Weekly News Update 
WASHINGTON, D.C. October 11, 2017

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Daniel Rubin, Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, President;
Mark B. Levin, Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
Dear Friend,

We wish you all a Chag Sameach! 


Mark B. Levin
NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
Washington, D.C. October 11, 2017

Ukraine arrests 3 alleged terrorists accused of targeting Jews in Uman
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 6, 2017

Ukrainian police arrested three men they said were terrorists who, in their efforts to pit ethnic groups against one another, also targeted Jews in the central city of Uman.

The men were arrested earlier this month at a border crossing while carrying explosives, according to the KP news site. Citing unnamed officials from the regional prosecutor’s office, the news site reported that the suspects were planning to blow up a monument for Hungarians in a bid to escalate tensions over legislation in Ukraine that outlaws the use of Hungarian at elementary schools.

Ukraine teens arrested in vandalism at Jewish cemetery
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 9, 2017

Authorities in Ukraine have identified several teenagers whom police said desecrated at least 20 Jewish graves in August.

The teens, all males younger than 18, were detained last month in connection with vandalism in Svalyava, a city in Western Ukraine that is located approximately 100 miles southwest of Lviv, the news site reported last week. The report did not say whether the suspects admitted the actions attributed to them or what punishments they will receive if convicted.

Read the full article here.

Holocaust revisionism in Croatia not just a Jewish fight, Jewish group says
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 9, 2017

In an unusual plea, the World Jewish Congress urged international bodies to oppose what it calls “brazen attempts” to whitewash Holocaust crimes in the European Union’s newest member, Croatia. The call came in a 4,000-word position paper published Monday in Tablet magazine by Menachem Rosensaft, the WJC’s general counsel.

The article, titled “Croatia is Brazenly Attempting to Rewrite its Holocaust Crimes Out of History,” examines dithering and mixed messages by the Balkan country’s highest elected officials on the Ustasha, a fascist movement led by Ante Pavelic that murdered hundreds of thousands of Serbs and tens of thousands of Jews during World War II. Reviled by many Croatians for their war crimes, Ustasha criminals are celebrated as heroes by many others — often with a nod from the government.

Warsaw Jewish museum welcomes 1 millionth visitor to core exhibition
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 6, 2017

Less than three years after it opening, the core exhibition of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews  registered a million visitors, management said.

The millionth ticket was bought by a Polish couple, Barbara and Slawomir, from the city of Szczecin in northwest Poland, a museum spokeswoman, Zaneta Czyzniewska, wrote in a statement Wednesday. They received a free museum card and return flight tickets for two to Israel from an airport of their choice in Poland.

Read the full article here.

Int’l MPs to tour Jerusalem, sign declaration of support for Israel
By Gil Hoffman
Jerusalem Post, October 8, 2017

Twenty-six members of parliament from 15 countries will tour holy and strategic sites in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria starting on Sunday, as part of the Israel Allies Foundation’s annual Jerusalem Chairman’s Conference.

The World Jewish Congress is co-sponsoring the conference with the ICEJ and Bridges for Peace. Participating countries are the US, Romania, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, the EU, Greece, Slovakia, Finland, Malawi, South Africa, Australia, the Ivory Coast, Uruguay, Brazil and Guatemala.

Read the full article here.

Hundreds arrested at anti-Putin rallies across Russia
Agence France Presse, October 8, 2017

MOSCOW, Russia — Russian police violently broke up a rally in Saint Petersburg as thousands took to the streets across Russia Saturday on President Vladimir Putin’s 65th birthday, urging him to quit power.

Heeding the call of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny to demand competitive elections, around 3,000 people rallied in Russia’s second city and Putin’s hometown while more than a thousand demonstrated in the centre of Moscow, AFP reporters said. Protests were held in around 80 cities throughout the country.

Read the full article here.

Son of Chabad Chief Rabbi of Russia Moves to Annexed Crimea
JNi.Media, October 8, 2017

Rabbi Yehezkel Lazar, son of Russia’s Chief Rabbi and senior Chabad-Lubavitch official Rabbi Berel Lazar, has set up shop in Simferopol in the Republic of Crimea, Singapore-based MiceTimes reported Sunday.

“Our goals are not political but spiritual,” Rabbi Lazar Jr. stated. “In Simferopol and Crimea there are Jews, and they need to organize their life as a community. I have friends in the US, and in Ukraine, and they understand it. We understand that the situation in Crimea is complicated.”

Read the full article here.

European Parliament Pressing For Ways To Bring Georgia, Ukraine, And Moldova Closer
By Rikard Jozwiak
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, October 10, 2017

BRUSSELS -- The European Parliament's foreign affairs committee is calling for tighter sanctions on Russia and a mechanism for bringing Eastern Partnership countries such as Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine closer to the European Union. The committee approved the recommendations in an October 10 vote ahead of an Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit in Brussels on November 24.

They are nonbinding and could be ignored when EU heads of state and government meet with their counterparts from the six Eastern partners -- which also include Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus -- but the full European Parliament plenary is set to endorse the document shortly before the summit.

Read the full article here.

For some foreign diplomats, the Trump White House is a troubling enigma
By Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe
Washington Post, October 9, 2017

After nearly nine months of the Trump administration, many of America’s closest allies have concluded that a hoped-for “learning curve” they thought would make President Trump a reliable partner is not going to happen.

Senior diplomats and officials from nearly a dozen countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia expressed a remarkable coincidence of views in interviews over the past several weeks. Asked to describe their thoughts about and relations with the president and his team as the end of Trump’s first year approaches, many described a whirlwind journey beginning with tentative optimism, followed by alarm and finally reaching acceptance that the situation is unlikely to improve.

In Moscow For Simchat Torah, in 1965
By Elie Wiesel
Forward, October 11, 2017

As he wrote in the pages of the Forverts: “Jewish youth refuse to inherit their elders’ terror. Let the local press deride them, let their oppressors implode with anger. They refuse to be robbed of their Jewishness and have their annual yontef beneath the open skies ruined.”

Here is an abridged version of his report, as it appeared in his 1966 book, ‘The Jews of Silence’.

Read the full article here.

How Israel Caught Russian Hackers Scouring the World for U.S. Secrets
By Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane
New York Times, October 10, 2017

It was a case of spies watching spies watching spies: Israeli intelligence officers looked on in real time as Russian government hackers searched computers around the world for the code names of American intelligence programs. What gave the Russian hacking, detected more than two years ago, such global reach was its improvised search tool — antivirus software made by a Russian company, Kaspersky Lab, that is used by 400 million people worldwide, including by officials at some two dozen American government agencies.

The Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky’s own network alerted the United States to the broad Russian intrusion, which has not been previously reported, leading to a decision just last month to order Kaspersky software removed from government computers.

Read the full article here.

Why Trump must engage Azerbaijan
The Muslim-majority nation is a willing U.S. partner in fostering regional stability
By S. Rob Sobhani
Washington Times, October 10, 2017

The second reason why the Trump team must immediately engage with Azerbaijan relates to the global war against Islamic extremism. The Muslim world is undergoing a “civil war” of ideas, and Azerbaijan stands at the forefront of this battle of ideas because woven into the fabric of its rich culture and heritage is religious tolerance. Azerbaijan is home to thriving Jewish, Christian, Bahai and Sunni Muslim communities, all of whom live side by side in a spirit of tolerance.

Milikh Yevdayev, head of the “Mountain Jews” of Azerbaijan, recently stated: “I always repeat these words to Jewish people everywhere that if they don’t have a place to live, let them come to Azerbaijan.” At a time when Islamic extremism is on the rise, Mr. Trump can highlight Azerbaijan as a model for other Muslim countries to emulate.

Read the full article here.

To save Yiddish theater, these Romanian actors abandoned their home
By Cnaan Liphshiz
JTA, October 10, 2017

BUCHAREST, Romania — When the roof of the Jewish State Theater collapsed during a 2014 snowstorm, its director reluctantly knew it was finally time to abandon the century-old building in this capital city.

But the story of Bucharest’s Jewish State Theater didn’t end there. Instead, the Yiddish troupe’s members leveraged their forced exile to raise awareness of the need to preserve the four-story building.

Read the full article here.

[Link to pdf of full articles]
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Founded in 1971, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.