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Highlights of Jewish News: 5765 September 2004

September 29, 2005
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CHICAGO — MRIs are more effective at detecting breast cancer caused by gene mutations occurring in some 2 percent of Ashkenazi women than are mammographies, according to a new study. The study involving the mutation to the BRCA genes, which have been linked to breast and ovarian cancers in Ashkenazi Jewish women, is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. BERLIN — For the first time since 1968, the extreme right-wing National Democratic Party and the German People’s Union qualify for representation in state Parliaments. Both parties run on platforms that blame crime and unemployment on foreigners and express racist, anti-Semitic and anti-American views.

JERUSALEM — Two Israelis are killed when a suicide bomber strikes near a Jerusalem bus stop.

GAZA — Palestinian gunmen kill three Israeli soldiers outside a Gaza Strip settlement. The Israeli infantry officer and two conscripts are ambushed while guarding Morag, apparently after three gunmen sneaked in under the cover of morning fog.

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials revoke the visa of a controversial Swiss Muslim who was to be a visiting scholar at the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana. Under terms of the Patriot Act, the U.S. Department of State announces that it’s revoking a visa granted to Tariq Ramadan, who has said that French Jewish intellectuals are more beholden to their religious and ethnic identity than to universal values.

DAMASCUS, Syria — Hamas blames Israel for the assassination of one of its top members in Syria. Izzadin Sheik Khalil, long on Israel’s list of terrorist fugitives, was killed by a car bomb in Damascus. Israeli officials say they have no knowledge of the operation.


GENEVA — Col. Muammar Gadhafi’s son meets Israeli diplomats, which some see as indicating a desire to normalize Libya’s relations with the Jewish state.

ROMANIA — On the country’s first Holocaust Remembrance Day, Romania’s president admits that Romanian Jews suffered during the Holocaust.

FRANCE — A French university cancels a lecture by a leading far-right politician accused of Holocaust denial. The University of Lyon III cancels the lecture by Bruno Gollnisch, a member of the European Parliament from the National Front, after scores of students storm the lecture hall.

JERUSALEM — Israel marks a quiet 10th anniversary of its peace accord with Jordan.

JERUSALEM — The Knesset formally authorizes Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

NEW YORK — Benjamin Mehlman, a founder and former president of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, dies at age 94.


JERUSALEM — Israel offers a $10 million reward for information on the whereabouts of the airman Ron Arad, who has been missing since he was shot down in a 1986 battle in Lebanon.

JERUSALEM — About 20,000 Israelis gather to pray in Jerusalem to protest the government’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank.

WASHINGTON — George Bush earns about 24 percent of the Jewish vote — up 5 percentage points from the 19 percent who voted for Al Gore in 2000 — in defeating Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to retain the presidency. Jewish Rep. Martin Frost (R-Texas) loses his seat to another incumbent, Pete Sessions (R-Texas) in a new district, while Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) gain new seats. After the election, there are 11 Jews in the Senate and 26 in the House.

FRANCE — Anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi slogans are scrawled on some 30 tombstones in a Christian cemetery.

PARIS — Longtime Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat dies in a Paris hospital after spending several days on life support.

WASHINGTON — Former Israeli Cabinet minister and Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky’s new book, “The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror,” wins him a meeting with President Bush.

AUSTRIA — Austrian and Croatian police find Milivoj Aschner, 91, who allegedly deported hundreds of Jews, Serbs and Gypsies to Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The find is facilitated by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Operation Last Chance, which offers financial rewards for information on suspected war criminals.

BOSTON — The City Council of Somerville, Mass., considers a resolution to divest city holdings in Israel. The local Jewish community and national Jewish organizations mobilize to defeat the initiative, but divestment supporters pledge to try again.

JERUSALEM — Israel passes a law restricting interrogators in its domestic security service, Shin Bet, from using force against suspected terrorists. The law rules out employing what the Shin Bet calls “moderate physical pressure,” tactics such as sleep deprivation and shaking meant to coerce terror suspects into cooperating with interrogators.

NEW YORK — Moshe Rivlin, a former leader of the Jewish National Fund/Keren Keyemeth LeIsrael, dies at age 79.

JERUSALEM — An Israeli military court sentences Azziz Mustafa Salha, 23, to life in prison for his involvement in the murder of two Israeli reserve soldiers in a Ramallah police station in October 2000. Footage of Salha holding up his bloodstained hands for the Palestinian mob gathered outside the police station was shown around the world.


JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fires four Cabinet ministers after they vote against Israel’s 2005 budget. The ministers, members of the liberal Shinui Party, voted against the $60 billion budget to protest funding for religious groups.

WASHINGTON — President Bush signs a bill touted by Jewish organizations that would provide federal funding for disabled students in religious schools. Even many Jewish groups that have opposed other programs that give federal funds to private schools back the Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, saying there is an obligation to fund education programs for students whose public schools do not meet their needs.

NEW YORK — John Danforth, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, quits after five months on the job.

NEW YORK — The FBI subpoenas four senior staffers at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to appear before a grand jury. The subpoenas follow suspicions that a former Pentagon official passed a classified draft policy statement on Iran to AIPAC, which allegedly then passed it on to Israel.

JERUSALEM — Israeli Druse Azzam Azzam returns to Israel after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reduces his 15-year jail sentence for espionage by half. In exchange, Israel frees six Egyptian students who were caught sneaking into the Jewish state from the Sinai and accused of planning to kill soldiers and rob a bank.

ATLANTA — A U.S. court rules in favor of an inmate who wants to wear a yarmulke and receive kosher food in jail. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit unanimously upholds a law passed by Congress that requires state prisons receiving federal funds to allow inmates to practice their religion.

CHICAGO — A jury in a federal courthouse rules that three Islamic organizations — the Islamic Association for Palestine, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and the Quranic Literary Institute — and an individual named Muhammad Salah must pay a Jewish family $156 million in damages for the 1996 murder of its son in Israel. The defendants had provided financial support to Hamas, the group responsible for the murder.

SOUTHEAST ASIA — A tsunami claims more than 100,000 lives, sparking aggressive relief efforts from numerous Jewish groups.

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ariel Sharon names Shimon Peres his senior deputy. The move comes as part of Sharon’s efforts to join forces with the Labor Party to push through his Gaza Strip withdrawal plan.


LONDON — A British newspaper poll ranks Israel the country least deserving of international support.

JERUSALEM — Mahmoud Abbas handily wins the presidency of the Palestinian Authority in the first election since Yasser Arafat’s death, claiming 62 percent of votes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

JERUSALEM — The vice chairman of Citigroup, Stanley Fischer, is named governor of the Bank of Israel.

JERUSALEM — Ariel Sharon’s new unity government is sworn in, consisting of the prime minister’s Likud Party, the opposition Labor Party and the United Torah Judaism faction.

BRUSSELS — Edgar Bronfman is unanimously re-elected president of the World Jewish Congress. Around 500 delegates representing Jewish communities around the world also confirm Israel Singer as the chairman of the WJC’s board of governors.

WASHINGTON — President Bush nominates Michael Chertoff, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, in Philadelphia, who is Jewish, to head the Department of Homeland Security.

JERUSALEM — A group of Jewish scholars attempts to recreate the ancient Sanhedrin tribunal in Jerusalem. According to the Jerusalem Post, the 71 Orthodox scholars who convened believe they can reconstitute the Second Temple-era Sanhedrin and that one of their members, Rabbi Yosef Dayan, could qualify as a Jewish monarch because he can trace his lineage to King David.

NEW YORK — For the first time in its history, the United Nations marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

WASHINGTON — Condoleezza Rice, who has pledged to work diligently on Israeli-Palestinian issues, is confirmed as U.S. secretary of state, replacing Colin Powell. Three Jewish senators — Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.); and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) — vote against her confirmation:

JERUSALEM — An Israeli government report finds that the number of violent anti-Semitic acts jumped dramatically in Britain in 2004 to 77, up from 55 in 2003.

NEW YORK — The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee announces that it has raised more than $12 million for tsunami relief.

NEW YORK — The United Nations rebukes Lebanon for continuing to claim a section of its border with Israel. The Security Council resolution, which passes unanimously, says the position taken by Beirut is “not compatible” with U.N. findings that Israel had left Lebanese territory completely when it withdrew from its security zone in southern Lebanon in May 2000.

JERUSALEM — Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz decides that the Jewish National Fund must make its land available to both Jews and Arabs.

KRAKOW, Poland — Close to 40 heads of state and foreign ministers are among 7,000 people attending a memorial marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The number includes about 1,000 survivors of the death camp.


WASHINGTON — Resolutions praising Palestinian Authority elections pass overwhelmingly in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

WASHINGTON — In his State of the Union address, President Bush proposes $350 million in U.S. aid for the Palestinians.

EGYPT — Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declare an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire at a summit in Sharm el-Sheik.

NEW YORK — Civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart, Arabic interpreter Mohamed Yousry and postal worker Ahmed Abdel Sattar are convicted in federal court for providing material support to a terrorist organization. The three carried messages between members of an Egyptian-based terrorist organization and Omar Abdel Rahman, a cleric imprisoned for life for crimes including an attempt to destroy several New York landmarks.

JERUSALEM — Israel names Yuval Diskin to replace Avi Dichter as head of Shin Bet, its domestic security service.

NEW YORK — The Artscroll publishing house completes its 73-volume translation of the Talmud, a $23 million project that took more than 15 years.

ROXBURY, Conn. — Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller, who is Jewish, best known for “Death of a Salesman” and “The Crucible,” dies at age 89.

MARCH 2005

NEW YORK — Tens of thousands of Jews gather in Madison Square Garden and other locations throughout the world to mark the end of the Daf Yomi, a seven-year cycle of Talmud study.

DETROIT — Max Fisher, a Jewish adviser to every Republican president since Eisenhower, dies at age 96.

WASHINGTON — President Bush nominates John Bolton as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, sparking a contentious battle between Democrats and Republicans over his confirmation. Bolton is an ardent advocate of U.N. reform.

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Cabinet formally approves Maj. Gen. Dan Halutz as military chief of staff.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives votes 389-43 to give $200 million in aid to the Palestinians.

WASHINGTON — President Bush nominates Paul Wolfowitz, who is Jewish, to head the World Bank.

WEST BANK — Israel gives the Palestinian Authority control of Jericho and Tulkarm as part of the cease-fire agreement reached between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas at a February summit.

PARIS Attacks on French Jews and Muslims and their institutions have almost doubled — from 833 in 2004 to 1,565 — according to a report issued by France’s National Consultative Commission of Human Rights.

JERUSALEM The Knesset votes down a bill that would have authorized a referendum on the Gaza Strip withdrawal plan.

JERUSALEM The Knesset approves the 2005 state budget, marking a major political victory for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and removing the last legislative obstacle to his plans to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

NEW YORK Columbia University issues a report investigating charges that pro-Palestinian professors bullied pro-Israel students. The report finds that one faculty member “exceeded commonly accepted bounds” in responding to a student’s question about whether Israel sometimes warns Palestinians before it undertakes military operations.

JERUSALEM — An Israeli-Arab player scores a key goal in the final minutes of a World Cup qualifying match, helping Israel advance to the next round of the tournament. Abbas Suwan’s goal is greeted with roaring cheers from 40,000 fans in the soccer stadium near Tel Aviv.

APRIL 2005

ROME — Pope John Paul II, who made positive Jewish-Catholic relations a pillar of his papacy, dies at age 84. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany is selected to succeed him.

WASHINGTON — Sandy Berger, President Clinton’s national security adviser, pleads guilty to a misdemeanor for removing classified documents from the National Archives. He later is fined $50,000 for the offense.

BROOKLINE, Mass. — Nobel Prize-winning author Saul Bellow, who is Jewish, best known for such novels as “Herzog” and “The Adventures of Augie March,” dies at age 89.

CRAWFORD, Texas — Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets with President Bush at his ranch. Bush reportedly insists that Israel not expand settlements without negotiating with the Palestinians, though he also repeats a previous statement that facts on the ground, including major population centers in the West Bank, must be taken into account in any peace talks.

NEW YORK — Harold Tanner, a past president of the American Jewish Committee, is nominated to chair the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

WASHINGTON — Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), the chairman of the U.S. House International Relations Committee, announces his retirement. Hyde, 81, was known to be friendly to Israel, particularly focusing on religious freedom for Christians in Israel.

WASHINGTON — The American Israel Public Affairs Committee fires two top employees — policy director Steve Rosen and senior Iran analyst Keith Weissman — due to allegations raised by an FBI investigation that they mishandled classified information.

NEW YORK — The United Nations Commission on Human Rights condemns anti-Semitism in two separate resolutions.

JERUSALEM — Former Israeli President Ezer Weizman dies at age 80.

CRAWFORD, Texas — President Bush meets with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah at Bush’s ranch. Bush reportedly stresses the need for the Saudis to offer financial support to the Palestinian Authority.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syria formally withdraws its troops from Lebanon, ending its 29-year occupation of the country.

LONDON — Britain’s Association of University Teachers votes to boycott two Israeli universities over Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. The boycott, which sparks outrage in the Jewish world, is overturned in May.

MAY 2005

JERUSALEM Natan Sharansky resigns from Israel’s government to protest the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank.

JERUSALEM Israel freezes the hand-over of West Bank cities to the Palestinians after they ignore pledges to arrest wanted terrorists and disarm terrorist groups.

MOSCOW Representatives of the Quartet pursuing Middle East peace — America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations — emphasize the need for a future Palestinian state to have territorial contiguity. The group also issues a statement supporting Israel’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

KRAKOW, Poland — Some 18,000 marchers mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. At Birkenau, marchers take part in what organizers describe as the largest Holocaust memorial ceremony ever.

WASHINGTON President Bush signs legislation earmarking $200 million in aid to the Palestinians.

BERLIN — Germany dedicates its new Holocaust memorial. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a sea of 2,700 cement steles in the heart of the city.

PARIS — A French appeals court finds Le Monde, the country’s leading daily newspaper, guilty of “racial defamation” for an article on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that was harshly critical of Jews.

NEW YORK — Sallai Meridor steps down as the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization, a year before his term is scheduled to end.

BUTNER, N.C. — Israeli ambassador Daniel Ayalon visits Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in a U.S. prison for the first time.

JERUSALEM — First lady Laura Bush visits Jerusalem as part of a Middle East tour.

NEW YORK — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon comes to New York, where he defends his plans to withdraw from the Gaza Strip in meetings with various American Jewish groups.

WASHINGTON — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets with President Bush at the White House. Bush offers $50 million in direct financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority, defying congressional directions not to send the money directly to the P.A. because of its past corruption and ties to terrorism.

VIENNA — The Austrian government and the Jewish community agree on compensation for communal property looted or destroyed during the Holocaust. The government agrees to pay some $22.8 million to Austrian Jewry.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutional right to religious accommodation for minorities in prisons, declaring the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 to be constitutional.

MOSCOW — A Russian court sentences the Jewish oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia’s richest man, to nine years in jail after finding him guilty of six charges including tax evasion, fraud and embezzlement. Most observers agree that Khodorkovsky was not targeted because of his Jewish origin, but many Jews feel the trial resulted in a rise in anti-Semitic sentiment in Russia.

JUNE 2005

WASHINGTON — The White House names Jeffrey Berkowitz as liaison to the Jewish community.

JERUSALEM — Former Israeli air force commander Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz replaces Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon as the Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff.

NEW YORK — Gershon Jacobson, the founder and publisher of the Yiddish-language newspaper Der Algemeiner Journal, dies at age 70.

NEW YORK — Hundreds of thousands of people march down Fifth Avenue in the annual Salute to Israel parade. Many onlookers are clad in orange, signifying their opposition to Israel’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

CORDOBA, Spain — The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe holds its third annual Conference on Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Intolerance. For the first time, the meeting on anti-Semitism includes discussions on prejudice against other groups.

TAMPA, Fla. — A former professor at a U.S. university is accused of living a double life as a conduit for Islamic Jihad as the trial of Sami Al-Arian opens in Tampa. Prosecutors allege that the former University of South Florida professor raised money and organized operations for the terrorist group.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passes a resolution urging the United Nations to address anti-Semitism and anti-Israel policies.

WASHINGTON — Former Nazi death-camp guard John Demjanjuk is deemed eligible for deportation from the United States. Demjanjuk was acquitted in Israel in 1993 of being “Ivan the Terrible,” one of the most notorious Nazi guards.

NEW YORK — Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, the longtime chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Conservative movement’s flagship institution, announces his retirement.

JERUSALEM — Israel apologizes to the United States after a dispute over Israeli arms sales to China.

JERUSALEM — Israeli troops arrests 52 members of Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip following attacks that killed two Israelis.

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Rabbi Nahum Sarna, a leading Bible scholar at Brandeis University, dies at age 82.

JERUSALEM — Ra’anana Mayor Zeev Bielski is unanimously elected chairman of the World Zionist Organization, replacing Sallai Meridor.

WASHINGTON The U.S. Supreme Court rules that displays of the Ten Commandments are permissible on state grounds but not in courthouses.

JERUSALEM — Israel and Egypt ink a $2.5 billion deal for Egypt to supply natural gas to the Jewish state.

BERLIN — Germany modifies a tough immigration law, which took effect Jan. 1, averting a feared clampdown on immigration by Jews from the former Soviet Union.

JULY 2005

LONDON — Britain’s main Orthodox synagogue body launches a plan offering benefits to encourage younger Jews to join synagogues. The initiative by Tribe, the youth wing of the United Synagogue, enables singles, ages 21 to 30, to join synagogues as full members for a nominal fee.

MOSCOW — The Reform movement announces a plan to translate the Plaut Modern Torah Commentary into Russian, which would be the first modern translation of the Torah into Russian.

NEW YORK — The founders of, a Web site about Jews in rock

‘n’ roll, settle a lawsuit with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

JERUSALEM — The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, the Jerusalem affiliate of the Conservative movement’s flagship institution, the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, receives official recognition as an Israeli academic institution.

NEW YORK — According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, French and South African researchers find that circumcision reduces the risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, by 70 percent.

WASHINGTON —, a coalition of religious groups that includes a number of Jewish organizations, holds a prayer weekend to protest the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. In addition, a coalition of Jewish groups calls on President Bush to intervene in the crisis.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announces her resignation. President Bush nominates Judge John Roberts to replace her.

ATLANTA — The United Church of Christ calls on members to employ “economic leverage” against Israel, including possible divestment, at its biennial synod, joining other mainline Protestant churches also considering economic pressure on Israel regarding its treatment of the Palestinians.

GAZA — Hamas declines Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ offer to join the P.A. government.

LONDON — Four suicide bombers kill 52 people, including three Jews, and wound more than 700 aboard three subway trains and a double-decker bus. Two weeks later, more blasts on a double-decker bus and the subway injure one person.

NEW YORK — Leonard Glickman steps down as the president and CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

WASHINGTON — Israel requests aid from the United States, believed to total $2.2 billion, to support its Gaza withdrawal plan.

GLENEAGLES, Scotland — Industrialized nations meeting at the G8 summit in Scotland pledge $3 billion in assistance to the Palestinians.

TORONTO — A Canadian court finds the former aboriginal leader David Ahenakew guilty of willfully promoting ethnic hatred, citing anti-Semitic comments he made in 2002. He also is stripped of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

SYDNEY, Australia — Hungarian-born Charles Zentai, 83, is arrested in Australia, where he is a naturalized citizen, in response to an extradition request over the 1944 murder of a Jewish teenager.

BERLIN — “Go for Zucker,” a comedy about contemporary German Jewish life, wins six prizes at Germany’s main film-awards ceremony.

WASHINGTON Condoleezza Rice visits the Middle East in an effort to calm tensions following several terror attacks in Israel, including a bombing in Netanya that killed five people, in advance of the Gaza Strip withdrawal.

JERUSALEM — Israel hosts the 17th Maccabiah Games, known as the Jewish Olympics. An Israeli-Arab swimmer wins Israel’s first gold medal at the 2005 games.

MONTREAL — An art auction featuring several watercolors and drawings by Hitler raises the ire of Canadian Jewish groups.

WASHINGTON A U.S. federal appeals court rejects Jonathan Pollard’s request for an appeal. Pollard claims he had inadequate counsel when he was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for spying for Israel.

WASHINGTON The U.S. House of Representatives approves a revised version of the USA Patriot Act. The Patriot Act has been of concern to numerous Jewish groups because of perceived violations of civil liberties, but the Anti-Defamation League calls the revised version “a measured response to the legitimate threat of terrorism.”

WASHINGTON President Bush nominates Richard Jones, a former ambassador to Kuwait and Lebanon, as the U.S. ambassador to Israel, replacing Daniel Kurtzer.

NEW YORK — Two El Al flights leave for Israel carrying the largest single-day aliyah of North American Jews to the Jewish state. The flights are sponsored by Nefesh b’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania’s leading national daily newspaper is fined $1,000 for publishing an anti-Semitic article. The decision is seen as a major victory for the country’s Jewish community.

BUENOS AIRES — Argentine President Nestor Kirchner admits that previous governments covered up facts that could have helped solve the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center, which killed 85 people.

JERUSALEM — Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip kills an Israeli woman in Nativ Ha’asarah, a small town inside Israel near the Gaza border that the Palestinians suddenly begin claiming as their own.

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ariel Sharon orders funding for a soccer stadium in the Israeli-Arab town of Sakhnin.

LONDON — London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who has a history of making inflammatory statements about Israel and Jews, says Israel’s ruling Likud Party and the Hamas terrorist group are “two sides of the same coin.”

ROME — Israel is outraged when new Pope Benedict XVI neglected to include the Jewish state in a list of countries that had suffered terrorist attacks, despite a recent bombing that killed five people. The dispute leads to a war of words between Israel and the Vatican.

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s son, Knesset-member Omri Sharon, is indicted on charges of illegally financing his father’s Likud Party primary campaign.

PARIS — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is greeted warmly on a state visit to France, a country which is often highly critical of the Jewish state and supportive of the Palestinians.

WASHINGTON — Congress passes a bill extending daylight-saving time by a month. Some Conservative and Orthodox groups fear that the bill will force observant Jews to choose between getting to work on time and saying morning prayers at the proper hour.

JERUSALEM — The Israeli army replaces its rubber bullets with sand bullets for controlling riots. The sand bullets are considered less dangerous than rubber bullets, because sand bullets don’t penetrate the skin.


WASHINGTON — After a contentious nomination battle in the U.S. Senate ended in a stalemate, President Bush uses a recess appointment to make John Bolton the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

NEW YORK — Jewish groups join to form a new Holocaust-study program for U.S. high school students. The Echoes and Reflections program was conceived by Yad Vashem, the Anti-Defamation League and Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.

ROME — Jewish catacombs under the ancient city of Rome thought to be copies of Christian sites are found to predate them by at least a century, suggesting that Christian burial practices may have been modeled on Jewish ones.

JERUSALEM — An AWOL Israeli soldier kills four Arabs in a terrorist attack on a bus in the Israeli-Arab town of Shfaram. Police manage to shackle Natan Eden Zada when he stops shooting, but an enraged mob boards the bus and beats him to death.

WASHINGTON — Federal charges are filed against two former employees of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman are charged with “conspiracy to communicate national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it,” starting in 1999. The two plead not guilty.

LONDON — Britain sold nuclear material to Israel in the 1950s that could have been used to produce weapons, the BBC reports.

BUENOS AIRES — Judge Juan Jose Galeano is impeached over “serious irregularities” in his handling of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center, which killed 85 people.

JERUSALEM — Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resigns, ostensibly to protest the Gaza Strip withdrawal scheduled to begin a week later. Netanyahu later announces that he will challenge Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the Likud Party leadership and the premiership.

NEW YORK — The Presbyterian Church (USA) says it may divest from four companies — Caterpillar, Motorola, ITT Industries and United Technologies — unless they stop doing business with Israel. The church also presses Citigroup because of its ties to an Arab bank accused of transferring money to Palestinian terrorist groups.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government changes regulations to allow part-time federal employees to use comp time to take off for Shabbat and other Jewish observances.

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Foreign Ministry launches “Islam in Europe,” a project designed to build bridges to moderate Muslims in Europe.

NEW YORK — Latin pop star Ricky Martin meets with Arye Mekel, Israel’s consul general in New York, after Martin launches an effort to improve the image of Arabs but is photographed wearing an Arab headdress emblazoned with the Palestinian nationalist slogan, “Jerusalem Is Ours.” Martin says he was unaware of its connotations.

JERUSALEM — An Israeli Bedouin soldier who killed a British pro-Palestinian activist in the Gaza Strip is jailed for eight years.

JERUSALEM — Israeli soldiers and police forces evict thousands of settlers from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank as part of the government’s plan to “disengage” from the Palestinians. Despite predictions of civil war, the action passes relatively peacefully. The settlements are then bulldozed by Israel.

ROME — Members of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultation meet with Pope Benedict XVI, his first audience with an official Jewish delegation since assuming the papacy.

JERUSALEM — A settler incensed over the Gaza withdrawal shoots dead four Palestinians in the West Bank. Asher Weissgan later says that he hopes someone kills Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as well.

NEW YORK — The Arab Bank agrees to pay a $24 million fine for inadequate controls against money laundering that may have contributed to terrorism. Several American and Israeli terror victims filed lawsuits against the bank, accusing it of transferring funds to its branches in Palestinian areas for payouts to suicide bombers’ families.

COLOGNE, Germany — Pope Benedict XVI visits a German synagogue that was rebuilt after being destroyed by the Nazis.

WASHINGTON — David Radler, the former publisher of the Jerusalem Post, is indicted on charges of mail and wire fraud. Also under investigation is Conrad Black, the former CEO of Hollinger International, which owned the Post.

WASHINGTON — Eric Rudolph, who followed an anti-Semitic Christian philosophy called Christian Identity, is sentenced to life in prison for a series of bombings in the southeastern United States, including one at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

JERUSALEM — Israel and Egypt reach agreement on a deal for Egypt to patrol the dangerous Philadelphia Corridor along Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip. Palestinians have used tunnels dug under the route to smuggle weapons, drugs and other contraband into Gaza.

JERUSALEM — A group of gay, lesbian and transgendered Jews visits Israel on a mission sponsored by the United Jewish Communities federation umbrella organization.

BERLIN — International leaders of Reform Jewry hold their first meeting ever with Germany’s chancellor to promote Jewish pluralism in the European nation, but Gerhard Schroeder tells them that he doesn’t want to get involved in internal Jewish matters.

NEW ORLEANS — Jews from the Crescent City seek shelter with their brethren in Baton Rouge, Houston and elsewhere as a levee breach in the wake of powerful Hurricane Katrina sends floodwaters surging into the beleaguered city.

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian skinheads critically wound a Jewish youth in a stabbing attack on two yeshiva students.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force issues new guidelines for religious tolerance that stress respect for others. The guidelines come after cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs said the academy had a strongly Christian feel.

NEW YORK — Cynthia Culpepper, believed to be the first pulpit rabbi to announce that she has AIDS, dies at age 43.


NEW YORK — A U.S. court froze the Palestinian Authority’s U.S. assets because of an unpaid court order for $116 million regarding a 1996 terrorist attack.

NEW YORK — A man who fire-bombed an Oklahoma synagogue in April 2004 was sentenced to 39 years in jail.

NEW YORK — Jewish groups launched an initiative to help Sudanese refugees living in Chad. Participating groups include the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the Israel Forum for Humanitarian Aid.

LOS ANGELES — Four people were indicted in an alleged terror plot against targets in Los Angeles, including the Israeli Consulate and two synagogues.

NEW YORK — Rabbi Aaron Twerski was named dean of Hofstra University’s law school, believed to be the first Chasidic Jew to lead a U.S. law school.

JERUSALEM — Israel signed an agreement giving Egypt control over the Philadelphia Route along the Gaza-Egypt border, where Palestinians often attempt to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.

JERUSALEM — The exhumation of settlers from a Gaza Strip cemetery and their reburial in Israel were completed.

SKOPJE, Macedonia — Ground was broken on a Holocaust center in Macedonia’s capital.

JERUSALEM — Israel sent personnel and relief supplies to help the U.S. Gulf Coast recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

COPENHAGEN — A Jewish day school in Denmark celebrated its bicentennial with a visit from Queen Margrethe II.

ROME — Some 120,000 people attended events in 260 towns and cities and 26 countries across Europe for the sixth annual European Day of Jewish Culture.

NEW YORK — The Israel on Campus Coalition launched a new initiative to strengthen ties between American and Israeli universities.

JERUSALEM — Palestinians ransacked and torched synagogues left behind after Israel completed its Gaza Strip withdrawal.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — A new Jewish community center was dedicated, sponsored by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

BRUSSELS — A Jewish school in Belgium was stripped of its government funding for refusing to teach a required sex-ed curriculum. Five other Jewish schools were still negotiating with the government.

NEW YORK — A U.S. appeals court upheld a ruling allowing part of the money from a Holocaust settlement to be distributed based on need.

SAN FRANCISCO — Up to 20 percent of an estimated 6 million American Jews are African-American, Asian-American, Latino, Sephardi, Middle Eastern or of mixed race, according to a new book by demographer Gary Tobin.

JOHANNESBURG — Cyril Harris, who as chief rabbi guided South Africa’s Jewish community through the transition from apartheid to democracy, died of cancer at age 69.

BERLIN — The U.S. Air Force unveiled separate chapels for Jewish and Muslim servicemen and women at its main European base in Ramstein, Germany.

KIEV — A rabbi and his teenage soon were attacked and beaten on the streets of Ukraine’s capital.

ROME — Israel’s two chief rabbis met with Pope Benedict XVI and urged him to establish an annual day for Catholics to reflect on Catholic-Jewish relations join the fight against anti-Semitism.

NEW YORK — Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf made a historic address to American Jewish groups that is coordinated by the American Jewish Congress. But during the talk, Musharraf said his country would establish ties with Israel only after a Palestinian state is created.

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