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Jewish Journal

Briefs

October 11, 2001 | 8:00 pm

Bin Laden's Rhetoric

Nowhere on the planet was Osama bin Laden as popular this week as in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

It took Palestinians a whole night, after the first news spread of the attack on Kabul, before they took to the streets in protest.

Like the rest of the world, most Palestinians spent Sunday night glued to their television screens enjoying every second "of the best show in the world" -- the speech of suspected terrorist mastermind bin Laden that apparently was recorded before the attack had taken place and aired just afterward on Qatar's al-Jazeera network.

"I swear to God that America will not live in peace until there is peace in Palestine and the army of the heathen will leave the Land of Muhammad," bin Laden said, referring to Saudi Arabia.

He then listed honored "battle sites" where Palestinian militants have clashed with Israeli soldiers in the past year -- Rafah, Ramallah and Beit Jalla.

At last, Palestinians noted with satisfaction, it would be clear to the world why it was suffering from terrorism -- because of Israel.

The most quoted source in the Palestinian territories -- after bin Laden -- was a Newsweek public-opinion poll that showed that 58 percent of Americans, too, feel that American support for Israel is in some measure responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, however, said any attempt to link the Sept. 11 attack to Israeli policy toward the Palestinians was ridiculous. -- Gil Sedan, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Neo-Nazis Celebrate Terror Attacks

For years, observers of the German far right have documented links between Islamic extremists and German neo-Nazis.

This week, German neo-Nazis made their sympathies clear when they celebrated the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States during a demonstration marking the 11th anniversary of the unification of the former East Germany and West Germany.

In banners and speeches Wednesday, members of the extreme right-wing National Democratic Party called the attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon a justified response to American policies, and they protested Germany's support for a war on terrorism.

Meanwhile, German government leaders toned down the usual festivities marking the anniversary of unification. Instead, they spoke about the need to safeguard freedom and democracy.

During official ceremonies in the city of Mainz, Wolfgang Thierse, the president of the German Parliament, said the "horrific events" of Sept. 11 made it clear that peace and freedom are endangered.

In Berlin, approximately 1,000 neo-Nazis were countered by an equal number of left-wing protesters who blocked the planned parade route. -- Toby Axelrod, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Chicago's Torah Giant Dies

Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik died Friday, Oct. 4, after suffering a heart attack. He was 84.

Soloveichik, the descendant of one of Europe's leading rabbinic dynasties, was the founder and head of Yeshivas Brisk in Chicago and one of the worlds foremost Talmudic scholars and authorities on Jewish law. He taught Torah for 58 years, the last 34 in Chicago.

Soloveichik was born in Khaslavichy, Russia, in 1918 into a rabbinic dynasty going back nine generations. His father, Moshe, was the chief rabbi of his town and a renowned scholar; his older brother, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik, known simply as the Rav and considered the 20th century's leading rabbinic scholar, headed Yeshiva University in New York.

The Soloveichik family moved first to Poland, then, in 1930, to the United States.

In 1966, he came to Chicago to head the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, a post he held until 1974, when he left to start Yeshivas Brisk. His wife, Ella, a writer and teacher, was his partner in this endeavor, as well as in raising the couple's six children.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin, spiritual leader of Anshe Sholom Bnai Israel Congregation in Chicago, described Soloveichik as a big patriot, very pro-American, a Hubert Humphrey-type liberal. He always voted Democratic.

Soloveichik is survived by six children. His four sons, all rabbis, are Moshe and Eliyahu of Chicago and Yosef and Chaim of Israel. His daughters, Rochel Marcus of Toronto and Tova Seigal of Newton, Mass., are both married to rabbis. He is also survived by two sisters in Jerusalem, almost 40 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. -- Pauline Dubkin Yearwood, Chicago Jewish News

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