Shorts: U.S.

Presbyterians shying away from divestment policy

new york (ap) | Five regional bodies in the Presbyterian Church (USA) are calling for a modification or end to the church’s attempt to pull investments from companies working in Israel.

The regional bodies, called presbyteries, have drafted proposals, known as overtures. Each overture differs slightly, but all call for a modification or withdrawal of the divestment policy because it is biased against Israel in favor of the Palestinians.

The moves come almost two years after the Louisville, Ky.-based denomination began a process of selectively divesting in multinational corporations operating in Israel.

At least 350,000 Israelis are living in N.Y. area

new york (ynet) | About 350,000 Israeli nationals were living in the New York metropolitan area in December 2005, a new report compiled by the Israeli consulate in Manhattan reveals.

The report estimates there are additional tens of thousands of Israelis in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut vicinity that have not yet approached the consulate for services, and were consequently not registered there.

This could boost the population to 400,000.

The recent report confirms earlier assessments that estimated there were 800,000 Israelis residing in the United States, mainly in New York, California (about 200,000) and Florida (about 100,000).

Christian founds Pro-Israel alliance

san antonio (ap) | Televangelist John Hagee has started a new alliance to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of Israel.

About 400 evangelical leaders from around the country attended last week’s invitation-only conference that kicked off Christians United for Israel. The meeting was held at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio where Hagee is a pastor.

Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg of San Antonio’s Congregation Rodfei Sholom, who attended the meeting, called the news historic.

“It’s the first nationwide effort I know of to unify evangelical leaders in support of Israel,” he said.

Possible Hitler gun sells for $140,000

chicago (ap) | A rare German gun that might have been owned by Adolf Hitler sold for $140,025 in an online auction that ended last week.

At least 60 bids had been put in for the weapon and its Web page was viewed more than 13,400 times.

The gun is worth about $7,000 without a connection to Hitler, said Wes Lane, owner of Midwest Exchange, the Bloomington, Ill., pawn shop that hosted the auction.

No one knows for sure whether Hitler owned the Krieghoff Drilling shotgun/rifle engraved with the initials “A.H.”

Randall Gibson, author of “The Krieghoff Parabellum,” a reference book on the gunmaker, said the gun company gave engraved guns to Hitler and other high-ranking German officials as it sought military contracts before World War II.

Maryland politician apologizes about Zazi comment

baltimore (ap) | Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele apologized last week for comparing embryonic stem-cell research to Nazi medical experiments, saying, “In no way did I intend to equate the two.”

Steele, who is seeking a Senate seat, had made the remark to the Baltimore Jewish Council on Thursday, Feb. 9, after speaking about a recent trip to Israel. One of the 40 audience members had asked for his thoughts on stem-cell research.

“You, of all folks, know what happens when people decide to experiment on human beings, when they want to take your life and use it as a tool,” Steele said.

Orthodox blog wins top award

baltimore | Cross-Currents, a Web log written by Orthodox rabbis and teachers, last week took first place honors for best group site in the second annual Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards.

It finished second to the Jerusalem Post’s Dry Bones as best overall blog.

The contest was sponsored by the IsraellyCool blog and the Jerusalem Post and spurred online campaigning across the blogosphere.

Cross-Currents, which can be found at, was founded by Rabbi Yaakov Menken, director of Project Genesis, and Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, director of Project Next Step of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

Adlerstein said, “For decades, Torah Jewry in America was at the mercy of editors who were at best benignly tolerant of our community and our views. The world of the blog has changed all that.”