Jews up Sudan Effort
Jewish groups will launch an educational program for at-risk Sudanese children. The program will take place in Chad, home to more than 200,000 people made refugees by Janjaweed terrorists backed by the Sudanese government. The $100,000 program is funded through a grant to the Jewish Coalition for Sudan Relief by the American Jewish World Service, the State of Israel, the UJA-Federation of New York, Union of Reform Judaism and United Jewish Communities of Metrowest, N.J.
Israeli Coalition Close
Ariel Sharon hopes to unveil Israel's new government next week. Political sources said Monday that talks between the Israeli prime minister's Likud Party and the influential Orthodox party Shas were close to fruition and that a new, broad coalition would be in place within a week. The main opposition Labor Party already is on board, though it remains unclear how many Cabinet portfolios it will get. Media reports said Sharon had wooed Shas by vowing to undo anti-religious legislation pursued by his former coalition partner, the secularist Shinui Party. Another religious party, United Torah Judaism, may also join the government in a bid by Sharon to offset Labor's bargaining power.
Prisoner Release Seen
Israel plans to release dozens of Palestinian security prisoners. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Cabinet decided Sunday to create a ministerial committee that would decide which prisoners will go free and when, on condition none is serving time for terrorist attacks that killed Israelis. Jerusalem officials said the move was part of an agreement with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak under which Azzam Azzam, an Israeli accused of espionage, was granted early release from a Cairo prison last week.
Doctors Strike for Safety
Israeli doctors went on a one-day strike to protest a wave of attacks on hospital staff. Sunday's action was declared after relatives of an elderly patient at a Tel Aviv hospital set upon and moderately injured her doctor last week. Authorities also have reported 47 attacks on Magen David Adom ambulance crews over the past year. Under the strike, only emergency care was provided at the nation's hospitals. Health Minister Danny Naveh vowed to undertake legislation toughening laws against violence in medical institutions.
Study: Immigrants an Asset
A new study found that recent North American immigrants to Israel are a major economic asset to the Jewish state. Each adult North American immigrant represents about $200,000 in value to the Israeli economy upon his or her arrival, according to a study commissioned by Nefesh & Nefesh, a grassroots organization that encourages North American aliyah. The findings of the report and the announcement that almost 3,000 North American Jews immigrated to Israel in 2004 a 20 percent increase from last year – were presented at a news conference Tuesday sponsored by Nefesh & Nefesh and the Jewish Agency for Israel, which works with the private group.
Jewish Music Gets Grammy Nods
A Jewish music organization received two Grammy nominations. The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music received nods in the best small-ensemble performance category for its "Wyner: The Mirror; Passover Offering, Tants un Maysele;" and for David Frost for classical producer of the year, for five Milken CDs: "Adolphe: Ladino Songs;" "Brubeck: Gates of Justice;" "Genesis Suite;" "Jewish Operas Vol. 1;" and "Wyner: The Mirror; Passover Offering, Tants un Maysele." The Milken Archive began releasing music in 2003.
French Ban Hezbollah Station
A French court ordered a satellite company to cease broadcasts from Hezbollah's TV station. In its decision Monday, the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, gave the Eutelstat satellite provider 48 hours to end the broadcasts. Failure to do so would result in a fine of around $6,500 for every day the channel continues to broadcast. Eutelstat hosts the channel, which broadcasts throughout the 25-member European Union. Among various claims in recent Al-Manar programs was the accusation that Jews spread AIDS in Arab countries. In the ruling, the court said that Al-Manar programs "fall within a militant perspective which includes anti-Semitic connotations."
The American Jewish Committee recently wrote to U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow asking that Al-Manar be banned in the United States under existing counterterrorism legislation or by executive order.
Jews Take Sides on Commandments Case
Several Jewish groups are taking sides on a pending case at the U.S. Supreme Court on the public display of the Ten Commandments. A coalition of Jewish groups filed an amicus brief Monday on the case, Van Orden v. Perry, which involves a granite monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds. The brief suggests the monument violates the separation of church and state and shows an "unacceptable preference for Judeo-Christian faiths." The brief is authored by the American Jewish Congress and signed by the American Jewish Committee, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Union of Reform Judaism, Americans for Religious Liberty and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. A separate brief submitted Monday by the Anti-Defamation League also asks the court to rule the commandments are unconstitutional; Hadassah also weighed in. The National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs, which represents the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel of America, is expected to file a brief in the near future supporting the display as constitutional and endorsing its religious pronouncements.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.