(JTA) — The actor Noa Nishby has gone to bat for Israel on U.S. college campuses as an official emissary of her home country. The philanthropist Miriam Adelson has underwritten multiple organizations dedicated to building pro-Israel sentiment in the United States.
And now both prominent Israeli-Americans have publicly joined what is turning out to be a resounding chorus of criticism of Israel’s current government and its efforts to sap the country’s judiciary of its independence and power.
“I will say it in the sharpest and clearest way: Diaspora Jewry and Israel’s supporters in the world are shocked. They are shocked,” Tishby said in a column published in Hebrew on Ynet Saturday. “With great pain they look and see how the country they fiercely defended — in Congress, in the media, on the networks or in front of foreign governments — is changing its face.”
Tishby wrote that she had never publicly criticized “any step taken by any government” in more than two decades as a public figure, but that she was writing “the most difficult public text I have ever written” because Israelis need to understand that the judicial reform legislation, which she called “not a reform, but a coup,” brings their country out of step with other democracies and would threaten its national security and support abroad.
“It’s not like America. Not even a little,” Tishby wrote.
Writing in Israel Hayom, the right-wing Israeli newspaper founded by her late husband Sheldon, Adelson sidestepped the legislation itself and instead focused on its speedy advance.
“Regardless of the substance of the reforms, the government’s dash to ratify them is naturally suspect, raising questions about the root objectives and concern that this is a hasty, injudicious, and irresponsible move. A good deal is reached through cold-eyed circumspection,” wrote Adelson, who with Sheldon was first a funder of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC and then supported the Israel American Council, where she was board chair. She later added, “Bad motivations never bring about good outcomes.”
The statements from Adelson and Tishby offer a clear sign that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot expect prominent allies abroad to back his right-wing government on its signature legislation. They join a chorus of figures who have in the past been notable for slapping down Jewish Diaspora criticism of Israel as unwarranted, among them the writers Yossi Klein Halevi, Matti Friedman and Daniel Gordis; the constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz; New York Times columnist Bret Stephens; and the former long-serving national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abe Foxman.
Adelson and her husband were in the past major funders of the Zionist Organization of America, one of the handful of U.S. Jewish bodies defending the new governments planned reforms.
Protests within Israel entered their 10th week on Saturday night, with hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating not just in Tel Aviv, the country’s liberal center, but in cities across the country and even in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, where most voters are right wing.
Among those publicly condemning the legislation this week have been scores of Israeli military officials; the Jewish former head of the U.S. Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, who said the changes would cause “tremendous damage”; and about 150 people in Gush Etzion, a group of religious settlements that were a stronghold for the far-right Religious Zionist bloc in last year’s election.
בפעם החמישית ברציפות, 150 מפגינים בגוש עציון. ״גשר צר מאוד״ pic.twitter.com/YLrR862jVt
— Ben Caspit בן כספית (@BenCaspit) March 11, 2023
A core piece of the legislation advanced on Sunday, with a hearing in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on the provision giving the government power over appointing judges. The legislation’s proponents say reforms are needed because the judiciary is out of step with the sentiments of voters, while its broad coalition of critics at home and abroad say they would threaten Israel’s status as a democracy with checks and balances.
Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, has called for compromise talks, and there are some signs that efforts to reach a compromise may be taking place behind closed doors. But Netanyahu’s far-right partners in his governing coalition have not indicated an appetite to slow down or otherwise change their approach.
One of those partners, Bezalel Smotrich of the Religious Zionists, is beginning his first U.S. visit as a government minister. Few Jewish groups have agreed to meet with the finance minister, who also has authority over civil administration in the West Bank, and protests are planned as he lands in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.
Smotrich is speaking to Israel Bonds, the investment mechanism that works closely with his ministry, and an array of liberal Jewish groups have announced plans to picket the speech at a hotel in downtown Washington. Ahead of Smotrich’s speech, a group of leading investors in Israel will hold a press conference in the same hotel to outline what they say is the threats the radical reforms pose to Israel’s economy.
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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