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Brooklyns Hasidic Community Reacts to a City-Declared Health …

Posted By on April 22, 2019

Lee Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was hectic last Sunday. With less than a week left before the start of Passover, everyone was tending to last minute shopping.

For some in the neighborhood, the printed signs urging vaccination against measles that are plastered all over Williamsburg and other Orthodox and Hasidic neighborhoods, coupled with school closings and the shunning of some Hasidim on public transportation, might evoke historical episodes of scapegoating in the bad old countries. Back then, Jews were routinely accused of spreading disease and forced to live behind ghetto walls. But the current spate of measles within the various Hasidic communities that call Williamsburg and other Brooklyn neighborhoods home is very much about 21st-century America.

According to the New York City Department of Health (DOH), between October 2018 and April 15, 2019, there were 329 confirmed measles cases in Brooklyn and Queens, mostly within the Orthodox communities. The first case was an unvaccinated child who picked up the virus in Israel.

The Rockland County website states that during the same period there were 186 cases in eastern Ramapo (New Square, Spring Valley, Monsey), all places with large numbers of Orthodox and Hasidic residents. There too, the first case started with an unvaccinated child who caught it in Israel, but infected those who hadnt been traveling.

The site also states that of the people countywide who had contracted measles, 81.2% had not had the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine.

Measles is airborne and highly contagious. When you combine that with large families such as those common in Hasidic and some Orthodox communities, and crowded city life in places like Williamsburg, even a handful of unvaccinated people means a large number of cases.

Some Jewish community leaders are not wild about New York Citys new, shall we say, vaccination edict, but they, their organizations, and the overwhelming majority of local doctors are resolutely pro-vaccination.

Ezras Nashim, the womens ambulance corps that serves observant Jewish women in Borough Park and the surrounding area, issued the strongest of statements encouraging vaccination, citing, among other things, the Talmuds declaration that all of Israel are responsible for each other.

Rabbi David Niederman, director of United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn (UJO), a Satmar community-service group, was equally emphatic about the Halachic demand to vaccinate children. He stressed that those who opposed it are part of a fringe group, much like the anti-vaxxers in the United States as a whole.

Gershon Schlesinger, president and CEO of Brooklyns ParCare Community Health Network, echoed the medical necessity of vaccinations and stated that all the large religious schools are on board with the citys mandate. But he noted that some unvaccinated kids could be students at smaller yeshivas. Those schools might be more flexible in asking for vaccination certificates with other paperwork, he suggested, not because theyre anti-vaccine as a matter of policy, but because its not a priority for administrators dealing with student enrollments.

And Der Yid, a Satmar daily newspaper in Yiddish, broke with tradition last week whenit published an English version of an editorial proclaiming those who dont vaccinate Senseless! Heartless! Torah-less and Reckless.

But one can see some cracks in this mechitza.

Its hardly unusual for Jews, regardless of their level of observance, to differ on interpretation, as anyone whos spent time discussing Halacha, or Talmud, or simply attended a Shabbat dinner, surely knows.

While the Torah tells us to protect our health, there are some who believe that not vaccinating is doing exactly that. Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, told Tablet that he wouldnt judge anyone who decided not to vaccinate because they truly believed it was best for their family and their children.

Frieda Vizel, a former Hasid who still has strong family ties to the community, wondered whether some women might be using the issue as a way to be heard in an environment that otherwise devalues their opinions and opposes broad secular education for both sexes.

And then there is the very vocal, very loud anti-vaxxer movement at large. Though in the minority, they are media savvy and keen to exploit situations like the measles outbreak in Brooklyn, said one Lubavitcher Hasid who spoke to Tablet but declined to provide his name. One needs to look no further than the press event held earlier this month where anti-vaxxers explicitly compared their plight to that of Holocaust victims by donning yellow stars.

Although many in Hasidic circles were reluctant to talk about it in the midst of the unwelcome attention and inflammatory rhetoric, some prominent rabbis are well-known anti-vaxxers.

Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, the rosh yeshiva of the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, and his wife, Temi, write and lecture on the Jewish anti-vax circuit, according to a 2014 article in the Baltimore Jewish Times that quoted him. To further exacerbate the problem, in 2015 Rabbi Kamenetsky signed a letter authorizing rabbis of Lakewood, New JerseysBeth Medrash Govoha (BMG) to admit unvaccinated children. And even a cursory search of the web reveals that Rabbi Kamenetsky isnt the only Jewish religious authority who claims Halacha is on his side.

Of course, Rabbi Kamenetsky neednt rely on Jewish law to justify his views when it would be just as easy, perhaps easier, to find justifications in secular society. Just this week, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his Childrens Health Defense group filed for a temporary restraining order against the New York City Department of Health on behalf of five parents of unvaccinated children, citing violation of petitioners rights under the United States Constitution and New York State law. This is not the first time that pseudoscience and health fads of the larger culture have found their way into insular Jewish communities, and it is unlikely to be the last, but what a strange shidduch it makes.


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Toni L. Kamins is a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Daily News, Times of Israel, and many other publications. Shes the author of the Complete Jewish Guide to France and the Complete Jewish Guide to Great Britain and Ireland (St. Martins Press).

Original post:

Brooklyns Hasidic Community Reacts to a City-Declared Health ...

Zionism Violates the Principles at the Heart of Judaism

Posted By on April 22, 2019

Temple University Professor Emerita of English, American Studies and Womens Studies Carolyn L. Karcher is the author of many articles and books, most notably, Shadow Over the Promised Land: Slavery, Race, and Violence in Melvilles America; The First Woman in the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria Child; and A Refugee from His Race: Albion W. Tourge and His Fight Against White Supremacy. Karcher also edited a scholarly reprint of Tourges Bricks Without Straw, a novel about Black Reconstruction in North Carolina.

In this interview, Karcher discusses her latest book, Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism: Stories of Personal Transformation, which is set for release on May 8. Karcher shares the idea behind the book: the history of Zionism, her approach in finding the various contributors who have extricated themselves from Zionism, and her thoughts on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, along with the political ramifications of competing interest groups, electoral politics and birthright Israel.

Daniel Falcone: Can you share with me the idea behind writing the book and where you think we are now with the timing of this book in terms of current affairs?

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Carolyn L. Karcher: My previous work has consisted of scholarly books on issues of race and gender justice and equality. Ever since the D.C. Metro chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace was founded in December of 2010, its become my main focus and activity. I wanted to bring my activist life together with my scholarly life, and one way of doing that was to produce a book on this question that is so dear to my heart.

I thought the best means of reaching people who are wavering or uncommitted is through personal stories that offer people somebody with whom they can identify who has changed their mind. It helps move people along a similar path to begin the process of at least opening their hearts and minds on this very fraught issue. I didnt feel that my own story, which is in the book, was enough to fill up the whole volume or was typical. So, I wanted to collect other peoples stories, which this book includes.

I started with just a few acquaintances whose stories I knew were really interesting. After that, I found other peoples stories through op-eds or editorials, or through listening to speeches at public events, and then tried to get their contact information. I wrote to them, describing my book project, and asked whether they were interested in contributing. Most people came through. A few didnt answer. And very few people said no, but mostly because they were overcommitted. At first, I had in mind maybe 12 stories and tried to limit it to a very short book. But people kept offering their stories, which were so wonderful and so different from each other and covered such a wide range of territory that it seemed silly not to accept them. I ended up with 40 contributors and 39 narratives, one of which was jointly authored.

Thats really quite a large number of people. Nearly all I would say, all but two of the contributors started out as Zionists and then went through this wrenching process of questioning and ultimately changing their mind. Of the other two, one was from a leftist family. She starts out by saying, I was never a Zionist, but I was never a Palestinian rights advocate either. For her, the process was really getting to know Palestinians and getting informed on the issue and realizing that this was a very important issue.

The other person also came from a left orientation. Again, for him, it was more a question of getting involved in advocacy, rather than changing his mind on Zionism per se. But the 38 other people, including me, were brought up as Zionists and found it quite difficult to change their minds and to extricate themselves from Zionism.

What is entailed in reclaiming Judaism from Zionism exactly? Could you tell me what it means to reclaim Judaism from Zionism as it pertains to this book, in particular?

As I see it, ethical precepts lie at the heart of Judaism: pursue justice, love the stranger, love your neighbor and repair the world. Obviously, all of these ethical precepts are violated by Zionist policy toward Palestinians. And so, what happens when Judaism is married to (or hijacked by) Zionism is that the protection of the Jewish people, the physical survival of the Jewish people, takes precedence over the religions ethical teachings.

This point takes us back to your original question about how my book relates to current affairs. As you know, Israel has recently passed a new Basic Law, with the force of a constitutional building block, saying that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people and of the Jewish people alone and that Palestinians have no right to self-determination there. Thats really what Zionism is and does i.e., elevate Jews over non-Jews. Zionism grew up in the late 19th century as a quest for safety. It was first a response to the pogroms state-sanctioned anti-Jewish riots that were happening in Russia and Eastern Europe.

The main founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, was an assimilated Austrian Jew. Jews in Western Europe had been emancipated and given the rights of other citizens, so that they no longer lived in ghettos, unlike those in Russia and Eastern Europe. But anti-Semitism spread to Western Europe because of the influx of refugees from Eastern Europe, just as in our times Islamophobia has been spreading as a result of the influx of desperate Muslim refugees. It was the same kind of reaction, and in both cases on fertile soil, where there were already traditions of anti-Semitism and now of Islamophobia.

Herzl moved from Austria to Paris because France was then considered to be the most enlightened country in the world and the place in the world where Jews were freest. He arrived there just as France underwent a wave of anti-Semitic riots caused by the Dreyfus case (the wrongful conviction of a Jewish army officer for alleged treason). All through Frances cities, thousands and thousands of French people were in the streets yelling, Death to the Jews, down with the Jews. This so deeply shocked Herzl that he felt that the only solution would be for Jews to leave Europe and to found a country of their own. Thats how the idea of Zionism got traction. Through his pamphlet, The Jewish State (1896), Herzl translated Zionism from an idea into a platform and a method for accomplishing it.

From the beginning, Zionism was really another version of a settler colonial movement, as Herzls pamphlet clearly shows. Just like our pilgrim fathers came to the U.S. to escape persecution in Britain and to go to a place where they could practice their religion as they wished without ever giving a thought to having to displace, dispossess and kill Native Americans in the process, the same is true of Zionism.

Initially, Herzl thought of Argentina and Uganda as places where a Jewish state could be founded a fact that reveals the settler-colonial underpinnings of Zionism but he realized that in order to interest the Jewish masses in the project, it would have to be Palestine. Until the rise of Nazism, however, Zionism remained very much a minority movement, and also very much tied to both colonialist ideology and the imperial powers, in particular Britain, to provide access to Palestine and to help the project along.

Can you discuss the time when Zionism was considered a progressive ideal in that there was a unification in resisting not just anti-Semitism, but a partnership of Arabs and Jews in terms of working-class solidarity? Do you include any information regarding Zionist movements of that nature?

My book only touches on the belief among members of the 1960s-era Jewish New Left that Zionism was a revolutionary movement. However, one of my contributors, Professor Joel Beinin, has written extensively about the Marxist-Zionist left in a book titled Was the Red Flag Flying There? Marxist Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Egypt and Israel, 1948-1965. He shows that both in Israel and in Egypt, nationalism ultimately won out over Marxism. In the case of Israel, Beinin discusses two small Marxist Zionist parties, the left-wing Poalei Tzion and Hashomer Hatzair, who advocated a partnership of Arabs and Jews and working-class solidarity, but notes that they soon had to give up these principled positions in order to form a unified front with other labor Zionist parties.

I would argue that their capitulation was an inevitable result of an inherently colonialist ideology. No matter how sincere your aspirations toward solidarity between Jewish and Arab workers, if you are seeking safety for Jews by moving to and eventually taking over a land inhabited by Arabs, you are engaged in a colonial project of dispossessing an Indigenous people that cant be reconciled with progressive ideals of trans-racial solidarity. Beinins personal narrative for my book describes how, after making Aliyah and joining a kibbutz, he quickly becomes disillusioned when he sees how racist attitudes and practices contradict socialist ideals.

It seems like its becoming more and more prevalent or easier to articulate progressive responses to Israeli policy. What are your thoughts on how the stories in the book answer to the idea that criticizing Israel and criticizing Zionism is anti-Semitic? This is always a troublesome possibility since it can be, at times, dangerously split and doubled by the far-right people. In other words, the goal is to carefully criticize Zionism, to criticize Israeli and U.S. policy and then, at the same time, support Judaism, support Muslims, and then to make sure our conversation with all of these moving parts avoids any language anticipated by Zionists or even intentionally misconstrued. How do you think the book addresses this? Is this pertinent?

One of the strong points of the book is that four of the contributors are rabbis. For them, articulating what Judaism means to them helps avoid the trap that you described. Correct: You dont want to open yourself up to right-wing anti-Semites and their appropriation of anti-Zionist arguments. The perspectives of rabbis help to avoid this. So do the perspectives of some of my other contributors who, unlike me, grew up in very religious families. Some of them remain observant Jews today, and for them, the issue is that Zionist practice and Zionist ideology contradict the most basic ethical tenets of Judaism. In the book, this is very powerful and very immediate, and they specifically talk about what reclaiming Judaism has meant for them, thus preventing appropriation of the argument.

At the same time, I dont want to marginalize the perspectives of those contributors who, like me, grew up in completely secular families. Our source of inspiration is progressive ideals drawn from the movements for social justice in which weve cut our teeth in my case, the anti-Vietnam War movement. I believe that we can best fight anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry by being true to those ideals.

According to polling, younger Jews are less likely to automatically connect Zionism with Judaism. Are younger people and activists or students included in the book?

I realized from the very beginning that young people were in the forefront of the movement for justice in Israel/Palestine. I wanted to have as many young contributors as I could, although I didnt want them to be the only contributors. It was actually quite difficult for me to find young contributors, because I had retired from teaching and didnt have any direct contact with young people, but ultimately, what helped most was the Open Hillel movement. I emailed one of the founders of Open Hillel, Rachel Sandalow-Ash, and she put me in contact with close to 20 young people.

Nine of the 12 most interested ended up staying with the project and some of them are actually the best writers in the book. That was really very exciting. Their stories added a new dimension to the book because they talked about the campus movements that they were involved in.

One of the ways that the right wing and the Anti-Defamation League have been able to smear the campus Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement as anti-Semitic is by totally ignoring the fact that many of the members of Students for Justice in Palestine are Jewish. Some of the young contributors in the book had been in Students for Justice in Palestine, while others had founded [Jewish Voice for Peace] chapters on their campuses. A surprising number of them had actually gone to Jewish day schools. In those schools, they had never heard a word about the Israeli occupation. They had only had a one-sided view of Israel presented to them. When they got to the university and were able to learn the facts in a broader context, they were just outraged by the way they had been lied to.

Many of them went on birthright trips. Some of them, even on their birthright trips, noticed things that didnt quite jibe with the story they were being given and decided that they wanted to go back and take a non-birthright trip and visit parts of the occupied territories, visit places they hadnt been to.

Is questioning the birthright trip as a concept alone a dangerous thing to say? To suggest that Jews are using Zionism to manipulate students in order to build concepts of state power and economic security. That could really hit a nerve there, and be called anti-Semitic in itself, could it not?

That is of course what the Jewish establishment groups have been saying and what theyre particularly worried about, because birthrights whole point is to create this special bond with Israel among young Jews. So, to attack birthright was actually to interfere with the desire to create this special bond with Israel.

Younger Jews who belong to If Not Now have been going on birthright trips and asking tough questions and very much annoying the leaders of the trips. The Israeli authorities, in two cases, actually have thrown them out of Israel, but these kids are incredibly savvy. They use media and they livestream some of the encounters. In those live-streamed videos, you really see the ways in which the Israelis are stonewalling the young Jews questions, and are just refusing to allow any real discussion because they are trying to control the narrative at every point.

Younger Jews who belong to Jewish Voice for Peace have started a different campaign called Return the Birthright. They say that Jews dont have a birthright to Israel that its Palestinians who have a birthright to the land because they are its Indigenous people. The Return the Birthright campaign calls on young Jews to stop taking free trips to Israel.

The fundamental problem is that Israel has been used to create a sense of Jewish identity and to help retain young Jews within the Jewish fold. The fetishization of Israel has substituted for a revitalization of Judaism. So I think that the questioning of birthright and the questioning of Israel should actually lead to (and this gets back to my books title, Reclaiming Judaism) a way of revitalizing Judaism and redefining Jewish identity that does not depend on identifying with a Jewish state, and that does not depend on claiming a right to a land that you were not born in and have no real connection to.

If you ask Palestinians or if you ask Gazans, theyll probably tell you the situation on the ground, regardless of who is the president of the United States, remains the same. They protest peacefully, organize successfully, but every time they do that, its a minimal gain, sometimes at a tremendous cost. Meanwhile, in the U.S., there are these positive historical shifts in the discourse, because of peace groups like CODEPINK, but also where we have a left, a center and a right. We have a Jewish Voice for Peace. We have J Street. Then we have the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that seems to be diminishing and the Christian fundamentalists gaining strength. Even with resistance and the peace movements, along with the educational efforts and the groups that youre mentioning in your book and your work, whats ultimately going to have to happen to produce a change on the ground? I am optimistic about the transformational shifts in the Democratic Party and the rising progressive politicians, but how can we get these shifts to connect to policy, ultimately?

Well, that is of course a difficult question. We have actually been in touch with Palestinian leaders of the nonviolent resistance movement, like Bassem Tamimi in Nabi Saleh, Iyad Burnat in Bilin and Issa Amro in Hebron. All of them have been paying a terrible price. Bassems wife and daughter Ahed were imprisoned, Iyads son was shot and disabled, and Issa is undergoing trials on trumped-up charges, both in Israeli military court and even by the Palestinian Authority. The situation in Palestine is an absolute nightmare, and its been getting worse and worse.

Theres no sign of anything getting better there. Its really frightening and heartbreaking. Theres nothing much that we can do on that front, except to express solidarity and to also publicize as much as possible whats going on, because of course, the U.S. press bears a great deal of culpability for not covering the reality on the ground there, and therefore leaving the American public totally ignorant. But the ultimate goal has got to be to get the U.S. government to stop military aid to Israel and to push for the Israelis to do what the South African government eventually had to do to negotiate with Palestinians and try to arrive at a satisfactory peace agreement. Its very clear to many of us that the two-state solution is totally dead.

So the approach that people are using now is what they call a rights-based approach, to call for human rights for Palestinians, and for them to enjoy the same human rights that people everywhere else enjoy, and to call for the creation of a state that would be in accordance with international law and in accordance with the principles of democracy everywhere. Everybody in the state should have absolutely the same rights and the same access to economic and political rights. That is the goal, and thats the only thing that is going to work in the long run, but how to get there, I dont think anybody knows. But then nobody really could have predicted that it would happen in South Africa so quickly either.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

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Zionism Violates the Principles at the Heart of Judaism

YIVO | Munkatsh Hasidic Dynasty

Posted By on April 21, 2019

Ultraconservative Hungarian Hasidic sect. The spiritual progenitor of Munkatsh Hasidism was Tsevi Elimelekh of Dinov (d. 1841), an outspoken opponent of the Haskalah and prolific author who served briefly as rabbi in Munkcs (Hun., more properly Munccs; Cz., Mukaevo; Yid., Munkatsh; now Ukr. Mukacheve; the most commonly used transliteration by English-language scholars is the semi-Polonized spelling Munkacz) from 1824 to 1826 before returning to Galicia in the wake of conflicts with the towns other rabbis.

Tsevi Elimelekhs grandson, Shelomoh Shapira (18321893), a disciple of ayim Halberstamm of Sandz, held numerous rabbinical posts in Galicia before reestablishing his grandfathers Hasidic court in Munkcs in 1882. A rigid opponent of the Haskalah and Neolog (Hungarian Reform) movements, he is regarded as the formal founder of Munkatsh Hasidism.

Shelomohs son, Tsevi Hirsh Shapira (d. 1913), who served as head of the rabbinical court in Munkcs from 1882 to 1893, was a renowned Talmudic and kabbalistic scholar under whose leadership Munkatsh became one of the largest and most influential Hasidic courts in Hungary. Tsevi Hirsh wrote several seminal works, the most famous of which is an exhaustive commentary on the Yoreh deah section of the Shulan arukh titled Darkhe teshuvah (7 vols.; 18931904)one of the few halakhic works by a Hasidic rebbe that was universally accepted as an authoritative source for halakhic adjudication by both Hasidim and Misnagdim. He also wrote a lengthy commentary on the obscure kabbalistic tract Tikune Zohar, beer laai roi (3 vols.; 19031921), along with halakhic responsa published as Tsevi tiferet (1912).

Tsevi Hirsh was a leading advocate of Hungarian separatist Orthodoxy, strongly opposing innovations in liturgical practice, Hasidic dress, and traditional education. He strictly forbade his followers to send their children to state-sponsored Jewish schools that offered instruction in German and Hungarian. He also fought against any collaboration between his own community and the modern Orthodox Status Quo movement in Hungary.

Tsevi Hirshs son ayim Elazar Shapira (18721937) extended and deepened his fathers tradition of rabbinical scholarship combined with extreme religious, social, and political conservatism. He assumed the mantle of leadership of Munkatsh Hasidim on the eve of World War I, and the dramatic events of the early years of his rabbinate left an indelible mark on his thinking. ayim Elazar viewed the vicissitudes of his day as sure signs of imminent messianic redemption, and a Manichean, apocalyptic view of contemporary history increasingly came to dominate his thinking. A gifted polemicist, he railed against his ideological foes, demonizing them in hyperbolic, cosmic terms.

Shapira was an uncompromising opponent of even the minutest changes in traditional Jewish social, political, and religious life. A bitter opponent of Zionism, which he portrayed in demonic terms, he was in the forefront of the ultra-Orthodox Hungarian rabbis dispute with the Agudas Yisroel movement. In 1922, he convened a conference of several hundred regional, mostly Hasidic, rabbis in the Slovakian town of Czap, whose main purpose was to denounce Agudas Yisroel.

Shapira visited Palestine in 1930 and returned even more convinced of the evils of Zionism, which he believed had been taken over almost completely by Satanic forces. (A kind of meditative diary of this journey, Masaot Yerushalayim, was published in Munkcs in 1931.) He forbade his followers to participate in political affairs, particularly those connected with Jewish immigration to either Palestine or the Americas, insisting that they remain in Europe and await redemption. In his messianic work Sefer mashmia yeshuah (1920), written in the aftermath of World War I, Shapira characterized all modern Jewish political movements, from Zionism to Jewish territorialism and pacifism, as agents of Satan and predicted that the final apocalypse would occur in the fall of 1941.

Shapira earned a reputation as the most fanatical and contentious European rabbi of his era, not only on account of his tireless battle with modern Jewish political factions, but also because of his many feuds with leading Polish and Galician Hasidic figures. He attacked Avraham Mordekhai Alter, the Gerer rebbe, for his support of Agudas Yisroel and his tolerant attitude to the alleged heresies of the chief rabbi of Palestine, Avraham Yitsak Kook. When Yisakhar Dov Rokea, the Belzer rebbe, arrived in Munkcs in 1920 as part of a large wave of postwar refugees from Galicia to Czechoslovakia, Shapira hounded him until he left the town in 1922. Shapira later denounced Meir Shapira, the revered dean of the illustrious Yeshivat akhme Lublin, for what he considered forbidden pedagogical innovations when Shapira introduced his program for the daily study of a folio of the Talmud(daf yomi). Shapira feuded with many other Hasidic leaders on account of their willingness to take charitable donations from non-Orthodox Jews in exchange for blessings.

Shapira is often referred to by the name of his important series of responsa, Minat Elazar (8 vols.; 19021938). He wrote more than a dozen other works, among them his collected teachings, Divre Torah (9 vols.; 19221936) and amishah maamarot (1922); sermons (Divre kodesh; 19291930); discussions of liturgical customs (Darkhe ayim ve-shalom; 1940); homilies on the Jewish festivals (Shaar Yisakhar, 3 vols.; 19391940); and commentaries on the Shulan arukh: Nimuke ora ayim (1930) and Darkhe teshuvah al hilkhot mikvaot (1936). Many other collections of Shapiras teachings and descriptions of his personal customs were published posthumously, along with several hagiographies.

After Shapiras death in 1937, the leadership of Munkatsh Hasidism was inherited, for a brief period, by his son-in-law, Barukh Yehoshua Yeramiel Rabinowicz (b. 1912). After the Holocaust, Rabinowicz moved to Israel, whereupon he was condemned by traditional Munkatsher Hasidim as a Zionist. He eventually renounced all claims to the leadership of the dynasty, which he bequeathed to his son, Mosheh Yehudah Leib Rabinowicz (1940 ), who replaced him as Munkatsher rebbe in Boro Park.

Yitsak Alfasi, Rabi ayim Elazar Shapira mi-Munkatsh, in Shishim giborim, pp.132137 (Jerusalem, 1998/99); Allan Nadler, The War on Modernity of R. Hayyim Elazar Shapira of Munkacz, Modern Judaism 14.3 (1994): 233264; Aviezer Ravitzky, Messianism, Zionism, and Jewish Religious Radicalism, trans. Michael Swirsky and Jonathan Chipman (Chicago, 1996), pp.4051; Shmuel ha-Kohen Weingarten, Ha-Admor mi-Munkatsh, Rabi ayim Elazar Shapira: Baal teushah bikortit, Shanah be-shanah (1980): 440449.

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YIVO | Munkatsh Hasidic Dynasty

Iran’s Rouhani calls on Mideast states to ‘drive back Zionism’

Posted By on April 18, 2019

Tehran (AFP) - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani called on Middle East states on Thursday to "drive back Zionism", in an Army Day tirade against the Islamic republic's archfoe Israel.

Speaking flanked by top generals before troops began their annual march-past, Rouhani also sought to reassure the region that the weaponry on display was for defensive purposes and not a threat.

"The regions nations have lived alongside each other for centuries and never had a problem... If there is a problem, it is caused by others," he said in the speech broadcast live on state television.

"Let us stand together, be together and rid the region of the aggressors presence."

Rouhani assured neighbouring countries that Iran's armed forces are "never against you or your national interests" but are "standing against the aggressors."

"The power of our armed forces is the power of the regions countries, the Islamic world." he said.

"If we have a problem in the region today, its roots are either with Zionism or America's arrogance."

Rouhani called on Muslim nations to band together and "restore the historical right of the nation of Palestine," saying that "Zionism ... has been committing crimes in the region for the past 70 years",

"The final victory will surely be with the righteous," he said.

The military parade was held next to the south Tehran mausoleum of the Islamic Republic's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

It showcased some of Iran's latest weaponry, including the domestically designed and manufactured Kowsar fighter jet, which was first unveiled last year.

Iran also displayed its short-range Zelzal missile and an upgraded model of the Russian S-200 air defence system.

US-manufactured Bell, Cobra and Chinook helicopters bought before the Islamic revolution of 1979 also took part in the air display.

- 'Cancerous tumour' -

Diatribes against Israel are standard fare of official speeches in Iran, although some, such as a call by Rouhani's firebrand predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel to be "wiped off the map", have triggered international condemnation.

Iran does not recognise Israel and opposition to the Jewish state has been a central tenet of official policy since the revolution.

Iran has supported Palestinian radical groups and has vociferously opposed the now moribund Middle East peace process under which the Palestinians were offered limited autonomy in the territories captured in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Rouhani has previously called Israel a "cancerous tumour", and called on Muslim governments to unite against it and its US ally.

Iranian officials have warned repeatedly that Israel will soon cease to exist, but have usually been careful to underline that that will come about not through a direct attack by Iran.

"In 25 years' time, with the grace of God, no such thing as the Zionist regime will exist in the region," supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in 2015.

- Syria tensions -

The presence of Iran's Revolutionary Guards in Syria supporting President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the eight-year civil war has sharply increased tensions between the regional foes.

Israel has said publicly that it has carried out hundreds of air and missile strikes targeting the forces of Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah in Syria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that he will never allow Iran to establish a long-term military presence in Israel's northeastern neighbour.

Netanyahu has been an outspoken opponent of a landmark nuclear deal Iran signed with major powers in 2015 and was the leading supporter of US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from it and reimpose crippling economic sanctions last year.

Washington's European allies have refused to follow suit and they, along with China and Russia, continue to support the deal.

But the Trump administration has sought to forge an anti-Iran axis within the Middle East bringing together Israel and the Gulf Arab states to make common cause against what they see as Iranian "meddling" in the region.

Last week, Washington placed Iran's Revolutionary Guards on its blacklist of "foreign terrorist organisations," the first time it had imposed the sanction on a military arm of a foreign government.

Rouhani warned Washington on Thursday that "an insult to the Guards... is an insult to the great nation of Iran."

"America's leaders are lost in their delusions," he said, adding that Washington was the real source of "terrorism" in the region.

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Iran's Rouhani calls on Mideast states to 'drive back Zionism'

A Young Hasidic Man Leads a Gay Double Life in Black Hat

Posted By on April 17, 2019

Religion is often seen and portrayed as the antithesis of LGBTQ identity. While Christianity is often at the forefront of these debates, the new short film Black Hatfollows a deeply closeted Hasidic Jew. The film beautifully captures Shmuel'sstruggle between his devout faith and queer identity. For him, as for many with the same struggle, he can't choosebetween religion or queerness because theyre equally engrained into his identity. So, Shmuel (Adam Silver) leads a double life praying at the synagogue and managing a dry cleaning business by day, and then traversing gay bars by night at least while his wife and children are out of town. However, Shmuel'stwo lives unconsciously bleed together when he leaves his hat at a gay bar.

The filmmakers note that rarely is the connection between LGBTQ+ identities and ultra-Orthodox communities discussed or depicted on screen. While the 2018 film Disobedience gave many a first look into the intersectionality of queer and Jewish identities, Black Hat hopes to continue the conversation. Writer, co-producer, and gay Jewish man Phillip Guttmann explained some of the challenges ultra-Orthodox Jews face.

Out of the view of the public, there are a pocket of ultra-Orthodox Jews dealing with real issues, like substance addiction, untreated mental health, living in the closet issues that everyone around the world facesbut in these religious insular communities, talking about such issues publicly is forbidden.

Guttman hopes Black Hat can help start those conversations around the intersectionality of Judaism and queer identities, raising awareness of the often-forgotten community.

Black Hatpremieres at the Tribeca Film Festival next week. Check out the trailer below and learn more at

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A Young Hasidic Man Leads a Gay Double Life in Black Hat

Labour’s Richard Burgon says he regrets Zionism remarks

Posted By on April 17, 2019

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Shadow cabinet member Richard Burgon has said he regrets having said Zionism is the "enemy of peace".

The Labour MP denied making the remark in a BBC interview last year, but he has now admitted doing so after footage emerged of him saying it.

The Labour Friends of Israel group had accused him of "seemingly misleading the public".

Mr Burgon said he would not use the "simplistic language" again today.

The shadow justice secretary, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, was asked about the comments in a BBC interview in March 2018, following newspaper reports in 2016 that he had made them.

Zionism refers to the movement to create, and protect, a Jewish state in the Middle East, roughly corresponding to the historical land of Israel.

When asked on the BBC's Daily Politics show whether he had said Zionism was the enemy of peace, he replied: "No and it's not my view".

"I didn't make those comments, I asked when I was meant to have made those comments. No one could tell me and it's not my view", he said at the time.

"So if it's not my view, I wouldn't have made those comments", he added.

However a new video shows Mr Burgon saying: "The enemy of the Palestinian people is not the Jewish people. The enemy of the Palestinian people are Zionists, and Zionism is the enemy of peace and the enemy of the Palestinian people."

In a statement, Mr Burgon said he did not "recall" making the remark when asked about the 2016 newspaper reports, and had asked for details of the quote.

"I received no reply, so I believed it was inaccurate to have claimed that I had used that phrase. It is now clear that I did and I regret doing so", he said.

"As I have subsequently said on numerous occasions when asked about this, I do not agree with that phrase", he added.

"The terminology has different meanings to different people and the simplistic language used does not reflect how I now think about this complex issue and I would not use it again today".

Journalist Iggy Ostanin, who released the video, said the footage was from 2014 - before Mr Burgon was elected as MP for Leeds East at the 2015 general election.

Mr Burgon said he had been criticising the "aggressive expansionist policies" of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the video, Mr Burgon also called for MPs who are members of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) to resign from the group "in support of the Palestinian people".

LFI Director Jennifer Gerber said: "For nearly two years, Richard Burgon has deployed half-denials and weasel words to escape responsibility for his appalling suggestion that Zionism is the enemy of peace."

"Now that we've all seen exactly what he said, it's time for Mr Burgon to apologise both for this slur on the Jewish people's right to self-determination and for seemingly misleading the public about it".

"Somebody who aspires to be one of the country's leading legal figures simply cannot behave in this fashion."

Amanda Bowman, Vice-President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said Mr Burgon "should apologise for his comments and for his denial of them".

"Richard Burgon's denial and the subsequent revelation of his 2014 incitement against Zionists encapsulate the total sham of Labour's approach to anti-Semitism", she added.

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Labour's Richard Burgon says he regrets Zionism remarks

Richard Burgon ‘regrets’ using ‘Zionism is the enemy of peace …

Posted By on April 17, 2019

Labours Richard Burgon has expressed regret for saying Zionism is the enemy of peace, after a video of the comment was circulated online today.

The shadow justice secretary denied making the comment during an interview with the BBCs Andrew Neil last year.

I didnt say that, he told Neil. Its not my view.

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Footage discovered by the investigative reporter Iggy Ostanin shows the Leeds East MP telling an audience: The enemy of the Palestinian people is not the Jewish people.

The enemy of the Palestinian people are Zionists, and Zionism is the enemy of peace and the enemy of the Palestinian people, he said.

I make no apologies and I am proud to say not only wouldnt I be a member of Labour Friends of Israel. Ive never been a member of Labour Friends Of Israel.

Following criticism, the shadow justice secretary said in a statement to Jewish News: When it was put to me in August 2016 that I had made these remarks I did not recall doing so and therefore asked for the full quotes to be provided to me, and asked when and where I had said it.

I received no reply, so I believed it was inaccurate to have claimed that I had used that phrase. It is now clear that I did and I regret doing so.

Burgon added:I recognise that such a phrase fails to distinguish between those seeking a peaceful solution in line with international law, and those, such as the current Israeli government, which is undermining efforts towards peace.

In the meeting, I was criticising Benjamin Netanyahus government and its aggressive expansionist policies. In the video I made it explicitly clear that I was of course not speaking about Jewish people.

As I believed then and believe now, when discussing the issue of Israel and Palestine, you must clearly distinguish between the actions of a particular Israeli government and Jewish people as a whole.

This comes after several Jewish organisations condemned the comments and demanded an apology and clarification from Burgon.

Among them, Jonathan Goldstein, chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: With polling showing that the vast majority of British Jews identify as Zionist supporting the Jewish peoples right to self-determination your words are a slur on British Jews and others.

Amanda Bowman, vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, called the comments shameful, adding: Richard Burgons denial and the subsequent revelation of his 2014 incitement against Zionists encapsulate the total sham of Labours approach to antisemitism.

Jewish Labour Movement vice-chair Mike Katz said:You cant play at being Lord Chancellor in waiting whilst making dog-whistle attacks on British Jews and their right, through Zionism, for national self-determination.

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Richard Burgon 'regrets' using 'Zionism is the enemy of peace ...

Watch: Richard Burgon caught out saying Zionism is the enemy …

Posted By on April 17, 2019

In 2016, Labours shadow justice secretary and Corbyn ally Richard Burgon was asked a rather simple question by Andrew Neil when he appeared on the Daily Politics. The show took place shortly after allegations were made in theDaily Mailthat the MP has said Zionism is the enemy of peace. As you would expect, in the midst of Labours ongoing issues with the Jewish community, Burgon was therefore given the opportunity to correct the record by Neil, and asked if the reported remarks were correct.

In response, Burgon shrugged off the accusations, replying at least three times when pressed that he didnt say that, didnt make those comments and would not have said that.

Unfortunately for Burgon, though, it appears that he has been caught saying on camera saying exactly that. The freelance journalist, Iggy Ostanin, uncovered video footage today of Burgon speaking at an event in 2014. In the video, Burgon is seen proclaiming with enthusiasm that:

the enemy of the Palestinian people is not the Jewish people. The enemy of the Palestinianpeople are Zionists, and Zionism is the enemy of peace and the enemy of the Palestinian people

Before launching into a bizarre attack on the Labour Friends of Israel group.

Mr S looks forward to Burgons response

UPDATE: Richard Burgon has responded to the allegations. In a statement the MP has said he did not recall making the remarks:

When it was put to me in August 2016 that I had made these remarks I did not recall doing so and therefore asked for the full quotes to be provided to me, and asked when and where I had said it. I received no reply, so I believed it was inaccurate to have claimed that I had used that phrase. It is now clear that I did and I regret doing so.

Read more here:
Watch: Richard Burgon caught out saying Zionism is the enemy ...

04/15 Links Pt1: Has the Body of Israeli Hero Eli Cohen Been …

Posted By on April 17, 2019

From Ian:JCPA: Has the Body of Israeli Hero Eli Cohen Been Recovered?The Syrian opposition issued reports that the remains of the Israeli spy Eli Cohen had been delivered to the Russians, and they also gave details about the remains of Israelis buried in Syria, in general.

There has been no clear Israeli denial of these reports. If Cohens remains have indeed been transferred, they will have to undergo Israeli identification. Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition also issued new information on how Syrian intelligence has been guarding the remains of Israelis in Syria at President Bashar Assads bidding.

Israeli intelligence agent Eli Cohen

The Syrian opposition reported on the remains of Israelis and how the Syrian regime has been tending to them.

The first report was issued on Twitter on April 14, 2019, by someone in the Syrian opposition, and it concerned the remains of the Israeli spy Eli Cohen.

The tweet stated:There are unverified leaks within Damascus itself about a coffin that was transferred with the Russian delegation that left Syria. The leaks say the coffin may contain the remains of the Israeli spy Eli Cohen. We are awaiting verification.

No other source has verified this tweet, which was first publicized in Israel by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. It, too, however, has not been denied clearly by Israel.

Subsequently, the Syrian-opposition website Orient Net posted a detailed report on the remains of Israelis buried in Syria.

The legendary our man in Damascus, Cohen spied on the Syrian military establishment for four years after befriending top-level Syrian officials and celebrities under the alias Kamel Amin Thaabet. After being discovered, he was tortured by the Syrians before being executed on May 18, 1965.

In Israel, his name became synonymous with self-sacrifice and heroism, the information he provided having been fundamental to Israels decisive victory in the Six Day War.

Israeli officials have kept silent regarding the reports, which came in just two weeks after Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Baumel was buried on Mount Herzl, 37 years after he went missing during a battle of in Operation Peace for the Galilee.

Baumel was also exhumed by Russia and his personal effects were honored in a special ceremony in Moscow attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Since Cohens execution, widow Nadia Cohen has been working to bring his remains home but to no avail. In 2008, a former bureau chief of former Syrian leader Hafez Assad said no one knew where Cohen was buried, because the grave had been relocated when officials became concerned that Israel would find it.

Last year, Nadia was presented with her late husbands wristwatch by the Mossad intelligence agency, an article which had been retrieved in a special operation.

This creative new Palestinian victimhood category announced by the PA comes in response to the American position expressed recently by Secretary of State Pompeo: "Let me go on record: Anti-Zionism IS Antisemitism."

According to the PA's new announcement, anti-Zionism cannot be Antisemitism because Zionism itself, by hurting Palestinians, is Antisemitism.

The following is an excerpt from the article in the official PA daily:"The [PA] Ministry of Foreign Affairs... said that... American Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo has voiced a series of false positions... Pompeo has allowed himself to remove the Palestinians and the Arabs from the Semitic race by stating that 'Anti-Zionism or objection to Israel's existence as the homeland of the Jewish people, is a type of Antisemitism that is escalating (see note below -Ed.).'

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that hostility towards the Palestinian people is Antisemitism, and that the ugly, recurring, and deliberate Antisemitism that [US President] Trump's administration is committing against Semitic Palestine is also Antisemitism. In addition, the American administration has no right to ignore the fact that Semitism is not exclusive to the original Jews, but also includes the Arab Palestinians, and therefore any manifestation of hostility towards Palestinians is an explicit manifestation of Antisemitism. Moreover, since Zionism is hostile to Palestine, its people, and the establishment of a national homeland for the Palestinian people on the land of its homeland, this makes Zionism itself antisemitic."[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 29, 2019]

'Deal of the Century' will not include Palestinian statehood - report

The deal is expected to be published soon, following more than two years in which it was formulated by a small group of special envoys of US President Donald Trumps, including special representative Jason Greenblatt and senior advisor Jared Kushner.

According to the Post report, comments from Kushner and other US officials suggest that "the plan does away with statehood as the starting premise of peace efforts" as it has been over the last 20 years or so.

The report goes on to quote several people who have spoken to Kushner's team as saying that "Kushner and other US officials have linked peace and economic development to Arab recognition of Israel and acceptance of a version of the status quo on Palestinian 'autonomy,' as opposed to 'sovereignty.'"

What weve tried to do is figure out what is a realistic and what is a fair solution to the issues here in 2019 that can enable people to live better lives, Kushner said in a rare interview with Sky News Arabia, as he sought Arab support on a visit to the region in February.

We believe we have a plan that is fair, realistic and implementable that will enable people to live better lives, a senior White House official said Friday. We looked at past efforts and solicited ideas from both sides and partners in the region, with the recognition that what has been tried in the past has not worked. Thus, we have taken an unconventional approach founded on not hiding from reality, but instead speaking truth.

Although Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said that the US is biased, one of his chief advisers reportedly said they would not reject Trump's plan outright.

Merkels office said she insisted, in a phone conversation Monday, on the continued relevance of a two-state solution, saying that should be the goal of international efforts.

Merkel also expressed her willingness to work closely and trustingly with the incoming Israeli government.

During the final stretch of his election campaign, Netanyahu pledged for the first time to annex parts of Judea and Samaria in a bid to rally his right-wing base. Netanyahu has reneged on election eve promises before but should he follow through on this one, it would mark a dramatic development and potentially wipe out the already diminishing hope for Palestinian statehood.

The letter, published in the UKs Guardian newspaper, comes with the White House expected to soon publish its long-awaited plan and following an election promise made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to effectively annex West Bank settlements.

The letter, signed by several former prime ministers and foreign ministers, said the EU must continue to insist on a Palestinian state alongside Israel on borders based on the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed, minimal and equal land swaps; with Jerusalem as the capital for both states; with security arrangements that address legitimate concerns and respect the sovereignty of each side and with an agreed, fair solution to the question of Palestine refugees.

The officials said that Europe should reject any plan that does not meet this standard.

Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories are sliding into a one-state reality of unequal rights. This cannot continue. For the Israelis, for the Palestinians or for us in Europe, the letter warned, adding that, Failing to seize this opportunity, at a point in time when this order is unprecedentedly challenged, would have far-reaching negative consequences.

Among the 37 ex-officials who signed the letter were former French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt, former Italian prime minister Massimo dAlema, former EU foreign minister Javier Solana and two former British foreign secretaries, Jack Straw and David Miliband.

How Much of a Difference Do Individual Leaders Make in Middle Eastern History?

Faisals aim was to forge Iraqits Arabs and Kurds, its Sunnis and Shiitesinto a nation. By 1932, he still had plenty to do. . . . Did Faisals premature demise change the course of history? Some might say not. After all, the Iraqi monarchy survived for another 25 years, until the 1958 revolution. [His son and successor] Ghazi lacked his fathers moderation, but he died in a car crash in 1939. The next in line was a child, so Iraq was then ruled by a regent, in partnership with Faisals own faithful lieutenants. . . . But one thing is certain: Faisal departed the scene in the middle of his own arc. He had done much, but more remained to be done, and he was still in a position to do it.

This is the crucial question that must be posed. If a leader were to disappear, where would he be in the arc of his life, his career, his vocation? If he is a leader, presumably he has a record of achievement. Is he in the middle of his lifes work, still attending to it? Is he bringing it to a conclusion? Or is it behind him? (As we shall see, this doesnt directly correlate with age. Sometimes leaders launch early; others do so late.)

Let me now give a contrary example, of an unexpected death that came too late to have a huge effect. Gamal Abdul Nasser and his Free Officers overthrew the Egyptian monarchy in 1952. He soon emerged as the first among equals, then as the unquestioned ruler of Egypt. His biography became identical to Egypts history: the Soviet alliance, the Suez war, the Nasserist wave of 1958, the makeup and breakup of union with Syria, the stumble of the Yemen war, and the disaster of the 1967 war with Israel. . . . In [a sense], he was finished before he was dead; he was already at the end of his arc. . . .

Netanyahu: ICC Decision Not to Probe U.S. Troops Bodes Well for IsraelPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday:

David Horovitz: The people have spoken. They want to live in Netanyahus Israel

They knew that Benjamin Netanyahu was facing criminal charges in three cases, unless he could persuade the attorney general of his innocence. They knew that he had castigated the opposition, the media, the cops and the state prosecutors for purportedly seeking to frame him as part of a political vendetta to oust him. They knew that, if reelected, he might try to use existing or new legislation to avoid being prosecuted, and would likely seek to stay on as prime minister even if he were to be prosecuted. And that, if reelected, he would make the case that the public had given him a mandate to offset the state prosecutors recommendations that he be put on trial.

They knew. And 26.45% of the voting Israeli public chose Likud a vast number, by Israeli standards, 1,139,079 out of the 4,306,520 legitimate ballots cast nationwide.

The people have spoken. Not all the people. But more than enough of them.

They knew that they had a clear alternative to four more years of a Netanyahu-led Israel, embodied in a party led by three former IDF chiefs of staff an unprecedented assemblage of security expertise, in a country where security concerns always figure at the very top of voting considerations. They saw Netanyahu portray that party, Benny Gantzs Blue and White, as a group of weak leftists. Even though it included Netanyahus own former Likud defense minister Moshe Yaalon, whose public positions are more hawkish than those of Netanyahu, and even though Netanyahu in 2013 extended Gantzs term as IDF chief by an additional year in the most overt illustration possible of the confidence he then had in Gantzs security leadership capabilities.

The storied Labor party, which led Israel at its founding in 1948 and for the next 30 years, and was for decades the mainstay of the Israeli center-left, won 4.45% of the vote, garnering just six seats in last weeks election.

Meretz won 3.63% of the vote not far above the 3.25% Knesset threshold gaining four seats and narrowly missing a fifth, according to official figures.

The two parties fate is widely seen as a sign of voters deepening disaffection over the moribund peace process with the Palestinians, with which the two parties are most closely identified. In 1992, the year of Meretzs founding, Labor won 44 seats and Meretz 12, forming the foundation of Israels 25th government under Yitzhak Rabin, which would launch the Oslo peace process.

Current Meretz chair Tamar Zandberg urged a merger of the two parties before the April 9 race, but was rebuffed by Labor, which feared its hawkish wing would defect to the centrist Blue and White party, whose attraction for center-left voters was seen as a major threat.

Yes, Yariv Oppenheimer had to be the proverbial kid who got beat up after school every day, no doubt about it. Imagine, a nation that followed the exciting attempt of a small team of homegrown scientists to do something only seven countries had attempted and only three have done, then this individual says the one thing Israelis from across the nation have followed breathlessly for months and some for years shows what a bunch of power-hungry creatures they are.

Remember, this is the guy who, in his leadership capacity at Peace Now, employed spies to track every change in the Jewish settlements, any porch closure without a license, any development that merited involving the authorities. He turned snitching into a profession, paid for by the haters of Israel in Western Europe and elsewhere. He then collected funds to sue and evict Israeli settlers from their homes, turning them into refugees in their own country.

Top Ten Excuses for Israels MoonCrash (Satire)

The "Palestinian Prisoners' Information Ministry" said that as part of the agreement, prisoners would receive public phones in their cells to circumvent the phone-jamming devices, which prevents them from using private cell phones in their cells.

This will allow security officials to supervise the prisoners' phone calls with the outside world.

The prisoners held in Israeli prisons several times postponed planned hunger strikes over the last week, which they announced in protest to the jamming devices in a number of prisons.

Twenty-three-year-old Mohammed Abdel Fattah threw three rocks at Israeli-plated cars on the morning of April 3, 2019, near Hawara, a village in the northern West Bank, Btselem said.

After one of the rocks hit a settlers vehicle, shots were apparently fired from inside it, the report said. The settler, Yehoshua Sherman, then exited his car, approached Abdel Fattah, who was crouching near dumpsters, and opened fire on him, it added.

Another settler then exited his truck and approached Sherman, a right-wing political activist, and together, the two fired several more rounds at Abdel Fattah, who was lying wounded on the ground, the report said. Military jeeps subsequently arrived on the scene and used stun grenades to disperse crowds of Palestinians that started to form in the area, it added.

Abdel Fattah was later transferred to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, where he was pronounced dead, according to a statement from the hospital.

The Israel Defense Forces said in an emailed statement that Abdel Fattah was shot by civilians and neutralized after hurling stones at Israeli cars. The army added the Abdel Fattah later approached one of the cars and attempted to carry out a stabbing attack.

It said the incident was under investigation.

Sherman said in a statement on April 3 that he was driving in his car with daughter when Abdel Fattah jumped at my car and tried to open the door and harm him and his daughter. He said Abdel Fattah had a knife in his hand.

Btselems report made no reference to an attempted stabbing. The groups spokesman Amit Gilutz said that Btselem had not learned of any stabbing attempt in its investigation of the incident earlier this month.

Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld, Israel Police foreign press spokesman, told The Jerusalem Post that tens of thousands of people are expect to ascend on Jerusalem for the first day of the holiday, and another more than 100,000 on the second day for the High Priest prayer service, which will be held at the Western Wall.

This mass priestly blessing only takes place twice a year in Israel, once during Sukkot and again on Passover. Attendees receive the historic blessing from hundreds of Jews of priestly lineage as they face the congregation, hands stretched forward, chanting in one voice.

The superintendent said that the increase in security, which includes a mix of Border Police, undercover officers and members of special patrol units, are necessary due to a history of increased security risk during the holiday period.

In 2017, for example, the head of the Shin Bet security service, Nadav Argaman, warned that terror groups may try to carry out attacks during Passover.

SpaceIL has been working for eight years to promote scientific and technological education in Israel and to encourage Israeli innovation, the committee responsible for choosing the honorees noted in a statement.

This years Independence Day theme is The Israeli Spirit.

Following the Israeli spacecraft Beresheets failure to land safely on the moon last week, Kahn on Saturday announced he was launching project Beresheet 2, effective immediately, adding: We started something and we need to finish it. Well put our flag on the moon.

The small spacecraft, the worlds first privately funded moon lander, crashed into the lunar surface Thursday night during an attempted landing, apparently due to a technical glitch that caused its main engine to stop mid-landing.

While usually an individual is honored, Iris Yifrach, Bat Galim Shear and Raheli Fraenkel were asked to jointly light the torch due to the volunteer work they did together after suffering the death of their sons. Regev said that the mothers are the heroes of our spirit who chose, facing heart-piercing grief to open a gate of the love of Israel to honor their loved ones.

The 2014 kidnapping and murder of the three teenagers led to Israel embarking on Operation Brothers Keepers (Tzouk Eitan), culminating in the arrest of 350 Palestinians. The IDF then launched Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

After a massive manhunt, the bodies of the three victims were found near Hebron at the end of June. Hamas was seen as the responsible party, despite official group leaders claiming they were unaware of the kidnapping.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Gaza father: PA sanctions forcing me to sell my home

As part of the sanctions, which are seen in the context of the PAs ongoing dispute with Hamas, payments to thousands of civil servants and needy families have also been halted.

On Sunday, the father of a Palestinian man who was killed by the IDF in 2012 offered his house for sale.

The father, Suheil Ibrahim al-Kafarneh, is from the town of Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip. He published a post on Facebook in which he said: Because of the cutting of the stipend for my son, martyr Tareq Suheil Ibrahim al-Kafarneh, and due to the accumulation of debts, I announce the sale of my house.

The son, Tareq, was 22 years old when he was reportedly killed by IDF gunfire near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Two other Palestinians were killed in the incident: Akram Sami al_Zaaneen and Ehab Sami al-Zaaneen.

After he was wounded, al-Kafarneh managed to phone a local hospital to ask for help. He died before medics arrived at the scene, Palestinian sources said.

The father told the Palestinian news agency Safa that he was no longer able to pay the bank the monthly installment of $340 for the loan he took to purchase the house. He said the monthly stipend he once receive from the PA was suspended three months ago.

PreOccupiedTerritory: NGO To Shield Rockets That Entered Israeli Airspace Illegally From Gaza (satire)

New organization Students United In Compassion for Illegal Destitute Explosives (SUICIDE), based at Tel Aviv University, launched a program this week to identify, locate, contact, and protect the rockets and other explosive projectiles that Hamas and allied terrorist groups fire into Israel. The group urges Israelis to contact them instead of the police or IDF upon discovering such projectiles, or parts of them, via its SUICIDE Hotline. A representative of the organization told journalists that these refugees from miserable Gaza deserve a welcome embrace, not further violence at the hands of sappers.

We want these poor rockets and artillery shells, but more importantly, Israelis, to know SUICIDE is an option, insisted Vic Timblamer, a Gender Studies major at TAU. Shooting at these refugees from Gaza, which is what they are, with Iron Dome or whatever, is just wrong. We are working to get Tel Aviv, and I guess other places in the country, maybe some communities down south, to declare themselves sanctuary cities for rockets from Gaza, where enforcement or military authorities cant touch them.

Breaking its silence on the case on Sunday, the independent aid agency identified the three as Louisa Akavi, a nurse from New Zealand, and Syrian drivers Alaa Rajab and Nabil Bakdounes.

Our latest credible information indicates that Louisa was alive in late 2018, it said.

US-backed forces proclaimed the capture of Islamic States last territory in Syria last month, eliminating its rule over a caliphate it had proclaimed in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

ICRC officials said Akavi might have been swept up among some 70,000 women and children who fled to al-Hol camp after the fall of Islamic State, many of them jihadist sympathizers.

ICRC President Peter Maurer raised her case during a visit to the camp, run by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in March, they added.

The grave, found in the desert about 170 km (106 miles) west of the city of Samawa, contained the remains of dozens of Kurds made to disappear by Saddams forces, Salihs office said.

They were among up to 180,000 people who may have been killed during Saddams Anfal campaign that targeted Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s when chemical gas was used, villages were razed, and thousands of Kurds were forced into camps.

He killed them because they did not accept the continuation of this regime, because they wanted to live a free and dignified life, Salih, a Kurd, told a news conference at the grave site.

If the EU does not change its position and continues its support of Iranian leaders and the nuclear deal, Tehran's aggressive policies in the Middle East will persist, and Tehran will keep on pursuing its subversive agenda of attacking Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States via Yemen, Israel through Syria and Lebanon, and the US via Venezuela.

While President Donald Trump may have his critics, his hard-line sanctions are the only kind of political message the Iranian leaders can understand.

The main industrial structures were completely destroyed, including the main hangar and the adjacent three production hangers and buildings. The rest of the structures were affected and damaged by the blast, ISI said, adding that they assess that all the elements and/or equip-ment which were inside are completely destroyed as well.

According to ISI, if the bombed site was indeed a missile factory, it could allow for the produc-tion and assembly of different SSM [surface-to-surface missile] elements or for improving the accuracy of missiles.

The factory, ISI said, is located in the vicinity of other facilities likely linked to Irans SSM project in Syria, which have previously been struck in alleged Israeli strikes carried out over the past two years.

The factory was built in the western compound of the base between 2014 and 2016, and was surrounded by a wall to separate it from the rest of the military base. The entrance to the fac-tory passes through the base.

There is no prohibition on the enrichment of uranium by Iran, Zarif tweeted.

His comments were addressed to France, Germany and Britain, signatories to the landmark 2015 accord with Tehran under which uranium enrichment is curtailed but not banned.

Zarifs remark follows Frances ambassador to Washington declaring: Its false to say that at the expiration of the JCPOA (nuclear deal), Iran will be allowed to enriching uranium.

04/15 Links Pt1: Has the Body of Israeli Hero Eli Cohen Been ...

Corbyn Ally and British Labour Politician: ‘Zionism is the …

Posted By on April 17, 2019

BY: Jeffrey CimminoApril 16, 2019 9:35 am

A British MP called Zionism "the enemy of peace" at a 2014 Labour meeting, despite denying he made those comments during an appearance on the BBC last year.

The comments by Richard Burgon, who is the shadow secretary of state for justice and shadow lord chancellor, were uncovered by investigative journalist Iggy Ostanin.

"And the enemy, the enemy of the Palestinian people is not the Jewish people. The enemy of the Palestinian people are Zionists. And Zionism is the enemy of peace and the enemy of the Palestinian people. And we need to be loud, we need to be proud in support of a free Palestine. I make no apologies, I'm proud to say not only wouldn't I be a member of Labour Friends of Israel, I've never been a member of Labour Friends of Israel," Burgon said.

"And I'm all for everyone's opinions being out there and everyone having their opinion treated with respect, but look upon the Internet because it's there to see on the Labour Friends of Israel website which MPs are members of Labour Friends of Israel, which Labour MPs are officers of Labour Friends of Israel. And ask them, in support of the Palestinian people in protest of what's happening in Gaza now to resign from Labour Friends of Israel to show support for all humanity," Burgon continued.

Burgon was asked whether he called Zionism "the enemy of peace" at a 2016 Labour Party meeting while onthe BBC's Daily Politics Show in March 2018, prompting the MP to dismiss the allegation and say the supposed comments did not reflect his views.

Labour Friends of Israel director Jennifer Gerber called on Burgon to apologize.

"For nearly two years, Richard Burgon has deployed half-denials and weasel words to escape responsibility for his appalling suggestion that Zionism is the enemy of peace," Gerber said. "Now that we've all seen exactly what he said, it's time for Mr. Burgon to apologise both for this slur on the Jewish people's right to self-determination and for seemingly misleading the public about it."

Burgon is an important ally of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has also faced accusations of anti-Semitism. A recent report foundCorbyn has failed to sanction members of the party who shared anti-Semitic messages online.

TheTimes of Israel has highlighted Corbyn's history of anti-Semitism:

In the 1980s, Corbyn sponsored and spoken for a group called the Labour Movement Campaign for Palestine whose official platform declared its "opposition to the Zionist state as racist, exclusivist, expansionist and a direct agency of imperialism." A conference it held in 1984 demanded that the Labour Party's key institutions "support the Palestinian people in their struggle for a democratic and secular state in the whole of Palestine"; materials published by the movement for the event proclaimed that it sought "to eradicate Zionism."

In 2009 Corbyn called Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends" and said that Hamas was working to achieve peace and justice; he subsequently apologized for the comment. In 2012 he defended an anti-Semitic mural for which he also subsequently apologized. In 2013, he said British "Zionists" don't understand British irony.

In 2014 he laid flowers at a cemetery where Palestinian terrorists who murdered Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972 are buried. Appearing at a Labour Friends of Israel reception during his party's annual conference in 2015, soon after he had been elected Labour leader, he was heckled after giving an address during which he did not mention the word "Israel."

In 2018 when Labour belatedly adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's working definition of anti-Semitism, Corbyn sought in vain to add a caveat that it should not be considered anti-Semitic to describe Israel and/or the circumstances of Israels establishment as racist.

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