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Coalition deals finalized in final step before far-right Israeli government is sworn in

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(JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu has signed agreements with the leaders of three far-right political parties that, together with his own Likud party, will form the next Israeli coalition government.

On Twitter, Netanyahu, the incoming prime minister, also released his own list of principles for the next government, including among them indications of the governing partners’ widely known ambitions to reduce the power of Israel’s Supreme Court and bolster “Jewish identity.”

The agreements were a final step required before Netanyahu could be sworn in, and negotiations were underway until shortly before the deadline to reach them. While their contents are not legally binding, the agreements offer a window into the agenda that will drive the country’s leadership for as long as the government holds.

Netanyahu signed deals with three parties late Tuesday and early Wednesday, including one with with the far-right Otzma Yehudit party and its leader Itamar Ben-Gvir. Ben-Gvir, the incoming national security minister, had made a condition of his agreeing to work with Netanyahu that he would get unprecedented authority over the country’s police, and the Knesset passed a law early Wednesday granting just that, though without some of the powers that Ben-Gvir had sought.

Many of the other agreements made among the coalition partners have been reported during the weeks of negotiations, and others are becoming clear as the coalition agreements are published. Legislation is expected to permit more gender-segregated events as the result of Netanyahu’s agreement with the haredi Orthodox United Torah Judaism alliance, for example, and the right-wing party Noam will get 70 million NIS annually (almost $20 million) to create and operate a new “Department of State Jewish Consciousness.” That party’s leader, Avi Maoz, has described himself as a “proud homophobe.”

The alliance between Netanyahu and Israel’s far-right parties has alarmed many, including hundreds of U.S. rabbis who have pledged to block the parties’ leaders from their communities; longtime Jewish leaders who are questioning their unconditional support for Israel; Israeli liberals and moderates who fear that civil rights will be limited; and even the outgoing leader of the Israel Defense Forces, who urged Netanyahu not to insert extremists into the military chain of command.

Aiming to calm the fears of Americans, Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the Religious Zionist party, took to the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal late Tuesday in a column titled “Israel’s New Government Isn’t What You’ve Heard.” The column was published hours before the Knesset paved the way for Smotrich, who will be finance minister, to take unprecedented authority over construction in the West Bank, his demand to enter a government with Netanyahu.

“They say I am a right-wing extremist and that our bloc will usher in a ‘halachic state’ in which Jewish law governs,” Smotrich writes. “In reality, we seek to strengthen every citizen’s freedoms and the country’s democratic institutions, bringing Israel more closely in line with the liberal American model.”

Netanyahu has also sought to quell the concerns of those, including U.S. leaders, who are alarmed by the coalition that he is firmly in control.

“They’re joining me, I’m not joining them,” he said earlier this month. “I’ll have two hands firmly on the steering wheel. I won’t let anybody do anything to LGBT [people] or to deny our Arab citizens their rights or anything like that.”

Late Tuesday, Netanyahu’s party picked Amir Ohana, a close ally and Israel’s first openly gay government minister, to be the Knesset speaker in the next government.


The post Coalition deals finalized in final step before far-right Israeli government is sworn in appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Obituaries

PHYLLIS POLLOCK

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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.

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Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary

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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.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre


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.)

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Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station

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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.


The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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