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Around the Jewish World

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A weekly summary of briefs on some of the top issues in the Jewish media worldwide brought to you by Jewish Report staff writers. The SAJR newsroom sees hundreds of stories every week – not all can make it into the newspaper as a major story, of course, but many of them are worth bringing to the attention of our readers. This is “Around The Jewish World” and readers who have a specific interest in any of these briefs can search more broadly for more.
by Sharon SAJR | May 27, 2015

British Queen to visit Bergen-Belsen

 

LONDON - Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is to visit the site of Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen during her state visit to Germany next month, Buckingham Palace said. The 89-year-old queen and her husband Prince Philip will visit what remains of the camp and see a memorial to Anne Frank, the teenage Jewish diarist who died of typhus there in 1945.

The British monarch will also meet Holocaust survivors and some of those who helped liberate Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany. More than 50 000 people deported from across Europe and 20000 prisoners of war died at the camp between 1941 and 1945. It was liberated 70 years ago by British forces, who took pictures which gave the world the first visual proof of the Holocaust.

German President Joachim Gauck paid tribute to the liberators last month, saying they had restored “humanity” to the country.

The royal couple’s state visit to Germany takes place from June 24 to 26 and is also due to include a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and a state banquet. - Times of Israel

Reporter explains Israel’s revolutionary strides in health care
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ROCHESTER, NEW YORK - The Jewish Federations of Rochester and Omaha invited an ISRAEL21c reporter to give talks in their communities.

Armed with a 45-minute presentation featuring samples of Israeli innovation in all fields of healthcare, as well as two videos on med-tech, Viva Sarah Press set off for the United States to share the latest blue-and-white technologies changing the way we live and deal with diseases.

From the moment she touched down, everyone who heard about the subject of the talk wanted to be invited or wanted her to come to their communities as well. People are eager to know how the latest technologies from Israel can improve their lives.

From new brain-tech that will better treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases to novel stem-cell treatments for ALS; from mobile health solutions to advanced surgical procedures; interest in Israel’s contributions to the med-tech arena is widespread.

At the talks in Rochester and a presentation in Omaha, Press introduced medical and non-medical professionals to technologies such as novel vaccines and cool smartphone-based diagnostic tools.

Mona Kolko of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester praised it as “a presentation that dazzled our audience”. ISRAEL21c
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PM transfers Diaspora Affairs to his own ministry

 

JERUSALEM - The Israeli government announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had transferred responsibility for Jerusalem affairs from the Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Ministry to his own office - meaning that there will now be a functioning government ministry dealing solely with the Diaspora, outside the context of immigration and absorption. Representatives of the ministry declined to comment on the move, with Netanyahu and then Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett running the newly-formed Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Ministry.

Bennett continues to head the ministry in the new government.

For most of its history, the title of Diaspora Affairs minister was relatively empty, lacking an attendant bureaucracy and organisation to back it up. Over the last several years, however, an actual ministry has grown up around the title, and there are expectations that with the recent rise in anti-Semitism worldwide, it will continue to grow - although many think it will remain small.

Over the past year, there has been some friction between the ministry and the Jewish Agency - the state’s traditional interface with the Diaspora - especially regarding their respective roles in a government plan intended to promote Jewish engagement in communities abroad. According to expat South African Michael Jankelowitz, a former Jewish Agency spokesman and an observer of the country’s Diaspora policy, the Cabinet decision does not signify a shift in the ministry’s direction.

“The Jewish Agency for Israel in whatever form will always be the primary address for official Israel-Diaspora relations, based on its covenant with the government,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

Aside from working on the government’s Diaspora identity initiative, the ministry under Bennett has also worked to help resettle Ukrainian Jews displaced by their country’s civil war, donating several million shekels through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. - Jerusalem Post
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New facts on Liz Taylor emerge through biography

HOLLYWOOD - According to biographer Kitty Kelley, Elizabeth Taylor felt empathy for Jews after their persecution during the Second World War and felt “attached” to the Jewish heritage. Actress, superstar and model, she converted to Judaism after the death of her Jewish husband, Mike Todd.

After her year long process of conversion, Taylor took the Hebrew name Elisheba Rachel.

Elizabeth’s Jewish identity proved to be an obstacle during the 1962 production of the movie “Cleopatra”, when the Egyptian government announced that “Miss Taylor will not be allowed to come to Egypt because she has adopted the Jewish faith and supports Israeli causes”.

Ultimately, the ban was lifted and the movie was filmed in Egypt as planned. Elizabeth further established her voice as a Jew by publicly condemning the UN’s “Zionism is Racism” resolution in 1975.

She affiliated herself with Jewish organisations, and raised a great deal of money for Jewish and Israel-related charities. She also narrated a Simon Wiesenthal Centre film about the Holocaust.

One of Elizabeth's most memorable actions was linked to the 1976 Operation Entebbe.

After terrorists hijacked an Israeli flight, and made outrageous demands, Taylor offered to help by trading herself for the kidnapped passengers.

The Israeli ambassador politely declined her offer, but told her that the Jewish people would never forget her generosity.

After Elizabeth died, Rabbi Jerry Cutler followed her instructions to begin the ceremony 15 minutes late, so she could be late for her own funeral. - Accidental Talmudist
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Israeli Judo team almost banned

CASABLANCA - The Israeli judo team that travelled to the World Masters Judo Tournament, held last weekend in Rabat, Morocco, was nearly banned from entering the country, and competed before a hostile crowd once the event began.

The seven-member Israeli team’s difficulties began even before they reached Ben-Gurion Airport, according to the Hebrew-language news site Walla. When Shin Bet officials refused to provide security for the trip, the team went to Rabat with privately funded security guards - only to have their passports confiscated once they reached the airport in Morocco. There they were not initially allowed into the country, but kept in a room with no chairs, food or water for close to nine hours.

The team had insisted on going to the tournament despite the difficulties because the event could provide team members with enough points to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, the Ynet news site reported.

The Moroccan authorities blamed the airport delay on the Israeli team’s lack of visas but changed their story later on, saying that a gun had been found in one team member’s luggage, Ynet reported.

Israel Judo Association Chairman Moshe Ponti contacted Marius Vizer, president of the International Judo Federation’s executive committee, and asked for his assistance. At Vizer’s intervention, which included a threat to cancel the entire competition unless the Israeli team was released, the Moroccan authorities permitted the Israelis to proceed to their hotel, under the protection of a unit of the king’s security guards.- Times of Israel

 

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