December 11, 2003
Bush Suspends Embassy Move
President Bush again suspended moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Invoking a waiver that cites national security reasons, Bush again resisted complying with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which mandated that the U.S. Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel's capital city. Presidents have invoked waivers every six months since the law was passed. In a memorandum Tuesday to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Bush said his administration "remains committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem," something he pledged to Jews during his presidential campaign in 2000.
Moscow Bomb Kills Jewish Student
A Jewish student was among the five people killed in Tuesday's suicide bombing in Moscow. Igor Akimov, 18, was a freshman at Moscow State University's Center for Jewish Studies and Jewish Civilization. The campus is located near the site of Tuesday's attack, which injured 14. Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Akimov graduated from a Jewish day school in his native city and moved to Moscow this fall. He was majoring in Jewish history and wanted to become a professor in the subject, friends said.
Israel slammed a U.N. decision to have the International Court of Justice rule on the West Bank security barrier.
"What kind of morality is it that the U.N. does not lift a finger against a wave of offensive operations against Israel but condemns defensive measures? That is moral bankruptcy," Dore Gold, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and former ambassador to the United Nations, said Tuesday.
Monday's resolution brought new pressure to bear on Israel, though the sort of advisory opinion sought from the International Court of Justice is not binding. One of Sharon's Cabinet members, Justice Minister Yosef "Tommy" Lapid, already has requested that the fence be rerouted to minimize seizure of Palestinian lands.
Gere'd Up for Peace
Actor Richard Gere visited the West Bank on the second day of a private peacemaking visit. A longtime campaigner against the Chinese occupation of Tibet, Gere met with Palestinian intellectuals in Ramallah on Tuesday before touring Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity. The actor, on his second round of grass-roots meetings in the Middle East during the Palestinian intifada, also is believed to have held private talks in Israel on Monday.
Report: Israel hyped Iraq threat
Israeli intelligence exaggerated the threat to Israel posed by Iraq, according to a new report written by reserve Brig. Gen. Shlomo Brum for Israel's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies. Reacting to the report Dec. 4, Israeli Knesset member Yossi Sarid called for an inquiry into Israeli intelligence leading up to the Iraq war.
Dating Sites Get Hitched
Two of the top Jewish dating Web sites are tying the knot. MatchNet of Los Angeles, which owns JDate.com and other specialized dating sites, is buying JCupid.com, owned by PointMatch of Tel Aviv, in a deal that unites two of the top competing Jewish singles sites, the Jerusalem Post reported. PointMatch's vice president, Eldad Ben Tora, said the deal was aimed at connecting Israeli and Diaspora Jews. Computer dating is among the few growth areas online and is expected to generate $400 million in revenue overall this year.
UNESCO Condemns 'Protocols'
A U.N. body condemned the display of a notorious anti-Semitic forgery at an Egyptian library. UNESCO said Dec. 4 that the presence of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" at a display at the Alexandria library would leave the institution "open to accusations of racism in general and anti-Semitism in particular." The book, described by library director Yousef Ziedan as "as one of the sacred tenets of the Jews" and "more important than the Torah," had been placed next to an exhibit of Torah scrolls. The UNESCO condemnation comes as the organization is preparing an event called "The Centennial of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion: a Paradigm for Contemporary Hate Literature," to be held in Venice this weekend.
Report: Fewer French Muslims
The number of Muslims in France has been widely exaggerated, according to a new report. According to figures extrapolated from government statistics on the numbers of French citizens with at least one parent born outside France, there probably are less than 3.7 million Muslims in France, the L'Express weekly reported Friday. The figures are considerably lower than various estimates by politicians that have placed the Muslim population as high as 6 million. Slightly more than 1 million Muslims in France are of voting age, the report adds. It is illegal in France to compile government statistics based on religion and ethnic group, but the question asking about parents' birthplace was added to a recent government-sponsored questionnaire.
Concert to Feature Camp Poems
A concert in Prague will feature music based on poems written by Jewish children held at Terezin. The concert is to be held at the State Opera in Prague on Jan. 27. The event, which will coincide with the 58th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, has been organized by the Prague Jewish community in cooperation with the Mauthausen Committee, based in Austria.
Now, Don't Get Frothy ...
A Canadian researcher is investigating how stressed Montreal Jews get when discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kimberly Matheson, a psychology professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, is checking how much of the hormone cortizol is secreted when Jews read articles about the Middle East, Canada's National Post newspaper reported. The idea came to her when she saw how red Jewish colleagues' faces became when they read articles they considered anti-Israel. Matheson conducted a similar study among those born in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s Balkans War.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.