MACRON UNVEILS DIVERSE CABINET FEATURING CRITICS, ADVOCATES OF ISRAEL

 

French President Emmanuel Macron presented a diverse cabinet of 22 ministers, including a Jew, a Muslim and both advocates and critics of Israel.

Macron, a centrist who had served in governments led both by Socialists and Republicans before his election on May 7 on an independent ticket, appointed on Wednesday as his foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, a former defense minister under the previous president, Francois Hollande of the Socialist Party.

 

In 2014, Le Drian wrote in a statement that France “condemns” the firing of rockets into Israel “but requests that Israel” minimize any harm to civilians in its attacks on Hamas.

Macron appointed Edouard Philippe, a lawmaker from the moderate wing of the main center-right The Republicans party, as prime minister.

Macron appointed to health minister Agnes Buzyn, a physician born to a Polish Jewish couple. Her father survived the Holocaust and her mother was born in France shortly after the war to Jewish immigrants from Poland. She is one of 11 women whom Macron made ministers – exactly half of his cabinet.

Francois Bayrou, a billionaire-turned-politician who has in the past criticized what he has called Israel’s “arbitrary and unjust arrests of Palestinians,” among other alleged actions by the Jewish state, was named minister of state – a position equivalent to minister without portfolio which nonetheless suggests seniority.

Bruno le Maire of The Republicans party was made minister of the economy. Pro-Israel activists in France regard him as a staunch ally and defender of the Jewish state, according to the right-leaning news site Alyaexpress.

Last year, le Maire criticized Hollande’s government for supporting a vote at the United Nations educational branch, UNESCO, which ignored Jewish ties to Jerusalem. He called it “a moral and political error.”

Marielle De Sarnez, a former lawmaker at the European Parliament who in 2010 visited Hamas-controlled Gaza and co-authored a letter urging Israel to lift its blockade of the area, was appointed as the minister in charge of European affairs. The letter she co-signed did not mention Hamas’ violations of human rights and terrorist activities. It also praised the work of UNRWA, a UN agency which Israel in those years accused of incitement, as “fantastic.”

Macron appointed Mounir Majhoubi, a 33-year-old entrepreneur whose family is Muslim and has Moroccan roots, to be France’s minister in charge of digitalization. Majhoubi in 2010 opened a successful high-tech firm together with his then business partner, the French-Jewish developer Marc-David Choukroun.

Advertisements

NY’s 1st Hasidic female judge sworn in at ceremony featuring Yiddish ‘God Bless America’ (NOT GOOD!!!!)

(JTA) — Rachel Freier of Brooklyn officially became the first Hasidic woman to be sworn in as a judge in New York state.

Freier, a mother of six and former lawyer who practiced commercial and residential estate law, was sworn in Thursday as the Civil Court judge in Kings County’s 5th judicial district, CBS reported.

She won the post in a September election. Her district encompasses the Brooklyn communities of Kensington, Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace, among others.

At the swearing-in ceremony, the Hasidic performer Lipa Schmeltzer performed the song “God Bless America” in Yiddish while wearing a white suit with colorful doodles, the vosizneias website reported.

Freier, 51, who is also known as Ruchie, worked as a legal secretary and paralegal to support her husband’s Talmudic studies. She is a graduate of Touro College and Brooklyn Law School, and founded the all-female EMT agency Ezras Nashim.

Islamic State releases new video featuring British captive

BEIRUT, Lebanon — British journalist John Cantlie, who is being held prisoner by the Islamic State group, appeared in a new video released Saturday supposedly filmed in the jihadists’ Iraqi stronghold of Mosul.

In the latest installment in a series of propaganda videos released by IS, Cantlie speaks to the camera in the style of a news report.

It is unclear when it was shot, but Cantlie last appeared in an IS video in early 2015.

In Saturday’s video, a gaunt-looking Cantlie says he is in Mosul, IS’s main city in northern Iraq.

Dressed in black and squinting in the sunshine, he is seen standing in front of a metal shack he describes as a media kiosk that distributes IS pamphlets, which was destroyed in an air strike by a US-led coalition.

Illustrative photo of demonstrators chanting pro-Islamic State slogans as they carry the group's flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, Iraq, June 16, 2014. (AP, File)

Speaking in English with Arabic subtitles, as in previous clips of the same style, Cantlie criticizes and derides the US-led campaign launched in 2014 against IS.

He was kidnapped along with journalist James Foley in November 2012 in Syria while covering the war there.

Foley then became the first of several hostages to be slain by the jihadists.

Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders has condemned IS for its “cowardly” use of a hostage in a forced role to push the jihadists’ propaganda.