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Today's News

October 20, 2014



Poll: Vast Majority of Israeli Jews Oppose Palestinian State

 By Israel Hayom


A vast majority of Jewish Israelis oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, the division of Jerusalem or giving up the Jordan Valley, according to a Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs poll taken last week. The poll, conducted by the Shvakim Panorama research institute, under the direction of Yossef Vadana, surveyed 505 non-Arab Israeli residents. JCPA director Dore Gold is an external advisor to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on diplomatic issues.


When asked whether the rise of the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq influenced their opinions on territorial concessions in Judea and Samaria, 70.1% answered that it did not, 16.8% said they were now less supportive of concessions, and 4.8% said that in light of regional changes, it was now time for concessions. A huge majority of those polled, 74.3%, said they opposed the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, while 18.2% supported it and 7.5% opted not to respond.


The poll also asked whether those surveyed would support a withdrawal from the Jordan Valley if it was the condition to form a Palestinian state. The results showed 74.9% against, 11.5% for, and 13.7% gave no response.


The question of splitting Jerusalem, which the Palestinians also want as a capital, was met overall opposition. According to the poll, if partitioning Jerusalem was the condition to create a Palestinian state, 76.2 percent% oppose it, 16.2% would support it, and 7.5% did not have a response. Among those in the survey who identified themselves as "on the political Right," 89.1% opposed dividing Jerusalem.


Hamas Leader Haniyeh's Daughter Treated in Israel


The daughter of the leader of Gaza's Hamas terror militia, Ismail Haniyeh, received emergency medical treatment in an Israeli hospital in Tel Aviv earlier this month, according to Reuters news agency. Ichilov Hospital confirmed the report and said that the daughter had been released over a week ago.


"Ismail Haniyeh's daughter was indeed hospitalized for medical treatment for several days at the hospital,” Ichilov said. “Over 1,000 patients from Gaza and the Palestinian Authority territories – both adults and children – are hospitalized for treatment at our hospital every year.” The daughter is one of Haniyeh's 13 children. She reportedly received treatment for a week, after complications that occurred during a routine operation she underwent.


Haniyeh's house was completely demolished by the IAF during Operation Protective Edge, and some reports said that some members of his family were hurt. Several of Haniyeh's relatives have received medical treatment in Israel, including his mother in-law and granddaughter, despite the fact that he has pledged Israel's utter destruction.


Hamas routinely and intentionally targets Israeli children with its bombs. One of the last victims of Hamas's rockets in the summer war with Israel was four-year-old Daniel Tragerman, of Nahal Oz.


Reform Jews Defile Torah Scroll on Simchat Torah in Kfar Yonah



The Orthodox community in Kfar Yonah, located near Netanya, is still reeling from a provocative ceremony held by Reform Jews on Simchat Torah that some are comparing to a pogrom.


Rabbi Uzi Shvietze, the Rabbi of Kfar Yonah, told Israel National Nerws that a relatively small group of Reform Jews announced before the holidays that they intended to hold an “egalitarian” ceremony on Yom Kippur, and brought “a woman from Jerusalem” to conduct the ceremony for them, in a kindergarten that the mayor allowed them to use.


The Yom Kippur ceremony did not particularly bother anyone, said the rabbi, but on Simchat Torah, the day on which Jews celebrate the possession of the Torah, the group went a step further. From photographs that they published after the fact, he said, it turns out that they took a Torah scroll and unwound it completely, from Bereshit to the final verse, and “used it as a kind of 'mechitza', with men and women going up to the Torah and hugging it, touching it... some of them were half dressed or one-third dressed, maybe even one quarter, I did not check.


"The photos reached us on the day after the holiday and we are all walking around here, crying,” the rabbi said. The act is similar to acts carried out in pogroms by anti-Semites who sought to defile the Torah, he explained. “There are terrible, terrible things,” he said. "We will not go to war against them,” he insisted, however. “That is what they want us to do. We will do what Jews always did when non-Jews defiled the Holies of Israel. We will cry. We will hold a rally and cry and weep, and call out to G0d.”


 'Miss Hitler 2014': Anti-Semitic Beauty Pageant in Russia


A Nazi-themed beauty pageant has been organized in Russia, so far featuring 14 women and girls from Russia and other eastern European countries, the British Daily Mail has reported. The contest, which has been dubbed 'Miss Hitler 2014', is encouraging attractive females who love Hitler and hate Jews, to apply for the competition on the social media site VKontakte.


The VKontakte page, which boasts more than 7000 followers, describes itself as a group of Russians and Ukrainians paying tribute to Adolf Hitler. The competition, officially titled 'Miss Ostland', is named for the territory occupied by the Nazis in eastern Europe where more than a million Jews were murdered.


Contestants must post a steamy Nazi-themed selfie and write in the photo caption why they "love and revere the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler." The contestant who received the most 'likes' will be declared the winner. First prize is a piece of jewelry from a company called 'Magic Workshop'. The piece features one of the Nordic runes so beloved of Heinrich Himmler and the SS. A pendant combining the classic German Iron Cross and Third Reich heraldry is being offered as second prize.


The contestants include Katya Shkredova, from Mogilev, Belarus. She is pictured wearing a Nazi hat, saying she "adores" Hitler, because he was willing to "experiment on people." Irina Nagrebetskaya from Kiev, Ukraine, wrote under her photo: "Don't forget! Adolf is his name, he's our eternal race, he has been given eternal life." Ekaterina Matveeva from St. Petersburg, Russia, said she believes "Adolf Hitler's position is genius and true, that races are different not only in appearance, but also in intelligence."


The competition has sparked massive outrage on Twitter and other social media sites. Some protestations include "This is absolutely disgraceful, why would you organize a Miss Hitler competition?" from Miriam Stoke. Andrew Gross commented: "A 'Miss Hitler' pageant is a reminder of the global #anti-Semitism circulated today online that we need to fight."


In order to enter the competition there are strict qualifications for the aspiring "Miss Hitler"; the contestants need to be Nazis, Jew-haters, members of the Hitler social network group and most importantly to not insult the other candidates' photos.


Even though it is just a beauty contest, its message is highly important for the competition's organizers and they demand the candidates to add to their photo a convincing annotation explaining why they "love and admire Adolf Hitler's Third Reich".



IFCJ Aims to Bring Olim to Israel



The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) is embarking on a new mission: Bringing immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union and other countries in crisis. This marks a major shift in the Fellowship's policy. So far, IFCJ has helped bring Jews to Israel indirectly, through donations to the Jewish Agency.


In total, the organization has transferred more than $150 million in donations to the Jewish Agency. Eli Cohen, the former head of the Jewish Agency’s Aliya Department, has joined IFCJ and will be in charge of forming a strategic plan for the private aliyah program. "Increasing the number of immigrants to Israel is a Zionist national mission and the central pillar of the Fellowship's work for the Israeli society and Jews in distress," said IFCJ founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. IFCJ was founded in 1983 to promote understanding between Jews and Christians and build broad support for Israel and other shared concerns.



Shoah Victims’ Names Database Documents 4.3 Million+  Holocaust Victims

 By Avotaynu


The Shoah Victims’ Names Database now has 7 million records identifying 4.3 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. About 2.6 million records come from Pages of Testimony. Another 2.5 million records come from archival material such as ghetto lists, deportation lists, etc. The database is searchable at To submit Pages of Testimony for members of your family murdered in the Holocaust who are not yet documented in the database forms in a variety of languages can be found at



A Homophile Reading of Leviticus Op-ed by Rafael Castro


If there is space within Orthodox Judaism for groundbreaking judgments that lessen unfair pain, there is an even greater need to alleviate undeserved and unnecessary suffering of God-fearing gays and lesbians within Orthodox world.


Homosexuality poses an ethical challenge to religious Jews. To those who are God-fearing yet sentimentally attracted to members of the same sex, the reconciliation of their sexual orientation with the conventional reading of Leviticus inflicts tremendous emotional and psychological pain. This pain deserves sympathy from coreligionists, who should see the injustice involved in being members of synagogues and communities that drive away fellow humans due to a God-given identity.


he Reform and Conservative movements duck this conflict by downplaying the divine origin of Leviticus. Yet spiritual cherry-picking is contrary to the spirit of traditional Judaism and should not be the path that Orthodox rabbis tread in order to render their communities more just and inclusive.


Is there nevertheless space for a sensitive understanding of Leviticus that paves the way for same-sex monogamy to be tolerated by Torah-observant Judaism? In order to address this question, let us take a closer look at the much-cited sentence in Leviticus 18:22 that reads, "You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, it is an abomination."


It is noteworthy that the Torah explicitly adds the formulation "as with a woman," even though for exegetical purposes to mention women does not contribute to clarify the commandment. Indeed, the Hebrew verb "shakhav" (to lie) is employed elsewhere in the Torah to describe sexual relations without further commentary. It seems that in this case, the commandment wishes to draw attention to the sexual involvement of both genders, namely men and women.


Within this context, let us remember that traditional Judaism prohibits pre-marital relationships and prescribes sexual expression within the framework of a life-partnership based on mutual companionship and fidelity. In principle and in practice, this view of human sexuality is compatible with a homosexual orientation given that both men and women can be faithful and devoted within the bounds of same-sex relationships.


On these grounds, it is reasonable to hypothesize that Leviticus mentions women within the abovementioned context to censor bisexuality. The reason for such censorship is that although a man or a woman may feel an innate attraction to members of both sexes, it is not possible to act upon this bisexual orientation without violating the norms of matrimonial fidelity that the Torah enjoins all human beings to follow.


This thesis is corroborated by a closer reading of the events in Genesis which involve Lot and the city of Sodom, and which are known as "acts of Sodom." When the mob assails Lot’s house with the intention of raping his three male guests, Lot endeavors to appease the assailants by offering them his two daughters in exchange.


This choice suggests that the mob is driven by bisexual urges. If Lot had believed otherwise, he would have presented male household members or offered himself to the lustful mob in their stead. This is additional evidence that the Torah reserves its opprobrium for bisexual promiscuity.


Orthodox communities should make space for this fresh understanding of Leviticus. The alternative route is driving thousands of young religious Jews away from the Torah and abets the formation of thousands of dysfunctional families founded on self-denial and deceit.


Lest fundamentalists claim that this reading jeopardizes the immutable essence of Orthodox Judaism, let us remind them that in the present and in the past, prominent rabbis eschewed crude literalism to champion the rights of chained women, "mamzerim," farmers during sabbatical years and even interest-loan creditors in order to uphold the eternal values of the Torah.


If there is space within Orthodox Judaism for groundbreaking judgments that lessen unfair pain in the former cases, there is an even greater need to alleviate the undeserved and unnecessary suffering of God-fearing gays and lesbians within the Orthodox world.


(Rafael Castro is a graduate of Yale and Hebrew University who studied in yeshivot in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem.)







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 Paradise Regained, Paradise Lost

By Don Canaan (Commentary)

This year marked the 29th anniversary of the return of the Sinai by Israel to Egypt--a day of mourning by many of the 2,000 settlers who settled and later were forcibly evacuated by Israeli authorities under the command of Ariel Sharon, from the seaside city of Yamit on the Mediterranean.

Yamit was former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan's dream--a projected seaport and city of 250,000 founded on the Sinai sand dunes overlooking date palm trees and the blue Mediterranean--a populated buffer between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on the other side of the Suez Canal.

Some alternate historians say Moses and the children of Israel passed near the site of Yamit 3,500 years ago as they wandered for 40 years through the Sinai Desert on their way to the proverbial land of milk and honey.

Since April 25, 1982 only the whine of the desert wind weaves its currents through the crevices of destroyed homes, businesses and monument--a memorial to the young men who died during the 1967 Six Day war.

Christians, Jews and Muslims died during three Arab-Israeli wars and battles that took place in the Sinai in 1956, 1967 and 1973--Egyptian and Israeli--young people who fought and died in that desolate, forsaken desert wasteland.

The modern-day chariot carrying Egyptian President Mohammed Anwar al-Sadat hugged the intermittently green coastline of Sinai on its historic mission to Jerusalem. Israelis glancing upward into the clear night sky saw merely a jet banking gently to the northwest.

Official Israeli government policy was that the settlers had to be removed and the army came and forcibly removed the remaining diehard residents. The Jerusalem Post described the scene: Apocalypse had arrived in Yamit and in the dust and noise and destruction one could wander freely. Dozens of bulldozers and giant mobile air hammers were loose in the city like a pack of predatory beasts."

April 25, 20011 marked the 29th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from Yamit and Sinai and a cold peace between long-term enemies.

That gift of peace silently glided overhead as the Sabbath disappeared and the stars appeared. At 8:01 p.m. Sadat's jetliner landed at Ben-Gurion Airport and the first minutes of a then potential peace came to the Middle East.

Old enemies became new friends. The crowds roared its approval when Sadat shook hands with Moshe Dayan. A person standing nearby, according to the Jerusalem Post, said Sadat told Dayan, "Don't worry Moshe, it will be all right."

The peace treaty between the two nations was signed on March 26, 1979 and on April 25, 1982; the events that had started on a November day at Camp David came to fruition. Sinai was returned to Egypt. Yamit was bulldozed to the ground. But Anwar Sadat did not live to see that day. He had been assassinated seven months before.



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