May 22, 2003
Al-Qaeda Calls for Attacks on Jews
Muslims should attack "Crusaders and Jews," an Al-Qaeda leader said on a new audiotape aired by Al-Jazeera. "The crusaders and the Jews only understand the language of murder, bloodshed and of the burning towers," the man said on the tape, aired Wednesday on the Qatari-based network. Analysts say the man may be Ayman Al-Zawahiri, a key aide to Osama bin Laden. He also calls for attacks on the commercial interests of the United States, Britain, Australia and Norway. The terror threat level in the United States was raised Tuesday from elevated to high. American Jewish leaders say they were not told of any threats to the Jewish community.
Poll: Terror Attacks Opposed
Seventy-one percent of Palestinians are against terror attacks inside Israel if certain conditions are met, according to a new poll. The conditions include the resumption of peace talks, according to the poll, which was conducted by Bir-Zeit University in the West Bank. Forty-eight percent support the disarming of Palestinian militias.
Palestinians Rally Against Hamas
Hundreds of Palestinians in a Gaza Strip town demonstrated against Hamas on Tuesday for firing rockets on Israel. Hamas terrorists have used Beit Hanoun as a launching pad for rocket attacks on Israeli towns in the Negev, prompting harsh Israeli retaliation. The protests occurred shortly after Israeli troops pulled out of the town, according to the Jerusalem Post.
"We've had enough because people have paid a heavy price," a farmer told the Post.
Similar protests are believed to have occurred elsewhere in the Gaza Strip.
Israel to Deport Activist
Israel said it would deport a Canadian activist who was arrested in the West Bank city of Hebron. Greg Rowlins, a volunteer with the Christian Peacemaker Team, was arrested Monday while trying to cross into the Palestinian section of Hebron. Israel has tightened restrictions on foreign activists in recent days, following news that two British citizens responsible for a suicide attack that killed three people in a Tel Aviv pub on April 30 had met beforehand with members of one prominent group of pro-Palestinian activists.
Fries With Your Money?
Several Jewish groups are among 24 recipients of money from a $10 million settlement with McDonald's over its use of animal fat in french fries and hash browns labeled vegetarian. Hillel and the Star-K organization each will get $300,000, the Jewish Community Centers Association will get $200,000, the Orthodox Union will get $150,000 and CLAL National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership will get $50,000. Another $6 million will go to vegetarian organizations, $2 million to Hindu or Sikh groups and some for groups that work for child nutrition. In all, 10 percent of the money is slated to be used to promote awareness of kashrut, a U.S. judge ruled Monday. The case, which was decided last year, stemmed from several lawsuits filed against McDonald's for mislabeling its french fries.
Ari Fleischer Resigns
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer will resign in July. Fleischer, one of the senior Jewish officials in the Bush White House, announced Monday that he will leave to pursue a job in the private sector.
Brazil Gets a Hillel
Some 400 people attended the grand opening in São Paulo. Located in the elegant neighborhood of Jardins, the large house will host social cultural, and educational activities targeting Jewish youths aged 18-28. A second Brazilian branch of Hillel is expected to open soon in Rio de Janeiro.
Austrian Rabbi Attacked
Austrian police say a Chasidic rabbi in Vienna was beaten when he and his three children were walking home from Shabbat prayers in eastern Vienna last Saturday. Two youths shouted anti-Semitic insults, then kicked the rabbi and hit him over the head with a beer bottle, the German news service DPA said.
The rabbi, vice director of the Lauder School, was injured in the attack, though his children were unhurt, Austrian police said.
World Bank Faults Fence
A security fence Israel is building for defense against terrorism will harm Palestinians, the World Bank warns.
The fence will impinge on Palestinian access to water sources, schools and businesses, the report states. Nigel Roberts, the bank's representative in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, called the fence a "unilateral and unplanned step on the part of the Israeli government as a substitute for negotiations and with far-reaching implications."
But Israel's Foreign Ministry called the fence "one of the components of the Israeli government's responsibility to protect its citizens."
About eight miles of the planned 90-mile fence are complete.
French Filmmakers Expelled
Two French pro-Palestinian activists suspected of having met the British suicide bombers who carried out an attack in Tel Aviv last month arrived in Paris after being expelled from Israel.
Both filmmakers, who arrived late last week, were questioned by French border police for around 15 minutes before being welcomed by a group of activists from the International Campaign for the Protection of the Palestinian People.
The two men, both in their 30s and of North African origin, were detained by Israeli police for around 72 hours as part of an investigation into the attack on Mike's Bar in Tel Aviv on April 30 in which three people were killed.
Jewish Baseball Cards Available
A set of Jewish baseball cards is now available. The 130-player sets, which cost $60, are said to feature every Jewish major leaguer ever. The cards are available from the American Jewish Historical Society. More information on the cards can be found at www.ajhs.org .