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He’s running? Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gives off comeback vibes on a DC visit.



WASHINGTON (JTA) — He left office after one of the shortest terms of any prime minister in Israeli history and doesn’t have an active political party.

But just 10 months after stepping down from Israel’s highest position, and amid historic upheaval in Israel, Naftali Bennett is signaling that he’s ready to run again. 

Bennett, formerly seen as a hardline right-wing politician, upended Israeli politics in 2021 by leading an ideologically diverse coalition that unseated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 straight years in office. But Bennett’s coalition fell apart after about a year, he stepped down and Netanyahu won the subsequent election. 

Now, far from home, Bennett is taking the public stage. On a visit to Washington, D.C., this week, Bennett spoke at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy — a go-to destination for prominent Israeli politicians visiting the United States — took questions from reporters and met with a group of Democratic lawmakers. In a photo from that visit, Bennett appears in his element, explaining something to the group as a crowded room looks on. 

“Today in a series of meetings with congressmen and congresswomen on the Hill as well as government officials,” he tweeted in Hebrew along with the photo. “It begins.”

What is beginning is not clear. Bennett wouldn’t answer a question about whether he will run again, and a spokeswoman did not respond to a request to elaborate. But his social media feed suggests that he’s missing being prime minister, and in remarks to reporters on Tuesday it sounded like he might shoot for the office again.

“I’ve become a huge believer that we need moderacy in the way we govern Israel for the next 10 years,” he said at a meeting organized by the Washington Institute, calling himself a “radical moderate.”

“I believe that Israel, for the next decade or two, we need centrist governments that can focus on 70% of the issues that Israelis agree upon, and setting aside that 30% of issues that are in ideological conflict,” Bennett said, repeating a formula he’s often used to describe his governing philosophy. “I think it’s the only way forward for the next 10 to 20 years. We have to pull ourselves out of this ongoing polarization and toxic dialogue. And I believe Israel can succeed by doing that.”

In another tweet, he noted polls showing him winning eight seats in Israel’s parliament were he to return to politics — more than the seven seats his former party, Yamina, won in 2021, before he became prime minister.

On Monday, the eve of Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, he posted a speech he delivered as prime minister last year, in which he extolled the virtue of Israel “relying only on ourselves to be strong, and to never apologize for our existence.”

Last week, prior to embarking on his stateside visit, he posted a Twitter thread favorably comparing his performance with Netanyahu’s. “As long as I can remember, I have taken responsibility,” he wrote, accusing Netanyahu and his top advisors of peddling “blame and excuses.” And in a video posted about a week earlier, marking the 100th day of Netanyahu’s current government, he touted the record of his coalition in its first 100 days last year, tweeting, “Something different is possible.” That tweet is now pinned to the top of his feed.  

Netanyahu’s coalition has proposed a far-reaching overhaul of Israel’s judiciary that would sap the Supreme Court of much of its power, and which has spurred unprecedented street protests. Part of his mission in the United States, Bennett said at the Washington Institute meeting, was to push back against perceptions that the turmoil was weakening Israel.

“I see that our enemies believe that the protests are a sign of weakness,” Bennett said. “They are misinterpreting what Israel is about. This is a sign of strength, democracy in Israel will prevail, and Israel will come out stronger for all.”

However enthusiastic he may be, Bennett could have a long road to a comeback after emerging battered from his brief time as prime minister. For more than a decade, he had been a leading politician in the pro-settler camp, vehemently opposed to Palestinian statehood and seen as a right-wing influence on Netanyahu. For years, the two men worked together despite personal acrimony between them, but in 2021, Bennett took his party, whose name translated to “rightward” in English, and partnered with a motley crew of right-wing, centrist and left-wing parties, as well as an Islamist party. 

Bennett’s former right-wing allies portrayed that decision as a betrayal, and multiple members of his own party defected, depriving his coalition of a parliamentary majority and leading to new elections. Bennett didn’t run and handed the prime ministership to his centrist coalition partner, Yair Lapid, who lost to Netanyahu last fall. 

Lapid, who is now leader of the parliamentary opposition, appears to be getting a second wind from the massive antigovernment protests. A recent poll asking Israelis for their preferred prime minister showed him running neck and neck with Netanyahu. Another centrist politician, Benny Gantz, got even higher marks. 

This poll didn’t ask about Bennett.

The post He’s running? Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gives off comeback vibes on a DC visit. appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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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



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



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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