Archive for the ‘Headlines & Breaking Stories’ Category

More Hillary Corruption Exposed: Clinton Foundation Requests State Lunch Favors, Emails Show

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

Hillary Rodham ClintonA series of newly released State Department emails obtained by ABC News offers fresh insight on direct contact between the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s inner circle while she was Secretary of State.

The emails — released as part of a public records lawsuit by conservative group Citizens United and shared exclusively with ABC — reveal what the group claims is new evidence Foundation allies received special treatment. [Read the emails here.]

In one December 2010 email chain with Clinton’s closest aide Huma Abedin, then-top Clinton Foundation official Doug Band offers names for a State Department lunch with Chinese President Hu Jintao scheduled for January 2011.

On the list were three executives from organizations that have donated millions to the Clinton Foundation: Bob McCann, the then-president of wealth management at UBS; Dr. Judith Rodin, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation; and Hikmet Ersek, the CEO of Western Union.

According to the Foundation website, the UBS Wealth Management USA has contributed between $500,001 and $1 million to the Foundation; the Rockefeller Foundation has given between $10 million and $25 million, while Western Union and its foundation has contributed between $1 million and $5 million.

Nearly two weeks later, Band followed up on email, specifically requesting Rodin be seated at Vice President Joe Biden’s table. “I’ll ask,” Abedin replied.

In a separate exchange, Abedin forwarded to Band — outside the State Department — an attachment entitled “Updated China RSVP Guest List 1-5-11.” The attachment was not included in the documents received by ABC, but suggests sharing of information ahead of a state visit by President Hu Jintao in late January 2011.

Band declined comment to ABC News. Clinton Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian said the emails “aren’t related to the Clinton Foundation’s work improving lives around the world.”

A representative for McCann told ABC News he did not attend the lunch, while a representative for Ersek said he doesn’t have a “record” of the event. Rodin’s office did not immediately return a request for comment. The State Department said it could not provide a list of attendees.

In addition to State Department functions, Band also corresponded with Abedin about personal requests of some Clinton Foundation supporters.

In January 2011, Band at the Foundation forwarded an email to Abedin on behalf of Gerardo Werthein, a South American businessman who has donated more than $1 million to the Foundation, according to its website.

Calling Werthein a “great friend” and “big supporter,” Band asked Abedin to deliver a message to the U.S. ambassador to Malta on behalf of Werthein. The ambassador was scheduled to meet with the Admor, a religious leader in Malta and associate of Werthein.

Abedin passed on Band’s message to another State Department official asking for delivery to the ambassador’s assistant, writing, “Just want to pass along for info. No need for action.”

A June 2009 email from Band passed on thanks from a Tim Collins to Abedin for bringing him to “some event.” Abedin says, “We invited him into speech in Cairo.” ABC News could not confirm the identity of the Collins who attended the speech. The Clinton Foundation website lists a Timothy Collins, founder of the investment firm Ripplewood Advisors, as a major donor.

“After more than two years of Freedom of Information Act requests and lengthy litigation, the truth is finally coming out,” said David Bossie, president of Citizens United, in a statement. “Hillary Clinton’s senior staff at the State Department routinely worked with the Clinton Foundation to reward big donors with special access and favors for four years.”

The State Department and Clinton campaign both told ABC News that Foundation donors held no special influence or received favors.

When asked about the apparent involvement of a top Clinton Foundation official in requesting invitations for guests for State Department functions, spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told ABC News: “The State Department does not believe it is inappropriate for the administration to consider individuals suggested by outside organizations when deciding who to invite to an official function.”

Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin said the emails released are a political attack on the Clintons.

“Citizens United is a right-wing group that’s been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s and, once again, is trying to make something out of nothing,” Schwerin told ABC News.

(Source: ABC News)

GM Recalling About 368,000 Vehicles to Fix Windshield Wipers

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

cGeneral Motors is recalling nearly 368,000 vehicles to fix a defective part that could prevent the windshield wipers from working.

The problem affects the 2013 models of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain. GM says those vehicles were built with ball joints that could corrode and wear out to render the windshield wipers inoperable.

A report filed with government regulators says a GM manager in Canada spotted the potential safety hazard last December. The auto manufacturer opened an investigation in March and decided to issue a recall earlier this month.

GM says it will cover the repair costs once it determines when it will be able to fix the problem.

Chevrolet Equinox owners can call 1-800-222-1020 and GMC Terrain can call 1-800-462-8782 for further information.

(AP)

Report: Black Men, Boys Shot Most by Chicago Police

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

cpdAfter threatening to sue, the Chicago Tribune has obtained data from the city’s police department that tracks every time an officer has opened fire in the city over the past six years. The vast majority of those hit were black men or boys.

There were 435 police shootings from 2010 through 2015, in which officers killed 92 people and wounded 170 others. In all, officers fired 2,623 bullets.

The newspaper’s findings ( http://trib.in/2bkSzNO ) show about four out of every five people shot were African-American males. It found that about half of the officers involved were African-American or Hispanic and most of them had years of experience and were not rookies.

The review also said the number of police shootings has declined over the period, from more than 100 in 2011 to 44 last year.

The city is making major changes to the department and various oversight bodies after the uproar over a 2014 shooting in which a white officer fired 16 bullets into a black teenager. Video of that fatal shooting, which was released upon a judge’s order in November, contradicted officers’ accounts that the teen lunged at them threateningly with a knife. The officer who fired those shots has been charged with first-degree murder.

Despite heightened scrutiny of the department and promises from the city of more transparency, the Tribune said it took seven months of arguing and the threat of a lawsuit to prod the city to release the data.

Most of the police shootings took place in South and West Side neighborhoods beset by gang violence and poverty. At least one of every five shootings involved plainclothes tactical officers charged with taking on gangs, the newspaper found.

Police union President Dean Angelo Sr. defended the department’s record against accusations of racial bias.

“When you look at the map, 80 percent of narcotics arrests, gun arrests and gang arrests happen in these poor areas,” he told the newspaper. “Where you’ve got dope, you’ve got guns. It’s not about ethnicity — it’s about criminal involvement.”

He also said officers face split-second decisions about when to use lethal force to protect themselves.

But community activist Charles Jenkins told the Tribune he believes the race of those shot influences the investigations into the shootings.

“It’s easier to believe, because they’re black, that an officer was in fear of their life and get(s) off,” he said.

(AP)

UN Condemns 4 North Korean Ballistic Missile Launches

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

kimThe U.N. Security Council strongly condemned four North Korean ballistic missile launches in July and August on Friday night, calling them “grave violations” of a ban on all ballistic missile activity.

A press statement approved by all 15 members deplored the fact that the North’s ballistic missile activities are contributing to its development of nuclear weapon delivery systems and increasing tensions.

The council expressed “serious concern” that North Korea carried out the launches after six ballistic missile firings between April and June “in flagrant disregard” of its repeated statements to halt such launches as well as nuclear tests which violate council resolutions.

It urged all U.N. member states “to redouble their efforts” to implement sanctions against Pyongyang, including the toughest measures in two decades imposed by the council in March. Those sanctions reflected growing anger at Pyongyang’s nuclear test in January and a subsequent rocket launch.

North Korea has repeatedly flouted Security Council resolutions demanding an end to its nuclear and ballistic missile activities and has continued to launch missiles, escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the region.

The latest submarine launch of a ballistic missile on Wednesday came days after the U.S. and South Korea began military exercises, prompting North Korean threats of retaliation for the military drills, which it views as a rehearsal for invasion by the U.S. and other adversaries.

South Korean officials said the submarine-launched missile flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles), the longest distance achieved by the North for such a weapon. That means all of South Korea, and possibly parts of Japan, are within its striking distance.

The Security Council statement condemned the Aug. 23 launch as well as the North’s ballistic missile launches on Aug. 2 and July 18 and the firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile on July 9.

China, a neighbor and ally of North Korea, had either blocked attempts by the United States and other council members to condemn the three previous attacks when they happened, or insisted on unacceptable language.

The council’s agreement on Friday’s statement, just two days after the latest North Korean test, reflects growing anger and concern at the North’s continuing defiance of the council, including by China.

In Pyongyang, North Korean Foreign Ministry official Jon Min Dok told Associated Press Television News in an interview that the U.S.-led discussions at the U.N. were a “terrible provocation” and that the country is developing nuclear weapons because of “outrageous nuclear intimidation” by the United States.

Jon spoke just before the Security Council concluded the discussions with a statement.

He said that the latest submarine-launched missile didn’t cause any harm to the security of neighboring countries. He said it showed North Korea’s “great power and inexhaustible strength in the face of the trials of history and the challenges of our enemies.”

“The best way for the U.S. to escape a deadly strike from us is by refraining from insulting our dignity and threatening our security, by exercising prudence and self-control,” Jon said.

North Korea already has a variety of land-based missiles that can hit South Korea and Japan, including U.S. military bases in those countries. Its development of reliable submarine-launched missiles would add a weapon that is harder to detect before launch.

Wednesday’s launch was the latest in a series of missile, rocket and other weapon tests this year by North Korea, which is openly pushing to acquire a wider range of nuclear weapons, including those capable of striking targets as far away as mainland United States.

In Friday’s statement, the Security Council “reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in northeast Asia at large.”

Members also expressed “their commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation” and stressed “the importance of working to reduce tensions in the Korean peninsula and beyond.”

(AP)

Little Precedent For $400 Million Cash Payment To Iran

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

irA $400 million cash delivery to Iran to repay a decades-old arbitration claim may be unprecedented in recent U.S. history, according to legal experts and diplomatic historians, raising further questions about a payment timed to help free four American prisoners in Iran.

The money was sent to Iran on Jan. 17, the same day Iran agreed to release the prisoners. The Obama administration claimed for months the events were separate, but recently acknowledged the cash was used as leverage until the Americans were allowed to leave Iran. Only then, did the U.S. allow a plane with euros, Swiss francs and other foreign currency loaded on pallets to take off in the other direction for Tehran.

“There’s actually not anything particularly unusual about the mechanism for this transaction,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said this week of the initial cash payment.

But diplomatic historians and lawyers with expertise in international arbitration struggled to find any similar examples.

Asked to recall a similar payment of the U.S. using cash or hard money to settle an international dispute, the office of the State Department historian couldn’t provide an example.

The acknowledgement that the prisoners and the payment were linked, and the unusual cash delivery, have fueled Republican claims that a “ransom” was paid. At a news conference this month, President Barack Obama said cash was used because the U.S. and Iran don’t have a banking relationship after years of U.S. sanctions on Iran, making a check or wire transfer impossible.

The $400 million was the principal owed by the U.S. on a 1970s Iranian account for buying U.S. military equipment. After Iran’s 1979 overthrow of the U.S.-backed shah and the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis in Tehran, the weapons were never delivered. Iran has wanted the money back plus interest ever since. Seven months ago, two sides put the matter to rest with a $1.7 billion settlement.

Alan Henrikson, diplomatic history professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, found a precedent by reaching back to the 1848 Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican-American War.

The accord called for the United States to pay Mexico $15 million, an amount worth about $482 million in today’s money, he said. The payment was determined “in consideration of the extension acquired by the boundaries of the United States,” vague diplomatic wording designed to compensate Mexico for a massive loss of territory that included all of California and parts of seven other states. At the same time, the Americans avoided any acceptance of national guilt.

The treaty stipulated that the U.S. immediately pay $3 million — or nearly $100 million in 2016 dollars — in Mexico City in the form of Mexico’s gold or silver coin. The remainder had to be paid the same way in $3 million installments each year, with the debt subject to a fixed rate of 6 percent annual interest. President Ulysses S. Grant would later declare it “conscience money.”

“Ambiguity is often needed in diplomacy in order to achieve agreement,” Henrikson said. “What is important, in my view, is that both sides to a negotiation clearly understand, even if only tacitly, what is being agreed upon when ambiguity is used. This is not all that subtle, actually. It is life.”

The administration has been ambiguous from the start about its settlement seven months ago. Reports by the Wall Street Journal have led to recent acknowledgements about the $400 million delivered in stacks of cash and the connection to the American prisoners. But officials still won’t say how Iran received the $1.3 billion in interest.

It was done “in a fairly above-board way,” a senior administration official intimately involved in the Iran negotiations said in a conference call last week, saying only that the interest payments involved an unidentified, foreign central bank. The official wasn’t authorized to be quoted by name and demanded anonymity. The State Department said Wednesday the payments were made Jan. 19, two days after the cash delivery.

Other settlements with Iran and other foreign claimants in recent decades bore some similarities to this latest transaction. But none seemed to involve planeloads of cash.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton reached a settlement with Iran over the U.S. Navy’s 1988 downing of an Iran Air passenger plane that killed 290 people.

The arrangement totaled $131.8 million but there was no cash delivery. Instead, $61 million was deposited in a Swiss bank account that was jointly held by the New York Federal Reserve and the Iranian Central Bank. The money was reserved for the families of those killed, not the Iranian government. The remainder of the settlement was mainly used to cover Iranian debts to U.S. claimants in separate arbitration cases.

And in 1998, the U.S. settled a dispute with Pakistan after halting the delivery of an F-16 aircraft purchase. The compensation was described as $325 million in cash and $140 million in surplus agricultural commodities, mainly wheat and soy, but the precise mechanics of the payment were never spelled out.

“There were no sanctions regarding dollars or banks in Pakistan, so it may have been that the ‘cash payment’ was a bank transfer,” said Marcia Wiss, an international lawyer with a private practice in Washington.

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Smoother Ride For Clinton? She Says Controversies Behind Her

Friday, August 26th, 2016

hilHillary Clinton vigorously defended her family’s foundation against Donald Trump’s sniping on Friday and declared she’s confident there will be no new blockbuster accusations on the foundation, her emails or anything else that could undermine her chances of defeating him in November.

She said the private Clinton Foundation’s charitable programs would continue if she’s elected, even as Trump and other critics argue they would present a conflict of interest.

In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the Democratic presidential nominee kept up her verbal assault on Trump’s campaign, asserting it is built on “prejudice and paranoia” and caters to a radical fringe of the Republican Party.

Clinton is looking to counter Trump’s attempts to win over moderate voters who have been unsettled by his controversial remarks and policy proposals. In the meantime, he has been softening his tone on immigration and reaching out to African-Americans, a traditional Democratic constituency.

Clinton is also targeting moderate voters — and especially Republicans — by depicting Trump and his supporters as extremists, and casting the race as “not a normal choice between a Republican and a Democrat.” She has contrasted Trump with former Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Bob Dole, and former President George W. Bush, praising their decisive steps to counter racism and anti-Muslim sentiment.

In turn, Trump is trying to paint Clinton as the racist.

He has released an online video that includes footage of the former first lady referring to some young criminals as “super predators” in the 1990s. The video also shows Clinton’s former Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, denouncing the phrase as “a racist term.” Clinton has since apologized for using the term.

Trump tweeted Friday: “How quickly people forget that Crooked Hillary called African-American youth “SUPER PREDATORS” – Has she apologized?”

Trump also says Clinton is trying to distract from questions swirling around donations to The Clinton Foundation and her exclusive use of her private email servers for official business while secretary of state.

In her phone interview, Clinton was asked if she was certain there are no emails or foundation ties to foreign entities that would impact her presidential prospects. She replied, “I am sure,” and mentioned her strong understanding about the foundation’s work.

But neither issue appears to be going away soon.

This week, the State Department said it is reviewing nearly 15,000 previously undisclosed emails recovered as part of an FBI inquiry that did not result in charges concerning Clinton’s use of a private server. The messages could become public in mid-October, just weeks before Election Day.

Also this week, The Associated Press reported that more than half the people from outside government who met or spoke by telephone with Clinton in the first half of her term as secretary of state had given money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the foundation.

Former President Bill Clinton said last week that if Hillary Clinton is elected president, the foundation will no longer accept foreign or corporate donations. He also said he would step down from its board and would no longer raise money for the organization.

On Friday, she promised to put in place additional safeguards to prevent conflicts of interest with her foundation should she win the White House.

“I appreciate the concerns that people have expressed, and that’s why I have made it clear that if I’m successful in November we are going to be taking additional steps,” she said. She said the foundation’s charitable programs has been “in line with American interests and values” and must continue, perhaps through partnerships with other organizations.

Top Republicans have found common ground with Trump in his criticism of the Clinton Foundation and her use of the email server. But they have been noticeably quiet in defending Trump against Clinton’s charges of racism in his campaign.

(AP)

Town Rallies Around Jewish Family Hit By Swastika Graffiti

Friday, August 26th, 2016

ssA Jewish woman in suburban Philadelphia woke up last week to a spray-painted swastika on her trash bin — and now her neighbors and hundreds of strangers from across the world are rallying to support her by painting their garbage cans with flowers, hearts, birds and butterflies.

The woman, artist Esther Cohen-Eskin, painted over the swastika with flowers. She then put letters in mailboxes asking her neighbors to paint their trash bins as well, turning symbols of hate into symbols of love.

People across Havertown responded, decorating their bins with foxes, flowers, and words like “love” and “unity.”

And after word spread online, strangers from as far away as Canada, Ireland and Germany sent Cohen-Eskin messages of support and pictures of bins they painted thousands of miles away.

(AP)

Tropical Storm Gaston Is Moving Northwest in the Atlantic

Friday, August 26th, 2016

gastTropical Storm Gaston is moving northwestward in the Atlantic with no change in strength.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds early Friday are near 65 mph (110 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says strengthening is forecast during the next two days and Gaston could re-strengthen to a hurricane by Friday night or on Saturday.

The storm is centered about 1,110 miles (1,790 kilometers) east-southeast of Bermuda and is moving northwest near 17 mph (28 kph).

Meanwhile in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Lester is moving westward away from land. Lester’s maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 kph) with some strengthening forecast over the next two days.

Lester is centered about 520 miles (835 kilometers) southwest of the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and is moving west near 7 mph (11 kph).

(AP)

Misaskim Issues Statement After Camp Holds Insensitive Color War Breakout With Mock Levaya

Friday, August 26th, 2016

cwFollowing a story first published by YWN that went viral regarding a summer camp that staged a mock Levaya as a “color war breakout”, the Misaskim organization issued the following statement. It was originally published on the @TheYeshivaWorld Instagram page on Thursday, with many questioning the validity of the statement. Misaskim has requested that it be published:

By The Misaskim Board

אל תחטאו בילד

There is a story going around about using a levayah for a color war break out in Munkatcher Camp this week. We wonder whose bright idea this was.

All of us involved when tragedy strikes our community are always looking for help on how to deal with the traumatic effect a levayah has on children and who could talk to the children before during and after. Who in the camp will accept responsibility for a child walking around, unbeknownst to anyone, traumatized by what took place, even though it ended in a joke?

What about when a child grows up and will have to attend a levayah and will be sitting next to someone and will say to the person, “Remember in camp when the niftar popped-out of the box”?

Is this what we want to teach our children? That a levayah is a joke? Or rather that when we go to a levayah, we stand with respect as this niftar is now in front of the Kisei Hakavod?

Let it be known that Misaskim didn’t give a truck for this. The camp used a made-up letterhead using Misaskim’s name (instead of which ever organization played along with this stunt). It was used without asking Misaskim permission.

If you believe that the kids didn’t know beforehand that this was a color war breakout, just ask the Misaskim staff. The day the signs went up, our phones rang off the hook, with the kids from camp asking if this was a breakout. After the first few calls, the office figured it out and told every kid that it was. So much so that a phone call was placed to the camp to have the kids stop calling the office.

Misaskim has received many complaints about this when word got out about “how low an organization can get.”

Let it be known that we don’t make mock levayos. We take it very serious and we had nothing to do with it. Any further comments should be directed to the camp.

l11 l21 l31

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

Is Israel Police Harassing A Har Habayis Activist Who Won His Civil Suit Against The Department?

Friday, August 26th, 2016

hha1A Jewish man in his 40s was arrested earlier this week for a second time in one week when he arrived in Jerusalem’s Old City. Police arrested him last week for reportedly covering his face with his hand and then uttering words of tefilla on Har Habayis.

At the remand hearing, the court ordered distancing him from Har Habayis until Sunday, 17 Menachem Av. When he arrived on Tuesday, 19 Menachem Av, an officer informed him he was not going to be permitted onto Har Habayis, explaining he is banned by a court order. The policeman instructed him to accompany him but he declined, aware the law did not compel him to do so.

Minutes after this, police accused the man of disturbing the peace when he asked to be permitted to daven outside the Har Habayis area. police alleged that despite instructing him to leave the area, escorting him to the Lion’s Gate, he was arrested after telling them “you are cooperating with the Arabs”. He was questioned in the police station and detained overnight. When they arrived in court the next morning, police asked to distance him from the Old City for 60 days as well as putting up a NIS 1,000 bond that would be forfeited if and when he failed to comply.

Police told the court that when the defendant said “you are working for the Arabs” it led to a gathering of Muslims that endangered police and therefore, he was charged with interfering with police, insulting an officer and disturbing the peace.

A Honenu attorney represented the man, insisting there was no justification to compel him to remain in jail overnight. Honenu added there was actually no justification for his arrest for no law was broken.

Justice Moriah Cherka felt there was sufficient probability that he disturbed the peace as he wanted to visit Har Habayis and thereby tried violating the “sensitive status quo”.

The court distanced him from Har Habayis for 21 days without compelling him to put up a cash bond. The court felt that since he did not violate the previous order distancing him, there was no reason to fear he would this time.

It is pointed out that this same man a few months ago won his lawsuit charging police for wrongful arrest pertaining to his visiting Har Habayis.

Gedolei Yisrael over the generations and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel prohibit visiting Har Habayis.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Baltimore Plans Hearing Over Police Surveillance Plane

Friday, August 26th, 2016

bThe Baltimore City Council plans to summon Baltimore police to a hearing to explain its use of a manned plane with cameras to record movements all across the city.

The Baltimore Sun reports that council members will ask the department why it didn’t disclose its use of a private company to fly the plane and collect the images.

Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith said Wednesday that it’s just another potential tool in the department’s crime-fighting arsenal. He said the department is testing the service provided by Persistent Surveillance Systems, a company marketing its eyes in the sky to Baltimore and other cities.

Lester Davis, a spokesman for City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, says they’ll hold the hearing “as soon as possible.”

(AP)

HaGaon HaRav Mutzafi: Women Flying To Uman Is Pritzus

Friday, August 26th, 2016

1Prominent Sephardi posek HaGaon HaRav Bentzion Mutzafi Shlita has spoken out harshly against groups arranged for women to fly to Uman and other area kivrei tzaddikim.

One of the rav’s talmidim asked him about such a trip, asking about the tznius aspect of women traveling to the Ukraine on such a trip.

Rabbi Mutzafi is quoted saying “Pritzus and insanity. We lost all proportions. Aren’t there enough rumors regarding disasters day to day Hashem save us”.

Rav Mutzafi was then asked about a rabbanit who organizes communal ‘taking challah’ events, one who frequently instructs parents to add a name to their children. The talmid explains his daughter attended such an event and was told to add a name.

The rav responded harshly, discarding the legitimacy of such a rebitzen, adding for her and others like her, it is all about money, nothing more.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

WATCH: Rabbi Shaya Cohen – Rejuvinating A Relationship With Hashem

Friday, August 26th, 2016

[COMMUNICATED CONTENT]

The above clip features Rabbi Shaya Cohen, Founder of Priority-1 and Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshiva Zichron Aryeh.

To access additional materials that will guide you in enhancing your relationship with Hashem, through the study of Shir Hashirim and the strengthening of Bitachon, please see the shiurim section on the newly renovated priority-1.org

Court Holds that Denial of Variances for Yeshiva Gedola Na’os Yaakov Violates RLUIPA, Orders Ocean Township to Permit Use

Friday, August 26th, 2016

loganOn August 25, 2016, a federal court issued a final order determining that prohibiting Storzer & Associates’ client Yeshiva Gedola Na’os Yaakov from operating its religious boarding school for advanced Jewish studies in Ocean Township, N.J. violates federal law. It further required the Township to permit the Yeshiva to operate its educational institution with 80 students at 1515 Logan Road in Ocean Township. This order ends the Yeshiva’s two-year struggle to locate its facility in the Township and vindicates its constitutional rights. The Yeshiva’s lawsuit was filed earlier this year in federal district court and alleged violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Const itution, the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) and the Fair Housing Act. The Yeshiva is also represented by New Jersey attorney Donna M. Jennings of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A.

“We are grateful for this wonderful result that will permit our clients to operate their distinguished institution in Ocean Township. Zoning regulation should never be used as a tool to accommodate the unreasonable fears and prejudice of small-minded individuals desperate to keep a certain population out of their neighborhoods,” said Roman P. Storzer, the Yeshiva’s attorney. “Unfortunately, this has become all too common in New Jersey. In a rare bipartisan effort, Congress had enacted legal protections against this type of bigotry and we will seek to have these rights enforced where they are threatened.”
There are currently similar lawsuits pending against Toms River and Howell Townships.

In its Order, the federal court stated:< br />The determination of the BOA [Board of Adjustment] denying plaintiffs’ application is hereby reversed and the plaintiffs’ use is deemed an inherently beneficial use, and the denial of that application is determined to be a violation of RLUIPA.

The court further ordered:

The plaintiffs are hereby granted approval to operate the subject property as a religious boarding school….

“I was pleased to see how quickly we were able to get a just result for our clients. It is important to remember that our Constitution, statutes and ordinances are enacted for the benefit of everyone and so despite the enormous local opposition our clients’ religious rights could not be trampled,” said Donna Jennings, co-counsel for the plaintiffs.

Rabbi Shlomo Lesin, an official with the Yeshiva, said of the decision: “I am confident that we can build a solid relationship with this community, which is comprised of dedicated family-minded individuals, based on understanding and traditional values. We believe that the honor that we strive to bring to the name of the Al-mighty will resonate with our neighbors and foster unity and fellowship.”

Zebra Holdings, one of the plaintiffs in the action, was pleased with the outcome designed to protect both the interests of the local community as well as the Constitution. “We look forward to a good working relationship with the Township as well as the community at large,” said one of Zebra Holdings’ principals.
Religious land uses are protected from undue burdens, discrimination and arbitrary treatment under RLUIPA, which was passed by Congress fifteen years ago to prevent discrimination against religious institutions in land use regulation. The attorneys of Storzer and Associates, P.C. have represented scores of churches, temples, mosques and synagogues in land use conflicts from Hawaii to Florida. Storzer has been described by the Religion Newswriters Association as “one of the country’s most experienced litigators” in religious land use law, and has successfully represented Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Native American, Sikh and other religious organizations in RLUIPA and First Amendment cases throughout the nation.

Ms. Jennings is a shareholder on the land use team at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A., a full-service law firm with four offices throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. She has represented a number of religious institutions before local municipal planning and zoning boards, and successfully litigated appeals on their behalf.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

HATE: Swastikas, ‘Hail Hitler’ found at Jewish Lakewood School Playground

Friday, August 26th, 2016

sThe following is via TLS:

Swastikas and other anti-Semitic messages were found spray-painted at a Lakewood playground today.

Swastikas were sprayed on the play equipment, as well as on a door to the school building – currently utilized by a day camp.

Mayor Menashe Miller went down to the playground to see the hate messages, and condemned the act.

“Lakewood Township and its police department takes bias crime very seriously,” Mayor Miller told TLS. “It is obvious that someone is trying to intimidate a particular segment of the community and we will not tolerate that sort of behavior.”

The responding officer, Officer Ruiz apologized to the Mayor and bystanders for having to witness this type of anti-Semitism.

(Source: TLS)

WATCH: Vehicle Drives Into The ‘Min Haaretz’ Bakery In Ramle

Friday, August 26th, 2016

On Wednesday 20 Menachem Av, a vehicle veered out of control and slammed into the ‘Min Haaretz’ bakery in Ramle. There were no reports of injuries.

The incident was captured on a surveillance camera.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem/Photos: מישל וקנין via Media Resource Group)

Bennett Remains Committed To Working With Chareidi Parties

Friday, August 26th, 2016

1Bayit Yehudi party leader Minister Naftali Bennett expresses his firm commitment to continue working with the chareidi parties, Yahadut Hatorah and Shas. In an interview with the weekly Mishpacha Magazine Bennett explains he does not see himself entering another coalition other than the current one with the chareidim.

He is quoted saying he will not enter another coalition at the expense of the chareidim, as was the case in the previous administration when Bennett teamed with Yesh Atid and the chareidim remained in opposition.

The dati leumi party leader adds “There is a connection between the chareidi sector and Eretz Yisrael, the chareidi tzibur is right-wing and during bein hazmanim I see bochrim all around Israel”.

Bennett is full of compliments for chareidi elected officials, making special mention to Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, adding “I see the connection with Litzman as genuine, having depth, a connection that is above politics. I view this as an opportunity to bridge communities. I see him as a man who is concerned with all of Am Yisrael and for me, this is a chiddush”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Chasdei Hashem! Missing Yeshiva Bochrim Found After Being Lost in Bear Mountain State Park

Friday, August 26th, 2016

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UPDATE 9;32 AM EST:

Baruch Hashem, the boys have been located. After a long and tedious search the boys are now safe. It is unclear how the boys got separated from their group during the hike. One of the boys had a cell phone even while they were lost however they could not make outgoing phone calls due to poor reception. Once they became in range, the boy called his father. The Bochurim were instructed to stay put and emergency responders are on their way to bring them back

Dancing and singing could be seen in the Stoliner Mesivta Camp after the good news was released that the Bochurim were found safe.
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Earlier Updates could be found below:

A search is underway at Bear Mountain State Park in Upstate NY for two missing Yeshiva Bochurim.

The two boys from Stoliner Mesivta Camp, both 16-years-old, were on a hike on Thursday, but somehow got separated from their group.

The search which is being coordinated by Chaveirim of Rockland County and the Misaskim Organization, has gathered dozens of volunteers at Bear Mountain. The search was launched around midnight – early Friday morning.

The NY State Parks Police is on the scene as well.

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(Chaim Shapiro – YWN)

US Flags to Be Reinstalled on NY Firetrucks After Outcry

Friday, August 26th, 2016

fdflAmerican flags will be reinstalled on some firetrucks in a New York community after an outcry that followed fire commissioners’ orders to take them down.

Fire commissioners in the Arlington Fire District in the town of Poughkeepsie had ordered the large flags removed from the back of three fire engines earlier this month. The move was made over concerns about possible U.S. flag code violations and potential safety risks to firefighters and motorists.

An agreement announced Thursday will allow smaller 2-by-3-foot American flags on three of the district’s front-line engines, which are the firetrucks used most frequently.

Amid the debate over the mid-August decision, officials decided to allow a large flag on one firetruck. That compromise failed to quell the controversy.

(AP)

Photo Essay: Hachnosas Sefer Torah To The Lelov Shul In Bnei Brak (Photos by JDN)

Friday, August 26th, 2016

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