JNS Briefs 4-17-12

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Click photo to download. Caption: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama. Credit: Executive Office of the President.While Netanyahu stresses ‘immediate steps’ for Iran, Obama counters with diplomacy and sanctions

Exposing a rift with Israel, U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday insisted that the U.S. has not “given anything away” in recently renewed nuclear talks with Iran. 

Obama said he believed there was still time for diplomacy. His assessment, delivered at the close of a Latin American summit in Colombia, came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said the U.S. and world powers had given Tehran a “freebie” by agreeing to hold more talks next month.

Netanyahu said the decision to reconvene at a later date means Iran “has got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation, any inhibition.”

“I think Iran should take immediate steps,” Netanyahu said. “First, stop all enrichment, take out all enrichment material and dismantle the nuclear facility in Qom. I believe that the world’s greatest practitioner of terrorism must not have the opportunity to develop atomic bombs.”

Obama said Iran has “got some of the toughest sanctions that they’re going to be facing coming up in just a few months if they don’t take advantage of these talks.”

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Clinton unfreezes Palestinian aid despite congressional objection

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton overruled a hold by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on Palestinian aid, allowing $147 million U.S. funds to flow to the West Bank and Gaza.

The aid package is expected to move forward even though it is not typical for the U.S. to release funding if any relevant committee lawmakers object.

“The U.S. has given $3 billion in aid to the Palestinians in the last five years alone, and what do we have to show for it?” Ros-Lehtinen said, according to National Journal. “Now the administration is sending even more. Where is the accountability for U.S. taxpayer dollars?”

—JointMedia News Service 

State Dept. cancels inspection for Muslim Brotherhood delegation

The U.S. State Department told U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) not to give a secondary inspection to members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) on their way to the United States, reported the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

This decision contradicted usual procedure, as the order was made despite the fact that one of the members, Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, has been associated by law enforcement with child pornography (he was not charged).

The Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization of Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. 

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: Jonathan Pollard. Credit: State Department.Pollard returns to prison 10 days after hospitalization

Convicted spy Jonathan Pollard was returned to his prison cell in Butner, NC, on Sunday after 10 days in a federal hospital for medical treatment, Israel Hayom reported. Pollard was said to have suffered from acute abdominal pain and was allowed a two-minute phone call to his wife Esther, to update her on his condition.

Democratic and Republican administrations in the U.S. have repeatedly refused Israeli appeals to release the 57-year-old Pollard, who is serving a life sentence his advocates say is disproprotionate to his crime.

“Given [Pollard’s] clear expressions of remorse and pledges regarding his activities upon release, we believe the commutation of his unprecedentedly long sentence to the 27 years he has already served is warranted,” the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said in a recent statement.

Pollard’s lawyer said that for more than a year, his client has suffered from increasingly debilitating and incapacitating medical problems that have resulted in emergency surgeries and other emergency medical procedures.

—JointMedia News Service

Click photo to download. Caption: Zak Kolar. Credit: New Jersey Jewish Standard.Chicago teen marks the Shoah—every day

The date selected for Yom Hashoah, 27 Nisan, marks the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Chosen—not without controversy—by the Israeli Knesset in 1953, it serves as an occasion to mark the deaths of those Jews murdered by the Nazis for whom no date of death is known.

But what of those whose dates of death were recorded?

For 16-year-old Zak Kolar, who lives in the Chicago area, remembering the six million and marking their yahrzeits has become a calling. His website, eachofushasaname.org, collects the names of Shoah victims as well as their yahrzeits. Every day, visitors to the website find a list of victims to remember. 

“It allows us to say Kaddish for them not as a faceless mass but with the dignity and individual attention that each one of them deserves,” says Kolar.

Visitors can “adopt” a name and be e-mailed annually when the yahrzeit approaches.

The site contains some 6,440 names in its database.

Kolar came up with the idea for the site during Yizkor services. Now he makes remembering Holocaust victims a part of his daily life. “Every night before I go to bed, I read the list of people who perished on that day,” he says.

—JointMedia News Service/New Jersey Jewish Standard  

Survey shows how Latinos view Jews in America

A survey by the American Jewish Committee on Latino-Jewish relations shows that positive Latino views about Jews tend to correlate with how much contact Latinos have with Jews, as well as their levels of levels of education, income and acculturation.

Eighteen percent of Latinos in the survey were shown to be highly familiar with Jews and 31 percent were not familiar with them at all.

“This comprehensive, insightful survey will inform and advance our ongoing efforts to engage Latino communities, form coalitions, and deepen understanding of American Jews and Israel,” said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC’s Latino and Latin American Institute.

—JointMedia News Service

Purdue refuses to host Holocaust expert, but invites controversial Islamic group 

Purdue University’s history department and the area’s Jewish federation canceled a campus speech by Peggy Shapiro, the Midwest director of Israel advocacy group StandWithUs and a special appointee to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.

Michael Steinberg, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Northwest Indiana, was concerned about presenting politically sensitive topics on campus and felt that the event should be held at the federation instead. However, the university previously had no qualms about hosting speakers from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose founder Omar Ahmad has said that “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant,” as well as anti-Israel activist Sefi Samuel.

According to FrontPage Magazine, Purdue decided that it didn’t want to host a speaker on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, saying: “The university is involved in challenging issues.” Purdue did not elaborate on that comment.

—JointMedia News Service

New online store sells Jewish ebooks for kids

A new online bookstore, the Kar-Ben eBookstore, has been launched in Minneapolis, Minn., and sells nearly 170 Jewish-interest eBooks for children. 

“We are thrilled to make our complete eBook collection easily accessible to our customers via the new Kar-Ben eBookstore, which allows simple online purchasing and reading of fiction and nonfiction titles that highlight Jewish holidays, Bible tales, folktales, and life-cycle stories,” said Joni Sussman, publisher of Kar-Ben Publishing, according to MarketWatch. 

—JointMedia News Service 

Project works with leaders to revive Lithuanian Jewry 

A Jewish-Lithuanian heritage project called the Sunflower Project met with Lithuanian politicians, Lithuanian-American groups and members of the U.S. Jewish community to discuss ways to preserve Lithuanian heritage in Chicago on Sunday. 

The Sunflower project works to reconnect American Jews of Lithuanian origins with their roots, and to improve Lithuanian-Jewish relations. The Chicago gathering was only the second of its kind addressing those issues, according to organizers.

“Twentieth-century Jewish Lithuanian history is complex and fascinating—we must address it candidly and courageously if we are going to make headway in reuniting Lithuanians and Lithuanian Jews and their descendants who make up the diaspora. Both the Nazis and the Soviets forever impacted today’s Jewish-Lithuanian relations, and we must examine each era for lessons to be learned and the often harsh realities that must be told and retold,” said Sunflower Project founder Harley Felstein.

—JointMedia News Service

Exhibit and concert bring Holocaust-era violins back to life

Eighteen violins from European Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust will be heard nearly 70 years later in North Carolina.

The “Violins of Hope” exhibit opened Monday at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, and the exhibit’s violins will be featured in concert on April 21 at the Charlotte Symphony. 

The violins, making their North American debut, were first played publicly in Jerusalem in 2008, followed by Switzerland in 2010, according to the Associated Press.

—JointMedia News Service

Dairy farm sued for using kosher stamp illegally

The Orthodox Union (OU) sued Own Organic Milk Co. in Maine, accusing the dairy farm of allegedly using kosher certification marks on food products without authorization.

The farm used OU’s trademark stamp—the letter “U” inside of a circle—even though it did not pay for certification, according to Reuters

—JointMedia News Service


Click photo to download. Caption: In this Palestinian cartoon, a mother shows her son a map labeling all of Israel as "Palestine." Credit: PMW.Palestinian cartoon defines all of Israel as ‘Palestine’

A cartoon printed in the official Palestinian Authority daily publication depicts a mother showing her son a map labeled “Palestine” that includes all of Israel along with the PA’s territory, Palestinian Media Watch reported.

“This is your bride... when you grow up you will know the dowry,” the mother tells her son in the cartoon.

—JointMedia News Service

‘Flightilla’ activists draw swastika before Holocaust Remembrance Day

Just a few days before Israelis collectively remembered the millions of Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust on Yom HaShoah, two radical left-wing activists who were arrested at Ben-Gurion International Airport during the so-called “flightilla” protest drew a swastika on the wall of their holding cell Monday, Israel Hayom reported. The activists were from France and Spain, respectively.

Fifty-seven pro-Palestinian activists, who flew to Israel on Sunday to demonstrate en masse, were held in Israeli facilities. The activists had refused to board return flights back to their countries of origin.

Hundreds of police troops were deployed at the airport beginning Saturday night in anticipation of the first batch of flights carrying activists, but the “flightilla” ended with little more than a whimper on Sunday. Thanks to prior intelligence, specific flights were told to taxi to an evacuated Ben-Gurion’s Terminal 1, which normally serves domestic travelers.

—JointMedia News Service

Israeli plant immunization technology gets U.S. funding

The U.S. government is co-funding Israeli trials testing a new way to immunize plants and make them less susceptible to disease.

“When you get a flu shot, it is thanks to the field of immunology that was developed 100 years ago… There is a distant parallel to this in the plant world, but the vulnerability of plants to pests is much greater,” said Dotan Peleg, CEO of the company developing the technology, Morflora. “To make them resistant to disease, their DNA has to be modified, either by way of the classical breeding tools of cultivation or by genetic engineering.”

Morflora is comprised of six scientists whose research is now conducted parallel with research in Jerusalem laboratories and other studies in the Florida-based U.S. Department of Agriculture facility. “We are apparently the first company in history to succeed in applying the immunization revolution in plants,” Peleg said.

—JointMedia News Service

Terrorism continues in Mount of Olives with seven-firebomb attack

Following the recent establishment of a police sub-station in the Mount of Olives, which has been the frequent target of Arab terrorism, seven firebombs were hurled at Jewish home in the area on Sunday night. 

A terrorist, whose face was covered, tossed seven of the 10 firebombs he was carrying at ground-floor apartments in the Jewish neighborhood of Maaleh HaZeitim before security guards got him to flee, Israel National News reported. The terrorist caused a fire in one of the apartments targeted by the terrorist.

The Mount of Olives has been subject to frequent violence, most notably Arab attacks on Jewish worshippers and vandalism of graves at the area’s Jewish cemetery.

—JointMedia News Service

Microsoft takes Israeli start-ups under its wing

Microsoft is not only opening a new technology accelerator in Tel Aviv, but it is also initiating a new technology center (called MTC) in the central city of Ra’anana. These moves are set to improve the connection between the company and Israel’s burgeoning high-tech industry.

According to the Times of Israel, this center will add to the many Microsoft already has worldwide and will encourage Israeli innovation. Israeli start-ups that will be accepted to the MTC will get resources such as office space, training, mentoring and financial assistance.

In addition, Microsoft will host a “Think Next” event in Tel Aviv this month, showcasing dozens of Israeli start-up technologies and more than 4,000 participants.

—JointMedia News Service

Google to launch Israel Street View

Google is launching Street View in Israel on Sunday, April 22. This means users will be able to see images of the streets of Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, through Google Maps.

Also visible will be iconic locations such as Dead Sea, Kinneret, Nazareth and Mitzpe Ramon. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav, and Google Israel, Africa and Greece Managing Director Meir Brand will attend the launch ceremony in Tel Aviv, reported Globes.

—JointMedia News Service

Israeli woman wins top UNESCO science scholarship 

Dr. Naama Geva-Zatorsky of Israel’s Weizmann Institute has been awarded a two-year $40,000 postdoctoral scholarship and the title of “Europe’s top young researcher” by L’Oreal and UNESCO. The scientist is conducting research in the field of probiotics, or healthy bacteria.

Zatorsky won the scholarship as part of a program that is intended to help female scientists start their careers. Only 15 women around the world win the fellowship each year. “The world needs science, and science needs women, especially now,” said L’Oreal Israel CEO Nava Ravid, according to the Jerusalem Post.

—JointMedia News Service

Jewish shepherds attacked by Arabs wielding clubs and rocks

Two Jews were recently attacked by a group of Arabs near Itamar. The men, who were shepherds, were herding on a hill when the Arabs approached and assaulted them with clubs and rocks.

The IDF intervened in the altercation and dispersed the attackers. Both Jewish men were injured, and the scalp of one was torn open, reported Israel National News. 

—JointMedia News Service 

Click photo to download. Caption: Claire Danes. Credit: Robin Wong.Claire Danes and ‘Homeland’ returning to Israel to film second season

Award-winning actress Claire Danes will arrive in Israel next month for the filming of the second season of “Homeland,” the U.S.-adapted Israeli drama on the life of released prisoners of war. Danes made her debut appearance in Israel last year for the shooting of the show’s first season.

Throughout the just-over two week shooting itinerary, the production team, comprising some 20 people, will attempt to recreate the success of the first season, viewed by an average of 4.4 million people per episode. The show’s advance team has already begun putting the final touches on the visit by booking hotel rooms and surveying filming locations. A source at the show told Israel Hayom that Danes is set to get a suite at a Tel Aviv hotel.

—JointMedia News Service

Israel: Iran falsified story on Israeli ‘terror and sabotage network’ 

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Paul Hirschson said there is no truth to Iran’s announcement that the Islamic Republic caught an Israeli “terror and sabotage network” planning to attack the country.

“The complicated and months-long measures and moves made by the Iranian intelligence forces to identify the devils led to the discovery of the Zionists’ regional command center...and discovering the identity of the agents active in that command center,” a statement from the Iranian Intelligence Ministry said.

Hirschson said Iran frequently puts out false information such as this report, according to CNN.

—JointMedia News Service


Anti-Israel group could sue South Africa for labeling cosmetics ‘made in Israel’

The “Open Shuhada Street” boycott lobby is threatening to take legal action against the South African government for labeling Ahava Cosmetics as “made in Israel” instead of in the “occupied territories.”

Ahava cosmetic products are made in Kibbutz Mitzpeh Shalem, located not far from the 1949 Temporary Armistice Lines that were in place until the 1967 Six Day War. 

The lobby group believes this means the cosmetics are not made in Israel, since the international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory the Jewish state won in 1967.

—JointMedia News Service

Pakistani newspapers warn of Zionist-U.S. plot to divide Pakistan

Several Pakistani newspapers alleged a Zionist and American plot to divide Pakistan. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) published excerpts from articles originally published in the Urdu language.

“Pakistan is presently in the midst of a global conspiracy,” states an article published by the Pakistani terror group Jaish-e-Muhammad. “Pakistan is the biggest hindrance in the path of global Zionist agenda. To divide and dismantle Pakistan is a part of this Crusader war, which is currently underway in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, Palestine and other Muslim countries.”

“Today, the same forces are trying to disintegrate Baluchistan from Pakistan,” stated “Conspiracies Against Pakistan,” another article. “On one hand, the U.S. and Israel are active on international level to dismantle Pakistan while on the other they are fanning this conspiracy through their embassies in India.” 

—JointMedia News Service

The Titanic’s Jewish roots 

Click photo to download. Caption: The Titanic has a long list of lesser known Jewish roots; the company that built the ship, Harland and Wolff, was owned by a German Jew. As the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15 is commemorated, many may not know the role of Jews in the story of the famous ship.

The Titanic was built in Ireland by Harland and Wolff, which was owned by a German Jew. Among the passengers, all three classes included Jews. Fifteen hundred people were killed when the ship sank, among them about 100 Jews. 

One of the richest Jewish passengers on the ship was Isidor Straus, worth about $50 million, according to the Jerusalem Post. In the movie Titanic, his wife notably refuses to board a lifeboat. Another wealthy Jewish passenger was Benjamin Guggenheim, worth about $95 million. Both men perished in the disaster.

—JointMedia News Service 

Tunisia marks 10 years since synagogue bombing

The Tunisian government commemorated the 10th anniversary of an al Qaida bombing that killed 21 people at a synagogue on the island of Djerba. 

President Moncef Marzouki attended the memorial ceremony and laid a wreath together with Tunisia’s grand rabbi, Haim Bitan. “Tunisian Jews are an integral part of our people and they share all the rights and duties. Whoever violates their rights, attacks all Tunisians,” he said.

About 1,000 Jews live in Djerba, according to Israel National News. The bombing killed five Tunisians, but also 14 German and two French tourists.

—JointMedia News Service

Google helps Israel Museum virtually display artifacts around the world

Click photo to download. Caption: Google is assisting the Israel Museum in virtually displaying its artifacts through the internet. The Israel Museum has entered a new venture with Google that allows people around the world to view its vast collection without setting foot in the Jerusalem facility.

From the comfort of their own homes around the world, people can virtually examine a 9,000-year-old carved human face discovered in the Judean Desert, according to the museum. More than 500 other artifacts are viewable through the new Google Art Project, reported ABC News. One hundred fifty museums worldwide are participating in the venture. 

—JointMedia News Service

Islamists may endanger Egypt's peace with Israel, Suleiman says

The Muslim Brotherhood may lead Cairo into international isolation and push Egypt into "uncalculated confrontations" with Israel, Egypt's former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman told Egyptian media outlets this week, according to Israel's Army Radio.

Suleiman accused the Muslim Brotherhood of stealing the revolution, and expressed concern that if the group wins the presidential elections it will lead Cairo to international isolation, Israel Hayom reported. "I am worried over Egypt's fate," he cautioned. "I fear that incorrect judgments will push Egypt into uncalculated confrontations [with Israel] at the wrong time."

Army Radio also quoted Suleiman as telling Egyptian media that the peace treaty with Israel was one of his top priorities. "We need to continue our relations with Hamas, but we can't allow these relations to harm Egypt's national interests, and they must not harm our peace with Israel. The peace treaty is important and the Muslim Brotherhood should not be suspicious of it," he was quoted as saying. "This peace treaty enables Egypt to develop and advance internally."

JointMedia News Service

Jewish-owned cottages in Montreal defaced by anti-Semites 

Several Jewish-owned cottages in Montreal were defaced by vandals and sprayed with anti-Semitic messages.

The perpetrators painted Swastikas on the homes, among other messages, including the wording “F--k Juif.” They also broke inside the homes, destroying furniture and other items, reported the Israel National News.

—JointMedia News Service

Descendants of Marranos can trace roots with new website 

A new website, NameYourRoots.com, allows descendants of Jews who escaped the Spanish inquisition to rediscover their origin and family history.

Anyone with a Spanish or Portuguese last name can search the genealogy records. The process is especially significant for those who descend from Jews who were forced to convert. Such people are commonly referred to as Marranos, Conversos, crypto-Jews, Chuetas, Anusim and New Christians, according to MarketWatch. These days, such people may have no knowledge of their family’s past. 

—JointMedia News Service

Study: Poland trip can stir anxiety in teens

Teens who go to Poland on educational trips about the Holocaust may be at higher risk for mental disorders, according to a new study in Israel. However, the study also found that this usually took the form of a worsening of a pre-existing conditions and not the development of a new disorder.

In the study, a first of its kind, 50 psychiatrists were asked to recall sessions with youths who had been referred to them after trips to Poland. "The trips emphasize an important part of the Jewish people's history, but also warrant a discussion on the negative consequences, like the acceleration of mental disorders," said Dr. Aviva Mimouni-Bloch, the initiator of the study and the head of the Pediatric Neurology and Developmental Unit at the Loewenstein Rehabilitation Hospital in Raanana.

"We concluded that following the trips to Poland there was in increase in incidents of mental disorders. The trip can illicit an emotional and mental response, but for the most part it does not reach the point of post-traumatic stress," Mimouni-Bloch said.

Israel Hayom/exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Posted on April 17, 2012 and filed under Briefs, Israel, U.S., World.