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PAGE 10A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 1B, 2009 Moldovan Christians tear down public menorah BUDAPEST (JTA)--Some 200 fundamentalist Orthodox Christians in Moldova took down a public Chanukah me- norah and planted a wooden cross in its place. News footage showed a bearded priest leading the group in chanting anti-Se- mitic slogans during Sunday's incident. The menorah had been installed by the Jewish community in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau. The group removed the large, metal menorah, which had been set up on downtown Europe Square, and placed it upside down on Stefan cel Mare Square, at the base of a statue of King Stephen the Great. Neither police nor onlookers intervened. "The Jews can try to kill us, to traumatize our children," but Moidovan Orthodox be- lievers will resist, the priest said, speaking into a sound system. Moldova, he said, was an Orthodox country, and the Jewish people are trying to "dominate people." Allowing the menorah to be set up had been "a sacrilege, an indulgence of state power today," he said. Justice Minister Alexandru Tanese condemned the inci- dent. The OrthodoxMetropol- itan promised to investigate and take action, according to reports. Incitement to racial and religious hatred in Moldova is subject to a fine or impris- onment of up to three years. "It's a despicable act. We hope the governmentwill take appropriate action against the perpetrators," said Mark Levin, executive director of NCSJ, an advocacy group for Jews in the former So- viet Union. "This is obviously something that should never have been allowed to happen." In neighboring Romania, the Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism issued a statement urging authorities to take "immedi- ate measures" against the perpetrators. "Such an act committed by a priest with the Orthodox Church is totally inconceiv- able, and it takes us back to the days when the local popu- lation, if it did not participate, witnessed with indifference the crimes committed against the Jews," the center's state- ment said. "The Moldovan govern- ment and the Orthodox Church must punish the perpetrators of this despicable anti-Semitic crime and send a clear signal to Moldovan society and to the Jewish community that the govern- ment and the church will not tolerate anti-Semitism," said Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti- Defamation League. In aletter to Nicolae Chirto- aca, Moidova's Ambassador to the United States, the ADL called on his government "to apprehend and punish the per- petrators of this anti-Semitic crime." The ADL letter said it was particularly shocked at reports that 15 to 20 police officers were at the site dur- ing the protest, but did little to intervene. Rabbi attacked at Vienna menorah lighting (JTA)--A Chabad rabbi was attacked after presiding over This picture of Gilad Shalit hangs next to a solidarity tent calling for his release, outside of the Prime Minister's resi- dence in Jerusalem.More Israelis watched "Big Brother"Dec. 6 on TVrather than "A Family in Captivity," a documentary about the Shalit family aired at the same time. a public Chanukah menorah lighting in Vienna. The assailantwho punched Rabbi Dov Gruzman and bit off part of the rabbi's finger fol- lowing the lighting Saturday night in Stephansplatz Square was Muslim, according to reports. Gruzman, principal of the Lauder Chabad High School in Vienna, underwent a par- tial amputation of his finger, reported. More than 1,000 people were in attendance at the menorah lighting. Security has been increased atpublic menorah lightings in the city, according to Chabad. org. London court issues, can- cels Livni arrest warrant LONDON (JTA)--A court in London issued, and then canceled, an arrest warrant against Israel's opposition leader at the request of pro- Palestinian activists. The warrant sought Tzipi Livni's arrest on suspicion of war crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead, Israel's military offensive in Gaza last winter, according to diplomatic sources in London. The warrant was canceled later when it became clear that Livni had not entered the United Kingdom. Livni had been invited to an event Dec. 13 in north London organized by the Jewish Na- tional Fund, then was to hold meetings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other government officials. According to the Israeli Embassy in London, Livni had canceled her visit two weeks before the event due to sched- uling problems, and not just days before the event because of the threat of a warrant. A spokesperson at the British Foreign and Com- monwealth Office said that "The UK is determined to do all it can to promote peace in the Middle East, and to be a strategic partner of Israel. To do this, Israel's leaders need to be able to come to the UK for talks with the British Government. We are looking urgently at the implications of this case." In September, a London refused a request by pro-Pal- estinian activists for an arrest warrant against the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on suspicion of war crimes, citing Barak's diplomatic im- munity. Barak at the time was in Britain on an official visit. Israel's justice minister calls for Jewish law JERUSALEM (JTA)--Isra- el's justice minister reportedly called for basing the country's judicial system on Torah laws. "Step by step, we will bestow upon the citizens of Israel the laws of the Torah, and we will turn halachah into the binding law of the nation," Ya'akov Ne'eman said last week at a Jewish law conference in Jerusalem, ac- cording to Ha'aretz."We must bring back the heritage of our fathers to the nation of Israel. The Torah has the complete solution to all of the questions we are dealing with." Ne'eman received applause for his comments. Many rab- bis and rabbinicaljudgeswere at the convention. I.n a statement released later, the Justice Minis- try's spokesman clarified Ne'eman's comments. "The minister clarifies that his address did not contain an appeal to replace the state's laws with the laws of halacha, neither directly nor indirect- ly," the statement said. "The minister spoke in general and broad terms about returning the glory of Hebrew law and the importance of Hebrew law in the state." Ne'eman's remarks drew fire from the government's left wing, including calls for his resignation. "His remarks reflect a disturbing process of 'Tal- ibanization' occurring in Is- raeli society," said Haim Oron, chairman of the Meretz Party. Tzipi Livni, opposition leader and chairman of the Kadima Party, said Ne'eman's remarks should be concerning to "every citizen who cares about what happens in Israel in terms of its values and de- mocracy." 'Big Brother' swamps Sha- lit film on Israeli TV JERUSALEM (JTA)--The Israeli version of"Big Brother" was an easy TV ratings win- ner in Israel over a film about Gilad Shalit's family trying to secure his release. Some 10.6 percent of tele- vision viewers watched the heavily advertised documen- tary "A Family in Captiv- ity" on Channel 10, Ha'aretz reported. The documentary about the family of Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was cap- tured by Hamas in 2006 and has been held since in Gaza, was broadcast the night of Dec. 6 without commercials. By contrast, some 26.1 percent of viewers tuned in to the popular reality series "Big Brother" on Channel 2. The documentary origi- nally had been scheduled to air a month ago in a better time slot, but was postponed after a request from the Shalit family, a Channel 10 official told Ha'aretz. Wiesel to Hungary: Make Holocaust denial illegal BUDAPEST (JTA)--Elie Wiesel urged Hungary's lead- ers to do more to combat racism and anti-Semitism, and also to consider banning Holocaust denial. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who in 1944 was deported to Auschwitz from a town, Sighet, which at the time was in Hungary, spoke Dec. 9 at a "Jewish Hungar- ian Solidarity Symposium" of Hungarian political and Jew- ish leaders held at Parliament. "I urge you to do even more to denounce anti-Semitic ele ments and racist expressions in your political environment and in certain publications," the 81-year-old Holocaust survivor and human rights activist said. "I believe that they bring shame to your na- tion, and they bring fear to its Jewish community and other minorities, such as the Roma." He added, "I ask you, why don't you follow the example of France and Germany and declare Holocaust denial not only indecent but illegal? In those countries, Holocaust deniers go to jail." In recent years there have been violent attacks on Gyp- sies in Hungary, and the far- right, xenophobic, anti-Israel Jobbik Party has made strong electoral gains. Wiesel was in Budapest for ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of Chabad- Lubavitch activities in the Hungarian capital. Palestinian grocer sues Sacha Baron Cohen JERUSALEM (JTA)--A Pal- estinian grocer is suing actor Sacha Baron Cohen for $115 million over his portrayal in "Bruno." Ayman Abu Aita filed the lawsuit in the United States against the movie's produc- ers and Cohen, according to reports. In the movie, Ayman Abu Aita, a Christian peace activ- ist, escorted Cohen's alter-ego Bruno, a gay fashion journal- ist, to a Lebanese refugee camp. Abu Aita was identi- fied in a caption as "Terrorist group leader, AI Aqsa Martyrs Brigade." Abu Aita says he has re- ceived death threats in the wake of the movie. He says he did not realize that Cohen was an actor filming a comedy movie, and said that Cohen misrepresented himself, say- ing the movie would help the Palestinian cause. Aita served in the AI Aqsa Martyrs Brigades from 2000 until 2003, then spent two years in an Israeli prison on charges of shooting at Israeli soldiers, according to World Net Daily. He is now a representative of PalestinianAuthority Presi- dent Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party in the West Bank town ofBeit Sahor, near Bethlehem. Golda Meir wanted to keep sick Poles from making aliyah JERUSALEM (JTA)--Golda Meir sought to prevent handi- capped and sick Jews in Poland from immigrating to Israel when she served as foreign minister. A letter written in 1958 by Meir to Israel's ambassador to Poland, Katriel Katz, was dis- covered recently by Professor Szymon Rudnicki, a Univer- sity of Warsaw historian, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported. The letter, marked top secret, read: "A proposal was raised in the coordination committee to inform the Polish government that we want to institute selection in aliyah, because we can- not continue accepting sick and handicapped people. Please give your opinion as to whether this can be explained to the Poles without hurting immigration." Some 40,000 Polish Jews immigrated to Israel between 1956 and 1958 following the lifting of restrictions on Jews leaving Poland that were imposed after World War II. Edward Sanders, Jewish leader and Carter peace adviser, dies LOSANGELES (JTA)--Ed- ward Sanders, a national Jew- ish leaderwho playedakey role in the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty as senior Middle East adviser to President Jimmy Carter, has died. Sanders, who led the Ameri- can Israel PublicAffairs Com- mittee and the Conference of Presidents of MajorAmerican Jewish Organizations, died Dec. 7 at his Los Angeles home following a protracted struggle with cancer. He was 87. "Ed really provided sub- stance to the Middle East peace process at Camp David and in overseas negotiations," said Stuart Eizenstat, then Carter's chief domestic policy adviser. "We also worked closely together in the White House on such issues as Soviet Jewry, Holocaust reparations, the Arab boycott and eco- nomic aid to Israel." Along with guiding AIPAC and the Presidents Confer- ence, Sanders also served on the President's Commission on the Holocaust, which Carter formed in 1978 to recommendanational memo- rial to the victims. He also led the National Conference of Christians and Jews. In Los Angeles, he headed the Jewish Federation Council and United Jewish Fund in the 1970s, and most recently spearheaded the federation's $20 million Campaign for the 21st Century. Sanders also served as chairman of the L.A. Urban League. A dedicated, lifelong Demo- crat, Sanders took leadership roles in the Carter, Duka- kis and Clinton presidential campaigns. Locally, he was a strong supporter of Tom Brad- ley, the firstAfrican-American mayor of Los Angeles. Former SS member admits murders BERLIN (JTA)--A former SS member admitted in a German court to killing three civilians in Nazi-occupied Holland. Heinrich Boere, 88, on Dec. 8 told the district court in Aachen that he shot the three in 1944, but that he was fol- lowing military orders. Boere, who had not de- nied his actions, said he had learned "as a simple soldier to carry out orders; and I knew that if I did not [do so] I would be breaking my oath, and would be shot myself," The Associated Press reported. Boere said he was told that the shooting was in revenge for actions taken by the Dutch resistance, including the three civilians. He added that he had not seen his action as a crime, but that "today, 65 years later, I see it naturally from another standpoint." Prosecutors have charged him with committing base murder. Boere, a native of Germany, moved with his family to the Netherlands, where he served after joining the Waffen SS in 1940. After the war he was found guilty of murder in Hol- land and fled to Germany. Meanwhile, the Dutch death sentence was commuted to a life term. Pro-Palestinian protesters arrested in Melbourne SYDNEY, Australia (JTA)-- Pro-Palestinian protesters broke through police bar- ricades outside an Australia- Israel forum in Melbourne during an address by Israel's deputy prime minister. Three protesters among some 100 demonstrators were arrested Dec. 6 and later released, police said. Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, on his first visit to Australia, was leading a high-level delegation of more than 25 Israelis--including former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter and some of Israel's most renowned countertero ror experts, Middle East analysts and journalists--to the Australia Israel Leader- ship Forum, a two-day closed bilateral dialogue between powerbrokers and opinion makers from both countries. Kosher pizza now in Ukraine NEW YORK (JTA)--Ko- sher pizza is now available in Ukraine. The firm UkrKosher in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine will produce and distrib- ute kosher food thro,ughout Ukraine, according to the Federation of Jewish Com- munities of the former Soviet Union. The kosher Palermo frozen pizza is available withcheese, mushrooms, olives and bell peppers. It is certifiec by the Ukrainian Kashrut Com- mittee. B'nai B'rith elects mw president WASHINGTON (JTA)-- B'nai B'rith International's new president said he will focus on getting the group's message to a wider audience. Dennis Glick, whose term began Dec. 7, has been active in the 166-year-old organiza- tion for the past four decades. Glick, who Was voted into office earlier this month, most recently was chairman of the B'nai B'rith executive. He succeeds Moishe Smith of Ottawa, the first non-U.S, citi- zen to lead the organization. "During my tenure, I will work to position B'nai B'fith at the forefront of Jewish or- ganizations, and to continue to have [it] play a principal role at the United Nations, the Organization of Ameri- can States and the European Union," said Giick, a certified personal accountant who owns an accounting firm in Huntington, Pa. Glick, who won the LabelA. Katz Award for Outstanding Young Leadership in 1983, pledged also to focus on health-care reform advocacy. Roundup on page 23A