World news

Israeli bomb experts help UK soldiers

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 26, 2009

British bomb experts have received training from the IDF’s central weapons laboratory on the types of bombs used by Islamist terrorists.

The Substances Laboratory, which is part of the IDF Ground Command’s Experiment and Quality Control Unit near Tel Aviv, is a mecca for explosives specialists from around the world. One of the main roles of the lab is to analyse all bombs and ammunition used against Israeli forces and civilians and devise methods of countering them.

More..

US 'antisemitism ambassador' is critical of pro-Israel right

By Paul Berger, New York, November 26, 2009

The US State Department has appointed a new special envoy to monitor and combat global antisemitism.

Hannah Rosenthal, 58, a former director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, will assume the post, which was created by Congress in 2004.

Ms Rosenthal’s appointment has already been met with some scepticism by conservative Jews because of her past criticism of the “narrow, ultra-conservative views” that dominate American pro-Israel groups.

More..

'Ethical' food, not kosher, is priority for US Reform

By Sue Fishkoff, November 26, 2009

For the past few years, the American Reform movement has been edging toward a re-examination of kashrut. Those tentative steps were diverted somewhat at the movement’s biennial convention in Toronto earlier this month.

More..

Britain's Chile ambassador: The FCO's not Arabist

By Martin Bright, November 26, 2009

Britain’s new man in Chile, one of the UK’s most senior Jewish diplomats, is keen to scotch the idea that the Foreign Office is a nest of Arabists. Jon Benjamin, who begins his posting in Santiago next month, has worked at the Foreign Office since he left university a quarter of a century ago and says he does not recognise the Lawrence of Arabia characterisation of the FCO.

More..

Demjanjuk: Judgment day for the 'last Nazi'

By Toby Axelrod, November 26, 2009

When John Demjanjuk enters Munich District Court II on November 30, it will be the second time he has stood trial for crimes against humanity, allegedly committed during the Second World War.

Sixteen years ago, Israeli courts released Demjanjuk from a death sentence after evidence showed he probably was not the notorious Treblinka guard “Ivan the Terrible”.

This time, the Ukrainian-born 89-year-old is charged with involvement in the murder of 27,900 Jews in the notorious Sobibor death camp in 1943, as an SS guard trained in the Trawniki camps.

More..

Hizbollah given right to arm against Israel

By Josie Ensor, November 26, 2009

Lebanon’s new cabinet has agreed on a policy statement that recognises Hizbollah’s right to use arms against Israel, despite reservations from the Western-backed ruling majority.

The cabinet had already met eight times in an attempt to iron out the clause which refers to the party’s substantial arsenal, with some ministers arguing it undermines the authority of the state.

The clause in question states the right of “Lebanon, its government, its people, its army and its resistance” to liberate all Lebanese territory.

More..

Brit named in Israel helicopter crash

By Jessica Elgot, November 26, 2009

The 43 year-old British man killed in the Netanya helicopter crash has been named as Roberto Arvanitakis.

The Foreign Office has confirmed that Mr Arvanitakis was a British citizen, but he is believed to have been living in Cyprus.

The Israelis who were killed in the crash are said to have been showing the British businessman around the Netanya coast when the helicopter malfunctioned. He is believed to have worked in the airline industry.

The other victims were named as 35 year-old Yoav Tamir from Tel Aviv, the co-owner of Tamir Airways which owned the helicopter.

More..

Pupils suspended for 'Kick a Jew' Day

By Jessica Elgot, November 26, 2009

Students at a Florida school have been suspended for participating in ‘Kick a Jew’ Day.

Ten pupils at North Naples Middle School were suspended for a day, after a female student told the school’s head that she believed she had been kicked as part of ‘Kick a Jew Day’.

Local expressed concerns that the students may have been inspired by TV show South Park where an episode featured ‘Kick a Ginger Day’. The attacks are believed to have been co-ordinated via a Facebook group.

More..

Jewish athlete's record restored by Germany

By Jessica Elgot, November 24, 2009

A 95 year-old Jewish woman stripped of her high jump record by Nazi Germany has had her record restored by the German track and field association.

Gretel Bergmann, who is now Margaret Bergmann Lambert, emigrated to New York in 1937 after she was 'replaced' at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by the Nazi government because she was Jewish.

Mrs Lambert had already left Germany for the UK in 1934 after she was banned from her athletics club for being Jewish.

She had previously recorded a world record high jump of 5 feet and 3 inches, having been on the German team for two years.

More..

Body of journalist Alec Collett found in Lebanon

By Josie Ensor, Beirut, November 24, 2009

The body of British journalist Alec Collett who was executed by Palestinian militants has been found this week in Lebanon after a 24-year hunt.

The search for the 64-year-old’s remains, organised by the British embassy in Lebanon, began last week in the eastern region of Bekaa after the excavation team received a tip-off.

Both the British Foreign Office and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) confirmed the DNA results Monday.

More..