WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two Israeli ministers who have built relationships with Jewish leaders in the Diaspora canceled meetings at the last minute with American Jewish organizations in the face of protests.
One of the ministers, however, was still confronted by a demonstration, and one protestor was thrown to the ground by security guards.
Amichai Chikli, the minister of Diaspora affairs, canceled a meeting that was to have taken place Thursday with the Washington, D.C., area’s Jewish Community Relations Council and Jewish federation. Nir Barkat, the economy minister and former Jerusalem mayor and tech entrepreneur, canceled an event at a Boston-area synagogue scheduled for the same day.
The cancellations come after a week during which protests, often led by Israeli expatriates, have repeatedly disrupted the activities of Israeli officials visiting the United States for a pro-Israel parade in New York City last Sunday. The protests aim to support mass Israeli street demonstrations against the right-wing government’s effort to significantly weaken the judiciary.
In Boston, protesters confronted Barkat in his hotel, and a video posted to social media showed a protester rush past security toward Barkat, whose guards threw him to the ground. The protester was hospitalized and questioned by police. Barkat addressed the incident on Twitter by writing, “A political murder is only a matter of time in the state of Israel.”
“Thanks to the protest, there are those who have allowed the blood of elected officials to flow,” he wrote. “We’re on a slippery and dangerous slope. I am grateful to the guards of the personal security detail who rebuffed the attacker and prevented injury to me. Violence is the crumbling of the foundations of democracy.”
Barkat’s event was to have taken place at Temple Beth Elohim, a Reform synagogue in Wellesley, a suburb of Boston. The city’s Israeli consulate had rented the space for the speech weeks in advance, according to Haaretz, and when the congregation’s rabbi heard of the event, he said he planned to join in protests.
“It is very unusual that we find protesters outside our Temple building, even though a robust debate is consistent with Israel’s vibrant democracy and our Jewish tradition,” said Rabbi Joel Sisenwine, according to Haaretz. “I truly believe that the current judicial reform proposal, as currently stated, is a threat to Israel’s democracy.”
The Israeli embassy in Washington said Chikli canceled his appearance on Thursday because of a scheduling conflict. Federation and JCRC officials seemed surprised by the cancelation, saying it came at the last minute, and an Israeli-led protest movement, called UnXeptable, claimed credit for the cancellation.
Protests have dogged the itineraries of several Israelis in the U.S. over the past week. In recent days, a government minister canceled a speech in Los Angeles, and Israeli officials in New York were jeered both within and outside events, at Sunday’s parade and on the streets. Barkat was interrupted by protesters on Monday at a conference hosted by the Jerusalem Post, and Chikli was heckled at the parade, where he appeared to mock protesters.
A number of American Jews, among them organizations and individuals that historically have refrained from criticizing Israel, have spoken out against the judicial reforms and in some cases have joined protests in Israel and in the United States. They see the courts as a bulwark protecting vulnerable populations, including women, LGBTQ people, Arabs and non-Orthodox Jews.
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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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