April 30, 2003
SARS Kills Toronto Jews
A Jewish couple from Toronto died of SARS. The elderly couple apparently contracted SARS when the man was hospitalized for an unrelated heart condition and was placed in the same room as a SARS patient, according to the Jerusalem Post. The man's wife then contracted SARS as well.
SARS Checks at Ben-Gurion
Israel will begin screening passengers who arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport from areas affected by SARS. The Health Ministry said passengers would be examined by doctors at the airport and would be asked to fill out forms. The measures were expected to primarily affect travelers from China, Hong Kong and Toronto, Israel Radio reported.
Israel Tipped U.S. on POW
Israeli intelligence reportedly gave U.S. forces the first tip into the whereabouts of POW Jessica Lynch. Contradicting earlier reports that an Iraqi civilian tipped off U.S. forces, Rep. Tom Lantos (D- Calif.) said Israeli intelligence provided the United States with the first information that Lynch and five of her comrades were being held in an Iraqi hospital in Nasiriyah, the New York Post reported. Lantos, on a tour of Israel, said Israeli officials told him the Israeli tip included details about Lynch's location in the hospital.
New Chief Rabbi Challenged
A Tel Aviv accountant petitioned Israel's High Court against the appointment of Rabbi Yona Metzger as Israel's chief Ashkenazi rabbi. The petition filed Monday cites legal opinions that say Metzger is not qualified to be a religious court judge.
It also said that allegations of fraud and other improprieties involving Metzger were not investigated in return for his commitment not to stand for chief rabbi of Tel Aviv in 1998. The allegations included repeated forging of witnesses' signatures on religious marriage contracts and unlawfully demanding payment for performing weddings, the daily Ha'aretz reported.
In a separate development, the daily Ma'ariv reported over the weekend that allegations of sexual harassment of male youths had been leveled against Metzger. Metzger aides have dismissed the allegations as a smear campaign.
Sharon Open to Talks With Syria
Israel is willing to hold negotiations with Syria without preconditions, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Monday. Sharon made the remarks in a meeting with Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) in Jerusalem, Army Radio reported.
Lantos was visiting Israel after meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus. In a statement broadcast on Israel's Channel One television, Lantos said he had passed a message from Assad to Sharon that the Syrian leader wants to talk about outstanding issues with Israel.
Study: Anti-Semitic Incidents Up
There were more violent anti-Semitic acts last year than there have been for more than a decade, according to a new report. There were 311 cases worldwide, according to the Tel Aviv University report, which was issued jointly with the World Jewish Congress on Monday. Western Europe led the world in terms of anti-Semitic violence, with France, Belgium and the United Kingdom topping the list.
Prince Charles Goes To Shul
Britain's Prince Charles inaugurated a synagogue in Manchester. In addition to unveiling a plaque and planting a tree at the Bowden Shul on Monday, he attended a service and two receptions. A spokesman for St James' Palace – the prince of Wales' official residence – emphasized the importance the queen's eldest son places on such invitations.
French Court: Carpet Is Kosher
A Paris court dismissed a Jewish group's lawsuit against Bernadette Chirac, the wife of President Jacques Chirac, that claimed she had illegally transferred a carpet stolen from Jews during World War II.
Judge Bernard Velette upheld the Ministry of Culture's argument last Friday that the Jewish Association of War Spoilees had confused a Louis XIV carpet in the presidential Elysee Palace with a 19th-century one at Paris' City Hall, which had been stolen from Jews by the Nazis.
New Crown Heights Defense
The man facing a retrial in the 1991 Crown Heights riots admitted that he killed an Orthodox Jew. However, Lemrick Nelson says he was drunk when he stabbed yeshiva student Yankel Rosenbaum, and wasn't motivated by anti-Semitism. The retrial is for violating Rosenbaum's civil rights; Nelson cannot be retried for the actual murder since he was acquitted of murder and manslaughter in a 1992 state trial. Lawyers for Nelson, 27, said he had been drinking beer when he was swept up in an Aug. 19, 1991, riot and stabbed Rosenbaum. Hours earlier, a driver in a motorcade carrying Chabad-Lubavitch leader Rebbe Menachem Schneerson had accidentally struck a 7-year-old black child, Gavin Cato, and his cousin, killing Cato and sparking the riot. Nelson was convicted of violating Rosenbaum's civil rights in 1997 and sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison. However, an appeals court later threw out the conviction.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency