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21 November 2018 - 13 Kislev 5779 - י"ג כסלו ה' אלפים תשע"ט
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Australian war memorial honours Jewish service members Print E-mail

Australia opened a new war memorial in the capital, Canberra, on 12 August, in memory of the hundreds of Australian Jewish service members who died for their country, The Brisbane Times reported.

The cenotaph bearing the names of the fallen was dedicated at the National Jewish Memorial Centre in Canberra in the presence of Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell.

Around 9,000 Australian Jews have served in their country’s armed forces since the late 19th century, with 341 of them dying in the line of duty. The dedication was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the knighting of Sir John Monash, Australia’s most famous Jewish soldier and one of the most decorated commanders of WWI. Last month, a sculpture of General Monash was commemorated at the Australian War Memorial, the Australian Jewish News reported.

(Issue Sep 2018)

 
Ice cream company forced to change name of “Poor Jew” cone E-mail

The Jewish community in Russia’s Tatarstan region is happy and relieved after an ice cream manufacturing company, Slavitsa, was ordered to change the name of its “Poor Jew” brand because it is offensive. The Naberezhnye Chelny city court announced the ruling against the company on 11 August.

Regional prosecutor Alexander Evgrafov had launched proceedings against the factory for discriminatory speech in March following protests by the local Jewish community. The ice cream cone is also wrapped in an image of Israel’s flag.

In court, Slavitsa’s lawyer recalled that the phrase “Poor Jew” had been used in the past by other manufacturers and is widely known as the name of a local baked tart sold by the firm Karibe. The phrase was also used as the name of alcohol products produced by TaigaVostok. He also maintained that it is a registered trademark belonging to Slavitsa and is therefore protected. The prosecutor, however, argued that the phrase was not known well enough to justify its use in commerce and cited the offence it caused the Jewish community.

In March, Leonid Shteinberg, a leader of the Jewish community in Naberezhnye Chelny, called the name “racist” and demanded that the production and sale of the ice cream cone be halted.

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Indonesian Islamic leader attends conference in Israel E-mail

A top member of Indonesia’s largest Islamic movement visited Israel in June, at the invitation of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), a US advocacy group that was holding a major conference in Jerusalem.

Yahya Staquf is the Secretary General of the 60-million-member Nahdlatul Ulama movement, the largest traditionalist Sunni Islam Muslim organisation in Indonesia, established in Jakarta in 1926.

Braving angry protests at home, he was in Israel in order to spread what he called a message of interfaith compassion. Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, and support for the Palestinians there is strong. Staquf’s presence triggered angry reactions, as seen on Indonesian social media.

However in an interview prior to the visit, Staquf said he remained committed to the visit and hoped the controversy would bring more attention to his message of tolerance. “Some people here are amazed by my decision to come, because they think it must be dangerous for this man to come, thinking that many, many Muslims must be threatening him with death or something,” Staquf told The Associated Press.

Staquf addressed the AJC conference, appearing alongside a rabbi in his discussion. His also had meetings at Israel’s Hebrew University and talks with local Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders.

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Al Quds Day marches held in the UK and Germany E-mail

As in recent years, thousands of demonstrators rallied through London and Berlin on 9-10 June for the annual Al Quds Day marches.

Al Quds Day was initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 as a day of support for the Palestinians and a call for the destruction of Israel. The anti-Zionist and ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta organisation was applauded by participants for its role in the event, in which Israeli flags were stomped on, ripped and burned.

While the US, Israel, Canada, the Netherlands and even the Arab League consider Hezbollah as a whole to be a terrorist organisation, Germany and the UK are among the European nations that still differentiate between its political and military wings. While the military wing is outlawed, the political wing is still considered “legitimate”.

Small counter-protests were organised by pro-Israel groups in Berlin and London. In London, Israel supporters played the Israeli national anthem and the song Toy loudly on speakers. Toy was the Israeli winning entry in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

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Golan Heights wine off the shelf in Japan E-mail

A major department store chain in Japan recently cancelled the participation of an importer specialising in wine from the Golan Heights at an event celebrating Mediterranean cuisine. The decision came over fear of protests from activist groups.

The Japanese store Daimaru, which held the fair in May in Tokyo, withdrew an invitation to the Naturael importer to sell its products, The Associated Press (AP) reported, because it sells wine that is produced in the Golan. Naturael sells wine, olive oil and date syrup made in Israel throughout Japan.

Daimaru told AP that it has no policy against Israeli products in general and that wine from other areas of Israel was sold at the fair. “Today we cannot ignore geopolitical issues,” Satoshi Nishio, a spokesman for Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores Co. “We have to start paying more attention to where products are coming from.”

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