World news

Kosher fraudster weeps in handcuffs

By Paul Berger, May 6, 2010

The convicted former CEO of America's largest kosher slaughterhouse broke down in court last week as he apologised to his family and the community for his crimes.

Sholom Rubashkin, 50, spoke towards the end of a two-day hearing in Iowa last week after being found guilty of 86 charges of financial fraud in November.


Egypt pushes for nuclear-free region

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 6, 2010

Israeli officials have played down reports that the Obama administration will support an Egyptian plan to force Israel to disclose details of its nuclear arsenal and commit to disarmament, as part of its global strategy to reduce nuclear stockpiles.

There has been no confirmation of this from official administration sources and a very senior Israeli official said that "we have received no signal at all from the Americans on this".


Europe sets up left-wing Israel lobby

By Shirli Sitbon, May 6, 2010

A new European group modelling itself on J Street, the left-leaning American Israel lobby, was launched at the European Parliament on Monday.

Hundreds of supporters of J Call, including MEPS and two former Israeli envoys, presented a petition asking Israel to stop its settlement activity and calling on Europe to intervene.

Headed "a European Jewish Call for Reason" and partially written by former Israeli envoy to France Elie Barnavi, the online petition has been signed by more than 4,700 people.


Goldstone: Criticism of South African Jews hurt

By Jessica Elgot, May 5, 2010

Judge Richard Goldstone has met a delegation of South African community leaders, with whom he had agreed to hold a discussion in return for being able to attend his grandson’s barmitzvah unhindered.

Judge Goldstone, author of the controversial UN report into Operation Cast Lead, had originally agreed not to attend the barmitzvah, which took place this Shabbat. He came to an agreement with the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the Johannesburg Sandton Synagogue.

The SAZF had reportedly threatened to protest outside the shul should Judge Goldstone attend.


Ahmedinejad accuses US, Israel of planning Iran nuclear attack

By Jessica Elgot, May 4, 2010

British delegates walked out of a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad at the United Nations, in which he attacked the US and Israel’s nuclear programmes at a session on nuclear proliferation.

The US Department of Defence used the same meeting to call for transparency about nuclear arms – revealing it has 5,113 nuclear weapons currently in its arsenal.


Clinton: We support Israel against Syria, Iran

By Jessica Elgot, April 30, 2010

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has restated the US’s firm commitment to Israel’s security and has warned Iran and Syria against supplying weapons to Gaza and Hizbollah.

In a speech to the American Jewish Committee, Mrs Clinton underlined her commitment to peace in the region, and condemned the transfer of weapons from Syria to terrorists in Gaza and to Hizbollah in Lebanon.

Israel is becoming increasingly concerned over the possible transfer of Scud missiles to Hizbollah, which would allow terrorists to hit Israeli targets more easily.


Iraq urges return of Jewish documents

By Jessica Elgot, April 30, 2010

Iraq has demanded the return of thousands of Jewish documents, sifrei Torah and Haggadot belonging to the Jewish community in Iraq, which were “rescued” to be restored in the US during the invasion in May 2003.

An Iraqi delegation, led by the country’s deputy minister for culture has now met senior State Department officials in the US to arrange for the documents’ return to Iraq.

But there is also a feeling that the materials should actually be returned to their Jewish owners, most of whom now live in Israel.


Goldstone to attend barmitzvah

By Moira Schneider, April 29, 2010

Judge Richard Goldstone will be attending his grandson's barmitzvah after all.

The Washington-based judge, who authored a United Nations report accusing Israel of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, agreed earlier this month to miss the ceremony following negotiations with the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the Johannesburg synagogue at which the barmitzvah is due to take place. The SAZF had reportedly threatened to protest outside the shul should Judge Goldstone attend.


Rabbis say no to women rabbas

By Paul Berger, April 29, 2010

The world's largest Orthodox rabbinical group has officially said that women cannot be ordained as rabbis.

The Rabbinical Council of America unanimously adopted a resolution during its annual convention clarifying its position on female rabbis, a subject that has roiled Orthodox Judaism in America for months.

Noting the RCA's commitment to "sacred continuity", the resolution said the RCA "cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of the title."


Meat-plant boss Rubashkin faces life after kosher fraud

By Paul Berger, April 29, 2010

The former CEO of America's largest kosher slaughterhouse was this week facing the prospect of life in prison.

A jail sentence was expected to be handed down on Thursday, drawing a line under a two-year drama that has shaken the kosher food industry and elevated ethics to a new level in the kosher world.