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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Rabbi Finds 103 Torah Scrolls Stolen from Jews in Hungary

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

A senior Hungarian rabbi said Tuesday he has found 103 Torah scrolls that were stolen from Hungarian Jews in World War II and hidden in a Russian library in Novgorod, east of Moscow.

Russia has not decided what to do with the holy scrolls, which Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation Chief Rabbi Shlomo Koves wants to restore for Jews in Hungary. The Nazi death machine exterminated more than half a million Jews from Hungary, virtually destroying most Jewish communities outside of Budapest.

It was previously known that Russia had stored more than 100 religious texts, some of them more than 500 years old, in the library. Rabbi Koves discovered the Torah scrolls during research at the Novgorod library.

He told a press conference on Tuesday that signs showing the origin of the scrolls have been removed but that he is certain they were stolen from synagogues in Hungary.

“I think it’s the first time in history when such a large collection of Judaica with 100 Torah scrolls in one place was discovered,” Rabbi Koves said. “For seven decades they have been laying naked in those archives, while their only value is for a Jewish community to see them and use them every day.

“And the fact that those scrolls are from Hungary has a special significance this year, which is the 70th year from 1944 when most Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz. For us, finding these Torah scrolls that were connected to our forefathers has a great significance of showing continuity in this community.”

Russia Buying Out US Influence with $2 Billion Arms Deal for Egypt

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Egyptian army chief and probable next president, Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, landed in Moscow Wednesday and is expected to sign up with Russia for a $2 billion arms deal in another move that could diminish American influence over Cairo as well as the entire Middle East.

After the Obama administration openly warned the Egyptian regime last year,it could face cuts in military aid from Washington because of its undemocratic policies, Saudi Arabia stepped into the break to offer help to Egypt.

The United States pooh-poohed the idea that it was losing its clout in Cairo, but Russia now is set to take advantage of Saudi financial aid to Egypt and boost its defense sales and to further erode the Obama administration’s position.

Al-Sisi’s is on his first foreign visit since he replaced ousted president Mohammed Morsi. Russia’s foreign and defense ministers visit Cairo last November.

Russia has become a major thorn in the side of President Barack Obama over Syria and Iran. At the same time, the Arab world is increasingly fed up with the president’s foreign policy. Obama’s “engagement” with Iran has disappointed Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The former American administrations’ military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have left behind anarchy, violence and rabid anti-Americanism.

It is no wonder that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is willing to go for broke for a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. That would restore America’s shine to some extent, but if a deal is made, which is unlikely, and if it falls apart in the future, which is more than probably, the United States will be in a weaker position in the Middle East.

Abbas Asks Russia for Billion Dollar Gas Project Off Gaza Coast

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Palestinian Authority  chairman Mahmoud Abbas asked Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev Thursday to invest in a $1 billion natural gas project off the coast of Hamas-controlled Gaza, Russia’s news agency reported.

Abbas is vesting Moscow, which has been a strong backer of the Palestinian Authority.

Securing a huge investment for Gaza would help Abbas win popularity at the expense of Hamas, which took over the area in a bloody militia war nearly seven years ago.

Sharon to be Commemorated in Belarus, Birthplace of his Parents

Monday, January 13th, 2014

The Limmud FSU (Former Soviet Union) announced Monday that the upcoming Limmud FSU conference in Belarus this summer will feature a special event in memory of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, whose parents were born in Belarus. The event will take place in Sharon’s father’s hometown city of Brest, and Sharon’s sons Omri and Gilad, are expected to be invited.

Officials from the Belarus and Israeli governments will attend, and approximately 700 Russian-speaking young adults from across Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and the Baltic states are expected to attend.

Sharon’s parents were Shmuel Scheinerman (1896–1956) from Brest-Litovsk and Vera Scheinerman (1900–1988) from Mogilev; both towns are in what was then Belorussia and is now Belarus. The family immigrated to mandatory Palestine in 1922 in the wake of the growing persecution of Jews in the region by the local Communist authorities.

Vandals Desecrate Russian Synagogue with Pig’s Head

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Unidentified Russian vandals  used a pig’s head to desecrate a synagogue in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar, according to representatives of the Jewish community of the city, located 600 miles west of Baku, Azerbaijan.

They found the pig’s head at the entrance to their synagogue  and  believe the perpetrators are also responsible for English-language graffiti on the building’s external wall, which read, “Happy Tu B’Shvat, Jewish Pigs,” although the Jewish holiday does not occur Jan 15.

Shneor Segal, a Chabad rabbi who used to work in Krasnodar and now serves as the chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Baku, said the community has contacted police with the intention of filing criminal charges against the unidentified perpetrators.

Last month, a pig’s head was left on the doorstep of a synagogue being built in Sevastopol, a Ukrainian port city located 270 miles west of Krasnodar.

Putin to Pardon Russian Tycoon from Jewish Family

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Russian president Vladimir Putin said Thursday he will sign pardon for jailed tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky “in the nearest future,” RIA Novosti reported.

Khodorkovsky’s father was Jewish and his mother was Christian. He was Russia’s richest man before his arrested in 2003 and was slated to be freed next August.

“He has spent over 10 years in confinement – which is a serious term, I believe,” Putin told reporters. Now age 50, Khodorkovsky claimed that his trial was a mockery and an attempt to “destroy the reputation of the judicial system and trust in this state institution, merely for the sake of extending a prison term for opponents of the authorities.”

Khodorkovsky funded opposition parties and publicly challenged Putin’s handling of corruption. He and his business partner then were arrested and convicted for tax evasion. When their prison terms nearly expired in 2012, they were sentenced again on charges of money laundering and stealing oil.

Russian Minister Threatens to Nuke US

Friday, December 13th, 2013

When America was still the undisputed world’s superpower this probably would not have happened.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin flexed his oratorical threat muscles while speaking before the Russian State Duma on Wednesday, Dec. 11. Rogozin said that Russia would use its nuclear weapons against the United States to retaliate against any strike against Russia, even if the U.S. strike is one using only conventional weapons.

Rogozin said that Russian military doctrine makes clear that his country can and will use nuclear weapons “in certain situations to defend our territory and state interests,” and that Russia’s enemies need to be aware of that doctrine.

“We have never diminished the importance of nuclear weapons – the weapon of requital – as the great balancer of chances,” Rogozin said, according to RT, the Russian-based media network.

Rogozin, 50, was speaking to the Duma, the lower house of the Russian legislature, about the development of a Russian response to the American Conventional Prompt Global Strike (PGS) strategy.

The PGS strategy is being developed by the American defense industry, the goal of which is for the U.S. to be able to deliver a precise strike, using conventional weapons, anywhere in the world within an hour.

While the U.S. has not yet completed work on a specific PGS system, Rogozin made it clear that the Russians are focused and determined to be prepared for any American system that becomes operational.

The weapons race is not only back on, it is out in the open.

And this time it appears that Russia may be drawing Iran in under its military wing, as Rogozin’s comments came just after the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, was in Iran for a series of high-level meetings.

Rogozin’s nuclear threats demonstrate an increasing hostility towards the United States as Moscow draws closer to Iran,  the Washington Free Beacon quoted Russian experts as theorizing.

“The timing of Rogozin’s comment is certainly striking,” said Anna Borshchevskaya, a fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy.

“Lavrov just returned from a trip to Iran, which reaffirmed its friendship with Russia,” Borshchevskaya said. “Rogozin in this context comes across not only as stepping up anti-Western rhetoric but as a warning about a strike against Iran, Russia’s ally.”

Wicked Storm from Russia ‘Attacks’ Israel with Rain and Snow

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

A wicked and rare early winter storm plowed into Israel Wednesday, and weather forecasters predict between four and eight inches of rain will fall in the north, with gale force winds and possibly snow in Jerusalem and the higher hills of Judea and Samaria.

Snow is rare in Israel in early December, and predicting the white stuff in the country is as tricky as forecasting anything else in the Middle East. A tiny shift in the winds often moves a weather system towards or away from land, and a change of one or two degrees in the temperature can spell the difference between rain and snow.

This week’s system is a woozy, and the only questions are whether the rains will be drenching or extremely torrential, and if snow will accumulate in Jerusalem.

Rain fell in central and northern Israel last week after a dry November, and some communities in the western Negev received as much as four inches of rain. The Kinneret began to rise for the first time since last spring, but that is only a sneak preview of what is in store for the country from today through Sunday.

Before it is all over, more than three feet of snow is expected to have fallen on the upper slopes of the Hermon, which would allow for a very early opening of the ski season next week, weather permitting.

The Ministry of Agriculture predicts that up to seven inches of rain will fall in the northern Golan Heights, six inches in the Haifa area, 2-3 inches on the Kinneret, 5-6 inches around metropolitan Tel Aviv, 2-3 inches in the northern Negev and more than half an inch in the parched Arava desert.

The storm is rare in its expected intensity and length because it is headed from Russia, via the Black Sea, an unusual occurrence in early December. Meteorologist Tzachi Waxman of Meteo-Tech said, “A cold wave like this is exceptional for this time of year and usually occurs in January and February.”

Torrential rains will raise the level of the Kinneret dramatically once run-off begins from mountain streams.

The downside of the storm will be the usual flooded streets, traffic jams and power outages resulting from electric poles and wires downed by heavy winds and from heavy demand for power by everyone using electric heaters to stay warm.

Air traffic at Ben Gurion may be disrupted, which could knock out the schedule of U.S. Secretary John Kerry who is to land in Israel on Wednesday. With a bit of luck, good or bad depending on your view, he might not be able to land at all.

Heavy rains and strong winds, which may reach gale force velocity, began falling in the northern Negev late Tuesday. Weather maps indicate a rare phenomenon for this time of year will occur on Wednesday, when rain is expected to fall over the entire country, from the northern border to Eilat.

Snow on Wednesday night will cover Tzfat (Safed) and other higher elevations in the northern Galilee and the Golan Heights, and it will continue on Thursday, with occasional thunderstorms throughout the country.

There is a chance of snow in Jerusalem and the mountains in Judea and Samaria and the Negev on Thursday and a higher probability that snow will fall on those areas Thursday night and Friday. However, there is no assurance that the snow will accumulate below altitudes of 2,800 feet, the height of most of the highest areas in Jerusalem. Parts of Gush Etzion and the southern Hevron Hills are as high as 3,000 feet, where accumulation is more probable.

Flash floods will smash through the Judean Desert and Arava.

Private weather forecasters predict that the storm will continue to pummel Israel on the Sabbath before weakening late in the day. It will be extremely cold Saturday night, with possible sub-zero temperatures in higher elevations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/wicked-storm-from-russia-attacks-israel-with-rain-and-snow/2013/12/10/

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