Author Archives: A Contributor

Mike Bloomberg & Hillary Clinton Find Common Ground in Global Problem Solving

Bloomberg 3A joint appearance on Monday of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg served to highlight the uniquely cordial relationship between the two political leaders. They had come together to promote a philanthropic effort to measure and track data about issues that affect women and girls around the world.

The event was an example of the detail-oriented, shared common ground of two of New York’s most high-profile political personalities.

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Appealing To Nationalists, Bennett Releases Campaign Video Mocking ‘Apologetic’ Israeli

bennett hipsterThe chairman of Israel’s nationalist Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, released a sarcastic video on Tuesday portraying a typical Israeli apologizing on behalf of other people who were inconveniencing him. The examples shown included a waitress who spills coffee on his table, a driver who rear-ends him, and a cyclist who grabs away the rent-a-cycle the Israeli was about to pay for.

Dropping in a somewhat lighter touch, Bennett adds a blooper reel to the video. Observers have also taken pains to note that the fictional scenes represent typical “first world problems” for the urban Israeli.

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Israel: Chief Rabbi Lau Slams Government For ‘Harming’ Religious Life

Photo credit: Meir Kruter

Photo credit: Meir Kruter

Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Davi Lau criticized the current government on Monday for aggressively pushing through legislation that allegedly damages the country’s Jewish status without – or against – the input of the Chief Rabbinate, the official governmental body ruling in such issues.

Speaking at a Chief Rabbinate Council meeting in Jerusalem that addressed a variety of religious issues including Shabbat, Kashrut and the relationship with Judaism in the Diaspora, Rabbi Lau – who serves as president of the Council – charged that the current election campaigning cannot be viewed as separate from the religious context.

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JP Business: China Ramps Up Investments in Israeli Tech Firms

Peres ChinaWhile China has been searching the world for productive technology investments, it is increasingly looking to Israel for an up-and-coming venture deemed worthy of backing.

Baidu Inc.’s investment in Uber Technologies Inc. last week is only the latest major Chinese investment in a foreign firm. But according to Chinese executives and investors, Tel Aviv’s tech startup hub is rapidly becoming a frequent port of call in China’s global search for companies, startups and investments.

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Political Ad Guru David Garth Dies at 84, Guided NYC Mayors to Victory

david garthMedia guru David Garth, who gained a sterling reputation for successfully advising and directing the election campaigns of long-serving New York City mayors, died Monday at 84 at his Manhattan home following a lengthy illness.

A pioneer of political television advertising, Garth directed his own firm, the Garth Group Inc. He served as political director for numerous elected officials, including governors of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, and was a consultant to other politicians as well.

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NYPD Head Bratton: Anti-Cop Demonstrations ‘Significant Drain’ On Police Manpower

bratton nypd 1The numerous demonstrations and rallies that have been held in recent weeks in Manhattan and other parts of New York City in protest of alleged police violence against minorities have cost the city $22.9 million in police overtime since December 3, generating a “significant drain” of resources, NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton stated Monday evening. Read more »

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Iran Condemns Australia Hostage-Taking By Radical Iranian Cleric

sydney siegeThe Iranian government on Monday notably condemned Sunday’s ultimately fatal hostage-taking in Australia by an Iranian-born gunman, declaring it to be an act foreign to Islam.

“Undertaking such inhuman acts and provoking fear and panic in the name of merciful Islam is not in any way justifiable,” Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham stated.

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Sen. Cruz to Focus 2016 Campaign on Jews, Hispanics

Ted Cruz NYSen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has reportedly devised a very unique plan in his quest for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2016. Rather than focus on winning over Independents, he will instead go after the votes of “Jews, Hispanics, and Millenials.”

Assuming the Tea Party senator does officially announce his plan to run, as has been strongly rumored, his strategy for victory purposely leaves out any effort to court the support of political independents. “Winning independents has meant not winning,” an adviser to Cruz flatly stated.

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Foreign Minister Lieberman Condemns Europeans For Supporting Unilateral Palestinian Moves

via Facebook/Ari Kagan

via Facebook/Ari Kagan

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman condemned European countries on Tuesday for supporting unilateral Palestinian steps toward independent statehood, while at the same time voicing somewhat subtle criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for stating that Israel needs to go on the diplomatic offensive.

Liberman – whom many believe is trying to position himself in the political center by leaving open the possibility of joining a coalition led by Labor’s Isaac Herzog and Hatnua’s Tzipi Livni for the upcoming national elections – stated that Israel would not accept diktats from the Palestinians.

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Veteran Dem Operative Rabinowitz Launches Progressive Communications Firm

Veteran pro-Israel Democratic operative Steve Rabinowitz is launching a new firm in conjunction with a new business partner after the fractious separation last year from his former partner.

Rabinowitz and Aaron Keyak, who resigned as Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s communications director to start the new venture, were set to announce the initiation of their communications firm Bluelight Strategies on Monday. Bluelight will officially begin operations in January. The announcement was scheduled to be made at the annual “Latkes and Vodkas” holiday party.

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J Street Poll: Majority of Israelis See US-Israel Crisis, Blame Netanyahu

jstreet-e1297885239911A poll that was conducted by J Street, a liberal organization which actively promotes the two-state solution while claiming to be pro-Israel, has revealed that 62% of Israelis believe there is a crisis in terms of relations between Israel and the United States. The poll also showed that another 60% of Israeli citizens think that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government bear the responsibility for harming those relations.

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Jewish Museum of Florida Documents State’s Unique Jewish History

jewish museum flThe Jewish Museum of Florida is located within two adjacent Art Deco buildings that were originally the setting for the first synagogue and Jewish school in Miami Beach.

Following up on the opening of Congregation Beth Jacob in 1929, the community constructed a larger synagogue right next door in 1936, and the original building was utilized as a Jewish community resource in other ways. Read more »

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Ex-Pres George W. Bush Honored by Yeshiva University For ‘Commitment to Democracy’

President George W Bush Yeshiva University 90th Annual Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation 2014 Former President George W. Bush took center stage as the special guest and keynote speaker at Yeshiva University’s 90th Annual Hanukkah Convocation and Dinner, held at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan on Sunday.

More than 750 people attended the event and watched YU President Richard Joel confer an honorary doctorate upon the 43rd president of the United States.

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Egyptian Court Debates Ban on Hamas Military Wing

Sissi Egypt presidentAn Egyptian court is deliberating whether to place a ban on the military wing of Hamas, known as the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, as well as whether to list it as a terrorist organization. The Cairo-based court is set to issue its ruling on the matter on January 17.

Egyptian authorities have accused Hamas of taking part in the country’s Islamist insurgency, which has included attacks against government security forces.

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East Ramapo: School Board Dispute Highlighted by Concern Over State Aid Formula

yehuda ERThe New York Times on Monday profiled the ongoing controversy regarding control of the school board in East Ramapo in upstate New York’s Rockland County that has witnessed a war of words between the largely Orthodox Jewish membership of the board and the new monitor chosen by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to oversee the board’s actions.

The monitor recently accused the school board – whose members send their children to private yeshivas – of systematically starving the public schools of much-needed funds in favor of the Orthodox schools.

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Public Advocate James at BPJCC Breakfast: ‘Borough Park is Light in Nation’

Photo credit: @bradlander

Photo credit: @bradlander

The annual Boro Park Jewish Community Council (BPJCC) Legislative and Community Tribute Breakfast on Friday drew an overflow crowd of prominent community members, elected officials and organizational leaders, who came together to spotlight the work of the council and to honor those who have made notable contributions to the greater community over the past year.

Held in the midst of social unrest in the city and around the country, as well as in the immediate aftermath of the unsettling stabbing incident at Lubavitch World headquarters in Crown Heights, many of the breakfast’s speakers took note of the community’s virtues and in particular the valuable accomplishments of the BPJCC in serving those in need. Read more »

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Hollywood Photographer Phil Stern Dies at 95

phil sternPhotographer Phil Stern – who attained his own celebrity status as a result of his numerous candid photos of Hollywood stars and prominent jazz musicians – died on Saturday in Los Angeles after an extended hospital stay. He was 95 years old.

During World War II, Stern worked as a combat photographer for the United States Army newspaper Stars and Stripes, while serving as a U.S. Army Ranger in the North African and Italian military campaigns.

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Likud’s Feiglin Calls For Israeli Sovereignty Over West Bank, Payments to Induce Arab Emigration

feiglinRight-wing Israeli Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin stated on Sunday that the Likud party should actively seek to apply Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank and offer payments to the Arabs currently residing there to induce them to emigrate. Feiglin expressed his view in conjunction with the opening of his campaign to take control of the party from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“By no coincidence, this is exactly what is clearly written in the Likud charter: Application of sovereignty in all parts of the Land of Israel in our hands,” Feiglin pointed out.

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NY Archbishop to Cuomo: Put Education Tax Credit in New State Budget

Dolan wailing wallCardinal Timothy Dolan is pressing New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take tangible action towards enacting a tax credit that would benefit parochial and private schools. The governor had pledged to make such a move, but failed to follow up in the latest legislative session by including it in his state budget proposal to be issued next month. Read more »

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Former Ambassador Oren Slams US Attitude to Israel, Decries Iran Nuke Threat

Throughout his four-year tenure as Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren never wavered from the dignified, thoughtful and tactful behavior of a diplomat. But in his new life as a college lecturer in Israel and the author of a forthcoming book about his time in Washington, Oren has shifted gears, and he now openly speaks about his abiding concerns over Israel’s standing in the world, in particular its relationship with its most important ally, the United States.

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Facebook CEO Zuckerberg: Social Media Valuable Tool to Maintain Relationships

Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook CEOIn a public question-and-answer forum that was livestreamed on the Internet on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed how Facebook will not add a dislike button but would still like to give more nuance to the ways that people share emotions and reactions other than approval. He also defended the social media form of connecting with friends as being a worthy way to spend time. Read more »

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Israel Elections -Yishai Gets Rav Shteinman’s Blessing For Shas Split, New Party W/ Ariel

deri yishaiIn a dramatic new development in the burgeoning run-up to Israel’s forthcoming elections, former Shas chairperson Eli Yishai has apparently obtained the blessings of venerable Hareidi leader Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman to split off from the Sephardic Shas party and form his own party, most probably in collaboration with Tekuma faction head Uri Ariel, who would split from the nationalist Jewish Home party. Read more »

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Tuxedo, NY Planning Board Reviews Casino Site Plan Amid Dissent

casinoA nearly final site plan of the Sterling Forest Resort Casino in upstate Tuxedo, New York was presented to Town of Tuxedo planning board members on Thursday. The plan outlines the details of the resort casino’s construction in the event that its developers are awarded a casino license.

“We have great consultants in terms of a lawyer, planner and engineer, and their job is to protect the town,” stated Mike Reardon, Tuxedo Planning Board chairman. The town official disclosed that the site plan covers detailed sewer, utility and grading plans.

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Sen. Rubio Calls For Tougher US Actions to Defeat ISIS

Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has come out forcefully in favor of stronger action by the United States against the radical terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS), which has been wreaking death and destruction in much of the Middle East.

Declaring that America’s efforts thus far to defeat the murderous extremists have been inadequate, Rubio notes in his op-ed article in the Washington Post that ISIS has expanded its reach from North Africa through the Middle East, Pakistan and South Asia and into Southeast Asia.

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‘Anti-BDS’ Leading Academics Call For Personal Sanctions on ‘Occupationist’ Israelis

“BDS Movement against IsraelA newly formed group of prominent academics is calling on the United States and the European Union to impose personal sanctions on four notable Israelis “who lead efforts to insure permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and to annex all or parts of it unilaterally in violation of international law.”

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