World news

The Angel of Mostar reunited with Bosnian girl she rescued

By David Cohen, November 12, 2009

In 1992, Sally Becker, who became known as the Angel of Mostar for her rescue work in the Bosnian war, took Selma Handzaar and her brother Mirza out of Mostar to Croatia.

Selma was 10 years old, Mirza, seven. They were Muslims. Both were blown across the back garden of their house by bombs fired by troops loyal to Radovan Karadic, now on trial at The Hague.

The shelling destroyed part of the house. A wall fell on Selma. Mirza found that he could not walk when he tried to crawl towards his sister.


Mixed-race Jewish children locate their communal comfort zone

By Sue Fishkoff, November 12, 2009

Dafna Wu, a 48-year-old San Francisco nurse, was born to a Jewish mother and Chinese father. She was raised Jewish but looks Asian, as does her daughter, nine-year-old Amalia, whose father was also Chinese.

The Hebrew School Amalia attends is filled with mixed-race children, but the parents in the congregation are all white, as is the majority of American Jewry. That concerns her mother.


Zimbabwe needs money, says South African Rabbi

By Moira Schneider, November 12, 2009

The community in Zimbabwe is still in dire need of financial help because of the erosion of the value of their currency, says the South African rabbi in charge of aid efforts.

Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft will be awarded the 2009 Commonwealth Jewish Council and Trust Anniversary Award by London Mayor Boris Johnson on Tuesday.

One of three recipients, he was selected for his “dedication and service to the Jewish people of sub-Saharan Africa and in particular for his brave support and crucial visits with supplies for the remaining Jewish community in Zimbabwe.”


US Jewish charities: prospering despite credit crunch

By Nathan Guttman, November 12, 2009

In Washington, the main Jewish communal body, the Federation, suffered two financial hits in recent years: once through the economic downturn and another through Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. But despite a 15 per cent drop in income, the community hardly felt a decline in services. The organisation cut salaries by 10 per cent and switched to a four-day work week.

“It’s a very challenging time, but we are finding creative ways to cope,” said the Federation’s CEO, Misha Galperin.


Abbas resignation 'could kill peace plan'

By Ben Lynfield, November 12, 2009

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (right) has been deluged with requests from foreign heads of state to reconsider his decision not to seek another term in his office, while his own people seem indifferent.

Mr Abbas said last week that he “does not wish” to run in the January 24 elections, blaming Israel’s expansion of settlements, the US “favouring” the Israeli position and Hamas foiling national reconciliation efforts.

It was not immediately clear if the step was anything more than a ploy to muster American pressure on Israel.


Netanyahu 'agrees to settlement freeze' in tense talks with Obama

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 12, 2009

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to put on a brave face following the demonstrably low-key fashion in which he was received on Monday at the White House. However, Israeli officials have admitted that the nature of the meeting was “a reprimand” to the prime minister and that Mr Netanyahu conceded on a number of issues, including the settlement freeze and the release of Palestinian prisoners.


Hebrew 'Kristallnacht' bible returns to Vienna

By Jessica Elgot, November 11, 2009

A $30,000 Hebrew bible which was stolen from a library in Vienna during Kristallnacht has been returned to Austria.

It was due to be auctioned by the New York-based Kestenbaum & Company, which is owned by former Londoner Daniel Kestanbaum.

The black, leather-bound bible, which was printed in 1516 in Venice, vanished 71 years ago.
It had been donated to the library of the Jewish community of Vienna in 1908, before being looted by the Nazis on November 9, 1938.


Ahmadinejad: Obama, choose Iran or Israel

By Jessica Elgot, November 11, 2009

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the US must choose between supporting Israel or Iran if any real change of policy is to take place.

Mr Ahmadinejad said it was time for US President Barack Obama to live up to his slogan: “Change”.


Bernie Madoff watches, jewels and furs auctioned

By Jessica Elgot, November 10, 2009

Fraudster Bernie Madoff will have his personal belongings auctioned this weekend, including 16 Rolex watches, a milking stool and five fur jackets.

Madoff is currently serving a 150 year prison sentence for a multi-million dollar fraud where more than 13,000 people lost money through the collapse of his firm Madoff Securities.

The money raised from the auction will go directly to the victims of the Madoff fraud.

It will take place at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on Seventh Avenue in New York on Saturday.


Netanyahu and Obama hold secret talks

By Jessica Elgot, November 10, 2009

Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu has told US President Barack Obama that he is “extremely serious” about advancing peace talks with the Palestinians and the Arab world.

The two held a private meeting in Washington where they discussed Israeli security and the nuclear threat from Iran.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, National Security Council head Uzi Arad and the Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho were all present at points throughout the meeting.