World Briefs

U.N. Workers Killed

Two U.N. observers were shot and killed, reportedly by Palestinian gunmen, in the West Bank. The members of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron were using a road frequented by Israeli settlers when their car was shot at, according to Israeli military officials. A third member, who was lightly wounded, told Israel Radio that the group was attacked by a single gunman wearing a Palestinian Authority police uniform. Palestinian officials denied any Palestinian involvement and said Israeli soldiers were reponsible.

Jewish Leaders Meet Alongside NATO

Jewish leaders from 10 Eastern European nations gathered in the shadow of a NATO summit in Bucharest to discuss Holocaust-related issues. Organized by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Jewish conference came as prime ministers of 10 Eastern European nations met in the Romanian capital to examine possible admission to NATO. The Jewish leaders addressed communal property restitution, Holocaust memory, anti-Semitism and media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. NATO’s 19-member military alliance is expected to add seven new members in November, and among the most pressing criteria is a nation’s human rights record, including Jewish affairs. Prominent members of the Romanian government attended the roundtable with Jewish leaders from Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. Jewish leaders in Albania and Slovakia sent written reports.

Arabs Encouraged to Leave

Israeli right-wing activists are encouraging the emigration of Israeli Arab citizens and Palestinians from Israel and the West Bank, Army Radio reported. Working with the Moledet Party, the right-wingers are locating overseas places of work, study and residence for interested Arab applicants. The activists are advertising their services in Arab-language newspapers and universities. Moledet is part of the National Union-Israel, Our Home bloc founded by Rehavam Ze’evi, the tourism minister assassinated in October.

Pro-Hitler Magazine in Brazil

Brazilian Jewish activists are protesting a pro-Hitler magazine. Articles in Humanus magazine praise Hitler, call Sigmund Freud a sexual pervert and “reveal the true Jewish Albert Einstein.” The magazine is widening its distribution and can be found in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.

Slovakian Skinheads Arrested

Slovak police are charging 15 skinheads with promoting fascism. The neo-Nazis were arrested during a recent raid on a hotel disco in which police also seized neo-Nazi CDs and anti-Semitic books. Police said eyewitnesses saw skinheads using Nazi salutes and shouting racist slogans outside the hotel before the disco started. This was the second major raid by police on neo-Nazi activities in central Slovakia in recent weeks.

FBI Investigating Viriginian

The FBI has accused two men of attempting to travel to Israel to become suicide bombers last December. An FBI investigation found that Mohammed Idris and a companion, who tried to enter Israel after flying from New York on El Al, had been carrying a letter from Idris’ brother noting Idris’ plans to wage jihad, or holy war. The letter, written in Arabic, is described as a farewell letter. Idris and his companion were denied entry and sent back to New York. Idris also was accused of lying to a Virginia grand jury about his views on the Middle East and the use of suicide bombers and of falsifying documents to obtain a new passport.

P.A. Pays $7 million

The Palestinian Authority has paid the United States $7 million in taxes it assessed on U.S. foreign aid. After requests from Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the Palestinian Authority returned the money it had collected as taxes for goods and services purchased by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which distributed U.S. foreign aid to the West Bank and Gaza, and USAID’s grantees and contractors. The Palestinian Authority previously agreed to grant USAID a tax-free status but had not paid back taxes collected.

Israel Program Courts Singles

Birthright Israel is offering a trip to Israel for Jewish singles. The program, which offers free, first-time 10-day trips to Israel for young Jewish adults, is offering the trips over the summer in conjunction with the Jewish Web site JDate.

JNF Wins Israel Prize

The Jewish National Fund won an Israel Prize for Life Work. The award, which will be presented on April 17 in Jerusalem, is being given to the group on its 100th anniversary.

Soldiers to Hear From Mom

Israeli soldiers originally from France will hear their mothers’ voices in a special Army Radio program on Passover Eve. The Jewish Agency in Israel, Army Radio and Radio-J, a French Jewish radio station, put the program together.

Help Afghan Quake Victims

The American Jewish World Service established a relief mailbox for victims of this week’s earthquakes in Afghanistan. Contributions can be sent to American Jewish World Service, 45 W. 36th St., 10th Flr., New York, N.Y., 10018, or via the Web at At least 1,500 people are estimated to have been killed in the quakes.

Lubavitch Meet Bush

A delegation of Lubavitch rabbis met with President Bush in the White House. The president signed a proclamation in honor of late Lubavitch Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson’s 100th birthday, designating the day as Education is Sharing Day. Bush talked of the strength of faith and bringing people together and the importance of religious freedom, particularly in Russia. The rabbis also thanked Bush for his efforts to protect Israel’s stability.

All briefs courtesy of JTA