Sunday, December 18, 2016

Trump picks controversial hardline supporter of Israel for ambassador - however still not clear what Trump's view on Israel is

President-elect Donald Trump said Thursday he will nominate campaign adviser David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer with hardline views on Israel, to serve as US ambassador to the country.

In a statement issued by Trump's transition team, Friedman said he looked forward to moving the US embassy to "Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem."

That would fulfill a promise made by Trump on the campaign trail to relocate the diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv, upending decades of US policy.

Friedman has long held conservative positions on Israel. Earlier this year, called supporters of the progressive Jewish advocacy group J Street "worse than kapos" for supporting a two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kapos were Jews in Nazi concentration camps who were put in charge of other inmates.

Friedman has also said in the past that he does not believe Israeli settlement activity is illegal and opposes a ban on construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem -- another stance that turns US policy on its head.

Republicans have long sought to establish a US embassy in Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel's capital. Past US administrations on both sides have not made that move, as Palestinians also claim Jerusalem as their capital. For 60 years, the US recognized no sovereign claim to Jerusalem. The Supreme Court ruled last year that a man could not have "Israel" on his passport as his place of birth, siding with the Obama administration that it should read "Jerusalem."

The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 requires the US government to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but the move has been waived every six months since the law was passed. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all declined to relocate the embassy after being elected, citing national security.

Friedman also advised Trump throughout the campaign and made waves for suggesting in an interview with an Israeli newspaper that a Trump administration could support annexation of parts of the West Bank, also countering current US policy. He told CNN later that he was responding to a hypothetical question and not necessarily advocating for such a policy.

Under his and others' advisement, the GOP platform moved to the right by removing a reference to a two-state solution to the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, distinguishing itself from the Democratic platform that recognized both states.

The two-state policy has been a pillar of US posture toward Israel throughout past Democratic and Republican administrations. Friedman has written about the need to move away from the two-state solution.

J-Street, the advocacy group, said it "vehemently" opposed Friedman, citing his position on a two-state solution.[...]

Trump's own position on Israel had not been clear throughout the campaign. He has long said negotiating a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians would be the pinnacle of deal-making, in which Trump takes pride.

But a year ago he was booed at the Republican Jewish Coalition when he declined to promise to keep Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel during an onstage Q&A. He also said peace would depend on whether Israel is willing to make sacrifices and said he would remain "neutral" in the negotiations, dodging a question on how he would refer to the West Bank.

Trump shifted gears after criticism for those comments, including from staunchly pro-Israel competitors Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. At a spring appearance at the large pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Trump made one of his first teleprompter-based speeches designed to show himself as a strong supporter of Israel.

Current US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro has urged Trump's administration to stick with current of US policy on the country.

"Every government, every US administration has looked at that question, has determined that the embassy is where it should be," Shapiro said. "And I can't speculate beyond that."

Friedman served as counsel for Trump in connection with his investment in Atlantic City casinos. Trump filed for business bankruptcy related to the casinos four times between 1991 and 2009.

How a Putin Fan Overseas Pushed Pro-Trump Propaganda to Americans

The Patriot News Agency website popped up in July, soon after it became clear that Donald J. Trump would win the Republican presidential nomination, bearing a logo of a red, white and blue eagle and the motto “Built by patriots, for patriots.”

Tucked away on a corner of the site, next to links for Twitter and YouTube, is a link to another social media platform that most Americans have never heard of: VKontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook. It is a clue that Patriot News, like many sites that appeared out of nowhere and pumped out pro-Trump hoaxes tying his opponent Hillary Clinton to Satanism, pedophilia and other conspiracies, is actually run by foreigners based overseas.

But while most of those others seem be the work of young, apolitical opportunists cashing in on a conservative appetite for viral nonsense, operators of Patriot News had an explicitly partisan motivation: getting Mr. Trump elected.

Patriot News — whose postings were viewed and shared tens of thousands of times in the United States — is among a constellation of websites run out of the United Kingdom that are linked to James Dowson, a far-right political activist who advocated Britain’s exit from the European Union and is a fan of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. A vocal proponent of Christian nationalist, anti-immigrant movements in Europe, Mr. Dowson, 52, has spoken at a conference of far-right leaders in Russia and makes no secret of his hope that Mr. Trump will usher in an era of rapprochement with Mr. Putin.

His dabbling in the American presidential election adds an ideological element that has been largely missing from the still-emerging landscape of websites and Facebook pages that bombarded American voters with misinformation and propaganda. Far from the much-reported Macedonian teenagers running fake news factories solely for profit, Mr. Dowson made it his mission, according to messages posted on one of his sites, to “spread devastating anti-Clinton, pro-Trump memes and sound bites into sections of the population too disillusioned with politics to have taken any notice of conventional campaigning.”

“Together, people like us helped change the course of history,” one message said, adding in another: “Every single one of you who forwarded even just one of our posts on social media contributed to the stunning victory for Trump, America and God.”

In a recent email interview from Belgrade, where he has met with Serbian nationalists, Mr. Dowson explained how his decision to establish an American social media presence was similar to the move into European markets by Breitbart News, the conservative provocateur media operation run by Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist.

“Simple truth is that after 40 years of the right having no voice because the media was owned by the enemy, we were FORCED to become incredibly good at alternative media in a way the left simply can’t grasp or handle,” Mr. Dowson said. “Bottom line is: BREXIT, TRUMP and much more to follow.”

While it is easy to overstate the influence of fringe elements whose overall numbers remain very small, the explosion of fake news and propaganda sites and their possible impact on the presidential election have ignited alarm across the American political spectrum. A recent study found that most people who read fabricated stories on Facebook — such as a widely circulated hoax about Pope Francis endorsing Mr. Trump — were inclined to believe them.

Then there is the added element of Russian meddling. The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that Moscow put its thumb on the scale for Mr. Trump through the release of hacked Democratic emails, which provided fodder for many of the most pernicious false attacks on Mrs. Clinton on social media.

Some of those attacks found a home on Russian websites such as the one for Katehon, a right-wing Christian think tank aligned with Mr. Putin. Katehon recirculated anti-Clinton conspiracies under headlines like “Bloody Hillary: 5 Mysterious Murders Linked to Clinton.”

Another Russian site that urged support for Mr. Trump, called “Just Trump It,” is linked to the International Russian Conservative Forum, an annual gathering of far-right leaders in St. Petersburg that has featured Mr. Dowson, among others, as a speaker. The site, which seems mostly aimed at selling Trump T-shirts, was registered to an individual at a Russian company that trademarked a logo used to certify that merchandise was not made with migrant labor.

Some analysts see danger signs in the nexus of Russian interests and far-right agitators in Europe and the United States. Social media can amplify even the most obscure voices, giving them a stage from which to broadcast a distorted message to credulous audiences.

“These messages seep into the mainstream,” said Alina Polyakova, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan international affairs institute in Washington. “They may have been extreme or fringe at one point in time, but they have been incredibly influential in shaping people’s views about key geopolitical events in a very specific direction.”

Russia is particularly adept at playing this game, Ms. Polyakova said. “Moscow specifically encourages and facilitates” the spreading of propaganda through proxies, she said, as well as through events like the Russian conservative forum, which showcases views and narratives favored by the Putin government.

At the inaugural forum in March 2015, Mr. Dowson praised Mr. Putin as a strong defender of traditional values, while belittling President Obama and the United States itself as “feminized men.” In the email interview, Mr. Dowson said he was not supported by Russia in any way, and he accused critics of trying to tar conservatives as dupes of Moscow.[....]

Friday, December 16, 2016

Even though both husband and wife must honor (kavod) each other - it is done differently

The requirement of kavod (honor) for husband and wife is different. It seems that a husband's obligations are in the realm of spending money on her while the wife's obligation is showing deference and respect and doing what he wants. The husband is also supposed to be concerned with her feelings when he tells her what to do - while this is not necessary for the wife since she is traditionally expected to obey rather than tell her husband what to do.

If anyone has sources that say otherwise - I will glad to post them.

Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:18): Our Sages commanded that a woman should be modest within her home and should not have too much conversation and levity with her husband. Nor should she directly ask him for sexual relations and should not speak about this activity. Furthermore she should not avoid sexual relations with him in order to distress him so that he will have additional desire for her. Rather she should comply with his request whenever he wants it. She should also be careful with his relatives and the members of his household so that he doesn’t having feelings of jealousy. She should stay away from disgusting activities and things which have the appearance of disgusting activities. 
Ben Ish Chai (Torah Lishma 319): Question: Is a wife obligated to listen to her husband when he orders her to do ridiculous things? For example, does she have to listen when her husband demands with threats that she should ride on a broomstick in the courtyard like little children do or to bray like a donkey or bark like dog? She refused because of embarrassment. Does she in fact have an obligation to listen to her husband even for foolish things because a woman is obligated to honor her husband and to do what he wants because that is his happiness? Or do we say that she has no obligation to listen to foolish demands? Answer: She is not required to listen to him when he says foolish things. It says in Kesubos (71b) that if a man takes an oath that his wife must fill up a bucket 10 times with water and empty it in the garbage dump – he is required to divorce her and give her the kesuba because doing so makes her look like she is crazy. So also in our case. Doing these foolish things makes her look like she is crazy and she is not obligated to listen to him in these things. 
Torah Temima (Bereishis 3:16): And he will rule over you - we learn from this that a woman asks for intercourse through her actions while the man asks for it directly and this is a good trait for women (Eiruvin 100b). Even though the trait of modesty is a good trait, nevertheless it is a curse that she can’t openly express her desires to her husband. It should be noted that this doesn’t explain the language “And he will rule over you” in terms of its literal meaning of having a master… Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezar (Chapter 14) notes that this is one of the curses of a woman and she should have her ear bored as a permanent slave and as a maidservant. The Radal says that this teaches that it has been decreed that a woman always has to pay attention to the words of her husband. It is logical that the reason for the practice of piercing a woman’s ears for jewelry is an allusion to the fact that she is enslaved to her husband as is noted in Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezar. If so then why isn’t the expression in this verse “He shall rule over you” explained according to this understanding [and instead the gemora says it means that she can’t asked openly for intercourse]? … Nevertheless it definitely would appear that the verse doesn’t lose its literal meaning and that is also meant. Therefore in terms of the relationship of a husband and wife, the wife is obligated to accepted the authority of her husband as we find in the Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): “Our Sages have commanded that the wife view her husband as a king and lord.” Aside from the language of this verse this idea of ruler ship can also be seen in the Sifre…that a woman does not have permission to speak before her husband. This is also possibly the source that Pesachim (108a) that a woman does not have to recline at the Pesach Seder in the presence of her husband. The reason being that he rules over her. She is exempt in the same way that a student is in the presence of his teacher. He cannot recline in the manner of freedom because of his fear and respect of his teacher. It is logical that this is the reason that a woman who does not fulfill the wishes of her husband is called a moredes (rebel). Since it is an obligation to accept him as king and lord [as stated in Rambam] therefore when she does the opposite - it as if she had rebelled against the kingdom. …  
Torah Temima (Devarim 22:16 note 136): From the fact that the verse begins by saying “The father of the girl took” and then it concludes with “The father of the girl” alone. Furthermore it says afterwards “He spread out the garment.” All of this shows that the woman is not allowed to speak in the presence of her husband. The reason is that she has to accept the lordship and authority of her husband as it says in the Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): Our Sages have commanded that the woman view her husband and a king and lord… Perhaps he is basing himself on the exposition on this verse. From this we can also see a source for Pesachim (108a) that a wife is not required to recline at the Seder in the presence of her husband. Since she has to accept his authority over her therefore she is exempt in the same way that a student is exempt in the presence of his teacher. It would seem that this is the reason that a woman who doesn’t do the will of her husband is called a rebel (moredes) as is known in Kesubos. Since she has the obligation to accept him as king and lord so when she does the opposite she is a rebel as one rebels against the king.
 Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:19): And thus our Sages commanded that a man should honor his wife more than himself and love him as himself. If he has money he should increase her welfare according to the money. Furthermore he should not place too much fear on her and he should speak with her pleasantly and he should not be sad or angry.
Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): And thus our Sages have commanded that the woman honor her husband to an extreme degree and the fear of him should be on her and she should do all her deeds according to what he says and he should be in her eyes as a ruler or king. She should orient her activities according to that which he desires and stay away from that which he hates. This is the manner of the daughters of Israel and the children of Israel who are holy and pure in their marriages. In this way the community will be pleasant and praiseworthy.
Yad Rama (Sanhedrin 76b): The braissa says that if a man loves his wife as himself – that means that he should have mercy on her as he is merciful to himself but more than himself is not relevant. That is because love is something which is in the heart and a person is not able to love another more than he loves himself. However regarding honor that is something for which it is possible that he can honor her more than himself with clothing which is nicer than what he gets for himself.
Chullin (84b): A person should always eat and drink less than what he can afford and he should have clothing appropriate to his wealth but he should honor his wife children on a higher standard than his wealth because they are dependent on him while he is dependent on G d.
Yevamos (62b): Our Rabbis taught: If a man loves his wife as himself and honors her more than himself and guides his sons and daughters on the straight path and has them married close to the age of puberty - the verse (Job 5:24) is applied to him, And you shall know that your tent is in peace.

386 gymnasts allege sexual abuse over 20 years, report says

Over the past 20 years 368 gymnasts have alleged some form of sexual assault,according to an investigation conducted by the Indianapolis Star/USAToday.

The report contains details about various forms of sexual abuse against gymnasts at the hands of coaches, gym owners and other adults working in gymnastics in the U.S, CBS Sports reports.

The nine-month investigation concluded that coaches found to have committed abuse were allowed to move from gym to gym, and that USA Gymnastics often turned a blind eye to the horrific infractions. Victims also were often met with skepticism when they reported abuse, the report concludes.

According to the report, the “vast majority of officials put children’s well-being ahead of business and competition, some officials at every level have not.”

The report claims that USA Gymnastics was negligent in its tracking of predatory coaches, who sometimes went without any form of punishment. Coaches suspsected of sexual abuse were allowed to keep their jobs as long as they accepted special monitioring, while others were allowed to finish the season. And, in 2009, USA Gymnastics named Doug Boger Coach of the Year, despite being under investigation for alleged sexual abuse. [...]

Calif. sex offender found guilty of murdering 4 women while being tracked by GPS

A California sex offender was found guilty Thursday of killing four women while he was being tracked by GPS. He now may face the death penalty.

Steven Dean Gordon was found guilty of four counts of murder for the attacks in 2013 and 2014. Orange County jurors only deliberated for about an hour before issuing the verdict. They also found true special circumstances of murder during a kidnapping and multiple murders, which will make Gordon eligible for a death sentence. [...]

Authorities said the 47-year-old Gordon and 30-year-old sex offender Franc Cano abducted and killed four women. Prosecutors charged both men with rape but later dropped the rape charges against Gordon.

Investigators said they pieced together the case after the body of missing 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp was found at a recycling center in Anaheim. Authorities said the men’s tracking devices linked them to the disappearance of the women. [...]

Gordon and Cano were registered sex offenders after being convicted in separate cases of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14. Gordon was convicted in 1992 and also has a 2002 kidnapping conviction, while Cano’s conviction dates back to 2008.

At the time of the killings, Gordon was living in an RV in an industrial area of Anaheim where the men brought their victims and wore a GPS device during at least three of the murders, according to grand jury testimony.

Police believe Cano and Gordon knew each other since at least 2010, when Cano cut off his GPS device and fled to Alabama, where he was arrested with Gordon. Two years later, they again cut off their monitoring devices and boarded a Greyhound bus to Las Vegas using fake names before being arrested two weeks later by federal agents. [...]

Obama Says U.S. Will Retaliate for Russia’s Election Meddling - Trump twists the truth again

President Obama said on Thursday that the United States would retaliate for Russia’s efforts to influence the presidential election, asserting that “we need to take action,” and “we will.”

The comments, in an interview with NPR, indicate that Mr. Obama, in his remaining weeks in office, will pursue either economic sanctions against Russia or perhaps some kind of response in cyberspace.

Mr. Obama spoke as President-elect Donald J. Trump on Thursday again refused to accept Moscow’s culpability, asking on Twitter why the administration had waited “so long to act” if Russia “or some other entity” had carried out cyberattacks.

The president discussed the potential for American retaliation with Steve Inskeep of NPR for an interview to air on Friday morning. “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our election,” Mr. Obama said, “we need to take action. And we will — at the time and place of our choosing.”

The White House strongly suggested before the election that Mr. Obama would make use of sanctions authority for cyberattacks that he had given to himself by executive order. But he did not, in part out of concern that action before the election could lead to an escalated conflict.[...]

On Thursday, pressure grew on Mr. Trump in Congress for him to acknowledge intelligence agencies’ conclusions that Russia was behind the hacking. But aides said that was all but impossible before the Electoral College convenes on Monday to formalize his victory.

Mr. Trump has said privately in recent days that he believes there are people in the C.I.A. who are out to get him and are working to delegitimize his presidency, according to people briefed on the conversations who described them on the condition of anonymity.

The president-elect’s suspicions have been stoked by the efforts of a group of Democratic electors, as well as one Republican, who called this week for an intelligence briefing on the Russian hacking, raising the prospect that votes in the Electoral College might be changed.

In his Twitter posting on Thursday, Mr. Trump suggested that the government’s conclusions on Russian hacking were a case of sour grapes by Mr. Obama. The president-elect falsely stated that Mr. Obama had waited until after the election to raise the issue.

“Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” Mr. Trump asked, although the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., formally blamed Russia on Oct. 7 for cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and other organizations.

In September, meeting privately in China with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Mr. Obama not only complained, the White House says, but also warned him of consequences if the Russian activity did not stop.

Among those in his own party, Mr. Trump’s refusal to accept the evidence that Russia was the perpetrator was raising growing concerns, with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina saying he would not vote for Rex W. Tillerson, Mr. Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, unless Mr. Tillerson addressed Russia’s role during his confirmation hearings.

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Trump’s stated doubts about Russia’s involvement will subside after Monday’s Electoral College vote. He and his allies have been concerned that the reports of Russian hacking have been intended to peel away votes from him, although even Democrats have not gone so far as to say the election was illegitimate.

“Right now, certain elements of the media, certain elements of the intelligence community and certain politicians are really doing the work of the Russians — they’re creating this uncertainty over the election,” Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, told reporters on Thursday after meeting with Mr. Trump.

But many other Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and Senator John McCain of Arizona, have publicly argued that the evidence leads straight to Russia. They have called for a full investigation, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, urged Mr. Obama on Thursday to complete an administration review quickly.

Mr. Trump’s Twitter post was his latest move to accuse the intelligence agencies he will soon control of acting with a political agenda and to dispute the well-documented conclusion that Moscow carried out a meticulously planned series of attacks and releases of information to interfere in the presidential race.

But as he repeated his doubts, Mr. Trump seized on emerging questions about the Obama administration’s response: Why did it take months after the breaches had been discovered for the administration to name Moscow publicly as the culprit? And why did Mr. Obama initially opt not to openly retaliate, through sanctions or other measures?

White House officials have said that the warning to Mr. Putin at the September summit meeting in China constituted the primary American response so far. When the administration decided to go public with its conclusion a month later, it did so in a statement from the director of national intelligence and the Homeland Security secretary, not in a prominent presidential appearance.

Officials said they were worried that any larger public response would have raised doubts about the election’s integrity, something Mr. Trump was already seeking to do during the campaign when he insisted the election was “rigged.”

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, criticized Mr. Trump on Thursday for questioning whether Russia was behind the attacks, referring to Mr. Trump’s call during the campaign for Moscow to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, a remark his team has since dismissed as a joke.

“I don’t think anybody at the White House thinks it’s funny that an adversary of the United States engaged in malicious cyberactivity to destabilize our democracy — that’s not a joke,” Mr. Earnest said. “It might be time to not attack the intelligence community, but actually be supportive of a thorough, transparent, rigorous, nonpolitical investigation into what exactly happened.”

While he declined to confirm news reports that Mr. Putin was personally involved in directing the cyberattacks, Mr. Earnest pointedly read part of the Oct. 7 statement that said intelligence officials believed “that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

He said that language “would lead me to conclude that based on my personal reading and not based on any knowledge that I have that may be classified or otherwise, it was pretty obvious that they were referring to the senior-most government official in Russia.”

In a conference call with reporters later on Thursday, aides declined to explain Mr. Trump’s position on whether Russia had been responsible for the breaches or to describe what he would do about the issue as president. Jason Miller, a spokesman, said he would let Mr. Trump’s “tweets speak for themselves” and added that those raising questions about the hacking were refusing to come to terms with his victory. “At a certain point you’ve got to realize that the election from last month is going to stand,” Mr. Miller said.

Charlie Sykes on Where the Right Went Wrong

After nearly 25 years, I’m stepping down from my daily conservative talk radio show at the end of this month. I’m not leaving because of the rise of Donald J. Trump (my reasons are personal), but I have to admit that the campaign has made my decision easier. The conservative media is broken and the conservative movement deeply compromised.

In April, after Mr. Trump decisively lost the Wisconsin Republican primary, I had hoped that we here in the Midwest would turn out to be a firewall of rationality. Our political culture was distinctly inhospitable to Mr. Trump’s divisive, pugilistic style; the conservatives who had been successful here had tended to be serious, reform-oriented and able to express their ideas in more than 140 characters. But in November, Wisconsin lined up with the rest of the Rust Belt to give the presidency to Mr. Trump.

How on earth did that happen?

Before this year, I thought I had a relatively solid grasp on what conservatism stood for and where it was going. Over the previous decade, I helped advance the careers of conservatives like House Speaker Paul D. Ryan; Gov. Scott Walker; Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee; and Senator Ron Johnson. In 2010, conservatives won big majorities in the Wisconsin State Legislature, and I openly supported many of their reforms, including changes to collective bargaining and expansions of school choice.

In short, I was under the impression that conservatives actually believed things about free trade, balanced budgets, character and respect for constitutional rights. Then along came this campaign.[...]

That is what I saw, and this is what it might mean for the future of conservatism. When I wrote in August 2015 that Mr. Trump was a cartoon version of every left-wing media stereotype of the reactionary, nativist, misogynist right, I thought that I was well within the mainstream of conservative thought — only to find conservative Trump critics denounced for apostasy by a right that decided that it was comfortable with embracing Trumpism. But in Wisconsin, conservative voters seemed to reject what Mr. Trump was selling, at least until after the convention.

To be sure, some of my callers embraced Mr. Trump’s suggestion for a ban on Muslims entering the country and voiced support for a proposal to deport all Muslims — even citizens. One caller compared American Muslims to rabid dogs. But right to the end, relatively few of my listeners bought into the crude nativism Mr. Trump was selling at his rallies.

What they did buy into was the argument that this was a “binary choice.” No matter how bad Mr. Trump was, my listeners argued, he could not possibly be as bad as Mrs. Clinton. You simply cannot overstate this as a factor in the final outcome. As our politics have become more polarized, the essential loyalties shift from ideas, to parties, to tribes, to individuals. Nothing else ultimately matters.

In this binary tribal world, where everything is at stake, everything is in play, there is no room for quibbles about character, or truth, or principles. If everything — the Supreme Court, the fate of Western civilization, the survival of the planet — depends on tribal victory, then neither individuals nor ideas can be determinative. I watched this play out in real time, as conservatives who fully understood the threat that Mr. Trump posed succumbed to the argument about the Supreme Court. As even Mr. Ryan discovered, neutrality was not acceptable; if you were not for Mr. Trump, then you were for Mrs. Clinton.

The state of our politics also explains why none of the revelations, outrages or gaffes seemed to dent Mr. Trump’s popularity.

In this political universe, voters accept that they must tolerate bizarre behavior, dishonesty, crudity and cruelty, because the other side is always worse; the stakes are such that no qualms can get in the way of the greater cause.

For many listeners, nothing was worse than Hillary Clinton. Two decades of vilification had taken their toll: Listeners whom I knew to be decent, thoughtful individuals began forwarding stories with conspiracy theories about President Obama and Mrs. Clinton — that he was a secret Muslim, that she ran a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor. When I tried to point out that such stories were demonstrably false, they generally refused to accept evidence that came from outside their bubble. The echo chamber had morphed into a full-blown alternate reality silo of conspiracy theories, fake news and propaganda.

And this is where it became painful. Even among Republicans who had no illusions about Mr. Trump’s character or judgment, the demands of that tribal loyalty took precedence. To resist was an act of betrayal.

When it became clear that I was going to remain #NeverTrump, conservatives I had known and worked with for more than two decades organized boycotts of my show. One prominent G.O.P. activist sent out an email blast calling me a “Judas goat,” and calling for postelection retribution. As the summer turned to fall, I knew that I was losing listeners and said so publicly.

And then, there was social media. Unless you have experienced it, it’s difficult to describe the virulence of the Twitter storms that were unleashed on Trump skeptics. In my timelines, I found myself called a “cuckservative,” a favorite gibe of white nationalists; and someone Photoshopped my face into a gas chamber. Under the withering fire of the trolls, one conservative commentator and Republican political leader after another fell in line.

How had we gotten here?

One staple of every radio talk show was, of course, the bias of the mainstream media. This was, indeed, a target-rich environment. But as we learned this year, we had succeeded in persuading our audiences to ignore and discount any information from the mainstream media. Over time, we’d succeeded in delegitimizing the media altogether — all the normal guideposts were down, the referees discredited.

That left a void that we conservatives failed to fill. For years, we ignored the birthers, the racists, the truthers and other conspiracy theorists who indulged fantasies of Mr. Obama’s secret Muslim plot to subvert Christendom, or who peddled baseless tales of Mrs. Clinton’s murder victims. Rather than confront the purveyors of such disinformation, we changed the channel because, after all, they were our allies, whose quirks could be allowed or at least ignored.

We destroyed our own immunity to fake news, while empowering the worst and most reckless voices on the right.

This was not mere naïveté. It was also a moral failure, one that now lies at the heart of the conservative movement even in its moment of apparent electoral triumph. Now that the election is over, don’t expect any profiles in courage from the Republican Party pushing back against those trends; the gravitational pull of our binary politics is too strong.

I’m only glad I’m not going to be a part of it anymore.

Trump throws a Twitter Fit One Day After Vanity Fair Lambastes His Restaurant

One day after Vanity Fair printed a highly critical piece about one of his restaurants, President-elect Donald Trump escalated his feud with the magazine's editor, calling him a "no talent."

"Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine," Trump said in an early-morning Tweet. "Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!"

The tweet illustrates Trump's ability to use his very visible platform as president-elect to lash back at critics of his businesses and underscores the conflicts of interest he will face in office.

Trump was originally supposed to hold a "major press conference" Thursday to reveal how he would address the conflicts of interest, but he decided to postpone it until next month. His staff said dealing with the issue involved complex legal issues and Trump needed time to iron out the details.

Although Trump didn't refer to it directly in his tweet, Vanity Fair's website on Tuesday published a rough review of Trump Grill, located in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan. The article, by politics and media writer Tina Nguyen, was headlined, "Trump Grill could be the worst restaurant in America."

Nguyen lambasted the restaurant for its tacky decor and indifferent menu.

Among the foods served, she wrote, was a short-rib burger "molded into a sad little meat thing, sitting in the center of a massive, rapidly staling brioche bun, hiding its shame under a slice of melted orange cheese. It came with overcooked woody batons called 'fries'—how can someone mess up fries?—and ketchup masquerading as Heinz. If the cheeseburger is a quintessential part of America's identity, Trump's pledge to 'make America great again' suddenly appeared not very promising."

She was no less critical of the way the restaurant looked:

"The restaurant features a stingy number of French-ish paintings that look as though they were bought from Home Goods. Wall-sized mirrors serve to make the place look much bigger than it actually is. The bathrooms transport diners to the experience of desperately searching for toilet paper at a Venezuelan grocery store."[...]

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The ideal woman: The righteous women of Egypt - Why the Jews were redeemed from Egypt

In trying to understand the Torah views of what the ideal woman is, one critical source is what woman have been praised for by our Sages. So far I have presented sources clearly stating that the ideal woman is one who helps her husband to reach spiritual perfection. Someone who is obedient and subordinate and takes care of the material aspects of life so her husband can devote himself to spiritual activities.

But their is another aspect where women - while being helpers - initialed actions that apparently the men were not able to or didn't want to do. This gemora presents women as being proactive - and not passive responders under the direction of their husband. In fact the men seem to be passive players under the direction of their wives. The women are specifically described as the reason for the Redemption from Egypt. I am not aware of any source that says the Redemption took place because of the actions of the men. In fact our sages say that 80% of the men died in Egypt because they weren't deserving of being redeemed. Thus at the beginning of the Jewish people - the most critical act - the Redemption from Egypt - was brought about through the women and not the men. This gemora is discussed by the Maharal (Gevuras HaShem 43). So far from degrading women, we see that the women are praised, while apparently the men contributed nothing and are not praised!

The following is Sotah (11b):  R. Awira expounded: As the reward for the righteous women who lived in that generation were the Israelites delivered from Egypt. When they went to draw water, the Holy One, blessed be He, arranged that small fishes should enter their pitchers, which they drew up half full of water and half full of fishes. They then set two pots on the fire, one for hot water and the other for the fish, which they carried to their husbands in the field, and washed, anointed, fed, gave them to drink and had intercourse with them among the sheepfolds, as it is said: When ye lie among the sheepfolds etc.4 As the reward for ‘ When ye lie among the sheepfolds’, the Israelites merited the spoliation of the Egyptians, as it is said: As the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her pinions with yellow gold.5 After the women had conceived they returned to their homes; and when the time of childbirth arrived, they went and were delivered in the field beneath the apple-tree, as it is said: Under the apple-tree I caused thee to come forth [from thy mother's womb] etc.6 The Holy One, blessed be He, sent down someone from the high heavens who washed and straightened the limbs [of the babes] in the same manner that a midwife straightens the limbs of a child; as it is said: And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to cleanse thee.7 He also provided for them two cakes, one of oil and one of honey, as it is said: And He made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil etc.8 When the Egyptians noticed them, they went to kill them; but a miracle occurred on their behalf so that they were swallowed in the ground, and [the Egyptians] brought oxen and ploughed over them, as it is said: The ploughers ploughed upon my back.9 After they had departed, [the Israelite women with their babes] broke through [the earth] and came forth like the herbage of the field, as it is said: I caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field;10 and when [the babes] had grown up, they came in flocks to their homes, as it is said: And thou didst increase and wax great and didst come with ornaments11 — read not with ornaments [ba'adi ‘adayim] but in flocks [be'edre ‘adarim]. At the time the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself by the Red Sea, they recognised Him first, as it is said: This is my God and I will praise Him.

Vayishlach 74 Autonomy – the Key to Character Education by Allan Katz

During the night preceding the meeting between Jacob- Ya'akov and his brother Esau, a confrontation takes place between Jacob and Esau's angel guardian. The verse Genesis 32:25 says that Jacob remained 'alone' - le'vado' and he wrestled with a man until the outbreak of dawn. The Medrash commentary notes that in Isaiah 2 – and on that day G-d ' alone' –le'vado will be exalted, the same word, a G-dly attribute le'vado= alone is also ascribed to Jacob. On that night Jacob achieved the G-dly attribute of le'vado.

Le'vado =alone cannot be talking about being hermits and independent , as human beings are interdependent, supporting each other to create caring communities. Rabbeinu Yeruchum says that le'vado =alone means man using only his intrinsic qualities, in an autonomous and self directed way. A teenager can react to parental control by seeking independence. This is a reaction and not an autonomous decision by the teenager. It is not something that originates within himself. The teenager is reacting to his parent's agenda. Rabeinu Yeruchum then shares Ethics Of our Fathers =Pikei Avot 4:1 as examples of a person's expression of his ' autonomy and intrinsic value'. This is based on the Marahal from Prague 's understanding of the Mishnah.

The Mishnah says – who is a wise man – he who learns from every person. Who is a strong person – a man who subdues his evil inclination, who is rich – a man who is happy with his lot, who is honored – he who honors other people.

In the Self Esteem essay I described 2 types of people. The ' To have ' people who are concerned with achievement and having. They see' the self 'as an object and their self esteem is usually contingent on how others see them and their achievements. They usually suffer from what Brene Brown calls the scarcity syndrome of not being good enough, not perfect enough or being just ordinary. The 'To Be' people focus on experience and the process. They see the self as a process and their self esteem is something deep and constant.

The 'To Have' person defines a wise person as having much knowledge, the strong person as having much strength, and the rich person – as having all the money and things that are entertaining and can make a person feel rich and happy. A person who is honored is one for eg is honored by many people and whom the government honors. The wise person has more knowledge, the rich person has more wealth, the honored person has more honors and awards, in comparison with others. But this is all extrinsic and external to the person and becomes important only when we are able to compare to others. 'Having' does not say anything about your attributes or character nor does it change you. Honoring a person, does not intrinsically change them- they remain the same. Winning a lottery does not turn a miser into a 'giving' person, or exercising in a gym cannot transform one into a person of character and therefore become a ' To Be 'person. It can just give a person a distorted sense of self esteem and self worth.

The To Be person is not concerned about achievement but the process. He is a wise man because he has a passion for learning, he is a life- long learner who is continually active learning from all. He is not an 'object ' dependent on a teacher and focused on quantity of knowledge and achievement.

He is a strong person not because he can lift 200 kg , but he is able to subdue his evil inclinations and use them positively. The battle against the ' Yetzer Ha'ra is a life-long battle so he needs to have strength of character to be self –directed and not be subject to his passions and inclinations . The truth is that dealing with the evil inclination has more to do about having a clever plan to outwit the evil inclination and less about grit, self control and self discipline.

He is a rich person because he is always happy and content with his lot – whatever it is. His happiness comes from his intrinsic passion for life and making meaning from everything he does and learns. He is self-directed, competent and a builder of relationships. He acts wealthy and ' being wealthy ' he is not attached to his money and possessions and expresses this by giving of his wealth to more needy people. New wealth may lead to a feeling of being wealthy in the short-term but people soon get used their new standards of living and the feeling dissipates.

The respected and honored person is one that honors others. Being honored by others does not say anything about the person – he may be worthy or unworthy of the honor given. But the person who honors others is giving expression to an intrinsic part of his personality – he is somebody who has the attribute of honor.

Being wise, strong, rich and honored means 'acting' as a wise man continuously learning, acting as a rich man, being happy, content and 'giving', acting as a strong man means giving expression to your strength of character and an honored man –acting as one who gives expression to his attribute of honor.

The goal of education and character education is to help kids become passionate life-long learners, people who honor others and can build relationships, have strength of character to become caring and competent people, happy, content, intrinsically motivated and giving.

This can be done addressing the 3 needs of people vital to their happiness and development. The 3 needs according to the ' Self –Determined theory are autonomy, competence and relatedness=belonging. When kids feel they are self directed , competent and have a sense of belonging to people they will become life-long learners who have strength of character, are happy, content and giving and who honor the needs of others by being caring and respectful.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Trump's bullying continues: Department of Energy refuses to reveal names of climate scientists to Trump

The Department of Energy (DOE) has refused to give the individual names of workers associated with work on climate change in response to a request from President-elect Donald Trump.

While a request for information for an incoming president is not unusual, questions from the Trump team asking for lists of who was involved with climate change research and negotiations under the Obama administration raised fears of a "witch hunt" among many DOE employees. Mr. Trump has called human-caused climate change a "hoax" on multiple occasions, putting him at odds with the majority of the scientific community.

While most politicians prefer agencies under their control to be staffed by employees and researchers sympathetic to their ideas and causes, the specific nature of the request and potential high cost of climate change denial have made this situation unprecedented. Few, if any, credible climate scientists still doubt that human activity contributes in some way to global warming, and most world powers agree that immediate action is necessary on a global scale in order to prevent warming to dangerous levels. In addition to the environmental concerns, many critics of Trump are also worried that his transition team's request indicates that climate change workers who are just doing their jobs could be unjustly marginalized by the incoming administration.

Last week, the Trump team sent a questionnaire to the DOE asking for details about various aspects in the agency's policies, not in itself an unusual occurrence. But as as The Christian Science Monitor previously reported:

The questionnaire specifically asked for the names of all DOE employees who attended the United Nation’s annual climate talks for the past five years, employees who helped develop the President Obama’s social cost of carbon metrics, and which programs are essential to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

All of which raises concerns that Trump’s administration will target employees involved in Obama-era policies that the president-elect spent his campaign promising to dismantle, including the Paris Climate Agreement, Clean Power Plan, and various other DOE and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

"The identity of employees that worked on climate change projects may be a reasonable administrative request; however, their affiliations would seem to be beyond the pale, and an implicit statement that the employees are motivated by small 'p' politics rather than science." Daniel Riesel, principal of the environmental law firm Sive, Paget & Riesel, tells the Monitor in an email. "The new administration should be able to evaluate the climate change work without meddling in the employees’ personal predilections – unless of course that is the basis of the new Administration’s approach to climate change science."[...]
In an act of defiance to protect these employees, no less unprecedented than the initial questionnaire itself, the Department of Energy has refused to give Trump the names of specific employees requested by the team.[...]

But despite the evident strong feelings of the current administrators of the department, Eberly says the DOE would likely not be able to refuse or ignore a similar request under the Trump administration.[...]

The unfortunate case of Meir and Lonna Kin - Perspective of Rav Gestetner

The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.

When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.

His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.

The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.

Yared Tamene, the tech-support contractor at the D.N.C. who fielded the call, was no expert in cyberattacks. His first moves were to check Google for “the Dukes” and conduct a cursory search of the D.N.C. computer system logs to look for hints of such a cyberintrusion. By his own account, he did not look too hard even after Special Agent Hawkins called back repeatedly over the next several weeks — in part because he wasn’t certain the caller was a real F.B.I. agent and not an impostor.[...]

An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.

The D.N.C.’s fumbling encounter with the F.B.I. meant the best chance to halt the Russian intrusion was lost. The failure to grasp the scope of the attacks undercut efforts to minimize their impact. And the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

The low-key approach of the F.B.I. meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee’s network for nearly seven months before top D.N.C. officials were alerted to the attack and hired cyberexperts to protect their systems. In the meantime, the hackers moved on to targets outside the D.N.C., including Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, whose private email account was hacked months later.

Even Mr. Podesta, a savvy Washington insider who had written a 2014 report on cyberprivacy for President Obama, did not truly understand the gravity of the hacking.[...]

In recent days, a skeptical president-elect, the nation’s intelligence agencies and the two major parties have become embroiled in an extraordinary public dispute over what evidence exists that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.

Many of Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides believe that the Russian assault had a profound impact on the election, while conceding that other factors — Mrs. Clinton’s weaknesses as a candidate; her private email server; the public statements of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, about her handling of classified information — were also important.

While there’s no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of the hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

“There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind,” Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command said at a postelection conference. “This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,” he said. “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”[...]

The United States, too, has carried out cyberattacks, and in decades past the C.I.A. tried to subvert foreign elections. But the Russian attack is increasingly understood across the political spectrum as an ominous historic landmark — with one notable exception: Mr. Trump has rejected the findings of the intelligence agencies he will soon oversee as “ridiculous,” insisting that the hacker may be American, or Chinese, but that “they have no idea.”

Mr. Trump cited the reported disagreements between the agencies about whether Mr. Putin intended to help elect him. On Tuesday, a Russian government spokesman echoed Mr. Trump’s scorn.[...]

Over the weekend, four prominent senators — two Republicans and two Democrats — joined forces to pledge an investigation while pointedly ignoring Mr. Trump’s skeptical claims.

“Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks,” said Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed.

“This cannot become a partisan issue,” they said. “The stakes are too high for our country.”[...]

Shawn Henry, who once led the F.B.I.’s cyber division and is now president of CrowdStrike Services, the cybersecurity firm retained by the D.N.C. in April, said he was baffled that the F.B.I. did not call a more senior official at the D.N.C. or send an agent in person to the party headquarters to try to force a more vigorous response.

“We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana,” Mr. Henry said. “We are talking about an office that is half a mile from the F.B.I. office that is getting the notification.”

“This is not a mom-and-pop delicatessen or a local library. This is a critical piece of the U.S. infrastructure because it relates to our electoral process, our elected officials, our legislative process, our executive process,” he added. “To me it is a high-level, serious issue, and if after a couple of months you don’t see any results, somebody ought to raise that to a higher level.”[...]

Mr. Obama was briefed regularly on all this, but he made a decision that many in the White House now regret: He did not name Russians publicly, or issue sanctions. There was always a reason: fear of escalating a cyberwar, and concern that the United States needed Russia’s cooperation in negotiations over Syria.

“We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

So the Russians escalated again — breaking into systems not just for espionage, but to publish or broadcast what they found, known as “doxing” in the cyberworld.

It was a brazen change in tactics, moving the Russians from espionage to influence operations. In February 2014, they broadcast an intercepted phone call between Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state who handles Russian affairs and has a contentious relationship with Mr. Putin, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the United States ambassador to Ukraine. Ms. Nuland was heard describing a little-known American effort to broker a deal in Ukraine, then in political turmoil.

They were not the only ones on whom the Russians used the steal-and-leak strategy. The Open Society Foundation, run by George Soros, was a major target, and when its documents were released, some turned out to have been altered to make it appear as if the foundation was financing Russian opposition members.

Last year, the attacks became more aggressive. Russia hacked a major French television station, frying critical hardware. Around Christmas, it attacked part of the power grid in Ukraine, dropping a portion of the country into darkness, killing backup generators and taking control of generators. In retrospect, it was a warning shot.[...]

But asked whether he believed the leaks were one reason for Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Assange seemed happy to take credit. “Americans extensively engaged with our publications,” he wrote. “According to Facebook statistics WikiLeaks was the most referenced political topic during October.”

Though Mr. Assange did not say so, WikiLeaks’ best defense may be the conduct of the mainstream American media. Every major publication, including The Times, published multiple stories citing the D.N.C. and Podesta emails posted by WikiLeaks, becoming a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence.

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends. The media’s appetite for the hacked material, and its focus on the gossipy content instead of the Russian source, disturbed some of those whose personal emails were being reposted across the web.

“What was really surprising to me?” Ms. Tanden said. “I could not believe that reporters were covering it.”[...]

As the year draws to a close, it now seems possible that there will be multiple investigations of the Russian hacking — the intelligence review Mr. Obama has ordered completed by Jan. 20, the day he leaves office, and one or more congressional inquiries. They will wrestle with, among other things, Mr. Putin’s motive.

Did he seek to mar the brand of American democracy, to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the C.I.A. concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump?

In fact, the Russian hack-and-dox scheme accomplished all three goals.

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.”

But Russia has by no means forgotten its American target. On the day after the presidential election, the cybersecurity company Volexity reported five new waves of phishing emails, evidently from Cozy Bear, aimed at think tanks and nonprofits in the United States.

One of them purported to be from Harvard University, attaching a fake paper. Its title: “Why American Elections Are Flawed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Two haredi sex-abuse suspects live in capital without restriction

If two men accused of sexual molestation and sodomy against minors were living freely in your neighborhood for three months without any court restrictions, you might be justifiably concerned.

If the presiding judge had stated that, after the initial police investigation the evidence against one of the suspects was “of considerable strength” and a written admission of guilt by the other suspect had been submitted to the police, the ongoing freedom of the accused might be more worrisome still.

And if there were at least seven complainants against the two suspects, the confusion, disquiet, and anger of the families of the alleged victims might be well understandable.

Yet this is the current situation of two ultra-Orthodox men who were arrested almost four months ago and investigated by the police on suspicion of sexual abusing teenage boys in Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim neighborhood.

Since their release from jail at the end of August, the suspects have been living in Mea She’arim without police or court restrictions.

During 2016, and for a period of at least six months, it appears that the two suspects, age 27 and 23, routinely had boys as young as 13 over to their apartments in the haredi neighborhood and allegedly engaged in various sex acts, including sodomy, with their victims.

Evidence also exists that the two men paid the boys to perform these acts.

According to a source in the State Attorney’s Office, there are at least seven complainants against the two men, and it is possible that other victims have yet to come forward. [...]

Both men were arrested in August, and were released after several days in prison to house arrest. However, the house arrest term expired at the end of August, and neither man has since been under any police or court restrictions.

The State Attorney’s Office declined to answer why four months since the two were arrested, and with so many complainants and other evidence, indictments have not yet been handed down or the case closed.

The State Attorney’s Office said merely that the case involving the two suspects had been investigated by the police, and the findings and evidence passed to the Jerusalem district office last week, with a decision still pending.[...]

Speaking to the Post, Haim’s father said that the entire episode had put severe strain on the family and caused great anguish for himself and his wife.

Haim’s mother had what he described as a nervous breakdown, and was hospitalized on two occasions for almost three weeks. His wife is in therapy, as are some of the other children in the family and Haim himself.

“The whole house just got turned upside down,” he said. “My wife is a mother of eight children, and she can’t cope. She’s gone from being a very high-functioning person to a low-functioning person.

“My son is messed up. He’s very angry, he’s confused, and he’s in major therapy right now.

He’s not calm, he’s very edgy, he’s not trusting and he’s having a difficult time in school. He’s hard to be around, any little thing sets him off; it’s really hard.”

For his father, the suffering caused to Haim and his family is made worse by the fact that the men who allegedly abused his son are living without restrictions and are yet to be indicted.

One one occasion, he and Haim were driving through Mea She’arim and actually spotted one of the suspects walking into a synagogue.