World news

Shul security and the rabbis with guns

By Paul Berger, September 3, 2009

They call themselves The International Security Coalition of Clergy.

But you can think of them as The God Squad — armed rabbis and priests ready to leap from the bimah, or the pulpit, to tackle and kill terrorists.

The coalition is led by Rabbi Gary Moscowitz, 52, a fast-talking martial arts instructor and former New York police officer, who says he can transform the average synagoguegoer into a fighting machine, trained in unarmed combat and weapons.

“Jews are not like Christians,” he says. “If we turn our cheek, we are spinning around to make a kick.”

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Colonel Gaddafi? He ruined my fence

By Paul Berger, September 3, 2009

Nothing can stop Colonel Gaddafi from visiting New York in a couple of weeks’ time to address the United Nations General Assembly.

But the Libyan leader is having one heck of a time trying to find somewhere to stay.

Mr Gaddafi often travels with an air-conditioned tent on foreign trips. His first reported request, to camp in Central Park, was turned down. Now, an apparent attempt to stay in the garden of a mansion owned by the Libyan government, in Englewood, New Jersey, has also been blocked.

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Dutch cartoon mocks the Holocaust

September 2, 2009

An Arab group which published a cartoon denying the Holocaust may be prosecuted in the Netherlands.

The Dutch public prosecutor’s office said the cartoon insults Jews and is an illegal form of discrimination. It plans to bring charges, one of which may be for "insulting a group and distributing an insulting image".

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Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman heads to Africa

September 2, 2009

Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman leaves on a diplomatic mission to Africa today, as he looks to take Israeli foreign policy in a new direction.

The trip marks the first time that an Israeli foreign minister has visited sub-Saharan Africa in more than 20 years.

Mr Lieberman and a delegation of 20 Israeli businesspeople will visit Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Ghana during the week-long trip.

Africa has a strong presence in international forums, such as the UN, where it tends to exhibit pro-Arab sentiment.

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Olmert indicted on corruption charges

September 1, 2009

Israel’s former prime minister Ehud Olmert, has been charged with corruption following months of investigations that forced him from office.

Olmert, has maintained his innocence all along, despite announcing last autumn that he would resign as the corruption allegations mounted.

Prosecutors dropped their investigations into several allegations for lack of evidence, but at the weekend indicted him on charges including fraud and breach of trust. They date back to a time before his 2006 appointment as PM when he was a minister and Jerusalem mayor.

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The dovish Israel lobby gains ground on Aipac

By Nathan Guttman in Washington, August 27, 2009

Eighteen months since it set out to change the face of pro-Israel advocacy in the American capital, J Street has succeeded in becoming a household name.

The young organisation, which bills itself as a pro-peace lobby, was part of the exclusive club of Jewish groups invited to a White House meeting with President Obama last month, and boasts a constantly growing operation at a time when most organisations on the Middle East policy scene are downsizing.

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Hamas’s new enemy? Even more radical Islamist set

By Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem, August 27, 2009

Hamas is facing an unprecedented challenge, this time from even more extreme elements within Islam and Gaza.

It is responding by radicalising even further, imposing Islamic dress on schoolgirls, militarily crushing a breakaway mosque preacher and his followers, and undertaking a propaganda push in mosques and on the web.

The source of the pressure on the Hamas leaders is the Jihadi-Salafi Muslims, who believe in returning Islam to what they see as its pure form that existed at the time of Mohammed and his companions, and in using holy war to achieve this.

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Shalit is Tweeted

August 27, 2009

A Twitter campaign entitled “Tweet4Shalit” has been launched to mark the 23rd birthday of kidnapped Israeli solider Gilad Shalit. The man behind the initiative, David Appletree, said: “This appears to be the largest internet campaign of its kind for Gilad Shalit.”

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Oy! You’re killing me. Laugh? I hardly started

August 27, 2009

Have you heard the one about the Jewish woman suing her daughter-in-law for telling too many mother-in-law jokes?

Comic Sunda Croonquist, who is a regular on the Hollywood comedy circuit, is being taken to court by her husband’s mother, Ruth Zafrin, for allegedly spreading false, defamatory and racist lies about her. Mrs Zafrin seeks damages and requests that Ms Croonquist remove any offensive statements from her website and routines.

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Netanyahu to receive Auschwitz plans

By Jessica Elgot, August 26, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be presented with the original architectural plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, to keep at Yad Vashem, during his trip to Germany.

Mr Netanyahu will attend a special ceremony in Berlin where the German newspaper Bild will present the plans to him, along with Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev and the director of the Yad Vashem archives, Haim Gertner.

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