Archive

Archive for the ‘Ukraine’ Category

Charges may be brought against alleged Treblinka guard

August 10, 2010 Leave a comment

MUNICH (WJC)–A 93-year-old man living in southern Germany could be charged with participating in the murder of Jewish prisoners in the Nazi slave labor camp Treblinka I during World War II.

According to the news magazine ‘Der Spiegel’, prosecutors in Munich are to decide soon whether to bring charges against a man identified as Alex N. for his alleged activities as an SS guard of the camp.  Born in Ukraine and having lived in the Bavarian city of Landshut since the end of the war, N. was granted German citizenship in 1991.

Investigators at the Central Office for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Ludwigsburg provided information leading to the current investigation. The slave labor camp was located near the death camp Treblinka II, in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Alex N., who reportedly trained at the same Nazi SS facility as Ivan (John) Demjanjuk, offered testimony at the Demjanjuk trial in Munich last February. Demjanjuk is charged with helping to murder 27,900 Jews at the Sobibor death camp. Alex N. reportedly has bragged over the years about having shot Jews.

A few weeks ago, Germany filed charges against another witness in the Demjanjuk trial, Samuel Kunz, 90. He was charged with helping to murder 430,000 Jews in the Belzec death camp in occupied Poland. Two men under investigation died recently, never having stood trial: former SS officer Erich Steidtmann, 95, of Hanover, and Adolf Storms, 90.

*
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

A third case reportedly is now under investigation in Bavaria. Klaas Carel F., 88, was convicted in the Netherlands of murdering 22 civilians. He fled from a Dutch prison in 1952, and has been living in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt. Prosecutors are looking into whether they can sentence him based on the Dutch conviction.

Jerusalem tourism waxes and wanes with international politics

July 26, 2010 Leave a comment

By Ira Sharkansky

Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM–More than two million overseas visitors arrived in Jerusalem during a recent year. The attractions are well maintained places linked to individuals and events featured in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, and a functioning Old City enclosed by walls built in ancient times and last reconstructed in the 16th century. The Old City offers sites and shopping for tourists, and four distinctive neighborhoods that are the homes of 30,000 Jews, Muslims, Armenians and other Christians. Only a short ride away is Bethlehem, equally compelling for those wanting to see the roots of Christianity. Jericho is not much further in another direction. It offers winter visitors a chance to dine comfortably in an outdoor restaurant, while ten miles away in Jerusalem it may be raining and close to freezing.
While the numbers coming to Jerusalem are impressive, and often a nuisance to locals having to cope with crowds and traffic, the city ranks lower than 50 others in the numbers of tourists it attracts. London, New York, Bangkok, Paris, and Rome attract from three to seven times the number of international tourists as Jerusalem. Dublin, Amsterdam, and Prague get twice as many, while even Kiev and Bucharest, plus resorts near Bangkok attract 50 percent more international visitors than Jerusalem.

Jerusalem may have more of a mystic pull than these other places. The “Jerusalem syndrome” is a documented condition whereby some visitors believe themselves to be biblical characters. Jewish and Christian sufferers act as David, Jesus, or some other figure associated with their faith. I am not aware of visitors to London and Paris thinking that they are Henry VIII, Napoleon, or any of the other figures associated with local history.
Why does Jerusalem rank only #51 on a sophisticated ranking of international tourism? 
Distance has something to do with it. Visitors to Western Europe can avail themselves of numerous attractive destinations as part of the same trip from home. There are decent beaches and other features in Tel Aviv and Netanya, but they attract only 60 and 10 percent of the overseas visitors as Jerusalem. Tiberias is on the Sea of Galilee and close to sites important to Christians, but draws only 25 percent of the number of visitors to Jerusalem. 
 
There are other sites in countries close to Jerusalem, notably Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, but the borders of the Middle East are not as easy to cross as those of Western Europe. For some years now Israeli security personnel have not allowed Israeli Jews to visit Bethlehem or Jericho without special permits, and others have to pass through barriers and inspections meant to protect us.

Politics and tension are more likely to figure in a decision to visit Jerusalem than other cities. The number of overseas tourists to Israel dropped from 2.4 million in 2000, which was mostly prior to the onset of the latest intifada, to a bit over one million in 2003, which was one of the bloodiest years. Numbers increased to 1.9 million by 2005 when the violence had diminished significantly. No other country included in the regions of Europe and the Mediterranean surveyed by the United Nations tourist agency showed comparable variations in the same period. Even on a mundane issue like this, the U.N. is unable to consider Israel part of the Middle East region, which includes all of the countries bordering it and Palestine.

Jerusalem has drawn more tourists that some well-known sites in Europe. It does better than Florence and Venice, and is pretty much tied with Athens. Why less than Kiev and Bucharest? There are mysteries in the world of tourism that may boil down to nothing more than current fashion or a lack of precision in the numbers.

Tourist flows change with politics and economics. Thirty years ago there was virtually no direct travel between Israel, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Now Russian visitors are in second place behind those from the United States; there are sizable numbers from Ukraine and Poland. Thousands come each year from India, Korea, Japan, China, and Nigeria. Indonesia and Morocco receive Israelis and send visitors to Israel, even though there are no formal diplomatic relations. There are even a few hundred visitors annually from Malaysia and Iran, whose officials are usually among our most intense critics .

My latest Jerusalem experience may be part of a multicultural gesture to attract overseas visitors, or it may reflect nothing more than the lack of experience or attention by the person responsible. While I usually pay no attention to the music piped into the exercise room at the university gym, this morning I became alert to something familiar. It was Silent Night, in the English version I was required to sing many years ago at the Highland School. But only in December. Never in July.

*
Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University

International Fellowship of Christians and Jews help underwrite Jewish day schools in former Soviet Union

July 13, 2010 Leave a comment

JERUSALEM (Press Release) –The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, under the leadership of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, its founder and president, announced a donation of $1.1 million to the Jewish Agency for Israel to support the network of Jewish day schools in the former Soviet Union. This comes in addition to the $400,000 in support to the school network given earlier this year by the Fellowship.

The network, known as Heftziba, consists of 43 schools with 9,000 students in grades 1 through 12 enrolled for the upcoming school year and is operated by Israel’s Ministry of Education in partnership with the Jewish Agency. The schools span the former Soviet Union, with 15 schools in Russia, 18 in Ukraine and Moldova, 5 in Belarus and Baltic states and 5 in Central Asia.

The gift will help sustain the schools, by covering key costs, including hot meals, clothing and medicine for children from disadvantaged families as well as school busing — a critical factor in enrollment due to the great distance some students need to travel.

“Sustaining this school network is part of the Jewish Agency’s mission to build and strengthen Jewish identity,” said Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky. “We are deeply grateful to Rabbi Eckstein, and look forward to continuing to work with him and our other partners to further strengthen Jewish education in the former Soviet Union.”

Sharansky noted Eckstein’s leadership in funding programs which assist Jewish children in the former Soviet Union and for coming to the rescue of the Heftziba network last year when the economic crisis almost brought the school system to collapse. Plans are being developed by the Jewish Agency, the Government of Israel and the Fellowship to deal comprehensively with the issues of education and care for Jewish children in the former Soviet Union.

“Thanks to our many Christian and Jewish donors, the IFCJ contributes over $25 million each year to help the Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union,” Rabbi Eckstein said. “While we feel privileged to do so, ultimately the costs of Jewish education and welfare of the children — who represent the future of Jewish peoplehood in the FSU — should be borne by the world Jewish community and we commend Mr. Sharansky and the Jewish Agency for pledging to undertake this effort.”

The Jewish Agency partners with the Government of Israel’s Ministry of Education which operates the Heftziba network, sending 50 teachers from Israel to the schools and contributing $2.8 million annually; individual schools within the network are run by Or Avner, ORT and Shema Yisrael.

Sharansky said he views Heftziba as a signature partnership program of the Fellowship and the Jewish Agency, in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Education and the Or Avner, ORT and Shema Yisrael school networks.

The announcement of the new funding follows the recent adoption by the Jewish Agency of a strategic plan that calls for supporting programs like Heftziba which enable young Jews to “connect with their people, heritage and land, and empower them to build a thriving Jewish future and a strong Israel.” For its part, the Fellowship has raised roughly one billion dollars from Christians to help Israel and Jews in need, enabling “hundreds of thousands of Jews to escape poverty and anti-Semitism and return to their biblical homeland, and funded humanitarian assistance that has touched millions of Jews in Israel and around the world.”

 *
Preceding provided by Jewish Agency for Israel

The Jews Down Under~Roundup of Australia and New Zealand Jewish News

July 11, 2010 Leave a comment
 

Garry Fabian

Compiled by Garry Fabian

Visiting Group Greeted warmly

ADELAIDE,  7 July – A group of more than 20 Bnei  Akiva Melbourne members and leaders travelled to  Adelaide last month to show their support for the  small community and help spread some extra Shabbat cheer.

About 20 year 9 boys were accompanied by seven  leaders and a shaliach to the South Australian  capital, where they shared meals on both Friday
night and Saturday, and hosted activities for the locals.

“In Melbourne, we recognise how lucky we are to have a thriving and vibrant community, yet at the  same time we see that others in Australia do not
have the Jewish luxuries that we may take for  granted,” Bnei Akiva spokesperson Daniel Weil  explained  “These visits are important as it is
not often that groups visit the smaller communities.”

Arriving on Friday morning, the group travelled straight from the airport to local Jewish school  Massada where they ran a number of activities,  including Shabbat programs and fun sessions.

A bowling match with local families was also   arranged after Shabbat, followed by a barbecue dinner.

“The feedback we received was very positive,” Weil said.

The inter-community visit was a joint initiative between the Bnei Akiva shaliach and a local Adelaide rabbi, who became close friends while living in Israel.

The trip is part of the Zionist youth movement’s plan to show its support for small Jewish  communities around the country, and according to
Weil,  it was just as meaningful for the Bnei  Akiva group as it was for the Adelaide participants.

“It allows them to show us that, despite their  small size, they are just as passionate about  leading Jewish lives as we are. Even though it is
immensely harder for them to do so, it serves to  show us how lucky we are with everything that we  have in our community,” he said.

*
Rabbi goes full circle

MELBOURNE, 6  July – Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant addressed a group of Victorian Muslims at a City Circle event last weekend.

The former president of the Rabbinical Council of  Victoria and current rabbi at Jewish Care  discussed some of the challenges facing the  Jewish community. After the presentation, which  also included some background information on the  Victorian Jewish community, the group had the
opportunity to question Rabbi Kluwgant.

“It was an enlightening experience and I am glad  to have been offered the opportunity to talk to  the group so openly as it gave me the chance to
live the message I have been promoting in  relation to multifaith dialogue and engagement,” he said.

Among the topics asked about were interfaith dialogue and commonalities between different religious leaders.

City Circle aims to highlight an Australian Muslim identity while developing friendship and  cooperation between Muslim and non-Muslim communities

*
70th Anniversary for the Dunera Boys

MELBOURNE, 8 July – In ranks depleted by the  passing of seven decades, they will return to the  small NSW town of Hay in September to reminisce
about a perilous wartime voyage from Britain to the far side of the world.
The “Dunera boys” is the moniker bestowed on 2542 men, 2036 of whom were Jewish refugees from Nazi  Germany and Austria, living in Britain and classed as enemy aliens.

Seventy years ago this month, they were placed  aboard the Dunera, bound for Australia. The ship had a maximum capacity of 1600, and conditions were described as “inhumane”.

  These men and boys were refugees from Nazi  Germany who had reached what they believed was  the sanctuary of England just before the outbreak
of war in 1939. When the war broke out in September 1939, they were interned and later  shipped as “enemy aliens” to Australia. But even
more degrading, they were locked up with German  prisoners of war, and other Nazi personnel.

On arrival in Sydney, the bewildered newcomers  were taken to internment camps in the rural towns  of Hay, NSW, Loveday, SA, and Tatura, Victoria.
Subsequently reclassified as “friendly aliens”,  hundreds were recruited into the Australian Defence Force. After the war, around 800 remained in the country.

Peter Felder, son of Dunera boy Henry Felder, is organising this year’s reunion, the first major  gathering since a 50th-anniversary event in 1990.
“So far, we’ve had 12 Dunera boys indicating they will attend,” he said

Former internee Mike Sondheim will be one of the party. “The people of Hay always display their
hospitality and friendship to us as long-lost sons having returned home.”
  From September 3-5, the intenees will return to  the sites of former camp seven and eight for a commemoration.

They plan to re-enact their arrival at the local  railway station  and follow the route they  marched along from the station to the camps.  Unlike in 1940, the Hay Shire Council mayor will formally welcome the visitors.

Among the activities planned, they will visit the  grave of Menasche Bodner, the only Dunera boy  buried in the Jewish section of the Hay General
Cemetery, and will see the Hay Dunera Museum.

*
Court ruling on question of religious freedom

MELBOURNE, 6 July – A father has won the right to  stop his children from taking part in Jewish  coming-of-age ceremonies, after a court agreed
with the man that they should be able to make their own religious choices.

The mother wanted her children to participate in  their bar and bat mitzvahs – ceremonies that mark  the beginning of boys and girls taking responsibility for their Jewish faith.

But the father, a Catholic who irregularly  attends church, wanted them to choose their own  religion in a ”voluntary and informed” way when they were old enough.

The dispute played out in the Federal Magistrates  Court in Melbourne where the separated parents,  known as Mr and Mrs Macri, asked the court to  determine the religious future of their children:  a 10-year-old and eight year-old twins.

Mr Macri, 44, did not oppose his children  observing Jewish holidays and events. The  children had undergone some classes in Hebrew,  but the lessons had lapsed at their request. In  accordance with traditional Jewish practice, the  son had undergone circumcision.

Mrs Macri had enrolled the children in a  religious youth group for two hours each Sunday.  But Mr Macri was concerned this had ”an element of political content” and wished for them not to attend.

He also asked for an injunction, stopping Mrs  Macri from committing their children to the Jewish faith through the bar and bat mizvah  ceremonies until they were older. Jewish girls  usually undergo bat mitzvah aged 12, while boys  have their bar mitzvah at aged 13.

Federal magistrate Terry McGuire allowed the mother to take the children to the youth group  but ordered her not to let her children participate in the ceremonies until they made the choice or their father agreed to it.

”Australia is a multicultural and secular  society,” Mr McGuire said. ”These children are fortunate in that they have the opportunity to  directly experience the culture and traditions of the religions practised by each of their parents.”

Mr Macri had not pitted one religion against the  other but had wanted his children to participate  in the culture and traditions of both religions
without committing to either at this stage, he said.

In contrast, Mrs Macri wanted to commit the children to Judaism immediately.

He said there was no evidence that deferring the decision would later stop the children choosing to enter the Jewish religion.

*
TV Channel accused of racism

SYDNEY, 9 July – TV Channel Nine and its program – A Current Affair (ACA)- allowed anti-Semitic  comments to be published on its website,
violating racial vilification laws according to NSW Jewish Board of Deputies   CEO Vic Alhadeff.

ACA reported one evening last week on plans for  an eruv in the Sydney suburb of St.Ives. After  the show, it posted a video of the story on its
website, which attracted hundreds of comments. The discussion, which was about whether or not  the local council should approve an application
to erect 27 poles to constitute the eruv in the  suburb, soon descended into an attack on Israel  and the Jewish community.  “The bosh (Germans)
didn’t finish the job” said one post. Another  went further ” Quick hide your babies, the Jews  are going to drain their blood to bake bread!”.

Alhadeff contacted Channel Nine to alert them of  the possible breach of the law and the network  immediately removed the comments. “The quick
response was appreciated,  but the incident draws  attention yet again to the need  for all media to  implement effective filtering systems of what is
posted on their sites” Alhadeff said. “Some of  the remarks clearly violate the race vilification  laws, and it is unacceptable for media to carry
such slurs until such time as the offensiveness is drawn to their attention”.

B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission executive  director Deborah Stone said it is not the  community’s job to monitor news sites. She added
that is was particularly concerning that the  report prompted virulent anti-Semitism. John  O’Dea, who represents the local electorate of Davidson, said there needs to be a rational debate over the feasibility of an eruv in the
area. 

“Prejudice or discrimination based on  racial or religious grounds should play no role in the debate” he said. The federal member for the area, Paul Fletcher,  whose electorate would contain part of the eruv,  called anti-Semitic comments disturbing. “There  is no place in this decision-making process for anti-Semitic comments”, Fletcher said.

*

Jewish ANZAC’s to be honoured

CANBERRA, 9 July – A Jewish memorial service will  be held a the graveside of Berrol Mendelsohn, a  World-War I soldier whose remains will be interred in France on July 19. The fallen officer is so far the Jew among 94 Australian soldiers who have been identified using DNA technology, after a mass grave
containing 250 bodies of Anzacs was discovered two years ago at Fromelles in France.

*

New Zealand readies for legal action over shechitah
WELLINGTON,  NZ 9 July –  The New Zealand Jewish  community is making preparations for a legal  challenge to the Government’s outlawing of
shechitah, kashrut experts in Australia expressed fears that the ban may impact closer to home.

The New Zealand community were hoping that a  meeting with Prime  Minister John Key late last  month might lead to reversal of the policy. But
though he told the gathering that he ‘wants to Jewish community to be strong and vibrant in New Zealand”, he has so far failed to respond to their concerns.

“In the absence of any firm response from the  Government, the community is preparing its legal  case to restore the legal practice of shechitah
as an integral part of its right to manifest the  Jewish religion and belief in New Zealand, as  provided for in the New Zealand Bill of Rights  Act 1990”, Community spokesperson David Zwarts said.

The kashrut crisis began when NZ Agriculture Minister David Carter imposed a requirement that  animals be electrically stunned before slaughter, meaning that it is no longer possible to provide halachically acceptable meat.

*

Mikvah watershed in Canberra

CANBERRA, 9 July – After years of community  deliberations, Canberra’s Jewish women will  finally have the use of a local mikvah. Chabad of
ACT, which has been active in the nation’s  capital for a year, will own and run the  facility. It will be ready for use early next year. Rabbi Dan Avital, who has been working to establish Chabad of ACT, said building the
facility had been a stated goal since he and his wide Naomi arrived.
“We are incredibly excited at having started  building the first mikvah in Canberra”, he said.

The mikvah will have two immersion pools – to allow the continuity of operation – and three  bathrooms, and will be attended by Rebbetzin
Avital. Although attached to the Avital’s  residence, it will have a separate access to ensure privacy.

*
Holocaust Museum ugrade

MELBOURNE,  12 July – Henryk Kranz’s father taught him to draw by candlelight in a hiding place he  had helped a farmer dig into the hillside during  the Nazi occupation of Poland in World War II.

His father, Zygmunt, would make aeroplanes, houses and other toys from wood, metal and  matchboxes to amuse him in the dark, cramped
space where they hid until liberated by the Red Army in August 1944.

“He was quite gifted with his hands,” the retired  neurologist, 72, says of his father, who years  later sculpted a series of bronze busts that  reminded him of some of the people he once knew  in his Polish home town of Boryslav, now in western Ukraine.

Almost a decade after Zygmunt Kranz’s death,  seven of these busts have pride of place in a  redeveloped new museum that opens officially this
month at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Elsternwick.

Henryk Kranz does not believe his father set out  to recreate faces of specific people but “archetypal individuals from his memory of that period”.

Also on display are two artworks from an unpublished children’s book by Henryk’s daughter, Andrea, celebrating the heroism of farmer Jozef
Baran and his wife Eleonora, who risked their  lives to save her father and his parents.

Like her father, Andrea Kranz is a medical practitioner. She works in palliative care with cancer patients.

She has been reading the story about the heroic  Barans to her 4½-year-old daughter, Iliya. Her  grandfather would often retell it. “It was woven
throughout my childhood,” she says.

The new multimedia museum updates the Selwyn Street facility built 25 years ago. Audio-visual displays, photographs, artwork and memorabilia
present the stories of its increasingly frail survivor guides to students and other visitors.

“This is a big concern many survivors express, this fear that in the future no one will be left to talk about their murdered families,” curator Jayne Josem says, noting that technology will ensure their stories continue to be heard.

Zygmunt Kranz was a mining engineer in the petroleum industry at the start of the war. He  was sent to a labour camp near Boryslaw, as it is
known in Poland, and put to work digging out old pipelines.

The farmer had befriended him after offering his team shelter for a day on which the Germans were rounding up Jews. He took a liking to Zygmunt and
offered to hide his family. The two men dug about  a metre high and wide and 1.3 metres long behind the rear wall of the farm shed. They installed a
pipe so they could breathe and, later, planks to keep back the crumbling earth.

Zygmunt Kranz, who took his family across the  Czech border to Germany and Norway, worked as an \engineer at CSIRO and Unilever after settling here in 1950.

He wrote in a letter in 1993 nominating the Barans as Righteous Among the Nations at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem that Jozef Baran was “broadly straight and just”.

He brought his wife Frances and three-year-old Henryk to the “bunker” in October 1941, visited  them when he could and escaped the camp to join them in January 1943.

The Barans would leave buckets with food in the  shed. The Kranz family would emerge for a few hours at night.

Henryk, ill at one stage, was cared for in the  farmhouse and remembers gazing fearfully up the hill at a boy walking a bicycle. The boy stopped and stared before continuing.

Through a crack in the door he saw sunlit fields with bright yellow flowers. And once he heard sounds of people searching the shed. “They were trying to find some hidden trapdoor; we were very quiet trying not to make a sound at all.”

He was six when they were finally able to come out of hiding. “I was just speaking in whispers,” he says.

*
Fabian is Australia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World

Israeli violinist and pianist to perform together June 17 in Carlsbad

June 14, 2010 Leave a comment
By Eileen Wingard 
 

Eileen Wingard

CARLSBAD, California–Israel has supplied the world with an abundance of musical talent. In addition to many fine orchestras, topped by the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, it has been the birthplace or the nurturing ground for violinists Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zuckerman, Shlomo Mintz; pianinsts Yefim Bronfman, Daniel Barenboim and others. The organization most responsible for identifying and supporting burgeoning Israeli talent has been the America-Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF).
    
This Thursday, June 17, at 7:00 p.m. at the Ruby G. Schulman Auditorium in Carlsbad’s Dove Library, 1779 Dove Lane, Carlsbad, two AICF recipients, violinist Asi Matathias, and pianist Victor Stanislavsky, will perform works by Cesar Franck and Edvard Grieg. The concert is part of the San Diego Jewish Music Series of the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture. It is underwritten by the Leichtag Foundation.
    
Violinist Asi Matathias, 22, made his debut at 14 with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta. Mehta was so impressed by the youth that he invited him to solo with the IPO the following season. Mehta described Asi as “extremely musical, sensitive and technically accurate.”
    
After Asi’s early violin training in Israel with Chaim Taub, the talented young man continued his studies at the Universitat fur Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He has been supported by the AICF since 1997.
    
Asi has performed with orchestras in Europe and recorded with the BBC, the Austrian Radio, and the Israel Broadcasting Authority. Currently, he is working with Pinchas Zukerman as a scholarship student at the Manhattan School of Music.
    
Along with his studies, he continues to concertiize. His 2009-10 season included a concert at Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium, playing alongside pianist Yefim Bronfman and cellist Wolfgang Laufer; solo programs  in Carnegie Weill Recital Hall,  Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, and in Japan, and another solo performance with the IPO.
    
Pianist Victor Stanislavsky, 27, has been an AICF scholarship winner since 2002. He has also won top prizes in Italy’s “Pozzoli International Piano Competion and in China’s International Piano Competition. Recently, he was one of thirty pianists world-wide, invited to compete in the Van Cliburn Competition.
    
Victor was born in the Ukraine and moved to Israel in 1990. His early training was at the Rubin Academy in Haifa. He received his BA degree with highest honors from the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music of the Tel Aviv University.  In addition to soloing with Israel’s top orchestras, he has performed in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Eastern and Western Europe, South Korea and China.
    
After a recent Athenaeum Concert in La Jolla, Ken Herman of the La Jolla Light praised his “youthful vigor and mature interpretation.”
    
Tickets for the recital are $15 JCC members, $18 non-members. Call 858-362-1348. 
*
Wingard is a freelance writer based in San Diego 
 
 
 

 

Roll call on Gaza flotilla portrays the values of international community

June 4, 2010 Leave a comment

By Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Israel was victimized twice this week, first by terrorists hiding yet again among the civilian population (one Turkish-sponsored jihadi boat traveling with five more-or-less civilian boats) and second by a world all too ready to blame Israel for the violence engendered by those who sought a bloody death for themselves and any Jews they could take along. By the end of the week, things began to look more normal-those who are already against remained against; those who try to split the difference split it (consider the “abstain” list below); and a few stood honorably above the rest.   

1) Italy, Netherlands and the United States voted against resolution A/HRC/14/L.1, “Grave Attacks by Israeli Forces against the Humanitarian Boat Convoy” in the UN “Human Rights” Council. It is of note that the major Italian newspapers supported Israel editorially as well. In the United States, public opinion ran strongly in Israel’s favor, as usual. 
 
After a nasty and public denunciation of Israel by President Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Kouchner, France abstained, probably reminded that in 1985 French commandos sunk a Greenpeace ship in what was called Opération Satanique. (You know what a threat those satanic environmentalists pose to Paris.) France was joined by Belgium, Burkina Faso, Hungary, Japan, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Ukraine and UK.
 
Voting in favor of the commission whose conclusion is in its title were Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, and Uruguay. 
 
Surprised?
 
2) President Obama: He almost got it right in a TV interview, but missed the essential point. “You’ve got a situation in which Israel has legitimate security concerns when they’ve got missiles raining down on cities along the Israel-Gaza border. I’ve been to those towns and seen the holes that were made by missiles coming through people’s bedrooms. Israel has a legitimate concern there.  On the other hand, you’ve got a blockage up that is preventing people in Palestinian Gaza from having job opportunities and being able to create businesses and engage in trade and have opportunity for the future.”
 
The President doesn’t know, or didn’t say, that Hamas is responsible both for the attacks on Israel and for the misery of the Palestinians in Gaza. Instead, he wanted to “work with all parties concerned-the Palestinian Authority, the Israelis, the Egyptians and others-and I think Turkey can have a positive voice in this whole process once we’ve worked through this tragedy. And bring everybody together…”
 
Aside from the fact that Turkey is fully complicit in the incident and thus should forfeit any seat at any future table, the Palestinian Authority has not represented Gaza Palestinians since Hamas evicted it in a bloody putsch in 2007. Instead of hoping to “bring everybody together…” the President should be working to evict Hamas from Gaza, for the sake of the Palestinians as much as anyone else.
 
3) The Czech Republic: Small countries that know what it means to disappear when others find them inconvenient stick together and we are grateful that they do. The President of the Czech Senate, Dr. Přemysl Sobotka, told Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, “As a doctor, I certainly regret any loss of life, but there is no doubt that this was a planned provocation designed to drag Israel into a trap… Many in the European community feel as I do, but they are afraid to speak out publicly… I support the position that views Hamas as a terrorist organization… It is too bad that European countries present an unbalanced position on this matter. Unfortunately, the positions of the international community are not always to my taste, particularly in Europe.”
 
We are reminded that 18 months ago, the Czech foreign minister issued this statement: “I consider it unacceptable that villages in which civilians live have been shelled. Therefore, Israel has an inalienable right to defend itself against such attacks. The shelling from the Hamas side makes it impossible to consider this organization as a partner for negotiations and to lead any political dialogue with it.”
 
And finally…
 
4) Mesheberach: During the Jewish Sabbath service, there is a prayer is for those who are ill or injured.   The “Mesheberach” includes the name of the person for whom the prayer is offered and, in an unusual practice, the name of the person’s mother rather than his or her father. Whether in the synagogue or not, we hope readers will remember the six soldiers injured while protecting the people of Israel:

Dean Ben (son of) Svetlana
Roee Ben (son of) Shulamit
Daniel Lazar Ben (son of) Tina Leah
Yotam Ben (son of) Dorit
Ido Ben (son of) Ilana
Boris Ben (son of) Eelaina

*
Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.  Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member.

German court rejects latest attempt to have Demjanjuk case dismissed

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment

(WJC)–A German court has rejected applications to dismiss the case against John Demjanjuk, on trial for the of murder 27,900 Jews as a  at a Nazi death camp guard.
 
Five judges in the southern city of Munich took the decision on the defence applications while the Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk spent his third day in hospital after complaining of heart problems.
 
Several applications to throw out the case “have been rejected because the accused is still strongly suspected of the crimes alleged against him in the charge sheet,” the court said in its decision.
 
Demjanjuk is accused of spending six months in 1943 at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, pushing thousands of Jews into gas chambers. He denies the charges.
 
With no witnesses able to say they could remember Demjanjuk, the prosecution has built its case on an ID card it says links him to Sobibor.

Demjanjuk denies the charges and says the document is a forgery.
 
His lawyer also challenged the qualifications of expert witnesses for the prosecution.
 
Demjanjuk’s family says he is suffering from serious health problems and will likely not survive the trial.
 
Doctors have judged him fit to stand trial but limited the time he can appear in court. Sessions have repeatedly been postponed after Demjanjuk complained of pain or dizziness.
 
Demjanjuk’s son, also called John, accused the court of “bias.”
 
“The court sees that my father is dying and not fit for trial so they are putting forth a baseless rush to judgement as the show may come to an end without an actual verdict, a verdict which they cannot justify based upon the record of the trial,” he told AFP.
 
In what is set to be one of the last major cases of its kind, the court has scheduled sessions until September 14, but given the frequent interruptions, the trial may continue well beyond that date.

*

Preceding provided byWorld Jewish Congress.