Biden Supports Palestinian Hospitals Which Ban Abortion

President Biden is being pressured by pro-abortion groups to take action after the US Supreme Court ruled that the right to abortion is not federally guaranteed and that each state must decide for itself how to handle the procedure. Even in states like New York which allow abortion until the moment of birth, pro-choice people are demanding federal action.

It is curious to watch their silence as Biden hands $100 million to hospitals thousands of miles away which ban the procedure completely.

The Palestinian Authority completely bans abortion in all circumstances, including rape, incest and if the mother or fetus’s life is in danger. It is one of a handful of governments which have a full ban. Others include Egypt, Iraq, Mauritania, Congo and Senegal.

Biden opted to hand monies to the hospital system directly because the Palestinian Authority flatly refuses to stop awarding money to terrorists that attack Jewish civilians. The Taylor Force Act, named for an American visiting Israel who was killed by a Palestinian Arab, prevents the United States from handing money to the PA while it actively funds the murder of civilians.

The US Congress must still approve Biden’s proposed $100 million award to the Palestinian hospital network. It will be interesting to see if members of congress like Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes (D-NY) and Cori Bush (D-MO) who were arrested during their protest about abortion in front of the Supreme Court, will approve this funding for Palestinians whom they historically prioritize over any issue, including anti-Semitism and terrorism.

Rep. Ilhan Omar arrested in front of US Supreme Court on July 19, protesting abortion ruling. She must now decide if the US should hand $100 million to Palestinian hospitals which ban abortion. (picture: Tom Williams/Getty Images)

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Being Purple, I’m Neither Anti-Abortion Nor Pro-Abortion. I’m Anti-Infanticide

The Supreme Court voted to overturn the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade, putting the issue of abortion to each state to decide. In the coming months and years, lobbyists and legislators will lob arguments as they listen to constituents on the rights of women and the unborn. Extremists will win the day in both deep blue and red states, while purple ones may find compromise positions.

The extreme wings are fortified with devotees of deeply-held dogma. Religious conviction will drive some to seek the banning of abortion at the very moment of conception, when the potential life is simply a cluster of cells. The religion without deity has christened the desire of a woman supreme, and push legislation to permit abortion for any reason until the very moment of birth.

Both positions are nonsensical and harmful.

A cluster of cells is just that. Women likely have monthly periods that pass as much without notice. The mass has neither brain nor heart, so the basis of calling the coagulation “life” seems as silly and mundane as “What is a Woman?” To deprive women the right to manage their lives early in pregnancy is invasive and draconian.

At the other extreme, to sanction infanticide before a baby is born, is to legalize and bless the murder of the innocent. Even pro-Choice people say that if an eight-month pregnant woman dies in a car accident, doctors should save the fetus. They therefore admit that the fetus is an actual life worth saving, at least once the mother’s desire is no longer a factor. Such flawed reasoning could permit a mother to kill her two-year old if her finances or relationship become impaired (the main reasons for having an abortion are about bad timing, and financial or relationship difficulties according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute).

Each side protests that their cause is just. The desires to protect a woman and the infant are noble as each party is worthy of protection. And rights.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 95% of abortions occur during the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. Roughly 4.1% occur between weeks 16 and 20, and 1.3% happen after the 21st week. Using 2017 data suggests that approximately 11,200 abortions in the US were late term. To put the late term abortion statistic in perspective, in 2018, there were 19,660 deaths among children 1-19. The leading causes were motor vehicle accidents (20%), firearms (15%) and cancer (9%). In other words, the number of late term abortions in the US far exceeds the number of deaths for all children under 20 years old from car accidents, firearms and cancer COMBINED.

While there is not a large recent comprehensive study on who gets these late term abortions and why, there was a study conducted between 2008 and 2010 and published in 2013 on this very issue. It reported that “data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment. (emphasis added)” More specifically, it added that “Most women seeking later abortion fit at least one of five profiles: They were raising children alone, were depressed or using illicit substances, were in conflict with a male partner or experiencing domestic violence, had trouble deciding and then had access problems, or were young and nulliparous.”

The Bizarre Contradictory Liberal Laws of New York State

New York has some of the most left-wing laws in the country. When it comes to protecting the very young, recent laws have been enacted that are at odds with each other.

In August 2018, the state passed a law banning smoking in any facility that provides child care services. Governor Andrew Cuomo said at the time that “the dangers of secondhand smoke are indisputable and we must do everything in our power to protect children.” Other people in the State Assembly added that “second and third-hand smoke is a detriment the development of our kids.

Five months later, Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act which decriminalized abortion at any time for any reason. The act specifically removed the killing of an “unborn child with which a female has been pregnant for more than twenty-four weeks” from the definition of a homicide. Somehow, the danger of secondhand smoke are “indisputable” but the targeted killing of a fully viable fetus is not a “detriment to its development.”

Fetus at 34 weeks. Current New York State law permits terminating pregnancy up until birth for any reason.

Summary

Most Americans are very disturbed by late term abortions. According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 77% of people believe that an abortion should be illegal in the third trimester if the rationale is a woman’s wishes / “choice”, although attitudes flip if the mother’s life is in danger. In the May 2022 polling, the favorability of banning abortions jumped from 27% to 55% to 71% during the first, second and third trimester, respectively.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling was thrown out because the Supreme Court justices concluded that there wasn’t a constitutional right to the procedure and pushed each state to decide for itself how to handle the matter. Now the states must consider the rights of the unborn and of women, and whether they change based on time and circumstances. Citizens in states like New York should look to the original Roe decision that they celebrated, and pressure the legislature to adopt Roe’s delineation of fetal viability, and repeal the repeals that the far-left extremists enacted just a few years ago.

The nation has been in the throws of being pulled apart for several years now and the abortion map may set the borders of the Mason-Dixon Plaid for years to come.

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“Don’t Say ‘Baby'” Bill Considered By New York Republicans

A satire.

The State of Florida has advanced a bill that would restrict the education of sexual orientation to children below third grade “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” LGBT+ activists and Democratic politicians coined it the “Don’t Say ‘Gay’” to mock the bill as something draconian. The tag line has caught on in the media and is drumming up support to oppose the bill.

Noting the success of the powerful – albeit non-factual – slogan, other politicians are looking to coin similar phrases to gather support to fight legislation viewed as extremist.

On January 22, 2019, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the ‘Reproductive Health Act’ that was pushed by New York’s Democratic politicians, which decriminalized abortion up to the moment of birth. Republicans were unable to block the infanticide bill as they did not have a catchy jingle. They are now considering billing it as the “Don’t Say ‘Baby'” law, in an unoriginal copy of the “Don’t Say ‘Gay'” catchphrase.

NY State Senator Liz Krueger (D, WF-Manhattan East Side) who sponsored the ‘Reproductive Health Act’ which made the abortion-until-birth bill seem less than extreme.

In Virginia, Republicans introduced a bill to allow children taught in private schools or at home to participate in after-school programs of public schools. Democrats do not want to afford privileges to these students who are disproportionately White, religious, conservative and headed by two parents. For years, they called these bills the “Tim Tebow” bills after the religious football player who was homeschooled and later played in the NFL. As more states are passing these bills (Virginia shot it down), people are forgetting who Tim Tebow is, and more Hispanics are opting for homeschooling (26% of homeschooled students in 2016, up from 9% in 1999), Democrats are worried about society abandoning public school education so are trying to rename the legislation. Current working names are “Robbing Public After School Programs,” “1% School Theft Bill,” “Church’s Cake-And-Eat-It-Too Bill,” “Shloimy Stealing Your Kid’s Saxophone Bill.”

The advertising industry is excited about politicians fighting for public attention all day on every front, albeit worried that the jaundiced press is giving free air time in echoing the taglines of the parties.

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Abortion, “Settlements” and Judeo-Christian Communities of Faith

There are very few subject matters that excite people to such a degree that they become passionate even when there is no personal stake in the matter. The curious thing about two of them – abortion and the “settlements” – is that the left and right are similarly inconsistent about the rights of the self and those of the impacted.

Abortion

The left-wing considers abortion a personal matter for the mother. They consider the impacted party – the fetus – to have no rights, even up to the point of birth. Their “pro-choice” position argues that if you don’t like abortions, then don’t have one. Each person can decide on their own what works best for their circumstance. Some pro-choice people have even suggested that men should have zero say in the entire abortion discussion.

The right-wing that is “pro-life” doesn’t dismiss that women are a factor in the topic, however, they feel that the fetus also has rights. Some people in this camp feel that abortions are a form of legalized murder of innocent babies. The moves taken by some states like New York which have removed any penalties or restrictions for an abortion up until the moment of birth are viewed as sickening. The idea that men should have no say in laws regarding infanticide are considered outrageous and repugnant.

“Settlements”

The left-wing has tacked to a different course when it comes to Israeli Jews living over the 1949 Armistice Lines between Israel and TransJordan. They feel that the rights of Jews to live in the area commonly called the “West Bank” is wrong as it impacts Palestinian (formerly Jordanian) Arabs who do not want them living there in their call for a Jew-free country. Rather than follow their own advice on abortion – if you don’t like it, don’t do it – they have attempted to stop others (Jews specifically) from living in “settlements.”

The right-wing has similarly taken the inverted path on Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria. They stand fully behind the rights of Jews to live where they want, especially in the Jewish holy land. The fact that Palestinian Arabs don’t like it is irrelevant. The impacted party must learn to live with the actions of people who use their agency to control their lives.

Changed Laws

The see-saw between right and left has pulled laws in different directions over the decades.

Abortion was illegal throughout the United States until 1973. The law continues to be challenged by different states which expand upon the rights of women (like New York described above) or for the rights of the unborn, as in Texas and Mississippi.

International law not only allowed but encouraged Jews to live throughout historic Palestine. The 1920 San Remo Agreement and the 1922 Mandate of Palestine not only called for Jews to live everywhere in the land, but specifically prohibited anyone from being banned from living in any part of the land (Article 15) – even in what became TransJordan (Article 25) – because of their religion. The United Nations reversed that in 2016 with the passage of UNSC 2334 which made it illegal for Jews to live over the 1949 Armistice Lines.

Abortion rights advocates demand that abortion rights are human rights and fight the laws viewed as discriminatory and will push for access even if laws are passed which they view as inherently misogynistic. Settlement activists similarly view UNSC 2334 and various calls to ban Jews from living somewhere as deeply anti-Semitic. They are fighting against the laws and attempts to boycott Jews who live in the Israeli territory of Area C.

The Distant Passion

The Deciding Party with Agency

There are nearly 4 billion women on the planet, so it stands to reason that there are many people who feel a vested interest in abortion rights. A woman in Ireland may look at the status of abortion in Texas and know that the decisions there have no immediate direct impact on her. However, she may feel both a connection with the women of Texas, and believe that the trend line in one part of the world may ultimately impact the situation for her thousands of miles away.

So it is with Jewish settlements. While there are a paltry few million Jews, there are hundreds of millions of Christian Zionists and others excited to see the rebirth of the Jewish State and want to ensure its success as they believe it confirms their faith. They stand amazed at the thriving democracy and technology marvel that Jews have built in the middle of the illiberal Middle East and are confident that God is blessing the Jewish people and will also bless those who bless the Jewish people.

The reality is that everyone – not just those with a vested interest – would likely be fine with abortions and settlements if there were no impacted party. The tension exists because there are others in the mix, and that dynamic is what ignites the passions.

Israeli buildings in the Judean Desert in Area C

The Impacted Party

In the abortion debate, many religious people believe that life begins at conception. Even those less religious intuitively understand that there is something unique about a fetus, especially in the third trimester, when an abortion cannot be equated with a woman getting a tattoo or body piercings. The pro-life community believes that the rights of the unborn – at some point during pregnancy – are as great as the rights of the mother.

The right and left do not side with the party with agency or the impacted party but whom they prioritize. The right sides with Jews and the unborn while the left tilts towards women and Arabs.

The split can perhaps be best summarized by the religious Judeo-Christian community versus the secular and Muslim community. The religious Judeo-Christian community generally believes that a fetus is more than a mass of cells and has inherent human dignity. They similarly attempt to live lives infused with the values of the Bible, and believe that the land of Israel is not simply holy land as it is to other faiths, but a uniquely Jewish Promised Land. The secular world believes neither, and wants to keep the beliefs of others out of their lives and politics.

The pro-life and pro-Zionist factions have tremendous overlap, not just in conservative politics but in the religious Judeo-Christian communities. The pro-abortion and pro-Palestinian groups similarly overlap in their anti-Judeo-Christian worldview, which they have attempted to characterize as a “White Patriarchy,” as a method of demonizing those alternative views.

Ongoing debates on abortions, settlements and a variety of issues will feature a slew of creative invectives, but at the core is the battle between the devoutly secular and the Judeo-Christian communities of faith around the world.

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When It Becomes

An allegory.

 

Seth’s ninth birthday seemed like a welcome time for skipping school and a take-your-son-to-work day. As his father, the architect, did most of his work from home, his mother was quite excited to bring Seth to see her latest projects.

The housing development was designed to accommodate 73 homes. With only about 20 homes completed, the sunny day was a great chance to show the nine-year old the various stages of home building.

Seth knew that his mother was a home builder but had never really understood what was involved in her day-to-day activity. He was very excited to find out.

They parked at the entrance of the complex and got out of the car to take in the lesson on foot. Seth was surprised that they began at an open field.

“There’s nothing here,” Seth said, “it’s just a bunch of grass.”

“Yes,” his mother replied, “this is how things are before we break ground. I wanted you to get a sense of how a house is built by taking you through the various stages of home building. Here we have a flat field which will one day have a four-bedroom house.”

They walked up the road to what looked like a large hole in the ground. Inside the pit were rectangular gray walls with various notches on top. Seth was confused. “What’s this?”

His Mom replied, “that’s the foundation to a house. It’s what holds up the rest of the house and keeps it from sinking into the ground. We start by digging a hole and then pouring concrete which is very strong that can hold up the walls of the house. These gray rectangles will become the rooms of the basement.”

“I can’t really see it,” Seth mumbled. “It just looks like a jumbled maze.”

His Mom laughed. “I know, it’ll look more obvious to you as we get further along.”

The next stop had a few people working. They wore helmets and were standing among lots of wooden beams. Measuring tape and tools were everywhere.

“What’s happening now?” Seth asked.

“They’re putting up the walls. Those are wooden frames of the outside and inside walls of the house.”

The child was frustrated. “I still don’t see it. It looks like a jumble of wood. There are no walls! I can see though everything!”

The mother was upset. Her goal was to make this interesting and exciting, not frustrating. She decided to move onto a more complete project. They took a diagonal cut through some sites to a large building.

Seth became excited. “Now I see it! There’s the roof and walls and windows! That’s where the door goes!”

“That’s right! You can start to make out the definite outlines of the house at this point. Grab this helmet and let’s go inside!”

The two of them walked up some boards and into the house. “Be very careful and try not to touch anything,” she warned. “It’s an active construction site so there’s a lot of workers with nail guns which are dangerous. Stay close to me.”

Seth was excited. It finally felt like he was seeing a house.

Seth noted that the tone of his mother changed. She suddenly went from being his Mom to a working professional. “This is going to be the entrance hallway. Over there is the living room. Come with me and we’ll look at the kitchen,” she said.

The large space looked much like the other large spaces. There was saw dust everywhere just like the first rooms. His mother started going into details about where the refrigerator and oven were going to be, the sink and the island. She waved her hand at the open walls which was going to have the kitchen table. Suddenly, it started to come together in Seth’s mind. “I get it. I can imagine the table, but it’s hard to imagine all of the appliances. I still just see open walls.”

“Come to the next house which already has the plumbing and electrical work installed. We will be closing the walls this week. A building inspector is going to be there tomorrow.”

The house next door was still under construction but clean. There were wires and pipes in many of the walls. “These are the guts of the house. These thin wires are for electricity and broadband. These pipes are for hot and cold water. And these big tubes are the air conditioning.”

Seth nodded. “So that’s why the walls aren’t solid? So you can put in all of the pipes and electricity?”

She smiled, “that’s certainly a big part of it. It also would be much more expensive to make all of the walls solid.”

They went outside and down the street to a home that looked totally finished. The grass wasn’t in, but the house itself looked safe.

They went inside. Aside from the lack of furniture, everything looked finished. “Didn’t anybody buy this house? Why is it empty?” Seth asked.

“The owner’s want everything completed before they move in. They’re adding some chandeliers, changing the paint in some rooms, adding window treatments. A bunch of little items before they move in the furniture.”

Seth paused for a second. “So Mom, when is a house officially a house? Is it once a person moves in?”

“That’s an excellent question. I would say a house becomes a home when a family moves in. That’s when there’s a personal connection to the building, when people make memories. But a house becomes a house much earlier.”

“Like when a foundation is put in?” Seth asked.

“No, that’s too early. That’s the building blocks for a house, but not yet a house itself. I would say it’s when the building gets the ‘C of O,’ the certificate of occupancy.”

Seth was now confused. He didn’t see any ‘C of O’ on the tour. “What’s that?”

“Do you remember how I said that a building inspector was going to come look at the wiring of the house before we closed the walls? The city sends a person to look at the house during various stages of the construction to make sure that everything is safe and up to the latest safety codes and regulations. When they’re satisfied that everything is done and the house is ready to be occupied, they issue a Certificate of Occupancy. Typically, no one moves into a house for many more weeks as the house gets the finishing touches, but I would say the C of O probably marks the house as officially being a house.”

“So even though the government doesn’t own the house, it gets to decide on whether it really is a house?”

“No one ever suggested that the government owns the house and gets to decide on the colors of the draperies or anything like that. But the government does get the sign-off on when the building is ready.”

“And how long does that typically take?” asked Seth.

“There’s no set formula, but for this project, from the time we break ground to getting a C of O takes about 24 weeks. The last weeks before people move in are installing lighting fixtures, back-splashes and other incidentals that invariably take a bunch of time. It’s about 9 months from the start until someone moves in.”

“That’s almost like a baby,” noted Seth.

“Yes, it’s very much like the development of a baby. It takes about 24 weeks from conception to become a viable person, and a total of nine months for the baby to be born and for a family to begin to build a lifetime of memories together.”


Related First.One.Through article:

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Magnifying the Margins, and the Rise of the Independents

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Abortion and the Human Dancer (music by The Killers)

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The Misogyny of Treating Women like Victims

On January 21, 2017, the streets of Washington D.C. were flooded with a Women’s March to protest the election of President Donald Trump. The group was clearly angry that the nation did not elect the first women president, their preferred candidate Democrat Hillary Clinton. Even more, they came to voice their concerns about what President Trump might do to abortion rights. The ultimate position paper of the march’s organizers spanned a wide range of issues beyond core women’s issues like abortion, to concerns like minimum wage, union rights, immigration policy and clean air.

But back to core women’s issues.

Donald Trump initially caused a stir when he said during a presidential debate in March 2016 that women who perform illegal abortions should be punished. After a loud public outcry, Trump back-peddled from his statement. In October 2016, he amended his comments that he is pro-life and would appoint judges with similar opinions, but ultimately the decisions regarding abortions would be left to each state. The outcry against his comments continued, but this time he did not reverse his position.

So who would get punished for abortion? Trump said If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb.

Many women’s rights organizations were happy with this Trump statement, albeit still concerned about his other pro-life statements. They shouldn’t be. Their agreement that a woman is always the victim is arguably more misogynistic than curtailing abortion rights.

womens-march-dc
Women’s March in Washington D.C. January 2017

Abortion

The Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade permitted abortions up until the time that a fetus was viable outside of the womb, roughly 24 weeks at that time (the viability is closer to 20 to 22 weeks today due to advances in medicine). That means that an abortion after viability is not a legal procedure, unless there were particular circumstance like a threat to the mother’s life. In 2014, there was just a small number of such late-term procedures, 1.3% of all abortions. Most states (43) place limits on late term abortions.

What is the punishment for the 1.3% of women who get abortions after 20 weeks? There is no comprehensive information. People assume that late-term abortions must only happen when the mother’s life is at stake, but the reality is that very few abortions overall happen due to the “big three” issues that abortion-rights advocates site as additional arguments to gather support for abortion: rape; incest; and risk to the life of the mother. The vast majority of abortions happen because the mother is concerned about her work or her partner, or the financial ability to support the baby.

So consider a woman that is eight months pregnant who breaks up with her partner and therefore no longer wants to keep the baby. Should the doctor performing the abortion procedure be the sole party punished for killing a perfectly viable fetus? Should the woman escape all liability for such a decision? That would be a mockery of justice.

The Women’s March claimed that Women’s Rights are Human Rights. Indeed they are. But baby rights are human rights too.

Prostitution

The march’s position paper of 16 bullet points chose to not call for the legalization of prostitution, a curious call for a group that demanded “gender justice.. for the power to control our bodies and be free of gender norms, expectations and stereotypes.

Are the march’s organizers so puritanical that they cannot imagine women willingly be paid to have sex?

This is not just on the march’s organizers, but on society as well. Our government has inverted policies regarding prostitution laws, where new laws in the country seek to punish the purchasers of the service (the “johns”) instead of the prostitutes themselves.  This is a clear inconsistency of punishing the purchaser of the illegal services for prostitution (typically men), but only the service provider in the case of abortion (the doctor). Logic would suggest that either the person paying for the service in each instance is punished (the woman in abortion and man for prostitution) or the service provider (the prostitute and the doctor). Instead, society has chosen to have an overriding concern to not punish women in each case.

That is wrong.

To respect women is to hold them accountable. Women cannot claim complete control of their bodies unless they assume FULL RESPONSIBILITIES for their bodies, as well. In that regard, the women’s rights movement and society should finally push for legalized prostitution and for the punishment of women who perform late-term abortions for non-medical reasons.

It is time for the women’s rights activist and society to stop being so protective of women as to treat them as passive wards of the state.


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Israel, the Liberal Country of the Middle East

Summary: Israel is by far the most liberal country of the entire Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). It is also probably the most liberal country from Western Europe to Australia and down to South Africa.

Diversity of population. Israel has a diverse population. The majority, 75%, are Jewish, about 20% Arab Muslims, and the balance of 5% a mix of Christians, Baha’i, Druze and others. Almost all of the MENA region is 90%+ Muslim, with a large number being almost completely Arab Muslim (Morocco; Tunisia; Iran; Yemen; Iraq; Jordan; Turkey; Algeria; Gaza and EGL; Saudi Arabia; Libya; Egypt; Syria). Lebanon is the only other country in the region with some diversity.

Equal Justice. Israel administers its legal system to all levels of society.  Consider that both a former Prime Minister and President were sentenced to jail for general crimes such as bribery and sexual assault (as opposed to a method to remove a dictator). They were afforded no special privileges compared to ordinary citizens.

Salim_Joubran
Salim Joubran, Israeli Arab Supreme Court Judge

Women’s Rights. Women in Israel have full rights of equality including the ability to vote, inheritance, walk in public alone, drive, etc. These are rights that are not found in much of the MENA region. Saudi Arabia has virtually no rights for women.  The new 20th Knesset will have 29 women– 24% of the parliament, significantly higher than the 16% of women in the US congress.

shaked
Ayelet Shaked, Member of Knesset

Free Speech, Assembly and Press. Israel permits freedom of expression. Freedom House ranked Israel as the only country in MENA with a free press for several years, and just added Tunisia. The MENA region continues to be the most repressive in terms of freedoms in the entire world, such as Turkey which leads the world in jailing the most journalists.

african protest
Thousands of illegal African immigrants protest in front of parliament

Freedom of Religion. Israel allows people of all faiths the freedom to practice their religion. This compares to much of the MENA region which has criminal laws against apostasy– changing one’s religion from Islam to something else- even though such right is guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A growing number of countries in Europe have begun to restrict freedom of religion including bans on minarets at mosques, head coverings in public and permitting kosher and halal foods.

mormon
Mormon church in Jerusalem built with assistance of Israeli government

Gay Rights. According to a gay rights group, ILGA, Israel was the only country to get a perfect score on gay rights in the region between Western Europe, South Africa and Australia. For example, Israel permits gay couples to adopt children and serve openly in the army , something which many western countries do not permit. In some MENA countries such as Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Mauritania, gays are actually publicly executed by the government.

gays in israel
Gays in Israel

Environmental Matters. Israel is a “green” country. It leads the world in recycling plastic, having surpassed Europe in 2012. It created the first commercial wind farm in MENA and the first permanent bike sharing program. It leads the word in drip irrigation technology. It was one of only two countries in the world to have more trees entering the 21st century than it had in the 20th due to forestation efforts.

windfarm
Wind Farm in the Golan

Open Public Office. People of all backgrounds and faiths are allowed to serve in the Israeli government, to become Prime Minister, serve in every branch of the military and Supreme Court. The new 20th Knesset will have 17 Arabs – 14% of the parliament. This compares to 8% black representation in the US Congress. Many countries, like Syria, restrict the participation of people who are not Muslims from participating in public office.

Ayoub_Kara
Ayoub Kara, Druze MK from Likud Party

Death Penalty. Israel only has a single reason for sentencing someone to death – crimes against humanity – which it has carried out only once: fifty years ago for Adolf Eichmann for his role in the Holocaust. Much of the MENA region uses capital punishment for a range of offenses including: apostasy; adultery; drug trafficking; being gay; murder; witchcraft; and prostitution.

Abortion. Abortion is legal in Israel for a variety of circumstances. It is illegal in almost the entire rest of the MENA region, with the exception of Tunisia.

The Arts. Israel is the only country in the MENA region to have both an opera house and a ballet company.  Opera exists in Israel, Oman and Syria and ballet companies are in Israel, Tunisia, Egypt, UAE and Iran.

opera
Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center

Animal Rights. Israel became only the third country/ entity (after the European Union and Norway) to ban the sale of cosmetics that were tested on animals.

Human Body Rights. Israel permits full control of a person’s body including tattoos, body piercings and prostitution. More neighboring countries are enforcing bans on tattoos and piercings such as Turkey. Lebanon and Israel are the only countries in MENA that permit and regulate prostitution.

tattoo

Protecting Women. Israel passed a law that bans the use of underweight models to prevent women from becoming anorexic.

barrefaeli
Israeli model Bar Refaeli

Universal Healthcare.  Many countries in the Middle East provide universal healthcare including: Israel; Kuwait; Bahrain; and UAE.

 

Israel. An open society in the middle of the Middle East.


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