Yeshiva World News

Suspected Chareidi Cult Leader Ramati’s Detention Extended

A Jerusalem Magisterial Court extended the detention of Aharon Ramati who is accused of running a cult in a Chareidi community in Yerushalayim. During the discussions at the hearing, police asked for a warrant to search Ramati’s phones. Police currently suspect that the testimony of one of the suspects points to an obstruction of justice. “When we brought the suspect into custody, we were told that he had to undergo a medical checkup outside of our custody and we, therefore, did not have time to present him with all of the evidence that we had collected. Nor were we able to confront him in the methods that we had prepared.” A representative of the police also told the court that they had obtained files in which Ramati describes very clearly when children should be hit and when they should be given all sorts of other punishments. Ramati’s Attorney, Gavi Tronshvilli claimed that the police were trying to take a group of like-minded people and make them into a cult. “Using the same methodology, one could take any group of extremist Chassidim and classify them as a cult and label the person standing at their head as a cult leader.” Judge Elazar Bialin said that: “The testimony of one of the suspected participants strengthened, in a significant manner, the claim that this was indeed a cult, specifically, with relation to the charge of forcibly keeping the members in slave-like conditions. Similarly, the various documents found relating to numerous instructions given by Ramati with regards to how to treat children that also included acts of violence.” (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Chinese City Stops Outbound Flights, Trains To Fight Virus

A Chinese city of more than 11 million people planned to shut down outbound flights and trains Thursday as the world’s most populous country battled the spread of a new virus that has sickened hundreds of people and killed 17, state media reported. Everyone in the city of Wuhan was to be restricted to some degree. The state-owned People’s Daily newspaper said no one would be allowed to leave. The official Xinhua News Agency said no one would be permitted to leave without a specific reason. Train stations and the airport were to shut down at 10 a.m. Buses, subways, ferries and long-distance shuttle buses would also be temporarily closed. Most of the cases are in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province, but dozens of infections have popped up this week around the country as millions travel for the Lunar New Year, one of the world’s largest annual migrations of people. A handful of infected people who came from Wuhan have also been found overseas. In Geneva, the World Health Organization put off deciding whether to declare the outbreak a global health emergency and asked an expert committee to continue meeting for a second day Thursday. “We need more information,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. WHO defines a global emergency as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response. When asked about Wuhan’s public transport shutdown, WHO chief Tedros said authorities were likely acting to prevent transmission and mass gatherings. “We cannot say they have done something unusual,” he said. The number of new cases has risen sharply in China, the center of the outbreak. The 17 deaths were all in Hubei province, where the outbreak emerged in the provincial capital of Wuhan late last month. Wuhan authorities said the province has confirmed 444 cases, which would bring the national total to more than 500. The illness comes from a newly identified type of coronavirus, a family of viruses that can cause the common cold as well as more serious illnesses, such as the SARS outbreak that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-2003 and killed about 800 people. Some experts have drawn parallels between the new coronavirus and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, another coronavirus that does not spread easily among humans and is thought to be carried by camels. “There has already been human-to-human transmission and infection of medical workers,” Li Bin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, said at a news conference Wednesday. “Evidence has shown that the disease has been transmitted through the respiratory tract, and there is the possibility of viral mutation.” A tweet from WHO’s Asia office this week raised the possibility that the epidemic is spreading more easily and may no longer require an animal source to spark infections, as officials initially reported. Authorities in Thailand on Wednesday confirmed four cases — a Thai national and three Chinese visitors. Japan, South Korea, the United States, Taiwan and Macao, a former Portuguese colony that is a semi-autonomous Chinese city, have all reported one case each. All of the illnesses were of people from Wuhan or who recently traveled there. “The situation is under control here,” Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters, saying there are no reports of the infection spreading […]

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Hand Sanitizers, Flu Shots – Businesses’ Defense Against Flu

As this winter’s flu outbreak intensifies, small business owners try to keep their companies from being overwhelmed by employee absences. At Gold Medal Wine Club, any surfaces people are likely to touch, including the coffee machine, water dispenser and door knobs, are wiped down and there’s hand sanitizer on every desk. The 11 staffers are expected to sub for one another when someone’s sick, something that’s critical when orders for wine pour in. “We want to be sure our phones are answered,” says Kelsey Chesterfield, marketing manager for the Santa Barbara, California, company. “If some people are out sick, others have to come in earlier.” The flu can be devastating for small businesses. If a company with just a handful of employees has two or more out at once, it can be difficult or impossible to get the work done. So owners pay for flu shots and use disinfectants in hopes of keeping everyone healthy and urge sick staffers not to come to work. And, as Gold Medal Wine Club does, they train and reassign staffers to cover for sick colleagues. “Nothing harms our ability to hit deadlines more than a spreading flu through the ranks of our staff members,” says Alex Kehoe, co-founder of Caveni, a website design company that has 10 employees at its Philadelphia headquarters and more than 10 others who work remotely. When Kehoe’s staffers start having flu symptoms, he encourages them to stay home. Kehoe follows his own advice; he was working at home with a bad cold while being interviewed by phone for this story. This flu season started early and all but two states reported widespread outbreaks by the week ended Jan. 11, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 1982 to 2018, the flu most often peaked in February, so there’s a good chance the rest of the states will see their cases increase this year. There may be even more concern about illness spreading at work after news that a Washington state man traveling in China contracted a virus that has killed six people and sickened hundreds more in that country. The man is now hospitalized near Seattle. Jo Trizila’s firm has five employees and no wiggle room when flu hits. Clients expect work to be done no matter what circumstances Dallas-based TrizCom Public Relations is dealing with. Trizila can find herself with 18-hour days to cover her work and a sick staffer’s — she has nowhere else to turn. “We’re not in a position to hire a temp because our jobs are so specific and so creative,” Trizila says. “Someone can’t just step in and do it.” Like many other owners whose work is done on computers and online, Trizila tells staffers they can work from home. But she’s realistic that chills, sore throat and high fever can wipe out an employee’s ability to do any work. “You don’t even check your phone, you feel so crummy,” she says. Like many owners, Trizila has encouraged staffers to get flu shots. The vaccines are fully covered under many health insurance plans and some owners arrange for employees to get their shots at work. At Gold Medal, staffers are paid $25 if they get flu shots although vaccinations are covered under the company’s insurance. But owners often can’t […]

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Palestinian Who Drove 105 MPH & Killed Mother & Baby Indicted For Negligent Manslaughter

Tariq Kurd, 18, was indicted by the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday morning for negligent manslaughter for causing the deaths of Tzipi Rimmel, a’h, and her infant by recklessly driving and crashing into the car of the Rimmel family on Highway 443 near Givat Ze’ev in late November. He was also indicted for causing severe injury, excessive speeding, driving without insurance and damaging people and property. The indictment stated that apart from the fact that he was speeding, Kurd also had very little experience driving a manual shift car and had only driven it a few times before the accident. “Since he purchased the car a few days before the crash, the defendant decided to ‘test-drive’ the car to see how it responded to high speeds,” the indictment stated. Tzipi’s husband Ephraim was paralyzed from the waist down in the accident and his Itai, 12, is still in critical but stable condition in the hospital. Doctors and other medical professionals have been amazed by Ephraim’s positive attitude following his devastating injury and hearing he tragic news about his wife, infant and son. At a press conference to thank the medical professionals who tended to him following the accident, he began by saying: “Chazal told us to say a bracha on bad news as well as good news. Everyone is familiar with the bad news. I’m here to express my gratitude for the good.” Tzipi’s parents are taking care of the three other children in the Rimmel family, who were not in the car at the time of the accident. Ephraim was released from the hospital and is currently in a rehabilitation center at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. אפרים רימל שנפצע קשה ואיבד את רעייתו ובתו בתאונה בכביש 443 הודה לצוותים הרפואיים בשערי צדק. ״באתי לברך על הטובה. הסיפור רק מתחיל. גם אם יתנו לרוצח 200 שנה בכלא זה לא יחזיר את ציפי ונעם". — ערוץ 7 (@arutz7heb) January 20, 2020 (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Man Cleared Of Murder Walks Free After 28 Years In Prison

A man who served nearly three decades in prison for a triple killing in Philadelphia in what prosecutors called a “perfect storm” of injustice was freed after a judge threw out his conviction. “Theophalis Wilson, you are free to go,” Judge Tracy Brandeis-Roman said Tuesday as extended family and friends who packed the courtroom cried and hugged each other, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “This is a great day,” said Wilson, 48, who served 28 years in prison. “Now we’ve got to go back and get the other guys. There’s a lot of innocent people in jail.” “It’s a beautiful day,” said his mother, Kim Wilson. “I just thank God it finally happened.” Wilson was exonerated a month after his co-defendant, Christopher Williams, was cleared of the three 1989 killings. Wilson was a teenager when he was accused of participating in the slayings of Otis Reynolds and brothers Kevin and Gavin Anderson in north Philadelphia. The Philadelphia district attorney’s office called the case a “perfect storm” of injustice, writing in a court filing that the case was marred by serious misconduct by the prosecution, an ineffective defense and a witness who supplied false testimony. The witness who testified against Wilson and Williams recanted, saying he had provided false testimony in exchange for a deal to escape the death penalty and in hopes of eventual release. At a 2013 hearing, forensic specialists testified that physical evidence contradicted his earlier account of events. Williams remains imprisoned on a life sentence in a fourth murder, a 1989 slaying in which he and another man were convicted but in which both have maintained their innocence. Wilson is the 12th person exonerated by the prosecutor’s Conviction Integrity Unit. Unit chief Patricia Cummings said in court that it was time for Wilson to be allowed to “go home a free man, and that he go home with an apology.” “No words can express what we put these people through. What we put Mr. Wilson through. What we put his family through,” she said. (AP)

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Russia’s Putin Remains Secretive About His Future Role

Russian President Vladimir Putin remained tight-lipped about his future role Wednesday as he fast-tracks a set of constitutional changes widely seen as an attempt to maintain his dominance over the nation’s political scene after his current term ends in 2024. Asked at a meeting with students if Russia could follow the example of Kazakhstan, where a longtime president stepped down last year but continued calling the shots by assuming another prominent position, Putin shrugged off the idea as unfit for Russia. “The emergence of a position above the presidency would mean a dual power, which is absolutely unacceptable for a country like Russia,” Putin said. “It would erode the presidency.” The 79-year-old Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had ruled Kazakhstan since the Soviet times, resigned as president last year and had a protege elected to the post, but he retained his grip on power by securing a prominent position as head of the nation’s security council. Last week, Putin proposed a slew of constitutional amendments that would reshape the nation’s government system and potentially allow him to carve out a new role when he wraps up his current six-year term. Putin, 67, has been in power for more than 20 years, longer than any other Russian or Soviet leader since Josef Stalin, who led from 1924 until his death in 1953. The Kremlin-controlled Russian parliament is set to approve the changes in the first of three required readings. Putin has argued that the constitutional amendments are intended to strengthen democracy, but Kremlin foes have charged that they are aimed at allowing him lifelong rule. Among other things, Putin suggested that the constitution must specify the authority of the State Council, an advisory body that consists of regional governors and top federal officials. The Kremlin’s constitutional bill submitted to parliament empowers the council to “determine the main directions of home and foreign policy,” its specific authority to be spelled out in a separate law. Some observers alleged that Putin may continue calling the shots as the Council’s head after his current presidential term expires. Putin’s proposals initially led some observers to speculate that he also may move into the post of prime minister — something he already did once when he stepped down after two terms in 2008 and let his protege, Dmitry Medvedev, serve as placeholder president for four years before reclaiming the job. Immediately after announcing the proposed changes last week, Putin fired Medvedev, who had the job for eight years, and named tax chief Mikhail Mishustin to succeed him. The proposed amendments strengthen the presidency, making it highly unlikely that Putin would again opt for the much weaker position of prime minister. While the amendments would give lawmakers the power to appoint Cabinet ministers, a role that currently belongs to the presidency, the president retains the right to name and dismiss the prime minister and fire Cabinet members. Putin reaffirmed Wednesday that Russia must maintain a strong presidency. “With its vast territory, numerous confessions and a multitude of peoples and ethnic groups, Russia needs a strong presidential power,” he said when asked if Russia could switch to the parliamentary system. “We have so many nationalities and ethnic groups with different ways of life, and it’s practically impossible to integrate all of that under a parliamentary republic,” he added. “Our country […]

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Degel Hatorah MKs Meet With HaRav Kanievsky & HaRav Edelstein Regarding Arab MK

The Degel Hatorah party met on Tuesday with Hagaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and Hagaon Rosh Yeshivah Gershon Edelstein regarding the disqualification of Arab Joint List MK Heba Yazbak (Balad) for running for the Knesset in the upcoming elections. A petition was filed by Likud MK Ofir Katz to the Central Elections Committee to disqualify Yazbak in light of her public statements supporting terrorists, including Samir Kuntar, who killed a four-year-old girl in Nahariya in 1979 by smashing her head on rocks after shooting her father, Danny Haran, in front of her. Kuntar was released in 2008 in exchange for the bodies of IDF reserve soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser and later became a senior Hezbollah terrorist. When he died in an explosion near Damascus in 2015, Yazbak posted a picture of him and wrote: “The martyr fighter Samir Kuntar.” The right-wing parties are backing the petition as well as Blue & White and some members of the Labor-Gesher-Meretz merger. On one hand, Degel H’Torah wants to vote for Yazbak’s disqualification for the same reasons the other parties are voting for it. But on the other hand, voting for her disqualification will alienate Joint List chairman Ahmad Tibi and currently Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni and Tibi, who is on the Finance Committee, cooperate on many issues of joint interest. Tibi has already announced that if Blue and White votes for Yazbak’s disqualification, it ends their chance of any potential agreement with the Joint List. Since there is already a majority who will vote for Yazbak’s disqualification, Degel H’Torah’s vote won’t affect the decision but on the other hand, refraining from disqualifying someone who openly supports terror could cause a chillul Hashem and also alienate potential Dati Leumi voters, some of whom have been voting for Yahadus H’Torah due to the recent constant changes and splits in the Dati Leumi parties. During the meeting with HaRav Edelstein, it was mentioned that in the past Hagaon Harav Aryeh Leib Shteinman, z’tl, instructed Degal HaTorah to support the disqualification of Balad MK Haneen Zoavi from the Knesset due the fact that “she speaks against Am Yisrael to the world.” HaRav Edelstein did not make a decision on how the MKs should vote but it’s believed that Degel HaTorah will vote for her disqualification during the hearing next week. Immediately after the meeting of Degel H’Torah with HaRav Edelstein, a group of current and past Ponevezh talmidim came to the Rosh Yeshivah’s home and the Rosh Yeshivah delivered a special shiur. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Yair Lapid Tells Macron: “My Father & Benny’s Mother Were Together In The Ghetto”

Blue & White leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid met with French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, who arrived in Israel to attend the World Holocaust Forum on Thursday. Following the meeting, Lapid wrote on Twitter that Macron asked him and Gantz how they ended up forming a relationship. ‘”It was formed long before we knew each other,’ I answered. ‘My father and Benny’s mother were in the ghetto together.'” It wasn’t long ago that Lapid and Gantz were unaware of this connection between them. In February 2019, Gantz surprised Lapid at a Blue & White meeting with the story of their shared past. Gantz said at the meeting that he was told only recently about the shared histories of their families. “My mother Malka and Yair Lapid’s father Tommy lived in the same shared apartment in the Jewish ghetto in Budapest 75 years ago,” Gantz said. “And now, Tommy’s son and Malka’s son are standing in front of you on one stage – the state of Israel is a miracle.” Tommy Lapid was born in Novi Sad, Serbia but during World War II, Serbia was conquered by the Axis Powers and became part of Hungary. Tommy’s father was taken to Auschwitz and died in a death march two weeks before the war ended. Tommy and his mother were deported to Budapest and survived due to Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. Gantz’s mother Malka was originally from Mezőkovácsháza, Hungary and was eventually deported to Bergen-Belsen. After the war, she ended up in Sweden and a few years later she made aliyah to Israel. ״אושוויץ", הם חוזרים ואומרים לנו, "אינה יכולה להיות תירוץ לכל דבר". אלא שאושוויץ אינה תירוץ אלא סיבה מוחשית, אקטואלית-עדיין, מגובה בגופותיהם של מיליונים. בתמונה: סבי בלה למפל, שנספה בתא הגזים, וסבתי קטלינה ששרדה את התופת ועלתה לישראל. — יאיר לפיד Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) January 22, 2020 פגישה ארוכה וטובה עם נשיא צרפת @EmmanuelMacron חבר אישי, ידיד אמת של ישראל, לוחם עקבי ונחוש באנטישמיות בארצו. ״איך נוצר הקשר ביניכם?״ הוא שאל את בני ואותי. ״הוא נוצר הרבה לפני שהכרנו,״ עניתי, ״אבא שלי ואמא של בני היו יחד בגטו.״ — יאיר לפיד Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) January 22, 2020 הנשיא מקרון, ברוך הבא לישראל! נפגשתי היום עם נשיא צרפת, מר עמנואל מקרון יחד עם חבר הנהגת כחול לבן, ח׳׳כ יאיר לפיד. שוחחנו על העלייה המטרידה באנטישמיות ברחבי אירופה והודיתי לו על המאבק העיקש שהוא מוביל במטרה לבלום את המגמה המדאיגה הזו בצרפת. — בני גנץ – Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) January 22, 2020 (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Tragedy in Jerusalem: Pregnant Woman Collapses & Dies At Entrance To Delivery Room, Baby Is Saved

A 36-year-old woman who was brought by MDA to Hadassah Har Hatzofim in Jerusalem on Tuesday night collapsed and died at the entrance to the delivery room. Following extensive and prolonged resuscitation techniques, the hospital was forced to declare her death. A senior midwife saved the baby through an immediate C-section and the baby is now in the NICU. The medical staff believes that the death was the result of a cardiological issue which caused the woman’s aorta to rupture on the way or at the entrance to the hospital. “The hospital staff is supporting the family at this difficult time, including a social worker who is at their side, and is providing all possible support in this extremely difficult incident,” the hospital stated. “The incident was reported to the Health Ministry.” (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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US Bars Iranian Investors From Certain Types Of Visas

The Trump administration is barring Iranian investors and business people from entering or staying in the United States on certain types of visas. In new regulations published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security said Iranians and their families are no longer eligible to apply for or extend what are known as E-1 and E-2 visas. The ban will take effect on Thursday, according to the notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Those visas allow foreign “traders” and “substantial investors” in U.S. companies to live and work in the United States. CIS said the change is a result of the U.S. withdrawal last year from a 1955 treaty with Iran that had sought to promote commercial and economic ties between the countries. Iranians in the United States on the affected visas will be required to leave the country when their visas expire, it said, although the new regulation does not bar Iranians from applying for or extending other types of visas for which they are eligible. The number of Iranians in the U.S. on those types of visas was not immediately clear although it is believed to be relatively small. Out of more than 10 million U.S. non-immigrant visas issued annually, only about 48,000 E-visas are issued to people of from all nations. (AP)

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Move To Rochester – Don’t Take Our Word For It, Read Testimonials From New Rochester Families

Baruch Hashem 30 new families have moved to Rochester since we began our marketing program back in the spring of 2015. Some of our new families have written about their experiences since moving to town. See excerpts from their reviews below. To see all of our testimonials in full visit Chesky and Rivka Serebrowski – Moved from Monsey We moved to Rochester from Monsey with our 2 kids and were not really sure what to expect. We were totally amazed by the community here, the warmth with which we were welcomed and the seamless transition into community. The new daycare TLC, is absolutely fabulous and we could not be happier with chinuch our children are receiving. The real estate prices are low, as is the cost of living, and there is an abundance of shiurim and programs that cater to both men and women of all backgrounds. Yoni and Hindy Dahari – Moved from Monsey “We made the move from Monsey to Rochester in summer 2016, and we are really happy with the community and with how warm the community is…. We believe Rochester is a great community to raise and grow our family.” Dr. Avrohom and Alya Akkerman – Moved from Monsey “The community is undergoing a growth spurt and we are happy to be a part of it. There is a lot to be said about added meaningfulness every family has here. It is very fulfilling…No review could truly encompass the experience of moving from “in-town” to “out-of-town”. Some people will probably find this an impossible move. Many, however, will find that this is just what they were missing. PS There is NO TRAFFIC HERE. Really!” Rabbi Yitzi and Devorah Shulman – Moved from Westchester “We have been amazed at the incredible warmth of the Rochester community! My wife and I have each made many new friends and feel that we have become a part of this wonderful community very quickly….Looking forward to greeting you here in Rochester!” Dr. Yakov and Devora Scutaru – Moved from the Bronx “Affordable housing, no traffic and great neighbors. At the same time, there are day schools, separate high schools, easily available kosher food (and shawarma!) and 4+ minyanim to choose from. We can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t move here.” See our website for more details or contact us at or call/text 585-340-7143 to learn more or to schedule a visit!

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Watchdog Files Fec Complaint Against Pro-Sanders Group

The watchdog group Common Cause filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, alleging that Our Revolution, a political nonprofit organization founded by Bernie Sanders, violated campaign finance law by accepting donations in excess of federal limits while boosting his White House ambitions. The complaint comes after The Associated Press reported earlier this month about the donations. Our Revolution has denied any wrongdoing. A spokesman declined to comment. Sanders’ campaign also did not respond to a request for comment. The campaign finance act says groups established by federal officeholders or candidates cannot spend or raise money for federal electoral activity that exceeds the limitations of the law. Those contributions are currently set at $2,800 for candidates and $5,000 for political action committees. Additionally, such groups cannot spend money raised in excess of those limits on federal elections. Our Revolution has taken in nearly $1 million from donors whose donations exceeded those limits and whose identities it hasn’t fully disclosed, according to tax filings for 2016, 2017 and 2018. Much of it came from donors who contributed six-figure sums. The group has paid for some social media ads backing Sanders’ campaign and is working to turn out voters who will support the senator in the Democratic presidential primary. The group will not have to disclose its 2020 spending until after the election. “Because Sanders set up Our Revolution and they have raised and spent money in candidate elections, Our Revolution is required to comply with contribution limits, register with the FEC and discloses its donors — but it hasn’t,” said Paul S. Ryan, an attorney for Common Cause. “It’s his establishment of the group that triggers these laws. That means a $5,000 limit, full donor disclosure and no contributions from prohibited sources.” Candidates are barred from accepting contributions from corporations, labor unions, federal contractors and foreign nationals. The group does not fully disclose who its contributors are. For years, Sanders has railed against the torrent of money allowed to flood the political system in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 Citizens United decision. But he has saved special ire for super political action committee, or super PACs. Our Revolution is not a super PAC. But the tax-exempt political nonprofit functions much like one — but without having to reveal its donors. Like super PACs, these nonprofits were similarly empowered to raise and spend unlimited sums after the Citizens United decision. But such groups must take steps to keep their activities separate from the candidates they support. “I believe that the analysis is more complicated than has been suggested, and that Our Revolution will be able to show Sanders is no longer affiliated,” said Dan Petalas, a former FEC attorney now in private practice who previously represented Our Revolution. “And even if that’s incorrect, Our Revolution should be able to demonstrate that they used money in ways that comply with the law.” Sanders on Sunday sought to distance himself from Our Revolution during a candidate forum with New Hampshire Public Radio. While he acknowledged that he founded the group and had “no apologies for that,” he also suggested he was legally prevented telling them to stop. “If I got on the phone and I told them what to do, that would be a violation of campaign finance law,” […]

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HE MUST BE STOPPED: Kiryat Sefer Resident Is Encouraging Chareidi Youth To Smuggle Khat Substance

The man behind the network recruiting hundreds of Chareidi young men and women to smuggle Khat into Europe lives in Kiryat Sefer, Chareidim10 reported. Attorney Mordechai Tzivin, who specializes in international crime, extradition and Interpol and has voluntarily assisted in over ten cases of Chareidi youth arrested in Europe for smuggling Khat, said that the Kiryat Sefer resident, “D.B.,” convinces the youth that smuggling Khat isn’t dangerous since it’s not an illegal drug in Israel. Tzivin added that the police are aware of the identities of the Khat operators but they have no legal means to stop them since there is no law that bans taking Khat out of Israel. D.B. even tells the Chareidi youth that they don’t have to worry about a jail term since if they are caught by law enforcement agencies, they should turn to the local Chabad shluchim who will make sure they are released. [AGAIN: Multiple Chareidim Arrested For Smuggling “Khat” Substance In Europe – Including Yeshiva Bochur, Young Girls] MK Moshe Arbel (Shas) said on Tuesday morning on Radio Kol Chai that many parents turn to him for assistance after their children are arrested in Europe but there is nothing he could do to help them. He said that he has appealed to the opposition in the Knesset, including Blue & White, to fast-track legislation in the Knesset banning taking Khat out of Israel. “Dozens of the detainees for smuggling Khat are Chareidim and Datiim,” Arbel said. “Parents call me crying to help them but we can’t interfere in criminal proceedings in other countries.” [Many Yeshiva Bochrim Recently Arrested In Europe For Smuggling “Khat” Substance From Israel] “I appealed to the opposition to fast-track legislation banning taking Khat out of Israel. The police are aware of the operators behind the smuggling but they have no legal tool to stop it. It may also be a tax offense.” [Chareidi Girls Arrested in England for Smuggling “Khat” Substance From Israel] [AGAIN: Chareidi Girls Arrested in Oslo For Smuggling “Khat”; Scheduled for Deportation ON SHABBOS] [70 Israelis In Prison Around the Globe for Smuggling Khat Substance – MANY Of Them Chareidim] [Chareidi Minor Who Smuggled “Khat” Substance Is Released From Ireland After 3 Months] (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Trump Minimizes Severity Of Head Injuries In Iran Attacks

President Donald Trump on Wednesday minimized the severity of head injuries sustained by U.S. troops during an Iranian missile strike on an Iraqi air base as he was pressed on why he’d claimed no troops had been injured in the attack. “I heard they had headaches and a couple of other things … and I can report it is not very serious,” Trump said at a press conference in Davos, Switzerland, arguing that potential traumatic brain injuries are less severe than, say, missing limbs. “No, I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen,” the Republican president said. “I’ve seen what Iran has done with their roadside bombs to our troops. I’ve seen people with no legs and with no arms. I’ve seen people that were horribly, horribly injured in that area, that war.” “No, I do not consider that to be bad injuries, no,” he added. In addition to the 11 service members who were flown out of Iraq on Jan. 10 and Jan. 15 for further examination of concussion-like symptoms, defense officials said that about 10 more were flown to Germany in recent days. Most were being treated for symptoms related to possible traumatic brain injury; a smaller number may have been suffering from psychological trauma, according to two defense officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity. The exact nature and severity of the apparent brain injuries has not been publicly released. Trump has repeatedly claimed that no Americans were harmed in the Iranian missile strikes on Jan. 8, which came in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful military general. The question of American casualties was especially significant at the time because Trump cited the fact that no Americans were killed or inured as driving his decision not to retaliate further and risk a broader war with Iran. But in the days following the attack, medical screening determined that some of the U.S. troops who took cover during the attack were suffering from concussion-like symptoms. Last week, 11 U.S. service members were flown from Iraq to U.S. medical facilities in Germany and Kuwait for further evaluation of concussion-like symptoms. This was not reported to Defense Secretary Mark Esper until the day it was publicly announced, last Thursday; this comports with the usual practice of not reporting injuries to the Pentagon unless they involve the loss of life, limb or eyesight. Trump told reporters he was informed of the concussion issue “numerous days” after the attack. U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, said in a statement Tuesday evening that given the nature of the reported injuries, “it is possible additional injuries may be identified in the future.” (AP)

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80-Year-Old Woman Evacuated From Burning Building In Arad In Serious Condition

An 80-Year-Old woman was evacuated from a burning building in Arad in serious condition. The incident took place on Elazar Ben Yair St. in the southern city. United Hatzalah volunteer EMT and Arad Chapter Head Avi Elchayani was one of the first responders at the scene who treated the woman said: “Firefighters evacuated the older woman from the burning apartment. After she was outside, I together with other EMS personnel who had arrived performed CPR on the woman and we managed to bring back her pulse. After her pulse returned she was transported to the hospital. She was suffering from burns and respiratory problems caused by smoke inhalation.” (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Biden Downplays Tensions With Sanders Over Social Security

Joe Biden sought on Wednesday to ease tensions with Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders after the two candidates exchanged several volleys over Social Security and other matters. And the former vice president pledged in a wide-ranging interview with MSNBC that if he reaches the White House, he would not agree to any budget deal that curtails Social Security benefits. Biden demurred on “Morning Joe” when asked whether Sanders had “lied” when he and his campaign aides asserted Biden sought to cut Social Security benefits over his decades in public office. Biden also noted that Sanders apologized to him after one of the Vermont senator’s top supporters wrote that the former vice president has a “corruption” problem. “Sometimes campaign staff gets a little ahead of the candidate,” Biden said, later adding, “I accept his apology, and I hope we can argue on the facts.” Biden’s comments come at a tumultuous moment in the Democratic primary as candidates are increasingly feuding with each other on multiple fronts. Tensions within the party soared on Tuesday after The Hollywood Reporter published an interview in which Hillary Clinton ripped into Sanders, reigniting divisions from the 2016 campaign and raising concerns that Democrats may struggle to unify behind a nominee this year and defeat President Donald Trump. Still, the acrimony between Sanders and Biden isn’t likely to dissipate completely as they vie for every advantage with less than two weeks until the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses. Just Tuesday night, Biden’s campaign released a video accusing Sanders of “dishonest” attacks, while Sanders’ official Twitter account countered: “Let’s be honest, Joe. One of us fought for decades to cut Social Security, and one of us didn’t.” Sanders attached audio of speeches Biden gave as a Delaware senator advocating for budget deals that would have curtailed entitlement spending over time. As a senator, Biden was a supporter of a balanced-budget constitutional amendment, but he maintains that he would not have “cut” Social Security benefits as part of the deals. “My support for Social Security has been solid my entire career,” Biden said. “I did join with a lot of other Democrats, made it solvent during the Reagan years.” In his current campaign, Biden proposes expanding Social Security benefits and raising more revenue by lifting the cap on the income that is subject to Social Security payroll taxes. He did tacitly acknowledge that he’s moved leftward over the years on Social Security, however, comparing his long Senate record with Sanders’ legislative history on gun rights. Sanders “voted to protect gun manufacturers,” Biden said, referring to Sanders’ vote to give weapons makers immunity from civil liability. Clinton skewered Sanders over that position in their 2016 nominating fight. “He’s indicated that was past,” Biden said, suggesting Sanders’ current positions on guns should be acceptable to Democratic primary voters. The former vice president was not so charitable about the Senate’s impeachment trial of Trump. “I was embarrassed for the institution,” Biden said when asked about Trump’s lawyers stating clear mistruths during the proceedings, which are expected to end with Trump’s acquittal on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress. The impeachment case is pegged to Trump pressuring Ukrainian officials to launch an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter Biden, based on discredited theories about the younger Biden’s business dealings in […]

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Op-Ed: Anti-Semitism In Jackson, New Jersey

Against the backdrop of rising Anti-Semitism in America, I was surprised this week when Dr. Richard Roberts, a major GOP donor who gave over $1 Million to the Trump campaign sent me an open letter he sent to the Mayor of Jackson, New Jersey (which is next to Lakewood) where he accused the township government of Anti-Semitism. Roberts served as Vice Chair of the Israel Advisory Committee for the Trump campaign and has donated to the political campaigns for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Rand Paul, Governor Scott Walker and former Congressman Allen West.  This isn’t someone crying wolf – he’s a political veteran. Roberts produced documents via Freedom of Information act requests, where local Jackson Township employees and elected officials conducted “surveillance of Orthodox Jews gathering for a minyan.” As Roberts told me, “Township employees looked into home windows to see if Orthodox Jews were praying, walked into the backyards of residential properties to see if Orthodox Jews were praying in a swimming pool hut or garage, checked license plates, and followed Orthodox Jews who were carrying ‘bibles’. The actions of Jackson Township have been atrocious. We don’t need to pray in a synagogue. We can pray in a parking lot, office, home, airport, or wherever else we are. The idea that Jackson Township officials were performing organized surveillance on Orthodox Jews, to stop us from praying in homes, is obnoxious. Jackson Township emails reveal that Jackson Township officials, and other employees knew Jewish praying times and staked out multiple blocks to count Orthodox Jews going into homes to pray at those times.” Chilling. Wow. Earlier this month, Facebook temporarily removed a page which was harshly Anti-Semitic called “Rise Up Ocean County,” where media reports indicate disturbing language to criticize the largely Hasidic community, including “I would trust a rat before a Hassidic [sic],” one commenter wrote. “We need to get rid of them like Hitler did.” This came after New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal called on Facebook to take action against the group. The outrage of Anti-Semitism in New Jersey comes as the result of increased Jewish presence in the area. The reality, as Roberts noted is “When Orthodox Jews move in, the basic principle of supply-and-demand results from the nature of the Orthodox Jewish religious lifestyle. We need to be clustered together because we need the infrastructure of kosher food, religious schools, praying with at least ten men three times per day, and not driving on the Sabbath. Since we must live in close proximity to each other, the demand for houses rises sharply in such areas so house prices spike upward and non-Jews make a lot of money for themselves by selling their homes. These factors are also what Jackson Township is attacking – praying together, schools, and other aspects of Orthodox Jewish life (eg. eruv).” Of course, if someone doesn’t want to sell their home, they don’t. It’s called supply and demand. Simple racism and shameful behavior in Jackson, New Jersey. Ronn Torossian is a New York City based entrepreneur. NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN. DO YOU HAVE AN OPINION YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE POSTED ON YWN? SEND IT TO US FOR REVIEW. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC) Get email u

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Trump Meets Iraqi Counterpart, First Since Soleimani Strike

U.S. President Donald Trump hinted that sanctions on Iraq were still a possibility in a bilateral meeting with Iraq’s president Wednesday, the first since a U.S. drone strike on Iraqi soil killed a top Iranian general, straining Washington-Baghdad ties. Iraq’s President Barham Saleh met with Trump on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland amid threats from Iran-backed militia groups promising to exact revenge should he sit down with the American president. It was the first high-level meeting since the Jan. 3 U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and senior Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis near Baghdad’s airport. The attack provoked the ire of Iraqi officials across the political spectrum and lead to the passing of a non-binding resolution to oust U.S. troops from Iraq. In response, Trump threatened sanctions in Iraq, which would have profound and devastating effects on the country’s economy if realized. Trump said Washington and Baghdad have had “a very good relationship” and that the two countries had a “host of very difficult things to discuss,” in remarks to reporters. Asked whether the administration was still considering slapping sanctions on Iraq, Trump said: “We’ll see what happens because we have to do things on our terms.” Saleh interjected here, saying the two countries shared common interests including the fight against extremism, regional stability and an independent Iraq. “And we’re also involved with them in their oil business, and that’s always been very important from their standpoint and from our standpoint. So we have a lot of very positive things to talk about,” said Trump. Asked whether there was a plan for U.S. troops to remain in Iraq, Trump said: “We’re down to 5,000. So we’re down to a very low number — historically low. And we’ll see what happens.” There are approximately 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq advising and assisting Iraqi security forces in the fight against the Islamic State group. The bilateral meeting came amid threats from Iraqi militia group Kataeb Hezbollah, backed by Iran, which warned Saleh to avoid meeting Trump or not to return to Baghdad, in statements posted online. The same group threatened lawmakers from voting against the resolution to oust U.S. troops. A march organized by supporters of influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in favor of pushing out American troops was set for Friday in Baghdad. It has the backing of both Hadi al-Ameri, head of the parliamentary Fatah bloc, as well as Iran-backed militia leader Qais al-Khazali, the head of Asaib al-Haq. Al-Sadr’s party won the largest number of seats in Iraq’s 2018 federal election. In statements published on YouTube, Khazali said “2020 is the year of ending the U.S. occupation.” (AP)

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His Life Fell Apart, But She Stayed By His Side

Chaim Ehrenfeld’s health journey was already a tough one. After years of fighting liver cirrhosis, he was finally approved for a transplant. The organs were accepted and it looked like everything was on its way up. Until, remember family and friends,  he began behaving differently. Before long it was clear that a nightmare scenario had taken place: toxins had travelled to his brain, and he would be brain-damaged for life.  Now Chaim lives hooked up to a respirator, gets dialysis a few times a week, and requires round-the-clock care. Through it all, his wife Rachel has remained by his side. Every available moment that she has is spent either tending to her husband’s medical needs, or working. She works full time in a high school, and takes consulting clients at night. It’s not common to find a woman in her sixties who works every morning, afternoon, and night. But that is what Mrs. Ehrenfeld has been determined to do, to keep her family afloat. This week, Rachel reached out to the public for help. At her age, mustering the stamina to pay for Chaim’s extensive medical treatments is becoming impossible. With debts stacked against them and a nearly unlivable level of stress, many readers have been moved by this tale of fear, hope, and shalom. Fear, for the future of a family overwhelmed by medical expenses and kept afloat by one brave woman. Hope, for a future of healing and calm. And shalom bayis, as a couple fights against all odds to support each other through some of life’s most unexpected challenges.  CLICK HERE TO HELP MRS EHRENFELD CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL CAMPAIGN

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