As Syrian President Hafez Assad was buried Tuesday following a fatal heart attack three days earlier, all eyes shifted to his son Bashar to see if the military and political establishment that thrust him into his father’s shoes would remain loyal to him.
Leaders in several countries also expressed the hope that Bashar, 34, a British-trained ophthalmologist, would break the stalemate that has prevented a Syrian-Israeli peace treaty.
As the Jewish community awaited a verdict as early as next week in the trial of 13 Iranian Jews charged with spying for Israel, a prominent rabbi charged that a massive prayer vigil he had planned in their behalf was “sabotaged” by a major Jewish group.
Sofia, Bulgaria — Lili Vrangova and Richard Kanter invited only their closest friends to their wedding here the other day. But Sofian Jewry showed up. Some 500 members of the city’s Jewish community, about one-sixth of the Jews who live in the capital, came to the synagogue one Sunday morning. Uninvited but welcomed, they crowded into the sanctuary of the 91-year-old building, listened to the ceremony on loudspeakers in the courtyard and danced in the aisles.
Sofia, Bulgaria — The Jewish women who formed a mutual aid group here three years ago to give self-esteem and a little income to its elderly members during a time of near poverty called their organization Bendichos Manos, Ladino for “blessed hands.”
Zafira Levi’s probably are the most blessed of all.
As the trial of the 13 Iranian Jews accused of spying for Israel appeared to be winding down this week with another two defendants confessing, supporters of the 13 openly disagreed on whether this is the most propitious time to hold public events in their behalf.
State insurance commissioners and Jewish groups are expressing concern about the high rate of rejected Holocaust-era claims submitted to European insurers who had promised to pay claims with relaxed standards of proof. To date, 75 percent of all claims have been denied.
“I am deeply disturbed by what’s going on,” said Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress.