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Toby Axelrod RSS

is JTA's correspondent for Germany, Switzerland and Austria. A former assistant director of the American Jewish Committee's Berlin office, she has also worked as staff writer and editor at the New York Jewish Week. She has won numerous awards from the New York Press Association and the American Jewish Press Association. She has published books on Holocaust history for teen-agers.

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  • Far-right Austrian presidential candidate’s narrow loss is wake-up call, Jewish groups say

    (JTA) – European Jewish groups reacted with relief to the victory by a left-wing politician over a far-right candidate in Austria’s presidential elections. Alexander van der Bellen, an environmentalist with a pro-refugee agenda, won with 50.3 percent of the vote on Sunday, despite early reports predicting victory for Norbert Hofer of the Austrian Freedom Party party, or…

  • Israeli officials deny increased tensions with Germany following news report

    BERLIN (JTA) — Israeli government officials have denied Spiegel Online magazine’s recent report of increased tensions with Germany. Ties between German Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union Party and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are strong, according to Israel Hayom. A source suggested the negative reports were due to attempts by some German politicians to undermine those ties. In…

  • Right-wing German party platform calls for end to ritual slaughter

    (JTA) — Germany’s leading right-populist party has included the banning of some Jewish and Muslim rituals and symbols in its convention platform. The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party, or AFD, in the program to be presented at its party convention April 30-May 1 in Stuttgart, called for an end to the legal exemption allowing Jews and Muslims to…

  • Controversial Gurlitt art collection going on display in museums in Germany, Switzerland

    (JTA) — The controversial Gurlitt art collection, thought to contain works looted from Jews and museums during World War II, will go on display next winter in two museums — in Germany and Switzerland. The aim of the exhibition is to help clear up provenance questions in the collection of the late Cornelius Gurlitt of Munich, according to…

  • Germany spied on Israel and US, magazine says

    (JTA) — Germany’s federal intelligence agency, the BND, has spied on friendly governments including Israel and the United States, the weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported. Targets of “monitoring” based on picked-up keywords included the office of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the U.S.  State Department, as well as offices of Austria’s Interior Ministry and the United Kingdom’s…

  • Berlin rabbinical seminary expels outspoken advocate for Muslim refugees

    BERLIN (JTA) — A student at Berlin’s Reform seminary who is an outspoken critic of Muslim hatred in Germany has been expelled. Armin Langer, 25, told JTA on Monday that he was dismissed from the rabbinical program at the Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam for failing to adhere to the school’s media rules, which require that…

  • German FM: Refugees must take up fight against anti-Semitism

    BERLIN (JTA) — Refugees who want to become part of German society today must take up the fight against anti-Semitism, Germany’s foreign minister told a conference on combating anti-Semitism. ‘This applies to whoever lives with us, whether they have been here for years, whether they are staying or just temporarily here: Anti-Semitism is against our constitution, against…

  • Germany bans neo-Nazi group after raiding its cells

    BERLIN (JTA) — Germany’s Interior Ministry has banned an extremist right-wing group and carried out raids on its leaders in 10 states. Police raided 15 cells of the White Wolves Terrorcrew early Wednesday morning after simultaneously informing 12 group members of the ban. The group, which was founded as a fan club for a skinhead band of the same…

  • Angela Merkel defends German-Jewish leader fearful of Muslim refugees

    BERLIN (JTA) — Anti-Semitism in Germany, whether from natives or refugees, must be confronted by the government and civil society together, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. Speaking Monday to more than 100 legislators from some 40 countries gathered in Berlin for the third Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism, Merkel also said that Jews must feel free…

  • Anti-Semitism fight must be united, parliamentarians at Berlin forum say

    BERLIN (JTA) — Jewish communities must not be left to fend for themselves against anti-Semitism, Jewish leaders and politicians said at the third major interparliamentary conference on anti-Semitism. “We all have to do our part,” Michael O’Flaherty, director of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency, said at the opening of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism, which brought together more than…