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The Week In News

MAY 27, 2020 | The Jewish Home




Dear Readers, I hope we never go back to normal. To the normal activity of taking things for granted: under-appreciating the basic items and people in our lives, the joy of meeting a friend in the street, the thrill of davening with a minyan or learning in person with a chavrusa. The pleasure of attending a meeting discussing how to help the community. The delight in attending a chasunah. I hope we’re shell-shocked out of complacency and obliviousness. I hope we’re able to enjoy—and genuinely give thanks to Hashem for—such simplicities as breathing or being able to walk. I hope that, contrary to what the media would have us believe, the world we return to will be a more refined one, one in which people have more patience and are more kind. In Nevuas Yechezkel, the navi speaks of a time when the heart of stone will be replaced with a heart of flesh. Perhaps this is a preparation. The image of a self-made man who feels he’s in full control and responsible for all his success isn’t so convincing anymore. We now feel in our gut that there’s a Master to this world Who runs everything, can change everything in a blink, and with a simple mistake in one country can bring the population of the entire world to its knees. Let us not miss this opportunity to become a much better people than we were before. Let’s let go of grudges, even the ones that started when we were 100% right! Let us embrace and respect even those who we think are entirely mistaken in their views. We can disagree with their opinions, yet never make it personal. Let us hope this is the final challenge we needed before the time when there will be no anguish or pain. No jealousy or war. For the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the ocean covers the ocean bed. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos and Kaballas HaTorah b’simchah u’b’pnimiyus,


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The Week In News

MAY 27, 2020 | The Jewish Home

Let’s take upon ourselves to stop the talking in Shul, beautify our davening, and show Hashem we are willing to accept His reign...



Torah Musings The Week In News

MAY 27, 2020 | The Jewish Home

Fighting the Pandemic of 2020 Sarah Pachter

Imagine you are back in seventh grade American History class. For 45 minutes, you listen to your teacher lecture about the city of St. Louis in 1918. She describes how they closed schools, playgrounds, and churches when the flu broke out that year. Assuming Coronavirus never happened, this history lesson might seem boring, irrelevant. As the teacher reads an excerpt from someone’s diary during that time, you might yawn and think, Who cares? You flip the glossy pages of the history book and glance at the ticking clock on the wall. This information will just be facts to memorize for an upcoming test. Students may not empathize with the challenges that accompany a shutdown of such magnitude. The listener struggles to consider what it means for the people who have lost jobs or businesses, or who were living in isolation. The teacher describes death statistics, and even these numbers fall on deaf ears. To the student, this entire lesson hardly seems worth mentioning. Suddenly, in 2020, this history lesson comes alive as we ourselves are experiencing challenges and unprecedented anxiety concerning the future. True accounts of my friends include: “I’m trying to keep my composure with my children even though every time I clean something, it gets messy three seconds later.” “I have no strength left, and no one seems to know how long this will last. I’m done. The other night when my children were fighting again, I just covered my face and cried.” Our patience is being tested every moment. Worry follows us through our daily tasks. This time period can be thought of as “middot in the making”—or breaking. How can we overcome these battles? How are we meant to maintain calm and fight the yetzer hara, which provokes unrelentingly? Small and Specific Goals Just like setting small goals while long distance running, we can manage the long haul of the quarantine by setting mini-goal posts along our way. Locate your next target and simply reach for that. For example: “We just need to get to Shabbos.” Or, “I just have to make it through dinnertime.”

Small goals are necessary in combating the yetzer hara, especially when managing the overwhelming middle part of this process. Specificity makes our goals actionable. By the time a student is finishing her fourth year of medical school, she doesn’t tell people, “I want to be a doctor.” Instead, she states more specific ambitions: “I want to be a neurologist.” Similarly, we need to clarify our own specific goals in this difficult time. We cannot be content with, “I want to grow spiritually.” Rather, “I want to grow spiritually by reciting one perek of tehillim each day.” Almost every successful business uses specific goal setting to create unbounded success. Unless we set specific objectives, the yetzer hara will crush us into feeling too overwhelmed to begin the growth process. Growth can occur anytime and anywhere, even in a quarantine. We can combat the yetzer hara by creating a specific and manageable plan. Torah Study One of the greatest antidotes to the yetzer hara is Torah study. “I have created the yetzer hara, and the Torah as the antidote.”1 Torah is such a powerful weapon against the yetzer hara because it is through learning that we understand what Hashem really wants from us. Suppose a husband says to his wife, “I got you the best birthday present ever!” She is dreaming of jewelry when he continues, “It’s a new tool set!” Without learning Torah, we don’t know what Hashem wants from us, and we are like the spouse who is somewhat clueless. We can deepen our relationship and connection by learning Torah and taking small steps to doing that which Hashem wants.2 The Torah delineates Hashem’s desires and sets a clear path beneath our feet. When we remove obscurity, we can tackle our purpose with joy. Prayer Many connect to prayer by asking for material needs while simultaneously overlooking the benefits of praying for spiritual success. The midrash informs us that we must pray for everything we need, even a pencil. We might assume that indicates

1 2

Kiddushin 30b Heller and Rigler, Battle Plans, p. 186

only praying for physical needs, but the Maharal instructs that we must also pray for our spiritual success.3 Recently, I was praying, “Ribono Shel Olam, it’s going to take a complete miracle to raise children in our society today. With the obstacles of drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, and technology, raising happy, productive, and kindhearted children cannot be done without You.” A few days after praying in this way, I began a parenting class, and the first sentence that the teacher, Mrs. Chani Heyman, expressed was, “Before anything else, we must pray. It doesn’t matter if you do everything right, prayer is essential to our success as parents.” Sarah Rigler was involved in a character development group led by Rabbi Leib Kelemen, and she was specifically working on her anger. Rabbi Kelemen asked how she was faring. “Terrible,” she responded. “I am doing everything you suggested, and it’s simply not working.” “Have you been praying for success in this area?” he asked. Praying for success to overcome her anger had not occurred to Rigler. Kelemen was adamant that without prayer, success would not be attainable.4 There may be times when we are grieving, or too numb to pray with fervor. Yet even these prayers can lead to change—both within ourselves and for the overall situation. Every prayer has purpose, and can be applied to material or spiritual struggle. We are powerless over our addictions, challenges, and yetzer hara without prayer. As humans we have finite capabilities, but when we enlist the powers of HaKadosh Baruch Hu, we attach ourselves to something infinite, and then the impossible can happen. Living a Memoir, Not a Diary Memoirs and diaries give very different perspectives on the same story.5 Diaries are valuable because they relay an honest, first-hand encounter sharing detailed emotional highs and lows. However, it does not contain the perspective that a


Heller and Rigler, Battle Plans, p. 111, referring to Gur Aryeh to Bereishit 46:29

4 5

Diary, p. 8

Heller and Rigler, Battle Plans, p. 52 Lipstadt, Deborah, Foreword of Renia’s

memoir has. The author of a memoir has a longitudinal vision, and therefore does not include every difficult moment. A memoir uses life perspective to skip certain periods, knowing they won’t all have impact on the main story. They may gloss over areas that a diary would describe as paramount. Alternatively, a memoir may emphasize historic events that a diary would not include because the author may not realize the event would later have a major impact. Although keeping a journal during this difficult time is worthwhile, it could be more advantageous to maintain the perspective of a memoir. Try staying above the highs and lows of daily life, sugarcoating the challenges, and glossing over difficult days. A memoir skips moments that although may have been intense or troublesome at the time, are not important to the overall life story. We can, too. I recently saw a beautiful description of this concept in an anonymous Facebook post. In 2040 someone may ask, “In history class we learned that the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 was pretty bad. What was it really like?” One answer might resemble a diary entry: “It was horrible. We had trouble finding essentials in the store, like toilet paper and food. We were scared of economic failure, and we went stir crazy in the house. Another might describe it as memoir would. “All I remember is school closing and being homeschooled. We did scavenger hunts in the backyard, went on bike rides, slept in, and ate meals together as a family for a change. It was a very happy time in my childhood.” Ultimately, we have the power to create our own story. Will we remember this time period like a diary, giving detailed accounts of the challenges? Or will we focus on the positive, turning it into a timeless memoir? These days of quarantine offer highs and lows for even the most composed of us. But if we can set specific goals, pray, and see life from the lens of a memoir, then we stand a fighting chance of coming out a winner. Stay tuned for the next column for more techniques to battling the yetzer hara in this new environment.

The Week In News

MAY 27, 2020 | The Jewish Home

IN SHUL? NO PHONE. BS"D 24 LYAR, 39 OF THE OMER, 5780 To the honorable and brilliant Rabbonim, and the Gabbaim of shuls in every place, may Hashem be with you and grant you life, Because of our many sins, it has now been a number of weeks since we were expelled from our shuls and battei medrash, like a servant who tries to pour a cup for his master and has it thrown back in his face. It seems that this is a sign from Heaven that we have sinned by disrespecting the sanctity of our shuls through the use of cellphones during davening. Our phones are active, and we even talk on them during davening; this is a great slight to our tefillah and to the sanctity of the shul. beyond anything our forebears ever imagined. It is also a violation of halachah - see 5hulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 151 - and the holy Zohar, Vayakhel 205b, has frightening things to say about this practice.

Therefore, we must re-institute the takanah that it is strictly forbidden to enter a shul to daven with an active cellphone: It must be turned off before entering and remain disconnected for the entire duration of the tefillah. The gabbaim must be responsible for enacting this takanah and ensuring compliance, with no exceptions.


It is also proper that when we merit - soon - to return to our shuls, the rabbanim should inspire their congregants by saying words of chizuk regarding the severity of the prohibition against disrespecting the sanctity of shuls and battei medrash. In the merit of our acceptance of these matters upon ourselves may Hashem speedily return us to His service in the shuls and battei medrash with great congregation, and may He accept our tefillos with love and favor. Chaim Kanievsky

“Likewise, one should be careful devarim betalim in the beis Knesset.”



Hagaon Rosh Yeshiva Harav Gerson Edelstein

During this trying period, when we’ve all been alienated from our precious botei knesses, let’s make a heartfelt pledge:






The Week In News

The Week In News

Protesting Beijing in Hong Kong

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets over the weekend in Hong Kong to protest China’s new national security law. Throughout Saturday and Sunday, demonstrators chanting anti-China slogans jammed the Causeway and Wan Chai districts. Images posted on social media on Sun-

MAY 27, 2020 | The Jewish Home

day showed protesters gathering in the busy Causeway Bay and Wan Chai districts. Demonstrators erected makeshift barriers and fought pitched battles with police, who responded with tear gas and water cannons. More than 100 people were injured amidst rising anger over what Hong Kong residents see as a new attempt by Beijing to reassert control over the semi-autonomous country. “This is the first large demonstration in Hong Kong since COVID-19 arrived here,” reported Al Jazeera. “The protesters are not just defying social-distancing rules, they’re also defying an order by Hong Kong’s police not to hold this unauthorized assembly – and, of course, they are once more defying Beijing.” The national security laws were unveiled last Thursday and outlaw “subversion, separatism, and acts of foreign interference.” They also allow Chinese authorities to operate in Hong Kong “to fulfill relevant duties to safeguard national security in accordance with the law.” The legislation is expected to be passed later this month in Hong Kong’s National People’s Congress (NPC) and is hotly controversial, with Hong Kong natives calling it a Chinese effort to end the country’s “one country, two systems” framework granting it autonomy from Beijing.

Iran Oil Arrives in Venezuela Despite strong U.S. opposition, the first of five Iranian oil tankers arrived in Venezuela on Saturday. Accompanied by Venezuelan warships, the tanker “Fortune” steamed into the poverty-wracked socialist country, where it was met by Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami. The ship is expected to proceed to a large oil refinery in Puerto Cabello. “The ships of the sister Islamic Republic of Iran are in our exclusive economic zone,” tweeted El Aissami. The other four ships – Forest, Petunia, Faxon and Clavel – are expected to arrive within the next week and are carrying an estimated 1.5m barrels of fuel. Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro hailed Iran for supporting the South American nation, saying during a press conference that the oil delivery was evidence of a partnership between “two revolutionary peoples who will never kneel down before North American imperialism.” “Venezuela and Iran both want peace,” added Maduro. “We have the right to trade freely.” Iran has sent the oil in order to help alleviate Venezuela’s acute fuel shortage.

Despite sitting on the world’s largest energy reserves, years of underdevelopment, corruption, and crippling U.S. sanctions have left Caracas unable to sell its oil on the worldwide market. The tankers arrived despite strong U.S. opposition to the move. Vowing to enforce sanctions blocking Iran from exporting its oil to other countries, the Trump administration threatened to dispatch a flotilla of U.S. Navy ships to intercept the shipment but eventually backed down. Amidst American threats of using force to prevent Iran’s oil from reaching the South American country, Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López responded by deploying his country’s navy “to welcome them and to say to the people of Iran, thank you, thank you, for your solidarity.” The Trump administration is attempting to prevent the strong alliance between the Islamic Republic and Venezuela from expanding. Viewing the Maduro regime as illegitimate, Washington also fears that Iran could transport weapons and proxy fighters that could assist in propping up the socialist regime. “Venezuelans need free and fair presidential elections leading to democracy and economic recovery, not Maduro’s expensive deals with another pariah state,” said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.

The Week In News

MAY 27, 2020 | The Jewish Home

London LockdownGate U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing his most serious political crisis since his election victory last year. Politicians from all sides are demanding the resignation of his top aide over claims he breached lockdown rules. Johnson put his own authority on the line to back Dominic Cummings, his most powerful adviser, who is under attack for his decision to travel more than 250 miles to seek care for his 4-year-old child at a time when the official advice was to “stay home.” The premier said that while he understood the confusion and dismay over the episode, Cummings’s actions were “sensible and defensible.” Conservative Tim Loughton said Johnson’s defense of the aide was not good enough. He told BBC radio on Monday that he had been “swamped” by emails from constituents about Cummings. “What I wanted to hear was a proper justification of why what Dominic Cummings did was fine,” Loughton said. “I fear I didn’t get that and what’s more worrying is my constituents didn’t get that.” Sixteen Tory lawmakers have called publicly for Cummings to go. The leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, said Johnson’s decision was an insult to the sacrifices made by the British people since the country went into lockdown in late March. The controversy comes at a highly sensitive moment for Johnson, with Britons beginning to chafe after two months of restrictions in a country where fatalities from the virus have topped 36,000. That gives Britain the worst death toll in Europe and the highest in the world after the U.S. Recent polls also show support is waning for Johnson’s pandemic response. Speaking at the government’s daily press conference on Sunday, the prime minister faced a relentless barrage of questions from journalists over the adviser. The central charge against Cummings is one of hypocrisy – with one rule for the governing elite and another for the rest of the country. “As far as I can see, he stuck to the rules,” Johnson said. “When he had no alternative, I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent and I do not mark him down for that. I believe that in every respect he has acted responsibly and legally and with integrity, and with the overwhelming aim of stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives.”

Russia Asks for 18 Years for U.S. “Spy” On Monday, Russian prosecutors asked a court to sentence former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is on trial accused of spying for the United States, to 18 years in a maximum security prison.

Whelan, a U.S. national who also holds British, Canadian and Irish passports, has been in custody since he was detained in a Moscow hotel room in December 2018. He says he was set up in a sting and has pleaded not guilty to the charge. The court will announce its verdict on June 15. The trial, which began on March 23, has been closed to the public as its content broaches classified information. U.S. Ambassador in Moscow John Sullivan said the proceedings amounted to a “secret trial” and a “mockery of justice”. “There is no legitimacy to a procedure that is hidden behind closed doors. It is not

transparent, it is not fair, and it is not impartial,” he said.

The prosecution accuses Whelan of being at least a ranking U.S. military in-

telligence colonel and that he was caught red-handed trying to obtain secrets. The defense said Whelan had only believed he was receiving photographs of a trip that he and an acquaintance had been on, not classified material, and that he had been tricked. U.S. authorities have called the charges against Whelan spurious and have called on Russia to release him, describing the case as a “significant obstacle” to improving bilateral ties. Whelan, 50, has used his appearances at hearings to allege he has been ill-treated by prison guards and been denied medical attention. Russian authorities have accused



The Week In News

MAY 27, 2020 | The Jewish Home

him of faking health problems to draw attention to his case.

Auschwitz Renovation Uncovers Items

A number of objects that may have been used to plan escapes were discovered during renovation works at Auschwitz, said Austria’s National Fund for Victims of National Socialism last week. The items, found hidden under a chimney flue in block 17 of the main camp, included spoons, forks, knives, scissors, and parts of shoes. Block 17 had housed manual workers. The renovation and restoration had been commissioned in preparation for an exhibition scheduled to open in 2021. “These utensils, kept out of sight of the SS guards, were perhaps used by shoemakers, or to prepare an escape or simply to be able to eat,” said fund secretary general Hannah Lessing. The found objects are not expected to be displayed as part of the exhibition, and have instead been given to the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum for conservation. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the biggest of Europe’s death camps, and items scattered throughout the camp and its surrounding are periodically uncovered during works.

ing air traffic controllers that he had lost all engine power. “We are proceeding directly, we have lost engines,” said the pilot, before shouting, “Mayday, mayday, mayday.” While initially reports said that everyone on board perished, the Pakistani military said that two passengers managed to survive the fiery inferno. “97 bodies recovered. 2 passengers survived. 25 affected houses cleared, their residents accommodated at various places with the assistance of Civil Administration,” confirmed Pakistan Armed Forces spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar. Rescuers found the black box in Karachi on Sunday and hope that it will be possible to glean what went wrong from the findings. Pakistani safety investigators are reportedly ready to blame pilot error in their preliminary report but the probe is ongoing. According to PIA, the aircraft had been operational since 2014 and had passed all of its annual safety tests.

UK to Curtail Huawei Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the United Kingdom will phase out its use of Chinese-made equipment from his country’s 5G internet networks. According to British media outlets, Johnson will sign a directive mandating that cellular companies reduce Huawei’s involvement in their infrastructure to zero by 2023. Previously, the UK had set for itself as a goal to reduce the Chinese tech giant’s penetration by only 35%.

97 Killed in Pakistan Plane Crash At least 97 people were killed after a passenger jet plunged into the ground near Karachi. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-8303 had taken off from Lahore with 91 passengers and eight crew members on board. Slated to touch down a little after 2:30 p.m. in Karachi, the pilot issued an emergency mayday call and soon disappeared from radar screens. The aircraft then attempted to perform an emergency landing at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport before slamming directly into the ground. Video footage circulating on social media showed the smoking aircraft hitting the ground and then bouncing before being enveloped in a ball of fire.

In audio broadcasted by Pakistani television stations, the pilot can be heard tell-

Liu Xiaoming, Beijing’s ambassador to London, blasted the announcement and warned that steps against Huawei could lead to diplomatic fallout. “Regrettably a few politicians in the UK have been addicted to the Cold War mentality to compare China to the former Soviet Union and urge a review of the China-UK relationship, and even call for a new Cold War,” he said. “If they go unchecked, they will poison the China-UK joint effort, and even international solidarity just as it’s needed most.” The change comes amid concerns that the Chinese government will utilize Huawei for its worldwide spying effort and follows pressure from the Conservative Party and the Trump administration to take action. In March, dozens of Tory MKs signed a petition calling on Johnson to scrap Huawei’s domination of the country’s 5G sector. Johnson was expected to lose next week’s vote in the House of Commons on

The Week In News

MAY 27, 2020 | The Jewish Home

the matter. In April, a slew of senior Conservative MPs established a lobby titled the “China Research Group” in an attempt to force Johnson to outlaw Huawei’s activities. The Trump administration has also been putting heavy pressure on Johnson to phase out Huawei’s operations in the UK as part of its campaign against China’s battle for worldwide hegemony. In a contentious phone call between the two leaders in February, Trump reportedly hung up in anger after Johnson refused to commit to phasing out Huawei. Since taking office in 2017, Trump has pressed allies to refrain from cooperating with Huawei, arguing that the company enabled Chinese espionage agencies to build backdoors into network infrastructure. In early May, the U.S. unveiled new sanctions outlawing the use of American intellectual property in the production of Huawei equipment.

ed cases, this delusional trial. They aim to bring down a strong prime minister from the right and to keep the right away from power for many years.” With his face covered by a disposable mask, Netanyahu’s appeared expressionless as state prosecutors read out the lengthy 67-page indictment. When asked if he understood the charges, Netanyahu simply answered, “Yes.” Also attending the trial were Bezeq telecommunications owner Saul Elovitch, who is on trial for allegedly giving Netanyahu favorable press coverage for regulatory benefits, and Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes.

Throughout the trial, Netanyahu was surrounded by a collection of the Likud’s most senior ministers, including Amir Ohana, Israel Katz, Miri Regev, Yoav Gallant, Tzachi Hanegbi, and David Amsalem. Now, the court will take a two-month intermission in order to further review evidence before Netanyahu takes the witness stand. Netanyahu faces charges of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust in three separate criminal probes nicknamed Cases 1000, 2000, and 4000. Case 1000 revolves around lavish gifts of cigars and champagne he received from wealthy friends, while the other two investigations involve Netanyahu’s attempts to

push favorable legislation in exchange for glowing press coverage. The investigations started in 2016 and were closely watched throughout the past four years. With his trial beginning on Sunday, Netanyahu is the first-ever sitting prime minister in the country’s history to be tried on criminal charges.

Khameini Wants to Destroy Israel, Not Jews Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared in a Jerusalem court on Sunday to kick off his hotly-awaited trial on multiple corruption charges. Surrounded by Likud ministers and mobbed by supporters, the prime minister arrived at the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday morning, where he unleashed a harsh attack on police and prosecutors. Alleging that he was the victim of “a left-wing Deep State” that framed him with trumped-up charges as a way to remove him from office, Netanyahu announced that “the entire right-wing is on trial today.” “The people recognize…that this is an attempt at a political coup, against the will of the people,” said Netanyahu, repeating frequent claims that the probes were politically-motivated. “I want to reassure you all, with your help, and with G-d’s help, I’ll continue to fight; I won’t let them bring us down.” “For more than a decade the left has failed to do this at the ballot box,” Netanyahu added. “In recent years, they have found a new trick – police and prosecutors have joined the ‘Anyone but Bibi’ gang to drum up these delusional and fabricat-

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Khameini clarified that he does not desire the elimination of world Jewry. Rather than support mass genocide, the cleric tweeted that he seeks for the State of Israel to be destroyed without any harm occurring to the Jewish people. “Eliminating the Zionist regime doesn’t mean eliminating Jews. We aren’t against Jews,” Khameini tweeted. ”It means abolishing the imposed regime & Muslim, Christian & Jewish Palestinians choose their own govt & expel thugs like [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.” The cleric added that the Jewish State only understood force before he launched into a long anti-Israel diatribe. “The nature of the Zionist regime is incompatible with peace because the Zionists seek to expand their territories & will certainly not be limited to what they have already occupied,” he said. “Comprehensive struggles by the Palestinian nation – political, military & cultural – should continue till the usurpers submit to the referendum for the Palestinian nation,” added Khamenei. Khameini’s comments came after he uploaded a controversial cartoon on social media earlier in the day. The meme shows the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City with the Al Aqsa Mosque in the center, along with soldiers carrying Palestinians flags together with slain Iranian General Qassem

MAY 27, 2020 | The Jewish Home

Sulemieni. The words “Palestine Will Be Free” are slashed across the picture with “The Final Solution” printed in big block letters underneath. The use of the infamous Nazi slogan led to allegations that Khameini was calling for genocide and resulted in condemnations from all around the world. In a tweet on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the Islamic Republic for sharing the poster, accusing Tehran of “echoing Hitler’s call for genocide.” “This depravity should dispel any notion the regime belongs in the community of nations,” said Pompeo. “We stand with Germany and Israel against this oldest & most vile form of hatred, and say #NeverAgain.”

Abbas Ends Security Coordination

Israeli sources confirmed on Thursday evening that Palestinian Authority Presi-

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dent Mahmoud Abbas has cut all ties with Israel in protest over Israel’s plan to annex Judea and Samaria. According to sources, PA security officers refused to answer phone calls from their Israeli counterparts, while PA police departed areas they were responsible for in East Jerusalem. Cooperation with the Civil Administration, which coordinates civil matters for Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria, also came to an abrupt halt. In addition, the PA said that it would stop sharing intelligence with the CIA due to anger over U.S. support for annexation. While it is unclear to what extent the intelligence cooperation is, the CIA is thought to have close ties with the PA. CIA Director Gina Haspel had visited Ramallah earlier this year. “Israel’s annexation of any parts of the West Bank constitutes an existential threat to the Palestinian national project and an end to the two-state solution,” asserted PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyah. Shtayyeh added that Israel “breached international law and violated all the agreements signed with us” by advocating annexation and that “we will no longer abide by these agreements.” Last Tuesday, the PA chairman suddenly announced that the Palestinian Authority had decided to renounce all signed agreements with Israel and the U.S. – including the security agreements. In a speech in Ramallah, Abbas emphasized that “from this moment on, Israel must take responsibility as an occupying power over the Palestinian territories in accordance with international law.” However, his remarks were initially ridiculed by senior Israeli officials, who noted that Abbas had already vowed to end the PA’s coordination with Israel no less than six times over the past two years. Now, Israel’s defense establishment worries that Abbas’ move could result in spiraling violence in Judea and Samaria ahead of Israel’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley on July 1.

Will Yamina and Liberman Form an Alliance? The Religious Zionist Yamina party strongly denied reports that it was considering establishing a de-facto alliance with the anti-haredi Yisrael Beytenu. Reports surfaced on Thursday that the two parties would use their combined 12 seats to form a political bloc that would challenge Prime Minister Netanyahu from the opposition. The would-be bloc would also prevent the left wing Yesh Atid, Meretz, and Arab Joint List from turning the Knesset’s opposition into an extreme-left wing platform. Yamina fiercely denied the reports, however, saying in a strongly worded statement that it would never consider

joining forces with the fiercely anti-religious Yisrael Beytenu. “Yisrael Beytenu has become a symbol of hate towards Judaism, the religious and the haredim, and it is the reason Israel was dragged to three rounds of elections by preventing the creation of a right-wing government,” said Yamina. “We have no intention of supporting that in the opposition.” Yet despite Yamina’s denials, Yamina and Yisrael Beytenu members were spotted working together since the government was sworn in last week. Among other things, the two parties are said to be working to torpedo anti-Zionist bills proposed by the Joint List. In addition, Yisrael Beytenu and Yamina are working together to ensure that one of the Knesset committees afforded to the opposition will be headed by one of the two factions as opposed to the left-wing bloc. “MK [Ayelet] Shaked and I are working in full coordination to get a Knesset committee for both parties in accordance with the mandates ratio,” said Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer. “I am confident that cooperation continues when we vote on the law proposed by Yisrael Beytenu to apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, as I am sure that, as a religious party, Yamina will oppose the draft, the conversion law and the civil marriage law we intend to bring to a vote.”

Soldier On the Way to Recovery The condition of Druze IDF soldier Shadi Ibrahim continues to improve a week after losing his leg to a ramming attack. Ibrahim was mortally wounded after a Palestinian terrorist ran him over with his vehicle near Hebron earlier this month. Having lost a copious amount of blood, his leg was amputated and he was not expected to survive. However, Ibrahim has since made a startling recovery and was released from the intensive care unit at Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva last Saturday. “I left the emergency room. Everything’s fine, I’m alright,” Ibrahim said in a video he released on Facebook. Ibrahim thanked the thousands of Israelis, both Jewish and Druze, who had been praying for him ever since the attack. “I couldn’t answer but I send my greetings. I love you and trust you,” he said. A soldier in the Armored Corps, Ibrahim reportedly asked to return to his unit after waking up in the hospital. Hailing from a Druze family of IDF officers, Ibrahim begged to “return to the battlefield and perform my duties”. “I feel good. I want to return to my soldiers,” he said. “Nothing will break me.”

Book Review The Week In News

MAY 27, 2020 | The Jewish Home

Out of the Shadow by Rochelle Garfield

(JewishSelfPublishing 239 pages)

Reviewed by Devorah Talia Gordon Out of the Shadow, Rochelle Garfield’s first novel, explores a plethora of today’s hot topics in the world of mental health, including psychotherapy, anorexia, and bipolar disorder. As if that was not enough, Garfield’s book explores the nuanced relationships of therapist and client, sisters, husband and wife, and parents and children. We meet Lori, the protagonist, an author and world-renowned psychologist, as she enters treatment to confront her emotional and psychological issues. Lori grew up in the shadow of her sister Hannah, a genius, and comes to Dr. Wilson to help sort out her array of negative emotions, including her perception of being second-best. Lori is also brilliant, a recovered anorexic who founded an eating disorder clinic and designed a unique approach to the disease. While unraveling Lori’s life story, we are introduced to Allison, a client at the clinic who is on the verge of dying from anorexia. Some facets of Allison’s life

mirror Lori’s past, which triggers Lori to react in ways she later regrets. The narrative weaves its way between these two main storylines, although Allison’s serves mostly to shed light on Lori’s work as a therapist. This rich groundwork is carefully laid; Garfield digs slowly, but deeply, as she lets the reader into the psyche of Lori, Hannah, Allison, and minor characters as well. Bit by bit, the terrain becomes clear, as hidden secrets are revealed, relationships pushed apart and pulled together. While in therapy—the bulk of Lori’s story is conveyed through her sessions—Lori’s memories are told as a narrative, bringing the reader back to the moment the events took place, as though we’re hearing it being lived, not told. The reader will learn a great deal about the therapeutic process by watching Dr. Wilson work with Lori, which is especially eye-opening for a reader who has not been in therapy. The storyline is engaging, the conflicts real and intense; life itself is on the line in

several places. However, the subtler conflicts— how Lori sees herself in relation to her sister, how her sister sees Lori, and their delicate relationship dynamics— make the heart of the book. Most engaging is the sisters’ relationship, particularly the way Lori views her sister, herself, and the choices she makes with her own children considering her upbringing. The great attention to the inner workings of the women make the book real and show Garfield’s deep understanding of the mind and heart. I also liked that this book isn’t a book “about anorexia”—although the subject is treated gracefully—rather it’s a book about the intricacies of relationships and shows how anorexia (and other


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mental health issues) affect and are affected by relationships, and how people who suffer with it are highly capable and multi-faceted. While Allison’s present day, real struggle with anorexia is gripping, it could have been even more woven into the plot. I was curious for Garfield to show more of the relationship between Lori and Allison. Perhaps she left this for a sequel. Although by the end of the story the reader feels a sense of resolution, I appreciated Garfield’s hesitation to wrap everything up in the neatest bow. Rather, the story ends with a note of hope but also ambiguity, as life is about continually learning and growing.


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