World news

Former Georgian minister makes aliyah

By Lev Samovsky, April 8, 2010

The former Minister of Defence of Georgia, David Kezerashvili, has moved to Israel.

Mr Kezerashvili, 31, headed the defence ministry during the Georgia-Russia war in 2008, but was dismissed from the post amid criticisms of the way the war was conducted.

Sources told the Rezonansi newspaper that an investigation is being conducted into corruption in the ministry during Mr Kezerashvili's tenure, including possible arms procurement. The former minister did not comment.

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Former Czech minister's Jewish slur

April 8, 2010

The former Czech prime minister has resigned as chair of the Civic Democratic Party after making derogatory comments about Jews and gays.

During an informal conversation with the staff of the gay magazine Lui, Mirek Topolanek said that Transport Minister Gustav Slamecka is a homosexual who "gives in when he faces a serious problem".

Jewish Prime Minister Jan Fischer, he said is "simply a Jew; he's not gay and he gives in even sooner".

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Hungary's far-right set for poll surge

By Thomas Land, April 8, 2010

Hungary's extreme-nationalist Jobbik party is widely expected to become the second largest party in parliament following the two-round national election set for April 11 and 25. The outcome will be of enormous concern to the Hungarian Jewish community, the largest in eastern Europe.

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New York's Chasidic rebels learn to be secular

By Rebecca Schischa , April 8, 2010

Right in the heart of Manhattan is an unusual refuge - a place where New York's 'Chasidic rebels' gather to socialise, meet and learn.

Footsteps, which runs the centre, is the only organisation that exists outside Israel to provide defectors from the Chasidic community with the practical and emotional support they need to make it in mainstream society.

"People don't come to Footsteps for sex, drugs and rock'n'roll," says executive director Paula Winnig. "They're with us because they want to learn."

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Antisemitic comic Dieudonné London gig cancelled

By Marcus Dysch, April 8, 2010

A planned London performance by a controversial French far-right comedian has been cancelled following complaints from the Jewish community.

Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, who was last year fined by a French court for performing an antisemitic stunt, was due to perform in Kensington on Saturday evening.

The Cameroon-born performer has previously stood for the European Parliament as head of the Anti-Zionist Party, which he formed with Alain Soral, a former member of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s extreme-right National Front.

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Bibi back in US for security talks

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 7, 2010

Only three weeks after the traumatic meeting in the Oval Office, Binyamin Netanyahu will be returning to Washington next week and participating in President Barack Obama's nuclear security summit.

The two leaders are not expected to meet privately as the Israeli government has yet to respond to the administration’s demands regarding the peace process.

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Edward Said's daughter: I'm Arab-American - and Jewish

By Ellen Tumposky, April 1, 2010

Najla Said, the daughter of controversial Palestinian-American literary critic Edward Said, says she "grew up as a Jew in New York City".

"I was more likely to say 'Oy vey' and 'I'm shvitzing' than dare utter a word of Arabic."

The riff runs through her one-woman show, Palestine, now playing off Broadway at the 4th St Theatre in New York with a future London transfer likely.

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Obama is setting a precedent for Israel

By Jonathan Tobin, April 1, 2010

President Obama's foreign policy team came into office in 2009 determined to distance themselves from Israel. This was due in part to their inclination to change everything that the Bush administration did as well as their belief that a more "even handed" approach really could jump start the peace process.

This determination to cool things down with Israel was strengthened once Binyamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition won in the elections held only a month after Mr Obama's inauguration.

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Netanyahu warns of lessons learnt from history

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 1, 2010

Binyamin Netanyahu is the son of a historian. Three weeks ago, hundreds of guests celebrated Benzion Netanyahu's 100th birthday.

In an emotional speech, the PM extolled his father's ability to foresee major historical events, from the Shoah to the attack on New York by Islamic terrorists.

"I learnt from you to look into the future," said Bibi to his father.

In his own speech, the wise old historian spoke of the future and warned of the terrible consequences if Iran is allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.

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The Ugandan kippot project that saves lives

By Keren David, April 1, 2010

The colourful kippot worn by the men of the Abayudaya community of rural East Uganda are more than a statement of their Jewish identity. They hope to sell the skullcaps to Jews worldwide and drastically improve their impoverished living conditions.

The man helping them to help themselves is a British Jew, Adam Williams, 34. The accountant, born in Leeds, moved to Uganda two years ago, and was astonished to find villages of devout Jews living in mud and stick houses.

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