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S must include "sovereignty" in Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act.

The final wording of the US Embassy Jerusalem and Recognition Act removed references to Jerusalem as part of Israel and gave no assurance that Jerusalem would remain the exclusive capital of Israel. Contact Editor
David Bedein, 10/12/17 09:06

[David Michael Cohen]
David Bedein
The writer is director of Israel Resource News Agency and heads the Center for Near East Policy Research, author of Genesis of the Palestinian Authority and Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA Policies Reconsidered. More from the author ?

President Trump did Israel a favor when he delayed the US embassy move to Jerusalem. ?

Current wording of the US Embassy Relocation Act would move the embassy to Jerusalem, yet deprive Israel of sovereignty in Jerusalem.

The U.S. Embassy Relocation Act does not jofficially recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel. The wording of Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act in 1995, as passed into law, reads as follows:

  1. Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.

  2. Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel.

?As a journalist, I cover?ed events in the US capitol when Congress passed the "US Embassy Jerusalem and Recognition Act" in October 1995 ?
There was speculation at the time that the US would abandon its policy from 1948 that all of Jerusalem must be a "corpus separatum"– an international zone apart from Israel.

Yet the final wording of the US Embassy Jerusalem and Recognition Act removed references to Jerusalem as part of Israel and gave no assurance that Jerusalem would remain the exclusive capital of Israel.

Instead, the US Embassy Relocation Act reinforced two archaic rules of US policy which date from 1948: Not to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel, and to define Jerusalem as an "international zone".

The assassination of the UN envoy to Jerusalem in September 1948 suspended negotiations over the status of Jerusalem. However, nothing canceled these US policies.

The implications of the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act are not lost on American citizens whose children were born in Jerusalem and whose children's U.S. passports said "Jerusalem", with no country listed, as their place of birth. For that reason, American citizens in Jerusalem initiated a class action lawsuit which reached the U.S. Supreme Court last year, with a demand to stamp Jerusalem, Israel on their passports.

The family of Ben Blutstein, an American student murdered by a terror bomb in July 2002 while having lunch in the Frank Sinatra cafeteria at the Hebrew University, still cannot get the US State Department to allow his US death certificate to read "Jerusalem, Israel."

Spokespeople of the US State Department made it clear that under ?current law, even if the US embassy moves to Jerusalem, US birth and death certificates will still be stamped "?Jerusalem", with no country.

If the US embassy moves to Jerusalem under current law, that would establish a "de jure" precedent that the embassy could move – yet with no Israel sovereignty in Jerusalem.

If the US still does not recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel, the next time Israel objects to an Arab education curriculum in Jerusalem, and the next time Israel objects to a given policy at the ?Temple Mount? , the US can repeat the mantra ?that ?"Jerusalem does not belong to you."

?Why, then, the vocal Arab resentment and the overwhelming Jewish enthusiasm over the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act? ??
It is doubtful whether either side has read the wording of the legislation.

The time is opportune to amend the US Embassy Relocation Act, so as to clarify the permanent legal status of Israel in Jerusalem to be in tune with what President Trump said when declaring Jerusalem the official capital of Israel..

The real challenge will be whether the U.S. will do so.

Such a policy change remains much more significant than the move of the U.S. embassy.

US State Department, Sovereignty

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White House mum on report Secretary of State will be fired State Department: Communication with PLO not frozen

New Protests Erupt in Muslim, Arab World Against Trump's Jerusalem Decision Last Updated: December 10, 2017 12:33 PM

Ken Bredemeier
Fern Robinson

Protesters set a U.S flag on fire near the U.S. Embassy in Awkar north of Beirut, Lebanon, Dec. 10,2017.
Protesters set a U.S flag on fire near the U.S. Embassy in Awkar north of Beirut, Lebanon, Dec. 10,2017.

A new wave of protests against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital erupted Sunday in parts of the Muslim and Arab world.

Lebanese security forces outside the U.S. Embassy in Beirut fired water cannons and tear gas to beat back Lebanese and Palestinian protesters who hurled projectiles at the embassy and burned Trump in effigy, along with U.S. and Israeli flags.

Protesters hold a rally outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, to condemn the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Dec. 10, 2017.
Protesters hold a rally outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, to condemn the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Dec. 10, 2017.

In Indonesia, home to the world's largest population of Muslims, thousands of protesters mounted a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Jakarta, while other protests occurred in Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt and the Palestinian territories bordering Israel.

Police in the Swedish city of Gothenburg arrested three people for allegedly throwing firebombs at a synagogue. A police spokesman said Sunday the incident is being investigated as attempted arson. No one was hurt in the incident.

Officials in Stockholm say security has been tightened around a synagogue in the capital.

Israeli police said a security guard was stabbed and seriously wounded near the Jerusalem bus terminal. His attacker was arrested.

Netanyahu in Paris

Before he left late Saturday for meetings with European leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked what he said was their hypocrisy in condemning Trump's decision to eventually move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, where most foreign governments have their embassies in Israel.

"While I respect Europe, I am not prepared to accept a double standard from it," Netanyahu said. "I hear voices from there condemning President Trump's historic statement, but I have not heard condemnations of the rockets fired at Israel or the terrible incitement against it. I am not prepared to accept this hypocrisy."

French President Emmanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a joint news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Dec. 10, 2017.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a joint news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Dec. 10, 2017.

After meeting with Netanyahu, French President Emmanuel Macron condemned attacks on Israel, but said he opposes Trump's decision on Jerusalem. Macron described it as a "breach of international law and at risk for peace. In risk for peace because I believe these statements do not serve security, including the security of Israel and the Israelis."

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, defended Trump's decision in an interview on CNN. She said Israel already has numerous government agencies in Jerusalem, adding, "Why shouldn't we have the embassy there?" She said Trump "did the will of the [American] people" by making a decision that previous U.S. presidents refused to do.

Arab League meeting

Earlier Sunday, the Arab League called Trump's decision "a dangerous development that places the United States at a position of bias in favor of the occupation and the violation of international law and resolutions."

Arab League foreign ministers hold an emergency meeting on U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 9, 2017.
Arab League foreign ministers hold an emergency meeting on U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 9, 2017.

The statement was issued early Sunday after an emergency meeting of league foreign ministers in Cairo and went on to say that Trump's decision also strips the U.S. of its role as a "sponsor and broker" in the Mideast peace process.

The resolution also said Trump's Jerusalem decision "undermines efforts to bring about peace, deepens tension and will spark anger that will threaten to push the region to the edge of the abyss of violence, chaos and bloodshed."

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit attends the Arab League foreign ministers emergency meeting on US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 9, 2017.
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit attends the Arab League foreign ministers emergency meeting on US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 9, 2017.

The head of the Arab League called on the nations of the world to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital, in response to Trump's announcement.

The foreign ministers also called on the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution condemning Trump's decision.

The meeting in Cairo took place after days of street protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as protests at Al-Azhar Mosque in the Egyptian capital.

A report in Foreign Policy magazine says the White House, in a recent meeting with Palestinian diplomats, failed to tell them about Trump's Jerusalem decision even as the delegation asked if Trump would sign the waiver to prevent the U.S. Embassy from moving to Jerusalem.

The heads of the largest Christian church in Cairo and Al-Azhar University have said they will not meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence when he visits Cairo on December 20. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also announced he will not meet with Pence, saying "the U.S. has crossed red lines" on Jerusalem.

A statement from the Coptic Orthodox Church called the Trump decision "inappropriate and without consideration for the feelings of millions of people."

In Paris, pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched ahead of Netanyahu's visit. Netanyahu met with French President Emmanuel Macron, who has called Trump's decision "regrettable."

Two Israeli buses come under Palestinian gunfire Dec 10, 2017 @ 23:13

Eleven cartridges were found on the road from bullets fired from a Palestinian ambush at an armored Israeli bus driving Sunday near Ein Yabrud, northeast of Ramallah. An earlier shooting Palestinian shooting attack took place on another armored bus between Ofra and Shilo further south. A window was smashed. There were no casualties. An Israeli soldier was slightly injured by rock-throwing rioters at the Gush Etzion junction near Hebron.

Security guard stabbed at Jerusalem's central bus station

35-year-old victim in serious condition after being stabbed at entrance to central bus station. Terrorist in custody. Contact Editor
Tal Polon, 10/12/17 14:23 | updated: 15:16 Share

A 35-year-old male, a security guard at Jerusalem's central bus station, was stabbed Sunday afternoon near the entrance of the station.

MDA medics who rushed to the scene treated the stab victim, whose condition is defined as serious.

He was evacuated to Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center in the city.

Police have identified the terrorist as a 24-year-old resident of the Palestinian Authority. The terrorist fled the scene immediately after the attack, but was later located and captured by security forces responding to the stabbing.

According to Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center, the victim was sent to the hospital's trauma unit. He is sedated and connected to a respirator.

The area of the stabbing has been closed off.

MDA Senior EMT Hannanel Albo described the scene of the attack: "When I arrived on the scene there was commotion surrounding the entrance to the central bus station. A male around 30 years old was lying on the ground, partially conscious, suffering from a wound to his upper body."

"I provided him preliminary medical treatment. He was quickly evacuated in severe condition to Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center for further treatment.

"Large MDA teams that arrived on the scene are currently providing treatment to eyewitnesses suffering from anxiety."

Senior MDA EMT Rivka Or and MDA paramedic Pinhas Meir, who accompanied the victim to the hospital, related: "When we arrived at the scene, we identified a man of about 35 lying on the sidewalk near the entrance to the central bus station in Jerusalem. He was partially conscious and was suffering from a stab wound to his upper body."

"We transmitted him onto a mobile intensive care unit in order to urgently transport him to a surgery room. On our way to Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center we continued to provide him with lifesaving medical treatment and in less than five minutes we were at the trauma room at the medical center. His condition was defined as 'serious.'"

Bus station terrorist: 'I did it for Allah'

Identity of 24-year-old terrorist who stabbed security guard revealed. Terrorist hinted at planned attack on Facebook. 'For Allah's sake'. Contact Editor
David Rosenberg, 10/12/17 17:23 | updated: 18:08 Share

Scene of Jerusalem stabbing attack
Scene of Jerusalem stabbing attackYonatan Sindel/Flash90

The terrorist responsible for Sunday afternoon's stabbing attack at the entrance to Jerusalem's central bus station hinted at his plans to attack Jews "For Allah's sake" in a Facebook post just hours before the incident took place.

Police have identified the terrorist from Sunday's attack as Yassin Abu Al-Keraa, a 24-year-old Palestinian Authority resident.

Closed-circuit television footage from the scene shows the terrorist approaching a metal detector at the entrance to the central bus station in Jerusalem and removing his coat – only to suddenly draw a knife and stab a security guard standing nearby. Abu Al-Keraa fled the scene immediately after stabbing the guard.

The guard, roughly 35 years of age, is in serious condition, suffering a stab wound to the heart. He has been evacuated to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem.

Hours before the attack, the terrorist, a resident of the PA-controlled city of Shechem (Nabulus) in Samaria, Abu Al-Keraa, wrote on his Facebook account that he hoped to "raise the banner" for "Allah's sake".

"For Allah's sake we rose up, we wish to raise the banner…to let our religion [Islam] exult once again, and to make the Al Aqsa Mosque [on the Temple Mount] once again be resplendent."

"Please let our blood be spilled – for it is of little matter to spill one's blood for our homeland, for Jerusalem, and for the Al Aqsa Mosque."

Authorities say Al-Keraa had legally obtained a temporary residency permit for the Seam Zone outside of Jerusalem, but was not permitted to reside in Jerusalem itself.

Shortly after the attack, which took place at approximately 2:15 p.m., security forces rushed to the scene of the stabbing, and apprehended Abu Al-Keraa, who was then transferred for interrogation.

The attack comes just days after President Trump declared that the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and announced plans to relocate the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital city.

The unprecedented move drew heavy criticism from many European allies and Arab leaders, and touched off riots across the Arab world.

In Israel, thousands of Arabs in eastern Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria rioted on Friday, hurling firebombs and stones at Israeli security forces and civilians. At some demonstrations, protesters burned President Trump in effigy, or tore up pictures of the US president.

Watch: Footage of Jerusalem terror attack

Security camera footage shows Arab terrorist stabbing Israeli security guard, fleeing scene of attack. Contact Editor
Arutz Sheva Staff, 10/12/17 15:12 | updated: 15:21 Share

Closed-circuity security cameras outside of Jerusalem's central bus station captured the chilling moments before, during, and immediately after Sunday afternoon's stabbing attack.

Police say that the terrorist, a 24-year-old resident of the Palestinian Authority, drew a knife at the entrance to the bus station Sunday afternoon, stabbing a security guard before fleeing the scene.

Security forces deployed to the scene after the attack later apprehended the terrorist.

The victim, a 35-year-old security guard who had been stationed at one the bus station's entrances, is in serious condition and has been evacuated to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital for emergency treatment.

Jerusalem, Stabbing Attack, central bus station

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Man who helped subdue terrorist 'didn't hesitate for a moment' Yosef Ben Amo, the cab driver and retired cop who helped apprehend a terrorist who seriously wounded a security guard at Jerusalem central bus station, recalls how he 'punched him below his belt. I didn't hesitate'; receives certificate of honor from police, city mayor. Yishai Porat and Yael Friedson|Last update: 10.12.17 , 23:18 The cab-driving pensioner and retired policeman who helped to neutralize the terrorist who stabbed and seriously wounded a security guard outside the Jerusalem central bus station Sunday afternoon said he " never hesitated for a moment" once he realized a terror attack was taking place.

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Yosef Ben Amo from Gilo described the events as they unfolded when he helped apprehend the terrorists who stabbed Asher Elmaliach, a 46-year-old security guard, before attempting to flee the scene.

Arrest of the terrorist after the attack

"I saw a security guard running after someone. I didn't realize in the beginning that it was a terrorist. He jumped on him and I tried to separate them," he recalled on Sunday evening.

Yosef Ben Amo (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
Yosef Ben Amo (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)

"At a certain point he told me that it was a terrorist and he had stabbed a guard. I bent over the terrorists, punched him below his belt and my finger was injured a little," he said about his actions, which earned him a certificate of honor from Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevi and from the city's Mayor Nir Barkat.

"He was running in my direction when I noticed that the security guard was also chasing after him and knocked him over and at that point I joined the pursuit and I stopped him," Ben Amo continued.

(Photo: Israel Police)
(Photo: Israel Police)

"Later more police arrived and took him to the side where they searched him again and checked if he had anything else on him. After making sure there wasn't anything else, they took him to the police station to continue the investigation."

Asked whether he had given a second thought to confronting the terrorist, Ben Amo said: "I'm not scared of anyone. I am extremely extremely resilient thank God and I didn't hesitate for a moment. The second I became aware it was a terrorist I didn't hesitate."

(Photo: Israel Police)
(Photo: Israel Police)

Ben Amo also said that the terrorists did try to fight back, but that he couldn't because "I neutralized him extremely quickly."

Halevi praised Ben Amo for his actions. "We have a great (security) apparatus in the population, in the public, in the civilians and it begins with the security guard, a real hero, the first who immediately ran after the terrorist was a civilian and police," he said.

Footage of the attack
Footage of the attack

"This is the only place in the world that when there is an incident people don't flee, but rather they run and respond," he added.

"The guard responded within a second, ran and caught the terrorist and after him a civilian came and a second later the police came. Everyone played his part for public security and we have a lot to be proud of in this city in all respects."

First published: 10.12.17, 20:36
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  1. Physician Mark Bernhard, Pasadena (10.12.17) See all talkbacks "Man who helped subdue terrorist 'didn't hesitate for a moment'" Now Playing Ynetnews Jewish Scene - Polish police suspect old Jewish cemetery was damaged La nouvelle directrice de l'Unesco est française ! 0:44 Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka to leave White House over extremist links 0:42 Joe Biden in New Hampshire: 'Guys, I'm not running' 0:40 France's new far-right leader hit with Holocaust denial accusations 0:43 Politicians slam Obama's $400K Wall Street speech 0:43 Pope Francis delivers message of peace in Egypt 0:42 Host blasts Trump at White House Correspondents' Dinner 0:49 French election: Le Pen and Macron continue to round two 0:47 Trump sons expand family businesses into domestic market 0:45 Powered by
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Jerusalem, Stabbing Attack, central bus station

Related Stories

PFLP: Cancel the Oslo Accords
MK to stabbing victim's family: 'He is in good hands' 'Unfortunate PA chooses to miss yet another opportunity' 'Facebook gave the terrorist the knife' Netanyahu to Macron: Read the Bible - Jerusalem is our capital! 'When I realized it was a

Jerusalem, attack, Knife Attack

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'Unfortunate PA chooses to miss yet another opportunity' Netanyahu to Macron: Read the Bible - Jerusalem is our capital! 'When I realized it was a terror attack, I dropped everything' 'We're not going to tolerate Israel-bashing anymore' Bus station terrorist: 'I did it for Allah' Satmar group slams Trump's recognition of Jerusalem Watch: Footage of Jerusalem terror attack Left's reaction to Trump announcement 'absolutely ridiculous'

Doctors fighting to save life of Israeli stabbed in the heart by terrorist Dec 10, 2017 @ 17:43

An Israeli security guard of 46 was seriously hurt in a stabbing attack while on duty Sunday outside Jerusalem's central bus station. The attacker was chased by passersby and captured. The victim took a knife wound to the heart. He was given first aid treatment by paramedics before being rushed to hospital where his condition is still grave after being stabilized. The attacker, aged 24, came from the Palestinian town of Nablus and entered Israel without a permit. Police believe he was dropped off at the scene of the attack from a car. CCTV at the site showed the driver handing the terrorist an object, believed to be the knife for the attack, before driving off. There is a police manhunt out for this accomplice

French President Macron condemns Jerusalem terror attack, decries Trump's decision Dec 10, 2017 @ 18:00

At a news conference in Paris Sunday after his talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem earlier, which gravely injured an Israeli security guard. But he told the prime minister he disapproved of President Trumps' decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. "Its status should be resolved in direct negotiations for a two-state solution and Jerusalem divided as capitals of Israel and the Palestinian state," the French president insisted. Netanyahu praised Macron and France as friends of Israel, but, he said, "We don't have to agree about everything – although I'm still working on convincing the president about Trump's decision." The prime minister pointed out that Israel provides invaluable intelligence to countries in the Middle East and outside it for preventing terrorism. He then commented: "Paris is the capital of France, Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years and 70 years of Israel. We should respect one another's capitals."

Gaza rocket strikes kindergarten in southern Israel

Iron Dome battery deployed near Sderot intercepts one of three rockets fired at the area - IAF strikes four terror targets in Gaza in retaliation, Hamas confirms two operatives killed - IDF believes rogue terrorist organizations behind incident. Lilach Shoval, Gadi Golan, Daniel Siryoti, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

A shattered window in the Sderot kindergarten hit by a Gaza rocket | Photo: Israel Police

A rocket fired by Gaza Strip-based terrorists hit a kindergarten in the southern city of Sderot on Friday. This was the first time in over 18 months that the city was hit by projectiles fired from the coastal enclave.

Three sirens rattled southern Israel on Friday evening, at 6:05 p.m., 7:09 p.m. and 9:55 p.m., alerting residents to incoming rocket fire.

The IDF said all three rockets appeared to have been aimed at Sderot. The first projectile was intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system deployed in the area. It is believed the second rocket hit an open area in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council. The third rocket apparently hit the yard of the kindergarten and also caused some damage to the building.

Magen David Adom emergency services reported that one woman suffered shock over the sirens and needed medical attention.

Security forces canvassing the city on Saturday morning recovered the rocket that hit the kindergarten.

An IDF official said that while the military believes it was rogue terrorist organizations that carried out the attack, Israel still holds Hamas, the organization that rules Gaza, responsible for the incident.

"This was a very serious incident. We hold Hamas solely responsible for what transpires in Gaza," the official said.

Following the rocket attacks, the Israeli Air Force struck several terror targets in Gaza late Friday night.

Hamas confirmed that two of its operatives were killed in the strikes.

"IAF aircraft targeted four facilities belonging to the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip: Two weapons manufacturing sites, a weapons warehouse and a military compound," the IDF said in a statement.

Another defense official said that despite Friday's rocket fire, Israel believes Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is not interested in provoking a serious security escalation, the group's belligerent rhetoric notwithstanding.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai took to Facebook over the weekend to warn Gazans over the fact that "irresponsible terror operatives are dragging you into an escalation just before winter, as the problems in Gaza increase. It is the residents of Gaza who will have to pay the price."

The IDF, he stressed, "has so far shown restraint opposite the riots and incidents on the border fence. But continued rocket fire will lead to a harsh and painful response by the IDF. Do not test us."

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Couple sues Manhattan hotel for `starving' the guests at daughter's bat mitzvah December 10, 2017 11:15am

An illustrative photo of a bat mitzvah party. (Shutterstock)

(JTA) — A couple is suing a Manhattan hotel for allegedly "starving" the guests at her daughter's $37,000 bat mitzvah party.

The lawsuit against Hotel Eventi was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, the New York Post reported Sunday.

Nancy Held, the mother of the bat mitzvah girl, said the food for her 150 guests at the party in May was so mishandled that the hungry adult guests began eating the children's ice cream desserts.

She said in the lawsuit that the 700 hors d'oeuvres were never served to the guests as promised, and that the main course, a choice of steak or scallops, was served cold.

"We were starving," Held's husband, Marc, told The Post. "We were hosting the party and we didn't have any food to eat."

The hotel offered $1,000 and a night in a suite to make up for the errors, according to Held. The couple is suing for $637,000 in damages.

Nancy Held said in a court filing that she had been planning for her daughter's big day ever since being misdiagnosed with a fatal genetic mutation in 2013.

The family also later discovered that the hotel was using photos of their event in promotional material, which the family had not given permission for.

`Dry Bones' cartoonist's new book looks back at early Israel

December 9, 2017 21:03
A collection of classic cartoons by Yaakov Kirschen is a nostalgic gaze at days gone by, when times were simpler, if no less absurd 2 minute read.

`Dry Bones' cartoonist's new book looks back at early Israel

Since 1973, cartoonist Yaakov `Dry Bones' Kirschen has been commenting on the absurdities of life in Israel. (photo credit: Courtesy)

What's your favorite "Dry Bones" cartoon? Ask any English-speaker who came to this country after the mid-1970s and you'll no doubt get an answer. Is it the one about sniffing cottage cheese? Getting a wintertime buzz from your kerosene neft heater? Measuring your apartment size by counting the balata floor tiles?

For more than four decades, cartoonist Yaakov "Dry Bones" Kirschen has been commenting on Israeli absurdities, from the small ironies of daily life to the major geopolitical SNAFUs.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Recently, Kirschen took a break from current events to look back in his new book, Young and Innocent: The Way We Were, a collection of classic "Dry Bones" cartoons originally published in The Jerusalem Post, where he started his career in Israel in 1973.

During the week, "Dry Bones" occupied a unique four-box layout on the newspaper's back page. For the weekend edition, the cartoon covered a full-page layout that often highlighted one of its most popular themes: "You Know You've Been Here Too Long When..."

The book harks back to a time when beating hyper-inflation by staying in overdraft was a way of life, toilet paper was akin to sandpaper, and no kitchen faucet was complete without a plastic nozzle.

The logic in any of those things will be difficult for older Israelis to explain to the younger ones, but there's sure to be some shared laughs along the way.

According to the entry in the US National Cartoonists Society directory, Kirschen is "another Brooklyn boy."

After graduating from Queens College in 1961, he began working for the Norcross Greeting Card Company, writing and drawing the newly popular "gag" greeting cards.

Fired for "loud and jocular behavior," Kirschen began freelancing for Cracked magazine before moving on to create cartoons for Playboy.

In 1971, he moved with his family to Israel, changed his first name from Jerry to Yaakov, and in 1973 began drawing the daily editorial strip known as "Dry Bones," a reference to the end-of-days vision of biblical prophet Ezekiel.

Since then, his award-winning "Dry Bones" cartoons have been internationally syndicated, reprinted in the New York Times, Time magazine, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and other major publications.

The "Dry Bones" story has been covered by CBS, CNN, Forbes and many other media outlets.

Kirschen continues to draw his daily cartoons on his blog, Facebook fan page and in Jewish newspapers worldwide.

Young and Innocent: The Way We Were is available from Amazon.

politics Dry Bones Cartoon cartoon

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An Israeli soldier of the Ultra-Orthodox brigade takes part in a swearing-in ceremony in Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Post - Israel News

December 11 2017 |
Kislev, 23, 5778 |

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The Unheard Story: The ultra-Orthodox who leave everything to join the IDF


Jerusalem police raid haredi anti-draft NGO office >
WATCH: Thousands of ultra-Orthodox take to the streets to protest IDF draft

By Eytan Halon
December 11, 2017 02:00
"Leaving the community is hard. It's a drastic step. All your life you're in black and white."

An Israeli soldier of the Ultra-Orthodox brigade takes part in a swearing-in ceremony in Jerusalem.

An Israeli soldier of the Ultra-Orthodox brigade takes part in a swearing-in ceremony in Jerusalem.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

While recent haredi protests against Israel's mandatory military draft have been hard to miss, there is a story within the ultra-Orthodox community that goes almost entirely unnoticed: the nearly 3,000 "lone soldiers" of haredi origin that currently serve in the IDF.

These young men and women leave behind everything and everyone they know in the haredi community, including family, in order to draft to the army and pursue a life of increased opportunity in the secular world.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

The IDF defines lone soldiers as those with no family in Israel to support them. This includes new immigrants – the majority – but also orphans and individuals without family support.

Israeli soldiers of the Ultra-Orthodox brigade take part in a swearing-in ceremony in Jerusalem.Israeli soldiers of the Ultra-Orthodox brigade take part in a swearing-in ceremony in Jerusalem.

"Leaving the community is hard. It's a drastic step. All your life you're in black and white," Shmuel Kaltian told The Jerusalem Post.

Severing ties with his family, Kaltian left his haredi home in the central Israeli town of Be'er Ya'acov when he was only 15-years-old. His uncle came to his assistance but, with almost no secular education behind him, life proved challenging.

"Acclimatizing to the secular world was particularly difficult. We didn't study the compulsory topics in the haredi world and I lacked necessary academic qualifications," said Kaltian.

Kaltian drafted to the IDF Artillery Corps, where he subsequently became a combat medic and was the recipient of an IDF award for excellence.

"Relations with my family have improved since my father passed away two years ago. Prior to that, there were no such relations," Kaltian added.

Nachi Pasikov grew up in a haredi neighborhood of Jerusalem and drafted to the Netzah Yehuda Battalion of the IDF, an infantry unit established to accommodate haredi soldiers.

"I left home before I drafted. But once I drafted, there was no chance of returning," Pasikov told the Post.

"Initially, the army didn't recognize me as a lone soldier. It took several months. I rented a flat alone and I received a monthly wage of only NIS 400 ($110). Eventually I was recognized as a lone soldier," said Pasikov.

Formal recognition as a lone soldier by the IDF was a necessary step in receiving financial assistance and help with living costs.

"At the start of the process, relations with my family were far from good. I was almost entirely disconnected," Pasikov added. "Today, after a long process of four or five years, I'm in regular contact with my parents and siblings. I still don't go home too much, it's a different community and life there."

In addition to assistance granted by the IDF and Ministry of Defense, a number of organizations also work to help haredi lone soldiers like Kaltian and Pasikov, both during and after their military service.

"First of all, we need to explain to them what the army is. They do not come from families where their siblings or parents have been to the army, so they arrive without any prior knowledge," Tziki Aud, senior advisor at the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin, told The Jerusalem Post.

"Nearly every one of them receives a mentor who was previously a lone soldier and who can assist them with their different, personal experiences," added Aud.

"We have an entire department dedicated to supporting these soldiers all over the country," said Aud.

"There's a difference between lone soldiers whose families live on the other side of the ocean and those whose families live 10 minutes away but refuse to talk to them," he told the Post.

Another organization, Out For Change, aims to minimize the difficulties experienced by soldiers and all those leaving the haredi community.

"Four years ago, the army recognized lone soldiers as only those with no contact with their parents," said Vice-President of Out For Change, Yosi Klar.

"After we applied pressure, the army subsequently changed the terminology to include those in touch, but not supported by, their parents."

"Most of our efforts are policy-based, but we do have a group for lone soldiers at our center in Jerusalem," Klar added.

Pasikov and Kaltian both emphasized to the Post that the difficulties of leaving the haredi community are not limited to the initial separation. Rather, they continue long after their military service is complete.

"You step outside and you don't know people. You meet secular people who grew up in an entirely different world. You don't know how to speak like them, how to dress, what's cool or not, societal norms," said Pasikov.

"The real difficulty is understanding that you need to reach the level of education that everyone else has already achieved. You only realize this towards the end of your army service. You don't have high school qualifications. Math, basic things that eight and nine-year-olds know, you don't understand."

"When I was 15, I never thought about what I would study," Pasikov added. "I thought about building a family, how many children I would have. You don't think about real life on the outside. Suddenly, you have to deal with all these questions."

"We have serious gaps in our education," said Kaltian. "In English and in lots of other subjects."

"There's nobody who will guide you," said Pasikov. "There are no parents or siblings that will discuss with you what to do in life. You need to catch up quickly because you want to start a degree, you want to progress."

Today, with the assistance of the Heseg Foundation for former lone soldiers, they are both pursuing undergraduate degrees. Pasikov is studying communications at Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and Kaltian is studying electrical engineering at Beersheba University.

Both expressed their disapproval of the disruptive tactics used by ultra-Orthodox groups protesting against the draft.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews attend a protest against a law calling for members of their community to serve in the army.Ultra-Orthodox Jews attend a protest against a law calling for members of their community to serve in the army.

"To protest and to stop the country, to use violence, that's not the way. And it's not the way of Judaism," Kaltian told the Post. "I'm not against them, I'm against what they do."

"The country needs to set up as many haredi battalions as possible. That's the solution. They can't oppose a system which fully accommodates them," he added. "There are all sorts of ways for haredim to draft, but it doesn't necessarily reach enough or the right people."

"The protests are led by a particularly extreme sect," Pasikov said. "On the one hand, you think, what is this trouble all about? On the other hand, you know that the state can't use force. It won't work. You can't persuade a fanatic to draft."

Pasikov believes Israeli society needs to better understand the difficulties of leaving the haredi community.

"The most important thing is Israeli society understanding and recognizing that whoever leaves the haredi community is entering into a new world, especially in terms of education," Pasikov said.

"They should be referred to the correct people and to the correct organizations that can offer much needed assistance."

Haredi IDF Ultra-Orthodox haredi draft lone soldier draft

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