April 3, 2003
Jewish Agency Aids Children
The Jewish Agency for Israel distributed $5,000 each to children who lost a parent in a terrorist attack. The agency's terror victim's fund is allocating a total of $2.5 million to some 400 children. The money was raised by the United Jewish Communities' Israel Emergency Campaign. The grants given Wednesday were distributed in the form of a check to adult children or a savings account deposit for minors.
Acquittal in Rabin case
An Israeli undercover agent was acquitted of charges that he failed to prevent the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Avishai Raviv was acquitted Monday.
Raviv, a right-wing activist, was working for Israel's Shin Bet when Yigal Amir gunned down Rabin in November 1995. Amir is serving a life sentence for assassinating Rabin.
Jewish Groups Back Corrie Resolution
Several left-wing Jewish groups are backing a congressional resolution that calls for an investigation into the death of a U.S. woman killed last month by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza Strip. The Rachel Corrie Resolution, introduced last week by Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), expresses sympathy to Corrie's parents, and asks the governments of Israel and the United States to ensure that the situation will not be repeated. The resolution is being backed by Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel, the Tikkun Community, Not in My Name and smaller Jewish organizations.
Looted Nazi Art Returned
The Israeli heirs of a Czech Jewish art collector whose collection was looted by the Nazis in 1939 will receive more than 100 of the looted works. Legal representatives for the descendants of Brno-based lawyer Arthur Feldmann recently signed a restitution agreement that will return 135 drawings by Dutch, Italian and German masters from the 16th to the 18th centuries, currently held in the Moravian Gallery.
Report Blasts Israel
Israel committed "numerous, serious human rights abuses" in the West Bank and Gaza, according to the U.S. State Department. In its annual human rights report, released Monday, the department found that at least 990 Palestinians and two foreign nationals were killed in violence with Israel last year, and that Israel carried out targeted killings in "crowded areas when civilian casualties were likely, killing 25 bystanders, including 13 children."
The report also criticized the Palestinians for not complying "with most of their commitments, notably those relating to the renunciation of violence and terrorism, taking responsibility for all PLO elements and disciplining violators."
Hebrew U. Memorial Planned
A commemoration of last year's bombing at Hebrew University is being planned on U.S. college campuses. On April 10, the North American Jewish Student Alliance (NAJSA) is planning to memorialize the July 31 bombing on campuses across the country with videos about each of the victims. NAJSA currently has reached 75 percent of its goal of 40 participating campuses.
Rabbi Retracts Anti-War Stand
The head of the Conservative movement's main rabbinical seminary backed off his public opposition to the war in Iraq. Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, told The New York Times he ordered the rabbinical school's public relations department to issue a retraction of anti-war comments he had made during a March 20 prayer service, which he did not expect to be publicized.
"I did not think that I should go on a crusade while the war is on," Schorsch said.
Hold the Joe, Yossi
Starbucks is shutting down its cafes in Israel. The six cafes in the Tel Aviv area are slated to be closed at the end of the week. Analysts attributed the failure of Starbucks, which is ubiquitous in many U.S. cities, to competition from established cafes. Security issues and Israel's recession also contributed to the chain's failure.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.