Weekly roundup of world briefs


April 17, 2020

Pop star Pink, having recovered from coronavirus, is donating $1M to fight the disease

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—Jewish pop star Pink and her 3-year-old son have recovered from the coronavirus, she announced on Twitter.

She and her son Jameson were sheltering at home in Los Angeles when they began experiencing symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago, she wrote in a series of tweets Saturday. A retest in recent days came back negative, she said.

She added that she was donating $1 million to fight the coronavirus: $500,000 each to the Temple University Hospital Emergency Fund in Philadelphia and the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Emergency Covid-19 Crisis Fund.

The donation to Temple, she wrote, is in honor of her mother, Judy Moore, who worked there for 18 years in the Cardiomyopathy and Heart Transplant Center.

“Thank you to all of our healthcare professionals and everyone in the world who are working so hard to protect our loved ones. You are our heroes!” wrote Pink, whose real name is Alecia Beth Moore.

Idina Menzel, Ilana Glazer, Ben Platt and many more celebs to lead a ‘Saturday Night Seder’ to raise money for CDC fund

By Gabe Friedman

(JTA)—An all-star team of Jewish celebrities (and some non-Jewish ones) are putting on a virtual Passover Seder—which is sure to include plenty of music and comedy—on Saturday night to raise money for a Center for Disease Control fund for first responders working during the coronavirus outbreak.

The full list, seen here, includes names such as Idina Menzel, Mayim Bialik, Ben Platt, Ilana Glazer, Josh Groban, Debra Messing, Henry Winkler, Billy Eichner, Andy Cohen, Harvey Fierstein and Michael Solomonov. The non-Jewish Rachel Brosnahan, who plays the lead in the popular and very Jewish series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” will also participate.

The show will be free for viewers and streaming here through StoryCourse and on Buzzfeed’s Tasty brand YouTube channel. Those watching will be encouraged to donate throughout. It was produced in association with Reboot.

“In a time of confinement and uncertainty, a rag-tag team of Jews and non-Jewish Passover enthusiasts felt it was more important than ever to channel creative energies and gather community,” head writer Alex Edelman said in a news release. “We’re thrilled to be reinterpreting the timeless story of liberation and renewal while raising money for those on the front lines enduring—and fighting—an actual plague.”

Grandson of Yitzhak Rabin wishes coronavirus on Benjamin Netanyahu, then apologizes

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA)—The grandson of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin wished in a tweet that Benjamin Netanyahu would contract the coronavirus before apologizing.

“I don’t wish for anyone to get sick with coronavirus, including Netanyahu. Apologies for that,” Yonatan Ben Artzi tweeted Tuesday night.

He deleted his original tweet, posted close to 5 p.m. Tuesday, though it was saved by his critics in screenshots.

“If Netanyahu lied to the Israeli nation and in fact only pulled a trick by saying ‘we need an emergency unity coronavirus government’ and actually meaning elections, then he deserves [to catch] coronavirus and live out the rest of his days sick in prison,” the tweet said. He also called it “karma.”

Ben Artzi frequently tweets criticism of Netanyahu, whose trial on corruption charges has been delayed due to the pandemic. He was referring to the stalled talks between Netanyahu and Benny Gantz to form an emergency unity government to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

The Likud party in a tweet slammed Ben Artzi.

“Even when the prime minister is saving the lives of Israeli citizens, the hate knows no limit,” Likud wrote. “Do you think anyone will open an investigation against him?”

The family of Yitzhak Rabin, and Israel’s left, have blamed Netanyahu for incitement that led to Rabin’s 1995 murder during a peace rally in Tel Aviv by a right-wing assassin.

Nazi-looted Picasso up for sale by heirs of German-Jewish banker

By Marcy Oster

(JTA)—A Pablo Picasso drawing that will be returned by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., to the heirs of a German-Jewish banker is up for sale.

The asking price for the “Head of a Woman” is at least $10 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Last year, the heirs of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy asked New York art dealer Larry Gagosian if he would help them sell the drawing if they ever recovered it, according to the report. They said it is difficult for the several dozen descendants to share one artwork.

Von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, a descendant of composer Felix Mendelssohn, sold the pastel work for less than its real value in 1934 along with at least 15 other significant artworks because he feared the Nazis would confiscate his estate. He died the following year.

In 1938, von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s family bank, Bank Mendelssohn & Co., was seized by the Nazis and transferred to non-Jewish ownership.

“Head of a Woman” was sold to art dealer Justin Thannhauser in 1934. The National Gallery of Art acquired the work through a donation in 2001, according to The New York Times.

The museum announced last month that it would return the Picasso “to avoid the heavy toll of litigation,” not because it agreed that the heirs’ claims were valid.

Israeli citizen arrested on suspicion of spying for Iran

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA)—An Israeli citizen was arrested on suspicion of spying for Iran, the Israel Security Agency announced.

The man was indicted on charges of security offenses in Lod District Court. There is a gag order on publishing his name.

The security agency, known as the Shin Bet, announced Tuesday that the man was arrested March 16 after being secretly in contact abroad with Iranian intelligence officials several times as well an operative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Lebanon, according to the Kan public broadcaster. He was in possession of encryption devices and a disk drive that he tried to destroy during his arrest. He reportedly received funds and training.

The suspect reportedly was asked to carry out terror attacks against Israelis in the name of “liberating Palestine,” and to recruit Arab Israelis in the mission. He also was to provide information on security and strategic sites in Israel, according to the Shin Bet.


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