New Kosher Cheese
LISBON — For the first time in more than 500 years, a dairy product has been granted a hechsher in Portugal. A well-known local cheese, supervised by the chief rabbi of Porto, a city in northern Portugal, is the first dairy product to be certified kosher in Portugal since its Jews were expelled in 1497. Serra de Estrala cheese is supervised by Rabbi Daniel Litvak, an emissary for the Israel-based Shavei Israel, an outreach group for descendants of Anousim, Jews who converted against their will hundreds of years ago. The owner of the factory who asked the rabbi to supervise his cheese descends from Anousim.
Covert War On Iran
LONDON — Israel is assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists as part of a covert war against the Iran’s weapons program, western intelligence analysts told London’s Daily Telegraph. The paper says United States intelligence sources claim that Israel is using hit men, sabotage, front companies and double agents to disrupt Iran’s illicit weapons project. “The aim is to slow down or interrupt Iran’s research program, without the gamble of a direct confrontation that could lead to a wider war,” an intelligence analyst said.
Baha’i Men Accused
TEHRAN — Iran has accused seven Baha’i leaders of spying for Israel. The men were arrested in Iran eight months ago, the Washington Post reported. An indictment will be issued this week, Iran’s state news agency said. The charges, which include “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic republic,” could mean the death penalty if the men, members of a religion banned in Iran, are convicted. Baha’i global headquarters is in Haifa.
Death Penalty Sought
SANAA — Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a Yemeni Muslim who admitted to killing a Jewish countryman. The verdict on Abdul Aziz Yahya al-Abdi will be announced March 2, AFP reported. Abdi, 39, shot Masha Yaeish al-Nahari, a 30-year-old father of nine, in December. Abdi told the court he told the Yemeni Jewish community in a letter to “convert to Islam or leave Yemen, or I would kill them.” Nahari was confronted near his home in the town of Raydah and told him to convert. When Nahari told Abdi to leave him alone, Abdi shot him several times with a submachine-gun.
France Takes Responsibility For Shoah Role
PARIS — For the first time, France officially recognized its guilt in helping murder Jews during World War II.
On Feb. 16, the country’s high court, the Council of State, took the opportunity to hold France “responsible” for sending French Jews to Nazi camps, when asked about a related case on reparations to a Shoah victim.
The council said France must “solemnly recognize the responsibility of the state and the collective prejudice suffered,” because the country “permitted or facilitated the deportation from France of victims of anti-Semitic persecution,” the daily le Figaro reported.
It took until 1995 for former French president Jacques Chirac to become the first French leader to publicly take responsibility for sending 76,000 French Jews to Nazi camps. Some 2,600 survived, the Paris-based Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah says. Until Chirac’s statement, German occupiers under the French Vichy regime were officially blamed for killing Jews. But Chirac’s comments didn’t hold the legal weight of the ruling.