Weekly Quiz

North Korea

In 1992 and 1993, Israel conducted secret talks with North Korea, which included a visit by Eitan Ben-Tzur, the deputy director of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, to Pyongyang. What was the issue over which they negotiated?

ANorth Korea had been a supporter of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians since the 1970's. Israel contacted North Korea in an effort to get them to serve as a go-between to Arafat. As a result of these negotiations, North Korea pressured Arafat who agreed to meet with the Israelis, leading to the successful negotiation of the Oslo accords in 1993.

B. Israel was attempting to get North Korea to open a kosher kimchi factory in the Negev to provide work for the huge influx of Russian immigrants that resulted from the Soviet Union's 1990 decision to allow Jews to emigrate. However, the deal was scuttled when the Ministry of Religious Affairs learned that the brine used to flavor the dish included a salted food known as saeujeot, which is derived from small shrimp.

C. North Korea was attempting to build nuclear weapons. Israel, which had lost South Africa as a purchaser of Israeli arms when the country transitioned to democracy from its apartheid government, was looking for other customers for its military technology. However, under pressure from the Clinton administration, Israel discontinued these negotiations.

DSupreme Leader Kim Jong-Il was attempting to hire Mossad assassins to kill Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who at the time were students at the Vancouver Talmud Torah. They had written a Purim shpiel which featured a cross-dressing Kim Jong-Il as one of the women who paraded before Ahashverus as he looked to select a replacement queen for Vashti.

E. Israel was attempting to get North Korea to agree to cease sales of Scud missiles to Israel's adversaries in the Middle East, and in particular to Iran. Korea agreed to do so only if Israel paid $500 million. Israel counter-offered to pay $25 million; however, this was rejected by North Korean officials and the negotiations fell apart.

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In the 1990's, an operation was launched which enabled more than 400 Jews to secretly emigrate from Cuba to Israel. What was this operation called?

AOperation Cigar.

B. Operation Rum.

C. Operation Git Mo Jews Out of Cuba.

DEl Exodus de los Judios.

E. Operation Ima and Aba Babalu.

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Why did Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards recall a Chanukkah gift wrap from the shelves last week?

AThe blue ink used on the gift wrap was made from products derived from copepods, which are microscopic shrimp; therefore it was determined by the Chief Rabbi of Kansas City that the gift wrap was not kosher.

B. On the gift wrap, the words Happy Chanukkah in English and Hebrew were printed against a background picture of Passover matzah.

C. The product design was a pattern of blue and silver angular lines that included swastika shapes. Said a Hallmark spokesperson, It was an oversight on our part to not notice the intersecting lines that could be seen as a swastika pattern.

DThey did so under pressure from the faculty at the University of Missouri who are pushing Hallmark to join the BDS movement and discontinue selling any holiday cards, gift wrap or other Jewish-themed products until Israel withdraws from the West Bank.

E. When they printed the Hebrew greeting Chanukkah Sameach (Happy Chanukkah), they inadvertently omitted the Chet which is the first letter in Chanukkah, yielding Nacheh Sameach, which means Happy Cripple.

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Knesset Elections

Israel faces new elections in March. Currently, thirteen political parties are represented in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Which of the following is not a current or past Israeli political party?

AAle Yarok, or Green Leaf, whose primary platform is the decriminalizing of marijuana, this party also supports legalized prostitution and gambling. At one point, Ale Yarok partnered with another Israeli political party, forming the Holocaust Survivors & Grown-Up Green Leaf Party, which ran an ad featuring a Holocaust survivor stating, “About one million Israelis use cannabis for their enjoyment. These people contribute to society. For us, the Holocaust survivors, our moral obligation is to legalize [marijuana].”

B. HaPanterim HaShchorim, The Black Panthers, who advocated for social justice for immigrants. The party was named by Israeli politician Saadia Marciano after he met Angela Davis, founder of the American Black Panthers organization, when she visited Israel. According to Kochavi Shemesh, another party leader, “The idea was to frighten Golda. She said that this name wouldn't let her sleep. That was what we wanted.”

C. Flatto-Sharon, founded by Shmuel Flatto-Sharon with hopes that being elected to the Knesset would bring him parliamentary immunity and prevent him from being extradicted to France where he was accused of embezzling $60 million. He was elected to the Knesset and was not sent to France to face charges; however, he did serve time in Israeli prison for vote buying.

DLev, meaning Heart, a party founded by Knesset Members Roni Milo and Yechiel Lasry. Milo and Lasry were members of the Centre Party who broke away from that party on November 6, 2002, formed the Lev party, and then minutes later ended the Lev Party’s existence by merging into the Likud party.

E. Miflega Zchuyot HaGever BeMishpacha, the Man’s Rights in the Family Party, which supported men’s rights. Party leader Yaakov Schlusser advocated for custody rights for fathers, stating “Children have a right to see their fathers. Otherwise they will lose their sexual identity. The child that sees a woman in control, in contradiction to nature, may turn homosexual. The party’s other primary focus was the establishment of a commission to investigate who really killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

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Israel’s Basic Laws


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Israel is considering a change to their Basic Laws (similar to a Constitution) to specify that Israel is the “nation-state of the Jewish people” rather than “a Jewish and democratic” state. Another of Israel's Basic Laws is called the Freedom of Occupation law. What does this law guarantee?

AIt guarantees the right of Israel to occupy any land which historically was part of Biblical Israel.

B. It guarantees the right of Israelis to engage in any occupation of his or her choosing.

C. Based upon the Occupy Wall Street movement, this law ensures the right of all Israelis to peacefully protest in public places.

DIt guarantees the right of Israel to occupy and destroy any house inhabited by a person found to have committed a terrorist act.

E. It allows El Al Airlines to provide unisex bathrooms on their airplanes, despite the efforts by the religious community to require men and women to occupy separate bathrooms.

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