May 13, 2004
Israel-U.S. Anti-Terror Fund Planned
Israel and the United States hope to establish a $50 million counterterrorism research and development fund. Each country would contribute half of the fund, Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon said on Tuesday. Congress and the Israeli Treasury must approve the fund.
"I see it as a very positive step. This fund is much needed and will address the threat that both countries face," Ayalon said. The fund is an outgrowth of recent conversations between Tom Ridge, the U.S. homeland security secretary, and his Israeli counterpart, Tzachi Hanegbi. It would research aviation security, protection of sensitive installations and defense against biochemical attacks.
New Justices for Israel
Four new justices were named to Israel's Supreme Court. The four are former Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein, State Prosecutor Edna Arbel and judges Esther Hayyut and Salim Joubran. Joubran, who had been serving a temporary appointment on the court, will be the first Arab to serve as a full Supreme Court justice.
The four, and a fifth judge who won a temporary appointment to the court, are scheduled to be sworn in May 24.
Jews Meet With Democrats
Jewish organizational officials met with Democratic representatives to discuss domestic and Israel-related issues. Hannah Rosenthal, executive director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, said at least 35 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives attended Tuesday's meeting. It was planned for one hour, but lasted more than two.
"This was an extraordinary showing," Rosenthal said. "They're treating the Jewish community as a serious constituency and recognizing the many issues that are driving our community and will drive us as voters."
The participants, who included representatives of national Jewish groups and Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jews, were invited by the House Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Democrats are trying to keep their traditional 3-1 support among Jewish voters, whom they fear may be swayed toward the Republican Party by President Bush's pro-Israel record.
"Democrats look forward to continuing our partnership with the Jewish community," Pelosi said in a statement.
Anti-Semitism Rises in Canada
There were twice as many anti-Semitic incidents in Canada in 2003 as in 2001, according to a new report. According to the Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents for 2003 released by B'nai Brith Canada's League for Human Rights, 584 incidents were reported last year, the highest number in the 21-year history of the audit. Two-thirds of the incidents were classified as harassment, about 30 percent as vandalism, and 2.6 percent -- 15 incidents -- as violence.
While threats of violence have increased steeply, the actual number of violent incidents has decreased, B'nai Brith found. Incidents were reported from coast to coast, but most occurred in Ontario and Quebec, where most Canadian Jews live.
British University Cracks Down on Hate Sites
A British university has tightened its policy on professors' Web sites after Jewish groups complained of links to anti-Semitic material. Birmingham University has told academics that by the end of this month, links from university-hosted sites must be "relevant and legitimate to their academic or administrative work." Danny Stone, head of a campaign mounted by the Union of Jewish Students, called the announcement "extraordinary news," adding, "A lot of hard work has paid off."
Rally Against Anti-Semitism Planned in Paris
France's main anti-racist organization called for a demonstration against anti-Semitism in Paris on Sunday. Following a wave of attacks on Jewish targets in recent days, SOS Racisme, a group set up in the 1980s to combat the rise of the far-right National Front, said it is calling "on all citizens to march on Sunday in order to show that French society unequivocally says 'no' to anti-Semitism." In a statement issued Monday, the organization said that "anti-Semitism was not a Jewish affair but a scourge which every sincere anti-racist has to fight."
French Jewish groups say that since the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada, they generally have had to tackle anti-Semitism without the support of mass demonstrations supported by groups outside the organized Jewish community.
Neo-Nazi Party Illegal in Argentina
A neo-Nazi party in Argentina was declared illegal and will not be allowed to participate in elections. Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral made the decision regarding the New Triumph Party last Friday.
"The group's identification with the regime created by Hitler is fundamental" and its ideology is incompatible with the country's constitution, Corral said.
Rice, Qurei to Meet
Condoleezza Rice will meet with the Palestinian Authority prime minister in Berlin. President Bush's national security adviser will use the May 17 meeting to probe Ahmed Qurei powers, his ability to open talks with Israel and his willingness to stop terrorist attacks, The Associated Press reported.
Synagogue in FSU Hit with Arson
Arsonists attempted to set fire to a synagogue in Tiraspol, capital of an unrecognized republic that split off from Moldova. According to local community leaders in the Transdniestrian Republic, vandals on May 5 threw Molotov cocktails at the shul and spilled flammable liquid near its front door.
The fire was extinguished before it spread to the building itself. The incident took place weeks after some 70 tombstones were damaged in the Tiraspol Jewish cemetery. Local community leaders said the authorities refused to help clean up the anti-Semitic graffiti painted over the tombstones in March.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency