Friday, October 31, 2014 

Sweden's 55 no-go zones where Muslims dominate

Just like in France, Sweden too has no-go zones where sharia reigns surpreme (Hat tip: Jihad Watch):
A new report from the Swedish National Police Board shows that the number of criminal networks are increasing. And now they are no longer only in major cities, but in 55 areas spread across 22 cities. They are especially in vulnerable areas where many immigrants live. It is very bad in the southern suburbs of Stockholm, for example, Sodertalje (Muslim-dominated area), but also Northeast Gothenburg (Muslim-dominated area) is subject to this phenomenon. Common for such areas is that the criminals are trying to take control of or affect the citizens and the surrounding area. [...]

“The criminal gangs are trying to find policemen and identify them and follow them both to and from work in an attempt to scare these policemen, and that is completely unacceptable,” he told Swedish Radio. …

In addition to regular shootouts, there are also blatant drug dealing, extortion and internal gang conflicts, with serious violence incidents in public places, the report reads. It means that people are scared and therefore do not dare contact the police or testify in court.
But if the police inaction says anything, even the law does nothing to help them, and neither does the press. It will come as no surprise if Sweden's headed to become Europe's take on Lebanon in the future.

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A huge tax scandal in the Haredi community

Reports have come in that tax authorities overlooked a galling case in the Haredi community:
A report Wednesday by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira said that Israeli tax authorities have failed, or been otherwise unable to collect tens of millions of shekels in taxes from institutions and individuals associated with the haredi community. Money is exchanged “under the table,” unreported to tax authorities, and funneled through charitable organizations and kashrut supervision groups known as “Badatzim.”

In addition, self-styled “Kabbalah” rabbis collected hundreds of millions of shekels from acolytes and believers – in cash, and without paying taxes.

The report examined the activities of 20 organizations that operate in the haredi community, for the period of April through October 2013. The Comptroller was responding to a series of complaints to police and tax officials on illicit activities in the Badatz organizations.
Of course, those are the public's taxes they're exploiting, and it's time to put a halt to that, if the authorities want to. This is another failure on the part of the authorities to deal with tax evasions correctly in Haredi society, and now they'd do well to change that.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014 

Labor party MK reviving anti-Israel Hayom bill

Once again, the ridiculous bill against free newspapers specifically intended to target Israel Hayom has been revived, by a Labor MK no less. While the bill has been postponed, it's still very offensive, particularly the alarming participation of several right-wing politicians in supporting it. One writer notes in the paper's defense:
The media industry in Israel is obviously in trouble. That is not news, and it really has nothing to do with the fact that Israel Hayom entered the game. Print journalism hasn't been able to maintain its business model for years, and it is not because of Israel Hayom, it is because of the Internet and the news sites. That is the reason that free newspapers came to be, and not just here in Israel. Trying to force the public to pay for something that it can currently get for free goes against everything that the government should be doing to combat the rising cost of living.
If they start coming up with laws forbidding free papers, will they next start to require people to pay for using websites?

Those right-wing politicians supporting it might want to consider that 2 Shas members who initially signed onto the bill later withdrew their support. If Jewish Home continues any support for the bill in contrast to the twosome who withdrew theirs, it could look even stranger, and hurt Jewish Home at a time when a party is needed as an alternative to Shas. Do they really want to give Shas another extension when such a party will only cause more trouble so long as they're still around?

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Sequel to "knockout game" followed by terrible show of hatred

A Jewish girl was assaulted in a new take on what was previously called a "knockout game" the other year. This time the hoodlums called it "what the hell are they?" Here's a rundown of what happened in NYC (via Breitbart and The Algemeiner):
The game’s objective is as follows: If someone is wearing nicer shoes than you, you must hit them on their feet or legs, shout “what the he** are they” and run away.[...]

The victim did not immediately understand what they said to her, but later on, when police explained the ‘game’ to her, she recalled that it was indeed what had been said.[...]

The scene at the Public Library on New York Avenue, where the assailant was stopped by Shomrim [security guards] as they waited for the police to arrive, quickly descended into one of the ugliest displays of hate and anti-Semitism this reporter has ever witnessed. Adults shouted anti-Semitic slurs and called for violence against the Jews, simply for being Jewish and standing up for their rights.
Even grownups descended into obscenities. A crowd no doubt influenced by Al Sharpton, no less. Something that's going to take ages to repair. It's very sad, and only furthers the damage to society.

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Muslim targets rabbi for campaign to let Jews pray on Temple Mount

Fortunately, the culprit's been terminated by police in a shootout. For now, here's the news:
A rabbi who is leading the effort to open up Jerusalem's Temple Mount — known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sancutary — to Jewish worshippers has reportedly been shot in Jerusalem. Ha'aretz is reporting that Yehuda Glick was shot in the chest after an event at Jerusalem's Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

When reached for comment, Micky Rosenfeld, a detective and spokesperson for Israel's police forces, confirmed "an attempted shooting outside the Begin Center," but would not confirm the victim's identity. He said that the victim, a man in his 50s, is in "serious condition." He added that roadblocks were being set up "all over Jerusalem" to find the shooter or shooters, who escaped by motorbike.
We must hope Glick will be okay. Keep him in your prayers. That said, he's been avenged, and his assailant's been wiped out:
The suspect in the shooting of U.S.-born activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick reportedly was killed by police in East Jerusalem early Thursday.

The Times of Israel reported that police arrived at the suspect's house in the Abu Tor neighborhood and were attempting to arrest the suspect when they came under fire. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld posted on Twitter that the suspect was killed in the ensuing shootout.

The paper reported that the Shin Bet security service confirmed the death of the suspect, described as a 32-year-old Palestinian who had spent time in an Israeli prison. His name was given as Moatez Higazi, an activist for the Islamic Jihad terror group.
More at the link. So now, the authorities have done the right thing and rid the world of this repulsive filth too, just like in at least 2 other recent cases. And that's a good thing.

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Member of Obama administration used vulgarity to describe Netanyahu

Somebody in the White House staff crossed the line from simple disagreement into serious hatred:
After learning that the unnamed official was quoted calling Netanyahu ‘chickens**’ in The Atlantic, Boehner had some choice words for President Barack Obama and his administration.

‘Over the last several months, I have watched the administration insult ally after ally,’ Boehner said in a lengthy and tersely-worded statement. ‘He (President Barack Obama) either condones the profanity and disrespect used by the most senior members of his administration or he does not. It is time for him to get his house in order and tell the people that can’t muster professionalism that it is time to move on.’

In The Atlantic piece, the unnamed senior official groused about Netanyahu’s guts, or lack thereof.

‘The one thing about ‘Bibi, he’s a chickens**t,’ the official is quoted as saying. ‘The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars. The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states.’
Oh, what nonsense. It makes no difference what Netanyahu does or doesn't, they have no respect for him and are perfectly fine with what the other side does. The New York Daily News said that:
America’s relationship with its sole steadfast ally in the Middle East — and the only functioning democracy in the disintegrating, hyper-violent region — has disgracefully hit rock bottom under President Obama’s leadership.

The U.S. attitude toward Israel is so bitter that a senior White House official described Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “a chickenshit” in an interview with a prominent commentator on Israeli-Palestinian affairs.

So much for Obama’s oft-stated pledge to Israelis that he has the Jewish state’s back. [...]

Lest you think that the “chickenshit” comment was an exception rather than the rule in Obamaworld, Atlantic magazine journalist Jeffrey Goldberg recounted a list of pejorative descriptions of Netanyahu that he had heard over the years: “recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous and ‘Aspergery.’”
Even if those don't count as profanity per se, they're still very degrading words used by various politicians with little self-esteem, and prove the political scene is in serious need of repairs, not to mention a need to wean themselves off of politics in certain senses.

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Polygamy cultist Goel Ratzon gets 30 years in prison

The leader of a polygamy cult in Israel who committed multiple acts of sodomy and rape has been officially handed his sentence:
Cult leader Goel Ratzon was sentenced by the Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday to 30 years in prison on his convictions for sex crimes and financial fraud.

He is set to serve 25 years from Tuesday’s sentencing, after already having been in prison for more than four years while his trial proceeded.

In September, Ratzon, 64, was convicted by the Tel Aviv District Court of most of the sex crimes he was accused of and of financial fraud, but acquitted of an enslaving charge regarding several of his “wives” and children, much to their distress.
That they wouldn't give him a sentence for enslaving any wives is regrettable. Mainly because it involved the following:
The fraud charges against Ratzon described him as defrauding his wives out of their money and manipulating them into serving as his slaves.

The indictment described a chilling account of Ratzon’s deeds, including one instance where he forcibly inserted his fingers into a 17-year-old girl and, when she protested, told her “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.”

It also detailed Ratzon’s abuse of a girl he molested almost daily for two years, starting when she was 15.[...]

Ratzon was also accused of using different methods to strip the women of their identities, including forcing them to tattoo his name and image on their bodies and requiring them to change their given names to ones of his choosing.

The women were then reportedly required to break off all ties with their families and friends and were not allowed to have any social life or connections whatsoever outside of the communal house.

They were also subject to repeated verbal abuse and humiliation by Ratzon, in order to strip them of their self-respect and independence.

Ratzon also wielded absolute control over the women’s movements, allowing them to leave the house only with his approval and requiring them to report to him all excursions, except to their workplace. He also forbade them from wearing sunglasses when outside with him, so that he could follow their gaze at all times.

The women were forced to dress modestly, were not allowed to use television or Internet without his approval, and were forced to attend to Ratzon at all hours of the night whenever he desired.

Ratzon required the children to line up and kiss his feet every time he entered the house, to reaffirm his superiority.
This is one more reason why "modesty" is bound to become a dirty word here, especially in cases involving religion. That sick filth should now rot in an isolated cell for all the trouble he caused.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 

Even Israel has a problem with LGBT issues

In this case, it's surrogacy for same-sex couples:
The surrogacy bill, seeking to allow single Israelis and same-sex couples to use the services of the surrogate to have children, passed its first Knesset reading on Monday, with a majority vote of 45 MKs. Fifteen MKs opposed the bill and three MKs abstained.

The bill, promoted by Health Minister Yael German (Yesh Atid), seeks to regulate surrogacy services in Israel, as well as for Israelis who pursue such services overseas.

[...] MKs representing the ultra-Orthodox parties opposed the bill.

"The health minister presented a bill meant to destroy the nature of family as we know it," MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said.

"This is a corrupt bill and only corrupt [MKs] can support it. We are treating the import and export of babies as if we were dealing with frozen meat. This bill is morally depraved," Shas MK Nissim Zeev said.

Habayit Hayehudi MK Orit Struck said she voted against the bill because it "undermines the family unit." She further blamed Yesh Atid for "trying to strip the State of Israel of its Jewish values."
This is one subject on which I can agree with the Haredi parties, and particularly with Jewish Home. Of course, I'll have to note that the Haredi parties might want to look at the beliefs of sex-segregation being espoused by their constituents, which could lead to homosexual mentalities. Maybe if they'd start thinking about how helpful it could be to move away from such balderdash, they might be able to fix things for future generations.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014 

Green Bay delegate shouldn't resign over question to Muslim

The Green Bay Press Gazette says an alderman who asked a Muslim woman a challenging question faced harassment:
Green Bay Alderman Chris Wery is refusing calls for his resignation following an exchange with a Muslim woman in which he asked whether she condemns Islamic terrorism.

Many people have called for Wery to step down from the City Council via their comments on Press-Gazette Media's Facebook page. Some are calling the elected official's interaction with a Muslim woman who had inquired about city bus service "shameful" and "horrible."
And they're clearly too ashamed to admit a lot of them must be leftists.
In a statement provided through Facebook on Wednesday, Wery, who represents District 8 on the city's west side, said that his line of questioning to Heba Mohammad was "legitimate" and that he would not step down from the City Council.

He noted that he voted in 2010 in favor of allowing an Islamic mosque to take over a former sporting goods store on Velp Avenue.

"I believe in both freedom of religion and freedom of speech," he said in his prepared statement. "Being elected does not mean I lose my freedom of speech."
I do think his decision to allow a mosque to be built was ill-advised, and hope this encounter will wake him up. He is right that election to office doesn't deprive him of freedom of speech.

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Muslim convert in France seeks to harm the Front National

It sounds like this crackpot - who says he's a 9-11 Truther to boot - did his conversion and promotion deliberately:
A councillor of the French anti-imigrant party Front National (FN) has shocked colleagues by converting to Islam, praising the "visionary" Koran, and sending out a "proselytising" YouTube video calling on others to join.

Maxence Buttey, 22, is one of the youngest of the FN's 1,500 local councillors, however he has now been suspended after his unusual conversion from a member of a party often at odds with Islam, to a member of that faith. Buttey appeared aware of the feathers his move would ruffle, he said: "Some of my voters will be disappointed by my choice, but I'm ready to explain to them that Islam has a mission to unite all men and women", reports the Daily Telegraph.

Buttey admits to being a 9/11 'truther' - someone who doesn't beleive the "official" version of the 2001 attacks, but in justifying his move unusually compared the FN to Islam itself. He said: "Both are demonised and very far from the image portrayed in the media... like Islam, the FN defends the weakest. The party denounces exorbitant interest rates charged on the debt of our country, and Islam is against the practice of usury".
Oh please. The party is against big taxes, I'd figure. If anything, they don't favor sharia finance. And Islam seeks to force the weak to submit and be dependent on its overlords for survival. They're right to suspend him from the party. I wouldn't be surprised if this were all done on purpose to undermine them. His Trutherism is also offensive, and he should be ashamed of himself. I hope they throw him out of the party altogether. France is suffering enough problems as it is, and this creepy act of his is not what any sane person needs.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014 

If WotW want to bring a Torah scroll to the Western Wall, let them

The Western Wall's Haredi manager has decided to draw unneeded attention for Women of the Wall - and people like himself - all because of a Torah scroll:
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, who runs Judaism’s most sacred holy site, the Kotel or Western Wall, slammed a women’s prayer group Friday for sneaking a miniature Torah scroll into the women’s section of the site earlier in the day.

“A small group of ‘Women of the Wall’ acted deceptively this morning,” the rabbi charged, according to the Ynet news site, “and after they were prevented from bringing in [to the Kotel plaza] a large Torah scroll, they deviously snuck in a small one to the women’s section.”

Women of the Wall, a feminist prayer group that gathers at the Western Wall at the start of each Jewish month, has battled with authorities for years for the right to hold prayer services in which women take a larger ritual role than that allowed by Israel’s Orthodox rabbinic establishment.

The group gathered at the Kotel plaza on Friday morning for prayers. In keeping with the site’s rules, police prevented them from bringing in the Torah scroll they carried with them. But during the prayer service, a member of the group produced a miniature scroll, which the group read from and danced with.

According to Women of the Wall, the Friday morning gathering also saw the first-ever bat mitzvah at the Kotel’s women’s section.
And I guess Rabinovitch didn't wish the bat mitzvah girl good luck. All he's interested in is running a public site solely according to Haredi customs and their idea of what Judaism should be run like. And it only gives Women of the Wall all the attention they seek, while at the same time making Orthodox Judaism look selfish and domineering. Sure, they may have been deceptive, but that still doesn't excuse the incredibly time-wasting rules he's running there. A commentor said:
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, you are an insult to all Jewish people by your stupid and wrongful conduct. I can't wait until you are investigated and terminated from your job. Just think what you are doing, you are preventing Jewish people from bringing a Torah to the wall for prayer. Your conduct is wrong and you should not be allowed to pray at the wall until you change your ways.
Well he was the same man who took tours of the city zoo on Holocaust Memorial Day, gave strong hints of being a dhimmi to Islam, and has been potentially inciting other Haredis to commit vandalism. The Jerusalem Post should stop publishing columns by Rabinovitch and he should be shunned by more sensible people. He may not think so, but he's been helping to boost a leftist group, and the worst part is, he probably knows it. IMO, if the WotW want to bring their own Torah scroll to the Wall, fine, it's not like they'll be using anybody else's.

And I should hope nobody - Haredi or otherwise - visiting the Wall that day antagonized or insulted the bat mitzvah girl. It's something to celebrate and be happy/proud about, not be hostile over.

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Democrats want to regulate the content on conservative websites

I think we've just gotten a warning not all Democrats have a problem with surrendering control of the internet to the UN. Warner Huston says:
As the media prepared to vacate newsrooms for the weekend, Democrats snuck in a last minute proposal that the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) be allowed to heavily regulate political content on internet sites such as Youtube, blogs, and the Drudge Report.

Obama FEC Vice Chairperson Ann M. Ravel announced late on Friday that the FEC was preparing new regulations to give itself control over videos, Internet-based political campaigns, and other content on the web. She insisted that, "A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long overdue."
A pure disgrace, and proof there's Dems out there who want to destroy everything even their own hold dear. Anybody who lets this go unopposed can't be surprised if their silence enables innovation to turn into ashes.

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Reality show hosts sponsor a rally against gay marriage and abortion

The two hosts of 19 Kids & Counting are sponsoring a bus rally to support political candidates who oppose "anti-family" policies like homosexuality and abortion. The National Org. for Marriage is a co-sponsor.

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In Iran, defending yourself from sexual assault brings you death

An Iranian woman was hanged for defending herself from a rapist:
Iran has hanged a woman who killed a man she claimed was trying to sexually abuse her, despite an international campaign to stop the execution.

Reyhaneh Jabbari died in a Tehran prison, reports the BBC.

The 26-year-old had been charged for killing a former employee of Iran's ministry of intelligence, Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi.

She had always claimed self-defense.

The interior designer claimed she was lured to his home on the pretense of work, but he then attacked her.

Jabbari, who was just 19 at the time, stabbed her attacker after the assault in 2007.

She admitted to the murder, but it was claimed that her confession was extracted from her under intense pressure by authorities.
Obviously, they don't want it recognized as self-defense. Ever.

Iran's current regime could explain why the effort to save Jabbari tragically failed. Only by deposing them will it be possible to put a stop to this barbarism.

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Friday, October 24, 2014 

Axe-swinger in NYC was an Islamofascist

A maniac with an axe was gunned down by NY police, and it turns out he too was another "lone wolf" jihadist:
The man who attacked New York City police officers with a hatchet before being shot dead was reported to have Islamic “extremist leanings” police and a monitoring group said.

The man, identified in the US media as Zale Thompson, had posted an array of statements on YouTube and Facebook that “display a hyper-racial focus in both religious and historical contexts, and ultimately hint at his extremist leanings,” the SITE monitoring group said. …

SITE, which monitors radical Muslim groups, said that in a comment Thompson had posted to a pro-Islamic State video on September 13, 2014, he described “jihad as a justifiable response to the oppression of the ‘Zionists and the Crusaders.’”
There's more on the issue at Hot Air. So here was another jihadist not unlike the 2 in Canada who went on a rampage. And another who should be sent to hell for the horror he caused.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014 

Dhimmis accuse Homeland of being Islamophobic

I've never watched this TV series, but here's an odd accusation being made against it:
Are the cast, crew and fans of "Homeland" - Showtime's television series about a brilliant but neurotic CIA agent - Islamophobes?

That's the implication of articles published this month in both The Washington Post and The New York Times. In the Times, Bina Shah, a Pakistani "contributing opinion writer," complains that "Homeland," much of which is set in Pakistan this season, demonstrates yet again that "the world sees us one-dimensionally - as a country of terrorists and extremists, conservatives who enslave women and stone them to death, and tricky scoundrels who hate Americans and lie pathologically to our supposed allies."

The problem is not just "Homeland," she writes, it's not even just Hollywood, but also "biased journalism, originating among mainstream American journalists who care little for depth and accuracy."

She notes that in "Homeland" and various feature films that use Pakistan as a backdrop (e.g., "A Mighty Heart," about the kidnapping and murder of reporter Daniel Pearl, and "Zero Dark Thirty," about the killing of Osama bin Laden) she has "seen India's signature homemade Ambassador cars traveling down Pakistani streets; actors who play tribal Pashtuns, but look Bihari; Western women wearing chadors where they don't have to, or going around bareheaded when they should be covered."

In one scene in "Homeland," set in Pakistan's tribal areas, she hears "everyone speaking Urdu, not the region's Pashto."

That's it? That's the bias? Seriously?

Ms. Shah quotes from a piece in The Washington Post by Laura Durkay, identified as a "filmmaker and activist" whose "writing has appeared in AlterNet, Gay City News, and Socialist Worker, among others." Ms. Durkay charges that "Homeland" is the "most bigoted show on television," and that it "perpetuates racist ideas."

She, too, fails to provide any evidence, instead asserting that the series "has churned out Islamophobic stereotypes as if its writers were getting paid by the cliche." She calls the show's heroine a "blonde, white Red Riding Hood lost in a forest of faceless Muslim wolves."

Full disclosure: I am a "Homeland" fan. The show has a fast-paced, ripped-from-the-headlines plot and intriguing characters. Among them: Fara Sherazi, who is an Iranian-born, observant Muslim - and CIA agent. She's smart and beautiful to boot. This season there also is a young Pakistani survivor of a drone attack that killed innocent celebrants at a wedding. He wants to return to his medical studies and not get involved in the war between the jihadis and Americans.

Does that sound Islamophobic, racist or bigoted to you? Or does it sound like Ms. Shah and Ms. Durkay are attempting to enforce "political correctness" - hurling the usual epithets to suppress views with which they disagree. Ms. Durkay is adamant that "Homeland" presents "a Frankenstein-monster global terrorist threat that simply doesn't exist." Victims of the 41 jihadi terrorist groups now operating in two dozen countries will be relieved to learn that Ms. Durkay, "filmmaker and activist," has arrived at that conclusion.
It sounds to me almost like dissatisfaction and a wish to complain regardless how Islam is portrayed in the series. The funny part is how the first writer cited parrots the complaint made by righties about the very papers she's writing for. In other words, she doesn't care how much the lefties who gave her a soapbox platform side with her positions already, she dislikes them all the same.

In any case, I don't think what I've heard about Homeland having an observant Muslim agent makes me feel encouraged to ever watch it. Certainly not if they won't be open about the Koran's content. But I agree the Pakistani op-ed writer's arguments are laughable.

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Voyeuristic rabbi embarrasses Orthodox Judaism

Barry Freundel, a prominent member of the RCA, was arrested and charged with installing a hidden camera in the mikveh he ran for female converts:
Last week, a prominent Georgetown rabbi arrested for voyeurism was released on his own recognizance. This week, the council of rabbis that he was a part of has suspended his membership and released a statement.

Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel is accused of setting up a camera in the women's showers for Mikvah, a sacred and traditional bath women of the Jewish faith take, at Orthodox synagogue Kesher Israel. Police say he recorded women on June 2 and September 13. They say he also appears on tape setting up the device. [...]

RCA also announced that Rabbi Freundel's membership was suspended from the RCA and its Executive Committee, "and together with the Beth Din of America from all activities related to conversion." RCA officials, however, say that

"...the Beth Din of America has concluded as a matter of Jewish law that conversions performed by Rabbi Freundel prior to his arrest on October 14, 2014 remain halachically valid and prior converts remain Jewish in all respects."
But what if some converts feel they should run the process again, not wanting to consider Freundel's work something they feel comfy under? I'm sure some will feel that way, so the RCA should be willing to let them undergo the processes another time.

Ron Torossian's written about the soul-searching and serious improvements now required of the Orthodox sect:
The arrest of Rabbi Barry Freundel, spiritual leader of the Kesher Israel congregation in Washington, DC, is an event which should prompt soul-searching in the Orthodox Jewish community. The accusations, that he installed a video camera in a mikvah, and as The Jewish Channel alleges, that he asked converts to Judaism to do a “practice dunk” in the mikvah are heinous if they are found to be true. Time – and the courts – will determine if indeed he is guilty – although the court of public opinion has already decided.
And there was a witness who found him setting up the camera device at one point. What he did was shameful. And the biggest problem here is the exclusively male management at RCA:
In the simplest of terms, the RCA yields too much power. As Rabbi Avi Weiss indicated some months ago, “.. power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The RCA has “established a system where only a select, relatively few rabbis are permitted to sit on conversion courts, undermining the authority of local community rabbis, and placing unnecessary stumbling blocks before serious potential converts.”

As a former press representative for RCA, and a current board member of Yeshivat Maharat, the Orthodox women’s yeshiva, I believe this unfortunate incident should serve as a wake-up call for all Jews to recognize that changes are necessary to best serve the community. Amongst the changes needed is a move towards a more open form of Orthodoxy – less coercion and more ahavat Israel.

Given the particulars of this situation, perhaps a start can come with a heightened role for orthodox Jewish women leaders.

Women should not be pushed to the back of the bus, literally or physically, as at times the all-male leadership of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) seems to believe. As The Jewish Channel has reported, Freundel maintained what many rabbis described as “great power” over both the conversion process broadly, and many thousands of individual converts and candidates for conversion specifically. Whether these charges are true or not, how many women – and people will now be turned off to Orthodox Judaism.

Were not Sarah, Miriam, Deborah and other women ordained prophets in the Torah? Since when is leadership or moral authority exclusive to men? Where is it that the word of God says the authority of Torah is exclusive to men?

Within Orthodoxy and those who follow “taharas hamishpacha” (“family purity” laws), does anyone genuinely believe that a male rabbi is a more appropriate person to handle female issues than another female?

There are very complicated halachic rules for woman, and they are very personal.

Perhaps, in fact, even more women would become observant and indeed follow family purity laws if a woman helped them along. If many women prefer to use female gynecologists, there is a clear need as well for women who can provide counsel on halachic matters.

Men alone should not make decisions about what women should do and with whom they should consult about Jewish law. Many women would find it easier to approach a female “maharat” about personal issues than they would a male rabbi.
So how is it that for many years, this male dominance has been allowed to continue without comment or argument about whether women should be allowed addition to management? Following this, they've decided they will give a proper position to women who can manage the mikvehs for female converts. But until now, there had been a serious abuse of power:
The arrest took place after a woman using the mikveh noticed a red light in the clock radio and alerted some synagogue board members. The board alerted authorities and the rabbi was arrested Oct. 14. He is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 12 for a status hearing.

In a series of interviews, rabbis, communal leaders and women active in the Orthodox community, including converts, mentioned concerns about the abuse of power by men in control of women’s ritual observance. Virtually all saw the scandal as an opportunity to advance the cause of women in terms of rituals and practice.

“Bottom line, we women are excluded from making decisions in Orthodox Jewish life,” asserted one prominent Orthodox educator, who asked not to be named due to her professional ties in the community. “On every level — rabbinic, lay, philanthropic, etc. And that creates a feeling of alienation.”

Acknowledging the anger in the community, the RCA responded with unusual speed in announcing this week a policy for all of its dozen or so Beit Dins, or religious courts, in the U.S. to “appoint a woman (or group of women) to serve as ombudsman to receive any concerns of female candidates to conversion.”

In addition, the RCA will appoint “a commission made up of rabbis, lay leaders and mental health professionals (including men and women)” to review the organization’s current conversion process “and suggest safeguards against possible abuses.”

Several women interviewed expressed appreciation for those steps, but even leaders of the RCA noted that additional change is needed.
I fully agree. There needs to be appointments for female rabbis or some kind of religious service that women can look up to in Orthodoxy. For now, they better come to terms with how Freundel's acts may have done considerable damage to everyone's perception of Orthodoxy, and it could take a long time to repair.

Here's an opinion on the case from another rabbi, Gerald Skolnik.

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Gur Haredis disapprove of Nir Barkat's bise-kiss

According to this news with a video clip (which activates when you click the frame, just in case it you can't see it immediately), a Haredi MK was irked at Jerusalem's mayor for performing a custom common in some European countries like France, known as Le Bise:
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was not aware that the Gerrer (Gur) hassidic sect forbids men from kissing each other, and planted two kisses solidly on the cheeks of a guest at the wedding of one of Barkat's aides, who is hareidi.

MK Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) immediately explained to Barkat that he had transgressed. Barkat was unapologetic: He asked pointedly: "What do you mean, it's forbidden? What are they, Muslims?"
Considering that the two-cheeks custom is hardly a homosexual act, I don't think Litzman had to be bothered by it. I do know though, that some Haredis detest acts of affection in the open even among perfectly heterosexual folks like hugging/kissing, which is a shame. Showing affection between sexes, or between parents and children, is something helpful and inspiring, and they shouldn't make a fuss over that.

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Did Haredi passengers on Delta cause delay?

Here's some more news about another delay that might've been caused by Haredis who supposedly wanted to travel to Israel (via JTA), you have to wonder if they intend to embarrass the Jewish community deliberately:
A Delta Airlines flight from New York to Tel Aviv was delayed Monday night after ultra-Orthodox men and women refused to take their seats next to members of the opposite sex. Instead, the Haredi passengers decided to get off the plane, rather than take their assigned seats for the flight to Israel. Their baggage then had to be located and removed from the baggage compartment, causing the plane to take off about an hour and a quarter late.

Delta Airlines said that its flight, 468, from Kennedy Airport to Ben-Gurion Airport, which was to have landed on Tuesday at 14:35 would arrive late because a number of passengers had chosen to disembark.
According to the Jewish Press, the Haredi passengers told a Haredi website it wasn't the case:
“The airline messed up and threw their mistake on Haredi passengers,” one of the sources said. “Delta overbooked with 25 extra passengers, and when the company realized the embarrassment, they offered people a credit of $1,000 and a hotel room. A number of passengers jumped on the opportunity and disembarked, but it took around two hours before they could get their luggage off the plane.”

The source also claimed that the allegation that Haredim refused to sit in assigned seats is misleading because the overbooking caused a mix-up on where to sit. Yeshiva students on the plane wanted to sit with their friends and probably did not want to sit next to women, but this was no reason for the take-off to be delayed, they argued.
Even if that's so, any Haredi communities going by this absurdity are going to have to reevaluate their bizarre custom and recognize there's things much worse than sitting next to the opposite sex. And they definitely shouldn't exploit El Al's own weaknesses in policy because they think they can get away with it. If they think sexual arousal is something bad, that's ridiculous. That's not the worst thing that could happen at all. And as for having sex out of wedlock, even Christians who believe in abstinence until marriage don't think it's the worst thing in the world, so I don't see why the Haredis should either. They have to climb off their high horse.

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How Canada wound up with jihad problems

The UK Telegraph explains how the great white north came to have quite a few jihadists:
If there was anyone left who thought only troubled, fractured societies were subject to terrorism, the wave of apparently jihadist attacks across a country that is a byword for laid-back prosperity will surely have disabused them.

Two soldiers killed in three days, the shootings on Wednesday following the ram-raid by a known jihadist on Monday – these are the sort of incidents against which Britain and other European countries have steeled themselves for years.

Canada has recently adopted a more aggressive position on the world stage, which will no doubt be a pretext for the attacks: this week, Canadian jets joined the international coalition fighting in Iraq.

But the threat was already there. Canadians are among those who have shown up fighting and dying for the cause of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria.

A 23-year-old called Mohammed Ali, known by his nickname Abu Turaab al-Kanadi, has become a celebrity for cheering on Isil beheadings.

[...] The irony is as western governments become more adept at monitoring extremists, preventing them from travelling, so they are more likely to commit acts of terror at home.

Martin Couture-Rouleau, the 25-year-old Islamist extremist who, under the name Ahmad LeConverti, drove into and killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, 53, on Monday, was known to the police, who had confiscated his passport
It's clear that preventing these monsters from going to Iraq and Syria alone does not prevent them from turning to violent crime. They'll have to start modifying current laws to allow detention - or better still, exile - of people who could be dangerous to society.

The AP Wire's said that the gunman's mother thankfully sides with the victims, not her son:
The mother of the man accused of killing a soldier at Ottawa's war memorial then storming Parliament before being shot dead says she is crying for the victims of the shooting, not her son.

In a brief and tear-filled telephone interview with The Associated Press Thursday, Susan Bibeau said she did not know what to say to those hurt in the attack.

"Can you ever explain something like this?" she said. "We are sorry."

Investigators offered little information about the gunman in Ottawa, identified as 32-year-old petty criminal Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

Canadian police conceded Thursday that Zehaf-Bibeau was the lone gunman, the second attack in three days in what the prime minister described as terrorism.

The heart of the capital city of Ottawa had been in lockdown after Wednesday's attack, with fears that other gunmen might be on the loose. Ottawa police Constable Marc Soucy confirmed to The Associated Press Thursday that police are satisfied there was one attacker. Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that "there is no longer a threat to public safety."

The two attacks stunned Canadians and raised concerns their country was being targeted for reprisals for joining the U.S.-led air campaign against the extremist Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the National War Memorial where the soldier was killed to lay a wreath.

Earlier, Harper called the shooting the country's second terrorist attack in three days. A man Harper described as an "ISIL-inspired terrorist" on Monday ran over two soldiers in a parking lot in Quebec, killing one and injuring another before being shot to death by police. Like the suspect from Wednesday's shooting in Ottawa, he was a recent convert to Islam.

Witnesses said the soldier posted at the National War Memorial, identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, was gunned down at point-blank range by a man carrying a rifle and dressed all in black, his face half-covered with a scarf. The gunman appeared to raise his arms in triumph, then entered Parliament, a few hundred yards away, where dozens of shots soon rang out, according to witnesses.

People fled the complex by scrambling down scaffolding erected for renovations, while others took cover inside as police with rifles and body armor took up positions outside and cordoned off the normally bustling streets around Parliament.

On Twitter, Canada's justice minister and other government officials credited 58-year-old sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers with shooting the attacker just outside the MPs' caucus rooms. Vickers serves a largely ceremonial role at the House of Commons, carrying a scepter and wearing rich green robes, white gloves and a tall imperial hat.

At least three people were treated for minor injuries.
It's very lucky they have people like Vickers working for them. If he hadn't been there, chances are the horrors caused by the jihadist would be a lot worse. For now, they're going to have to beef up security at the House of Commons entrances, add more security cameras and do whatever it takes to ensure such horrors can't penetrate the parliament at ease again.

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Haredi vandals deface WotW bat mitzvah ads on buses

The extremists in Mea Shearim are giving a leftist outfit with questionable motivations more ammunition when it's better not to:
One week after Women of the Wall launched an ad campaign promoting bat mitzva ceremonies at the Western Wall on Egged buses in Jerusalem, the women’s prayer rights group said on Monday night that several of the advertisements have been defaced by ultra-Orthodox extremists.

According to the organization, the campaign is designed to encourage girls to hold bat mitzva ceremonies at the holy site, with a Torah scroll if they choose, although women are presently unable to read from the Torah at the site under current religious regulations.

Women of the Wall director Lesly Sachs said 50 percent of the images featuring young women were torn down, and the tires of some of the public buses were slashed, in the primarily ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Mea She’arim.

“It is sad to yet again see the ultra-Orthodox men take the law into their own hands and using Judaism as an excuse for the use of force, threat and violence against women,” Sachs said. “We call on ultra-Orthodox leadership to strongly denounce this act of violence and all others.”

[...] Since the ad campaign was launched, the women’s group claims that it has received over 60 calls from Israeli women inquiring about holding a bat mitzva at the Western Wall, as well as numerous harassing calls.
I decidedly would have no issue about their holding bat mitzvahs there, even if it's Reform style, and again, I'm disgusted at how these Haredi crackpots are once again causing a lot of trouble over peanuts. Once again, it's clear they want to help WotW gain ground, and the Western Wall's manager may have to take some blame for his own blubbering too. As sad as it makes me whenever Reforms take anti-Israel stances - something the Haredi extremists have in common with them - the custom they practice with prayer shawls is the least of my problems with them. One sure thing, bat mitzvahs are definitely something everyone should be allowed to practice at the Western Wall.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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