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Around the Jewish World




Legal battle lost to move husband’s remains to Israel

LONDON – A widow’s long campaign to have her husband’s remains exhumed and reburied in Israel has been thwarted by a top judge. Joseph Charazi was buried in a Jewish cemetery in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, more than 20 years ago but his wife Anne claims his dying wish was to be buried in his homeland. However, four of his six children have “vehemently opposed” the exhumation, London’s High Court heard. The Adath Yisroel Burial Society, which administers the cemetery, has repeatedly refused to consent to the remains being dug up. Sam Grodzinski QC, acting for the burial society, said there were concerns that the process would be “unwholesome, undignified and demeaning”. Judge Leigh-Ann Mulcahy denied Mrs Charazi permission to mount a full judicial review of the burial society’s stance. Charazi moved to Israel in 2011 and, due to the sale of a property, is now in a position to pay for the removal of the remains to Israel. Charazi wanted to “fulfil her husband’s wishes” and to know that, when she passes away, “she will be buried next to him”. Judge Mulcahy said: “I have reached the conclusion that permission (to apply for judicial review) should be refused.” She said it was a “decision of a religious body in a matter of a religious nature” and these are “generally not amenable to judicial review”. She added: “In my view this claim is long out of time.” – Jewish Chronicle, London

World’s first blood test to aid diagnosis of Parkinson’s

HAIFA – An Israeli company expects to begin commercialising its unique assay on Parkinson’s disease (PD) in 2017 and is applying for CE clearance in Europe. Doctors diagnose as many as 60 000 new cases of PD every year in the US. Yet diagnosing PD with certainty can take years – long after early signs and symptoms have appeared. The Israeli startup BioShai has a game-changing product on the horizon: PDx, the world’s first simple blood test for the early diagnosis of PD. The test results can be combined with clinical data, providing a more accurate diagnosis to help doctors decide on the best course of treatment at a much earlier stage. More than 10 million people worldwide are living with this chronic and progressive movement disorder caused by the malfunction and death of neurons that produce dopamine, a chemical that co-ordinates the brain’s control of movement and coordination. “Having a diagnosis at an earlier stage can lead to a more precise treatment and a higher quality of life for the patient,” says BioShai CEO Jennifer Yarden, who has a PhD in medical science and formerly was responsible for clinical and commercial development of diagnostic assays and kits at Glycominds. She is also CEO and cofounder of Curewize Health. “Offering a simple and inexpensive test for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s is considered essential for the development of neuroprotective therapy,” she explains, “because by the time a patient has the many movement symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, a majority of the dopamine-producing neurons are lost or become impaired by the disease.” – ISRAEL21c

 Furore over Jewish One Nation event

 MELBOURNE – After a week of confusion and accusations of anti-Semitism, One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts have confirmed they will take questions from the community on December 4 at IDF Training in Caulfield. Gym owner Avi Yemini, who last week founded the Independent Jewish Council of Australia (IJCA), invited the pair to speak and contacted Glen Eira Council last Wednesday to see if the town hall was available. Yemini claims he was told on the phone the booking was confirmed, but a council spokesperson said no form was submitted and that the event with the politicians couldn’t be held in Glen Eira Town Hall on the date in question. Alongside concern that an unknown Jewish group was hosting the politicians, it was Roberts’ response as the story broke last week that also left councillors and Jewish leaders shocked. “Senator Malcolm Roberts has blasted the City of Glen Eira in Melbourne for the deep-seated and appalling anti-Semitic behaviour over its arbitrary and bigoted cancellation of a peaceful gathering of the local Jewish community,” Roberts posted on his Facebook page. “Senator Pauline Hanson and I were to attend the meeting and listen to community concerns, but once council got wind of firstly our presence and then secondly, that it was a Jewish community meeting, their sense of dignity and respect melted,” he claimed. And Yemini backed up the claim. “I do believe the council is discriminating based on the fact that I am Jewish with views that don’t suit their agenda,” he said. Councillor Joel Silver said Roberts has done the Australian Jewish community a great disservice. “There is nothing that infuriates me more, as the grandson of Holocaust survivors, than the levelling of false or unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism,” he said. “Such cries of ‘wolf’ only trivialise the genuine article, and cause the accusation to be taken far less seriously than it must always be.” Glen Eira mayor Mary Delahunty met with Senator Roberts last week Tuesday to explain that the decision was not based on religious or political views. – Australian Jewish News

 Canadian Jewish groups condemn new Green BDS resolution

 CALGARY – Despite Federal Green Leader Elizabeth May’s vocal opposition to the passing of a resolution that supported the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel at the party’s convention in August, the text of a new policy on Israel and Palestine – which lists May as one of its sponsors – is being criticised by Jewish leaders as “divisive”, “discriminatory” and “anti-Semitic”. The Green Party then passed a resolution in Ottawa in support of the “Palestinian self-determination and the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions”. Earlier this month, the party posted a new policy on its website that will come before a special general meeting scheduled for this week in Calgary. The new “Policy on Israel and Palestine”, states, among others, that the “Palestinian people are among the indigenous people of the geographic region now designated as Israel and the [occupied Palestinian territory]”, and it supports “only non-violent responses to violence and oppression, including economic measures such as government sanctions, consumer boycotts, institutional divestment, economic sanctions and arms embargoes”. It calls on the Canadian government to repeal the House of Commons resolution that last February condemned the BDS movement. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said the new resolution is “anti-Israel and suggests that Palestinians have no role or responsibility in advancing the peace process”. CIJA Chaiman David Cape said he is “appalled that the Green Party’s leadership would propose such a divisive policy that is hostile towards Israelis and riddled with egregious historic distortions”. B’nai B’rith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said: “It’s unfortunate that after rightly voicing her opposition to the BDS movement, Elizabeth May is now bowing to pressure from extremist elements within her party and targeting the Jewish state with this discriminatory and anti-Semitic motion.” – Canadian Jewish News

 Work of art makes ‘Jewish statement’ in UCLA dispute

 LOS ANGELES – The tortured saga of a UCLA graduate student who left the campus due to what he called pressure from pro-Palestinian elements got a happy epilogue of sorts. On November 14, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management unveiled “Warsaw”, a 2011 art piece by financier-turned-artist Robert Weingarten, depicting the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 on a second-floor landing of the university’s Cornell Hall. The business school’s decision to display the piece averted a donor’s threat to pull his art collection of more than 20 pieces that hang in its halls as a result of the student controversy. The events that led to the unveiling of “Warsaw” began when Milan Chatterjee, a UCLA law student and former president of the Graduate Student Association (GSA), decided over the summer to leave the university, citing harassment by the pro-Palestinian community. Chatterjee, who is a Hindu, faced blowback after he made GSA funding for an event contingent on there being no discussion of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. His departure was spurred by a “hostile and unsafe campus climate”, he wrote to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. When JP Morgan executive David Pollock learned of Chatterjee’s decision to leave, he was ready to take back the art collection he and his wife had lent to the business school some five years before. Pollock called Weingarten, an old friend who created the artwork in the collection already on loan to UCLA, to discuss the situation. Weingarten decided to lend UCLA “Warsaw” to hang along with his other works in Pollock’s collection. In “Warsaw,” pictures of the ghetto uprising are overlaid on modern photographs of the Polish capital. – Jewish Journal, Los Angeles

Genetic research claims to trace mysterious origins of Israel’s Druze

SHEFFIELD – A study of Israeli Druze genetics published in Scientific Reports of Nature may help shed light on the secretive religious sect’s history and ancestry. Researchers examined a sample of genes from members of the country’s 130 000 Druze in an attempt to better understand the origins of the group. Druze constitute a small minority, not quite 10 per cent, of Israel’s Arab population. Around 138 000 of the world’s estimated 2,3 million adherents call Israel home; Syria is home to half a million and Lebanon to another 250 000. The religion splintered off from Shia Islam in the late 10th century CE and spread to the Levant by the following century. According to Druze authors writing centuries later, persecution of the faithful between 1021 and 1042 sent Druze fleeing for refuge from Levantine cities to the mountains of Lebanon, Syria and northern Israel that they inhabit today. “The racial origins of the Druze have been the subject of wild speculation over the years,” University of Haifa historian Kais Firro noted in his 1992 “A History of the Druzes”. The new study, supervised by University of Sheffield population geneticist Eran Elhaik, sought to put some of the more dubious theories to rest by using the geographic population structure (GPS) tool, an algorithm that tries to pinpoint a population’s origins based on their genetic code. Elhaik’s GPS method isn’t without controversy. Earlier this year Elhaik’s study which pointed to Ashkenazi Jews originating in what is today Turkey, supporting an equally controversial theory about the origins of the Yiddish language, was dismissed by some scholars. The new study’s findings indicated Druze were most closely related to neighbouring Arabs in Syria, Lebanon and Palestinian areas, and to Armenians. – The Times of Israel


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