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The latest financial disclosure from Barack Obama’s campaign puts his campaign donations close to $1 billion, almost twice the cumulative spending by all presidential candidates in 2004. The amount includes both the money donated directly to Obama’s campaign and that donated to various DNC initiatives, all of which eventually wound up in Obama’s coffers.

Half a billion came from large donors in $1,000+ amounts. Common donors, variously defined as having contributed less than $25 to less than $250, account for less than a quarter of Obama’s funding. Obama purchased much more airtime than did McCain, and basically bought his way into the White House.

The US Supreme Court is expected to toss out on Monday the Donofrio suit which very reasonably alleges that Obama cannot be the president since he is not a natural born US citizen. Obama had dual citizenship at birth following his father’s British nationality, and he was not born in the mainland US. The court prefers to stay away from this kind of politically charged issues.

Syria temporarily recalled its ambassador from Cairo in protest against Egypt’s displeasure with Hamas.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister promised that his country won’t allow Hamas to create an Islamic state alongside Egypt. Somehow, Israel has no problem with such a state, as the ongoing peace process indicates.

Egyptian border police continue their minimal efforts to hunt down Hamas’ weapons smugglers in Sinai. The newest catch includes 500lbs of dynamite, a drop in the sea of weapons smuggled into Gaza during the Barak-brokered ceasefire.

Egypt’s problem with Hamas is unrelated to Hamas’ terrorism against Israel. An offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian anti-government organization, Hamas defies Egyptian authority. Egypt doesn’t want Hamas to stop terrorism or accept Israel, but merely to form a joint government with Fatah—something which Israel strongly rejected before but has come to accept by now.

Libya lodged a complaint with the UNSC alleging that Israel’s refusal to allow its boats with humanitarian cargo into Gaza amounts to hijacking. Absurdly, the terrorist state of Libya is a temporary member of the UN Security Council.

Israel offered a weak legal reasoning for pushing the ships out of Gazan waters: since Libya doesn’t recognize Israel, the ship presents a security threat. By this reasoning, Israel can go on downing Libyan planes throughout the world. And what if the leftists hire yet another ship to carry humanitarian cargo to Gaza under the flag of a country that does recognize Israel?

After ousting Rabbi Druckman, who sanctioned thousands of conversions that fall far short of Orthodox requirements, the government appointed a new Conversion Authority chief, who is much more problematic to the Orthodox establishment.

Muli Yeselson, a beardless Jew without rabbinical ordination, is a nice guy from the Joint Institute for Jewish Studies, an infamous outfit, which teaches potential converts even the Reform strain of Judaism.

Though an argument could be made for simplified conversion to Judaism for Israeli residents, Yeselson’s appointment is a slap in the face of rabbis who would certainly obstruct his work and reformist conversions. Though the conversion judges remain Orthodox, the conversions performed under Yeselson would be highly suspicious in terms of Jewish law.

December 2008
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