Parshas Korach: Division and Rebellion

Jewish Thoughts

In this week’s Sedra Korach starts a rebellion against Moshe Rabbenu, and, joined by over 250 others, insists that the priesthood belongs not only to Aharon but to them, also, stating that ‘the entire community is Holy’. Moshe Rabbenu is horrified by this display of division, and challenges them to offer ketoret (incense) to G-d, along with Aharon, saying that G-d will accept the incense from the one he has chosen. Aharon’s ketoret stops the plague which has engulfed the Israelites, as a result of their disobedience, and yet he is required to prove his status once again, and does so through the blossoming of his staff. The Parsha concludes with G-d commanding the terumah offering and the giving of gifts to the kohanim.

Korach was attempting to start a revolution. In his eyes, and the eyes of his followers, he was a revolutionary; a freedom fighter. On Tuesday, we…

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Child Summer safety

Montreal Anash Info

This message was posted to our email list last year and is just as relevant this summer as well. MAI thanks our member who brought this matter to everyone’s attention. All backyard swimming pools must be emptied completelyeverytime that they are notbeingused. Even if your backyard is fenced in, the swimming pools must be emptied. It takes only one inch of water for a child to drown. It takes only 15 seconds for a child to drown. Children must be supervised at all times while using a backyard pool. From my window I now see 2 pools with water in them – in fenced-in backyards. Drownings are on the rise in Quebec. There were 2 just last week-end – 1 in a backyard pool with a fence. Our community has had its share of drownings r”l. halacha mandates min hatorah that one construct a fence around  a pool. Yet, a child in…

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BBC WS culture show gives the latest mainstreaming platform to BDS

BBC Watch

Nearly half of the June 19th edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘The Cultural Frontline’ was devoted to the topic of Lebanon’s boycott of the film ‘Wonder Woman’.

“Why has the new Wonder Woman superhero movie been banned from cinemas in Lebanon? We hear about the campaign to boycott the film starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot and speak to political analyst Halim Shebaya in Beirut and Hollywood screenwriter Kamran Pasha in LA, on their arguments for and against the boycott and the ban.”

Presenter Tina Daheley began by telling listeners that:

“The new ‘Wonder Woman’ movie is a global box-office hit but why was it banned in Lebanon?”

Listeners then heard an unidentified voice say:

“It is a non-violent, peaceful way to draw attention to a very important issue.”

The item itself (from 01:18 here) began with Daheley promoting the usual – but inaccurate – BBC mantra…

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#majorbsalert “Writers” detail Israeli occupation of West Bank in new book

Writers detail Israeli occupation of West Bank in new book

by The Associated Press

JERUSALEM — A group of “renowned” authors has published a collection of essays about Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, hoping their grim firsthand perspectives will draw attention to what they say is an unsustainable situation that is harmful to Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Through the eyes of novelists and nonfiction writers, “Kingdom of Olives and Ash” highlights the day-to-day struggles of Palestinians living under Israeli control and the collective trauma inflicted upon both peoples.

The 26 authors involved in the project include Pulitzer Prize-winners Michael Chabon and Geraldine Brooks, celebrated Irish writer Colm Toibin and Peruvian Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. Chabon and his wife, American-Israeli author Ayelet Waldman, also edited the volume.

The writers visited the West Bank and the Gaza Strip last year to bear witness “in vivid and clear language” to the reality for Palestinians after 50 years of Israeli occupation. Gaza, from where Israel withdrew its settlers and troops in 2005, is now controlled by Hamas militants.

The essays describe the segregated city of Hebron, the vibrant nightlife in Gaza City, the hardships of businessmen in Ramallah, and the frustration of young Palestinians who carried out a stabbing attack that wounded two Israelis in 2015.

“They came with relatively few preconceptions,” Chabon said. “They saw for themselves and they got to talk to people on the ground.”

The project was organized by Breaking the Silence, an Israeli organization of former soldiers who speak out against the military’s policy in the Palestinian territories. The group has come under heavy fire from Israeli leaders, who say it should air its criticisms locally instead of taking its message to foreign audiences.

Chabon said the book is aimed both at international and Israeli readers, though its affiliation with Breaking the Silence and reliance on foreign critics may limit its impact with the local audience. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, one of the most outspoken critics of the organization, declined to comment, as did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

The book was launched on Sunday to commemorate this month’s anniversary of the 1967 Mideast War, in which Israel took control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. Hebrew and Arabic versions are to hit bookshelves in Israel and the Palestinian territories later this week.

Speaking to reporters at Jerusalem’s American Colony hotel, Chabon said the project seeks “to draw attention to the occupation, and especially to draw the attention of people who aren’t paying attention.”

Chabon, in his essay “Giant in a Cage,” describes travelling from Ramallah to the northern West Bank city of Nablus with a Palestinian-American businessman. He talks of witnessing firsthand the seemingly arbitrary nature of Israel’s military control over Palestinian lives — from checkpoints and permits to resource allocation and settlement construction.

“I was embarrassed and ashamed, both by my ignorance before seeing it and also that such things are being done with my money as an American taxpayer and in my name as a Jew,” he said.

Waldman, who was born in Israel and grew up in the United States and Canada, worked as a public defender in California before turning to a career in writing. An outspoken liberal, she campaigned for Barack Obama, a former classmate at Harvard Law School, during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Her essay, “Justice, justice you shall pursue,” reads like a legal argument against Israel’s military court system through the case of two Palestinian teens. One was arrested and roughly handled, then held without bail for allegedly possessing a knife. The other was arrested in the middle of the night, imprisoned and confessed to setting a field on fire in exchange for a fine and lighter sentence.

“Whether those accused in fact committed the offences is less important than the creation of a general climate of fear, anger, and distrust that quashes rebellion,” she wrote.

While Israeli settlers in the West Bank are subject to Israeli civilian law, Palestinians are subject to military law. The military court system is frequently criticized for its near 100 per cent conviction rate and for meting out stiff penalties.

The authors say their work is not meant to be against Israel, only Israeli policies. Waldman and Yehuda Shaul, a founder of Breaking the Silence, consider themselves Israeli patriots.

“What we’ve come to see and believe is that the existence of Israel, which we feel very invested in, depends on ending the occupation,” Chabon said.

Though sympathetic to the Palestinians living under Israeli rule, the authors are not blind to the violence inflicted upon Israelis, whether in the latest wave of stabbings and shootings that erupted in late 2015 or in the past, during the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s and the massacre of Hebron’s Jews in 1929, decades before Israel was established in 1948.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek all three territories for a future state — a position that has wide international support. Netanyahu has rejected any return to the 1967 frontiers.

Over the past five decades, Israel, citing security needs, has established a military bureaucracy in the West Bank that enforces movement restrictions on Palestinians through a complex permit system. Some 600,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Israel says it has been willing to negotiate an end to occupation, but that Palestinians rejected or responded with violence to generous Israeli offers in 2000 and 2008. Netanyahu says he is open to talks, but negotiations have been frozen for over three years and most members of Netanyahu’s government oppose Palestinian statehood.

Waldman said the essays do not address all the aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but focus on the impact of the occupation on ordinary lives.

“This book is not going to end the occupation,” Waldman said. “The occupation is a vast edifice, and everybody’s obligation is to pry loose their brick. And if enough bricks get pried loose, the wall will crumble.”

The Associated Press | June 21, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Tags: AP | Categories: NewsWorld | URL: http://wp.me/p2zm7z-591Gg

Israeli general: ‘Full force’ in future war with Hezbollah y:sh

New post on National Post

Israeli general: ‘Full force’ in future war with Hezbollah

by The Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israel’s air force chief is warning that his country will strike Hezbollah “with full force” in any future war with the Lebanese Shiite militant group.

Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel touted Israel’s superior air power and build-up at a conference Wednesday, saying it can deliver in 48 hours the same blow it took 34 days to inflict on Hezbollah during the 2006 war.

He says Israel must strike “with full force from the beginning” to gain air superiority in any future conflict with the Lebanese archenemy.

Hezbollah fired more than 4,000 rockets on Israeli communities in the 2006 war, while Israel bombarded targets in southern Lebanon. The month of fighting killed an estimated 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, as well as 44 Israeli civilians and 121 Israeli soldiers.

The Associated Press | June 21, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Tags: AP | Categories: NewsWorld | URL: http://wp.me/p2zm7z-591Kr

Soldier who lost 4 limbs opening retreat to help others

Soldier who lost 4 limbs opening retreat to help others

by The Associated Press

ROME, Maine — Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills awoke in a hospital on his 25th birthday to learn that an explosion in Afghanistan had robbed him of all four limbs. He later told his wife to take their daughter and their belongings, and just go. He didn’t want her saddled with his burden.

“She assured me that’s not how this works,” Mills said, “and she stayed by my side.”

Family support aided his recovery, Mills said, and now a foundation he created is bringing others with war injuries and their families to Maine to continue their healing while surrounded by others who understand what they’ve gone through.

The retreat at the lakeside estate of the late cosmetics magnate Elizabeth Arden will be dedicated this weekend after an overhaul that included accessibility upgrades.

Mills uses his personal story to offer encouragement: “I don’t look at myself and pity myself. I tell people to never give up, never quit, and to always keep pushing forward.”

The soldier’s life changed abruptly on April 10, 2012, when a bomb that evaded detection detonated when Mills unwittingly dropped his backpack on it.

The blast disintegrated his right arm and leg, shredded his wrist and blew several fingers off. His left leg dangled.

As life drained from him, Mills used what was left of his remaining hand to make a radio call for help for the others.

“My medic came up to me and I tried to fight him off, saying, ‘Doc, you’re not going to save me. There’s really no reason to keep trying. It’s OK. I accept what happened. Just tell my family I love them, and don’t waste your time,”‘ he told The Associated Press.

At the field hospital, his remaining leg came off with his pants as he was undressed for surgery. Two days later, his left arm was removed.

When it came to recovery, Mills said, the support of his family was just as important as top-notch medical care. His wife remained with him. Their 6-month-old daughter lifted his spirits. His father-in-law lived with him at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and oversaw construction of a home adapted for his disabilities.

“Without my wife and daughter, I can’t tell you that I’d be sitting here today doing as well as I’m doing,” he said. “That’s why we do what we do. Because we believe there is more healing with the family and other people in the same situation.”

His wife, Kelsey, pregnant with their second child, said her husband has been competitive since his days as high school football captain in Vassar, Michigan. He was always the “life of the party,” she said, which helps to explain his charisma, enthusiasm and constant jokes.

“He’s always had a strong drive, and getting injured was like a challenge to him to overcome it,” she said.

These days, he travels 165 days a year, delivering motivational speeches, and it seems there’s little he can’t do thanks to grit and advanced prosthetics. He’s gone skydiving, participated in adaptive skiing and mountain biking, and paddled on lakes. He’s written a book, “Tough As They Come.”

The retreat is an extension of Mills’ work at Walter Reed, where he lifted others’ spirits while recovering from his wounds over a 19-month period.

This summer, 56 families will be served free of charge.

They’ll kayak, go tubing and fish, allowing injured soldiers and Marines to see that they don’t have to sit on the sidelines during family activities, Mills said.

Nearly $3 million in cash and in-kind contributions have gone into the camp, building on a pilot program. Mills hopes to raise enough money to create a permanent endowment.

Craig Buck said his son-in-law knows that not all injured military personnel have received the same family support. “This is his way of paying it forward,” Buck said. “That’s the reason we built the retreat.”

The Associated Press | June 22, 2017 at 1:41 am | Tags: AP | Categories: PMN NewsPMN World | URL: http://wp.me/p2zm7z-595lU

NewsAlert: Prince Philip has left a London hospital after treatment

New post on National Post

NewsAlert: Prince Philip has left a London hospital after treatment

by The Associated Press

LONDON — Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip has left a London hospital after receiving treatment for an infection.

Philip, who is 96, was admitted on Wednesday as a precautionary measure.

More to come.

The Associated Press | June 22, 2017 at 5:07 am | Tags: AP | Categories: PMN NewsPMN World | URL: http://wp.me/p2zm7z-595vQ

Superficial BBC Radio 4 reporting on Qatar funding of Hamas

BBC Watch

The June 15th edition of the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘PM‘ included an item relating to the ongoing diplomatic rift between Qatar and various other Arab and Muslim majority states.

Presenter Eddie Mair introduced the item as follows: [emphasis in italics in the original]

Mair: “Qatar in the Middle East is getting the cold shoulder from many of its neighbours. They accuse Qatar of meddling in other countries’ internal affairs and of supporting terrorism. Saudi Arabia has demanded that Qatar stop supporting Hamas, which controls Gaza – all of which might have quite an effect on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In the past five years Qatar has spent the equivalent of hundreds of millions of pounds building homes, a school, a hospital and main roads in Gaza. Reporting for ‘PM’; our Middle East correspondent Yolande Knell now.”

One would of course expect that a report on…

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