Newsletter : 19fx0424.txt
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Netanyahu Calls for New Golan Settlement Named for Trump
By the Jerusalem Post
If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has his way, alongside Katzrin, Ramot and Ramat
Magshimim on the Golan Heights, there may someday soon be a community named Kiryat Trump.
Netanyahu, who on Tuesday toured the Golan with his wife and sons, said a community or
neighborhood on the Golan Heights should be named after President Donald Trump in
appreciation for his decision last month to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the
"I am here with my family and many citizens of Israel at the foot of the Golan Heights,
happy with the joy of the holiday and our beautiful country," Netanyahu said in a video
post. "And there is more joy - a few weeks ago I brought President Trump's official
recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights forever."
Netanyahu said there "is a need to express our appreciation by calling a community or
neighborhood on the Golan Heights after Donald Trump. I will bring that to the government
[for approval] soon."
Trump's recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights came in late March, some
two weeks before the April 9 elections, 52 years after Israel captured the region during
the 1967 Six Day War, and 38 years after Israel annexed the region.
Israel annexed the mountain plateau in 1981, a move unrecognized by most of the
international community. An estimated 20,000 Israelis live in Golan Heights settlements,
which most of the international community considers illegal.
Socialist Bernie Sanders Calls Netanyahu's Right-Wing Government `Racist'
By World Israel News
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a socialist senator from Vermont, is
standing by his criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying the American goal
in the Middle East must be to try to bring people together and "not just support one
country, which is now run by a right-wing, dare I say, racist government."
Sanders said Monday at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire that he believes the United States
should "deal with the Middle East on a level-playing-field basis. What I believe, and you
know the United States gives billions of dollars in military aid to Israel, what I believe
is not radical."
He told the audience that "as a young man I spent a number of months in Israel, worked on
a kibbutz for a while; I have family in Israel, I am not anti-Israel, but the fact of the
matter is that Netanyahu is a right-wing politician who I think is treating the
Palestinian people extremely unfairly."
Sanders claimed that he is "100% pro-Israel" and that the country has "every right in the
world to exist and to exist in peace and security and not be subjected to terrorists'
attacks." However, soon after declaring his second run for president, Sanders reportedly
hired two senior advisers with anti-Israel backgrounds.
Campaign manager Faiz Shakir and foreign policy adviser Matthew Duss have been accused
of furthering anti-Semitic conspiracy theories during their tenure at the left-wing
think-tank Center for American Progress (CAP), reported the Washington Free Beacon.
Jerusalem Woman Admits Planning US Terror Attacks
An Israeli Arab woman has plead guilty to planning a terrorist attack in the United
States. Waheba Issa Dais, a 46-year-old mother of seven who has lived in Wisconsin since
1992, admitted that she had planned a terrorist attack on behalf of the ISIS terrorist
organization. She signed a plea bargain saying she was thankful that she had tried to
recruit operatives to poison water sources and carry out suicide attacks.
Dais, originally from Jerusalem, was arrested last June for training activists belonging
to the Islamic State Organization over the Internet. She showed them how prepare deadly
ricin poison, and authorities found in her house books containing information materials on
the preparation of explosive belts, poison and bombs of various kinds.
Dais' arrest was made possible following her correspondence with a police informant on
social media. She instructed him on how to make a poison and asked him to pour it into
water reservoirs. According to her confession, she used several social networking accounts
to communicate with the recruits.
"Dais faces a sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of about a quarter million
dollars," enforcement officials said. "Her verdict is due in September." Her lawyer, John
Campion, told the New York Times that he expects the court to discuss her complex
Why Jews Should Watch `Ramy,' a New Hulu Show about a Millennial Muslim
Along with matzah, sugary wine and the influx of relatives, Passover weekend brought us
"Ramy," a new comedy on Hulu about a millennial Muslim that's earned rave reviews. The New
York Times calls it "quietly revolutionary" and a "soulful, funny leap of faith." Rolling
Stone labels it a "triumph." And Vulture says there's never been a show like it. It lives
up to the hype.
And while it's mostly about Islamic soul-searching, there is plenty for Jewish viewers to
connect with and some intriguing Jewish content as well.
On the surface, "Ramy" created by and starring comedian Ramy Youssef is
another millennial-themed comedy about "figuring it all out" in one's 20s, in the vein of
Lena Dunham's "Girls" or Aziz Ansari's "Master of None." Some of the humor brings to mind
Donald Glover's "Atlanta," too. (It was also probably somewhat influenced by "The
Carmichael Show" Jerrod Carmichael and Youssef are friends, and Carmichael is an
executive producer of "Ramy.")
Ramy Hassan, the show's protagonist, is a 20-something living at his Egyptian and
Palestinian parents' house in the northern New Jersey suburbs. He's pretty aimless after
quitting the pre-med track and early in the season works at a generic startup that's far
from his true calling. His cap sometimes backward, sometimes forward and
beard would have him fit in comfortably with the Brooklyn hipsters of "Girls," etc.
But Ramy isn't the average hipster he's a religious Muslim who prays regularly,
observes holidays pretty strictly and doesn't drink alcohol. During Ramadan, he even
surprises his family and friends with his religiosity when he digs his childhood thobe out
of the closet. He does, however, have plenty of premarital sex, something he's constantly
In addition to the groundbreaking portrayal of Muslims on screen, this is what makes the
show stand out: Its hip millennial character engages deeply with religion not just
the spiritual side, but also the day-to-day lifestyle and ritual choices in a way
that makes for a compelling combination rarely, if ever, seen on television.
In modern "Jewish" TV shows such as "Transparent," "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,"
"Broad City" or others the protagonists telegraph their Jewishness through comedy
and constant cultural references. Only sometimes will the Jewish characters dip their feet
into religious Judaism. They might celebrate holidays, or have a vague spiritual
awakening, or date a rabbi. In the case of "Mrs. Maisel," the world may be almost entirely
made up of Jews, but Judaism rarely intrudes in a meaningful way.
These characters never engage very deeply with any tenets of Jewish practice, worship or
thought, especially the strict ritual components such as keeping kosher and
observing Shabbat that define the daily religious aspect of Jewish observance.
("Shtisel," the Israeli show that became a surprise hit on Netflix, is an exception here,
although that focuses on Israeli haredi Orthodox Jews, whose lives are entered around
observance, study and relative insularity. The American Muslim community "Ramy" portrayal
is closer in lifestyle to America's Modern Orthodox community, and to Conservative and
Reform Jews who regularly attend synagogue and otherwise "engage" frequently.)
Ramy's life, on the other hand, is very directly affected by his religious choices. His
waffling on the sex issue brings him into some rather awkward situations, and the tenet on
abstaining from alcohol and drugs causes real social anxiety for him at parties and in
interactions with women. More broadly, his straddling of the moral, religious world and
the secular 21st century full of casual sex, porn, social media and other
indulgences makes him constantly question his path.
Ironically, the only non-Muslim women he seems to get intimate with are Jewish. One is the
granddaughter of an Orthodox man who buys a watch from Ramy, on Shabbat (how the customer
gets around the Sabbath restriction on doing business, bending his own religious
tradition, makes for a hilarious scene). When Ramy meets her at a party, she takes Ecstasy
before realizing he doesn't want to partake. That kills the vibe, and when they cross
paths later as Ramy is leaving, she stops in a hallway, very high, to say "I feel so bad
"Yeah, me too," Ramy says.
The more central Jewish plot point of the show involves Ramy's uncle, who sells
diamonds and other jewelry, mostly to local Orthodox Jews, despite being incredibly
anti-Semitic. For example, he embraces the conspiracy that all Jews stayed home from work
on 9/11 because they knew the terrorism was going to happen.
But Uncle Naseem is used ultimately to show how similar Jews and Muslims really are. As
the show progresses, small holes in his anti-Semitic views start to show, and the viewer
can almost sense a fondness between Naseem and his customers only partly because
they help sustain his business. "At least they believe in something," he says at one
There are Jewish echoes, too, when Ramy visits some of his extended family in Egypt, in
part because it's hard not to compare the trip to a Jewish person visiting Israel. Before
leaving, Ramy says he wants to get back to his roots by visiting a place where there are
only Muslims, where he feels he might fit in.
In Cairo, Ramy's relaxed plans for a spiritual homecoming are taken over by his
party-happy cousin Shadi. One night, after Shadi drinks heavily and snorts cocaine, Ramy
cracks and criticizes him about it. Shadi angrily pulls him out of the party to explain
that since the Egyptian revolution in 2011, part of the Arab Spring, everyone in Egypt
feels lost because most people know someone who was killed in the violence. Again, to a
Jewish viewer, that sounds like an Israeli talking about life after a war, or the constant
dread of living in fear of terrorist attacks.
While Muslim leaders in America have complained at times about a "liberal individualism"
and a rejection of traditional Muslim authority by young Muslims, Islam has few organized
institutions similar to Judaism's Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements. In
the world of "Ramy," it's more like the choice is between Orthodox Islam or nothing. Maybe
Ramy is advocating for a Reform or Conservative version of his religion we'll have
to see in a future season.
All these comparisons aim to point out that there currently is no "Jewish" show like
"Ramy." What that might look like is hard to pinpoint exactly: It could involve a Modern
Orthodox protagonist from the Upper West Side who hangs out in Brooklyn, wears a baseball
cap over his kippah and occasionally rushes from a partner's bed to morning prayers.
The nuance and triumph of "Ramy" is that its central character occupies multiple modern
worlds while sticking to religious tradition, raising questions about that tradition
and the concept of faith and how it fits into contemporary America along the
Anti-Gay Kuwaiti Academic Claims Suppository `Cure' for Homosexuality
By the Jerusalem Post
A homophobic Kuwaiti academic claimed on Scope TV in March that she invented a cure for
homosexuality based on Islamic medicine. "I discovered therapeutic suppositories that curb
the sexual urges of boys of the third gender as well as the fourth gender, which is butch
lesbians. They have excessive sexual urges," said the anti-gay and anti-lesbian researcher
Dr. Mariam Al-Sohel.
The Scope TV station, based in Kuwait City, broadcast in the interview that the cure is
based on "prophetic medicine." Al-Sohel claimed, "This is science, and there is nothing to
be ashamed of," and "the sexual urge develops when a person is sexually attacked, and
afterward it persists because there is an anal worm that feeds on semen."
Al-Sohel said her inventions of suppositories "cures those urges by exterminating the worm
that feeds on the semen." She added, "Bitter foods increase masculinity" and "the
ingredients [for the cure] are the same (for both sexes) but I made them into different
The Kuwaiti emirate criminalizes homosexuality under its "debauchery" law. Cross-dressing
is also illegal in the Gulf state. Kuwait's anti-gay law means homosexuals could be face
lengthy prison sentences. Middle East Media Research Institute posted the Kuwaiti Scope TV
interview with Al-Sohel on its Twitter feed on Tuesday.
The German Green Party politician and LGBT expert Volker Beck told The Jerusalem Post on
Tuesday: "The cure for homosexuality is popular among religious fundamentalists. It is
quackery and charlatanry. Such therapies and their apologists must be warned. Whether it
is Al-Sohel's suppositories or from Catholic doctors in Germany, it is hocus pocus that
reveals much about the mental state of these people."
In 2017, Gulf News reported Kuwait "deported 76 homosexuals and shut down 22 massage
parlors. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards any morally objectionable activities and
we will not be lenient with anyone who breaks the rules or puts the health of Kuwaiti
citizens and residents at risk," Mohammad Al Dhufairi, a Kuwaiti official, told Gulf News
at the time.
In 2017, Kuwait's National Cinema Company banned a gay scene from the Disney movie Beauty
and the Beast.
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