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U.S. News
Peres in U.S. to lay groundwork for talks

Parents of injured boy sue JCC

Israel News

Diplomatic contacts intensify toward ceasefire

Slain baby's funeral

International News

Czech school cancels seminars with neo-Nazis
Sarajevo Haggadah alive and well

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 World War II, according to Edgar Bronfman, chairman of the Presidential Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States, which released the results of its two- 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 currently dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, was an adviser to the Bush campaign and had been a leading candidate 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 two 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 of 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 country. The Wiesenthal Center had refused to meet with Mesic's predecessor, Franjo Tudjman, because of what it called his glorification of Croatia's fascist wartime government.

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 by the two countries. Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said there is inconclusive evidence that Wallenberg died in a Soviet prison, and the country will devote 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 rights 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 that ``attempted to thwart affirmative action, gun control, gun safety" and abortion. Meanwhile, the Republican Jewish Coalition began running ads backing Ashcroft's nomination.

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 right 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 urged the 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 money-grubbing." 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 secretary. 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 survivors, who joined a class-action lawsuit in the United States for the return of their property. ``This is an outrage," said Mel Urbach, who is co-lead counsel in the lawsuit.

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 Israel.'' 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's release. Goussinsky is currently under house arrest in Spain, pending a high court decision on his extradition to Russia, where he is wanted on fraud charges. 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 ORT 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 organization's 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.


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