Weekly Top 10
WASHINGTON, D.C. August 17, 2018

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

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

Dear Friend,

Please see below for the links to this week's news updates.

Mark B. Levin
NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
Washington, D.C. August 17, 2018

Moldovan Jews Slam 'Hate Speech' Following Tirade Against Convicted Jewish Mayor
JTA, August 10 2018

Following a politician’s tirade against a Jewish mayor in Moldova convicted of fraud, the country’s Jewish community condemned “hate speech’s use as an instrument of political struggle.”

The statement Friday by the Jewish Community of Moldova — a landlocked republic sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine — did not name former sports minister Octavian Țicu or any other alleged purveyor of hate speech.

But it came fresh on the heels of a controversy over Ticu’s July 23 post on Facebook about Ilan Shor, the Israel-born mayor of Orhei, a city north of the capital Chisinau. The post called Shor a “thief” who “drinks wine and eats the bread of a country that has received him and many others generously, yet he curses us in Russian and considers us a herd of sheep.” He also wrote that Shor “didn’t bother to learn” the local language, Romanian.

Anti-Semitic Books Found in Likud Activist's Office 
YnetNews, August 11, 2018

Russian police raided the Jewish community center in Moscow on Friday as part of an investigation into Alexander Kargin, the representative of Israel's Likud Party in Russia, finding books with anti-Semitic materials there, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

The investigation "into actions aimed at fomenting hatred or enmity or insulting a group of people based on their ethnicity and religion" was launched after law enforcement in the country received a report about Kargin.

Kargin's lawyer, Igor Zuber, insisted the books did not belong to his client.

Analysis: Russia and Israel are on Georgia's Mind
By Herb Keinon
Jerusalem Post, August 9, 2018

In 1990, Paata Kalandadze – a young diplomat from Georgia – was serving in the Soviet Union’s diplomatic delegation in Israel that was operating out of the Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv.

This was a time before the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Mikhail Gorbachev was the Soviet leader and his foreign minister was a Georgian by the name of Eduard Shevardnadze. The Soviet Union had not yet disintegrated, but huge change was already in the works – as evidenced by the fact that the Soviet Union, which had been so anti-Israel for so long, opened a diplomatic delegation in Israel.

Romanian Police Nab Suspect in Anti-Semitic Vandalism of Elie Wiesel's Home
JTA, August 17, 2018

Romanian police arrested a 37-year-old man whom they suspect wrote anti-Semitic slogans on the childhood home of Elie Wiesel.

The man, whose name police did not release, is believed to have written in fluorescent pink graffiti the words “public toilet” and “Nazi Jew lying in hell with Hitler” as well as “Anti-Semite pedophile.”The Memorial House Elie Wiesel is in Sighet in eastern Romania.

Tel Aviv on the Black Sea: Odessa, The Cradle of Israeli Culture, Enjoys a Jewish Renaissance
By Rebecca Greig

Haaretz, August 14, 2018

MOSCOW - Twenty sites in Russia where Jews were executed and buried during the war will be memorialized as part of the next stage of the Return Dignity program this year.

Monuments to Holocaust victims will be built in cities and villages in the Bryansk, Volgograd, Oryol, Ryazan, Smolensk, and Tula regions, the Stavropol Territory and the Republic of Kalmykia. It is planned to erect the granite obelisks by late October, spokesman of the Russian Jewish Congress Mikhail Savin told Interfax on Monday.

Ukraine's Little Known Memory War
By Samuel Sokol and Anna Kupinska
Open Democracy, July 26, 2018

Viktor Shnirelman, an anthropologist who has specialized on anti-Semitism in Russia for 25 years, says that the Putin regime has restrained anti-Semitic actions but not anti-Semitic propaganda, an indication that it retains the image of the Jew as enemy of Russia and will keep that in reserve until the need to use it arises.

That conclusion is offered in his new book, Three Myths about a Conspiracy: Anti-Semitic Propaganda in Contemporary Russia (in Russian, Moscow: Academia, 2017, 390 pages), that has been reviewed by Svetlana Solodvnik for Yezhednevny zhurnal.

The Sale of Azerbaijan's Jewish Community Center Deals a Painful Blow to a Dwindling Community 
By Cnaan Liphshiz
JTA, August 14, 2018

BAKU, Azerbaijan — About one year after Bella Regimov’s two children left their native country for Israel along with many of her friends and relatives, she began feeling socially isolated.

On her own in Azerbaijan’s family-oriented society, the 76-year-old was losing “the will to get up in the morning” following their immigration in the early 2000s, she said.

But in 2006, things turned around. That year, she started volunteering at the Jewish community center that the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, or JDC, had opened two years earlier in this capital city of the Caucasus republic.

A Jewish 'Hogwarts' in the Land of Shtetls
By Alex Weisler
Tablet, August 15, 2018

People tend to look at me quizzically when I tell them about my travels to Central and Eastern Europe.

I’ve got a strong Jewish identity — married to a Conservative rabbi, attending synagogue weekly, big fan of Fran Drescher — and they often start by asking me, “So you’re touring concentration camps there, right? Maybe a cemetery?”

No, I tell them. In fact, I’ve never been to a concentration camp.

But I have been to dozens of resurgent Jewish communities in the region, a somewhat hidden and unlikely phenomenon given the Holocaust and legacy of Communism in this part of the world.

Israel Rolls out the Red Tape Instead of Red Carpet for Many Russian Jews Seeking Aliyah
By Liza Rozovsky
Haaretz, August 15, 2018

Many Jewish citizens of former Soviet countries once welcomed to Israel with open arms, now many their applications for aliyah bogged down for years in red tape and bureaucracy.

Would-be immigrants describe long waiting periods and unexplained rejections from Nativ, the government agency in charge of determining eligibility for aliyah.

Lydia Dolinsky, 70, has lived in Safed for five years since moving to Israel on her own accord from the Russian city of Ryazan. But by making aliyah, she’s been separated from her son, Michail, 40, who, diagonosed with schizophrenia, has been living in a Russian psychiatric hospital.

Are Polish-Israeli Ties Thawing?
By Tovah Lazaroff
Jerusalem Post, August 13, 2018

Relations between Israel and Poland could be in recovery mode, now that the eastern-European country has backed away from legislation that would have criminalized statements implicating Polish involvement in the extermination of Jews during World War II.

KAN News reported on Sunday that Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz could be meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the 73rd opening session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.

[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.