World news

Schwarzenegger calls for Gilad Shalit release

By Jennifer Lipman, June 7, 2010

Arnold Schwarzenegger has added his support to the campaign for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The California governor and former actor, famous for playing the Terminator, said at a pro-Israel rally in Los Angeles that he was praying for Shalit to be freed.

His phone conversation with the missing soldier’s father, Noam Shalit, was broadcast to a crowd of more than 2,000 Israel supporters.

The governor said: “I'm a father of four children. I cannot even imagine in my wildest dreams that one of my children should be kidnapped and be held for all these years.

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White House reporter quits job

By Jennifer Lipman, June 7, 2010

The veteran White House journalist who caused a political storm after calling for all Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine" has announced her retirement.

Helen Thomas, a Hearst Newspapers journalist and the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, had faced calls for her resignation from several senior political commentators and has now said she will leave her job immediately.

It comes after video footage emerged of Ms Thomas, 89, saying Jews in Israel should "go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else."

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Analysis: Thanks to the flotilla, Iran off the hook again

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, June 3, 2010

It is crucial to understand the broader strategic context of Monday's events.

The Gaza convoy was organised by IHH, a Turkish Islamist "charity" with links to al Qaida and Hamas. It had the full blessing of the Turkish government, which connived in ensuring this mission would happen. In fact, the Turkish government actively sought this crisis for domestic reasons. It wanted to bolster its Islamist credentials and mobilise crowds at a time of declining polls. It also aimed to further corner the pro-Western, secular elites that oppose the creeping Islamisation of Turkey.

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Malden synagogue pays members to belong

By Paul Berger, June 3, 2010

When Matthew Garland and his wife Leah were looking for a home almost 10 years ago near Boston, Massachusetts, they eventually settled on Malden.

The city is less desirable than nearby Jewish enclaves such as Brookline, but it is where Leah grew up and housing is cheaper.

The factor that tipped the scales, however, was that a local synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, helped the couple buy their first home by lending them almost 20 per cent of the deposit on a $320,000 house, at far below going interest rates.

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San Francisco row over Israel support

By Sue Fishkoff, June 3, 2010

The famously left-wing San Francisco community is embroiled in a dispute over how much criticism of Israel it should support.

In February, the city's Jewish Community Federation, which is the community's main funding body and umbrella group, announced new funding guidelines regarding Israel.

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Catholic is ordered to keep Shabbat

By Paul Berger, June 3, 2010

A Catholic woman has been banned from driving on Saturdays when looking after her seven-year-old Jewish stepson and ordered to cook him only kosher food.

A Chicago judge ordered Laura Derbigney and her husband Nelson to follow these and other rules during an acrimonious custody battle with Mr Derbigney's Orthodox ex-wife.

The judge also stipulated where Mrs Derbigney could shop for kosher food and instructed that the boy must wear a kippah to school.

Mrs Derbigney, a Hispanic Catholic, described the order as "quite intrusive.

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New Zealand outlaws kosher butchering

By Dan Goldberg, June 3, 2010

New Zealand has banned the kosher slaughter of animals, provoking outrage in the Jewish community.

The new animal welfare code, which became effective last Friday, mandates that all animals for commercial consumption must be stunned prior to slaughter to ensure "animals are humanely killed".

This effectively outlaws shechitah, which does not allow animals to be stunned before slaughter.

While kosher beef and lamb can be imported to New Zealand, under Kiwi law, no poultry - kosher or not - is allowed into the country.

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United States vote against UNHRC Gaza motion

By Jennifer Lipman, June 2, 2010

The United States has voted against a resolution by a UN body condemning Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Italy and the Netherlands also voted against the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) document, while the UK abstained.

The Palestinian-sponsored resolution was passed by a majority of 32. It calls for Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza and for an independent probe into the incident.

The UNHRC previously instigated the controversial Goldstone Report into the 2009 Gaza war.

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New Zealand shechitah ban

By Dan Goldberg, June 1, 2010

New Zealand has banned the kosher slaughter of animals, provoking outrage and anger among the small Jewish community.

The new animal welfare code, which became effective last Friday, mandates that all animals for commercial consumption must be stunned prior to slaughter to ensure “animals are humanely killed”. This effectively outlaws shechitah, which does not allow for animals to be stunned before slaughter.

While kosher beef and lamb can be imported to New Zealand, under Kiwi law no poultry – kosher or not – is allowed into the country.

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Antwerp synagogue Torah theft

By Jennifer Lipman, June 1, 2010

A 200 year old Sefer Torah scroll is among several that have been stolen from Belgium’s largest synagogue.

Police are investigating after congregants arrived for Shabbat services to find at least four Torahs missing from Antwerp’s main synagogue.

The scrolls, said to be worth 30,000 euros (£25,000) each, had been kept inside the Ark at the Oostenstraat synagogue.

One is more than 200 years old and had been hidden during the Holocaust by a woman deported to a Nazi concentration camp.

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