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Netanyahu to Republican Jews: My controversial 2015 speech in Congress led to Abraham Accords



LAS VEGAS (JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu’s acceptance of a Republican invitation to speak to Congress in 2015 to decry the Obama administration’s Iran policy notoriously helped bring about a rupture between the once and future Israeli prime minister and Democrats.

Now Netanyahu says the decision helped cement secret ties with Arab countries that led five years later to the Abraham Accords, the 2020 agreements brokered by the Trump administration that normalized ties between Israel and four Arab countries

“We got phone calls in real time from Gulf States, who were saying we cannot believe what your prime minister is doing, and he’s facing, admittedly, a great leader, the most powerful man in the world, the American president, but if he’s willing to do that, we’d like to cement the ties a lot further, and that led to the secret meetings. between myself in 2015 and Gulf leaders,” Netanyahu said Saturday. “That led to the laying the foundations for the Abraham Accords.”

Netanyahu was speaking about the benefits of one speech seemed designed to inflame partisan tensions in the United States during another talk to a partisan U.S. audience, addressing the annual Republican Jewish Coalition conference. His speech, delivered via video from Israel, made him the first Israeli prime minister, elected or otherwise, to address a partisan Jewish group in the United States.

Netanyahu said he could not describe the contacts from the Gulf States further. Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and special advisor, wrote in his book that Netanyahu came close to derailing the deals multiple times.

Netanyahu relayed his story to the RJC conference after the group’s chairman, Norm Coleman, asked him why he agreed to accept the invitation to speak in Congress knowing that the decision was not coordinated with the White House.

The Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2015, John Boehner, who invited Netanyahu, broke protocol by keeping the invitation secret until the last minute from the White House and from Democrats in Congress. Netanyahu and his ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, agreed to keep the secret until Boehner issued the formal invitation.

Keeping Boehner’s secret led to a perception among Democrats that Netanyahu was playing partisan politics and was a major factor in Democratic disaffection with Netanyahu, from which he has never fully recovered. The Israeli government that ended Netanyahu’s 12-year stint in office last year, led by Naftali Bennet and Yair Lapid, had as a central platform repairing ties with Democrats. Netanyahu was reelected in Nov. 1 elections and will soon form a government.

Netanyahu told the RJC it was a difficult decision. “I can assure you that wasn’t a simple decision to go to the joint session of Congress and challenge the the policy of a sitting president, whom I respected but I disagree with,” he said. He said the Iran nuclear deal President Barack Obama was negotiating endangered Israel. The deal cleared Congress despite Netanyahu’s speech.

“I made that decision because I believe that … this agreement endangered the very existence of the State of Israel,” he said.

Netanyahu said he was relieved when Obama’s successor, Trump, pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018. “I was tremendously fortunate to have finally an American administration under President Trump who agreed with this policy,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu said in the talk that he was close to President Joe Biden, saying that they had “an easy relationship, a friendship” dating back to 1982 when Netanyahu was deputy chief of mission at the Israeli embassy in Washington and Biden was a senator from Delaware. He also praised Obama for setting U.S. defense assistance at $3.8 billion a year.

The post Netanyahu to Republican Jews: My controversial 2015 speech in Congress led to Abraham Accords 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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