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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘work’

Justice Ministry Issues List of 27 NGOs that Must Disclose They Work for Foreign Entities

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

The Justice Minsitry NGO Registrar on Thursday published the official document detailing the 27 NGOs and Associations which would be compelled to mention in all their official literature that the bulk of their funding comes from foreign countries, and their representatives would have to wear special ID tags while visiting the Knesset — should the “NGO Law” be passed. The law was initiated by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi).

The list was published upon request by five opposition members of the Knesset Constitution Committee of the Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, after the Committee Chair, MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi), had refused to reveal the list. The opposition members were concerned that Slomiansky refuses to share the list because it proves that the law affects primarily leftwing organizations.

The list notes the names of the NGOs, next to their annual turnover, the amount they received from foreign entities and the percentage of their income those foreign funds constitute.

Attorney Talia Sasson, President of the New Israel Fund, said on Thursday that about half the NGOs on the list receive funding from NIF.

In 2005, Talia Sasson issued the Sasson Report, an official Israeli government report that concluded that Israeli state entities had been discreetly diverting millions of shekels to build settlements and illegal outposts in Judea and Samaria. The report was rife with inaccuracies and outright lies, including intentional misquotes of the dates when settlements had been approved so that they would appear illegal.

Here are a few choice NGOs who are, for all intents and purposes, foreign agents working to influence Israeli policy:

B’Tzelem | Annual turnover: $2,353,140.50 | Foreign donations: $1,615,337.99 | % Foreign donations: 69%

Breaking the Silence | Annual turnover: $984,838.30 | Foreign donations: $594,868.58 | % Foreign donations: 60%

Committee Against Torture in Israel | Annual turnover: $604,243.26 | Foreign donations: $606,809.34 | % Foreign donations: 100%

Akevot: Trace: Institute for the Study of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict | Annual turnover: $118,907.99 | Foreign donations: $118,909.79 | % Foreign donations: 100%

Hallo Trust Ltd. | Annual turnover: $1,099,469.33| Foreign donations: $1,019,386.18 | % Foreign donations: 93%

The NGO Ir Amim, which on Thursday appealed to the Supreme Court to ban Jerusalem Liberation Day flag marchers from entering the Muslim Quarter Sunday, has an annual turnover of $844,539.90, out of which 64%, or $537,405.17 come from foreign entities. It is the most current and vivid example of how the will of the majority of Jews living in Israel is being directly subverted using millions of dollars from groups which are often the declared or tacit enemies of the Jewish State.

It should be noted that US organizations that receive any of their funding—not 50% or more as the Shaked bill demands—from non-American sources must register as foreign agents in their dealing with any of the branches of government.

David Israel

Sunday Off? Israel’s Unions, Employers, Clash over Shorter Work Week

Friday, May 27th, 2016

British entrepreneur Richard Koch has invented the “80/20 Principle” that argues we get 80% of our work done in 20% of our work time, and the remaining 20% of our work gets done in 80% of the time. Israel’s official work week is 43 hours long, but many Israelis work many more hours than what’s common in the OECD, and still, productivity in Israel is low. The question organized Labor and the employers have been debating over the past few weeks, ahead of upcoming legislation to modify the Israeli work week, has been: will a shorter week reduce even further or enhance productivity?

On Sunday, the Ministerial Legislative Committee headed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) is expected to debate four different proposals dealing with the shorter work week. The leading bill, submitted by MK Eli Cohen (Kulanu) and endorsed by a number of MKs, proposes starting the shorter work week reform with one Sunday off every two months.

“Initially, we were talking about one long weekend a month, starting Thursday night and going through Monday morning,” Cohen said in a recent interview on Radio 103FM. However, he explained, “after many debates, which included Histadrut trade union Chairman Avi Nissenkorn and representatives of the Israeli industrialists and other players, we’ve formed the proposal we’re submitting to the ministerial committee, which talks about six long weekends a year.”

The employers’ organizations object to the move, but by week’s end it appeared they’d acquiesce, after the threat of 12 long weekends was reduced by half. They estimate the damage to the economy at about $2 billion annually. It’s interesting to see that in addition to traditional capitalist employers organizations such as the Manufacturers Association, and the Chamber of Commerce, the long weekend enemies also include the Kibbutz Industries Association and the Farmers’ Union. We expect that more than a few Labor Zionists, including former Histadrut chairmen David Ben-Gurion, are rolling in their grave.

The average OECD work week is between 35 and 40 hours, and Israeli workers receive fewer religious and state holidays than their OECD counterparts. And yet, despite their shorter work week, German and American workers’ productivity is significantly higher than in Israel. Is this counterintuitive?

Stanford University Professor John Pencavel has argued that working longer hours increases fatigue and stress that leads to a greater probability of errors and accidents that will decrease productivity. Likewise, Marianna Virtanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health found that overwork can result in health problems leading to absenteeism, greater employee turnover rates, and higher health insurance costs. A 2013 paper by the New Zealand Productivity Commission showed that working longer hours does not make people more productive.

A recent study by the OECD revealed that more productive workers tend to work less: while Greek workers put in an average of 2,000 hours of work per year, Germans worked only 1,400 hours per year and were 70% more productive. More productive workers tend to be better paid, not worse, contrary to what the Israeli employers are predicting, and the correlation between higher productivity and fewer hours worked is due to the reduced fatigue and stress from working less.

CEO Maria Brath of the tech start-up Brath has implemented a six-hour, as opposed to an eight-hour, work day, claiming that her employees get more done in that time than comparable companies do in the longer work day. Treehouse, an online interactive education platform, uses a four-day work day and claims that employee morale, retention, and quality of output, have all improved. (Source: Investopedia)

Will Israel, known for its national obsession with plunging into new, radical changes, take on this moderate change? We’ll know more on Sunday.


Al-Qaradawi : The Jews Turned Their Deserted Land Into an Oasis

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Some statements by Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi in 2005.

Video of the Day

Why These Negotiations Will Always Fail

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Peace in the Middle East between Israel and its neighbors—including the Palestinians—is generally described as “elusive.” Why have forty years of active efforts not led to permanent peace in the region? Why 20 years after Oslo is there no great sign that peace stands ready to break out between the Palestinians and Israelis? The simple answer is that parties are negotiating on different planes that can never intersect.

Let’s analyze the ostensible goals of the parties to the current round of talks. The Israelis want peace and one can see why: lower regional threats, less military spending, greater regional cooperation, increased tourism revenue, export of Israeli technology, increased trade with Europe and more. What do the Palestinians get in the peace deal? They get less than half of the land they believe they deserve. They can look forward to a million or more Arab “refugees” showing up, expecting housing, food, work, and schools. They will be saddled with building an economy without natural resources or a strong technical ethos, while international donations will dry up (especially from Muslim countries, for the sin of recognizing a Jewish state). In short, the Israelis have much to gain from peace, while the Palestinian leaders who are running their side of the talks have much to lose.

Additionally, Israelis negotiate like Americans and Europeans: they try to cut a deal, but if it does not work, then they fall back to the present conditions. The Palestinians work in a different way: either they get what they want, or they pull out the terror card. Lawyers who reviewed signed confessions of Marwan Barghouti’s lieutenants found a singular pattern: if negotiations in the Arafat period were going well, then Tanzim and the like were told to lay low. If the Israelis were intransigent—on borders, refugees, or the like—then the order was given to attack. Negotiations cannot proceed when one side is willing to take a much greater liberty than the other side is willing to entertain. Picture if one football team had to respect the out-of-bound lines, while the other did not. The Israelis might walk away from talks, but they would not order the murder of Palestinian citizens, leftist propaganda aside. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are more than comfortable using attacks on Israeli citizens as a means to get what they want at the negotiating table—and this is a point that Americans and Europeans diplomats have never understood. They are convinced that everyone thinks like they do: peace is always good, and the rules of negotiations exclude violence between sides.

The reason for this failed understanding is cultural. Let’s look back at the Nazis, some of the greatest murderers ever. One notes that no German soldier was ever commanded to either kill or injure himself in order to gas, shoot, blow up, torch or otherwise kill a Jew. The Nazis were sadists and invented horrific ways to kill Jewish men, women and children; still, they would not have considered personal bodily harm or worse as being required to kill a Jew. The Palestinians, on the other hand, not only are active practitioners of suicide bombings, but polls still show that their citizenry supports such activities. We of a Western mind-frame find it impossible to consider such an act—whom do we hate so much that we would be willing to undertake such horrific activity? Are there any children or aged citizens of any country that we would hope to obliterate with flying shrapnel so as to somehow exact revenge on somebody else who has some tenuous relationship to the ones blown up? I have asked these questions to student groups visiting from the US; no one can answer in the affirmative.
This week marked another gratuitous prisoner release by Israel in the ersatz peace process.

These releases have generally been categorized as “confidence building measures.” Is there anyone who could define or identify any confidence built by releasing 26 murderers? The Palestinians partied with the released convicts and demanded the release of all Palestinian prisoners; Israelis felt anguish at the release and saw protests and complaints against the release of more murderers. What confidence was built by this act? None. The prisoner release is a bribe to the Palestinian leaders to continue with the worthless process of peace-making, so that they can show their base that they are getting something from the talks. The terrorists are free, the Palestinians only want more, and the Israeli leadership is put in the uncomfortable position of explaining why murderers walk free, with nothing to show for it. The Palestinians get their terrorists back, but the act has no tangible effect on the direction, good will or pace of the negotiations.

The current peace talks will enjoy the same fate as their predecessors; and ditto for any future talks. The talks will break down because even the most left-wing Israeli politician is not yet ready to commit national suicide to accommodate the minimal Palestinian demands on dividing Jerusalem, accepting indefensible borders, and welcoming anything more than some token refugees. The Palestinians will blame the Israelis, as will most of the international community. Israel will point the finger at an intransigent Palestinian Authority, and we’ll wait for the whole process to start again sometime in the future.

I would argue that the above analysis is pragmatic and not in the least pessimistic. The Palestinians have too much to lose by making peace and also play by rules not understood or appreciated by the likes of John Kerry or Catherine Ashton. The simple fact is that the Palestinian Authority today enjoys large contributions from international donors and avoids all responsibility for building a functional society designed to absorb four generations of self-made Palestinian “refugees” living in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and the like. Israel looks forward to a rosier future, one that would include peace; the Palestinian cannot see getting a better deal than they have in the present. And for that, negotiations will—again—go nowhere, however much John Kerry and his Israeli partners try to tell us otherwise.

Alan Bauer

Defense Minister Ya’alon: Assad Has Lost Control

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Against the background of the gas attack in Syria and the reports about hundreds of victims, perhaps more than a thousand, Israeli Defense Minister and former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon said on Wednesday that “the Syrian regime has lost control over the country, is present only in about 40 percent of its territory and is finding it difficult to subdue to opposition forces.”

Speaking at a ceremony welcoming the new Jewish year at the defense ministry compound in downtown Tel Aviv, Ya’alon said that “for some time now this has not been an internal Syrian conflict. We decided not to intervene in this conflict, but we drew red lines to make sure our interests are not harmed.

The defense minister expressed skepticism about the ending of the war in Syria. “We don’t envision the end of this situation, since even the toppling of Assad won’t bring about a conclusion. There are many open, bloody accounts yet to be settled by the various elements.”

“It’s a conflict that has turned global, with one axis receiving support from Russia and the other bein helped by the U.S. and Europe. Lebanon is connected to the massive Iranian support and therefore the war has been dripping into its territory as well. Inside Lebanon there are focal points of confrontation as well. But, generally speaking, the borders are peaceful and we are watching to make sure the cannons are not trained on us,” Ya’alon said.

According to rebel sources in Syria, the number of dead as a result of the chemical gas attack on a suburb of Damascus has topped 1,300, including women and children. The rebels are claiming this was a massacre of innocent civilians, who were hurt by poison gas in the area of the Guta camp, a rebel held spot outside Damascus.

A Syrian government spokesperson has said in response that those claims are unfounded, and are intended to sabotage the work of the UN inspectors who have just arrived in Syria to investigate earlier reports of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army.

Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, head of the 20-member inspection team, told news agency TT that he finds the reports of such a high number of casualties suspicious.

“It sounds like something that should be looked into,” he told TT over the phone from Damascus. “It will depend on whether any UN member state goes to the secretary general and says we should look at this event. We are in place.”

Minister Ya’alon referred to situation in Egypt as well, saying there has been relative quiet on the Israeli border with Egypt, but noted that extremist elements like the World Jihad will attempt to destabilize the border.

He warned against the recent developments in the Sinai, such as the execution by Islamist terrorists of 25 Egyptian policemen, spilling over into Israel.

“Over the past week, the Sinai border has been the hottest, and it obliges us to realign for it.”

Yori Yanover

America’s Problems in the Middle East are Just Beginning

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

It’s 2015, and there is a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas), financed by Iran, wins an election on a platform demanding the expulsion of the Jews from Israel. Iran meanwhile smuggles shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to terrorist cells in Palestine that can take down civilian airlines at Ben-Gurion airport. With backing from the Egyptian military, Fatah throws out the elected Hamas government and kills larger number of Hamas supporters. What will Washington do? Given the track record of both the Obama administration and the Republican mainstream, one would expect America to denounce the use of violence against a democratically-elected government.

Such is the absurdity of both parties’ stance towards Egypt: the Egyptian military is doing America’s dirty work, suppressing a virulently anti-modern, anti-Semitic and anti-Western Islamist movement whose leader, Mohammed Morsi, famously referred to Israelis as “apes and pigs.” It did so with the enthusiastic support of tens of millions of Egyptians who rallied in the streets in support of the military. And the American mainstream reacted with an ideological knee jerk. America’s presence in the Middle East has imploded.

As it happens, Iran already is smuggling weapons via Syria to the West Bank to gain leverage against the Abbas government, as Stratfor reports (hat tip: the Daily Alert ), including surface-to-air and anti-tank missiles. Hamas crushed Fatah in the 2006 West Bank elections parliamentary elections 74-45, and made short work of the supposedly moderate Palestinian faction when it seized power in Gaza in 2007. As Syria disintegrates, along with Iraq and Lebanon, the artificial borders of Arab states drawn first by Ottoman conquerors and revised by British and French colonial authorities will have small meaning. Palestinians caught up in the Syrian and and Lebanese conflagrations would pour into a new Palestinian state and swell the ranks of the hard-core Jihadi irredentists. Iran will continue to use Hamas as a cat’s paw.

Among other things, the American response to the events in Egypt show the utter pointlessness of American security guarantees in the present negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Authority. Even in the extremely unlikely event that Mohammed Abbas chose to make peace with Israel, he would face a high probability of civil war, just as Ireland’s independence leader Michael Collins did when he struck a deal with the British for an Irish “Free State” rather than a republic. Collins killed more Irishmen than the British did in the preceding independence struggle. I do not want to compare Abbas to Collins, and I do not think he has any attention of making peace with Israel. But American blundering in Egypt has closed out the option, for whoever makes peace with Israel will require a free hand with Iranian-backed rejectionists.

America forgets that it corrected the flaw in its founding by killing 30 percent of Southern men of military age during its own Civil War, so many that the Confederate Army collapsed for lack of manpower. There are numerous wars which do not end until all the young men who want to fight to the death have had the opportunity to do so. And of all of history’s conflicts, none was so likely to end with this sort of demographic attrition as the present war in the Middle East. Compared to the young Arabs, Persians and Pakistanis of today, American Southerners of 1861 were models of middle-class rectitude, with the world’s highest living standards and bright prospects for the future. The Europeans of 1914 stood at the cusp of modernity; one only can imagine what they might have accomplished had they not committed mutual suicide in two World Wars.

Today’s Middle Eastern and South Asian Muslims have grim future prospects. The world economy has left them behind, and they cannot catch up. Egypt was at the threshold of starvation and economic collapse when the military intervened, bringing in subsidies from the Gulf monarchies. The young men of the Middle East have less to lose, perhaps, than any generation in any country in modern times. As we observe in Syria, large numbers of them will fight to the death.

America cannot bear to think about its own Civil War because the wounds are too painful; in order to reunite the country after 1865, we concocted a myth of tragic fratricide. Wilsonian idealism was born of the South’s attempt to suppress its guilt for the war, I have argued in the past. That is an academic consideration now. America’s credibility in the Middle East, thanks to the delusions of both parties, is broken, and it cannot be repaired within the time frame required to forestall the next stage of violence. Egypt’s military and its Saudi backers are aghast at American stupidity. Israel is frustrated by America’s inability to understand that Egypt’s military is committed to upholding the peace treaty with Israel while the Muslim Brotherhood wants war. Both Israel and the Gulf States observe the utter fecklessness of Washington’s efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

The events of the past week have demonstrated that America’s allies in the Middle East from Israel to the Persian Gulf can trust no-one in Washington-neither Barack Obama nor John McCain. Those of us in America who try to analyze events in the region will be the last to hear the news, and the value of our work will diminish over time.

Behind the News in Israel.

David P. Goldman

Trading In Maryland for the Mediterranean

Monday, August 19th, 2013

When Sergeant Brandon Berry made aliyah (immigrated to Israel), he did not come looking for the easy life. If he wanted that, he would not have left his hometown of Potomac, Maryland to serve in the army of a foreign country half a world away from his family.

Sgt. Berry also was not looking for an easy job in the IDF – he wanted to serve wherever he was most needed. He wanted to take his talent and drive with him to contribute one hundred percent.

Sgt. Berry passed all the tests to serve in the prestigious Paratroopers Brigade. Instead the American immigrant took to the sea as a member of the Israel Navy’s Dvora-class patrol boat squadron.

It is not everyday that a young man from Potomac, Maryland travels for tens of thousands of miles to join the Israel Navy. “It was clear to me that I was destined to serve in the Navy,” he said. Sgt. Berry, stationed on a base overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, is able to indulge his love for wide-open spaces every day of his service.

Aside from his thick American accent, Sgt. Berry is indistinguishable from the other soldiers at his base – completely at home on a boat with a tan to match. He credits the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers for helping him through the entire enlistment process.

“The work the association does is a blessing,” he says. AWIS helps soldiers in a number of ways, which included providing assistance to lone soldiers, running soldier homes and recreation centers, and providing support for bereaved families.

Sgt. Berry says that even though he grew up with a strong Jewish identity and attended a Jewish day school, he always felt like something was missing. Now, as a soldier for Israel, it seems he has truly come home.

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