Jerusalem - Facebook has blocked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair for 24 hours after he wrote a post criticizing the social media platform as “thought police” and sharing previously banned content. Yair Netanyahu blasted the website on Sunday for removing an earlier post in which he called for “avenging the deaths” of two Israeli soldiers killed last week by Palestinian gunmen and calling for the expulsion of Palestinians. He shared a screenshot of the earlier post in violation of Facebook’s community rules. Facebook deleted a post by N...
Jerusalem - Israel stands a better chance to normalize ties with the Arab world without the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli diplomats on Sunday night. “What is happening at the moment is that we are in a process of normalization with the Arab world without progress in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said. He spoke with the ambassadors as Israeli-Palestinian ties continued to unravel in the wake of a renewed wave of violence in the West Bank. Netanyahu explained that a policy of making peace first with the Arab states and only then with the Palestinians, runs counter to the prevailing diplomatic belief that Israel-Arab ties could only occur after the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Today we are goin...
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Washington - The U.S. Senate will publish a report this week detailing the vast scope of Russia’s disinformation campaign surrounding the 2016 U.S. election campaign, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. The research, a draft of which was obtained by the newspaper, is the first to study the millions of social media posts provided by major technology firms Twitter Inc, Facebook Inc and Google, to the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to the Post. The research provides more detail on known efforts by the Russian government’s Internet Research Agency to bolster Republican Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign and sow discord among U.S. voters by posting on contentious issues such as gun violence and race, according to the Post. The bipartisan panel has not said ...
West Bank - The Israeli military has partially demolished the home of a Palestinian accused of killing two Israelis in a West Bank attack two months ago. The house itself, located in a West Bank village, was left intact while a part of its interior was destroyed by bulldozers. Protesters arrived as the military carried out its work on Monday and clashes between the sides erupted shortly after the demolition. The military says it was carrying out “operational activity.” Ashraf Naalweh is accused of killing two Israelis at a West Bank industrial zone in October. Israeli troops killed Naalweh in an arrest raid last week after a two-month manhunt. Deadly Israeli-Palestinian violence spiked last week in the West Bank. In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the ...
Jerusalem - For the first time since the beginning of Operation Northern Shield, Israel allowed a foreign news source to take a look at one of the tunnels discovered crossing from Lebanon into Israel. The CNN footage shows reporter Ian Lee dropping a small camera several meters into the ground, passing limestone walls before exposing a sophisticated tunnel, complete with ventilation and lights. “It’s large enough for an NBA player to stand in,” the reporter ascertains. The hole drilled by the IDF is only meters away from the Lebanese border to avoid any doubt where the tunnel originates. Israel launched Operation Northern Shield on December 4, aimed at discovering and destroying cross-border tunnels that the terrorist organization Hezbollah dug from Lebanon into Israel...
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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a Dec. 6 speech that U.S. President Donald Trump wanted to cut funding to countries that voted against a United Nations that condemned Hamas as a terror group. The resolution received 87 votes in favor, 57 against and 33 abstentions on Dec. 6, falling short of the two-thirds threshold needed for it to pass. According to The Times of Israel, Haley said at the Israel U.N. mission’s Chanukah menorah-lighting that Trump called her after the vote and said, “Who do we need to get upset at? Who do you want me to yell at? Who do we take their money away?” “I’m not gonna tell you what I told him,” Haley added. Haley praised the 87 countries that voted for the resolution as a sign of “a new day at...
The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice ‎Committee on Wednesday voted in favor of imposing a ‎life sentence on men convicted of murdering their ‎wives.‎ The decision was made during a discussion on an ‎amendment to the Israeli penal code, stating that the ‎murder of a woman by her spouse would be considered ‎a crime to which aggravating circumstance apply and ‎which carries an automatic life sentence. ‎ The amendment is slated to be presented for a ‎Knesset vote in the next few days.‎ The session was called against the backdrop of ‎growing protests by women over authorities’ ‎incompetence in dealing with domestic-violence ‎cases.‎ Twenty-five women have been murdered by their ‎spouses or relatives so far in...
The home of Islam Abu Hamid, who killed Staff Sergeant Ronen Lubarsky by dropping a marble slab on his head in the al-Ama’ari neighborhood near Ramallah in May, was destroyed by IDF troops on Thursday night. The IDF initially prepared to destroy just the third and fourth stories of the building, but the lower two floors ended up collapsing due to the explosion. The move was made in compliance with standard Israeli policy regarding the homes of terrorists who commit murder, in an effort to deter future terrorists from committing acts of violence. However, Hamid’s mother said the demolition would not deter her and called her house “a sacrifice for the Palestinian people,” saying she would rebuild it and continue to support terror activities. “As long as there...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Vayigash - That's Just Grand

5 Teves, was the yahrtzeit  of my wife's grandfather, Rabbi Dr Israel Frankel, a"h. This week's shtikle, a most appropriate one, is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Yisroel Aryeh ben Asher Yeshayahu.


When Yaakov reaches Be'er Sheva on his way down to Mitzrayim (46:1), he bring sacrifices to "the God of his father, Yitzchak." Of course, This was the God of his grandfather, Avraham, as well. However, Avraham's name is not mentioned. Rashi writes that the reason is because one is obligated more so to respect his father than to respect his grandfather. The very simple and obvious inference to be made from this Rashi is that there is, in fact, some halachic obligation of respect owed to one's grandfather, albeit less so than for one's father. Rama in Yoreh De'ah 240:24 writes that there is an obligation to respect one's grandfather. His source is this Rashi.


However, this issue is the subject of much discussion amongst the posekim. Mahari"k (Shoresh 30) declares that a grandfather is just like anyone on the street, so to speak. That is, there is no specific obligation of respect. There seems to be no official source given by the Mahari"k. One source that is suggested as the basis for Mahari"k's position is the gemara (Sotah 49a.) The gemara relates that R' Yaakov grew up in the house of R' Acha bar Yaakov, his maternal grandfather. When asked to bring him water, R' Yaakov declared, "I am not your son." As the saying goes, "Raise me but I am still not your son for I am but your daughter's son." (End of quote) This suggests that there is no obligation to honour one's grandfather.


However, the GR"A and others explain that there is a difference between paternal and maternal grandparents. The GR"A, Gilyon Maharsh"a and Mahari"l explain that the source is a gemara in Makkos (12a). The gemara discusses various laws pertaining to the go'eil hadam, the avenger. In certain specific instances, certain relatives of a murder victim are permitted to avenge their relative's death. A brother is usually included in this group. However, if a father kills his own son, under these conditions, the brother of the victim is not permitted to kill his father. Nevertheless, the gemara does conclude that the son of the victim (grandson of the killer) is not bound by this prohibition. This seems to imply that there isn't any obligation to honour one's grandfather. Rashi's language there is even more unequivocal, stating that one is not warned by the Torah to respect his grandfather.


In addition to buttressing the position of Mahari"k, the statement of Rashi in Makkos also seems to be in contradiction with the statement made in our parsha. R' Akiva Eiger (Teshuvos 68) and others answer that when one's father is not alive, there is no obligation to honour the grandfather. Therefore, in the case of the gemara where it is the father that has been killed, the obligation to honour the grandfather does not apply. However, in our case, Yitzchak was not alive either. Perhaps one can explain as follows: There are certain acts of respect and honour that can be performed when a parent is alive (e.g. bringing them a cup of water.) But when a parent has passed, obviously some of these acts are no longer possible but there remains a subset of honour that is still possible after death, such as the way one addresses the parent by name. R' Akiva Eiger is addressing the former. The obligation to refrain from avenging a relative's death is clearly one that pertains to the living. In the case where the father is no longer alive, it doesn't apply to the grandfather. In our parsha we are dealing with a show of honour after passing. There would still be an obligation to show such honour to a grandparent, regardless, albeit less so than to a parent.

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Following months of having to focus on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its subsequent fallout, the White House is now ready to move its attention in the Middle East back to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “We’re focused now on the broader region, which is figuring out how to hopefully bring a [peace] deal together between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” ‎Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, his father-in-law, told Fox News on Monday. Kushner also said the administration was hopeful that its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan would be released “in the next couple of months,” but cautioned that “not every side is going to love” the proposed agreement. “There’s enough in it and enough ...
Britain’s Guardian news site sparked on Israeli social media on Thursday with the biased headline and sub-head it used on a story about the lethal terrorist shooting near the Givat Asaf outpost, which killed two IDF soldiers and wounded two civilians, one of whom was still in critical condition on Friday morning. The headline about the shooting read, “Two Israelis and two Palestinians killed in West Bank violence,” wording that fails to mention that the Israelis were intentionally targeted by Palestinian gunmen. The subhead took the bias a step further: “Man shoots two Israelis dead at bus stop hours after Israeli forces kill two Palestinians,” neglecting to mention that in both cases the Palestinians were guilty of terrorist acts. Foreign media outlets fre...
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A bipartisan delegation of incoming members of Congress returned to the United States on Friday following a five-day visit to Israel. Reps.-elect Denver Riggleman, R-Va., Elaine Luria, D-Va., David Trone, D-Md., Tim Burchett, R-Tenn. and Susie Lee, D-Nev., came on a trip organized by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s American Israel Education Fund to learn about the U.S.-Israel relationship. The incoming Congressmen met with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and Saeb Erekat, the lead negotiator of the Palestinian Authority. I had a great visit with @USAmbIsrael. We were supposed to have a very brief meeting and he took an incredible amount of time with us. pic.twitter.com/qcLAZjZ9M0 — Tim Burchett (@timburchett) De...
The website went live last Monday, taking aim at so-called “problem Germans.” “Wanted: Where do these idiots work?” asked the prompt. It directed visitors to images of some of the 7,000 people that the website’s sponsor, the German art collective called the Center for Political Beauty, or “ZPS” in German, said took part in a right-wing mob that seized the streets of Chemnitz this summer. The Web page asked members of the public to identify neo-Nazis at the protests, which turned the former industrial hub of prewar eastern Germany into a cauldron of xenophobic anger in the heart of Saxony, where the nationalist, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany, or AfD, won more than a quarter of votes in 2017, making it the strongest party in the state on G...
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During a conference held in Gaza on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a Palestinian girl recited a poem that referred to the Jews as wild apes, miserable pigs and evil creatures destined for humiliation. She said that they are like herds of stupid cattle, and that Jerusalem “spits out [their] filth” because it is a pure virgin. She also said: “I do not fear the rifle … As long as I have my arm and my stones … I will not sell out the Palestinian cause.” The conference was held on Nov. 29 and aired on Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar). Nov. 29 was declared by the U.N. General Assembly as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Palestinian Girl: “I do not fear the rifle. Your multitudes constitute an i...
In a Dec. 9 article on Al-Arabiya titled “Details of calls to attack Trump by U.S. ‘Muslim Sisters’ allied to [Muslim] Brotherhood,” by Hudah Al-Saleh, criticized Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, “with roots in Muslim Brotherhood and a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations known as CAIR,” and reviewed her activity over the years. MEMRI has released two clips of Ms. Sarsour; in one, dated June 30, 2017, she says that ISIS is the product of a politicized foreign policy of war on our people, and in the other, dated September 8, 2018, she calls for voting against Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the upcoming midterm elections, questions the faith of Muslims who defend the police, and says she doesn’t care “what [any] young bla...
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Delaware - As he considers running for president, Joe Biden is talking with friends and longtime supporters about whether, at 76, he’s too old to seek the White House, according to several sources who have spoken with the former Democratic vice president. The discussions suggest Biden is aware that his age may be the biggest hurdle to launching another bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, especially in an era when many in the party yearn for a new generation of leadership. He would be the oldest person to ever be elected president. Past and current advisers to Biden have held frequent conversations about options to alleviate concerns about age, including teaming him with a younger running mate. One option that has been floated, according to a source with knowledge of the...
Washington - Investigations now entangle Donald Trump’s White House, campaign, transition, inauguration, charity and business. For Trump, the political, the personal and the deeply personal are all under examination. Less than two years into Trump’s presidency, his business associates, political advisers and family members are being probed, along with the practices of his late father. On Friday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke became the fourth Cabinet member to leave under an ethical cloud, having sparked 17 investigations into his actions on the job, by one watchdog’s count. All of this with the first special counsel investigation against a president in 20 years hanging over Trump’s head, spinning out charges and strong-arming guilty pleas from underlings while ke...
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Jerusalem -  Israel is struggling to recruit enough workers to its technology sector, a report showed on Sunday, creating a challenge for an industry seen as the country’s main potential driver of economic growth over the next decade. Start-Up Nation Central, which published the report with the Israel Innovation Authority, said that while the number of high-tech workers in Israel had grown over the past five years, their percentage of the labor force remained unchanged. “It is becoming increasingly clear that the required growth will not be possible if the country’s supply of tech workers is inadequate,” said Eugene Kandel, head of Start-Up Nation Central “Tech companies are struggling to find tech professionals, with many already finding (them) overse...
London -  Recent sharp selloffs across global financial markets are probably the first of many, as investors adjust to a world of tighter monetary conditions and the threat of economic downturn, the Bank of International Settlements said on Sunday. The year has been a tough one, with big drops in European and Asian stocks and even U.S. equities recently slipping into the red for 2018 after a decade-long bull-run. The last quarter saw increasing fears for world and U.S. economic growth as trade war noise escalated and central banks tightened policy or prepared to withdraw extraordinary crisis-era stimulus. The “market tensions we saw during this quarter were not an isolated event,” Claudio Borio, head of the monetary and economic department at the BIS said. Monetary &ldq...
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