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August 31, 2014 / 5 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Argentina’

In Argentina, One Priest Worth More than 50,000 Jews

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Last Wednesday, at the height of Operation Protective Edge, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner warned Israel that no harm came to an Argentine priest caring for a group of 30 disabled children in the Gaza Strip. But the socialist president couldn’t seem to find the words to support the 50,000 Argentine nationals who live in Israel. 

Writing on Twitter, Fernandez de Kirchner said “Israel is responsible for the safety of priest Jorge Hernandez and those people in his care,” and added that “A worsening of the situation of these people will have severe consequences for bilateral relations.”

According to Andalou Agency,  a Turkish online news site that seems to be a government mouthpiece (no concrete information about AA’s political leanings could be found on the website), Fernandez de Kirchner made the comments on the heels of a phone call by the country’s Jewish Foreign Minister Hector Timerman who expressed Buenos Aires’ opposition to civilian deaths to Israel’s ambassador to Argentina, Dorit Shavit, Timmerman reportedly emphasised the Israeli government’s responsibility to protect Argentine citizens in Gaza, including making sure the orphanage received sufficient supplies of food, water and electricity.

However,  when Jewish community officials challenged the president to make a statement regarding Hamas rocket attacks on Argentine Israelis, Fernandez de Kirchner couldn’t quite seem to find the right words. According to one community leader in Buenos Aires, the  president showed little interest in the wellbeing of Argentine citizens living in Israel, and refused to retract her statement regarding Father Hernandez. The socialist De Kirchner has come under fire in Argentina for coddling Iran since her election in 2007. Although both countries maintained embassies in the opposite capitals, relations between Buenos Aires and Tehran were strained for 15 years following the bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in July, 1994. 

Aftermath of the AMIA bombing, July 18, 1994

Aftermath of the AMIA bombing, July 18, 1994

Since coming to power, however, De Kirchner has played a central role in Iran’s emergence as a regional power in South America. Under her leadership, Buenos Aires has announced it would abandon efforts to bring current and former Iranian officials to justice for their roles in the AMIA bombing, despite the fact that Argentine Jewish leaders have shown conclusively that that attack, which claimed the lives of 85 people and injured more than 200, was perpetrated by Iran. 

Principal suspects in the case include former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and current Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi, who directed the Ministry’s foreign intelligence  service in the 1990s, at the time of the AMIA bombing and when scores of dissidents were assassinated inside and outside Iran, has also been implicated. 

Iran refused to carry out a 2006 arrest warrant, issued by an Argentine judge, for Rafsanjani, Pourmohammadi and eight other ex-officials, claiming the attempt to bring the officials to justice was a “Zionist plot”.

Not insignificantly, Iran-Arentina trade ties have spiked under De Kirchner’s leadership. According to the InterAmerican Security Watch website, exports from Argentina to Iran jumped from around $84 million in 2008 to some $1.2 billion in 2011, making Argentina Iran’s second-largest trading partner in South America, after Brazil. 

More recently, the Digital Journal website reported that Tehran has continued to make inroads around South America with a series of trade arrangements with Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela and other Latin American nations. The contracts are approximated to be worth some $40 billion dollars, specialists explained.
 

Israeli Filmmaker Amos Gitai Making Movie about AMIA Bombing

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Award-winning Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai is preparing a film about the AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires.

The Brazilian production company Prana Films will produce the movie based on the 1994 bombing attack on the center that left 85 dead and hundreds wounded.

One venue will be the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este, which shares a border with Argentina and Brazil. The terrorist Hezbollah organization is active in the city, according to intelligence sources.

Argentine actor Ricardo Darin and French actress Juliette Binoche reportedly have expressed interest in the film and have received an updated script with an expected budget of $3.5 million.

The film will be based on Argentine special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who is investigating the bombing. Nisman has accused Iran of sponsoring the attack and declared unconstitutional his country’s memorandum of understanding with Iran to jointly investigate the deadly attack.

Gitai, who has won awards for his films at the prestigious Cannes and Venice festivals, said the AMIA film “is a story about relationships, about how the attack affected the community and what is happening in Latin America with the law.”

He told the La Nacion newspaper in Paris that his partners had looked for financial support from Argentina but did not find any interest.

“I think it is because of the economic situation there,” he told an Argentine newspaper in an interview from Paris.

Gitai has written many films based on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Argentinean Selling Nazi Symbols Ordered to Perform Community Service

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

A Buenos Aires city court is requiring a vendor of Nazi souvenirs and symbols to perform community service and take a course about the Holocaust.

City prosecutor Gustavo Galante collected evidence in the case with the help of the Anti-Discriminatory Division of the Federal Police. The seller, who has not been publicly named, sold Nazi souvenirs and symbols in Argentina and abroad. They were offered in Argentinean currency as well as in dollars and euros.

Judge Fernanda Botana made his ruling following a plea agreement struck with the sellers’ lawyers.

The seller must perform 40 hours of community service through a charitable organization, take a course about the Holocaust at the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires and take a course about tolerance at the National Institute Against Discrimination.

The prosecutor told local media that the unnamed settler acted alone and is not a member of the Nazi party or another neo-Nazi organization.

Argentina has had an anti-discriminatory law on the books since 1988.

Court Approves Haredi-Led Consortium to Take Over IDB Conglomerate

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

A Tel Aviv court Tuesday has rejected arguments from embattled billionaire Nochi Dankner and has given its stamp of approval to allow a consortium, led by a South American Haredi businessman, to take control of the mammoth IDF holding company.

Dankner’s lawyers said they are considering whether to appeal the decision that accepted a creditors’ decision to let Argentine billionaire and Chabad follower Eduardo Elsztain Ben-Moshe and Modi’in entrepreneur Motti Ben-Moshe buy 75 percent control of IDB. The conglomerate, which has suffered heavy losses, controls a hefty amount of Israel’s manufacturing and also includes a large supermarket chain.

Argentinian Rabbi Sworn into National Parliament on Tanach

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Rabbi Sergio Bergman, wearing a colorful yarmulke, was sworn in to Argentina’s National Parliament Wednesday on a Tanach when he swore the oath of office before “God, the motherland and the sacred scriptures of the Bible, the Tanach.”

Bergman, the first rabbi to take office as a national legislator, was one of Argentina’s 127 newly elected legislators sworn in Wednesday at an opening ceremony in the Lower House of the National Parliament. His original text was an unprecedented formula that he prepared.

He is believed to be the only rabbi elected to a national parliament outside of Israel.

Bergman, 51, is also the senior rabbi of Argentina’s oldest congregation, Congregacion Israelita Argentina, which marked its 150th year last month with a series of celebrations, including the launching of the rabbi’s book about Pope Francis.

The rabbi-legislator founded a network of Jewish schools and educational projects that includes a gay alliance and a rural farm. In May, he received the Micah Award from the World Union for Progressive Judaism for his commitment to social justice at the organization’s convention in Jerusalem.

Fundamentalists Disrupt Jewish-Catholic Kristallnacht Remembrance

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Fundamentalist Christians disrupted a joint Jewish-Christian ceremony commemorating Kristallnacht held at the Buenos Aires City´s Metropolitan Cathedral Tuesday night.

The event was organized by the Inter-Religious Dialogue Committee and Bnai Brith Argentina.

When the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Mario Poli, tried to start the ceremony’s liturgy of commemoration, the fundamentalist group interrupted the ceremony, praying in loud voices and distributing brochures against “the presence of fake gods at our main Cathedral.”

After a standoff that lasted several minutes, police officials arrived at the Cathedral. The demonstrators left at the request of Father Fernando Gianetti, who made the request in the name of Poli, successor to Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, who now is Pope Francis.

Julio Schlosser, president of DAIA, Argentina’s Jewish political umbrella, told JTA of the incident that “Nazi hordes spread poison on the victims of the Holocaust.”

Argentinian Rabbi Elected to Parliament

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Rabbi Sergio Bergman won a seat in the Argentina National Congress and will be the first rabbi to serve as a national lawmaker in the country. He will represent Buenos Aires City in the Lower House of the National Congress.

Bergman, a Buenos Aires City lawmaker from the center-right PRO party, garnered 34.5 percent of the vote to edge Elisa Carrio of the center-left UNEN party, who had 32.2 percent.

Speaking nearly two hours after the polls closed on Sunday evening, Bergman said, “We were selected to improve the country as we did before in the city. We were selected to protect the law and the constitution.”

PRO is the ruling party in Buenos Aires City and its leader, Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, announced on Sunday that he will run for president in 2015. Analysts say Bergman’s political future will be linked to Macri’s performance in 2015.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/argentinian-rabbi-elected-to-parliament/2013/10/28/

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