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Israel’s defense minister calls to ‘stop the legislative process now’ on Netanyahu’s plans to overhaul the courts



(JTA) — Israel’s defense minister called for a pause on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to overhaul the country’s court system,  dealing a potentially debilitating blow to proposals that have brought hundreds of thousands of Israeli protesters into the streets and have drawn international criticism, including from President Joe Biden and other world leaders.

Yoav Gallant, in a dramatic, 6-minute televised address Saturday night as protesters once again filled streets throughout Israel, called for a suspension of the judicial legislation, whose first major component was due to go to a final vote next week that would pass it into law. Gallant spoke at a bare podium framed by two Israeli flags and wore an Israeli flag pin on his lapel.

“For the sake of Israel’s security, for the sake of our daughters and sons, we must stop the legislative process now to allow the people of Israel to celebrate the holidays of Passover and Independence Day together, and to mourn together on Memorial Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day,” said Gallant, referencing Jewish and Israeli holidays that will take place over the course of the next month. “These are sacred days for us.”

Gallant is the most prominent ally of Netanyahu to come out against the judicial overhaul. He said that his call for a pause was spurred by the internal conflict the proposal is causing in the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces, where Gallant served as a senior general. IDF reservists have issued mounting threats that they will not report for duty if the overhaul passes, and some have already begun to absent themselves in protest.

Gallant called for broad-based negotiations over the proposal after the holidays are over, and said changes did need to be made to the judicial system. Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, has likewise called for dialogue and has put forward a compromise proposal.

“The growing rift in society is penetrating the IDF and the security forces,” said Gallant, who called himself a right-winger and dedicated member of Netanyahu’s Likud Party. “This is a clear, immediate and tangible threat to the security of the country. That I cannot support.”

Two coalition lawmakers immediately voiced support for Gallant, and a third is reported to back him. Those defections — four members of Netanyahu’s 64-seat coalition, would deprive the measures of the support they need to pass in Israel’s 120-seat parliament, the Knesset.

Gallant also called for the protests to end, and stressed the need for an end to threats of defection from the IDF.

“We must stop the protests and reach a hand out for dialogue,” he said. “We must stop immediately any display of refusal [to serve], which erodes the strength of the IDF and harms the defense establishment. For our security and unity we must return to the arena of dialogue and remember that we are brothers.”

The law Netanyahu hoped to pass this coming week would increase the governing coalition’s control over Supreme Court appointments. Another separate piece of legislation would effectively remove the Supreme Court’s power to review laws.

The courts have been a bulwark protecting vulnerable populations in Israel, including Arabs, women, LGBTQ people and non-Orthodox Jews. Netanyahu, in explaining frustrations that led him to embrace the changes, has mentioned how the court stopped him in 2018 from carrying out planned mass deportations of tens of thousands of African refugees.

Supporters of the overhaul say it will allow the Knesset to more effectively represent the country’s right-wing majority. Critics of the changes say that the bills, should they become law, would concentrate much of the government’s power in the hands of a single entity: the coalition.

The appeal from Gallant, a decorated soldier who rose to the rank of southern commander, may be hard for Netanyahu to ignore. The prime minister reportedly had persuaded Gallant to nix a similar speech on Thursday. Instead, Netanyahu spoke that evening, and pledged to press ahead with the overhaul.

It’s not clear what the immediate trigger was for Gallant to change his mind and deliver the speech anyway. Reporters were given just a few minutes notice of his speech, and it came close to 9 p.m.

As soon as he was done, two other members of Netanyahu’s Likud Party joined Gallant in his appeal: Yuli Edelstein, a former Knesset speaker and Soviet Jewish refusenik, and David Bitan, Netanyahu’s most outspoken critic within the party. Likud lawmaker Avi Dichter, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, is also reported to back the pause.

Gallant is also the rare figure in Netanyahu’s government who has a close relationship with the Biden administration, which has kept Netanyahu at a distance since his election in November. He has played a critical role in working with his U.S. counterpart, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, in mounting joint exercises seen as a deterrent to Iran — a country whose threats Gallant cited in his speech, along with other security challenges Israel faces.ֿ

Gallant ended his speech with a well-known quote from Psalms, quoted throughout Jewish liturgy: “God grant strength to his nation, God bless his nation with peace.”

The post Israel’s defense minister calls to ‘stop the legislative process now’ on Netanyahu’s plans to overhaul the courts 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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