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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 18, 2014 PAGE 13A Alan Gross stops hunger strike at mother's urging WASHINGTON (JTA)-- Alan Gross suspended his hunger strike in a Cuban prison after a week at the behest of his elderly mother. "Alan's mother asked him to stop the fast," Jill Zuck- man, the spokeswoman for the family, told JTA. "He agreed to do that today." Gross, a Jewish-American subcontractor for the State Department, told his lawyer in a weekly call last Friday that he planned further protest actions, Zuckman said, although he did not elaborate. He had launched his fast April 3. Gross' mother, who is suf- fering from cancer, turns 92 on Tuesday, which is the first day of Passover. On a mission to hook up Cuba's small Jewish community to the Inter- net, Gross was arrested in December 2009 as he was leaving Cuba. The Maryland resident is serving a 15-year sentence for "crimes against the state." Gross, 64, says he has lost more than 100 pounds since his imprisonment and suf- fers from painful arthritis. He reportedly leaves his shared cell once a day for one hour. When Gross launched his hunger strike, he said it was to protest inaction by both the Cuban and U.S. govern- ments. "Once again, I am calling on President Obama to get personally involved in end- ing this stand-off so that I can return home to my wife and daughters," he said in a statement at the time. Cornell student gov't votes to table divestment resolu- tion (JTA)--The Cornell Uni- versity Student Assembly voted to table indefinitely a resolution to divest from companies that do business in Israel. The April 10 vote to table the resolution, which called on the Ithaca, N.Y., univer- sity to divest from companies that "profit from the Israeli military occupation of Pal- ' estinian territories.," was 15-8 with one abstention, according to the Cornell Sun student newspaper. The Cornell chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine sponsored the resolution, which had it advanced would have been voted on this week--in the middle of Passover, when it was assumed there would be a reduced presence of Jewish students on campus. William Jacobson, a clini- cal professor of law at the Cornell Law School, reported on his blog, Legal Insurrec- tion, that the tactic of push- ing through a divestment resolution on Passover may be part of a larger trend. According to Jacobson, April 16 is a coordinated National Day of Action in support of the Palestinians called by the national Stu- dents for Justice in Palestine organization. Amid drop in anti-Semitic incidents in Canada, van- dalism rises sharply TORONTO (JTA)--Anti- Semitic incidents decreased slightly in Canada in 2013 over the previous year, but cases of vandalism rose "significantly," according to B'nai Brith Canada. The organization's an- nual audit of anti-Semitic incidents released last Friday found that there were 1,274 incidents recorded last year, a 5.3 percent decrease over 2012. While episodes of ha- rassment decreased to 872 from 1,013, representing a nearly 14 percent drop, acts of vandalism rose by 21.6 percent--388 in 2013 from 319 the prior year. Cases of violence also increased, to 14 from 13. Lest "they be dismissed as trivial annoyance," the audit noted that 113 of the 872 cases classified as ha- rassment "involved explicit threats of violence or harm against individuals, families, businesses or institutions." Just over half of last year's incidents, or 741, took place "as is the usual pattern" in Ontario, Canada's most populous province, accord- ing to the report. The next largest number, 250, were recorded in Quebec. In cases involving vandal- ism, "a marked increase" was noted in the Montreal area as well as Atlantic Canada, while dropping in the West- ern provinces. The report noted 434 in- cidents involving Web-based hate activity, a drop. from the 521 incidents reported in 2012 and 528 reported in 2011. About half of the 2013 incidents involved the use of social media applications including Facebook and Twitter, the report said. While an overall decrease in anti-Semitic incidents is always welcome, the inci- dents reveal the unrelenting nature of anti-Semitism in Canada," the annual audit said. It pointed out that over the last decade, anti-Jewish occurrences have increased by nearly 50 percent. But numbers "are only part of the story," said Frank Dimant, CEO of B'nai Brith Canada. "What we are hearing from callers is a growing sense of dread among Canadians. Although the numbers for this year are down slightly, hatred of Jews has veered so far into normative discourse that it is no longer seen as wrong." Among B'nai Brith's rec- ommendations are to make Holocaust denial a speci- fied hate crime under the Criminal Code; ban mem- bership in hate groups in accordance with Canada's international obligations; ensure that the victims of hate crimes are given a voice in criminal prosecutions; and to put measures in place to counter cyber bullying, including incidents involv- ing expressions of hate and discrimination. Don't shelter accused rabbi, South Africa's chief rabbi warns (JTA)--South Africa's chief rabbi called on the Jewish community not to shelter or support Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who fled Israel after accusations of sexual assault. Rabbi Warren Goldstein in a letter dated April 11 wrote to rabbis throughout South Africa about Berland, who reportedly fled to South Africa after being ordered deported last week from Zimbabwe for overstaying his visitor's visa. He was living in the African nation for five months after being deported with hundreds of his followers from Morocco, where he had been for seven months after leaving Israel. "I have discussed this mat- ter with the Beth Din andwe wish to notify Rabbonim to be aware of the situation so that our community not be involved with sheltering or supporting Berland and his followers," Goldstein wrote. "Berland must return to Israel to face the criminal justice system. Please notify any members of your con- gregation who you feel may be drawn into supporting or sheltering Berland and his followers. Use your discre- tion in this regard as many of your congregants may not be affected by this situation." Berland, 77, of the Breslov Hasidic movement, left Israel after being accused of sexu- ally abusing several women as well as a 15-year-old girl. In Morocco, Berland had planned to start an offshoot of his Shuvu Bonim yeshiva, which is located in Jerusalem and he still heads. London teacher threatens to send Jewish student to 'your gas chambers' (JTA)---The parents of a Jewish student at an exclu- sive girls' school in London called on the head of school to make a public statement about an incident in which a teacher told their daughter that she would be sent "to one of your gas chambers." The incident at North London Collegiate School occurred in January, Lon- don's Daily Mail reported Sunday. The parents of the student, 17 at the time of the incident, on Saturday night called on the head of the school to speak publicly about the remarks to high- light the incident's severity, according to the Mail. The family has chosen to remain anonymous. The teacher reportedly apologized to the student, but the school has not gone public with what, if any, disciplinary action was taken against the teacher. In a statement, the school said it was "recently made aware of an allegation of an offensive statement made by a member of staff. The school promptly commenced an in- vestigation. Having reached a determination and sought specialist legal advice, ap- propriate action was taken." The teacher, who was not one of the teen's regular teachers, made the remark after the girl cut in line in the dining hall. "Don't do that or I'll have to send you to the back of the queue or to one of your gas chambers,' "the girl's father quoted the teacher as saying, according to the Mail, which reported that the remarkwas heard by several students who were waiting in line. Another family reported the incident to the Commu- nity Security Trust, which advises Britain's Jewish com- munity on security issues, according to the Mail. "This would be highly of- fensive in any circumstance, but to be directed at a pupil by a teacher is unheard of and makes it far worse," Community Security Trust communications director Mark Gardner told the Mail. "We are working with all par- ties to resolve the matter." Health bosses in Den- mark, Norway resist calls to ban circumcision (JTA)--Resisting calls to ban 'the non-medical circumcision of boys, the governments of Norway and Denmark have taken steps to preserve the practice's legal status. Norway's health min- istry has submitted a bill that proposes placing some limitations and fees on ritual circumcision but not banning it outright, while Denmark's health board is- sued guidelines stating that the practice is legal. The Norwegian bill sub- mitted last Friday by Health Minister Bent Hole pro- poses requiring that all non-medical circumcisions of males, including children, be performed in medical facilities and by a licensed medical professional, the news agency NTB reported. The bill came amid calls by health professionals, including Norway's asso- ciation of nurses and its children's welfare adviser, to ban the practice altogether because it allegedly violates children's rights to physical integrity. But Hole said the legisla- tion was necessary to ensure circumcisions are performed in a safe manner. "To, prevent Norwegian male children's exposure to health hazards it is neces- sary to introduce statutory regulation in this field," he is quoted as telling NTB. "Now we ensure that the procedure is performed in a proper manner by competent personnel." According to the report, the government will charge fees for the procedure but the bill does not specify how much will te charged. "Ritual circumcision of boys has been practiced in the religious context for thousands of years and is a tradition with deep religious reasons for the Jewish and Muslim populations in many parts of the world. The pro- Cedure is not banned in any country," tl-e ministry wrote in a news r.lease published last Friday. Sweden ias had similar legislation ~ince 2001. While parents arenot obligated to have the ci'cumcision at a medical faclity, it may only be perforned by licensed professionas. The Swedish state rec~nizes profes- sional molels, or Jewish circumcises, as licensed to perform brit milah, the Jewish circumcision. On April 10, the Danish National B ard of Health published ~ew guidelines that state tiat non-medical circumcisi3n of boys is permissible NTB reported, despite call~ by the Danish College of General Practi- tioners--a group with 3,000 members--and other groups to ban the practice. The Danish Medical Asso- ciation, which has proposed banning the practice on ba- bies, reluctantly aligned itself with the board's decision. "When someone believes very strongly that circumci- sion is correct, then it is no use going against them," Lise Moiler, the chief of the association's ethics commit- tee, told NTB. Spanish village called 'kill Jews' mulling name change (JTA)--A Spanish village is considering removing the phrase "kill Jews" from its name. The village of Castrillo Matajudios near Leon in northern Spain will convene its 60 resident families at a town hall meeting this week to discuss and vote on the first formal proposal to change the village's name, the regional daily Diario de Burgos reported last Friday. Mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez, who submitted the proposal, suggested changing the vil- lage's name to its original Castrillo Mota de Judios, which means Castrillo Jews' Hill. He said the name was changed during the Spanish Inquisition. In parts of Spain, and es- pecially in the north, locals use the term "killing Jews" (matar Judios) to describe the traditional drinking of lemonade spiked with alcohol at festivals held in city squares at Easter, or drinking in general. Leon will hold its "matar Judios" fiesta on Good Fri- day, April 18, where organiz- ers estimate 40,000 gallons of lemonade will be sold. The name originates from medieval times, when con- moved from the property in 2008 by hundreds of Israeli police and soldiers. Yaalon's approval was the last hurdle allowing Jews to move back. Three families intend to spend Passover in the building. Comastose rock attack vic- tim, 4, gets rehab reprieve JERUSALEM (JTA)--An Israeli court ordered a rehabilitation center to al- low 4-year-old Adele Biton, who remains in a coma one year after a Palestin- ian rock attack, to remain hospitalized. The April 10 ruling by the Kfar Saba court ordered the Loewenstein Hospital Reha- bilitation Center in Raanana to allow Adele to remain hospitalized for at least an- other month while her family equips their home in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Yakir to accommodate her medical needs. The home reportedly will require up to five months to make it wheelchair acces- sible. Israel's National Insur- ance in recent days approved the family's months-old claim for financial assistance to make the home handi- capped accessible. A lawyer's letter on behalf of the center delivered last week gave the family 24 hours to leave with their daughter. Pleas from the girl's moth- er, Adva Biton, to Israel's health and economy minis- ters,Yael German and Naftali Bennett, requesting more time from the center, were verted Jews would some: not successful ......... times be publicly executed in show trials at around Easter, Maria Royo, a spokeswoman for the Federation of Jew- ish Communities of Spain, told JTA. "Regrettably, this type of expression exists in Spain in ceremonies and parties," she said, but added that "the people saying it are mostly unaware of the history. It is a complicated issue that is ingrained in local culture." The federation is in con- tact on this issue with authorities, but given the popularity of the expression, "it is impossible to forbid this language" in that context, she added. Last month, Ramon Bena- The hospital told the Times of Israel that it had given the family a month's notice and that the girl's treatment had concluded with no signs of improve- ment. Adele has remained un- conscious since the attack on March 14, 2013, when a car driven by Biton carrying her three young daughters near the West Bank settlement of Ariel swerved after being hit by rocks thrown by two Palestinian teens and struck a truck. Muslim worshippers riot on Temple Mount JERUSALEM (JTA)--The Temple Mount was closed to visitors after Muslim wor- vides, thepresidentofalocal shippers threw stones and associations of hoteliers, told the news agency EFE, "When 'killing Jews,' it's best to take it slow and keep track of how much you drink to avoid ex- cesses and its consequences the next day." Jewish settlers get OK to move into controversial Hebron home JERUSALEM (JTA)--Jew- ish settlers can move into the so-called Peace House in Hebron, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said. Yaalon on Sunday gave his approval for Jewish families to move into the four-story building, which has been at the center of controversy for at least seven years. Israel's Supreme Court last month reaffirmed the legality of the 2007 purchase of the home by Jews. The former Palestinian owners had claimed there had not been a legal sale of the home. Several Jewish families who moved into the home after its purchase were re- firebombs at police officers near the Western Wall Plaza. Two Israeli police officers guarding the Mughrabi Gate were injured in the Sunday morning rioting that began when the site, which is holy to both Muslims and Jews, was opened to visitors. Police entered the AI-Aksa Mosque compound and used stun grenades and rubber bullets to break up the riot- ing, according to reports. Extra police units were posted on the Temple Mount to prevent further distur- bances. Police were set to hold a security assessment later on Sunday to determine if the Temple Mount canbe reopened to visitors. The site is overseen by the Muslim Wakf, the Muslim religious administration charged with managing the Temple Mount site. Jews gen- erally are not permitted by the Wakf to pray or bring any ritual objects to the Temple Mount when they visit.