20 June 2018 - 8 Tammuz 5778 - ח' תמוז ה' אלפים תשע"ח
Holocaust-denying leaflets distributed on university campuses E-mail

Leaflets claiming that the Holocaust never happened were distributed at Australian universities in September. They have been referred to university authorities for investigation, and have led to calls for tougher action against racism on university campuses.

The leaflets asserted that the Nazi genocide against Jewish and other communities during WWII never occurred, and that historical evidence of the Holocaust is “the greatest swindle of all time”. Michael Fisher, national chairman of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, called the distribution of the leaflets “part of a co-ordinated campaign aimed at intimidating Jewish students and academics”.

“Although the leaflets are closely similar to one another in content and appearance, they have appeared in three slightly different forms, suggesting that there have been three separate print runs,” he said.

Fisher described the leaflets as “toxic propaganda” and “a contemptible attempt to abuse and isolate Jewish students and staff, many of whom lost family in the Holocaust and whose grandparents in Australia are survivors of the genocide”. Fisher identified “neo-Nazi groups” as the most likely authors and distributors of the leaflets.

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Israel has honoured Japan’s “Schindler”, diplomat Chiune Sugihara, by naming a street in Netanya after him.

The Mayor of Netanya, Miriam Fierberg-Ikar, unveiled the new street sign in an official ceremony on 8 June in the presence of Sugihara’s son, Nobuki Sugihara. Ahead of the ceremony, he met with about 50 local residents who survived thanks to his father.

During WWII, Chiune Sugihara was a Vice Consul at a Japanese consulate in Lithuania. Against his government’s orders, he helped about 6,000 desperate Jews to escape the war-torn country, the advancing Nazis and almost certain death.

Sugihara began issuing the visas in late July 1940, writing them day and night until he closed the consulate about a month later. Even as he left, he was writing visas and handing them out the window as his train pulled away, bowing and apologising to those who still remained on the platform. Within a year, almost all the Jews in Lithuania had been killed.

Netanya is known as a place where many Jewish people arrived after fleeing from the oppression thanks to visas issued by Sugihara. The plan to build the street marks 30 years since Sugihara’s death.

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Israeli soccer star completes record transfer to Chinese club E-mail

Eran Zahavi completed his record move to Chinese club Guangzhou R&F on 29 June and leaving behind a massive void for his club Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Maccabi will receive US$8 million for Zahavi, the most lucrative transfer ever involving an Israeli club. The 28-year-old will earn an estimated US$12.5 million over the next twoand-a-half years, as well as a US$20,000 bonus for each goal he scores.

Zahavi’s move to Guangzhou looked to be all but complete many weeks ago when the clubs agreed on the transfer fee. However, with his trip to China being delayed by visa and contractual issues, Maccabi made Zahavi an improved offer and he was considering not boarding his flight to Guangzhou. He eventually decided to make the trip after Maccabi refused to meet all of his demands.

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Commemorative plaque unveiled at Myanmar’s synagogue E-mail

On 8 June, senior Myanmar government officials visited the only synagogue in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar (Burma), on the occasion of the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the Jewish presence in the South-East Asian country.

Apart from several ministers and the ambassadors of Israel and Canada to Myanmar, Thant Myint U, the grandson of former UN Secretary-General U Thant; Daw Than Than Nu, the daughter of a former Burmese prime minister, and leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Baha’i communities were present at the ceremony.

The synagogue of Yangon (the former Rangoon) was built from 1893 to 1896. It replaced a wooden structure dating back to 1854. At that time, the Jewish community of approximately 2,500 people was a presence in local business and a valued part of local society.

Today, only a handful of Jews remain in Myanmar. For more than 35 years, the Samuels family has taken care of the synagogue, the cemetery and what remains of the Jewish community in Yangon.

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Tourist dies after trekking accident Print E-mail

Oz Levy, a Israeli man in his 20s who had been trekking in Vietnam after completing his thee-year mandatory military service in Israel, died of injuries sustained during a fall while hiking.

He died en route to Israel, where he was due to be hospitalised, the Foreign Ministry said in June.

According to the Walla website, Levy stumbled while on a trek and fell 1015 metres down a waterfall. Friends who were accompanying him at the time of the accident administered first aid and took him to a local hospital. Levy’s parents then flew out to Vietnam with an Israeli doctor, and decided to take their son home, sedated and on a respirator. His condition deteriorated during the flight, and repeated efforts to resuscitate him failed.

(Issue Jul/Aug 2016)

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