May 20, 2024
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May 20, 2024
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Teaneck Council Pleads Leniency for HS Pranksters

The Township Council asked for leniency from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office on behalf of 63 Teaneck High School seniors who face burglary and criminal mischief charges.Parents and teachers applauded the council’s decision at a Tuesday night meeting. Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin said he would try to revive a civilian board to monitor the police department after receiving complaints about how the prank was handled. Residents say police overreacted. Council Member Elie Katz told JLBC, “There are a lot of unanswered questions, but by all accounts everyone agrees this was a prank. Teaneck residents should not be responsible to pay for any cleanup and the students should not have their lives ruined by having a criminal record. I have confidence in the Board of Education to handle the punishments appropriately. “

Pope Francis Headed to Israel

TIP–On May 24th Pope Francis will visit the Middle East on a three-day tour, proceeding from Jordan to the Palestinian territories and then to Israel.He will visit the Kotel and Yad Vashem. The trip has much to do with Christian/Catholic politics. He will meet with Bartholomew I, the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church. Conservative Orthodox Christians will be watching to see if the Patriarch, from their point of view, compromises on any theological principles that have divided the Christian West and the Christian East since 1054. The Pope will travel from Amman to Bethlehem, where he will celebrate Mass he and visit a Palestinian refugee camp, and doubtless reaffirm the Vatican’s support for a two-state solution in the region. He is also expected to lay a wreath on Herzl’s grave, to allay the rejection of Israel as a state by the Vatican in 1948.

Historian Jonathan Sarna in Critical Condition

Chief historian of the National Museum of Jewish History and Brandeis Professor Jonathan Sarna, the leading scholar of American Jewish history, suffered a cardiac arrest while attending his daughter’s graduation at Yale. He is listed in critical condition at a local medical center. CPR was immediately administered after his collapse, and it is hoped that he will recover. Sarna, 59, is a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, which he has won previously, for When General Grant Expelled the Jews. He is also a contributing editor to the Forward, and brings American Jewish history alive—as well as being an excellent analyst of current events. The family has requested that good wishes be mailed to their home in lieu of calls or emails.

Likud Protests Direct Settlement Freeze by PM

Al-Monitor reports that heads of local authorities who are Likud Party members are protesting PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s not approving construction plans in Judea-Samaria, despite the fact that negotiations with the Palestinians have reached a dead end. They claim that they discovered that plans authorized by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon were halted by the prime minister’s office under Netanyahu’s direct instruction. Thus, for example, while Ya’alon approved in recent days building plans in the settlement of Oranit near the Green Line, the authorization was frozen by order of Netanyahu.

Erdogan on Mental Edge?

TIP—A CNN report filed from Turkey described behavior by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) as part of “perhaps the strangest crisis management the world has ever seen,” as photos and video emerged of Erdogan and one of his top advisors beating mourner-protesters in the town of Soma, which this week suffered the worst mining accident in the country’s history. A photo has gone viral showing top Erdogan advisor Yusuf Yerkel kicking a protester who had been forced to the ground by two security officials, an act that Yerkel later justified by emphasizing, among other things, that the protester had insulted Erodgan. Later in the day video emerged showing Erodgan himself engaging in what Business Insider described as “baldly thuggish behavior,” with the Turkish leader punching a protester before the man was set upon by Erdogan’s body guards. He also abused a protestor with a slur against Israelis, but on Tuesday thanked Israel for cancelling a planned celebration last week as a gesture to the hundreds who died recently in an accident in a Turkish mine.

Peres Will Get U.S Congressional Gold Medal

The Friedlander Group, a Brooklyn based lobbying group, has announced that Congress has approved legislation that would award Israeli President Shimon Peres the Congressional Gold Medal. The voice vote on Monday came after the U.S. Senate passed similar legislation in March, also by acclamation. Peres, 90, will visit the United States toward the end of June and will meet with President Obama. Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) sponsored the House bill. Leading the lobbying for its passage was the Friedlander Group, a New York City-based lobbyist. Peres becomes one of nine people to win both the congressional and presidential medals, the highest U.S. civilian honors.


PA-Hamas Reconcilation Not Going to be Easy

The New York Times reports that the promised reconciliation has problems looming over its head. The war between the factions in 2007 left 260 Fatah activists and 176 from Hamas dead, and families are being pressed to accept compensation — and the “government” is being pressured to raise the funds, instead of following Islamic law and using the death penalty.

Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s central council said it is unclear what would become of the 40,000 employees of the Hamas government — and the 70,000 former Palestinian Authority workers in Gaza who for seven years have collected paychecks but sat idle. It is hard to imagine international donors continuing to pay two people for each job. And a plan for integrating the security forces in Gaza and the West Bank has yet to be made, while the fate of 41 Fatah members imprisoned in Gaza and 19 Hamas prisoners in the West Bank is also undecided.

Reports Assad is Still Using Chemical Weapons

TIP—Al Arabiya late Tuesday conveyed reports from Syrian opposition groups accusing the Bashar al-Assad regime of having launched a chemical weapons (CW) attack against rebel-heavy areas the day before, which the groups indicated had left more than 130 people in need of medical attention. Videos that have emerged from the attack on the central province of Hama showed among other things “a girl [who had] clasped her chest with both hands as she struggled to control her coughing” and “a young man [] lying down with locals and medical rushing to treat him.” Al Arabiya was careful to note that the authenticity of the videos could not be verified. The reports nonetheless come at a time when Western analysts have openly concluded – and Western diplomats have all but openly agreed—that the regime has made a strategic decision to deploy weapons proscribed by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in areas where it has had difficulty dislodging opposition groups. The White House has been criticized by conservative critics and others—and that criticism became more pitched at the end of last week—for failing to signal U.S. intentions should it be established that Assad has again deliberately deployed CWs, after Secretary of State John Kerry indicated that “raw intelligence” indicated that exactly that scenario was unfolding.

Israeli Startup Touts a Credit-Card-Hack Warning System

According to the Wall Street Journal, with credit-card fraud and financial-data theft rising alarmingly around the world, an Israeli fraud-watchdog startup says it can tell you when your credit card details have been stolen by hackers—pretty much in real time. BillGuard, which makes a monitoring app that surfaces erroneous or disputed merchant charges on consumers’ credit cards, is adding a hacker-breach notification system.


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