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New York State adopts ban on corporal punishment proposed in wake of yeshiva probe

(New York Jewish Week) –  A ban on corporal punishment in private schools, proposed in the wake of an extensive New York Times investigation alleging that the practice is prevalent in Hasidic yeshivas, is now law in the State of New York. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the law on Wednesday after it was unanimously approved by the state legislature, making New York one of just four states — the others being New Jersey, Iowa and Maryland — where the practice is banned in private schools. Corporal punishment has been banned at New York’s public schools since 1985.

“Corporal punishment is unacceptable,” Hochul said in a statement. “This new law will ensure students in every New York school are protected from mistreatment.”

Allegations of corporal punishment were included in the Times series, published last September, that also delved into public funding for private Jewish schools that fell short in teaching secular studies.

“The attitude was constantly that you could get hit,” Ari Hershkowitz, an alumnus of United Talmudical Academy in Williamsburg told the New York Times at the time. “We were constantly under threat of that.”

Richard Bamberger, a spokesman for some Hasidic yeshivas, told the New York Times this week that leaders of the schools had no issue with the new law.

“What they do oppose is the inaccurate suggestion that the legislation arose because of an abuse problem in yeshivas, which the Senate sponsor publicly stated is false,” he said. 

Bamberger was referring to State Senator Julia Salazar, a Democrat whose district includes Hasidic neighborhoods in Brooklyn. She introduced the bill the day after the Times published its article, although she later tweeted that she did not have any evidence of  a pattern of corporal punishment in yeshivas. 

Hasidic leaders and their allies have pushed back on the notion that corporal punishment is common at yeshivas. 

“As a yeshiva parent/former student, I’m not familiar with the use of corporal punishment at yeshivas, nor would I tolerate it,” Simcha Eichenstein, a New York State Assembly member representing Borough Park, posted on X in March, when the legislation was proposed

Charles Lavine, a Jewish Democrat who represents parts of Nassau County in Long Island, sponsored the bill in the Assembly. It defines corporal punishment as “the use of physical force to cause pain or harm to someone accused of breaking a law or rule” and includes “spanking or slapping, hitting with weapons such as paddles, rulers, or belts, and forcing students to perform physically painful activities such as crawling over rough terrain or excessive running.”

“Physical punishment in educational settings is abhorrent and I am pleased that New York is protecting our children by outlawing its use. Students must learn in a safe environment. The message to any abusive adults is very simple, keep your hands off our kids,” Lavine said in a statement.

Yaffed, a Jewish nonprofit that has urged government scrutiny of secular education at Hasidic yeshivas, welcomed the legislation in a post on X, formerly Twitter

The post New York State adopts ban on corporal punishment proposed in wake of yeshiva probe appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

i24 NewsRussia’s strongman President Vladimir Putin said he would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow. Kyiv swiftly rejected the demands as tantamount to surrender.

Putin demands that Ukraine transfers to Russia four regions, including a 300,000 city of Kherson and 700,000 Zaporizhzhya as a “precondition” to “peace talks”. This man is delusional, and those in the West who speak of “negotiations” or “cease fire” are enemies of the free world.

— Sergej Sumlenny, LL.M (@sumlenny) June 14, 2024

“The conditions are very simple,” Putin said, listing them as the full withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the entire territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Putin’s maximalist conditions apparently reflect Moscow’s growing confidence that its forces have the upper hand in the war.

He restated his demand for Ukraine’s demilitarization and said an end to Western sanctions must also be part of a peace deal. He also repeated his call for Ukraine’s “denazification.”

“He is offering for Ukraine to admit defeat. He is offering for Ukraine to legally give up its territories to Russia. He is offering for Ukraine to sign away its geopolitical sovereignty,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, rejecting the demands as “absurd.”

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Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah

Illustrative. Some rises after an Israeli strike as Israeli forces launch a ground and air operation in the eastern part of Rafah, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

i24 NewsEarly this morning, tragedy struck in the southern Gaza city of Rafah as eight Israeli soldiers lost their lives in a devastating explosion, marking the deadliest incident for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the region since January.

The IDF has confirmed the casualties, with one soldier identified as Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, a deputy company commander from Beit Jann in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion.

The names of the other seven soldiers will be released after their families have been notified.

According to initial reports from the IDF, the soldiers were traveling in a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) as part of a convoy around 5 a.m., following a successful overnight operation targeting Hamas militants in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah. During the operation, troops under the 401st Armored Brigade reportedly neutralized approximately 50 gunmen.

The convoy was en route to buildings captured by the army for the soldiers to rest, when the Namer CEV, which was the fifth or sixth vehicle in the convoy, was struck by a powerful explosion. The nature of the explosion remains under investigation, with possibilities ranging from a pre-planted bomb to an improvised device placed on the vehicle by Hamas operatives.

Initial findings suggest that explosives stored on the exterior of the Namer CEV may have contributed to the severity of the blast. Normally, such explosives are designed to minimize harm to troops inside if detonated.

The IDF probe indicates there was no gunfire preceding the explosion, and the vehicle was not stationary at the time of the incident. The circumstances surrounding the tragedy have prompted intensified scrutiny into the safety protocols and operational procedures during military movements in hostile territories.

The deaths of these eight soldiers bring the total number of IDF casualties in recent ground operations against Hamas to 307. This figure includes a police officer killed during a recent hostage rescue operation and a civilian Defense Ministry contractor also slain in the conflict.

This is a developing story 

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U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah

Israeli firefighters work following rocket attacks from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near the border on its Israeli side, June 13, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Avi Ohayon

i24 NewsRecent actions by both Israel and Hezbollah have sparked growing concerns among U.S. officials, who fear that the situation could escalate into a full-scale war, according to reports from CBS News.

The tension has intensified following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Lebanese territory, which some American authorities believe are laying the groundwork for a larger military operation.

Sources within the US government have expressed worries that such a move could trigger a conflict that might strain Israel’s alliance with Washington.

Hezbollah, in response to recent events including the assassination of senior commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, has escalated its own actions. The group has begun launching daily rocket attacks targeting northern Israeli communities since October 8, citing solidarity with Hamas amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

US officials cited by CBS News have highlighted concerns over the potential unintended consequences of Hezbollah’s increased attacks. They fear that these actions could provoke Israel into launching a significant military assault, further exacerbating the volatile situation in the region.

The developments come amid ongoing international efforts to de-escalate tensions and prevent a wider conflict. Diplomatic channels remain active, with calls for restraint and dialogue from various quarters.

The United States, a key ally of Israel, has historically played a crucial role in mediating and influencing regional conflicts. Officials are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the importance of avoiding actions that could escalate tensions further.

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