Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA


‘Subway Guy’ Jared Fogle pays $1 million to victims

(JTA)—Jared Fogle, the former Subway pitchman, has paid $1 million in restitution to his victims.

Fogle, 38, who became known as “the Subway Guy,” pleaded guilty in August to charges of distributing and receiving pornography, and having sex with minors. Also as part of his plea deal, Fogle, who is Jewish, will serve five to 12 1/2 years in federal prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota announced on Oct. 22 in Indianapolis that Fogle had paid restitution of $100,000 each to 10 of his victims. Payments to four other victims are expected before a sentencing hearing scheduled for Nov. 19.

Fogle traveled to New York and had sex with at least two minors, ages 16 and 17, between 2010 and 2013, according to the Indianapolis Star. He also solicited acquaintances—from child victims to adult prostitutes—to put him in contact with other minors so he could have sex with them.

Fogle became the spokesman for the Subway chain in 2000 after dropping nearly 250 pounds on a regimen of eating two Subway sandwiches a day. He founded a nonprofit organization in 2004, the Jared Foundation, to combat childhood obesity.

Subway cut ties with Fogle in July after police investigators raided his Indiana home.

NY Times Magazine asks readers: ‘Could you Kill a Baby Hitler?’

(JTA)—Some 42 percent of New York Times Magazine online readers said they would use a time machine to go back and kill “baby Hitler.”

Another 30 percent said no, and 28 percent said they were unsure.

The query on Friday came a day after Back to the Future Day in honor of the 1980s movie series in which characters traveled back in time and changed the course of their history.

The poll set off a firestorm on Twitter, where the hashtag #babyHitler trended over the weekend.

Many of those who said they could not kill baby Hitler were worried about bringing about unexpected consequences.

The New York Times Magazine responded to the controversy by tweeting “LOL.”

Spanish town fetes name change from Kill Jews Town

(JTA)—A town in northern Spain held an official ceremony to mark its name change from Kill Jews Town.

On Friday, Israel’s ambassador to Madrid, Daniel Kutner, joined representatives from the Jewish and Sephardic communities in Spain for a ceremony during which the town’s new name signs were installed, The Local-Spain reported. The town formerly known as Castrillo Matajudíos returned to its original name, Castrillo Mota de Judios, or Castrillo Jews’ Hill.

In June, the town used Castrillo Mota de Judios in the official state gazette. The name change was approved by the regional government of Castilla y Leon.

Last year, some 50 residents of the town voted for the name change at the suggestion of Mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez, who submitted the proposal to return to the original name. Rodriguez said the name was changed during the Spanish Inquisition in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

A massacre of Jewish people is believed to have taken place near the town in 1035, while another massacre happened inside the village in 1109, according to The Local.

In parts of Spain, especially in the north, locals use the Spanish term for “killing Jews” to describe the traditional drinking of lemonade spiked with alcohol at festivals held in city squares at Easter, or drinking in general.

Fire at historic New Jersey synagogue believed to be accidental

(JTA)—A fire that destroyed a historic synagogue in New Jersey appears to be accidental, according to a preliminary investigation.

The fire on Friday at the Polie Zedek synagogue in New Brunswick, in the central part of the state, left only the shell of the building and destroyed everything inside, according to local reports.

One of the Torah scrolls was saved by the synagogue’s rabbi, Abraham Mykoff, who raced into the building and carried it out before the ceiling collapsed.

The synagogue caretaker, who was in the building when the fire started on Friday afternoon, called emergency services and safely evacuated the building, according to reports.

The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

Roads around the synagogue were closed and adjacent buildings evacuated out of fear that the fire would spread.

An investigation continues into the cause of the fire, officials said.

Rabbi, 2 worshippers stabbed outside French synagogue

(JTA)—A rabbi and two of his congregants were stabbed outside a synagogue in Marseilles, France.

One of the victims in the Saturday-morning attack was stabbed several times in the abdomen and is in serious but not life-threatening condition, the French daily Le Figaro reported.

Police arrested the assailant, who shouted anti-Semitic epithets at the victims and reportedly was drunk at the time of the attack. According to Le Figaro, the assailant is known to local police and is considered mentally unstable.

Marseilles, in southern France, has some 80,000 Jews, making it the second largest Jewish community in the country. Jews make up about 10 percent of the population in the port city, which has about 250,000 Muslims.

Key House panel unanimously condemns Palestinian incitement

WASHINGTON (JTA)—The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously called on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel.

The nonbinding resolution passed Oct. 22 after a hearing on Palestinian incitement says “the Palestinian Authority has not fully lived up to its prior agreements with Israel to end incitement and should do more to prepare the Palestinian people for peace with Israel.”

It “urges President [Mahmoud] Abbas and Palestinian Authority officials to discontinue all official incitement and exert influence to discourage anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement in Palestinian civil society.”

The hearing was convened by the committee chairman, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif.

“This wave of violence isn’t some random flare-up,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the committee, at the hearing. “It’s the product of years and years of anti-Israel propaganda and indoctrination—some of which has been actively promoted by Palestinian Authority officials and institutions.”

With tensions rising in Israel, and a spate of deadly Palestinian attacks on Israelis, each side has accused the other’s leaders of spurring incitement.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is maintaining a list on its website of U.S. lawmakers condemning Palestinian incitement.

One lawmaker speaking during the hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., excoriated Palestinian incitement but also lamented Israeli incitement, particularly related to the Temple Mount, also known as the Noble Sanctuary, the Jerusalem site holy to Muslims and Jews.

“Back in the days of the Roman Empire, those zealots who claimed to be the most pro-Israel did enormous harm,” said Sherman, known for his closeness to the pro-Israel community, in remarks first noted by Americans for Peace Now in its weekly legislative roundup.

“So now we see a few fringe Israeli leaders who want to disturb the status quo on the Temple Mount,” he said. “They, too, are harmful. They provide a pretext for those who incite terrorism in Israel and those who seek delegitimization abroad.”

Separately, the State Department cut its economic aid to the Palestinian Authority from $370 million to $290 million annually, al-Monitor reported.

What’s behind the cut is not clear, but the Middle East news website noted approbation from lawmakers, including Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, who this week wrote Abbas with her Democratic counterpart, Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., warning that such a cut might be in the offing if the incitement is not ended.

Far-right French Jews assault BuzzFeed journalist

(JTA)—Members of the French branch of the far-right Jewish Defense League attacked a prominent French journalist outside the Paris offices of the Agence France Presse news agency.

Armed with batons, dozens of violent Jewish activists who had gathered to protest the news agency’s Israel coverage assaulted David Perrotin, a reporter for BuzzFeed, on Thursday evening, the Guardian reported.

Protesters threw eggs and other objects at the AFP building, yelled insults and tried to storm the offices, according to the Guardian. They threatened journalists, saying “We’re coming to get you” and “Islamic terrorists.” Riot police sprayed them with tear gas.

The International Business Times reported that Perrotin, who was covering the protests on Twitter, was “set upon by a gang of about a dozen masked demonstrators,” receiving blows to the back and head.

One demonstrator said: “We are here to show our support for Israel in our war against the Arabs.” He added: “Journalists working for organizations like AFP support the Islamic terrorists and that’s why we have to fight back.”

Perrotin “has frequently exposed the work” of the French Jewish Defense League, according to the Guardian.

Founded by Meir Kahane, who was assassinated in 1990, the league is radical Jewish nationalist organization banned in both the United States and Israel.

Top officials at Rome’s Israelite Hospital arrested in fraud probe

ROME (JTA)—Italian police arrested senior officials and medical personnel at Rome’s Israelite Hospital for allegedly defrauding the country’s national health service.

Italian anti-corruption police issued warrants for 17 people on charges of fraud and forgery. The hospital officials were arrested Wednesday morning on charges related to “systematic falsification” of clinical files and other documents to inflate reimbursements from Italy’s national health service, according to reports in the Italian media.

The falsifications reportedly included patient diagnoses and data on the number of patients and types of procedures carried out.

Hospital director Antonio Mastrapasqua and other top administrators and heads of departments were among those arrested. Fourteen of them were placed under house arrest.

Mastrapasqua had already been forced to resign from his other post as president of the National Social Insurance Agency due to conflict of interest and other accusations at the start of the investigation.

Israelite Hospital had been under investigation since early 2014. Police raided the hospital in September 2014 to collect documents and receipts.

In the wake of the arrests, the board of directors of the hospital submitted its resignation to the Rome Jewish community “in order to identify the most appropriate strategies for the future of the hospital,” according to a statement Friday by the Rome Jewish Community. The community said it would appoint a new board “in the coming days.”

The Israelite Hospital, conceived in the 19th century as a hospital for needy Jews and formally established in 1911, is privately run and also operates within Italy’s public health system structures, but has a board appointed by the Jewish community. It is not a community-run facility, however, and has an autonomous budget and administration.

Only a minority of the hospital’s staff members are Jewish, and just one of the 17 people under investigation is Jewish, according to Italy’s Il Messaggero newspaper.

Court orders town to allow Bloomingburg mikvah

NEW YORK (JTA)—A New York appeals court ordered an upstate New York town near a planned Hasidic development in Bloomingburg, New York, to allow the construction of a mikvah ritual bath at a site that had been rejected.

The town, Mamakating, had denied permission to build a mikvah at the site, a former day spa a short walk away from a Hasidic-friendly housing development called Chestnut Ridge in the village Bloomingburg. After the filing of a complaint by Orthodox petitioners, the New York State Supreme Court upheld the denial of a permit for the mikvah.

But the appeals court ruling on Oct. 22 overruled that decision, affirming that the mikvah qualifies as a “house of worship” for the purposes of Mamakating’s zoning codes and therefore must be allowed.

Hasidic supporters of the development in Bloomingburg allege that the town’s denial of the mikvah is part of a systematic campaign to thwart the Hasidic growth in the area and discriminate against Hasidic Jews already living in Bloomingburg.

The tiny village in Sullivan County, about 80 miles north of New York City, has been the site of a pitched battle between Orthodox Jewish developer Shalom Lamm and locals—including Mamakating town supervisor Bill Herrmann—who oppose the changes Lamm is bringing to the area. For months, construction at Lamm’s housing development adjacent to the mikvah, which is being built to suit Hasidic needs, had been frozen while Lamm and opponents in Mamakating fought over certificates of occupancy for the dozens of units already completed.

But the first certificates of occupancy recently were granted, and sales of the units are now in progress, according to a spokesman for Lamm, Michael Fragin.

“Every effort of the town of Mamakating to stymie the growth of the Jewish community in Bloomingburg has been struck down by the courts,” Fragin said. “It’s time for Bill Herrmann and his allies to cease their costly campaign of discrimination and fruitless legal challenges.”

In its ruling in favor of the mikvah, the appeals court cited Jewish law as a basis for its decision.

“Under Jewish Law, a mikvah must be built in a new community even before the construction of a synagogue,” noted the decision, signed by clerk Robert Mayberger of the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court. “Jacob Schacter, a rabbi and professor of Jewish history, explained that an individual’s immersion in the waters of a mikvah is ‘a basic religious ritual [of Orthodox Jews] for the purpose of restoring spiritual and family purity. According to Binyamin Hammer, another rabbi, the ritual is ‘vital to those who observe Jewish laws.’ Petitioner’s submissions further showed that immersion in a mikvah is generally accompanied by the recitation of blessings or prayers.”

Eichmann daughter-in-law defends him in Argentina, quits mayoral bid

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA)—A daughter-in-law of Adolf Eichmann, the late Nazi war criminal who masterminded the near-annihilation of Hungarian Jewry, withdrew her mayoral candidacy in Argentina after defending his actions on television.

Carmen Bretin Lindemann announced Oct. 22 that she was bowing out of the mayoral race of the northeastern village of Garupa after receiving intense criticism for what she said about Eichmann during a television interview that was aired the previous day.

“The history that you know is not the real one, the version that you know from movies and books is written by the Jews, and all the world accepts that history,” she said in the interview for the TN news channel.

“He wasn’t a bad person, he obeyed orders and did not personally kill anyone,” she added, calling Eichmann “grandpa.”

Bretin Lindemann ran as a representative of A New Alternative, a party led by presidential candidate Sergio Massa. But after the interview was aired, she was expelled from the party. In a statement she published on Oct. 22, she wrote: “In order to not hurt my fellow party members in the alliance my immediate resignation is necessary. I want to assure the public that I don’t and never did support the Nazis.”

The Jewish political umbrella DAIA condemned Bretin Lindemann for “denying the extermination during the Shoah and vindication of Nazism” in a statement.

The trial of Eichmann, who was executed in Israel in 1962 following his conviction of crimes against humanity, led the political theorist Hannah Arendt to write about what she termed “the banality of evil.” She argued Eichmann was an example of how normal individuals will, given the right circumstances, dispassionately carry out atrocities without recognizing them as such.

But Gabriel Bach, a retired justice in the Israeli Supreme Court who acted as prosecutor in Eichmann’s trial, has disputed this assertion, describing Eichmann as an ideologically motivated murderer of Jews who went to extreme lengths to kill as many of them as possible.


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