says toast a ‘mistake’

los angeles (jta) | Arnold Schwarzenegger apologized for a 1986 wedding toast to Kurt Waldheim.

“It was a mistake,” the California candidate for governor told the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles last week about his toast to his Austrian compatriot Waldheim, the former U.N. secretary-general who covered up having served in a pro-Nazi unit during World War II.

Schwarzenegger, who is leading in polls for California’s Oct. 7 recall election, has been an active supporter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Israeli bodies found

in Mojave Desert

los angeles | A U.S. jury indicted two men charged with kidnapping two Israelis whose bodies were found in the Mojave Desert last week.

The accused Americans, Shane Huang, 34, and Benjamin Frandsen, 29, allegedly abducted the Israelis, Benjamin Wertzberger, 24, and Adar Neeman, 25, after accusing them of “ripping off” Huang’s narcotics.

Wertzberger went to Los Angeles two years ago, telling his family that he was pursuing a career as a disc jockey. According to Friday’s charges, however, he became involved with American drug dealers.

Neeman joined Wertzberger, who also was known as Ben Berger, in Los Angeles in late November 2002, just days before the two friends disappeared. Huang and Frandsen face possible death sentences if convicted.

Bush meets rabbis

for Days of Awe

washington (jta) | President Bush met with 15 U.S. rabbis to honor the Jewish High Holy Days. Among other topics, Bush discussed the state of the Middle East and convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

According to a rabbi in attendance, Bush twice became emotional during the hourlong meeting, once while discussing his recent trip to the site of the Auschwitz death camp and once when he acknowledged that people pray for him.

Father drops charges

against Israel study

new york (jta) | A New York man dropped a court case aimed at preventing his daughter from studying in Israel.

Vladimir Brichkov last week dismissed the case he had filed to keep his daughter away from Israel, because of the potential for violence there.

“She really wanted to go. Why should I stop her?” he said. Brichkov’s daughter, Bianca, 15, is one of five North American students attending the Elite Academy, a three-year high school program through the Jewish Agency for Israel.