Russia

Israelis in Moscow shul 'expulsion' row

By Jennifer Lipman, September 5, 2010

A dispute has broken out between the rabbi of a Moscow synagogue and a group of Israeli tourists who claim they were evicted from the building on Shabbat.

As part of a tour of Jewish sites in the Russian capital, the 14 Israelis went to see a 19th century synagogue near the Kremlin. But rather than invite them in, the rabbi asked them to leave.

The Israelis said that they had been expelled because the rabbi objected to them having also visited several churches.

But their version of events has been questioned.

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Jewish athletes win big at UK meeting

By Brian Sacks, August 19, 2010

Two Jewish athletes performed with distinction at the Diamond League event at Crystal Palace. In the top UK meeting of the year, Richard Goodman of Stanmore won the Under 20 3,000m while Jillian Schwartz of Israel came second in the pole vault.

Competing against older and faster runners, Goodman, 17, did not start his race as favourite. A hamstring injury two weeks beforehand had restricted his preparation to strength work in the gym and two speed sessions in the week before the race.

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Russian 'spy' is nice Jewish girl

By Jennifer Lipman, July 28, 2010

A Latvian-born American beautician arrested for trying to smuggle night-vision equipment to Russia is actually just “a nice Jewish girl”, according to her lawyer.

Anna Fermanova, 24, was stopped by police in March after they found two rifles and other restricted items allegedly concealed in a pair of Ugg boots as she boarded a Moscow-bound flight.

She claimed they were for her Russian husband to use when he went hunting. Her unusual luggage was confiscated but she was allowed to travel to Moscow, where she stayed teaching English for four months.

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Analysis: Lieberman wants Netanyahu's job

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 22, 2010

Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman have a lot in common.

Both are shrewd and cynical political operators who, despite all they have done, are still treated by the old Israeli elite as outsiders. Both are regarded by the international media as dangerous hardliners. Neither let any of that stand in their way in their struggle to reach the top. And both made millions in the short breaks they took from their meteoric political careers.

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Lieberman: Palestinian statehood far away

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010

Israel’s Foreign Minister has delivered a blow to hopes of an independent Palestinian state in the near future.

Avigdor Lieberman said: “There is absolutely no chance of it before the year 2012”.

He said: "One can dream and imagine, but we are far from reaching an agreement."

Mr Lieberman said it is time for the Palestinians to make moves towards peace, as Israel had already made many steps.

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Elie Wiesel campaigns for Russian prisoner

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010

Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has launched a campaign in support of a Russian Jewish businessman facing embezzlement charges.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former head of the Yukos oil company and once known as Russia's richest man, is already serving an eight year prison sentence and could face another 22 years behind bars if he is convicted in a related theft case.

But Mr Wiesel, a prominent human rights campaigner, said he considers Mr Khodorkovsky a political prisoner and believed that the case was political.

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Explosion at Russian synagogue

By Jennifer Lipman, June 21, 2010

A bomb has caused damage to a synagogue outside Moscow.

There were no injuries after the explosion of a home-made device in Tyer, a town northwest of the Russian capital.

But the incident left a hole in the door to the building and damaged the fence around it, as well as smashing the windows of a neighbouring property.

Repairs to the synagogue are expected to cost more than £3000.

Officials said the explosion was “malicious hooliganism” but anti-terrorism experts are investigating and a city administrator said it could be linked to vandalism of Tyer’s Jewish cemetery.

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Russian President to Hamas: Free Shalit

By Jessica Elgot, May 12, 2010

Russia’s President Dmitri Medvedev has called for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit at a meeting with Hamas leaders in Damascus.

President Medvedev also called for the Middle East to rid itself of nuclear weapons and signed a bilateral agreement with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia is the only country which has direct relations with Hamas.

President Medvedev’s spokeswoman, Natalya Timkova, said: “The Russian president urged solving the problem of releasing Israeli citizen Gilad Shalit as soon as possible."

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Germany's Russian revolution

By Toby Axelrod, November 5, 2009

In Germany this autumn, there has been a tremendous build-up to Monday’s 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. A generation has passed since the sound of chisels rang out across that divide, when colourfully dressed youths clambered onto the concrete barrier and set about removing it.

In one generation, the entire landscape of Jewish life in Germany has changed. After the wall collapsed, and then the Soviet Union, thousands of Jews poured into Germany, welcomed by the government and by Jewish institutions. The Jewish community here today is overwhelmingly Russian.

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Iran nuclear plan tentatively agreed

By Jessica Elgot, October 21, 2009

Iran has agreed a draft proposal from US, Russian and French negotiators in Vienna to export three-quarters of the country’s enriched uranium.

Under the new deal, 75 per cent of Iran’s low enriched urainium will be shipped out of the country and enriched elsewhere. The uranium would be treated enough to be used by Iran for medical research but not enough to make weapons.

The talks in Vienna, which were meant to conclude on Monday have dragged out for almost three days. Now the representatives in Vienna have until Friday to get the deal approved by their respective governments.

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