World news

Arab MK to visit Auschwitz

By Ben Lynfield, January 21, 2010

Israeli Arab legislator Mohammed Barakeh is under fire from Arab and Jewish hardliners for deciding to visit Auschwitz as part of a Knesset delegation on International Holocaust Remembrance Day next Wednesday.

But Mr Barakeh, from the hard-left Arab-Jewish Hadash party, is undeterred. “Nothing is going to change my decision.”

Mr Barakeh’s step has been called “courageous” by Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, who invited him.

The move could deal a blow to rampant Holocaust denial in the Arab world.

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IDF 'angel' donates own blood to save baby

January 21, 2010

The baby brought to the IDF field hospital was in desperate condition. With an extended abdomen, severe anemia and sepsis, he needed O negative blood at once.

IDF paramedic Maayan Lunz didn’t waste a moment. Within minutes, she was donating her own.

This was just one of many extraordinary scenes in the IDF camp set up in the aftermath of last week’s devastating Haitian earthquake. The Israeli field hospital was the first able to offer surgery and complicated medical care in the ruined city of Port-au-Prince.

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Israel's role in the Haiti earthquake crisis

January 21, 2010

Dr Shir Dar stood, like a proud father, outside one of the tents making up the Israeli field hospital in Port-au- Prince.

While his fellow surgeons were busy with orthopedic procedures and amputations, he got the happier task of delivering the first baby born in the Israeli medical compound.

“He’s a lovely healthy baby,” Dr Dar said, as members of the medical team all came to take a look.

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Chief Rabbi's prayer for Haiti victims

By Jessica Elgot, January 19, 2010

The Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has issued a special prayer for the victims of the Haiti earthquake, a disaster which is thought to have killed more than 200,000 people.

He has distributed the prayer to all synagogues to be said this Shabbat and has urged the Jewish community to become involved in fundraising for the stricken country.

The Chief Rabbi said he was “deeply distressed at the tragic loss of life and damage suffered by the people of Haiti.”

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Love Story author Erich Segal dies

By Jessica Elgot, January 19, 2010

The American author Erich Segal, who wrote the bestselling novel Love Story, has died aged 72.

He died after a heart attack at home on Sunday, and was buried at Golders Green's Hoop Lane cemetery today.

The son of a rabbi, Mr Segal obtained a doctorate at Harvard. He later became professor of Greek and Latin literature at Harvard University, Yale University and Princeton University. At the time of his death, he was a professor at Wolfson College, Oxford University.

In 1967 he wrote the screenplay for The Beatles' 1968 film Yellow Submarine.

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Jewish man missing in Haiti earthquake

By Jessica Elgot, January 19, 2010

A Jewish Canadian is missing in Haiti after the earthquake, Israeli rescue teams have reported.

The family of Alexander Shmuel Bitton say that he had just arrived at the Montana Hotel in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, when the earthquake struck.

Mr Bitton’s colleague, known only as Martin, said he saw Mr Bitton at the hotel reception desk and arranged to meet him by the poolside bar.

When the earthquake struck, Martin was waiting for Mr Bitton by the pool. He has not been seen since.

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Award for Chief Rabbi's book

By Jessica Elgot, January 18, 2010

The Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has won a National Jewish Book Award for his new book Covenant and Conversation - Genesis.

The Chief Rabbi won the American award in the ‘Religion’ category for his work which is the first volume in a series of five.

The book is on Torah, and is based originally on his weekly online commentaries.

Extracts from the book were featured in the JC, and can be found here.

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Crete synagogue's second arson attack

By Jessica Elgot, January 18, 2010

A Crete synagogue has been targeted by arsonists for the second time in two weeks.

Police said the attack took place around 4am yesterday when vandals broke into the first floor of the Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in the seaside town of Hania.

The blaze destroyed part of the shul’s wooden ceiling as well as much of the synagogue’s archives. Around 2,500 books, many of which are rare editions have been destroyed in the two attacks.

Synagogue director Nikos Stavroulakis added that four computers and 300 CDs and cassette tapes of Jewish music were also destroyed.

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Row over conversion organisation EJF 'sex scandal'

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2010

An extraordinary war of words has broken out over the scandal-racked conversion organisation Eternal Jewish Family, whose founder quit last month over sex allegations.

Rabbi Aba Dunner, the London-based executive director of the Conference of European Rabbis, rounded on the EJF this week, telling the VosIzNeias news site that he would continue to try to stop the organisation’s “nefarious activities”.

But EJF hit back, accusing Rabbi Dunner of not refunding money that it had given to the CER.

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DNA test the jury - they might be Jewish

By Jessica Elgot, January 15, 2010

A Pakistani scientist accused of working for al-Qaeda has asked for the jury at her trial to be genetically tested to prove they are not Jewish.

Aafia Siddiqui, a former neuroscientist on trial in New York, has demanded that no Jews be allowed to take part in her trial.

Ms Siddiqui, 37, was educated at two prestigious US universities, including optaining a PhD at Brandeis University and left the US in 2003 after marrying an al-Qaeda operative, Ammar al-Blackuch, nephew of the man behind September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

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