Ambassador Bagher Asadi of Iran’s UN Mission joined the Likud Party’s former representative in the United States in a ritual dipping of apples in honey to welcome the Jewish New Year Monday.
For some, the breakfast meeting seemed downright messianic — especially when a tardy Israeli Consul General Shmuel Sisso joined the affair, which was sponsored by a new, self-described peace group backed by large Israeli businesses such as El Al and Bezek. Staunchly anti-Zionist, Iran has yet to even acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.
Implicitly rebutting several senior government authorities, the Central Jewish Committee of Iran last week publicly asserted for the first time that 13 Iranian Jews currently imprisoned on suspicion of spying for Israel and the United States are innocent.
Putting its own resources on the line, the committee, which serves as the umbrella group for Iran’s 25,000 Jews, also announced it was prepared to raise money for attorneys to defend the imprisoned Jews.
Ukraine has blocked more than 200 Ukrainian children from going to Israel this week to start their school year there under a Jewish Agency program promoting immigration to the Jewish state.
The government’s roadblock against the children’s exit, say Israeli and Jewish communal officials, is but the latest in an escalating spiral of hostility between Ukraine and the Jewish Agency, an Israeli government-linked body responsible for bringing and resettling Jews in the Jewish state.
A wave of protests and counter-protests across Iran this week has swept the fate of 13 Jews jailed there for espionage into a far corner of the country’s concern.
One of Iran’s more controversial international issues last week, the Jews’ fate shriveled in importance for Iranian leaders as their deep, longstanding internal conflicts flared into open battle between respective supporters in the streets of Tehran and other major cities.
A longstanding power struggle between Iran’s top leaders crystallized this week over the legal system that will decide the fate of 13 Iranian Jews charged with spying for Israel and America.
Offering the first specifics on the case against them, Iran’s foreign minister said Monday that the 13 were arrested “on charges of illegally gathering secret information, including military information, and handing it over to foreigners.”
Leaders of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee signaled they may soon find a way to aid some 15,000 destitute Ethiopians who want to go to Israel after reportedly being attacked in their villages due to their Jewish connections.
Even as they wade through a swamp of unresolved controversies on their interim peace agreement amid distrust exacerbated by a terrorist murder, Benjamin Netanyahu and Yasir Arafat face the threat of that agreement’s broader collapse at their summit near Washington this week.
Eric Greenberg is a staff writer. Michele Chabin is an Israel correspondent.
Jewish institutions and synagogues in New York City were being warned to boost their security in light of last week’s U.S. attacks on suspected terrorist sites in the Sudan and Afghanistan, while Israeli officials in Jerusalem are viewing the current crisis as part of a continuum of preparedness.
Nearly three decades after the first fatal attack on French Jewry since World War II, the Jews of France are reliving a horror and expressing thanks.
The horror: a terrorist attack on the Rue Copernic synagogue in October 1980 that claimed four lives.
The thanks: for the arrest of a Canadian professor accused of the bombing.