World news

Car park row protesters out in force

June 12, 2009

By Sasha Brenner

Around 800 people gathered in Jerusalem’s Kikar Safra on Saturday afternoon to protest what they called Mayor Nir Barkat's "capitulation" to the city's Charedi community over the Shabbat operation of a municipal car park.

On Friday, he agreed to a police request from to close it for two Saturdays in a row. The plan was to use that time to find another site to be used by visitors to the Old City.


The end of gay shuls in America?

By Jeremy Gillick, New York, June 11, 2009

The leading gay congregation in New York has published a formal edition of its siddur, which is sensitive to the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews.

B’chol L’vavcha (With your whole heart), published by Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, or CBST, includes prayers for coming out and for celebrating transgender experience; an Aids section; and an extensive “pride” section, including a specially formulated Al Hanisim prayer.


Galilee villages battle to exclude non-Zionists

June 11, 2009

Two Israeli villages are trying to amend their bylaws in order to allow residence to Zionists only.

The move is widely interpreted as an attempt to stop local Arabs from joining the communities.

In recent months, the far-right political party Yisrael Beiteinu has provoked controversy by proposing a so-called “Citizenship law” that would require all citizens to swear allegiance to the state.


IDF in 'astonishing' co-operation with PA

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 11, 2009

While the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians is at a standstill, the security ties between the IDF and the armed forces of the Palestinian Authority have never been closer.

The steep decline in organised terror attacks originating in the West Bank over the past four years has been attributed mainly to more forceful operations by the IDF and successful penetration into the Palestinian organisations by the General Security Service. The IDF now admits it has another partner.


Students 'quarantined' before exam

By James Martin, June 11, 2009

Jewish pupils in Dublin spent last Shabbat in “quarantine” in order to take an English exam, scheduled for Saturday, the next day.

The eight Sabbath-observant teenagers, who stayed with Orthodox families in Rathgar, south Dublin, had to remain indoors from 9am on Saturday morning, when the exam started for the rest of the country, until 24 hours later when they were able to take the exam.
The decision to quarantine them followed discussions between Stratford College, Ireland’s only Jewish secondary school, and the Irish State Examination Commission.


Spielberg reels in UK man to run Holocaust archive

By Simon Rocker, June 11, 2009

The founding director of Britain’s first Holocaust museum, Stephen Smith, is leaving the country to head a major archive of survivor testimonies established by film-maker Steven Spielberg.

Dr Smith, who opened the Holocaust Centre in Laxton, Nottinghamshire, in 1995 with his brother James, is to be the new executive director of the Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, based at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.


Anne Frank gets her wish

June 11, 2009

It is a heartbreaking and striking image, made all the more poignant by the knowledge that the pretty, white-haired old lady never existed.

Instead, to mark what would have been the 80th birthday today of the wartime diarist, the UK Anne Frank Trust has commissioned an age progression photograph.

A Michigan company, Phojoe, specialises in digitally adjusting photographs. The company uses its techniques to help in forensic detective work, frequently aiding police to show witnesses how missing people may look.


Museum shooter is ‘antisemite’

By James Martin, June 11, 2009

The gunman who opened fire at the entrance of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington on Wednesday was thought to be an 89-year-old white supremacist.

Media reports identified him as James W Von Brunn, a Second World War veteran who ran an extreme antisemitic website, Holy Western Empire.

The man was reported to have entered the museum, just a mile from the White House, shortly before lunchtime and to have fired indiscriminately, injuring a security guard, before other guards shot back. The guard later died in hospital.


Make or break for Bibi

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 11, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will deliver his most important policy speech to date on Sunday, outlining his government’s plans for peace.

Few details have been leaked, but speculation is rife that he will discuss the future of the settlements and the Palestinian Authority, as well as relations with Arab countries.

It is unclear whether he will formally endorse a two-state solution — a formulation he has avoided in the past.


Museum shooting guard dies

By James Martin, June 10, 2009

An 89-year-old man with ties to white supremacist groups killed a security guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington yesterday.

James von Brunn opened fire with a rifle as he walked into the museum at 12.50pm, shooting his victim at close range, before being hit in an exchange of fire.

He was taken to the George Washington University hospital and was said to be in critical condition. Police sources said that Mr von Brunn had written a book and had a website that raged against Jews and Christianity.