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January 18, 2013

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PAGE IOA Single Jewish Female Seeks Male Looking for Marriage TJCDate Profile: Y'gat613 ABOUT ME: Creative, funny, warm-hearted, religious, and a great cook! Looking to settle down, but not to settle. MY LIFE & AMBITIONS: I'm a graphic designer, sick of doing bar mitzvah invitations, looking to take my career to the next level. ON OUR FIRST DATE, REMIND ME iTO TELL YOU THE STORY ABOUT... How a refrigerator light left on over Shabbat led to my losing a roommate. DON'T BOTHER ASKING ME TO... ...Come to your Shabbat dinner if your idea of a fine wine is "the blue bottle." HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 18, 2013 You've come a long way baby By Linda Gradstein The Media Line For the first time in Israel's history, three of the major par- ties are headed by women. The Labor party headed by Shelly Yacimovich is expected to become Israel's second-largest party, Hatnuah headed by former Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni is set to win seven seats, and the dovish Meretz and Za- hava Gal-On is projected at five seatsinthe 120-seatparliamenL Because the front-runner, the joint slate of the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu ((Israel is Our Home), is only expected to get about 35 seats, Prime Minister Netanyahu will be turning to all of these parties as potential coalition partners. "It's an amazing advance- ment," Dr. Galit Desheh, the executive director of the Israel Women's Network told The Me- dia Line. "Two of these women haveanamazingrecordpmmot- ing women's rights and issues." The two she was referring to are Yacimovich and Gal-On. Livni is not seen as focusing on women's issues, although she has begun to do so more of late. Yacimovich, 52, was a popular journalist before entering poli- tics in 2005. She has reinvigorat- ed the Labor party by focusing on social and economic issues, and gotten tens of thousands of young people to join. Of the first 22 candidates on Labor's list, seven are women. Gal-On, 56, of the dovish Meretz party, has been especially active on women's fights issues. A Knesset member since 1999, she has led the committee that fights the trafficking of women. Desheh ays she is the single most active Knesset member on women's issues. In contrast, Livni, 54, is not seen as a major advocate of women's fights. She has started a new party called Hatnuah, the Movement, after she lost the leadership of Kadima, a centrist party, in recentprimaries. Livni, a former intelligence official, has focused on foreign policy. In addition to these women, Asma Agbarieh - Zahalka, 39, heads the Da'am Workers Party, a socialist party that focuses on employment issues in the Arab sector of Israel. It is doubtful that it will receive enough votes to enter the Parliament. Thereare currently 24women in the current Knesset and that number is expected to rise sub- stantially. Even parties headed by men have placed women in prominent slots. Netanyahu's Likud which is running on a joint slate with Yisrael Beytenu, has put seven women in the top 30 slots. Yesh Atid, a centrist secular party headed by popular journalist Yair Lapid, has three women in the top 10. In the past, the quickestroute to politics in Israelwas the army. Generals were revered and most of Israel's prime ministers (with the notable exception of the sole woman, GoldaMeir) had illustri- ous military careers. Now that is changing. "We are seeing that some generals are not even getting elected, and yet journalists are having great success," Dr. Gideon Rahat of the Israel Democracy Institute told The Media Line. "This opens the door for women because there are more women journalists." Women are active in Israel's labor force. While only 28 per- cent of Arab women in Israel work outside the home, (due to cultural factors which encour- age women to stay at home with their children), about 80 percent of Jewish women have paying jobs. Israel has good day care and laws that encourage women to work. That said, women still earn between 17 and 30 percent less than men. The Israel Women's Network's Desheh says the three priorities forwomen are personal security, improving conditions for female workers and women's health. As more women serve in the Knesset, it is likely thatwomen's issues will come to the fore. "Research shows that men and women in the Knesset have different legislative behavior," Rahat said. "This is a new stage in Israeli politics." Jordanian king's uncle said to flee corruption scandal By Adam Nicky The Media Line AMMAN, Jordan--King Abdullah II's uncle, Waleed Kurdi, has reportedly fled to England at the royal family's urging to avoid prosecution for allegedly stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the national phosphate company, which he managed. The government said it issued an international arrest warrant and ordered the central bank to freeze his assets, but Interpol said they received no such request from local authori- ties. Kurdi remains abroad and refuses to return unless pros- ecutors from the independent anti-corruption commission established by the king in 2006 drop the case. Before fleeing, he offered $700 million to settle the case out of court. Kurdi, who was indicted at the beginning of the month on charges of corruption and mis- managementwhile manager of the company, one of the oldest in the country, between 2007 and 2012, reportedly left Jordan after being told to do so to avoid further embarrassment to the royal family, and with the king under pressure to take action. Sources say they had no choice but to ask him to leave after his attempt to settle the case out of court failed. The prosecutor general's office refused to comment and said the investigation is ongoing. Sources among officials at the central bank told The Media Line that Kurdi's assets in local banks are very small compared towhathe isaccusedofstealing. The fraud suspicions were originally brought up in 2011, but due to his connections, no action was taken at that time. Kurdi is the husband of the king's aunt, Princess Basma, sister of the late King Hussein. The corruption affair comes as a major blow to King Abdul- lah's bid to contain ripples of the Arab Spring in his coun- try, which saw the opposition join with some tribal powers to seek transparency and end corruption. The pro-Western monarch has been struggling to ward-off criticism from conservative Jor- danians and opposition groups over accusations of lavish living and reported abuse of powers. Governments appointed by the king and recent parliaments are seen as having failed in their attempts to fight corruption. In fact, several prime ministers and cabinet ministers were impli- cated in similar fraud cases but were ultimately cleared. The most senior figure to be convicted on corruption charges was Mohammad Da- habi, former chief of intelligence services, who last month was sentenced to 13 years in prison after an extensive investigation by the anti-corruption com- mission. Since its establishment, the commission has been frequently neutralized by the Royal Court and successive prime ministers along with tribal-dominated parliaments. Commission General Direc- tor Sameeh Beno, a former intelligence officer, has publicly criticized both the government and parliament for blocking any major investigations of suspected corruption. "But no more; the commis- sion has been granted more power," said a member of its board of directors, who asked not to be named for reasons of security. Indeed, after sweeping street protests over the past year, the commission was granted full power to take off its gloves when it comes to fighting fraud. "The political atmosphere has changed and the king needs to show he is serious about fighting corruption. People were tired of lip service,'a com- mission member told The Media Line. Feeling the squeeze of the street protests, King Abdullah promised, "No one will be spared from the anti-corruption drive." His uncle's case will certainly put that declaration to the test. "If Kurdi offered so much money to settle the case against him, how much would he have actually stolen?" Zaki Bani Rsheid, deputy chief of the Mus- lim Brotherhood movement in Jordan, asked The Media Line. Among the multiple charges against Kurdi under investiga- tion are illegal contracts with foreign transport companies, pay-offs worth hundreds of mil- lions of dollars to bogus brokers and others. In one case, he allegedly signed an exclusive deal with a maritime transportation company to ship 250,000 tons of phosphates to Turkey at higher than market prices. Kurdi himself is believed to be the owner of that foreign registered company, according to commission sources. While Dahabi, who comes from asmall family, suffered the full brunt of the anti-corruption war, opposition figures claim that others close to the mon- arch allegedly got away with hundreds of millions of dollars, including Kurdi, who remains at-large with most of the cash he allegedly pocketed. "This is the tip of the iceberg. Kurdi has used his contacts with the royal family to siphon off the country's resources," said a senior source in the anti-corruption department. "He should be extradited to face justice."