(JTA) — Criminal charges were filed against 11 members of a Muslim student organization who disrupted a speech at the University of California, Irvine, by Israel's U.S. ambassador. During the Feb. 8, 2010 speech by Michael Oren, the 11 defendants stood one by one and shouted at the ambassador, calling him a “mass murderer” and a “war criminal” to protest Israeli actions in Gaza. Oren walked off the stage twice.
(JTA) — An explosion in an Egyptian natural gas line in the Sinai Peninsula, which cut off supplies to Israel, was the result of terrorism, according to an Egyptian investigation.
Egyptian Judge Abdel Nasser el-Tayeb, the chief investigator of the Feb. 5 explosion, said Monday that four masked gunmen set off explosives in the gas terminal by remote control after restraining the guards, according to testimony by the guards, The Associated Press reported.
An appeals court in Israel has ruled that both World ORT and ORT Israel may use their proper names, overruling a district court that in 2007 had ordered World ORT to use a different name to avoid confusion.
Preliminary numbers released from the UJA-Federation of New York’s annual “Super Sunday” telephone fundraising campaign indicate lower returns than the past three years – but they’re not done counting yet.
“We’re still continuing to process gifts,” said Mark Medin, senior vice president for financial resources development, who indicated that the current number stands around $700,000. The toll for 2010 was close to $1 million and 2009 saw $831,997 raised.
(JTA) — The Torah scrolls at a Tunisian synagogue were burned in a fire reportedly set by arsonists.
The synagogue in the southern Gabes region was set ablaze Monday night. Jewish community leader Perez Trabelsi told the French news agency AFP about the scrolls and criticized police for not stopping the attack.
"I condemn this action and I believe those who did it want to create divisions between Jews and Muslims in Tunisia who have lived for decades in peace," Trabelsi told Reuters.
(JTA) — Birthright Israel has rejected a proposed partnership trip with J Street, saying it no longer works with organizations with Israel-related political leanings.
J Street had begun promoting the trip last week being organized by its campus arm, J Street U, in cooperation with Israel Experience, one of several tour providers used by Birthright. But Birthright said it nixed the idea for a J Street trip focusing on progressivism and social action when it was first presented months ago.
(JTA) — Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who responded to the bombing at Moscow’s busiest airport described a “horrifying scene.”
In an e-mail to JTA, Rabbi Sheah Deitsch, one of a group of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who are first responders on behalf of the Moscow Chief Rabbinate, said that “families were screaming and wailing.”
“They asked to speak to the Jewish rabbis, and we tried to uplift their spirits and told them that we were there for them for whatever they needed,” he wrote.
(JTA) — A New Jersey man who assaulted a fellow Birthright Israel participant was sentenced to time served and community service.
Jonathan Haft, 25, was convicted Monday in Israel of aggravated assault for attacking Sherry Kestenbaum, 23, also of New Jersey, last May. He was sentenced to two and a half months in prison and six months of community service. The prison time has already been served.
Haft also was ordered to pay Kestenbaum about $55,000 in compensation, according to The Jerusalem Post.
(JTA) — Anti-Semitism around the world appears to be strengthening, despite fewer incidents in 2010, according to a new report.
The Annual Report of the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism released Sunday in Jerusalem showed fewer anti-Semitic incidents from a record-setting 2009. Still, the authors of the report — the Jewish Agency Task Force on Anti-Semitism and the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs — found that organized activity aimed at the delegitimization of Israel as a Jewish state increased in 2010.
(JTA) — Two more flotillas will attempt to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, organizers said.
The new convoys, organized by the Free Gaza movement and the Turkish pro-Palestinian organization IHH, will leave in the spring and have been dubbed Freedom Flotilla 2, according to reports. The groups also organized the May 31 flotilla that was intercepted by Israeli naval commandos, with the ensuing violence leading to the deaths of nine Turkish activists.