World news

Israeli billionaire arrested for sons' wild party

By Jennifer Lipman, October 15, 2010

An Israeli business tycoon has been arrested after his teenage sons held an alcohol-fuelled party at the family’s Florida mansion – and invited 500 underage guests.

Shlomi Rasabi and his wife Jeannie agreed to stay upstairs in their £4.6 million home while their 16 and 17 year-old sons hosted the event.

Police went to the property in the wealthy suburb of Boca Raton after receiving calls about noise disturbance. After they found a group of teenage girls vomiting outside, they raided the party and discovered that the boys’ parents were at home.

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European Jewish communities on 'brink of extinction'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 15, 2010

The president of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) has warned of “a very dark period for the Jews in Europe.”

Moshe Kantor said: “Small Jewish communities are facing a situation where they are being physically, verbally and psychologically threatened by fundamentalist elements and their extreme left-wing cohorts on one side and the far-right neo-Nazis on the other.”

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Dovish? J Call Paris opens with a ruck

By Natasha Lehrer, October 14, 2010

The launch of the French arm of J Call, the European Jewish Call to Reason, descended into chaos last week after 30 men from the Ligue de Defense Juive, a militant right-wing Jewish group, infiltrated the meeting.

The group attempted to drown out the speakers with boos and shouts until the police were called to escort the men out of the hall.

J Call, a dovish Zionist campaign group modelling itself on the American
J Street, launched as a movement at the European Parliament in May.

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Jewish Agency switches focus to 'peoplehood'

By Paul Berger, October 14, 2010

Misha Galperin is adamant that the Jewish Agency for Israel is not changing direction.

"It's changing strategy," said Mr Galperin, from his 31st-floor corner office near Grand Central Terminal in New York.

When the Agency was formed in 1929, its aim was a Jewish state. After 1948, it focused on helping millions make aliyah.

This year, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky announced the Agency's focus would be peoplehood.

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Band Aid for jailed slaughter boss

By Paul Berger, October 14, 2010

The uplifting music video bears the hallmarks of a disaster relief campaign - an all-star lineup, soft focus shots of musicians in a recording studio, smiling adults and children holding hands.

But Unity, released last week, urges help not for a famine-ravaged people but for Sholom Rubashkin, the convicted former manager of Agriprocessors, once America's largest kosher slaughterhouse.

When 51-year-old Rubashkin was jailed this summer for a string of financial crimes, his 27-year sentence shocked many in the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox world.

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Rabbis replace Korans damaged in West Bank

By Nathan Jeffay, October 14, 2010

Just over a week ago, residents of the Palestinian West Bank village of Beit Fajar witnessed a strange spectacle. Six settler rabbis arrived, greeted city elders, and made their way to the mosque.

Settlers rarely enter Palestinian areas, both because of concern for their safety and because they are not welcome. But the rabbis and the
village elders felt that special times call for special measures.

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Ralph Lauren to get New York key

By Jennifer Lipman, October 14, 2010

Fashion designer Ralph Lauren is to be given the key to New York City.

Mr Lauren is to receive the prestigious gold plated key today – his 71st birthday.

The key will be handed to him by Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a ceremony at Manhattan’s newest Ralph Lauren clothes store.

The Jewish businessman, born Ralph Rueben Lifshitz to immigrants from Belarus, is the first fashion designer to receive the symbolic honour.

Mr Lauren, a prominent philanthropist who has funded The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention since 2001, is worth an estimated £2.9 billion.

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Ahmedinejad praise for Hizbollah in Lebanon

By Leon Symons, October 13, 2010

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad started his two-day visit to Lebanon by praising Hizbollah, the terrorist group backed by Iran, for standing up to Israel.

The president was due to make a provocative trip to Lebanon’s border with Israel during his brief stay.

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Nicole Krauss nominated for National Book Award

By Jennifer Lipman, October 13, 2010

Jewish American author Nicole Krauss has been nominated for the prestigious National Book Award for her latest book, Great House.

The writer, married to novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, is one of five authors competing in the fiction category.

The book, her third, tells the story of reclusive novelist and an antiques dealer in Jerusalem.

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Jewish philanthropist gives £6,000 to each Chilean miner

By Jennifer Lipman, October 13, 2010

A Chilean Jewish businessman has announced that he is donating more than £6,000 to each of the 33 miners trapped underneath the Atacama Desert.

Leonardo Farkas, a philanthropist with stakes in the mining industry, has written cheques in each of the trapped miners’ names. The 53-year-old, who is of Hungarian descent, has also launched a fund for others to donate to.

In 2008 Mr Farkas gave nearly £100,000 to a children’s charity.

Nineteen men have been pulled out of the San Jose gold and copper mine so far, which lies 7000m below the ground. The ordeal has lasted 69 days.

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