(JTA) — Anti-LGBTQ politician Avi Maoz has resigned from the Israeli cabinet, claiming that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu balked on letting him launch an initiative to shape Jewish identity.
Maoz heads the Noam Party, one of three in the far-right Religious Zionist bloc that helped return Netanyahu to office. For the past two months, he has served as a deputy minister in Netanyahu’s cabinet, and was placed in charge of a proposed National Jewish Identity Authority. His resignation letter, sent on Monday, said he is not withdrawing his support of the coalition, which still holds a majority of 64 lawmakers in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
Maoz said in his letter that he had hoped to “cancel the policies of the [previous government] in the ministries of Education, Labor and Health, policies that were aimed at changing our basic concepts of the people of Israel and the Jewish family.”
He continued, “To my amazement, I discovered there was never any serious intention to fulfill the coalition agreement regarding the National Jewish Identity Authority.” Maoz’s letter was posted to Twitter by Times of Israel reporter Tal Schneider.
Maoz is one of a number of Netanyahu allies who have pursued profound shifts in multiple spheres, including by overhauling the judiciary and making significant changes to Israeli West Bank settlements and the country’s education system, among other spheres. The proposed changes Netanyahu’s coalition has advanced have drawn international criticism and massive public protests. Maoz is one of several coalition partners accusing him of slow-walking some of the changes.
Maoz has called himself a “proud homophobe” and has sought to scrub perceived foreign influences from Israeli education. His position as deputy minister came with an office and staff that was intended to shape Israel’s Jewish identity. The agreement he signed with Netanyahu gave Maoz responsibility for extracurricular activity at Israel’s schools, and sparked protests at school districts across the country.
But Maoz said Netanyahu and the Education Ministry have stalled on transferring those responsibilities. Moreover, he said, his efforts to further restrict the rights of non-Orthodox groups to pray at the Western Wall and to force Israeli government forms to have spaces for “Mother” and “Father” (rather than gender-neutral spaces for each parent) “have not been fulfilled as of this writing.”
But in a post to his party’s Facebook page, Maoz wrote that he still supported the Netanyahu government, which he called “100 times better” than its predecessor. He portrayed his decision as a strategic move to maximize his impact in Knesset, where he believes he will be more effective as a lawmaker who can propose laws and sit on parliamentary committees.
“I did not quit the coalition led by Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu,” he wrote. “I haven’t moved to the opposition and I certainly do not mean to act against the government or coalition. The step I’ve announced is essentially a move from the executive branch to the legislative branch within the coalition.”
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Focus group Oct. 11 at Simkin Centre for people concerned about personal care homes
As Manitobans have gone to the polls and with a new legislative assembly about to begin a new four-year term, the challenges of long-term and continuing care homes need to be communicated.
MARCHE, the Manitoba Association of Residential and Community Care Homes for the Elderly will be holding a focus group on Wednesday, October 11 that is intended to provide the community at large a forum to express thoughts and provide ideas and recommendations for the future.
Please join us on Wednesday, October 11th at the Saul & Claribel Simkin Centre. We look forward to hearing from you.
See poster below for more information and how to register to attend.
Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)