World news

Charedim battle sex-abuse bill

By Nathan Guttman, May 27, 2009

Attempts to bring justice to victims of sexual abuse are opening old wounds in New York’s strictly Orthodox community and its leadership, which is largely viewed as trying to block these attempts.

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Amos Elon, Israel’s critical voice, is silent

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2009

One of Israel’s most distinguished authors and journalists, Amos Elon, a longstanding critic of the country’s occupation of the West Bank, died in Italy on Monday aged 82.

Vienna-born, Elon moved to Palestine when he was seven, in 1933. He grew up in Tel Aviv and served three years in the Hagana, before going on to begin his life-long love affair with history, reading history and law first at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and then at Cambridge.

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‘New antisemitism’ threat warning from Canadian MP

May 27, 2009

A Canadian minister won unexpected plaudits in Israel this week as he denounced a “new antisemitism” as a profound threat to Israel and the West.

Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, took a leading role in February’s London conference on antisemitism.

This week he spent four days in Israel and concluded: “The existential threat faced by Israel on a daily basis is ultimately a threat to the broader Western civilisation.

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Toben jailed in landmark Shoah case

By Dan Goldberg, May 27, 2009

A revisionist historian living in Australia has been sentenced to three months in prison for refusing to remove Holocaust denial material and other antisemitic vitriol from his website.

Fredrick Toben, the director of the notorious Adelaide Institute, was sentenced in the Federal Court of South Australia for breaching a 2002 court order to remove offensive material that denied the Holocaust, doubted the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and vilified Jews.

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North Korea tests more missiles

May 25, 2009

Two more missiles have been fired by North Korea, a matter of hours after the UN Security Council condemned yesterday’s nuclear test.

The two short-range missiles were fired from an east coast base, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

UN diplomats said they were seeking "tough measures", including further sanctions against the communist state.

Monday's underground nuclear test was accompanied by at least three missile launches Today’s involved one surface-to-air missile and one ground-to-air missile.

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Shul ‘terror plot gang’ in court

May 21, 2009

Four suspected terrorists have been arrested by police who claim they caught them planting bombs near two Synagogues in the Bronx area of New York.

State prosecutors say James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, planned to detonate a car filled with plastic explosives outside the Riverdale Temple and the Riverdale Jewish Centre.

In April the group are said to have agreed on the synagogue they intended to attack and conducted surveillance.

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Spain on a mission to promote Jews’ legacy

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2009

Does Spain’s love of olive oil have anything to do with the great Jewish civilisation that once flourished in the country? It is a question that intrigues Diego de Ojeda, director general of Casa Sefarad Israel, the official Spanish agency for ties with Israel and the Jewish people.

“I wonder to what extent the fact we fry in olive oil is a product of kosher rules, in having not to fry in butter,” he said.

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Cash crisis crippling US schools

By Gary Rosenblatt, May 21, 2009

Jewish day schools, found to be the most effective means of maintaining affiliation among young people in an increasingly assimilated American community, are in serious economic crisis.

Two burning questions are emerging: Can they survive? And who cares?

There are about 200,000 youngsters attending some 700 day schools and yeshivot in the US, about 80 per cent of which offer an Orthodox curriculum.

Ten per cent are Conservative schools, eight per cent are “community”, or non-denominational, and the rest are Reform.

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‘Mossad spies’ hunted down

May 21, 2009

Security authorities have arrested the deputy-mayor of a Lebanese town, accusing him of spying for Israel.

According to the Al-Akhbar newspaper, 61-year-old Ziad al-Homsy was asked by the Mossad to gather information on three Israeli soldiers missing since the Lebanon War in 1982. Al-Homsy is an anti-Syrian activist and a former spokesman for slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s al-Mustaqbal party.

Meanwhile, on Monday, two other men accused of espionage escaped across the border to Israel with their children, claiming asylum.

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Anti-racism law drafted

By Thomas Land, May 21, 2009

Hungary is to introduce legislation outlawing Holocaust denial and any public expression of racism within weeks.

The move follows an upsurge in racist violence, described by Interior Minister Tibor Draskovics as “political terrorism”. This includes the murder and attempted murder of several Gypsies and a recent neo-Nazi demonstration on Holocaust Remembrance Day, during which speakers said the Holocaust was a myth. They spoke under a giant placard proclaiming that “The truth will make free”, a reference to the Auschwitz sign “Arbeit macht frei” (Work brings freedom).

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