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Updated: 1 hour 37 min ago

Met Council official steps down

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 13:12

NEW YORK (JTA) — The chief financial officer of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty has resigned after two years with the organization.

Melvin Zachter, a former partner at the accounting firm Loeb & Tropper who had been the Met Council’s CFO since 2012, stepped down in late November, the Forward reported.

The Met Council, which offers support for poor New Yorkers, is still recovering from a large embezzlement scandal that led to the arrest of its former executive director William Rapfogel in September 2013. Rapfogel, another former executive director, David Cohen, and former chief financial officer Herb Friedman all pled guilty to stealing more than $9 million in from the charity. In July, Rapfogel was sentenced to 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison.

Zachter’s resignation comes less than four months after the announcement that current Met Council CEO David Frankel will resign as soon as the organization finds a replacement for him. Frankel’s replacement has still not been named.

Dutch Jewish mayor quits over secretly filmed date with younger man

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:28

(JTA) — The Dutch Jewish politician Onno Hoes stepped down as the mayor of Maastricht after media published secretly filmed footage of him on a date with a 20-year-old man.

The publication last week of the footage of Hoes, who is openly gay, followed an earlier paparazzi report from last year in which he was photographed kissing another young man, 24, in a hotel lobby. Hoes was married in 2001 to Albert Verlinde, who is a well-known television personality in the Netherlands. Verlinde told media he know of Hoes’ extramarital affairs. The couple announced their breakup in October.

“The city is really struggling to deal with the consequences of a very controversial publication in the media, and I can no longer subject the city, its administration and myself to this struggle,” Hoes said in a statement Wednesday.

On Thursday, Hoes’ attorney told Dutch media Hoes is taking legal action, charging the news and blogging site PowNed.tv that published the footage with slander and libel.

The paparazzi publication, dubbed by Dutch media as “Onnogate,” triggered deliberations in the city council of Maastricht on whether Hoes should stay on as mayor. The mayor apologized for what he said was inappropriate behavior, and the council gave him a vote of confidence.

Earlier this year, Hoes, 53, stepped down also as chairman of the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, which is the Dutch Jewish community’s foremost watchdog on anti-Semitism and is also a pro-Israel lobby group. Hoes, who is a member of the VVD ruling party, said he was leaving CIDI because his schedule and other obligations prevented him from properly fulfilling his CIDI duties.

 

Jewish family attacked with acid in West Bank

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 08:26

(JTA) — A Palestinian man threw acid at a Jewish family of five in the West Bank and was then shot and wounded by a civilian as he attempted to flee.

Israeli police arrested the Palestinian attacker and took him to a hospital, The Associated Press reported.

The assailant hurled the liquid acid through the car window on Friday afternoon near a checkpoint between the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit and the Palestinian village of Husan, the Times of Israel reported.

The five members of the Jewish family were slightly injured, suffering light burns.

Yaalon: Settlement slowdown temporary since Obama only has two years left

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 07:54

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said his difficulties in advancing plans for settlement construction are temporary, since the Obama administration only has two more years left in power.

“I want to advance plans [for settlement construction] and to build more,” he told students at the Makor Haim Yeshiva located in the Gush Etzion bloc of the West Bank.

Tuesday’s meeting was not open to the media, but Yaalon’s talk was recorded, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Yaalon said that since the settlements cause a negative reaction from the U.S., “we are very, very careful not to pull on this rope too much.”

Yaalon told the students that things would change. “At present there is a certain administration in Washington, and it is the U.S. that is setting the tone. But this administration won’t be [in power] forever, and I hope it’s temporary,” he said.

In response to Yaalon’s statements, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday that the United States will continue to oppose Israeli settlements and settlement construction after Obama leaves office.

“This administration’s opposition to settlements is fully consistent with the policies of administrations for decades, including of both parties. So the notion that that would change is not borne out by history,” Psaki said.

Yaalon has a track record of making negative comments about the U.S. and its officials. In January he called Kerry’s pursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace  “messianic and obsessive.”

Iran to expand its media influence in Latin America

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 07:51

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — The Iranian Fars News Agency has opened a Buenos Aires office to cover Latin America.

Managing Director Seyed Nezamoddin Moussavi this week traveled to the Argentine capital with a team of Fars managers and met with Iran’s charge d’affaires in Buenos Aires, Ahmadreza Kheirmand.

“Iran’s strong and rapidly growing ties with Latin America have raised eyebrows in the U.S. and its Western allies since Tehran and Latin nations have forged an alliance against the imperialist and colonialist powers and are striving hard to reinvigorate their relations with the other independent countries which pursue a line of policy independent from the U.S.,” Fars said.

Kheirmand pointed to the minimal coverage of Latin American news and developments by the Iranian media outlets as well as the lack of news reports on the West Asian countries and Iran in the Latin American media, and said the opening of the Fars office in Argentina is a useful and effective move that can further broaden the relations between Tehran and Buenos Aires.

The Iranian agency also stated that “Iran has been seeking to broaden ties and cooperation with Latin American states, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Argentina and Cuba”.

Moussavi and an accompanying team of Fars managers traveled to Argentina to inaugurate the Iranian news agency’s office in Buenos Aires in order to cover developments and events in 18 Latin American states.

Orthodox groups file with Supreme Court in support of Muslim head scarfs

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 07:47

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Seven national Orthodox Jewish groups filed a Supreme Court brief in favor of a Muslim woman’s right to wear a head scarf at work.

The brief was filed by attorney Nathan Lewin of Lewin & Lewin, LLP of Washington D.C. for a case that is expected to be heard in February or March of next year on whether an applicant’s failure to give explicit notice that she is a practicing Muslim who wears a head scarf at work allowed clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch to reject her application, saying it was in violation of the company dress code.

In the brief, Lewin recounted how all his applications to New York City law firms were turned down because the firms didn’t want to be inconvenienced by making accommodations for his religious observance.

The National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs, Agudas Harabbanim, Agudath Israel of America, National Council of Young Israel, Rabbinical Alliance of America, Rabbinical Council of America and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America joined the friend of the court brief.

 

Congress passes resolution denouncing use of human shields

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 07:42

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Congress passed a resolution denouncing the use of civilians as human shields by terrorist groups, calling it a violation of international humanitarian law.

The resolution was passed by both houses of Congress without objection on Wednesday.

“The United States Congress stood resolved in condemnation of the despicable actions of the terrorist group, Hamas, and its use of children, women and men as human shields. While Israel went to extraordinary lengths this summer in Gaza to protect innocent civilian lives, Hamas placed the Palestinian people directly in harm’s way by using them as human shields and placing its rockets near densely populated areas and near schools, hospitals and mosques,” according to a joint statement from Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ted Deutch (R-Fla.)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who cosponsored the resolution on the Senate side, said in a statement:  “The Senate has sent a united signal that we denounce Hamas’ barbaric tactics and unequivocally support Israel’s right to self-defense.”

The resolution calls on the international community to condemn Hamas’ use of human shields and places responsibility for the rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel on Hamas and other terrorist organizations. It also condemns the United Nations Human Rights Council’s biased resolution establishing a commission of inquiry into Israel’s Gaza operation.

In a related move, a bipartisan group of congressmen sent a letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury urging it to work to designate and sanction individuals and entities that provide financial, political or material support for Hamas. The letter, which pointed specifically to Turkey and Qatar, was signed by 24 members from two subcommittees: Middle East and North Africa; and Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade.

“It’s no secret that Turkey and Qatar provide refuge to many Hamas operatives, and that both of these supposed American allies have become major terror financial hubs. While the Treasury Department has taken significant action against Hamas and its supporters, more can be done to halt support for this terrorist group,” Ros-Lehtenin said.

Gunmen fire on Israeli embassy in Athens, no injuries

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 07:35

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — Unidentified gunmen opened fire on the Israeli embassy in Athens before dawn Friday but caused no injuries.

Greek police shut down roads around the embassy as white-clad  forensic experts searched through the driving rain  for clues of the attackers.

Police said the attackers were probably on motorbikes and were armed with Kalashnikov rifles. More than a dozen shell casings were found at the scene.

The Greek Foreign Ministry “unequivocally condemned the attack” and vowed that it would not harm burgeoning Greek-Israeli relations.

“The immediate mobilization of the Greek Police, who are fighting terrorism in a coordinated and effective manner, will bring the perpetrators before the Greek justice system,” the statement said.

The embassy also expressed “full confidence that the Hellenic Police and Authorities will deal with this incident.”

The embassy was closed at the time of the attack in the early morning hours.

There was no claim of responsibility and it was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.

Greek anarchist groups have attacked several foreign embassies in Athens in recent years, and there was a similar shooting attack on the home of the German ambassador last year.

However, Friday’s attack also comes amid increased tensions after the death of a Palestinian minister that Palestinians have blamed on Israeli soldiers.

Suspects in arson attack on Jewish-Arab school identified as right-wing activists

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 07:24

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The three suspects arrested in the alleged arson attack on a joint Arab-Jewish school in Jerusalem have been identified as activists for a radical right-wing group.

The suspects, named as Yitzhak Gabai, 22; Nahman Twitto, 18; and Shlomo Twitto, 22, from the West Bank community of Beitar Ilit, are part of the Lehava organization, which works to prevent marriages between Jews and non-Jews .

The suspects confessed to the arson, the Shin Bet security service reported.

A fire was set in the classroom of the joint Arab-Jewish Max Rayne Hand In Hand Jerusalem School on Nov. 29.

A preliminary police investigation found that the blaze was set intentionally.

“Death to Arabs” and “There is no coexistence with cancer” were among the anti-Arab epithets spray-painted on the school walls.

Jewish-Arab tensions have risen in Jerusalem following a recent spate of violence.

The Hand In Hand Jerusalem School is Israel’s largest joint Arab-Jewish school and the only such primary and high school in the city. Five Hand in Hand schools are located throughout the country.

Jewish lawmaker in Britain says he’s received death threats

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 15:27

(JTA) — A member of Britain’s Parliament said he has received death threats because he is Jewish.

Lee Scott, the Conservative lawmaker of the Ilford North constituency, said he has received five death threats in the past year.

On Tuesday, during a debate on anti-Semitism in Parliament, Scott detailed some of the abuse, including an incident in which a caller told him he should be “stoned to death.”

The lawmaker said that he first received a threat after the last election in 2010, when two people called him a “dirty pig” and threatened to kill him.

“Whenever I’m scared, I’ve always since I was a child used humor and I said to them, ‘Shall I put you down as a possible or have you not decided how you’re voting’?” he said in an interview with BBC London.

Despite his humorous response, Scott said that he immediately fled from the people who threatened him and later cried at home.

Scott added during the debate that his constituents have expressed increased concern about anti-Semitism and have reported more incidents of anti-Semitic attacks.

According to London’s Metropolitan Police Service, anti-Semitic reports have increased by 92 percent in the period from October 2013 to October 2014 from the corresponding period the year before, to 322 from 167.

Scott, whose self-professed hero is Yitzhak Rabin, urged people to report incidents so that they continue to show on statistics.

Netanyahu: Israeli media campaign against me ‘almost unprecedented’

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 15:14

(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the country’s media of waging a purposeful campaign against him.

Speaking to his own Likud Party on Thursday, Netanyahu claimed that there was a “huge media campaign in support of politicians who don’t support me,” he said, according to the Times of Israel.

Netanyahu added that the “almost unprecedented” campaign was designed to “transfer power to the left.” He was likely referring to the union made between former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Israel’s Labor Party for the elections in March.

Netanyahu did not specify the media outlets that he believed were campaigning against him.

Livni, who heads the left-of-center Hatnua party, made the announcement of the new center-left slate with Labor chairman Issac Herzog on Wednesday. Netanyahu fired Livni and former Finance Minister Yair Lapid this month.

Moody’s: Failure on med school handover deepens Yeshiva U.’s financial woes

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 14:08

NEW YORK (JTA) — Yeshiva University’s failure to hand over the operations of its medical school to the Montefiore Medical Center has extended the school’s financial woes, Moody’s reported.

According to a report released Tuesday by the investor service, Y.U.’s failure to reach an agreement with the Bronx hospital over financial and operational control of the Albert Einstein Medical School could sap all of the university’s unrestricted liquidity over the next one to two years.

Negotiations between the Manhattan university and Montefiore on the handover of Albert Einstein ended around Thanksgiving because “the talks were not progressing,” the Forward reported. Montefiore is Albert Einstein’s teaching hospital.

In March, Moody’s downgraded Y.U.’s credit rating to B3, which indicates a high credit risk, and warned that the school could run out of money before it has time to address its deep deficits. Tuesday’s report affirmed the B3 rating and the broader negative financial outlook.

The costs associated with operating the medical school account for two-thirds of Y.U.’s deficit, Moody’s reported. Operating deficits have exceeded $100 million in two of the past three years.

Moody’s said the university also incurred “acute” financial losses during the six months of negotiations over the medical school because Y.U. “delayed implementing significant expense reductions” over that period.

Y.U. and Montefiore had announced the takeover plan in May that would have allowed the university to remain as the degree-granting institution for the medical school.

In September, the university refinanced the mortgages of five of its buildings for $175 million. Moody’s reported that Y.U.’s valuable real estate holdings in Manhattan and the Bronx are a financial bright spot.

The relationship between Y.U. and Montefiore has not changed, the Forward reported.

Stabbed Israeli student improving as mother arrives in N.Y.

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 13:43

(JTA) — The condition of the Israeli rabbinical student who was stabbed at Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn was upgraded.

Levi Rosenblatt, 22, who was stabbed in the neck and head on Tuesday while praying, was upgraded from critical to serious but stable condition, though he remains confused about why he is in the hospital, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.

His mother arrived in New York on Wednesday to visit her son — the first time she has set foot in the United States in 25 years. Her son’s survival was a “miracle,” Reizy Rosenblatt told the Daily News.

Rosenblatt’s alleged assailant, Calvin Peters, 51, was shot in the stomach by police and later died in the hospital. He reportedly entered the Chabad building shouting “I will kill the Jew! I want to kill the Jew!”

The incident has been called criminal, not terror-related, though with elements of a hate crime.

 

Obama: ‘Conversations’ about freeing Alan Gross have been ongoing

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 11:27

(JTA) — President Obama said the United States has been “in conversations” about trying to free American-Jewish contractor Alan Gross from a Cuban jail.

“We’ve been in conversations about how we can get Alan Gross home for quite some time,” Obama told Jorge Ramos of the Florida-based Fusion television network, a sister to ABC.

Obama said the conversations were through a “variety of channels,” but did not say whether that includes the Cuban government.

“We continue to be concerned about him. We think that he shouldn’t have been held in the first place,” Obama told Ramos.

Gross, 65, of Potomac, Md., earlier this month began his sixth year of a 15-year prison term in Cuba for “crimes against the state.”

He reportedly is in ill health and has lost more than 100 pounds since his incarceration, and has suffered from painful arthritis.

In August, Gross said he could no longer take life in prison and reportedly said goodbye to his family.

Gross was leaving Cuba when he was arrested in December 2009 for setting up Internet access for the Jewish community there as a contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Fusion offers news, pop culture and satire on its digital network.

French Senate approves nonbinding motion to recognize Palestine

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 09:57

(JTA) — France’s Senate approved a nonbinding resolution that encourages the government to recognize Palestinian statehood.

On Thursday, the Senate voted 154-146 to approve the resolution, which “invites the French government to use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to bring about a definitive resolution of the conflict.”

A similar resolution was approved by the French Parliament’s lower house, the National Assembly, earlier this month.

Ireland’s lower house of Parliament on Tuesday approved a similar nonbinding resolution. Spain and Britain recently passed similar symbolic motions.

Joan Rivers remembers Jewish groups in will

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 09:41

(JTA) — Joan Rivers in her will left money to several Jewish charitable organizations to which she was connected.

Among the Jewish organizations that received bequests from the late comedian’s estimated $150 million estate were the Jewish Guild for the Blind, the Jewish Home and Hospital Foundation and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

The amounts were unknown because the donations come from a confidential trust, the New York Daily News reported Wednesday, citing papers filed in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court.

Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, the will’s executor, received all of her mother’s personal property.

Rivers reportedly bequested her four dogs to her assistant, Jocelyn Pickett.

Rivers died in September at 81 a week after being rushed to Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital after her heart stopped during throat surgery at a clinic. Doctors at the hospital put her in an induced coma from which she never awoke.

Melissa Rivers plans to file a wrongful death suit against Yorkville Endoscopy, the Upper East Side clinic that performed the surgery, the Daily News reported.

Labor’s Ben-Eliezer resigns from Knesset citing health

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 09:12

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Veteran Labor Party lawmaker Benjamin Ben-Eliezer resigned from Israel’s Knesset, citing a medical condition.

Ben-Eliezer, a member of the parliament for 30 years, delivered his letter of resignation to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Thursday.

The one-time Labor chairman and defense minister said he was resigning due to the condition, which “takes up most of my time and energy,” Haaretz reported.

Ben-Eliezer, 78, was hospitalized last week. In 2011 he was hospitalized for six weeks with complications from the flu.

In June, Ben-Eliezer pulled out of the race for president following accusations that he illegally received millions of shekels from private sources and used the money to buy a luxury apartment in Jaffa. He is under criminal investigation for the suspected corruption.

A statement issued Thursday by the Labor Party honored “the boy who immigrated on his own from Iraq at a young age, is a fighter on the battlefield and a fighter for peace. … We wish him good health and happiness.”

 

Palestinian, Israeli autopsy reports at odds over official’s death

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 08:52

Palestinian security members carrying the coffin of senior Palestinian official Ziad Abu Ein during his funeral in Ramallah, Dec. 11, 2014. (STR/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Following an autopsy, Palestinian and Israeli doctors issued differing reports on the cause of death of a Palestinian official following an altercation with Israeli security forces at a demonstration.

The autopsy on Ziad Abu Ein was carried out early Thursday at the forensics institute in Abu Dis in eastern Jerusalem. Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian doctors participated in the procedure.

A preliminary report issued by Israel’s Health Ministry said Abu Ein, 55, died of a heart attack from a preexisting heart condition brought on by stress. The preliminary findings will require verification after the results of the investigation and lab results are received, the ministry said.

Palestinian officials said the death was caused by the actions of Israeli troops, including being hit and inhaling large amounts of tear gas.

“After hearing the results of the postmortem, the Palestinian government holds Israel fully responsible for the killing of Ziad Abu Ein,” government spokesman Ihab Bseiso told reporters in Ramallah on Thursday.

Abu Ein died in the village of Turmusiya, near Ramallah, amid a protest by dozens of local residents and activists over the Jewish settlement outpost Adei Ad. The protesters planted olive trees on land that they believe is in danger of being confiscated by Israel.

Palestinian officials said Abu Ein was beaten by Israeli soldiers, while a video of the incident circulating on social media shows Abu Ein striking an Israeli officer, who then grabs him on the side of his neck and pushes him away.

Abu Ein lost consciousness and his heart stopped beating on his way to Ramallah Public Hospital, Maan reported. His family said he had diabetes and high blood pressure.

Thousands of Palestinians attended the state funeral for Abu Ein on Thursday in Ramallah.  Mourners chanted “Revenge!” and “Your blood will not be spilled in vain!” while carrying the Palestinian-flag draped coffin during the funeral procession, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.

Abu Ein, a member of the Fatah party’s Revolutionary Council, previously served as undersecretary to the minister of prisoner affairs. He was head of the committee against Israel’s security fence and settlements at the time of his death.

He was extradited  to Israel from the United States in 1981 to face charges that he was involved in a 1979 bombing that killed two Israeli teens, the Times of Israel reported. After being sentenced in 1982 to life in prison, Abu Ein was released during a 1985 prisoner swap, according to the news website.

Univ. of California union approves BDS motion

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 06:45

(JTA) — A union that represents University of California student workers and academic employees approved a resolution to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The United Auto Workers Local 2865, which represents more than 13,000 teaching assistants, tutors and other student workers in the UC system, announced Wednesday that the measure was approved on Dec. 4 by a vote of  1,411 to 749.

The UAW local became the first major U.S. labor union to hold a membership vote on Israel and BDS.

The union also announced that during the vote, 1,136 members pledged to personally adhere to the academic boycott of Israel.

The measure calls on the University of California and UAW International to “divest from companies involved in Israeli occupation and apartheid” and calls on the U.S. government to end military aid to Israel.

Some 53 percent of voting members also pledged not to “take part in any research, conferences, events, exchange programs, or other activities that are sponsored by Israeli universities complicit in the occupation of Palestine and the settler-colonial policies of the state of Israel” until the Israeli universities “take steps to end complicity with dispossession, occupation, and apartheid.”

“This vote was a first step in our commitment to solidarity with Palestinians under occupation and facing discriminatory laws, and we will continue to take steps to make that solidarity concrete as part of our involvement in anti-racist and anti-colonial struggles broadly,” union member Kumars Salehi said.

UAW 2865 joins several labor unions in the United Kingdom and Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, as well as several dockworker unions around the world, in supporting the BDS movement.

The undergraduate student governments of several UC schools, including at Berkeley, San Diego, Riverside, Irvine and Los Angeles, also have passed resolutions in support of divestment from Israel.

Informed Grads, a group of union members that opposes the resolution, said in a statement that it was extremely concerned with the outcome of the vote, which it says puts UAW 2865  in direct opposition to the International UAW, which opposes the BDS movement.

“This is incredibly damaging to our union,” Jonathan Kummerfeld, a UC Berkeley computer science graduate student and Informed Grads member, said in a statement. “This resolution may end up with our union recommending boycotting fellow UAW members who work for companies that are targets of the BDS movement.”

The pro-Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs, which is active on UC campuses, in a statement condemned UAW 2865 for backing the divestment measure. The group accused the union of holding Israel to a “double standard,” in particular by rejecting a proposal to boycott major human rights violators including the governments of Qatar, Russia, and China.

Statue of Anne Frank dedicated in Buenos Aires

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 06:18

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — A statue of the Holocaust teen diarist Anne Frank was dedicated in Buenos Aires.

The statue, a replica of the one located in Amsterdam, where Anne and her family were hidden during World War II, was inaugurated Wednesday in the Kingdom of Netherlands Square in the Puerto Madero district, a popular tourist area.

The Buenos Aires City Government, the Dutch Embassy in Buenos Aires and the Anne Frank House and Museum of Buenos Aires dedicated the work by artist Jet Schepp.

Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, a Dutch Holocaust survivor and former president of the European Union for Progressive Judaism, was the main speaker at the ceremony. About 300 students from area Jewish schools and the Buenos Aires public schools were among those on hand.

“This statue is to glorify her life and hope. Because of that, we are inaugurating this important new symbol of our city on Human Rights Day,” Claudio Avruj, undersecretary of Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism of the Buenos Aires City Government, told JTA.

Soetendorp underlined the decision of the Dutch housewife who took him in as a three-month child hidden in a suitcase in occupied Holland seven decades ago. “I am here because of human compassion,” he said.

Argentina’s Minister of Education, Alberto Sileoni, told the crowd that “Anne left us a diary, but there are others who left nothing, and if that horror is lost it can be repeated.” Other speakers included the recently appointed Dutch ambassador to Argentina, Martin de la Beij, and The Anne Frank House and Museum Director, Hector Shalom.

The Anne Frank House and Museum in Argentina was inaugurated in 2009. It hosts permanent exhibitions and provides educational activities.