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Jewish World News Briefs
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
January 16, 2001
Report: U.S. owes Holocaust victims
NEW YORK (JTA) The United States still owes reparations to
Holocaust victims, according to a report issued by a commission appointed by
President Clinton. ``The interests of Holocaust victims suffered" after
War II, according to Edgar Bronfman, chairman of the Presidential Commission
on Holocaust Assets in the United States, which released the results of its
year study Monday.
Wolfowitz named deputy secretary
WASHINGTON (JTA) Paul Wolfowitz was named deputy secretary
of defense by President-elect George W. Bush. Wolfowitz, a Jew who was
undersecretary of defense in the administration of Bush's father and is
dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International
Studies, was an adviser to the Bush campaign and had been a leading
for secretary of defense, a post that went to Donald Rumsfeld.
Czech calls for crackdown
PRAGUE (JTA) A Czech legislator called on police and state
prosecutors to crack down on people selling neo-Nazi CDs and literature in
towns close to the German border. Vladimir Lastuvka made the appeal after
German legislators showed him evidence that extremist materials were being
sold in two Czech towns.
Croatian leader backs Nazi trials
NEW YORK (JTA) Croatia's president agreed to back his country's
prosecution of alleged Nazi war criminals, according to the Jerusalem office
the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Stjepan Mesic, who made these comments in a
meeting with Efraim Zuroff, an official with the Nazi-hunting group, also
agreed to support a Holocaust education project that will be translated into
Croatian for use in schools and cultural institutions throughout the
Wiesenthal Center had refused to meet with Mesic's predecessor, Franjo
Tudjman, because of what it called his glorification of Croatia's fascist
Reports vary on Wallenberg
MOSCOW (JTA) Russian and Swedish officials do not agree on
whether Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who aided Hungarian Jews
during the Holocaust, died in 1947, according to separate reports released
Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said there is inconclusive
evidence that Wallenberg died in a Soviet prison, and the country will
more resources to discovering Wallenberg's fate.
Jews mixed on Ashcroft
NEW YORK (JTA) Jewish groups are mixed on whether the U.S.
Senate should approve President-elect Bush's nomination of John Ashcroft to
be U.S. attorney general.
Agudath Israel of America said Ashcroft, who has been criticized for
his ties to the Christian Right and his alleged lack of support for civil
laws, respects all people ``irrespective of race or religion."
But Jewish Women International opposes Ashcroft, whose
confirmation vote is expected to take place this week, for opposing laws
``attempted to thwart affirmative action, gun control, gun safety" and
Meanwhile, the Republican Jewish Coalition began running ads backing
ADL criticizes West Bank rally
NEW YORK (JTA) The Anti-Defamation League called on the
Palestinian Authority to condemn the abuse of religious symbols at a weekend
anti-Israel rally in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
During the rally, which was attended by representatives of the
Palestinian Authority, Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, a donkey was draped
with a Jewish prayer shawl and paraded through the crowd.
Pieces of cloth with swastikas and stars of David were also wrapped
around the donkey.
Birthright group cheers Sharon
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon told
2,500 young, cheering Jews that the Israeli government does not have the
to divide Jerusalem because it belongs to all the world's Jews.
At a Jan. 13 ``mega-event" for Birthright Israel participants making
their first visit to the Jewish state, prime ministerial candidate Sharon
participants to move to Israel because ``we need you here." Prime Minister
Ehud Barak spoke at a similar event the previous week.
U.S. revokes extremist's visa
NEW YORK (JTA) The U.S. State Department revoked the visa of
an Israeli extremist.
The move against Baruch Marzel, a former leader of Kach, is part of a
general U.S. crackdown against Jewish extremist groups linked to members of
the slain Kahane family.
Leader decries German racism
NEW YORK (JTA) The leader of German Jewry said his faith in the
country has declined in the year since he took on his position.
``People are no longer shy about hurling their anti-Semitism directly
into my face," Paul Spiegel, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in
Germany, said in an interview with the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper.
Spiegel charged that German Jews are ``being slandered as
He also charged that a compensation fund for Holocaust-era slave
laborers is ``being portrayed as Jewish exploitation."
Activist Ben Zion Leuchter dies
NEW YORK (JTA) Jewish activist and journalist Ben Zion Leuchter
died Sunday after suffering from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Leuchter, who lived in Key Biscayne, Fla., was a former president of
the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and a past chair of CLAL.
He also served as a longtime JTA director.
Nominee: Vouchers not a priority
WASHINGTON (JTA) The U.S. Senate appears ready to give easy
approval to Rod Paige as President-elect George W. Bush's education
The former Houston schools chief sought to reassure top Democrats
during his confirmation hearing Jan. 10 that school vouchers would not be a
priority in the Bush administration.
Jewish groups are split on the issue of vouchers, which make use of
government funds to enable parents to transfer their children from public
schools to private institutions.
Polish bill called 'outrage'
NEW YORK (JTA) Poland's lower house of Parliament passed a bill
that would give former owners for property seized between 1944 and 1962 half
of the value of their lost assets.
But because the bill restricts payments to those who held Polish
citizenship at the end of 1999, it will exclude most Jewish Holocaust
who joined a class-action lawsuit in the United States for the return of
property. ``This is an outrage," said Mel Urbach, who is co-lead counsel in
Barak vows to bring mogul 'home'
MOSCOW (JTA) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak vowed to do
everything ``possible to have Vladimir Goussinsky come back home, to
Barak, who called the Russian media tycoon and Jewish leader his personal
friend in an interview Jan. 10 on a German radio station, said he is seeking
Goussinsky is currently under house arrest in Spain, pending a high
court decision on his extradition to Russia, where he is wanted on fraud
In another development, Boris Berezovsky, another controversial
Jewish media mogul who was recently ostracized by the Kremlin, has almost
completed the sale of his 49 percent stake in Russian national TV channel
to an oil and aluminum magnate.
Roman Abramovich, also Jewish, is widely seen as Berezovsky's heir
as a Kremlin insider.
Abramovich, who was recently elected governor of the Chukotka
region on Russia's border with Alaska, is likely to entrust the stake to the
government, according to sources in Moscow.
The state already controls 51 percent of ORT, but the channel is widely
viewed as controlled by Berezovsky.
Florida temple to sever Scout ties
NEW YORK (JTA) A Florida synagogue voted to sever its
49-year-old ties to a Boy Scout troop unless it rejects the national
stance against gay membership.
The unanimous decision Jan. 10 by members at Temple Judea in Coral
Gables came after Reform Jewish leaders called on member synagogues to
boycott Boy Scout chapters until they change their policy of excluding gays.
Shoah Day gains recognition
ROME (JTA) The anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz
death camp has been established as an official day of Holocaust memory in
several European countries.
In Italy, for example, Jan. 27 will be the occasion for numerous
ceremonies and cultural and memorial events nationwide.
© JTA Inc., 2000. May not be reproduced without written permission.