World news

Man faces jail for taking Jewish daughter to church

By Jessica Elgot, February 17, 2010

A Chicago man could face jail for having his daughter baptised and taking her to a cathedral after promising his ex-wife she would be brought up as Jewish.

Catholic Joseph Reyes, 35, was charged with violating a temporary restraining order which ordered him not to expose his three-year-old daughter Ela to any other faith than Judaism. He took local television crews with him as he took his daughter to visit a cathedral.

Mr Reyes converted to Judaism to marry Rebecca, whom he later divorced, in 2004, but claimed that there was no specific agreement to raise their daughter as Jewish.


Jewish death row inmate executed

By Paul Berger, February 17, 2010

A Jewish man on death row used his final words to express remorse for a murder he committed 25 years ago.

Martin Grossman, 45, was asked if he wanted to make a final statement minutes before his execution on Tuesday.

Witnesses included relatives and friends of murdered wildlife officer Margaret Park.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt remorse to the victim’s family,” Martin Grossman said from the execution chamber of Florida State Prison.


Brit linked to Dubai Hamas killing: 'I woke up accused of murder'

By Marcus Dysch, February 16, 2010

The British man linked to the murder of Hamas military leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh has said he is the victim of mistaken identity and is determined to clear his name.

Dubai has identified Melvyn Adam Mildiner, 31, as one of six British passport holders believed to have been involved in the death of al-Mabhouh in a luxury hotel.

At least 7 of the members of the assassination team in Dubai had passports with the names of real people, six British and one German. Most of the 'real names' were those of olim.


Wife of Brit claims mistaken identity for Dubai Hamas murder

By Marcus Dysch, February 16, 2010

The wife of a British man linked to the murder of Hamas military leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh has said her husband was not involved in the assassination.

Dubai has identified Melvyn Adam Mildiner as one of six British passport holders believed to have been involved in the death of al-Mabhouh in a luxury hotel.

Speaking from their home near Jerusalem, Melvyn Mildiner's wife said: “It wasn’t him. He’s never been to Dubai. The pictures that are being shown everywhere are not of him. It is not his passport. He has it here in the house.”


Brits linked to Dubai Hamas killing, claim police

By Jessica Elgot, February 16, 2010

Dubai has identified six British passport holders believed to have been involved in the assassination of a Hamas commander in one of its luxury hotels.

Six British men, and two Irish men and a woman, have had their passports linked to the killings but they may have been stolen.

British government sources told the Daily Telegraph that they believed that the three Irish passport-holders accused of the assassination were Israeli Mossad agents using false documents.


World's oldest Jew dies

By Jessica Elgot, February 15, 2010

The woman believed to be the world’s oldest Jew has died in Switzerland, just weeks before her 113th birthday,

Rosa Rein, who lived at an elderly care home in Lugano in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, passed away in her sleep.

Celebrating her birthday in 2009, Mrs Rein said she could still walk but had trouble with hearing and with vision.

Born in 1897 in Dzietzkowitz, now Poland, she and her German husband left Europe in 1938 for Brazil to escape the Nazis.

She lost her mother in the Holocaust, who died in a concentration camp.


Swedish man arrested for theft of Auschwitz sign

By Jessica Elgot, February 11, 2010

Swedish police have arrested the man wanted in connection with the theft of the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei” sign at Auschwitz in December.

Swedish Prosecutor Agnetha Hilding Qvarnstrom said the police had arrested Anders Hoegstroem, 34, in Stockholm on a European arrest warrant issued by Poland.

Swedish investigators will question Mr Hoegstroem before deciding whether to extradite him to Poland.


French antisemitic incidents double

By Shirli Sitbon, February 11, 2010

Antisemitic incidents in France doubled last year to 830, according to the Jewish umbrella group CRIF.

Speaking at the group’s annual dinner, which was attended by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon, CRIF head Richard Prasquier said that assaults usually occur in impoverished suburbs and that “those who stay in wealthy neighbourhoods have little chance of knowing this”.

PM Fillon told the gathering that France has toughened its stance against antisemitism in recent years and that “courts have issued strong rulings”.


Praise for Paris Holocaust art exhibition

By Toby Axelrod, February 11, 2010

There are many striking elements in artist Christian Boltanski’s new work, Personnes: piles of clothing under cold fluorescent light, the sound of throbbing heartbeats, numbered boxes and a crane.

Ephemeral yet indelible, this is a work of contrasts. Personnes is about the Shoah and yet it is not. It is about death, and life. About individuals and masses. And about what God might, or might not, be.

“I do not work about the Shoah, I work ‘after’ the Shoah,” said Mr Boltanski, 65. “The real issue in my life is the Shoah. I can work around it, but not directly.”


New York mumps ‘started in Britain’

By Paul Berger, February 11, 2010

American Charedim are battling a serious mumps outbreak that has been traced to the UK.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC), a US government health agency, says it is the worst mumps outbreak in the country since 2006. At least four children have been hospitalised.

The virus was brought to America by a New York boy, who caught mumps while holidaying in the UK last summer.

At the time, the UK had 4,000 confirmed cases.