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NEWS - Lodges and B'nai B'rith updates

Analysis: What can be done about Europe’s listless pursuit of Hezbollah terrorists? Solomon Bali (B'nai B'rith Bulgaria) talks to the Jerusalem Post

Note: The following Jerusalem Post article refers to the terrorist attack, bus bombing, that was carried out by a suicide bomber on a passenger bus transporting Israeli tourists at the Burgas Airport in Burgas, Bulgaria on 18 July 2012. The bus was carrying forty-two Israelis, mainly youths, from the airport to their hotels, after arriving on a flight from Tel Aviv. The explosion killed the Bulgarian bus driver and five Israelis and injured thirty-two Israelis, resulting in international condemnation of the bombing.




Analysis: What can be done about Europe's listless pursuit of Hezbollah terrorists?
Source: Jerusalem Post,Benjamin Weinthal fellow of the Foundation of Defense of Democracies.


After murdering five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver in 2012, two Hezbollah operatives who were put on trial in absentia on Thursday at a Sofia court remain secure in Lebanon. The lethargy surrounding the efforts to capture the two mirrors the glacial-like pace of the trial.


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Procedural difficulties in serving legal notification to all of the Israeli victims, including 32 wounded in the terrorist attack in Burgas, caused a second postponement until December 12.

"Iran and Hezbollah were behind the Burgas bombing, just as they were responsible for the atrocities in Argentina. But in Europe, the fear of confronting both are daunting, as they have been for many years," Prof. Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of NGO Monitor and lecturer in political science at Bar-Ilan University, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

The former head of Bulgaria's counter-terrorism unit and the US government believe both suspects – Lebanese-Canadian Hassan el-Hajj Hassan and Lebanese-Australian Meliad Farah – are in Lebanon. In a sign of waning enthusiasm, there has been no significant action to compel the Lebanese government to extradite the Hezbollah operatives.

Bulgaria asked the Lebanese to cooperate in 2013, but was swiftly rebuffed. Bulgarian officials have been tight-lipped about their plan to arrest the men.

Bulgaria has not publicly summoned the Iranian and Lebanese ambassadors to demand that their countries aggressively pursue the capture of the terrorists. Bulgaria has not replicated diplomatic action like that of the Netherlands in 2011, following the execution of Zahra Bahrami, a dual Iranian-Dutch national.

She was most likely executed for her participation in the pro-democracy Green movement in 2009 against Iran's clerical regime.

As a result of the execution, the Netherlands suspended diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Netherlands labels Hezbollah's entire organization as a terrorist militia.

Why hasn't Bulgaria cut diplomatic relations with Lebanon over the harboring of suspects who murdered Mustafa Kyosev, a 36-year-old Bulgarian Muslim whose widow and daughter are struggling to survive.

In sharp contrast to the vigorous pursuit of jihadists who executed scores of people in Paris and Bremen, political inertia, wittingly or unwittingly, has taken over Europe's desire to capture the Hezbollah operatives believed to be responsible for Burgas.

Solomon Bali, who serves as a mentor for the B'nai B'rith lodge in Sofia, told the Post, "Unfortunately, when it comes to terrorist acts in poor countries, these attacks are easily forgotten.

The international attention to them is limited. The case in Burgas had a very important impact on the international treatment of Hezbollah." He cited the EU's decision to designate Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist organization in 2013.

"They [Bulgaria and EU authorities] should do more, but I am skeptical of their willingness and their capacity to do so," said Bali, adding they can "use the decision [2013 EU terrorist listing] as a reason to act. If someone wants to make the life of terrorists difficult, they can."

Bali said the distinction of Hezbollah into political and military wings is bogus. Steinberg, on a similar note, said, "Instead of isolating Hezbollah, the EU maintains the fiction of a 'military wing,' which is classified as a terrorist organization, and a separate 'political wing,' which continues to raise funds and build terrorist infrastructure. This is absurd.

"And regarding the Iranian regime, European hopes for lucrative business contracts take precedence over the 'moral principles' that ostensibly guide foreign policy. Until these fictions are confronted, the victims of terrorism and their families, including from the Burgas attack, will not see justice done," added Steinberg.

The US Senate and Congress have passed resolutions this year calling on Europe to outlaw all of Hezbollah. In a March speech at AIPA C's policy conference, Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton said, "And we must work closely with Israel and other partners to cut off the flow of money and arms from Iran to Hezbollah. If the Arab League can designate all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, surely it is time for our friends in Europe and the rest of the international community to do so as well and to do that now."

US President-elect Donald Trump recognized the role of the troika of Islamic terrorism: Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran. In an early November statement from Jason Dov Greenblatt and David Friedman, co-chairmen of the Israel Advisory Committee to Donald J. Trump, wrote: "Despite the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, the US State Department recently designated Iran, yet again, as the leading state sponsor of terrorism, putting the Middle East particularly, but the whole world at risk by financing, arming, and training terrorist groups operating around the world, including Hamas, Hezbollah."

To judge by the 2013 classification of Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist entity – and the role of the US government in twisting the EU's arm – the Trump administration will be the decisive factor in pushing the EU to outlaw all of the Iranian-backed Shi'ite Lebanese militia within its territory.


Carmel lodge receives US ambassador to Bulgaria

On October 30, Sofia lodge Carmel had the pleasure to welcome the ambassador of USA to Bulgaria - H.E. Eric Rubin.

He gave a remarkable speech praising the B'nai B'rith legacy in promoting charity and tolerance, not only in the American society but also around the world.
Mr Rubin pointed out how important B'nai B'rith is with its leading role in the fight against the global Anti-Semitism and its new emerging forms.

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After his speech Mr. Rubin answered the questions and comments raised by the audience.

Being himself raised in a family deep connected with B'nai B'rith ambassador Rubin expressed his willingness to deepen the cooperation between the embassy and the lodge for bringing more tolerance in the Bulgarian society.
The meeting was special also due to the fact that it was joint meeting of a Carmel lodge and sisters and brothers from the neighboring countries. The success of the meeting inspired many ideas for future cooperation between the lodges on the Balkan peninsula.

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PRESS REVIEW N°494 BY GILBERTTE JACARET

PRESS REVIEW N°494

By Gilberte JACARET



This week we enter the centenary year of the Balfour Declaration. This document, signed on November 2, 1917 by the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, was the first recognition by one of the world's great powers -- in fact at the time the greatest power in the world -- of the right of the Jewish people to their national homeland in Palestine.


Clinton Versus TrumpThe Script of a Real-Life Tragedy

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Trump versus Clinton will go down in American history as the dirtiest campaign of all time. It seemed at times as though script writers had let their imaginations run wild. But the consequences for democracy in the United States will be long lasting. By SPIEGEL Staff


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Kotel Tensions Demonstrate Need to Ensure Right of Every Jew to Pray in His Or Her Own Way, ADL Says

New York, NY, November 2, 2016

Reacting to tensions today at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called for the implementation of the January 2016 agreement by the Israeli cabinet to establish a permanent and official space for mixed gender prayer at Judaism's holiest site.
"The tension demonstrates yet again the urgent need to establish the egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, to which the Israeli government is committed," said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, and Carole Nuriel, Director of ADL's Israel Office. "The cabinet's decision earlier this year was an important milestone in ensuring that every Jews has a place to pray in his or her own way."
The leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements from around the world and Israel, along with the Women of the Wall and others, marched on the first day (Rosh Chodesh) of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, to the Kotel carrying Torah scrolls, in protest against the failure to implement the government decision to allocate a special space for egalitarian prayer.
For the first time, the groups entered the area with the Torah scrolls without being arrested by the police. During the march and prayer, clashes took place between this group and members of the ultra-orthodox Jewish community.


French Protestants slam UNESCO decision on Jerusalem

The National Council of Evangelicals in France (CNEF) has strongly condemned the recent UNESCO decisions denying the Jewish history of Jerusalem.
"What could be regarded as a regrettable error appears in fact to be a repeated wish of UNESCO to rewrite history," the group said in a statement last week.

The CNEF cited the words of the Chief Rabbi of Brussels, Albert Guigui, who wrote: "This vote denies and wipes out the ethnic, religious, historic and geographic character of the Jewish people and of Judaism towards the city of Jerusalem. If the world accepts that there is no link between the Jews and the Temple Mount, then Jesus is nothing but an invented legend."

Concluding its statement, the CNEF reaffirmed its "support and affection for the Jewish people, once again attacked at the heart of its faith and its history."

EU declares Israel boycott protected as free speech

Palestinians hail Federica Mogherini's statement, but she stresses that the union 'rejects the BDS campaign's attempts to isolate Israel'

BY RAPHAEL AHREN October 31, 2016

The European Union's foreign policy chief recently affirmed the right of EU citizens to boycott Israel, citing freedom of expression and rebuffing claims by Jerusalem that such measures amount to banned anti-Semitic activity.
While upholding the right of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement to blacklist the Jewish state, Federica Mogherini also noted that the EU itself opposes efforts to boycott Israel.
"The EU stands firm in protecting freedom of expression and freedom of association in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which is applicable on EU Member States' territory, including with regard to BDS actions carried out on this territory," Mogherini said in a written reply to a query by an Irish member of the European Parliament last month.

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European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmud Abbas (L) address the media after a meeting at the European Union Commission headquarters in Brussels on June 22, 2016.(AFP PHOTO / THIERRY CHARLIER)

"Freedom of expression, as underlined by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, is also applicable to information or ideas 'that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population,'" Mogherini said.

She continued: "The EU rejects the BDS campaign's attempts to isolate Israel and is opposed to any boycott of Israel."

Despite the EU's outspoken rejection of BDS, the Palestinians celebrated Mogherini's statement.

"We welcome the EU's belated defense of the right of European and other citizens to stand in solidarity with Palestinian rights, including through BDS tactics," said Riya Hassan, a senior member of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, which bills itself as the the "largest coalition in Palestinian civil society" promoting the anti-Israel boycott movement.

Hassan went on to state that the Palestinians expect the EU to take steps against Israel, including, "at the very least, imposing a military embargo on Israel, banning products of companies that do business in Israel's illegal colonies."

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem declined to comment on Mogherini's statement, which came on September 15 but was only published recently.

The statement came in response to a parliamentary question posed on June 24 by Sinn Fein politician Martina Anderson.

Anderson, a longtime supporter of the Palestinian cause and strident critic of Israel, had asked the European Commission whether it would "commit to defending BDS activists' right to exercise their democratic freedom of expression."

In her query, Anderson — who heads the European Parliament's "Delegation for relations with Palestine" — also asked the EU Commission to comment on a speech made in March by Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, in which he called for "pinpoint civil eliminations" against the heads of the BDS movement. (The phrase he used, sikul ezrahi memukad, has also been translated as "targeted civic prevention effort," though sikul usually means assassination.)

Mogherini replied by saying that the EU "firmly condemns threats and violence against human rights defenders under all circumstances." The union regularly discusses with Jerusalem questions regarding the the "protection of human rights and human rights defenders," she added. The EU "calls on both Israel and the Palestinians to refrain from provocation and to resolutely fight incitement and hate speech."
Israel's relationship with the EU has been fraught over the last few years, due to what Jerusalem perceives as a persistent pro-Palestinian bias in the union's statements and policies.

Last week, for instance, Jerusalem was displeased over a group of senior EU diplomats visiting Palestinian villages in the West Bank that face demolition at the hands of Israeli authorities.

The EU delegation to the Palestinian Authority said the trip's objective was to learn about "the coercive environment these communities find themselves in, to be informed of recent developments, to demonstrate concern at the humanitarian impact of any demolitions and forced transfer of population, and to express the EU's commitment to a sustainable future for the Palestinian communities in Area C."

Area C is the part of the West Bank in which Israel exercises administrative and military control, and in which the Israeli settlements are located.

Israel, which argues that the structures slated for demolition were built illegally, reacted "with irritation to the initiative and the statement," a senior official in Jerusalem told The Times of Israel.
"We can only wish that the EU would show the same amount of empathy and interest toward the Israeli victims of Palestinian violence and incitement. The root cause of the conflict is the persistent refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognize the legitimacy of our existence as the state of the Jewish people."

Despite ongoing tension over Israel's repeated destruction of illegal structures, many of which were funded by the union, a senior EU official dealing with the Middle East last week hailed overall stable bilateral ties.

"Yes, there is a difference of views on issues concerning the Palestinians but at the same time there is no other country in the region the EU has a stronger relationship with than Israel," said Christian Berger, the outgoing director of the EU foreign ministry's Middle East and Northern Africa department.
Berger, who over the years has been blamed by Israeli officials for many of the EU's perceived pro-Palestinian policies, made the comment in a statement he provided to Israel's diplomatic mission in Brussels on the occasion of his leaving the post.
"I wish the country well," said Berger. "Israel will continue to prosper but I also hope she will find peace in a troubled region during troubled times. And, I hope Israel will remain a strong friend and partner of Europe."



Red tape, blunders keep Balfour Declaration away from the homeland it promised

Years after prime minister announced seminal Zionist document, issued 99 years ago today, would be displayed in Tel Aviv, dream of bringing it to Israel mired in renovations and bureaucratic snafus

By RAPHAEL AHREN


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Netanyahu: Abbas won't recognize Jewish state 'in any borders'


PM tells Italian president Israel was 'gravely disappointed' by Rome's abstention in UNESCO vote on Jerusalem, pleased by pledge it won't happen again.

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USA

Names Campaigning for Hillary Clinton Underscore Donald Trump's Isolation

New York Times. By ALEXANDER BURNS and GARDINER HARRISNOV. 4, 2016

Hillary Clinton campaigned Friday in the company of friends and celebrities, first flanked by the billionaire businessman Mark Cuban in Pittsburgh and Detroit, and then at a concert in Cleveland with Jay Z and Beyoncé. High-wattage political leaders fanned out for her around the country: Her husband, Bill, stumped in Colorado, as President Obama rallied voters in North Carolina.

By comparison, Donald J. Trump was a lonely figure.

In the final days of the presidential race, Mr. Trump's political isolation has made for an unusual spectacle on the campaign trail — and perhaps a limiting factor in his dogged comeback bid.
When it comes to bolstering Mr. Trump, the Republican Party is not sending its best: As party leaders have disavowed him or declined to back his candidacy, Mr. Trump has been left instead with an eclectic group of backup players to aid him in his last dash for votes. Though polls show Mr. Trump drawing closer to Mrs. Clinton, the most prominent Republicans in key swing states still fear that his unpopularity may taint them by association.
Mr. Trump acknowledged the relative bareness of his events at a rally on Friday night: In defiant language, Mr. Trump hailed the size of the crowd packed into an arena in Hershey, Pa.

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Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Friday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times


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The Mundane Origins of Germany's Huge Turkish Population

by Daniel Pipes
Oct 30, 2016

Cross-posted from National Review Online
In 1961, the German post-war "economic miracle" (Wirtschaftswunder) was in full bloom, with a seemingly insatiable thirst for unskilled workers. After signing government-to-government bilateral agreements with Italy (in 1955), Greece (1960), and Spain (1960), Bonn turned to Ankara and on this day, Oct. 30, in 1961 signed a "Recruitment Agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Turkey" (Anwerbeabkommen zwischen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Türkei). Little did either side realize the implications of this seemingly minor accord.

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Turkish Labor Minister Ali Naili Erdem visited Turkish "guest workers" (Gastarbeitern) in Germany in 1966.

The German government set up a liaison office in Istanbul to urge unmarried male candidates to apply, which they enthusiastically did in large numbers. The agreement permitted Turks to go to work in Germany for two years, then return home. But German industry lobbied for longer residencies – the constant training to replace workers every two years took its toll – so this limitation was lifted already in 1964. Still, no one expected the Turks to stay long and their jobs did not require them to learn German, so the overwhelmingly male population lived in its own dormitories, quite isolated from the larger society. Of the 750,000 Turks who arrived under this program, about half did return to Turkey, half did not.
The boom years ended with the oil crisis of 1973-74, which closed down guest worker recruitment. Ironically, this change led to an increase in the Turkish population as workers imported wives, moved to apartments, families burgeoned, and today's heavily Turkish districts throughout (former West) Germany came into being.

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A blend of the German and Turkish flags that symbolizes what has too rarely occurred.

Fifty-five years later, with unskilled laborers hardly needed and the cultural isolation proving a deep problem, the Turkish population numbers an estimated 4-5 million, making up more than 5 percent of the country's total population and by far the largest immigrant group. The 1961 agreement seems from another age entirely, yet its legacy lives on and grows unceasingly. (October 30, 2016)


The Attack on Mosul

The Spiegel ,Nov.4th 2016-11-04

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On the Ground in Mosul A Precarious Alliance Takes on Islamic State

The battle for Mosul, a key city for Islamic State, has begun. On one side, a fragile alliance with conflicting political goals, and on the other, a ruthless enemy who might go to extreme lengths to defend the Iraqi metropolis -- incluing chemical weapons.

PRESS REVIEW N°490 BY GILBERTE JACARET

PRESS REVIEW N°490
By Gilberte JACARET

ISRAEL

Two killed in shooting attack by Palestinian in Jerusalem

Written by EJP

Sunday, 09 October 2016 10:29

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Israel's Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan:''We have said the whole time that because the increase in the amount of incitement many will plan lone-wolf attacks.''

JERUSALEM (EJP)---A police officer and a 60-year-old woman were killed and five injured Sunday morning in a shooting attack by a Palestinian terrorist near a police station next to the Ammunition Hill light rail station in Jerusalem. According to a police report released shortly after the incident, the terrorist opened fire from within his vehicle on people standing by the station situated opposite police headquarters.

The terrorist—identified as 39-year-old Mousabah Abu Sabih from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan and a full Israeli citizen—then fled the scene, continuing his rampage as he shot two people sitting in their car. He then proceeded in the direction of Tomb of Simeon the Just in Sheikh Jarrah where he stopped his vehicle and began shooting at riot police pursuing him on motorbikes. One of the officers was critically injured during the shootout and died from his wounds shortly thereafter. Another policeman was also lightly wounded in the fire exchange. Israel Border Police spotted the terrorist before shooting him dead.

Israel's Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, who arrived at the scene, told the press that there was no forewarning for this attack. "But we have said the whole time that because of the increase in the amount of incitement many will plan lone-wolf attacks," he added. He attributed responsibility for the attack to Facebook. "In my opinion, Facebook and other social media sites bear direct responsibility. It was two or three weeks ago that Facebook reopened Hamas's pages following Palestinian public pressure. In my eyes, it's scandalous."  "I don't necessarily draw a connection between this and the current attack," the minister clarified.
Last Updated on Sunday, 09 October 2016 10:58

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Security arrive at the scene of the attack (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

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Paramedics treat victims at the scene

Among the victims was a 60-year-old woman, who was immediately evacuated to Hadassah Medical Center
in critical condition and eventually succumbed to her wounds having been shot in her upper body.

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Security stand by following shooting attack (Photo: AFP)

Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan arrived at the scene and spoke with the press, telling them there was no forewarning for this attack. "But we have said the whole time that because of the increase in the amount of incitement many will plan lone-wolf attacks," he added. Erdan then went on to attribute responsibility for the attack to Facebook. "In my opinion, Facebook and other social media sites bear direct responsibility. It was two or three weeks ago that Facebook reopened Hamas's pages following Palestinian public pressure. In my eyes, it's scandalous."

"I don't necessarily draw a connection between this and the current attack," the minister clarified.

It is not the first time that Erdan has espoused his vociferous opposition to the paucity of effective measures to counter rife online incitement. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum stated the attack was "a natural reaction to the continued crimes of the occupation against Palestinians and the al-Aqsa Mosque." His organization did not take responsibility for the attack, however.
First published: 09.10.16,


On Rosh Hashanah eve, Israel's population hits 8.58 million

Country now has 6.4 million Jews, 1.8 million Arabs — an overall increase of 2% over the previous
year

BY TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF September 27, 2016, 4:42 pm 2

On the eve of the Jewish New Year, the State of Israel has a population of 8.585 million, 172,000 more than the same time last year. Israel experienced a population growth rate of almost 2 percent over the past Jewish year, consistent with previous years, according to data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday. Jews make up close to three-quarters of the population at 6.4 million residents, while Israel's almost 1.8 million Arabs make up one-fifth of the population. Those of other backgrounds, including non-Arab Christians and those not categorized as members of a religious group by the Population, Immigration and Border Authority, make up less than 5% of the population, at 380,000 people. The country's birthrate was more than four times that of the death rate, with 189,000 babies being born during the past Jewish year and 46,000 people dying.

In the past year 30,000 people came to live in Israel, of whom 25,000 were new immigrants. By religion, the Jewish population of Israel increased by 1.9%, the Muslim population by 2.4%, the Christian by 1.5% and the Druze by 1.4%. Overall, the Arab population grew by 2.2%. Fifty thousand, seven hundred and ninety-seven couples wed in the past year, of whom almost three-quarters were Jewish, and 44,412 of the grooms and 45,547 of the brides were marrying for the first time. The average age of first-time husbands was 27.6; it was 25 for first-time wives. The report did not include foreign migrants and workers, who numbered 183,000 people at the end of 2015.

South American Israelis celebrate Colombian president's Nobel Peace Prize

Latin American Jews living in Israel added their voices to the chorus of congratulations sent to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on winning the Nobel Peace Prize.  Santos, who on Friday won the distinction for his efforts to end Colombia's five-decades-long civil war, "is highly worthy of the prize not only for promoting peace with rebel militants but also for advancing his country and its society and for strengthening international alliances, including with Israel,"

Leon Amiras, chairman of the Association of Olim from Latin America, Spain and Portugal, told JTA.

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SYRIA


US suspends contacts with Russia on Syria, as Russia suspends plutonium treaty

Faced with a truce in Syria that never truly took hold, the US suspends talks with Russia regarding the deal; Russia also decides to air out its grievances against the US, suspending their plutonium disarmament treaty over disputes regarding Syria and Ukraine.

Associated Press and Reuters|Published: 03.10.16 , 21:22

The US State Department said on Monday that the US is suspending bilateral contacts with Russia over Syria. Russia, for its part, also came out with a statement on Monday, saying that it is suspending a plutonium disarmament deal wth the US.
The US announcement came after last week's threat by Secretary of State John Kerry to suspend contacts amid new attacks on the city of Aleppo. The department said in its statement that Russia had not lived up to the terms of an agreement last month to restore the cease-fire and ensure sustained deliveries of humanitarian aid to besieged cities.

As part of the suspension, the US will be withdrawing personnel that it had dispatched to take part in the creation of a joint US-Russia center. That center was to have coordinated military cooperation and intelligence if the cease-fire had taken hold. The suspension will not affect communications between the two countries aimed at de-conflicting counter-terrorism operations in Syria.

An end to the Russia-US plutonium treaty

The US State Department's announcement came as Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended a treaty, as well, regarding the Kremlin's agreement with Washington to clean up weapons-grade plutonium, thus signaling that he is willing to use nuclear disarmament as a new bargaining chip in disputes with the United States over Ukraine and Syria.Starting in the last years of the Cold War, Russia and the United States signed a series of accords to reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals, agreements that have so far survived intact despite a souring of US-Russian relations under Putin.

But on Monday, Putin issued a decree suspending an agreement, concluded in 2000, which bound the two sides to dispose of surplus plutonium originally intended for use in nuclear weapons. The Kremlin said it was taking that action in response to unfriendly acts by Washington.The plutonium accord is not the cornerstone of post Cold War US-Russia disarmament, and the practical implications from the suspension will be limited. But the suspension, and the linkage to disagreements on other issues, carries powerful symbolism. "Putin's decree could signal that other nuclear disarmament cooperation deals between the United States and Russia are at risk of being undermined," Stratfor, a US-based consultancy, said in a commentary.

"The decision is likely an attempt to convey to Washington the price of cutting off dialogue on Syria and other issues."

US Secretary of State John Kerry last week warned that Washington could halt diplomacy with Russia over the conflict in Syria unless Russia took immediate steps to stop the violence there. Western diplomats say an end to the Syria talks would leave Moscow without a way to disentangle itself from its military operation in Syria. The operation was intended to last a few months but has now just entered its second year.

A list of grievances

As well as issuing the decree ordering the suspension of the plutonium cleanup deal, Putin submitted a draft law on the suspension to parliament. That draft linked the suspension to a laundry list of Russian grievances toward the United States. It said conditions for resuming work under the plutonium deal included Washington lifting sanctions imposed on Russia over its role in the Ukraine conflict, paying compensation to Moscow for the sanctions and reducing the US military presence in eastern Europe to the levels they were 16 years ago. Any of those steps would involve a complete U-turn in long-standing US policy.

"The Obama administration has done everything in its power to destroy the atmosphere of trust which could have encouraged cooperation," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on the treaty's suspension. "The step Russia has been forced to take is not intended to worsen relations with the United States. We want Washington to understand that you cannot, with one hand, introduce sanctions against us where it can be done fairly painlessly for the Americans, and with the other hand continue selective cooperation in areas where it suits them."

The 2010 agreement, signed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, called on each side to dispose of 34 tonnes of plutonium by burning it in nuclear reactors. Clinton said at the time that there was enough of the material to make almost 17,000 nuclear weapons. Both sides back then viewed the deal as a sign of increased cooperation between the two former Cold War adversaries. Russian officials alleged on Monday that Washington had failed to honor its side of the agreement. The Kremlin decree stated that, despite the suspension, Russia's surplus weapons-grade plutonium would not be put to military use.


Germany: US-Russia tensions 'more dangerous' than Cold War

Foreign Minister Steinmeier sounds alarm after Washington accuses Moscow of staging 'war crimes' in Syria

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By AFP


Ethiopian immigration to Israel resuming after 3-year freeze

Amid civil unrest in Ethiopia, first group of Jews since 2013 set to arrive in Israel on Sunday; 9,000 still waiting in Ethiopia

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL BY MELANIE LIDMAN October 5, 2016, 10:56 pm 8

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Ethiopian immigrants arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport in December 2011. (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

The first group of Ethiopian Jews to move to Israel after waiting for three years will arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport on Sunday evening, almost a year after the government approved the immigration of 9,000 Jews still left in Ethiopia.The 78 immigrants who will be on the flight were first approved by the Interior Ministry in 2013 but never came due to lack of budget for their absorption, which includes housing allowances for at least two years and apartment grants.

"The tickets are bought, the absorption centers are ready, and we're going to welcome them with open arms on Sunday," said Nimrod Sabbah, a spokesman for Likud MK David Amsalem. "The people waiting for them at the airport, you'll see, are soldiers and people who have served Israel, they have been waiting for years and years for their families," he said. "It pains me to say this, but if they were blond with blue eyes they would have been here ages ago. But they're black, and the government of Israel is behaving with deep racism towards them."

The move comes as Ethiopia is dealing with widespread violent anti-government protests, the most significant civil unrest in decades, centered in the Oromo and Amhara regions. Gondar, which is home to approximately 6,000 of the 9,000 Jews still left in Ethiopia, is located in the Amhara region.

According to Amnesty International, at least 100 people have been killed in protests this summer, and Ethiopian authorities have arrested human rights activists and journalists, both local and international. The government has shut down internet access for all or part of the country in an effort to hinder protest organizers ability to amass large crowds.

Times of Israel blogger Micha Oddenheimer witnessed some of the protests first-hand while in Ethiopia in August.
Sabbah said that the unstable political situation complicated the logistics for bringing the new immigrants. Originally, the first group was supposed to arrive in late August or early September.
One person approved to come to Israel on Sunday's flight confirmed via phone that a group was awaiting flights in Addis Ababa but declined to speak to The Times of Israel due to fears over his personal security.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem will pay for the first group of flights for Ethiopian Jews. Last month, the ICEJ contributed $500,000 to the Jewish Agency via Keren Hayesod to cover the flights of the first wave of 523 Ethiopian Jews, as well as to sponsor flights for another 104 Jewish immigrants coming soon from France and the Ukraine, according to ICEJ spokesman David Parsons. Parsons added that the ICEJ is also fundraising to assist with absorption costs for Ethiopian Jews.

In the 2017-2018 budget, the Finance Ministry allocated a budget that would enable 1,300 Ethiopians to move to Israel, to be divided among a number of entities, including the Interior Ministry, the Absorption Ministry and the Jewish Agency, among others, according to Sabbah. Last November, the government approved the absorption of the 9,000 Ethiopian immigrants, but the plan faltered because there was no budget allocated for it.

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Members of the Falash Mura Jewish Ethiopian community wait for prayer service before attending the Passover seder meal, in the synagogue in Gondar, Ethiopia, April 22, 2016 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Two Likud MKs, Amsalem and Avraham Neguise, refused to vote with the coalition until the government funded the decision to bring the Ethiopian Jews to Israel, which it finally did in April. But the process has been stalled, and no plans had been made to resume the aliyah. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to meet members of the Jewish community while on a state visit to Ethiopia in July.

Ethiopian immigrants are expected to arrive in Israel at the rate of about 100 per month starting in November.

B'nai B'rith Europe Mourns the Loss of Shimon Peres


Shimon Peres and BBE

B’nai B’rith mourns the loss of Israeli elder statesman Shimon Peres, who died on Sept. 27 at the age of 93.

The history of the State of Israel cannot be written without including Peres and his myriad accomplishments during a nearly 70-year career in public service.

Though he retired as president in 2014, he continued to remain a vibrant face of the Jewish state, hosting conferences and meeting with world leaders.

From his early political days as Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Defense in 1952, to his time as the nation’s prime minister (a post he held three times), Peres was a central figure in Israel's political life over a period of nearly seven decades. He was widely respected and well received on the global stage.

His accomplishments include winning the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize when he was Foreign Minister for peace talks that resulted in the Oslo Accords.

In 2014, Shimon Peres received B'nai B'rith Europe Lifetime Achievment Award of Merit, conferred upon outstanding individuals who have dedicated at least 40 years of service to the wellbeing of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

We join the people of Israel in mourning his loss. May his memory be a blessing.

Notice of passing-Barouh Dayan Haemet

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

We are saddened to inform you the passing of Moïse Rahmani (Lodge Henry Jones, Brussels) and of Dr René Trau (Lodge Mala Zimetbaum, Antwerp)

 
MOISE RAHMANI

Moïse was born in Cairo, and in 1956, at the age of 12, he and his family left for the then Belgian Congo, where a Greek-Sephardic Jewish community already existed. His family emigrated during the Congo Crisis of 1960–1966.

A resident of Belgium since 1980, Rahmani worked as a diamond dealer. He was a BB member for over 30 years and president for many years.

In 1990, he founded the “Institut Sépharade Européen” and launched the quarterly review Los Muestros (“Our Kin”), which published news of Sephardic communities around the world. The review published in three languages–French, English, and Ladino–as testified by its three-language subtitle: "La voix des Séphardes," "The Sephardic Voice," and "La boz de los Sefardim."

Moïse Rahmani researched and wrote numerous publications on the Jewish community of the Belgian Congo. He wrote in three languages and published many books but for all those who knew him he was a friend, a source of wisdom and a mentor.

BBE sends their prayers and thoughts to his family and his lodge.


DR RENE TRAU

He is remembered as a very devoted former president, as a good friend and devoted family man. BBE is very saddened by the passing of former colleague on the Executive Committee of B'nai B'rith Europe, Dr Rene Trau. He served with great distinction as Vice-President from 2011 to 2014 and was always highly respected by his colleagues. BBE sends its sincere condolences to his family and to his lodge.


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