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March 30, 2012

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PAGE 18A Israel's Supreme Court blocks Migron deal JERUSALEM (JTA)--Is- rael's top court order blocked the government's deferral Of the demolition of an illegal West Bank settlement. Citing the need to maintain the rule of law, the High Court of Justice ruled Sunday against . an attempt by the government to postpone to 2015 the demo- lition of Migron, a settlement that the Palestinians say is built on their land. After repeated deferrals dating back to 2006, the demolition was scheduled to take place at the end of the month. But the court gave the state until August to arrange an orderly transfer of Migron's approximately 50 families. High Court President Asher Dan Grunis said the ruling honored "the rule of law to which all are subject as part of Israel's values as a Jewish and democratic state." The settlers, who deny that Migron is built on private Palestinian land, had signed a "deal with the Netanyahu gov- ernment this month agreeing to relocate to a nearby hill over the next three years. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to Sunday's ruling, ""The government of Israel, like all citizens of Israel, respect the court's decisions and will act in accordance with the laws of Israel." Israel checking whether Toulouse killer visited JERUSALEM (JTA)--Israeli authorities are investigating a French media report that Toulouse terroristMohammed Merah visited Israel. Merah's passport, found by French police after he was killed in a shootout March 22, showed that he visited Israel, Syria, Iraq and Jordan, the Le Monde newspaper reported. Merah had confessed dur- ing the more than 30-hour standoff at his apartment in Toulouse to a gun attack on the city's Ozar Hatorah school on March 19 that killed Rabbi Jonathan Sandier, 30, and his two young sons, as well as the 7-year-old daughter of the school's principal. A self- described al-Qaida member, Merah also was wanted for the murders of three French troops. Israel's Interior Ministry HERITAGE,, FLORIDA JEW!SH, NEWS, MARCH 30, 2012 Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA British Foreign Secretary William Hague calls the be- havior of the Syrian regime "totally unacceptable in the eyes of the world." said it had no record of a Merah's name among tour- ists who entered the country in recent years, but police and secret service authorities said Sunday the possibility that he had visited under an- other identity was still being checked. Congress frees up some P.A. funds (JTA)--The United States plans to release $88.6 million in development funds for the Palestinian Authority. Congress members an- nounced the planned release last Friday to the grudging ,gratification of the EA., which needs the money to stay fis- cally afloat. In August, Republican lawmakers froze $147 mil- lion in U.S. aid to protest the EA.'s attempt to sidestep stalled peace talks with Israel andwin statehood status at international forums. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, limited the release to $88.6 million. P.A. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called the release "very important" but told reporters, "The entire sum must be sent ... in order to support the Pal- estinian Authority's budget." Jerusalem hooligans facing belated crackdown JERUSALEM (JTA)--Is- rael's police chief pledged to crack down on soccer hooligans who rampaged at a Jerusalem mall. "We will throw the book at everyone who rampaged there," Inspector-General Yohanan Danino said Sunday, referring to Beitar Jerusalem fans who roughed up Arab patrons and staff at the Malha Mall last week. Israel's Channel TWo televi- sion said arrests were expected this week. The incidents took place, witnesses said, as hundreds of Beitar fans flooded the mall following a game at nearby Teddy Stadium and chanted "Death to the Arabs!" and other racist slogans for which the soccer club is notorious. Speaking to Channel Two, Danino rued the slow response of authorities to the incident, which has led to no arrests de- spite taking place on March 19. Shabbat-friendly espionage, Israeli style JERUSALEM (JTA)--The Israeli military reportedly is incorporating keyboards that can be used by religious intel- ligence personnel on Shabbat. The new keyboards trans- mit data without opening or closing electrical circuits and therefore do not violate Orthodox standards of Shab- bat obserxance, Israel Hayom reported Sunday. According to the newspaper, the keyboards were developed for the military's Intelligence Branch, which has incorpo- rated haredi Orthodox vol- unteers who might hesitate about serving over weekends or Jewish holidays. The military declined com- ment, citing the secrecy around its intelligence units. Assad family, insiders slammed with new sanctions (JTA)--EU foreign minis- ters are slapping new sanctions on the wife of Syrian President Bashar Assad, three other Assad family members and eight Syrian government min- isters, according to reports. The new restrictions, which are slated to go into effect on Saturday, include a travel ban and the freezing of assets, The Associated Press reported. The wife of the Syrian president, AzmaAssad, is a British native and holds British citizenship, which may mean she may still travel to England, AP said. The point of the new restric- tions is to try to bring an end to the Syrian regime's assault on the Syrian people, EU offi- cials said. An estimated 8,000 people have been killed in Syria since an uprising against the Assad regime began about a year ago. "Their behavior continues to be murdering and totally unacceptable in the eyes of the world," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said of the Syrian regime on Friday, AP reported. Liberman: Israel might withdraw from U.N. Human Rights Council JERUSALEM (JTA)--Is- raeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman reportedly said he might recall Israel's ambassa- dor to the U.N. Human Rights Council after the council voted 36-1 to investigate the effects of Jewish settlements on Palestinians. Liberman also said Israel would not cooperate with the fact-finding mission estab- lished by the council to probe settlements, The Jerusalem Post reported. On March 22, the council passed a resolution, with 10 abstentions, to investigate how Israeli settlement con- struction affects Palestinian .human rights. The United States was the only country to vote against the resolution. "This is a hypocritical coun- cil with an automatic majority against Israel," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said March 22. "This council ought to be ashamed of itself." The Israeli Jeader noted that the council has made 91 decisions, 39 of which dealt with Israel, three with Syria and one with Iran. "One only had to hear the Syrian representative speak today about human rights in order to understand how de- tached from reality the council is," he said. Toulouse killer Mohammed Merah's brother is charged (JTA)--Preliminary mur- der and terrorism charges were filed against the brother of Toulouse killer Mohammed Merah. Abdeikader Merah, 30, was served with the charges on Sunday, an official from the French prosecutor's office said. A prosecutor's statement said that Merah is suspected of complicity to murders and thefts and involvement in a terrorist enterprise, according to reports. Mohammed Merah, 23, a French citizen of Algerian ori- gin, confessed during the more than 30-hour standoff at his apartment in Toulouse to a gun attack on the city's Ozar Hato- rah school on March 19 that killed Rabbi Jonathan Sandier, 30, and his two young sons, as well as the 7-year-old daughter of the school's principal. The younger Merah, who jumped to his death from a window amid a hail Of gunfire, also was wanted for the murders of three French troops. Preliminary charges under French law mean there is strong reason to suspect a crime was committed but al- low added time to investigate. The moves suggest that inves- tigators have strong reason to believe that the younger Merah was not acting alone when he planned his attacks. Obama: Time running out for Iran talks (JTA)--Time is running out for a diplomatic solution to the dispute over Iran's nuclear pro- gram, President Obama said. "I believe there is a window of time to solve this diplo- matically, but that window is closing," Obama told reporters Sunday after discussing Iran with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Seoul, which is hosted a nuclear security summit this week. Iran has said it is open to new negotiationswith world powers about its nuclear program, which the Islamic Republic insists is peaceful despite international suspi- cions that it has secret military designs. Israel has made a veiled threat to attack Iran pre-emp- tively if it deems diplomacy a dead end. Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor said that Israel insists the new ne- gotiations stop Iran's uranium enrichment, remove its stocks of the potential bomb fuel and dismintle its fortified enrich- ment plant near Qom. Iran has ruled out such conditions. J Street launches conference with Israel outreach message WASHINGTON (JTA)--J Street launched its annual conference with an emphasis on reaching out to Israelis. The roster at the opening session Saturday night of the pro-Israel, dovish group's as- sembly was nearly all Israeli. "The best-kept secret about J Street is that most Israelis agree with your goals," said Michael Biton, the mayor of Yerucham, a development city in southern Israel and one of the keynote speakers at the opening event. Also speaking was Stav Shaffir, a founder of the social protest movements in Israel last summer, and Amos Oz, the novelist and veteran peace activist. Oz urged American Jews to back J Street and not unite behind the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the mainstream pro-Israel lobby. Amsterdam's Portuguese Synagogue wins EU prize (JTA)--A restoration proj- ect at the 17th century Portu- guese Synagogue complex in Amsterdam won the European Union's prestigious Europa Nostra prize for conservation. The Europa Nostra prizes, which were announced last week, are awarded each year to outstanding projects in the field of cultural heritage. The Portuguese Synagogue complex, in use since its inau- guration in 1675, includes a massive main synagogue sur- rounded by low buildings that are still used by the Jewish com- munity. The award-winning restoration aimed to preserve the monumental complex and make all the buildings, includ- ing the important library and collections of ritual objects, more accessible to the religious Jewish community and the general public. Play about China's Jewish Holocaust refugees pre- mieres in Shanghai (JTA)--A play about the 30,000 Jews sheltered by China during the Holocaust premiered in Shanghai. "North Bank Suzhou Creek," made its debut March 22 in Shanghai and will be brought to New York later this year, Reuters reported. "This is the Chinese ver- sion of 'Schindler's List,' " said Jeffrey Sichel, one of the directors. The play tells the story of the daughter of a Jewish cafe owner. It was produced in cooperation with the Ameri- can Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Israeli Consulate in Shanghai. 6 degrees (no Bacon): Jewish celebrity roundup MacPherson rants on Howard Stern NEW YORK (6NoBa- con)--Australiansupermodel and actress Elle MacPherson raised a few eyebrows with her comments during an interview two weeks ago on the HoWard Stern show. Asked whether her children are bothered by a nude photo- graph of her displayed at her home, MacPherson became a little aggressive. Herels the exchange: MacPherson: "Howard, I think you are just being absolutely Jewish!l!" Stern: "Why is that Jew- ish?" MacPherson: "You're being overprotective! You sound like a nagging motherF' Anti-Semitic? Stern's co- host, Robin Quivers, offered this take: "I just thought that she had you pegged as Jew- ish and everything you do is Jewish.... You weren't doing anything particularly Jew- ish, but since you are Jewish and she obviously identified that, everything you do is Jewish .... That was what I thought was odd. Wow." "Yeah, she was very con- sumedwith it," Stern agreed So far, no word from the ADL. Rogen and Hart as inter- racial police partners Seth Rogen is back in uni- form for the first time since his hilarious portrayal of Of- ricer Michaels in"Superbad." This time Rogen will play opposite actor and comedian Kevin Hart in a film about interracial police partners. This one, however, is a little different: Rogen and Hart will be portraying the first black-white police pair- ing in the 1940s. The movie, in which the two investigate a drug ring, is a "period piece set in the post-World War II jazz scene," according to a news release. Rogen and Hart will co-produce together with fellow writers and producers of the Judd Apatow gang, Evan Goldberg and Rodney Rothman. Rogen's last role was alongside Joseph Gordon- Levitt in the movie "50/50," and he is expected to release two new films this year: "Neighborhood Watch" with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Richard Ayoade, and "The Guilt Trip" with Barbra Streisand. Hart's most recent role was to be ejected during the 2012 NBAAl!-StarWeekend Celeb- rity Game, which earned him the MVP award. Drake gets sexy with a GQ reporter Memo to GQ and other news outlets: When you send a female reporter to interview Drake, don't be surprised if he tries to avoid doing the interview by, urn, doing the reporter. Drake gave GQ writer Claire Hoffman a tour of his Southern California mansion for the magazine's April is- sue. Among the amenities: waterfalls, bronze animals (including a giraffe), outdoor fireplace and a waterslide. "If you went down the water- slide, how amazing would that be for your article?" Drake asks Hoffman. The interview isn't all Drake trying to pick up the reporter. He has some observations to make as well, like this one about the state of rap: "Rap now is just being young and fly and hav- ing your s--- together," he says. "The mood of rap has changed." Eventually, though Drake works his way around towhat was probably his objective the whole time. Hoffman writes: When I ask about the strange square above the bed, he grabs a remote, and a projection system emerges from the ceiling. Neato, I say. "Would I have you al- ready?" he asks. '"Are you sleeping with me?" Time to go! It's a hypothetical ques- tion (I think), but Drake, being Drake, still wants an answer: "We had wine and dinner by the pool, I brought you inside, I brought the projec- tor down; are you or are you not sleeping with me?" Bar Refaeli, Mossad agent Call her Agent B. Bar Refaeli will join the cast of "Spear," an upcoming French-Israeli film about the Mossad assassination of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in 2010. Things didn't go exactly as planned for the Israelis: Though Mabhouh was killed, the Mossad agents left a pretty obvious trail of evidence. Israel, by the way, never publicly confirmed it was behind the rubout. No matter. According to the Israeli media, in the movie the agents are a bunch of Israeli and French crooks, including a hacker, a forger and a seductive student (Refaeli). For more Jewish celebrity news, visit, the illegitimate child of JTA. .... .. - . . ,.