Florida Woman Survives 45 Minutes With No Pulse; Miraculously Has No Brain Damage

November 9th, 2014

surgA Florida mother is home and tending to her new infant less than a month after surviving without a pulse for 45 minutes following complications from a routine cesarean section.

A spokesman for Boca Raton Regional Hospital told The Associated Press on Sunday that a team of medical workers spent three hours attempting to revive the woman after a rare amniotic fluid embolism.

Spokesman Thomas Chakurda says the doctors were preparing to pronounce her death when a blip on a monitor indicated a heartbeat. Despite going 45 minutes without a pulse, she suffered no brain damage during the Sept. 23 ordeal.

“She essentially spontaneously resuscitated when we were about to call the time of death,” said Thomas Chakurda, the hospital spokesman.

Doctors had called the family into the operating room and told them there was nothing more they could do for 40-year-old Ruby Graupera-Cassimiro.

Graupera-Cassimiro gave birth to a healthy daughter before amniotic fluid entered her bloodstream and heart and created a vacuum, stopping circulation. Doctors say condition is often fatal.

Chakurda said the woman’s survival is a story of two miracles — her resuscitation and the fact that she survived without serious brain damage.

Medical workers used shock paddles and chest compressions throughout the emergency to try and restore heart beat and circulation, Chakurda said.

“Today she is the picture of health,” he said.

Doctors had no immediate explanation for her survival, Chakurda said, calling her case one of “divine providence.”

Graupera-Cassimiro did not return a phone message left by The Associated Press on Sunday.

(AP)

PM Remains Firm on Dealing with Law-Breakers

November 9th, 2014

bibPrime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning 16 Marcheshvan used the weekly cabinet meeting to address the ongoing Arab violence and the need to restore law and order to areas plagued with an increase in rioting and attacks. He expressed his support for revoking the citizenship of citizens calling for the destruction of the State of Israel as well.

“Israel is a nation of law. Whoever violates the law will be punished severely. We will not tolerate disturbances and riots. We will take determined action against those who throw stones, firebombs and fireworks, and block roads, and against demonstrations that call for our destruction. We are not prepared to tolerate more demonstrations in the heart of our cities in which Hamas or ISIS flags are waved and calls are made to redeem Palestine with blood and fire, calling in effect for the destruction of the State of Israel. I have instructed the Interior Minister to use all means, including evaluating the possibility of revoking the citizenship of those who call for the destruction of the State of Israel.

Standing behind this incitement are – first of all – the various Islamic movements: Hamas and the Islamic movement in Israel. In the forefront, at least vis-a-vis the agitation on Har Habayis, are the Mourabitoun and the Mourabiat – movements engaged in incitement and which are financed by funds from extremist Islam.

“I have instructed that they be outlawed. But also standing behind this incitement is the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Abu Mazen. The website of their official body, Fatah, explains that the Jewish people were, in effect, never here, that the Temple was never here, that David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah and the kings and prophets of Israel – are all fiction. This is nothing less than a clear attempt to distort not only the modern truth, but also the historical truth. Against these distortions and these gross lies, we must tell the truth to our people and to the world. We must tell the truth to the supreme element that seeks our destruction and I mean Iran.

“The President of Iran, or the leader of Iran, Khomeini, has been in the news of late. Just yesterday he called for our destruction. Remarks to the effect that Iran has moderated are overshadowed by Iran’s actual policies, including the call for our destruction and the denial of human rights, which has surged in Iran in the past year, and the reports that we are receiving from the IAEA that Iran is continuing to lie and to lead the world astray regarding its plans and actions to achieve nuclear weapons.

“Against such an Iran, which is controlled by such a regime, we must do everything so that it does not acquire nuclear weapons or the ability to produce nuclear weapons on short notice. And the international community now faces a clear choice, to give in to Iran’s demands in a capitulation agreement that endangers not only Israel but the entire world, or to insist on the demand that Iran dismantle its ability to manufacture nuclear weapons. Israel will not countenance an agreement that leaves Iran as a nuclear threshold state. This endangers us all.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Iraqi Officials Say ISIS Leader Wounded in Airstrike

November 9th, 2014

isiIraqi officials said Sunday that an airstrike wounded the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Pentagon officials said they had no immediate information on such a strike or al-Baghdadi being wounded.

Iraq’s Defense and Interior Ministries issued statements saying al-Baghdadi had been wounded, without elaborating.

An Interior Ministry intelligence official told The Associated Press that al-Baghdadi was hit during a meeting Saturday with militants in the town of Qaim in Iraq’s western Anbar province. The official, citing informants within the militant group, said the strike wounded al-Baghdadi. A senior Iraqi military official also said he learned in operational meetings that al-Baghdadi had been wounded.

Both officials said the operation was carried out by Iraqi security forces. Neither knew the extent of al-Baghdadi’s apparent injuries.

Both spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential material. State television later also reported that al-Baghdadi had been wounded.

Al-Baghdadi, an ambitious Iraqi militant believed to be in his early 40s, has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head. Since taking the reins of the group in 2010, he has transformed it from a local branch of al-Qaida into an independent transnational military force, positioning himself as perhaps the pre-eminent figure in the global jihadi community.

The reclusive leader is purported to have made only one public appearance, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul, as seen in a video posted online in June. Al-Baghdadi’s purported appearance in Mosul came five days after his group declared the establishment of an Islamic state, or caliphate, in the territories it holds in Iraq and Syria. The group proclaimed al-Baghdadi its leader and demanded that all Muslims pledge allegiance to him.

Since then, part of the Islamic State group’s core strategy has been to establish administration over lands that it controls to project an image of itself as a ruler and not just a fighting force. In parts of Syria under its control, the group now administers courts, fixes roads and even polices traffic. It recently imposed a curriculum in schools in its Syrian stronghold, Raqqa, scrapping subjects such as philosophy and chemistry, and fine-tuning the sciences to fit with its ideology.

A U.S.-led coalition has been launching airstrikes on Islamic State militants and facilities in Iraq and Syria for months as part of an effort to give Iraqi forces the time and space to mount a more effective offensive. The Islamic State had gained ground across northern and western Iraq in a lightning advance in June and July, causing several of Iraq’s army and police divisions to fall into disarray.

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama authorized the deployment of up to 1,500 more American troops to bolster Iraqi forces, including into Anbar province, where fighting with Islamic State militants has been fierce. The plan could boost the total number of American troops in Iraq to 3,100. There now are about 1,400 U.S. troops in Iraq, out of the 1,600 previously authorized.

(AP)

Ben-Givir: Deri is Responsible for the Bloodshed of Thousands of Jews

November 9th, 2014

bgvProminent right-wing activist and Honenu attorney Itamar Ben-Givir responds to remarks made by Shas party leader Aryeh Deri on Jews visiting Har Habayis. “Deri is responsible for the bloodshed of thousands of Jews. How dare he speak!”

Deri told Channel 2 News that increased Jewish efforts to visit and daven on Har Habayis are leading to bloodshed and the recent increase in Arab violence and terror attacks. Deri equates visiting Har Habayis with eating on Yom Kippur, warning of prohibitions against visiting the holy site.

“Deri, who brought us the Oslo Agreements is responsible for the bloodshed of thousands of Jews” stated Ben-Givir. “To this very day we are suffering the consequences of his actions. Certainly he does not have the right to preach to others regarding Jews ascending to Har Habayis”.

“It is true there are rabbonim who hold doing so is forbidden. However it is clear to all that enemies should not be granted entry. This is a halacha that no one disagrees with. It is unclear just how Deri, who brought us Oslo, and is responsible for the agreement that led to so much bloodshed of thousands of Jews, has no right to speak, not to mention pointing an accusing figure at righteous Jews”.

Ben-Givir explains that Deri’s decision to abstain in the vote permitted the Oslo Agreement to pass in Knesset. “We will not forget of forgive Aryeh Deri and the truth is that in recent years, he gives the impression that he understands and in a series of interviews prior to the elections Deri tried to give the impression he cut right, but Deri remains Deri. Prior to elections he is always right-wing and afterwards, back to the left. In essence his only strength is to connect to the left-wing. This is who he was in the past and will remain in the future” Ben-Givir added.

“It is amusing that Deri speaks of one transgression or another, and that he has now undertaken responsibility for HKBH’s dealings, and certainly when he equates between those visiting Har Habayis and one who eats on Yom Kippur. It is unfortunate that in the same interview he was not asked if one who gives away portions of the Homeland and gives weapons to terrorists is comparable to one who eats on Yom Kippur. Or perhaps one who was convicted of bribery is comparable to one who eats on Yom Kippur” continues Ben-Givir. “Deri committed all of these transgressions and one would expect he would sit back quietly and do real teshuvah for his transgressions and not revert to be the old Aryeh Deri – the lover of the left-wingers and terrorists from Tunisia,” he concluded.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Big NYC Subway Hub Opens; Will Serve 300,000 a Day

November 9th, 2014

subNew York’s biggest subway hub is opening in lower Manhattan — a vital link between the new World Trade Center and the rest of the city.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Sunday is inaugurating the $1.4 billion Fulton Center, a transit complex where many subway lines converge.

Officials say the transit and retail hub will serve as Lower Manhattan’s next great public space — encased in a glass and steel shell with a soaring, light-filled atrium. It also includes nearly 66,000 square feet of retail and office space.

The center will accommodate up to 300,000 daily riders using the 2, 3, 4, 5 subway lines, plus the A, C, J, Z and R.

A pedestrian tunnel will lead to the trade center.

(AP)

President Rivlin Makes a Condolence Visit to the Home of Border Police Officer Killed In Terror Attack

November 9th, 2014

rivPresident Rivlin on erev Shabbos 14 Marcheshvan Beit Jon to pay his condolences to the family of Border Police Superintendent Jidan Assad, murdered in the terror attack in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

President Rivlin spoke with Jidan’s parents, and told them, “I offer my condolences to a family who are an inseparable part of the Israeli experience. Jidan Assad, of blessed memory, was a devoted family man, a tremendous soldier, and I am here today share in your terrible grief at his loss.”

The President stressed, in relation to the events of last week in Jerusalem, “In our country, Beit Jon defends Jerusalem, and Jerusalem defends Beit Jon – we all want to live in peace. We are not at war with Islam, but with those who do not accept our existence here. This is not a religious war, but rather a struggle for the right of all of us to live together in this land.”

The President also met with Jidan’s widow, held her hand, and assured her the entire country joins stands by her, and shares in her loss.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Analysis: What’s Behind Release Of 2 Americans From North Korea

November 9th, 2014

kimWhile the details behind the release of the final two Americans held in North Korea — Matthew Miller of Bakersfield, California, and Kenneth Bae of Lynnwood, Washington — are still unclear, here are questions and some answers as to what might have motivated the North to let the two men out.

___

Q: WHAT DOES NORTH KOREA GET OUT OF IT?

A: Pyongyang apparently got at least one thing it wanted: A senior U.S. official had to come personally to retrieve the two Americans. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, was the highest-ranking American to visit Pyongyang in more than a decade.

A senior Obama administration official said Clapper spent roughly a day on the ground and met with North Korean security officials — but not with leader Kim Jong Un.

Clapper went with the sole purpose of bringing home the two detainees, although the U.S. anticipated that other issues of concern to the North would come up during his discussions, according to the official traveling with Obama to Beijing. The official said that North Koreans indicated in recent weeks that they would release the detainees if the U.S. sent a high-level official from Obama’s administration.

Clapper’s visit in itself is something of a coup for Pyongyang, which has for months been pursuing a high-profile campaign to keep the detainees’ situation on Washington’s radar.

As part of that effort, the North had allowed the men, along with a third detainee, Jeffrey Fowle, who was released last month, to meet with The Associated Press and other media. The AP met with Fowle and Miller three times. Each time, they pleaded for a senior U.S. statesman to come and bail them out.

That has been the pattern in past releases. Previously, trips have been made by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Pyongyang tends to view such visits as stature-boosting evidence that is tantamount to an official apology — though U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said recently that Washington had no intention of offering any official apology to Pyongyang as a quid pro quo.

___

Q: WHY NOW?

A: There is growing concern in North Korea over international pressure in connection with its human rights record. A recent U.N. report documented rape, torture, executions and forced labor in the North’s network of prison camps, accusing the government of “widespread, systematic and gross” human rights violations.

North Korea strongly denies those allegations, which it claims are based mainly on politically motivated statements from defectors. It released a counter document of its own in September, but is worried about efforts to bring the issue before the International Criminal Court.

Its state media recently have been filled with angry accusations that the United States, South Korea and their allies are trying to use the human rights issue as a weapon to bring down the North Korean government, calling it a “racket” and pointing out problems with the United States’ own rights record.

Pyongyang has portrayed similar releases of American detainees in the past as humanitarian decisions, and a likely similar portrayal of the latest releases could point to an important motive behind the decision.

___

Q: HOW DID THE AMERICANS END UP IN PRISON IN NORTH KOREA?

A: Bae had been held since November 2012, when he was detained while leading a tour group in a special North Korean economic zone. He was convicted of conducting “hostile acts” after being accused of smuggling in inflammatory literature and trying to establish a base for anti-government activities at a border city hotel.

Bae, 46, is a Korean-American missionary, and his family believes he was detained because of his Christian faith.

Miller’s case remains mysterious.

He entered the country on April 10 on a tourist visa, allegedly ripped up the document at Pyongyang’s airport and demanded asylum. North Korean authorities say he intended to conduct espionage while in the country. During his brief trial, prosecutors said he admitted having the “wild ambition” of experiencing prison life so that he could secretly investigate North Korea’s human rights situation.

(AP)

Arab Violence Resumes on Sunday Afternoon

November 9th, 2014

parMany incidents involving Arab violence began on Sunday afternoon 16 Marcheshvan as the Israeli Arab community nationwide is observing a general strike. The general strike was declared following the shooting death of an Arab male in Kfar Kana on Saturday.

Dozens of Arab youths confronted security forces at the entrance to Kfar Kana during the early afternoon hours on Sunday. Police were compelled to close down the area road as they worked to remove the protestors.

Arab students protested near the University of Haifa as well. They held signs including “The crime– being Arab. The penalty- death”. The students shouted threats of a Third Intifada and accuse Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich of giving the green light to kill Arabs.

In N. Jerusalem, a bus traveling on Uzi Narkiss Blvd., near Pisgat Ze’ev, was attacked with rocks. B’chasdei Hashem there are no injuries. There is damage to the bus.

At about 15:30, police reported 17 Arabs were arrested at Kfar Kana as the violence continued at that location. Police officials add that fearing a revenge attack, security agents have been assigned to the policemen involved in the fatal Kfar Kana shooting.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

What Compromise? Voters Divided On The Issues, Too

November 9th, 2014

capRepublican leaders and President Barack Obama say the message of the midterm elections is clear: Voters want them to work together.

But on what?

The two parties’ voters, like their politicians, are far apart on health care, immigration and climate change, exit polls show.

The voters can’t even agree on whether the economy is looking worse or getting better.

So when Obama says the voters signaled that they want “to see more cooperation,” and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says “they want us to look for areas of agreement,” it’s not clear where the voters expect them to find the compromises.

A look at what voters said about the issues as they left the polls Tuesday:

___

HEALTH CARE

It’s no surprise that Senate Republicans want to celebrate by joining the GOP-led House in voting to repeal the health care law. But Obama has veto power.

A huge chunk of the Republicans’ midterm voters (78 percent) say the law that requires health coverage for nearly everyone went too far. One-fifth of their voters say health care is the most important issue facing the country.

Even more people who voted for Democratic congressional candidates — about one-third of them — call health care the top issue.

But where Republicans say the law went too far, the same share of Democratic voters says it’s about right or didn’t go far enough.

Nonetheless, GOP leaders suggest that congressional Republicans and Democrats might be able to agree on redoing parts of it, such as repealing a tax on medical devices that helps pay for the Affordable Care Act.

___

IMMIGRATION

Lawmakers have been searching for a compromise on immigration since George W. Bush was president.

Obama says he’s ready to act without Congress, by taking executive action to remove the threat of deportation for some immigrants living in the United States illegally. He hasn’t given specifics.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, calls that playing with fire. But Obama may feel emboldened because Republicans aren’t unified on the issue.

Fifty-six percent of voters who backed Republicans in the midterms said most immigrants in the U.S. illegally should be deported. But 38 percent favor giving them a chance to apply for legal status.

On the Democratic side, 8 in 10 voters favored creating a path to legal status.

___

CLIMATE CHANGE

Global warming, like immigration, is an issue where more voters overall seemed to agree with Obama, even though Republican candidates came out ahead on election night.

Nearly 6 in 10 said global warming is a serious problem, and they mostly voted for Democratic congressional candidates.

But those who aren’t worried about the issue overwhelmingly backed Republican candidates, who are more apt to question the scientific findings on climate change.

Still, many Republican lawmakers are nervous about appearing indifferent to forecasts of dire environmental consequences. One-third of the voters who backed Republicans think global warming is a serious problem, according to the exit polls.

___

THE ECONOMY

Eighty-nine percent of Republican voters say they’re worried about the economy’s direction. Two-thirds of Democrats admitted to feeling at least somewhat worried, too.

Even here, the partisan fault line is visible. Democratic and Republican voters see the same economy quite differently.

More than half of those who backed Democrats think it’s getting better, and only 14 percent of them think it’s getting worse.

Republican voters see the reverse: Nearly half say the economy’s getting worse, and only 15 percent think it’s getting better.

What causes the optimism gap? Some of it probably stems from political loyalty.

Voters typically take a rosier view of the economy when their preferred party is in the White House. In the 2006 exit poll conducted in the last midterm of the Bush years, 76 percent of those backing Republicans said they economy was in good shape, while 73 percent of those who voted for Democrats said it was in the tank.

___

THE TEA PARTY

Here’s a shift that could help clear the way for compromise: The movement that pushed for standoffs, debt ceiling showdowns and a government shutdown is waning.

The share of Republican voters who support the tea party movement dropped from 67 percent in 2010 to 53 percent this year.

Less than one-quarter of Republican voters this time said they were strong tea party supporters.

The political calendar also offers another argument for compromise. Lawmakers who will be on the ballot in 2016 can expect the presidential year to bring a larger, less solidly partisan crowd of voters to the polls.

___

The survey of 20,168 voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research. This includes results from interviews conducted as voters left a random sample of 281 precincts Tuesday, as well as 3,113 who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 24 through Nov. 2. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.

(AP)

MK Stern Doesn’t Rule Out Moving to Bayit Yehudi Party

November 9th, 2014

sternIn a radio interview with Kalman Lipskind on Galei Yisrael Radio, MK (The Movement) Elazar Stern indicated he is not ruling out making a move to the Bayit Yehudi party. Stern has been a driving force in this coalition pushing anti-religious legislation. He pushed the new giyur law as well as other legislation that is contrary to the views of Gedolei Yisrael and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

Stern explains some people from Bayit Yehudi, who were not mentioned by name, suggested he make the move and work together. They explained the party includes men without kippot and women with different views and there is room for him as well.

While Stern did not stated this was his plan, when asked, he did not rule out the possibility of such a move in the future.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Obama Rejects Republican Warnings on Immigration

November 9th, 2014

obaPresident Barack Obama says he intends to issue an order easing the threat against deportation for immigrants in the country illegally.

He’d act despite warnings from Republican leaders that he would be poisoning the well with a newly elected GOP-controlled Congress.

Obama tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” that even if he goes ahead, there still would be room for Congress to pass immigration legislation.

He says if Congress does act, it would take the place of whatever he puts into place by his own authority.

Obama is expected to issue an order before the end of the year.

It’s a step that incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner both warned against in postelection news conferences.

(AP)

Defense Minister: MK & Ministers Visiting Har Habayis Incite the Situation

November 9th, 2014

yaalSpeaking to Channel 10 News, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon expressed his opposition to the recent increase in Jewish activities on Har Habayis. He added that MKs and ministers who are taking advantage of their status only incite the current delicate situation.

The senior minister added “We have the right to ascend to Har Habayis as we have done and continue to do. However there is a status quo agreement with Jordan and we must abide by it. The fact the other side is taking advantage and engaging in provocation is true but we must not incite the situation”.

Channel 10:

What do you think about Moshe Feiglin, a Member of Knesset from your party, visiting Har Habayis last week?

Ya’alon:

It is his right to do so. He has the right. However when one does so in a provocative manner, announcing his planned visit ahead of time on the internet, he shreds the status quo that we in the government are compelled to uphold. Clearly such actions are incitement”.

“For as long as the status quo has not changed there is no place to speak about Jews davening on Har Habayis”.

Feiglin in Response:

When elected officials are requested not to visit Har Habayis after the attempted assassination of Rabbi Yehudi Glick the security establishment is blaming them with escalating the situation. When citizens are run over you set concrete barriers into place. When police fire at a terrorist armed with a knife, the system blames the policemen instead of the armed suspect. The time has come to realize we are at war”.

Feiglin adds “One does not win a war with concrete blocks on the sidewalks. One does not win by giving a prize to those who wish to throw us off of Har Habayis. Wars are not one by blaming police who carry out their duties. Decide to win or decide to become a victim”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Immigration Dispute Erupts At White House Lunch

November 9th, 2014

obA White House lunch aiming for cooperation boiled into a fresh dispute with newly empowered Republicans over immigration reform Friday, with GOP leaders warning President Barack Obama to his face not to take unilateral action. The president stood unflinchingly by his plan to act.

Republicans attending the postelection lunch at Obama’s invitation said they asked him for more time to work on legislation, but the president said his patience was running out. He underscored his intent to act on his own by the end of the year if they don’t approve legislation to ease deportations before then and send it to him to sign.

The Republicans’ approach, three days after they resoundingly won control of the Senate in midterm elections, “seemed to fall on deaf ears,” Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said in a telephone interview. “The president instead of being contrite or saying in effect to America, ‘I hear you,’ as a result of the referendum on his policies that drove this last election, he seems unmoved and even defiant.”

“I don’t know why he would want to sabotage his last two years as president by doing something this provocative,” said Cornyn. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this week said the president’s stance was “like waving a red flag in front of a bull.”

Obama press secretary Josh Earnest said there was no reason that executive action on immigration should kill opportunities for the president and Republicans to find common ground.

“I could stand up here and say Republicans to vote once again for the 50th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act, that that’s playing with fire or waving a red flag in front of a bull. I’m not really sure what that means,” Earnest said.

The White House said lawmakers went home from the meeting with a parting gift — a six-pack of beer brewed at the White House. The White House also said Obama laid out three areas where he and Congress could work together before the end of the year — emergency funding to combat the Ebola outbreak, approval of a federal budget and quick action on spending to fight the Islamic State militant group.

House Speaker John Boehner’s office said he told Obama he was ready to work with the president on a new authorization for military force against the IS group if the president worked to build bipartisan support. The White House announced soon after lunch ended that the U.S. was sending as many as 1,500 more troops to Iraq to serve as advisers, trainers and security personnel as part of the mission. Obama is also asking Congress for more than $5 billion to help fund the fight.

Friday’s two-hour meeting was tense at times, according to a senior House Republican aide. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, about to lose his grip on the upper chamber, barely said a word, the aide said. The aide said at one point as House Speaker John Boehner was making an argument on immigration, Obama responded that his patience was running out and Vice President Joe Biden interrupted to ask how long Republicans needed. Obama angrily cut Biden off, the aide said.

The aide was not authorized to describe the back-and-forth publicly by name and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Publicly Obama’s tone was more upbeat as he opened the gathering. He pledged to work on ending long-running partisan gridlock and to be open to Republican ideas. The president said the lunch was a chance to “explore where we can make progress” after Americans showed in the midterm elections that they wanted to see more accomplished in Washington.

“They’d like to see more cooperation,” Obama said, sitting at the middle of 13 lawmakers in the Old Family Dining Room set with the Truman china. “And I think all of us have the responsibility, me in particular, to try to make that happen.”

Reporters were ushered out before any lawmaker spoke or the lunch of sea bass was served. Republican descriptions of the meeting were provided after they returned to Capitol Hill.

For the record, Boehner’s office said he suggested that the president should back a Republican jobs bill as a starting place for bipartisan action.

Obama said at the start he was interested in “hearing and sharing ideas” for compromise on measures to boost the economy, then mentioned his personal priorities of college affordability and investment in road and building projects. He also touted improved monthly job growth numbers out Friday as evidence his economic policies are working, saying, “We’re doing something right here.”

Briefings on Ebola and the Islamic State from Pentagon officials dominated much of the meeting, and the immigration debate was said to have lasted about half an hour. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Republicans told Obama that any executive order, particularly on immigration but any issue, would be a “toxic decision.”

“He still hasn’t come to grips with the reality of the election and the consequences of the election,” Barrasso said. “His tone and tenor didn’t seem to reflect that of somebody whose policies were just significantly rejected all across the country just three days ago.”

(AP)

23 MKs Support Lengthening IDF Service for Hesder Talmidim

November 9th, 2014

idff23 Members of Knesset from the Labor, The Movement, Yesh Atid, and Kadima parties favor extending the length of military service for Hesder Yeshiva students. At present they serve 17 months but the MKs want to extend it to 24 months. The bill will be presented to the Ministerial Law Committee next week.

The bill, which is being met with harsh opposition from the Bayit Yehudi party, is sponsored by MKs Amir Bar-Lev (Labor), Elazar Stern (The Movement), and Ofir Shelach (Yesh Atid).

At present, hesder talmidim sign on to the program for 60 months. Their first year is spend in limud Torah followed by 17 months of military service. They then return to beis medrash to complete the 60 months. The elected officials supporting the bill feel that the hesder arrangement is contrary to efforts behind ‘sharing the military burden’ since regular soldiers serve 36 months.

According to MK Bar-Lev, there are currently 1,000 hesder talmidim who benefit from the program outlined above.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Outrageous: NYC Adult Home Residents Misplaced By Sandy Asked To Repay FEMA Aid

November 9th, 2014

fema.gifResidents of an assisted-living center in New York City who spent months in shelters after Superstorm Sandy now have a new headache: FEMA wants them to repay thousands of dollars in disaster aid.

Robert Rosenberg is among a dozen residents of Belle Harbor Manor who have been asked to return aid money. He’s been asked to repay about $2,500.

FEMA says that money was supposed to have been used for temporary housing.

But the state wound up putting the home’s residents in a series of emergency shelters, rather than hotels.

Under federal rules, that means they have to give the money back.

Rosenberg says he and other residents used FEMA’s money long ago to buy food and clothing.

A legal aid group says it will help the residents appeal.

(AP)

Deri: Going onto Har Habayis is Like Eating on Yom Kippur

November 9th, 2014

derShas party leader MK Aryeh Deri spoke out on Channel 2 Television’s Meet the Press program on motzei Shabbos Parshas Vayera. Deri equates ascending to Har Habayis with eating on Yom Kippur.

He said, “Visiting Har Habayis is like eating on Yom Kippur. This is Mesa B’dei Shomayim. As a result of more people visiting Har Habayis fewer people are visiting Yerushalayim, fewer talmidim are visiting and the world is against it. What do we lose? Yerushalayim is becoming isolated again, without tourists and with an intifada”.

When asked if his party would enter the coalition if asked to do so by the prime minister, Deri stated “Shas will not change the makeup of the coalition. It is heading for elections”.

Will former Minister Moshe Kahlon Hurt Shas if he runs in the next election?

Deri:

On the contrary. I am looking for additional partners, those who are concerned with social issues. If he takes a seat from us we will deal with it.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Higher Bar for Health Law in 2nd Sign-up Season

November 9th, 2014

obcWith a bright look to its rebuilt website, version 2.0 of President Barack Obama’s health insurance overhaul represents another chance to win over a skeptical public.

But more than possible computer woes lurk as HealthCare.gov’s second open enrollment season begins Nov. 15.

The risks include an unproven system for those renewing coverage and a tax hit that could sting millions of people. Those tax issues are the result of complications between the health care law and income taxes, and they will emerge during next year’s filing season.

“Things will not be perfect,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, trying to set expectations. “We are aiming for a strong consumer experience, and it will be better.”

The Obama administration cannot afford to repeat last year’s online meltdown. Congress will be entirely in Republican hands in 2015, and GOP lawmakers will be itching to build the case for repeal. The Supreme Court’s decision Friday to hear another challenge to the law is also casting a shadow.

The health insurance exchanges offer taxpayer-subsidized private coverage to people who do not have access on the job. HealthCare.gov will serve 37 states, while the rest run their own markets.

This new sign-up period will be the first time that renewal has been tried for current customers, and also overlaps with the first tax-filing season that the law’s requirements are in effect.

On the plus side, premium increases are expected to be modest in many, though not all, states. New insurers have come into the market, promoting competition, and regulators now take a close look at anything above a 10 percent increase.

The online application for most new customers is down to 16 screens from 76. Website security is better, thanks to aggressive monitoring. The government and insurers have added call center staff.

But the bar is higher, too.

The Congressional Budget Office has projected that 13 million people will be covered through federal and state insurance markets in 2015. That means retaining most of the 7 million people now covered and adding 6 million more. Many are skeptics who sat out last year’s campaign.

One potential motivator: The law’s tax penalty for remaining uninsured is rising, to a minimum of $325 for 2015.

“We have some momentum built up,” said Rachel Klein, enrollment strategist for Families USA, an advocacy group supporting the law. “We can build on that, but it is a somewhat higher bar to find all the people we need to help, because by definition, they are harder to reach.”

An Associated Press-GfK poll found that 31 percent of those questioned expect the health insurance exchanges to work better, while 49 percent think they will work about the same. Also, 18 percent expect version 2.0 to be worse.

Some of the potential enrollment pitfalls:

—For those already signed up, coverage will renew automatically if you do nothing. Sounds good, but maybe not. You could miss out on lower premium options and get stuck with an outdated and possibly incorrect subsidy. Shop around, but don’t dally. You have until Dec. 15 to update your income information or change plans if you want to have everything in place by Jan. 1.

—New customers, be advised: The Nov. 15-Feb. 15 open enrollment is half as long as last time, and it overlaps with the holidays. Try to get familiar with some of the basic health insurance trade-offs. A low-premium silver or bronze plan may not make sense if you’ll wind up with high out-of-pocket costs for the deductible and copayments. In that case, you might be better off going for the gold.

Some of the tax complications lurking:

—Most current customers are getting a tax credit to help with premiums. Those subsidies are tied to income, so you’ll have to file new forms with your 2014 taxes to prove you got the right amount. Too much subsidy and your tax refund will get dinged. Too little, and the government owes you. It’s bound to cause anxiety because many people depend on their tax refunds to pay bills.

—If you remained uninsured in 2014, you risk a penalty that will be deducted from your tax refund. It starts at $95 for those uninsured all year. Millions of people may qualify for penalty waivers, but getting exemptions could be an ordeal. Some appear simple, but for others you’ll have to mail in an application and supporting documents.

Melissa Dresler of Lexington, Kentucky, said she’s lucky that she got covered, but she also learned some lessons that should make her a better shopper this year. The climate change researcher unexpectedly found herself in need of a delicate operation. She woke up one day and something was wrong with her right eye. It turned out to be a detached retina.

Her surgery cost well into five figures, and she paid about $1,000. The problem came when she had to go out-of-network because of a complication. To keep premiums in check, many plans restrict a patient’s choice. The follow-up corrective surgery cost her about $6,000.

“I may gripe once in a while, but I am so happy with Obamacare,” said Dresler. “I feel so lucky I was covered.”

She adds: “If I had known that I was going to have a major emergency then I would have certainly invested more in a better plan.”

(AP)

Rabbonim Convene in Urgent Motzei Shabbos Kenos in Haifa Following City Sponsored Chilul Shabbos

November 9th, 2014

haifaRabbonim Shlita and askanim in Haifa convened an urgent motzei Shabbos kenos to address Haifa City Hall sponsored chilul Shabbos. They discussed an event that was hosted on Shabbos R”L, an event that involved significant chilul Shabbos. Efforts were made last week to reach Mayor’s Office to prevent the event from occurring but those efforts were blocked and askanim did not succeed in meeting with Mayor Yonah Yahav.

One of the options discussed was the frum city councilmen breaking from the city coalition government. They also spoke of sending a harsh letter to the mayor.

Participants in the kenos decided to release a kol korei against the chilul Shabbos with the rabbonim calling on anyone with a Jewish feeling in his heart to refrain from participating in such events on Shabbos. In addition they call on city and public officials to take steps to prevent a reoccurrence in the future.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

GOP’s Midterm Rout Shapes 2016 Presidential Race

November 9th, 2014

2016The 2016 presidential race was about the new Republican-controlled Congress even before the polls closed Tuesday night.

As the GOP rout became clear late on election night, would-be Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton found herself with a ready-made foil in the Republican-led Congress that begins next year just as a few high-profile senators seized on their new status as a springboard into 2016.

Some Republican governors already have begun to try to distance themselves from unpopular congressional leaders in both parties.

Republicans are facing their most unpredictable presidential primary campaign in a generation, while Clinton remains the overwhelming favorite for Democrats who are reeling from heavy losses in last week’s midterm elections.

Republicans successfully tied Democratic candidates to President Barack Obama at every turn, winning Senate races in Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina, usually competitive states in presidential elections.

“On the Democratic side, it’s about who’s going to challenge Hillary,” said Republican strategist Brian Jones. “On the Republican side, it’s about who’s not going to get in. There’s so much chatter around different people who are looking at running. The list is huge.”

As many as a dozen Republicans are considering presidential runs after a dominant midterm performance that many consider the first step in retaking the White House.

Strategists report an early burst of activity among prospective candidates, who are taking initial steps to create super political action committees and nonprofit organizations that would allow them to begin raising campaign money even before they announce their intentions.

While it wasn’t technically a campaign ad, the 2016 primary season saw its first television special over the weekend.

An hourlong documentary featuring retired brain surgeon Ben Carson, a conservative favorite little known on the national stage, ran in more than two dozen states Saturday and Sunday. The program, which likens Carson to former President Ronald Reagan at times, was produced by Carson’s business manager, Armstrong Williams, who noted that Carson didn’t pay for the nationwide run that included states such as Iowa, South Carolina and Ohio.

“Make no mistake, he’s seriously thinking about running,” Armstrong said.

Also thinking of running are at least three first-term senators who will begin next year in the Senate majority: Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Some have adopted a bipartisan tone in the midterm’s aftermath, although the likelihood of continued Washington gridlock poses political risks for the trio as Congress’ approval ratings hover near all-time lows.

“I want to get things done,” Paul told The Associated Press in an interview, although he was among the first to attack Clinton last week, casting his party’s midterm success as a referendum on Clinton as much as Obama.

Paul planned to meet with advisers this coming week to map out his plans for the next few months. He insists he will not make a final decision about the 2016 presidential contest until next spring.

“There’s a lot of personal gnashing of teeth with family trying to decide if we’re willing to go through this,” Paul said.

The primary season takes another big step forward later this month when the Republican Governors Association meets to elect a new chairman in Florida.

All eyes will be on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, with the outgoing chairman, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, passing the reins to another ambitious governor. Advisers suggest that a run for the post may signal disinterest in a 2016 presidential run; fundraising logistics make it very difficult to do both.

As governors gather in Florida, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush headlines a Washington conference for his education foundation that seems certain to draw strong 2016 buzz.

GOP operatives and donors report that Bush is beginning to signal stronger interest in a presidential run, although some suggest he needs to act relatively quickly.

“If he waits too long he’ll start to lose his advantages, the built-in network,” Republican strategist and former Minnesota Rep. Vin Weber said. “Those people are not going to wait forever.”

While Republicans governors could use Washington dysfunction to their advantage, a GOP-led Congress also gives Clinton an easy target if party leaders try to repeal Obama’s health care law, produce budget plans that cut money for children and the elderly, or become mired in gridlock. Obama often railed against the GOP-led House in his 2012 campaign and President Bill Clinton effectively used divided government to his advantage in the 1990s.

Hillary Clinton’s advisers are assessing the results of the election and looking at what another campaign might entail.

She appeared at nearly four dozen political events in 19 states during the fall campaign, offering a glimpse of a possible campaign message: She would be an advocate for distressed families and offer a steady hand for a government that has been paralyzed by gridlock.

Clinton has said she expects to make a decision around the beginning of the year but remains under pressure to announce her intentions.

Some Democrats, however, say there’s little incentive for her to rush in given her dominant role.

“She has to let the dust settle. There is no reason for Hillary Clinton or any other candidate to declare their intentions anytime soon,” said Donna Brazile, a longtime adviser to the Clintons.

(AP)

Bayit Yehudi Against Rishon L’Tzion Rav Yosef

November 9th, 2014

benBayit Yehudi leader Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett responded to remarks made last week by Rishon L’Tzion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef Shlita against those who ascend to Har Habayis. Rabbi Yosef stated that Jewish blood is being spilled as a result of the increased effort to permit more Jews to visit Har Habayis and to permit them to daven on the holy site.

Bennett stated, “With all due respect to the rav, you are incorrect. Blood is being spilled because they murdered them”.

Joining the party leader is MK Shuli Muallem-Struk, who is angered by allegations from other Jews that blood-spilling is a result of the actions of other Jews. Struk adds rabbis who make such statements are also insulting the opinion of leader Zionist rabbonim and poskim. “The dati leumi tzibur has always listened to their rabbonim and will continue to do so. I personally do not go to Har Habayis” Struk concluded.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)