In the last week, the governments of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic have assured Israel that they are committed to opening Holocaust-era archives, according to Bobby Brown, Israel’s diaspora affairs adviser.
Prague — As Sam Levine of Manhattan entered the Pinkas Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter here, his eyes darted about the room, scanning the names painted on the walls of Prague Jews killed in the Holocaust. Opposite the bima, his eyes rested on the names of Abraham Grunberg and his family. There was a lump in his throat. He reached out and kissed them with his hand.
“My mom told me to look for them,” he said, taking out a pen and paper to write down each member of the family.
Jonathan Pollard was so convinced Friday that he was about to be released from prison that he started packing his bags. His tallit and tefillin, too.
“I heard about it from [my wife] Esther when I called her at 7 in the morning,” said Pollard, referring to news reports that he would be set free as part of the peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
The $1.25 billion figure that settled the claims of Holocaust survivors against Switzerland’s two largest banks was suggested by Brooklyn Federal Judge Edward Korman during an often testy, four-hour dinner meeting on the second floor of a sweltering Brooklyn restaurant.
“It was like a mock trial,” said one of the 20 participants.
For four years Lisa Amzallag's son, Daniel, 11, attended a Hebrew school in Manhattan that met two days a week from 4 to 6 p.m. Two years ago she enrolled him in the Jewish Youth Connection, which meets Sundays for 22 hours.
The JYC experience has been much more rewarding for her son, Amzallag says.
"To me, there is no comparison between his learning in one year compared to his experience in the afternoon program," she said. "Not only that, his attitude is terrific."
Although Israeli Arabs were blamed for two car bombs that exploded Sunday — less than 24 hours after Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed a revised land-for-security accord — a terrorist infrastructure in the territories “in all probability” made the attacks possible, according to Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Zalman Shoval.
With the anticipated signing this week of a modified Wye River land-for-peace agreement, the plea of right-wing Israelis to Prime Minister Ehud Barak not to dismantle any of the 144 Jewish settlements in the territories is likely to take on greater urgency.
“The peace process would not be hurt if our communities stayed where they are,” said Benny Kashriel, the recently appointed chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
As the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks inched fitfully forward this week, Yasir Arafat moved to shore up his leadership position in the Palestinian community by seeking to reunite with several Palestinian groups that had rejected his leadership after he signed the 1993 Oslo peace accord.
Palestinian President Yasir Arafat refused in a letter this week to accede to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s request to link the Wye River accord to the final-status talks. But an Israeli political scientist said the issue is far from resolved.
“It’s still subject to negotiation and we won’t know the outcome for a couple of months,” said Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Wednesday that Barak and Arafat would meet later this week in an effort to resolve their differences.
Although Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat has promised to spend the next two weeks considering a modification of the Wye accords, he strongly hinted that the answer would be no.
“We must see the precise, accurate implementation of agreements signed on the basis of reciprocity,” Arafat said at a joint news conference Tuesday night with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.