Dutch pro-Palestinian activist who accused Netanyahu of racism named deputy foreign minister

Sigrid Kaag in 2011. (Flickr Commons)
Sigrid Kaag in 2011. (Flickr Commons)

Sigrid Kaag in 2011. (Flickr Commons)

AMSTERDAM (JTA) – A Dutch activist for Palestinian rights who is married to a senior member of the PLO was nominated cabinet minister for international aid at her country’s foreign ministry.

Sigrid Kaag’s nomination to the position – the second-most powerful cabinet post at the Dutch foreign ministry – will be formalized in the coming days following the signing of a coalition deal between the ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy and three other partners, including her left-wing D66 party, the NOS public broadcaster reported Friday. [Read more…]


Egalitarian prayer supporters barred from entering Western Wall plaza

(JTA) – Security guards at the Western Wall prevented a group of men and women promoting gender-egalitarian prayer for accessing the holy site’s main plaza with a Torah scroll.

In the incident Friday, about 300 people were barred from entering the main plaza of the Western Wall while holding a Torah scroll, according to Women of the Wall, a group which is fighting for the lifting of regulations barring women from introducing Torah scroll to the site, singing aloud, wearing kippahs or praying with men. [Read more…]


Honouring of anti-Semites a ‘problem,’ says Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine

(JTA) – In a rare public statement on the honoring of anti-Semites in Ukraine, Israel’s ambassador to that country called the phenomenon a “problem” that is “not in line” with Israel’s interests.

Eliav Belotzercovsky said this Friday during a conference of the Limmud FSU group in the southern city of Odessa, according to a translation of his remarks provided by a spokesperson for the organization, which organizes Jewish learning conferences for Russian speakers across the former Soviet Union and beyond. [Read more…]


B’nai Brith, CIJA comment on Islamophobia measure; Quebec passes controversial religious neutrality bill

(JTA) – Jewish leaders in Canada are debating a measure meant to prevent intolerance aimed at Muslims and other minorities.

Earlier this month, the head of B’nai Brith Canada outlined his objections to M-103, a parliamentary motion passed earlier this year that “condemns Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.” The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage held hearings on the measure this week.

Critics of the measure say it singles out Muslims for special treatment because it condemns only Islamophobia by name and does not explicitly mention other religious groups. Others have accused the motion of hampering free speech. [Read more…]


Israel targets Syrian army post in retaliatory strike

(JTA) – An Israeli airstrike hit a Syrian army post near the border in retaliation for a rocket that struck Israeli territory in the Golan Heights.

The rocket that fell in Israel on Thursday afternoon is believed to be spillover from Syria’s long running civil war and did not cause any injuries or damage. The Israel Defense Forces typically responds to spillover gunfire and mortars with return fire. There were no reports on Syrian injuries. [Read more…]


Printer who helped Raoul Wallenberg rescue Jews gets a plaque in Budapest

(JTA) – A Hungarian printer who helped Jews flee the Nazis during the Holocaust was honoured with a plaque in Budapest.

Emil Wiesmeyer’s printing company printed 4,000 blank passports to assist Swedish ambassador Raoul Wallenberg in saving Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps. He then printed another 20,000 to help more Hungarian Jews.

Wiesmeyer’s son, Gabor, was on hand for the unveiling ceremony Wednesday led by Szabolcs Szita, director of the Holocaust Memorial Center, and Swedish Ambassador Niclas Trouve, the Associated Press reported.

The communists jailed Wiesmeyer in the 1950s in Hungary. He died in 1967.


Haredi Orthodox demonstrators shout they’d rather die than sign up for Israeli army

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Haredi Orthodox protesters declared a “day of rage” over the arrests of two yeshiva students charged with draft evasion.

Thursday’s declaration follows three days of demonstrations in which hundreds of haredi demonstrators blocked central roads in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, a haredi enclave. Dozens of protesters have been arrested in recent days amid charges of disproportionate force by police. [Read more…]