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Updated: 1 hour 32 min ago

Coach David Blatt meets former team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, in Cleveland rout

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 02:44

(JTA) — The NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers routed Maccabi Tel Aviv in an international exhibition game that pitted Cavs’ new coach David Blatt against his former team.

Maccabi Tel Aviv, the 2014 Euroleague and Israel Super Basketball League champions lost Sunday’s game 107-80.

The exhibition game had been scheduled long before Blatt signed on as Cavs’ coach in June.

The game also saw the return to a Cleveland uniform of LeBron James, who returned to his hometown Cavaliers as a free agent after spending four seasons with the Miami Heat. James, whose back has been bothering him, played the first half, scoring 12 points.

Blatt told reporters after the game that ”I was nervous before the game, but not because it was the first time I coached in the NBA. I was playing against my friends.”

More than a dozen of the credentialed reporters were from Israel, including the major newspapers and television stations, according to the Cleveland Jewish News. Blatt conducted a second news conference in Hebrew for the Israeli media following the game.

http://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/news/sports/article_07d9dfe6-4d0c-11e4-98ca-ab2aa472f00e.html

The game was also billed as Jewish Community Night.

About 50 pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrated outside of Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena before the game, over comments Blatt made to an Israeli newspaper in the summer in support of Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

Lapid apologizes for Shabbat news conference

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 16:10

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid apologized for calling a news conference on Shabbat.

The apology for last month’s news conference held outside his home came on Sunday during a meeting of the Yesh Atid party, which Lapid heads.

“I was wrong, I should not have caused other people to work on Shabbat,” Lapid reportedly said when asked about the news conference by a Yesh Atid colleague during a meeting about the coming year’s state budget, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Lapid was criticized by the left wing and the religious parties for the news conference, at which he released a three-sentence statement on Israel’s enhanced credit rating by S&P. The announcement was seen as an attempt to get a jump on the Prime Minister’s Office, which does not release statements on Shabbat.

Netanyahu says he’s baffled by U.S. rebuke over eastern Jerusalem building

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 15:15

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The U.S. condemnation of Israeli housing starts in an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood is “against American values,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

In an interview Sunday morning on the CBS News show “Face the Nation,” Netanyahu said he was “baffled” by the criticism.

“What we are being criticized for is that some Jewish residents of Jerusalem bought apartments, legally, from Arabs in a predominantly Arab neighborhood and this is seen as a terrible thing,” he said, adding that the Jerusalem neighborhood in question is three minutes from his office.

“If somewhere in America someone said Jews cannot buy apartments here, there would be an uproar. I do not accept this.”

The White  House strongly criticized last week the publishing of tenders for  the construction of 2,610 housing units in the Givat Hamatos neighborhood that were approved in December 2012, saying they would “poison the atmosphere” and distance Israel from “even its closest allies.”

Netanyahu said the idea that Jews and Arabs cannot buy housing in each other’s neighborhoods is bad for peace.

The Israeli leader said he and President Obama during their meeting last week talked about settlements in general, and that Netanyahu suggested the heart of the matter is not settlements but rather “are the Palestinians ready to recognize a nation-state for the Jewish people” in the same way that Israel has recognized a Palestinian nation-state.

 

Swedish Embassy in Israel backpedals on PM’s state of Palestine declaration

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 15:10

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Swedish Embassy in Israel appears to have walked back the new prime minister’s declaration that Sweden would recognize a state of Palestine.

In a statement released Sunday evening, the embassy said Sweden will recognize a Palestinian state at the conclusion of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be resolved through a two-state solution … negotiated in accordance with the principles of international law,” the statement said. “It must guarantee the legitimate demands of both the Palestinians and the Israelis for national self-determination and security. A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to coexist peacefully. Therefore, Sweden will recognize the State of Palestine.”

The statement was released hours after Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said he would summon the ambassador from Sweden over the declaration by new Prime Minister Stefan Loven that his government would recognize the state of Palestine. Lofven did not say when Sweden would recognize Palestinian statehood.

Seven European Union members already have recognized a Palestinian state. They are Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Romania. Iceland also has recognized a Palestinian state.

 

Gazans pray on Temple Mount for first time since ’07

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 13:04

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hundreds of Palestinians from Gaza prayed on the Temple Mount — the first religious visits from Gaza allowed by Israel since Hamas took power in the strip in 2007.

Some 500 worshipers prayed Sunday at the Al-Aksa Mosque for the Muslim holy day Eid al-Adha, which began the previous day.

Israel reportedly granted 1,500 permits for Palestinians age 60 and older to pray in Jerusalem for Eid al-Adha.

The permits were granted in the wake of this summer’s 50-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

 

IDF fires on alleged infiltrators from Lebanon

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 09:14

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli troops fired on two suspects infiltrating into Israeli territory from Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The suspects escaped and returned to Lebanon, an IDF spokesman said.

Lebanese security sources told the Daily Star of Lebanon that Israeli soldiers fired on a Lebanese army patrol in the Sheba Farms area near the border with Israel, wounding one soldier. The soldier was shot in the hand. Lebanese soldiers returned fire.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, the peacekeeping force that monitors the border, has launched an investigation in coordination with the Lebanese army, the Daily Star reported.

Israel sending mobile clinics to Africa to fight Ebola

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 08:58

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli government will send three mobile emergency clinics to western Africa in an effort to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.

Medical experts will be attached to each clinic sent by Mashav-Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, a part of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. The staffers will train local health care workers in the operation of the clinic and its equipment, the ministry said in a statement.

In addition, staff training will focus on raising awareness among populations with high potential for infection.

An Israeli team has already been sent to Cameroon. The ministry also sent emergency equipment to the government of Sierra Leone, and in recent weeks shipped personal protection equipment to teams of the African Union.

Last week, the Israeli government reportedly denied a U.S. request to assist in medical relief in Ebola-stricken West African countries.

Meanwhile, the Israeli nongovernmental organization IsraAid met this week with the first lady of Sierra Leone and is in discussions with authorities there about how to provide psychological and social counseling and increase local health awareness.

IsraAid founder Shachar Zahavi told JTA that his organization is also in the process of recruiting medical personnel to join those treating the affected areas in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In the coming months, IsraAid plans to send over 30 experts in post-traumatic stress disorder prevention and stress management to West Africa to train local social workers and health workers.

 

Rocket tests in Gaza may have set off alerts, IDF says

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 08:41

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Rocket tests inside Gaza reportedly may have been the reason for some Code Red rocket alerts, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The IDF indicated the sirens that sounded on Sunday morning in communities near the border with the Gaza Strip were a false alarm, according to the Israel media.

The last time the alarm sirens were sounded in the Gaza area was in mid-September; they also reportedly were false alarms.

 

Beauty queens visit Israel

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 07:34

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Eleven Miss America and Miss USA pageant winners visited Israel.

The women, including a Miss Teen USA title holder, and two competitors from the Miss Universe pageant, visited Israel for five days last week under the auspices of The Face of Israel, a private organization that promotes Israel internationally through outreach to influential decision-makers and opinion leaders.

The women shared their experiences on social media.

Many of the women in the delegation have launched successful careers in entertainment, business, government and civil society, and they met with their Israeli counterparts during the visit, according to The Face of Israel.

In addition to visits to national landmarks including the Old City of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum and memorial, the visit included meetings with Sderot community members, the Ashkelon Barzilai Hospital children’s ward, Israeli soldiers, Knesset members, Israeli start-up executives, high-profile female leaders and other public figures.

Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan wrote on her blog: “It’s hard to put in to words what this experience is doing for me. Meeting so many people with such pride and loyalty to the state of Israel, but also with such an immense grasp of what is important in life.”

 

 

 

Liberman to summon Swedish envoy over PM’s Palestine declaration

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 06:28

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman of Israel said he will summon the ambassador from Sweden after that country’s new prime minister said his government would recognize the state of Palestine.

Liberman said in a Foreign Ministry statement on Sunday that he regrets the new prime minister, Stefan Loven, “was quick to issue statements regarding the position of Sweden on recognition of a Palestinian state. He apparently has not yet had sufficient time to study the matter and to understand that it is the Palestinians who have for the past 20 years been an obstacle to reaching an agreement with Israel.”

Lofven, the statement said, “must understand that no declaration and no measure by an external party can serve as a substitute for direct negotiations between the parties and a solution that will be part of an overall arrangement between Israel and the entire Arab world. If what concerns the Prime Minister of Sweden in his inaugural address is the situation in the Middle East, he would better focus on the more urgent problems in the region, such as the daily mass murder taking place in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the region.”

In his inaugural address to parliament on Friday, Lofven said that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict “can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law. A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful coexistence. Sweden will therefore recognize the state of Palestine.”

Lofven did not say when Sweden would recognize Palestinian statehood. His center-left Social Democrats party took 31.2 percent of the vote in an election last month and formed a coalition with the Green Party.

Seven European Union members already have recognized a Palestinian state. They are Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Romania. Iceland also has done so.

The United States called the Swedish declaration “premature.”

“We believe that the process is one that has to be worked out through the parties to agree on the terms of how they’ll live in the future of two states living side by side,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the official Palestinian news agency Wafa that he hopes the rest of the world will follow Sweden’s example. He called the Swedish announcement a “bold step” and called the position “great and honorable.”

 

Israeli tourist jailed, fined for flying drone in Paris

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 05:51

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli tourist was arrested and jailed for flying a drone over Paris landmarks.

The man, 24, was arrested Oct. 1 in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral, where the drone, equipped with a professional mounted camera, was flying, the French news agency AFP reported. The drone also had flown over the historic Hotel Dieu hospital and a police station.

After spending the night in jail, he was levied a nearly $650 fine for “operating an aircraft non-compliant with safety laws.”

The tourist told police he did not know it was illegal to fly drones in France and that he was filming Paris landmarks for personal use only.

 

 

Part Jewish Frenchman among National Front’s first-ever senators

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 12:46

(JTA) — The 26-year-old son of a Jewish man is one of the first members of the far-right National Front party to be elected to France’s senate.

David Rachline and another National Front candidate, Stephane Ravier, were elected as senators on Sunday in the national elections for the French upper house, which never before had lawmakers from the controversial party. Rachline is France’s youngest-ever senator.

He was born to Serge Rachline, whom David Rachline in 2011 described to the news site Rue89 as a Socialist, non-practicing Jew. Serge died when David Rachline was 16.

National Front was founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen, who, like other senior members of the party, has multiple convictions for Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred against Jews.

But his daughter, Marine Le Pen, has, since her election in as party leader in 2011, tried to rehabilitate the party’s image, distancing herself from her father’s statement and from other racist expressions. Still, Jean-Marie Le Pen is the party’s honorary president.

Rue89 revealed Rachline’s Jewish roots when he was leader of the party’s youth division. Confronted with the site’s findings, Rachline downplayed their significance, saying he was neither circumcised nor did he have a bar mitzvah and that he is not Jewish “according to the books.”

According to Jewish law, only the descendants of a Jewish mother is considered Jewish. The Reform movement recognizes patrilineal descent in cases where a child is given a Jewish upbringing.

Rachline also said he was not practicing any religion, but that if he has to choose one it would be Catholicism because of its “egalitarianism.” In that interview with rue89, he acknowledged harboring sympathies for the “Equality and Reconciliation” movement of the far-right Holocaust-denier and anti-Israel activist Alain Soral.

“What I liked about Soral is his criticism of liberalism,” he said. “Besides, you can oppose Israel’s policies without being anti-Semitic.”

Rue89 journalist Nolwenn Le Blevennec wrote that she was motivated to research Rachline’s origins because, in defending a controversial statement by Jean-Marie Le Pen during an interview, he mumbled: “The things you make me say.”

Orthodox group sues to keep patient on life support

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 11:53

NEW YORK (JTA) — The head of an Orthodox Jewish organization that cares for people with special needs is suing to keep one of its patients on life support.

Samuel Kahn, the director of Hebrew Academy for Special Children (HASC), a New York organization that cares for people with special needs, is suing to keep one of his organization’s patients on life support, DNAinfo New York reported.

Kahn claims that removing Eileen Beth Kramer, 60, from her life support at Maimonides Medical Center would violate her religious beliefs. He petitioned the Brooklyn Supreme Court in September after Kramer’s legal guardian, brother Howard Kramer, considered removing her from a ventilator, according to court papers obtained by DNAinfo New York.

According to Kahn’s court petition, HASC has cared for Kramer in one of its group homes for the past 40 years until she recently became sick. During that time, she kept a kosher diet, observed Shabbat and celebrated Jewish holidays.

“HASC was founded specifically to give people with developmental disabilities an opportunity to live a religious life,” said Chaim Wakslak, HASC’s clinical director. “Eileen had been living with us for several decades, living a religious life, and part of living religiously is dying religiously. So that is what this case is about.”

Howard Kramer maintains that HASC should have no role in the decision. He told DNAinfo that his sister, who has a developmental disability, was neither raised religious, nor is currently religious.

She doesn’t have the intellectual capability [to understand religion],” Howard Kramer was quoted saying. “She lived [at HASC], she followed their rules, but she couldn’t have held deeply religious beliefs because of her disability. She doesn’t have any concept of what religion is.”

After a first hearing in the Brooklyn Supreme Court on Sept. 18, Judge Larry Martin had issued a temporary restraining order on removing the ventilator  A second hearing in the case was held Tuesday before the same judge, whose decision is underway.

British MP: Study shows stunning is shechita-compatible

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 10:55

(JTA) – A British lawmaker who advises the government on meat production said he hoped to prove to Jews and Muslims that slaughtering with the stunning method is ultimately compatible with their faiths.

Neil Parish, who heads the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beef and Lamb, was quoted by the news site Jewishnews.co.uk on Thursday as saying: “If it can be scientifically established that stunning does not adversely affect blood loss then we reassure consumers of religiously slaughtered meat that stunning is compatible with their faith.”

Parish was commenting on a new report which suggested that meat from animals that were stunned before their necks were cut did not contain any more blood than the meat of animals that did not receive stunning prior to undergoing the same method of slaughter.

Religious laws in Judaism and Islam allow followers of those religions to eat the meat only of animals that were conscious when their necks were cut. In addition, Jewish religious law, or halacha, requires the removal of blood from the body of the animals prior to consumption and forbids the consumption of animals’ blood.

But Shimon Cohen, a spokesperson for the Shechita UK Jewish lobby group, dismissed Parish’s logic as flawed, saying resistance to stunning does not stem from the prohibition on the consumption of blood.

“The community has never contended that there is less blood in a carcass following shechita than following conventional mechanical slaughter,” Cohen told Jewishnews.co.uk, using the Hebrew word for ritual slaughter.“Shechita is not carried out to facilitate the fastest and most effective blood loss. It is practised because it is religiously mandated.”

 

Jewish groups file brief in Muslim woman’s headscarf appeal to Supremes

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 09:52

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two Jewish groups joined a friend of the court brief on behalf of a Muslim woman whose right to wear a headscarf in a retail job is under consideration by the Supreme Court.

The court on Thursday agreed to hear the case, Politico reported.

The American Jewish Committee and the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism joined an amicus with Christian, Muslim and Sikh groups. The Anti-Defamation League and the Orthodox Union also are considering amicus briefs.

The federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission brought the suit against Abercrombie & Fitch on behalf of Samantha Elauf, who had been recommended for hiring at an outlet in Tulsa, Okla. The outlet subsequently reversed its recommendation.

A lower court, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, ruled against Elauf, saying that she needed to give “explicit notice of the conflicting religious practice and the need for an accommodation for it, in order to have an actionable claim for denial of such an accommodation.”

That decision described Abercrombie & Fitch’s “Look Policy,” which, the court said, the retailer considers “critical to the health and vitality of its ‘preppy’ and ‘casual’ brand.”

Elauf contends that wearing the headscarf during her interview and communications with managers through a friend who worked at the store was sufficient.

The friend had checked with one manager who, citing the case of an employee who had worn a yarmulke, said there should not be a problem.

Elauf interviewed with another manager who was not certain of the policy and after consulting with her superiors dropped her initial recommendation to hire. Elauf did not explicitly raise her faith as an issue during the interview.

The religious groups argue in their brief that requiring an explicit notice of religious requirements is overly stringent.

“Hiring processes are often technologically structured in a way that precludes the employee from even raising the issue during the application process,” the brief argues.

Swedish politician: ISIS is Mossad’s pawn

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 09:45

(JTA) — A local politician with Sweden’s ruling party said that Israel trained the jihadist ISIS group to wage war on Muslims.

Adrian Kaba, who represents Sweden’s Social Democrats in Malmo’s city council, made the statement this summer during a discussion on Facebook, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reported on Thursday. Reacting to the report, the chairman of the party’s regional branch, Joakim Sandell, said, “An elected official should not be spreading conspiracy theories.”

In his Facebook post, Kaba wrote on July 21: “ISIS is being trained by the Israeli Mossad. Muslims are not waging war, they are being used as pawns by other peoples’ game.”

Sandell said the party intends to deal with the issue internally, but did not elaborate.

Initially, Kaba argued he did not endorse the statement but merely forwarded it “because the main thing is to keep a debate going,” Sydsvenskan reported. But he later apologized for the remark, adding: “I now realize that I made a mistake. If there is evidence that this is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, then I reject it unreservedly.”

In 2012, Kaba used the term “Jew-European extreme right-wing conspiracy” in an editorial in the Socialist newspaper Tro & Politik, according to Sydsvenskan.

Approached by the paper for a comment on Kaba’s July remark the party’s regional vice chairman, Andreas Schonstrom, said he would “rather not criticize a fellow party member,” but he added that “you need to think before spreading such conspiracy theories.”

The southern city of Malmo has attracted international attention for the prevalence of anti-Semitic attacks within its borders. Most attacks — which number several dozen every year –are by people of Middle Eastern descent or Muslim origins, Jewish community representatives told JTA.

Swedish PM: We will recognize ‘State of Palestine’

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 08:29

(JTA) — Sweden will recognize the state of Palestine, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict “can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law,” Lofven said during his inaugural address in parliament on Friday. “A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful coexistence. Sweden will therefore recognize the state of Palestine.”

In an election last month, Lofven’s center-left Social Democrats party took 31.2 percent of the vote. Lofven formed a coalition with Sweden’s Green Party. He did not say when Sweden would recognize Palestinian statehood.

The former center-right government had said it did not recognize Palestine because the Palestinian authorities did not control their territory, according to Reuters.

Sweden already voted in 2012 in favor of upgrading the status of the Palestinian Authority at the United Nations General Assembly to that of a “non-member observer state.” The upgrade passed thanks to an overwhelming majority, but the European Union has not collectively endorsed the upgrade. Several of its members abstained and one, the Czech Republic, voted against the upgrade.

The European Union’s position on Palestinian statehood is that a future Palestinian state “will require secure and recognised borders” which should be reached through negotiations between Israel and and the Palestinians.

Several European countries, including Sweden, upgraded the status of the Palestinian Authority missions operating in their territories after the 2012 U.N. upgrade.

Ex Tel Aviv mayor Shlomo Lahat brought to rest

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 08:19

(JTA) — Hundreds of people, including several ministers and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, attended the funeral of former Tel Aviv Mayor Shlomo Lahat.

Lahat, who died Wednesday at the age of 86, was buried in Tel Aviv’s Trumpeldor Cemetery on Friday, the news site NRG.co.il reported.

“You need a person that never stops to make a city that never stops, and I loved him,” Israel’s finance minister, Yair Lapid, said at the funeral.

Lahat, who was born in Berlin and immigrated to pre-state Israel in 1933, is widely credited for describing the coastal city as “a city that never stops” – a tagline that for many Israelis is still synonymous with Tel Aviv today.

Lahat, a reserves major general in the Israel Defense Forces, served as mayor for 19 years until 1993. He led extensive renovations and restoration projects in the city, facilitated the opening of businesses on Shabbat and directed generous funding for the city’s art scene.

“He turned Tel Aviv from a dormant city into a lively, zesty one,” Isaac Herzog, chairman of Israel’s Labor party and the head of the opposition, said in his eulogy for Lahat.

Lahat, who was also known by the nickname of Chich, was a member of the Likud party but advocated for territorial concessions under Labor Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a Jewish extremist in 1995 in Tel Aviv at a peace rally that Lahat helped organize.

In 2000, he wrote an open letter to the late Rabin that was published on Ynet, in which he said he blamed himself for Rabin’s death. Rabin, Lahat wrote, did not want to attend the rally but Lahat pushed him to agree.

“Your friends and family tell me I am not to blame, but I feel guilty and I don’t forgive myself and never will because what happened here was my responsibility,” Lahat wrote.

Egyptian activist loses bid for E.U. honor over call to kill Israelis

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 06:36

Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd El-Fatah’s nomination for the Sakharov Prize was revoked after judges learned of his previous calls for the mass murder of Israelis. (Wikimedia Commons)

(JTA) — An Egyptian activist’s nomination for a prestigious European honor was withdrawn because he has called for the mass killing of Israelis.

The withdrawal of Alaa Abdel Fattah’s nomination for the Sakharov Prize was announced Wednesday by the coalition of European Parliament left-wing parties that had nominated him.

“It emerges that one of the bloggers we proposed, Alaa Abdel Fatah who was a victim of repression in Egypt and jailed several times, called for the murder ‘of a critical number of Israelis’ in a tweet in 2012. We did not avail of this information when we put forward his candidacy,” Gabi Zimmer, president of the GUE/NGL Group in the European Parliament, wrote.

Named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought was established in 1988 by the European Parliament in order to honor individuals or groups striving to defend human rights and freedom of thought and expression.

“We cannot and will not tolerate such behavior,” Zimmer wrote in her statement about Abdel Fattah’s 2012 remark about Israelis. “This call goes against all our principles as well as the criteria for nomination for the Sakharov Prize. Our group has always favored debate and political confrontation between peoples, including the Israeli people.”

In Egypt, Abdel Fattah is about to be tried under laws banning certain kinds of protest. In addition, he appealed a separate verdict of a month in prison for “insulting the interior ministry,” legal sources told Ahram Online.

Dutch police said to cite vandalism risk in opposing sukkah

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 06:12

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — Dutch police advised a municipality to forbid the public display of a sukkah out of concerns that it would be a target for vandalism, a Jewish resident said.

Fabrice Schomberg applied last month for a permit to erect a sukkah, a hut designated for meals during the holiday of Sukkot, outside his home in the predominantly Muslim neighborhood of Schilderswijk in The Hague.

On Tuesday, city official Karin Wilthagen told Schomberg that the police advised the city against allowing him to build the sukkah, warning that it could be vandalized, he told JTA.

Despite the objection from police, the city approved his request Friday.

Police declined to comment on the case and declined to say whether they considered Jewish symbols and the people who display them as being especially at risk. A city spokesperson told JTA Schomberg’s application is being processed.

In recent weeks, Schomberg has been featured in a series of articles about a Jewish-owned housing project of 200 apartments located among one of the Netherlands’ largest concentrations of Muslim immigrants. He is among only a dozen Jewish residents in the complex.

In one item, a news crew filmed Schomberg being verbally abused on the street outside his home because he put on a kippah. He usually conceals it to prevent such incidents.

Three times over the summer rioting took place in Schilderswijk, near the Jewish-owned area, and on each occasion there were flags identified with the ISIS Islamist group. Two of the rallies also featured calls to kill Jews, and in the third protesters hurled rocks at police and used municipal flowerbeds to barricade the neighborhood’s main street.

The rallies took place amid a series of attacks on Jews in the Netherlands in the wake of Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip with Hamas. Two people were physically assaulted for displaying an Israeli flag.

Separately, a Jewish man in the eastern city of Arnhem and identified in Dutch media only as Nathan was beaten on the street by seven men who heard him speaking on his cell phone in Hebrew, the De Telegraaf daily reported. He told the daily he would not speak the language in public again.