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August 4, 2011 


This week's issue highlights the following significant developments here and in the Middle East:
  • Prime Minister Shimon Perez accepted the credentials of Ambassador Daniel Shapiro and reinforced the strong relationship he sees with President Obama and Israel.  
  • As of next August, the health insurers will have to cover many women's health procedures, including contraception with no co-pays. 
  • The US Air Force has ended a training program that used biblical passages to train missile launch officers.  
  • Jewish organizations are scrambling in the wake of recent legislation to insure the poor still receive needed aid. 
  • An explanation on how abortion is a moral decision in the eyes of many religions.  


Remember to check out our blog to keep up with current events, op-eds, reproductive rights information, sort fact from fiction in your inbox about Israel, and Presidential Ponderings - Gail's thoughts and observations.



Palestinian UN Vote No Longer A Certainty
As the Palestinians prepare to unveil Thursday a draft of their resolution requesting United Nations' recognition next month of an independent Palestinian state, many analysts believe such UN action is not inevitable.


The Real Role of Israeli Arabs
Israeli Arabs can play a role in reviving the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Behind the Israeli-Lebanese Gas Row
Hezbollah has made no hydrocarbon discoveries, but seems eager to discover a new border conflict.

UN condemns Syrian attacks on civilians, human rights violations
After months of deadlock, the U.N. Security Council finally responded to the escalating violence in Syria on Wednesday, condemning President Bashar Assad's forces for attacking civilians and committing human rights violations.

ShapiroPeres tells new U.S. envoy: No doubt Obama is friend of Israel
"We all read the newspapers and I want to take advantage of this opportunity to express my appreciation to President Obama and say in a clear voice - President Obama is a friend of the Jewish people and the state of Israel and there is no doubt in this matter," President Shimon Peres said on Wednesday at a ceremony in which he accepted the credentials of the new U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro.

New American ambassador to try to improve Israelis' view of U.S.
Dan Shapiro, the new American ambassador to Israel, has two culinary loves. The first is Spam, the preserved lunch meat that comes in a can; its Israeli equivalent is Luf, a dish that should be familiar to anyone who has served in a combat unit here.


choiceFeds Order Insurers To Cover Birth Control Free Of Charge To Women
Even though the decision was widely expected, there's no denying the news is still a pretty big deal. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services adopted in full the women's health recommendations issued two weeks ago by the independent Institute of Medicine.



NARAL Pro Choice highlights reproductive health positions of 2012 GOP candidates
Of the approximately 15 Republicans who have either announced or hinted a run for president in 2012, the abortion-rights policy group NARAL Pro-Choice has identified the 12 most prominent potential contenders as presenting a threat to women's access to abortion and family-planning services.



Judge Rules in Favor of Obama Administration on Stem Cells
The federal judge who originally held up federal funding of human embryonic-stem-cell research reversed himself on Wednesday and ruled in favor of the Obama administration.

Democrats Seek Permanent Repeal of Global Gag Rule; GOP Seeks to Enshrine it in Law
Yesterday, Congresswoman Nita Lowey introduced the Global Democracy Promotion Act of 2011, a bill that would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule (GGR), a policy that has been applied and revoked via executive order at each change in the White House, beginning with Ronald Reagan and leading most recently to repeal by President Obama in 2009.


airforceAir Force suspends ethics course that uses Bible passages to train missile launch officers
The Air Force has suspended a training course for nuclear missile launch officers that used Bible passages and religious imagery to teach them about the ethics of war.

Houston Baptist church hosts alternative to Perry prayer rally

A Houston Baptist church will serve as host site to an ecumenical event formed in response to "The Response"-the prayer rally Gov. Rick Perry initiated at Reliant Stadium.


Make Way for the Radical Center
Did I mention that I've signed a pledge - just like those Republican congressmen who have signed written promises to different political enforcers not to raise taxes or permit same-sex marriage? My pledge is to never vote for anyone stupid enough to sign a pledge - thereby abdicating their governing responsibilities in a period of incredibly rapid change and financial stress. Sorry, I've signed it. Nothing more I can do.

poorJewish Groups Race to Preserve Aid to Poor

President Barack Obama's signing Tuesday of a landmark budget agreement to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion signaled the start of intense lobbying by Jewish groups to convince lawmakers to use a scalpel and not a hammer as they make $550 billion in discretionary domestic cuts.


Rothschild Boulevard is not Tahrir Square
The Israeli protesters are not the proletariat, they proudly announce that they are 'middle class.'

moralThe Religious Reasons Why Abortion is a Moral Decision

Over the past 35 years, I have counseled thousands of women faced with unintended pregnancies. Almost every one of them wrestled with what would be best in her life circumstances and with what her faith taught her. Many struggled because they incorrectly believed the prevailing rhetoric that people of faith oppose abortion, that Scripture opposes abortion, and that having an abortion would be a sin.
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Gail Yamner, President
Marcia Balonick, Executive Director
Joy Malkus, Executive Research Director