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April 7 • 2011
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Rabbi Pleads Guilty
To Money Laundering
NEW YORK (JTA) — A leader of New
York's Syrian Jewish community pleaded
guilty to laundering money through a
Rabbi Saul Kassin,
79, pleaded guilty as
part of a plea bargain
in federal court. He
faces up to $250,000
in fines and up to
five years in prison,
reportedly will not
seek a prison sentence.
Kassin was arrested
in July 2009 along with 43 other rabbis
from Syrian Jewish neighborhoods in
Deal and Elberon, N.J., and Brooklyn,
N.Y. The mayors of three New Jersey
towns, a deputy mayor and a state
assemblyman were also arrested.
Kassin confessed to using his Magen
Israel Society to launder money given
to him by Solomon Dwek, a real-estate
tycoon and the son of a prominent
Syrian rabbi who was arrested in 2006
for a $50 million bank fraud. Kassin and
the charity kept 10 percent. Dwek later
became a federal informant.
U.N. Leader Calls Israel's
— Israel's occupation
of the West Bank is
"morally and politi-
and must end:' U.N.
In a speech last
week in Uruguay, Ban
praised the Palestinian
Authority's state-building program and
criticized Israel for settlement building.
Israel Releases Map
Of Hezbollah Bunkers
WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel declas-
sified a map of what it says are 950
underground Hezbollah bunkers and
weapons storage sites in south Lebanon.
The map, in the Washington Post,
underpins Israeli frustration with the
failure of the U.N.-mandated force in
southern Lebanon to stop weapons
smuggling since the end of the 2006
war. Hezbollah's missile strength is far
greater than what it was before the war.
Latinos See U.S.
Bias Toward Israel
WASHINGTON (JTA) — Nearly half
of Latinos in the U.S. believe that the
United States is "too supportive" of
Israel in the peace process, a poll shows.
That was among the findings of a poll
released by the Foundation for Ethnic
Understanding showing broad dispari-
ties between the American Jewish and
Latino communities when it comes to
U.S. involvement in the peace process.
The poll shows that 48.1 percent of
Latinos believe the U.S. is "too support-
ive" of Israel, while 14.8 percent of Jewish
respondents believed that to be true.
Among Latinos, 18.6 percent
described the U.S as "not supportive
enough" and 55.6 percent of Jews adopt-
ed that position. Those who answered
the "right level" were 21.7 percent
among Latinos and 26.5 percent among
U.S. To Address Anti-Israel
Bias At U.N. Rights Council
WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama
administration said it remains deter-
mined to end anti-Israel bias at the
United Nations Human Rights Council.
The State Department released a fact
sheet outlining its accomplishments
since rejoining the council in 2009.
At the time, pro-Israel groups and
conservatives criticized the reversal of
Bush administration policy of boycot-
ting the council, saying it validated the
council's almost near-exclusive focus on
From Japan In Israel
JERUSALEM (JTA) — Traces of radio-
active waste from a damaged nuclear
reactor in Japan have been detected in
the air in Israel.
The Soreq Nuclear Research Center on
March 23 detected traces of Iodine-131
in an air sample. The concentration of
0.00005 becquerel per square meter
is very low and presents no danger to
humans or the environment, according
to Israel's Atomic Energy Commission.
Austria To Renovate
VIENNA (JTA) — Austria will renovate
the site of the Mauthausen concentra-
tion camp in a $2.4 million restoration
The two-year project will include cre-
ating a hall of names in memory of the
camp's victims, a new display about the
Holocaust and upgrading the perma-
nent exhibition, according to reports.
About 200,000 people visit
Mauthausen each year. At least 95,000
prisoners died in Mauthausen; more
than 14,000 were Jewish, according to
the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.