World news

US lift death an ‘accident’

December 11, 2008

San Francisco police said that the death of a pro-Israel activist two weeks ago appeared to be accidental. The body of Dr Daniel Kliman, 38, was found on 1st December at the bottom of a lift shaft and had been there for six days. Police said they believed he had tried to climb out of the lift after it became stuck between floors.

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Carter to release new book

December 11, 2008

Former US President Jimmy Carter is to publish a new book on the Middle East next year. We Can Bring Peace to the Holy Land will be released after President-elect Barack Obama takes office in January. Mr Carter’s last book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, caused controversy for comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa.

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Facebook removes slurs

December 11, 2008

Social networking site Facebook has removed antisemitic posts after complaints from Australian Jewish leaders. Sydney students had posted slurs and a link to a site called “F*** Israel and their Holocaust bull****.” Vic Alhadeff, of the New South Wales Board of Deputies, said that the comments were “offensive”.

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Turkish students to get time off for festivals

By Sami Kohen, December 11, 2008

Jewish students in Turkish universities will be allowed to stay away from classes on Jewish holidays, according to a decision taken by the High Education Board, which is responsible for curriculum programmes and administrative regulations.

The Board issued an instruction to all Turkish universities to permit
Jewish and Armenian students to take off their respective holidays.

This is the first time that the Turkish education authorities have formally taken such a decision.

Until now, requests by Jews and other religious minorities to take time

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Rwandan orphans get a little piece of Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 11, 2008

A group of orphans from the 1994 Rwandan genocide are to begin new lives at a special youth village run by Israeli-trained staff and financed by Jewish-American donations through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

The Agahozo (“dry their tears”) Shalom village will not open officially until next June, but the first group of 125 children are to move in next week.

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Czech Republic to boost EU-Israel ties

December 11, 2008

The Czech Republic Foreign Minister said that his government would work to improve the EU’s relations with Israel when it assumes the presidency in January 2009. Karel Schwarzenberg said that this was “also very much in the interests of the Palestinian people”.

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Crosses appear at shul site

December 11, 2008

Ukrainian police opened an investigation after the construction site of a new synagogue in the city of Poltava was covered with crosses overnight. The property was given by the city to the community, headed by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Segal, for a shul and community centre. But its location in the centre of town had reportedly triggered the displeasure of many locals. Rabbi Segal said: “I believe that the authorities will take necessary measures to locate the offenders. The synagogue will become a blessing not only for Jews but for all of the city’s residents.”

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New chief rabbi for Holland

December 11, 2008

A new chief rabbi has been appointed in Holland, 22 years after the previous incumbent died. Rabbi Binyamin Jacobs of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, who follows the late Rabbi Eliezer Berlinger, said one of his priorities would be to locate Holocaust survivors adopted by Christian families during the war.

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‘1 in 5’ have Sephardi genes

December 11, 2008

Some 20 per cent of Spanish people have genes similar to Sephardi Jews, according to a new report in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, or forced to convert. Another 11 per cent of Spaniards have links to Muslims in North Africa, dating from the Moorish era.

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The Aboriginal who stood up for the Jews

By Dan Goldberg, December 11, 2008

A remarkable 1938 Aboriginal protest against European antisemitism has been honoured at the State Parliament in Melbourne.

On December 6 1938, just weeks after the Kristallnacht pogroms in Germany, William Cooper, an Aboriginal elder, delivered a petition to the German consulate in Melbourne.

They were denied entry to the consulate but handed over the petition, which condemned “the cruel persecution” of the Jews by the Nazis.

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