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Update From Chabad Rabbi Who Provides Kosher Certification At ‘Maccabi Resturant’ In Barcelona [VIDEO & PHOTOS]


As YWN has been reporting, 13 people have been killed and around 50 injured after a white van jumped up onto a sidewalk and sped down a pedestrian zone Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, swerving from side to side as it plowed into tourists and residents.

YWN was first to report that the attack occurred in front of “Maccabi“, which is a Shomer Shabbos, Kosher restaurant.

“It’s a terrible situation,” Rabbi Dovid Libersohn, director of Chabad Lubavitch de Barcelona, which provides kosher certification to Maccabi told

“We pray for the injured and for the families of those who were killed, and we are grateful, thank G‑d, that nobody at the restaurant was harmed. As far as we know right now, members of the Jewish community are safe. We hope this will be the news going forward.”

Local Jewish and other institutions were closed on the instructions of police. Some 80 patrons are still confined inside the kosher restaurant, according to Libersohn.

“I’m in contact with the people at the restaurant,” he said. “The police are not letting anyone out.”

Maccabi is the only kosher restaurant in Barcelona and one of several purveyors of kosher food.

People in Macabbi Kosher restaurant locked inside until police evacuate them People in Macabbi Kosher restaurant locked inside until police evacuate them

(Chaim Shapiro – YWN)

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Op-Ed: Why I Still Support President Trump

As a young boy, the first president I remember was Gerald Ford. (Yes I know, I am aging myself. I just turned 51.)

His predecessor Richard Nixon was a great leader and protector of America. Obviously he was indelibly marred by the Watergate scandal, which sealed his fate, and resulted in Nixon becoming the only American president to have resigned his office.

But following his resignation, America went into a forty year slump, as far as presidents go.

Gerald Ford had no chance to succeed. His entire 2½ years in the White House were devoted to mending the American people, and recovering from Nixon’s stains. One cannot push forward any agenda under such circumstances.

In 1980 Ford was defeated by Jimmy Carter.

What can I say? Although he was the governor of Georgia before becoming president, but a career peanut farmer isn’t exactly the right man for the nation’s highest office.

Carter’s mishandling of the Iranian hostage crisis will not find him favor with presidential historians. (444 days, amounting to nearly ⅓ of his presidency.) The Israeli-Egyptian peace he brokered was very positive (it has lasted virtually unharmed till today), but retroactively, we know how much of a sonei Yisroel Jimmy Carter really is.

Next came Ronald Reagan. Many Republican candidates in the the 2016 election advertised to voters that they will be the next Ronald Reagan. Reagan was indeed a “cheerleader” for American, having bolstered the American nuclear arsenal against the Soviet Union, and creating a positive economy.

But we must not forget that Ronald Reagan was a movie star. They called him “Ronald MacDonald” at first. There is a clip on YouTube, that shows each president taking the Oath of Office. Have a look at Reagan taking the oath, and note his facial gestures. It clearly sends us a message that he’s on stage, receiving acting instructions from a director. Again, I’m not taking anything away from Ronald Reagan’s accomplishments, but at the end of the day, he was an actor, which diminishes that sanctity of the office.

Ronald Reagan’s vice president was George H.W. Bush, who defeated Mike Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election. In one of the debates, Dukakis (who was against capital punishment) was famously asked if he would favor the death penalty if his own wife would be raped and killed. He answered, “no”. Is it that difficult to defeat such a candidate who has very little regard for humanity?

But George H.W. Bush was leveled by Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi leader completely ignored the president, and launched the Gulf War against Israel. President Bush did not allow Israel to retaliate! Can you imagine? I don’t regard him as a good president.

Now we enter the Bill Clinton era. He may have done something to boost the economy – but any president that gets impeached, especially for what he was impeached for – is not a good president in my eyes.

In the 2016 election, candidate Jeb Bush was asked how he would act differently, since the American people are tired of dynasty politicians. His brother George W. Bush solidified that dynasty by defeating Clinton’s vice president Al Gore in the 2000 election.

In Israel, both Bushes were called “boosha” (disgrace) by many rabbonim. Weak presidents don’t fare well in politics. When president-elect George W. Bush was still the governor of Texas, the media reported on how the Bushes like to go to sleep at 9:00 PM. A president cannot go to sleep at 9:00 PM.

Bush was definitely pro Israel during his two terms in office. But his facial reaction upon hearing about the September 11 attacks said it all. It’s possible that he knew about it beforehand, or wasn’t that phased by the tragedy.

Next came Barack Obama. I’d rather not discuss his presidency, but I’ll make one reference, which sums it all up.

Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Moscow to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The latter put the former on hold for seven hours before meeting him! Is it a wonder why the next president’s slogan was “Make America Great Again”?

Enter Donald J. Trump.

Many frum people were intrigued by his campaign, while many other Americans were disgusted by it.

But on November 8, 2016, the American people spoke, and suddenly America changed course.

Starting to work for America well before his inauguration (a rarity for president-elects), Trump brokered the deal with the Carrier factory in Indiana, which was soon to close done, and the jobs were to be sent to Mexico.

I lived in Detroit for many years, and wrote software for the automotive industry. How pained I was to learn that the assembly plant that I frequently visited was being shut down, and the jobs were shipped south of the border. But President Trump pulled through again, as only the author of “The Art of the Deal” can. He negotiated with the relevant parties, and revived the otherwise dead plant.

His list of achievements continued with the Foxconn $7 Billion contract to build the Taiwanese factory near Milwaukee. And even white-collar workers will benefit from his presidency, with the huge Japanese investment in Palo Alto.

True, there is a significant amount of in-fighting in the Trump White House, and nobody’s proud of that.

True, his demeanor, and choice of words, don’t necessarily reflect that of a frum Yid.

But for all of his accomplishments, including standing strong and firm against the North Korean threat, I will always support President Donald J. Trump, through thick and thin.

Signed – an American living in Ramat Beit Shemesh

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.


(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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AG Mandelblit Supports Permitting Toeiva Couples To Adopt R’L

Attorney General Dr. Avichai Mandelblit supports giving toeiva couples the right to adopt children. Channel 2 News on Wednesday evening 24 Menachem Av reported Mandelblit stated his opinion on the matter in a closed forum. He added that this is his own personal opinion, one which led to harsh responses a number of weeks earlier.

The matter has been brought before the High Court of Justice, prompting many to comment on toeiva adoption, which to date, has been prohibited in Israel.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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US Weekly Requests For Jobless Aid Down 12,000 To 232,000

Fewer Americans applied for jobless aid last week, as the number of people seeking benefits remained close to historic lows.

THE NUMBERS: Weekly unemployment applications fell by 12,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 232,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The less volatile four-week average slipped 500 to 240,500. The number of people collecting unemployment benefits has fallen 9 percent over the past 12 months to 1.9 million.

THE TAKEAWAY: The job market appears solid as the U.S. enters its ninth year of recovery from the Great Recession. Employers are holding onto workers with the expectation that business will continue to improve. Jobless claims, which closely track layoffs, have come in below 300,000 for 128 weeks in a row. That’s the longest such stretch since 1970, when the U.S. population was much smaller.

The unemployment rate has fallen to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent. The government’s report for July showed that U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs. More Americans have been coming off the sidelines and finding jobs.

KEY DRIVERS: The economy revved up this spring after a weak start to the year, fueled by a surge in consumer spending. The government reported last week that growth in the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, expanded at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter. That’s more than double the revised 1.2 percent in the first quarter.

This year, the economy is expected to grow at roughly 2 percent. That would be roughly in line with annual gains during the recovery. Consistent hiring has helped sustain the gradual recovery, although the expansion is starting to show its age as the pace of job gains has slowed this year.


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19-Year-Old Seriously Injured When Hit By A Taxi In Tiveria

Another bein hazmanim accident, this one occurring on Wednesday night in Tiveria at about 1:30AM. A 19-year-old chareidi female was struck by a taxi and taken by chopper in serious condition to the trauma unit of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. The woman is reported to be a resident of Mevasseret Tzion, who was visiting family in Tiveria.

The injured woman was walking with a cousin when she was struck. Her cousin was in shock but did not sustain physical injuries B’chasdei Hashem.

Yossi Uknin of United Hatzalah Tiveria was among the first on the scene, describing the victim’s serious head injuries and facial trauma, confirming she was taken by chopper to the northern region trauma center.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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10 Commandments Judge Forces Runoff With Trump’s Candidate In Alabama Senate Race

Alabama’s Ten Commandments judge, Roy Moore, has forced President Donald Trump’s chosen candidate, Sen. Luther Strange, into a September primary runoff that pits cultural conservatives against the Republicans now running Congress.

Evangelical voters cherish Moore as a culture-war icon after he was twice stripped of his chief justice duties, for refusing to remove a biblical monument he installed in a state judiciary building and for resisting federal gay marriage rulings.

On Tuesday, the firebrand jurist rode a tide of anti-establishment sentiment to secure more votes than Strange for the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Despite millions of dollars in advertising by a super political action committee tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Strange trailed Moore by about six percentage points, which was about 25,000 votes in the low-turnout election, according to unofficial returns.

“This is a great victory. The attempt by the silk stocking Washington elitists to control the vote of the people of Alabama has failed,” Moore said at his victory party in downtown Montgomery, where a copy of the Ten Commandments was among the decorations.

The winner of the Sept. 26 runoff between Moore and Strange will face Democratic nominee Doug Jones in a December election.

While President Donald Trump endorsed Strange, Moore tried to present himself as the better carrier of Trump’s outsider appeal.

“The takeaway is that Washington is very unpopular,” said Greg Strimple, a Republican pollster for a political action committee aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“Voters still want change,” Strimple said, and Trump cannot simply “transfer his brand” to candidates who fail to establish their own outsider credentials.

Strange emphasized Trump’s endorsements, delivered via Twitter and in recorded phone calls to voters — in the state where Trump remains deeply popular among GOP voters.

“He knows I’m the person in this race who is going to help him make this country great again,” Strange said, thanking Trump Tuesday night. He said the runoff will show “who is best suited to stand with the people of this country — with our president — to make sure we make America great again.”

Trump tweeted congratulations Wednesday to both Moore and Strange “for being the final two.”

“Exciting race!” the president wrote.

Strange was Alabama’s attorney general before being appointed to the Senate by Gov. Robert Bentley, who soon resigned in scandal. Strange said he did Bentley no favors, but his challengers questioned the ethics of seeking the appointment while investigating the governor.

Moore has a loyal following among evangelicals, but is a polarizing figure. His harshest critics call him the “Ayatollah of Alabama” and accuse him of intertwining his personal religious beliefs and judicial responsibilities.

Moore wore his ousters from the bench as badges of honor, telling Republican voters they are like battle scars.

“He’s the only one who hasn’t been talking crap about the others,” said Jimmy Wright, who voted for Moore in rural Gallant in northeast Alabama.

But in Montgomery, retired teacher Tommy Goggans said he voted to try to keep Moore from winning. “He’s been kicked out of everything he’s done.”

Jones, the Democratic nominee, served as a U.S. attorney during the Clinton administration and is backed by former Vice President Joe Biden. He’s perhaps best known for leading the prosecution that finally resulted in convictions for two Klansmen in the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four little girls.

Alabama hasn’t sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in 20 years, but Jones says they can’t concede without a fight.

“I think there are enough people in the state who are yearning for new leadership and a change,” Jones said.


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Rav Bakshi-Doron Will Not Enter Prison Despite Conviction

After a long arduous trial in which he was found guilty of fraud, sentence was handed down on Thursday, 25 Menachem Av on former Rishon L’Tzion HaGaon HaRav Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron Shlita. It was decided that the rav will not be imprisoned but will pay a fine in the amount of 250,000 shekels as part of the plea bargain reached with the prosecution.

The judge of the Jerusalem District Court, Justice Tzvi Segal, accepted the plea bargain between Rav Bakshi-Doron and the State Attorney’s Office, and approved the financial punishment imposed on the rabbi and the penalty of imprisonment.

The law-breaking activities included in the conviction took place between 1999 to 2003, connected to Rabbi Yitzchak Ochana, who was in charge of the Chief Rabbinate testing unit. He sold Chief Rabbinate of Israel rabbinical ordination certificates to persons who used them to advance their careers and increase their salaries; including members of the Israel Police and Israel Prison Authority. Rav Doron turned a blind eye to the illegal operation and he did not profit at all.

The parties reached a plea bargain two weeks ago, in view of the rabbi’s health, when the State Attorney’s Office agreed to receive a suspended sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment and a fine of NIS 250,000, when the rabbi would no longer receive the pension benefits.

In the sentence, the judge wrote that in light of the plea bargain, the rabbi’s medical condition, advanced age, and the assumption that he did not show consent to the public’s safety and to change other offenses, I did not find that the defendant should be punished with imprisonment, By means of service work, and I therefore decided to respect the plea bargain, even though the agreed sentence far exceeds the level of punishment that is actually appropriate.”

Earlier, the judge reviewed the sentences of others convicted in the case, and wrote that. “I found that the defendant’s punishment range ranged from 20 months to five years in prison, along with a substantial fine and suspended imprisonment. If the rabbi’s difficult personal circumstances were not serious, he would be willing to impose a real prison term on him.”

In the vicinity of Rishon L’Tzion Rabbi Bakshi-Doron, they praised the decision and the end of the affair that haunted him during the difficult days he was undergoing, because of his illness, which requires daily treatment, and his associates made it clear that the entire case fell on the rabbi as a thunderstorm, and certainly he did not act deliberately, and certainly did not take a shekel to pocket as the judge wrote in the judgment.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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Trump’s First Campaign Manager Joins Super PAC Backing Him

President Donald Trump’s first campaign manager is joining a growing outside political effort dedicated to helping him.

Corey Lewandowski will be a senior adviser and spokesman for a super PAC called America First Action.

That group and a related nonprofit aim to boost Trump’s legislative agenda and the political candidates the president supports.

Lewandowski led Trump’s unexpectedly successful Republican primary campaign. He left the campaign after assaulting a reporter.

Yet Lewandowski and Trump have remained close. The two frequently talk, and Lewandowski occasionally travels with him. That close relationship could prove a challenge for maintaining the necessary legal distance between Trump’s already operational re-election campaign and the super PAC.

By law candidates may not direct the spending of an outside group that does not face donation limits.


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TERROR IN BARCELONA: Van Slams Into Dozens Of People Near Kosher Restaurant; 13 Dead, 50 Injured

A white van jumped up onto a sidewalk and sped down a pedestrian zone Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, swerving from side to side as it plowed into tourists and residents. Police said 13 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the terror attack.

Video posted to social media show emergency services at the scene. Some images show injured people in front of “Maccabi“, which is a Shomer Shabbos, Kosher restaurant.

– 13 Dead
– 50 Wounded
– 1 Suspect In Custody, 1 Shot Dead

— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 17, 2017

The attack left people sprawled out on the ground in the city in northeastern Spain, some spattered with blood, others with broken limbs. As witnesses and emergency workers tried to help the wounded, police brandishing hand guns launched a search of side streets amid reports that at least one perpetrator and maybe more were holed up in a nearby bar.

Police immediately cordoned off the city’s broad avenue, which is popular with tourists, and ordered stores and nearby Metro and train stations to close. They asked people to stay away from the area so as not to get in the way of emergency services. A helicopter hovered over the scene.

A few hours later, Catalan police tweeted: “We have arrested one man and we are treating him as a terrorist.” They said no one was holed up in a Barcelona bar but began to evacuate stores on the sprawling avenue where dozens of people had taken cover.

State-owned broadcaster RTVE reported that investigators think two vans were used — one for the attack and a second as a getaway vehicle.

WATCH: Scene after van plows pedestrians in Barcelona, Spain

— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 17, 2017

Las Ramblas, a street of stalls and shops that cuts through the center of Barcelona, is one of the city’s top tourist destinations. People walk down a wide, pedestrian path in the center of the street but cars can travel on either side.

A taxi driver who witnessed the attack, Oscar Cano, told TV3 the van jumped onto the central pedestrian area at a high speed and swerved from side to side.

In photographs and videos, at least five people could be seen lying on the ground in the street Thursday afternoon, being helped by police and others. Other video recorded people screaming as they fled the van.

Keith Fleming, an American who lives in Barcelona, was watching TV in his building just off Las Ramblas when he heard a noise and went out to his balcony.

“I saw women and children just running and they looked terrified,” he said.

He said there was a bang — possibly from someone rolling down a store shutter — and more people ran by. Then police arrived and pushed everyone a full block away. Even people leaning out of doors were being told to go back inside, he said.

Fleming said regular police with guns drawn and riot police were at the end of his block, which was soon deserted.

“It’s just kind of a tense situation,” Fleming said. “Clearly, people were scared.”

Carol Augustin, a manager at La Palau Moja, an 18th-century place on Las Ramblas that houses government offices and a tourism center, said the van passed right in front of the building.

“We saw everything. People started screaming and running into the office. It was such a chaotic situation. There were families with children. The police made us close the doors and wait inside,” she said.

U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!”

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered assistance to authorities in Spain and said U.S. diplomats in Spain were helping Americans there. He vowed the United States would never relent in tracking down terror suspects and holding them to account.

“Terrorists around the world should know that the United States and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice,” Tillerson said in a statement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.K. “stands with Spain against terror.” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said “this cowardly attack has deliberately targeted those enjoying life and sharing time with family and friends. We will never be cowed by such barbarism.”

Spain has been on a security alert one step below the maximum since June 2015 following attacks elsewhere in Europe and Africa. Spanish police have also been involved in the arrests of more than 200 suspected jihadis since then.

Cars, trucks and vans have been the weapon of choice in multiple extremist attacks in Europe in the last year.

The most deadly was the driver of a tractor-trailer who targeted Bastille Day revelers in the southern French city of Nice in July 2016, killing 86 people. In December 2016, 12 people died after a driver used a hijacked trick to drive into a Christmas market in Berlin.

There have been multiple attacks this year in London, where a man in a rented SUV plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four people before he ran onto the grounds of Parliament and stabbed an unarmed police officer to death in March.

Four other men drove onto the sidewalk of London Bridge, unleashing a rampage with knives that killed eight people in June. Another man also drove into pedestrians leaving a London mosque later in June.


— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 17, 2017

The most deadly was the driver of a tractor-trailer who targeted Bastille Day revelers in the southern French city of Nice in July 2016, killing 86 people. In December 2016, 12 people died after a driver used a hijacked trick to drive into a market in Berlin.

There have been multiple attacks this year in London, where a man in a rented SUV plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four people before he ran onto the grounds of Parliament and stabbed an unarmed police officer to death in March.

Four other men drove onto the sidewalk of London Bridge, unleashing a rampage with knives that killed eight people in June. Another man also drove into pedestrians leaving a London mosque later in June.


People in Macabbi Kosher restaurant locked inside until police evacuate them People in Macabbi Kosher restaurant locked inside until police evacuate them

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Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Who Oversaw Ivanka Geirus, Slams Trump’s Charlottesville Response

The following is via CNN:

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, the Rabbi who oversaw Ivanka Trump’s conversion to Judaism criticized her father’s response to Charlottesville in a letter to his congregation.

In the letter, which was obtained by CNN, Rabbi Emeritus Haskel Lookstein, along with Rabbis Chaim Steinmetz and Elie Weinstock, slammed President Donald Trump’s response, saying they are “deeply troubled” by his comments.

“While we always avoid politics, we are deeply troubled by the moral equivalency and equivocation President Trump has offered in his response to this act of violence,” they wrote in the letter to members of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, a Modern Orthodox synagogue on New York’s Upper East Side.

They also wrote they condemned the “monstrous act of murder” that killed Heather Heyer.

“We are appalled by this resurgence of bigotry and antisemitism, and the renewed vigor of the neo-Nazis, KKK and alt-right,” they wrote.

New York Magazine first reported the letter.

Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, have not publicly addressed the President’s comments on Charlottesville, in which he has blamed “both sides” for inciting violence.

But Ivanka Trump did condemn the hate groups present in Charlottesville over the weekend, tweeting: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”

1:2 There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.

— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) August 13, 2017

She continued: “2:2 We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED. #Charlottesville”

2:2 We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED. #Charlottesville

— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) August 13, 2017


On Thursday, YWN published that the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) slammed Trump in a statement which read in part:

“There is no moral comparison,” said Rabbi Elazar Muskin, president of the RCA. “Failure to unequivocally reject hatred and bias is a failing of moral leadership and fans the flames of intolerance and chauvinism. While as a rabbinic organization we prefer to address issues and not personalities, this situation rises above partisan politics and therefore we are taking the unusual approach to directly comment on the words of the President.”


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Anti-Muslim Australian Senator Wears Burqa In Parliament

An Australian senator provoked an angry backlash from lawmakers by wearing a burqa in Parliament on Thursday as part of her campaign for a national ban on Islamic face covers.

Pauline Hanson, leader of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigration One Nation minor party, sat wearing the black head-to-ankle garment for more than 10 minutes before taking it off as she rose to explain that she wanted such outfits banned on national security grounds.

“There has been a large majority of Australians (who) wish to see the banning of the burka,” said Hanson, an outspoken fan of President Donald Trump, as senators objected.

Attorney-General George Brandis drew applause when he said his government would not ban the burqa, and chastised Hanson for what he described as a “stunt” that offended Australia’s Muslim minority.

“To ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments is an appalling thing to do and I would ask you to reflect on what you have done,” Brandis said.

Opposition Senate leader Penny Wong told Hanson: “It is one thing to wear religious dress as a sincere act of faith; it is another to wear it as a stunt here in the Senate.”

Sam Dastyari, an opposition senator and an Iranian-born Muslim, said: “We have seen the stunt of all stunts in this chamber by Sen. Hanson.”

“The close to 500,000 Muslim Australians do not deserve to be targeted, do not deserve to be marginalized, do not deserve to be ridiculed, do not deserve to have their faith made some political point by the desperate leader of a desperate political party,” Dastyari said.

Senate President Stephen Parry said Hanson’s identity had been confirmed before she entered the chamber. He also said he would not dictate the standards of dress for the chamber.

Parliament House briefly segregated women wearing burqas and niqabs in 2014. The department that runs Parliament House said that “persons with facial coverings” would no longer be allowed in the building’s open public galleries. Instead, they were to be directed to galleries usually reserved for noisy schoolchildren, where they could sit behind soundproof glass.

The policy was branded a “burqa ban” and was widely condemned as a segregation of Muslim women, as well as a potential breach of anti-discrimination laws.

Officials relented, allowing people wearing face coverings in all public areas of Parliament House after the coverings were removed temporarily at the building’s front door so that staff can check the visitor’s identity.

The reason behind the segregation was never explained, but it seems to have been triggered by a rumor on Sydney talk radio that men dressed in burqas were planning an anti-Muslim demonstration in Parliament House.


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Six-Year-Old Goes Into Cardiac Arrest From A Snake Bite In The Golan Heights

A 6-year-old boy was bitten by a Palestinian Viper snake during a family outing in the Golan Heights. The child went into cardiac arrest.

Harel Deshen arrived with his parents Tirzah and Yakir to visit friends who were camping nearby an area pool. As they were walking, Harel suddenly felt a burning pain in his left leg, telling his parents immediately. His parents were not able to see what occurred, or what caused the injury, nor did they realize the seriousness of his injury. They headed to the camping site and with the help of a flashlight, they saw the two red marks on Harel’s skin and realized he had been bitten by a poisonous snake.

As they called Magen David Adom, they ran with Harel towards the road from the camping area, a 15 minutes hike, with a dispatcher explaining an ambulance was heading towards them, to meet them at the road. Dad explained Harel was not feeling well and was having difficulty breathing. He also vomited and showed other signs of his condition deteriorating.

Harel was transported to the emergency room of Ziff Hospital in Tzefas, where he went into cardiac arrest. CPR was begun and B”H, was successful.

Dr. Moti Eini, a senior intensive care physician at Ziff explained that the child went into cardiac arrest as a result of his blood pressure dropping, which was the result of the body going into anaphylactic shock.

After successful CPR, Harel was moved to an intensive care unit, in a medically induced coma and on assisted breathing. He was also given anti venom.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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PHOTOS: 519 Reasons To Ride 180 Miles With Bike4Chai


I’m riding in memory of someone who died of cancer.” “I’m riding in hopes of a refuah shlayma for someone I love.” “I’m riding for the kids.” “I’m riding to keep up with my grandson.” “I’m riding for those who can’t.”

Each of the 519 cyclists who have cycled 110 miles with Bike4Chai today has a special reason for driving himself to the edge of exhaustion. What they have in common is the will to help others, a love for Chai Lifeline’s children, and the competitive drive to challenge each other to get in shape, cycle, and raise money to help children with illnesses and their families find hope and normalcy as they cope with the medical, social, emotional, and financial challenges of living with serious illness or loss in their homes.

The event began on Tuesday night with what Rabbi Sruli Fried, executive director of Bike4Chai and the director of Chai Lifeline’s New Jersey region, called “The pasta party to end all pasta parties.” Truthfully, pasta was almost an afterthought in the gourmet buffet, which featured an unending selection of delicious meats, vegetables, grains, sushi, and finally, fettuccine. The atmosphere was festive and the tone light as the group toasted corporate teams and fundraising clubs.

The buzzing came to an abrupt halt, though, when Miriam Tokarsky, a Chai Lifeline child and Camp Simcha camper, approached the microphone. It wasn’t the hat that shielded her bald head or the crutches that made it possible for her to walk that quieted the room. It was the light in her eyes and her glow when she described Camp Simcha that caused everyone’s throats to momentarily tighten.

“My friends (from before I became sick) don’t really understand what I’m going through,” she said. “But at Camp Simcha everyone knows. And for two weeks every year, I get to do all the things that everyone else can do. I get to be with friends who really get it. Camp Simcha is my happy place.”


The two-day ride, which began in Connecticut on Wednesday morning, is famous among bicycle enthusiasts for the quality of its hills and the pampering received by riders. This year’s ride did not disappoint.

Bike4Chai director Yoel Margolese explained that every year the ride is tweaked based on feedback from previous cyclists. “No matter how challenging we make it, there are those who say, ‘More hills’ or “harder hills” and we try to oblige. Bike4Chai’s board of directors spends months developing the route. This year, they seem to have succeeded. Several veteran riders commented that this was the most enjoyable Bike4Chai rider in years.

The combination of a challenging course, the group’s camaraderie and the mission for which they cycle has appealed to several professional athletes. Bike4Chai 2017 was joined by Cadel Evans, who won the Tour de France in 2011, 17-time Tour de France competitor George Hincapie, two former NFL players, Amani Toomer, and Tony Richardson, and New York Ranger legend Mike Richter.

Bike4Chai began in 2009 by Dovid Egert as a one-person ride from Lakewood, NJ to Camp Simcha in Glen Spey, NY. The idea took off, and each year, more cyclists joined. Now, the ride stretches through three states in two days. It raises funds for Chai Lifeline, the international children’s health support network. Chai Lifeline’ programs provide emotional, social, and financial support to children with life-threatening or lifelong illnesses and their families.


Tomorrow, after cycling an additional 65 or 75 miles (depending on the route each rider chooses), the 519 cyclists will regroup and ride into Camp Simcha together. They will pass through The World’s Greatest Finish Line to be greeted by the 120 campers and close to 300 staff members of Camp Simcha Special.

Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive vice president of Chai Lifeline, noted that the triumphant parade of bicycles is always emotional, no matter how many times he has seen it. “Bike4Chai brings out the best in people. Cyclists are competing not to win but to motivate others to become involved in the work of Chai Lifeline. Knowing that so many people care about them inspires our kids and their families to keep going through the hills that they climb every day.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, Bike4Chai 2017 raised $8,262,978.15!


1. Chai Lifeline is an international children’s health support network whose mission is bring joy and hope to children and families fighting pediatric illness through creative, innovative, and effective family-focused activities, programs, and services.

2. The organization offers 24 programs and services to meet the emotional, social, and financial needs of children with life-threatening or lifelong illnesses, their families, and communities.

3. All services and programs are free of charge, including transportation from child’s home city.

4. Chai Lifeline’s staff is augmented by more than 5,000 volunteers who visit hospitals and homes to spread happiness to children and provide respite and friendship to their families. They act as Big Brothers and Sisters, friends and mentors to sick children and their siblings, and provide stability and an extra adult presence in the lives of children in crisis.

5. Chai Lifeline is headquartered in New York City, serving families in all 50 states through a network of regional offices in New York; Lakewood, New Jersey; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, Illinois; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Los Angeles, California. International affiliates are located in London, England; Toronto, Ontario, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Jerusalem, Israel; and Antwerp, Belgium.

6. This year Chai Lifeline will touch the lives of more than 5,000 children and their families.

7. Chai Lifeline’s annual budget exceeds $20 million. Their funding comes from individuals, foundations, and corporate supporters. Chai Lifeline is a registered 501(C)(3) charity (Employer ID 11-2940331). The agency is audited annually by Loeb & Troper LLP.

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