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Yeshiva World News

PHOTOS: What Was Served At The Dinner Hosted By PM Netanyahu And His Wife For President Trump And The First Lady?

(PHOTOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE) While President Trump’s visit to Jerusalem was a short one, it was quite packed with appearances, including the unprecedented visit to the Kosel, becoming the first president to visit the Kosel while serving in office. The food prepared for the state leaders at the officer dinner was prepared by Chef Segev Moshe. The menu as follows: Taste of America Hamburger, fries, rice and Kyle chips aside ketchup, beets and mustard aioli The path to peace Caramelized salmon fillet in refined miso, well grilled, served with beets and sprouts Lifting the world Beef fillet in barbeque sauce, foie gras with red curry, served aside creamed potatoes, grilled spinach and herbs Or Fillet sea fish with green asparagus, served with corn soup, red chili, mirin and coconut The great potato Hot chocolate cake with a crunch, coconut and gold, Israeli ‘malabi’ with wild berries and crispy coconut and colored meringue – coffee, chocolate and halva pralines – purple crunchy apple pie and cinnamon Wines Castel Grande Vine 2013 Castel Blanc 2015 Chev Segev Moshe 26 Iyar 5777 (YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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Clashes Between US Troops, al-Qaida Terrorists In Yemen

U.S. helicopters airlifted soldiers to a central Yemeni province where they targeted an al-Qaida compound, clashing with suspected militants and killing at least seven of them early on Tuesday, according to the American military, Yemeni security officials, and tribal leaders. The Central Command said the U.S. forces killed the militants using “a combination of small arms fire and precision airstrikes” to attack the compound. The Defense Department said the operation was conducted with the support of Yemen’s government. According to Yemeni officials, the raid took place in the al-Sirim area in the province of Marib in the early morning hours. Tribal members said explosions were heard in al-Sirim, followed by helicopters and gunfire. The helicopters landed in the outskirts of the town of Jouba near al-Sirim, which is known as one of al-Qaida’s hideouts and which has been targeted by a series of airstrikes in the past month that reportedly killed six al-Qaida militants. According to the officials, there was also bombing in nearby Bayda province. The officials and the tribesmen spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to talk to reporters. They also did not have any specifics on casualties. The Marib raid is the second publicly-known U.S. ground deployment in Yemen this year against al-Qaida militants. The United States has stepped up airstrikes as part of a sustained assault on al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in areas of Yemen where it is most active, after a late January special operations raid that resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL. Washington considers AQAP as one of the most dangerous branches of the terror network. The January raid also killed 25 civilians, including women and children, and sparked outrage in Yemen. The US military said 14 militants from al-Qaida were killed in the assault and that U.S. service members captured “information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots.” Over 75 U.S. airstrikes carried out since the beginning of the year have reflected an almost double increase in the yearly totals since the drone program against al-Qaida in Yemen began in 2009, according to analysts. But al-Qaida has used the chaos of Yemen’s civil war following the 2015 launch of the Saudi-led campaign targeting the Shiite Houthi rebels who seized the capital, Sanaa, and other areas in the country, to expand its footprint and recruitment efforts. The militant group has also effectively emerged as a de facto ally of the U.S.-backed Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and his backers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the battle against the Shiite rebels. The United States also supports the oil-rich Saudi Arabia with military advisers, logistics and intelligence, in addition to billions of dollars in arms. (AP)

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Dov Hikind: Why I will Attend The Sarsour Rally

Linda Sarsour and the Deafening Silence It’s said that politics makes strange bedfellows. Or as author Harlan Ellison phrased it, everyone’s entitled to their own door to hell, as long as they don’t slam my foot in it. These maxims come to mind as my phone rings and someone questions me about attending the Linda Sarsour Protest at CUNY on May 25th. Organized by activist Pam Geller, this protest is the only one addressing the travesty of CUNY pretending that Sarsour’s scheduled commencement speech at their Graduate School of Public Health on June 1has anything to do with free speech. Or that anything in Sarsour’s doctrine is even vaguely in concert with public health and health policy. It’s as absurd as the notion of Mengele lecturing on medical ethics to students of homoeopathy. The problem, as I see it, isn’t that Sasour’s cunning has bought her some Jewish friends whose goal is to make her seem kosher; far-left Jewish liberals who see only Sarsour’s eagerness to raise money for American Jewish cemeteries and are willing to look beyond her Tweets, which celebrate filling Israeli cemeteries with new bodies. The problem isn’t short-sighted feminists who accept Sarsour as their new spokesmodel despite her advocacy of Sharia law, which would strip these feminists—and all women—of rights even females on the Mayflower possessed. The problem isn’t politicians who allow Sarsour to fundraise for their re-election campaigns and then excuse her fetish for murderers as “just her opinion.” No, the problem is the complacency of the right and intelligent middle. The problem is the hush that’s fallen over those who know better but turn a blind eye as this advocate of terrorism is tacitly legitimized by CUNY. The problem is the deafening silence. Pam Geller is not being silent. And the speakers who will address the crowd in front of CUNY on May 25th won’t be silent. While everyone else who understands the danger that Sarsour poses seems content with hand wringing and forelock tugging and issuing notes of tepid criticism, there are a few good people willing to actually stand up. I look around as Sarsour, this blood-thirsty wolf in a liberal sheep’s clothing, is given a pass by those who “disagree with what she says but feel she has the right to say it.” And I can either shake my head with disgust and disbelief or stand up with these other speakers. I may not agree with everyone who speaks before or after me. I may take issue with some of their beliefs. But their beliefs don’t call for my death by stoning or the other “progressive” tactics of Linda Sarsour’s beloved Intifada. If a pair of silly female rabbis can forgive Sarsour’s romantic view of terrorism and excuse her Tweeted fantasies of “taking Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s vagina away” as “a little mean,” I can surely stand with Milo Yiannopoulos and everyone else from the LGBT community and other walks of life who understand that Sarsour’s political agenda, if successful, would place all of our collective heads in the basket of Jihad. My personal public health and policy requires that I keep my head. Dov Hikind (YWN Headquarters – NYC)

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WATCH: Full Speech: Present Trump Hopeful And Peaceful Final Speech In Israel

US President Trump wrapped up his day and a half visit to Israel with the attached address. During his brief visit, he met with leaders of Israel and the PA (Palestinian Authority). Mr. Trump appeared genuine in his commitment to Israel, bringing an air of relief over his predecessor, Barak Obama, whose administration maintained strained relations with PM Binyamin Netanyahu. (YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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Uncertainty Grows As Trump Delays A Health Care Decision

Uncertainty over the future of health care is growing deeper for millions of Americans who buy their own policies. While insurers released a blueprint Monday for stabilizing wobbly markets, the Trump administration is leaving in limbo billions of dollars in federal subsidy payments. The administration and House Republicans have asked a federal appeals court for a 90-day extension in a case that involves federal payments to reduce deductibles and copayments for people with modest incomes who buy their own policies. The fate of $7 billion in “cost-sharing subsidies” remains under a cloud as insurers finalize their premium requests for next year. Experts say premiums could jump about 20 percent without the funding. In requesting the extension, lawyers for the Trump administration and the House said the parties are continuing to work on measures, “including potential legislative action,” to resolve the issue. Requests for extensions are usually granted routinely. But Democrats are accusing the Trump administration of a cynical ploy. Hours before the filing, a major insurer group released a framework for market stability that relies in part on a continuation of subsidies. The BlueCross BlueShield Association represents plans that are the backbone of insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, and would also be the mainstay with a Republican approach. As the GOP-led Congress works on rolling back major parts of the Obama law, the BlueCross BlueShield plan called for: —Continued protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and sustained federal funding to offset the cost of care for the sickest patients. —More leeway for states to experiment with health insurance benefits, with a basic floor of federal standards. —Preserving ACA consumer safeguards including no lifetime caps on benefits, no higher premium for women based on gender, and a requirement that insurers spend a minimum of 80 cents of every premium dollar on medical care. —Penalties such as waiting periods for people who fail to maintain their coverage. Republicans want to repeal the Obama-era tax penalties on uninsured people deemed able to afford coverage. —Significant federal funding to subsidize premiums and out-of-pocket costs. “There needs to be sustained federal funding,” said Justine Handelman, policy chief for the insurer group. “It’s critical to ensuring overall affordability.” About 20 million Americans purchase individual health insurance policies, with more than half using the ACA’s markets, which offer income-based subsidies for premiums and out-of-pocket costs. The Trump administration has sent mixed signals, and the White House is now saying it needs more time to decide on the cost-sharing money. Amid continuing uncertainty, another round of sharp premium increases and insurer exits seems possible. The cost-sharing money is embroiled in a lawsuit originally filed by House Republicans. Democrats say it’s deliberate interference. “In merely delaying their suit, Republicans cynically continue to sow uncertainty in the health coverage of millions of Americans,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said in a statement. “At a critical period when insurers are deciding premiums for next year, Republicans are pouring uncertainty into the health insurance marketplaces.” The case is on appeal after a lower court ruled that the government lacks constitutional authority to make the payments because Congress failed to specifically approve them in the Obama-era health overhaul legislation. Democrats argue that is based on a faulty reading of the law. They also say House Republicans […]

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Agudath Israel Hails NYS Release Of Tripled And Expanded Safety Equipment Funding

The New York State Education Department has released $15 million to yeshivos and other nonpublic schools for the Safety Equipment Grant Program. Agudath Israel, with other groups, advocated for this increase for years, and is gratified that the amount allocated more than tripled the $4.5 million reimbursed by the state in previous years. And it was more than a raw numerical increase. Agudath Israel recognized that, in reality, there are many safety and security concerns our children face at school that reinforced glass and bollards do not address. Agudath Israel therefore scrutinized the allowable items list and successfully advocated for the inclusion of health-related items like asbestos testing, lead testing, carbon monoxide detectors and costly automatic external defibrillators. New security items like security guards, school safety and security assessments and trainings are also now included. Finally, a new category of fire safety equipment such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are now included as well. In summary, yeshivas will now have access to significantly more state funding for safety and security as well as expanded opportunities to spend those funds in ways that meaningfully address the real-life concerns each school may have. Agudath Israel thanks Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for shepherding this critical, marked expansion of the Safety Equipment Grant Program for nonpublic schools. “The safety and security of a yeshiva’s students and staff are of paramount concern to principals, executive directors and parents alike,” said Mrs. Deborah Zachai, director of education affairs for Agudath Israel of America. “We place our trust in Hashem and Hashem alone, but these additional funds and newly allowable items are part of our necessary hishtadlus to ensure the health and safety of our children where they spend the majority of their day.” (YWN Headquarters – NYC)

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Manchester Terror Attack Suspect Identified As Salman Abedi

British authorities on Tuesday identified the suicide bomber who launched a deadly attack at a Manchester Ariana Grande concert, hours after ISIS claimed responsibility for the blast. Salman Abedi, 23, was identified as the suspect who detonated an improvised explosive device at about 10:30 p.m. local time Monday, killing more than 20 people, some of them children, and injuring dozens more. At least 12 children under the age of 16 were injured, emergency responders said. An 8-year-old girl was among the dead. ISIS claimed on Tuesday that “a soldier of the caliphate planted bombs in the middle of Crusaders gatherings” then detonated them, but Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said that the U.S. has not yet verified that the terror group was responsible. (AP)

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Trump Changes Header On Twitter Feeds To Kosel & Ben Gurion Airport

President Donald Trump’s trip to Israel is making an impression on his popular Twitter feeds. A photograph of Trump’s visit to the Kosel in Jerusalem is now the background image on his @realDonaldTrump account with more than 30 million followers. His official @POTUS account features Trump at the airport with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli leaders after his arrival in Tel Aviv. That account has nearly 18 million followers. Before departing for Italy, Trump’s official Twitter site retweeted tweets by Netanyahu featuring photos of their dinner Monday night and a visit Tuesday to Yad Vashem, Israel national Holocaust memorial. (AP)

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Trump Departs Israel. Next Stop: Rome [VIDEO]

President Donald Trump has wrapped up a two-day visit to Israel. Rome is the next destination on the president’s four-nation, five-stop tour of the Middle East and Europe. While in Israel, Trump met with the country’s president and prime minister, and he traveled to the West Bank for talks with the Palestinian Authority’s president. Trump spoke about signs he’s sees that both sides are serious about wanting peace between their peoples. Trump prayed at the Kosel, visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and at Yad Vashem where he paid respects to the 6 million Jews who were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators. Trump also visited the Israel Museum. Trump meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday. (AP)

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Melania Trump and the Ramah in Even HaEzer

By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Five Towns Jewish Times It is now described as “the slap seen ‘round the world,” where Melania Trump slapped the president’s hand away when her husband reached for hers as they arrived in Israel. It happened as the couple disembarked from Air Force One in Tel Aviv and strode over to meet waiting dignitaries. One theory behind the rebuff was that the president had felt bad at rushing the First Lady while she was putting on makeup on Airforce One. They were late and needed to get out on the tarmac. The president tried to make it up to her by reaching out to her hand, but she was in no mood for reconciliation. Perhaps there is another theory. Melania could well have been reading up on the proper protocol in how to conduct oneself in the Holy Land. It is the land of the Jewish people, and the Jewish people follow Shulchan Aruch. The Ramah in Even HaEzer (Siman 21:5) cites the halachic opinion that forbids public displays of affection between a man and his wife. The source for it, according to the Vilna Gaon, is the Talmudic passage in Bava Basra 58a – where Rav B’na’ah asked Eliezer what Avrohom Avinu and Sara were doing, and he refrained from entering when he heard that Sara was examining Avrohom Avinu’s hair. Hand-holding, according to many communities, is deemed a public display of affection that is inappropriate. The example used in the Ramah is that of head-lice checking. Apparently, searching the husband’s scalp for lice or nits is considered too public a display of affection in public and should rather be done privately. The RaN extends the Gemorah’s example to other types of public affection as well. Perhaps the First Lady felt that while in the Holy Land, it would be wise to observe the higher level of conduct that is referenced in the words of the Ramah. Why would she consider hand-holding a public display of affection? Perhaps it is only the search for lice that is forbidden – because there the husband could be resting his head on the wife. The Beis Shmuel, however, refutes this idea. He writes (EH 21:12) that it would be forbidden in all situations – even if he is merely sitting and his head is not resting anywhere. Indeed, he proves this from a responsum of the Rashba (#1188). THE LENIENT VIEW What then was President Trump thinking? We must realize that although the Rashba forbids lice checking even when the husband’s head is not resting anywhere, the Drisha does not agree with this Rashba. The Drisha holds that it is only when his head is leaning on her that it is forbidden – but the lice checking in and of itself is permitted. Even still, however, the Drisha’s view would not back up the view that hand-holding in public would be permitted. Perhaps he was taking an extremely lenient position that would hold that hand holding is not a public display of affection. Indeed, there are some who actually advocate this position (see Bnei Banim Vol. I p. 118) – although virtually all mainstream Poskim disagree with this view. Why do people do it? According to a New York Times article by Margot Slade, the couples […]

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VIDEOS: President Trump To Chairman Abbas: Peace Cannot Be Achieved While Violence Is Rewarded

(VIDEOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE) President Donald Trump on Tuesday, 27 Iyar, met with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as planned, in PA-occupied Bet Lechem. However, unlike his predecessors, President Trump appears to have decided to tell it like it says, telling the PA leader that there cannot be peace for as long as the PA continues to support and glorify terrorism. Mr. Trump said, “peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded.” Abu Mazen reportedly explained his commitment to achieving peace. President Trump, in their joint press conference, explained he will do whatever he can to assist the sides in reaching a peace agreement. Perhaps it is too early to predict but it appears that the PA is already aware that this US president will not follow the lead of predecessors and continue pressing Israel for unilateral concessions while the PA continues glorifying and supporting terrorism and the families of terrorists. It is also noteworthy to mention Mr. Trump chose not to mention the so-called two-state-solution that former presidents embraced. President Donald trump Speaks Regarding the Manchester Arena Attack in the UK at an Ariana Grande Concert saying “You are LOSERS..Cowards and LOSERS” while at the joint Address with Palestinian President Abbas. (YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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Former CIA Head To Answer Questions About Russian Meddling

Former CIA Director John Brennan is set to testify publicly about the intelligence underpinning the Obama administration’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and could shed light on concerns about the security risk posed by President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Brennan’s testimony before the House intelligence committee on Tuesday comes one day after Flynn invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination in response to a subpoena from the Senate intelligence committee. The panel had sought a wide range of information and documents about his and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians dating back to June 2015. Both the Senate and the House intelligence committees are investigating Flynn and other Trump campaign associates as part of probes into Russia’s election meddling. The FBI is also conducting a counterintelligence investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign. As Brennan answers House lawmakers’ questions in open and closed sessions, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hear from Trump’s top intelligence official, Dan Coats, and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency regarding national security threats. Trump’s national security leadership has said repeatedly that Russia is among the top threats because of its cyber capabilities. The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump asked Coats and the head of the National Security Agency to publicly deny that there had been collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. The dual testimonies and new allegations that Flynn appeared to lie to federal security clearance investigators continue to keep Russia in the headlines, even as Trump tried to distance himself from the Russia investigation with his first international trip as president. The Post, citing current and former officials, said Coats and NSA Director Mike Rogers refused Trump’s request. Trump fired FBI Director James Comey earlier this month, prompting reports that the president tried to steer Comey away from Flynn and the Russia investigation. The former acting attorney general, Sally Yates, previously told Congress that the Justice Department was concerned that Flynn was compromised by the Russians and could be vulnerable to blackmail as Trump’s national security adviser because of misleading statements he made to the vice president about his communications with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Trump in February fired Flynn over the misleading statements, but he has since defended Flynn and his integrity. On Monday, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House oversight committee, cited inconsistencies in Flynn’s disclosures to U.S. investigators during his security clearance review in early 2016. Cummings said in a new letter that Flynn appeared to lie about the source of a $33,000 payment from Russia’s state-sponsored television network, failed to identify foreign officials with whom he met — including Russia’s President Vladimir Putin — and glossed over his firing as chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration. Cummings asked the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, to subpoena the White House for documents related to Flynn. Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, declined to comment on the new assertions by Cummings. (AP)

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Historic Tefilas HaShla Gathering At Home Of Rav Shteinman

This week, Israel’s most esteemed Torah scholars will gather at the home of Gadol HaDor Rav Aryeh Leib Shteinman for an important cause: The future of klal yisroel’s children. For nearly 400 years, Jews around the world have recited the Tefilas HaShla, a special & powerful prayer for the protection of children. The Shla himself recommended it be recited on Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, also knows as Yom Kippur Katan. With Yom Kippur Katan approaching, many esteemed Torah leaders have pledged to use their precious time to say Tefilas Hashla for a specific list of people. Those on the list will be contributors to a Kupat Ha’Ir campaign which will help to support many of the dangerously poor men, women & children living in Israel. Selected donors will also receive a phone call from one of the rabbanim present, enabling them to listen to this historic prayer gathering live. The event is momentous in its combination of several powerful factors: The famous segulah of the prayer of the Shla, its impact on our nation’s next generation, the prayers of Israel’s spiritual leaders, and those impoverished families who rely on Kupat Ha’Ir for their next meal. Those hoping to add their childrens’ names to the list can do so HERE for the next 48 hours only. The full campaign is available HERE.

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Trump Calls Terrorists ‘Evil Losers’ In Condemning Manchester Attack

President Donald Trump on Tuesday condemned a deadly attack at a pop concert in Manchester, England as the act of “evil losers” and called on nations to band together to fight terrorism. “The terrorists and extremists, and those who give them aid and comfort, must be driven out from our society forever,” said Trump, speaking after a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “This wicked ideology must be obliterated, and I mean completely obliterated and innocent life must be protected.” Trump spoke from Bethlehem in the West Bank, the morning after a blast that killed more than 20 people at an Ariana Grande concert. British officials have said they are treating the blast as an act of terrorism. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Trump stressed his support for the United Kingdom and mourned the loss of “beautiful young people.” Relying on one of his preferred insults, Trump said he would call the perpetrators “losers, because that’s what they are.” The president has used the stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West Bank to call for the end of such violence. In a speech in Riyadh on Sunday, he urged Muslim leaders to eradicate what he called “Islamic extremism” and cast the effort as a “battle between good and evil.” On Tuesday, he added: “All civilized nations must join together to protect human life and the sacred right of our citizens to live in safety and in peace.” Trump also expressed optimism that he can help facilitate peace between Israel and Palestinians. He said he was “truly hopeful that America can help Israel and the Palestinians forge peace and bringing new hope the region and its people.” Trump heads next to Europe, where planned meetings with world leaders on the economy and trade could be overtaken with discussion of terrorism and security. (AP)

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Trump Administration Sending Congress $4.1 Trillion Budget

President Donald Trump is sending Congress a $4.1 trillion spending plan that relies on faster economic growth and steep cuts to programs supporting low-income individuals to balance the government’s books over the next decade. The proposed budget, for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, was being delivered to Congress Tuesday, setting off an extended debate in which Democrats are already attacking the administration for trying to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. Lawmakers from both parties have said major changes will be needed as the measure moves through Congress. The proposal projects that this year’s deficit will rise to $603 billion, up from the actual deficit of $585 billion last year, But the document says if Trump’s initiatives are adopted the deficit will start declining and actually reach a small surplus of $16 billion in 2027. However, that goal depends on growth projections that many private economists view as overly optimistic. The government hasn’t run a surplus since the late 1990s when a budget deal between Democrat Bill Clinton and congressional Republicans combined with the longest U.S. economic recovery in history produced four years of black ink from 1998 to 2001. During the campaign, Trump attacked the weak economic growth of the Obama years, and pledged that his economic program would boost growth from the lackluster 2 percent rates seen since the recovery began in mid-2009. Trump’s new budget is based on sustained growth above 3 percent, sharply higher than the expectations of most private economists. “The president believes that we must restore the greatness of our nation and reject the failed status quo that has left the American dream out of reach for too many families,” the administration said in its budget which was titled, “The New Foundation for American Greatness.” According to budget tables released by the administration, Trump’s plan cuts almost $3.6 trillion from an array of benefit programs, domestic agencies and war spending over the coming decade — an almost 8 percent cut — including repealing and replacing Obama’s health law, cutting Medicaid, eliminating student loan subsidies, sharply slashing food stamps, and cutting $95 billion in highway formula funding for the states. Cuts to a popular crop insurance program have already landed with a thud. A program designed to move people receiving Social Security disability payments back into enter the workforce is politically toxic as well. Food stamp cuts would drive millions from the program. Administration officials defended these measures as a way to reduce government support they contend is keeping millions of Americans out of the work force and thus reducing economic growth. “We need people to go to work,” White House Budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters at a briefing Monday. “If you are on food stamps, we need you to go to work. If you are on disability and you should not be, we need you to go back to work.” Trump’s plan projects that the boost in economic growth it will engender will result in more than $2 trillion in unspecified deficit savings over the coming decade from “economic feedback,” a major component in achieving the program’s pledge of achieving balance by 2027. The budget does feature one major new domestic initiative — offering paid parental leave at a projected cost of $25 billion over the next decade. […]

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Education Secretary Pushes School Choice, Gives No Specifics

The Trump administration is proposing “the most ambitious expansion” of school choice in American history, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Monday while giving few details on how the program would work. “We must offer the widest number of quality options to every family and every child,” DeVos said in a speech in Indianapolis. “We stand on the verge of the most significant opportunity we have ever had to drag American education out of the Stone Age and into the future.” DeVos gave few specifics other than to say that the state of Indiana could serve as a model. Indiana has one of America’s largest and fastest-growing school voucher programs to give low-income families scholarships to help pay private school tuition. DeVos insisted that decisions on school choice must be left for states, not the federal government, to make. But she also warned states against boycotting reform. “If a state doesn’t want to participate, that would be a terrible mistake on their part. They will be hurting the children and families who can least afford it,” DeVos said at an event hosted by the American Federation for Children, the school choice advocacy group she used to lead. “If politicians in a state block education choice, it means those politicians do not support equal opportunity for all kids.” Earlier this month, President Donald Trump asked Congress to work with him on expanding charter and private school voucher programs nationwide, but he gave no specifics. School choice advocates are divided over whether to push charter schools and vouchers on the federal or state level. Voucher and charter school programs are facing fierce criticism from teachers unions and many Democrats, who believe they drain resources from already underfunded public schools while failing to produce clear academic gains. “Once again, Secretary DeVos is putting her extreme privatization agenda ahead of our students,” said Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “DeVos claims she wants to provide more choices for students and families, but in reality, voucher programs siphon taxpayer funds from public schools to unaccountable private and religious schools that often leave children worse off.” (AP)

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Boeing Blamed For Maintenance Errors On Air Force One

Boeing mechanics are to blame for accidental contamination of oxygen systems aboard one of the modified Boeing 747 planes known as Air Force One used for presidential travel, the Air Force said in an investigation report. The plane was undergoing extensive maintenance at a Boeing facility in San Antonio, Texas, when the mishap occurred in April 2016. No one was injured. An Air Force accident investigation report released this month faulted three Boeing mechanics for supplying and using tools and parts that did not meet cleanliness standards while checking oxygen lines for leaks. The standards are meant to prevent a fire hazard. The mechanics also used an unauthorized cleaning procedure. The report said Boeing has paid more than $4 million to clean or replace contaminated portions of the aircraft’s oxygen system. The plane has been returned to service with the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The investigators also concluded that Boeing failed to adequately oversee the quality of maintenance being performed on the aircraft, which is a Boeing 747-200B specially configured for aerial refueling and equipped with special communications gear. (AP)

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Kosel Rov: Mincha Before Trump Visit Was Like Yom Kippur

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz Shlita, Rav of the Kosel and Holy Sites, accompanied President Donald Trump, his family and staff on their visit to the Kosel Monday afternoon. In an interview with Radio Kol Chai, the Rav explains he had davened beforehand with special Kavana for the visit to be a success. His Mincha was “like on Erev Yom Kippur.” The Rav adds, on Sunday night he had gone to daven at the Kever of R’ Shloim’ke M’Zvhill at Chatzos. After the meeting with Trump, he said ‘Nishmas’ at the Kosel, for the meeting had been smooth and successful. (Charles Gross – YWN)

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