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Lazio will send fans on educational trips to Auschwitz after anti-Semitic graffiti

In an attempt to combat repeated anti-Semitism from its fans, Lazio president Claudio Lotito announced Tuesday that the Italian club will organize “an annual trip to Auschwitz for 200 Lazio fans to educate and make sure we don’t forget certain episodes.”
Lotito announced the initiative at an event at a Rome synagogue two days after Lazio fans littered the Stadio Olimpico stands with anti-Semitic graffiti during the club’s Serie A game against Cagliari. The fans left images that depicted Holocaust victim Anne Frank in a jersey of local rival Roma, and posted anti-Semitic slogans. Lazio shares the stadium with Roma.
Lazio also announced that, in addition to the Auschwitz initiative, the club will wear jerseys with an image of Anne Frank on them for its Wednesday game against Bologna.
The Italian soccer federation also announced that a passage from Anne Frank’s diary will be read before matches this week in the wake of the Lazio fans’ behavior. A minute of silence will also be observed before this week’s games...
More at the the Yahoo Sport site (October 24, 2017)

Israeli race car driver wins European NASCAR championship
Alon Day made history when he became the first Israeli to win NASCAR’s European circuit

Israeli race car driver Alon Day became the first Israeli competitor to win a NASCAR series Sunday, placing first in the American motorsports giant’s European circuit.
“It is such an amazing feeling! We were trying so hard the past three years to win this title, we won so many races but never the championship,” Day said after winning the Whelen Euro championship in Belgium, Motorsport.com reported.
“Finishing the season like this is the sweetest thing I can ask,” he said. “We finally made it. I have no words right now.”
Day, 26, from Ashdod, topped the Whelen Euro standings after finishing fourth in Sunday’s race. He had only needed to complete one lap to secure the title. The Israeli driver finished second and third, respectively, in the European circuit’s previous two seasons. He has also won the Asian Formula Renault Series and the FIA GT Championship.
More at the the WIN site (October 18, 2017)

World's Oldest Man, Holocaust Survivor Yisrael Kristal, Dead At 113

Yisrael Kristal, the world’s oldest man, died Fridayin Israel, local mediareported. He was 113.
Kristal was born to a Jewish family in 1903 in Poland and became an orphan when his father was killed near the end of World War I, his mother having died in 1910. He moved in with his uncles and opened a candy shop with one of them in the city Lodz, in central Poland. But then Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, marking the beginning of World War II and Kristal was moved to a ghetto in the city with his wife, Chaja Feige Frucht, and their two children.
His children died in the ghetto and he and his wife were sent to live in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz, where she was killed. Kristal survived the ordeal and moved permanently to Israel in 1950 with his second wife, Batsheva, with whom he had a further two children.
Last year, Kristal made headlines after finally getting to celebrate the bar mitzvah he missed out on in 1916. With his mother dead and his father drafted into the Russian army, there was no one for the boy to celebrate with. Instead, Kristal was able to celebrate his bar mitzvah and 113th birthday with his two surviving children, nine grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren, The New York Times reported...
More at the Yahoo Site (August 11, 2017)

Congregation at oldest US synagogue reviewing legal options

The Rhode Island congregants who worship at the nation's oldest synagogue are reviewing their legal options after a federal appeals panel ruled the nation's oldest Jewish congregation in New York owns the building and a set of ceremonial bells worth millions.
A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Congregation Shearith Israel on Wednesday. It found that under terms of an agreement from 1903, the New York congregation owns Newport's Touro Synagogue, which was dedicated in 1763 and is a national historic site.
"We are disappointed with the panel's ruling and are reviewing our legal options going forward. We remain committed to preserving Touro Synagogue, the nation's oldest synagogue, as a place of public worship for Jews, and Jeshuat Israel, the congregation that has prayed there for over a century," Gary Naftalis, who represents the Newport congregation, said Thursday...
More at the ABC Site (August 3, 2017)

It's too expensive to be Jewish

This spring, my son, Nathaniel, turned 12. It was time to get serious about preparation for his bar mitzvah, which usually happens when a Jewish boy turns 13. We needed to hire a tutor because at the twice-a-month hippie Silver Lake Sunday school my kids attend, Hebrew isn’t part of the curriculum. And most bar mitzvah ceremonies include saying blessings on the Torah in Hebrew.
My first call was to the father of a woman I met through taekwondo. Between ax kicks and knife defenses, I had discovered he was a cantor. I figured since she was warm and well-spoken, her dad was probably a good guy. Indeed, he sounded like a mensch. Just what I was looking for. After all, I wanted this to be a positive experience for Nathaniel, not a dull exercise in rote memorization. If things went well, I hoped we would use the same tutor for our daughter when it was time for her bat mitzvah. Then I asked what he charged: $140 per hourlong session...
More at the LA Times Site (July 30, 2017)

Britney Spears Causes Chaos in Jerusalem

Britney Spears’ arrival in Israel has caused quite the commotion. It’s the pop star’s first visit to the country and a tour of the holy sites in Jerusalem on Sunday was described by Israeli news outlets as a veritable mob scene.
While Spears’ security detail was substantial, the Western Wall is mainly accessible by foot. This presented a challenge for the “Make Me…” singer and her team as they made their way through mobs of fans, press, and onlookers (see video below).
Spears is scheduled to perform at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park on Monday night, the same outdoor venue where Justin Bieber and Aerosmith recently headlined and where Radiohead is due to take the stage on July 19.
There has also been some hubbub concerning a possible meeting with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to Ynet, Spears canceled a supposed visit, but it has also been reported that the meeting was never confirmed, a belief which the PM’s office seemed to acknowledge.
More at the Yahoo News Site (July 2, 2017)

Israeli-American man arrested in connection to bomb threats against Jewish centers

A 19-year-old Jewish man who is an Israeli-American dual citizen was arrested early this morning in Israel in connection with a series of bomb threats made against Jewish community centers and Jewish schools in the United States and other countries, police and sources told ABC News.
The suspect's father has also been arrested for the same charges, an Israeli government official said.
Police believe the man made fake bomb threats in New Zealand and Australia and against scores of Jewish institutions across the U.S.
He also allegedly called in fake bomb threats to two Delta flights at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2015, according to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. The threats grounded the flights while passengers were evacuated and luggage was rescreened.
The suspect was arrested early this morning in his family's home in the southern city of Ashkelon after a monthslong investigation that included the FBI and European law enforcement agencies, Rosenfeld said. The teenager resisted arrest, Rosenfeld said, explaining that the teen moved toward one of the arresting officers in what is believed to have been an attempt to grab the officer’s sidearm, but the teen never reached the gun.
More at the Yahoo News Site (March 23, 2017)

Poland confirms Minnesota man as Nazi commander

Poland will seek the arrest and extradition of a Minnesota man exposed by The Associated Press as a former commander in an SS-led unit that burned Polish villages and killed civilians in World War II, prosecutors said Monday.
Prosecutor Robert Janicki said evidence gathered over years of investigation into U.S. citizen Michael K. confirmed "100 percent" that he was a commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion.
He did not release the last name in line with privacy laws but the AP has identified the man as 98-year-old Michael Karkoc, from Minneapolis.
"All the pieces of evidence interwoven together allow us to say the person who lives in the U.S. is Michael K., who commanded the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion which carried out the pacification of Polish villages in the Lublin region," Janicki said...
More at the Yahoo News Site (March 13, 2017)

Holocaust survivor: 'I became B-1148 instead of a human being'
By Steven Shapiro

Michael Bornstein was a small child when Nazi soldiers sent him and his family to one of the most evil places the world has ever known. “From what we’ve been told, children my age, about 4, survived about two weeks at Auschwitz.
I was able to survive a much longer time,” Bornstein, who is now 76, told Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga about his time in the notorious death camp.
In his new book, “Survivors Club,” Bornstein recounts the details of his painful past, which, for decades, he has largely kept to himself.
“My siblings and I tried to ask questions,” says Bornstein’s daughter, Debbie Bornstein Holinstat, a veteran journalist and co-author of the book.
“We certainly knew the tattoo was there. We knew he was a survivor. We knew he was at Auschwitz. But for the longest time, he wouldn’t talk.”...
More at the Yahoo News Site (March 7, 2017)

Rabbi loses job over spat with billionaire benefactor

A holy war between the billionaire benefactor of an Upper East Side synagogue and the temple’s longtime rabbi has cost the clergyman his job.
The battle between the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation — chaired by its namesake’s 82-year-old widow, Lily Safra — and Rabbi Elie Abadie began brewing at the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue on East 63rd Street when Abadie’s contract expired eight years ago.
He continued to be paid $700,000 a year and allowed to live in a $3.5 million condominium rent-free, said the foundation.
During contract negotiations, the foundation offered to continue paying his salary and benefits on the condition that he commit to a certain number of teaching hours at the synagogue, according to a Dec. 28 letter the foundation sent to the congregation...
More at the nypost.com Site (Jan 15, 2017)

Why Did Japan Treat Jews Differently During World War II?

During World War II, why did the Japanese refuse orders from Nazi Germany, its wartime ally, to kill all the Jews within its borders? A new book from Academic Studies Press, “Under the Shadow of the Rising Sun: Japan and the Jews during the Holocaust Era” addresses this question. Its author, Dr. Meron Medzini, former director of Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO) and also the author of “Golda Meir: A Political Biography,” was born in 1932. After working as spokesman at the GPO for the prime ministers Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, and Yitzhak Rabin, Dr. Medzini taught modern Japanese history in the Department of Asian Studies of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Israeli foreign policy at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University. Recently, “The Forward’s” Benjamin Ivry discussed with Dr. Medzini the subtleties and complexities of Japanese policies towards Jews before and during the Second World War.
More at the Forward.com Site (Jan 11, 2017)

Anne Frank may have been discovered by chance, new study says

World-famous wartime diarist Anne Frank may have been discovered by chance and not because her hiding place was betrayed, a new theory suggests.
The Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam believes the address could have been raided over ration fraud.
Researchers say the police who found the secret annexe may not have been looking for the eight Jews there.
The raid on Prinsengracht 263 saw all of those in hiding transported to the Auschwitz death camps.
Summarising its findings, the Anne Frank House said: "The question has always been: Who betrayed Anne Frank and the others in hiding? This explicit focus on betrayal, however, limits the perspective on the arrest."
Shortly before the raid, an anonymous caller supposedly revealed details of the secret annexe to the Sicherheitsdienst or SD (German Security Service) - but the study's authors have questioned this account...
More at the BBC Site (Dec 9, 2016)

Who Is Adolf Burger? Nazi Camp Survivor, Who Was Forced To Counterfeit Cash, Dies At 90 In Prague

Adolf Burger, the last concentration camp inmate forced by Nazis to produce fake pound notes, died Tuesday at the age of 90 in Prague, media reports said Thursday. Burger was part of an elaborate Nazi plan titled "Operation Bernhard" that sought to disrupt Britain’s economy by introducing millions of fake bank notes. Burger escaped in the confusion when the Allies stormed Berlin in 1945. After the war, he settled in Prague where he reportedly headed a taxi company and also wrote several memoirs about his time as a Nazi prisoner. Nazi Germany’s Operation Bernhard involved Luftwaffe airplanes dropping counterfeit notes, amounting to over 130 million pounds, over the United Kingdom. The plan was abandoned but it is considered one of the largest attempts at financial sabotage. The plan needed several craftsmen, bankers, at least one professional counterfeiter and book printers like Burger.
Burger, who hails from present-day Slovakia, was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942 for forging baptismal certificates for Jews to help save them persecution at the hands of Nazis. He was sent to Auschwitz with his first wife, Gisella, who was killed in the gas chamber...
More at theInternational Business Times Site (Dec 9, 2016)

‘Godfather’ Co-Star James Caan Tells Facebook Followers: ‘You Gotta Come’ to Israel

Movie star James Caan, who played Sonny Corleone in the classic 1972 film “The Godfather,” was full of praise for Israel on Thursday, telling followers via a Facebook video clip: “You gotta come here, you just gotta come here.”
Caan, whose parents are Jewish immigrants from Germany, took a five-day trip to the Holy Land with his son in July as a guest of the Ministry of Tourism and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His first stop was the Western Wall, where he lay tefillin (phylacteries), prayed and placed a handwritten note in a crack between the ancient limestones. He also enjoyed a tour of the tunnels that run beneath the Wall and marveled at the ancient construction.
He described his visit to the holy site as surreal, explaining that he had always thought of it “like a prop,” a backdrop shown in movies or on television...
More at the Algemeigner Site (Dec 4, 2016)

Jewish singer Bob Dylan has accepted his Nobel prize
Dylan says Nobel left him 'speechless': Swedish academy

London (AFP) - Bob Dylan has finally accepted his Nobel prize for literature, the Swedish Academy that awards it said Friday, breaking his silence on the win that he said left him "speechless".
Asked "if I accept the prize? Of course", the US singer-songwriter said in a call to the academy this week, around a fortnight after he was named laureate on October 13.
"The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless," he told the academy's permanent secretary, Sara Danius. "I appreciate the honour so much."
Dylan had not responded to repeated phone calls made by the academy following the prize announcement, nor had he made any public statement, prompting one academy member to call him "impolite and arrogant".
The academy said Friday that it had not yet been decided yet if Dylan would visit Stockholm to pick up his award.
More at the Yahoo News Site (Oct 29, 2016)

Rare, gold Roman coin discovered in Jerusalem

Jerusalem By Rob Verger Published September 14, 2016 FoxNews.com Facebook Twitter livefyre Email Print (Shimon Gibson) (Shimon Gibson) A rare and remarkable Roman coin made of gold and featuring the image of Nero has been discovered in Jerusalem, archaeologists announced on Tuesday.
Over 1,900 years old, the coin likely dates to the year 56 or 57 AD, around 13 years before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem.
"The coin is exceptional, because this is the first time that a coin of this kind has turned up in Jerusalem in a scientific dig,” Shimon Gibson, an archaeologist and adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, said in a statement. “Coins of this type are usually only found in private collections, where we don't have clear evidence as to place of origin."
The archaeologists discovered it this summer during a dig on Mount Zion in Jerusalem; it was found in rubble near villas that might have been the homes of the wealthy Jewish residents of the time, possibly members of a well-to-do priestly class. At the site, the archaeologists have also found the rooms of a large mansion and even a ritual pool...
More at the Fox News (Sept 14, 2016)

Bones unearthed in Ashkelon at only known Philistine cemetery may reveal ancient mystery

"With this discovery we are close to unlocking the secrets of their origins," says archaeologist.
They were an enigmatic and idiosyncratic Mediterranean tribe, noted in the Bible for their hatred of the ancient Israelites.
Now, following the analysis of an unprecedented 30-year excavation in the port city of Ashkelon of the remains from the only Philistine cemetery ever discovered, one of the biggest mysteries in archeology and academia may finally be solved.
“Archaeologists and scholars have long searched for the origin of the Philistines, and the discovery of the cemetery is poised to offer the key to this mystery,” the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon announced on Sunday...
More at the Jerusalem Post site (July 7, 2016)

Israeli gymnastics team wins first international gold
By AFP Published: 06/20/2016

Israel's rhythmic gymnastics team made history on Sunday when they won a gold medal for the first time in an international competition at the European Championships.
The team won the gold medal in the clubs and hoops category and also won a silver medal for their ribbons routine at the competition being held in the central Israeli city of Holon.
The victory puts the Israeli team in a strong position ahead of the upcoming Olympics Games, due to be held in Rio de Janeiro in August...
More at the i24news.tv site (June 20, 2016)

A Young Jewish Leader Travels to Kosovo

Jared Sapolsky is a member of Tribe, a group that empowers young Jews to build community in the the great New York area. Below are his reflections on his first trip to Kosovo for the Interfaith Kosovo conference this past week.
I spent the last ten days traveling through Europe. Although my group managed to spend time in six different countries, our trip came about because of an invitation to the annual Interfaith Kosovo conference, which has been nurtured by Kosovo’s government. In short, it was incredible.
As Americans, we sometimes judge prematurely, without the fuller set of facts. Worse, we use a tone that suggests our opinions are interchangeable with the facts. In the days leading up to this trip, the New York Times ran a front page article that highlighted the influence that Persian Gulf countries had in Kosovo, and a tiny section of society that had actually joined extremist groups abroad. After reluctantly reading the piece, I decided to pay it no mind and see for myself.
More at the Huffpost site (June 5, 2016)

Israeli Wins 2016 Junior Figure Skating Championships

For the first time ever, an Israeli won first place at the 2016 Junior Figure Skating Championships this year.
Daniel Samohin 18, wowed judges and the audience at the 2016 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, in March.
He pulled off three quads to move from ninth place to the gold medal.
Canada came in second place and the U.S. was third.
Watch and see Samohin’s pride at representing his country.
You, too, will feel pride at hearing the Hatikvah – Israel’s national anthem – playing at the international event.
More at the United with Israel site (May 8, 2016)

Oldest US synagogue's congregation wins multimillion-dollar legal fight

The congregation that worships at the nation's oldest synagogue prevailed Monday in a bitter legal fight that threatened its existence, as a federal judge ruled it may now control its own destiny and decide what to do with a set of ceremonial bells worth millions.
The lawsuit pitted congregants at the 250-year-old Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, against the nation's oldest Jewish congregation, Shearith Israel in New York City.
U.S. District Judge Jack McConnell on Monday awarded Congregation Jeshuat Israel, of Newport, control of Touro, rejecting arguments from Congregation Shearith Israel that it is the synagogue's rightful owner.
McConnell also ruled the Newport congregation is the owner of a pair of ceremonial bells, called rimonim, and may do what it chooses with them. The bells are valued at $7.4 million...
More at the Fox News (May 15, 2016)

Marseille synagogue to be converted into mosque

Marseille (AFP) - A synagogue in Marseille is to be converted into a mosque, reflecting demographic shifts in the southern French city, a Jewish leader has told AFP.
A Muslim cultural association, Al Badr, is to purchase the Or Thora synagogue, which is used less and less by the Jewish community, the city's top Jewish leader Zvi Ammar said Tuesday.
"For the past 20 years or so we have seen the shift of the Jewish community to other neighbourhoods," Ammar said, adding that he viewed the sale "positively".
"We all have the same God, the main thing is for this to proceed in harmony," he said.
The site near the city's main rail station was built as Jews flocked to Marseille from Algeria after the north African country gained independence from France in 1962 following an eight-year war, he noted.
More at the Yahoo site (April 27, 2016)

Sela Joins '20 Titles Club' In Shenzhen

ATPWorldTour.com pays tribute to Dudi Sela, who has become the second player to win 20 singles titles on the ATP Challenger Tour.
After 14 years on tour, Israel’s Dudi Sela has achieved a career milestone by recording his 20th title on the ATP Challenger Tour.
Competing this week in Shenzhen, China, Sela played flawless tennis throughout the tournament. He raced through the draw without losing a set and comfortably dispatched local favourite Di Wu in the championship match, 6-4, 6-3.
"I am so happy to win my 20th Challenger title in Shenzhen," said Sela. "Winning a title here is very important because I didn't play well after the Australian Open. The performance this week can boost my confidence for the rest of the year ."...
More at the ATP site (April 2, 2016)

Israeli hiker finds 'second of kind' coin

An Israeli hiker has found a Roman coin that is almost 2,000 years old and only the second of its kind found in the world, authorities say.
The coin, from 107 AD, bears the image of Emperor Augustus but was minted by Emperor Trajan.
The only other example of such a coin is held in the British Museum. The hiker, Laurie Rimon, will be awarded a certificate of appreciation for good citizenship, Israel's antiquities authority says. Ms Rimon, a member of the Kefar Blum kibbutz, was hiking with friends in the eastern Galilee when she discovered a shiny object in the grass.
The group's guide then contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), who arrived within two hours. Ms Rimon then handed over the find, but said "it was not easy parting with the coin".
"After all, it is not every day one discovers such an amazing object, but I hope I will see it displayed in a museum in the near future," she said.
More at the BBC site (March 14, 2016)

Vice-President of the Montenegrin Jewish Community visited communities of Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo

Jelena Djurovic, Vice-President of the Jewish Community of Montenegro (member of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress) visited Jewish communities of Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo. She met with Presidents of the Communities: Berta Romano Nikolik (Macedonia), Geront Koreta (Albania) and Votim Demiri (Kosovo). Jewish leaders were interested in the themes and topics that will be addressed on the next “Mahar” Conference, scheduled for last week of October 2016.
During the visit she also met with some government officials in Skopje, Pristina and Tirana and exchanged views on refugee crisis and shared mutual concerns. Also, in Pristina, Jelena Djurovic met with members of interfaith dialogue board: family Demiri, archpriest Srdjan Stankovic (Gracanica Monastery), pastor Artur Krasniqi, Catholic priest Kastriot Idrizi and Vedat Sahiri, principal advisor of the Grand Mufti of Kosovo.

Source: EAJC (March 1, 2016)

The Rabbi Who Can Bless Your Movie by Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter

[Rabbi Hier is] the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, America's first Holocaust museum, and overseer of its offshoot organization, the Museum of Tolerance…But he's also Hollywood's go-to guy when A-listers are in need of advice, spiritual or otherwise…
"To build a great constituency for tolerance that will be able to stand up to the bigots, the haters and the terrorists," is how he describes his life's mission — or his ability to marshal Hollywood talent to aid his causes. He may well be the most powerful religious figure in L.A. He's certainly the best connected…
As he recounts in his just-published memoir, Meant to Be, he developed a fascination with Jewish history, particularly the Holocaust, while growing up on New York's Lower East Side…
More at the Simon Wiesenthal site (Feb 28, 2016)

7,000-Year-Old Town Unearthed in Jerusalem

The oldest evidence of life in Jerusalem has been discovered after stone houses and artefacts in an ancient community dating back 7,000 years were unearthed during the building of a new road.
Before the road’s construction in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted a “salvation excavation” at the site that revealed two stone houses from an ancient settlement believed to have been built in the Chalcolithic period. This period, which dates back seven millennia, saw man begin to develop the use of copper ( chalcos in Greek) to enhance their stone tools.
The houses had “well-preserved remains and floors containing various installations” that showed the buildings “were used for a considerable time,” the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement released to Newsweek...
More at the Newsweek site (Feb 17, 2016)

At Yiddish festival, Trump's name is 'blote' (mud)

New York, New York (CNN)Donald Trump -- talk about chutzpah.
That was the reaction of many participants at a Yiddish festival in New York City on Thursday, where scholars and lovers of the Yiddish language were buzzing about the latest Donald Trump controversy.
Attendees at the Yiddish New York cultural event hosted at the 14th Street YMHA had choice words -- in English and Yiddish -- for the Republican presidential candidate, expressing a mix of outrage and amusement at Trump's use of the word "schlonged" on the campaign trail.
"It's really perverse. It's a filthy word in this context," said Bob Blacksberg, a clarinetist who plays Klezmer music along with two of his sons.
"Everything he says is disgusting and he intends it to be disgusting," said Miriam Isaacs, a Yiddish professor and linguist who is teaching a workshop at the festival...
More at the CNN site (Dec 25, 2015)

Israeli PM's dog quarantined after biting lawmaker, minister's husband

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's dog was behind bars Saturday after biting a lawmaker and a cabinet minister's husband during an event to mark the Hanukkah Jewish holiday.
"Last night we lit the fifth Hanukkah candle with all the family present before we were sadly obliged to send Kaiya to quarantine as required by law," Netanyahu wrote Friday in a Facebook post reported by media Saturday.
The premier said the experience brought home to him "flaws incompatible with logic and compassion" in Israel's public health regulations, which mandate that dogs who bite, even if they have received all the necessary inoculations, be confined for 10 days.
The mixed-breed bitch was adopted by the Netanyahus from an animal shelter in July...
More at the Star site (Dec 13, 2015)

Kirk Douglas Turns 99 With A Party And A $15 Million Birthday Gift

Kirk Douglas celebrated his 99th birthday on Wednesday at his home in Beverly Hills with wife Anne and sons Michael, Peter, Joel and daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones as he held court under a huge banner made of red and white roses that spelled out “99 Today”. On the dining room table was a large rectangular birthday cake. Earlier in the day the legendary star reversed the usual protocol and instead of receiving a gift he decided instead to give one, a BIG one.
With his initial donation of $15 million, the Motion Picture & Television Fund in Woodland Hills announced plans to build a two-story $35 million Alzheimer’s facility to be named the Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion, which will be able to take care of upwards of 80 industry members with that disease...
More at the Yahoo site (Dec 11, 2015)

A Carved Stone Block Upends Assumptions About Ancient Judaism

BEIT SHEMESH, Israel — The carved stone block is about the size of an occasional table. It has held its secrets for two millenniums. Whoever engraved its enigmatic symbols was apparently depicting the ancient Jewish temples.
But what makes the stone such a rare find in biblical archaeology, according to scholars, is that when it was carved, the Second Temple still stood in Jerusalem for the carver to see. The stone is a kind of ancient snapshot.
And it is upending some long-held scholarly assumptions about ancient synagogues and their relationship with the Temple, a center of Jewish pilgrimage and considered the holiest place of worship for Jews, during a crucial period, when Judaism was on the cusp of the Christian era...
More at the NY Times site (Dec 8, 2015)

Hungarians protest statue plan for anti-Semitic minister

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Protesters held a silent demonstration on Monday in central Hungary against a plan to unveil a statue of a former minister of religion and education who helped draft and supported anti-Semitic legislation in the 1930s.
he protest was held in the city of Szekesfehervar, where a statue commemorating Balint Homan is expected to be unveiled Dec. 29. The plan has been strongly criticized by local and international groups, including a Hungarian teachers' union, the World Jewish Congress and several U.S. members of Congress and government officials.
Art historian Andras Renyi, a speaker at the protest, said that while it was possible to draw a distinction between Homan's work as minister and historian and his anti-Semitic acts and views, "the statue legitimizes his whole historical figure."...
More at the Yahoo site (Dec 7, 2015)

Israeli surveillance balloon guarding climate change summit in Paris

An Israeli-made surveillance balloon is being used by the Paris municipal police to help guard the global climate change summit that is currently underway in Paris.
Yavne-based company RT LTA's SkyStart 180 aerostat is in the air over the French capital, providing mid-range surveillance and public security services to French police, which leased the balloon from RT and the French company Group SSI.
The balloon is being utilized by French police; can operate continuously for up to 72 hours and reach an altitude of up to one thousand feet...
More at the Jerusalem Post site (Dec 2, 2015)

Israel and Jordan Reveal $800 Million Joint Canal Project to Save Dead Sea

Israel and Jordan unveiled a joint plan on Monday to build a canal from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, with the aim of delivering drinking water to Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians and helping to replenish the famous salt lake.
The project, agreed in February, will take up to five years to complete and will pump up to 100 million cubic meters of seawater every year from the Red Sea, which sits between Africa and Asia, to the Dead Sea in the Jordan Rift Valley. Also, an additional 30-50 million cubic meters of drinking water will be reserved for the Israeli city of Eilat and other southern Israeli communities per annum, and 30 million cubic meters for southern Jordanian regions...
More at the Newsweek site (Dec 1, 2015)

Obama gets 'verklempt' awarding Medal of Freedom to Streisand, Spielberg

President Barack Obama awarded the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to a star-studded list of Americans at the White House on Tuesday in honor of their accomplishments in public service, entertainment and sports.
Singer and actress Barbra Streisand and filmmaker Steven Spielberg were among 17 Americans who received the honor a ceremony at the White House.
"Off the stage, [Streisand has] been a passionate advocate for issues like heart disease and women's equality," Obama said in his opening statement. "I'm getting all verklempt just thinking about it," the president quipped in Yiddish.
Hollywood legendary Jewish director Steven Spielberg was the next recipient of the prestigious award, recognized for his contributions to American cinema.
More at the Jerusalem Post site (Nov 25, 2015)

Leading Democrat Donors Haim Saban and Jack Rosen Rally Against Iran Deal

Top donors to the Democratic party rallied in opposition on Thursday to the Iran nuclear deal pursued by the Obama administration.
U.S.-Israeli billionaire Haim Saban and Jack Rosen, the chairman of the American Jewish Congress (which issued a statement rejecting the Iran deal on Thursday), both rebuffed President Barack Obama’s plea on Wednesday to support the deal or risk another Middle East war.
Saban told Israel’s Channel 1 that the Iran agreement was a “very bad deal” and said “we still need to fight it.”
Rosen released a statement on Thursday through the American Jewish Congress, saying the “burden of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon must not be passed on to our children and grandchildren,” singling out the so-called sunset terms of the nuclear agreement that will allow Iran to become a legitimate nuclear threshold state in 10-15 years...
More at the Algemeiner site (Aug 6, 2015)

Michael Douglas’ mixed-faith message for every religion

When Hollywood stars give sermons, the results are rarely anything to write home about. (End fracking! Save the whales! Check your privilege!) So it was nice to read about Michael Douglas’ speech last Wednesday at Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford, NY.
At the request of Rabbi David Greenberg, Douglas spoke to the congregants gathered for Yom Kippur about his recent reconnection to Judaism. But his message is pretty universal.
Douglas’ father, Kirk, was Jewish, but his mother Diana wasn’t. And while his wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, isn’t Jewish, they’re raising their son in the tradition. When the boy started studying for his bar mitzvah, Douglas started studying, too.
“He does love the faith and the culture, and he thinks the number of Jews is declining because so many are assimilating and marrying non-Jews, him included,” one of Douglas’ representatives told The Post. “If you turn your back on these people because your mother was not Jewish, you’re going to lose people . . . He’s passionate about inclusion.”...
More at the NY Post site (Sep 28, 2015)

On eve of Jewish New Year, Israel's population hits 8.4 million

On the eve of the Jewish New Year there were 8.412 million people living in Israel, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reported on Tuesday.
Since last New Year, Israel's population grew by 158,000, a 1.9% increase.
Jews made up 6.3 million of the population (74.9%); there were 1.746 million Arabs (20.7%) and 366,000 thousand other residents (4.4%). 
The CBS forecasted that Israel's population between 2025-2030 would reach ten million. 
Over the last year, 168,000 babies were born in Israel and 42,000 people died.
More at the Jerusalem Post site (Sep 8, 2015)

Schindler's List producer presents his Oscar to Yad Vashem memorial

Our Israeli correspondent
Milan Fogel with Branko Lustig
in the Yad Vashem Museum

Auschwitz survivor Branko Lustig, one of the producers of Schindler's List, presented his Academy Award to Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial on Wednesday, saying it had found its rightful resting place.
Lustig, 83 from Croatia, worked with director Steven Spielberg on the 1993 film that won seven Oscars. It recounts the tale of German industrialist Oskar Schindler's efforts to save Jews from Nazi death squads in World War Two.
"I'm very honored, I feel this is a good (resting place) for the Oscar," Lustig told Reuters before the ceremony in Jerusalem, also attended by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.
Lustig said he did not feel he was separating from one of his two Academy Awards - the other was as producer of "Gladiator"."I'm not parting with it, I am leaving it to the nation, for generations to come... All Yad Vashem's visitors will see it, at my home there is only my wife and my daughter," he said...
More at the Reuters site (July 22, 2015)

World's Jewish population may have reached pre-Holocaust level

An Israeli think tank estimates that the size of the Jewish population worldwide is approaching figures similar to where it stood before the Holocaust.
In its annual report to the Israeli Cabinet, presented Sunday, the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) said that the world's Jewish population now stands at 14.2 million.
When accounting for people who identify as partially Jewish, as well as those with one Jewish parent, the number is closer to 16.5 million. That number is the same as the size of the world's Jewish population at the outbreak of World War II in 1939, according to the Associated Press.
srael is a leading factor in the population rise. Some 6.1 million Jews live there, and the country maintains one of the highest fertility rates in the developed world, according to a Jewish Policy Center 2013 report. The study states that Israel's fertility rate is three children per Jewish woman.
Much of the population rise has to do with a change in who identifies as Jewish. Jewish People Policy Institute president Avinoam Bar-Yosef said in the presentation more Jews are identifying themselves as such because it is more "respectable" in the U.S. nowadays...
More at the Mashable site (July 2, 2015)

Netanyahu:
The Jews owe an eternal debt of gratitude to the 'British Schindler'

Prime minister mourns the passing of Nicholas Winton, who saved hundreds of Jewish children form the Nazis.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday mourned the loss of Nicholas Winton, the man who became known as the "British Schindler" for saving hundreds of Czech children from Nazi persecution in the run-up to World War Two. Winton died at the age of 106 on Wednesday.
"The Jewish people and the State of Israel owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Nicholas Winton, who saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Nazis," Netanyahu stated.
"In a world plagued by evil and indifference, Winton dedicated himself to saving the innocent and the helpless," the prime minister added. "His extraordinary moral leadership serves as an example to all of humanity." ...
More at the Jerusalem Post (July 2, 2015)

Michael Douglas in Israel for $1 million prize

JERUSALEM (AP) — When actor Michael Douglas learned that he had been chosen to receive the "Jewish Nobel Prize," he pointed out a small problem: Under strict religious law, the Oscar-winning actor isn't Jewish.
Douglas, who only recently has embraced his Jewish roots, is vowing to use the $1 million Genesis Prize to build bridges between Israel and increasingly assimilated Jewish communities around the world.
"Abraham's tent had its flaps open and so hopefully since approximately half of the Jewish population in the world is outside of Israel, we can find ways to better understand each other and to grow together," Douglas told The Associated Press in an interview.
Douglas, accompanied by his wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, and their two children, is in Israel this week to accept the Genesis Prize. Jay Leno will host the high-powered event, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to present the award.
More at Yahoo.com (Jun 17, 2015)

Is European Anti-Semitism Really Back?

A VIRULENT new wave of anti-Semitism is generally believed to be sweeping across Europe. European societies have allegedly become poisonously inhospitable to a Jewish presence. Israel, itself a prime target of the new anti-Semitism, is preparing for large-scale immigration of Jews from the Continent. Europe’s old Adam is supposedly reasserting itself.
Or is it? The common belief that anti-Semitism is making a comeback should be treated with caution, not least because efforts to exaggerate its reach and sway, often for self-serving political purposes, make it more difficult to discern when and where it truly poses a threat. A more judicious approach would start by recognizing that the term itself encompasses a multitude of sins that range all the way from off-color banter to mass murder. Should these be considered under the same rubric?...
More at The National Interest (May 11, 2015)

Pushing Back Against Anti-Semitism Globally:
Reflections on Ira Forman's Recent Visit to Sweden

In late March, I had the privilege of welcoming Ira Forman to Sweden. Ira is Secretary of State John Kerry's Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. In this capacity, he travels around the world to shed light on prejudice, hatred and violence against Jews and to learn about the important work that individuals and governments are doing to counter anti-Semitism. Since assuming his position in May 2014, he has traveled to 20 countries. This was his first visit to Sweden.
Ira had a very active five-day schedule in Sweden, where he met with a number of government officials, Jewish community leaders, and others who are working to counter anti-Semitism in Sweden. He also participated in an historic and beautiful ceremony in the Swedish parliament to honor the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg--the Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews during World War II. Raoul's sister, Nina Lagergren, presented the Speaker of the Parliament with the Congressional Gold Medal, which the U.S. Congress bestowed on Raoul Wallenberg last year. The medal will be on public display in the parliament building. Ira also joined a representative from the Swedish government and some civil society leaders for a discussion I hosted on how the memory of the Holocaust can be used to combat anti-Semitism...
More at the Huffington Post.com (May 11, 2015)

Jewish actress Portman nervous about living in Paris

Los Angeles (AFP) - Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman says she feels nervous as a Jew living in France, where she moved last year, two months before the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
n an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the 33-year-old said living in Paris has made her realize how "deeply culturally different" it was.
"It's been really interesting... I've been to Paris so much in my life that I felt (at first) like it's very similar," the Oscar-winner told the trade journal, in an interview conducted in Los Angeles.
"And then when you live in a place, you start realizing how culturally different we are, deeply culturally different," she said in the cover story interview.
Asked if she feels nervous about being Jewish in Paris, she replied: "Yes," adding: "But I'd feel nervous being a black man in this country. I'd feel nervous being a Muslim in many places." ...
More at Yahoo.com (May 8, 2015)

Football giyur: how to be a Jew at the stadium

The Amsterdam Arena is filled to bursting… The Feyenoord fans are hissing at the Ajax fans, as usual. There is a pause in a chaotic chorus of voices – and the entire Amsterdam club sings “Hava Nagila”, jumping and dancing to the rhythm of the good old Jewish song.
The attentive viewer will see many Israeli flags in the stands, and the number of Stars of David around the necks of spectators will even surprise residents of Tel Aviv.
But what do Jewish symbols have to do with the many fans of the great Dutch team, the vast majority of whom are not Jews? For an answer to this question, we must look at the history of the most decorated club in the Netherlands...
More at JewishNews.com (Mar 12, 2015)

What happened when an anti-Semite found he was Jewish?

Three years ago, a Hungarian far-right politician with a strong line in anti-Semitism discovered that he was Jewish. He left his party, and set out on a remarkable personal journey to learn and practise his Jewish faith.
Only seconds before he goes on stage, Csanad Szegedi paces the school corridor like a bear in an unfamiliar forest. Then the headmaster's introduction is over, the pupils who pack the hall are clapping enthusiastically, and the big man is going up the steps, the blood roaring in his ears.
The confidence returns and he plays to the crowd, just as he once did at party rallies, or as a member of the European Parliament.
He comes across a bit like the American singer Johnny Cash. "Hello, I'm Csanad Szegedi." And the schoolchildren of the Piarist Secondary School in Szeged hang on every word...
More at BBC.com (May 4, 2015)

Poland summons U.S. ambassador over FBI head's Holocaust remarks

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland has summoned the United States' ambassador in Warsaw over an article written by a top U.S. intelligence official on Poland's alleged responsibility for the Holocaust during World War Two, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday.
The article by FBI director James Comey, published in the Washington Post earlier this week, prompted an outcry in Poland and drew condemnation in the media and from politicians.
A foreign ministry spokesman said on his Twitter account that the U.S. ambassador would be summoned to the ministry over the article, and that Poland would demand an apology.
Comey said in the article: "In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil. They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do."...
More at Yahoo.com (Apr 19, 2015)

Anne Frank died earlier than thought, new study says

The Hague (AFP) - Jewish teenager Anne Frank died in a Nazi concentration camp at least a month earlier than her official date of death, a new study said on Tuesday.
"New research... has shed fresh light on the last days of Anne Frank and her sister Margot," the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam said on Tuesday, until now her official death date.
"Their deaths must have occurred in February 1945," the foundation said in a statement.
The deaths of Anne Frank and her younger sister Margot in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northern Germany were noted as between 1-31 March by the Red Cross at the time.
Dutch authorities later set the official date as March 31.
Frank and her family went into hiding in 1942 from the Nazis in a secret annexe at the back of a building owned by her father Otto Frank's company in Amsterdam, two years after German troops occupied the Netherlands...
More at Yahoo.com (Apr 1, 2015)

UN headquarters in New York opens new exhibit on the history of the Jewish people

NEW YORK – After a delayed opening in Paris last year due to concern from certain countries that such an exhibit would inhibit or derail the peace process, the new exhibit entitled “People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel,”detailing the relationship between Jews and the Holy Land openedlast weekt at the UN headquarters.
The exhibit will be placed first in an exclusive delegates area, and later in a more public space so that UN staffers and tourists can peruse it, for one month in New York.
The exhibit, curated by Professor Robert Wistrich for the Simon Wiesenthal Center in partnership with UNESCO, consists of 25 brightly illustrated and highly detailed panels on the history of the Jewish people, from biblical times through today, tracing the tribe’s route through the Roman Empire, the Crusades, into Europe, the Shoah, and to the founding of the modern State of Israel...
More at The Jerusalem Post site. (Mar 21, 2015)

‘Nature’s revenge’:
Huge sinkholes burst open on banks of Dead Sea as water dries up

Environmentalists say mismanagement of water resources around the Dead Sea has produced more than 3,000 sinkholes.
The saline lake — bordered by Jordan, Israel and the West Bank — is evaporating at nearly four feet per year, which leaves behind the salt pockets responsible for the dangerous sinkholes, reported ABC News.
Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director of EcoPeace Middle East, told the news site that the sinkholes are “nature’s revenge.”
The organization of Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli environmentalists is dedicated to preserving their shared environmental heritage.
Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director of EcoPeace Middle East, told the news site that the sinkholes are “nature’s revenge.” The organization of Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli environmentalists is dedicated to preserving their shared environmental heritage...
More at Yahoo.com (Feb 19, 2015)

Tunisian player withdraws before facing Israeli

MONTPELLIER, France (AP) — The ATP says it is looking at the circumstances of a Tunisian tennis player's retirement from a match after winning the first set in a French tournament Wednesday, citing an injury that keeps him from facing an Israeli in the next round.
Malek Jaziri quit after winning the first set 6-3 against sixth-seeded Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in the first round of the Open Sud de France.
Tournament organizers said in an email to The Associated Press that Jaziri, who called for a trainer twice during the match, "suffered again from an elbow injury he picked up" at the Australian Open.
More at Yahoo.com (Feb 5, 2015)

Most British Jews feel they have no future in Europe: poll

By Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - A quarter of Jews in Britain have considered leaving the country in the last two years and well over half feel they have no long term future in Europe, according to a survey published on Wednesday.
Additionally, anti-Semitic beliefs are widely prevalent among the wider public with 45 percent of Britons agreeing with at least one anti-Semitic sentiment, the YouGov poll for the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) group found.
The survey comes a week after four French Jews were killed in an attack on a Kosher supermarket in Paris which led to police stepping up security at synagogues and other Jewish venues across Britain.
"Whilst anti-Semitism in Britain is not yet at the levels seen in most of Europe, the results of our survey should be a wakeup call," said Gideon Falter, chairman of the CAA in a foreword to its report.
"Britain is at a tipping point: unless anti-Semitism is met with zero tolerance, it will continue to grow and British Jews may increasingly question their place in their own country."...
More at Yahoo.com (Jan 14, 2015)

Netanyahu steps up appeal to French Jews after attacks

Paris (AFP) - This week's deadly jihadist attacks have again set off a competition between the French and Israeli governments to reassure and secure the affection of France's increasingly nervous Jewish population.
Not for the first time, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used an attack by Islamic extremists in France to urge the country's Jews to relocate.
"To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe, I would like to say that Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the state of Israel is your home," he said in a statement on Saturday.
Responding from outside the Jewish supermarket in Paris where four hostages died on Friday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls sought to counter Netanyahu's words.
"France, without its Jews, is not France," he said.
More at Yahoo.com (Jan 11, 2015)

Hamas bars Gaza youths bereaved in war from visiting Israel
By Ran Tzabar and Nidal al-Mughrabi

ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER (Reuters) - Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip prevented on Sunday a group of Palestinian children who lost parents in the July-August war with Israel from making a rare goodwill visit to the Jewish state, organizers of the trip said.
Gaza's Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry, citing the children's "suspicious" itinerary, confirmed they were barred from crossing the border.
Israeli peace activists said they had secured permission from the military to admit the 37 children and five accompanying adults for a week-long tour of Israel and the occupied West Bank, seat of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's government.
Yoel Marshak, an activist named on the permit, said the group included children of Hamas fighters killed in the 50-day war, which according to the Gaza Health Ministry claimed more than 2,100 Palestinian lives, most of them non-combatants. Israel put the number of its dead at 67 troops and 6 civilians...
More at Yahoo.com (Dec 28, 2014)

Nazi war criminal, Alois Brunner, likely died in Syria four years ago, says man who hunted him

A prominent Nazi hunter revealed that an SS war criminal responsible for the deaths of 128,500 Jews in WWII most likely died four years ago in Syria.
Former SS Lt. Alois Brunner, who would be 102 today, deported thousands of European Jews to the death camps during the Holocaust — becoming one of the most wanted unpunished Nazi war criminals in the world.
But it appears he eluded justice until the very end.
“We received information from a German intelligence operative, who worked in the Middle East for many years, that he died and was buried in Damascus,” Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff said in an interview with Yahoo News on Monday.
Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center office in Jerusalem, coordinates the organization’s research on Nazi war criminals worldwide and has helped bring many before courts...
More at Yahoo.com (Dec 2, 2014)

"Mahar"-"Tomorrow." Jewish Forum in Montenegro

The conference "Machar" ("Tomorrow"), organized by the Jewish community in Montenegro, member of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC), took place in Budva on October 23-26. The event was held under the patronage of the EAJC. The conference brought together over three hundred participants representing Jewish communities of five countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro. The forum was attended by the EAJC delegation headed by Congress Secretary General prof. Mikhail Chlenov. Conference was opened by the President of the Jewish community in Montenegro Yasha Alfandari. Minister of the Government of Montenegro for Human and Minority rights Suad Numanovich and EAJC Secretary General, Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress, Mikhail Chlenov welcomed the participants. Natalia Schmidt, the EAJC CEO delivered a message of the EAJC President Julius Meinl to the Conference.
In his letter President Meinl expressed his deep appreciation to the community of Montenegro and its leader Yasha Alfandari for their efforts in organizing such a large-scale forum. Welcoming the representatives of the Balkan Jewish communities who have joined the EAJC, Julius Meinl, in particular, wrote: “I am very proud that in less than a year of my serving as EAJC President the Congress geography has greatly expanded, and this continues the story of the successful building of our Congress...
Link to the whole text.

David Greenglass of Rosenberg spying case dies

NEW YORK (AP) - David Greenglass, who served 10 years in prison for his role in the most explosive atomic spying case of the Cold War and gave testimony that sent his brother-in-law and sister, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, to the electric chair in 1953, has died at 92.
Greenglass - who admitted decades later that he lied on the stand about his own sister - died in New York City on July 1, according to the Rosenbergs' sons, Michael and Robert Meeropol.
After his release from prison in 1960, Greenglass lived under an assumed name in Queens, hoping to be forgotten for his part in a McCarthy-era cause celebre that is still furiously debated to this day.
A spokeswoman for the Meeropols, Amber Black, said Tuesday that the brothers were aware of their uncle's death last summer but did not seek media attention and received no inquiries at the time....
More at AOL.com (Oct 14th 2014)

Archaeologists find hidden gas chamber in concentration camp

Archeologists in Poland uncovered a hidden Nazi gas chamber from World War II.
The chamber was part of the Sobibor concentration camp - which was closed down after an uprising by people being detained there in 1943.
It was located in a small village of eastern Poland because of its general isolation and proximity to a railroad.
German forces tried to hide all traces of the camp after...covering it with an asphalt road. At least 250,000 Jews were killed in the gas chambers. Only 48 prisoners survived the war.
But with this new discovery, those estimations may become more precise. Archeologists say now that they know how big the gas chambers were, they'll be able to determine just how many people died there.
More at AOL.com (Sep 20th 2014)

93-year-old former Auschwitz guard charged

By DAVID RISING BERLIN (AP)
A 93-year-old man has been charged with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for serving as an SS guard at the Nazis' Auschwitz death camp, prosecutors said Monday.
Oskar Groening is accused of helping operate the death camp in occupied Poland between May and June 1944, when some 425,000 Jews from Hungary were brought there and at least 300,000 almost immediately gassed to death.
In his job dealing with the belongings stolen from camp victims, prosecutors said among other things he was charged with helping collect and tally money that was found.
"He helped the Nazi regime benefit economically, and supported the systematic killings," state prosecutors in the city of Hannover said in a statement.
More at AOL.com and at popdust.com ()

You Won’t Believe What the Son of Hamas Just Said on CNN!

Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas Founder) reveals the truth about how Hamas Terror group aims to kill civilians and uses Palestinian Children as human shields.

(Video - CNN interview. July 24 2014)

Dudi Sela really wants a hug
Tennis player’s gesture after loss will make you smile

Losing in professional sport is no laughing matter, this we are repeatedly told. Yet when a player does find the funny side of a defeat, it's extremely refreshing. Israeli tennis pro Dudi Sela is clearly a man who enjoys physical affection, particularly a good old cuddle after a loss. Tramlines can understand this. But he was faced with a problem as he sought an embrace from gigantic 6ft 11in Ivo Karlovic at the net after their match at the Claro Open in Colombia.
At just 5ft 9in, Sela was not in much of a position to lock into the kind of hug that he was after - but a simple handshake was simply not a compromise that he could accept. So what did he have to do to facilitate the hug?...
More and video from Yahoo Sport site. (July 20, 2014)

Breaking the Arab Monopoly at the UN

A few weeks ago, our historic exhibition opened at UNESCO headquarters in Paris before a standing-room-only crowd.
The groundbreaking exhibit, People, Book, Land – the 3,500-year relationship between the Jewish People and the Holy Land is “an epic, moving story which shows the uninterrupted presence of Jews in the land of Israel for over three millennium” - writes exhibit author, Hebrew University Jewish History Professor, Dr. Robert Wistrich, in The Jerusalem Post (read full op/ed, "An Unshakeable Bond").
“Given the UN’s long record of anti-Israel actions, I was initially rather skeptical that such an exhibition on the Jewish people’s connection to the Land of Israel could ever be implemented by a UN organization,” wrote Professor Wistrich...
Whole text with images from the Simon Wiesenthal Center letter (June 26, 2014)

What language did Jesus speak?

hat was the topic of debate between Pope Francis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week during the pope's three-day tour of the Holy Land.
Netanyahu claimed the Holy son spoke Hebrew, but the pope said Aramaic. Netanyahu responded, saying Jesus spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew.
While the spiritual leader's life itself is still hotly debated, historians have attempted to find out what language a man like him would have spoken.
Most scholars agree Jesus spoke primarily Aramaic, because it was the common language and Hebrew was a written language for holy scriptures spoken by a lower class.
Netanyahu's point wasn't necessarily about linguistics, though. It was about politics.
The leader wanted to emphasise a link between Jesus and modern Israel, where Hebrew has become the dominant language.
Both Israelis and Palestinians lay claim to Jerusalem, where he died, and Palestinians sometimes describe him as a Palestinian, something Israelis object to...
Whole text from the AOL site. Published on June 1, 2014

Rolling Stones 'so excited to be coming to Israel

The Rolling Stones staged a high-energy concert in Oslo on Monday night, as the ever-youthful band resumed a 14-country world tour suspended in March after the death of Mick Jagger's girlfriend, fashion designer L'Wren Scott.
In a video posted on Tuesday, starring guitarist Ron Wood, the band expressed how excited they were at the prospect of visitng Israel, which is one of the stops on their tour. They will be appearing at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park on June 4.
Jagger, 70, wearing a tight black shirt and jeans for most of the late-night show in front of more than 20,000 spectators in Osol, said he was happy to be back performing in the Nordic city where the band first played on a tour in 1965...
Whole text from the Haaretz Site (May 27, 2014)

Supreme Court to Hear Appeal of Generic Drug Case
By ANDREW POLLACK, MARCH 31, 2014

As the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has been critical of brand-name manufacturers that try to block generic versions of their high-priced medicines.
But Teva is now emulating its rivals, mounting an aggressive effort to stave off generic versions of Copaxone, its big-selling brand-name drug for multiple sclerosis, which is set to lose patent protection late in May.
On Monday, Teva got help from the United States Supreme Court, which agreed to hear its appeal of a lower-court ruling that invalidated a patent that would have protected Copaxone until September 2015.
Teva, based in Israel, is desperate to stave off generic competition to Copaxone, which had global sales last year of $4.3 billion; $3.2 billion of that figure came from the United States. The drug, which has been on the market for 17 years and is the best-selling treatment for M.S., accounts for about 20 percent of Teva’s revenue and about half its profit...
Whole text from the New York Times site

UNESCO to SWC: "Exhibition will Open June 11, 2014" - Major Victory over Arab Group at UNESCO

The Simon Wiesenthal Center announced today that its joint exhibition with UNESCO, “Book, People, Land - The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People With the Holy Land”, will open on June 11, 2014, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The date was confirmed in an exchange of letters between Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO and Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center.
“It was simply ludicrous for the 22-Arab states that belong to UNESCO to attempt to torpedo the exhibition, just days before its opening, on the grounds that it interferes with Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to jumpstart the Middle East peace process. Our exhibition, vetted and approved by both the UNESCO and Wiesenthal Center’s teams, had nothing to do with the peace process,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier...
Whole text from the Simon Wiesenthal Center site, January 27, 2014

November 7-10, 2013 - Limmud Keshet Ex-Yu in Montenegro

Jewish Community of Zemun, as usual, was an active participant in the Limmud Keshet EX YU conference. With a rich program that was designed by the organizer the Jewish Community of Montenegro, it was a real pleasure to be present at the magnificent Hotel Avala in Budva. Click on this link to read the catalog of events with a detailed program. We would like to accentuate out setting "A traveling exhibition about good people" and promotion of our book "Holocaust in Yugoslavia," which was prepared for participants of the conference by activists of the Jewish Community of Zemun.
(Click on image to see our photo gallery)

Hezbollah claims endangered eagle ‘Israeli spy’ after shooting down bird with university research band on its leg

TEL AVIV, Israel — Israeli eagles dangerously endangered by pesticides, electrical wires and poachers now apparently face a new threat: Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.
Hezbollah’s Al-Manar website recently boasted of capturing an eagle that carried an Israel-labeled transmission device on its back and claimed the bird was an Israeli spy. It said hunters in central Lebanon shot down the bird and found devices on it as well as a copper ring on its leg that reads “Israel” in English followed by letters that refer to Tel Aviv University. The fate of the eagle remains unclear.
Israeli ornithologist Yossi Leshem said Thursday he was tracking the bird for research and was “incredibly frustrated” it was harmed. Leshem, a Tel Aviv university professor, has specialized in the Bonelli’s Eagle for decades and said they are in great peril with just nine pairs of mating age remaining in Israel...
Whole text at National Post (October 17, 2013)

Is Rafael Nadal Jewish?

Rafael Nadal: Olympic gold medalist, 12-time Grand Slam singles winner, multiple Davis Cup champ, and one of the best tennis players in history. Tonight, when Rafa squares off against Jesse Levine in Montreal, whether anyone believes it or not, it could be a match-up of Jew versus Jew.
According to filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, there is some evidence that Nadal, who hails from Majorca, could very well be a member of one of the families that was forced to convert during the Spanish Inquisition. Majorcan Jews who were forced to convert were once called Chuetas.
Is Majorcan Rafael Nadal a Chueta? Probably. His name is Rafael Nadal Parera. “Parera” was a common “converso” i.e., “convert” name. It means “pear tree”. It’s the kind of “neutral” name the newly baptized Jews adopted in the 15th century. Names like “Parera”, “Torres” and “Medina” usually reflect a hidden Jewish past. Some of these newly minted Christians tried to prove their loyalty to their new faith by being more anti-Semitic than the old Christians. But others defended their countrymen and their fellow “conversos”...
Whole text at The Scroll stite (August 7, 2013)

Soccer star Lionel Messi visits Western Wall on ‘peace tour’

(JTA) — The Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem  and met with Israeli leaders.
Messi was in Israel with the Spanish soccer team Football Club Barcelona as part of the team’s “peace tour,” which included hosting skills clinics and games with Israeli and Palestinian children to promote peace.
On Sunday, the team donned yarmulkes to visit the Western Wall. In Jerusalem, they posed for a group photo with Mayor Nir Barkat and met at the President’s Residence with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“It’s a great honor to host Barcelona in a holy city like Jerusalem, with this visit a dream come true for Israeli and Palestinian children,” Peres said. “They have two dreams: to score in Camp Nou [FC Barcelona's soccer stadium] and peace between the two sides. Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and the rest of the players, I hope you teach us the tiki-taka style so that we learn how to score a goal for peace.”...
Whole text at the JTA stite (August 5, 2013)

In Kosovo's Tiny 'Jerusalem'
a Struggle To Sustain Jewish Life in Corner of Balkans

Votim Demiri led me through a warren of narrow streets and buildings with sloping red-tiled roofs to his home in this city of 178,000, set on a bend in the Prizrenska Bistrica river. In his office, Demiri, president of the Jewish community in Kosovo, proudly showed off photographs of his family meeting leaders, including Israeli President Shimon Peres. He pointed to a calendar given to him by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The JDC has done extensive work in this breakaway former province of Serbia, from which it declared independence in 2008.
Demiri’s house — “the Jewish house,” as he referred to it — forms one point of a triangle in his neighborhood with two Islamic holy places. Later, he took me into the historic center of Prizren, situated around an old stone bridge spanning the Prizrenska Bistrica. He noted that the Sinan Pasha Mosque sits within walking distance of a Serb Orthodox Church and a Catholic school...
Whole text at The Jewish Daily Forward (July 2, 2013)

Netanyahu opens new ‘Shoah’ exhibit at Auschwitz
June 13, 2013

(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened a new permanent exhibit titled “Shoah” at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
The ceremony took place Thursday in what used to be the Nazi extermination camp at the former Prison Block 27, which has been designed as an exhibit showing the death camp in the larger context of genocide in World War II.
“The leaders of the Allies knew about the Holocaust in real time. They understood exactly what was happening in the death camps. They were asked to act, they could have acted, and they did not. To we Jews the lesson is clear. We must not be complacent in the face of threats of annihilation. We must not bury our heads in the sand or allow others to do the work for us,” Netanyahu said at the dedication ceremony.
“From here, the place that attests to the desire to destroy us, I, the Prime Minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish People, say to all the nations of the world: The State of Israel will do whatever is necessary to prevent another holocaust.”
The exhibit was curated, designed and built by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, in coordination with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. It replaces an old and outdated exhibit, which most visitors to the camp do not visit. In 2005, following a visit by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Yad Vashem was asked by the Israeli government to renew the exhibit. The renovation was funded by the State of Israel with assistance from the Claims Conference...
Whole text at JTA site

Australia and Israel join in issuing stamps to commemorate Battle of Beersheba

As part of the Australia 2013 World Stamp Expo (10 - 15 May), Australia Post and Israel Post are marking the Battle of Beersheba through the release of a commemorative issue of two stamps.
The Battle of Beersheba is a significant event in the history of both countries and one of Australia's greatest and least-known military triumphs. The Battle of Beersheba took place on 31 October 1917 as part of the wider British offensive collectively known as the Third Battle of Gaza. The heavily outnumbered Australians pushed back the Turkish troops and opened the way for the capture of Jerusalem. The stamp issue features two key images: Stamp one (60c) - Australian Light Horseman. This stamp features the statue of an Australian Light Horseman in the Park of the Australian Soldier at Beersheva, Israel Stamp two ($2.60) - Battle of Beersheba. This stamp features contemporary images of Australian Light Horsemen Australia Post Managing Director and CEO Ahmed Fahour, said the joint stamp issue is a great addition to the World Stamp Expo and a tangible way for Australia Post to acknowledge its relationship with Israel Post...
Whole text at Aupost (May 6, 2013)

Holocaust survivor shares her story

Betty Lauer, 87, is a Holocaust survivor.
She shared her story with freshman at Essex High School on May 8, 2013.

Watch the video at AOL.com

Mysterious Stone Structure Discovered Beneath Sea of Galilee

A giant "monumental" stone structure discovered beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee in Israel has archaeologists puzzled as to its purpose and even how long ago it was built.
The mysterious structure is cone shaped, made of "unhewn basalt cobbles and boulders," and weighs an estimated 60,000 tons the researchers said. That makes it heavier than most modern-day warships.
Rising nearly 32 feet (10 meters) high, it has a diameter of about 230 feet (70 meters). To put that in perspective, the outer stone circle of Stonehenge has a diameter just half that with its tallest stones not reaching that height.
It appears to be a giant cairn, rocks piled on top of each other. Structures like this are known from elsewhere in the world and are sometimes used to mark burials. Researchers do not know if the newly discovered structure was used for this purpose...
Original article at Yahoo News (April 10, 2013)

Macedonia Holocaust Museum Damaged in Weekend Violence
The Macedonian Holocaust Museum was damaged in a spurt of violence that erupted over the weekend in the country’s capital of Skopje.

The Macedonian Holocaust Museum was damaged in a spurt of violence that erupted over the weekend in the country’s capital of Skopje, the Sitel Website reported.
The hostilities erupted when police used tear gas to break up a demonstration by ethnic Albanian youth in support of newly-named Defense Minister Talmut Xhaferi, a former leader of Albanian guerillas who fought government forces in 2001, according to China's Global Times.
Protesters damaged the Holocaust Museum and the glass area of the Macedonian Museum of History, and broke several windows of a new theater under construction.
They also damaged bus stops and traffic signs and overturned vehicles.
The violence came about a week before the second anniversary of the opening of the museum to commemorate the over six million Jews who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis.
Original article at israel National News (March 5, 2013)

Groucho Gave Secretary High Marx: Author Steve Stoliar Recalls His Days as Groucho Marx's Secretary

In January 1974, a 19-year-old UCLA student named Steve Stoliar started The Committee for the Rerelease of Animal Crackers to pressure Universal Studios into releasing the Marx Brothers' 1930 black-and-white film, which had been in copyright limbo for at least two decades. Executives at Universal were more concerned with their recent releases, Airport 75 and Earthquake, than they were in untangling the legal knots necessary to re-release a 44-year-old movie.
"I probably discovered the Marx Brothers when I was in high school and I wondered where they had been hiding all my life," Steve Stoliar said in a recent interview with us.
"They were such a wonderful blend of physical comedy and clever wordplay -- either Groucho's wordplay or Chico's mangling of the language."
Marx mania swept college campuses in the late '60s and early '70s. Their anarchic shenanigans resonated with baby boomers who weren't even alive when the Marx Brothers were making movies. Abbie Hoffman once said, "Groucho Marx had more to do with my subversion than Karl Marx."
More from huffingtonpost.com (Feb 5, 2013)

Nechemya Weberman, Orthodox Counselor Guilty Of Sexual Abuse, Sentenced To 103 Years In Prison

NEW YORK (AP) — An esteemed religious counselor in New York City's ultra-orthodox Jewish community was sentenced Tuesday to 103 years in prison for molesting a girl who came to him with questions about her faith.
Nechemya Weberman was convicted in December of 59 counts, including sustained sexual abuse of a child, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse. He testified in his own defense, saying he "never, ever" abused the girl, and maintained his innocence at sentencing.
His trial put a spotlight on the ultra-orthodox community and its strict rules that govern clothing, social customs and interaction with the outside world. Brooklyn is home to the largest community of ultra-orthodox Jews outside Israel, more than 250,000. Both Weberman, 54, and the accuser belonged to the Satmar Hasidic sect there.
The girl's school had ordered her to see Weberman because she had been asking questions about her religion and was dressing immodestly in violation of customs, and he was supposed to help her get back on the right path. Weberman wasn't a licensed counselor but spent decades working with couples and families in his community...
More from huffingtonpost.com (Jan 23, 2013)

Breakup Video: Couple Announces Split In The Cutest Way Ever

Breaking up is hard to do -- especially when you have to explain why you broke up to your friends. Who wants to share -- and relive -- all the mistakes and messy personal problems that ruined your relationship?
That's why we've got to hand it to Jonathan Mann and Ivory King, a real-life couple who found a relatively painless way to do it: they simply released a cutesy, sing-song-y music video announcing their breakup to friends, family and the entire interwebs on Mann's YouTube channel. Smart!...
More from huffingtonpost.com (Dec 6, 2012)

Results of U.N. vote to grant PLO non-member observer state status
Resolution 67/19 — 29 November 2012

No: Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama and United States of America.

Abstain: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Croatia...

Yes: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium...Serbia...

Whole list from UN Watch site

Serbia and secularism

In Serbia we have an organization named Coalition for a Secular State, which is nongovernmental association consisting of many civil society activists, mostly from organizations concerned with peace and human rights, women’s groups, and also individuals – atheists, scientists, experts in law and citizens who appreciate modern values of civilized societies. Our major goal is to keep secular values of our state and society. I will explain why it is extremely important for Serbia, probably much more important than for developed democracy in other European countries, but first I must clarify the concept of secularization. Basically, by secularization we mean that: ...
Whole text from Pescanik site, August 22nd, 2012

Jerusalem's gay community celebrate 10th annual pride parade

Nearly 3,000 members and supporters of Israel's gay community gather in Jerusalem on Thursday to march in the city's 10th annual pride parade, held amid heavy security. Ultra-orthodox Jews stage a counter-demonstration. Many devout Jews, Muslims and Christians view homosexuality as an abomination.
Video from The Guardian. August 3, 2012.

Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman dances ‘Hava Nagila’ to Olympic glory

Nice Jewish girl from Massachusetts stuns spectators and becomes the new focus of the U.S. squad.

Israelis may have been disappointed by the performance of their country’s Olympic athletes on Sunday, but American Jews were collectively kvelling at the showing of gymnast Alexandra Raisman, who was the undisputed star of the NBC Sunday night Olympic broadcast.

More from site haaretz.com . July 30, 2012

Polish rescuers of Jews celebrated as heroes

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — For decades, nobody really talked about them: the thousands of Poles, mostly Roman Catholics, who risked their lives during World War II to save Jewish friends, neighbors and even strangers.
Those discovered by the Germans were executed quickly, often with their entire families. And then, under communism, there was silence. The Jewish survivors would send letters and gifts in gratitude. But the Polish state ignored the rescuers. And they themselves kept quiet, out of modesty, or shame or fear of anti-Semitism. Sometimes they worried gift packages from the West would arouse the jealousy of neighbors in a period of economic deprivation.
"It wasn't considered anything to be proud of," said Ewa Ligia Zdanowicz , an 81-year-old whose parents hid a Jewish teenage girl in their home during the war.
That era is over.
A moving gathering of dozens of the rescuers on Sunday in Warsaw shows just how much has changed in Poland in the 23 years since communism fell. Dozens of Polish rescuers were celebrated and dined over a kosher lunch in an upscale hotel where Jewish representatives took turns praising them in speeches for their heroism...
More from Yahoo News (July 16, 2012)

July 5, 2012 - Recognition for the Jewish History Museum in Belgrade

Interior of Museum. From right to left: Branka Đidić, Vojislava Radovanović and Nenad Fogel

Circumstances would have it that it fell to Nenad Fogel, President of the Zemun Jewish Community to hand over to Vojislava Radovanović, Museum director and Branka Đidić, secretary of „Mi smo preživeli“ (We survived) editorial, the Israeli Keren Kayemeth award. 80 trees donated by the staff of the said editorial have been planted on the hills of Jerusalem. The act of planting the wood was dedicated to the “Flying Youth Brigade” from Osijek which during 1941 and 1942 participated in the reception and accommodation of inmates in the camp set up in the abandoned mill in Đakovo. First to arrive inside the camp were children and women and sometime later elderly men. Under exceptionally harsh conditions the entire economic support and supply of the camp, aided by the Jewish Community of Osijek and inhabitants of surrounding villages, was practically undertaken by these youths. Their ability to be spot on wherever needed gained them the name they are remembered by, that of the Flying brigade.

In wartime conditions it was a period of intense work both within the Jewish community which took care of supplying the camp, and inside the camp where living conditions had to be organized by providing a health service, running a kindergarten, taking care of clothing and general camp items. Jews from neighboring villages also took part in all these proceedings. The work of the Flying brigade ended abruptly in April 1942 when the Ustashi from Jasenovac entered the camp. Of the 3000 Jewish inmates, 600 died from torture and diseases (typhoid raged inside the camp) while the remaining 2.400 were transferred into the Jasenovac camp complex where they were killed immediately upon arrival. M. F.
(Extract from the paper MOST No.3/2012, Israel)

May 7, 2012 - An exhibition of photographs "A View of Israel" opened

On May 7th the mayor of Belgrade municipality Stari grad, Mrs. Mirjana Bozidarevic and Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Yossef Levy opened an exhibition of photographs titled "A View of Israel". The exhibition is staged on the Knez Mihajlova Street promenade across from the Cultural Center of Belgrade. A delegation of members of the Zemun Jewish Community with its president Nenad Fogel was present at the opening. The director of the Belgrade Tourist Organization, Mr. Dejan Veselinov stressed the huge significance of developing and enhancing tourist exchange between Serbia and Israel. Numerous strollers were taken in by the photographs and stopped to look at the sights displayed which in reality depict only a small portion of the bountiful tourist attraction that Israel can offer. The exhibition remains open till May 27th.

(Click on image to see our Photo Gallery)

Former Nazi guard Demjanjuk dies in Germany aged 91

(Reuters) - John Demjanjuk, a retired U.S. engine mechanic convicted for his role in killing 28,000 Jews as a guard at a Nazi death camp during World War Two, died on Saturday aged 91 in a care home in Germany, police said.
Once top of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most wanted Nazi criminals, Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk denied the charges against him, saying he was drafted into the Soviet army in 1941 and then taken prisoner by the Germans.
A Munich court convicted Demjanjuk in May 2011 of helping to kill the Jews at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. He was sentenced to five years in prison but freed because of his age.
He died on Saturday morning at the care home near Rosenheim, south of Munich, where he had been living, Bavarian police said...
More from the Reuters Site, Mar 17, 2012

Nadal, Bar Rafaeli Sizzle In Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal appears with Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli in the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit magazine, which hit newsstands on Tuesday.
"I was calm and I enjoyed doing it," Nadal told Sports Illustrated, during the shoot. "It was a new experience for me."
Rafaeli, 26, the 2009 cover model, said, "I love tennis. The combination of him and Sports Illustrated. I'm so happy to be part of this. I was nervous."...
More from ATP site, Feb 14, 2012

Iran car explosion kills nuclear scientist in Tehran

A university lecturer and nuclear scientist has been killed in a car explosion in north Tehran.
Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, an academic who also worked at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, and the driver of the car were killed in the attack.

The blast happened after a motorcyclist stuck an apparent bomb to the car.
Several Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated in recent years, with Iran blaming Israel and the US. Both countries deny the accusations.
The US state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters she did not have "any information to share one way or the other" on the latest attack.
Iran's Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi told state television that the attack against Mr Ahmadi-Roshan would not stop "progress" in the country's nuclear programme...
More from BBC News (January 11th, 2012)

Who Assassinated an Iranian Nuclear Scientist? Israel Isn't Telling
Like three previous Iranian scientists ambushed on their morning commute, the latest nuclear expert to die on his way to work was a victim of Israel's Mossad, Western intelligence sources tell TIME. Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, an expert on a phase of uranium enrichment, perished on a Tehran street on Wednesday after an assassin in a passing motorcycle attached a magnetized explosive to the side of his Peugeot 405. "Yeah, one more," a senior Israeli official said with a smile. "I don't feel sad for him."
Wednesday's attack followed the pattern of previous operations planned by Mossad and carried out over the past two years by Iranians trained and paid by Israel's spy agency, according to intelligence sources. The targets were chosen from the ranks of scientists seen as crucial to Iran's nuclear effort — the country's top physicist, Majid Shahriari, was killed by a magnetized bomb in October 2010 — then shadowed for weeks to determine their routines and points of vulnerability...
More from the Time (January 13th, 2012)

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