Home » Backspin» Israel Daily News Stream 05/21/2012



Home » Backspin» Israel Daily News Stream 05/21/2012

Israel Daily News Stream 05/21/2012

May 21, 2012 14:46 by

Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.

60 Minutes returns to Israel. PA press freedom takes a strange turn. Any truth to rumors of an Israeli military presence in Cyprus?

Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.

Israel and the Palestinians

• Bob Simon of 60 Minutes returns to Israel to profile Tel Aviv (video or transcript). Is this an attempt to atone Simon’s recent Unholy Attack On Israel? This time around, Simon touches on the city’s cosmopolitan reputation, party scene, gay tolerance, high-tech start-ups, and, of course, “the Tel Aviv bubble.”

• Now that products from the West Bank face a South African labeling law and a similar initiative is gaining traction in Denmark, Palestinians are testing the waters for a similar effort in Canada. The Co-op, one of Britain’s largest food chains, announced its own boycott of settlement products.

Avi Boaz

• The Irish Times catches up with Jihad Jaara, a fugitive from the Church of the Nativity siege. Jaara arrived in Ireland ten years ago this week as part of the internationally brokered exile which ended the standoff. I’m glad to see the Times didn’t overlook this big skeleton in Jaara’s closet:

Jaara’s case is further complicated by the fact US investigators allege he is implicated in the murder of Avi Boaz, a septuagenarian US-born émigré to Israel who was killed near Bethlehem in January 2002. A former Newsweek journalist who wrote a book about the Church of the Nativity siege alleges Jaara told him in an interview that he had been involved. Jaara has since denied this.

The former Newsweek journalist is Josh Hammer, who elaborated on the Jaara file in the NY Times Magazine a few years ago.

• To strengthen Palestinian press freedom, “special judges” will be appointed in cases dealing with journalists. I have a better idea for strengthening press freedom in the PA. Stop arresting journalists, bloggers and Facebook activists. More on this at Maan News. Meanwhile, the PA released blogger Jamal Abu Rihan after 36 days. According to the Jerusalem Post:

He was detained on instructions from the PA attorney-general, Ahmed al-Mughni, after creating a Facebook group called “The people want to end corruption.” . . .

Most of the questions centered around my activity with the Facebook group,” Abu Rihan told the London-based  Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper.

“This confirms that I was arrested only because of my being a blogger.”

• Hamas’s conundrum: How do you block an Israeli-made film about the assassination of Mahmoud Mabhouh without going through the Israeli justice system you don’t recognize? This from AP:

The movie, which features Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli as a temptress working for the hit team, is a “Zionist conspiracy” to defame al-Mabhouh, said a cousin, Ahmed, who lives in Gaza. Details of the suit, including where to file it, are still being worked out, he said.

AP: “Palestinian rivals set timetable for unity deal.” Yogi Berra: “It’s like deja-vu, all over again.” ‘Nuff said.

Continued on Page 2


Israel Daily News Stream 05/21/2012 May 21, 2012 14:46 by

Iranian Atomic Urgency

Jonathan Tobin‘s worried about the US-Iranian nuclear talks dance:

But while prolonging “the diplomatic dance” will aid the president’s re-election prospects, it also very much plays into Tehran’s goals. So long as the talks go on, an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is out of the question. And though some administration officials have made noises about America’s contingency plans for an attack, it’s difficult to see why Iran would take such talk seriously so long as “senior administration officials” are promising them lollipops even before the Baghdad talks start. Once re-elected, the president will, as he has said in other contexts, have the “flexibility” to change his mind about some issues. Iran has little reason to believe they are in any danger as long as they can keep Washington dancing.

Arab Spring Winter

• The Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbasset al-Megrahi, died. I’ll link to coverage in the Herald Scotland and The Scotsman. Megrahi was the only person ever convicted for blowing up Pan Am flight 103. All 259 people aboard the flight and 11 more people on the ground were killed in the 1988 attack.

• AP  capsule profiles the five main contenders for the Egyptian presidency while McClatchy News profiles a Sinai sheikh who hates Israel and secular Egyptian candidates.

• Syrian uprising spills over to Lebanon. Tim Marshall of Sky News reports on the overnight clashes between militias for and against Bashar Assad.

The fighting was sparked by the assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Abdul-Wahed and a companion at an army checkpoint. Sheikh Wahed was a prominent preacher opposed to Assad. The Daily Star takes a closer look at the murder.

Dr. Amal Al-Hazzani picks apart Human Rights Watch’s criticism of NATO air strikes which reportedly killed 72 civilians. Had Dr. Al-Hazzani applied this logic to Operation Cast Lead and the Goldstone report, he’d be a pariah. Collateral damage is always tragic, but I see a lot less tolerance for it when Israel’s blamed.

Rest O’ the Roundup

• This debate between Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammed and Dr. Wafa Sultan is a great example of sunlight being a great disinfectant. Bakri’s brutally frank about radical Islam’s views on tolerance, while Sultan’s response was spot-on.


(Hat tip Israel Matzav)

Turkish media‘s buzzing with rumors that Israel intends to create a military presence on Cyprus to its protect oil and gas interests.

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

Clicking “Unsubscribe instantly” on your mailing will remove you from the Israel Daily News Stream list, but not from your regular HonestReporting emails.




How many cities can be said to embody an idea? Athens, the cradle of the Western tradition of scientific inquiry, comes to mind. So does Rome, the seat of humanity’s most far-flung empire, instrumental in disseminating both Greek culture and Christianity.

Some cities’ legacies have been tainted by recent history – Vienna and Berlin, for instance. Others – Nagasaki, Guernica, Dresden – are known primarily as the site of horrible battles. African or Far East cities such as Timbuktu, known for its gold, slave trade and the Great Mosques of Djenne, or Qufu, the location of the Temple of Confucius, seem too exotic and inaccessible to be truly relevant to the Westerner. And American cities are, as writer Cynthia Ozick put it, places “where time has not yet deigned to be an inhabitant.

In contrast, Jerusalem, quoting Ozick again, is a “phoenix city” with a “history of histories” where “no…

View original post 2,055 more words

Israel Celebrates Jerusalem Day

Sent: May 20, 2012 09:38
To: i.weiss@sympatico.ca
Subject: A7News: Israel Celebrates Jerusalem Day

If you cannot see this email properly, please click here

Iyar 28, 5772 / Sunday, May. 20 ’12

Subscribe to this Daily Israel Report – http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Subscribe


  1. 1.      Israel Celebrates Jerusalem Day
  2. 2.      Green Light to Strengthen Jerusalem Tourism
  3. 3.      Jewish Birthrate Up, Arab Rate Down in Jerusalem
  4. 4.      Activists Arrested for Bowing on Temple Mount
  5. 5.      Terrorist Kidnapping Cell Arrested
  6. 6.      Terrorist Wounded in Failed Attack on Bicyclists
  7. 7.      Nationalists’ Knesset Strength Soars in New Poll
  8. 8.      Boycott Boomerang: Arab Jobless Rate to Rise

1. Israel Celebrates Jerusalem Day

by Arutz Sheva Staff

On Saturday night and Sunday Israelis will celebrate Jerusalem Day, which marks the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War after 19 years of Jordanian occupation of the eastern part of the city.

The outnumbered Jewish defenders of the Old City and its Jewish residents, who had lived there continuously for hundreds of years, were forced to evacuate during Israel’s War of Independence. The Jordanians destroyed 48 of the 49 synagogues they overran, used gravestones from the ancient Mount of Olives Cemetery for latrines and closed the Old City to Jews.

Synagogues were full Saturday night as many Israelis held special, festive prayer sessions in honor of the 45th anniversary of the capital’s reunification, declared a minor Jewish holiday by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate. Some synagogues recite the Hallel prayer in the morning and recite some of the holiday prayers. Memorial services are also held for IDF soldiers who fell freeing the city.

The government will hold a special session Sunday at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, which was the site of some of the Six Day War’s fiercest battles and where 36 paratroopers died. During the session the government will vote on a series of motions aimed to develop Jerusalem in terms of tourism, economy and more.

One of the motions is the development of Ammunition Hill at a cost of 20 million shekels.

At 3 p.m. the annual Jerusalem Day Rikudglaim (march and dancing with Israeli flags), led by religious Zionist high school students and youth organizations will take place in and around the Old City.

Later in the evening, the flagship religious Zionist yeshiva, Merkaz Harav Kook in Jerusalem will host the main Jerusalem Day celebrations. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, rabbis from all over the country, ministers, and members of Knesset are expected to be in attendance.

In the early hours of the morning, continuing a 45 year old tradition, Merkaz HaRav students will dance their way from the yeshiva, located near the entrance to the city, to the Western Wall.

The Merkaz Harav event will be broadcast live on Arutz Sheva.

It was at Merkaz Harav yeshiva at the Independence Day celebration of 1967, that the venerable Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook zts”l, son of Chief Rabbi HaRav Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen Kook who had also been head of the yeshiva, rose to speak and broke into the anguished cry –

“Where is our Hevron? Where is our Jericho? Where is our Shechem? Where is every bit of Eretz Yisrael? How can we accept that the verse that says ‘and they divided my land’ has come to pass?”

He told the awestruck students “I could not be truly happy [seeing the lack of these holy sites in the partition borders] on the first Independence Day [in 1948]”.

The very next day, Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran and threated the Jewish state with extinction. The Six Day War began three weeks later, with the whole world expecting Israel’s annihilation. Graves were dug in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv by high schoolers in preparation for catastrophe.

However, the students had reason to recall his prophetic words with awe, when his prayers were answered and Jerusalem, Hevron, Shechem and Jericho returned to Jewish hands in a miraculous victory.

28 Iyar 1967: Mota Gur, the legendary commander of the forces that entered the Old City, announced on Israel radio: “The Temple Mount is in our hands,” IDF Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren blew the shofar at the Western Wall, and tens of thousands of Israelis rushed to Jerusalem and made their way on foot to the Wall after 19 years in which Jordan had denied them access to Judaism’s holiest site.

Post Comment

2. Green Light to Strengthen Jerusalem Tourism

by Chana Ya’ar

The government has approved a new plan to develop tourism in Jerusalem and the economy of the capital city.

Meeting on Ammunition Hill to honor the reunification of the city on Jerusalem Day, the Cabinet gave its approval to the NIS 350 million blueprint. The six-year plan calls for expansion of current public spaces, infrastructure and tourist sites.

“These investments will help give expression to Jerusalem’s vast potential as a focus for global tourism and will greatly contribute to the development and strength of Israel’s capital,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the start of the Cabinet meeting.

Among sites to be developed and upgraded is the Mount of Olives cemetery. The site has been repeatedly vandalized by Arabs who live in the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and who also attack Jews who come to visit the graves. A new police station recently opened near the site, but local Arabs are determined to drive out Jews who have moved back in areas that were once populated by their ancestors.

Nevertheless, a local museum on the Mount of Olives is also expected to receive some NIS 20 million in funding as the government proceeds with its plans to strengthen and rehabilitate the ancient Jewish site.

In addition, the Cabinet discussed plans to approve NIS 1 million to develop plans for a museum on the life and works of scientist and mathematician Albert Einstein.

Construction of a residence compound for security forces in the city was also approved.

“The Israel Land Administration will allocate tender-exempt land in Jerusalem neighborhoods for career IDF and Israel Police personnel,” explained the Prime Minister’s media adviser. “The decision will ease the construction of residential developments and assist in attracting a strong population to the city.”

Post Comment

3. Jewish Birthrate Up, Arab Rate Down in Jerusalem

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The Jewish birthrate in Jerusalem is higher than the Arab birthrate, putting an end to reports of an Arab demographic threat in the united capital.

The birthrate in the expected life of mothers is 4.2 children for Jewish mothers compared with 3.9 children for Arab mothers, according to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (JIIS).

Reflecting the trend in the rest of Israel, the birthrate for Jews represents a dramatic reversal and is on the increase while the Arab birthrate is declining.

In 1999, the birthrate was only 3.8 for Jewish mothers and 4.4 for Arabs, the JIIS reported.

Jews are a solid majority in the city, where the Arab population is only 36 percent, almost all of them in the areas that were restored to the capital 45 years ago in the Six-Day War in 1967.

The total population of Jerusalem as of last year is 801,000.

The largest Jewish neighborhoods are Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev, each one with slightly more than 40,000 people, followed by Gilo with 29,600. All three neighborhoods are located in areas restored to Israel n 1967 and which are claimed by the Palestinian Authority.

Har Homa is the youngest non-hareidi religious neighborhood with a median age of only 22 years, while Kiryat Wolfson’s median age is 66.

In hareidi religious neighborhoods, the youngest median age is 16 in Ramat Shlomo and in the Kiryat Kaminetz neighborhood of Neve Yaakov, both areas also restored to the capital in 1967.

The youngest Arab neighborhoods are Shuafat, where the median age is 16, and Sheikh Jarreh, with a mean age of 17.

The city lost 7,500 residents last year, with 10,500 people moving to Jerusalem and 18,000 leaving. The largest movements were to and from Tel Aviv.

Post Comment

4. Activists Arrested for Bowing on Temple Mount

by Chana Ya’ar

Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari (National Union) and a few dozen activists celebrated Jerusalem Day by going up to the Temple Mount Sunday morning and asked to pray on the site.

Unlike the activists who kept their prayers short, Ben Ari threw himself down full length on to the ground of the Temple Mount as part of the prayer.

According to those who were with the lawmaker, the Arab bystanders did not respond to Ben Ari’s action. “We scare ourselves for nothing,” said the MK. “Arabs understand what leftists do not understand. We have a right to pray on the Mount.”

Although the Arab security force on the site tried to arrest the MK and two other activists, Ben Ari refused to cooperate, insisted on his diplomatic immunity and claimed his right to pray on the site.

Earlier, those who went up to the Temple Mount explained the decision to do so especially on this day as a desire “to bring loyalty to the holiest site in Jerusalem” as they defined it.

At 3:00 p.m. Sunday, thousands of people are expected to march around and through the Old City of Jerusalem in the traditional flag march marking the reunification of the ancient capital.

The route of the march will once again pass through the Muslim Quarter, despite last year’s disturbances, after having been confirmed by the Commissioner of Police.

On Sunday evening, celebrants will gather at the Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav Kook for an assembly with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, government ministers, Knesset members, honored rabbis and various other public figures.

Arutz Sheva’s Israel National News will broadcast live video from the celebration.

Post Comment

5. Terrorist Kidnapping Cell Arrested

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Security agents have cracked a terrorist cell that roamed Judea and Samaria and failed several times to kidnap residents, especially women.

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) broke a gag order Sunday, two months after the arrest of nine terrorists, whose commander is from the area of Ramallah, headquarters of the Palestinian Authority.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) cell planned to post a video on the Internet after a kidnapping in order to negotiate for the release of jailed terrorists. The cell planned to stage the attacks with stun guns and tear gas.

They used the method of faking a disabled vehicle or of simply blocking two-lane highways in Judea and Samaria. Most of the attempted kidnaps were reported by Arutz Sheva but they were mostly overlooked by mainstream media.

On March 11, the terrorists tried to pull an Israeli driver from his car near Kiryat Sefer, located next to Modiin between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but the motorist was able to escape.

The following day, the terrorists blocked a road and tied to smash the windshield of a vehicle that was forced to stop. The motorist, realizing she was falling into a trap, stepped on the gas pedal and barely found a way to get past the roadblock.

The cell continued to prowl Judea and Samaria, and three days later, around midnight on March 15, they again blocked a car driven by a woman, whose baby was riding with her. The terrorists smashed her windshield, but she was saved when another Israeli vehicle arrived on the scene.

Two people narrowly escaped the would-be kidnappers’ clutches when they were hitchhiking. One of the hitchhikers started to accept the ride when the terrorist stopped but changed his mind at the behest of his friend, who realized the danger.

Security officials said that the repeated attempts to kidnap Israelis represent the high motivation of terrorists to abduct civilians, a tactic that Hamas and other terrorist groups have intensively promoted since Israel freed more than 1,000 terrorists and security prisoners in return for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit last year.

Post Comment

6. Terrorist Wounded in Failed Attack on Bicyclists

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

An Arab terrorist was seriously wounded by his own knife Sunday at 12 noon when he tried to stab a soldier accompanying hundreds of bicyclists near Gush Etzion, all of whom escaped injury.

The cyclists were on the traditional ride from Kiryat Arba-Hevron to Jerusalem to celebrate the 45th Jerusalem Unification Day.

A contingent of soldiers and police escorted the bicycle event, and when the riders reached the Gush Etzion intersection, located a few miles south of Jerusalem, a terrorist appeared with a knife, and lunged at the soldiers.

The soldier nearest the terrorist reacted quickly, preventing him from approaching the cyclists, and during the clash, the terrorist’s knife entered his own stomach, wounding him seriously.

Israeli medics rushed him to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.

The heavily populated area includes Efrat (which has its own municipality), Alon Shvut, Elazar, Neve Daniel, the Har Etzion hesder yeshiva, Ohr Torah institutions and more.

The head of the Gush Etzion Regional Authority, Davidi Perl, responded to the terrorist attempt: “The attempted terrorist attack was planned for the day on which we celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem and the return of Judea and Samaria to Jewish rule – an attack on hundreds of young cyclists and their families. There is no doubt that this attempt, as with all the others that we have witnessed in the past few months, is intended to break the spirit of our nation, but the song of building and the blossoming of Gush Etzion and all of Judea, will go on.”

“I am filled with admiration and gratitude to the brave soldier whose alertness prevented a possible tragedy. Our thanks to all the security forces who dealt so efficiently with the incident”, he added.

Post Comment

7. Nationalists’ Knesset Strength Soars in New Poll

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The National Union and Jewish Home parties would win 12 Knesset seats if elections were held today, according to a new independent poll.

The combined total of 12 seats is almost twice the current number and reflects a movement of nationalists from the Likud party after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu averted new elections by coaxing the center-left Kadima party to join a national unity coalition.

The Geocartography results project a coalition that would give the National Union, which is not in the current coalition government, and Jewish Home more clout. The projected national religious coalition would include 74 Knesset members, without the presence of Yair Lapid’s new Future party and without Labor or Kadima.

Geocartography, one of Israel’s largest polling companies and headed by Prof. Avi Dagni, carried out the survey which shows a loss of strength for both the Likud and Kadima.

Prof. Dagni explained that that the two parties lost approximately seven seats, mostly to the benefit of  National Union, headed by Knesset member Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz, Jewish Home and Yisrael Beytenu.

The poll gives Kadima, under the leadership of Shaul Mofaz, only seven seats, which still is four more than a different survey reported last week.

The lineup according to Geocartography is:

Likud – 31
Labor – 16
Yisrael Beiteinu – 15
Shas – 9
Yair Lapid’s Future party – 8
Kadima – 7
United Torah Judaism – 7
National Union – 7
Jewish Home – 5
Meretz – 4
Arab parties – 11.

The most significant result other than the increase in the strength of national parties is the zero representation for Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who broke off from Labor last year to from the Independence party.

The elections are scheduled for next year when the present Knesset’s term expires, unless the coalition falls apart.

Post Comment

8. Boycott Boomerang: Arab Jobless Rate to Rise

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

South Africa’s decision to label products from Judea and Samaria (Shomron) as “Palestinian” will boomerang and cause a rise in the Arab jobless rate, a Jewish factory owner says.

South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry  Minister Rob Davies warned merchants last week “not to incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) as products of Israel,” bowing to pressure from the international Boycott Israel movement.

Approximately 15,000 Arabs work for Jewish manufacturers and exporters in Judea and Samaria, and they will be the first to feel the effects of any drop in sales. “They won’t find better jobs in Ramallah or Shechem,” notes one Jewish factory owner.

He also said that if he has no choice other than to relocate in an area of Israel that is not part of Judea and Samaria, all of his Palestinian Authority employees will be without work.

Denmark may duplicate the policy announced by South Africa, and pro-Palestinian Authority groups are pressuring other countries to join the movement to mark Judea and Samaria as “Palestinian.”

The government is not taking the South African decision quietly, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor Saturday night called the decision “racist.”

Post Comment

Subscribe to this Daily Israel Report – http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Subscribe

Israel National News
POB 388 , Bet El, D. N. Mizrach Binyamin, 90628, Israel

Midnightrabbi Inspires

Click here ->Its good to remember the miracles G-d does for us all elipmusic 

Boruch Samuel Bovi Vidal
R.I.p to all of the fallen soldiers of Israel, and all the other victims of terror we are thankful for the sacrafice you have given.
I hope you guys are in a better place.. A meaningful memorial day.
MidnighterRabbi congratulates Boruch Vidal on your army service and looks forward to hear good news from everything you do with blessings and more music success:)

bovi and midnighter

The Six Day War and Tefillin – May 28, 1967

thanks too www.chabad.org

A brief history of the Six Day War and the Rebbe’s call for all Jewish men, particularly soldiers in the IDF to don Tefillin as a special merit for added security. A miracle a day just for U ! and more…

View original post 8 more words

Saying Goodbye to Your Old G-d, Sometimes, Being Close Means Feeling Far


Bahar – Bechukotai

Saying Goodbye to Your Old G-d

Sometimes, Being Close Means Feeling Far

by: Rabbi YY Jacobson

Dedicated by David and Eda Schottenstein in the loving memory of a young soul Alta Shula Swerdlov daughter of Rabbi Yossi and Hindel Swerdlov and in the merit of Yetta Alta Shula, “Aliya,” Schottenstein

Copyright 2007 Bill Frymire

The Endless Quest

A story:

It was Simchat Torah, and the disciples of Rabbi Mendel of Horodok, many of whom had journeyed for weeks to spend the joyous festival with their Rebbe, were awaiting his entrance to the synagogue for the recital of the Atah Hor’eisa verses and the hakafot procession. Yet the Rebbe did not appear. Hours passed, and still Rabbi Mendel was secluded in his room.

Finally, they approached Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, who had studied with Rabbi Mendel in Mezeritch under the tutelage of the Great Maggid.(1) Perhaps Rabbi Schneur Zalman, who was revered and loved by Rabbi Mendel, would attempt what no other chassid would dare: enter the Rebbe’s room and ask him to join his anxiously awaiting followers.

When Rabbi Schneur Zalman entered Rabbi Mendel’s study, he found the chassidic master deeply engrossed in his thoughts. “The chassidim await you,” said Rabbi Schneur Zalman. “Why don’t you join them for the hakafot?”

“There are a hundred meanings to the verse Atah Hor’eisa,” cried Rabbi Mendel, “And I do not yet fully understand them all. I cannot possibly come out to recite the verse without a proper comprehension of its significance!”

“Rebbe!” said Rabbi Schneur Zalman. “When you will reach a full comprehension of the hundred meanings of Atah Hor’eisa, you will discover another hundred meanings you have yet to comprehend…”

“You are right,” said Rabbi Mendel, rising from his seat. “Come, let us go to hakafot.”

Throwing Out the Old?

An interesting verse in this week’s second portion, Bechokosei, reads (2), “You will eat the very old [grain] and you will remove the old to make way for the new.”

A homiletic interpretation of the verse understands “the very old” to symbolize G-d, who has “been around” since time immemorial and who represents eternity. One ought to eat and satiate one’s hunger with “the very old” G-d (3).
Yet there comes a time in our life when we need to “remove the old to make way for the new.” We should never get stuck in our own definitions of G-d. We must be ready to abandon our old perception of G-d for the sake of a more real and mature relationship with ultimate reality.

Spiritual Frustration

A little while ago, a man approached me one morning in the synagogue and expressed his anguish over the fact that he does not experience G-d anymore in his life.
“When I originally became a baal-teshuvah (returnee to Jewish observance) many years ago,” he said, “I felt an intimate relationship with G-d. I sensed His truth and His depth.
“Today,” the man continued, “I am still a practicing Jew. I put on teffilin each morning, I pray three times a day, I keep the Sabbath and I don’t eat shrimp. But G-d is absent from my life.
“How do I become a baal-teshuvah again?” the Jew wondered.
As I looked up at his face, I noticed a tear in his eye. I thought that he may be far better off than many people born and raised as observant Jews who have never shed a tear over G-d’s absence from their lives. Many of us are even unaware of the fact that there exists a possibility to enjoy a genuine personal relationship with Hashem.
I attempted to identify with this Jew’s struggle, sharing my feelings on the matter. As we concluded our conversation, I noticed on the table a 200-year-old Chassidic work titled “Noam Elimelech.” I opened the book, authored by the 18th century Chassidic sage Rabbi Elimelech of Liszhensk (4), and randomly arrived at the Torah portion of this week, Bechukosai.
In his commentary to the first verse of the portion, the Chassidic master discusses an apparent lack of grammatical accuracy in the blessings that we recite daily. “Blessed are You, Lord our G-d,” we say, “Who has sanctified us with His commandments.”
Why do we begin the blessing by addressing G-d in second person, “Blessed are You,” and then conclude it by addressing Him in third person, “Who has sanctified us with His commandments.”?

The Paradox

In the beginning of one’s spiritual journey, writes the saintly author, when first discovering G-d in one’s life, Hashem seems very near. At that special moment of rediscovery, you feel that you “have G-d,” that you grasp His depth, His truth, His grace. You and G-d are like pals. You cry to Him, you laugh with Him, you are vulnerable in His midst. Like one who is reunited with a best friend not seen in many years, you declare: “G-d! You’re awesome.”
But as you continue to climb the ladder of spiritual sensitivity, you come to discover how remote G-d really is from you. You come to learn how inaccessible and elusive He is, how unfathomable and indescribable the Divine reality is.
Yet, paradoxically, it is precisely when the feeling of “I have G-d” withers away and is replaced by the sense of a void that you are actually closest to Him (5). When you mature in your spiritual life you begin to sense something of His infinity, and who among us could ever feel that he has a grasp over infinity?

Far But Near

It is this state of mind that the Prophet Isaiah is addressing when he says (6), “Peace, peace to him who is far and near, and I will heal him.” How can one be both “far and near” simultaneously?
The Chassidic master Rabbi Elimelech answers that Isaiah is referring to the Jew who feels that he is far, but in truth he is near. The very fact the he senses his remoteness is indicative of his closeness. If he truly were to be distant, he would actually feel close!
Therefore, when the first Jew Abraham is taking his son Isaac to the Akeida (the binding of Isaac) atop the sacred Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem, the Torah tells us (6) that “On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place from afar. Abraham said to his attendants, ‘You stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder, we will prostrate ourselves and then return to you.'”
Why did Abraham take his attendants along if he was to leave them behind anyway?
Because it was only Abraham who “looked up and saw the place from afar.” Only Abraham realized how remote he still was from the Divine mountain. His attendants, on the other hand, actually thought that the place was near. At that moment, Abraham became aware of the vast sea separating his spiritual state from theirs; he knew that they were not ready yet to accompany him on his journey toward G-d.
For thus is the paradox of one’s spiritual process. The closer you become, the further you must become. It is to this Jew, harboring deep frustration, that G-d sent forth His promise: “I will heal he who is far and near.”

1) Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Horodok (also called Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk) and Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi were both disciples of the Great Maggid, Rabbi DovBer of Mezeritch, the second leader of the Chassidic movement. Following the Maggid’s passing in 1772, Rabbi Schneur Zalman regarded Rabbi Mendel as his master and mentor. In 1777, Rabbi Mendel led a group of more than 300 chassidim to settle in the Holy Land. Rabbi Schneur Zalman was originally part of the group, but Rabbi Mendel convinced him to remain behind and assume the leadership of the chassidic community in White Russia and Lithuania. This story and footnotes I copied from: http://www.meaningfullife.com/torah/holidays/1d/The_Endless_Quest.php 2) Leviticus 26:10. 3) See Bas Ayin on Bechukosei (by Chassidic master Rabbi Avraham Dov of Avrutch. Rabbi Avraham passed away in 1841 in Sefad.) 4) Passed away in 1787. Rabbi Elimelech was a disciple of the Maggid of Mezrich and was considered to be one of the greatest tzaddikim of his generation. 5) This point is also quoted in the name of the Baal Shem Tov (Kesser Shem Tov section 39.) Cf. Tanya section 3 chapter ? 6) Isaiah 57:19. 7) Genesis 22:4-5.

Growing Up Jewish, Female, Responsible: Rethinking the Bat Mitzvah Party


Chabad Lubavitch World HQ / News

Growing Up Jewish, Female, Responsible: Rethinking the Bat Mitzvah Party

Growing Up Jewish, Female, Responsible: Rethinking the Bat Mitzvah Party 



by Chaviva Galatz – Washington D.C.

May 14, 2012

For most Jewish tween girls, the concept of the bat mitzvah has come to mean one thing: a lavish party with multiple outfit changes, Oscars-style celebrity goodie bags and a hip rocker singing new hits.

But Beth Heifetz, a Washington D.C. mother of two and a partner at Jones Day law firm, wanted more than schwag and partying for her daughter, Julia.

“I wanted my daughter to have an opportunity to think about what it means to be abat mitzvah and what it means to be a young Jewish woman today,” said Heifetz.

Although Julia had been involved in Jewish life through their Conservative shul and at her Conservative camp, Heifetz was concerned that “the important role of Jewish women both historically and today can be overlooked.”

So four years ago, when she was approaching bat mitzvah, Beth took to the internet searching for resources to share with Julia. Thankfully, she said, she stumbled across Bat Mitzvah Clubs International. She contacted the local Chabad and representative Nechama Shemtov and Heifetz worked to put together a group of girls, find leaders, and launch a chapter of the Bat Mitzvah Club.

Now 16, the experience continues in Julia’s life, shaping her identity and sense of self as a Jewish woman. After her bat mitzvah, Julia wanted to continue the Jewish experience and with Shemtov’s help, they established a local chapter of Friendship Circle. For the past four years, Julia and a friend have spent time every week during the school year with a boy who has special needs.

“It has been a remarkable growth experience for her on many levels, including responsibility, planning, time management, the importance of giving to others, and the wonderful feeling that comes with doing the right thing,” Heifetz said.

Julia is one of thousands of girls who’ve approached Jewish womanhood with the help of Bat Mitzvah Clubs International, a program designed for 11-13 year-old girls wanting to explore their identity, particularly as a bat mitzvah.

Created 20 years ago by Esti Frimerman, a Brooklyn mother of a large family and a Hebrew school teacher, the program, said Frimerman, aims to reach Jewish girls in their formative years with a powerful message.

“My objective is to help these girls realize that they have a soul, that there is another dimension to their essential being that is far more interesting than what they think they are, and other than what they see in the mirror.”

In fact, according to a 2001 Jewish Adolescent Study by the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, in which nearly 1,300 b’nei mitzvah from Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and independent congregations were surveyed in Eastern Massachusetts, three-quarters of the respondents cared seriously about a search for meaning in life, but only 40 percent sought to find that meaning through their Jewisness.

Involved in Jewish education for more than 25 years teaching 11-year-old religious school girls, Frimerman took a concept from Chabad Chasidic doctrine about a G-dly soul that becomes complete at the age of bar-bat mitzvah, and created a program at the flagship Chabad girls school, Beth Rivkah, in Brooklyn. She developed a curriculum on teachings about the integration of the spiritual and the physical, with a focus on Jewish feminine identity. Soon after, in 1993, she got a request from Tzivos Hashem International to rethink the program for non-religious, public school girls, and Bat Mitzvah Clubs International was born.

“I felt like I could really relate to girls that age,” said Frimerman. A mother of five daughters, she knows “that turf very well,” and enjoys the challenge of reaching that demographic with eye-opening, enduring ideas.

Stephanie Blitshtein, who went through Bat Mitzvah Club in Plano, Texas, in 2007, said that the experience of being part of the program changed her.

“BMC impacted me Jewishly by teaching me what it meant to become bat mitzvah and the responsibilities that came along with that,” she said. The program, she said, also gave her Jewish knowledge in terms of practical mitzvot.

After becoming a bat mitzvah, Blitshtein ramped up her observance and her involvement in the Jewish community.

“I became really involved at Chabad of Plano by becoming a counselor for the summer and winter camp, running children’s programs for holidays and on Shabbat, being a teacher’s assistant at Hebrew school,” she said. “Now I go to shul a lot more often, light Shabbat candles every week, have stricter eating habits, observe holidays and some Shabbats, and know a lot more about Judiasm.”

Chabad representative Rochel Lowenthal, who runs a club in Denmark, said that the most powerful part of being a leader is being able to “touch the girls at this sensitive time of their lives and show them that bat mitzvah is not only about a party, but that bat mitzvah, and everything Jewish, has tremendous depth and can totally impact their lives.”

Prompted by a desire to learn more about Judaism, Helena Rosenstrauch now 20 and preparing for her senior year at the University of Buffalo, joined the Albany, NY, Bat Mitzvah Club in 2002. The opportunity allowed her connect to other Jewish girls “even if they were of a different background.”

“It had a great impact on me by further teaching Jewish traditions and encouraging me to be proud of being a Jewish girl,” she said. “Jewish values continue to guide my life, and I know that they always will thanks to my upbringing and the Bat Mitzvah Club.”

Rosenstrauch said her participation in the club brought her closer to her mother and her grandmother, and she now is as involved as ever in her campus Chabad and Hillel.

For Racheli Metal, a Chabad representative in Las Vegas,leading the Bat Mitzvah Club is “sowing seeds that might really lie dormant for many years.” The girls that come to her Bat Mitzvah Club, she observed, do so for the social benefits, as well as for a deeper awakening for something true and meaningful to hold onto in their budding world of fashion, peer-pressure and “bat mitzva parties.”

“I hope and pray that one day, before these girls get married, they might give pause, and think of a lesson on Family Purity and their first ‘mikvah experience’ or perhaps reflect on the importance of marrying a Jewish guy, and continuing an important chain of tradition.”

One year, Metal arranged a mock wedding and invited the girls’ mothers as guests in an effort to strengthen the mother-daughter bond.

“Many were dabbing their eyes as they held the poles of the chuppah (wedding canopy) and we sang the tune of Eishet Chayil as we walked the ‘bride’ around the ‘groom,’” she said.

In Munich, Germany, Chanie Diskin  saw the power of the program after teaching fifth, sixth, and seventh graders in the public school system and hearing how they celebrated their bat mitzvah.

“I knew that I needed to become proactive,” she said. “I needed to impart meaning into their otherwise meaningless disco party celebrations.”

So Diskin brought the club to Germany, where she expanded it for teenagers because so many girls wanted to continue learning.

“As a result, many girls have opted for a religious ceremony in the Orthodox tradition either on Friday evening with a candle-lighting ceremony or a havdalah ceremony,” she said.

Today, there are nearly 300 active clubs around the world. Currently, Frimerman is working on translating the curriculums into five languages: Portuguese, Spanish, German, French, and Russian. She also is working on two new projects: one will allow girls to address everyday problems in their lives and the other will help them understand and get along with their parents better.

At an age when children tend to become rebellious, the BMC is especially relevant. “Parents and children have more problems getting along than ever before,” says Frimerman, who works creatively, ever mindful of how the program can work to close the growing gap between mothers and daughters, and contribute to a more wholesome family dynamic.

Bat Mitzvah Clubs International also is partnering with Chabad.org to create a dynamic virtual experience for club leaders, parents, and bat mitzvah girls. Frimerman hopes that the website will provide an interactive space where the girls can ask questions about religion, spirituality, school, parents, and more. Likewise, the program has been so successful at engaging young Jewish girls that many clubs around the world, like the one in Denmark, have extended the learning experience creating “teen clubs” for 13 through 16-year-old girls.

“Today’s girls,” said Frimerman, “are exposed to an incredible amount of meaningless, even negative stimuli, and the messages targeting them encourage consumerism, materialism and and less than ideal role models,” all of whichhave a corrosive effect on them.

Presented with a meaningful alternative to popular culture, “the girls really gravitate towards it. You can see their hunger for a substantive experience that nurtures them psychologically, intellectually and spiritually in a positive, affirmative way.”

Arutz Sheva Daily Israel Report || Friday, May. 18 ’12, Iyar 26, 5772

Arutz Sheva Daily Israel Report



Delivered Daily via Email, Sunday thru Friday Subscribe to this Daily Israel Report:


Friday, May. 18 ’12, Iyar 26, 5772











by Gabe Kahn




Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday said he is skeptical that Iran will agree to halt its nuclear program.


“I see no evidence whatsoever that Iran is ready to end its nuclear program,” he said just days ahead of a crucial round of nuclear talks with Tehran.


The P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – are set for a May 23 meeting with Iran in Baghdad.


Speaking in Prague, Netanyahu called it “the paramount issue of our time.”


Netanyahu did not present any ultimatums, but Israeli officials have said time is running out to avoid military action.


This marks the third time in recent months Netanyahu has said he does not believe Western sanctions will prove effective in halting Iran’s nuclear program.


His government maintains a nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran would threaten the Jewish state’s survival.


Israel is not alone in believing Tehran is pursuing nuclear research with military applications – or considering a military strike in Iran’s nuclear sites.


US ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro this week indicated Iran now had a very short “window” in which to agree to a diplomatic solution.


“It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically and through the use of pressure than the use of military force,” Shapiro said during a speech in Tel Aviv.


“But that doesn’t mean that option is not fully available – not just available, but it’s ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready.”


While US officials have made tangential references to a “military options” vis-a-vis Iran, none have done so in such forthright terms to date.


International Atomic Energy Agency officials are pressing Iran to address concerns spelled out in an extensive IAEA report released in November 2011.


The report alleges that at least until 2003, and probably since then, Tehran has engaged in nuclear activities of a decidedly military nature.


They also want access to the Parchin military base near Tehran where the IAEA report – which cited foreign intelligence, its own sources, and Iranian information – said Iran had conducted high-explosives tests in a specially designed chamber.


Two previous trips to Tehran in January and February by the IAEA resulted in Iran denying inspectors access to suspected nuclear sites.


Iran, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is obligated to allow the UN watchdog access to its site for inspections to ensure it is complying with the treaty.


IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said recently that access to Parchin was a “priority” and that “activities” spotted by satellite there “makes us believe that going there sooner is better than later.”


In March, Amano also charged Iran with a systemic attempt to cover up nuclear activity of a military nature saying, “Iran is not telling us everything.”


Western nations have accused Iran of removing evidence from Parchin and other sites – and Tehran’s Gulf Arab rivals have also charged Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.





Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat told Arutz Sheva on Thursday that he sees cranes in Jerusalem as a sign of success – and sovreignty.


 “We are on a path of success,” Barkat said. “We see it in several respects, including growth and development. This skyline is full of cranes. “Anyone who comes and sees this, sees that something good is happening in the city – Jerusalm is succeeding.”


“Sovereignty cannot stay on paper,” he declares, “Anyone who thinks that if you just declare sovereignty you have resolved the problem is wrong.”


“There is a direct relationship between development in the urban neighborhoods and sovereignty,” he said. “You must enforce zoning and construction laws, collects taxes, improve schools, talk with the people and solve problems – that is sovereignty.”


Barkat told Arutz Sheva that illegal construction could only be tackled if Israel took responsibility for Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods.


“You have to understand where illegal construction comes from,” Barkat said. “We have Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, which, unfortunately, are badly neglected. As mayor, visiting these areas, I was forced to ask why this is?”


“We have two bad alternatives: one, we can act like an ostrich; the other, to accept a huge disparity between the quality of life in these neighborhoods, and other neighborhoods, which should not be.


“I choose a third option,” Barkat said. “I chose to take responsibility and extend my office’s sovereignty to these neighborhoods, to improve the quality of life in them, and increase investment there.”


The move to improve the quality of life in eastern Jerusalem is not without political implications.


“It’s not a controversial idea, but right-wingers are more supportive of this process than the left, because they understand that investments in East Jerusalem are a means of applying Israel’s sovereignty,” Barkat said.


“The left thinks differently about the city’s theme of unity,” he went on. “They do not realize that ideology and practice must go hand in hand. There is no chance that Jerusalem will succeed if she is divided again.”


“So we have to insist on the unity of the city. For the right, improving the quality of life in eastern Jerusalem jives with both practice and ideology. For the left, it jives with practice, but ideologically it is problematic. I’m not sure they want it.”


Interestingly, Barkat some of his strongest supporters are Arabs living in eastern Jerusalem.


“They have lot of respect,” Barkat said. “They know I care about them and know their quality of life will rise. This is important to all of us. Additionally, they are increasingly satisfied with the city and recognize my office’s sovereignty in Jerusalem.”


“This leads to a situation where they themselves would prefer to keep Jerusalem united because they see the results of our efforts and they understand progress.


“Its not Zionism, but in practice, they know it is important to continue to live under Israeli sovereignty,” Barkat explained.


However, the primary impediment to Barkat’s goals for Jerusalem is not the political left, or Arabs in the city, but Israel’s own security establishment.


“Unfortunately, whoever gave a ‘waiver’ for permits in eastern Jerusalem- and his reasoning was probably due to security considerations – did not take into account how dividing Jerusalem with a fence would affect Israel sovereignty,” Birkat said.


“I have not ignored the issue,” he said. “I have raised it again and again at the political level, but the tools available to the Jerusalem Municipality to alter security policy is limited.


“This difficulty is very real. I keep telling the government we must be allowed to exercise sovereignty in neighborhoods beyond the security wall. But, this problem persists.”



3. MORE THAN 60,000 CALL FOR POLLARD’S FREEDOM by Maayana Miskin


More than 60,000 people have signed a letter calling on President Shimon Peres to do whatever he can to free Jonathan Pollard. The campaign for Pollard”s freedom has taken on new energy as the date on which Peres will be given the Medal of Freedom approaches.


Members of Knesset, Canadian rabbis and Gilad Shalit are among those who have called on Peres to turn down the prestigious prize if Pollard is not released.


On Thursday, Israel Prize winner, Rabbi Chaim Druckman joined the call. In a speech given at the Rabbis” Conference in Jerusalem, Rabbi Druckman appealed to his colleagues, “Please, do what you can so that Jonathan will leave jail alive.”


Activists say the campaign is just getting started. Over the next few days, volunteers will take to the streets to distribute pamphlets explaining Pollard”s plight and calling to sign the letter.


“As we get more signatures, we know that we are reaching wider circles, circles of people who may not have been sufficiently aware of the matter, who now understand that this isn”t just a matter of justice but of life and death,” campaign director Effie Yahav said.


Pollard, who is serving a life sentence for giving classified information to Israel, has become seriously ill and was recently hospitalized. He has since been released, but his condition remains poor.





Those living in Ramat Migron have resident status in the area, and are not obligated by IDF orders declaring the area a closed military zone, a Jerusalem judge has ruled. The ruling follows a similar ruling regarding a man from the Mitzpe Avichai outpost.


The court order came after a young man was arrested on Wednesday night for entering Ramat Migron after it had been declared a closed military zone. The teen was represented by the Honenu legal rights group.


Attorney Yitzchak Bam spoke to Arutz Sheva following the verdict. Bam, who also represented Aryeh Davis in the precedent-setting Mitzpe Avichai case, explained that the recent verdicts are the first in which judges have recognized that Jews can also be permanent residents in Judea and Samaria.


Previously, IDF orders declaring a closed military zone – a measure often used in an attempt to prevent riots – would normally include an exception for PA residents of the area in order to avoid infringing on their freedom of movement. However, there was no exception made for Jewish residents of Homesh, Ramat Migron, or other communities considered illegal outposts by the IDF.


Bam said that in addition to violating his client”s rights as a Ramat Migron resident, police had violated his rights as a minor. As a 15-year-old, the client should have had his parents or another adult present while he was questioned. However, Bam accused, police questioned the young man alone.





Ten months ago, Rabbi Elazar Abuchatzeira was stabbed to death during one of the many personal meetings he held with people seeking his aid. This week, work was completed on a synagogue that will be called Ohel Elazar in his memory.


The synagogue in Yokneam was built over a long period, with funding provided in part by the Housing Ministry. It will serve hundreds of residents of the Givat Hacalaniyot neighborhood.


Rabbi Elazar Abuchatzeira”s son Rabbi Pinchas Abuchatzeira was present as the synagogue was officially inaugurated, as were relatives Rabbi David Abuchatzeira and the Baba Baruch.


Rabbi David Abuchatzeira thanked Housing Minister Ariel Atias for his involvement in the project. “During these difficult times, when building a synagogue is not easy financially, we have Rabbi Ariel Atias, sent by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef,” he said.


Atias spoke as well, “The Housing Ministry, as the ministry responsible for building cities in Israel, builds synagogues and mikvas, daycare centers and community centers for residents” well-being,” he said.


“Over the past few years the ministry has built around a thousand new apartments in Yokneam,” he continued. “I am glad I had the merit to inaugurate a synagogue…. We will continue, as Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has instructed, to develop institutions of Torah in neighborhoods the Housing Ministry builds.”


More than 1,300 new apartments are to be put on the market in Yokneam in the near future, he added.





Kadima, the largest faction in the present Knesset, would crash from 28 seats to just 3 if elections were held today, according to a new poll conducted by the Panels Institute for the Knesset Channel.


The party was expected to lose much of its power in the next elections but the extremely unfavorable poll appears to be a direct result of the deal that party leader Shaul Mofaz recently made with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in which Kadima entered the coalition.


Polls held shortly after that deal showed Mofaz losing popularity.


Many of the seats lost by Kadima would go to the newly formed Yesh Atid party headed by journalist Yair Lapid. The poll gives Lapid 17 MKs.


Likud is at 30 Knesset seats, more or less as it has been in other recent polls. Labor reaches 20 seats and becomes the second-largest party.


Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu receives 12 seats, Shas – which currently has 11 – gets only 6, United Torah Judaism stays with the current 5, the National Union climbs to 9 and the Jewish Home receives 3.


Meretz doubles its power to receive 6 seats.


The projection gives the so-called right-religious bloc 62 seats and makes a Likud-coalition with more Lapid likely.




by Gabe Kahn


European Union Committee for Foreign Affairs chairman Dr. Fiorello Provera said this week that the EU was obligated to intervene on behalf of Muhammad Abu Shahala.


Abu Shahala was sentenced to death by a Palestinian Authority court for selling the Beit HaMachpela (House of the Patriarchs) to Jewish families in Hevron.


“Abu Shahala’s conviction has no justification, and therefore the European Union will intervene to save his life,” Provera wrote in response to a plea by Hevron’s Jewish community asking the EU intervene on Abu Shahala’s behalf. “It is inconceivable that a man who sells his house will be convicted of a crime and sentenced to death.”


“The PA is the foremost beneficiary of a European assistance, so we must intervene interest and demand the PA immediately cancel Abu Shahala’s death sentence. And, to remove the death penalty for the sale of property and land [to Jews].”


Provera indicated media reports in Israel had prompted EU Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton to intervene on Abu Shahala’s behalf – adding that European Union policy opposed the death penalty in all cases.


Provera concluded, “I call on the PA to immediately block the implementation of death sentence on Abu Shahala, as required by the UN General Assembly.”


Abu was arrested four months ago and questioned about selling Beit Machpela to local Jews. Initially, he was released, but was rearrested 66 days later, reportedly tortured into confessing, and placed in solitary confinement.


The execution order against Abu Shahala still requires the signature of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Meanwhile, Abu Shahala, who suffers from heart disease and has had four catheterizations, is said to be in deteriorating health.


Jewish leaders David Wilder and Noam Arnon in Hevron have petitioned UN chief Ban Ki-moon, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton; European Council president Herman Van Rompuy; and the director general of the International Red Cross, Yves Daccord, among others, to intervene on Abu Shahala’s behalf.


“It is appalling to think that property sales should be defined as a “capital crime” punishable by death,” they wrote to the leaders. “The very fact that such a “law” exists within the framework of the PA legal system points to a barbaric and perverse type of justice, reminiscent of practices implemented during the dark ages.”


“What would be the reaction to a law in the United States, England, France, or Switzerland, forbidding property sales to Jews? Less than one hundred years ago, such acts were legislated and practiced, in the infamous “Nuremberg laws….”





On Israel’s Independence Day, 45 years ago, in 1967, the annual festivities were taking place at the Merkaz HaRav Kook flagship religious Zionist yeshiva in Jerusalem, when the venerable Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook zts”l, rose to speak and broke into an anguished cry –


“Where is our Hevron? Where is our Jericho? Where is our Shechem? Where is every bit of Eretz Yisrael? How is it that we accept that the verse that says ‘and they divided my land’ has come to pass?”


He told the awestruck students “I could not be truly happy [seeing the lack of these holy sites in the partition borders] on the first Independence Day [in 1948]”.


The next day, Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran.


The students had reason to recall his words with awe, when three weeks later, his prayers were answered and Jerusalem, Hevron, Shechem and Jericho returned to Jewish hands.


In continuation of this love for Jerusalem and every inch of the Holy Land, approximately a thousand religious Zionist rabbis, including old and young rabbis, community leaders, educators and rabbis in uniform, met on Thursday at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem for a first of its kind Jerusalem Day conference.


Speakers included chief rabbis of cities and heads of yeshivas and Torah institutes, such as Rav Sheer Yashuv Cohen of Haifa,   Rav Yaakov Ariel of Ramat Gan, Rav Nachum Rabinowitz of Maaleh Adumim, Rav Zalman Baruch Melamed of Beit El, Rav Chaim Drukman of Ohr Etzion representing hesder yeshivas, Rav Yaakov Shapiro of Merkaz Harav, Rav Shmuel Eliyahu of Tsfat, Rav Yisrael Rosen of the Tsomet Halakhic Institute. Rabbi Aharon LIchtenstein of Har Etzion spoke by video.


The rabbinical conference, which was held in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Reunification) Day, reunited 45 years ago in the Six Day War, dealt with the unity of Jerusalem and with unity in general.

Opinion: There’s a lesson here for student strikers

By Lisa B. Moore    May 18, 2012 7:27 AM

Lisa B. Moore is a professional actor

Photograph by: Lisa B. Moore , .

MONTREAL – Hey, student protesters: listen up!

In 1997, after six years of post-secondary education, I found myself saddled with $22,000 in student-loan debt. I was frustrated and overwhelmed with the system, and saw no way out. So what did I do?

I did not resort to public mischief to gain attention for my cause. I did make an appointment to see my federal MP, Lucienne Robillard, who happened to be a prominent cabinet minister in then-prime minister Jean Chrétien’s government. I brought all my financial documents with me and made my case: as a young person struggling to support myself, I could not reasonably shoulder this enormous fiscal burden. The result? In 1998, the federal budget introduced a new tax credit for interest paid on student loans.

I made my point quietly, and effectively it would seem, in order to benefit others and myself. I did not behave like a childish coward and recklessly endanger the lives of innocent civilians to get what I wanted through violent protests on the streets of the city where I live.

On May 10, co-ordinated smoke-bomb attacks shut down the entire métro system. Montreal’s downtown core came to a complete stop. Tens of thousands of innocent people were put in harm’s way.

Here was your carpe diem moment, a chance to step up and show Montrealers what you were made of, a chance to denounce in the strongest possible terms any such acts of terrorism (yes, I and the thousands of other law-abiding citizens on their way to work that morning are going to call it that, not to mention the judge).

So what did you do? You sent your head of the CLASSE (Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante), Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, to call a news conference. “People should stop turning to the student movement for comment every time there is an act of disruption in the city of Montreal,” he said. “If there is an investigation required, that is for the police to do, not us. And we do not feel it is necessary to take a stand on absolutely every action taken in Montreal.”

Why is it not necessary, Mr. Nadeau-Dubois? After months of daily upheaval by the student movement – “What’s with all the helicopters?” “Oh, must be the students, again.” – it’s natural enough for us to shine the culpability glare on you. And because the recent record of violent disruption unfortunately has given you a taint that is hard to remove, answers are demanded by all. Call it the noblesse oblige of the havoc-making class.

If you want to sit at the leadership table, with the rest of the grown-ups, then you should have immediately distanced yourself from the violence and the Force étudiante critique (the group that has been said to have some connection to the métro attacks). May I remind you that you are the ones hosting this street party, not us, and it’s up to you to kick out the gatecrashers. Stop hiding behind the police in this regard.

At that same press conference, you announced that you have chosen to reject the government’s latest offer of annual hikes of $254 to tuition over a seven-year period, and improved bursaries and loans. But where is the negotiation in your rejection?

From the beginning, you have insisted that the tuition increases are unmanageable, despite the fact that those fees have not increased in four decades and you pay the lowest tuition of all Canadian provinces. Students in the rest of the country have somehow made do. It’s hard to buy that a tuition hike is insupportable, and opinion polls suggest that you have failed to make a convincing case of this to the rest of us.

The taxpayers do not support your argument. I contend that most Quebec taxpayers want their monies put to more urgent use like improved health care.

I would argue that less action and more words are required to help you negotiate, not instigate, the change you desire. I suggest you very carefully rethink your next moves and how best to exercise your “voice.” Remember, you will inherit this once-great-now-crumbling province of ours, including all its budgetary checks and balances.

Readers who agree with me should get in touch with their MNA and tell them they back the proposed law to end the student strike. The time to push back is upon us. Assez c’est assez!

Lisa B. Moore is a professional actress and power mom. She lives in Montreal with her husband and two young children.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Opinion+There+lesson+here+student+strikers/6639801/story.html#ixzz1vE6R2eFB