World news

Jewish woman is nominee for Supreme Court

By Jessica Elgot, May 11, 2010

US President Barack Obama has nominated his solicitor-general Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court.

Ms Kagan’s appointment would be the first time three women will serve as part of the nine judges who form the Supreme Court, and the fourth woman to serve in the country’s history.

Her appointment would also mean she is the third Jewish member of the Supreme Court, joining six Catholic members. Fellow female judge Ruth Ginsberg is also Jewish, as is Stephen Breyer.

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Goldstone responds to 'death penalty' allegations

By Jessica Elgot, May 6, 2010

Judge Richard Goldstone has told the JC that his role as a judge in apartheid South Africa does not preclude him from judging war crimes.

Judge Goldstone authored the controversial UN report into Operation Cast Lead, which found both Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes.

Israeli newspaper Yediot reported that, as a judge on the South African court of appeals in the 1980s-90s, he sentenced 28 black people to death, writing in one of his verdicts: "The gallows is the only deterrent for murderers". Other allegations were also published about his time as a judge in South Africa.

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Dubai officials seek five more for Hamas murder

By Jessica Elgot, May 6, 2010

Dubai officials have identified five new suspects in their enquiry into the murder of a senior Hamas terrorist in January.

The additional suspects bring the total to 32. They are accused of being part of a hit squad in Dubai who murdered Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a luxury hotel.

International investigators believe an Israeli national, Zev Barkan, who was sought in New Zealand in 2004 for passport fraud, may be connected to the Dubai case.

He has never directly faced enquiries in New Zealand since he was suspected of forging New Zealand passports.

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New Palestinian city irks settlers

By Nathan Jeffay, May 6, 2010

When smart new houses spring up in the West Bank, it is normally settlers commissioning the building and Palestinians protesting. But in one place, they are trading places.

Construction in Jewish areas is slow due to the settlement freeze. But six miles north of Ramallah, builders are working non-stop on the first planned Palestinian city. And the settlers are furious.

Construction crews broke the ground at the new city, Rawabi, in January. In the first phase of construction, they are building 5,000 units across 23 neighbourhoods to house 25,000 people.

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Turks elect their chief rabbi

May 6, 2010

Rabbi Isak Haleva has been re-elected Chief Rabbi of Turkey for a seven-year term under a unique system which allows Jewish men and women over the age of 18 to choose their religious leader.

Rabbi Haleva, 69, received 4,268 votes while his rival, 45-year-old Ilhan Eli Levy, an Istanbul-born rabbi currently living in Jerusalem, got only 343 votes.

Polling stations operated in synagogues in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, Adana, Bursa and other cities where smaller Jewish communities exist. There was a higher turnout this time than in previous elections.

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Kosher fraudster weeps in handcuffs

By Paul Berger, May 6, 2010

The convicted former CEO of America's largest kosher slaughterhouse broke down in court last week as he apologised to his family and the community for his crimes.

Sholom Rubashkin, 50, spoke towards the end of a two-day hearing in Iowa last week after being found guilty of 86 charges of financial fraud in November.

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Egypt pushes for nuclear-free region

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 6, 2010

Israeli officials have played down reports that the Obama administration will support an Egyptian plan to force Israel to disclose details of its nuclear arsenal and commit to disarmament, as part of its global strategy to reduce nuclear stockpiles.

There has been no confirmation of this from official administration sources and a very senior Israeli official said that "we have received no signal at all from the Americans on this".

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Europe sets up left-wing Israel lobby

By Shirli Sitbon, May 6, 2010

A new European group modelling itself on J Street, the left-leaning American Israel lobby, was launched at the European Parliament on Monday.

Hundreds of supporters of J Call, including MEPS and two former Israeli envoys, presented a petition asking Israel to stop its settlement activity and calling on Europe to intervene.

Headed "a European Jewish Call for Reason" and partially written by former Israeli envoy to France Elie Barnavi, the online petition has been signed by more than 4,700 people.

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Goldstone: Criticism of South African Jews hurt

By Jessica Elgot, May 5, 2010

Judge Richard Goldstone has met a delegation of South African community leaders, with whom he had agreed to hold a discussion in return for being able to attend his grandson’s barmitzvah unhindered.

Judge Goldstone, author of the controversial UN report into Operation Cast Lead, had originally agreed not to attend the barmitzvah, which took place this Shabbat. He came to an agreement with the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the Johannesburg Sandton Synagogue.

The SAZF had reportedly threatened to protest outside the shul should Judge Goldstone attend.

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Ahmedinejad accuses US, Israel of planning Iran nuclear attack

By Jessica Elgot, May 4, 2010

British delegates walked out of a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad at the United Nations, in which he attacked the US and Israel’s nuclear programmes at a session on nuclear proliferation.

The US Department of Defence used the same meeting to call for transparency about nuclear arms – revealing it has 5,113 nuclear weapons currently in its arsenal.

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