World news

Tributes for Russian human rights activist

By Deborah Weitzmann, June 20, 2011

Human rights activist Yelena Georgievna Bonner has died at the age of 88.

Jewish Agency chairman, and former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky said: "The Jewish world and the state of Israel lost a stalwart and valiant defender today.


Weiner resigns over Twitter photo scandal

By Jennifer Lipman, June 16, 2011

The disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner has announced that he is to step down over the scandal of his online communications.

Mr Weiner said he would leave his job, ending more than a week of speculation about his political future. He said he was sorry for the embarrassment that he had caused and added that he hoped to continue to fight for the key causes of his constituents.


Rabbi's plea for missing student Lauren Spierer

By Anna Slater, June 16, 2011

Friends of the missing Jewish student Lauren Spierer attended a special synagogue ceremony to pray for her safe return.

Ms Spierer, 20, was last seen on June 3 after attending a party with friends at Indiana University.

The ceremony, held at Scarsdale Synagogue in her home county of Westchester, New York, was lead by Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman.


Yale hate study centre closure 'suspicious'

By Simon Rocker, June 16, 2011

One of the world's leading universities has decided to shut down a specialist centre on antisemitism after just five years.

Yale University in Connecticut said its Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA) was being closed because it had failed to produce enough scholarship to "warrant its continuance".

But the decision to end what was billed as North America's first


Nakba Day: evidence of Syrian plan

June 16, 2011

Fresh evidence has emerged that Syria organised last month's Nakba Day clashes on Israel's border.

Michael Weiss, the spokesman of media monitor Just Journalism, this week said he was forwarded a Syrian state document which details plans to dispatch 20 bus-loads of demonstrators to the border with Israel.

The document, which describes a meeting between Syria's chief of staff and military int


Egyptian 'spy' arrest ratchets up tension

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 16, 2011

The arrest in Cairo of a student of dual American and Israeli citizenship on charges of spying for Mossad is another sign of the increasingly tense relationship between Israel and Egypt.

Israel has officially denied that Ilan Grapel, a native of Queens in New York, was in any sort of contact with its intelligence agencies.


All bets are off in Middle East

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 16, 2011

The Obama Administration is trying to restart the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians as soon as possible, before an attempt to gain UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state and to ward off alternative European peace plans.


No feet - but he's suing over a pedicure

By Ellen Tumposky, June 16, 2011

A wheelchair-bound Chasidic Jew has filed more than 80 lawsuits in the past year over handicapped access, including suing a pedicure salon in Manhattan - even though he has no feet.


I'll put shuls back in Libya (with a little rebel help)

By Nathan Jeffay, June 16, 2011

The Libyan rebels have a new recruit: a softly-spoken, Kabbalah-studying, Orthodox Jewish psychoanalyst.

Rome-based David Gerbi has been making regular visits to Libya, where he meets rebel leaders to help them plan strategies for instituting democracy and gaining international recognition.


Interfaith effort to fight San Francisco circumcision ban

By Jennifer Lipman, June 16, 2011

A Jewish congressman has been backed by a Muslim politician in his fight to prohibit US cities from banning circumcision.

Brad Sherman, a Californian Democrat, is set to introduce a bill to counter the San Francisco campaign to make circumcision illegal for underage males.