Shorts: U.S.

JCC shooting victims get $2.25 million

Five children hurt in a Los Angeles-area JCC shooting have been awarded a total of $2.25 million.

The children, all under 10 years old at the time, were injured physically and emotionally when parolee Buford Furrow Jr., 46, fired more than 70 rounds at the North Valley Jewish Comm-unity Center in Granada Hills in 1999.

Under a settlement reached last week, the Washington State Department of Corrections will pay the families who had filed a $15 million claim against the agency for not properly supervising Furrow, who had been amassing firearms in his home.

Furrow, a self-avowed white supremacist, had tried to commit himself to a psychiatric hospital in Washington state in 1998 but threatened staff members with a knife. He was arrested, pleaded guilty and served 51⁄2 months in prison for assault with a deadly weapon.

The gunman told police the JCC attack was a “wake-up call to America to kill Jews,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Furrow also shot a mail carrier to death at point-blank range immediately following his JCC rampage. He is serving a life sentence in prison. — jta

Officials investigate R.I. firebomb

Israeli security officials believe the Molotov cocktail attack March 15 on the home of Rhode Island Jewish Agency emissary Yossi Knafo was most likely spontaneously perpetrated by a local group.

No one was wounded in the attack, which took place just before 2 a.m. near the Brown University campus in Providence.

One firebomb hit an outside wall of the house and sparked a fire in the yard, while a second firebomb passed through a window into the living room, but failed to explode. —

House pushes for access to archive

The House of Representatives urged authorities to facilitate access for Holocaust survivors to a massive archive.

The non-binding resolution that passed last week “encourages the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the International Committee of the Red Cross to act with all possible urgency to create appropriate conditions to ensure survivors, their families and researchers have direct access to the archives, and are offered effective assistance in navigating and interpreting these archives.”

The museum, along with Holocaust remembrance authorities in other nations, late last year received the first electronic version of the Red Cross-administered archives in Bad Arolsen, Germany. Some U.S. survivor groups have said that the current process, which can take up to six weeks, is too slow.

Museum officials have said that creating a fully searchable version of the archives would cost millions of dollars. — jta

Poll: Americans support Israel

A recent Gallup Organization survey revealed that 71 percent of Americans look favorably upon Israel, a rise of about 8 percent from last year’s figures.

Israel was the fifth most popular nation among Americans. First on this list was Canada with an approval rating of 92 percent, followed by the United Kingdom (89 percent), Germany (82 percent) and Japan (82 percent).

The Palestinian Authority is decidedly unpopular with the American public, with only 14 percent stating that they supported the authority. —

Swastika building to be altered

The owners of an Alabama retirement home shaped like a swastika will add on to the building to change its outline.

From an aerial view, the outline of the Wesley Acres Methodist retirement home looks like the Nazi symbol.

The building, which provides government-subsidized housing for low-income people, underwent $1 million in renovations with funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to hide its shape in 2001 after complaints about the swastika design by the late Sen. Howell Heflin. The changes, however, only served to accentuate the swastika.

Today the complaints are coming from researcher Avrahaum Segol, who also flagged a swastika-shaped barracks at the Coronado Naval Base in San Diego. — jta

Darfur project leader wins Bronfman prize

Rachel Andres last week was named the 2008 recipient of the $100,000 Charles Bronfman Prize.

For the past two years Andres, 45, has directed the Los Angeles-based Solar Cooker Project of Jewish World Watch.

The group provides solar-powered cookers to 10,000 refugee families who have escaped the massacres in Darfur and live on the Sudan-Chad border.

The annual prize is awarded to a person or team of people younger than 50 whose Jewish values spark humanitarian efforts that help improve the world. — jta