Israel News for April 15, 2016

Sanders Reverses
Hours before the NY Democratic debate yesterday, the Sanders campaign suspended Simone Zimmerman, its national Jewish outreach coordinator, after revelations that she had used vulgarities in Facebook posts about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hillary Clinton.

Zimmerman’s appointment had been attacked by Jewish leaders including Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and Abe Foxman, the president emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, because of her history of opposition to Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza. The discovery of her Facebook posts was the final straw. In her posts she used a vulgarity and described Mr. Netanyahu as “arrogant, deceptive, cynical” and “manipulative.” She then used more aggressive language and continued that he had “sanctioned the murder of over 2,000 people this summer.”

Zimmerman, 25, had served as the national president of the student branch of J Street, a pro-Israel lobbying group that is critical of the Netanyahu government. She started a grass-roots movement of thousands of young Jews who sought to stop American Jewish groups from supporting Israeli policies in the occupied territories. She protested in front of the offices of Mr. Hoenlein, among others.

The fact that Sanders chose her in the first place says a lot about his views about Israel, which he reinforced in last nights debate with Hillary Clinton. Sanders criticized Mrs. Clinton’s pro-Israel stance, called the Israeli army’s use of arms against Palestinians “disproportionate” and argued that “we have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time.”

For her part Clinton defended Israel and even PM Netanyahu. She is clearly the strongest supporter of Israel among the Democratic presidential candidates.

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Kasich Stumble
The were many awkward moments for Republican presidential candidate John Kasich during his visit to a matzah baking factory, Jewish bookstore and school in Borough Park on Tuesday. Throughout the tour Kasich attempted to display his knowledge of the Bible (old and new) to his Hasidic audience. And he is definitely serious and passionate about his religion and scriptures. But it’s unlikely that it helped him get any votes. Especially when he discussed Passover and said something like, “The great link between the blood that was put above the lampposts…the blood of the lamb, because Jesus Christ is known as the lamb of God. It’s his blood, we believe …” Ok John, we get the picture. It kind of makes both Trump and Cruz look like geniuses.

So, whose voting for Kasich?

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Terror Stopped
An ax wielding terrorist rushed at soldiers in Gush Etzion yesterday. The soldiers managed to shoot and kill the terrorist. No soldiers were harmed. In Jerusalem two 12 year old Arab boys were discovered carrying knives and a farewell letter to their parents. They were arrested.

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Shabbat Plea
The families of five Israeli Jews detained by the Shin Bet on suspicion of “Jewish terrorism” turned to Israel’s Chief Rabbis late Thursday night, imploring them to speak to security officials on their behalf. The families claim that the Shin Bet is preventing their sons from observing Shabbat, or at least making it uncomfortable for them to do so. They claim that Shin Bet officers blast load music, smoke and offer the men drugs during interrogation sessions.  

The families said, “We’re ashamed that, in a Jewish state, people spurn the Shabbat under the law, and offend other Jewish people who wish to observe the Shabbat, and deny them that right. These things shock anyone with a Jewish soul, and cannot be overlooked in the Jewish state.” 

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Divorce Battle
Last month the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court handed down a 30 day jail sentence to a wealthy father who it claimed was supporting his son who is refusing to grant his wife a Get (divorce) for over 10 years. The verdict was viewed as a groundbreaking move.

The verdict was appealed before the Chief Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem on the claim that the rabbinical judge in the case was not fit to judge the case. The Jerusalem court rejected the claim. The case will now go to Israel’s Supreme Court, which had previously postponed the jail sentence of the father until the matter was examined by the Chief Rabbinical Court.

Meanwhile, the husband, who is in America, has still not given his wife a Get. Shame on him.

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Israeli Hockey
Did you know that Israel has a national ice hockey team? Well, it does. The team participated in the Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships Division II, Group B tournament in Mexico City last week and faced off again…North Korea (yes, they too have a hockey team). Israel beat the North Koreans 8 – 4. Go Israel!

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