A Jewish Architectural Gem in Boise, Idaho

Built in 1895, Ahavath Beth Israel is the oldest synagogue in continuous use west of the Mississippi River. Its grand original structure was physically relocated in 2003 so it could be expanded to accommodate a growing congregation. Dan Fellner writes:

One of the original members of Beth Israel—as it was [originally called]—was Moses Alexander, who became the mayor of Boise and later was the first practicing Jewish governor in the U.S. He served two terms, from 1915 to 1919. There is a display at a museum inside the Idaho State Capitol in downtown Boise trumpeting that historical distinction. To this day, Alexander remains the only Jewish governor in Idaho history. Today, more than 120 years later, Moses’ grandson, Nathan Alexander, is still a member of the congregation. . . .

The interior of the synagogue still features the original wood columns and stained-glass windows. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. . . . Despite [a handful of anti-Semitic incidents] in Idaho, the synagogue’s director describes Boiseans as “welcoming” and interested in learning more about their Jewish neighbors.

“We’re constantly hosting tour groups and church groups,” she said. “They want to visit the synagogue. They want to know about Jewish history. They want to learn about Judaism.”

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: American Jewish History, American Jewry, Jewish architecture, Jewish World, Jewish-Christian relations, Synagogues

Close the PLO Office in Washington

April 24 2017

In the wake of the Oslo Accords, and in order to facilitate futher negotiations, Congress carved out an exception to the 1987 Anti-Terrorism Act to permit the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—a known terrorist group—to open an office in the U.S. capital. The legislation allows the president to extend this “temporary” waiver at his discretion—which every president since Bill Clinton has done. Shoshana Bryen argues that putting an end to the policy is a proper punishment for the PLO’s continued financial support for terrorists and their families.

[The waiver] was conditional on the PLO’s meeting its Oslo Accords obligations, including refraining from terrorism and renouncing international moves that would impede a bilateral agreement on final-status issues. . . .

In 2011, a Palestinian bid for recognition as a full member of the UN failed, but the waiver remained. Over U.S. objections, “Palestine” joined the International Criminal Court in 2015 [in violation of the Accords and thus of the waiver’s conditions]. . . .

[Furthermore], worried about foreign-aid payments from the U.S. and the EU, in 2014 the Palestinian Authority (PA) claimed it stopped paying salaries [to terrorists and their familites] and that future money would come from a new PLO Commission of Prisoner Affairs. . . . [I]n 2015, a year after the PA “officially” transferred authority over Palestinian prisoners to the PLO, it also transferred an extra 444-million shekels (more than $116 million) to the PLO—nearly the same amount that the PA had allocated in the previous years to its now-defunct Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. . . .

[T]he U.S. government should let the PLO and PA know that we are onto their game. Disincentivizing terrorism by closing the PLO office in Washington would be a good first step.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, PLO, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy