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PAGE 16A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 22, 2009 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to the pope "as a moral figure" to speak out against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the destruction of Israel. Netanyahu appeals to pope on Ahmadinejad JERUSALEM (JTA) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Pope Bene- dict XVI to speak out against the anti-Israel rhetoric from Iran's president The Israeli leader met privately with the pope on May 14 for about 15 minutes in Nazareth. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federi- co Lombardi, said the talks "centered on how the peace process can be advanced." Speaking to the Israel media afterward, Netanyahu said he had appealed to the pontiff to speak out against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian president has repeatedly called for Israel's destruction and questioned whether the Holocaust took place, "I asked him. as a moral figure, to make his voice heard loud and continuously against the declarations coming from Iran of their intention to destroy Israel," Netanyahu said. "I told him it cannot be that at the be- ginning of the 21st century there is a state which says it is going to destroy the Jewish state there is no aggressive voice being heard condemn- ing this. Netanyahu said that in response, the pope said that "he condemns all in- stances of anti-Semitism and hate against the State of Israel against humanity as awhole but in this case against Israel." The meeting came a day after the pope made an emotional appeal in the West Bank for the establishment of an independent Palestin- Jan homeland a concept Netanyahu has not yet pub- licly endorsed. Earlier in the day, the pope celebrated Mass in Nazareth. calling for a rejection of hatred and prejudice. After arriving in the bullet-proof Popemobile, Benedict urged the crowd of about 40.000 gathered at Mount Precipice to "'reject the destructive power of hatred and preju- dice., which kills men's souls before it kills their bodies." The site is wJaere an angry mob is said to have tried to push Jesus off the cliff. Nazareth, in northern Israel's Galilee, is one of Israel's largest Arab cities. About one-third of its 65,000 residents are Christian. Abdullah pushes Bibi on two-state commitment JERUSALEM (JTA)--Is- raeli Prime Minister Benja- min Netanyahu would not declare his commitment to a two-state solution in a meeting with Jordan's king. King Abdullah II pushed Netanyahu to come out for a two-state solution at a meeting May 14 in Aqaba, according to reports. Netanhayu promised he would pursue peace nego- tiations with the Palestin- ians but stopped short of consenting to the request on two states. "I am aware of the need to promote negotiations with the Palestinians and intend to hold [sepa~te] negotia- tions on diplomatic, security and economic [issues] nego- tiations, not one of which will come at the expense of the other," Netanyahu told his host, according to the Jerusalem Post. Handy man and General Maintenance Air Conditioning Electrical Plumbing Carpentry Formerly handled maintenance at JCC References available STEVE'S SERVICES Call Steve Doyle at (386) 668-8960 Demjanjuk arrives in Germany BERLIN (JTA) John Demjanjuk must be put on trial "as quickly as possible." a German Jewish leader said. Demjanjuk, 89, arrived in Germany May 12 to stand trial for war crimes com- mitted during World WaY II. His trial is likely to be one of the last such cases stemming from the Nazi era. Charlotte Knobloch. pres- ident of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said the courts were now. in a "race against time." "All possible legal mea- sures mustbe taken to bring [him] to court as quickly as possible." she said in a statement from her office in Munich. Police in Munich con- firmed that Demjanjuk, deported from the United States May 4 on a medically equipped charter flight, ar- rived in the city at about 9:20 a.m. He was to be formally. arraigned and taken to the hospital wing of Stadelheim Prison to await trial. In March. Munich pros- ecutors issued an arrest war- rant for Demjanjuk, accusing him of serving as a guard at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland in 1943 and being involved in the murder of at least 29,000 Jews. Obama slates meetings with Mideast leaders WASHINGTON (JTA)-- President Obama will meet with the leaders of Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority within a 10-day period later this month The White House offigially announced on May 12 that Obama would meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu on May 18, as had previously been reported. It also announced that the president would meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak the following week, on May 26. and Palestinian Authority President Mah- moud Abbas two days later. "With each of them. the President will discuss ways the United States can strengthen and deepen our partnerships, as well as the steps all parties should take to help .achieve peace between Israelis and Pales- tinians and between Israel and the Arab states." White House Press Secretary Rob- ert Gibbs said in a statement. Facebook removes two Holocaust denial sites SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) Facebook has re- moved two groups promot- ing Holocaust denial. The development on May 11 came despite a spokesman for the popular social net- working Web site suggesting last week that the site would only ban groups that deny the Holocaust in countries where it is a criminal offense, such as Israel and Germany. Members of the two banned groups titled "The Holocaust is a Holohoax" and ~'Based on Facts... There Was No Hoiocaust"--were using Facebook as "a forum to promote hate," said the spokesman, Barry Schnitt. However, several other Holocaust denial groups, including "Holocaust: A se- ries of lies" and "Holocaust is a myth," .remain on the popular site. "We are monitoring these groups, and if the discussion among members degrades to the point of promoting hate or violence, despite whatever disclaimer the group description provides. we will take them down." Schnitt said. The decision to remove the tw.o groups came after a sustained campaign led by a U.S. attorney, Brian Cubafi, brother of Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban. who has argued since last year that the presence of these groups contravenes Facebook's terms of use. Facebook's terms state that any of its users can be banned if they post "any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, defamatory, in- .... frlngmg, abusive, lnflam- matory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, inva- sive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable." Other critics accuse Face- book of double standards: It has banned pictures of mothers breastfeeding ba- bies because of nudity, but has not fully clampeddgwn on race hate. The site recently removed a group titled "Isle of Man KKK" following complaints, Schnitt said. Facebook, whose CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is Jewish, was launched in 2004 and has an estimated 200 million users. Orthodox day school sues over zoning decision NEW YORK (JTA) An Orthodox Jewish day school is suing an illinois town for blocking the construction of a school building. Attorneys for Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov-Tiferes Tzvi al- lege that city officials were wrong to focus on property taxes as the basis for denying a zoning request and failed to distinguish a religious institution from a" private school, according to the Evanston Review. The school's 29-page com- plaint argues that COok County's zoning decision "'was arbitrary and unrea- sonable under the state zoning laws, and violated the group's federal and state con- stitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion~" the Illinois daily reported. The $2 million lawsuit is for damages related to architectural design costs, insurance losses and other expenses inherent in hoM- ing the property without beginning constructilon. The school's lawyers also will try to prove an 'Iin- consistency" in Evanston's zoning ordinance that allows for "religious institutions and religious membership organizations" but excludes "religious educational insti- tutions." Ex-policeman fined for beheading wax Hitler BERLIN (JTA) A former police officer was fined for beheading a wax figure of Hitler last summer. to protest against what he considered to be the crass commercialism of Madame Tussauds in installing a model of Hitler close to the former seat of Nazi power. The perpetrator, one of the first to enter the museum. had lunged past guards to reach the Hitler figure. He also slightly injured a guard. The figure was repaired and now stands under close watch at the museum. Visi- tors are not permitted to" pose for photos with the Hitler figure Jewish actress loses gig over play SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) A Jewish organiza- tion in Melbourne canceled a performance by an award- winning Jewish actress because of her participation in a controversial play about Israel. Miriam Margolyes, a Brit- ish-born stage and screen star, offered to entertain elderly residents May 12 at JewishCare. a major facility in Melbourne. But she was told May 11 that her appear- ance may offend some of the residents who are Holocaust survivors because she is scheduled to be the headline act next week in "Seven Jew- ish Children," a play that has been branded by some critics as anti-Semitic. "'I think they're quite wrong, i would never get in- volved with anything which was either anti,Semitic or critical of Holocaust survi- vors," Margolyes, who splits her time between Australia and Britain. said in a state- ment issued by Australians for Palestine. "I feel they're making a terrible mistake, and I am very sad because I was truly looking forward to appearing there. I support JewishCare in the U.K. both in appearances and with do- nations. And I will continue to do so." She won a BritishAcademy of Film and Televison Arts award in 1994 for her role as Mrs. Mingott in Martin Sc0rsese's "Age of Inno- cence." and was awarded the Order of the British Empire bythe queen in 2001 for services to drama. Austrian hotel refuses Jew- ish family ROME (JTA) An Austri- an.hotel reportedly refused to accept a Jewish family as guests. According to the daily Tiroler Tageszeitung, the owner of the Haus Son- nenhof apartment hotel in the village of Serfaus in the Austrian Tyrol told a Viennese Jewish family it did not take Jewish guests, citing "bad experiences" in the past, The Serfaus region has become so popular with Or- thodox Jewish vacationers in recent years that some local hotels have koshered their kitchens and provide timed lights and other accessories for Shabbat observance. Local officials branded the refusal as "unacceptable." The incident shocked the -local tourist industry and The unnamed perpetrator,made headlines around the who is unemployed, must pay world. $1,227 for taking off the head European rabbis boycott at Berlin's new Madame Tus- religious conference sauds Wax Museum in July. NEW YORK (JTA)--A In his court hearing, ithe European rabbinical group man said he had intendedis boycotting a gathering of religious leaders in Brussels to protest the involvement of Islamist organizations. The Conference of Euro- pean Rabbis did not send any representatives to the annual conference, which was May 18. It marked the first time that Jewish leaders declined to attend. The conference is being hosted by the presidents of the European Commission and the European Parlia- ment. "We do not consider it ap- propriate that organizations such as the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Eu- rope, or individuals who in the past made, or endorsed. anti-Semitic statements and who are clearly linked to the radical Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brother- hood should be present at such gatherings," said Rabbi Aba Duner. the conference's executive director. Colombia's Uribe headlines JDC event BUENOS AIRES (JTA)-- Colombia's president thanked the country's Jew- ish' community for its con- tribution toward building the nation. Alvaro Uribe spoke at the 11th meeting of Latin Ameri- can and the Caribbean Jew- ish Institutional and Com- munity Leaders organized by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee May 6-10 in Ca?tagena. Uribe. cheered by a packed room of 645 participants from Latin America. the Caribbean, America. Europe and Israel. noted the drop in poverty and narcotics traffic in his country and promoted the advantages of investing in Colombia. The meeting featured addresses by a Syrian Co- lombian sheik, Ahmad Tayel. and a Catholic Palestinian Chilean. Gustavo Hasbun Selume. Their invitations for a crowded plenary session about attitudes among the Jewish and Arab communi- ties had sparked community debate. Tayel in his 15-minute speech invited the crowd to join together in the fight against oppression and criticized Holocaust denial. He was interrupted by five rounds of applause. Regional anti Semitism-- linked to the increasing presence of Iran in Latin America--was a recur- ring topic of the meeting. The seven-member Cuban delegation advised the Ven- ezuelans on how to dealwith the growing threat. First mikveh in Montana opens JERUSALEM (JTA)The state of Montana has its first mikveh. The newly built ritual bath is serving Jewish residents from Wyoming, Idaho. North and South Dakota, and the Canadian provinces of Al- berta and Saskatchewan, in addition to the 2.500-strong Jewish population of Mon- tana. according to Chabad. org, The mikveh, in the back- yard of the Chabad House in Bozernan, took two years to build. One ritual pool adjoins an elaborate bathroom with a custom vanity, Jacuzzi tub, chandeliers and Venetian mosaic tiles.