The Claims Conference increased 2008 allocations to needy Holocaust survivors by $4 million. The conference says it increased the allocations to compensate for the declining value of the U.S. dollar. Nearly half the increase will go to help 12,000 needy survivors in Israel, with the remainder to Jewish victims of the Nazis in 30 other countries.
The conference has allocated $146 million for social services this year.
Seven members of a jihad cell operating out of a Jewish area in Paris were convicted for helping send terrorists to fight in Iraq.
A Paris judge on Wednesday sentenced the men, aged 24 to 40, to terms of up to 7 years in prison for “criminal association with a terrorist enterprise,” for their work from 2003 to 2005. The case has drawn attention because the convicted men were based in northern Paris, in a heavily Jewish populated area, normally considered secure from such Islamic radicalism. In addition, many fear the “19th Arrondissement Network,” as the cell is called, could one day take aim at sites within France. Paris’ 19th district is home to low-income immigrants from North Africa, and has one of the largest Jewish communities in Paris. It has also been victim to more anti-Semitic acts than any other part of the city. The five convicted Frenchmen, one Moroccan, and an Algerian were members of the same mosque and were led by 27-year-old Farid Benyettou. Some of their members died fighting in Iraq, while others returned wounded. Approximately twelve men were sent through Syria to Iraq from the Paris base, according to investigators. A defense lawyer Martin Pradel, called Wednesday’s conviction “very severe” and said the reason the men were found guilty was due to their close “proximity to jihadist environments,” and their “religious conviction.”