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 OWN CORRESPONDENT | Jul 01, 2015

Lord Janner faces historical sex abuse prosecution


LONDON – Greville, Lord Janner will be prosecuted over claims of historical child sexual abuse after a review overturned a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Prosecutors announced in April that the 86-year-old peer would not be charged because of his severe form of dementia. An independent QC has now recommended that the decision should be overruled.

Lord Janner, who was MP for Leicester West for 27 years, denies any wrongdoing and his family says he "is entirely innocent".

He will face criminal proceedings relating to 22 allegations of historical sexual abuse against nine children during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

The case has been first listed for Westminster Magistrates' Court on August 7.

It was reviewed under the CPS Victims' Right to Review Scheme, which allows people to have their cases looked at again regardless of who took the decision at the CPS not to prosecute.

David Perry QC concluded that it was in the public interest to bring proceedings before a criminal court.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said: "I have always said that in my view this was an extremely difficult and borderline case because of the strong arguments on both sides. I have also always emphasised my concern for the complainants in this case. - BBC



Fury over JA plan for independent conversion court


JERUSALEM - Israel’s rabbinical courts are currently the sole authority that can decide on the Jewishness of converts who seek Israeli citizenship. This has enabled them to force a more stringent level of conversion on liberal-minded rabbinical courts in Diaspora communities.

However, the Jewish Agency’s plan for an independent conversion system, which was overwhelmingly endorsed by its board of governors last week, has the potential of streamlining conversion and making life easier for converts who wish to move to Israel and have had trouble convincing the Israeli rabbinical courts of their Jewishness.

Jewish Agency chairman, Natan Sharansky, has said that it is a response to the frustration of Jewish communities around the world over the dismissive attitude of the strictly-Orthodox bathei din towards potential converts.

Under the new framework, modern-Orthodox Israeli rabbis will travel to those communities and partner the local rabbis in performing conversions.

The Israeli Chief Rabbinate, however, does not plan to give up its monopoly and has threatened not to recognise these conversions, a decision that could prevent the converts from getting married in Israel, even if they receive citizenship. - Jewish Chronicle



Rabbi’s car set alight, destroying prayer books and tefillin


LOS ANGELES - Security cameras at Chabad of Mt Olympus showed two individuals vandalising a Hyundai Sonata belonging to Rabbi Sholom Rodal, the Chabad’s rabbi, at 02:00 on the morning of June 24, according to Rodal as well as a police official.

The two were caught on camera setting the car alight. It was parked outside the Rodal home on a residential street in Laurel Canyon where the home, which also serves as a synagogue, is located. Rodal said prayer books and tefillin that were in the car, were destroyed, but he said nothing was stolen from the vehicle.

“At about two in the morning we heard loud noises and explosions... [they] torched our car,” which was parked in the street, Laurelmont Drive, Rodal said. The rabbi’s family was at home at the time.

Lt Alex Vargas of the Los Angeles Police Department Hollywood Division said that police were conducting an investigation into the incident, which did not cause any injuries. No arrests had been made.

Rodal said he did not know whether the perpetrators intentionally targeted his car, or if they did so randomly. Security cameras recorded the incident but did not clearly identify the people responsible.

The 41-year-old rabbi said his chief concern was providing reassurance to his synagogue community that everything would be okay. - Jewish Journal



’Obama's Muslim outreach stems from childhood'


WASHINGTON - A new and controversial book by Israel's former ambassador to the US is aggravating the already tense ties between the two countries.

Ally, by MK Michael Oren, which came out recently, has enraged US officials and elicited a stern rebuke from Oren's own party leader.

Oren's memoir focuses on his dual attachment to the country of his birth and the nation he decided to make his home, as well as on the four years he spent as Israel's US envoy.

Ahead of the book's publication, Oren, who is now a member of the centre-right Kulanu Party, penned a series of articles in the US media in which he argued that, while President Barack Obama was basically supportive of Israel, he "deliberately" damaged his administration's ties with the Netanyahu government in order to build better relationships with the Arab world.

The US administration was particularly angered by Oren's theory that Obama has engaged with Muslim leaders because of his deep desire to compensate for his mother's abandonment by two Muslim husbands.

He also claimed that some of the president's Jewish advisers, who are themselves not married to Jews, have a skewed view of the Jewish state.

In addition, Oren criticised the president's view that, despite regular anti-Semitic statements, Iran's leaders are acting in a "rational" manner.

The administration angrily slammed Oren's narrative. US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, described it as "an imaginary account" and explained that Oren "was an ambassador in the past, but he is now a politician and an author who wants to sell books".

A State Department spokesman called his accusations "false" and "absolutely inaccurate".

The administration asked Netanyahu to reject Oren's statements, but the prime minister responded that he was no longer responsible for him. - Jewish Chronicle


Nazi haul discovered in northern Queensland


QUEENSLAND - Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies President Jason Steinberg has called for a permanent Holocaust and Tolerance Museum in the state after a number of Nazi items were discovered during police drug raids in northern Queensland last week.

“It’s not acceptable to us, as a community, that there are people who glorify the Holocaust or Nazism,” Steinberg told The AJN. “Education is the key to be able to change community understanding.”

A number of Nazi flags and emblems, as well as American rebel flags, were found in a premises and shed in Cooktown, reportedly owned by a 48-year-old self-proclaimed white supremacist who has a large swastika tattooed on his head.

“It is a disturbing reality these raids uncovered the vile link between right-wing extremism and organised crime,” he said.

“Revelations like this also send a proverbial shudder through the Queensland Jewish community who have been concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism across Europe and in other parts of Australia.”

Steinberg said the question the relatively small Queensland Jewish community of 8 000 need to ask is: “How do we stop elements of society fostering such extremist ideology?

“The answer rests in education. Educating school-aged children about hatred and intolerance through the lens of the Holocaust is one way to address this issue,” he said.

Stating the need for a permanent Holocaust and Tolerance Museum, Steinberg added: “Until we have such an avenue to educate the general public, anti-Semitism in all its forms will prevail. We can’t let that happen.”

Executive Council of Australian Jewry Executive Director Peter Wertheim said the national roof body was “appalled and deeply concerned” by the discovery.

“As demonstrated by the attack on a Jewish community centre in Kansas in April 2014 and the massacre in Charleston, South Carolina last week, the lethal threat posed by individuals motivated by far-right and neo-Nazi ideology, remains very real,” Wertheim said. - Australian Jewish News



Ottawa funds joint Israeli-Canadian medical research


TORONTO - Thanks to a new investment by Ottawa in the Canada-Israel Health Research Programme, the best and brightest of the Canadian and Israeli scientific communities will work together to improve our understanding in the fields of neuroscience and biomedicine.

On behalf of the programme’s partners - the Azrieli Foundation, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Israel Science Foundation - Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced at the Ontario Science Centre that the seven-year, $35 million programme would fund up to 30 research projects.

The first call for applications, focusing on new frontiers in neuroscience, was announced in January. Up to six $1 million grants per year will be awarded to joint Canadian-Israeli research teams for up to three years.

Subsequent calls for applications may include areas of interest such as cancer biology, immunology, stem cell research and molecular medicine.

“Canada and Israel are renowned for excellence in health research, particularly in the neurosciences,” Oliver said.

“The Canada-Israel Health Research Programme harnesses the collective energies of our two great nations to pursue basic biomedical research aimed at improving health outcomes for Canadians, Israelis and people throughout the world.” - Canadian Jewish News


1 Comment

  1. 1 nat cheiman 02 Jul
    Re Obama's muslim outreach;

    His middle name is Hussein. He is from muslim parents (or grand parents).
    He has not had a barmitzvah, nor is he even friendly to Jews.
    Leave the fellow alone. The Republicans are going to kick his butt, big time.


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