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Israeli President Isaac Herzog warns of a looming, bloody ‘real civil war’



(JTA) — Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned of the possibility of civil war if the government won’t agree to a compromise on judicial reform, a stunning pronouncement from a personality and an office that are both known for restraint.

“I have heard real, deep hatred,” Herzog said in an address carried on primetime TV. “I have heard people, from all sides saying that God forbid, blood in the streets will not shock them.”

Herzog, whose compromise proposals were already being rejected by the government, said his warning should terrify every Israeli.

“He who thinks that a real civil war, one that costs lives, is a line we won’t reach, is out of touch,” he said. “In this moment, of all moments, in the 75th year of the state of Israel, the abyss is within reach.”

The speech, as chilling as it was, did not appear likely to head off the intensifying unrest. The opposition welcomed Herzog’s proposed compromise, while government figures rejected them.

Israel has been rocked by weeks of protests against reforms proposed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which would sap the judiciary of its independence. More recently, the national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir — a follower of Meir Kahane, a rabbi barred from Israel’s parliament in the 1980s because of his racism — has ordered police crackdowns on protesters.

The speech was extraordinary in part because the role of president is mostly ceremonial. The president is seen as a conciliator in Israel’s fractious society.

Additionally, Herzog, a past leader of the Israeli Labor party and a chairman of the Jewish Agency, is seen as a compromiser. In 2021, when the 120 Knesset members elected him in a secret ballot, he won a larger majority, 87, than any of his predecessors, drawing support from the left and the right.

The courts have repeatedly defended the rights of  vulnerable populations in Israel, including Arab Israelis, LGBTQ people, non-Orthodox Jews and women. Netanyahu’s supporters say the proposed changes put necessary brakes on an activist judiciary, while critics at home and abroad — including President Joe Biden, top Senate Democrats and portions of the Jewish organizational establishment in the United States — say they threaten Israel’s democracy.

With his speech, Herzog unveiled a proposed compromise, which would balance judicial and political interests in selecting judges. Proponents of reform say the system now allows judges too much power in choosing their replacements, and want to give the upper hand to the ruling coalition.

Herzog’s compromises also include advancing a law that would make it harder to pass the “basic laws” that comprise Israel’s constitution. Basic laws currently require an absolute majority of 61 of 120 members to pass. Herzog’s proposal would preserve the 61 threshold for each of the first three votes, but would also add a fourth and final reading requiring a two-thirds majority of 80 Knesset members.

His compromise would also reduce the power of the Supreme Court to review laws the Knesset passes, but would not go as far as Netanyahu’s proposals to gut judicial review. Under Herzog’s system, for instance, the court would not review basic laws. The fact that such laws would need 80 votes to pass would likely mitigate the court’s perceived need to review the laws.

Herzog also proposes a basic law to protect the rights of vulnerable populations.

Government figures immediately rejected Herzog’s proposal. “It’s worse than the current situation,” said Shlomo Karhi, the communications minister, on Twitter. “We can’t accept it.” Opposition leaders meanwhile welcomed the proposal and said it could serve as a basis for a negotiated compromise.

The post Israeli President Isaac Herzog warns of a looming, bloody ‘real civil war’ 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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