World news

Rome's Jews back 'Facist' city mayor

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, May 23, 2008

Since assuming office last month, Rome’s first right-wing mayor since the Second World War has made strenuous efforts to demonstrate support for Israel and concern for Jewish sensibilities.

Within days of his election, Gianni Alemanno met local Jewish leaders and honoured Holocaust victims and the victims of a 1982 Palestinian terror attack at Rome’s main synagogue.

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Israeli's frozen body is found in New Zealand

By Dan Goldberg, May 23, 2008

The body of the Israeli backpacker missing in New Zealand since March 26 has been found.



Tragic: Liat Tas-Okin died on trek

Police said on Saturday that a post-mortem confirmed it was Liat Tas-Okin, 35, who failed to return from a three-day trek on the South Island.

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Bin Laden calls for Gaza War

May 23, 2008

A recorded message claimed to be from Osama bin Laden called for Muslims to end the blockade on Gaza and attack Israel, which he claims is “very weak”. “Each one of us is responsible for the deaths of our oppressed people in Gaza, and dozens upon dozens have died due to this oppressive blockade,” a voice sounding like the al-Qaida leader is heard to announce on a recording posted on Islamist websites.

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French meet Hamas

May 23, 2008

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner confirmed that Paris had held informal talks with Hamas. His statement followed a report in the Le Figaro newspaper in which retired French diplomat Yves Aubin de la Messuziere said he had met Hamas officials a month ago. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri confirmed the contacts, which contravene a Western embargo on negotiations with the group.

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South Africans slam 60th

May 23, 2008

More than 10 South African government ministers were among the signatories of a statement criticising “apartheid” Israel’s 60th anniversary. Ronnie Kasrils, Minister of Intelligence and Pallo Jordan, Minister of Arts and Culture joined in insisting: “Apartheid was a gross violation of human rights. It was so in South Africa and it is so with regard to Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians!”

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Battle returns to put Nazi ‘Ivan the Terrible’ in the dock

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 23, 2008

After 20 years of legal wrangling, the Nazi war criminal may be extradited

Jewish and Israeli organisations are planning to pressure the Ukrainian government to request the extradition of Nazi death-camp guard Ivan John Demjanjuk, who lost his fight against a deportation order from the United States this week.

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Obama out to prove pro-Israel credentials

By Nathan Guttman, May 23, 2008

As Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama moves toward securing his party’s nomination, attacks on the candidate’s views on Israel and the Middle East are intensifying.

Mr Obama, who is now on a collision course with President George Bush and with Republican nominee John McCain over his more equivocal policy on Hamas and Iran, has made a point of answering every attack and of increasing his effort to prove his pro-Israel credentials to the US Jewish community.

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Converts not recognised

May 23, 2008

The Conference of European Rabbis will not recognise Israeli conversions, particularly those of Rabbi Haim Druckman, head of the Chief Rabbinate’s State Conversion Authority. It says it opposes “Israeli rabbis shuttling to Europe especially to perform a conversion”.

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Qatar hosts interfaith meet

May 23, 2008

Over a dozen rabbis, including two Israelis, attended an interfaith conference in Qatar last week. Although the sheikhdom does not have official ties with Israel, it has hosted a trade office for the last 12 years and recently invited Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to speak.

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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.

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