World news

Dinner with Gaddafi: a refugee goes home

By Jennifer Lipman, September 6, 2010

A man whose family fled Libya in 1967 amid anti-Jewish violence has returned to his home city and had dinner with Colonel Gaddafi.

Raphael Luzon was 13 when, in the aftermath of Israel’s Six day War, the then 4,000-strong Libyan Jewish population was forced out of the north African country.

Several members of his family, including six cousins, were killed before they could escape.

More..

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.

More..

Chavez talks antisemitism with Venezuelan Jews

By Jennifer Lipman, September 5, 2010

President Hugo Chávez has agreed to meet representatives of Venezuela’s Jewish community to discuss antisemitism in the country’s state-run media.

David Bittan Obadia, vice president of the Confederation of Israelite Associations of Venezuela (CAIV) said the meeting had been arranged because of concerns about levels of anti-Jewish feeling in Venezuela.

Mr Obadia said: "We do not deem [antisemitism] a state policy, but the government has the tools to stop it.

“We will be very straightforward in expressing our concerns. We can see that the government is willing to cooperate.

More..

Egypt and Iran row over peace talk 'betrayal'

By Jennifer Lipman, September 3, 2010

The Egyptian government has called off a visit by Iran’s foreign minister after he accused President Hosni Mubarak of betraying Arabs by supporting the Middle East peace talks.

Manouchehr Mottaki had been set to visit Cairo for a meeting of the non-aligned movement.

But the discussion has been postponed after Mr Mottaki criticised Arab leaders for their involvement in this week’s Washington negotiations.

More..

Deal on Mormon baptism of Holocaust dead

By Jennifer Lipman, September 3, 2010

16-year-old dispute over the posthumous baptism of Holocaust victims has been resolved after the Mormon Church agreed to monitor its database more closely.

Mormons – members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – have baptised the dead for 170 years, in the belief it secures a place in heaven.

But in the early 1990s it emerged that some Mormons had submitted the names of hundreds of thousands of Holocaust victims to the church’s genealogical database for posthumous baptism , without regard to their religious origin.

More..

'Jewish gene' banker may lose job

By Jennifer Lipman, September 3, 2010

A German banker who faced public outcry for claiming that “all Jews share a particular gene” is expected to lose his seat on the board of the country’s central bank.

Members of the Bundesbank board criticised Thilo Sarrazin for his inflammatory remarks about Jews and Muslims and voted unanimously to fire him.

The decision is expected to go ahead but must be approved by Christian Wulff, Germany’s federal president.

More..

Outcry over EU man's 'antisemitic' remarks

By Jennifer Lipman, September 3, 2010

The president of the European Jewish Congress has demanded an apology from a senior EU politician after he suggested that the Middle East peace talks would fail because of “the Jewish lobby”.

Moshe Kantor called trade commissioner Karel De Gucht’s remarks antisemitic and said they should concern “everyone who seeks a more tolerant Europe”.

More..

Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal's Mossad past

By Jennifer Lipman, September 2, 2010

Revelations that Simon Wiesenthal once worked for Mossad suggest that Israel did more to catch war criminals than was previously believed, according to one of the late Nazi-hunter’s associates.

In a book released this week, Israeli historian Tom Segev claimed that in the 1960s Mr Wiesenthal gave the intelligence agency details of Nazis working on Egypt's rocket programme .

Mr Segev also alleged that in 1948 Mr Wiesenthal was involved in Mossad’s efforts to capture Adolf Eichmann.

More..

Homecoming for Libyan Jews after 33 years

By Jennifer Lipman, September 2, 2010

Two Italian Jews are to return to their homes in Libya for the first time in more than 30 years.

More..

Airline stop rabbi for 'suspicious' shofar

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 2, 2010

An Israeli rabbi narrowly escaped arrest after being stopped by security officers at Munich airport for carrying a shofar.

Airport officials pulled aside Rabbi Mordechai Halperin, who is in his late 50s, and asked him to explain the religious article while arriving on a flight from Tel-Aviv on Monday night. Rabbi Halperin was visiting his daughter Esther Chitrik who lives in Nuremberg and works as an Chabad emissary in the city.

"He was in a bit of a panic," said Gigi Mechlowitz, a fellow Jewish passenger from Manchester, who stopped to help.

More..