World news

Worst year 'since Holocaust' for antisemitism

By Jessica Elgot, January 25, 2010

Antisemitic incidents last year were the highest since the Holocaust, the Jewish Agency has reported.

During the first half of 2009, antisemitic incidents were as many as for the entire of 2008, following Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. These included two murders, both in the US, including the shooting of a non-Jewish guard at the Holocaust Memorial museum.

Commenting on the report, Israel's Prime Minister Bin6yamin Netanyahu said: " "This is a test for humanity and we will see in the coming weeks how the international community stops this evil before it spreads."


Haiti president thanks Israel

By Jessica Elgot, January 22, 2010

Haitian President Rene Preval has expressed his gratitude for the aid that Israel has given to his stricken country, where more than 200,000 people are believed to have died in the earthquake last week.

Israel has sent members of the IDF, doctors and engineers, as well as Magen David Adom and various other charitable organisations. The IDF field hospital has treated more than 450 patients, and its doctors have delivered seven babies.

Now, at the request of the UN and the US, Israel will send 100 armed police officers to help peacekeeping efforts in Haiti.


Britons charged with Crete synagogue arson

By Jessica Elgot, January 22, 2010

Two British men have been in court charged in connection with the arson attacks on a Crete synagogue.

The men, who have not yet been named, are aged 23 and 33. They are believed to be nightclub bartenders in Hania, the town where the synagogue was attacked.

They are charged alongside a Greek man. Two more men, believed to be American citizens, are wanted by police in connection with the two separate arson attacks on the synagogue.


Wife of British doctor in Haiti speaks

By Marcus Dysch, January 22, 2010

The wife of a British-born doctor who is part of the Israeli mission treating victims of the Haitian earthquake has spoken about her husband's work .

Dr Ian Miskin, 53, one of Israel’s foremost specialists in treating infectious diseases, has been in Haiti for a week, aiding rescue missions and helping those rescued from the rubble.

Speaking from her home in Israel, Hagit Miskin , herself a leading paediatrician, said her husband, originally from London, was battling the growing problem of infections among survivors.


Terror tefillin brings down a jet

January 21, 2010

A passenger plane from New York to Louisville was forced to make an emergency landing today after a Jewish teenager's tefillin were thought to be terrorist devices.

A 17-year-old, travelling with his 16-year-old sister, decided to lay tefillin and strapped the two leather boxes to his head and arm before praying. But alarmed passengers, who did not know what the tefillin were, alerted the crew and the plane was diverted to Philadelphia International Airport, where it was met by emergency security personnel.


Demjanjuk trial: camp testimony

By Toby Axelrod in Berlin, January 21, 2010

The war crimes trial of John Demjanjuk continued this week with testimony from Thomas Blatt, one of the few survivors the Sobibor death camp.

But while Mr Blatt’s testimony was powerful in depicting the everyday terror for prisoners in Sobibor, it is doubtful that he brought the case closer to resolution, since Mr Blatt, 82, has always stressed he does not recall seeing Demjanjuk at the camp.

The Ukrainian-born defendant, 89, is charged as an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews at Sobibor in 1943.


Historic shul visit by Pope

By Ruth Ellen Gruber in Rome, January 21, 2010

During his much-anticipated visit to Rome’s main synagogue on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI and Italian Jewish leaders reaffirmed a commitment to dialogue and co-operation.

But echoes of strained relations remained as the German-born pontiff and the president of Rome’s Jewish community sparred over the wartime role of Pope Pius XII.


Orthodox marriages are 'happier', US survey shows

By Paul Berger, January 21, 2010

Orthodox marriages are happier than the average American marriage, according to a new survey.

The Aleinu Marriage Satisfaction Survey, conducted by the Orthodox Union, found that 72 per cent of Orthodox Jewish men and 74 per cent of Orthodox Jewish women rated their marriage as excellent or very good.

A 2008 General Social Survey found that only 63 per cent of American men and 60 per cent of women are very happy with their marriage.


Arab MK to visit Auschwitz

By Ben Lynfield, January 21, 2010

Israeli Arab legislator Mohammed Barakeh is under fire from Arab and Jewish hardliners for deciding to visit Auschwitz as part of a Knesset delegation on International Holocaust Remembrance Day next Wednesday.

But Mr Barakeh, from the hard-left Arab-Jewish Hadash party, is undeterred. “Nothing is going to change my decision.”

Mr Barakeh’s step has been called “courageous” by Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, who invited him.

The move could deal a blow to rampant Holocaust denial in the Arab world.


IDF 'angel' donates own blood to save baby

January 21, 2010

The baby brought to the IDF field hospital was in desperate condition. With an extended abdomen, severe anemia and sepsis, he needed O negative blood at once.

IDF paramedic Maayan Lunz didn’t waste a moment. Within minutes, she was donating her own.

This was just one of many extraordinary scenes in the IDF camp set up in the aftermath of last week’s devastating Haitian earthquake. The Israeli field hospital was the first able to offer surgery and complicated medical care in the ruined city of Port-au-Prince.