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2014-03-14 digital edition

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March 14, 2014  RSS feed
Just a Nosh

Text: T T T

Just a nosh...

Complied from JTA news service

Knesset passes draft law requiring haredi Orthodox men to serve

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Knesset has passed a law requiring haredi Orthodox yeshiva students to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. The controversial law, which removes most exemptions for haredi Orthodox yeshiva students, passed by a vote of 65 to 1. The opposition parties boycotted the vote after the government coalition limited debate on the bill.

Under the military draft law, haredi men would be criminally charged for evading the draft, but the penalties would not go into effect until 2017. In addition, draft orders for haredi men up to age 26 will not go into effect until up to a year after the law is implemented.

The Tal Law, which allowed haredi men to defer army service indefinitely, was invalidated by the Supreme Court in February 2012. Since then, Haredi yeshiva students have had their drafts deferred.

Hundreds of thousands of haredi Orthodox men protested earlier this month in Jerusalem against the new law. A similar and smaller rally was held in New York.

Kiev rabbi assault latest in string of suspected anti-Semitic incidents

Two unidentified men assaulted Rabbi Hillel Cohen, who runs the Ukrainian branch of the Hatzalah emergency services organization on the streets of Kiev, on Thursday, March 13, his wife, Racheli Cohen, told JTA.

“They struck him in the leg, shouting anti-Semitic slurs, calling him a ‘zhyd,’ ” she said, using the Ukrainian word for “kike.” “This was clearly an anti-Semitic attack.” Cohen was treated for minor injuries in a hospital and is recovering at his home in Kiev.

In January, a religious Hebrew teacher was assaulted outside his Kiev home by four men, but escaped without serious injury. Later that month a rabbinical student was stabbed by three men while returning from synagogue, sustaining moderate to serious injuries.

Earlier in the week, vandals removed part of the fence around a Jewish cemetery in western Ukraine, according to a report by the HTK television channel.

In February, a synagogue in eastern Ukraine was hit with firebombs that caused superficial damage to its façade. Another synagogue in the Crimean Peninsula was daubed with graffiti reading: “Death to the Jews” several days later.

The Kremlin has blamed the revolution on “anti- Semites” and “neo-Nazis.” Ira Forman, the Obama Administration’s special envoy for combating anti-Semitism, said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statements on anti-Semitism in Ukraine were not credible. Ukrainian Jewish leaders also disputed Putin’s allegations.

Jewish Federations establishes fund for Ukrainian Jews

NEW YORK — The Jewish Federations of North America has launched a Ukraine Assistance Fund ( contribute/ukraine-assistance). The money will be used to provide security for Jewish institutions and offer assistance to individuals as the country faces turmoil sparked by its recent revolution and the Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

“As the situation escalates, needs in the Ukrainian Jewish community become even more acute,” said Michael Siegal, chair of the Jewish Federations’ board.

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