World news

Australian candidates battle for Jewish vote

By Dan Goldberg, August 19, 2010

A London-born, Oxford-educated Catholic who once trained to be a priest, or a Welsh-born, unmarried woman who is a self-confessed atheist?

That's the choice facing Australians - among them 110,000 Jews - this weekend in a federal election that polls predict will be a photo finish.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whose bloodless coup toppled Labor leader Kevin Rudd two months ago, is pitted against Tony Abbott, the Liberal Party leader once nicknamed the "mad monk" after a slew of brutish remarks.

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FBI arrest Orthodox 'fraudster'

By Paul Berger, August 19, 2010

An American property developer who allegedly defrauded British Jews out of millions of pounds has been arrested by the FBI.

Eliyahu Weinstein, 35, lost a civil case earlier this month against London property tycoon Berish Berger, who had been swindled out of £23 million.

At least two members of Stamford Hill's Jewish community continue to pursue multi-million pound lawsuits against Weinstein in the US, following property deals that went sour.

Last week, FBI agents arrested Weinstein, who lives in the Orthodox enclave of Lakewood, New Jersey.

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Israelis help Romania after baby unit fire

By Jennifer Lipman, August 18, 2010

An Israeli medical team has launched an emergency mission to help save the lives of seven Romanian babies injured in a fire.

Ten Israeli doctors have arrived in Bucharest following a fire in a children's hospital which left four babies dead.

Seven others are critically ill with up to 80 per cent burns on their bodies after the blaze spread through an intensive care unit.

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English prof in Starbucks bagel broiges

By Jennifer Lipman, August 17, 2010

A New York English professor taught a Starbucks barista a lesson because, she complained, she had been asked about what she wanted on her bagel in a grammatically incorrect way.

Lynne Rosenthal, an academic at Mercy College with a Phd from Columbia University, was forcibly removed form an Upper West Side branch of the coffee chain for allegedly calling the barista “an a***hole."

The 60-something had ordered a toasted multigrain bagel, but would not specify her non-choice of topping.

She was told: “You're not going to get anything unless you say butter or cheese!"

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Mazel tov from Obama, Schwarzenegger and the Queen

By Jennifer Lipman, August 16, 2010

It would have been a guest list like no other, had all those invited to Travis’ barmitzvah been able to attend.

Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth and the late Charlton Heston were just some of the big names who made the list.

Sadly all the politicians, statesmen and celebrities who were sent invitations to the party in August 2007 by Travis’ father Gregory declined.

But 41 at least had the courtesy to reply and, after seeing another web user boast about a wedding message from the president, Travis has posted the responses online.

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Pot and prayer: rabbi’s cannabis plan

By Jennifer Lipman, August 16, 2010

A rabbi and his wife are attempting to set up the first medical marijuana centre in Washington DC.

According to Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn, decriminalising use of the drug “is an important religious issue.”

He and his wife Stephanie, a nurse, have applied for a licence to open the “zen-like but simple and classy” Takoma Wellness Centre in America’s capital.

And rather than a traditional marijuana leaf motif to identify their shop, the Kahns want to use the Middle Eastern hamsa symbol as the logo.

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'Mossad man' free to leave Germany

By Jennifer Lipman, August 13, 2010

A man alleged to be a Mossad agent has been released on bail by a German court and is free to return to Israel.

Uri Brodsky, arrested in Poland in June on suspicion of involvement in the killing of a Hamas operative in Dubai, will not stand trial in Germany.

A Cologne court said the case would now be dealt with by written proceedings and added that Mr Brodsky would probably face a fine rather than a jail sentence.

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Jewish fairytale in shadow of Disney castle

By Rika Zimmerman, August 12, 2010

When writer Odeia Band went to Spain to research a book, she could never have imagined she was about to uncover a piece of remarkable personal - and Jewish - history.

Mrs Band is a descendant of Abraham Senior, a 15th-century treasurer to the Spanish Royal Family who helped to arrange the marriage of Princess Isabella.

When Isabella and her husband, Ferdinand, expelled Jews from Spain in 1492, Abraham Senior reportedly converted in order to stay.

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Netanyahu, Barak defend actions at Gaza flotilla inquiry

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 12, 2010

Israeli prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi appeared this week before the Turkel Commission investigating the action against the flotilla to Gaza, in which nine Turkish activists were killed on the Mavi Marmara ferry.

The Israeli leaders justified the operation while acknowledging mistakes in advance planning and intelligence-gathering.

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Interim agreement on New Zealand shechitah ban

By Dan Goldberg, August 12, 2010

New Zealand's small Jewish community has won a minor victory in its legal battle against a government ban on kosher slaughtering.

In the High Court in Wellington on Monday, Justice Denis Clifford approved a consent order to permit shechitah until the trial reaches court, which is not expected until next year.

The decision comes as UK Jewish leaders step up efforts to prevent the European Parliament from passing a law that will mean kosher meat must be labelled "meat from slaughter without stunning".

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