World news

European hate crimes should be monitored, says report

By Leon Symons, November 19, 2009

Efforts to crack down on antisemitism and other hate crimes in Europe are being hampered by erratic reporting and monitoring, according to a new report.

The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights said in its hates crimes incidents report for 2008 that “a lack of accurate, comprehensive data on hate crimes undermines that ability of states to understand fully and deal effectively with the problem of hate crimes”.


Guilty: kosher abattoir owner faces 1,255 years in prison after giant fraud

November 19, 2009

The former CEO of America’s largest kosher slaughterhouse has been convicted on 86 charges of fraud.

A South Dakota jury declared Sholom Rubashkin, formerly of the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant in Iowa, guilty of bank, mail and wire fraud; making false statements to a bank; money laundering; and ignoring an order to pay livestock providers. He was acquitted on five counts.

A date for sentencing has yet to be announced but Rubashkin, 50, could face up to 1,255 years in jail.

He still faces trial on 72 charges relating to immigration violations.


Jewish school entry: how do they do it overseas?

November 19, 2009

The United States

Just as the US has no Chief Rabbi, it has no one uniform standard for entry to Jewish schools.

“We have variety and a lot of choice. I don’t think the one-size-fits-all standard would work in an American context,” says Marc Kramer, executive director of RAVSAK, an organisation of community day schools which are not affiliated with any branch of American Judaism.


'Nazi' extradition is a first for Australia

By Dan Goldberg, November 19, 2009

Justice or vengeance? The question was at the heart of a national debate last week after Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, agreed to surrender to Hungary an 88-year-old man accused of helping murder an 18-year-old Jew in Budapest in 1944.

Charles (Karoly) Zentai, who arrived in Australia in 1950, was discovered living in Perth in 2005 after the Simon Wiesenthal Centre mounted a last-gasp campaign to flush out alleged Nazis in the twilight of their lives.


Suicide newlywed 'was sex-abused'

By Ellen Tumposky, November 19, 2009

A report that a Brooklyn man who committed suicide two days after his wedding was a victim of sex abuse has riled the Orthodox community.

Mordechai (Motty) Borger, 24, jumped from the seventh-floor terrace of his hotel on November 5. His bride, Mali Gutman, whom he married on Nov 3 after they met through a matchmaker, was asleep in the room.

A spokeswoman for the NYC medical examiner’s office said the death has been ruled a suicide.


Hamas education website slammed by Unesco

By Leon Symons, November 19, 2009

A website used by Hamas to educate children and young people in Gaza violates every international educational standard set by Unesco, according to a new report.

The website, Al-Fateh, “instructs its young audience in hatred and incites them to bloodshed and suicide… [it] is against the fundamental rights of children”, says the report.


US immersed in mikveh revolution

By Elicia Brown New York, November 19, 2009

It has been a difficult year for Beth Steiner, coping with the emotional rollercoaster of infertility treatments while many of her friends announce their pregnancies. But last month, Ms Steiner, 30, found a calm haven at an unexpected place: the mikveh.

“It was like I had been holding my breath for so long. I was just able to relax,” says Ms Steiner.

Before immersing, she recited a meditation on infertility. Afterwards, she sipped herbal tea on the couch in the waiting room, and “felt so peaceful, so hopeful”.


Former 'Nazi' charged with killing 58 in Austria

By Jessica Elgot, November 17, 2009

A German court has charged a 90-year-old man with 58 counts of murder for killing Jewish forced laborers in Austria.

The former SS guard has been charged with killing the Jewish labourers in Deutsch-Schetzen, in eastern Austria.
The murders were allegedly committed on March 30, 1945, just over month before the German surrender.

The suspect has not been identified by the Duisberg state court, but he is said to be a resident of the town.
The court will now decide within two weeks whether the case should be brought to trial.


Lebanon school bans 'Zionist' Anne Frank

By Josie Ensor, Beirut, November 13, 2009

A Beirut school has removed a textbook containing excerpts of The Diary of Anne Frankfrom its syllabus after Hizbollah claimed it promotes Zionism.

“The book focuses on the persecution of Jews during the war, but even more dangerous is the theatrical and dramatic method employed to narrate the diaries in an emotional way,” MP Hussein Hajj Hassan said on Hizbollah’s TV station, Al-Manar. “These respected, established schools are teaching the so-called tragedy this girl lived — how long will Lebanon remain an open arena for this Zionism?”


The Angel of Mostar reunited with Bosnian girl she rescued

By David Cohen, November 12, 2009

In 1992, Sally Becker, who became known as the Angel of Mostar for her rescue work in the Bosnian war, took Selma Handzaar and her brother Mirza out of Mostar to Croatia.

Selma was 10 years old, Mirza, seven. They were Muslims. Both were blown across the back garden of their house by bombs fired by troops loyal to Radovan Karadic, now on trial at The Hague.

The shelling destroyed part of the house. A wall fell on Selma. Mirza found that he could not walk when he tried to crawl towards his sister.