JTA Breaking News

Syndicate content
The Global Jewish News Source
Updated: 2 hours 20 min ago

Palestinian man sentenced to prison for Facebook incitement

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 04:23

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A court in Jerusalem has sentenced a Palestinian man to prison for posting messages on Facebook urging his friends and followers to commit “violent acts and acts of terrorism.”

The Jerusalem Magistrate Court on Tuesday sentenced eastern Jerusalem resident Omar Shalabi, the secretary general of the Palestinian political party Fatah’s Jerusalem branch, to nine months in prison  for incitement and for supporting a terrorist organization, the New York Times reported.

Shalabi has some 5,000 Facebook friends and 755 followers.

Among his posts were a photo of a Palestinian man who was shot dead by police after driving his car into people waiting at a Jerusalem light rail station, killing a baby, and a post praising two men who killed five worshippers in a synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof.  “Ask death to grant you life; glory is bestowed upon the martyrs,” the post said.

It is the first time that Israel has imprisoned someone for incitement on social media, Ynet reported, though in recent months Israel has detained several Palestinians and Arab-Israelis for incitement over statements on social media, according to the New York Times.

White House officials met with beaten Palestinian-American teen

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 17:32

WASHINGTON (JTA) — White House officials met with a Palestinian-American teen beaten by an Israeli police officer.

National Security Council staffers met April 15 with Tariq Khdeir and his family, CNN reported this week.

A cellphone video caught the policeman beating Khdeir, then 15, during protests last summer in eastern Jerusalem, although he was not resisting arrest.

“The U.S. government has remained closely engaged with Tariq and his family since his return from Jerusalem,” a White House official told CNN.

Khdeir, of Tampa, Florida, was released from Israeli custody after U.S. intervention. A policeman has been charged in his beating.

He was beaten during protests after Mohammed Abu Khdeier, his cousin, also 15, was burned to death by Jewish extremists in a revenge killing for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens.

The family plans to return to Jerusalem this summer. Tariq’s mother, Suha, asked U.S. officials to pressure Israel to leave him alone while he is visiting.

Israel to evacuate more babies born to surrogates in Nepal following new quake

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 16:21

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will evacuate four Israeli babies born to surrogate mothers in Nepal following the second major earthquake to hit the Asian nation in three weeks.

A Magen David Adom mission was scheduled to leave for Nepal on Tuesday night, Ynet reported, after one of the fathers called for assistance from Israel earlier in the day following the 7.3 magnitude quake. The father’s twins were born Saturday.

The four babies, all born prematurely, were in neonatal intensive care units at the Grande International Hospital in Kathmandu at the time of the earthquake. One of the fathers, Yoav Elani, said that when the earthquake struck, all of the fathers grabbed their babies, disconnected them from tubes and machines, and ran outside.

The Israeli government is currently working with Nepalese officials on the approval needed to bring the babies to Israel.

The surrogate mothers and hospital staff also were safe, the Tammuz surrogacy agency, which facilitates the pregnancies, told the Hebrew language NRG news website. The babies and their parents will spend the night in a car in the parking lot of the hospital trying to keep the babies warm, according to NRG.

Following the 7.8 magnitude quake on April 25, Israel evacuated 25 Israeli babies born to surrogate mothers in Nepal, as well as some late-term surrogate mothers.

At least 42 people have been reported killed and several buildings destroyed in Tuesday’s earthquake in the hours after it struck. The earlier earthquake has killed more than 8,000 people and injured upwards of 16,000.

The area had faced numerous aftershocks and smaller earthquakes since the April 25 temblor centered near Kathmandu, the capital. Many families had moved back to their homes, however.

Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz, co-director of the Chabad of Nepal with his wife, Chani, said soon after Tuesday’s quake that 133 Israelis have again taken shelter at the Chabad center, according to the Chabad.org website.

“Although everyone we know appears to be safe, we are sad to report that there are many more casualties in Nepal again today,” Lifshitz said. “There is so much more work that now needs to be done.”

On Tuesday morning, the Israel Defense Forces delegation to Nepal returned home. In his welcome to the delegation at Ben Gurion International Airport, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that Israel could send a second delegation in the wake of the new earthquake.

Streit’s Lower East Side factory building sells for $30.5 million

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 14:54

A machine at Streit’s Lower East Side matzah factory during its final months of operation. (Gabe Friedman/JTA)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Streit’s Matzo company is selling its 90-year-old Lower East Side matzah factory building for $30.5 million.

The building at 148-154 Rivington St. in Manhattan was sold to Manhattan-based Cogswell Realty, the New York real estate blog The Real Deal reported Monday.

Streit’s and Cogswell Realty entered into negotiations in January, when Streit’s announced that it would sell the building.

Founded in 1916 by Austrian immigrants, Streit’s is the last family-owned matzah company in the United States. The company will likely move its matzah-making operations to its other factory in Moonachie, New Jersey, but it is open to looking at other locations.

Streit’s had failed to sell the building for $25 million in 2008.

Ex-Hadassah chapter treasurer goes to court for stealing from Illinois branch

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 14:47

(JTA) — A suburban Chicago woman charged with stealing $21,000 from a Hadassah chapter she served as treasurer appeared in court.

Rozann Morowitz, 68, of Wheeling, Illinois, was in court Monday on a felony theft charge, the Chicago Tribune reported. She is accused of writing dozens of checks from the Buffalo Grove Hadassah chapter that she cashed for personal expenses such as a trip to Florida.

Morowitz was the chapter’s treasurer while the theft occurred, from 2011 to 2013.

Her lawyer says that she wants to repay the money.

The trial is set for June 22.

2 Nazi-looted paintings from Gurlitt collection cleared for return to heirs

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 11:52

(JTA) — A German court formally authorized the return of two Nazi-looted artworks from the collection of the late art collector Cornelius Gurlitt.

The paintings, among the most valuable of the more than 1,400 artworks discovered in Gurlitt’s home in Munich and later in a second home in Salzburg, Austria, can be retrieved this week by the heirs of the Jewish owners from whom they were stolen, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday following the decision by the Munich District Court.

The court did not reveal the names of the owners of the artworks — Henri Matisse’s “Woman Sitting in an Armchair” and Max Liebermann’s “Two Riders on the Beach” — or the names of the heirs who will receive them, according to The Associated Press.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Libermann painting was stolen from David Friedmann, a German-Jewish collector who died in the early 1940s, and the Matisse was stolen in a Nazi raid on a bank vault in France belonging to Paul Rosenberg, a Jewish art dealer.

Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand, was an art dealer on assignment to the Nazis. When Hildebrand Gurlitt died in 1956, his son inherited the collection, which includes works by Picasso, Durer, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Beckmann and Matisse. The Gurlitt collection, discovered in the course of an investigation for tax evasion, is worth an estimated $1.26 billion.

Last year, Gurlitt signed an agreement with the state of Bavaria and the German federal government in which the provenance of all works would be researched, paving the way for the return of the paintings to the heirs of the rightful owners. The work of the task force searching for possible rightful owners continued after Gurlitt died last May.

Gurlitt left his entire collection to the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland. The museum accepted the collection and promised to participate in the process by which German authorities would attempt to return any looted works to their rightful owners.

Holland reverses decision to cut survivor’s pension over West Bank residence

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 11:34

(JTA) — Following a protest by a Holocaust survivors’ group in Israel, the Dutch government reversed its decision to cut pension payments to a 90-year-old woman because she moved to a West Bank settlement.

The reversal was announced Monday in a letter sent by Caspar Veldkamp, the Netherlands’ ambassador to the Israel, responding to a letter sent earlier in the day by Colette Avital, head of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel. Avital protested the Dutch government stripping some entitlements from an unnamed Holocaust survivor, who had received a letter from Dutch officials explaining that the measure was taken because she resides beyond the Green Line, Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

“My government considers her receiving this letter a very unfortunate event, which should have been avoided,” Veldkamp wrote in the letter, which was obtained by JTA. “Since the person involved could not have been aware of the consequences of moving to occupied territories for her entitlement, her pension will not be reduced.”

Dutch citizens residing in Israel are entitled to full old-age pensions from the Netherlands under the countries’ social security agreement. However, the Dutch government does not recognize the agreement as applying to territory beyond the Green Line. The woman in question received a monthly pension payment of approximately $1,000 after moving to Israel in recent months, but the amount was to be cut by 35 percent when the Dutch government found that she was living in the West Bank.

“We find it unacceptable to target a population of elderly people who have suffered enough in your country and beyond its borders in the dark days of World War II,” Avital wrote to Veldkamp.

In addition to the basic pension payments known in Dutch as AOW, the Dutch government also pays special income supplements to Holocaust survivors. The woman’s supplements were not affected by her residence in the West Bank, though those may have been increased to make up for the intended cut in her AOW payments, according to Henoch Wajsberg, former chair of Irgun Olei Holland, the group representing Dutch immigrants living in Israel.

“We have been fighting for years to extend the pension rights to people residing beyond the Green Line because this is essentially a non-political issue that has been politicized,” he said.

Man charged in extorting Boston-area rabbi having affair with teen

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 08:29

Rabbi Barry Starr allegedly paid nearly half a million dollars to hide his two-year affair with a 16-year-old. (YouTube)

(JTA) — A 30-year-old man was indicted on charges of extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a prominent Boston-area rabbi who was having an affair with a male teenager.

Nicholas Zemeitus, of suburban Boston, was arrested and charged on Monday, the Boston Globe reported. He had threatened to expose the affair unless he was paid by Rabbi Barry Starr,who resigned a year ago from Temple Israel, a Conservative synagogue in Sharon, Massachusetts.

Starr allegedly paid nearly half a million dollars — taken from synagogue funds and borrowed from his congregants — to hide his two-year affair with the 16-year-old. Much of the money came from the rabbi’s discretionary fund, including checks altered by the rabbi. Starr also borrowed thousands of dollars from an elderly congregant, a Holocaust survivor.

Zemeitus claimed to be the older brother of the teen, who was 18 when the affair ended.

He was charged with eight counts of larceny, two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of extortion.

Zemeitus said he met the rabbi on Craigslist, according to the Globe, citing court documents. He met Starr at his home after an exchange of emails.

It is still unclear if Zemeitus is related to the teen, though he claimed to have copies of emails exchanged between the rabbi and the teen, as well as photographs of them together. The affair started three years ago and ended about a year ago.

Starr, a married father of two, is credited with expanding the congregation he served for 28 years to over 600 families. He has served on the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Theological Seminary and as president of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, as well as the region’s Rabbinical Assembly.

Rabbi to celebrities sentenced to one year in prison for bribery

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 07:32

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yoshiyahu Pinto, an Israeli rabbi who has counseled such celebrities as LeBron James, was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to bribing a senior police official.

Pinto, 39, also was fined 1 million shekels, about $260,000, in Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday.

In a plea deal finalized last month, the rabbi pleaded guilty to charges of bribery, attempted bribery and obstruction of justice for attempting to bribe a senior police officer for information in another investigation about him. Pinto, the head of several charity organizations and yeshivas in Ashdod, in southern Israel, and in the United States, agreed to provide evidence that he bribed a more senior officer.

Pinto, whose attorneys had argued for community service and no jail time, will begin serving his sentence on June 28.

Prominent Israelis, politicians, businessmen and sports figures have sought counsel from Pinto on business and personal matters. Along with James, the NBA star, they include former Rep. Anthony Weiner, businessman Jay Schottenstein and Israeli soccer star Guy Levy.

In April 2014, U.S. prosecutors brought charges against former Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., for receiving large contributions from followers of Pinto. Grimm admitted to receiving several hundred thousand dollars in contributions from Pinto followers.

Pinto, a kabbalist, is the great-grandson of the well-known Morocco-born mystic known as the Baba Sali.

IDF delegation returns from Nepal as new temblor strikes area

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 06:04

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Defense Forces delegation to Nepal returned home as a second powerful earthquake shook the beleaguered Asian country.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 struck Nepal on Tuesday morning less than three weeks after a 7.8 magnitude quake struck the same area, killing more than 8,000 people and injuring upwards of 16,000. At least 42 people have been reported killed and several buildings destroyed in Tuesday’s earthquake in the hours after it struck.

The area had faced numerous aftershocks and smaller earthquakes since the April 25 temblor centered near Kathmandum, the capital. Many families had moved back to their homes, however.

Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz, co-director of the Chabad of Nepal with his wife, Chani, said soon after Tuesday’s quake that 133 Israelis have again taken shelter at the Chabad center, according to the Chabad.org website.

“Although everyone we know appears to be safe, we are sad to report that there are many more casualties in Nepal again today,” Lifshitze said. “There is so much more work that now needs to be done.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted the IDF delegation on Tuesday morning when it arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport.

“Members of the delegation, we are proud of you!” Netanyahu exclaimed. “You rescued people from the ruins, treated 1,600 injured and sick people, and brought new life into the world, at least eight births. You showed the true face of the State of Israel – a state that loves life and saves life.”

“You brought much honor and much pride to the State of Israel. I am certain and I know that you are already prepared for the next mission wherever you are needed.”

Proposal to add gov’t ministers narrowly advances in Israel’s Knesset

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 05:48

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A proposal to expand the number of Israeli government members from the current 18 passed a first reading in the Knesset after a five-hour filibuster.

The plan passed late Monday night by a vote of 61-59, with all 61 members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition voting in favor and all members of the opposition voting against. It must pass a second and third reading, likely on Wednesday night, to go into effect.

The proposal, an amendment to the Basic Law, would overturn a law passed during the last Knesset term limiting the number of Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly plans to appoint 20 ministers and four deputy ministers, and possibly others, in the new government in order to satisfy his coalition partners and his own Likud party. If there are not enough minister posts to go around, coalition partners have threatened to pull out, which would require Israel’s president to appoint another party head to form a government.

The opposition led by Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog said it would submit “thousands” of objections to the proposal on Tuesday. A committee to advance the proposal to the second and third readings, made up of six coalition members and five opposition members, also will meet Tuesday.

The new government could be sworn in as early as Thursday.

Israeli president in Germany to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 05:22

BERLIN (JTA) — A state visit to Germany by Israel’s president marking 50 years of diplomatic relations has highlighted the countries’ deep ties and political differences.

After discussing with German President Joachim Gauck issues such as the threat of a nuclear Iran and the state of talks with Palestinian leaders, President Reuven Rivlin said that “friends can sometimes agree to disagree.”

Rivlin arrived in Berlin on Monday with his wife, Nechama, and they were received at Schloss Bellevue, the presidential residence, where the two presidents also discussed the importance of strengthening their nations’ ties.

Israeli flags are flying at the Reichstag during the three-day visit, which includes Tuesday’s visit with Chancellor Angela Merkel and a gala ceremony at Berlin’s Philharmonic. To mark the 50th anniversary, Tuesday’s edition of Bild Zeitung, Germany’s most-read daily newspaper, featured a front page in Hebrew.

On Monday, Rivlin walked with Berlin Mayor Michael Muller through Brandenburg Gate and met with a group of 300 Israelis and Germans aged 18 to 30 who had taken part in partnership projects in the arts and culture field. Security was visibly high in the German capital, with uniformed police patrolling in greater numbers.

Gauck said he and Rivlin talked about “aspects of policy where Germans and Israelis still differ,” including their assessments of the threat from Iran. The German president reiterated his country’s support for a two-state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but added that he took seriously the concerns of Israelis, especially when “coming from an independent person such as President Rivlin.”

For his part, Rivlin said he was convinced that their differences were those of friends who know the other is sincere in wanting to bring about peace. He also said that the strong relationship between Germany and Israel had gone well beyond “reparations” for the Holocaust — a point he reiterated when speaking to the young adults in the afternoon.

According to a statement from Rivlin’s office, the Israeli president said that the strong connection between the two countries “was made possible by Germany taking responsibility for the crimes of the past. … And so we made a decision that our relationship would never be compensation for that dark history, but that its lessons would guide us to a better future.”

On Wednesday, Rivlin is scheduled to visit with political leaders in Kiel, as well as the submarine manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, which is to deliver Israel’s fifth of six Dolphin class submarines this year.

Officer who beat Ethiopian-Israeli soldier summoned to dismissal hearing

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 16:11

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli officer who was caught on video beating an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier met with police officials at a dismissal hearing.

The hearing was held Monday morning, according to Israeli news reports.

The beating was among the catalysts for Ethiopian-Israeli protests against police brutality and racism that turned violent in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Ethiopian-Israeli activists have called for the officer’s dismissal.

A final decision on the officer’s employment with the Israel Police will be made in the coming days, according to reports.

Israel’s Supreme Court rejects removing Muslim Quarter from Jerusalem Day route

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 15:12

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The annual Jerusalem Day march will still go through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City after the Supreme Court rejected a petition to change its route.

The court ordered police to arrest any participants who shout racist slogans or engage in violence or vandalism during Sunday’s march. Arab residents of the Old City must be given full access to their homes and businesses during the march, the ruling also said.

“With a heavy heart, we reject the petition,” Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein reportedly said.

The petition was filed by the Israeli NGOs Ir Amim and Tag Meir.

Last year, marchers were caught on video shouting “Death to Arabs” and “Muhammad is dead.”

Thousands of Israelis waving Israeli flags participate in the annual Jerusalem Day march of flags entering the Old City through the Muslim Quarter and making its way to the Western Wall. Jerusalem Day marks the reunification of the city following the 1967 Six-Day War.

Jean-Marie Le Pen vows to form new ‘political movement’

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 14:59

(JTA) — After being suspended by his daughter from the National Front party he founded, far-right French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen said he will create a new “political movement.”

“I’m not going to create another party, I’m going to create a movement that will not be a competitor to the FN,” Le Pen told Radio Courtoisie on Monday.

Marine Le Pen suspended her father, who founded the National Front party in 1972, last week following a disciplinary hearing over the elder Le Pen’s comments on the Holocaust. Jean-Marie Le Pen told French TV last month that he does not regret saying in 1987 that the Nazi gas chambers were “just a detail of World War II.”

Following his suspension, Le Pen said that he was “ashamed that the president of the National Front has my name.”

The National Front is a staunchly right-wing nationalist party that opposes immigration. Marine Le Pen’s stand against her father’s comments is part of her attempts to soften the party’s image and bring it more mainstream success in elections.

Netanyahu: Still working to expand coalition

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 14:04

(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he plans to continue recruiting political parties for his governing coalition, which currently holds the minimum required for a majority.

Netanyahu said Monday at a meeting of his Likud Party that he would work to build the “widest government we can achieve,” but did not name which parties he was courting, the Times of Israel reported.

However, leaders of several parties, including Zionist Union and Yisrael Beiteinu, responded to his remarks by emphasizing that they will not join the government, which consists of four parties in addition to Likud: Jewish Home, Kulanu, United Torah Judaism and Shas.

The coalition now has 61 seats in the 120-member Knesset.

Avigdor Liberman, who leads Yisrael Beiteinu and was foreign minister in Netanyahu’s last government, said at a meeting of his party that he had rejected recent invitations from Netanyahu to join the coalition, including an offer to be defense minister. Liberman also accused Netanyahu of having “cheated” voters, according to the Times of Israel.

Yisrael Beiteinu, a far-right party, had been widely expected to join the coalition until last week, when Liberman announced otherwise, saying he objected to deals that Netanyahu had made with other parties in the coalition.

Oklahoma lawmakers press U. of Oklahoma to return Nazi-looted painting

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 13:58

(JTA) — Some two dozen Oklahoma state lawmakers are calling on the University of Oklahoma to research if it owns any paintings that were stolen by the Nazis.

Twenty-six members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives introduced a resolution Monday that asks O.U. and its Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art to determine whether any of its paintings were “unlawfully appropriated during the Nazi era.”

The specific painting behind the resolution is Camille Pissaro’s “Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep,” which was donated to the university by Clara Weitzenhoffer upon her death in 2000. The 1886 painting, one of 33 donated to the museum from Clara and Aaron Weitzenhoffer’s extensive collection of French Impressionist art, belonged originally to French department store owner Raoul Meyer.

Meyer’s entire art collection was seized by the Nazis when they invaded France during World War II.

“Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep” changed hands several times, KGOU reported, before a Swiss court ruled in 1953 that Meyer had missed his five-year window to recover the painting. Meyer’s daughter filed a lawsuit against the University of Oklahoma in January 2014.

University officials told The Associated Press that the painting’s full ownership history is unknown.

Former Met Council exec sentenced, last of six co-conspirators in $9 million scheme

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 11:28

NEW YORK (JTA) — David Cohen, the former executive director of New York’s Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, was sentenced to one year in jail for his role in a $9 million embezzlement scheme against the Jewish nonprofit.

The sentencing of Cohen, announced in a news release Monday by the state’s attorney general and comptroller, concludes the sentencing for six co-conspirators in the 20-year scam against the social service organization. Cohen also must pay $650,000 in restitution, the approximate amount he personally stole.

He pleaded guilty in April 2014 to two grand larceny charges and a conspiracy charge.

“Today, we have held all of the Met Council conspirators accountable for their roles in this massive theft, which ripped off some of the neediest New Yorkers,” Eric Schneiderman, the attorney general, said in the news release.

The scheme involved the Met Council’s former CEO, William Rapfogel, who was sentenced last summer to 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison and paid $3 million in restitution.

Cohen devised the insurance kickback scheme in 1992 with Joseph Ross of the Century Coverage Corp. in which the insurance firm submitted inflated invoices that the Met Council knowingly paid, with cash kickbacks then going to Cohen and Herb Friedman, the Met Council’s former chief financial officer. Soon after Rapfogel became the Met Council’s CEO, he joined the conspiracy.

The Met Council provides social, economic, housing, food and emergency financial assistance to poor and elderly New Yorkers. The bulk of its funding comes from government allocations, but it also receives funding from UJA-Federation of New York for projects serving Jewish populations.

Sweden deputy PM apologizes for comparing Mediterranean refugee crisis to Auschwitz

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 09:36

(JTA) — Sweden’s deputy prime minister apologized for making an analogy between the migrant refugee crisis in the Mediterranean and Auschwitz.

Asa Romson of the Green Party apologized on Monday for the remarks she made the previous evening during a televised debate in parliament.

“It was wrong to make an analogy with Auschwitz. I sincerely apologize,” Romson wrote in posts on Twitter and Facebook, in addition to going before reporters, the Svenska Dagbladet reported Monday. “When I thought of the terrible situation going on in the Mediterranean, I was so angry that so many people have died. The situation still cannot be compared with what happened in Nazi Germany.”

Romson said her statement was “not well thought out.”

During the debate, she said “We are … turning the Mediterranean into the new Auschwitz.”

Lena Posner-Korosi, chair of the Jewish Central Council in Sweden, told the Aftonbladet that the statement was “ignorant and absurd.” Posner-Korosi said she accepted the apology on behalf of the council, but called on Romson to issue a public apology specifically to Holocaust survivors and their children.

In her apology, Romson referred to Roma as Gypsies, angering organized Roma organizations. She later apologized.

Israel buying 4 German warships to patrol Mediterranean

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 09:30

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will purchase four German warships for $480 million with the help of German government subsidies.

The deal was signed Monday in Israel. About one-third of the purchase — or more than $150 million – will be subsidized by a German government grant. The ships will be delivered in five years by the Thyssen Krupp consortium.

They will be used to patrol Israeli gas drilling rigs in the Mediterranean Sea and secure other work off the Israeli coastline there.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Israel on Sunday for a visit as the guest of Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. The same day, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin arrived in Germany for a three-day visit to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Israel already owns three German-government subsidized Dolphin class submarines and has ordered three more due to be delivered in the coming months.