Radio Shalom Montreal Defends Israeli Consul

In response to a scathing letter published internationally by French commentator Dora Marrache and comments made by French contributors Guy Hadad and Eric Le Ray, the leadership of Radio Shalom Montreal has released an official statement.

Last week, Marrache and company, upset that their pro-Israel activities were not recognized by Israeli Consul General Joel Lion, in the form of an invite to his private Israeli Independance Day party, went on a blistering world wide attack against the Consul.  In her missive, Marrache accused the Consul of not being as pro-Israel as her and her counterparts.

Her arguments were based on a debate the Consul took part in with National Post columnist Barbara Kay. In the debate, the Consul explained that he felt that Israel did not have to be defended, but rather promoted. He advised ignoring anti-Israel public remarks and working towards the promotion of the good things happening in Israel.

Marrache took exception. In a letter published across Europe, Marrache cited examples of media bias countered by her and her collegues. She condemned the Consul for his stand and even alluded to the fact that perhaps his religiosity got in the way of his viewing of Israeli public relations. Near the end of the letter, Marrache admitted that her motivation for criticising the Consul was that she wasn’t invited to his private party. Hadad and Le Ray picked up the cause and further distributed and condemned the Consul General, including accusing him of being influenced by some of his non-Zionist friends.

The Radio Shalom letter:


Australian Govt Launches Religious Sex Abuse Inquiry

Manny Waks, himself an alleged victim of sexual abuse as a pupil at the Melbourne Yeshiva, has welcomed a Victorian parliamentary investigation into criminal abuse by all religious entities.

Premier Ted Baillieu told media  that “we regard child abuse as abhorrent”. The investigation will cover all religions and will be given the power to make the availability of evidence compulsory.

Waks told J-Wire: “As a former victim of sexual abuse within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, I welcome the Baillieu Government’s decision to launch a wide-ranging inquiry into how religious organisations in Victoria have handled child abuse allegations.

While over the years, based on a range of reports, the Catholic Church has been the major public culprit in the way they have handled sexual abuse allegations, clearly they are not the only ones within the religious sphere. From my own experience and knowledge I can testify that there has been widespread sexual abuse against many children within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Victoria, which was practically common knowledge to both community members and its leaders.

What has also become abundantly clear is that the mishandling of these cases of abuse by the ultra-Orthodox institutions has been negligent if not criminal. There have been numerous examples where victims and their families have been made to suffer, subsequent to the abuse, by these institutions and their leaders, especially when they have sought to seek justice. There are also a number of cases in which these religious institutions and their leaders irresponsibly removed paedophiles from their institution without ensuring justice for the victims and ignoring the safety of other children, who in some cases were later abused by the same perpetrator.

From my personal experience I hold the Yeshivah Centre directly responsible for the widespread sexual abuse that has gone on there over many years. They knew about it yet failed to act. Through their mixed messages, non-cooperation with the authorities and insensitivity I am deeply concerned that the Yeshivah Centre has not understood the gravity of the situation, nor how they should deal with these serious allegations. They are continuing the victimise the former victims and their families. They are being disingenuous when they claim to be doing all they can for the victims and the police—in fact it is an outright lie.

I am convinced that this wide-ranging inquiry—including the ability to compel witnesses to testify—would uncover more evidence of abuse and cover-ups.

For the sake of justice for past victims and for the future safety of our children, this proposed course of action is imperative—it is indeed long overdue. No institution should be above the law and it is about time these religious institutions are held to account. In our case, many of the former victims of the Yeshivah Centre plan to hold that institution and its leaders to full account in due course.”

The Victorian Government announced the enquiry in the following joint statement by the Premier Baillieu and Attorney-General Robert Clark…

The Victorian Coalition Government today announced the establishment of a Parliamentary inquiry into matters relating to the handling of alleged criminal abuse of children by religious and other organisations.

The inquiry will have broad terms of reference to consider the practices, policies and protocols of religious and other non-government organisations for the handling of allegations of criminal abuse of children by personnel within their organisations.

The inquiry will also have the power to assess any measures put in place to respond to alleged abuse and to make any necessary recommendations for changes to the law or to relevant policies and practices.

A focus of the inquiry will be on identifying reforms that can and should be put in place to better protect children and ensure that instances of abuse are responded to properly and effectively. In doing so, the inquiry will have the power to consider evidence of past policies, practices and abuse.

The Government has decided to establish the inquiry after giving careful consideration to the report and recommendations of the Cummins Inquiry and to the material put before it by many individuals and groups.

It is clear that there have been a substantial number of established complaints of sexual abuse of children by those who have taken advantage of positions of authority. This abuse has had traumatic consequences for victims and their families.

While the investigation and prosecution of individual cases of abuse are matters for the police and the courts, the broader and systemic implications of this abuse need to be investigated to ensure that everything possible is done to protect children.

The inquiry will be conducted by the bipartisan Family and Community Development Committee of Parliament. It will have powers to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence and to summons documents necessary for its deliberations.

All evidence and proceedings will be subject to Parliamentary privilege, and the inquiry will be able to take evidence in private hearings where it considers it appropriate in the interests of victims or for other reasons.

The Government has concluded that a Parliamentary inquiry is the most appropriate form for the inquiry to take. A Parliamentary inquiry will be able to proceed in a less formal and legalistic manner than a Royal Commission, and with no expectation that persons giving evidence will be required to have legal representation.

The Government extends its appreciation to the many individuals and organisations who have contacted the Government and provided accounts of their experiences. The Government also welcomes recent commitments by senior church figures to co-operate with an inquiry.

The terms of reference for the inquiry were approved by the Governor in Council earlier today and are set out below.

The Family and Community Development Committee is requested to inquire into, consider and report to the Parliament on the processes by which religious and other non-government organisations respond to the criminal abuse of children by personnel within their organisations, including:

    the practices, policies and protocols in such organisations for the handling of allegations of criminal abuse of children, including measures put in place by variousorganisations in response to concerns about such abuse within the organisation or the potential for such abuse to occur;
    whether there are systemic practices in such organisations that operate to preclude or discourage the reporting of suspected criminal abuse of children to State authorities;
    and whether changes to law or to practices, policies and protocols in such organisations are required to help prevent criminal abuse of children by personnel in such organisations and to deal with allegations of such abuse.

In undertaking the inquiry, the Committee should be mindful of not encroaching upon the responsibilities of investigatory agencies or the courts in relation to particular cases or prejudicing the conduct or outcome of investigations or court proceedings.

The investigation has been given one year to prepare its report.

Source: Jwire

Pollard to Stay in Prison: Obama Administration

The Obama administration has said “no” to releasing Jonathan Pollard from prison. The decision is final “at this point,” according to Israeli sources.

Israel will not tell the US when to release Pollard, Israel Radio quoted US officials as saying Tuesday. However, Israeli sources believe that the US position may be softening, and that perhaps Pollard may be released closer to President Shimon Peres’s scheduled US visit this summer.

Some Israeli commentators believe that a letter sent by Peres to the Obama administration regarding Pollard’s release this week was “too much,” and that it made it more difficult for the US president to accommodate his Israeli counterpart’s wishes.

Pollard was discharged from the North Carolina hospital to which he was medically evacuated on April 4, and he is now undergoing treatment in a prison clinic. He is reportedly suffering from dizziness and drastic weight loss.

Pollard was convicted of spying on the US for Israel. Several Democratic and Republican administrations have repeatedly rejected Israeli appeals for his release.

Israel claims that Pollard does not pose a national security threat to the US, and that he should be released on humanitarian grounds because of his failing health.

Source: The Times of Israel

Sometimes we have to clarify information

As a journalist you rely on your sources to provide you with the full and accurate information, then you take this information, process it and report it. Sometimes in the rush to get things out, you miss a few nuances in the conversation.

So allow me to clarify then situation regarding the firings of most of the Administration:

As far as I’ve been told, none of the administrators listed as fired will be returning to the school next year.

While it is true that most of them were summarily dismissed, Laurence Fhima was offered another position in the school at a lower salary. She has the option to stay if she accepts the demotion.

Adina Matas, Principal of JPPS was approached before Passover with discussions revolving around who will run the elementary school next year. Negotiations will continue in two weeks, upon the return of Neal Creme who is currently on The March of The Living.

I apologize for any confusion the original post caused.

Pollard Rushed to Hospital – Prayers Needed

Jonathan Pollard, convicted of spying for Israel and serving a life sentence without parole for 26 years, was rushed to a hospital emergency room near his Butner, North Carolina penitentiary early Friday after suffering from extreme pain, sources close to him said Friday.

Ashkenazi chief rabbi Yonah Metzger called upon Jews around the world to pray during the Passover holiday for the health and freedom of Pollard, whose Hebrew name is Yehonatan Ben-Malka.

President Shimon Peres will meet Sunday with MKs Uri Ariel and Ronit Tirosh who will hand him a letter for US President Barack Obama asking for the release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

The letter bears the signatures of 80 Israeli lawmakers. Peres’s office told Arutz Sheva that Israel’s president is working hand in hand with the leaders of the Freedom for Pollard Committee to maximize efforts to secure his release.

Last week, Peres bureau chief Efrat Duvdevani and other senior staffers made arrangements for the President to receive and deliver the letter to Obama.

The President’s Office noted that Peres will next meet with Obama in June to formally request Pollard’s release on behalf of the citizens of Israel.

Peres also requested Pollard’s release during his last meeting with Obama, following the AIPAC conference in early March.

Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy, has been serving a life sentence since 1987 for one count of conspiracy to deliver national security information to a foreign government. He was not allowed to attend the recent funeral of his father. Pollard’s wife Esther warned that his health was deteriorating.

Source: Arutz 7