Categorized | International, Middle East

Jewish news briefs: August 28, 2015

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IAEA says Iran may have expanded Parchin nuclear facility

( The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog, said in a report that Iran may have built an extension to part of its Parchin nuclear site since May.

“Since (our) previous report (in May), at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has continued to observe, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment, and probable construction materials. In addition, a small extension to an existing building” appeared to have been built, the confidential IAEA report, obtained by Reuters, said.

The Parchin nuclear site was last visited by international inspectors in 2005 and the latest revelation may jeopardize the IAEA’s ability to verify Western intelligence has suggesting that Iran has carried out test there relevant to nuclear bomb detonations. Iran has dismissed these claims as “fabricated.”

The new IAEA is the latest controversy over the Parchin nuclear site.

Last week the Associated Press revealed an undisclosed agreement between the IAEA and Iran that would allow the Islamic Republic to conduct nuclear inspections at the Parchin nuclear site. Israel has demanded that the IAEA publish those undisclosed agreements.

Netanyahu: Power of Israeli technology is stronger than any boycott
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, arrived in Italy for an official visit on Thursday, landing in Milan, where they were escorted to the Milan Expo 2015 world trade fair now underway in the city. This year’s fair is focused on innovative technology in agriculture and food.

Netanyahu was scheduled to meet with the heads of the Jewish community in Florence on Friday and with the Italian prime minister on Saturday.

At the Milan Expo, Netanyahu visited four booths, operated by Israel, Italy, the U.S. and China.

“I am very excited to be here,” he said.

“I am even more excited by the fact that Israel is an enormous global powerhouse in the fields of technology and agriculture and in developing new innovations,” Netanyahu added.

“Israel and Zionism have become enormous engines in agricultural development, in irrigation, in water preservation and in our ability to recycle wastewater. In the production of milk, the Israeli cow is the most productive in the world. All of this was seen by the million people who visited this exhibit, but no less important, by many millions in China, India, Latin America, Africa and all over the world. We aren’t only concerned with developing our own state, our own agriculture and our own food — we are doing it all over the world.”

Netanyahu said that “these abilities are stronger than any attempt to boycott us or push us into the margins, because we are creating a better future for all humanity, and there is no better place to see that clearly and obviously than in this place.”

The Israeli booth at the fair aims to share with the world Israel’s technological developments and innovative systems. The booth itself was built using advanced green technology tools, including installations designed to conserve energy and treat the air and water. The entire structure is ecologically friendly and is entirely recyclable and biodegradable.

JNF hosting water summits across U.S. to share Israeli expertise
( Jewish National Fund (JNF) has announced that it will host a series of water summits across the United States in order to share Israel’s drought solutions with American communities.

Seth M. Siegel, author of the upcoming book Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World, will be the keynote speaker at summits in Chicago (Oct. 26, 2015); Austin, Texas (Dec. 1-3, 2015); San Diego (Dec. 8-10, 2015); Denver (Jan. 26-28, 2016); Las Vegas (Feb. 2-4, 2016); Los Angeles (March 1-3, 2016); Washington, DC (June 8-9, 2016); Albany, N.Y. (TBD); Boston (TBD); New York City (TBD); and Phoenix.

“We are on the brink of a global water crisis and California’s drought is only the beginning,” Siegel said. “The U.S. government predicts that 40 of our 50 states—and 60 percent of the Earth’s land surface—will soon face alarming gaps between the supply and growing demand for water. Without immediate action, food prices will rise, economic growth will slow, and political instability is likely to follow. I thought that rather than just laying out the problem, concerned citizens and policymakers would want to have a model for what actually works and how we can blunt the worst of this coming water crisis. Israel is that model.”

Laureine Greenbaum, chair of JNF’s National Water Task Force, said, “For many years, JNF has worked to help bolster Israel’s water economy by developing alternative water sources and advancing Israeli agriculture while improving the environmental water quality and saving the country millions every year. We are so happy to partner with Seth on these summits to heighten American awareness on this relevant and urgent issue.”

Monaco’s Prince Albert expresses regret over Holocaust deportations of Jews
( Monaco’s Prince Albert II apologized Thursday for his country’s history of deporting Jews to Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. During the period, Monaco police had rounded up and deported Jews in the small principality, including those who escaped to Monaco thinking they would be safe in what was considered a neutral country.

“To say this today is to recognize a fact. To say it today, on this day, before you, is to ask forgiveness,” Prince Albert said in a speech attended by Monaco’s chief rabbi and other prominent Monaco Jewish figures, such as renowned Nazi hunters and Holocaust researchers Serge and Beate Klarsfeld.

The prince also unveiled a monument commemorating the deported Jews at the Monaco cemetery, on a date marking 73 years since Monaco authorities rounded up more than 60 Jews from Aug. 27-28, 1942. In total, about 90 people were deported from Monaco, and of those only nine survived the Holocaust.

“We committed the irreparable in handing over…women, men and a child who had taken refuge with us to escape the persecutions they had suffered in France,” Prince Albert said, the Associated Press reported.

”We did not protect them. It was our responsibility. In distress, they came specifically to take shelter with us, thinking they would find neutrality,” he said.

JDC CEO Alan Gill stepping down after two decades with Jewish aid group
( American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) CEO Alan H. Gill on Thursday announced that he will step down from his position in 2016 after more than 20 years in different capacities with the Jewish aid organization that works in more than 70 countries.

“It has been the greatest honor of my life that for more than two decades, JDC has been my second home and the main driver of my core belief that all Jews are responsible for one another. I came to the decision that by next year, we will have achieved many of the critical milestones I set out to accomplish and it is the right time to return to Israel and my family there,” Gill said in a statement.

As CEO of JDC, Gill oversaw the organization’s efforts to help Jewish communities facing financial and social crises, as well as anti-Semitism, in Europe and countries of the former Soviet Union. He also oversaw JDC’s humanization response in Israel during last summer’s war in Gaza. His leadership also contributed to a growth in the involvement of many young Jews in responding to humanitarian disasters around the world.

“When I was named CEO in November 2012, it was already clear that JDC was facing an era of historic uncertainty given the multitude of crises facing the Jewish people and Israel. True to our history, we have vigorously responded to these challenges….We have more to do and I look forward to continuing this vital work in the time I remain at the helm of JDC,” Gill said.

JDC President Penny Blumenstein and president-elect Stanley Rabin said, “Alan has done an extraordinary job of bolstering JDC’s enduring mission during his time as CEO, executing a clear vision and focused plan to strengthen Jewish communities, Israel, and our organization at this critical juncture in our history. While we knew the day would come that he would return to Israel, we know JDC and the Jewish world are better for his talents and all he does every day to infuse this crucial Jewish community leadership role with passionate dedication. Today we are better prepared for the future because Alan ushered in a new generation of top-flight professional leadership at JDC who will lead our organization in the critical years ahead.”

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