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Brexit day of reckoning: parliament to vote on Johnson's deal:

October 19th, 2019

More than three years since the United Kingdom voted 52-48 to leave the European project, Johnson was hoping to win parliament's approval for the divorce treaty he struck in Brussels on Thursday.


Ashkelon community shocked to find Anglo criminals living among them:

September 24th, 2019

A close-knit English-speaking community in Ashkelon is stunned to discover a murky secret.

They were right under our collective noses and had been since June 2017. Hannah and Mark Schwartz, a lovely California couple. He, 74, a retired medical researcher, and Hannah, 67, a successful PR marketer. They were members of the (mostly) Anglo synagogue near the Ashkelon beach across the street from the small apartment where they lived. They went to services every Shabbat and holiday in a synagogue where members from every English-speaking country in the world were represented and they fit in just fine.

They were very active in the congregation, went to shiurim (classes) and synagogue functions, and had lots of friends – all Anglos. They went out to dinner often, socialized, were very well liked and well-respected members of the Ashkelon Anglo community.

While everyone would talk about their kids and show off their grandkids, Hannah and Mark never went into any detail other than to casually mention that they had four kids and several grandkids, but never a photo was seen in their home, except for one of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Schneerson. They were ambiguous about their lives in California, but very interested in their friends’ and their families. They had no driver’s license or a car, nor were they members of any of the country’s health funds. They were inseparable, always did things together. There was no reason to suspect anything out of the ordinary – just another retired American couple, enjoying their life in the country that they said they loved and the lovely city of Ashkelon that they had truly embraced. Mark, a former surfer, told me this city of 138,000 with its beautiful beaches and comfortable climate was pretty close to home.

Not being a member of this particular synagogue, I only met them for the first and last time in June when I was invited for lunch at a mutual friend’s house. I sat across from them and instantly liked Hannah: huge smile, chatty, smart, easy and interesting to talk to, (with almost every second sentence ending with “Baruch Hashem” (Blessed be God) accompanied with “high-fives” to the woman sitting next to me). She told me she had owned a successful PR business back in California, but didn’t mention which city, and was, in fact, helping someone here in the community get her nonprofit organization up and running.

Hannah was dressed in “toned-down chic” (you could tell there was money) wearing a huge hat to cover her face during the 15-minute afternoon walk to lunch to protect it from the early afternoon sun. “You have to take care of your skin,” she told me. Actually, no one I spoke to knew what her real hair looked like since she either covered it with a baseball cap, or a large sun hat in the summer or winter hat during the cold, or wore a wig. I was also sure she had some work done on her face but then, why not?

Mark was tall, handsome, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and reminding me of the California surfer he said he had been. He was very sure of himself to the point of being smug and borderline obnoxious, and showed a huge knowledge of Jewish history and law. The Schwartzes told me that they had been living in Guatemala before making aliyah. I thought this rather odd since they were both very religious and I didn’t think there were many Jews there, especially religious ones. They explained that land there was cheap but they ultimately decided to “come home” to Israel and came here in June 2017. Their very simple lifestyle revolved around the local temple and they were always together.

A few months before the yearly lease on their apartment was up, Hannah and Mark decided to move into another one nearby. They wanted something a little bigger “as long as it was still near the synagogue.” They called a mutual friend, Sharon, and made arrangements to check out her apartment on the following Thursday night. And that was the last anyone had heard from Hannah and Mark Schwartz.

Always reliable, it was unusual for them not to show for a meeting or a get together without phoning. When they didn’t come over or answer her many phone calls, Sharon was a bit surprised. She thought that perhaps they had suddenly moved up their planned trip back to Los Angeles, where Mark said he needed some medical work done because he had health insurance there. But neither answered their phones and no one had seen them around. They weren’t in shul for Friday night or Saturday services and didn’t answer their door when friends went looking for them. Everyone who knew them was perplexed, they had literally disappeared into thin air. Poof! Disappeared.

AND THEN, a few days later, news came that spread like wildfire and absolute shock throughout the community: the FBI had swooped into the city in the dark of night and had arrested them, Hannah and Mark Schwartz. But oops, those weren’t their real names... They were, in fact, Dr. David Morrow and his wife, Linda, dubbed “The Jewish Bonnie and Clyde” by a US paper.

According to newspaper reports garnered from all over the Internet, Dr. David Morrow was a very successful plastic surgeon from Beverly Hills who had founded the Morrow Institute. His wife was the executive director and in charge of billing. They were active and highly respected members of the Orthodox Jewish communities in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and Palm Springs and very generous contributors to Jewish causes. So far, so good, until they were arrested in California on charges of cheating health insurance companies of more than “tens of millions of dollars for cosmetic procedures that were not medically necessary,” according to the US Attorney’s Central District of California office of the Department of Justice. Add to that a guilty plea of conspiring to commit mail fraud and filing a false tax return, Dr. Morrow was in huge trouble. He was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in federal prison and had his medical license revoked. In her ruling, Judge Josephine L. Staton noted that Morrow’s “greed knew no bounds,” and that he showed an “utter disregard for patients’ well-being and safety.”

“This defendant was a successful doctor who owned a medical clinic and multiple valuable residences, yet he engaged in a scheme designed to steal tens of millions of dollars from insurance companies by tricking them into paying for cosmetic surgery,” said Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown. “After admitting guilt, he went on the lam in the hopes of avoiding the punishment that was sure to come. When he is taken into custody – and he will definitely be captured – he will serve the lengthy sentence he deserves as a result of his greed and fraud.”

According to CBS TV News Local 3 (Palm Springs, California), the case against the Morrows is so massive that it has “kept federal investigators busy for the last 10 years.” When asked how they managed to get away, Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office, said that they had no idea. In the months leading up to David Morrow’s sentencing, authorities realized the couple was missing, along with nearly $2 million in cash, (Guatemala?). Some of it may have been from the sale of the Morrows’ Beverly Hills mansion and several cars for more than $9 million.

Morrow, aka “Mark Schwartz,” and his wife, Linda, known to us all as “Hannah,” were found right under our noses here in Ashkelon. We have no idea how they got here and how they got caught. We’ll probably will never know unless, perhaps, someone makes their story into a movie.

Upon finding the Morrows, the FBI immediately extradited Linda/Hannah to the US on charges of passport forgery, fraud and identity theft. She entered Israel with a fake Mexican passport. She faces a potential sentence of 500 plus years if convicted, including charges of conspiracy, 23 counts of mail fraud, six identify theft charges and failing to report a health care scheme to authorities. As for David, as of this report, he is in an Israeli prison, still fighting extradition.

Linda and David Morrow, in the role of Hannah and Mark Schwartz played their parts well; no one remembers ever seeing them in a bad mood. Their friends describe them as always relaxed, smiling and laughing, active in the synagogue and praying there regularly. Yet they had to be looking over their shoulders almost every minute of every day, unless they were so smug and sure of themselves that they could outwit the FBI and other police agencies just like they fooled all of us.

The Morrows, who worked together as a team, were inseparable after retirement, and were always together, will most likely never see each other again, except perhaps for a fleeting few minutes in court. Somehow, I can’t see her in prison garb, but I suspect she’s doing just fine. (People here call them “chameleons” because they apparently can fit in wherever they are.) We also wonder how David is managing to successfully fight extradition and remain, at least for the time being, in Israel. It is agreed that he must have one hell of a law team.

The Schwartzs/Morrows left this community, which welcomes new people into the fold with open arms, somewhat wary and mistrustful to greet the next newcomers to Ashkelon and that in itself, is a crime. Many of their friends said it was like being in a bad play.
 The Morrow Institute was located in Rancho Mirage, California, a very fitting name for them, since their lives were indeed a mirage. Ashkelon became their Act II.


Pompeo to ‘Post’: Israel has right to act in Syria, U.S. will stop Iran:

October 18th, 2019

Secretary of State defends ceasefire deal with Turkey. Says it will save lives. US will work to stop Iranian arm transfers.


UN must renew its arms embargo against Iran, Pompeo says in Israel:

October 18th, 2019

After a two hours meeting with Netanyahu Pompeo said, said that he had discussed Iran and the issue of Middle East stability with the Israeli leader.


Furious protests erupt in Lebanon, Hariri presents 72-hour deadline:

October 18th, 2019

Lebanon's biggest protests in a decade recall the 2011 Arab revolts that toppled four presidents. Lebanese from all sects and walks of life have come out on to the streets.


Iran arrests head of anti-regime Telegram channel:

October 19th, 2019

At the time of his arrest, Zam was based in France, but the IRGC claimed in a statement that he was “guided into” Iran.


Solidarity Shabbats to mark one year since Tree of Life shooting:

October 19th, 2019

After last year's #ShowUpForShabbat initiative, AJC is calling on people to show up for Shabbat services on the anniversary of the 2018 Tree of Life shooting.


Turkey uses white phosphorus in the alleged ‘safe zone’ in Syria – Report:

October 19th, 2019

In the last 24 hours British expert sees more evidence of civilians and children with chemical burns then in any stage of the Syrian civil war.


Netanyahu warns of ‘dangerous’ Gantz government with Joint List:

October 18th, 2019

The prime minister’s remarks came after Gantz said Netanyahu refuses to do what it takes to form a unity government.


Yair Netanyahu calls on Israelis to ‘hit the pockets’ of news channels:

October 19th, 2019

The son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media on Friday to call Channel 12 and 13 “anti-Israeli propaganda.”


Healthy cookies to serve in your sukkah:

October 18th, 2019

Baked goods to delight you, as well as your guests.


Israeli street art and tattoos – leaving the comfort zone:

October 19th, 2019

The street art of Boaz Sides, aka UNTAY, gains notice from Israel to Europe.


Holocaust survivor shares her experience:

October 19th, 2019

Irene Butter, a Holocaust survivor who now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, recently shared her story with about 600 people.


How Germany is rethinking security for its Jewish community:

October 19th, 2019

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that police will “have to take a closer look at the gamers’ scene,” a reference to the shooter’s frequent use of online gaming platforms.


The link between Israel’s national security and national decency:

October 18th, 2019

Know Comment: On military might and moral power


Free Naama:

October 17th, 2019

Naama should be sent home – immediately.


Washington Watch: Dead man walking:

October 17th, 2019

Last week, Karen told a Women for Trump group, “Don’t be afraid to get on your knees” to pray for Trump.


Shabbat – a sukkah in time:

October 17th, 2019

We are reminded of the Talmud’s teaching that the Sukkah represents the ananei hakavod, the miraculous “Clouds of Glory” that protected the Jewish people for 40 years in the desert.


Jews and Human Rights:

October 17th, 2019

By detailing the lives and achievements of five Jewish activists, Loeffler provides a deeply researched account of the struggle for Jewish minority rights, and what that struggle morphed into.


Editor's Notes: Everyone is waiting for Mandelblit:

October 18th, 2019

Neither side – Likud or Blue and White – have shown flexibility or interest in budging from their current positions.


L1ght: Protecting children from online darkness:

October 17th, 2019

L1ght is an anti-toxicity start-up that declares child safety its first priority.


Bloody murder is not ‘normative’:

October 18th, 2019

32-year-old Michal Sela's killing is a perfect example of pundits and the public trying to make sense of it by adopting a socio-political stance before the ink of the printing presses are dry.


Sacha Baron Cohen makes Nazi analogy to slam Zuckerberg’s Facebook policy:

October 19th, 2019

In a tweet thread, Cohen wrote that Zuckerberg allowing offensive speech on Facebook is like a restaurant welcoming antisemites who shout antisemitic insults.


‘Jojo Rabbit’ doesn’t glorify Nazis — it’s a lesson in how hate is taught:

October 18th, 2019

The film is written and directed by Taika Waititi, a Maori Jew most recognized for writing and directing the recent “Thor: Ragnarok” movie — he also stars as Hitler.


SIMHAT TORAH 5780: Every person is a messenger:

October 17th, 2019

The Torah transforms a gray and dreary life to an exalted and sacred existence.


Shabbat candle-lighting times for Israel and U.S.:

October 18th, 2019

See Shabbat times for your area.


Angry Lebanese march after Hariri gives model $16 mil.:

October 19th, 2019

South African Model Candice Van Der Merwe met Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Prime Minister of Lebanon, while on vacation.


Despite the view of Abbas, there’s no plan to replace him:

October 18th, 2019

Palestinian Authority: Conflicting messages, perceived weakness


Iran’s regime fails for sixth time to meet anti-terror finance measures:

October 18th, 2019

New penalities imposed on Iran by financial watchdog organization


Global watchdog keeps Pakistan on terrorism financing "grey list":

October 18th, 2019

"The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020," it said in a statement.


Behind the Lines: Rojava sundown - a retrospective:

October 18th, 2019

Islamic State, that most malignant expression of the Sunni Islamist trend, was the natural enemy of this emergent Kurdish autonomy.


IAF Air Traffic Control Division: The eyes of the sky:

October 18th, 2019

‘For pilots, their missions are the most important thing, and we help them complete their missions’


Why the Likud and Blue and White agree stalling is for the better:

October 18th, 2019

Political Affairs: On hold – for good?


Thai food giant backs Israeli start-up producing protein from fly larvae:

October 18th, 2019

The seafood company Thai Union Group, the world's largest producer of canned tuna products, has committed an initial $30 million to the venture fund.


U.S. peace team to visit Israel by end of month:

October 17th, 2019

From Jerusalem, the team will continue to Riyadh to participate in an economic conference.


Naama’s mother to Putin: Please send my daughter home:

October 17th, 2019

‘Someone close to Trump knows the story, but has not responded,’ mother of imprisoned Israeli-American tells ‘Post’


How Congress is fighting the U.S. Government's white supremacy problem:

October 19th, 2019

Members of Congress are demanding answers as to why the State Department mentions Islamic State but not white supremacy groups.

By Ezra Taylor

Haifa hosts the Jewish nurse who spied on the Nazis:

October 17th, 2019

“As soon as they knew I could speak German, they wanted me to work for military intelligence,” she said.


Rick Perry says departure has 'absolutely nothing' to do with Ukraine:

October 18th, 2019

Last week, the three Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives committees leading the impeachment probe issued a subpoena for Perry.


Congressman Elijah Cummings' legacy carries on in Israel:

October 17th, 2019

“I want to send a message that we cannot as African-Americans progress without coalitions, and our greatest coalition partner has been the Jewish people in America,” cummings told WBALTV 11 in May.


Trump lauds women for 'first spacewalk,' told it isn't:

October 19th, 2019

Jessica Meir, the Israeli-Swedish NASA astronaut on an all-female spacewalk told him it wasn't.


Resident of Ofakim storms a police station, stabs officer with stick:

October 18th, 2019

The 30-year old man, was arrested by officers at the station and attempted to attack them with a knife.


Microsoft announces $6m. competition for women-led start-ups:

October 18th, 2019

Companies must have at least one female founder and must have raised no more than $5 million in "combined equity funding and/or debt loans upon date of application" in order to be eligible to apply.


OurCrowd CEO: Israel enjoying 'investment tourism' boom:

October 17th, 2019

Investors around the world "are looking at Israeli stocks, but they really want to get into Israeli start-ups," OurCrowd CEO and founder Jon Medved told The Jerusalem Post.


Thousands to take part in Jerusalem March:

October 17th, 2019

Starting at 10:00 a.m. there will be a family-friendly festival including a performance by singer Nasrin Kadri, an African circus, a dance company, drum circles, performances for children and clowns.


Sarah Silverman films late-night pilot series for HBO:

October 16th, 2019

“Nothing’s off the table and nothing’s too high or low brow for me. I mean – look at my face – I’m literally all brow.”


Unilever pledges to cut plastic production in half by 2025:

October 12th, 2019

The company announced its new target on Monday and will use no more than 386,000 tons of new plastic per year, down from 772,000 tons in 2018.


Government report: 28% increase in cancer-linked air pollution in 2018:

October 7th, 2019

Caused by burning of landfill waste, according to the report. However, emissions from the industrial Haifa Bay area – traditionally a major source of pollution – continued to decrease.


WHO hails 'triumph' as Merck's Ebola vaccine gets EU green light:

October 18th, 2019

The vaccine is already being used under emergency guidelines to try to protect people against the spread of a deadly Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo.


Teva proposes $15 billion deal to settle opioid claims:

October 16th, 2019

The proposed settlement comes only days ahead of a landmark federal trial in Cleveland, Ohio, against the company and five drug distributors.


Cartel gunmen terrorize Mexican city, free El Chapo's son:

October 18th, 2019

The capture of one of drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman's sons led to gunbattles and a prison break that sent civilians scurrying for cover.


‘Ninja cops’ scandal brings down Philippines Chief of Police:

October 14th, 2019

Police chief Oscar Albayalde was one-month shy of retirement.


Netanyahu: I will do everything to have Na'ama Issachar released:

October 13th, 2019

Issachar, a 25-year-old Israeli-American, was arrested in April during a connection flight in Russia with nine grams of marijuana on her person.


Six years of work destroyed in six days: The collapse of eastern Syria:

October 15th, 2019

Turkish media, all supporting the invasion, would call the murder of Khalaf a “neutralization” of a “terrorist."


Netanyahu offers ‘gallant Kurds’ humanitarian aid:

October 10th, 2019

Netanyahu said that the IDF is prepared – offensively and defensively – to deal with any threat, and has “overwhelming power” to do so.


Netanyahu: Israel acted with determination, kept citizens safe:

September 2nd, 2019

"The man in the bunker in Beirut knows exactly why he is in the bunker," he said, referring to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.


IDF smokescreen, decoy help contain Hezbollah attack:

September 2nd, 2019

The IDF had prepared ahead of time for the Hezbollah assault, ever since last Saturday when Israel struck an Iranian cell in Syria planning to launch explosive-laden drones into Israel.


Denmark, Spain capture flag football European golds:

September 2nd, 2019

Upsets galore as favored blue-and-white men and women fall short of podium at home, six different countries claim medals.


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