Monday, March 8th 2021   |

International

Rabbi in Moldova helps save a life and scores matzah for his community

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ

(JTA) — Last week, Mendy Axelrod was working to secure a supply of matzah for his Jewish community in Moldova ahead of Passover. It’s no easy task this year, as air and land traffic into the small Eastern European country has been suspended due to the coronavirus.

Then near tragedy struck.

Axelrod, a Chabad rabbi working in the capital Chisinau, had to drop everything to save the...

ICC opens war-crimes probe; Netanyahu blasts it as ‘anti-Semitic,’ ‘hypocritical’

By SEAN SAVAGE

– The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague announced on Wednesday her intention to open an investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by Israelis and Palestinians since 2014.

The announcement was strongly denounced by Israel, but welcomed by the Palestinian Authority, which had requested the probe. It comes less than a month after the ICC ruled that it had jurisdiction to...

Kentucky becomes first US state to adopt IHRA anti-Semitism definition

(JTA) — For the first time, a U.S. state has officially adopted a definition of anti-Semitism that has ignited debates worldwide over the extent to which criticism of Israel should be considered anti-Semitic.

Lawmakers in Kentucky voted to adopt the definition developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association, known as IHRA, on Wednesday as part of a broad resolution aimed at condemning anti-Semitism.

The hearing and vote, which was unanimous,...

Biden authorizes air strikes in Syria on Iranian-backed targets

(JTA) — President Joe Biden ordered an airstrike on Iranian-backed militias in Syria, his first military action.

The strike Thursday at a point near Syria’s border with Iraq was in retaliation for a Feb. 15 rocket attack on a U.S.-led military base near Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, that killed a civilian contractor who was not a U.S. citizen and wounded an American serviceperson. Iranian-backed militias are...

Is Bonne Maman an anti-Nazi jam? The internet wants to think so.

(JTA) — The heartwarming story has been hard to miss: A law professor is shopping at his local grocery store when sees an elderly woman struggling to get her favorite jam from a high shelf. Why is it her favorite? “I am a Holocaust survivor,” she says. “During the war, the family that owns the company hid my family in Paris.”

Tens of thousands of people — at least — have shared the...

Israel delivers thousands of vaccines to Palestinians after facing international pressure

(JTA) — Israel has delivered thousands of coronavirus vaccines to the Palestinian Authority, the Czech Republic, Guatemala, and Honduras, joining a number of other countries that are successfully vaccinating their populations and are now assisting others with their surpluses.

Israel had come under criticism for not extending its successful vaccine program to Palestinians in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Israeli officials have said that under prior agreements and international...

Shlomo Hillel, who spearheaded mass aliya of Iraqi Jews, dies at 97

(JTA) — Shlomo Hillel’s life spanned the length and breadth of Israel’s immigrant story and he played a critical role in many of its chapters.

Hillel, who died Feb. 8 at 97, helped smuggle Iraqi Jewish immigrants into pre-state British Mandate Palestine and then brought more in in the state’s first years. His family fled Iraq’s horrors and he married a woman fleeing Europe’s horrors. His son married an Ethiopian...

Netanyahu: Equatorial Guinea plans to move embassy to Jerusalem

(JTA) — Equatorial Guinea is the latest country that plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The pledge came in a conversation Friday with the oil-rich African nation’s president, Teodoro Mbasogo, Netanyahu’s office said.

Netanyahu has throughout his 11 years in continuous leadership pressed for greater Israeli engagement with Africa. Netanyahu “noted that Israel is continuing to deepen its cooperation with African countries and...

Former intelligence officer convicted in first use of Romania’s law against Holocaust denial

By FRANK ELBERS

BUCHAREST, Romania (JTA) — A former Romanian intelligence officer has been sentenced to 13 months in prison for Holocaust denial in the first-ever conviction under the country’s 2002 law.

Vasile Zarnescu, 74, a former colonel who worked for the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) for 11 years, was convicted on Feb. 4 by a court in Bucharest for writing online articles describing the Holocaust as a “fraud.”

In...

Prisoner swap brings Israeli woman home from Syria with Putin’s help

By BEN SALES

(JTA) — An Israeli woman who crossed the border into Syria was returned in a prisoner swap with the help of Vladimir Putin.

The woman had entered Syria roughly two weeks ago of her own volition, according to Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. According to the Times of Israel, she speaks fluent Arabic and has twice unsuccessfully attempted to cross into the Gaza Strip, including once when...