World Report

ROME (JTA) — Italian Jews are sharply divided over the new center-right government headed by media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi that includes two controversial politicians with far-right links.

Berlusconi, whose Freedom House coalition swept the center-left from power in general elections last month, was sworn in Monday as prime minister of Italy's 59th government since 1945.

On one hand, Berlusconi's new administration probably will be the most pro-Israel government in Italy in years. Defense Minister Antonio Martino, for example, is vice president of the Italian Friends of Israel association. On the other hand, in addition to his own business-oriented Forza Italia Party, Berlusconi's coalition includes political forces that many Jews deeply distrust including the National Alliance, which has its roots in neo-fascism, and the Northern League, which once aimed to separate northern Italy from the rest of the country and is known for its overt anti-immigrant policies.

Sweden imposes circumcision rules

NEW YORK (JTA) — The World Jewish Congress said it is "totally unacceptable" for Sweden to impose legal restrictions on circumcisions.

The new legislation, passed June 1, declared that circumcisions could only be performed after the administration of an analgesic by a doctor, nurse or person with special permit.

The law was passed after a circumcision led to the death of a Muslim boy.

Swastikas painted on Czech cemetery

PRAGUE (JTA) — Swastikas and other Nazi symbols were painted on 15 tombstones at an abandoned Jewish cemetery near the Czech town of Nyrsko, according to Czech Television.

The defaced tombstones were found by an Israeli tourist searching for the graves of her ancestors.

Slovakia Jews oppose canonizing bishop

PRAGUE (JTA) — Jewish-Catholic tensions in Slovakia are increasing after Catholic leaders said they would continue to press for the canonization of a Slovak bishop despite claims that he played a role in the Holocaust.

Last October, the Slovak Bishops Conference said it would investigate the background of Bishop Jan Vojtassak after five Israeli historians claimed that state records proved he was a senior official in the wartime Slovak government, which was sympathetic to the Nazis.

This week, the Bishops Conference said its investigations are almost complete — and that they would send a document to the Vatican supporting Vojtassak's sainthood by the end of the year.