World news

Concern over new Anne Frank book

By Jessica Elgot, June 21, 2010

The executive director of the Anne Frank Trust has slammed a new teen novel which suggests Anne and a teenager hidden with her in wartime Amsterdam, Peter van Pels, had a sexual relationship.

Gillian Walnes said that the book "Annexed", which is a fictionalised diary by Peter, was “cashing in” on the diarist.

The book, published by Andersen Press, is a new novel from British author Sharon Dogar, who has written two other "coming-of-age" books for teenagers.


Rahm Emanuel tipped to leave White House

By Jennifer Lipman, June 21, 2010

President Barack Obama’s controversial and high-profile chief of staff, who is Jewish, could be leaving his job within a year to run for office in Chicago.

Rahm Emanuel, who was also a senior aide to Bill Clinton, has been tipped by Washington sources to leave the White House after November's mid-term elections.

Friends of the 50-year-old have said personality differences with President Obama and a desire to spend more time with his family are behind his probable exit.


Franco made secret list of Jews for Nazis

By Jennifer Lipman, June 21, 2010

Spain’s record of protecting its Jewish citizens during the Holocaust has come under scrutiny.

New records, published in Spanish newspaper El País, show the fascist General Franco had plans to send 6,000 Jews into the hands of Hitler.

The wartime Spanish leader, long claimed to have been sympathetic to Jews during the Holocaust, in fact helped compile a list of Spanish Jews for the Nazi regime.


Israel welcomes Kyrgyzstani refugees

By Jennifer Lipman, June 21, 2010

Israel has offered humanitarian support to a group of refugees from Kyrgyzstan.

Twelve people from the conflict zone in the south of the country are to be granted immediate Israeli citizenship in a welcoming ceremony.

There is currently large scale ethnic violence tearing the central Asian nation apart, with more than 2,000 people thought to have been killed and many more injured in fighting between the Uzbeks and Kyrgyz.


Bibi to meet Barack Obama at White House

By Jennifer Lipman, June 21, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arranged to meet President Barack Obama in Washington next month.

Following Israel’s announcement that it will ease the blockade of Gaza, the two leaders are to meet at the White House on July 6 to explore “additional steps” for the region.

A meeting had been scheduled for June 1 but was postponed in the wake of the clashes on the Gaza-bound flotilla.


Gay parade bans anti-Israel banners

June 17, 2010

Toronto's annual Gay Pride parade, considered a major event on Canada's cultural calendar, is threatening to devolve into confrontation - and not between gay and straight people.

Event organisers, responding to complaints from Jewish organisations, among others, have forbidden the activist group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA) from marching in the parade under that name.

More accurately, Pride Toronto is "disallowing" use of the phrase "Israeli Apartheid" in the 2010 parade.


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.


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.


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.


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".