In a split decision, a New Jersey appeals court dismissed one of two child endangerment charges against Baruch Lanner, the rabbi who was convicted of sexually abusing two girls at Hillel, the Ocean Township, N.J., yeshiva high school where he was principal from 1982 to 1997, but upheld the rest of the conviction.
Barring successful appeals, Rabbi Lanner must still serve a seven-year sentence and be registered as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.
As both sides sought to resolve differences this week over how far Israelis troops would withdraw when they hand back control of Jericho to the Palestinian Authority, it was clear that whatever agreement is reached about Jericho would set a precedent for Israeli withdrawals from four other major Palestinian West Bank cities in coming weeks.
Although Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed in principle to the handover, the Jericho withdrawal was delayed by Israel’s refusal to dismantle its roadblock at the entrance to the city.
Moscow has now become the “world center for Holocaust denial” despite the fact that more than half of the estimated 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis were from the former Soviet Union, according to Ilya Alexandrovich Altman, founder and president of the Russian Holocaust Foundation.
Haifa — The scientific race to build smaller and smaller electronic circuits, medical equipment and other devices took a giant leap forward this week with the announcement that the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology here has established a new $88 million nanotechnology institute.
Even as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas raised expectations with their almost identical pledges for an end to violence, Sharon’s own political fortunes at home were not as bright.
He faces a fight with his own foreign minister and other members of his party who are supporting calls for a referendum on the Gaza withdrawal plan. And Sharon does not yet have enough votes in the Knesset to win passage of the 2005 budget. If it does not pass by March 31, his government would collapse and new elections would be held.
The chairman of the newly privatized El Al Israel Airlines, Izzy Borovich, is up in the air on whether El Al will fly on the Sabbath.
“The issue of Shabbat, besides being a religious issue, is an economic one,” he told The Jewish Week. “We’re studying the issue.”
The chairman of a committee of Israeli banks insisted last week at a press conference here that the banks never hoarded the deposits of Holocaust victims, but said they were willing to pay more to the heirs of survivors who were found to be shortchanged by the system when their money was returned.
“We acted in good faith and did everything required,” said the official, Eitan Raff, who is also chairman of the Leumi Group, on Feb. 3. “For us it is not an issue of money. It’s one of normative behavior and conscience.”
Jerusalem — In a move that strikes at the heart of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, the Jewish National Fund would sever all legal ties to the state to prevent anyone but Jews from building on the land it owns, according to a proposal under consideration by the Sharon government.
The proposal stems from a statement last week by Israel’s attorney general, Menachem Mazuz, that JNF cannot prevent Israeli Arabs from applying for building plots on land it owns.
Jerusalem — Opponents of the Gaza disengagement plan are focusing their efforts now on more street demonstrations to force either a referendum on the issue or the collapse of the Sharon government. But they acknowledge that their chances of success are slim.“I think this [turnout] is very good,” said Mordechai Afargan, 23, a yeshiva student from Ashdod, as he scanned the estimated 150,000 who gathered Sunday night in front of the Knesset. “This is the biggest rally we have had here and they say it is going to be the turning point.”
Three days after 9-11, a professor from Israel’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology walked through security at Baltimore-Washington International Airport carrying two pounds of an extremely powerful explosive in his bag. He went unchallenged. The explosive, the same type used by the so-called “shoe bomber,” Richard Reed, went undetected because it is made with acetone and hydrogen peroxide and not nitrogen, which all conventional airport detectors are designed to spot.