World news

Man jailed for stabbing rabbi

May 23, 2008

A Frankfurt court sentenced a 23-year-old to three-and-a-half years for stabbing a rabbi last September. Sajed Aziz, who denied that he was motivated by antisemitism, was found guilty of serious bodily injury to Rabbi Zalman Gurevitch, 43.


Maccabiah entry fees spiral

By Simon Griver, May 16, 2008

Participants in next year’s 18th Maccabiah Games will be forced to meet the costs of the event’s spiralling budget resulting from the strength of the shekel and the weakness of the dollar.

Meeting in Ramat Gan last weekend, the Presidents Forum of the World Maccabi Union decided to increase participants fees by $350 to $2,930. UK athletes will have to pay the sterling equivalent. Participants are also certain to be hit by rising fuel costs, given that the fee includes hotels and transportation in Israel but not air fares.


Obama: Israel promise

May 16, 2008

Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama moved to reassure US Jewish voters about his support for Israel. “You will not see, under my presidency, any slackening in commitment to Israel’s security,” he told The Atlantic magazine. A new survey found that 61 per cent of Jewish voters would choose Mr Obama over Republican hopeful John McCain, with 32 per cent of the Jewish vote. However, most Jews still support Hillary Clinton.


Oz official exits over hate mail

May 16, 2008

A senior Liberal Party official in Australia who described a fellow party candidate as a “greedy f***ing Jew” has resigned. Susan Chandler, the campaign manager for the Victoria branch of the party, also apologised to Adam Held, a Jewish candidate who stood unsuccessfully at last November’s federal election, for sending an email referring to him as a “greedy f***ing Jew” after he had requested more campaign material to distribute.


'Boycott' fails to ruin Turin's book fair in honour of Israel

May 16, 2008

Calls for a boycott had little impact on the Turin Book Fair, which honoured Israel and Israeli authors last weekend on the Jewish state’s 60th birthday.

Thousands of book-lovers flocked to hear some of Israel’s top authors present their works at a long roster of public readings and round-table talks.


Heroine of the Warsaw Ghetto dies, aged 98

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, May 16, 2008

Tributes have been paid to Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic resistance heroine who helped save 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and died this week aged 98.

“A great person has died — a person with a great heart, with great organisational talents, a person who always stood on the side of the weak,” Marek Edelman, the last surviving leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, told Polish television.

Heroine: Irena Sendler as a young woman


US kosher factory raided

May 16, 2008

America's biggest kosher meat-packing plant was raided by immigration and customs officers this week seeking illegal immigrants. The Agriprocessors complex in Postville, Iowa, was established in 1987 by a butcher from Brooklyn Heights in New York, who arrived in Postville with some 200 Chasidim. More than 1,000 people work at the plant and there were thought to have been scores of arrests carried out by officials in the raid.


Revealed: how the Exodus Jews hit back

By Bernard Josephs, May 9, 2008

Holocaust survivors whose efforts to reach Palestine after the war were halted by the Royal Navy were sent in 1947 to grim camps in Germany and Austria surrounded by barbed wire and watchtowers.

But they did not go without a fight, according to secret documents released this week by the National Archive.

The struggle between well-equipped troops and the refugees brought deep embarrassment and international criticism for the British government.


Bush visit played down by Jerusalem

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 9, 2008

US President George Bush’s visit to Israel next week will be mainly ceremonial and there is little expectation that it will achieve a breakthrough in the peace process, according to diplomatic sources.

President Bush with Ehud Olmert during his visit earlier this year

Mr Bush will arrive in Israel on Wednesday with his wife Laura for a two-day visit — his second this year — devoted mainly to Israel’s 60th-anniversary celebrations.


Germany must lead Iran pressure, summit told

By Toby Axelrod, May 9, 2008

Israel is on the brink of a decision similar to the one it faced 60 years ago and should be prepared to go it alone unless the world helps pressure Iran to drop its nuclear ambitions.

So argued those at a conference in Berlin last weekend.