What They Are Saying. A wrap-up of news and what to expect this week.
ynet news, Israel reports: Donetsk [Ukraine] leaflet: Jews must register or face deportation. Fear replaced communal atmosphere in Donetsk’s Jewish community as armed men handed out a leaflet Passover eve calling on Jews register their religion and property with the interim pro-Russian government or face deportation and loss of citizenship. A leaflet distributed in Donetsk, Ukraine calling for all Jews over 16 years old to register as Jews marred the Jewish community’s Passover festivities Monday (Passover eve), replacing them with feelings of concern. The leaflet demanded the city’s Jews supply a detailed list of all the property they own, or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportion and see their assets confiscated.
Austrian Times reports: Austria Accused Of Ignoring Giant Nazi Swastika. A huge swastika that has scarred the walls of an Austrian castle for the past 80 years is still on view despite breaching strict postwar rules banning all Nazi symbols. Austrian officials stand accused of prevarication over the massive swastika that was painted on the side of Hochkraig Castle in the state of Carinthia in 1934. The local castle has been approached by officials of the Mauthausen concentration camp museum and memorial in Austria asking for it to be covered over – but the local authority said it doesn’t “feel responsible” for removing it. A spokesman for the Mauthausen organisation Peter Gstettner said that it was unbelievable that the symbol that been allowed to sit in plain view for more than 80 years and even more incredible that nothing has happened despite frequent attempts to have it removed. The owner of the castle Peter Goess, 55, has however warned that the castle is no longer a safe structure, and any attempt to remove it could be dangerous for those involved in the removal operation. He has been backed up by the Austrian monuments commission which also warned that there was a danger the walls could crumble if any workers attempted to gain access to the swastika.
The Slovak Spectator reports: Regional paper praises fascist state. The flag of the European Union is a symbol of occupation, and the Nazi-allied wartime Slovak state was a prosperous and successful country: these are just the two most striking examples of the kind of rhetoric found in a newspaper published by the Banská Bystrica regional government since Marian Kotleba became governor. The Náš kraj (Our Region) monthly is the self-proclaimed official newspaper of Banská Bystrica Region, published by the office of the regional government and funded from the regional budget. It is available in electronic form on the regional government’s website and distributed in printed form to households around the region free of charge. The paper has hardly any informational value, but as such it is not unique, as most of the eight self-governing regions in Slovakia publish a periodical of their own, according to a 2013 survey by the non-governmental organisation Transparency International Slovensko (TIS). These regional papers use most of their space to promote the activities of their respective regional governor and present his activities in a positive light. Banská Bystrica Region however stands out, since Kotleba, who has a background as a far-right extremist, took power in the region. Regional elections bring extremist to power.
Sophia News Agency reports: Bulgaria Among Popular Passover Destinations for Israeli Tourists. Israeli citizens prefer to spend the Passover festival in Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria, according to Turkish tour operators, Bulgarian National Radio reported. Turkey is the destination of choice for some 6,300 Israeli citizens celebrating the eight-day festival of Passover, also known as Pesach, beginning on 15 April, Turkish Haberler informed. The second most preferred holiday destination is Greece, followed by Italy and Bulgaria. Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines has launched eight flights to Israel a day.
The Copenhagen Post reports: Government gives go ahead for circumcision. Board of health establishes new guidelines for religious ceremonies. The practice of circumcising Jewish boys during brit milah ceremonies has been allowed to continue in Denmark according to new guidelines issued yesterday by the national board of health. Beforehand it was not expected that the agency would recommend a ban on male circumcision on religious grounds. The guidelines stipulate that male circumcision is a surgical procedure and restricted to medical practitioners. The guidelines require a doctor to be present at a brit milah when a rabbi circumcises a boy. It is estimated that every year up to 2,000 boys are circumcised for religious reasons by Jewish and Muslim families in Denmark. While doctors usually handle the circumcision of Muslims, Jewish boys are often circumcised by a rabbi, typically when the boy is 8 days old.
Tarek Fatah reports: Arab versus Arab in Syria – Medieval brutality seeped in sadistic pleasure. These horrific scenes are from Syria showing opposition soldiers beating and torturing captured government POWs. Some may argue its the other way around, but irrespective of whoever is carrying out this act, it is an Arab beating up a fellow Arab; a Muslim torturing a fellow Muslim. Some day, I hope Muslims wake up and realize, it is they who are to blame, not the West, the Jews or the Hindus. That is the day we will have arrived in the 21st century to join the rest of humanity. Until then, Yalla…
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports: PA names forest after arch-terrorist Abu Jihad. Abu Jihad masterminded terror attacks that killed 125 Israelis. The official Palestinian Authority daily reported that the PA and Fatah inaugurated a forest they chose to name after arch-terrorist Abu Jihad: “The Martyr Abu Jihad Forest.” Abu Jihad was a founder of Fatah and deputy to Yasser Arafat. He headed the PLO’s military wing and planned many deadly terror attacks. These attacks, which according to the official PA daily killed at least 125 Israelis, included the most lethal in Israeli history – the hijacking of a bus and killing of 37 civilians, 12 of them children. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that PA Chairman Abbas decorated terrorist Abu Jihad post-mortem a few months ago with “the highest order of the Star of Honor.”
The Jordan Times reports today that Jordanian air force destroys vehicles trying to cross from Syria. Fighter jets from the Royal Jordanian Air Force on Wednesday attacked vehicles that tried to cross the Jordanian border from Syria, destroying them, a statement issued by the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) said. The army did not identify whether the vehicles belong to the Syrian regime or to rebels. The brief statement was posted on JAF website. The army was expected to give further details later today.
Arab News, Saudi Arabia reports from Egypt: Brotherhood members banned from elections. An Egyptian court on Tuesday banned members of ousted President Muhammad Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood from running in upcoming elections, a lawyer and state media said. Egypt’s military-installed authorities are engaged in a deadly crackdown against the movement, which swept elections in Egypt after the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 but is now blacklisted as a “terrorist group.” A court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria ordered authorities to bar any candidacies from Brotherhood members or former members in presidential and parliamentary elections.
Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey reports: Turkish, Greek jets in first dogfight after 27 months. Turkish and Greek fighter jets engaged in a mid-air dogfight over the Aegean Sea twice on April 15 in a first since January 2012, Greek media has reported. According to the reports based on Greek military sources, four F-16s belonging to the Turkish Air Force approached the Semadirek (Samothraki) Island before the first dogfight. Four Greek F-16s took off “to locate and prevent” the Turkish aircraft. Sides faced off against each other north of Samothraki, as well as southwest of Limni (Limnos) Island. The official website of the Turkish General Staff did not list any violations or dogfights for April 15.
Radio Prague reports: Poll: 60 percent of Czechs perceive foreigners as problem. Foreign nationals who moved to the Czech Republic in the past five years are perceived as problematic by 60 percent of Czechs, according to a survey by the CVVM agency released on Wednesday. Meanwhile, some 32 percent of people who took part in the poll said foreigners did not present a problem on the national level. Locally, however, foreign citizens are perceived as problematic by 25 percent of Czechs. The poll also founded that some 70 percent of Czechs believe foreigners permanently residing in the country increased unemployment; 65 percent said they contributed to rising crime levels and 57 percent suggested foreigners presented a health risk.
The Local, Sweden reports: Israeli lawyer in Sweden to talk settlements. Swedish MPs have invited Israeli lawyer Calev Myers to hold a seminar at the Riksdag on Thursday, but some observers question whether he represents the Israeli public opinion. Myers, who founded the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ), was invited to Sweden by parliamentarians from the Moderate and Christian Democrat party. He is perhaps best known internationally for questioning US President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies. His talk with parliamentarians in Sweden, however, is expected to address Israeli settlements. “His views are extreme even in Israel,” Joakim Wohlfeil at Swedish aid NGO Diakonia told the TT news agency. “He believes, just like the militant occupants, that the occupied territories should be annexed rather than aiming to broker a peace deal with the Palestinians.” Myers’ institute holds an annual seminar entitled the Palestinian Human Rights Week, and he often addresses his concerns that the global community has got the wrong end of the stick.
BBC Watch reports: Route 35 terror attack gets a grand total of 34 words in BBC report. Over twenty-eight hours after the April 14th terror attack on Route 35 in which father of five Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrachi was murdered and his wife and son injured, the BBC finally managed to come up with a brief mention of the incident, buried at the bottom of an article titled “Israelis and Palestinians in bid to extend peace talks” which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on the night of April 15th. The article was illustrated using the misleading photograph…
The Times of Israel reports: Amsterdam fined Holocaust victims for unpaid taxes while they were in camps. City collected more $10 million from survivors after the war for unpaid ground lease fees, researchers say. The team of researchers for the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, or NIOD, wrote their findings in a still unpublished report they have been compiling since last year at the city’s request, the Het Parool daily reported Tuesday. The city under Mayor Eberhard van der Laan asked NIOD to look into fines that the city had imposed on hundreds of Jewish Holocaust survivors for properties they owned but for which they had failed to pay ground lease fees after the German army’s invasion in 1940 into the Netherlands. Nazi authorities began in 1942 the deportation and murder of 75 percent of the 140,000 Jews living in the Netherlands then. Many of the houses in question were used by Nazi occupation officers and local collaborates, Het Parool reported. The city went after Holocaust survivors for missed payments as late as 1947 and imposed fines on them for missing payments, according to the daily, whose publication on the issue last year prompted the investigation.
The Jewish Chronicle, UK reports: Le Pen blocks kosher food for school children. France’s far-right National Front party has been accused of undermining religious freedom after it banned state schools from serving kosher and halal food in the 11 town councils it now controls. Party leader Marine Le Pen declared school canteens should not cater for religious restrictions on food, in line with France’s secular values. Alternatives to pork will also be banned on days when pork is on the school menu in NF-run councils, she said. Ms Le Pen — whose father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, described the Holocaust as a “mere detail of history” — said: “We will not accept any religious demands in school menus. There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere, that’s the law.”