why the Palestinian Authority leadership does not want media coverage of the peace talks. For many years, the Palestinian Authority has been supporting boycott campaigns against Israel, as well as organizations combating “normalization” with Israelis.

If Palestinian children are condemned for playing football with Israelis, why should it be acceptable for Erekat to be talking with Livni?

Palestinian Authority leaders can only blame themselves for the growing opposition to the peace talks with Israel. Palestinian leaders have simply not prepared their people for peace. These leaders have, instead, delegitimized Israel to a point where it has become a “crime” for any Palestinian to be photographed talking to, or negotiating with, any Israeli.

Netanyahu Names American Immigrant Ron Dermer Ambassador to US

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday he is appointing American-born Ron Dermer as Israel’s next Ambassador to the United States, the second American in a row to represent Jerusalem in Washington.

Dermer, who will replace Michael Oren, has served as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s senior adviser for the past four years and served as the economic attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Washington from 2005 to 2008.

He was born in Florida, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and holds a master’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford.

Dermer immigrated to Israel in 1997. He once wrote in the now defunct New York Sun that he “left America because I wanted to help another nation I love defend the freedoms that Americans have long taken for granted.”

Dermer has a background of political activism in the Republican party, having worked with the GOP in the 1994 mid-term elections before going to Oxford. While studying there, he shuttled to Israel to work on behalf of Natan Sharansky and his Yisrael B’Aliyah party.

His appointment gives Prime Minister Netanyahu a close ear in Washington, where Dermer is familiar with back channels, noted JTA’s Ben Sales last year, when Dermer’s name was being floated for the ambassadorial post.

“Netanyahu likes him, respects him and listens to him,” Netanyahu’s former national security adviser Uzi Arad told the JTA. “I often asked for his advice. In many ways he was a guy to listen to. When it came to knowledge and being cultured and erudite and intellectually inclined, that’s him.”

“He understands how Americans view Israelis and how Israelis view Americans,” Mitchell Barak, an Israeli pollster who met Dermer as an adviser to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told Sales. “He knows how to work [in Washington] and has personal relations.”

Dermer’s views are strongly nationalist and indicate that Netanyahu is finished with any more “good will” concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

Dermer castigated The New York Times in 2011 with an open letter that attacked its news coverage and its Op-Ed page.

Times columnists “consistently distort the positions of our government and ignore the steps it has taken to advance peace,” Dermer wrote in the letter, which was published in The Jerusalem Post. “It would seem as if the surest way to get an op-ed published in The New York Times these days, no matter how obscure the writer or the viewpoint, is to attack Israel.”

Dermer wrote in 2003 that Israel would be giving up its sovereignty if it were to agree to the Bush “Roadmap” plan.

“It is one thing for Israel to take into consideration what America says,” he wrote. “In fact, Israel’s national interest demands that it do so. But it is quite another to cede to a third party, no matter how friendly, the right to determine Israel’s future.”

Dermer co-authored with Sharansky “The Case for Democracy,” a book that reportedly was a major influence on President George W. Bush..

Ron Dermer to be Appointed Israel’s Ambassador to U.S.

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Galei Tzahal reported today that Ron Dermer will be appointed as Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. in August.

It was first reported by Makor Rishon in December 2012 that Dermer would be the next Israeli ambassador to the U.S., but the story was quickly denied a few days later by Israel’s Embassy in Washington.

Dermer fell out of the good graces of the Obama administration for his support of Mitt Romney, but he has been working to imporive his relationship with the current adminstration, and with John Kerry in particular.

Dermer made Aliyah from Florida in 1998, and served as a senior adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu for four years.

Yeshivat Maharat to Ordain Women Rabbis on Sunday

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Yeshivat Maharat, the first institution to train Orthodox women as spiritual leaders and halakhic authorities will host their first graduation ceremony on Sunday.

The women have each studied the same course of training as men and have studied the Jewish Torah at advanced levels for years.

Orthodox rabbis will be present at the graduation, at which the women will receive diplomas for “ordination as clergy, and the certificates will note they have been ordained as a “Decisor of Jewish Law for the Community.”

Maharat is a Hebrew acronym for Manhiga Hilkhatit Rukhanit Toranit, “One who is teacher of Jewish law and spirituality,” and each graduate will use the title of Maharat.

All of the women will be employed as clergy for Orthodox synagogues and institutions.

Rachel Kohl Finegold will be serving as clergy at Montreal’s Congregation Sha’ar HaShomayim with Rabbi Adam Scheier.

Ruth Balinsky Friedman will be serving as clergy at Ohev Sholom, The National Synagogue, in Washington D.C. with Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld.

Abby Brown Scheier will be a principal of a small Hebrew school, as well as teaching children and adults in the Montreal community.

Rori Picker Neiss will be completing her fourth year of Yeshivat Maharat while serving as clergy at Bais Abraham Congregation in St Louis, with Rabbi Hyim Shafner.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/yeshivat-maharat-to-ordain-women-rabbis-on-sunday/2013/06/13/

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