World news

Natalie Portman film to open Venice festival

By Jennifer Lipman, July 23, 2010

A film starring Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman as a top ballerina has been selected to open this year's Venice Film Festival in September.

Ms Portman plays the lead in “Black Swan”, a psychological thriller directed by Jewish filmmaker Darren Aronofsky.

It will be the third consecutive film by Mr Aronofsky premiering at the Venice event, following The Fountain and The Wrestler, which won the festival's Golden Lion prize in 2008.

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87 states square up against antisemitism

By Jennifer Lipman, July 22, 2010

An international agreement on fighting antisemitism has been signed by 87 states at a ceremony in Israel.

Israel’s deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon welcomed the document as a boost for the global fight against Holocaust denial and the delegitimisation of Israel.

The cooperation understanding, signed in Jerusalem, has been agreed between the ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) and the ITF (Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research).

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International Israel support initiative launched

By Leon Symons, July 22, 2010

An unprecedented show of support for Israel has come from a group of almost entirely non-Jewish European and American politicians, statesmen and women and theologians.

Led by former Spanish prime minister José Maria Aznar, they have formed the Friends of Israel Initiative, to oppose the rising tide of criticism and delegitimisation that has questioned Israel's right to exist and act in self-defence.

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Australian politicians try to woo Jews

By Dan Goldberg, July 22, 2010

Just two days after PM Julia Gillard called a snap federal election for August 21, opposition leader Tony Abbott made the first move to woo Jewish voters.

The Liberal leader told the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne that the Labour government weakened Australia's longstanding bipartisan support for the Jewish state.

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Grocery stores boycott Israel

July 22, 2010

Two grocery stores in Rachel Corrie's hometown will boycott Israeli goods.

The Olympia Co-Op in Washington state said it will no longer carry Israeli products for "moral" reasons.

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US shuls get 'terror grant'

July 22, 2010

More than 25 synagogues in the New York area will receive up to $75,000 each as part of a $6 million anti-terror grant from the US Department of Homeland Security.

The funds must be put towards shul security.

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Israel Museum gets $100 million facelift

By Ben Lynfield, July 22, 2010

The Israel Museum is to re-open next week following a $100 million refurbishment.

While Israelis have been able to take pride in having a world-class national museum since 1965, it had a reputation for being relatively visitor-unfriendly. There was a steep hike to the entrance and people got lost trying to find exhibits or trying to leave.

Museum officials say the goal of the renovation - which was completed on time, within 30 months, and on budget - was to make the collections more accessible, physically and conceptually.

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Egypt-Israel relations will outlive Mubarak

By Ben Lynfield, July 22, 2010

Rumours that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is dying have caused concern in Israel over the future of the Israeli-Egyptian relationship.

Over the past three decades, Mr Mubarak has gained admirers in Israel for sticking to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty through wars and intifadas. But the "cold peace" does not depend on him personally and is still likely to persist in a post-Mubarak era, analysts say.

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Payout for painting looted by Nazis

By Jennifer Lipman, July 21, 2010

An Austrian museum has agreed to pay more than £12 million for a painting stolen from its Jewish owner by the Nazis.

The dispute over the expressionist painting by Egon Schiele was due to go to trial later in July, but has now been settled outside of court.

The family of its Viennese owner, Lea Bondi Jaray, described the large payout as proportional to the artwork's true value.

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'Obscene' Wiesel play to open in New York

By Jennifer Lipman, July 20, 2010

A play on the Madoff financial scandal that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel branded "obscene" and "defamatory" is set to open in New York.

The renowned human rights campaigner had threatened legal action over the play, which depicted a fictional conversation between disgraced financier Bernie Madoff and Mr Wiesel.

But despite opposition from the Holocaust survivor, Imagining Madoff will go ahead, although in a small Hudson theatre rather than in its original Washington location.

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