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Some headlines and summaries from JTA

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Some headlines and summaries from JTA

Assad boosting Palestinian terror?

Syrian President Bashar Assad has reportedly instructed Palestinian terrorist groups to step up attacks on Israel.

Citing Palestinian sources, Israel´s Army Radio said Wednesday that Assad convened representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Damascus earlier this month. According to the report, the Syrian president told the terrorist groups to mount new attacks as a means of distracting from the international scrutiny on his regime´s alleged support for the Iraqi insurgency and involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Israel seeks Security Council seat

Israel applied for membership on the U.N. Security Council for the first time.

In a meeting Monday of the Western European and Others regional group, Ambassador Dan Gillerman officially announced the Jewish state’s candidacy for the council in 2018.

Israel will be running for a spot from the WEOG group, although no vote on Israel’s candidacy will take place until 2017, a spokeswoman for Israel’s U.N. mission said. “We think we can reach that goal,” Anat Friedman told JTA.

Halpern to chair public broadcasting

A former chairwoman of the Republican Jewish Coalition was chosen to lead the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Cheryl Halpern was elected by the corporation’s board Monday to replace Kenneth Tomlinson, whose term as chair expired.

As a board member, Halpern has been critical of Middle East reporting by National Public Radio, which the board oversees. “We have a duty to provide the public an explanation for the kind of work we do,” Halpern said in Washington after being elected. “And we must honor the principles clearly stated in our charter, to encourage objective and balanced programming.”

Halpern is a New Jersey attorney and real estate developer, and is an influential Republican donor. In addition to the RJC, she is active with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Anti-Defamation League.

Jewish institutions get security funds

Thirty Jewish institutions in New York City received government money to help bolster security.
The yeshivas and synagogues received an average grant of $65,000 each as part of a $7.3 million aid package to nonprofit groups in New York City and its suburbs.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) helped the institutions get the money, which came from federal and state homeland security funds.

Torah dedicated in Pentagon

Pentagon officials helped dedicate a Torah in a chapel built where a hijacked plane struck on Sept. 11.

Jacob Hank Sopher, a Florida parking-lot magnate, donated the Torah scroll dedicated Monday in a ceremony featuring representatives of the different services and the Pentagon chaplain’s office. The Aleph Institute, a Chabad-affiliated group that ministers to Jews in prison and the military, organized the Torah dedication. “In the most powerful country in the world, the most powerful building in the world, we did a dedication to Jewish eternity,” said Sholom Lipskar, director of the institute.

The Torah is locked in an olive-wood ark made in Israel.

Petition presses universities on Israel

More than 2,500 people have signed on to a petition calling for changes in how the Israeli-Arab conflict and anti-Semitism are taught in the University of California system.

The petition says courses on the conflict are biased and that instructors and guest speakers create a hostile environment for Jewish students. It calls on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to press university administrators to review existing courses, develop courses about post-Holocaust global anti-Semitism and ensure that campuses are “forums for intellectual inquiry and not vehicles for discrimination, intimidation and hate.”

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