Australia

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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Analysis: Australian TV gets more neutral

By Dan Goldberg, October 1, 2009

Its geographical distance from the Middle East has done nothing to prevent a row in Australia over the terminology used by a major broadcaster to describe the occupied territories. Staff at SBS, a taxpayer-funded broadcaster, have been ordered to avoid using the term “Palestinian land” when referring to the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Instead, SBS’s Ombudsman recommends referring to “Israeli settlements on the West Bank” or “Israeli settlements on the outskirts of Jerusalem” because SBS wants to ensure “the language used is neutral”.

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Steve Brook becomes a prolific fiction writer at the age of 75

By Candice Krieger, September 3, 2009

At the age of 75, London-born Steve Brook, who lives in Australia, admits he left it late to publish his first book.

He did so in 2003 and has since published four more, most recently For Sam. Out next week, it is a tragic satire about the imagined life of triage Brook’s uncle, Sam.

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UK Beth Din settles Sydney rabbi’s row

By Marcus Dysch, August 27, 2009

A long-running legal battle between a prominent Sydney rabbi and his cash-strapped congregation has been settled by the London Beth Din.

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, of the Orthodox Bondi Mizrachi Synagogue, will receive AUS$952,000 (£484,700) when he leaves the congregation, which he has led for more than 21 years.

The LBD ordered the shul to pay the rabbi a £121,224 lump sum when he departs, either by resignation or dismissal. He will then receive the rest of the money in monthly payments, starting in March 2012.

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