Jewish Journal


April 15, 2012

Israel and the world Pt. 3- weekly news from Israel



* Aaron Alexander was a victim of a violent event, probably on a hatred basis. On the night of the Seder, as the young man left his synagogue in Ukraine, a group of John Does attacked him with a glass bottle. He suffered severe brain damage caused by bleeding and skull fractures. The investigation is still going, but the main suspicion is that the attack was made by an anti-Semitic group. Alexander was taken to Israel, along with a number of Israeli experts who arrived to Ukraine on a special flight, where he was admitted. His condition is severe, yet stable, and he is under constant care.

* A new and shocking story, which was in the headlines of the papers for almost a whole week, revealed some dark secrets behind the scenes of the ultra- Orthodox (Haredi) website, “Haredi Haredim.” The owner of the website, along with two of his senior employees, is suspected of extorting public figures, mostly rabbis and politicians, by publishing articles that portray them in a negative light, and making them pay tens of thousands of Shekels for the removal of those publications. The accusations were backed up by several witnesses. The suspects deny the allegations, claiming that “the business transactions were completely legitimate.” Moreover, their attorneys claim this false accusation was set up by the police, after the website published a photo of one of the police chiefs dressed in an SS uniform. Now, almost a week after the affair was published for the first time, the fraud is suspected to have spread outside of Israel, and got to communities in other countries, probably the U.S.A.

* The Anne Frank House, in cooperation with the Hollandsche Schouwburg – the theatre in Amsterdam used as a deportation center during the Nazi occupation – has published a graphic novel, which tells a story of a fictional Jewish family living in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation and the years of the Holocaust. This book was announced to be a new teaching aid for teachers, while teaching the younger pupils about the holocaust. This book will soon come out in Israel and will probably be used for the same cause here as well. The publishing of that book, which describes the horrors of the Holocaust in somewhat a child-friendly version, caused many opposing reactions by people believing there is no room for “softening” the darkest time in the history of the Jewish people and that the Holocaust can never become a “child-friendly” story. As a reaction, the publishers mentioned the book doesn’t spare the mass murder and destruction, yet avoids some specifics which currently prevent children from falling asleep during the days prior to Holocaust day.

* According to new data provided by the American Immigration services, the number of Israelis legally immigrating to the US in 2011 (3826) is the lowest since 2003 (2741). This is a 35% decrease since the highlight of emigrants- in 2006. According to attorney Liam Schwartz, who specializes in American Immigration laws, the reason for the decrease is probably due to the unpleasing state of the American economy.

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