ז' בכסלו תשע"ז / Wednesday, Dec. 07 '16

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  1. First aid course offered in haredi seminary panned
  2. Passenger plane crashes in Pakistan
  3. Suspicion: Ex-MK traded votes for sexual favors
  4. Trump voted TIME magazine's Person Of The Year
  5. Haredi pressure again delays Muezzin Law
  6. Watch: Did Israel help Trump clinch the election?
  7. Polygamous cult uncovered
  8. Talk17 to bring Judea and Samaria's message to the world

1. First aid course offered in haredi seminary panned

by Shimon Cohen

The haredi educational journal, Kol Hachinuch (Voice of Education), recently published an article under the title “Serious Breaches,” which criticized the training of haredi girls in emergency first aid in a leading haredi seminary. The article states that under the guise of saving lives, girls would arrive at the scenes of accidents, and from there…“needless to say…”

“As part of the rat race of the seminaries trying to offer professional studies,” a new seminary in Jerusalem recently published a catalogue that included a wide variety of study programs for “professional training and certification.” One of the subjects offered is “safety accompaniment - for training teachers and staff members in the field of pre-hospital emergency medicine in order to handle events that may occur in public places such as schools, etc.”

The article states that the study of theory and practice in this area carried out by Ichud Hatzalah (the volunteer rescue organization) and approved by the Education Ministry are “problematic even for men, and even the male kollel students are not rushing to enroll in these courses. The attempt to introduce the role of ‘hatzalah’ to women as well would destroy the whole intention of [the verse interpreted to mandate modesty for women]: ‘All the honor of the king’s daughter is [to remain] within.’”

The authors warn, “Just imagine that there is, God forbid, a situation of people being injured, and women who have passed the course with a medic's certificate are nearby, then the goal of saving lives will pull them to the scene, and… needless to say… And from here the way is paved to [the introduction of such training for] Sherut Le’umi (National Service program for women).”

The haredi community does not take part in the National Service program run by the government as an alternative to IDF service for religious young women. There are alternative programs in the haredi sector for those who wish them.

The article rejects the argument that the emergency medical studies program is designed to train women to accompany women's tours and girls' educational activities. “You’d have to be naïve to think that those possessing first-aid certification, in which they or their parents have invested 3,700 IS ($1000), would be careful to use their certification in these situations only - events that occur only a few times a year. Soon, these women will be accompanying security personnel, ZAKA, and Hatzalah. We’ll see women and young women from these seminaries wearing the fluorescent vests, running from here to there, and responding to the call of the secular. Haredi Judaism is withdrawing from another central principle in the barriers that define and delineate us…God have mercy!”

2. Passenger plane crashes in Pakistan

by David Rosenberg

A passenger plane carrying almost 50 people reportedly crashed in northern Pakistan Wednesday afternoon.

Flight PK-661, operated by Pakistan International Airlines, took off from Chitral in northern Pakistan at 4:30 p.m. local time.

Shortly thereafter, however, air traffic controllers say they lost contact with the plane.

The plane, which was bound for Islamabad, crashed in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region, Reuters reported.

Local police have confirmed that the plane crashed in the area and that emergency rescue units have been dispatched.

It is as of yet unclear whether there are any survivors.

3. Suspicion: Ex-MK traded votes for sexual favors

by Reut Hadar

A former Knesset Member was detained for questioning on Wednesday by the police department’s national unit, amid suspicions the ex-MK may have accepted bribes during his service in the Knesset.

Among the possible crimes being investigated are claims the suspect promoted the interests of an undisclosed businessman in exchange for benefits. Those benefits reportedly included sexual favors provided at the businessman’s expense.

Israeli police released a statement, saying “Recently, following progress made in an investigation and thanks to operational opportunities which allowed the investigation to advance, the foundation for a case regarding suspicions of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust by a former Knesset Member have been established.”

Police added that no firm decision has yet been reached on how to proceed with the case and that the investigation was ongoing.

4. Trump voted TIME magazine's Person Of The Year

by Arutz Sheva Staff

President-elect Donald Trump was voted TIME magazine's Person Of The Year for 2016 Last year, Trump was also a candidate for the title but was beaten by Angela Merkel.

Mr Trump told NBC's Today show shortly after the announcement it was a "great honor" which "meant a lot" to him.

He was chosen from a shortlist that included Mrs Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton placed second in the selection, one described by the magazine's managing editor Nancy Gibbs as "straightforward".

5. Haredi pressure again delays Muezzin Law

by Hezki Baruch

The “Muezzin Law” proposed by MK Moti Yegev (Jewish Home), scheduled to be brought to a vote today, has again been pushed off.

Coalition officials reported that Shas and its chairman Aryeh Deri put pressure on officials in the coalition and demanded a postponement of the vote, intending, in the meantime, to further soften the bill beyond the changes already made at the request of the haredi faction.

The government supports the bill, and the Prime Minister himself expressed his support for the bill in one of the most recent cabinet meetings.

MK Yogev wrote in his Twitter account following the publication of the delay, "the Prime Minister and Chairman of the Coalition requested that we remove from today’s agenda the law against prayer from public address systems in order to further limit its application to nighttime hours only. We're working on it now."

MKs Yehuda Glick (Likud) and Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union) on Monday conducted a joint discussion of the proposed law between leaders of the three religions. In response to the postponement, they said, “We welcome the request for postponement. The conference we held this week shows that the issue can be resolved through dialogue between the religious leaders.”

They added, “We are very happy that reason has for now prevailed over the impulse to use force, which would have divided us. We all hope in the near future to see the fruits of our dialogue and mutual respect.”

However, it should be noted that the coalition chairman made it clear that after this new amendment, the bill will continue moving forward, with the support of the government and the Prime Minister, and that it will soon be ratified in its second and third reading.

6. Watch: Did Israel help Trump clinch the election?

by Arutz Sheva Staff


Members of the Republican Party’s Israel branch held a post-election celebration last week to revel in the recent White House win and thank volunteers for their work in promoting the Republican nominee.

Among those in attendance were attorney and head of the GOP’s Israel branch Marc Zell, director of the Trump campaign in Israel Tzvika Brot, strategic advisor Ariel Sander, and other campaign staffers including Dana Mizrachi, Roni Arzi, and Samaria Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan, who had publicly endorsed Trump prior to the election.

During the gathering, Zell explained the strategy behind Donald Trump’s campaign push in Israel.

While Zell noted that despite the strong margin Trump won Israeli-American voters, there were too few absentee ballots cast from Israel to alter the outcome of the election.

"There were over a 100,000 people - maybe well over a 100,000 people that voted in this election from Israel, and 80% roughly voted for Donald Trump. We can be proud of that. But those votes didn't determine the outcome of this election directly. As you know, the difference in the major states like Florida was greater than the number of votes we had here."

But, argued Zell, Trump’s heavy campaign efforts in Israel, which included opening multiple field offices and conducting the first-ever get out the vote operation by an American campaign in Israel, had a significant indirect effect on the election that was critical for the GOP victory.

"What it did do, and this is something I didn't appreciate until I was in the United States and I heard it from many people, the votes here in Israel were instrumental - fundamentally instrumental - in causing the Evangelical Christians in the United States to vote in numbers that were more than 15-20% more than they were in 2012. And that was the difference in most of the states that gave Donald Trump the victory. So I want you to know that they… in the Trump campaign and in the Republican National Committee understand the importance of what we did here."

The impact, Zell claimed, of public, visible support for Trump in Israel in encouraging massive turnout among Evangelicals for the GOP cannot be exaggerated.

"We literally changed history. Let me just give you an example about this. The Vice President [elect Mike Pence] called up and said, 'Great, kol hakavod'... saw the Hebrew [Trump campaign] sign on the air plane and he said 'You guys were the difference.' And I said, 'How could that be?' I was at a Bar Mitzva in Princeton, New Jersey the week of the election."

"Somebody from Florida who knows me came up and brought me a newspaper. It was a newspaper printed for Evangelical Christians. And on the front cover was a picture of me - I'm not trying to brag about it... standing in my office with these famous buttons here. And the lead story was 'Israeli-Americans are coming to the polls and supporting Trump in large numbers and we should do the same. And that's what happened. On Twitter I said another notice on an article that's coming out next week by an Evangelical activist. The title of the article is 'Did the Israelis get the Evangelicals to vote in the United States?', and of course the answer is yes."

7. Polygamous cult uncovered

by David Rosenberg

A religious court in Tel Aviv uncovered a secret cult practicing polygamy recently, when a young bride taken in by the cult reached out to the court for help.

The stranger-than-fiction story began when a young woman, now 20-years old, raised in a non-observant home, began to move towards traditional Jewish observance.

The young woman studied in a seminary and like many of her newly religious peers, was given an “adoptive” family to help her through the transition into religious life and to have a “home base” for regular Shabbat visits. She was warmly received by the couple and their 10 children in what was initially a very constructive arrangement for the young woman.

After roughly six months, however, the husband began making subtle romantic advances towards the girl. As time passed, his appeals became more direct and increasingly assertive.

To the young woman’s surprise, the wife was not only aware of her husband’s attempts to court the girl, she fully supported his efforts.

The couple eventually revealed to the young woman that they are members of a clandestine religious group calling itself the “Complete Jewish Home”.

At the heart of the group’s beliefs is the idea that polygamy, banned halakhically for Ashkenazi Jews a millennium ago and ended among Sephardic Jews (where it bore no resemblance to a cult) after the foundation of the State of Israel, is an essential part in the road to “the Redemption of Israel”.

A self-styled “Kabbalist” serving as a spiritual leader within the cult urged the young woman to become the husband’s second wife, telling her that “the root of her soul” is connected “with the root of his soul” and that for her own benefit she must marry him.

Eventually the girl relented to the pressure and in September was wed in a secret ceremony.

Shortly thereafter, however, the bride regretted her decision and shared her story with relatives, who urged her to secure a formal divorce from the man she had been pressured into marrying.

Last week the young woman approached a rabbinic court in Tel Aviv with her story, begging the court to grant her an annulment.

Although marriages are licensed in Israel and this was not a legal marriage, the relationship is considered a marriage halakhically and the young woman must obtain a divorce or annulment from the religious courts to be able to remarry.

The court, which included Rabbis Shlomo Stasman, Eyal Yosef, and Ido Shahar, called in the couple who had pressured the young woman into marriage and the two witnesses to the wedding. After a hearing, the judges issued a restraining order on the husband, barring him from harassing the young woman. Additional orders were placed on him and his wife, preventing them from fleeing the country until a full investigation into the matter is completed.

Among their findings in the case, the court confirmed that the couple in question are indeed affiliated with a sect advocating polygamy. The group’s website, www.Jewishhome.net, advocates in favor of the restoration of polygamy, presenting what it claims are quotes in favor of the practice by prominent rabbis, both past and present.

The judges warned both the couple and the witnesses involved in the wedding of the seriousness of their actions, both in terms of traditional Jewish law and the Israeli criminal code.

After initially attempting to justify his actions and refusing to issue a divorce to the young woman, the husband gave in to the court’s demands and agreed to immediately grant her the divorce.

8. Talk17 to bring Judea and Samaria's message to the world

by Shlomo Vile


The American Friends of Ariel is launching a new platform – Talk17 – for sharing the lives and perspectives of Jews from Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem with the world.

The new forum will bring together speakers from across the political spectrum to discuss the practical policy issues and controversial questions regarding the Jewish presence in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem. Topics such as international law, water resources, Arab-Jewish coexistence, the region's history, the affects of immigration and the demography, as well as security.

Talk17 will also touch upon other important regional and global issues, ranging from the environment, health and medicine, education and research, to the role of religion in society.

The talks will be given onstage, modeled after the highly successful TED talks, and will be published online and marketed worldwide.

While Talk17 discussions will include people from across the political spectrum, the focus will be on presenting the perspectives of Judea and Samaria’s Jewish residents - “the settlers” - and on helping break the stereotypes of 'settlers' created in the media. The tag line for Talk17 is “Change the Israel conversation.”

Talk17 is named for the year 2017 which marks 50 years from the liberation of Judea and Samaria and the re-unification of Jerusalem, and also marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration.

According to Avi Zimmerman, Executive Director of American Friends of Ariel, speaking on the Tamar Yonah show, “People living in Judea and Samaria have been marginalized by the media and not given a voice. Talk17 is designed to proactively share our voice with the rest of the world.”

The Talk17 presentations will take place at the Ariel Regional Center for the Performing Arts. When the center was opened in 2010, 36 actors, playwrights, and other artists declared a public boycott of the center, since it was located in a “West Bank settlement.” Their boycott was given a great deal of media attention. However, Israeli society strongly supported the center, and today it hosts events 185 days a year, with over 550 programs on the waiting list. The Talk17 programs will be an integral part of the center’s offerings.

The American Friends of Ariel is sponsoring a crowdfunding campaign in support of the new program, which is scheduled to debut onstage in January.

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