A Jewish Charity Devoted to Helping Women Meets an Unlikely Source of Opposition

Taking its name from one of the biblical midwives who defied Pharaoh’s order to kill newborn Israelite boys, the organization In Shifra’s Arms (ISA) seeks to help pregnant Jewish women in distress, many of whom are victims of domestic abuse. Mona Charen writes:

When ISA debuted, it was greeted with deep suspicion in the Jewish world. Efforts to raise funds proceeded at a glacial pace, though the Jewish community gives generously to charities of nearly every other description. The United Jewish Appeal, for example, boasts that it supports programs for the elderly, the unemployed, the disabled, at-risk children, and the sick, among dozens of other categories.

Perhaps suspecting that In Shifra’s Arms was an anti-abortion group, Nancy Ratzan, president of the National Council of Jewish Women, condemned it, declaring that the NCJW was “greatly concerned about pregnancy-crisis centers and their focus on limiting women’s choice and undermining the rights of women.” Alyssa Zucker, professor of psychology and women’s studies at George Washington University, was equally dismissive: “While these organizations say they are about choice,” she told the Washington Jewish Week, “they are really not. Their goal is to convince women not to have abortions.”

In fact, In Shifra’s Arms was merely attempting to fill a gap. Abortion is readily available. There are even Jewish charities that help women to pay for abortions. What about the Jewish women who were being pressured into abortions? What about those who were abandoned by husbands or boyfriends? Until ISA opened its doors, there was no American Jewish organization dedicated to helping women who wanted their babies. . . .

In Shifra’s Arms does not attempt to discourage women from seeking abortions—some women who have sought ISA’s help have indeed chosen abortion—but does provide critical encouragement and assistance to those who want an alternative. The board of In Shifra’s Arms includes Jewish women who consider themselves pro-life and pro-choice, and their religious identification ranges from Orthodox to unaffiliated. . . . The women ISA has reached have been offered the assistance and the wherewithal to choose their heart’s desire—to give birth. Surely that is an overlooked women’s issue.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Abortion, Children, Jewish Philosophy, Religion & Holidays

Would an American-Backed UN Resolution Calling for a Temporary Ceasefire Undermine Israel?

Yesterday morning, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, sponsored by Algeria, that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. As an alternative, the American delegation has been circulating a draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.” Benny Avni comments:

While the Israel Defense Force may be able to maintain its Gaza operations under that provision, the U.S.-proposed resolution also warns the military against proceeding with its plan to enter the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel says that a critical number of Hamas fighters are hiding inside tunnels and in civilian buildings at Rafah, surrounded by a number of the remaining 134 hostages.

In one paragraph, the text of the new American resolution says that the council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

In addition to the paragraph about Rafah, the American-proposed resolution is admonishing Israel not to create a buffer zone inside Gaza. Such a narrow zone, as wide as two miles, is seen by many Israelis as a future protection against infiltration from Gaza.

Perhaps, as Robert Satloff argues, the resolution isn’t intended to forestall an IDF operation in Rafah, but only—consistent with prior statements from the Biden administration—to demand that Israel come up with a plan to move civilians out of harms way before advancing on the city.

If that is so, the resolution wouldn’t change much if passed. But why is the U.S. proposing an alternative ceasefire resolution at all? Strategically, Washington has nothing to gain from stopping Israel, its ally, from achieving a complete victory over Hamas. Why not instead pass a resolution condemning Hamas (something the Security Council has not done), calling for the release of hostages, and demanding that Qatar and Iran stop providing the group with arms and funds? Better yet, demand that these two countries—along with Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon—arrest Hamas leaders on their territory.

Surely Russia would veto such a resolution, but still, why not go on the offensive, rather than trying to come up with another UN resolution aimed at restraining Israel?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship, United Nations