Friday, May 27, 2016

Tel Aviv 'police brutality' claim exposed as false

Analysis of footage shows Bedouin employee attacked cops first, prompts journalist to apologize for condemning police.

Israeli media raised an uproar after security cameras apparently showed an Arab Israeli supermarket worker in Tel Aviv being hit by eight police officers- but a closer investigation of the footage has debunked the claims of unprovoked police brutality, and even caused some in the media to apologize.

Maysam Abu Alqian, 19, a Bedouin Arab from the Negev town of Hura, was asked by plainclothes Border Police officers on Sunday to see his teudat zehut (ID card) as he stood outside the Super Yuda store in central Tel Aviv where he worked.

According to Alqian, he refused to show his ID until an officer in uniform showed up, and he claims that the plainclothes officers began hitting him for no apparent reason.

But during an internal police investigation of the incident, a close examination of the security camera footage revealed by Walla shows the officers were actually attacked first and responded according to protocol. [...]

An analysis of the footage led at least one leading figure in the media to retract his initial accusations against the police.

Ben-Dror Yemini, a Yedioth Aharonoth columnist, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday: "I was wrong. I'm sorry."

"Immediately after the incident between the Bedouin youth and the officers in central Tel Aviv I published a short post condemning the police. But a check of the video footage frame by frame, which was done by Avi Ashkenazi on the Walla site, reveals that the officers apparently did indeed present documentation, and they were not the ones who started the pushing that led to violence."

"I demand that others respond to the facts. The facts prove that I was wrong," he concluded.

But despite the revelations, the backlash fueled by the initial reports of the incident have led to an outpouring of contributions for the Bedouin teen who refused to show his ID to the officers and proceeded to hit them.

According to reports on Thursday around 1,000 Israelis have raised over 100,000 shekels (over $26,000) for Alqian to pay for his university tuition fees.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Divorce: Division of assets when husband leaves vs wife leaves husband

One of the areas of great relevance to the contemporary religious Jewish community is what happens to financial assets when a couple divorce. While there clearly is an emphasis on equitable division in secular law - the same is not so according to halacha.

According to the accepted halacha the husband owns everything except what the wife brought into the marriage. Therefore split of property and assets and giving the wife alimony and child support - has no basis in halacha. In fact if the wife is given these by a secular court, it is considered theft since she has no right to them.

One of the attempts to change this is a Rema which says that we follow the common custom in division. But does dina d'malchusa constitute the minhag? That is a discussion for another time.

I was recently told of an approach which says that the above is only relevant when the wife either deserts her husband or says he disgusts her and demands a Get. Is it different if the husband deserts the wife and demands a Get from her? [to be continued]

In Switzerland, Muslim schoolchildren who refuse to shake their teacher’s hand may be fined $5,000

In Switzerland, the humble handshake between a teacher and children at the beginning and end of the day — a tradition throughout much of the country — has become an unlikely battleground in a public debate about religious freedom and sexual equality. Now, one Swiss canton has added a financial element to the controversy, warning families of children who refuse to shake hands with their teachers that they would face a fine of up to $5,000.

In April, two students at a school in the town of Therwil, near Basel, had requested an exemption from shaking a teacher's hand. The two teenagers, brothers from a Syrian family, had suggested that shaking a woman's hand went against Islamic teachings. In a compromise, the local school district ruled that the two children would not have to shake any teacher's hand, whether male or female.

After Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper reported about this, however, the agreement with the school district began to come undone. A widespread debate about immigration and integration erupted in the Swiss press, with many arguing that the students' calls for religious freedom was at odds with the Swiss tradition of gender equality. "We cannot accept this in the name of religious freedom," Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said in an interview with Swiss-German broadcaster SRF. "The handshake is part of our culture.”[...]

The regional education authorities in the Basel-Country canton had initially stayed out of the debate, but they released a statement on Wednesday that reversed the school district's decision. The schoolchildren would be required to shake the hand of their teacher, the statement said, or their guardians would be fined.[...]

The situation is the latest controversy over the role of Islam in Swiss society. Muslims are thought to constitute about 5 percent of Switzerland's population, but many Swiss argue that the community has not integrated fully. In 2009, Swiss voters banned the construction of minarets, and last year the canton of Ticino made the wearing of a burqa in public punishable by a $10,000 fine. There have also been other disputes involving education, with some Muslim parents fined for demanding that their daughters be exempt from swimming classes.[...]

Switzerland's Muslim community had largely refused to support the boys' refusal to shake hands, pointing out that it was a Swiss tradition that many Muslims quite happily accept. To "the students and parents I would suggest the following reflection: Can the denial of shaking hands be more important than the Islamic commandment of mutual respect?" Montassar Ben Mrad, president of Federation of Islamic Organizations in Switzerland, had said in the statement.

Eleven states sue Obama administration over bathroom guidance for transgender students

Eleven states and state officials filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the Obama administration over federal guidance directing schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identities.

The federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, states that the guidance “has no basis in law” and could cause “seismic changes in the operations of the nation’s school districts.”

State officials have hinted they might file a legal challenge since the Obama administration released a letter earlier this month from the Justice Department and the Education Department that the federal agencies said was in response to questions from schools around the country.

“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement when the letter was released. “This guidance gives administrators, teachers, and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies.” [...]

This lawsuit — which bears the names of nine states as well as a governor and another state’s education department — is the first filed in response to the administration’s letter. Although some politicians, parents, elected officials and school districts embraced the directive, others aggressively argued against it and said the administration was overstepping its authority.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) almost immediately said his state would fight the letter because President Obama is “not a king.” Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, accused Obama of trying to “bully Texas schools into allowing men to have open access to girls in bathrooms” and vowed a legal fight. [...]

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Palestinians arrested for anti - Israeli rape against mentally-disabled woman

Two Palestinians are in currently in custody for allegedly raping and urinating on a mentally-disabled woman in south Tel Aviv, in what police say was a racially-motivated crime.

The incident allegedly took place on Yom Haatzmaut earlier this month, inside the 20-year-old victim’s aunt’s apartment. During the act, Imad Aladin Dragame, 42, allegedly filmed the rape, which police say was carried out by two other Palestinians – including a minor – who urinated and spit on the woman while shouting anti-Semitic slurs at her and threatening to murder her aunt and brother if she complained.

The third suspect in the case remains at large, while the minor and Dragame were on Wednesday ordered kept in custody for an additional 5 days. For Dragame, a resident of Nablus with a legal permit to work inside Israel, it was the third remand hearing since he was arrested on May 16th, following a complaint by the victim’s aunt. He also faces drug charges after police allegedly found 11.5 grams of marijuana in his apartment, which is in the same building as the victim’s aunt.[...]

Sgt. Maj. Yisrael Sianov, the officer representing the police [...] continued, “in addition, they threatened her not to tell anyone, saying they would rape her aunt and murder her brother. This is a shocking incident.”

Last March, the Defense Ministry recognized the victim of a 2012 rape in Tel Aviv as a terror victim, due to the nationalist nature of the attack. [...]

Bnei Brak mashgiach accused of molesting students - has left Israel

kikar haShabbat

משגיח מישיבה חרדית מוכרת נעלם מהארץ לאחר טענות נגדו על פגיעה בבחורים. אחד מהם, מדבר לראשונה בשיחה עם "כיכר השבת": "אמרו לי 'אם המשגיח עושה משהו כנראה שהוא יודע'" (חרדים)

חרדית מוכרת ממרכז הארץ, נמלט מהארץ בימים האחרונים לאחר סדרה של טענות למעשים חמורים כלפי תלמידים במוסד. בשיחה כואבת עם "כיכר השבת", מדבר לראשונה אחד מבוגרי הישיבה, שלטענתו נפגע על ידי אותו משגיח.
י' (שם בדוי), מעלה טענות קשות ביותר נגד המשגיח הנמלט ונגד הישיבה בה למד במשך שנים. לדבריו, המשגיח פגע בו לפני מספר שנים בצורה קשה וחמורה בעת שלמד בישיבה. לטענתו, הוא סיפר על הדברים לחבריו, ואז הופתע לגלות כי ישנם בחורים נוספים שנתקלו במעשים דומים מצד המשגיח המדובר.
י' מספר כי התבייש לפנות לראש הישיבה ולספר לו על המקרה, אולם חבריו ששמעו על מה שעולל לכאורה המשגיח, פנו לראש הישיבה. לדברי י', ראש הישיבה השיב כי "אם המשגיח עושה משהו כנראה שהוא יודע מה לעשות, זה בסדר".
לאחר תגובתו של ראש הישיבה, י' החל לאסוף עדויות נוספות מתלמידים שלכאורה נפגעו מהמשגיח. לדבריו, הגיעו לידיו עדויות מוצקות על עוד שמונה בחורים לכל הפחות, שלמדו יחד עמו בישיבה ונפגעו לטענתם על ידי המשגיח. "חלק ניצלו לאחר שהתנגדו, אחרים נפגעו באופן קשה ביותר" אומר י'.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Why 'Crooked Hillary' is likely to stick

Donald Trump has a knack for nicknames. Low-energy Jeb caught something of Jeb's entitled aura. "Little Marco" got at something truly juvenile and naive about Marco Rubio. And "Lyin' Ted" was an effective way of branding Ted Cruz's dishonesty. Lately, Donald's been trying new nicknames for Hillary Clinton, but he seems to like his original "Crooked Hillary" best.

And his first instinct is best. The Clinton Foundation and other associated concerns really are a kind of globalist grift.

Funded by the rich, the foundation allows the Clintons to travel around the world and to network with other high net worth individuals. It even pays the salaries of Clinton friends and other flunkies. And where does the money come from? Bill Clinton would often raise it from people who had direct financial interests at play in the U.S. State Department when Hillary was there. One such deal resulted in a Russian company, Uranium One, obtaining control over one-fifth of the world's uranium production.

As Peter Schweizer's book Clinton Cash details, Hillary's loyalty could be well-bought. Consider the financial interests of Mohammed al-Amoudi, who committed $20 million to the Clinton Foundation in 2007. Al-Amoudi profits from the Mohammed International Development Research and Organization Companies, which could have been harmed by U.S. policy changes in Ethiopia, particularly if the U.S. government scrutinized Ethiopia closely for human rights violations, as required by U.S. rules on foreign aid. Clinton dutifully gave a waiver to Ethiopia during her time as secretary of state. Bill Clinton would praise Ethiopia's leaders as a new guard for the continent, even if their rule included extra-judicial killing and plunder.

There are dozens of other sordid little tales, like that of Claudio Osorio, currently in federal prison for fraud. The Clintons, to whom he donated generously, helped his firm InnoVida obtain a $10 million loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. More evidence of financial corruption may be coming now that Charles Ortel, who uncovered wrongdoing at General Electric, is examining the Clinton Foundation's disclosures. He's already describing their work as "charity fraud."

There's also the matter of Hillary's speaking fees. In just the two years between leaving the Obama administration and launching her bid for the presidency, she made nearly $22 million from speeches. Right after her service to Obama, Hillary Clinton began giving one to two speeches a month at around $225,000 or more per speech. Who wanted to hear Hillary speak? Lots of financial services companies, including Deutsche Bank, UBS, and Fidelity Investments. Goldman Sachs even hired her to speak in South Carolina in June of 2013, and then again in New York and Arizona that October. Her clients included major investors in government projects, like TD Bank, which had major investments in the Keystone Pipeline. [...]

How corporate America bought Hillary Clinton for $21M

“Follow the money.” That telling phrase, which has come to summarize the Watergate scandal, has been a part of the lexicon since 1976. It’s shorthand for political corruption: At what point do “contributions” become bribes, “constituent services” turn into quid pro quos and “charities” become slush funds?

Ronald Reagan was severely criticized in 1989 when, after he left office, he was paid $2 million for a couple of speeches in Japan. “The founding fathers would have been stunned that an occupant of the highest office in this land turned it into bucks,” sniffed a Columbia professor.

So what would Washington and Jefferson make of Hillary Rodham Clinton? Mandatory financial disclosures released this month show that, in just the two years from April 2013 to March 2015, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state collected $21,667,000 in “speaking fees,” not to mention the cool $5 mil she corralled as an advance for her 2014 flop book, “Hard Choices.”

Throw in the additional $26,630,000 her ex-president husband hoovered up in personal-appearance “honoraria,” and the nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the former first couple — who, according to Hillary, were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001 with some of the furniture in tow — can finally make ends meet.[...]

As “Clinton Cash,” a new documentary based on Peter Schweizer’s 2015 book, shows in excruciating, irrefutable detail, it’s always “pay to play” with the Clintons, whether personally or via their family racket, the Clinton Foundation (which includes the Clinton Global Initiative). They’ve sucked up vast sums of “contributions” from some of the most unsavory folks on the planet, including Nigerian dictators and Kazakhstani despots.

But it’s their parlaying of “public service” by two career “civil servants” into personal enrichment that’s shameless.

Bill Clinton’s speaking fees skyrocketed just days after Hillary’s nomination as secretary of state in 2009. Corporations, such as TD Bank, that had never paid a dime to hear him speak suddenly bellied up to the bar, waving fistfuls of cash. Coincidentally, TD Bank was the largest investor in the Keystone XL pipeline, which needed approval from the new secretary of state. Hillary dodged and weaved and Obama later nixed it — but the Clintons kept the cash. It makes sense to make friends with the woman who might just be the next president. But what does that say about what the office has become? [...]

Terrorist or pedophile? This start-up says it can out secrets by analyzing faces

An Israeli start-up says it can take one look at a person’s face and realize character traits that are undetectable to the human eye.

Faception said it’s already signed a contract with a homeland security agency to help identify terrorists. The company said its technology also can be used to identify everything from great poker players to extroverts, pedophiles, geniuses and white collar-criminals.

“We understand the human much better than other humans understand each other,” said Faception chief executive Shai Gilboa. “Our personality is determined by our DNA and reflected in our face. It’s a kind of signal.”

Faception has built 15 different classifiers, which Gilboa said evaluate with 80 percent accuracy certain traits. The start-up is pushing forward, seeing tremendous power in a machine’s ability to analyze images.

Yet experts caution there are ethical questions and profound limits to the effectiveness of technology such as this.

“Can I predict that you’re an ax murderer by looking at your face and therefore should I arrest you?” said Pedro Domingos, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington and author of “The Master Algorithm.” “You can see how this would be controversial.” [...]

Faception recently showed off its technology at a poker tournament organized by a start-up that shares investors with Faception. Gilboa said that Faception predicted before the tournament that four players out of the 50 amateurs would be the best. When the dust settled two of those four were among the event’s three finalists. To make its prediction Faception analyzed photos of the 50 players against a Faception database of professional poker players. [...]

Part 2 of "Hell, hope and healing" - There is hope for survivors to heal Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea

In the first article of this series [2]First Article   I discussed the commonality and damage of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including clergy sexual abuse. Here, I focus on the hope that most  trauma survivors can heal because of inherent or learned resilience and/or through access to healing resources.


Since the 1980s, when child abuse and domestic violence emerged from society's skeleton closet, researchers and clinicians have rightly prioritized the tremendous wounds caused by adverse childhood experiences. Recently, however, researchers also have concluded that while about two-thirds of trauma survivors will experience at least some negative outcomes after trauma, almost another third will emerge into adults who seem not to have been deeply affected by earlier traumas.

Even more exciting are indications that resilience can be learned or expanded to moderate the long-term impact of traumatic stress on the body, mind and spirit.

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as "the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of threat." Resilience researchers like Dennis Charney and Steven Southwick have investigated the genetic, biological, social and spiritual factors contributing to resilience. They and others have identified a number of factors that appear to endow an individual with resilience:

- Above average intelligence.

- An internal locus of control. A sense that the individual can determine his/her own fate, even when trauma occurs.

- An optimistic cognitive style. Resilient individuals tend to be able to find the silver lining in even the darkest, most thunderous clouds. They are able to imagine a time when life will be better.

- A close, safe relationship with at least one adult not involved in the trauma. This is an area in which abusive priests were often the most despicable and damaging. Children known by predator priests to be in difficult home situations, or kids who came to the priests for advice or comfort about other traumas, were often selected as victims. Instead of responding to an already hurting young person with kindness and mercy, abusing clergy too often became another trauma for the child or teen.

- A consistent faith and/or cultural traditions that provided hope and a steady belief system. Once again, we see the travesty of priests whose sexual violations robbed victims of a faith-based building block of resilience to life's challenges.

- A good sense of humor, even when life is tough.

It is important to note that all researchers point to sexual abuse while young as a particularly pernicious ACE that results in multiple times the risk of trauma-related challenges than other ACEs do. Early sexual trauma also is likely to correlate with the most serious symptomatology.

Further, resilience researcher Emmy Werner maintains that even the most resilient person has a breaking point. The trauma survivor's breaking point may be lower than for those not coping with past ACEs and the sexual abuse survivor's breaking point is likely to be lower still.

At the same time, the research and my 30 years of working clinically with sexual abuse survivors convince me that healing is possible even when wounds from sexual abuse are deep and suppurating. Part of trauma-focused psychotherapy, in fact, is increasing resilience, also known as strengthening ego functioning. [...]

Monday, May 23, 2016

Kaminetsky-Greenblatt Heter: Who doesn't belong in this picture? Shameful!

It is a tragedy when gedolim make mistakes - especially serious ones. It is an even bigger tragedy when they refuse to acknowledge their mistakes and make amends as the Torah requires. But worst of all when is they are being held as paragons of virtue - when they clearly aren't. Please note the topics to be discussed and please note the hypocrisy.

Child abuse and [no] Rabbinic Coverup

As a sign of significant improvement in rabbinic dealings with child abuse, I received a letter from a child abuse advocate which states:

Subject: Ultra-Orthodox leadership group in Israel defends senior colleague
Outrageously - but unsurprisingly - a senior ultra Orthodox leadership group in Israel has today issued a public statement in support of their colleague, Rabbi M[****]., who has been indicted for a 'series of rapes carried against a number of female relatives over the course of several years
Shortly after I received a follow up letter

Dear colleagues,
 I have recently heard from [****] that after further research, it has been determined that the letter is bogus.

[The letter was removed from the Facebook page of the advocate.]

In fact in this case of the Jerusalem mashgiach - I have heard that the rabbonim have fully cooperated with the police - there was no cover up. The knee-jerk reaction of the above advocate needs to be tempered with the reality that awareness of the problem of abuse and how to properly handle it - has been penetrating the world of rabbis. So while there is still clearly room for improvement - it is time to acknowledge that things have changed and are getting better.

It would be nice for the advocates to at least acknowledge this change - instead of merely silently removing bogus letters from their Facebook accounts.