World news

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.


Giora Eiland: ‘Jordan should take charge of Palestine’

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 11, 2010

When Giora Eiland says that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is currently impossible, he speaks with some authority.


Ahmadinejad: We could produce nuclear bombs

By Jessica Elgot, February 11, 2010

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced that his country now has the capacity to enrich uranium to 80 per cent, enough to produce nuclear weapons.

In a speech to hundreds of Iranians in Tehran’s central square, marking the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution, Mr Ahmadinejad said: “If we wanted to manufacture a bomb, we would announce it ... our nation has the courage to explicitly say it and build it and not fear you."

Iran has managed to produce uranium enriched to 20 per cent just two days after they announced they were beginning the process.


The Jews lining up to replace Simon Cowell

By Jessica Elgot, February 10, 2010

Madonna’s manager Israeli businessman Guy Oseary is hotly tipped to replace Simon Cowell as an American Idol judge.

Mr Cowell has recently announced that the current season of American Idol will be his last and speculation has been growing about his replacement.

Jerusalem-born Mr Oseary, who has managed Madonna since 2005, has also made numerous TV appearances and guest starred in films including Charlie’s Angels.


EC funds Jewish museums to go digital

By Jessica Elgot, February 9, 2010

Jewish museums and libraries will have their collections ‘digitised’ and will be available online, after a £1.3m grant was awarded from the European Commission for the project.

Jewish collections, including photos of artefacts, books, videos and sound archives from museums like London’s Jewish museum and the British Library, will be searchable online through ‘Europeana’, a search engine for European culture designed by the European Union.