World news

Ahmadinejad: welcome to Iran's western axis

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 21, 2010

There was a farcical ending to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit last week to Lebanon.

Hours before his departure on Thursday, he had one last meeting, at the Iranian embassy in Beirut. His local ally, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, emerged from his hideout bringing him, as a tribute, a rifle supposedly taken from an Israeli soldier during the Second Lebanon War. But it was a sham. The rifle was an AK-47 Kalashnikov - not a weapon used by Israeli forces.

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Brazilian schools to teach about Nazis

By Jennifer Lipman, October 20, 2010

Schoolchildren in one of Brazil’s largest cities are to be given compulsory Holocaust education.

Following a spate of neo-Nazi attacks in the area, the authorities in the southern state capital Porto Alegre are to add the topic to the public school curriculum.

The 96 schools in the city will be the first in Brazil that are legally required to teach about the rise of Nazism. As of next year, some 60,000 pupils will take classes on the subject.

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America's Next Top Model: Esther Petrack's mother hits back

By Jennifer Lipman, October 19, 2010

The mother of an Orthodox Jewish reality show contestant has blamed bad editing for the “scandalous” suggestion that her daughter would give up Shabbat for the sake of her modelling career.

Esther Petrack, 18, is one of the candidates for the latest season of America's Next Top Model.

From a religious family in Boston, she was born in Jerusalem and attended a Jewish school.

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Activist: Israel boycott does mean end of Jewish state

By Jennifer Lipman, October 19, 2010

A prominent pro-Palestinian campaigner has admitted plainly that purpose of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement is to hasten the end of a Jewish state in the Middle East and not to find a route to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Supporters of a cultural or academic boycott have in the past claimed that the tactic is a way to push for an end to the occupation.

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Chilean miners offered free Israel holiday

By Jennifer Lipman, October 18, 2010

The Chilean miners have been invited to spend an “uplifting and extraordinary” Christmas in Israel.

The tourism minister, Stas Misezhnikov, has offered “Los 33” the chance to spend the holiday season in Israel as official guests.

The men, rescued last week from underneath the Atacama Desert, have been invited to see the Christian holy sites along with their partners. The trip would include free flights, accommodation and guided tours.

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Israeli billionaire arrested for sons' wild party

By Jennifer Lipman, October 15, 2010

An Israeli business tycoon has been arrested after his teenage sons held an alcohol-fuelled party at the family’s Florida mansion – and invited 500 underage guests.

Shlomi Rasabi and his wife Jeannie agreed to stay upstairs in their £4.6 million home while their 16 and 17 year-old sons hosted the event.

Police went to the property in the wealthy suburb of Boca Raton after receiving calls about noise disturbance. After they found a group of teenage girls vomiting outside, they raided the party and discovered that the boys’ parents were at home.

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European Jewish communities on 'brink of extinction'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 15, 2010

The president of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) has warned of “a very dark period for the Jews in Europe.”

Moshe Kantor said: “Small Jewish communities are facing a situation where they are being physically, verbally and psychologically threatened by fundamentalist elements and their extreme left-wing cohorts on one side and the far-right neo-Nazis on the other.”

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Dovish? J Call Paris opens with a ruck

By Natasha Lehrer, October 14, 2010

The launch of the French arm of J Call, the European Jewish Call to Reason, descended into chaos last week after 30 men from the Ligue de Defense Juive, a militant right-wing Jewish group, infiltrated the meeting.

The group attempted to drown out the speakers with boos and shouts until the police were called to escort the men out of the hall.

J Call, a dovish Zionist campaign group modelling itself on the American
J Street, launched as a movement at the European Parliament in May.

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Jewish Agency switches focus to 'peoplehood'

By Paul Berger, October 14, 2010

Misha Galperin is adamant that the Jewish Agency for Israel is not changing direction.

"It's changing strategy," said Mr Galperin, from his 31st-floor corner office near Grand Central Terminal in New York.

When the Agency was formed in 1929, its aim was a Jewish state. After 1948, it focused on helping millions make aliyah.

This year, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky announced the Agency's focus would be peoplehood.

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Band Aid for jailed slaughter boss

By Paul Berger, October 14, 2010

The uplifting music video bears the hallmarks of a disaster relief campaign - an all-star lineup, soft focus shots of musicians in a recording studio, smiling adults and children holding hands.

But Unity, released last week, urges help not for a famine-ravaged people but for Sholom Rubashkin, the convicted former manager of Agriprocessors, once America's largest kosher slaughterhouse.

When 51-year-old Rubashkin was jailed this summer for a string of financial crimes, his 27-year sentence shocked many in the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox world.

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