The Jewish Interest in New Federal Regulations on Insurance Coverage for Birth Control

Reversing regulations instituted in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services recently allowed employers to request exemptions on religious grounds from providing their employees with insurance coverage for contraceptives. While many on the left see the new rules as an assault on individual rights, Bethany Mandel argues that they are in fact a victory for religious liberty, and one that Jews in particular, whatever their personal opinions on birth control, ought to appreciate.

This “right” to free birth control, which only came into existence with Obamacare less than a decade ago, is now apparently sacrosanct to liberal Jewish groups like the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism and Bend the Arc Jewish Action, who are opposing the rollout of these new [regulations]. . . .

Jews more than anyone else should respect the sanctity of religious freedom, which is what’s behind the Trump administration’s rollback. . . . And if these Jewish organizations can’t understand why others would oppose abortion, maybe they can understand why companies shouldn’t be forced to pay for something their owners consider a violation of their religion’s core beliefs. We don’t have to agree with these beliefs in order to . . . respect them. . . .

If women choose to use birth control, nobody—neither President Trump nor their employers—can force them not to. And just as nobody should be able to dictate the healthcare choices of American women, we should not be dictating to Americans that they have to violate their religious principles in order do business.

Read more at Forward

More about: American politics, Freedom of Religion, Obamacare, Politics & Current Affairs

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security