World news

Chagall painting sets new Asian record

By Jennifer Lipman, October 6, 2010

A painting by Jewish artist Marc Chagall has been sold in Hong Kong for an unprecedented sum.

The 1969 masterpiece Bestiaire et Musique was auctioned for £2.7 million to an unnamed buyer.

Although modest in comparison with global art sales – a Modigliani sculpture went for £35.8m in June - the bid set a new record in the Asian art world.

The impressionist work, of a bride and a fiddler floating in a night sky, is typical of the modernist painter’s recognisable style.

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Holocaust education trip for Chinese teachers

By Jennifer Lipman, October 5, 2010

A group of Chinese teachers have begun a tour of Israel as part of a new Holocaust education programme.

The 20 teachers, from Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, are participating in a seminar to encourage in-depth study of the Holocaust and examine ways in which the subject can be taught.

During the two-week trip they will visit Israel’s Yad Vashem museum and meet historians and Holocaust survivors, as well as tour sites in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

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Johannesburg votes for split with Ben-Gurion University

By Jennifer Lipman, October 4, 2010

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) senate has voted to discontinue its partnership with an Israeli university unless the relationship is “amended to include Palestinian universities”.

In a statement the university also said they would not “engage in any activities with Ben-Gurion University that have direct or indirect military implications.”

Ben-Gurion University has until the beginning of April 2011 to meet the demands.

Several notable South African academics and Archbishop Desmond Tutu had petitioned for UJ to terminate the relationship.

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Rahm Emanuel set to announce White House departure

By Jennifer Lipman, September 29, 2010

Rahm Emanuel is expected to reach a decision within days as to whether he will remain the White House chief of staff.

Mr Emanuel, 50, is widely believed to be planning to swap Washington politics for Chicago where he will mount a bid to become the city’s new mayor.

He has spent his career working for Democrat politicians, serving as a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1998.

But there has been speculation for some time now that he will leave President Obama’s administration to run in Illinois, both his home state and where Mr Obama served as senator.

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Jewish man murdered in Uman during festival

September 28, 2010

A 19-year-old Breslov Chasid was buried in Jerusalem on Sunday after he was stabbed to death in the Ukrainian city of Uman. Two men, also suspected of attacking the man's brother, have been arrested by Ukrainian police.

Shmuel Toubul, who was due to be married, and his elder brother Rafael, were involved in a fight late on Saturday night with local residents.

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Settlement freeze ends, talks teeter on knife edge

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 28, 2010

Israel's version of procrastination is epitomised in the phrase acharei ha-chagim. In other words, "after the High Holy Days", which is when Israelis promise to get things done, start a new diet and generally set their lives in order. This week, acharei ha-chagim also symbolises the next stage of the diplomatic process.

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New Israel Fund halts grants to non-Zionists

By Nathan Guttman, September 28, 2010

The New Israel Fund will no longer give grants to any group that "works to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel".

The new guidelines were released late last month following months of deliberations, in an attempt to clarify the group's relationship with grantees that question Israel's definition as a Jewish state.

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Swedish comedians stand up for Judaism

By Nathalie Rothschild, September 28, 2010

While stand-up comedy has been common in Sweden since the late 1980s, Swedish-Jewish stand-up is a new phenomenon. Spearheaded by performers Aron Flam and Jonatan Unge, comedy by and about Jews is becoming an unexpected, and big, hit.

Mr Flam (pictured) and Mr Unge, both in their early 30s, met at a Jewish summer camp in the Stockholm archipelago and later co-authored a sardonic book of quotes and facts about death. Since their stand-up debuts in 2007, both have become regular guests in Swedish TV studios, asked to comment on everything from Jewish identity to Swedish politics.

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Anti-Zionist mayor wins re-election easily

By Nathalie Rothschild, September 28, 2010

Malmo mayor Ilmar Reepalu, who has been accused of indifference to a sharp rise in antisemitic attacks in his city, easily won re-election last week.

Some believe that the Social Democrat mayor was so popular he played a key role in allowing the left to cling to power in Sweden's third largest city. The red-green coalition, made up of the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Left Party, secured a narrow win.

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Analysis: J Street is master of double-speak

By David Hazony, September 28, 2010

What are we to make of the recent revelations thatJ Street has been receiving large donations from George Soros? Critics say the organisation previously lied when they said he wasn't involved, while J Street adamantly denies ever having denied it.

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