Miriam Shaviv



How blaming Israel can get you off the hook in a court of law

By Miriam Shaviv, July 25, 2008

This is one of the most worrying examples of anti-Israeli bias I have ever come across.

Last month, six men were acquitted in a Belfast court of causing more than £300,000 of damage to an office belonging to an American arms manufacturer in Derry, Northern Ireland, in August 2006 (one was convicted of theft of two computer discs).

They had broken into Raytheon’s building, destroyed its computer mainframe, damaged PCs, thrown documents out the window, and barricaded themselves inside the building for eight hours.

The Israel connection?

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Why this forced get is a scandal

By Miriam Shaviv, July 25, 2008

So the Sephardi Bet Din has issued a religious divorce to a woman who never appeared in its court. Justifying his decision, Dayan Amor wrote, according to the JC's translation, that she "dressed provocatively in public, worse than a common harlot" and "danced in nightclubs late into the night".

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Chumra of the week

By Miriam Shaviv, July 24, 2008

First, we had Orthodox Jewish women wearing burkas.  Now, we have Charedi women coming back from weddings and other simchas being told they should wear 'overcoats' - because the sight of them in their best clothes in the street could be too much for some men. (According to the Kosover Rebbe of Boro Park, "Though it may be hot in warm weather, it is a good thing".)

The burkas were bad enough - but at least

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The Russian revolution continues

By Miriam Shaviv, July 24, 2008

A few weeks ago, The Jerusalem Post's Calev Ben-David reported that the brand-new editor of Ha'aretz, Dov Alfon, was making substantial changes at the paper, toning down or getting rid of many of the best-known voices on the far left and firing (and then rehiring) its social affairs reporter, who focused on the plight of the poor.

Ben-David explained at the time that:

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Gordon Brown's speech defect

By Miriam Shaviv, July 23, 2008

Yesterday I reported that, according to Sky News's Adam Boulton, our prime minister has difficulty pronouncing the word 'Jerusalem'. Now The Evening Standard's diary adds,

Sources at the Jerusalem Post note that Brown mangled his attempt at a Hebrew quotation before going on to pronounce "Auschwitz" as "ouchwhich".

How do you think he would pronounce, "complete disaster as prime minister"?

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Why can't Gordon Brown pronounce 'Jerusalem'?

By Miriam Shaviv, July 22, 2008

Adam Boulton of Sky News is puzzled about one aspect of Gordon Brown's visit to Israel:

He seems to have trouble with the word Jerusalem, repeatedly pronouncing it Joo-rislem. The only explanation we can find is that he’s trying to remember how his father, the Reverend Brown, named the Eternal City in Hebrew. I’m told that pronounced correctly in the local language the name should sound like Yerooshalyam (sic)

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Living in denial over Samir Kuntar

By Miriam Shaviv, July 21, 2008

Dion Nissenbaum visits Samir Kuntar, back home in Lebanon, and tries to explain the question haunting so many: How can the Lebanese possibly take pride in, even celebrate, a child-murderer?

Clearly, many people - the majority - simply want to harm the Israeli "enemy". But Nissenbaum adds:

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Barack Obama, Shabbos goy

By Miriam Shaviv, July 18, 2008

Colin Powell and Elvis Presley are two famous Shabbos Goys – they were both employed, in their youth, by Orthodox families to carry out certain acts forbidden to Jews on the Sabbath, such as turning lights on and off.

 But are they about to be eclipsed by one Barack Obama?

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The new Zionist weapon: giant, indestructable rats

By Miriam Shaviv, July 18, 2008

Palestine Today reveals the latest Zionist weapon, which they allege is being used against Jerusalem's Arab population: rats.

Rats have become a weapon used by new Israeli colonizers against citizens in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem, in order to displace and expel them from their homes.

Districts in the old part of town are suffering and facing recently this new type of Israeli actions that aim to harass Jerusalemites in order to force them to leave...

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A Chassidic rebel goes public

By Miriam Shaviv, July 17, 2008

The cover story in New York magazine this week is a must-read. It features Gitty Grunwald, a Satmar Chassid who lost religion, left her husband, and is now fighting her former spouse for custody of their daughter, Esther Miriam, 4:

In early 2007, Gitty fled Kiryas Joel for good, taking Esther Miriam with her. At first, they lived in the relatively relaxed frum (Orthodox) community of Monsey, New York, then moved to Brooklyn. “It was just the two of us. I loved it,” Gitty says. Then in January of this year, as Esther Miriam was walked with her class to a Flatbush playground, she was taken, says Gitty, who believes her husband was behind the act.

“Some KJ guys snatched her off the street. Esther Miriam said they were wearing masks. All she remembers was crying, crying so hard,” Gitty says, calling it the worst day of her life. “When they told me what happened, I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was being suffocated. I still do.”

The article is told exclusively from Gitty's point of view, without any attempt at telling her husband's side of the story. Nevertheless, there are plenty of insights to be gained -

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Israel's POWs - as they were in life

By Miriam Shaviv, July 17, 2008

Israel's Channel two is carrying a video of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev's miluim (reserve duty) unit in 2004. The two men, who were buried today, pop up occasionally, smiling naturally at the camera and even flirting with it.

For those of you who understand Hebrew, but even if you don't, perhaps there is no more appropriate time to take a moment and remember these two fallen soldiers - as they were in life.

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Why were the terms of the POW agreement not clear in advance?

By Miriam Shaviv, July 16, 2008

Many have contended that the POW deal with Hizbollah is bad for Israel. Not only does it reward and encourage terrorism and kidnap, but Israel has – yet again – given up far more than it has received in return. Is 199 bodies and five live men in exchange for two bodies a good strategic move? And should Israel really have given up its most important bargaining chip, the murderer Samir Kuntar, without even getting any definite information on Ron Arad’s fate?

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Abu Mazen congratulates the family of Samir Kuntar

By Miriam Shaviv, July 16, 2008

According to Israeli radio (Reshet Bet), Palestinian President Abu Mazen has passed his personal blessings to the family of Samir Kuntar - the Lebanese terrorist who shot Danny Haran and drowned him in front of his 4-year-old daughter, then smashed her head against a rock until she was dead, and who will be released later today as part of the prisoner swap with Hizbollah.

And this is the "moderate" Palestinian leader.

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Divorces increase in the Orthodox community

By Miriam Shaviv, July 11, 2008

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Orthodox 'Shidduch crisis', in America at least, has turned into a 'post-Shidduch crisis':

The only thing worse than being an "older single" male, it seems, is being a 25-year-old divorcé with two children. It is women, though, who are usually more stigmatized by a split.

"We're seeing more and more recently married, young Orthodox Jews getting divorced," says Mr. Salamon, who estimates that the divorce rate among the Orthodox has risen to an alarming 30% in the past five to 10 years. (Hard data are difficult to come by, Mr. Salamon says, because the Orthodox shun research studies for fear of harming their own or their children's shidduchim.)

Surely when a third of marriages are breaking down, this calls for an overhaul of the entire system?

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Iran fakes pictures of its missile launch

By Miriam Shaviv, July 11, 2008

The Iranians have been busted by the New York Times for digitally manipulating an image of the missile test which so alarmed the rest of the world this week.

Sepah News, the the media arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, distributed a picture of four missiles being fired into the sky on Wednesday. The photo was reproduced by, amongst others, The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times, The Chicago Tribune, MSNBC, Yahoo! News, NYTimes.com and our very own BBC News.

Except it turns out that one of the missile images was, in fact, an amalgamation of two of the others, and was strategically placed in the picture in order to cover up a missile which had misfired.

What is particularly striking is the amateur level of the cover-up. Just like Adnan Hajj's fake images of Israeli strikes on Beirut during the Second Lebanon War, distributed by Reuters, the alterations seem to involve nothing more than a simple cut-and-paste job. The repeated sections in the picture are very obvious to anyone taking a second glance.

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No, Muslims are not ‘new Jews’

By Miriam Shaviv, July 11, 2008

Britain’s first Muslim government minister, Shahid Malik, thinks that many British Muslims feel like “the Jews of Europe”.“I don’t mean to equate that with the Holocaust,” the Dewsbury MP said last week on Channel 4, “but in the way that it was legitimate almost — and still is in some parts — to target Jews, many Muslims would say that we feel the exact same way.”

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Frummer than the Chafetz Chaim

By Miriam Shaviv, July 10, 2008

A few months ago I wrote about how "modesty has moved from being about modest clothing to being about keeping women, and images of women, away from men."

Here's the latest example. A historic picture of the great sage, the Chafetz Chaim, sitting in front of a building with two women standing behind him has had the women in the photo removed. Admittedly, I don't know when the Photoshopping took place, but the doctored pic was sent out recently by an American yeshivah as part of its fundraising efforts.

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American shuls raise fees to pay for electricity bills

By Miriam Shaviv, July 10, 2008

Shuls in New York are raising their fees, levying special 'fuel taxes' and consolidating events in order to compensate for rising oil and natural gas costs. In some cases, this means congregants paying an additional $150-$200 - which is a lot to tack onto a shul membership bill.

How long before this starts happening in UK synagogues?

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The Zionists infiltrate al Jazeera

By Miriam Shaviv, July 4, 2008

Al Jazeera English is clearly falling out of favour with some Muslims - because it is too "pro-Israeli". A blogger on the website of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee complains that the coverage of the terror attack in Jerusalem on Wednesday was completely unbalanced:

You need to see the TV coverage to understand my sentiments in full; I was genuinely sad about the needless loss of human life - three Israeli civilians dead and dozens injured. However, as I watched the coverage I became shocked at the pro-Israel bias, which included an interview with a representative of the Jerusalem Post.

No such coverage was afforded to any Palestinian representative to negate the accusations of Palestinian ‘terrorism' nor did they provide any reference for contextual purposes, to the hundreds of Palestinians that have been killed since the start of the year.

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'Saved by a smelly tramp'

By Miriam Shaviv, July 3, 2008

Manchester reader Ya'akov Wise sends us the following update:

A former Manchester woman was on the number 13 bus in Jerusalem at noon on Wednesday and was saved because she did not want to embarrass a smelly tramp who was sitting next to her. Corinne Silver, formerly of Tewkesbury Drive Prestwich and a part-time employee of the Manchester Beth Din, left the bus two stops before an Arab worker drove his bulldozer into it and overturning it.

Mrs Silver who now works as a house mother at a seminary for girls near Jerusalem said: "I went to Jerusalem and after seeing my son Yosef got the number 13 bus from his office towards the central bus station. The bus was full but eventually I got a seat and then, a really smelly tramp came and sat next to me, the smell was overwhelming and I decided, 'ha just what I need...'

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