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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘WOMEN’

Women of the Wall: Warring Against Torah

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Before I proceed with the topic of this article, I should clarify that I oppose many contemporary and popular versions of “Wall Worship” associated with the Kotel (Western Wall). For one, I consider the practice of inserting kvitlach (letters to G-d) into the ancient stones to be a distorted one, which has no place in proper Jewish thought. This isn’t my personal position but one shared by many genuine Torah scholars. On a more basic level, I am also concerned with the unbridled religious fervor many people have for the actual physical structure, which people sometimes deem as something fit to venerate and worship.

In many ways, I view the wall in the same manner as I do the graves of the righteous. It has its place in Jewish context, but usually not in the popular way that it is manifested. On the contrary, those who visit graves as “holy sites” are often the last people who should be visiting them. And oftentimes those with connect notions are reticent to engage in such activities, because they are aware of the many halachic and hashkafic problems relating to such visits. Certainly, at the very least, one who visits graves or the wall should be careful that their thoughts and actions accord with proper Torah notions. Proper deyot (thoughts) make for a proper visit. False notions ensure a less than ideal experience.

The Kotel is a sign of the enduring churban. A place which reminds us and in certain cases mandates the tearing of kriyah as a sign of mourning. Yet our energies should be focused on the Arab Waqf’s control of Har Habayit (the Temple Mount), which is our holiest site. This should be the true battle, not Herod’s lone retaining wall which remains firmly in our hand. The presence of The Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque are an intolerable chillul Hashem and the greatest example of the destruction of the Temple, and of the current degradation of self-imposed dhimmitude to appease the Jew hating world.

Yet the Western Wall is indeed important, historically, symbolically, and religiously. The custom of praying and crying out to G-d at the Wall is well entrenched, and in that sense, it has become the world’s most prominent synagogue. For those who won’t halachically ascend, for one reason or another, it is the closest location the average Jew will approach to the site of the Temple. As such, basic standards of Halachah should be enforced, and the site should certainly be regulated by religious figures. (I will not get into a discussion of political religious forces which unfortunately exist and typify the dilemma of the invariable clash when religion becomes politicized.) And those who would seek to publicly trample upon Jewish mores should be stopped. The “Woman of the Wall” are one such feminist group.

Feminism’s War Cry

I oppose feminism and the proponents of this subversive ideology, be it the standard secular version, or the supposed Jewish version which even draws religious women to their ranks. “Women’s rights” is the purported desire, but in truth, it is an ideology opposed to the most basic constructs of a Torah life. The basic premise is that men have imposed a patriarchal chauvinistic template of societies throughout history, a system which supposedly oppresses and limits women’s expression.

Invariably, women who abide by this ideology have radical beliefs when it comes to what they call freedom of choice, namely that abortion is the right of a woman. We Jews are not Catholics and the Torah recognizes degrees of viability of life, and so in Judaism the mother’s physical welfare always comes first. Regardless of whether the Torah views the life of the fetus in precisely the same manner as the life of the mother, the Torah mandates strict regulation to ensure that the baby isn’t harmed. In fact, deliberate abortion is a capital punishment for the Noachide. So, one of the most important issues of feminism has no place whatsoever in a Torah Jew’s ideology. Nor can many of their notions be reconciled with Torah, despite the pathetic attempts of “religious feminists” to use strained distorted pilpulistic tactics (despite it being an invention of “patriarchal Rabbis”!) to further their agenda.

Shrill Angry Feminism

Each month, we are forced to endure orchestrated l’hachis (deliberate) stunts from the angry shrill feminists of the “Women of the Wall” who seek to alter traditional religious customs of prayer and decorum at the Kotel. The more recent controversies with these troublesome malcontents involves the prohibited smuggling of Torah scrolls into their designated prayer section. They have no interest in concessions or designated spots which they choose to ignore. They want to cause provocation in the main plaza. These women refer to themselves in Hebrew as “Nashot Hakotel” and the reason given shows that they are a definite byproduct of Western feminism with a Jewish face. Consider their explanation for the linguistically incorrect term “nashot”:

Why Neshot Hakotel?

In Hebrew, the word for women is nashim. Since – ‘im‘ is generally a masculine plural ending and –’ot’ is generally the feminine plural ending, nashim is an exception to the linguistic rule. We chose to use neshot, similar to the way second-wave American feminists have chosen to use womyn for woman and wimmin for women. It is a pro-female assertion that seeks to remove the linguistic dependency of the word woman or women on the word man or men, since unfortunately these female words have largely and historically been characterized as a derivative of the male, a statement with social implications.

Their agenda is naked. Theirs is a carbon copy of the American version of this malady. Which gets to the crux of the issue, many of the leadership are radical American Jewish women and men and they are importing their distorted philosophy to Israel. While some were born in Israel and many have been olim for many years, their ideology is a Western movement which doesn’t even resonate with most secular Israelis. But in time, if left unchecked, their impact will only grow, and yet another anti-Torah voice will be given a chair at the table of Jewish thought. It won’t be long before a renegade “open orthodox” Rabbi will publicly join their movement and give it a troublesome stamp of something that can accord with Halachah.

Why trample upon Halachah if only to agitate? Is the wall so critical for those who would have deemed the halachic system of male Kohanim and male Leviim to be misogynistic? Were there any women in Sanhedrin? Those who would have a problem with the historical background of what they would deem “male chauvinism” should have no say in matters relating to an ancient religious Jewish site, or the mores of religious practice pertaining to the location.

The fact that they are provocative and loud and insistent that men “hear” them speaks volumes. The fact that many of them oppose the alternate site, a quieter, less “touristy” location shows clearly that they aren’t interested in accommodating all sensibilities. They are fueled by anger and they want to evoke a reaction, and they have. Some reactions are coarse and aggressive. But it is hard for me to sympathize with these vindictive types. When I saw footage of a religious woman putting one of these obnoxious Women of the Wall in a headlock, I couldn’t help rooting for the judo tactician. Deliberate vindictive types are a chillul Hashem, and one woman clearly had enough.

And yet these “live and let live types” are the most intolerant of all. Reverence for the Kotel means nothing. If anything, they hope to evoke a violent response, since it will invariably weigh in their favor, if the response is vicious enough. That will delegitimize all mainstream religious efforts to oppose them, and will probably lead to some unprecedented ruling in their favor.

Many similar issues relating to women’s partnership minyanim were introduced to several prominent poskim in the 1970’s and 80’s. The general consensus was that even on issues that were deemed theoretically OK, such actions were prohibited because they would surely be motivated by un-Jewish values. There may very well be righteous women in the world who require tefillin (phylacteries) to fulfill themselves religiously, having actualized themselves in all other religious realms. Such woman may have even been granted permission from respectable mainstream gedolim (Torah sages) to engage in this worship. But such women would be unknown to us, because their intrinsic modesty would never allow it to become a public issue. They would be as far from feminism as heaven is from hell.

Fortunately, the most recent visible counter-response to the WOW were from religious women, thus saving us from the vile editorials from Ha’aretz, demonizing religious men. If the “Women of the Wall” continue their provocations next month and the authorities don’t clamp down on them, there will be more whistles, headlocks, and who knows what else. Because their l’hachis malicious nature is finally getting to people who are fed up with their chutzpah. If they persist in their brazen disregard for tradition, they should be locked up and fined. V’zehu.

The orchestrated spectacles of the notorious “Women of the Wall” has little to do with “religious rights” or equality. It is the “Jewish” version of militant feminism run amuck. These WOW malcontents are angry, bitter, people who derive pleasure from offending traditional Torah sensibilities. Militant feminism masquerading as a cause for equality. They hate men. They hate religious Jews. They hate “the rabbis” and they want you to know it. That is their cause.

Donny Fuchs

IDF Officer Exposes Combat Women’s ‘Equality’ Hoax

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

While the IDF prides itself on its equal treatment of men and women and publicized images of female graduates of combat infantry courses for NCOs and officers, Col. (res.) Raz Sagi, Chairman of the IDF resilience forum, has been contradicting the official narrative with facts and figures that tell a dramatically different story.

According to Sagi, speaking to the magazine Olam Katan, in their entrance exam at Training Base 1 officer school, “female candidates run a shorter track than do the men, are required to navigate only three objectives compared with five for the men, and are given a longer time to navigate than are the men.”

Also, according to Sagi, “women go on hike with one water canteen and one magazine, while men are saddled with two canteens and five magazines.” Also, according to the retired Colonel, following complaints from women that they’re always last at the finish line in Training Base 1 races, said races were switched to a stadium-style, elliptical tracks, “so they won’t be competitive.” When jumping a wall, women are given a bench to hop from, he says, noting that, “since they were ashamed of this, they started building shorter walls.”

In addition, women are exempt from some final tests before graduating from officers school, and in other tests they are given extra time.

Sagi was criticizing the inclusion of women in combat units strictly in terms of their ability to compete. He did not discuss the discomfort and tension that might develop with young men and women being cooped up in a tank for a long duration. On the other hand, the argument can be made that in many combat operations, physical prowess is not necessarily the only factor. As one talkback entry noted on Sunday, during one of the fires that have been plaguing Israel last week, a team of firemen reached a villa in Jerusalem that was ablaze, to check for people trapped inside. A burly fireman jumped over the fence and nearly killed himself landing heavily on the other side – wile a female firefighter pushed open the front gate and walked inside.

David Israel

Former General: Integrating Women in Combat Units a Conspiracy to Weaken IDF

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Major General Yiftach Ron-Tal (res.) former commander of the IDF Ground Forces, currently the CEO of Israel Electric Company, on Sunday told Galay Israel radio that the proposed plan to integrate women as Armored combat soldiers is being promoted “by entities that are trying to weaken the IDF.”

Ron-Tal said the initiative is “a scandal that will harm anything one might imagine, including the IDF’s ability.” Noting that the next goal of the women’s groups involved is to integrate women in combat infantry units.

“Anyone pushing this objective is, forgive the expression, simply nuts,” he said, adding, “Are we off our rocker? The next phase will be not just tanks, but Division 35 (paratroopers), Golani Brigade, Givati Brigade and the Nahal Brigade (combat infantry units).”

Major General Ron-Tal added that in his view, and based on material he has reviewed, behind the integration initiatives stand not feminist but leftwing groups, “whose aim is the weakening of the IDF.” Citing first-person conversations with knowledgeable sources, he warned against “interested entities who’ve been using this move, which on its face is democratic and very important … to weaken our military ability. This is terrible, I know it’s terrible, and I’m very concerned.”

The plan to integrate women in combat units was introduced last week by Head of IDF HR Gen. Eran Shani, who spoke to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. According to a senior IDF HR officer who spoke to ha’aretz Sunday, the IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, supports the plan.

An association headed by Rabbi Amihai Eliahu calling itself Tzav 1 (order 1), which supports the ability of religious soldiers to serve in the IDF in a manner that does not challenge their beliefs, has been warning that the military must choose between having Religious-Zionist soldiers or women in the tank, because they can’t have both. The association is accusing the entities behind the move of attempting to cleanse the IDF of its religious warriors.


Women Unite To Star In Jerusalem

Monday, October 31st, 2016

We all pray – but that’s very different from holding a back-and-forth conversation with G-d. If you’re the writer of a musical play, you’ll have to figure out how to represent such divine moments to an audience and how to act them out without having anyone “play G-d.” Sharon Katz and Avital Macales faced the challenge and came up with several creative solutions. I attended a rehearsal of Count the Stars, the story of Avraham and Sara, to find out how these dynamic writers and producers did this and so much more. As the play is debuting in November in Jerusalem, I suggest you book your ticket now.


A Sparkling Duo

Sharon and Avital at Eretz Bereishit

Sharon and Avital at Eretz Bereishit

Sharon Katz is film production manager at Shoot East Productions and Torah Live, both innovative filming projects. A former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, Show Business Newspaper and Voices Magazine, Sharon’s creative energy couldn’t be limited by the written word. She’s also the founder of four women’s performance companies, has produced seventeen shows and has co-written four musical comedies, all based on stories from Tanach. A powerhouse of positivity and fun, Sharon has performed on stage in seventeen productions. Now cast as Avraham’s trusty servant, Eliezer, she brings comic relief into the play – and a spirit of sincere caring to the cast. “I missed your shining face,” she calls to a twelve-year-old performer who missed a rehearsal. “Nice new glasses,” she tells another.

Avital Macales, svelte and gentle, her brown hair pulled into a simple ponytail, is the superstar of women’s theater in Israel. Born in Los Angles, Avital came to Israel when she was so young that she managed to pick up such erudite Hebrew skills that when she’s not singing, she’s working as (gulp) a Hebrew grammarian. How do the staunch and unwavering rules of Hebrew grammar come together with the muse of performance? It’s in the genes: Avital’s father is an engineer and physicist; her mother a musical director (who just happens to be the musical director of this play). Wait… there are even more contradictions to Avital. The superstar is actually reserved and bashful when she’s not full-flare on stage. “I was born to be on the stage; offstage I’m shy,” says Avital. It’s a loveable combination that turns me into an immediate fan.

Three-and-a-half years ago, Sharon and Avital took to writing Count the Stars. The creative process began with in-depth learning of the Chumash and commentaries. “Each week, we presented what we had learned to one another, and then we sang the song that came out of that topic,” says Sharon. The resulting play was executive produced in 2014 by Raise Your Spirits Theatre, the first theater company that Sharon had founded. Fast-forward to 2015.


The Song of Unity

Sharon was taking a course in script writing offered by The Jerusalem Center for Artistic Development (JCAD) at the OU Center in Jerusalem. At the time, a wave of terror engulfed Jerusalem. “Hardly anyone walked through the city streets. And if you did, you kept looking over your shoulder. The only place full of optimism and life was the OU Center,” recalls Sharon.

Sharon Katz at rehersals

Sharon Katz at rehersals

Driven to nurture meaningful friendships, boost self-esteem, have fun, and oust the feelings of isolation, Sharon and Avital, together with Shifra Penkower and Bati Katz, created the Women’s Performance Community of Jerusalem (WPC) and partnered with the OU Center. Through song and drama, women of all ages from different neighborhoods and diverse streams of Judaism joined into one loving and supportive group. It was community theatre at its best. Created by, with, and for a community, the WPC quickly fostered a feeling of community spirit and unity while developing the skills and artistic sensibilities of the participants.

The WPC began offering monthly programs, but the women wanted more… they wanted to stage an entire performance. Sharon and Avital reworked Count the Stars putting Sharon’s new-found knowledge to work. “It has been marvelous,” says Sharon. “The seventy women in the cast love it. Avital and I feel like this is a new show. But at the same time, when we hear our melodies being sung again, we feel like we’re meeting a familiar friend.”


Women as Stars

Since rehearsals began in June, the rooms and corridors of the OU Center have been filled with dance and song twice a week. Moving from room to room, I get an idea of what it takes to put together the show. Upstairs, lithe choreographer Judy Kizer works with endless patience and skill with a dozen lively young girls who are “yummy and fun to squeeze” in Sharon’s words. “It’s hard for children to focus,” says Sharon with a smile. “With adults, you tell them what you want and they understand. With children, you need more patience.” For their part, the children contribute their own creativity. I watch as they quickly put on their heads the orange and black striped tote bags that Sharon just had to buy when shopping for props and turn them into a headdress for Pharaoh. And as for stage fright… no one mentions the words. “This is fun and there’s no reason to be afraid,” says Sharon.

Avital Macales and her sister Eliore at Eretz Bereishit

Avital Macales and her sister Eliore at Eretz Bereishit

Downstairs, director Shifra Penkower, dressed in beautifully-coordinated green and red, leads the rehearsal for actress/dancer/singer Debbie Hirsch and Avital as they bring a TV reality show to life (more on that below). When Shifra isn’t guiding the performers, she checks out the rise of the backdrop, the width of the visible part of the stage, which booms are electric and which manual, the number of steps to the dressing rooms, and how good the view is from just about every seat in the Gerard Behar arts center where the show will take place.

When they’re done, Debbie, a young mother, tells me what motivated her to be part of the play. “This is what Am Yisrael is all about. Different streams of Jews all coming together without caring about the differences. Performing together gives us the chance to appreciate each other,” she says. Then she adds, “Performing reenergizes me and gives me the vigor I need to be a better wife and mom.”

Rhona Lewis

In Strongest Showing, Trump Fails to Bridge Gap with Women

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Had Donald Trump been as in command of his demeanor and of the debate subject matters in his previous bouts with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and had he been able to restrain his impulsive reactions to her skillful provocations, he would probably not be trailing her in the polls as badly as he is doing these days. The big story most media outlets have run with right after the third presidential debate in Las Vegas Wednesday night has been Trump’s refusal to commit to honoring the results of the November 8 elections—the first presidential candidate to have done so before the actual vote. But it’s doubtful that his coy response, that he’ll keep us in suspense, will actually hurt his numbers in the coming nineteen days. After all, he has done just that during the early primary debates, refused to commit to supporting the Republican nominee, no matter whom he or she would be — and his poll numbers increased. Trump’s devastating failure this third debate has been to move the needle on his appeal to American women.

A new CBS poll of 13 battleground states taken a couple of days before Wednesday night’s debate showed women voters favor Clinton by 15 points over Trump, compared with 5 points a month earlier. Regardless of how he got there, how unfair that hot mic recording of his uttering really vulgar words on the bus had been, how the media were ganging up on him and how the Clinton campaign was to blame for the ten or so women who came out to portray him as an abusive man — it worked, and it was Trump’s job to fix it.

He didn’t have to win over the swing state women, he just needed to bring their support back to what it had been — a +5 for his opponent, because he had the majority of male voters on his side. Making peace with women had to be his top priority, if he wanted a shot at winning Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, the must-win-2-out-of-3 states for Republican presidential candidates. He failed abysmally.

He didn’t even have to be contrite, he didn’t have to apologize, he didn’t have to make any of the PC gestures he—and many of the rest of us—despise so much. He just had to show empathy, take the high road, look and sound like a mensch. Instead, he willingly conceded the women’s corner to his opponent, and became entangled in a string of denials that focused attention on the accusations against him, rather than build him up as a human being. It wasn’t enough to repeat the line, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody,” which elicited one of the very few roars of laughter from the audience. He had to show respect, and he had a perfect opportunity right there and then, seeing as his opponent happens to be female. He couldn’t do what a number of better skilled American politicians have done with grace — including, most emphatically, presidential candidate Bill Clinton, who, during the 1992 campaign, was floored several times by very serious allegations of sexual misconduct. Bill Clinton showed the skill and smarts that were required to dig himself out of the hole every time some woman from Arkansas had stood up to remind him of their quality time together.

Instead, Trump went on the attack against his accusers, not understanding the fundamental rules of the complex game known as American politics: you can’t ever appear like the bully, you can’t ever express contempt towards people who are weaker and poorer than you, and you can’t ever, ever, tell a rape victim she’s a liar, even if she’s lying.

But when it came to hitting his opponent hard where she deserved to be hit, Trump was weak and unforcused. Hillary Clinton evaded the moderator’s hard-hitting questions with admirable facility, at one point turning Chris Wallace’s poignant question on the corrupt “pay to play” conduct of the Clinton Foundation into an infomercial on the good works of the same foundation, but Trump stood and watched, overmatched, as his rival was taking his lunch.

The media are congratulating Wallace on his strength and competence, and he certainly has been better than everyone before him, but look at this exchange, and notice how Trump was unable to deliver a devastating blow against his opponent, despite the enthusiastic support from the moderator on this issue:

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, during your 2009 Senate confirmation hearing you promised to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest with your dealing with the Clinton Foundation while you were secretary of state, but e-mails show that donors got special access to you, those seeking grants for Haiti relief separately from non-donors and some of those donors got contracts, government contracts, taxpayer money. Can you really say you’ve kept your pledge to that Senate committee and why isn’t what happened and what went on and between you and the Clinton Foundation […] what Mr. Trump calls pay-to-play?

Clinton: Well, everything I did as secretary of state was in furtherance of our country’s interests and our values. The state department has said that. I think that’s been proven, but I am happy — in fact, I’m thrilled to talk about the Clinton Foundation because it is a world-renowned charity and I’m so proud of the work that it does. I could talk for the rest of the debate. I know I don’t have the time to do that, but just briefly the Clinton Foundation made it possible for 11 million people around the world with HIV AIDS to afford treatment and that’s about half of all the people in the world that are getting treatment in partnership with the American health association.

Wallace then reminds Clinton, “The specific question is about pay to play —” and he asks Trump for his input.

Alas, Trump is unable to form a coherent, razor-sharp attack and resorts instead to anecdotal arguments. He is not in command of the facts in those Wikileaks, he can’t make the case, and falls flat instead, coming across yet again as grumpy Trump.

Trump: It’s a criminal enterprise. Saudi Arabia given $25 million, Qatar, all of these countries. You talk about women and women’s rights? So these are people that push gays off business, off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly and yet you take their money. So I’d like to ask you right now why don’t you give back the money that you’ve taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money? I think it would be a great gesture because she takes a tremendous amount of money. And you take a look at the people of Haiti. I was in Little Haiti the other day in Florida, and I want to tell you they hate the Clintons because what’s happened in Haiti with the Clinton Foundation is a disgrace. And you know it and they know it and everybody knows it.

There’s a reason why the vast majority of American politicians are Law School graduates. Law School is where you learn to think on your feet to form a counter argument quickly and convincingly, before a critical judge who isn’t interested in your trip to Little Haiti and how the folks down there hate Hillary. And while Trump was busy going nowhere, Hillary was preparing a massive counter attack. And, remember, she didn’t have to destroy her opponent, only to divert attention from the very real accusations made by Wallace against her conduct as Secretary of State, affording access to her foundation’s donors.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: Well, very quickly, we at the Clinton Foundation spend 90%, 90%, of all the money that is donated on behalf of programs for people around the world and in our own country. I’m very proud of that. We have the highest rating from the watchdogs that follow foundations. And I would be happy to compare what we do with the Trump Foundation which took money from other people and bought a six-foot portrait of Donald. I mean, who does that? I mean, it just was astonishing. But when it comes to Haiti, Haiti is the poorest country in our hemisphere. The earthquake and the hurricanes, it has devastated Haiti. Bill and I have been involved in trying to help Haiti for many years. The Clinton Foundation raised $30 million to help Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake and all of the terrible problems the people there had. We’ve done things to help small businesses, agriculture, and so much else. And we’re going to keep working to help Haiti because it is an important part of the American experience.

This is how it’s done.

Finally, close to the end, when most pundits were prepared to declare him the winner, at least by points, Trump shot himself in the foot and provided the opposition with a golden slogan. The topic of discussion was entitlement programs, including Social Security, that “third rail of American politics,” where countless Republicans have lost to countless Democrats who knew that any voter over age 50 doesn’t care about the program’s solvency, they just want to be reassured their checks will be in the mail for as long as they live once they retire. Which is what Hillary gave them, possibly without a shred of real figures to support her:

Clinton: Well, Chris, I am on the record as saying we need to put more money into Social Security Trust fund. That’s part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My Social Security payroll contribution will go up as will Donald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it, but what we want to do is —”

And Donald Trump leaned into the mike and said hoarsely: “Such a nasty woman.”

Clinton either hadn’t heard him or chose to ignore him, but millions of women saw an angry man belittling and attacking one of their own. Expect T-shirts saying “I’m voting for the nasty woman,” very much like the Obama campaign’s T-shirts from 2008, with the slogan, “I’m voting for that one,” following Sen. John MacCain’s unfortunate reference to his debate opponent Sen. Barack Obama. And, as has been the theme of this post 3rd debate analysis, should he lose the election, Donald Trump will have mostly himself to blame for rigging it.

Finally, in the discussion of third-trimester abortions, Hillary Clinton presented the familiar, feminist argument about the woman’s right to make decisions about her body, with the support of her family, her doctor, and her spiritual adviser. Jewish law, which does not believe that we own our bodies, since they belong to the Creator, we are merely the custodians of our bodies, nevertheless sides with those who permit third-trimester abortion, for a completely different reason.

In a case where the birth of the fetus poses a threat to the life of the mother, before the birth has begun, as long as the fetus is completely in the womb, the fetus that threatens its mother’s life is considered a “rodef,” a person who wants to kill another person and should be killed first. In such a case, the midwife is permitted to even cut the fetus up and pull it out in pieces, to save the mother. In fact, Donald Trump described in great detail precisely what the halakha encourages the midwife to do should the fetus risk its mother’s life:

Trump: Well I think it is terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that is okay and Hillary can say that that is okay, but it’s not okay with me. Because based on what she is saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take a baby and rip the baby out of the womb. In the ninth month. On the final day. And that’s not acceptable.

Had he asked his Orthodox Jewish daughter Yael, she would have told him that this is exactly how our tradition describes what is permitted in that tragic case where the mother’s life is at stake.

However, everything changes in our halakha when it comes to partial birth. If most of the baby is out of the womb, we’re no longer dealing with a fully realized life—the mother, versus a potential life—the fetus. Now we have two fully realized humans with equal rights to life. According to our laws, if the baby’s head has emerged completely (the maximalist view), or 51% of the baby’s body has emerged (the minimalists), we can no longer kill the baby.

Two of our major scholars, Maimonides and Rashi, hold different views on abortion for reasons other than the health of the mother. In a cases where the fetus is likely to be born deformed, Rashi, who holds it is not a realized human, would permit an abortion, Maimoides does not.

By the way, all Jewish authorities agrees that for the first 40 days of pregnancy a woman may terminate without any question, because the fetus only receives a soul on its 40th day.

But overall, Jewish law never views the killing of an unborn fetus as murder, at most it would be a case of manslaughter, but more likely a case of civil damages, if done against the woman’s will.


60 Israeli Arab Women in Danger of Honor Murder in Lod, 15 Killed Since 2010

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

Du’aa Abu Sarah, mother of four, was murdered a month ago in front of her children. Last week, her two sister and mother testified before the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women. Committee Chairwoman MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint Arab List) said the focus of the hearing was on police failure to defeat violence against women in the mixed cities of Ramla and Lod. “Fifteen Arab women have been murdered in Ramla and Lod since 2010,” she said, adding, “We’re not willing to continue counting the dead bodies.”

Du’aa’s sister testified that the murder victim had launched a complaint with police but no one followed up on it. “We have no one to talk to. We feel threatened, this murderer killed all of us,” she told the committee. She reported that her family members are forced to hide indoors in the evening. “I’m a strong woman, but recently I’m afraid I’m being followed,” she said.

The Arab committee members pointed an accusing finger at police, but were also critical of Arab society. MK Ahmad Tibi said the main problem was the lack of police deterrence of criminals. “When there are no solved crimes, there’s no deterrence of the next murderer,” he said. “In most cases police know who is the killer, but he remains free for lack of substantial evidence.” But beyond the problem of an inept police force, Tibi said, “we have a social sickness of men who think they can easilty take the life of a woman because she is inferior to them. It’s primitive, inferior thinking.”

Several other Arab MKs blamed the Israeli “colonialist” system which prefers to employ police in pursuing political activists rather than focus on crime in Arab society. But some, like MK Osama Sa’adi (Joint Arab List) acknowledged the need to reach beyond criticism of police to dealing will the general violence in Arab society, and specifically violence against women.

An Arab woman from Lod testified about the threats on her life. “I am being threatened. I filed a complaint with police but they told me not to complain. When they shot at my house police didn’t do anything to prevent the shooting and protect me. Everyone is aware of my story, including Police and Social Services. Social Services directs me to Police and vice versa. Today I’m still alive, but I don’t know when it’ll happen, when I’ll be murdered. No one is doing anything, they’re just waiting for it to happen.” Turning to the police representatives at the hearing, the woman pleaded, “Please change things. It’s not just me, men are also murdered and you’re doing nothing. There’s evidence, there’s cameras, there’s shooting. The man who shot at my house was pictured and his license plate is known, and you still don’t have sufficient evidence? What are you waiting for?”

Police Central District Officer, Commander Dado Zamir, told the committee the murders in question “are keeping me up nights. The files are being treated by our central unit and we don’t spare manpower to solve these cases. There are many women whose lives have been saved by Social Services and Police, be it treatment within the community or sending them to communities abroad. We’ve left no stone unturned and every shred of evidence is being examined.”

Zamir stressed the gap between police intelligence and evidentiary proof that can be used by a prosecutor, meaning Police may well know who committed a murder, or who had the motive and intent, “but the gap between that intelligence information and putting together an evidentiary foundation to support a murder indictment is great.”

Samah Salaime, who runs a countrywide project for the prevention of violence within Arab society said that one of the problems in Police being able to elicit testimony from Arab victims of violence has to do with the plea bargain system, which lets criminals out of prison in time to take revenge against the women who put them there. Therefore, she argued, “you can’t convince a woman to testify [against men who threatened her life] if she knows that seven years later they’ll come looking for her.”

Orly Dahan, representing the City of Lod, told the committee that she knows of 80 women whose lives have been threatened, 20 Jews and 60 Arabs.

Hagai Moyal, National Inspector at the Ministry of Social Affairs, told the committee it was difficult to recruit workers to deal with family violence in the Arab society.


Israeli Navy Prepared to Escort Women’ Gaza Boats to Ashdod

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

As Zaytouna and Amal, two boats with about 30 Gaza-bound passengers, mostly women, are getting closer to Israel’s shores, the IDF navy has been preparing to exercise the routine protocol in such cases, namely to board the boats and escort the passengers, politely but firmly, to the harbor city of Ashdod.

The website Women Boat to Gaza has been billing the endeavor as a “flotilla,” but the term commonly describes a fleet of ships or boats, so, in this case, the term “boats” is probably more accurate.

Ashdod has been serving as a destination for aid supplies for Gaza, for most of the decade since Hamas has taken over control of the Strip. Israeli officials go through the cargo, remove the contraband weapons and explosives that routinely arrive in those shipments, and clear the goods for trucking to Gaza, a few miles southward. Presumably, whatever goods the one or two boats manage to bring in will end up in Ashdod for inspection, followed by shipping to Gaza.

Israel’s Channel 2 News has reported that naval gunships have been waiting in Ashdod harbor for the signal to intercept the two boats. The same report suggested that the women onboard the boats are planning to exercise civil disobedience, which could get splashy.

The Zaytouna Captain is US Army retired Colonel Ann Wright, who served in the State Dept. diplomatic corps. She resigned from the US government in 2003, over her objection to the Bush Administration’s foreign policy. Since then she has been active in every single attempt to break through the blockade on Gaza.

It should be noted that the Turkish government, which ended up in a six-year tiff with Israel over the tragic end of the largest and most memorable 2010 Gaza flotilla, has expressed its anger at the mostly Turkish activists in that endeavor, for forcing it into this quagmire. Since Turkey has settled its dispute with Israel, Turkish goods destined for Gaza have been arriving in Ashdod regularly and then shipped to their intended recipients.

It should also be noted that the reason Israel has imposed a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip is because the Hamas government has been declaring practically every day its intent to destroy Israel, and has been devoting most of its international aid money to military preparations to carry out this threat.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-navy-prepared-to-escort-women-gaza-boats-to-ashdod/2016/10/04/

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