Showing posts from February, 2013

Beyond The Law No More


Lema'an Achai: Why We Are So Quiet

As the carnival atmosphere warms up in Ramat Beit Shemesh - you may not have noticed Lema'an Achai's low profile campaign.

Lema'an Achai's modest marketing budget pays for a few banners, posters and tee shirts.

We use plenty of imagination and energy - and you'll surely enjoy this year's TzedakaThon theme for Purim.

But, frankly, Lema'an Achai are not at our best talking ourselves up.

We're better - much better - at helping local families in distress.

Like Mrs Z.

Mrs Z came to Lema'an Achai because she had received an arnona bill of 16,000 NIS.

She is a young widow with kids, and had no way of being able to pay that kind of money.

However, in discussion with Lema'an Achai's team, the rest of Mrs Z's story emerged.

Her late husband, "Moshe", had a sucessful professional career, brought in a nice salary, and had personal wealth and assets.

But Moshe had one problem.

Moshe liked to gamble.

Not only did Moshe's salary …

SMART Matanot Le'evionim - Now On-Line!

Please remember to give as generously as you possibly can for this year's Lema'an Achai "Matanot Le'evionim" campaign.

Lema'an Achai offers two options:
1. Matanot Le'evionim (Regular) - 100% given out to needy families on Purim Day ("Bo BeYom")
2. SMART Matanot Le'evionim - 50% is given on the day of Purim, with 50% being held back and distributed to needy families AFTER Purim. (Note: unfortunately many of these families needs are chronic. B"H huge amounts of cash are distributed to needy families on Purim - however, this flushing through of funds in one day, means that there's nothing left to help the needy AFTER Purim).

You can donate right now to Lema'an Achai's Matanot Le'evionim conveniently on line:

Who Killed X?

In all the international media hype, mainly by people who know no more than you and I know about Prisoner X, I haven't seen the question put in black and white.

Who Killed Prisoner X?

Prisoner X's identity has been publicised, Mr Ben Zygier, an Australian national, who held an Israeli identity, Ben Alon, as well as alternative names Ben Allen and Benjamin Burrows. We'll call him "Ben".

Ben was a lawyer, who worked for a spell at the prestigious Israeli law firm Herzog Fox & Neeman.

Allegations abound that Ben worked for the Mossad; there is speculation that he also worked for ASIO (the Australian intelligence agency), and had traveled in the Arab world using his Australian/other passports.

Ben was apparently arrested in Israel 10 days after the revelation that the team who assassinated Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai had used forged or stolen passports, including three from Australia. 
The media has not yet reported what charges were brought against Ben; however…

How You Can Help Magen Protect Our Children

Magen's Child Protection Center has already made Beit Shemesh safer for all our children.

There is now a tremendous opportunity to name Magen's Child Protection Center after your beloved family member or other honoree.

When Magen started, in 2010, Beit Shemesh had the lowest child abuse reporting statistics for any city in Israel.

This indicated that most child abuse cases were not being reported, that victims lacked protection and treatment, and that perpetrators were freely operating in the community without consequence.

In just two years, Magen has received reports of over one hundred (100) alleged child abusers and over two hundred (200) victims.

Magen coordinates closely with the community leadership, the social services and the police.

In 2011, after Magen's first year, child abuse reports to the authorities in Beit Shemesh increased by a remarkable 43%.
B"H, Beit Shemesh is turning the corner on child abuse in our community.

There is now an opportunity for you to hel…

Why Do Ethiopian Soldiers Go To Jail?

According to Army Radio this morning, 50% of Ethiopians who serve in the IDF, also serve some time in Army prison.

Indeed, Ethiopians make up fully 20% of all soldiers in military jails.

This is way above the proportion of Ethiopians in the population - there are 125,000 Ethiopians Jewish Israelis, who represent less than 2% of the total population.

According to Army Radio, the IDF has launched an enquiry into why the Ethiopian soldiers are ending up so disproportionately in army prisons.

It is interesting to compare this imbalance with the US experience; 70% of prisoners in the United States are non-whites, with blacks being totally disproportionate.

The Ethiopian population in Israel is underprivileged, but getting less so than they were a decade ago.
According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, average expenditure for an Ethiopian family is 9234 NIS/month, whereas the average expenditure for all Israeli families is 13967 NIS/month.
Drop-out rates from school are only s…

Back On-Line: UK Channel Four Report About Child Abuse

Survivors For Justice, the child abuse victims advocacy group, has re-posted the UK Channel Four's "Britain's Hidden Child Abuse", a documentary about child abuse in the British hareidi community. (This time, with Channel Four's permission, so hopefully You Tube won't take it down again!).

For those with an interest in this topic, it is well worth taking the next 40 minutes to watch it.

If you don't have the time, I wrote up a summary here.

Cover-Up in Kiryat Sefer

A major topic in recent weeks in New York (R.Weberman) and London (R.Padwa and R.Halpern) is now hitting Israel. A leading story in today's Israeli media is about an attack upon a 5 year old girl in Kiryat Sefer.
The girl was apparently walking to kindergarten, and was grabbed and severely abused by a man, for a period of two hours.
The focus of the story and much of the commentary is that neither the parents, nor anyone else directly involved, was willing to report the crime to the authorities - or assist the police in their investigation.
This has opened up the topic of cover-ups of child abuse, particularly in some closed ultra-orthodox communities. 
Some of the policies which increase risk of child abuse in such communities are:
1.  Taboo - the topic of child protection is not discussed and therefore adults, children and even community leaders and educators are ill-informed about it. 
2. Naivety - although 'stranger danger' is applied to people outside of the community…