Australia

Judge bars barmitzvah

By Jennifer Lipman, July 6, 2010

Three children have been barred from having bar and batmitzvah ceremonies because their devout Catholic father does not want them to be committed to Judaism.

A court ruled that the children’s Jewish mother could not arrange for them to participate until they either made their own choice to or the father changed his mind.

The father, known only as Mr Macri, sought the injuction in the Australian court so that his children can pick their religion in a ''voluntary and informed'' way when they are more mature.

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Alleged Nazi wins extradition appeal

By Jennifer Lipman, July 5, 2010

The world’s most prominent Nazi hunter has condemned an Australian court for refusing to extradite a man accused of murdering a Jewish youth during the Holocaust.

Dr Efraim Zuroff, from the Simon Wiesenthal centre, described the decision not to deport alleged war criminal Charles Zentai to Hungary as “a sad day for Australian justice”.

Charles Zentai, an officer in the Nazi-allied Hungarian army during the Second World War, allegedly beat a 14-year-old to death in 1944 for not wearing a yellow star.

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Julia Gillard: Israel views my own

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010

Australia’s first female Prime Minister has denied claims her stance on Israel is influenced by her partner’s connection to a Jewish businessman.

Jewish groups have also denounced the smear against Julia Gillard by a former Australian ambassador to Israel.

The Welsh-born politician, who won the leadership after ousting fellow Labour politician Kevin Rudd, was accused by diplomat Ross Burns of being "remarkably taciturn on the excesses of Israeli actions."

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Australia expels Israeli diplomat

By Dan Goldberg, May 27, 2010

Australia followed Britain's lead this week, ordering the dismissal of a diplomat from the Israeli Embassy in Canberra after an investigation concluded there was "no doubt" that the Jewish state had doctored four Australian passports used in the assassination of a senior Hamas leader in January.

Stressing that the decision was taken "much more in sorrow than in anger," Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said: "These are not the actions of a friend. No government can tolerate the abuse of its passports, especially by a foreign government."

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Australia expels Israeli diplomat

By Jennifer Lipman, May 24, 2010

Israel has expressed disappointment after another diplomat was expelled over the murder of a Hamas leader in January.

The Australian government expelled an unnamed Israeli diplomat today, saying it had no doubt Israel was behind the forged passports linked with Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s death in a Dubai hotel.

Israeli has denied responsibility for the killing but at least four passports belonging to Australians living in Israel were used in the mission.

Yigal Palmor, from the Israeli foreign ministry, said Israel regretted the deci s ion.

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Peer makes round two in Melbourne

By Dan Goldberg, January 20, 2010

Shahar Peer survived an early scare to secure a berth in the second round of the Australian Open.

Despite losing the first set in a tie-break, Israel’s top-ranked player – who reached the final of a WTA tournament in Hobart last week – defeated Czech Lucie Hradecka 6-7, 6-2, 6-1 in just under two hours on Wednesday.

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Antisemitic incidents on the rise in Australia

By Dan Goldberg, December 3, 2009

Antisemitic incidents in Australia have reached record levels, although the number of physical assaults on Jews have dropped, according to an annual report.

Jeremy Jones, who has been collating data on antisemitic incidents in the country since 1989, told the annual conference of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) on Sunday that an unprecedented 962 reports of anti-Jewish violence, vandalism, harassment and intimidation were received by Australian Jewish organisations between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009.

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'Nazi' extradition is a first for Australia

By Dan Goldberg, November 19, 2009

Justice or vengeance? The question was at the heart of a national debate last week after Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, agreed to surrender to Hungary an 88-year-old man accused of helping murder an 18-year-old Jew in Budapest in 1944.

Charles (Karoly) Zentai, who arrived in Australia in 1950, was discovered living in Perth in 2005 after the Simon Wiesenthal Centre mounted a last-gasp campaign to flush out alleged Nazis in the twilight of their lives.

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Australia textbook ‘offensive’

By Dan Goldberg, October 29, 2009

The Asia-Pacific arm of a major UK publisher has withdrawn a secondary school textbook from Australian shelves, after it was accused of containing offensive claims about Jews.

Cambridge University Press (Australia & New Zealand) said on Tuesday that it “recognised the concerns that have been expressed” about the chapter on Judaism in the Cambridge Studies of Religion, and would “seek the advice of an independent expert in Judaism”.

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Australia's Borat stirs up race relations

By Dan Goldberg, October 29, 2009

Imagine, for a moment, a Jewish comedian arousing himself on camera with the aid of Barack Obama’s book. Or being crucified on a giant cross in the Philippines on Easter Sunday. Or transforming himself from a white Jew to a black brother in Chicago.

Sounds like scenes from Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest outrageous satire, right? Wrong.

They’re from John Safran’s Race Relations, an eight-part series that began airing amid a public furore on Australian TV last week.

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