‘Likud is Working to Dismantle Yisrael Beitenu’

May 11th, 2015

likudOfficials in the Yisrael Beitenu party, which has opted to remain with the opposition, accuse the Likud party of “working to dismantle the party”, Channel 10 News reported. The report states that Likud officials wanted to bring about the demise of Avigdor Lieberman’s party and his resignation from political life. The report adds that Likud officials who spoke with the press denied such activity occurred, but they added Lieberman stole six mandates that belong to the right-wing.

Yisrael Beitenu officials maintain that since Lieberman announced his decision to head for the opposition instead of joining the coalition Lieberman has been asked to return and was offered the post of defense minister. Lieberman reportedly rejected the offer, explaining he cannot accept the coalition guidelines agree to by Likud.

As a result of Lieberman’s decision not to join the coalition Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is left with a majority coalition of one seat and he is well aware such a coalition is unlikely to complete its term. Likud has 30 seats, Kulanu 10, Bayit Yehudi 8, Shas 7 and Yahadut Hatorah 6. Yisrael Beitenu and its 6 seats would have given the coalition a majority of 7 seats.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

New York Senate Leader Skelos Quits Top Post After Arrest

May 11th, 2015

skelosRepublican Dean Skelos resigned from his position Monday as leader of the state Senate following his arrest on federal corruption charges and was quickly replaced by another Long Island lawmaker, Sen. John Flanagan.

Skelos, who intends to keep his legislative seat, becomes the latest leader to lose his power in a state government marred by corruption. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver stepped down from his leadership position early this year.

Skelos, a 67-year-old Nassau County resident, is fighting charges he traded his influence for payments to his son, Adam Skelos, who is also charged in the case. Both men say they are innocent.

The resignation comes after Democrats vowed to force a vote on Skelos’ ouster. Skelos held onto power for a week following his arrest, but his support among the Senate’s Republican majority steadily eroded.

Flanagan emerged as Skelos’ replacement after a three-hour closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans. Sen. John DeFrancisco, who had also contended for the top position, was at Flanagan’s side as he announced his victory.

“We come out of this unified,” said Flanagan, 54, a 29-year legislative veteran who had led the Senate education committee. “There is a lot of work that needs to get finished.”

In the formal Senate vote, Flanagan was elected leader with 33 ayes. The 63-member chamber has 32 Republicans; in a symbolic move, the chamber’s Democrats nominated Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins to be leader.

Seven top state lawmakers have stepped down in the past six years because of criminal charges or scandal. In January, Silver was charged with accepting nearly $4 million in payoffs. Silver stepped down as speaker but kept his Assembly seat and has pleaded not guilty.

Skelos, 67, was first elected to the Senate in 1984. He did not address reporters Monday.

Authorities said the legislative veteran traded his influence to extort money from others with business before the state, including hundreds of thousands of dollars from a senior executive of a major real estate development firm who was cooperating with the government. The money was paid to Adam Skelos, authorities said, with the expectation that Dean Skelos would use his position to support the developer’s legislative priorities.

Dean Skelos promoted and voted for real estate legislation sought by the developer, including some pertaining to rent regulation and property tax abatements, the complaint said.

The probe focused in part on whether Skelos influenced Nassau County’s decision to award a $12 million contract to Arizona-based AbTech Industries in 2013. Adam Skelos worked for the company as a consultant; investigators claim his monthly pay more than doubled after the contract was approved.

(AP)

Kerry Set To Make First Trip To Russia Since Ukraine Crisis

May 11th, 2015

kerSecretary of State John Kerry is heading to Russia on his first visit to the country since relations between Washington and Moscow plummeted to post-Cold War lows amid disagreements over Ukraine and Syria.

The State Department said Kerry would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. But in a sign of the considerable strains, the Kremlin said Putin’s attendance had yet to be confirmed.

“This trip is part of our ongoing effort to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure U.S. views are clearly conveyed,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

In addition to Ukraine and Syria, she said the talks would also focus on the ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and the group of nations known as the P5+1 — Russia, the United States, Germany, Britain, France and China.

The short trip to Sochi will be only Kerry’s second to Russia since taking office. He first visited Moscow in May 2013 and had meetings with Putin and Lavrov before the Ukraine crisis erupted and Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in early 2014.

In Moscow, Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it hoped Kerry’s visit will “normalize bilateral relations on which global stability largely depends.”

Ukraine has served as the main source of discord in dialogue between Moscow and Washington.

The western-backed government in Kiev continues to be embroiled in a sporadic conflict between government and separatist rebel forces in its eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk despite a cease-fire agreement sealed in mid-February.

Western nations have accused Russia of supporting the separatists with arms and manpower — a claim that Moscow has denied.

Underscoring the animosity, the Russian foreign ministry on Monday blamed the United States for the unrest in Ukraine and said Washington was trying to isolate Russia on the international arena.

Moscow has bristled at Washington’s pledge to provide Ukraine with military assistance in the form of hardware and training.

In late April, troops from the United States and Ukraine kicked off joint training exercises intended to help bolster Ukraine’s defenses. The exercises, dubbed “Fearless Guardian-2015,” sparked outrage from Russia, which described them as a potential cause of destabilization.

During a visit to Moscow on Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Russia to use its influence to persuade separatists in Ukraine to abide by the oft-violated cease-fire.

Ukraine says more than 8,000 people have died in the conflict that began in April 2014.

Russia has stuck firmly to the line that the Ukrainian government retains the bulk of responsibility for bringing about a settlement.

“We will use all the influence we have on the leadership in Donetsk and Luhansk to ensure the process proceeds at the required pace and attains the necessary level,” Putin told Merkel on Sunday.

Diplomats in Moscow and Washington remain at odds over a range of other international issues.

Russia last month announced it would lift a five-year ban on delivery of the S-300 air defense missile system to Iran, drawing a hasty rebuke from the United States.

The White House said the missile system would give the Islamic republic’s military a strong deterrent against any air attack. The Kremlin argues that the S-300 is a purely defensive system that will not jeopardize the security of Israel or any other countries in the Middle East.

On Syria, Russia has defied a chorus of international condemnation to remain fast to the embattled government of President Bashar Assad.

Following his stop in Sochi, Kerry will travel on to Antalya, Turkey, where he will attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Wednesday. Kerry will return to Washington that same day to attend meetings between President Barack Obama and top officials of the Gulf Arab states that are concerned by the possibility of a nuclear deal with Iran.

(AP)

Poll: Should the Labor Party Join Netanyahu’s Coalition? Are Incoming Ministers Suited for their Posts?

May 11th, 2015

herzA Panels Politics poll of the voting public has revealed some surprising results. 44% of respondents express support for the appointment of MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) as Minister of Justice as opposed to 43% that oppose the appointment. In the race for Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom (Likud) leads with 29% of the public’s support.

49% of respondents feel that Labor party leader Yitzchak Herzog (Labor) should remain outside of the coalition while only 18% feel the party should join. 21% however back the idea conceptually if PM Netanyahu takes out the ‘right-wing extremists’ from the coalition as well as accepting some of the Labor party platform.

The respondents were also asked to rate the suitability of incoming senior cabinet ministers. 40% feel Defense Minister (Likud) Moshe Ya’alon is very suited. He enjoys the highest rating followed by Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) as Finance Minister, with 38%.

Regarding incoming Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) only 14% feel he is ‘very suited’ for the post while 25% feel he is ‘suited enough’ and an additional 25% feel he is ‘not really suited and 29% feel he is ‘not at all suited’.

Regarding Aryeh Deri (Shas) as Minister of the Economy, 58% of respondents fee he is ‘not at all suited’ while only 8% feel he is ‘very suited’. Regarding Yoav Gallant (Kulanu) serving as Minister of Housing, 32% feel he is ‘not at all suited’ for the post while only 7% feel he is ‘very suited’.

The poll also asked about who is suited to serve as foreign minister. Only 11% feel that PM Netanyahu should hold on to the portfolio for himself. Enjoying the most support is MK Silvan Shalom with 29% and the lowest rating for that post was received by Yisrael Katz (Likud) with 1%. Gilad Erdan (Likud) Received 24% and Dr. Yuval Steinitz (Likud) 12%.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Renowned Kashrus Expert Rabbi Yitzchak Gornish Joins KOF-K Kosher Supervision

May 11th, 2015

unnamed (3)KOF-K Kosher Supervision announced that Rabbi Yitzchak Gornish has joined their team as a kashrus administrator. A noted kashrus authority, Rabbi Gornish brings with him more than two decades of experience to the KOF-K.

“Rabbi Gornish is well known in the world of kashrus,” stated Rabbi Daniel Senter, Executive Administrator at KOF-K. “He is a distinguished ben Torah, who has a detailed understanding of the halachos of kashrus. Rabbi Gornish is unique in that he combines this with a deep understanding of the technical[r1]  side of the food industry and great expertise in food chemistry. We’re very excited to welcome him to KOF-K.”

Decades ago, kashrus supervision operated on a separate track from the food manufacturing process. In recent years, however, agencies such as KOF-K have invested heavily in making kashrus an integral part of food production for the companies they work with. This requires vast knowledge of how to practically apply halachah in various circumstances, keen understanding of how factories operate and the ability to keep up with rapid advances in food technology – all prominent elements of Rabbi Gornish’s expertise.

Raised in, Brooklyn, Rabbi Gornish attended Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, Beis HaTalmud, Mir Yerushalayim and received semichah from Beis Medrash Govoha in Lakewood. Rabbi Gornish, holds a master’s degree in food science from Rutgers University and continues to enhance his education. In 2014, he received certification from the New York City Department of Health, the National Celiac Foundation and the Food Safety Project.

“Kashrus is very much a regulatory job,” explains Rabbi Gornish. “Your focus is different from that of other inspectors, but kashrus can learn from and adapt many aspects of this process. When you learn to spot possible vulnerabilities on a manufacturing line, you know where to focus to prevent problematic issues. Kashrus isn’t a stand-alone business; it is very closely tied into food manufacturing. When you understand the process and are able to speak the language of the food industry, you can significantly upgrade the level of kashrus while simultaneously bringing down costs. Ultimately, the kosher consumer is the winner.”

Currently studying automation, Rabbi Gornish says that a clear understanding of factory setup enables KOF-K to advise companies how to reconfigure lines so as to streamline kashrus supervision, or, in the case of a new factory, to design a supervision-friendly system from the outset.

“In today’s day and age, you must fully understand the process to give hashgachah,” he adds. “Understanding the intricacies of production makes a difference halachically.”

“The level of technical knowledge in the world of kashrus has grown tremendously in recent years,” concludes Rabbi Senter. “Together with Rabbi Gornish and our highly experienced staff, we are raising the standards of kashrus industry.”

For more information visit KOF-K.org, or call (201) 837-0500


 

Madoff Aide-Turned-Government Witness Dies

May 11th, 2015

dipBernard Madoff’s former right-hand man who testified for the government in the multi-billion dollar fraud case has died.

Frank DiPascali died last Thursday of lung cancer, according to his attorney Marc Mukasey

DiPascali pleaded guilty and was scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 10 in Manhattan federal court.

During testimony in 2013, DiPascali testified that Madoff cried when he revealed he was out of money more than a week before federal authorities learned the truth.

Five former top Madoff employees were convicted of helping in the Ponzi scheme. Madoff clients lost nearly $20 billion.

(AP)

Likud MK Calls for Eliminating Oslo Agreements

May 11th, 2015

osloAs Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu just got over the stress of forming a coalition government he now has to deal with some of his party’s faction members who are strong in their ideology of a Greater Israel. Among them is newly-elected MK Miki Zohar, who announced the government must eliminate the Oslo Agreements that were signed with the PA (Palestinian Authority) in 1993. Zohar made his comments during a visit to northern Shomron yishuvim. “Anyone who voted Likud did so with the desire to preserve the Greater Eretz Yisrael and therefore, I think we must call on the prime minister to renew and strengthen building in Yehuda and Shomron” Zohar told the press.

He added “The Oslo Agreements have exhausted themselves and it must be explained to all relevant international bodies that they no longer exist for us”. Acting head of the Shomron Regional Council Danny Dayan adding “continued construction in Yehuda and Shomron must be at the heart of the new government’s work”.

“Together with the Land of Israel Faithful during this term we demand the prime minister order a building boom. Not talk but action. One who truly wishes to prevent a Palestinian state must build in the Shomron for at the end this is what will be the determining factor. We will not give in during this term regarding the legitimate justified demand for building in a big way in line with the size of the available areas”.

Zohar concluded “I have a real feeling that in this term we will be permitted to settle Yehuda and Shomron and to cancel the hallucinatory Oslo Agreements and act for Eretz Yisrael and Toras Yisrael, one simple action; increasing the number of Jews in areas throughout Yehuda and Shomron which are most important to us as a Jewish democratic state”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Capitol Hill Buzz: Obama Sends Handwritten Note To McConnell

May 11th, 2015

mcPresident Barack Obama sent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a handwritten note thanking the Republican for backing Loretta Lynch as attorney general.

That’s right: The Democratic president and GOP leader, who have been at odds multiple times over the last six years, find themselves on the same page of late.

The Kentucky senator spoke about his role in the latest political odd couple on Sunday during a speech at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston. McConnell was the inaugural speaker for the “Getting to the Point Series.” McConnell spoke of his aspirations to be a senator, occupying Kennedy’s office in the Russell building and his drive to get work done in the Senate, with his own outreach to Democrats.

The senator said his first goal in life was to be a baseball player, “but I guess my passion for procedure proved stronger than my pitching arm.”

McConnell pointed out that Obama has agreed to sign a bill giving Congress review power on any nuclear deal with Iran, and this week the Senate will take up a trade bill that is a priority of the president.

“A lot of folks like to joke about the odd couple that was Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch,” McConnell said, referring to the late Massachusetts Democrat and the Republican senator from Utah. “But I think Mitch McConnell and Barack Obama may have them outdone. I had to warn reporters not to faint last week before offering the president some praise on trade. I’m even getting handwritten notes from the president these days. He sent one the other day to thank me for supporting the nomination of Loretta Lynch.”

Ten Republican senators, including McConnell, joined Democrats and independents in voting to confirm Lynch last month.

In his speech, McConnell was a realist, arguing that his relationship with Obama hardly comes close to the genial bond between Kennedy and Hatch who repeatedly combined forces on legislation. “What we do have, however, is common policy ground, on an issue we both think is good for the country. So the Republican majority is going to work with President Obama to get this done, even if we have to do it over the objections of his own party.”

Early on in Obama’s presidency, McConnell famously said his goal was to make Obama a one-term president.

“We’ve both chosen to put policy before party. That’s how politics should be conducted, in my view,” McConnell said Sunday.

(AP)

Increased Security for Incoming Minister Shaked

May 11th, 2015

argIn response to threats against her, security officials have stepped up security for incoming Minister of Justice (Bayit Yehudi) Ayelet Shaked. Shaked filed a complaint with Knesset Security Officer Major-General Yosef Girif, explaining she has received numerous death threats. There are also violent statements against her appearing on social networks.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Girif agreed the situation demand increased security for Shaked.

Barring changes in the schedule, Shaked and her colleagues in the 34th Government will be sworn into office on Wednesday, 24 Iyar 5775.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Treasury Officials Opposed to Increasing the Size of the Israeli Cabinet

May 11th, 2015

bibWhile the outgoing cabinet on Sunday 21 Iyar voted unanimously to back Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call to increase the number of ministers and deputy ministers, a senior Finance Ministry official is opposed to the move.

Mr. Amir Levy, the treasury official responsible for the state budget on Sunday sent a letter to Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit stating “Our position is that in order to optimize government activity, the number of government agencies must be reduced”. Levy did not detail an expressed position regarding the number of cabinet ministers, but stated that if there is a change in that number and type of ministers exceeding the current law, the cost will be 2.8 to 3.9 million NIS annually per additional minister, translating to 11.2 to 15.6 million NIS per minister for the four-year term in office. The cost of each deputy minister is 1.5 million annually, or 6 million per deputy minister per four-year term.

The ministry budget director added, the work of the Prime Minister’s Office staff along with Finance Ministry officials indicates that more significant than an increase in the number of ministers is the increase in the number of existing government ministries.

At present the number of ministries in Israel is 27, as opposed to 14 in countries with optimal government operation. Levy adds that in line with OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) explains one reason that having too many ministries is counterproductive in the public sector is that in a typical office, 35-40% if the manpower of that ministry serves the ministry as opposed to increasing the volume of services provided to citizens.

The OECD adds that too many government agencies resulted in an increase in regulatory activity and thus, in some cases, damage to the economy.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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May 11th, 2015
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MAILBAG – I Found My Daughter a Job Using the YWN Classifieds

May 11th, 2015

Screenshot_2014-12-02-14-29-11The following email was sent to YWN by an anonymous writer: 

I would like to thank you for your free classified job positions. My daughter who lives Upstate was searching for an office job that would fit in to her family obligations, quite a while, I live in Brooklyn, one day I spotted a suitable job in her area. I emailed her the YWN link. She applied and got the job!! Tizku Lemitzvos.

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Defense Rests In Penalty Phase Of Boston Bombing Trial

May 11th, 2015

bmbLawyers for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev rested their case Monday to save him from the death penalty, portraying him as an impressionable teenager from a troubled family who was lured into the deadly plot by his radicalized older brother.

The defense team called more than 40 witnesses during the penalty phase of his trial in the hope of convincing the jury that Tsarnaev’s late older brother was the mastermind of the plot and that Tsarnaev deserves life in prison instead of execution.

His teachers recalled a sweet, hardworking boy, while his Russian family members wept as they described a kind child with an infectious smile.

A psychiatrist said Tsarnaev’s father struggled with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, while others described a mother who became obsessed with religion.

A nun and death penalty opponent made famous in the 1995 movie “Dead Man Walking” said Tsarnaev expressed genuine sorrow for the victims of the attacks when she spoke with him recently.

Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when the Tsarnaev brothers placed two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the marathon April 15, 2013. Days after the bombings, the brothers also fatally shot a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer in his cruiser.

From the beginning of the trial, Tsaranev’s lawyers admitted he participated in the bombings but said his older brother, Tamerlan, was the mastermind. Tsarnaev was convicted of all 30 charges against him during the first phase of the trial, including 17 that carry the possibility of the death penalty.

During the penalty phase, Tsarnaev’s lawyers urged the jury to consider Tsarnaev’s young age at the time of the bombings —19 — and his dysfunctional family as mitigating factors and grounds to spare his life.

Friends and family members said 26-year-old Tamerlan embraced a radical form of Islam and became a domineering influence on Dzhokhar.

Sister Helen Prejean, the last witness for the defense, began meeting with Tsarnaev in March at the request of the defense. She said she asked him how he felt about what happened to the victims of the bombing. He said, “No one deserves to suffer like they did,” she testified.

The Tsarnaevs — ethnic Chechens — had lived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and the volatile Dagestan region of Russia, near Chechnya, before moving to the U.S. in 2002, when Dzhokhar was 8.

During their case, prosecutors called bombing victims who gave heartbreaking testimony about watching loved ones die or having their legs blown off in the blasts. They portrayed Tsarnaev as an equal partner with his brother in the plan and someone so heartless that he placed a bomb behind a group of children, killing 8-year-old Martin Richard.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed days after the bombings when he was shot during a gun battle with police and Dzhokhar ran him over during a chaotic getaway. Dzhokhar was later captured hiding in a dry-docked boat.

(AP)

Greenfield Funds $100,000 To Clean Up Local Streets with Doe Fund

May 11th, 2015

gfCouncilman David G. Greenfield announced a clean-up initiative with the acclaimed Doe Fund that cleans dozens of streets within his own Council District, Last week. Doe Fund is an innovative non-profit that provides homeless people with transitional work and housing. The Men in Blue, as they are known, are cleaning 13th Avenue between 44th Street and 54th Street, 16th Avenue between 44th Street and 56th Street, Avenue M between McDonald Avenue and Ocean Parkway, Kings Highway between McDonald Avenue and Ocean Parkway, and Coney Island Avenue between Avenue M and Kings Highway five days a week.

“I am thrilled that this community clean-up program is now in full force. As a Councilman, one of my most important focuses is in quality of life. Streets in our community are dirtier than ever. With this investment we are already seeing noticeably cleaner streets. The Doe Fund’s incredible impact is twofold: beautifying our streets while also helping reduce unemployment,” said Councilman Greenfield.

Greenfield launched the city-wide effort known as NYC Cleanup securing over $3.5 million for the City Council’s 51 members to promote cleaner streets in their respective districts. Each member is allocated funding to distribute to the organization of their choice to provide cleaning services.

“We offer a pathway. We put long-term unemployed people to work. People with barriers. Let’s face it, our economy has shifted, so people need to be retrained and they can’t live if we don’t have transitional employment. So New York City in my humble opinion should thank the heavens for people like Councilman Greenfield,” lauded the Founder of the Doe Fund, George McDonald.

“A clean district is what drives business. People feel walking in the streets, shopping in the streets and I thank you, Councilman Greenfield, and I thank all the hard working people of Doe Fund,” said District Manager, Barry Spitzer.

The Councilman has previously financed programs to improve conditions and cleanliness along the major commercial corridors throughout the 44th district. In Fiscal Year 2014, he targeted the commercial strips of 13th, 16th, and 18th avenues in Borough Park, with a pilot program that was run by Midwood Development Corp’s Project Sweep. Councilman Greenfield also sponsored a number of clean streets initiatives in past years, including one concentrated on Bay Parkway.

(YWN Desk – NYC)

Chareidi Boycott Compels ‘Big Center’ Owners to Reconsider Chilul Shabbos

May 11th, 2015

bigA meeting was held in Los Angeles between the Pittsburg Rebbe Shlita and the Naftali brothers, the latter being the owners of the Big Center malls around Israel. The rebbe was told they are reevaluating the operations of stores in the company’s malls in light of the announced chareidi boycott of the centers nationwide. This was prompted by the decision that stores in the Ashdod mall will be operating on Shabbos despite objections from rabbonim and admorim.

The meeting was held late Thursday night, the eve of 19 Iyar at the rebbe’s location in Los Angeles. The Rebbe became aware the brothers were also visiting Los Angeles and he requested to meet with them. The rebbe is a resident of Ashdod and was visiting in LA. The rebbe reportedly spoke about the alarming Chilul Shabbos in Ashdod during the 90 minute meeting.

The owners of the malls explained they are not supportive of the Chilul Shabbos.

Rabbonim of the Vaad L’Maan Shabbos explain that while reports from Los Angeles are positive, the order to shut down on Shabbos has not been given, adding this Shabbos unfortunately was accompanied by Chilul Shabbos as was the case last week.

Vaad rabbonim are still trying to meet with Ashdod Mayor Dr. Yechiel Lasri towards compelling him to enforce the law and shut down stores operating on Shabbos.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

The Belzer Rebbe Travelling To Ukraine

May 11th, 2015

belzIn what is a surprise to many chassidim, the Belzer Rebbe Shlita is planning a trip abroad. After havdalah the rebbe recited the pesukim from Parshas Vayishlach that are recited prior to a trip abroad. It has been learned the rebbe this week plans to travel to Belz in the Ukraine for tefilos at the kevarim of his ancestors.

Gabbai HaRav HaChossid Eliezer Winder announced on Sunday morning 21 Iyar to chassidim that the rebbe will be leaving and no one, including those with foreign passports will accompany the rebbe for the journey is only for family members and gabbaim.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Along With Saudi King, Most Gulf Rulers To Skip US Summit

May 11th, 2015

Saudi King SalmanIt is not just the Saudi king who will be skipping the Camp David summit of U.S. and allied Arab leaders. Most Gulf heads of state won’t be there.

The absences will put a damper on talks that are designed to reassure key Arab allies, and almost certainly reflect dissatisfaction among leaders of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council with Washington’s handling of Iran and what they expect to get out of the meeting.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced late on Sunday that newly installed King Salman will not be attending. The ostensible reason was because the upcoming summit on Thursday coincides with a humanitarian cease-fire in the conflict in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting Shiite rebels known as Houthis.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who is also interior minister, will lead the Saudi delegation and the king’s son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is defense minister, will also attend.

President Barack Obama had planned to meet King Salman one-on-one a day before the gathering of leaders at the presidential retreat but the White House did not take his decision to skip the summit as a sign of any substantial disagreement with the United States.

The king, who took power in January after his brother King Abdullah died, has not traveled abroad since his ascension to the throne.

The tiny island kingdom of Bahrain said separately that its delegation would be headed by the country’s crown prince, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

Bahrain, whose leadership has close ties to the Saudis, is an important military ally of the U.S. It is the longstanding host to the Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is responsible for operations around the Arabian Peninsula and northern Indian Ocean, and is Washington’s main naval counterbalance to Iran.

At the summit, leaders of Gulf nations will be looking for assurances that they have Obama’s support at a time when the region feels under siege from Islamic extremists and by Iran’s rising influence. The Gulf states worry the nuclear pact taking shape with the U.S., Iran and other nations may embolden Tehran to act more aggressively in the region.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed similar concerns, saying the emerging deal will leave too much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure intact while giving it quick relief from economic sanctions.

Netanyahu has been an outspoken critic of the deal, raising tensions with the White House. U.S. attempts to reassure Israel that the deal will have strong safeguards have done little to ease its concerns. Netanyahu has claimed that moderate Sunni Arab countries see “eye to eye” with Israel on the matter, though he has not elaborated.

Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a professor of political science at Emirates University, said Gulf leaders were staying away from the Camp David gathering to signal their displeasure over the nuclear talks.

“I don’t think they have a deep respect, a deep trust for Obama and his promises. There is a fundamental difference between his vision of post-nuclear-deal Iran and their vision,” he said. “They think Iran is a destabilizing force and will remain so, probably even more, if the sanctions are lifted. … They’re just not seeing things eye to eye.”

The sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said, is among those staying away. The sultanate will be represented instead by the deputy prime minister, Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said, and other officials, the country’s official news agency announced.

The sultan’s absence comes as little surprise. The long-serving monarch, whose country maintains cordial relations with Iran and has served as a go-between for Tehran and Washington, returned home in March after spending several months in Germany being treated for an undisclosed illness.

Health issues are also expected to keep the president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, from attending. He suffered a stroke in January last year and has not been seen publicly since.

Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president’s half-brother, held talks with Obama at the White House last month and is expected to lead the Emirati delegation.

Abdullah, the Emirati professor, said the Gulf ties with the United States remain strong, but they have been strained during Obama’s tenure.

He said Obama is seen within the region as impersonal compared to his predecessors. He also noted that recent comments to The New York Times in which Obama warned that dissatisfaction at home was perhaps a bigger threat than Iran came across as unnecessary “lecturing.”

“You just pre-empted the whole meeting with this kind of statement,” he said.

Among those who will be at the summit is the Kuwaiti emir, Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah. He arrived at Andrews Air Force Base on Monday, the official Kuwait News Agency reported.

Also, Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is scheduled to depart Monday to take part in the meeting.

(AP)

PM Netanyahu: Lieberman is Out for Good

May 11th, 2015

liePrime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reportedly told people in his inner circle that even if Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman has a change of heart and wishes to enter the coalition he is no longer welcome, Yisrael Hayom reported on erev Shabbos, 18 Iyar. The report states PM Netanyahu is furious with Lieberman and he is unwilling to see him serve in the cabinet in any post, yet alone foreign minister or defense minister.

Following elections Lieberman was still speaking of his promise to voters that he would serve as defense minister. After it became clear to him that this would not occur he spoke of remaining in his post as foreign minister but with hours remaining till the deadline to build a coalition, Lieberman announced he decision to join the opposition.

Lieberman, who served as PM Netanyahu’s Bureau Chief in his first term in office, 1996-1997, has become the prime minister’s political nemesis. Despite this, some opine that if Lieberman is willing to return to the coalition and accept the prime minister’s terms, Mr. Netanyahu would accept him since he is aware a coalition with a one-vote majority does not have good prospects of serving out its term.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

13-Year-Old Struck By Car In Monsey Remains On Life Support – Please Continue To Be Mispallel

May 11th, 2015

tehillThe following is a letter from the parents of Chezky Sklarz, the 13 year old Boy who was struck by a vehicle on Route 59 in Monsey nearly four weeks weeks ago.

Dear all:

With tears in our eyes we plead and beg you – please don’t stop saying Tehillim for our only son, 13-year-old Chezky, who was struck by a vehicle almost 4 weeks ago. He still remains in critical condition and is on life support.

Please continue to daven for his speedy recovery.

His name is Alter Shimon Yecheskel ben Rochel Chana.

Thanking all of you in advance for your tremendous support in this horrifying situation.

As YWN had reported, he was riding his bicycle around 8:20PM on Route 59 near Monsey Glatt when he was struck by a vehicle. He suffered serious injuries and was rushed by Hatzolah of Rockland to Westchester Trauma Center, where he was listed in critical condition and placed on a respirator.

Alter Shimon Yecheskel ben Rochel Chana – bsoch sha’ar cholei yisroel.

(YWN Monsey Newsroom)