August 30, 2001
Bye Bye Helms
Last week, Sen. Jesse Helms, 79, announced his intention to retire when his term ends in 2002, setting off a race for his seat that is expected to be hotly contested. While the five-term Republican senator from North Carolina has earned the support of pro-Israel activists, he has antagonized much of the Jewish community with his conservative stances on domestic issues. Helms' retirement leaves open several questions: Whether his replacement will prove an equally staunch ally of Israel, which party will control the next U.S. Senate -- which currently is split almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats -- and how the loss of the conservative icon will affect some of Helms' pet issues, such as abortion and school prayer.
Israeli high-tech firm goes bust
Chromatis, the Israeli high-tech company purchased for a record $4.5 billion in a stock swap with Lucent just over a year ago, is closing its doors. The latest casualty of the high-tech bust, Chromatis informed workers Monday that the company is closing its Petach Tikva office and laying off its 130 employees, including the company's two founders.
U.S. Wants Info on Kids in Bombing
The United States asked Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for clarification regarding the presence of two Palestinian American children in the building in which the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Ali Mustafa, was killed in an Israeli rocket strike Monday. According to Palestinian sources, glass shards injured the two children, who were vacationing in Ramallah. The Israeli daily Ha'aretz quoted an Israeli political source as saying the planners of the operation were unaware of the children's presence, and if there were information that any innocent civilians were in the building, the operation would not have gone ahead.
Romanian Claims Deadline Extended
The deadline for filing claims for real estate seized by Romania between March 1945 and December 1989 was extended to Nov. 14. Further information can be obtained by writing the United Restitution Organization, 570 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10018, or by calling (212) 921-3860. Inquiries may also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org .
German Officials Slam P.A. Texts
The leader of Germany's Jewish community joined German representatives to the E.U. Parliament in calling for a halt to E.U. funding for Palestinian education projects because some of the money has been used to publish anti-Semitic textbooks.
Some of the $20 million in E.U. funding flows into books that "sow the seeds for suicide bomb attacks," said Paul Spiegel, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
Texas Jews Help Christians
Using almost $3 million in donations from the local Jewish community, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth has introduced a substantial Jewish studies program, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
"If you know about early Judaism, you have more tools to interpret the New Testament," one student at the Disciples of Christ-affiliated school told the newspaper. "This is very important because Jesus was a Jew."
Vatican Blames Jewish Scholars
The Vatican called for mutual trust between Catholic and Jewish scholars probing the Holy See's behavior during the Holocaust, but again blamed the Jewish side for stalling the study. The project was halted in July, when scholars demanded access to more of the Vatican's wartime documents.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, leader of the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism, said last Friday that "tactless comments" emanating last month "from the Jewish side fed a sense of mistrust which has made it almost impossible to continue this bilateral research."
Briefs provided by Jewish Telegraphic Agency.