(JTA) — Avi Mayer, a pro-Israel activist and communications professional with a large following on social media, has been named the next editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post.
Mayer, 38, will take over for the current editor of the 90-year-old English language newspaper in mid-April, after Passover.
“I look forward to working with the Post’s outstanding staff to continue upholding the highest standards of journalistic excellence, to offer our readers content of relevance and quality, to fortify the paper’s position as a leading media outlet in Israel and the Jewish world, and to lead it into the future,” Mayer said in a statement, according to the Post.
Mayer, who was born in New York and lives in Jerusalem, comes to the role with a background in communications and online activism rather than journalism. He most recently served as the managing director of global communications and public affairs for the American Jewish Committee, and previously served as the spokesperson for the Jewish Agency for Israel. He also served in the spokesperson’s unit of the Israel Defense Forces. Before enlisting, Mayer briefly worked for Eretz Acheret, an Israeli magazine that has ceased publication.
But Mayer is perhaps best known for his presence on Twitter, where he has more than 140,000 followers; posts a mix of news updates, advocacy for Israel and pictures of freshly-baked challah; and has clashed with anti-Israel accounts.
His appointment comes at a time of upheaval in Israel, as the country’s right-wing government pursues an overhaul of the judicial system that would sap the Supreme Court of much of its power and independence. The legislation’s backers say it would give voice to the country’s right-wing majority, but it has sharply divided the country, led to mass street protests and spurred a diverse chorus of public figures to criticize the reform as a danger to Israeli democracy.
His recent posts on Israel’s current judicial crisis have mostly focused on documenting the protests, though he has expressed his opinion in Hebrew from time to time on Israeli domestic politics. Mayer tweeted the word “insane” regarding news that the far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, was halting a program because it was run by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which Ben-Gvir called “leftist.”
And Mayer tweeted regarding Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s compromise plan on judicial reform, “The outline has been presented. The time has come for both sides to climb down from their trees and begin dialogue. Enough.” That position appears to dovetail with the Jerusalem Post’s editorial stance, which has recently criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and urged compromise on his coalition’s judicial overhaul.
The Jerusalem Post, founded in 1932, was for decades the most prominent English-language newspaper published in Israel. Now it is one of several news organizations covering Israel in English, including the Times of Israel, founded by a former Jerusalem Post editor, and an English-language edition of the Hebrew newspaper Haaretz. It is owned by Eli Azur, who also owns multiple Hebrew-language outlets. In recent decades, the paper, published six days a week in print, has been seen as right-leaning, though its website touts the paper’s “centrist and pluralistic stance.”
Yaakov Katz, the outgoing editor, served in the role for seven years and will continue to write a column for the paper. Katz formerly served as the paper’s military correspondent and worked as an advisor to future Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett before becoming editor-in-chief.
The newspaper’s previous editors include Bret Stephens, who is now a conservative columnist for the New York Times, and David Horovitz, who went on to found the Times of Israel, an online competitor to the Post.
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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.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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