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September 27, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 27, 2013 Report: Israeli agents backing Kenyan troops in " bid to end Nairobi mall siege JERUSALEM (JTA)-- Kenyan troops reportedly backed by Israeli agents launched an assault to end the siege by Somali militants at a Nairobi shopping mail. A Kenyan security source confirmed that Israelis "are rescuing the hostages and the injured" at the upscale Westgate mall, the French news agency AFP reported. The Israeli Foreign Ministry refused to confirm or deny its agents were involved in the operation, which took place shortly after nightfall on Sunday. Kenyan President Uh- uru Kenyatta had said he received "numerous offers of asistance from friendly countries" but that for now it remained a Kenyan opera- tion. Citing an unidentified Is- rael security source, Reuters had reported earlier Sunday that Israeli advisers were helping with negotiation strategy but were not involved in "any imminent storming operation." The death toll in the attack was at 68, with police warn- ing that it could rise "much higher," AFP reported. Some 200 people have been injured in the attack, which began Saturday. Militants from al Shabab, a Somalia-based terror group linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack. The five-story shopping center features several Israe- li-owned outlets, according to wire services. Among them is the ArtCaffe--the attack by eight gunmen took place near the coffee shop and bakery. One Israeli was injured and three others escaped harm, according to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A ministry spokeswoman said Israelis had not been specifically targeted. "This time, the story is not about Israel," she told The New York Times. The spokeswoman told the Times that the ArtCaffe, which is located on the ground floor, is popular with foreigners. Four Americans were in- jured in the bombing, ac- cording to the U.S. State Department. Al Shabab said the attack was revenge for Kenya's mili- tary operations in Somalia that began nearly two years ago, according to the Times. Yariv Keidar, an employee of the Israeli-owned Amiran company based in Nairobi, told the Ynet news website that he and his Israeli co- worker hid his passport and work papers identifying him as Israeli trying to avoid kid- nap or worse by the terrorists. Islamist terrorists attacked an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya in 2002; three Israelis were among the 13 casualties. Four years earlier, an al-Qaida attack killed more than 200 people and destroyed the Nairobi-based American embassy. Lauder raps Polish Forbes over Jewish property al- legations (JTA)--The World Jewish Congress slammed a Polish magazine report that alleged corrupt practices in the res- Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA titution and management of Jewish property in Poland. In a statement issued Sept. 18, WJC President Ronald Lauder called the report in the Polish edition of Forbes magazine "littered with factual errors" and "sensa- tionalist," and its allegations "unfounded and slanderous." The Forbes report, pub- lished several weeks ago, comprised several articles that targeted the leaders of Poland's organized Jewish community along with the Foundation for the Preserva- tion of Jewish Heritage in Poland, or FODZ, the WJC and the World Jewnsh Restntutlon Organization. One of the articles de- scribed Piotr Kadlcik, the president of Poland's Union of Jewish Communities, as one who "likes a drink or many and can often be seen on the street trying to find his bear- ings." It called Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, "the perfect rabbi to foster corruption." Another article accused Monika Krawczyk, CEO of the Foundation for the Preserva- tion of Jewish Heritage in Poland, as "charged by her employers, the largest Jewish world organizations, with selling arid liquidating as fast as feasible the half of the restituted communal prop- erty she controls on behalf of those organizations, and with transferring the moneys to their bank accounts for further waste ... to hell with Polish Jew, s!" Lauder said he had to respond to the articles' al- legations in his position as chairman of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, or W.JRO, as well as president of the WJC. "To make it very clear," he said in his statement, "neither the WJC nor the WJRO, of which the WJC is a founding member, have ever sought or received money coming from the restitution of Jewish property in Poland, as the articles suggest." The reports, Lauder con- tinued, "are littered with factual errors, and it is lamentable that the authors did not bother to check the facts. This makes me, and many others, wonder if they approached the whole issue with the motive to portray the entire [Jewish] community in a bad light and perhaps to put a stop of the ongoing restitution process of Jewish communal property." In a related statement, the WJRO said it had "full confi- dence in the work of FODZ and its CEO Monika Krawc- zyk." It said FODZ operates "in an open and transparent way and files annual audit re- portswith the Polish Ministry of Administration." The FODZ, according to the statement, "has only funded projects inside Poland and neither WJRO nor WJRO member organizations have ever received any allocations for projects or activities from FODZ." French Muslim leader resigns over invite to pro- Israel Jewish lawmaker (JTA)--The co-founder of a French-Muslim advocacy group was forced to resign for inviting a Jewish, pro-Israel lawmaker to the group's in- augural event. PAGE 13A ,b Farid Belkacemi stepped down as vice president of the League for the Judicial Defense of Muslims over the presence at the Sept. 16 event of Meyer Habib, a member of the National As- sembly in France and former vice president of the CRIF umbrella organization of French Jewish communities, according to a statement by the Muslim group. Habib's attendance at the Paris event was "incom- patible with the League's values and provoked heated emotions because of Habib's capacity as advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Ne- tanyahu and his functions at the heart of Likud," the Sept. 19 statement read. CRIF released a statement saying that Habib Was not representing the Jewish or- ganization but attended the event in his capacity at the National Assembly. The CRIF statement noted that among the founding members of the new Muslim body was Roland Dumas, a former French foreign minister from the Socialist Party who said in July during a television interview that Israel was behind the British government's readiness to strike in Syria. Dumas also has accused "Israelis" of controlling French intelligence services, the statement said. French town unveils hid- den Jewish treasures (JTA)--A town near Stras- bourg unveiled dozens of Judaica items hidden before the Holocaust and discovered during the renovation of a former synagogue. The recently discovered items were presented to the public on Sunday. They had been hidden at what is now the new cultural center of Dambach-la-Ville, a town of 2,000 in eastern France, the L'Alsace daily reported Saturday. Members of the town's former Jewish community hid the cache of thousands of items--including old Torah scrolls and texts from the 16th century--in the space of a duble ceiling designed especially for concealment, according to the report. Among the findings are 250 mapot, or wimpels--strips of cloth that were wrapped around Jewish babies during their circumcision and then decorated with their names and deposited for safekeep- ing. The oldest mappah found at Dambach was dated to 1614. The oldest item found at the former synagogue was a ruined Torah scroll dating back to 1592. Jean-Camille Bloch, the vice president of the SHIAL historical society on Jewish presence in the Alsace- Lorraine region, was quoted by L'Alsace as saying some of the items recovered are worth hundreds of dollars. The French government evacuated tens of thousands of Frenchmen from the Alsace- Lorraine region, including 14,000 Jew, when World War II broke out in 1939, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. Due to the evacuation, only about 10 percent of the Alsace-Lorraine Jewish popu- lation of 20,000 perished in the Holocaust. Religious freedom motion passes in Ontario TORONTO (JTA)--A mo- tion introduced by a Jew- ish legislator in Ontario to reaffirm the Canadian province's commitment to religious freedom passed unaniznously. Monte Kwinter, a vet- eran Liberal member of the Provincial Parliament, introduced the motion as a direct response to a Quebec proposal that would ban re- ligious symbols in the work- place. The Ontario motion passed on Sept. 19. Speaking of potential im- migrants to Canada, Kwinter told the Globe and Mail, "When they hear that one province is doing something, they assume that Canada is doing it and it creates a nega- tive image. People are saying is that going to happen in Ontario? And all we're trying to do is reassure them that we would not support anything that would in any way put our ethnic communities, our cultural communities at risk in the way they're being put at risk in Quebec." The Quebec proposal in- cludes a ban on religious headwear including yar- mUlkes, hijabs and turbans, as well as visible crucifixes-- by public and quasi-public employees. Critics say the plan is xenophobic and racist. The Ontario motion said the province "should oppose any legislation that would restrict or prohibit people's freedom of expression and religion in public places and'affirms that Ontario greatly values our diverse population and the social, cultural and economic contributions they make to help our society thrive." Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak said gov- ernments have no right to dictate to people how and when they can express their religious beliefs." Man arrested for alleged death threat against Tou- louse Jewish school (JTA)mA man who claimed to be the cousin of Moham- med Merah was arrested for allegedly making a threaten- ing phone call to the French Jewish school where Merah killed four. French police arrested a 20-year-old French national of Moroccan origin, Reuters reported, over the weekend near Vesoul, a city in eastern France near Strasbourg. The man, who was not named, will be arraigned Monday. According to SPCI, the French Jewish community's security service, the man called the Ohr Hatorah school in Toulouse on Sept. 16 and told a secretary, "I am Mohammed Merah's cousin and I'm coming over tonight to kill you." Merah in March 2012 gunned down a rabbi and three children at the .school, which changed its name from Ozar Hatorah after the attack. According to Reuters, the suspect was living with his mother. The report did not say whether he is in fact related to Merah, who was killed in a standoff with police days three days the shooting. SPCJ said police have ar- rested several callers who threatened violence against the school following the shooting. French police believe Merah planned the shoot- ing with his older brother, Abelkader, who is in prison awaiting trial. Israeli soldier killed by Palestinian sniper in Hebron JERUSALEM (JTA)mAn Israeli soldier was shot at a West Bank checkpoint in He- bron by a Palestinian sniper and died of his wounds, the Israeli army said: The shots were fired Sun- day near the Cave of the Patriarchs. Hebron remained under a curfew. The army evacuated some 11,000 visitors from Hebron who were participating in tours and programming for the intermediate days of Suk- kot. Worshipers were ejected from the Cave of the Patri- archs following the shooting. The soldier was hit in the neck by a bullet and rushed to * a Jerusalem hospital, where he died. His name was not made public pending notifi- cation of his family. Israeli troops'and Pales- tinian residents of Hebron clashed following the shoot- ing, according to the Times of Israel. Haaretz reported that the clashes began before the shooting. "This lethal attack illus- trates the complex security challenges the IDF faces on a daily basis in Judea & Sa- maria," said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spolesman for the Israel Defense Forces. "The IDF will employ the neces- sary means, operational and intelligence, to apprehend those responsible for this deathly attack., Israeli soldier killed by Palestinian former co- worker JERUSALEM (JTA)--An Is- raeli soldier who was visiting the West Bank with a former Palestinian co-worker was murdered by the Palestin- Jan man. The body of Tomer Hazan, 20, a sergeant in the Israeli Air Force, was discovered on Saturday after his family alerted officials that he had not been in touch with them since Friday morning. Nadal Amar, 42, was ar- rested Saturday by Israeli security services and con- fessed to killing Hazan near Amar's hometown of Kalkilya and hiding the body in awell. Amar told Israel Secu- rity Agency agents that he planned to exchange Hazan's body for the release of his brother, Nur Al Din Amar, a Fatah operative imprisoned since 2003 for his involve- ment in several terror at- .tacks, according to the Israel Defense Forces spokesman's office. "The criminal incident proves once again that the fight against terrorism iscon - stant," Army Radio quoted Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu as saying. Hazan and Amar, who had worked together at Tza- chi Meats in central Israel, reportedly got into a taxi together and traveled to an Israeli community near Kalkilya. Amar had been working in Israel illegally, according to the IDF, and had been turned down for a request to enter Israel under the family reunification law. The owner of Tzachi Meats told the Israeli media that he believed Amar had legal work documents. He closed his Bat Yam restaurant for a week in solidarity with the'family, The Jerusalem Post reported. The United Nations' special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Rob- ert Serry, condemned the "shocking murder" and called for calm on both sides "at this critical moment in the political process." Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid, head of the cen- trist Y.esh Atid party, wrote on his Facebook page that the murder "is a terrible re- minder that every day Israel is dealing with murderous, animal-like terrorists. We should not abandon the security of Israel to anyone except ourselves." Poll From page 2A attacks upon Israeli civilians (Palestinian Center for Policy & Survey Research (PCPSR) poll, June 2006). February 2006:56.2 percent support terrorism against Israeli civilians (Jeru- salemMediaand Communica- tions Center (JMCC) poll, Feb. 8-12, 2006). December 2005:69 percent of Palestinians see terrorism as legitimate; 65 percent sup- port AI-Qaeda actions in the U.S. and Europe (Fafo poll, Dec. 22, 2005). October 2005:60 percent of Palestinian Arabs oppose the PA disarming the terrorist groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah's AI-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (Bir Zeit University poll, October 2005). April 2003:75.6 percent of PalestinianArabs support ter- rorismagainstIsraeli civilians (Jerusalem Media and Com- munications Center (JMCC) poll, April 2003). ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, "This poll, tragically, merely con- firms the results of innumer- able earlier polls, some of which we have cited above, showing Palestinians to ap- prove of terrorism that targets innocent Jewish men, women and children and rejecting peace or co-existence with Israel as a Jewish state. "These findings, like those of dozens of other polls show- ing Palestinian attitudes to- wards Israel, negotiations and violence, simply underscore the fact that concessions to Mahmoud Abbas' Palestin- ian Authority (PA), especially concessions leading to Pales- tinian statehood, would only help to produce the world's newest terrorist state. "It would be folly for either Israel or the United States to support the establishment of a Palestinian state under such conditions and it noteworthy that the former Israel Defense Forces (IDF)" Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon, former CIA director R, James Woolsey and pre-eminent Middle East historian Bernard Lewis have all come out in opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state underpresent conditions."