On the Local Scene

Iran, Elections and Beyond…

“Today the world can have an influence on Iran…We will have to bring Iran to a place where it has no choice but to negotiate with the United States.”

“There is a lot of room for optimism for a new government; Iranian youth are not interested in politics, and while we don’t know what it will be, some domestic internal or external act will provide change, it’s just a question of when…”

“Iranians need bread and freedom, life and liberty, but the Ayatollahs have not provided that. Iranians are saying that life is not any better now than how it was during the Shah.”

“Ahmadinejad said that when he spoke at the UN there was a halo of light around him and that the attention of the world leaders was upon him.  A man like this must never be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.”

Such were the messages uttered by presenters at an exclusive event held on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 hosted by the American Friends of the Citizens’ Empowerment Center in Israel (AFCECI) and The American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU) at a private residence in Beverly Hills, California.  More than 200 supporters attended the event.

Presenters included Professor David Menashri (Founding Director of the Center for Iranian Studies at TAU and President of the College of Law and Business at Ramat Gan College), Professor Meir Litvak (Director of the Center for Iranian Studies and Coordinator of the Parviz and Pouran Nazarian Chair at TAU), and Professor David Yeroushalmi (Professor of Iranian Jewish History at TAU).

Consul General of Israel David Siegel’s opening remarks set a positive tone confirming a strong alliance between Israel and The United States.  He also addressed the recent Israeli election and its outcome.

A “Q & A” session was followed by a short video about Israel’s electoral system.  The video highlighted five (5) reforms being proposed by The Citizens’ Empowerment Center in Israel (CECI), “Yesh Sikuy” and “Save Israeli Democracy.”

These reforms include:

  • · Reduce the number of ministers and deputies in the government.
  • · Raise the voters’ threshold above the current 2%.
  • · Raise the number of votes necessary for dissolving the government.
  • Establish the head of the biggest party as Prime Minister.
  • · Establish regional elections with the general election.

The impact of CECI’s diligent efforts are evidenced in the video featuring Channel 2 Israeli TV footage of at least 5 party leaders involved in coalition negotiations, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, talking about the need for government reform and pledging their commitment to help bring it to fruition.

For more information, please contact the AFCECI at (310) 300-4120.

Safe Driving

Liberty Mutual Insurance and Hebrew Academy Huntington Beach are sending a powerful message to students and the community as Purim approaches: driving distracted or under the influence are deadly combinations.

To heighten awareness of this ever-present threat in Huntington Beach and throughout the country, Liberty Mutual (in collaboration with California SADD) provided Hebrew Academy with a crashed vehicle for a safety demonstration for students at the school during the week leading up to Purim (February 19 to 21).

“Teen drivers in our community have the potential to set a meaningful example for their peers this time of year as Purim and Prom Season is approaching,” said David Welch, an agent for Liberty Mutual’s Irvine office.  “Through activities such as our crashed car demonstration, we can encourage positive decision-making among teens and hopefully prevent drinking and driving.”

Schools also play a vital role in curbing dangerous behaviors on Purim or prom-related events.  According to a 2011 study by Liberty Mutual and SADD of more than 2,200 high school students, 89 percent of teens reported their schools have programs or policies in place to prevent teens from engaging in dangerous behaviors, such as driving while distracted or underage drinking, after school-related functions.  The outcome is positive: according to the Liberty Mutual/SADD survey, only 6 percent of high school students say they have driven under the influence on prom night.  This is a stark contrast to the perception of this behavior among their peers: in a 2009 study, 90 percent of teens felt their peers would be more likely to drink and drive after prom than at other times of the year.  There may also be a correlation during highly celebratory events, such as Purim.

The Liberty Mutual/SADD teen driving study is part of a  library of resources for parents and teens to navigate the early driving years.  Helpful, easy-to-navigate tools are found at www.LibertyMutual.com/ TeenDriving, including a Parent/Teen Driving Contract designed for families to jointly discuss responsible driving habits, and to customize mutually agreed consequences and rewards for behaviors such as cell phone use, text messaging, speeding, seat belts, alcohol and other drug use, and curfews.  Additionally, the website provides state-by-state teen driving laws, practice permit tests, and video demonstrations of safe driving techniques.

“Helping people live safer, more secure lives” since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance is a diversified global insurer and the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on A.M. Best Company’s report of 2010 net written premium.  Liberty Mutual Insurance also ranks 82nd on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations, based on 2010 revenue.  The company has over 45,000 employees located in more than 900 offices throughout the world.

The eighth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual Insurance (libertymutual.com) sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance.  The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 13,500 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.

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