World news

'Indiana Jones' rabbi admits to $400k fraud

By Nathalie Rothschild, February 9, 2012

A charity founder who claimed he travelled the world as a "Jewish Indiana Jones" to rescue Torahs admitted to fraud in a Manhattan court last week.

Rabbi Menachem Youlus, 50, co-founded the Save a Torah charity in 2004 with the aim of retrieving and restoring holy scrolls that had survived the Holocaust or had been forcibly taken from Jewish communities.


Is the peace process over with handshake between Fatah and Hamas?

February 9, 2012

The agreement between Fatah and Hamas for a Palestinian unity government, to be headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, almost certainly signals the end of the short-lived attempt to re-launch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.


Peres calls for peace as Iran steps up rhetoric

By Jennifer Lipman, February 9, 2012

Shimon Peres has called for Iran and Israel not to live as enemies even as a website linked to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime called for "the final annihilation of Israel".

The Israeli president and Nobel laureate, at a speech marking the creation of the Knesset 63 years ago, said that the two countries "were not born enemies".


Limmud conference planned for Beijing Jewish community

By Jemimah Steinfeld, February 8, 2012

Limmud is set to land in the Chinese capital this year - and an organiser claims it could turn out to be a historic moment for Jewish life in the country.

The festival of arts and discussion is due to take place in Beijing in December, with a small-scale "taster" event timetabled for June 3.


Woman's memoir lifts lid on New York Chasidic life

By Jennifer Lipman, February 8, 2012

A woman who has renounced her Chasidic background is set to send shockwaves around New York's strictly Orthodox community after writing a tell-all memoir about her upbringing.

Deborah Feldman turned her back on life in Brooklyn's Satmar community two years ago, after being pushed into an arranged marriage at 17 years old and becoming a mother at the age of 20.


Super Bowl bet winner giving money to charity

By Jennifer Lipman, February 7, 2012

An Orthodox Jewish sports fan who won $50,000 on a bet before the Super Bowl has announced that he will donate the money to charity.

New Yorker Jona Rechnitz is a lifelong fan of the Giants, and decided to place a $1,000 bet on his team before the biggest match in the American football calendar.


Obama orders sanctions on Iran

By Jennifer Lipman, February 6, 2012

President Barack Obama is ordering a new wave of sanctions on Iran.

The US president announced the executive order this afternoon instating additional sanctions on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government and on Iran's Central Bank, because of the "deceptive practices" of it and other Iranian banks.


In Morocco, Islamist and Jew have embraced

By Andrew Rosemarine, February 2, 2012

Serge Berdugo, the ebullient Secretary-General of Moroccan Jewry, is upbeat as the first-ever Islamist-headed government takes office in Morocco. A former minister of tourism - a crucial sector of the economy here - and a lawyer, he well understands all that is at stake.

"We have to adjust to the new constitutional and political realities," he tells me.


German fund pulls NGO cash

By Toby Axelrod, February 2, 2012

A German organisation which compensates survivors of Nazi labour camps has withdrawn funding for a Israeli NGO for its support of the Palestinian right of return.

The foundation - the Memory, Responsibility and Future Fund (EVZ) - said it would no longer support the educational work of Zochrot, a Tel-Aviv based NGO that also promotes the interpretation of the establishment of Israel as a "Naqb


Saudi Prince won't give my daughter back

By Jennifer Lipman, February 2, 2012

A French Jewish woman won a court victory this week after a judge granted her custody of her daughter, whom she claims has been held captive by the girl's Saudi royal father.

But Candice Cohen-Ahnine, 34, is unable to celebrate because Prince Sattam al-Saoud refused to comply with the ruling, which also demands monthly child support of £8,300.

Aya, ten, remains in a Riyadh palace, where Ms