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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY S, 2017 " . .. : PAGE 13A Sebastian Gorka re- portedly leaving White House (JTA)--Sebastian Gorka, the presidential aide accused of ties to a far-right Hun- garian nationalist group, reportedly will be leaving the White House for another government position. According to a report Sun- day in the political website The Hill, citing an unnamed senior White House official, Gorkawill be taking aposition in another federal agency. He currently serves as a deputy assistant to Donald Trump, advising the president on counterterrorism. The Washington Examiner first reported that Gorka's new position will be focused on the "war of ideas" against radical Islam and will not be in the State Department, providing no further details. Gorka has been serving on the Strategic Initiatives Group, an internal organiza- tion within the White House, and as a national security adviser. An unnamed source told the Examiner, however, that Gorka's current position had always been meant to be temporary while he waited for administration officials to create a terrorism-related position for him in another area of the government. The reported move comes amid suspicion that Gorka had not yet received the nec- essary security clearance to do his job. The Forward has reported that Gorka, who is Hungar- ian, is a member of Historical Vit~zi Rend. The group is a namesake of Vit~zi Rend, a defunct order of merit that had existed as a state entity for 20 years until 1944 under the rule of Miklos Horthy, Hungary's Nazi-allied leader. Vit~zi Rend was disbanded, outlawed and ceased to exist in the 1940s following the World War II defeat of Nazi Germany. Following the Forward's in- vestigation, Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey, Jewish lawmakers from New York, sent a letter to Trump urging him to fire Gorka. At least 18 Democratic Congress members signed the letter. North Korea threatens Israel with 'merciless' punishment JERUSALEM (JTA)--North Korea threatened Israel with "merciless, thousand-fold punishment" and labeled it the only "illegal possessor" of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. The Foreign Ministry in Pyongyang issued a statement Saturday blasting Israel after its defense minister, Avigdor Liberman, in an interview with the Hebrew-language news website Walla! called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a"madman"who is in charge of a "crazy and radical group" that is "undermining global stability." Liberman said that Pyong- yang "seems to have crossed the red line with its recent nuclear tests," according to Walla!. Also Saturday, North Korea conducted a failed ballistic rocket test, the second test of a long-range Scud-type missile this month, which also failed. The test came as the United States began joint naval exercises with South Korea just after the U.S. air- craft carrier group led by the USS Carl Vinson entered the Sea of Japan. North Korea could be ready to conduct its sixth nuclear test, according to reports. In its statement slamming Israel, North Korea called Israel the "only illegal pos- sessor of nukes in the Middle East, under the patronage of the U.S." "The reckless remarks of the Israeli defense minister are sordid and wicked behav- ior and a grave challenge to the DPRK (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or North Korea)," the Foreign Ministry's statement read. "This is the cynical ploy to escape the world denuncia- tion and curse as disturber of peace in the Middle East, oc- cupier of the Arab territories and culprit of crimes against humanity." The statement threatened Israel and anyone who "dares hurt the dignity of its su- preme leadership," will face "merciless, thousand-fold punishment." "Israel would be well ad- vised to think twice about the consequences [of] its smear campaign against the DPRK," the statement also said. Over the past few decades, North Korea has armed and trained countries and groups that are hostile to Israel, including Iran. Reports also have surfaced that North Korea helped Syria build a nuclear reactor that was de- stroyed in an attack believed to be by Israel in 2007. Rep. lleana Ros-Lehtin- en, champion of Israel and Holocaust survivors, to retire from Congress WASHINGTON (JTA)-- Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a congressional leader who has been a staunch defender of Israel and the rights of Holocaust survivors, is leav- ing Congress. Ros-Lehtinen, a moderate Republican from Florida who has sharply criticized the policies of President Donald Trump, told the Miami Herald on Sunday that she simply no longer felt the drive to run again and is retiring at the end of her current term. "There was no epiphany. There was no moment, noth- ing that has happened that I've said, 'I've got to move on,'" Ros-Lehtinen, 64, told the newspaper. "It was just a realization that I could keep getting elected--but it's not about getting elected." Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuba na- tive of Jewish descent, took a specml interest in Israel dur- ing her career. The stringent Iran sanctions she authored in 2 006 were blocked by congres- sional procedure, butwerethe template for the sanctions Congress approved in 2010 that helped force Iran to the negotiating table to limit its nuclear program. Elected in 1989 from her diverse South Florida district, Ros-Lehtinenwas the first Cu- ban elected to Congress and the first woman to chair the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, from 2011-13. She remained popular in a district that trended increas- ingly Democratic, defeating her rival by 10 points in No- vember while Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, beating Trump by 20 points. Ros-Lehtinen broke with Trump on his immigra- tion policies and his embrace of the far right, and claimed not to have voted for him in the election. Bipartisan cooperation has been a hallmark of her career. Ros-Lehtinen chafed at recent pressure from the party to abjure cooperation withDemocrats. Some of the most heartfelt farewells after the announcement came from her Democratic colleagues. "From the moment I ar- rived in Congress, Ileana has been a friend and a partner," said Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., who is the top Democrat on the House Middle East sub- committee, which is currently chaired by Ros-Lehtinen. "We have worked together count- less times from championing equality to strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship." Ros-Lehtinen's champi- oning of her favored causes has not abated. On Sunday, the day she announced her retirement, she joined Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in blasting UNESCO, the United Nations cultural arm, for advancing another resolution targeting Israel. Last week, she was a leader in introducing a Republican-backed bill that would condition U.S. funding of the United Nations on its treatment of Israel. She told the Herald that a continued focus would be advocacy for Holocaust survivors. Earlier this year, she reintroduced a bill that would expand the rights of Holocaust survivors to sue in- surers that did not make good on Holocaust-era policies. Princeton Jewish stu- dent center denies space for exhibit criticizing Israeli military (JTA)--The Center for Jewish Life at Princeton University denied space to the local chapter of J Street U for an exhibition created by the left-wing Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence. The J Street U chapter de- cided to go forward with the exhibit, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, in another campus space, despite the possibility of causing a rift with the Center for Jewish Life, or CJL, which is affiliated with Hillel International, the Daily Princetonian student newspaper reported. "We do not take this step lightly," J Street U Princeton wrote in a statement posted on Facebook. "Our relationship with the CJL is deeply impor- tant to us, and we consider the CJL and the Princeton Jewish community to be a home for US on campus. We want to continue to be a part of this community." Following a meeting with Rabbi Julie Roth, the center's executive director, J Street U Princeton President Dylan Mittag told the Daily Princeto- nian that their "relationship is intact." "J Street will remain a CJL organization," Mittag said. J Street U has been affiliated with The Center for Jewish Life since 2014. The center did not oppose J Street bringing the organiza- tion to speak on campus, Roth told the student newspaper. "However, given the sensi- tivities related to the timing of the event overlapping with Yom Hazikaron, the day commemorating Israeli soldiers killed in battle and in terrorist attacks, and Yom Haatzmaut, the celebration of Israel's Independence Day, we did not want to host the program in the building," she said. Breaking the Silence is an Israeli military veterans' group that alleges the Israeli army abuses Palestinians. The photo exhibition it plans to bring to the Princeton campus includes soldiers' testimonials and deals with the moral and strategic dilemmas that oper- ating in the West Bank creates for the Israel Defense Forces. "We specifically wanted to bring Breaking the Silence to the CJL because of these issues' deep relevance to the Jewish and pro-Israel com- munities at Princeton," the J Street U statement said. Hillel International's guide- lines prohibit its chapters from partnering with or host- ing organizations, groups or speakers that "deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders; Dele- gitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; Support boycott of, divest- ment from, or sanctions [BDS] against... Israel; [or] exhibit a pattern of disruptive behavior towards campus events or guest speakers or foster an atmosphere of incivility." The center sponsored a group of students to attend the J Street national confer- ence earlier this year and ar- ranged for them to meet with J Street's national president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, a Princeton graduate Roth said in an email to the campus newspaper that the center has been "engaged in a spirit of partnership" with J Street U-involved students and noted that her organiza- tion sponsored several of them on a trip to Israel and the West Bank, where they met with both Israe!i and Palestinian leaders. Terror victim Ezra Schwartzposthumously inducted nto Jewish fraternit.~ at Rutgers (JTA)---~zra Schwartz, who was kied in a West Bank terrorist alack in November 2015, wasnducted posthu- mously int Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish frzernity, at Rutgers University. The indction ceremony was held unday night, at the start ( Yom Hazikaron in Israel, :hich memorial- izes fallen .oldiers as well as victims of error. Also at :he ceremony his father, Ari was inducted as an honorary brother of the Rho Upsilon chapter of the fraternity, which has chapters throughout the United States and around the world. Ari Schwartz said the ceremony "represents who he could have been," the newswebsite MycentralJersey reported. "He could have been sitting here. He could have been roommates with one of you," Schwartz said of his 18-year- old son. "It means a lot. It really does. It seems like the entire world has reached out to us in order to support us through this tragedy. AEPi's gesture today is another example of that. I also very much appre- ciate the gesture of inducting me into AEPi as well. Now I have something else I share in common with Ezra." Ezra Schwartz, from Sha- ron, Massachusetts, was on a gap year studying at a yeshiva in Israel. He was to start busi- ness school at Rutgers; in central New Jersey, in the fall of 2016. He was killed when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire near Aion Shvut in the Etzion bloc on a minivan full of students and teach- ers from Yeshivat Ashreinu in Beit Shemesh, who were volunteering to clear a nearby park. Three others were killed in the attack. The gunman, Moham- med Abed Odeh Harub, was sentenced to four life terms in prison. Ukraine probes murder charges against Jewish officer, 94, who served under Soviets (JTA)--Prosecutors in Ukraine have initiated a murder investigation against a Jewish former Soviet officer, now 94, who is suspected of killing a nationalist in 1952. Boris Steckler is accused of throwing a grenade into a bunker where the victim and several other anti-Soviet underground fighters were hiding. His accusers claim he was working for the feared NKVD security service, which later became the KGB. The General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine opened the probe against Steckler on April 18, the Ist Pravda news website reported last week based on documents it obtained from the National Advocacy Center, a national- ist and anti-Russian not-for- profit group. Steckler is accused of kill- ing Neil Hasevych, an artist who was a member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, or OUN, which fought during the first half of the 20th century against Soviet domination. Leaders of OUN briefly collaborated with Nazi occupation forces before turning against them. Nationalist groups in Ukraine have for years tried to prosecute Steckler. Last year, the Rivne District Ad- ministrative Court began reviewing a lawsuit connected to Steckler that nationalists brought against Ukraine's SBU security service. The petitioners wanted the SBU to release old classified files about Steckler. He declined to show up at the hearing in Rivne and ap- pealed to the court to dismiss the petition. Steckler has declined to comment on the allegations made against him, the news website said. Following a bloody revolu- tion in 2014 that unleashed a wave of nationalist sentiment in Ukraine, the state has celebrated the legacy of OUN personalities and its military wing, the UPA, including com- manders who are accused of responsibility for the murder of thousands of Jews and Poles One such leaderwas Stepan Bandera, who has a large statue of him in the city of Lviv and streets named after him in several cities, includ- ing Kiev. Another is Roman Shukhevych, whom the di- rector of the state-operated Ukrainian National Memory Institute recently praised as "one of five eminent person- alities who have changed the course of history." Advocates of nationalist leaders like Bandera and Shukhevych claim their vision of Ukraine extended to Jews, some ofwhom served in UPA's ranks. Some UPA militants also rescued Jews from the Holocaust. German foreign minister equates Jewish victims of Nazis with Social Democrats (JTA)--Germany's foreign minister said Social Demo- crats in his country were vic- timized by the Nazis alongside their Jewish victims. Sigmar Gabriel, in a re- cent op-ed in the German- language Frankfurter Rund- schau newspaper headlined "Together against national- ism," wrote that "Social Democrats, like Jews, were the first victims of the Ho- locaust. One was the victim of political persecution, the other of racial delusion." The article was changed later to "the National Socialists" from the Holocaust Gabriel wrote that German Social Democrats have always been the most pro-Israel component of the country's politics. On the day the article ap- peared, April 25, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a scheduled meeting with Gabriel after the German official refused to cancel a meeting with the left-wing NGO Breaking the Silence. A spokesman for the Ger- man Foreign Ministry said in a statement reported by Ynet that Gabriel is a close friend of Israel and has always accepted Germany's responsibility for the Holocaust and for Israel's security. "There can be no doubt about this, and the foreign minister made this statement again during his visit to Yad Vashem" on Monday, read the statement, noting Israel's of- ficial Holocaust memorial and museum. Gabriel held a low-key meeting with representatives of B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence, which took place without the media present. He did not comment on the meeting afterward. Anti-Semitic graffiti de- faces community build- ing in Spokane (JTA)--Anti-Semitic graf- fiti defaced a building housing community support services and nonprofit groups in down- town Spokane, Washington. The epithets, which were written in chalk on the side of the building, were discov- ered Friday morning. Among them were "Hitler did nothing wrong," "Gas the Kikes" and "Juden Raus," German for "Jews out." The graffiti also called for a "race war now." Interns for the Peace and Justice Action League of Spo- kane, which is housed in the building, discovered the graf- fiti, the Spokesman-Review newspaper reported Saturday. The incident was reported to police and the graffiti was covered up, according to the newspaper. Organizations housed in the building said they would remain and con- tinue their work. Last month, racist and anti-Semitic white national- ist fliers were posted on the building.