Germany

Berlin shul's money problems

By Toby Axelrod, September 2, 2010

German authorities have stopped the flow of public funds to the country's only independent Jewish congregation, reportedly due to the failure to submit audited accounts covering 2001-2006.

Adass Yisroel, a traditional congregation in Berlin, is also facing a demand by the Berlin Senate that it repay about 204,000 euros in state subsidies.

Almost every German congregation, of every denomination, belongs to a "united community" structure, which in each city hires and fires rabbis and maintains old-age homes, schools and education programmes.

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New rabbis for German Jewish community

By Toby Axelrod, September 2, 2010

Two young rabbis were ordained in ceremonies in Leipzig on Sunday, in another sign of the revival of Jewish life in Germany.

Shlomo Afanasev and Moshe Baumel, students of the Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin, received their semichah in ceremonies at the historic synagogue of Leipzig.

They are the second pair of rabbis trained at this Orthodox school, a programme of the US-based Ronald S Lauder Foundation, which is under the supervision of Rabbi Chanoch Ehrentreu of London.

Both new rabbis were born in the former Soviet Union, reflecting the demographics of Germany's Jewish community.

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Controversial German banker claims Jews share gene

By Toby Axelrod, September 2, 2010

The author of a new book on the future of Germany has caused a major stir by claiming that all Jews share the same genetic make-up and espousing theories of racial superiority, according to which Jews are among those who have high-class genes.

Jewish and Turkish leaders have decried the doomsday book, Deutschland schafft sich ab ("Germany abolishes itself"), which also blames the country's problems on Muslim immigrants.

There have been calls for the author, former Berlin finance minister Thilo Sarrazin, to resign from his current position on the board of Germany's central bank.

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German banker in 'Jewish gene' controversy

By Jennifer Lipman, August 30, 2010

German chancellor Angela Merkel has criticised one of the country’s most influential bankers for his inflammatory remarks about Jewish people.

Jewish leaders called for Thilo Sarrazin to lose his seat on the board of the Bundesbank (German Federal Bank) after he said: “All Jews share a particular gene […] that differentiate them from others."

The 65-year-old, who said the same about Basques, is a polarising figure in Germany because of his right wing views.

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Germany frees Mossad agent

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 20, 2010

The Israeli agent arrested two months ago in connection with the alleged assassination of senior Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January, was released over the weekend and returned to Israel.

The man known as Uri Brodsky was arrested two months ago in Poland, on a German EU-wide arrest warrant.

Brodsky was arrested on charges that a year earlier he had helped another man receive a German passport in the name of Michael Bodenheimer. The passport was used by the team who, according to Dubai police, carried out Al-Mabhouh's assassination.

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'Mossad man' hearing in Germany

By Jennifer Lipman, August 13, 2010

A secret hearing is to take place in Germany to determine whether an alleged Mossad spy will face formal charges.

Uri Brodsky, an Israeli suspected of being implicated in the killing of a Hamas operative in Dubai, was extradited to Germany from Poland earlier this month.

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Emotional return to Germany for last refugees

By Toby Axelrod, August 5, 2010

When he was a boy, Shlomo Jakobovits used to walk from home to school to synagogue and back. He knew his Berlin neighbourhood like the back of his hand.

So it was an emotional return when he visited the city last month for only the second time since he fled in 1939, taking in the synagogue where his father, Julius, had served as rabbi and the apartment building where they had lived.

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Israeli lawyer loses bid to block SOCA probe

August 5, 2010

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has received a major boost after a disgraced Israeli lawyer failed in a unique legal bid to block investigation of his multi-million pound assets in the UK.

Judges granted Soca power last week to ask Israel Igo Perry about £14m in two London bank accounts.

In October 2007, after a marathon six-year trial in Israel, Perry was given a 12-year jail term for aggravated fraud, embezzlement, obstruction of justice and violation of insurance laws. He was also fined £2.6m, although his jail sentence was later reduced to 10 years.

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Emotional return to Germany for last refugees

By Toby Axelrod, August 5, 2010

When he was a boy, Shlomo Jakobovits used to walk from home to school to synagogue and back. He knew his Berlin neighbourhood like the back of his hand.

So it was an emotional return when he visited the city last month for only the second time since he fled in 1939, taking in the synagogue where his father, Julius, had served as rabbi and the apartment building where they had lived.

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TalkSPORT Shimon Peres slip up

By Marcus Dysch, August 5, 2010

Listeners to a late-night radio phone-in got a shock when a man introduced as a Zionist Federation spokesman announced he could not discuss Shimon Peres's comments on British antisemitism because he was eating a toasted sandwich.

The imposter, pretending to be former ZF public affairs director Gavin Gross, failed to answer any questions about Mr Peres's remarks, saying he was too busy eating.

TalkSPORT presenter Adrian Goldberg, not realising he had been hoaxed, said the man's comments were "absolutely, utterly disgraceful" during Sunday's show.

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