(JTA) – As Israel’s new right-wing government continued to signal that it would push through measures to cripple the judiciary and clamp down on public dissent and news operations, thousands of citizens took to the streets in protest and one prominent opposition figure warned of imminent “civil war.”
A reported 10,000 demonstrators gathered Saturday night in Tel Aviv to protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new right-wing government, which contains several ministers who are openly hostile to Arabs and Palestinians, LGBTQ people and liberal forms of Jewry. Organizers, many of whom hailed from Israeli left-wing groups, advertised the demonstration as “against the coup d’etat carried out by the criminal government which threatens to harm all citizens whoever they are,” according to the Times of Israel.
Many of them directed their ire toward the proposed legislation that would allow the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to overrule decisions by the Supreme Court. Some carried signs comparing Netanyahu and his coalition to Nazis. Others used the rallying cry “Crime Minister,” referring to Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial.
Counter-protesters were present as well. At least one anti-Netanyahu lawmaker who attended the protest, the Israeli Arab Knesset head of the Hadash Ta’al party Aymen Odeh, was assaulted, according to video of the event, and police are investigating.
Netanyahu and his allies decried the protests, with the prime minister condemning the Nazi comparisons and displays of the Palestinian flag. “This is wild incitement that went uncondemned by the opposition or the mainstream media,” he tweeted on Sunday. “I demand that everyone stop this immediately.”
Another protest was set for Thursday, this time by attorneys who are planning a walkout to register their disapproval of the proposed judiciary changes. But government ministers have offered no indication that they are considering the views of Israel’s left, instead pressing forward with a raft of right-wing proposals. In recent days:
Public security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir ordered Israeli police to remove Palestinian flags from all public places, apparently incensed by the sight over the weekend of an Arab town waving the flags to celebrate the release from prison of a local who served 40 years in prison for killing a soldier in 1980. Ben-Gvir said the Palestinian flag “is a form of supporting terror.” Displaying the flag is legal but frequently challenged nonetheless.
Israel’s new communications minister, Shlomo Karhi, told an Israeli university that “there is no room in this age for public broadcasting,” and said the country’s publicly funded news organization, Kan, was trying to “police the conversation.” Karhi, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, has previously stated his desire to end public funding to Kan and other Israeli public broadcasters, accusing them of being too left-wing. A crackdown could interfere with Israel’s participation in the Eurovision song contest, which recently warned Netanyahu against threatening public broadcasting.
The government is also set to fast-track a bill that would revoke the citizenship or residency from people who are convicted of terrorism who receive payments from the Palestinian Authority. The move is seen as a step toward ejecting “disloyal” Arabs from Israel, something that Ben-Gvir has said should happen. When an Arab lawmaker questioned why the legislation does not apply to Jewish terrorists who are supported by extremist groups, one Knesset member from Netanyahu’s party said,“In the Jewish state, I prefer Jews over disloyal Arabs. We’ve stopped apologizing for it.”
Finance minister Bezalel Smotrich over the weekend blocked millions in tax revenue from reaching the Palestinian Authority and redirected the funds to families of terror victims instead, a reported punitive measure to punish the Palestinians for pushing the United Nations to deliver a judgment on Israel’s actions in the occupied West Bank. The PA’s prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, told Haaretz that such a move could lead to the “collapse” of the authority, an outcome Smotrich seemed to welcome at a press conference: “As long as the Palestinian Authority encourages terror and is an enemy, I have no interest for it to continue to exist.” Most analysts see the Palestinian Authority, for all of its faults, as a bulwark against more extreme groups taking charge in the West Bank.
It is not yet clear whether the moves will turn into policy or whether they represent a flurry of proposals and posturing as parties stake out their positions at the start of a new government. But either way, tensions are flaring. Former defense minister and chief Netanyahu rival Benny Gantz said that Netanyahu was spurring on a “civil war in Israeli society” and called on protestors to keep up their pressure; the prime minister in turn accused Gantz of leading “a call to sedition.”
At least one proposal by members of the new government appears to have already hit a snag. Lawmakers in a haredi Orthodox party said they wanted railway maintenance to cease on Shabbat, and Netanyahu reportedly backed their demand. But on Thursday, the transportation minister, a member of Netanyahu’s party, rebuffed the demand.
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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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