World news

New Jersey fraud scandal: the trial begins

By Paul Berger, January 28, 2010

Government informer Solomon Dwek is expected to be a key witness in the first trial to arise from New Jersey’s largest-ever public corruption bust.

Jersey City deputy mayor Leona Beldini was accused this week in court of accepting $20,000 in illegal campaign donations from Mr Dwek.

Mr Dwek, a property developer in New Jersey’s Syrian Jewish community, posed as a crooked businessman looking to bribe officials in return for planning permission. In fact, he was a federal informant working for the FBI after being caught trying to defraud a bank out of $50 million in 2006.

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Israel will not extradite alleged sex offender to US

By Paul Berger, January 28, 2010

A strictly Orthodox man suspected of molesting children has escaped extradition from Israel to the US.

Abraham Mondrowitz fled to Jerusalem in 1985 after being charged with sodomising four boys in Brooklyn. According to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, Mondrowitz gained the trust of parents by passing himself off as a school psychologist using a phony degree. An attempt by the Brooklyn DA’s office to return Mondrowitz to America in 1985 failed because the alleged crime was not covered by an extradition agreement with Israel.

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The last survivors return to Auschwitz

By Toby Axelrod in Krakow, January 28, 2010

On a midwinter morning at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site, jagged icicles cling to the buildings.

Yet this week, visitors made their way under the famous gate — with a replica sign “Arbeit Macht Frei”, following the theft of the original last month — seemingly oblivious to the cold. They came to learn, to absorb and to bring a message home.

Wednesday marked the 65th anniversary of the liberation of this notorious death camp. About 1.5 million people were murdered here; 90 per cent of the victims were Jews.

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Peres remembers Holocaust in German Parliament speech

By Jessica Elgot, January 27, 2010

Israeli president Shimon Peres has delivered a historic speech to the German Parliament for Holocaust Memorial Day.

Mr Peres visited Berlin to mark Holocaust Memorial Day and the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

His visit has been tightly protected, with 3,000 German police officers on duty and road blocks in the centre of the German capital.

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Peres' speech to German parliament: In full

January 27, 2010

I stand here before you, as the President of the State of Israel, the home of the Jewish People.

While my heart is breaking at the memory of the atrocious past – my eyes envision a common future for a world that is young, a world free of all hatred.

A world in which the words "war" and "anti-Semitism" will be dead words.

In the Jewish tradition that accompanies us for thousands of years, there exists a prayer in Aramaic recited when mourning the dead, in memory of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters.

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Fourth man arrested for Crete synagogue fire

By Jessica Elgot, January 25, 2010

A fourth man has been arrested in connection with two arson attacks on a Crete synagogue.

The American man has been arrested in Hania, the Crete seaside town where the Etz Hayyim Synagogue was attacked. Police said he was an English teacher.

Two British men and a Greek Man have been in court charged in connection with the fire. Police are still searching for another American man, also though to be an English teacher.

The British men, who have not yet been named, are aged 23 and 33. They are believed to be nightclub bartenders in Hania, the town where the synagogue was attacked.

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Worst year 'since Holocaust' for antisemitism

By Jessica Elgot, January 25, 2010

Antisemitic incidents last year were the highest since the Holocaust, the Jewish Agency has reported.

During the first half of 2009, antisemitic incidents were as many as for the entire of 2008, following Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. These included two murders, both in the US, including the shooting of a non-Jewish guard at the Holocaust Memorial museum.

Commenting on the report, Israel's Prime Minister Bin6yamin Netanyahu said: " "This is a test for humanity and we will see in the coming weeks how the international community stops this evil before it spreads."

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Haiti president thanks Israel

By Jessica Elgot, January 22, 2010

Haitian President Rene Preval has expressed his gratitude for the aid that Israel has given to his stricken country, where more than 200,000 people are believed to have died in the earthquake last week.

Israel has sent members of the IDF, doctors and engineers, as well as Magen David Adom and various other charitable organisations. The IDF field hospital has treated more than 450 patients, and its doctors have delivered seven babies.

Now, at the request of the UN and the US, Israel will send 100 armed police officers to help peacekeeping efforts in Haiti.

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Britons charged with Crete synagogue arson

By Jessica Elgot, January 22, 2010

Two British men have been in court charged in connection with the arson attacks on a Crete synagogue.

The men, who have not yet been named, are aged 23 and 33. They are believed to be nightclub bartenders in Hania, the town where the synagogue was attacked.

They are charged alongside a Greek man. Two more men, believed to be American citizens, are wanted by police in connection with the two separate arson attacks on the synagogue.

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Wife of British doctor in Haiti speaks

By Marcus Dysch, January 22, 2010

The wife of a British-born doctor who is part of the Israeli mission treating victims of the Haitian earthquake has spoken about her husband's work .

Dr Ian Miskin, 53, one of Israel’s foremost specialists in treating infectious diseases, has been in Haiti for a week, aiding rescue missions and helping those rescued from the rubble.

Speaking from her home in Israel, Hagit Miskin , herself a leading paediatrician, said her husband, originally from London, was battling the growing problem of infections among survivors.

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