World news

Fake rabbi stole £3m by posing as dead

By Paul Berger, January 20, 2011

A Chicago man posing as a rabbi attempted to steal £34 million by filing fraudulent tax returns using the identities of dead people and prison inmates.

Marvin Berkowitz, 64, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in a Chicago court on Friday.

He faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced in June.

Berkowitz and his accomplices, who included family members, scoured online records for the names and social security numbers of the dead and of prisoners.

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US groups criticise Israel NGO probe

By Paul Berger, January 20, 2011

As thousands turned out in Tel Aviv last weekend to protest against the bill to investigate the funding of left-wing, Israeli NGOs, several major American Jewish organisations voiced their opposition to the move.

They argue that the bill, which proposes setting up a parliamentary panel to look into NGOs that criticise the Israel Defence Forces, threatens the country's democratic values.

It is the most significant revolt since the Rotem Conversion Bill drew almost unanimous opposition from the American Jewish community last summer.

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Hitler-plot grandson may get property back

By Toby Axelrod, January 20, 2011

The grandson of a German involved in the famous July 20 1944 plot to kill Hitler is a step closer to getting his family's confiscated property back.

Lawyers for Prince Friedrich zu Solms-Baruth said the Federal Supreme Court in Leipzig has overturned a 2008 ruling against the prince and instructed a court to hear the case again.

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Hizbollah practises taking over Beirut

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 20, 2011

Tension in Lebanon has reached a fever pitch as the international tribunal investigating the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 delivered its indictments to the International Criminal Court in Hague on Monday.

Last week, Hizbollah toppled the Lebanese government when it led a walkout of ministers from the administration headed by Saad Hariri, the assassinated PM's son. They were protesting against the government's co-operation with the tribunal.

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Joe Lieberman quits after 'barrier-breaking' rise in US politics

By Jennifer Lipman, January 19, 2011

One of the most senior Jewish politicians in the United States, and the only Jewish vice-presidential candidate in the history of the major parties, has announced his departure from the Senate today.

Senator Joe Lieberman, who was first elected to represent Connecticut for the Democratic party in 1988 but left to run as an independent in 2006, said he will not contest a fifth election next year.

Speaking to an audience including six of his grandchildren, he recalled the journey his grandparents had made to America a century before.

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Singing card causes Israeli bank bomb scare

By Jennifer Lipman, January 19, 2011

A bomb-scare at the Manhattan headquarters of an Israeli bank turned out to be nothing more than a joke birthday card.

The Bank Hapoalim building was evacuated earlier today because of fears that it had been targeted by extremists.

However police, investigating what had set the alarm off, found that the “suspicious package” was actually a musical greeting card.

Security staff raised the alert due to the lack of return address given and a spelling mistake on the address.

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Macy Gray asks Facebook fans whether to boycott Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, January 19, 2011

American singer Macy Gray has gone on Facebook to ask her fans whether she should give in to the demands of anti-Israel boycotters.

Ms Gray, who is set to perform two shows in Tel Aviv next month, has been the target of an online campaign to encourage her to cancel the tour.

More than 470 people have responded to a question by the singer, known for the hit “I try” on what she should do.

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Jewish mother matchmaking site launches

By Jennifer Lipman, January 19, 2011

The stereotype of the Jewish mother meddling in her children’s love-lives has moved one step closer to the truth.

A site allowing Jewish mothers to pick potential sons and daughters-in-law has launched in Kentucky in the United States.

TheJMom.com was set up by Danielle Weisberg and her brother Brad at the end of last year, after their mother Barbara got involved in his online dating search.

After Mrs Weisberg found ten potential partners for her son in two hours, the siblings decided the idea would be worth expanding.

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Joe Lieberman to quit ahead of difficult senate race

By Jennifer Lipman, January 19, 2011

One of the most senior Jewish politicians in the United States, and the only Jewish vice-presidential candidate in the history of the major parties, is expected to announce his departure from the Senate today.

Senator Joe Lieberman, who was first elected to represent Connecticut for the Democratic party in 1988 but left to run as an independent in 2006, will not contest a fifth election next year.

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Sarah Palin: critics spun my 'blood libel' remark

By Jennifer Lipman, January 18, 2011

Sarah Palin has defended the use of the term “blood libel” in a video address last week about the media reaction to the attempted assassination of a Jewish congresswoman in Tucson, Arizona.

She told a Fox News interviewer that those “on the left” criticising her for employing the phrase, which refers to an age-old slur accusing Jews of using Christian blood for ritual purposes, had deliberately spun her statement.

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