Zio-Watch News Round-up

Trump sought support from major pro-Israel givers Sheldon Adelson, Paul Singer: Zio-Watch, November 6, 2015


Dr. Patrick Slattery’s News Roundup
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Trump sought support from major pro-Israel givers Sheldon Adelson, Paul Singer

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Donald Trump solicited financial backing from two major Republican donors known for their support of Israel, according to a report.

Trump, who is among the front-runners in the Republican presidential primaries, has reached out over the past year to Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer for their backing, Politico reported Thursday.

The billionaire reality star, who has touted his own wealth as key to his independence, has more recently mocked Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a rival candidate, for accepting support from Singer and reportedly soliciting Adelson’s backing. Adelson has been a major giver to Republican candidates, notably Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

Trump has said candidates who allow political action committees to take money from billionaire donors like Adelson and Singer are “puppets.” Adelson is a casino magnate and Singer manages a hedge fund. Both are known for backing pro-Israel groups.
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From PressTV

The bullet-riddled car of a Palestinian woman, whom Israeli forces fired some 50 bullets at, in al-Khalil (Hebron), the West Bank, November 6, 2015.

Israeli forces have killed one Palestinian in the occupied West Bank and another in the besieged Gaza Strip.

On Friday, Israeli troops killed an elderly Palestinian woman, whom they accused of running over a number of Israelis, by firing many rounds at her in the town of al-Khalil (Hebron) in the occupied West Bank.

Two other Palestinians who were present at the site of the incident near a gas station were also injured.

Palestinian media also reported that two Israeli soldiers were injured by a Palestinian sniper in the city.

It was also reported that another Israeli was shot and severely injured near Beit Einun, north of al-Khalil on Friday evening.
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From PressTV

A Palestinian fisherman throws his net at the beach in Gaza City on October 28, 2015. ©AFP

Egyptian military forces have shot and killed a Palestinian fisherman off the coast of the southern part of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Gaza Health Ministry Spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said on Thursday afternoon that the victim, identified as Firas Mohammad Miqdad, succumbed to his injuries after being shot in the abdomen by Egyptian naval forces.

There have been no details on the reasons why Egyptian forces opened fire on the 18-year-old Palestinian from the city of Rafah.

Another Palestinian also suffered gunshot wounds in the incident.

The blockaded territory’s Interior Ministry issued a statement after the incident, condemning the killing of the Palestinian individual.
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From PressTV

Israeli forces stand near the body of Palestinian man after shooting him dead in the village of Sair, north of al-Khalil in the occupied West Bank, November 1, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli forces have opened fire and killed a young Palestinian in the occupied West Bank in yet another act of violence against Palestinian people.

The regime’s military said that the man was gunned down following an alleged stabbing attempt against Israeli soldiers near Gush Etzion settlement southwest of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on Thursday, Palestine’s Ma’an news agency reported.

The Palestinian Health Ministry, meanwhile, has identified the victim as 25-year-old Malik Talal Sharif.

Witnesses said Israeli troops blocked access by health workers to the victim after the shooting.

Israeli forces inspect the body of a Palestinian man after shooting him dead near al-Quds’ central bus station, October 14, 2015. (Photo by AFP)


A day earlier, after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian amid escalating tensions in the occupied West Bank territories.
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From Russia Today

Netanyahu’s new spox: John Kerry ‘has a 12-year-old’s intellect,’ Obama’s actions ‘anti-Semitic’

Published time: 6 Nov, 2015 09:24

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. © Carlo Allegri U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. © Carlo Allegri / Reuters

The US has been up in arms over controversial comments made by Benjamin Netanyahu’s newly appointed, but not yet approved spokesman. Ran Baratz once accused Barack Obama of anti-Semitism and suggested that Secretary of State John Kerry had the intellect of a 12-year-old.

Predictably, the United States blew a gasket, expressing concern at Netanyahu’s appointment.

“His comments about US officials, including the president and Secretary Kerry, we believe were troubling and offensive. We obviously expect government officials from any country, especially our closest allies, to speak respectfully and truthfully about senior US government officials,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

As head of public diplomacy and media, Baratz, a 42-year-old philosophy, history and Zionist thought lecturer and the founding editor of a conservative news site, will be tasked with revamping Israel’s reputation in the world. If Israel’s cabinet approves Netanyahu’s nomination of Baratz, he will serve as spokesman to the Israeli media and become a close adviser.
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From Ynet News

Dozens of rabbis demand death sentence for terrorists

Rabbis Dov Lior and Yitzchak Ginsburgh lead a petition calling on the government to ‘take a firm hand against Israel’s cruel enemies.’ Dozens of rabbis published a manifesto this week, demanding the death sentence for terrorists who have hurt Jews.
In the petition, organized by the Derech Chaim movement, they called on the government to take a firm hand against Israel’s enemies, explaining that the rule “Haba lehorgecha hashkem lehorgo” (when someone tries to kill you, rise up and kill him first) is valid in retrospect too.

“Our holy Torah teaches us that punishing the murderer is the justice and right morals,” the rabbis wrote. They quoted the Bible verse “Whoever sheds human blood, by a human being will his own blood be shed” (Genesis 9:6), and Maimonides remark in Hilchot Sanhedrin: “The court must not have mercy on the killer, saying that a person has already been killed and there is no point in killing the other.”
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From The Times of Israel

Ted Cruz says PLO a ‘terrorist organization’

Palestinians slam ‘biased and inflammatory’ senate hearing, led by presidential hopeful, on US victims of Iranian and Palestinian terror

November 6, 2015, 12:31 am

In this Oct. 20, 2015 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

In this Oct. 20, 2015 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)


WASHINGTON — The Palestine Liberation Organization on Thursday criticized Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz over a Senate hearing he oversaw on Palestinian and Iranian terrorism that it called “biased and inflammatory.”

In an unusual and harsh statement issued Thursday, the PLO said the Judiciary subcommittee hearing provided no Palestinian viewpoint and conflated all Palestinians with terrorists. The PLO expressed alarm at what it said was a growing trend in the United States to dehumanize Palestinians.

In response, Cruz said, “It is not surprising a terrorist organization like the PLO is upset with the truths that were told at our hearing yesterday.”

Cruz oversaw the Wednesday hearing titled, “Justice Forsaken: How the Federal Government Fails the American Victims of Iranian and Palestinian Terrorism,” in which several public witnesses described acts of violence and complained about the Obama administration, arguing that its Justice Department has failed to prosecute terrorists who have killed and injured Americans.

Cruz, the first-term senator from Texas, opened the hearing with a vivid description of a Palestinian suicide bomber attack on a Jerusalem street several years ago that killed and injured men, women and children.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Obama wants to hear how Netanyahu will preserve 2-state option

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Barack Obama expects Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to outline how he plans to preserve the two-state solution when they meet next week, his top aides said.

The officials, Robert Malley, the top National Security Council official handling the Middle East; Ben Rhodes, another top NSC official; and Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, said in a conference call with reporters Thursday that the administration no longer held out hope of revived peace talks before Obama’s presidency ends in January 2017.

“For the first time since the Clinton administration the prospect of a negotiated solution” is not likely in the near-term, Malley said.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

US Reform leader: Diaspora Jews shouldn’t support ‘misguided’ Israeli policies

ORLANDO, Florida (JTA) – The leader of American Reform Jewry said Diaspora Jews should not support “misguided” Israeli policies and that his movement was an alternative to the “rigid and insular” Judaism in Israel.

“Asking Jews around the world only to wave the flag of Israel and to support even the most misguided policies of its leaders drives a wedge between the Jewish soul and the Jewish state. It is beyond counterproductive,” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said in his keynote speech Thursday night to the union’s biennial conference in Orlando.

“Jews who see brokenness in the treatment of Israel’s minorities, or in the way ultra-Orthodox views of Judaism are being enshrined in secular law, are being told that, when it comes to Israel, you should check your commitment to tikkun olam at the door; we will not,” Jacobs said.
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From PressTV

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo by AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his spokesman – officially appointed by himself – does not speak for him, in a scandal in which the junior Israeli official was found to have scorned senior US officials.

Ran Baratz, whom Netanyahu recently appointed as his new chief of “public diplomacy,” has had a history of insulting American officials. His background of insults came to light after his nomination by Netanyahu.

Last year, Baratz said US Secretary of State John Kerry’s “mental age” was no more than that of a 12-year-old.

“This is the time to wish the secretary of state good luck, and to count down the days with the hope that someone over there at the State Department will wake up and begin to see the world through the eyes of a person whose mental age exceeds 12,” he wrote in an online magazine, reacting to comments by Kerry in favor of a deal between Palestinians and Israelis.

Newly-appointed Israeli chief of “public diplomacy” Ran Baratz (Photo by Reuters)


In March this year, Baratz wrote on his Facebook page that US President Barack Obama is “anti-Semitic.” Back then, Obama had criticized a speech by Netanyahu in the US Congress. The Israeli prime minister had given a speech in the US legislature against the then freshly-finalized deal between Iran and the P5+1.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

French Jews ask ministry to probe incitement at rally against Jewish thinker

PARIS (JTA) — French Jews condemned what they termed an anti-Semitic demonstration in the heart of the French capital against the Jewish public intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy.

The event took place on Oct. 31 on St. Germain Boulevard, where a dozen-odd far-right demonstrators from the Renouveau Français group (“French Reneweal”) convened with posters accusing Levy — a celebrity and supporter of France’s military intervention in Libya — of fomenting war for profit.

The protesters shouted slogans accusing Levy of being a “Talmudic philosopher” who is “waging Zionist war” and who should be “stripped of the French nationality and extradited to Israel,” according to a statementpublished Thursday by the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities titled “Anti-Semitic demonstration in the heart of Paris.”
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Brussels gets 1st gay Jewish organization

(JTA) — Reform Jews in Brussels opened the city’s first gay Jewish organization.

The group’s inaugural meeting took place on Oct. 18 and it now has 60 members, according to David Weis, one of the founders of the community, called “LGBT Jews in and around Brussels.”

LGBT is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender.

Two Progressive communities — a term which in Europe is applied to Reform and Conservative denominations — have pledged their support for the new group, which nonetheless operates as a separate entity both to the Beth Hillel congregation and to the International Jewish Center community.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Is it just me, or are there neo-Nazis everywhere? (OK, it might just be me)

My father often accuses me of being “too wrapped up in all this Jewish stuff” — by which he means the Holocaust, the Arab-Israeli conflict, etc. He blames my work and certain unfortunate personality traits.

However accurate, this observation has always seemed somewhat hypocritical to me. After all, it comes from a man who, every day on the way to school, rehearsed with me the chronology of World War II (instead of teaching me things like the basic rules of soccer).

Besides, what’s wrong with embracing a rich, deep-seated ethnic identity over some modern universalist contrivance — like “European citizen”?

Still, I had to wonder whether my father had a point this week. When I passed a Parisian housewares shop covered in Star of David-shaped stickers advertising sales prices, my first thought was of Yad Vashem.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Ben Carson: Pyramids built by Joseph for grain storage

(JTA) — Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson defended a unique personal theory he shared years ago that the Egyptian pyramids were built by the biblical Joseph to store grain, not to serve as tombs for the pharaohs.

At a book signing Thursday in Florida, a day after Buzzfeed News posted a 1998 video showing him espousing this theory, Carson said his views on the pyramids’ origins remain the same, The Associated Press reported. The retired neurosurgeon is a Seventh-day Adventist, a Protestant denomination.

It was not clear from his statements whether he thought all or just some of the pyramids were built for this reason and during this period. The story of Joseph storing grain in preparation for an Egyptian famine appears in the Book of Genesis, in the Miketz Torah portion, which will be read in synagogues around the world on Dec. 12. The text makes no mention of the grain being stored in pyramids.

On Thursday, Carson said, “Some people believe in the Bible like I do and don’t find that to be silly at all. The secular progressives try to ridicule it every time it comes up, and they’re welcome to do that.”

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From Russia Today

Russians outraged after Charlie Hebdo cartoons ‘ridicule’ Sinai plane crash

Published time: 6 Nov, 2015 08:38

Edited time: 6 Nov, 2015 19:27

© Eric Gaillard © Eric Gaillard / Reuters

Russians have reacted with anger after the French satirical magazine published caricatures of the Russian passenger aircraft crashing in Egypt. Social media in Russia has erupted in fury at the portrayal, with users condemning its publication by Charlie Hebdo.

One Twitter user questioned why the staff at Charlie Hebdo hadn’t printed a cartoon of the members of their team who were shot by jihadists in Paris in January. The user added sarcastically, “That would have been really funny for them.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo “blasphemy.”

“In our country, this would be called ‘blasphemy.’ It has nothing to do with democracy or with self-expression. It is just blasphemy,” Peskov said.

“My colleagues and I tried to find caricatures of the Charlie Hebdo journalists in the magazine, who were shot by terrorists. We were unable to find them. But if they were published, then it would also be blasphemy, well at least in our country,” he added.
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From Ynet News

Reform Jews poised to pass transgender resolution

Jewish movement has been planning resolution for some time; it comes during a period of increased visibility of transgender rights and issues.

When Rabbi Elliot Kukla became the first out transgender rabbi ordained in the Reform Jewish movement almost a decade ago, he would get questions from other rabbis along the lines of “There’s a transgender congregant coming to services. What should I do?” He would tell the other rabbis to greet them with, “Shabbat shalom,” the traditional welcome for anybody.
Now, other rabbis ask more sophisticated questions and lack the discomfort of the earlier ones: Is there a ritual for a trans man who is converting to Judaism but doesn’t have a penis for a traditional circumcision? How can we celebrate a 12-year-old trans girl’s name change at her Bat Mitzvah?
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From The Times of Israel

Opposition grows to Donald Trump’s SNL hosting gig

Advocacy groups petition NBC to drop ‘racist and xenophobic’ GOP presidential hopeful from this weekend’s show

November 5, 2015, 9:18 pm

A protester wearing a puppet head with dollar signs in his eyes demonstrates across the street from NBC Studios where "Saturday Night Live," is taped and broadcast, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, in New York. (AP/Kathy Willens)

A protester wearing a puppet head with dollar signs in his eyes demonstrates across the street from NBC Studios where “Saturday Night Live,” is taped and broadcast, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, in New York. (AP/Kathy Willens)


NEW YORK (AP) — Pressure continued to mount on NBC to cancel Donald Trump’s guest-host appearance on this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live,” as a coalition of advocacy groups delivered petitions to the network Wednesday calling for him to be dropped from the show.

The petitions delivered to 30 Rockefeller Plaza, home of NBC and “Saturday Night Live,” marked the latest attempts to dissuade the network from allowing the Republican presidential hopeful to host the show, with the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda earlier asking that NBC reconsider the decision.

“There’s mounting evidence that Donald Trump’s racist demagoguery is resulting in real-world violence and physical and verbal intimidation,” Mushed Zaheed, deputy political director of Credo Action, one of the participating groups, said in a statement.

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, holds up a Bible given to him by his mother as he speaks during the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, in Washington (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

In advance of the show, NBC released promotional spots featuring Trump that included one in which he refers to a Republican opponent, Ben Carson, as “a complete and total loser.”
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From The Times of Israel

57% of US Jews eat pork, and 9 other findings from new Pew study

Latest religiosity survey shows rise in Torah study, slight fall in belief in God

November 4, 2015, 4:25 pm

The percentage of Jews who said religion is important to them rose from 31 to 35 percent since 2007, the Pew Research Center found. (Shutterstock, via JTA)

The percentage of Jews who said religion is important to them rose from 31 to 35 percent since 2007, the Pew Research Center found. (Shutterstock, via JTA)


NEW YORK (JTA) — Do you experience feelings of peace and well-being at least once a week? Did God write the Torah? Do you eat bacon?

If these questions seem a little personal, don’t fret. They’re all part of a new Pew Research Center survey on American religion released Tuesday that shows moderate declines in religious beliefs and behavior among Americans generally, but growth among Jews in some key religious categories.

Some 847 of the 35,000 Americans in the Pew telephone survey between June and September 2014 identified themselves as Jews by religion — far fewer than the 3,475 Jews interviewed for Pew’s landmark 2013 survey of U.S. Jewry. (Unlike the new survey, the ’13 study also counted as Jews those of “no religion” who identified themselves as Jewish by ethnicity, parentage or feeling). But there’s still plenty of interesting data on Jewish beliefs, practice and voting patterns in the new survey.

Here are some of the study’s more interesting findings:

Growing prayer and Torah study
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