Israel has launched another military satellite to keep an eye on Iran as the Islamic Republic ramps up its nuclear development program. On Wednesday the Defense Ministry sent its newest “eye in the sky” heavenward to join its predecessors in the mission to keep tabs on Iran and other enemies of the Jewish State.
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The Transportation Security Administration said its employees are aware of Jewish needs during Passover and will accommodate requests for delicate handling of religious items.
“Our workforce is aware of the unique items carried by individuals and religious practices individuals may engage in while traveling,” said a statement posted April 2. “This may include reading of religious text or participating in prayer rituals. Observant travelers may be wearing a head covering, prayer shawl, and phylacteries — in Hebrew, kippah, tallit, and tefillin.”
Kosher food giant Manischewitz, whose matzot are known to generations of Jews in the United States and elsewhere, is expected to announce on Tuesday that it has been purchased by Sankaty Advisors, an arm of the private equity giant Bain Capital. The deal, which comes just a few days before Passover, is expected to help the 126-year-old company expand beyond the kosher aisle, the New York Times reported.
Under its new owner, a firm with expertise in revamping corporate strategy, the company is expected to promote “kosher” as a quality-control designation, rather than a simply religious one.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered all government officials to halt cooperation with their Palestinian counterparts. The action taken Wednesday is seen as reprisal for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ ordering his government officials to apply for membership to international bodies. The order reportedly does not include security cooperation, nor Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s contacts with Palestinian peace negotiators. The order came several hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in testimony Tuesday in front of the U.S. Senate placed the blame on both sides, though Israeli media played up the blame Kerry placed on Israel. – JTA
Rockland County Executive Ed Day’s criticism of child-care subsidies for religious students set off an angry reaction among Orthodox Jews, including accusations of anti-Semitism against some Day supporters.
Day said on his personal Facebook page that he told the Social Services Department to challenge an “absurd decision by an administrative judge” that lets students get the subsidies while studying at a learning center in the Ramapo village of Kaser.
A town judge told the director of a Jewish congregation on Tuesday that it’s not kosher to illegally bake matzo at an illegal school and dormitory. “It’s chutzpah to put a matzo oven near an illegal dormitory,” Justice Alan Simon said in ordering Chaim Rosenberg, director of Congregation Ateres Yisroel, to remove the oven and all students from the Forshay Road complex until the proper permits have been obtained.
Hamid Babaei, Iran’s spokesman at the United Nations, used the phrase “patently absurd” to describe an article published by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg, equating Iran with Nazi Germany before the Holocaust. Babaei, according to Iran’s semi-official state news agency Mehr on Monday, insisted that “Iran had never attacked its neighbors for almost 250 years.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) stated Tuesday morning that he is not against continuing peace talks – but only on Israel’s own terms. “I am all for negotiations, but I am against being a sucker,” he stated, in an interview with IDF Radio. ”It cannot be that the Palestinians unilaterally break all the rules, submit a request to join the fifteen international organizations, and then we treat it as another day [in the Middle East].”
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on Monday expressed support for the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) move to seek membership in international organizations, reports the Ma’an news agency. “The decision by the Palestinians to exercise their right to join international organizations should not be seen as a blow to the peace talks,” Carter said in a statement. “I hope that, on the contrary, it will help to redress the power imbalance between Israelis and Palestinians, as we approach the 29 April deadline set by Secretary Kerry,” he added, according to Ma’an – INN
The Jerusalem District Court has approved the sale of newspaper Maariv to Jerusalem Post owner Eli Azur for 4 million shekels ($1.15 million), the latest attempt to revive a daily whose circulation — and value — have plummeted.
Azur is buying the Maariv newspaper from its current owner, Shlomo Ben-Tzvi, not the website. Last week, the Jerusalem District Court approved U.S. casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s purchase of Maariv’s NRG website and Makor Rishon newspaper for 17 million shekels.
Russian lawmakers approved a bill that would make Holocaust denial illegal. The lower house of the Russian Parliament, or Duma, passed the measure Friday on its first reading, the Voice of Russia reported Monday, making it illegal to deny the verdict of the Nuremberg Tribunal and punishing the “rehabilitation of Nazism.” Those found guilty of the crime could be fined up to $8,300 or imprisoned up to three years. Public officials or media personalities would be fined nearly double or face up to five years in prison. The bill also needs the approval of the Federation Council, or upper house. It was authored five years ago and resubmitted in February. – JTA
Rockland County Executive Ed Day took again to Facebook, this time to push back against those who called out his Sunday-night Facebook post where he accused that some Orthodox Jews work off the books; scam the system and therefore people in “communities of color” cannot access government programs. Mr. Day wrote Monday night:
The Jewish community in Milan is confronting an apparent case of embezzlement in which millions of dollars were removed from the community bank accounts.
“Over the course of the past few months, all the accounts of the community have undergone a general audit, which is still going on,” Milan Jewish community president Walter Meghnagi told hundreds of community members at a special meeting this week.
The Hungarian Prime Minister won reelection yesterday with a large margin than last time around but the global Jewish Community is keeping an eye on a key development: The Anti-Capitalist, Pro-Regulation, Anti-Semitic Jobbik Party won almost 21% of the vote; up from the 15.8% they won in the national elections four years ago. Jewish media keep presenting this party as a “far-right” group but The Jobbik’s are on most issues far-leftist except on nationalism which seems to echo a sharp leaning to the right. This combination was seen by the Nazis (whose name stood for National Socialism), and indeed some claim the party is hostile to Jews and other minorities.
Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanese-based terrorist group Hezbollah, took responsibility on Monday for the explosive detonated on the Lebanese-Israeli border in mid-March. The explosive was set off as an IDF jeep passed by, sending three soldiers to the hospital to be examined for shock from the blast.
In acknowledging Hezbollah was behind the attack, Nasrallah claimed the blast was revenge for an airstrike attributed to the IAF, which took place a week before the attack and prevented delivery of sophisticated missiles to the terror group.
Citizens of Quebec are going today to the polls to vote for a new provincial government. Two main players are facing off in this year’s elections: the Parti Quebecois (PQ), Quebec’s nationalist party currently ruling as a minority government and led by Premier Pauline Marois, against Quebec’s Liberal Party, ousted from power in 2012 after a wave of student protests fighting proposed tuition hikes, with newly-elected leader Philippe Couillard at its head.
State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz is holding an annual contest that aims to remember the Holocaust through art, essays, poetry and music. Students received recognition for their artistic entries during a ceremony at Kingsborough College Sunday morning. Students say that by creating art related to the Holocaust, they gain a deeper understanding of how hate and intolerance can destroy societies. Students say the contest helped them honor the 6 million Jews who died for being who they were. Holocaust survivor Zipora Yakuboff told the ceremony’s crowd her story of escaping a concentration camp. – News 12
As reported here yesterday, a State Administrative judge ruled that folks who study in Kolel can claim that they actually earn income since they get paid for taking tests. And since this is considered income instead of being a student, it makes families - whose breadwinner is in Kolel - eligible for certain child care assistance through the Social Services Department. This ruling effects hundreds of Jewish families in Rockland County, NY but only three actually seeked out this ruling. Ed Day, the Rockland County Executive under whom authority the social services department is run, is certainly not happy with this ruling. He fired off a Facebook post late Sunday night:
With all the noise surrounding the potential release of Jonathan Pollard, the JTA dug up its March 1987 report of when Pollard was sentenced. It’s quite a somber read: Jonathan Pollard, the former civilian Navy analyst who pleaded guilty to spying on the United States for Israel, was sentenced Wednesday to life imprisonment. Chief Judge Aubrey Robinson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia also sentenced Pollard’s wife, Anne Henderson — Pollard, 26, to two concurrent five-year terms on charges of being an accessory to her husband’s espionage activities and receiving stolen government material.
In an article headlined “Adelson: Iran’s best friend,” NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman goes crazy against Sheldon Adelson. Friedman writes: IT occurred to me the other day that the zealously pro-Israel billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, actually have one big thing in common. They are both trying to destroy Israel. Adelson is doing it by loving Israel to death and Khamenei by hating Israel to death. And now even Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey inadvertently got drawn into this craziness.
Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), met with the Ruderman Fellows Knesset Mission on Thursday. During the meeting, Foxman – as well as several MKs – attempted to campaign for the release of longtime captive, Jonathan Pollard. Foxman maintained that the US’s motives in not releasing Pollard are suspect. “The only explanation I have is that it borders on anti-Semitism,” Foxman stated. “Today I have no rational explanation as to why he is still being held. “
Kerry’s tireless efforts to broker Israeli-Palestinian negotiations hit bottom Thursday, with Israel’s cancellation of prisoner releases that were considered crucial to keeping the talks alive, there are some around Kerry — including on his senior staff and inside the White House — who believe the time is approaching for him to say, “Enough.”
Kerry risks being seen as trying too hard at the expense of a range of other pressing international issues, and perhaps even his reputation, according to several senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity about sensitive internal and diplomatic matters.
In February a Jordanian named Yitzhak Rabin enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces. Now, an African American convert to Judaism in Jerusalem has officially changed his name to Barack Obama, the Times of Israel reports. A special committee at the Interior Ministry approved Mark Hardie’s request to change his name, and Hardie/Obama’s lawyer is working to have the name legally changed in the United States as well. The newly minted Obama has decided to skip the president’s middle name “Hussein,” however, since it’s not so Jewish. – Forward
Students paid to answer questions and do research while spending their days studying religious texts are eligible for Rockland Social Services’ child care payments, a state administrative hearing judge has ruled.
The Rockland Social Services Department has asked for a re-hearing before another judge, arguing the recipients of more than $50,000 in child care money are adult students paid stipends — not employees of the handful of religious study centers called kollels.