World news

Sacha Baron Cohen to play Freddie Mercury

By Jennifer Lipman, September 17, 2010

Sacha Baron Cohen is to take on the role of the legendary Queen singer Freddie Mercury.

The Ali G comedian will star in a film scripted by The Queen writer Peter Morgan.

Queen guitarist Brian May said Mr Baron Cohen had been interested in the role for some time

The film’s producer Graham King said: “With Sacha in the starring role, coupled with Peter's screenplay and the support of Queen, we have the perfect combination to tell the real story behind their success”.

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Fears over Greek 'bigot' trial

By Jennifer Lipman, September 16, 2010

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) has called for an independent EU observer to attend a court case involving an extremist Greek writer who has described Jews as "subhuman" and questioned the Holocaust.

Konstantinos Plevris was found guilty of inciting racial hatred in 2007 and sentenced to 14 months in jail, but was later acquitted in an appeal.

He is now taking legal action against a series of his critics, including three Greek human rights activists.

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Glee for Lea Michele's fashion picks

By Jennifer Lipman, September 16, 2010

Glee’s Jewish star has been named one of the world’s most fashionable women.

Lea Michele was voted fourth in People magazine’s annual "Best Dressed List".

According to the magazine, the actress is “hitting all the right notes with her red carpet choices, including glamorous gowns from Zac Posen and Malandrino.”

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Spielberg's rabbi in adultery storm

By Paul Berger, September 16, 2010

Last year, Tobi Rubinstein-Schneier bought her husband Rabbi Marc Schneier an endangered Asian lion as a 50th birthday present.

This year, it is the high-flying, 51-year-old rabbi's career that is endangered as his wife files for divorce in a bitter lawsuit.

Rabbi Schneier is being accused of an affair with a woman in her thirties, which resulted in her pregnancy. As a result of the allegations, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the world's largest Orthodox rabbinical group, is now considering expelling him from their organisation.

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Anti-Israel flotilla thriller for Turkey

By Sami Kohen, September 16, 2010

An anti-Israeli movie featuring a Turkish agent avenging the killing of the nine Turks aboard the Gaza-bound flotilla in May will be shown in Turkish cinemas next month.

The Valley of the Wolves - Palestine is a follow-up to the movie The Valley of the Wolves - Iraq, which three years ago showed a Turkish agent fighting the US occupation forces in Iraq. At the time, the film caused considerable tension between the US and Turkey and was seen as one reason for the growing anti-Americanism in Turkey.

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Israel fights to stop science brain drain

By Nathan Jeffay, September 16, 2010

Israel has begun to implement a £250 million plan to win its best and brightest scientists back from abroad and slow its "brain drain".

A decade after the state slashed funding for university research, new posts for young academics are few and far between. The result is that most are going abroad to find a "post doctoral" research position - and increasingly they are staying abroad.

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'Lost Catholic Jews' of Poland come home

By Nathan Jeffay, September 16, 2010

In an unusual kind of pre-High Holy Days study seminar, 22 young Polish Catholics spent three weeks in Israel learning about their Jewish roots.

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Australia coalition is 'bad for Israel'

By Dan Goldberg, September 16, 2010

The inclusion of the Green Party in the new Australian coalition may compromise the government's support for Israel, supporters of the Jewish state fear.

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard formed a minority government last week after neither her Labour Party nor the opposition Liberal Party managed the requisite 76 seats in the August 21 election.

Ms Gillard, generally regarded as a strong supporter of Israel, won the support of independent lawmakers and the Greens to help her squeak into power.

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US support for Israel 'still strong'

By Paul Berger, September 16, 2010

A few months ago, the American Jewish community was thrown into a period of prolonged navel-gazing by journalist Peter Beinart.

Writing in the New York Review of Books, Mr Beinart claimed that right-wing American Jews had hijacked Zionism. He said their hawkish, Israel-can-do-no-wrong attitude was distancing liberal Jews, particularly the young, from Israel.

Now, Brandeis University has issued a rebuttal. Titled, Still Connected: American Jewish Attitudes about Israel, the Brandeis report takes direct aim at Mr Beinart's thesis.

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Nachman's followers find utopia - in Ukraine

By Pini Dunner, September 16, 2010

This month sees the 200th anniversary of his death, but Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav's popularity continues to grow.

Over the past 20 years in particular, this growth has been exponential. Reviled in his lifetime, even by his own family - one contemporary Chasidic leader is said to have guaranteed paradise for any antagonist of Rabbi Nachman - his teachings and message are embraced across the spectrum of Jewish life, and he is revered by Jews of every level of observance.

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