World news

David Cameron in Kuwait, talks Israel and Iran threat

By Jennifer Lipman, February 22, 2011

The Prime Minister has vowed that Britain will not allow Iran “to cast a nuclear shadow” over the Middle East.

David Cameron, addressing the Kuwaiti National Assembly on his first visit to the Middle East since the region erupted in popular protest, said it was “disappointing and gravely concerning” that Iran had not responded to “the hand of friendship”.

He said: “We will not stand by and allow Iran to cast a nuclear shadow over this region nor accept interference by Iran in the affairs of its neighbours.”

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Israel's Shimon Peres 'full of hope' for Libyan protesters

By Jennifer Lipman, February 22, 2011

Israel’s President has described it as an “irony of history” that Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi is facing an uprising in his own country less than two weeks after calling for revolution across the Arab world.

Speaking during a visit to Madrid, Shimon Peres said: "Gaddafi said he prefers a Middle East without the State of Israel.

“Today we might reach a situation where there is a Libya, but without Gaddafi."

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German Jews celebrate new Reform synagogue

By Jennifer Lipman, February 22, 2011

The first Reform synagogue to open in Germany since before the Holocaust has been dedicated.

The synagogue has been built in Hameln, in Lower Saxony, at the site of one destroyed by the Nazis more than 70 years ago on Kristellnacht.

Building of the Beitenu synagogue and community centre, intended to serve around 200 Jews in the town, was partly funded by the state.

Rachel Dohme, president of the new congregation, said: "It's incredible that, after the Shoah, in Germany a synagogue could be built with money that came from German political organisations.”

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Christchurch earthquake hits Jewish centre

By Jennifer Lipman, February 22, 2011

A Jewish centre was among the buildings damaged by a devastating earthquake in New Zealand.

There are also concerns that an Israeli tourist was among the estimated 65 people killed when the 6.3 magnitude tremor hit New Zealand’s second city.

The earthquake also hit Christchurch’s Chabad headquarters, leaving those inside just minutes to escape outside as the building collapsed.

Christchurch, which is home to a small Jewish community and one synagogue, is a popular spot for Israeli backpackers, who take advantage of the Chabad facilities in the city.

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Republican leader pledges US Israel support

By Jennifer Lipman, February 18, 2011

One of the most powerful members of the Republican opposition has vowed that the United States will stand by Israel.

John Boehner, who became Speaker of the House of Representatives after the Republican Party won a majority at the mid-term elections last November, made the promise during a meeting with the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren.

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Helen Thomas: Jews not persecuted since Holocaust

By Jennifer Lipman, February 18, 2011

The US reporter who left her job as a White House correspondent for Hearst Newspapers following uproar over her anti-Jewish comments has made another controversial claim.

Helen Thomas, who last summer was filmed saying that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine", said in a CNN interview that Jewish people did not have to leave Europe after the Holocaust.

The 90-year-old said: "They didn't have to go anywhere really, because they weren’t being persecuted anymore.

“There hasn't been persecution since…World War Two.”

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Rahm Emanuel offers reward for Twitter alter-ego

By Jennifer Lipman, February 17, 2011

Barack Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has offered a charity reward if an internet user pretending to be him on Twitter comes forward.

The politician, who is in the last stages of his campaign to become the next mayor of Chicago, has offered up to £3,100 if the person reveals their identity.

The Twitter account, unlike Mr Emanuel’s real one, is filled with angry and often obscene remarks, in recognition of Mr Emanuel’s famously short temper.

“@MayorEmanuel” has 2,000 more followers on Twitter than Mr Emanuel.

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And the Oscar doesn't go to...Holocaust films?

By Tom Tugend, February 17, 2011

This is the first year for nearly 50 years that not a single Oscar or Golden Globe entry has focused on the horrors of the Shoah.

Equally ignored, with one peripheral exception, are films on World War II and the Nazi regime. Only a year ago, Jewish GIs were wiping out Hitler and his minions in Inglorious Basterds, and the year before we fed on German guilt and anti-Nazi resistance in The Reader, Defiance and Valkyrie.

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Conservative Jews face a rapid decline

By Paul Berger, February 17, 2011

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, once the largest denomination in America, has announced sweeping changes aimed at halting a precipitous decline in membership.

The number of families affiliated with Conservative Judaism has fallen by 14 per cent in 10 years, according to a strategic report issued recently by the USCJ.

"Among congregations of every size and in every region, there is growing ambivalence about their continued membership in USCJ," the report warned.

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Joy in Egypt but uncertainty elsewhere

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 17, 2011

The announcement that the Supreme Council of the armed forces was taking control in Egypt for the duration of the transition period to a new civilian government, reassured the Israeli leadership in the wake of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

Despite initial efforts to mobilise international support for the embattled president, Israeli analysts had realised, perhaps belatedly, that the Mubarak era was finally over and that Israel would do best to lower its profile while the Egyptians muddle their way, hopefully, towards some form of democracy.

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