Pro-Jewish Imam Threatened
Paris/JTA — A group of Islamic extremists
burst into a French mosque's prayer service
and threatened the presiding imam, known
for his efforts to improve Muslim-Jewish ties.
"We are going to liquidate him, this imam
of the Jews',' said some of the 80 people who
interrupted 200 worshipers at the Jan. 22
services in Hassen Chalghoumi's mosque in
Drancy, north of Paris. The intruders called
Chalghoumi a "heathen" and "renegade."
Chalghoumi has consistently spoken
against Islamic extremism, and has worked
actively with Muslim youth and Jewish
leaders around France to condemn anti-
Semitism. In 2006, his home was vandalized
following his public request that all Muslims
respect the memory of the thousands of Jews
sent to Nazi death camps from Drancy.
"They wanted to kill me said Chalghoumi
on Radio Orient, adding that he would con-
tinue to work to improve Muslim-Jewish
relations and speak out against extremism
because "it is our future that is at stake."
Chalghoumi confirmed he would make an
official complaint against the intruders.
France's Jewish leaders expressed solidar-
ity and support for Chalghoumi. "Since the
arrival of the imam from Drancy, a real har-
mony has reigned between the Jewish and
Muslim communities," said Sammy Ghozlan
in a statement for the CCJ Jewish community
organization based in the Paris region.
Torre Interviews Koufax
New York/JTA — Sandy Koufax will spend a
rare night in the spotlight when he sits down
with Joe Torre to help raise money for Torre's
foundation.Koufax, the elusive Hall of Fame
pitcher for the Dodgers, will appear Feb. 27
before a crowd of 7,000
at the Nokia Theatre in
Los Angeles to benefit the
Safe at Home Foundation,
which aims to end the
cycle of domestic abuse.
Koufax, who retired at
the age of 30 because of
injuries, said he agreed
to speak with Torre to
benefit those in need, the Los Angeles Times
A Jewish sports icon, he once famously
skipped his turn to pitch in the World Series
because it was Yom Kippur.
Torre, the Dodgers' manager and an All-Star
player in the 1960s and '70s, said he was
shocked that Koufax agreed.
Iran Sanctions Exceed Obama's
Washington/JTA — The U.S. Senate passed a
comprehensive Iran sanctions bill.
The bill passed by voice vote Jan. 28 hews
closely to a companion bill passed last
month in the U.S. House of Representatives.
White House requests to roll back some of
the harsher provisions went unheeded.
The measures target Iran's energy sector,
singling out for sanctions any entity — inch-
vidual, company or even country — that
deals in refined petroleum with Iran, whose
refining sector in disarray.
Though the Obama administration has
preferred to emphasize multilateral sanc-
tions targeting Iran's leadership coupled with
diplomatic outreach, Obama is likely to sign
a final version of the bill despite his reserva-
tions after the measures are reconciled.
The American Israel Public Affairs
Committee, which led lobbying for the bills,
urged swift passage and signing.
Israel Refutes Goldstone
Jerusalem/JTA — Israel refuted allegations of
war crimes in a paper detailing its process of
investigating its military's actions during the
The Foreign Ministry last Friday released
the 46-page document describing Israel's
procedures for probing allegations of viola-
tions of the Law of Armed Conflict.
The paper refuted four of the 36 allega-
tions against Israel of war crimes enumer-
ated in the United Nations' Goldstone
Commission report, which accused Israel
and the Palestinians of committing war
crimes and possible crimes against human-
The UN set a Feb. 5 deadline for the Israel
and the Palestinians to provide independent
investigations into the report's findings.
The document reports that "The IDF has
launched investigations into 150 separate
incidents arising from the Gaza Operation.
Of the 150 incidents, so far 36 have been
referred for criminal investigation. Criminal
investigators have taken statements from
almost 100 Palestinian complainants and
witnesses, along with approximately 500 IDF
soldiers and commanders.
In locating Palestinian witnesses and
making arrangements for them to give
evidence, the IDF works together with local
The Israel Defense Forces reportedly will
submit a 1,000-page point-by-point rebuttal
of the Goldstone report.
Israel Weapons Stockpile
Jerusalem/JTA — The U.S. Army will double
the amount of emergency military equip-
ment it stockpiles in Israel.
Jerusalem and Washington agreed that
Israel will keep $800 million worth of U.S.
equipment, according to the Jan. 11 issue of
the U.S. weekly Defense News publication,
Israel would be allowed to use the equip-
ment in a military emergency.
The United States began stockpiling $100
million in military equipment in
Israel in 1990, according to the report.
Israel Studies Growing
New York/JTA — A new report shows that
the study of Israel at major American univer-
sities has grown significantly.
The report by the Cohen Center for
Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis
University updates a similar report con-
ducted in 2006. The new report looked at 300
leading American universities and found a
69 percent growth in courses that focus spe-
cifically on Israel over the three-year period
between 2006 and 2009:
• Of the top 20 national universities in U.S.
News and World Report rankings, all but one
offered courses focused on Israel, while 12
offered four courses or more.
• Of the 316 schools in the 2008-09 direc-
tory, 90 percent offered at least one course
that dealt in part with Israel and nearly half
offered four or more courses.
•A total of nearly 1,400 courses with Israel
content were offered by the 316 schools.
Prehistoric Building Found
Tel Aviv/JTA — The remains of a prehis-
toric building, the earliest ever discovered
in the Tel Aviv region, were discovered in
Ramat Aviv. The building is estimated to be
between 7,800 and 8,400 years old.
The archaeological excavation was carried
out recently in the tony Tel Aviv neighbor-
hood prior to the construction of an apart-
"This discovery is both important and
surprising to researchers of the period',' said
archaeologist Ayelet Dayan, director of the
excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities
Authority, who said it was the first time that
archaeologists had encountered evidence of
a permanent habitation that existed in the
Tel Aviv region about 8,000 years ago.
Also uncovered were a fragment of a base
of a basalt bowl and animal remains — hip-
popotamus bones and teeth that probably
belonged to sheep or goat.
IsraAID In Haiti
Port-au-Prince/JTA — IsraAID is partner-
ing with actor Sean Penn and Israeli-born
actress Moran Atias in its earthquake relief
efforts in Haiti. IsraAID: The Israel Forum
for International Humanitarian Aid is
expanding its work in some of the hardest
hit areas of Port-au-Prince in close coordina-
don with the relief efforts of Penn and Atias.
Along with others, IsraAID is providing
medical care and post-trauma support to
thousands of refugees who have gathered in
makeshift camps outside the United States
IsraAID has been assisting Haiti since 48
hours after the Jan. 12 quake. Its teams have
been traveling to many of the satellite camps
around Port-au-Prince Penn and Atias are
assisting to treat the injured and to assess
the next phase of IsraAID relief efforts.
Cohen, Previn Get Grammys
Los Angeles/JTA — Musician and poet
Leonard Cohen was honored with a life-
time achievement award at the Grammy
Awards. Cohen, 75, received his award
Saturday during a separate ceremony at the
Wilshire Ebell Theater. The 52nd annual
Grammy Awards took place Sunday night at
the Staples Center. The Canadian has never
won a Grammy for his recordings.
Andre Previn also received a lifetime
achievement award at Saturday's ceremony.
The classical pianist, conductor and com-
poser has won 10 Grammys.
Mengele Diary For Sale
New York/JTA — The diary of the notori-
ous Josef Mengele is set to be auctioned
off in the United States. At Auschwitz,
Mengele determined who would live and
die, and he conducted horrific, pseudo-
medical experiments, many on twins.
Nazi memorabilia collectors are expected
to pay about $64,000. Historic artifacts house
Alexander Autographs in Connecticut said
the owner is a source close to the family. The
diary begins in 1960, when Mengele was 49.
News of the auction prompted anger and
revulsion among Holocaust survivors.
Ironically, on International Holocaust
Remembrance Day last week, Lebanon's
Daily Star exaggerated historical
accounts of contacts between Zionists
and Nazis in the 1930s.
Zionism was seen by the Nazis as a part
of the general "Jewish plot to control
the world." Zionists did hold one failed
meeting with Nazi officials to attempt
to bribe them so that Jews expelled
from Germany might not have to arrive
in Palestine penniless.
- Allan Gale, Jewish Community
of Metropolitan Detroit
© Jewish Renaissance Media, Feb. 4, 2010
February 4 • 2010