Shorts: world

You’re never too old for aliyah

jerusalem (jta) | A 100-year-old London man who moved to Israel, Simon Clyne, is thought to be the oldest immigrant ever to move to Israel from Britain.

Arriving at Ben-Gurion airport last week, Clyne told reporters, “It is a dream come true to be here in Israel with my lovely family.”

He will live near his family on Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

al-Aksa Brigade: U.S. out!

jerusalem (jta) | A Palestinian terrorist group released a statement saying it would not accept U.S. officials in Palestinian areas.

The Tuesday, March 30, statement by the al-Aksa Brigade criticized the United States for vetoing a recent U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin.

The warning comes as three high-level Bush administration officials arrive in the region to get more details on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan for withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

“The visit is rejected completely, and the American administration will not like the circumstances of such a visit,” the statement said.

Sharon wants Gaza referendum

jerusalem (jta) | Ariel Sharon told members of his Likud Party that he will seek their approval for a Gaza withdrawal after he presents the plan to President Bush.

The Israeli prime minister addressed party faithful in Tel Aviv to counter opposition within his ruling party to his disengagement plan. Sharon said he will hold a binding party referendum on the plan upon his return from Washington next month. It would be his first request for a show of support from the Likud’s membership.

Hamas chief: bombers like Jesus

jerusalem (jta) | The head of Hamas likened suicide bombers to Jesus.

In an unreleased documentary by Isadore Rosmarin, Abdel Aziz Rantissi offers a new rationale for the use of children as suicide bombers, the New York Post reported. The successor to Sheik Ahmed Yassin, killed by Israel last week, said “martyrdom bombers” among Palestinian youths “are ready to sacrifice for the sake of our people,” just as “Jesus, peace be with him, sacrificed for human beings.”

Chametz for sale, online, for cheap

moscow (jta) | Jews in the former Soviet Union now can sell their chametz, or not-kosher-for-Passover food, online.

To fulfill the commandment that Jews rid their pantries of unleavened foods for the holiday, Russian-speaking Web surfers can go to and fill out the form that will authorize Rabbi Berel Lazar, one of Russia’s two chief rabbis, to sell the chametz on their behalf.

The service is being provided by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia.

‘Passion’ plays on in France despite trial

paris (jta) | A French court has dismissed a legal challenge to “The Passion of the Christ” by three Jewish brothers who claimed the film could lead to attacks on Jews.

The court ruled against Patrick, Gerard and Jean-Marc Benlolo, who claimed the film presented an erroneous version of the Gospels and would exacerbate anti-Semitism by portraying Jews as “God-killers.”

The movie does not appear “to manipulate biblical texts” nor “have the obvious aim to attack the Jewish community,” Judge Florence Lagemi wrote in her decision. The Benlolo brothers said they will appeal the decision.

The film was slated to open in France on Wednesday, March 31.

Pope meets with Jewish leaders

rome (jta) | Pope John Paul II said a meeting this week with Jewish leaders demonstrated interfaith friendship.

“Your visit is yet another sign of the bonds of friendship between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church, bonds which we hope will grow ever stronger,” he said on Monday, March 29, during a Vatican audience with a delegation from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. “May God bless your efforts and grant you success in helping those in need.”

Hitler wax dummy is back in Berlin

berlin (jta) | A Berlin wax museum has returned an effigy of Hitler to its main exhibit hall. Inna Vollstadt reinstated the dummy after consulting with attorneys. “Wax museums in London and even here in the German city of Hamburg also display wax figures of Hitler,” she said on Tuesday, March 30.