World news

Death row inmate requests tefillin

By Paul Berger, February 4, 2010

In ten days, prisoner 089742, Martin Grossman, will leave his 12ft x 7ft cell on Florida’s death row.

Grossman will be strapped to a gurney, wheeled to the execution chamber at Florida State Prison, and hooked up to a heart monitor. Then, at 6pm, he will be given a lethal injection.

Grossman, 45, is on death row for murdering a Florida wildlife officer in 1984.

After years of legal wrangling, Florida governor Charlie Crist finally signed his death warrant last month.


Imam attacked for being ‘too pro-Jewish’

By Natasha Lehrer, February 4, 2010

A French imam has received death threats for promoting positive relations with the Jewish community.

Hassen Chalghoumi, the clean-shaven imam of Drancy mosque, just outside Paris, has been targeted by a group of young Islamists who object to his position on interfaith relations and to his vocal support for a ban on the wearing of the burka, which he calls a “prison for women, a means for sexist subjugation and a tool for fundamentalist indoctrination”.


Iran 'is set to go nuclear by 2012'

By Stephen Pollard, February 4, 2010

A senior adviser to the US and Israeli governments has warned that Iran is capable of developing a stockpile of nuclear weapons by as early as 2012.

According to the adviser, who is regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on Iranian defence strategy: “All the evidence is that Iran wants to have enough bombs to be able to threaten Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.”

Unless its current progress is impeded, Iran’s nuclear capacity will increase to a level which will force a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.


Mussolini iPhone withdrawn

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, February 4, 2010

Italy’s best-selling iPhone app is a collection of speeches by the country’s Second World War dictator Benito Mussolini, now withdrawn from sale.

The success of the “iMussolini” app sparked media debate and protests from Holocaust survivors.

“iMussolini” was launched on Italy’s iTunes store on January 21, less than a week before Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is widely marked in Italy. Three days later, it topped the Italian iPhone app sales list.

The app contained audio, video and text of more than 100 speeches of Mussolini dating back to 1914.


British doctor Ian Miskin tells of hell in Haiti

By Marcus Dysch, February 4, 2010

A British doctor has described in detail for the first time the incredible effort made by Israeli medics to help victims of the Haitian earthquake.

Dr Ian Miskin and his team treated more than 1,100 survivors, conducting 400 operations and working round the clock to scour the devastated island for improvised supplies and equipment.

Colleagues were even forced to strip machinery found in collapsed buildings to retrieve screws for use in operations on damaged limbs.


Nazi doctor's diary sold to survivor's grandson

By Jessica Elgot, February 3, 2010

The diary of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who experimented on victims at Auschwitz, has been bought by the grandson of a Holocaust survivor.

Known as the “Angel of Death” by the camp’s inmates, Mengele conducted gruesome experiments on inmates, particularly on twins, and ordered the deaths of prisoners with medical problems.

The diary, written when Mengele was in hiding in South America after the war, contains his rants on “racial purity” and the “staining of bloodlines”.


Oscar nominations for Ajami, Reitman and Coens

By Jessica Elgot, February 2, 2010

Joel and Ethan Coen have received two Academy Award nominations for their Jewish black comedy A Serious Man.

The brothers are nominated for Best Film and Best Original Screenplay for the film which follows the tribulations of a Jewish university professor in Minneapolis in the late 1960s.


Auschwitz sign thief hunted in Sweden

By Jessica Elgot, February 2, 2010

Poland has issued a European arrest warrant for a Swedish man whom it says is behind the theft of the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei” sign at Auschwitz in December.

A court in Krakow issued the warrant for Swede Anders Hoegstroem, who, it is claimed, was the mastermind of the theft of the sign, which infamously read “Work Sets You Free” above the Nazi death camp.

Five Polish men aged in their 20s and 30s have been arrested by police who recovered the 16-foot wrought-iron sign cut into three pieces.


Leonard Cohen's lifetime achievement Grammy

By Jessica Elgot, February 1, 2010

Singer Leonard Cohen has been awarded a lifetime achievement Grammy at the weekend’s awards ceremony in Los Angeles, alongside the late Michael Jackson.

The Hallelujah singer, 75, said he had never actually won a Grammy, the most high-profile American music award, for his recorded work, but had appeared on a Herbie Hancock CD that won Album of the Year in 2008.


J D Salinger dies

By Jessica Elgot, January 29, 2010

JD Salinger, the Catcher in the Rye novelist who has died aged 91, grew up an observant Jew until after his barmitzvah when he discovered his mother was not Jewish.

Born in Manhattan, his father, Sol Salinger, was a Polish Jew who sold kosher cheeses. His mother Marie, who changed her name to Miriam, was of mixed Scottish-Irish descent but posed as Jewish after her marriage.

After his discovery shortly after his barmitzvah that his mother was not Jewish, Salinger embarked on a quest for religious fulfilment.