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Heirs to German Jews sue Swiss bank UBS to recover inheritance

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 13:46

(JTA) — The relatives of German Jews whose art collection was seized by the Nazis have sued UBS, claiming the Swiss bank cheated them out of their inheritance.

The family of Ludwig and Margret Kainer — the children of their cousins — filed lawsuits in New York and Switzerland contending that the bank never made an effort to find them.

According to the lawsuit, UBS created a fake foundation in which to place the proceeds of the sales of artworks once owned by the couple, The New York Times reported.

When Christie’s auctioned off  the Degas work “Danseuses” for nearly $11 million in 2009, the auction catalog reported that it was part of a restitution agreement with the heirs of Ludwig and Margret Kainer, according to the newspaper.

The lawsuit contends that the foundation, which ostensibly supports the health and education of Jewish youth, has collected proceeds from other sales and restitutions, the Times reported.

UBS and the foundation, which was named after Norbert Levy, Margret Kainer’s father, said in court filings that they have done nothing wrong but declined to comment to the newspaper.

The foundation, containing millions of dollars in recovered assets, was set up originally in 1928 to benefit Margret Kainer. It was resurrected by the bank as a place to put the proceeds from the sale of their art and other holdings that had been seized by the Nazis in the 1930s when the couple fled to Paris to escape the Nazis. The couple died childless in the 1960s.

 

Ex-Nazis were paid millions in Social Security, probe finds

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 13:30

NEW YORK (JTA) — Dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards collected millions of dollars in Social Security payments after being forced out of the United States, an investigation by The Associated Press found.

The payments were made possible by a legal loophole that gave the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the U.S. If they agreed to go, or fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal U.S. government records, AP reported Monday following a two-year probe.

The deals allowed the Justice Department’s former Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations, to avoid lengthy deportation hearings, as well as increase the number of Nazis it expelled from the United States.

The Justice Department denied using Social Security payments as a tool for removing Nazi suspects. But since 1979, at least 38 of 66 suspects removed from the country kept their Social Security benefits, the AP analysis found.

There are at least four living beneficiaries, including Jakob Denzinger, a former guard at Aushchwitz. Denzinger, 90, lives in Croatia, where he receives approximately $1,500 a month in Social Security payments.

Other beneficiaries include armed SS troops who guarded the network of Nazi camps where millions of Jews perished; a rocket scientist who used slave laborers to advance his research in the Third Reich; and a Nazi collaborator who engineered the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland.

The AP investigation featured interviews, research and analysis of records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and other sources.

 

29 projects debut on expanded Slingshot guide highlighting innovation

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:59

NEW YORK (JTA) — An alternative Hebrew school program in New York City, a digital repository for Jewish texts and a synagogue-based bakery in Tulsa, Okla., that employs mentally ill adults are among the 29 Jewish groups listed for the first time in the annual Slingshot guide to innovative Jewish projects.

The 2014-15 guide published Monday features 82 of what it touts as North America’s “most innovative” organizations and projects.

This year the list, previously limited to 50 groups, expanded dramatically. In addition, Washington and Midwest editions and a supplement highlighting women’s organizations also were published.

Despite the added slots, Slingshot officials said in a news release, this year’s process for selecting organizations and projects “has been more competitive than ever before, as the total number of applicants has dramatically increased.”

Launched in 2005 by a group of donors in their 20s and 30s, the Slingshot guide evaluates North American Jewish organizations based on “their innovative approach, the impact they have in their work, the leadership they have in their sector, and their effectiveness at achieving results.”

Leaders of included groups have described the guide as a “stamp of recognition” akin to being listed favorably in a Zagat restaurant guide.

Newly included groups are the Altamont Bakery; Asylum Arts; Beit T’Shuvah: Youth Services; Eshel, Inc.; The iCenter; iEngage-The Engaging Israel Project; Jewish Disaster Response Corps; Jewish Kids Groups; Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington @ Adas Israel; The Jewish Journey Project; Jewish Renaissance Project at Penn Hillel
Jewish Student Connection; Jewish World Watch; JScreen; JLens Investor Network; LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture; LE MOOD; Makom; Online Jewish Academy; RespectAbilityUSA; Righteous Conversations Project; Ritualwell; Shabbat Tent; Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center (SIJCC); SOJOURN: Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity; SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva; TAMID Investment Group; The Sefaria Project; and TI Fellowship.

The full guide, including supplements, can be downloaded at http://www.slingshotfund.org/order/

Amended charges have suspected JCC shooter facing possible death sentence

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 10:13

(JTA) — The alleged gunman in a shooting spree at two Jewish agencies in Kansas City is facing a potential death sentence after prosecutors amended charges against him.

Prosecutors in Johnson County, Kansas, on Friday dismissed a charge of first-degree murder against Frazier Glenn Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, and consolidated the charges to capital murder, which carries a potential death sentence, the Kansas City Star reported.

Miller, 73, is accused of killing three people on April 13 outside the Overland Park JCC and the nearby Village Shalom senior facility. None of the victims were Jewish.

Miller also is charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder for allegedly shooting at three others.

During their search of Miller’s home in Aurora, Mo., located about 200 miles from Kansas City, FBI agents found anti-Semitic paraphernalia, including a copy of “Mein Kampf” and a book Miller had written titled “A White Man Speaks Out.”

They also found a user’s manual for a shotgun, three boxes of ammunition and computer printouts with directions to area synagogues and kosher eateries, as well as the details of a Kansas City-area talent contest.

RCA affirms validity of Freundel’s past conversions, but not Israeli Rabbinate

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 10:10

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Rabbinical Council of America affirmed that any conversions performed by Rabbi Barry Freundel, the Orthodox rabbi in Washington facing charges of voyeurism, are valid.

The RCA, the main modern Orthodox rabbinical association in the United States, issued a statement Monday to assuage the concerns of Orthodox converts to Judaism whose conversion process was overseen by Freundel, who was arrested last week for allegedly installing a hidden camera in the mikvah to spy on women in the shower. The rabbi has pleaded not guilty.

However, it’s not clear that Israel’s Chief Rabbinate will honor Freundel’s conversions. In response to an inquiry from Israel’s daily Haaretz, Rabbinate spokesman Ziv Manor left open the possibility that those conversions might be invalidated.

“The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is drafting a policy regarding conversions performed by Rabbi Freundel that will attempt to strike a balance between what is permitted according to Jewish law, on the one hand, and the rights and welfare of the converts, on the other,” Manor said, according to Haaretz.

Freundel has been suspended without pay from his position as rabbi at Kesher Israel, a modern Orthodox congregation in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, and from the RCA, where Freundel served on its executive committee.

“The Beth Din of America — under the leadership of Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz — has concluded as a matter of Jewish law that conversions performed by Rabbi Freundel prior to his arrest on October 14, 2014 remain halachically valid and prior converts remain Jewish in all respects,” the RCA said in its statement, which also expressed sympathy with Freundel’s alleged victims and his family.

The RCA also announced that it would appoint a woman to serve as an ombudsman for converts at all the RCA’s rabbinical courts for conversion, known as batei din. The role of the ombudsman will be to field any questions or concerns from conversion candidates who feel uncomfortable raising those issues with the rabbi in charge of their conversion process.

Also, the RCA said it would appoint a commission made up of rabbis, lay leaders and mental health professionals to review RCA conversion processes and suggest safeguards against possible abuse.

“We wanted to create all kinds of opportunities for potential converts to feel safe to share their discomforts and concerns,” Rabbi Mark Dratch, the RCA’s executive vice president, told JTA in an interview.

Freundel spied on women in the mikvah at least since 2012, according to documents filed in Washington Superior Court. He allegedly hid a camera in a clock radio and installed it in the shower area of the mikvah.

Freundel was released the day after his arrest with orders to stay away from his synagogue and alleged victims.

In Orthodox Judaism, mikvah ritual baths are used for the purposes of conversion and on a monthly basis by married women at a certain point in their menstrual cycle. Some men also visit the mikvah before Shabbat or holidays.

The RCA said it had fielded one other complaint of inappropriate behavior by Freundel — that he had shared a room with a woman who was not his wife on an overnight train. But those allegations of impropriety could not be substantiated and the matter was dropped.

“The overwhelming majority of our members are people of integrity and honesty who work hard and are trustworthy,” Dratch told JTA. “From time to time we have people who violate the norms, and unfortunately suspicion has cast a very large net over a large number of people. That undermines our ability to represent out community and lead our community and do our job properly.”

Kosher butcher in Germany admits selling non-kosher meat for years

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 10:03

BERLIN (JTA) — A kosher butcher in Frankfurt, Germany, admitted in court that he sold doctored tons of non-kosher meat for years as glatt kosher.

A verdict is expected next month in Frankfurt District Court in the case against the owners of the now-bankrupt Aviv kosher butcher store.

Leslie W., 48, and his partner Akiwa H., 56, are charged with having sold more than 88,000 pounds of non-kosher meat for a marked-up price. The alleged labeling fraud brought in more than $710,000 in profit, according to reports.

Akiwa said in court last week that he devised the scheme in order to escape bankruptcy in 2008.

“I didn’t see any other way out,” he said, according to news reports.

Akiwa said he bought beef and lamb from Metro, a giant discount supermarket, and made it appear kosher by removing veins and washing it in saltwater. He packaged it in bags with kosher labels, which also spared the cost of delivery and storage. But he said his sausages were always 100 percent kosher.

Investigators began their probe after learning that the business apparently sold more meat than it bought. Reports on the investigation first appeared in 2012.

“I want to ask the forgiveness of everyone whose religious sensibilities were wounded,” Akiwa told the court. His customers included individual Jews, a Jewish school and a senior home.

Among several former customers who came forward recently, one said he felt “plagued by sin” when he learned he might have been eating non-kosher meat, according to the German Jewish weekly Juedische Allgemeine. Others noted that they had trusted the rabbinate of Frankfurt, which oversees kashrut for the kosher establishments.

Leslie W. said he was “shocked and wanted to give everything up” when he found out what was going on.  But he said he was paralyzed by fear of the loss of reputation.

“I deeply regret my behavior,” he said.

 

Death of Joan Rivers was ‘predictable complication,’ medical examiner finds

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 09:54

(JTA) — Joan Rivers died from lack of oxygen during surgery, the New York City medical examiner’s office said.

The comic’s death “resulted from a predictable complication of medical therapy,” the medical examiner said in findings released late last week.

”In response to NYC’s medical examiner’s report, we continue to be saddened by our tragic loss,” Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, posted on Twitter. “No further comment at this time.”

Rivers died Sept. 4 while undergoing a laryngoscopy, a routine procedure in which a doctor examines the back of the throat and vocal cords, in a New York clinic. She had been complaining of recent changes to her voice, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Rivers went into cardiac arrest during the procedure.

No autopsy was performed, TMZ reported, at the request of Melissa at the time of her mother’s death.

Rivers was sedated with propofol, the drug that was implicated in the death of Michael Jackson, though it is has not been connected to Rivers’ death.

The New York State Department of Health also is investigating the death.

No charges for British lawmaker George Galloway for ‘Israel-free zone’ comment

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 08:19

(JTA) — British lawmaker George Galloway will not be prosecuted for calling for his constituency to be “declared an Israel-free zone.

The Crown Prosecution Service said last week that there was not enough evidence to file any charges against Galloway, despite numerous complaints made to the West Yorkshire Police that he was inciting racial hatred.

Police categorized it as a “hate incident,” according to reports.

“This has been an extremely expensive waste of police and CPS time forced on them by ultra-Zionists who were pursuing a vendetta against me,” Galloway said following the announcement that he would not be prosecuted. “My comments were aimed at the state of Israel — which I repeat what I said at the time is an illegal, savage and barbarous state — and had nothing whatever to do with race or religion.”

He added, “I take back not a word and I will continue to forcefully condemn Israel. It remains the case that there is a worldwide boycott of Israel, its goods, its services, its academics.”

Galloway, of the Socialist Respect party, called on his constituency to “truly make Bradford an Israel-free zone.”

In August, speaking in his northern England district, he said, reportedly in reaction to the Israel-Gaza conflict, “We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford even if any of them had thought of doing so. We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel — and you have to do the same.”

Galloway said that Israeli goods, services and academics were likewise unwelcome.

He skipped the vote in Britain’s House of Commons earlier this month recognizing a state of Palestine because it also accepted the existence of the state of Israel.

Ron Klain appointed U.S. Ebola response coordinator

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 07:45

(JTA) — Ron Klain, a former White House official, was tapped to coordinate the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak.

Klain previously served as chief of staff for Vice President Joe Biden and for Vice President Al Gore from 1995 to 1999.

As Ebola response coordinator, Klain will report to Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco and National Security Advisor Susan Rice, the White House said in an announcement over the weekend.

“Klain comes to the job with extensive experience in overseeing complex governmental operations and has good working relationships with leading Members of Congress as well as senior Administration officials,” the White House announcement said. “Klain’s talent and managerial skill will be crucial in providing the resources and expertise we need to rapidly, cohesively, and effectively respond to Ebola at home and abroad.”

Klain, who is Jewish, grew up in Indianapolis and attended Harvard Law School. Since leaving Washington in 2011, he has worked as president of Case Holdings, an investment company.

His appointment follows the infection of two Dallas nurses by the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States. The patient, Thomas Duncan, died Oct. 8.

Assault on Jewish leader in Brooklyn not a hate crime, police say

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 06:32

(JTA) — The man suspected of assaulting the head of a Brooklyn Jewish Y will not be charged with a hate crime.

Shawn Schraeder, 25, of the Queens borough of New York City, was apprehended late last week in St. Louis and returned to Brooklyn, where he is awaiting arraignment, ABC News reported.

Schraeder is accused of punching Leonard Petlakh, the executive director of the Kings Bay Y, but he is not being charged with a hate crime because police no longer think bias was involved, according to ABC.

Petlakh was attacked following an exhibition basketball game Oct. 7 between the Brooklyn Nets and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Fans verbally sparred inside the arena as the game was ending when pro-Palestinian protesters began shouting slogans and a pro-Israel fan grabbed a Palestinian flag from one of them, Petlakh told JTA at the time of the incident.

As the crowds spilled out of the arena and onto the street, he said, one of the protesters took a swing at Petlakh, who was with his 14- and 10-year-old sons. His nose was broken and he required eight stitches.

New York State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz said he found it “disturbing” that there would be no bias crime charge in what he called a “brutal attack.”

“Given the anti-Semitic nature of this attack, I urge authorities to reconsider this decision,” Cymbrowitz said in a statement. “I will be calling on the district attorney to treat this as a bias case and seek the harshest penalties that are allowed under the law.”

 

More Jewish families move into eastern Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 06:02

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Nine Jewish families moved into the eastern Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Silwan.

The families moved into nine apartments in two buildings late Sunday night, according to reports, bringing to 17 the number of Jewish families living in the neighborhood.

The houses were purchased for the Yemeni Community Committee in deals facilitated by the Ateret Cohanim organization, which buys eastern Jerusalem properties and moves Jews into them, Ynet reported.

A Palestinian man who bought the buildings from their Palestinian owners sold the buildings to the Jewish group, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported. The buildings have stood empty for the last four months, according to Maan.

Yemenite Jews in the 1880s founded the area in Silwan where the buildings are located but left the area in 1938 due to Arab violence.

Late last month, several Jewish families moved into buildings in Silwan, known in Hebrew as Shiloah, that were purchased by an American company and rented to the Jewish families associated with the Elad Foundation.

Zeev Orenstein, director of international affairs for the Elad Foundation, said his organization was not involved in the purchase of the buildings that the families moved into on Sunday night.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin addressed the issue on Sunday, prior to the latest move-in, during the dedication in memory of President Yitzhak Shamir of a main road leading into Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem cannot be a city in which the building is done in secret, or whereby moving into apartments is done in the dead of night,” he said.

 

 

 

 

Flemish Jews want deputy PM to clarify statements on Nazi collaborators

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 05:00

ANTWERP, Belgium (JTA) — A representative of Flemish Jews asked a deputy prime minister of Belgium to clarify statements in which he appeared to condone the actions of Nazi collaborators.

Jan Jambon, who is also Belgium’s interior minister, made the statements during an interview published last week in the La Libre Belgique newspaper.

During the interview Jambon, who is a member of the New Flemish Alliance party, was asked about his participation in 2001 at a rally organized by the far-right association Sint-Maartenfonds, whose mission statement is to support Flemish Belgians who fought on Nazi Germany’s side in World War II.

Commenting about these veterans, he said, “The people who collaborated with the Germans, they had their reasons. I did not live in those times.”

After the Oct. 13 publication of the interview, Jambon rejected any interpretation of his words as condoning Nazism or collaboration with Nazi Germany and apologized to anyone who was offended by them.

But Raphael Werner of the Flemish Forum of Jewish Organizations told the Antwerp-based Joods Actueel newspaper that the forum wants to meet with Jambon and discuss the issue more thoroughly.

“Then we could hear for ourselves what are the positions of the minister, not only about collaboration but also about the sensitive questions connected to it,” he said, according to an article published Oct. 14.

Several Belgian parties called for the resignation of Jambon, who was appointed to his position last week following months of political deliberations that led to the formation of a coalition five months after the elections.

More than one-third of Belgium’s Jewish population of approximately 66,000 was sent to the Auschwitz death camp, according to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.

Belgium, a federal binational state, comprises three autonomous regions: the Dutch-speaking Flemish region; the French-speaking Walloon region; and the central Brussels region.

Dutch Christians boycott church over exhibit on jailed Palestinian children

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 04:51

UTRECHT, the Netherlands (JTA) — A group of Dutch Christians boycotted Utrecht’s Domkerk Church over an exhibition on jailed Palestinian children that they said encouraged anti-Semitism.

The exhibition, titled “Room No. 4,” was brought to the Domkerk — one of the Netherlands’ best-known churches and one of Utrecht’s tourist stops — by the Dutch Coalition for Palestinian Children in Israeli Detention.

The exhibition, which ended Sunday, featured pictures of adult models portraying Palestinian children who are suffering in Israeli detention facilities. The group announced its decision to boycott the exhibition for its duration earlier this month.

Among the boycotters was Hebe Kohlbrugge, a writer and a member of the Domkerk Church.

“Many people cannot differentiate between Israel and Jews,” Kohlbrugge told the Trouw daily newspaper. “People wearing kippot are being harassed over Israel’s actions. Thus criticism of Israel becomes anti-Semitism.”

Kohlbrugge also said that the church’s history of anti-Semitism makes it an unsuitable venue for criticizing Israel.

“Before you point fingers, better look at the ones pointing in your direction,” he added.

Jaap Hamburger, whose group belongs to the Dutch Coalition for Palestinian Children in Israeli Detention, wrote an Op-Ed on the news website joop.nl denying the exhibition encouraged anti-Semitism.

In the exposition, the church placed a board displaying members’ complaints against the exhibit, but said it decided to host it anyway because of its “commitment to children’s rights.”

The Liberal Jewish Community of Utrecht also condemned the hosting of the exhibition at the church.

 

Yaalon heads to D.C. as Israeli gov’t ministers rip Kerry remarks

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 16:12

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon left for a five-day U.S. trip amid criticism by Israeli ministers of remarks made by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Yaalon headed to the United States on Saturday night, two days after Kerry linked the rise of ISIS terrorism to the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at a State Department event marking the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

“There wasn’t a leader I met … who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation,” Kerry  said.

In the U.S., Yaalon is scheduled to meet with his U.S. counterpart, Chuck Hagel, and other U.S. security officials, to discuss regional issues such as Iran’s nuclear program and the Islamic State. It is his first U.S. visit since Israel’s 50-day operation in Gaza this summer.

Yaalon also is expected to meet in New York with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. He is scheduled to attend official ceremonies at Ground Zero in New York and at Arlington National Cemetery, and to meet with Jewish community leaders.

“The relations between the U.S. and Israel are based on common interests and shared values, and those should not be overshadowed by any disagreement of any sort,” Yaalon said in a statement before he left Israel.

On Friday, some Israeli ministers rapped Kerry for his remarks.

“Even when a British Muslim beheads a British Christian, someone will always blame the Jew,” Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Jewish Home party, responded in a Facebook post that linked to a report of Kerry’s remarks.

On Saturday night, Bennett posted, “The notion regarding the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not true and puts Israel at risk.” He listed several examples.

Likud minister Gilad  Erdan also criticized Kerry on Facebook, asking whether anybody really believes Islamic State fighters would put down their arms if Israeli-Palestinian talks were relaunched.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday night accused Bennett of using Kerry’s remarks for his own political benefit.

“There can be differences of opinion between friends, but there needn’t be attacks,” Liberman said in an interview on Israel Channel 2.

On Friday, the State Department clarified Kerry’s statement.

“What he said was that during his travels to build a coalition against the Islamic State, he was told that should the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be resolved, the Middle East would be a better place,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said. “His comments were distorted for political gains. He did not make that connection.”

But PLO secretary general Yasser Abed Rabbo told the French news agency AFP on Saturday night, in response to the Kerry statement, that “linking the fight against terrorism and the end of the Israeli occupation is a strategic position that we support.”

 

Rivlin: Violence an epidemic in Israeli society

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 15:52

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The epidemic of violence permeates every sector of Israel, the country’s president, Reuven Rivlin, said in an address.

“It is time to honestly admit that Israeli society is ill – and it is our duty to treat this disease,” Rivlin told the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities on Sunday at a conference titled “From Xenophobia to Accepting the Other.”

“The tension between Jews and Arabs within the State of Israel has risen to record heights, and the relationship between all parties has reached a new low,” he said. “We have all witnessed the shocking sequence of incidents and violence taking place by both sides. The epidemic of violence is not limited to one sector or another, it permeates every area and doesn’t skip any arena. There is violence in soccer stadiums as well as in the academia. There is violence in the social media and in everyday discourse, in hospitals and in schools.”

The president added that he has been verbally abused, including on his Facebook page.

Rivlin said that Israeli academia can play a “crucial role” in reducing violence in Israeli society.

“The academic sphere, in which cultures and languages ​​are taught from a desire to get to know them deeper, where there is a ‘you and I’ affinity, there is a place which generates not only learning but also a real encounter,” he said.

Rivlin called on the academy to be “a space which prepares a new generation of Israeli citizens to talk to each other, and especially to learn how to listen to each other.”

 

 

Daughter of Hamas’ Haniyeh treated at Israeli hospital

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 15:19

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A daughter of Gazan Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was treated this month at a Tel Aviv hospital, according to reports.

Haniyeh’s daughter received emergency treatment at Ichilov Hospital, the hospital confirmed, according to Haaretz. She remained hospitalized in Israel for about a week.

The hospital did not name the daughter — Haniyeh has 13 children — and did not disclose her ailment.

Palestinian officials would not confirm the hospital stay to Israeli media.

Ichilov Hospital said it treats more than 1,000 patients each year from the Gaza Strip and Palestinian Authority.

Haniyeh’s mother-in-law and year-old granddaughter both were cared for in Israeli hospitals this year. Israeli doctors were not able to help the granddaughter, Amal — she had an infection of her digestive tract that affected her nervous system and damaged her brain — and died after being returned to her family in Gaza.

Anti-Semitic graffiti in Spain due to media coverage of Gaza, watchdog group says

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 11:57

(JTA) — A Spanish pro-Israel group said the recent spraying of anti-Semitic graffiti in Toledo was the result of media coverage of the latest Gaza war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Madrid-based Action and Communication on the Middle East lobby group, or ACOM, made the assertion over the weekend in connection with the Oct. 4 spray-painting of dozens of epithets on Jewish heritage sites in the Old City of Toledo. Two days later, police arrested a 32-year-old in connection with the graffiti, lavanguardia.com reported.

“Spanish media coverage of the last Gaza war and the Israeli conflict in general has encouraged such actions,” Daniel Fernandez of ACOM wrote in a statement on Friday. “Spanish public TV’s coverage, coupled with general ignorance in Spain about Israel, could serve to incite just about anyone.”

The reports about the Toledo vandalism did not name the suspect or indicate whether the actions were believed to be connected to Israel.

One of the epithets was spray-painted on the foot of a statue of Samuel Levi Abulafia, who in the 14th century founded Toledo’s El Transito Synagogue. It read “No Jews!” and featured dollar signs. Abulafia, or Samuel Levi, served as treasurer under Peter I, the King of Castile, until his death in 1360 in Seville, where he was tortured on trumped-up charges of treason.

In July, the Jewish community of Madrid said it would sue a celebrated Spanish author, Antonio Gala, who in a July 23 Op-Ed in the El Mundo daily cited Israel’s attacks in Gaza to justify the mass expulsion of Spanish Jewry during the 15th and 16th centuries, among other atrocities committed against Jews.

Later that month, 100 Spanish celebrities, including Academy Award winners Pedro Almodovar, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, endorsed an open letter accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza.

Fewer than 100 Jews live in Toledo, which prior to the Spanish Inquisition was home to one of the Iberian Peninsula’s largest Jewish populations.

Palestinian girl dies after being hit by settler driver

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 11:36

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian girl died after being hit by a car driven by a Jewish West Bank settler who fled the scene.

Einas Khalil, 5, died hours after being struck near the central West Bank town of Sinjil, located northeast of Ramallah. Another 5-year-old Palestinian girl also was injured.

Residents of the Palestinian town accused the driver, 29, of the Yitzhar settlement, of deliberately hitting the girls, who were walking home from kindergarten.

The driver told police he did not stop after striking the girls because he feared for his life due to the crowd that had gathered around the injured girls, according to Ynet. He stopped in the nearest Jewish community, Ofra, where he reported the accident and turned himself in.

Israel Police said a preliminary investigation showed that the incident was an accident, according to Ynet.

Argentine far-left leader gets prison term for threatening Jewish rally

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 11:29

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — The leader of the Argentine far-left group Quebracho was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison for threatening a Jewish community demonstration.

Fernando Esteche was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty that day to charges of intimidation and violence against the 2006 protest in front of the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires.

Local Jewish groups said their rally was “against terrorism and in favor of peace.” The Quebracho group held a counterdemonstration supporting Hezbollah and against the State of Israel in reaction to the Israel-Lebanon conflict at the time. Esteche said he was protesting Israel’s “massacre against the Palestinians.”

The day of the demonstration, Esteche told the Argentine media that “we come here to repel the fanatics and to prevent the same type of aggression and arrogance that they carry in the Middle East and they want to do here with fundamentalist youth in Argentina.”

Esteche, who serves on the faculty at the National University of La Plata’s journalism school, has spoken publicly against Israel in demonstrations and in the media.

He was sentenced in a summary trial of two criminal cases involving protests and intimidation: the counterdemonstration at the Iranian Embassy and another against the International Monetary Fund in 2004.

After been threatened by “sticks and insults,” the Jewish demonstrators were forced to leave the site of their August 2006 rally.

The local Jewish political umbrella DAIA expressed satisfaction with the sentence.

Israeli rowing team debuts in world’s largest event

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 11:13

BOSTON (JTA) — For the first time, an Israeli rowing team is being represented in the Head of the Charles Regatta, the world’s largest two-day rowing event.

The event was being held Saturday and Sunday on the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass.

The annual event attracts over 11,000 athletes from around the world and 400,000 spectators who line the banks and bridges of the river near Harvard University.

The Israeli team consists of Irina (Roni) Vorvoreanu, Moran Samuel, Daniel Rutenberg, and Reuven Magnagey, along with their coach, Robert Nuckowski.

Due to injuries and eligibility issues, only Vorvoreanu raced in the event. The 16-year-old has rowed for Israel at the junior world championships. Samuel is a para-rowing champion who before suffering a stroke at 24 was a member of the Israeli national women’s basketball team.

The team’s participation was arranged through a collaboration between Israeli and American businesspeople, the Boston chapter of the Israeli American Council, Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Consulate General of Israel to New England.

Samuel and other team members were scheduled to speak at a public program in a Boston synagogue and attended a Brandeis University screening of “Two Who Dared,” a film by Joukowsky’s brother, Artemis, about Joukowsky’s grandparents, who rescued thousands of Jews during World War II.