Briefs: Sukkah at UC Davis vandalized; Poll: Israelis want united Jerusalem

Sukkah at UC Davis Vandalized

Anti-Israel statements, including “End Israeli Occupation” and “Free Palestine,” were spray-painted on the inside of the sukkah at the Chabad House at UC Davis. Rabbi Shmary Brownstein, co-director of the Chabad House, said in an interview with the California Aggie newspaper on Sunday that a Hillel official notified him of the damage on Oct. 5, the last day of Sukkot. Brownstein said it was the first time in more than four years on campus that he’s had to deal with sukkah vandals.

“This is a sukkah,” he said. “The existence of it is a religious requirement and not a political statement in any way.”

Mike Amerikaner, Hillel’s program director, told the Aggie that anti-Semitism has become a growing problem at Davis, a northern California school with an estimated student population of 30,000, 10 percent of which is Jewish.

“This is not something that’s new,” Amerikaner said. “We’ve been dealing with anti-Semitism on campus for awhile now.”

Another California sukkah, outside of San Jose State University’s Hillel of Silicon Valley, was found torched last week.

Report: Winograd Will Spare Olmert

Israel’s commission of inquiry into the Lebanon war will not recommend that Ehud Olmert resign. Yediot Achronot reported Tuesday that the Winograd Commission’s conclusions will be published in December and “will not draw personal conclusions” — parlance for a call on high-level officials to step down. The commission’s interim report, published in April, savaged Olmert’s handling of the July-August 2006 campaign against Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists. But it stopped short of demanding the prime minister quit. With Olmert’s wartime defense minister, Amir Peretz, and military chief, Dan Halutz, having already resigned, many political analysts have speculated that the Winograd Commission is saving its harshest criticism of the prime minister for its final report. A commission spokesman had no comment on the Yediot report.

WJC Officials Meet Pope Benedict

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder and new Secretary-General Michael Schneider focused on interreligious dialogue and anti-Semitism in their talks with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. During a private lunch, Lauder thanked the pope for his efforts on behalf of the Jewish people over the past decades. Benedict emphasized that the issue of Catholic-Jewish relations was close to his heart. Lauder and Schneider were scheduled to meet later Monday with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. They were expected to call on Italy to take a firm stance against the intentions of Iran to develop nuclear capabilities. On Sunday evening, Lauder and Schneider hosted a dinner attended by cardinals, ambassadors to the Vatican and officials engaged in interreligious dialogue.

Poll: Israelis Want United Jerusalem

Most Israelis would oppose partitioning Jerusalem under a peace deal with the Palestinians, a poll found. According to Tuesday’s survey in Yediot Achronot, 61 percent of Israelis would not agree to any compromise on the status of the capital within the framework of a peace accord. Twenty-one percent said they would accept a partition, while the rest — 16 percent — said ceding control of east Jerusalem should first be put to a referendum in Israel. Sixty-one percent of respondents said Israel should retain control of the Temple Mount, even if Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem are transferred to Palestinian control. Sixteen percent said there should be shared Israeli-Palestinian control over the Temple Mount, while 22 percent called for the disputed religious site to fall under international sovereignty. One percent had no response. The future of Jerusalem has become a burning issue in Israel since Vice Premier Haim Ramon, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s top deputy, proposed that the city be partitioned along ethnic and religious lines should a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority be secured. The newspaper did not say how many people were polled, nor did it give a margin of error.

Soccer Player Snubs Israel

An Iranian-born German soccer player refused to take part in a game in Israel. The German soccer federation announced Monday that Ashkan Dejagah, a member of the national under-21 team, had withdrawn from a European Championship qualifier against Israel. That game is to be held Friday in Tel Aviv. Dejagah, who was born in Tehran but is also a German national, said in media interviews that his decision was “political.” He indicated that he is mainly concerned about repercussions should he try to travel to Iran after visiting Israel. German pundits and politicians, as well as the local Jewish community, have called for punitive action against Dejagah.

New Push for Arrests in AMIA Bombing

The American Jewish Committee intensified its claim for the arrest of former Iranian officials accused of participating in the deadly attack on an Argentine Jewish center. On Monday, The Wall Street Journal published a letter by David Harris, the AJCommittee’s executive director, calling for Interpol to arrest six Iranians accused by the Argentine Justice Department of being involved in the 1994 AMIA bombing. The attack on the main Jewish center in Buenos Aires killed 85 and wounded hundreds. Argentina forwarded a demand to Interpol for the arrest of eight Iranians and a Hezbollah leader, and in March Interpol agreed to demand the arrest of six of them. Interpol will discuss the issue next month at its annual general assembly.

Israeli Heads World Medical Association

Dr. Yoram Blachar (WMA), a veteran member of the World Medical Association council, was promoted to president over the weekend, beating candidates from New Zealand and India. The WMA represents millions of physicians hailing from 84 national medical associations worldwide. Blachar, 67, has been especially active in WMA debates on medical ethics but has vowed to boost the association’s work on preventive care, especially in emerging nations. Blachar has served as chairman of the Israel Medical Association since 1995.

Arab Is Israel’s Top Breeder

An Israeli Arab has sired 67 children, a national record. Shehade Abu Arad has been recognized by the Interior Ministry as Israel’s top breeder after he registered 67 children that he had with his eight wives, Yediot Acharonot reported Monday. Abu Arad, 58, lives in the central Israeli village of Burgata. Runner-up in the reproduction ranking is another Israeli Arab who has 39 children from four wives, according to Yediot. Arabs constitute around 20 percent of the Jewish state’s population but their numbers are growing thanks to high birth rates.

Briefs courtesy of Jewish Telegraphic Agency.