Shorts: Mideast

Tattoos reunite Holocaust survivors

jerusalem (jta) | Two Holocaust survivors who were friends during World War II were reunited thanks to their concentration camp tattoos.

Shmuel Tzuk and Josef Shvyatovich met as teenagers in Poland’s Shanyov concentration camp in 1943. Within months they were shipped to Auschwitz and separated, each assuming the other had died. As it happened, both immigrated to Israel.

The two were recently reunited in Israel when Tzuk’s wife, Hannah, met Shvyatovich and noticed that the Auschwitz tattoo on his arm was numerically close to her husband’s. A tearful meeting followed. “I am a little excited after so many years,” said Shvyatovich, now 83. “We were between life and death, and our meeting now is more than family.”

Sallai Meridor named ambassador to U.S.

jerusalem (jps) | Former Jewish Agency Chairman Sallai Meridor was named Israeli ambassador to Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 4. Meridor will replace Danny Ayalon, who held the position for four years.

Tel Aviv Mayor Roni Milo and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Boim were also on the short list of candidates to replace Ayalon.

Meridor was a candidate for the job in 2002, and was Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s candidate to replace Ayalon in 2005. In the end, however, Sharon wanted to keep Ayalon in the job to see through the disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

As a result of his tenure as Jewish Agency chairman, Meridor is believed to have antagonized some influential players in the American Jewish community who may come out against his appointment.

Peace Now: Settlers used war to build

jerusalem (jps) | The war in Lebanon gave cover for the building of numerous illegal outposts, said a biannual report released by Israeli “land for peace” group Peace Now on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

The report focused on building during the time period between April and August of 2006.

The report noted 31 outposts that were undergoing expansion and 12 that were being built as permanent housing.

Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer denied that such expansion was occurring during an interview with Reshet Bet Radio shortly after the report was released.

Al-Aksa Brigade threatens Haniyeh

jerusalem (jps) | Fatah’s al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade threatened to kill all of Hamas’s leaders, including Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal.

In a message sent to news agencies Monday, Oct. 2, the group said that it considers Mashaal, Interior Minister Sayid Siam and another high-ranking member of the ministry, Yosef al-Zahar, responsible for the deaths of Palestinians killed during recent Hamas-Fatah clashes.

JNF creates new environmental fund

jerusalem (jta) | A new fund will support environmental projects in Israel. The Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael matched a $100,000 donation from Alon Tal to create the Tal Fund, which will provide seed capital for environmental projects.

Tal, founding director of the Israel Union for Environmental Defense and past chairman of Life and Environment, an umbrella group of more than 80 environmental organizations, donated the money he won as recipient of the 2005 Charles Bronfman Humanitarian Prize.

Israeli group snatches girl in family dispute

jerusalem (jta) | An Israeli group has kidnapped a girl whose mother is Jewish, but was living with her Palestinian father in the West Bank.

Yad L’Achim, an organization that says it rescues “Jewish souls,” confirmed that it snatched the girl in a raid near Tulkarm and brought her to her mother.