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PAGE 10A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 31, 2009 i Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA France, Switzerland call for stop to settlement building JERUSALEM (JTA) " France questioned Israel's ambassador over settlement policy as Switzerland called on Israel to halt settlement construction. Ambassador Daniel Shek answered a summons to ap- pear July 23 before officials in the French Foreign Ministry. Officials. echoing calls earlier in the week by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouch- ner and President Nicolas Sarkozy, called for an im- mediate freeze in settlement construction, including in eastern Jerusalem. saying it was necessary for a two-state solution. Also on July 23, a statement released by Switzerland's Foreign Ministry called on Israel to halt settlement construction. The statement also expressea the ministry's concern "over the destruc- tion of-houses near East Jerusalem's old town and the planned eviction of Palestin- ian families.'" The call comes a day after the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to freeze settlement building in eastern Jerusalem. "l urge the government of Israel to commit fully to its obligations, including freez- ing settlement activity and natural growth," said Ban. addressing a United Nations meeting in Geneva. "If Israel continues settlement activ- ity, it will not only be acting contrary to international law but also to a strong interna- tional consensus." The European Union and Russia also called on Israel last week to halt a building project on Jewish-owned lan4 in Arab eastern Jerusalem. Jerusalem mayor: All faiths can live in city JERUSALEM (JTA) Jeru- salem Mayor Nir Barkat said members of all faiths should be allowed to own and develop property in the city. Barkat, in New York for a private visit, was reacting to the diplomatic row between Israel and the United States over Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem during a news conference July 22. 'If Jews want to build at Shepherd Hotel ... then I believe it is unacceptable" to prohibit them from doing so, Barkat said, referring to the site of a controversial Jewish- owned housing project in eastern Jerusalem. which is largely Arab. "It would be wrong and discriminating to allow to build or not to build for any person based-on his religion." Barkat reiterated his sup- port for full Israeli sover- eignty over the oity, which the Palestinians claim as the capital of their future state. "I agree with [President] Obama that Jerusalem needs to be open to all religions," he said, adding that "it is not practical to divide a city, certainly not the eternal city of Jerusalem." Barkat also spoke about his vision for the future of the city, noting his goal of increasing the number of tourists from 2 million to 10 million a year by 2019. On the matter of recent Sabbath riots by fervently Orthodox residents on a scale not seen in more than a decade. Barkat sounded an unapologetic tone, saying the decision to open a park- ing lot in central Jerusalem. which sparked the violence. was made in accordance with police advice. Asked if he would have done anything different. Bar- kat replied, "Probably not." 'Nakba' removed from textbooks JERUSALEM (J-TA) "Nakba," the Arabic term meaning "catastrophe" used to describe the creation of the state of Israel, will be removed from school textbooks. The announcement was made July 22 by Israel's Edu- cation Ministry. The term was approved for use in a textbook for Arab- Israeli schools ill 2007. "After studying the matter with education experts, itwas decided that the term nakba should be removed," Visrael Twito. a spokesman for Edu- cation Minister Gideon Sa'ar. told Ha'aretz. "It is inconceiv- able that in Israel we would talk about the establishment of the state as a catastrophe." Clinton: Nuclear Iran would face U.S. 'umbrella' WASHINGTON (JTA)-- Hillary ROdham Clinton said the United States would create a Middle East"nuclear umbrella" should Iran obtain a nuclear weapon. "If the U.S. extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military ca- pacity of those in the Gulf, it is Unlikely Iran will be any stronger or safer," the U.S. secretary of state said July 22 in an address in Thailand to an Asian security forum, according to a report from the French news agency AFP. "They won't be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon." Clinton made clear the Obama administration was set on using diplomacy and sanctions to have Iran stand down from its suspected nuclear program. "We will still hold the door open," she said. "But we also have made it clear that we will take action as I've said time and time again crippling action--working to upgrade the defense of our partners in the region." Clinton in her failed presi- dential candicacy last year had proposed a "nuclear umbrella." modeled on Cold War-era tactics aimed at containing the Soviet threat. She made it clear it was one of several possible Options to confront a nuclear Iran. An Israeli Cabinet minister said the statement was unfor- tunate because it suggested that the United States was ready to live with a nuclear Iran. Bibi adamant about keep- ing security fence NEW YORK (JTA) Israel has no intention of disman- fling the West Bank security fence. Prime Minister BeMa- min Netanyahu said. The Israeli leader called the fence "a critical component of Israel's Security" and told Knesset lawmakers July 22 that it "will remain in place and will not be dismantled." Reports in the Israeli media July 22 had indicated that the Palestinian Author- ity had relayed a demand to President Obama that the fence be removed because the West Bank security situation had improved. Palestinian chief negotia- tor Saeb Erekat told Reuters he had approached the United States on the issue. "The Israelis know that the wall adds to the complexi- ties." he said. "It's part of the problem and not part of the solution." Netanyahu told Knesset lawmakers that the fence should be credited with re- storing security and prevent- ing,the entry of Palestinian suicide bombers into Israeli towns, and thus it should stay. In his speech, Netanyahu said Israel welcomed "a cer- tain improvement in the functioning of Palestinian security forces" in the West Bank. But he added: "The fence is important." Agriprocessors sold, to remain kosher SAN FRANCISCO (JTA)-- The Agnprocessors plant in P'ostville. iowa, was sold to a Canadian company. SHF Industries, a company formed in May by Canadian plastics manufacturer Her- shey Friedman and his son- in-law Daniel Hirsch. bough[ the failed kosher meatpack- ing plant for $8.5 million. The sale was approved July 20 by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Iowa. Friedman. an observant Jew, indicated in interviews that he plans to continue operating the business as a meatpacking plant focusing on kosher products. He told the Mishpacha Jewish Family Weekly that he hopes to have- production up and running in ime for the High Holidays. The purchase price was well below the $22 million the plant owes to unsecured creditors, including back wages and benefits to hun- dreds of employees It is also much less than the $40 mil- lion Soglowek Nahariya Ltd. of Israel was prepared to offer going into a March auction for the bankrupt company. The company rescinded before the .auction took place. According to the Iowa Independent, SHF will ad- vance $1.8 million to the Agriprocessors estate in order to pay debts owed to First Bank Business Capital and MLIC Mortgage. Under the conditions of the sale. the new owners do not have to make good on any other debts owed. Agriprocessors, formerly the largest kosher meat pro- ducer in the United States. has been operating at a frac- tion of it's capacity since a May 2008 raid that trained a national spotlight on the issue of illegal immigration. It also forced the Jewish community to grapple with issues relating to the ethi- cal treatment of workers at Jewish-owned businesses. Several company officials have faced criminal charges for their roles in employing the illegal workers and other alleged violations. Cantor: Set Mideast poli- cies in 'Judeo-Christian' tradition WASHINGTON (JTA) Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told Christian Zionists that U.S. policies in the Middle East State Department photo/Creative Commons Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March, says it would be wrong for home building to be based on religion. must be "firmly grounded" in Judeo-Christian principles. "Reaching out to the Mus- lim world may help in creat- "ing an environrfient for peace in the Middle East, but we must insist as Americans that our policies be firmly grounded in the beliefs of the Judeo-Christian tradition upon which this country was founded," said Cantor (R-Va.), the House minority whip and the only Jewish Republican in Congress, in a speech to the Christians United For Israel annual conference in Washington. Cantor's 10-minute speech mostly focused on the im- portance of U.S. support for Israel. and the threats to the Jewish state from Iran and terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. He told the group that "now. more than ever. it is vital you're here, at a critical mo- ment in history." "Critics say the stum- bling block" to peace in the Middle East "is settlements or Jerusalem or refugees," Cantor said. "We all know the real stumbling block to peace is posed by those who vehemently deny the nation of Israel's historical right to the land of Zion." Romanian mayor goose- steps in German uniform JERUSALEM (JTA)--The mayor ofa Romanian city and his son dressed in German World War IIaniforms for a fashion show. The mayor Of Constana, a Black Sea port city, and his 15-year-old son, wearing the uniforms of German in- fantry generals that did not have swastikas on them and reportedly had nothing to do with the Nazi SS, goose- stepped across the stage of a weekend fashion show. The Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Sem- itism filed a complaint July 20 with the country's general prosecutor, Reuters reported. Wearing a Nazi uniform is illegal in Romania. as is the display of swastikas, which is punishable by up to three years in prison, according to reports. Ukrainian committee bans xenophobic books KIEV. Ukraine (JTA) A Ukrainiannational commis- sion banned two xenophobic books that it said incite interethnic hatred. The National Expert Commission of Ukraine on Public Morals banned the books "The Secret History of Ukraine" byAleksandr Shyro- korad and "Life. History and Reality" byVladimir Putyatin for degrading the Ukrainian and Jewish nations. The chairman of the com- mission said "The Secret History of Ukraine" contains a chapter in which the author denies that the Holodomor, or Great Famine, of 1932-33 took place, hnd is an outrage upon the memory of Holodo- mor victims and damages national dignity. "Life. History and Real- ity," according to experts' findings andthe decision'of the commission, contains expressions and statements of undisguised anti-Semitism and thus incites xenophobia and interethnic hatred. The commission examined the books at the request of the Ukrainian Secret Service. Ukrainian Jewish leaders welcomed the decision of the commission of experts, but also believe that Ukraine must do more to counteract xenophobia and anti-Semi- tism in the country of 46.5 million. Mumbai gunman confesse' JERUSALEM (JTA)The only surviving gunman from last November's Mumbai attacks pleaded guilty in an Indian court. MohammadAjmal Kasab, a 21-year-old Pakistani citizen. was charged July 20 with 86 separate offenses in the three-day attack including murder and waging war against India, according to reports. Kasab. who had pleaded not guilty in May, is facing a possible death sentence. He is the only one of the 10 al- leged gunmen captured alive during the attacks. Kasab rose in court dur- ing routine interviewing of witnesses and confessed his guilt. Reuters reported. OU renounces Vatican- Hezbollah booklet WASHINGTON (JTA) The Orthodox Union dis- tanced itself from a pamphlet that implies friendly meet- ings between Vatican and Hezbollah officials. The booklet, by a purported former Hezbollah fighter who converted to Jud,ism, stirred controversy last week In Israel after it was revealed that Israeli army officials had distributed it among their troops. According to the booklet, the Vatican initiated meet- ings with Hezbollah figut'es and suggested to them that they. sympathized with the Lebanese terrorist group's aim of destroying Israel. The army ordered a stop to the booklet's distribution. The booklet includes an endorsement from the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congre- gations of America. "Upon investigation, it has been ascertained that this endorsement was made by staff at the Orthodox Unioffs Israel branch office. and was never submitted to, nor approved by, senior Orthodox Union manage- ment." the OU statement released July 20 said. Its col/tents are "antithetical to the well-known views of the Orthodox Union regarding respect for other faiths and " their leaders. The Orthodox Union rescinds the en- dorsement of the book and disavows any connection to the views expressed in it." The statement also pledged a review of OU procedures to prevent a recurrence. Fire destroys Anne Frank barrack JERUSALEM (JTA) A suspicious fire destroyed the wooden barrack that Anne Frank stayed in while de- tained in a Dutch work camp. The fire Saturday night, July 18, in northeast Holland destroyed two barracks from the Westerbork work camp, where Frank stayed before being deported to Auschwitz in 1944. Her barrack, number 57, was set to be moved back to the site of the work camp as part of a Holocaust memorial center. The cause of the fire is unclear, according to reports. The barracks had been sold in 1957 to a nearby village and were used to store farm equipment. Israelis questioned in hu- man egg trafficking case JERUSALEM (JTA)--Some 30 Israelis suspected of be- ing involved in human egg trafficking were detained for questioning in Romania. Most were released July 20 Roundup on page 23A