In Israel, Jewish Divorce Is Only Granted By Husband’s Permission

In Israel, religious law governs family matters.

For a Jewish divorce, an Orthodox rabbi oversees a ritual that begins with the husband placing a folded decree into the wife’s cupped hands. But that paper can be hard to get, because the husband can refuse to grant the divorce.

A new Israeli film playing in the U.S. shows how patriarchal Jewish divorce laws can trap even secular women for years.

The film is a drama called Gett: The trial of Viviane Ansalem. Viviane wants a divorce but needs her husband’s permission.

The scene is a small courtroom, one couple and their advocates in front of three Orthodox rabbis. In Israel, if you’re Jewish, even if you’re not religious, you have to be divorced by Jewish law.

But rabbi-judges cannot decree a divorce. Read more

NYC Councillor: Proud to Wear My Kippah In Ramallah

NYC Councillor David Greenfield gained some fame last week when he refused to remove his kippah (skullcap) despite being asked to do so by US security personnel in Ramallah.

As part of a group from the New York City Council, Greenfield had gone to Ramallah last Sunday to speak with officials, including members of the local city council. Read more

Was Nemtsov Murder Caught on Tape?

The murder of Boris Nemtsov, a political foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was publicly critical of the government, was reportedly caught on tape.

Nemtsov, 55, a first deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, was killed near the Kremlin late Friday, a day before his planned protest against the Russian government, as he walked from a restaurant after having dinner with his girlfriend, Ukrainian model Anna Duritskaya.

On Friday evening, Nemtsov and Duritskaya left the restaurant and began walking to Nemtsov’s apartment. They reportedly walked across a bridge, where a white car drove up. Then, Nemtsov was shot four times. Read more

Authorities Seize $19M Worth of Pot In California

It was one hemp of a haul.

Federal authorities seized more than 15 tons of marijuana at a border crossing in Southern California, authorities said.

More than 1,200 packages of pot, valued at nearly $19 million, were seized Thursday from a truck — making it the second-largest bust ever in a single incident at a U.S. border crossing.

The illegal load, hidden among mattresses and cushions, was picked up by X-ray at the Otay Mesa border crossing, according to the L.A. Times.

The near-record bust came just shy of the 35,265 pounds seized in 2013.

NYPD Searching For Missing Autistic Man

NEW YORK – The NYPD is asking for your help in finding a missing autistic man.

20-year-old Brian Gewirtz was last seen on February 17th after he left his home in Marine Park for a walk.

At the time — he was wearing a black jacket, maroon striped sweater, and construction boots.

He’s about 5’4 and weighs 130 pounds.

He doesn’t carry a wallet but his parents say he’s able to tell someone his address and phone number.

If you’ve seen Brian or know where he may be — please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-tips.

Rabbi Accused Of Videotaping Women In Mikvah Resigns From University

Maryland – An Orthodox rabbi who pleaded guilty to videotaping nude women in a ritual bath in Washington has resigned from his post at Towson University in Maryland.

WJZ-TV reports that Barry Freundel, who pleaded guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism and admitted to secretly videotaping women in the changing room of a ritual bath in a Washington synagogue for years, turned in his resignation letter to Towson University on Thursday.

Freundel was an adjunct professor at both Towson and Georgetown universities.

His resignation is effective March 27.‎

ADL Denounces Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s Susan Rice Attack Ad In NY Times

New York – The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) strongly criticized an ad in Saturday’s (Feb 28) New York Times calling National Security Advisor Susan Rice “blind” to genocide.

The full page ad, placed by This World: The Values Network run by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, runs through a litany of personal attacks on Ambassador Rice’s character and asserts that her criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu merits special condemnation because of “her pattern of callous disregard for genocide.”

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

Whatever concerns one may have about disagreements between the United States and Israel or about the Iran negotiations, there is no justification for this incendiary personal attack.

The spurious and perverse association of criticism of Israel’s prime minister with ignoring genocide not only poisons the discourse on a vital global security issue, it trivializes the horrific nature of genocide and the memory of its victims.

Neither the security of Israel, nor the debate on Iran, are served by this ad on the eve of Ambassador Rice’s address to AIPAC. It is not only an ugly distraction from the real issue, it is reckless.

German Police Increase Security of Jewish Institutes

Police in the German city of Bremen warned Saturday of a potential danger from Islamic extremists there and stepped up security measures and said they had increased their presence in the city centre and stepped up protection of the Jewish community.

Officials received indications of an elevated risk from violent Islamic extremists on Friday evening, police in the northwestern city said in a statement. They gave no further details of the nature of the potential threat.

They said in a statement Saturday they had searched an Islamic culture centre, detained several people for identity checks and arrested one person in connection with the measures.

“Since yesterday evening the authorities in Bremen have indications, based on knowledge from the police, the domestic intelligence agency and a federal authority, of an increased threat from Islamist extremists,” the police statement said.

Police said they stepped up their presence in the city and, as a precaution, increased security for the Jewish community.

The warning comes amid heightened concern in Europe about terrorism following attacks this year in Paris and Copenhagen.

In mid-February, police in the northern German city of Braunschweig canceled a Carnival street parade over fears of a terrorist attack.

Europe Turns To Israeli Know-How To Fight Terror

The images from last week’s terror attacks in Paris were not foreign to Israeli eyes; and it’s safe to assume that among the means and measures employed by the French security forces were products of the Israeli commercial security industry.

Don’t expect confirmation of this; confidentiality agreements and the fact that the use of Israeli-made measures is an increasingly touchy issue will keep things under wraps. Nevertheless, the use of these Israeli-produced security measures is likely to increase from now. Read more