World news

Israelis: Palestine welcomes you

By Ben Lynfield, June 13, 2008
PA tourism chief urges visits to Bethlehem to boost the West Bank’s economy

Israeli tourists are welcome in Bethlehem and would be safe if they visit, the Palestinian Tourism Minister promised this week.

“It is true we still live under isolation, we still have the wall and you have to enter though checkpoints, but once you enter you will find people who receive you warmly and you will have a unique experience,” Khouloud Daibes said in her office near Manger Square.

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Berlin hands an extra £163m to claims body

By Toby Axelrod, June 13, 2008

The Conference for Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, smarting over a critical article in the German press, has obtained an additional estimated £163 million over the next decade through its annual negotiations with the German government.

The successful talks in Berlin took place as the organisation fended off suggestions in Der Spiegel that it is less transparent than it should be. Last week’s article drew a pointed rebuttal from the Claims Conference, which accused the authors of including “numerous inaccuracies and distortions”.

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Shanghai Jews build records

June 13, 2008

The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum has begun building a database of the tens of thousands of Jews who sought sanctuary in the Chinese city
after fleeing the Nazis in the 1930s. Leading the project is Uri Gutman, Israel’s consul-general in Shanghai, who described it as “a historical mission”.

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No decision on Seattle murder

June 13, 2008

A mistrial has been declared in the case of an armed man who killed one woman and injured five others in a July 2006 shooting at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. A jury failed to reach a decision on Naveed Haq, 32, who pled not guilty by reason of insanity.

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Healing the ‘painful verses’

June 13, 2008

A new book by a rabbi, an imam and a priest tries to explain controversial verses in their holy books that have offended other faiths. Published in French, Les Versets Douloureux [“The Painful Verses”] was co-authored by Rabbi David Mayer, Sohaib Bencheikh and Reverend Yves Simoens.

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Portman visits Rwanda to open youth village

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 6, 2008

Hollywood star Natalie Portman visited Rwanda this week to highlight the opening of a youth village for orphans of the genocide, sponsored by Jewish donors and staffed by Israelis.

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Obama woos Israel lobby

By Nathan Guttman, June 6, 2008

The largest-ever conference of pro-Israel activists convened in Washington DC this week. It took a political flavour as presidential candidates used the event to tout their pro-Israel credentials and tried to court the Jewish community for support in the coming November elections.

The main message sent out by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) focused on the need to take tough measures against Iran. Presidential hopefuls followed suit, promising to increase pressure on Tehran, if and when elected to the White House.

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Olmert in his Aipac swansong

By Nathan Guttman, June 6, 2008

In what may be his last trip as prime minister to Washington, embattled Israeli leader Ehud Olmert met President George Bush and congressional leaders.

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The Arab envoy... who’s Jewish

By Candice Krieger, June 6, 2008

A woman believed to be the Arab world’s first Jewish ambassador, Houda Nonoo, was named this week as Bahrain’s ambassador to Washington. And according to her former headmaster, the British-educated envoy was the perfect student.



Houda Nonoo, educated in Britain

Ms Nonoo, 43, came to london aged 13 to better her education. she boarded at Carmel College, oxfordshire, together with her younger brother, Abraham.

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UK students stuck in Gaza

By Ben Lynfield, June 6, 2008

Two Palestinian students accepted for study at UK universities but trapped in the Gaza Strip by Israeli travel strictures have issued pleas for Britain to intervene on their behalf.

Abir Abu Warda, accepted for a master’s in urban design at London Metropolitan University, and Wisam Abuajwa, accepted for a master’s degree in environmental studies at Nottingham University, told the JC that only the intervention of the Foreign Office could save their study plans in the face of a blanket Israeli ban on Gazans travelling abroad for higher education.

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