World news

Jews share a 'genetic signature'

By Paul Berger, June 17, 2010

Jewishness is not just in your heart or in your soul, it's also in your genes.

A new study carried out by geneticists in New York and Tel Aviv suggests that Jews have a particular genetic signature.

Geneticist Harry Ostrer, of New York University, said that within specific communities, such as Ashkenazim or Sephardim, Jews are as closely related as fourth or fifth cousins.

Furthermore, Dr Ostrer, lead author of the study titled Abraham's Children in the Genome Era, said all Jews have a common Middle Eastern ancestry.

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Kosher meat plant boss wins child-labour case

June 17, 2010

The beleaguered former manager of America's largest kosher meatpacking plant has been cleared by a jury of employing underage workers.

"These charges were antithetical to everything Sholom Rubashkin is about and the acquittal vindicates him both as a person and as a businessman," said Guy Cook, a member of Mr Rubashkin's defence team. "He is overjoyed."

The acquittal came as a relief to Mr Rubashkin, the former CEO of the Agriprocessors slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, who was convicted of 86 counts of bank fraud in November.

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Lieberman woos New York's Russians

By Paul Berger, June 17, 2010

When a politician carves time out of a tight schedule to meet with leaders of your community, you can almost certainly bet that he is chasing money or votes. So it was notable that during a three-day visit to New York last week, Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, made not one but two appearances before Russian-Jewish audiences.

On Tuesday evening, Mr Lieberman stopped at a 300-person Manhattan gala in honour of Israel, organised by media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky.

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Parents jailed over school race row

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 17, 2010

Seventy four strictly Orthodox couples have decided to go to prison for two weeks rather than disobey their rabbis and send their daughters to school with Sephardim.

The Supreme Court's decision to jail the parents was the culmination of 18 months of proceedings. Charedi social activists petitioned the court last February after the Beit Yaakov School in the town of Emanuel was effectively divided between a predominantly Ashkenazi "Chasidic stream" and a mainly Sephardi "general stream".

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Lord Trimble's 'Israel-friendly' reputation

June 17, 2010

Israel's Turkel Commission has an international observer with a formidable track record on conflict resolution in Nobel Peace Prize winner Lord Trimble.

The 65-year-old is widely admired for his role in the Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland.

The former Ulster Unionist Party leader, now Conservative Party peer, has in the past urged Israel to stand firm on Hamas.

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Corsica shock over discovery of its only Holocaust victim

By Marcus Dysch, June 17, 2010

A Corsican history teacher has shattered a local myth by showing that one single Jew was indeed deported from the island during the Second World War and sent to his death.

For more than 60 years, the people of Corsica have prided themselves on the fact that no Jews were deported during Corsica's occupation by German and Italian forces. This extraordinary record is usually attributed to vigilance of the island's wartime prefect, Paul Balley, who protected Jews on the island from being sent to the camps.

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'Mossad spy' is arrested

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 17, 2010

An Israeli citizen has been arrested in Warsaw on charges that he fraudulently obtained a German passport that was used by one of the alleged assassins of Hamas operative Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai five months ago.

Uri Brodsky is currently awaiting extradition to Germany.

He was arrested at Warsaw Airport three weeks ago on a Europe-wide arrest warrant issued by the German federal authorities.

Mr Brodsky is suspected of using a false identity to obtain a German passport last year in the name of Michael Bodenheimer, an Israeli citizen who was unaware of his identity being stolen.

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German left-wingers rally for Israel

By Toby Axelrod, June 17, 2010

Non-Jewish groups expressed solidarity with Israel during rallies in Germany this past weekend.

On Saturday, a coalition of left-oriented groups gathered outside the headquarters of the Left Party in Berlin to show support for Israel's right to self-defence, and to protest the participation of three members of the Left Party in the flotilla.

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Analysis: The Arab target is Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 17, 2010

What did Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas say to Barack Obama last week in the Oval Office? Did he indeed express the view that the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip should be allowed to stay in place, as some reports maintain? Or did he say no such thing, as his aides quickly rushed to claim?

The White House has yet to confirm either version but, judging from the way the report was greeted in Palestinian circles, few believe the denials.

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Analysis: Flotilla probe set up to satisfy world

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 17, 2010

The commission of inquiry into the flotilla set up this week by Israel may be called the Turkel Commission after its head, Judge Jacob Turkel, but the man whose name it really should carry is Richard Goldstone.

The only reason Binyamin Netanyahu caved in to demands to set up an inquiry is the fear of another hostile international commission, like the one set up by the UN after Operation Cast Lead last year.

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