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Newsdesk April 29, 2005

ZOA: No Vote on Aid

The Zionist Organization of America will not lobby against American aid to cover Israel’s Gaza withdrawal costs, ZOA National President Morton Klein said.

Last week Klein told the Forward that his organization, which strongly opposes the Gaza redeployment plan, would consider lobbying against Israeli requests for American financial aid to help pay for the withdrawal. This week, however, Klein said that he has changed his mind and decided not to bring the issue to a vote before the ZOA board.

“Jewish organizations have to be careful,” he explained. “I don’t want anyone to take it as if we are fighting against Israel.”

Australian Shul Attacked

A rural white extremist group is believed to be responsible for an attack on a synagogue in the Australian city of Newcastle. The attack took place April 20, the 116th anniversary of Hitler’s birth. The walls of the synagogue were daubed with swastikas and with stickers that contained virulently antisemitic slogans, and the synagogue’s six stained-glass windows were destroyed. “No one in the community is frightened by these thugs, but we are very upset,” synagogue treasurer Sam Resch said.

Police are investigating the attack. Newcastle, a city that is about 100 miles north of Sydney, has a Jewish community of about 30 people. The incident took place the same week that a small town near Newcastle made front-page news when one household flew a Nazi flag that residents had bought in a market. Those responsible told the media that they thought the flag was “attractive,” but they didn’t know what it symbolized. Confronted by angry neighbors, the residents refused to remove the flag, but finally did so under pressure from the local council, Jewish groups and national media.

Pope Talks of ‘Heritage’

Pope Benedict XVI extolled Jews this week for sharing a “spiritual heritage” with Christians. In a Vatican sermon Sunday that marked his installation as pontiff, he offered greetings to “my brothers and sisters of the Jewish people, to whom we are joined by a great shared spiritual heritage, one rooted in God’s irrevocable promises.” The pope is widely expected to pursue the path of religious reconciliation forged by his predecessor, John Paul II. Rome’s chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, received a personal invitation to Mass but could not attend because it took place during Passover.



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