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Jerusalem Post conference is latest Israeli event in New York to be disrupted by protests

(JTA) — Leading up to its New York City conference, the Jerusalem Post tried to avoid the anti-government protests that had bedeviled other recent gatherings where Israeli government officials had spoken.

And until 3 p.m., it appeared the Israeli newspaper’s efforts had succeeded.

Protest organizers told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the conference had canceled 20 to 30 tickets that protesters had bought. A demonstration outside the conference, which took place in Manhattan on Monday, had dissipated by mid-morning.

At one point, four security guards on the sidewalk manhandled a protester who tried and failed to enter the atrium. But inside, for most of the day, all passed quietly. Israeli right-wing government ministers who had been heckled at other events appeared onstage without interruption. The biggest distraction in the room was a constant hum of chatter among the attendees.

But in the mid-afternoon, as Israeli Economy Minister Nir Barkat took the stage to discuss government action to encourage entrepreneurship, the familiar Hebrew chants of “Shame! Shame!” echoed in the room, disrupting his remarks, and a group of protesters were escorted out.

Israeli Immigration and Absorption Minister Ofir Sofer (left) and Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli (center) appear onstage at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York City on June 5, 2023. (Marc Israel Sellem)

“What violence, what did we do?” said Shany Granot-Lubaton, a local protest organizer who was barred from entering. “Barkat can’t take it that we’re heckling him? We can heckle him. Keep talking, we’re all adults. We’re allowed to express our opinion.”

The ejection was a kind of coda to a week in which protesters in New York and elsewhere, many of them Israeli expatriates like Granot-Lubaton, have tried to meet and disrupt Israeli cabinet ministers wherever they were — at meetings with Jewish organizations, speaking in synagogues, at a parade on Sunday or walking on the public sidewalks. Videos of the disruptions circulated online. The ministers who were the targets of the protests decried being hounded, and the demonstrators said they were exercising their right to free speech.

In one instance in Los Angeles, in the face of the protesters, an Israeli cabinet member canceled a speech. On Friday night, a leading architect of the Israeli government’s effort to weaken the judiciary grabbed a protester’s megaphone in New York City and rushed away before handing it back.

On Sunday, Amichai Chikli, Israel’s minister of Diaspora affairs, was photographed making what looked like an obscene gesture while grinning at protesters at the Celebrate Israel Parade. He and a spokesperson insisted that he was telling the protesters to smile, but that only one finger was raised toward his mouth because he was clutching an Israeli flag with the others.

.@AmichaiChikli to the pro-democracy protesters across the barriers

— Jacob N. Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) June 4, 2023

Speaking onstage on Monday, Chikli seemed to allude to the incident. “Amazing experience, good music, good vibes, and we made sure everyone smiled,” Chikli said about the parade.

The conference organized by the Jerusalem Post was intended to provide a substantive forum to discuss contemporary Israel as a complement to the celebratory parade. The Jerusalem Post, which is a syndication client of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s wire service, did not respond to requests for comment about its handling of protesters.

Throughout the conference, the government’s judicial overhaul — which, if passed in its current form, would sap the Israeli Supreme Court of much of its power — was referenced throughout the conference but did not dominate the agenda. Speakers included Chikli, Barkat and a few other Israeli cabinet ministers; New York City Mayor Eric Adams; two senators: James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, and Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat; officials from the Biden administration; and an assortment of other public figures in Israeli politics, business and the nonprofit sector.

“Israel is an independent country, they make their own decisions,” Cardin, who recently announced his impending retirement, said in an interview on the conference sidelines. “There are policies that the current government are espousing that I think are wrong, and I’ll express myself, but it doesn’t at all affect my deep support for the special ties between our two countries and the continued U.S. support for Israel.”

But while the gathering didn’t center on the strife currently tearing apart Israeli society, speakers throughout the day stressed the need for pan-Israeli solidarity, at times coupled with criticism of the government. Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister who served a prison sentence for corruption, gave a fiery interview in which he said, to cheers, “If we do not understand that these ministers do not speak for the people of Israel and for the Jewish people, we will pay dearly.”

Benny Gantz, the centrist former defense minister and opposition politician, said that when it comes to Israel countering a military threat from Iran, “Should a time come when action is needed, this government will receive full support from the opposition in any determined, appropriate, and responsible action.”

But he added, regarding Israel’s domestic politics, “We need to shift power from the extremes to the center, and treat minorities decently.”

Israeli government officials focused their remarks on other topics. Chikli both praised and criticized the Biden administration’s recent plan to combat antisemitism, expressing gratitude that it referred to a definition of antisemitism whose provisions mostly focus on Israel, but lamenting that it referred to another definition as well.

“I think it is positive that there is a plan to combat antisemitism,” he said. “It is important that they say the most important and central definition. But it is bad that they opened the door for irrelevant definitions.”

And Chikli and Ofir Sofer, the minister of immigration and absorption, both suggested that the government should discuss amending the Law of Return, which affords automatic Israeli citizenship to any Jew or descendant of at least one Jewish grandparent.

“I don’t think it’s going to change in the near future,” Sofer said, adding that he would set up a committee to discuss the issue. “But I am going to deal with this issue. I will lead the dialogue between the Jewish community and the Israeli government and Israeli society.”

But standing outside after they were kicked out, the handful of protesters who were in the conference said their goal was to prevent the government officials from conducting business as usual.

The goal, said Matti Shalev, a protester, is “to make Nir Barkat aware that anywhere in the world he is going, we’re going to remind him that this will not come to pass.”

The post Jerusalem Post conference is latest Israeli event in New York to be disrupted by protests appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Canada’s economic growth projected to be about 1% in the first half of 2024

Canada is a country with a thriving Jewish community and has traditionally offered the security of a strong economy for residents. The national economic outlook is naturally something that everyone in Canada’s Jewish community keeps track of – especially those involved in business in the various provinces.

With this in mind, the July 2023 Monetary Policy Report from the Bank of Canada made for interesting reading, projecting a moderate economic growth figure of around 1% for the first half of 2024. This is in line with growth figures that had been forecast for the second half of 2023, and sees the country’s economy remain on a stable footing.

Steady projected growth for first half of 2024

Although projected economic growth of around 1% in early 2024 is not as impressive as figures of around 3.4% in 2022 and 1.8% in 2023, it is certainly no cause for alarm. But what might be behind it?

Higher interest rates are one major factor to consider and have had a negative impact on household spending nationally. This has effectively seen people with less spending power and businesses in Canada generating less revenue as a result.

Interest rate rises have also hit business investments nationally, and less money is being channelled into this area to fuel Canada’s economic growth. When you also factor in how the weak foreign demand for Canadian goods and services has hit export growth lately, the projected GDP growth figure for early 2024 is understandable.

Growth in second half of 2024 expected

Although the above may make for interesting reading for early 2024, the Bank of Canada’s report does show that economic growth is expected to pick up in the second half of the year. This is projected to be due to the decreasing effect of high interest rates on the Canadian economy and a stronger foreign demand for the country’s exports.

Moving forward from this period, it is predicted that inflation will remain at around 3% as we head into 2025, and hit the Bank of Canada’s inflation target of 2% come the middle of 2025. All of this should help the country’s financial status remain stable and prove encouraging for business leaders in the Jewish community.

Canada’s economic growth mirrors iGaming’s rise

When you take a look at the previous growth figures Canada has seen and also consider the growth predicted for 2024 (especially in the second half of the year), it is clear that the country has a vibrant, thriving economy.

This economic growth is something that can be compared with iGaming’s recent rise as an industry around the country. In the same way as Canada has steadily built a strong economy over time, iGaming has transformed itself into a powerful, flourishing sector.

This becomes even clearer when you consider that Canadian iGaming has been a major contributor to the sustained growth seen in the country’s arts, entertainment and recreation industry, which rose by around 1.9% in Q2 of 2023. The healthy state of online casino play in Canada is also evidenced by how many customers the most popular casino platforms attract and how the user experience these operators offer has enabled iGaming in the country to take off.

This, of course, is also something that translates to the world stage, where global iGaming revenues in 2023 hit an estimated $95 billion. iGaming’s global market volume is also pegged to rise to around $130 billion by 2027. These kinds of figures represent a sharp jump for iGaming worldwide and show how the sector is on the ascent.

Future economic outlook for Canada in line with global expectations

When considering the Canadian economic outlook for 2024, it is often useful to look at how this compares with global financial predictions. In addition to the rude health of iGaming in Canada being reflected in global online casino gaming, the positive economic outlook for the country is also broadly in line with expectations for many global economies.

Global growth is also predicted to rise steadily in the second half of 2024 before becoming stronger in 2025. This should be driven by the weakening effects of high interest rates on worldwide economic prosperity. With rate cuts in Canada already expected after Feb 2024’s inflation report, this could happen in the near future.

The performance of the US economy is always of interest in Canada, as this is the country’s biggest trading partner. Positive US Q2 performances in 2023, powered by a strong labor market, good consumer spending levels and robust business investments, were therefore a cause for optimism. As a US economy that continues to grow is something that Canadian businesses welcome, this can only be a healthy sign.

Canada set for further growth in 2024

Local news around Canada can cover many topics but the economy is arguably one of the most popular. A projected GDP growth figure of around 1% for Canada’s economy shows that the financial state of the country is heading in the right direction. An improved financial outlook heading into the latter half of 2024/2025 would make for even better reading, and the national economy should become even stronger.

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The Legal Landscape of Online Gambling in Canada

Online gambling has grown in popularity around the globe in recent years. While many jurisdictions have legalized land-based gambling, it hasn’t applied to online platforms. Nonetheless, Canada is one nation that has legalized online gambling with their provinces’ licensing and regulating sites.

Nonetheless, Canadians of legal age can enjoy playing their favourite online games where available. So many games like slots, blackjack, and roulette still maintain their popularity even in the digital sense.  Want to learn about what’s legal in Canada for online gambling? Let’s take a look.

What is legal for online gambling in Canada?

What is the best online casino in Canada? The list we provide you here should be a good start. It’s also important to note that most Canadian provinces do not have laws that prohibit offshore online casinos.

Many provinces provide licensing to online casinos. They even regulate them as well. For example, Alberta and British Columbia have sites regulated by their respective governing bodies. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) allows legal online gambling and oversees the services it offers to Maritime provinces such as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

However, there are some caveats to address. In Newfoundland and Labrador, online gambling that is not offered by the ALC is considered illegal. Therefore, it is the only Canadian province as of 2024 that prohibits offshore options.

In terms of the legal age, there are three provinces where the legal age is 18: Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec. The remaining provinces establish 19 as the legal age for gambling including online.

Who are the regulatory bodies for gambling in Canada?

At the Federal level, the Canadian Gaming Association is the regulatory body for gambling in Canada. Thus, they cover both land-based and online gambling in the country. There are also provincial and regional regulatory bodies such as the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) – which covers the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.  

The Western Canada Lottery Corporation covers Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon Territory. A handful of provinces also have their regulatory bodies covering lottery and gaming.

Canada requires online casinos that wish to accept players from the country to adhere to regulations and licensing. These licenses are provided by provincial regulatory bodies. When licensed, online casinos must follow the regulations and security standards.

However, there is the belief that many of the laws about gambling in Canada may be outdated. This could be because these laws were created long before the advent of the Internet. Therefore, such laws may need to be modernized. Nonetheless, online gambling for the most part is legal, just dependent on the province.

Are there any legal grey areas to discuss?

The grey area that is considered a concern pertains to the use of offshore sites. As mentioned earlier, Newfoundland and Labrador is believed to be the only province that prohibits it. Even online casinos with no licensing by Canadian or provincial authorities accept residents of the country.

On the players’ end, many Canadians are allowed to play at online casinos. However, they may be restricted from certain platforms. This is to ensure that the players themselves are protected from unknowingly playing on platforms that may be illegal. 

What are the other laws and regulations about online gambling in Canada?

Online casinos have implemented measures for responsible gambling. This includes providing support and resources to problem gamblers on their site. They are also restricted regarding the marketing and advertising aspects of promoting their platform. 

One restriction of note is that marketing that is targeted at minors is prohibited. Another prohibits professional athletes from appearing in online casino ads in Ontario.

Even offshore casinos must adhere to these laws and regulations. Especially if they have obtained a license from the provincial bodies that allow them to operate.

Canada’s online gambling is legal – but will things change

As it stands right now, the legality of online gambling in Canada seems to fall under the purview of provincial laws and regulations. Canadian citizens must perform their due diligence further to see which online casinos are allowed by their respective provinces. Just because it may be legal in one province, it may not be the same in others.

Nonetheless, the question is: will any laws relax certain restrictions? Will Newfoundland and Labrador change their tune regarding offshore casinos? It’s unclear what the future holds – but watch this space for any changes about online gambling in Canada.  

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Wiseman, Nathan Elliot
1944 – 2023
Nathan, our beloved husband, Dad, and Zaida, died unexpectedly on December 13, 2023. Nathan was born on December 16, 1944, in Winnipeg, MB, the eldest of Sam and Cissie Wiseman’s three children.
He is survived by his loving wife Eva; children Sam (Natalie) and Marni (Shane); grandchildren Jacob, Jonah, Molly, Isabel, Nicole, and Poppy; brother David (Sherrill); sister Barbara (Ron); sister-in-law Agi (Sam) and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Nathan grew up in the north end of Winnipeg surrounded by his loving family. He received his MD from the University of Manitoba in 1968, subsequently completed his General Surgery residency at the University of Manitoba and went on to complete a fellowship in Paediatric Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital of Harvard University. His surgeon teachers and mentors were world renowned experts in the specialty, and even included a Nobel prize winner.
His practice of Paediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg spanned almost half a century. He loved his profession and helping patients, even decades later often recounting details about the many kiddies on whom he had operated. Patients and their family members would commonly approach him on the street and say, “Remember me Dr. Wiseman?”. And he did! His true joy was caring for his patients with compassion, patience, unwavering commitment, and excellence. He was a gifted surgeon and leaves a profound legacy. He had no intention of ever fully retiring and operated until his very last day. He felt privileged to have the opportunity to mentor, support and work with colleagues, trainees, nurses, and others health care workers that enriched his day-to-day life and brought him much happiness and fulfillment. He was recognized with many awards and honors throughout his career including serving as Chief of Surgery of Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, President of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons, and as a Governor of the American College of Surgeons. Most importantly of all he helped and saved the lives of thousands and thousands of Manitoba children. His impact on the generations of children he cared for, and their families, is truly immeasurable.
Nathan’s passion for golf was ignited during his childhood summers spent at the Winnipeg Beach Golf Course. Southwood Golf and Country Club has been his second home since 1980. His game was excellent and even in his last year he shot under his age twice! He played an honest “play as it lies” game. His golf buddies were true friends and provided him much happiness both on and off the course for over forty years. However, his passion for golf extended well beyond the eighteenth hole. He immersed himself in all aspects of the golf including collecting golf books, antiques, and memorabilia. He was a true scholar of the game, reading golf literature, writing golf poetry, and even rebuilding and repairing antique golf clubs. Unquestionably, his knowledge and passion for the game was limitless.
Nathan approached his many woodworking and workshop projects with zeal and creativity, and he always had many on the go. During the winter he was an avid curler, and in recent years he also enjoyed the study of Yiddish. Nathan never wasted any time and lived his life to the fullest.
Above all, Nathan was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, father-in-law, son-in-law, uncle, brother, brother-in-law, cousin, and granduncle. He loved his family and lived for them, and this love was reciprocated. He met his wife Eva when he was a 20-year-old medical student, and she was 18 years old. They were happily married for 56 years. They loved each other deeply and limitlessly and were proud of each other’s accomplishments. He loved the life and the family they created together. Nathan was truly the family patriarch, an inspiration and a mentor to his children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and many others. He shared his passion for surgery and collecting with his son and was very proud to join his daughter’s medical practice (he loved Thursdays). His six grandchildren were his pride and joy and the centre of his world.
Throughout his life Nathan lived up to the credo “May his memory be a blessing.” His life was a blessing for the countless newborns, infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers who he cared for, for his colleagues, for his friends and especially for his family. We love him so much and there are no words to describe how much he will be missed.
A graveside funeral was held at the Shaarey Zedek cemetery on December 15, 2023. Pallbearers were his loving grandchildren. The family would like to extend their gratitude to Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun Herzlia Congregation.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, in the name of Dr. Nathan Wiseman.

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