World news

Life in prison for extremist preacher Bakri

By Jessica Elgot, November 12, 2010

The Islamic extremist preacher Omar Bakri – who once called for the death of Sir Paul McCartney for playing in Israel – has been sentenced to life in prison in Lebanon.

The Syrian-born cleric was sentenced in his absence at a military court in Lebanon for allegedly helping train members of Al Qaeda at a camp in Tripoli. He is currently in hiding with relatives in Lebanon.


Jewish doctor refuses to treat Nazi tattoo patient

By Jennifer Lipman, November 12, 2010

A German Jewish doctor has refused to operate on a patient after seeing a Nazi tattoo on his arm.

The patient, in the city of Paderborn in North Rhine-Westphalia, had a graphic on his arm of a swastika and the Bundesadler (Imperial Eagle), the German national symbol adopted by the Nazi party.

According to the newspaper Bild, the doctor said it would go against his conscience to treat the 36-year-old man.

He told the patient’s wife: “I’m Jewish. I will not operate on your husband”.


Jewish Iraq casualty remembered with Kombatika kippah

By Jennifer Lipman, November 12, 2010

The sister of a Jewish soldier from Florida killed in action three years ago has launched a project to provide special kippot to all Jewish American servicemen.

Danny Agami, who was nicknamed “GI Jew”, died after being struck by a roadside bomb during a tour of duty in Iraq in 2007.

The 25-year-old, from Florida, had named his US-Army issued yarmulke the “Kombatika”.


Anger over Glenn Beck's Soros Holocaust remarks

By Jennifer Lipman, November 11, 2010

Jewish organisations have criticised Fox news pundit Glenn Beck for an attack on businessman George Soros’ Holocaust record.

Mr Beck said in a documentary about the Jewish billionaire that as a child in Hungary living with a non-Jewish family Mr Soros “help[ed] send the Jews to the death camps,” and helped confiscate the property of other Jews.”

He said: “Here's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.

“I am certainly not saying that George Soros enjoyed that, even had a choice. I mean, he's 14 years old. He was surviving.


George W Bush reveals Abbas rejected secret peace deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 11, 2010

Much has been written about former US president George W Bush's new book, Decision Points, but one section has remained largely under the media radar.

According to Mr Bush, a peace deal was put together in secret talks between former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, including the handing over of the "vast majority" of the West Bank to a Palestinian state, but with some areas close to the pre-1967 borders that include Israeli settlements to remain within Israel.


Nobel laureates will oppose Israel boycott

By Paul Berger, November 11, 2010

Almost 40 Nobel laureates have signed a statement opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Roger Kornberg, of Stanford University, and Steven Weinberg, of the University of Texas at Austin, drafted the document, which specifically criticises academic boycotts.

The statement, organised by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, declared: "We believe that the university should serve as an open, tolerant and respectful, co-operative and collaborative community engaged in practices of resolving complex problems."


17 charged over £25 million Holocaust survivor fraud

By Paul Berger, November 11, 2010

Seventeen people have been charged with participating in a wide-ranging and long-running conspiracy to defraud the Claims Conference out of $42.5 million (£25 million).

Six of those named in New York this week were current or former employees of the organisation that supports Holocaust survivors around the world.

The employees allegedly approved more than 5,500 fraudulent claims over more than 15 years.

Claims Conference chairman Julius Berman called the fraud "an affront to human decency".


Son of child-abuser rabbi 'victim of £155k extortion'

By Paul Berger, November 11, 2010

A millionaire businessman has been charged with trying to extort $250,000 (£155,000) out of the son of a rabbi convicted of sexual abuse.

Simon Taub allegedly threatened to accuse Meyer Lebovits, 31, of molesting Mr Taub's son unless he paid the money.

Mr Lebovits's father, Rabbi Baruch Lebovits, was convicted earlier this year of abusing a 16-year-old boy. He was sentenced to up to 32 years in prison.

After receiving the first allegedly threatening call from Mr Taub, 61, Mr Lebovits contacted the Brooklyn district attorney's office.


Corruption more important than peace for Israelis?

By Nathan Jeffay, November 11, 2010

Fighting government corruption is a higher national priority for Jewish Israelis than peace with the Palestinians, according to a new Tel Aviv University poll.

One in four Jewish Israelis, asked to identify the most urgent issue the government needs to deal with, chose war on corruption and clean governance. Israeli-Palestinian peace, selected by one in five Jewish respondents, came in joint second place alongside closing socioeconomic gaps.


US Jews call for kindness

By Simon Rocker, November 11, 2010

A leading American Jewish organisation has launched a campaign to get Jews to speak more kindly to each other, alarmed by the fractious tone that has crept into community debate.

More than 150 rabbis and community leaders have signed up to the Statement of Civility issued by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), which wants to encourage a "respectful and healthy debate" without acrimony.