Shorts: World

Sarkozy: No more talks with Hamas

French President Nicolas Sarkozy told visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni this week that Paris will have no more contact with Hamas.

The pledge came a week after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner admitted that one of his former diplomats had met Hamas leaders to discuss reconciliation with rival Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Like the rest of the European Union, France has demanded that Hamas renounce terrorism and recognize the Jewish state before it can be engaged by the West. — jta

Carter discusses Israel’s nukes

During an appearance at a British literary festival, former President Jimmy Carter said that Israel has 150 nuclear weapons, according to the Sunday Times of London.

The report did not provide direct quotes from Carter’s speech, which took place May 25 and dealt with U.S. policies toward Iran and the Palestinians. If Carter did indeed discuss Israel’s military nuclear capabilities, it would mark an unprecedented departure from a longstanding “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on the issue.

Israel is widely assumed to have amassed nuclear weapons since the 1960s, but neither confirms nor denies the arsenal’s existence under an “ambiguity” strategy. — jta

Watchdog wins appeal against TV station

A French appeals court ruled last week that Philippe Karsteny, a media watchdog, did not libel a television station.

Karsteny claimed that France 2 TV staged the death of 12-year-old Mohammed al Dura at Gaza’s Netzarim Junction in September 2000 amid Israeli-Palestinian fighting.

The move lent new credence to the claims by Karsenty and others that the iconic shooting, which fanned the flames of the second intifada, was manipulated by video editing.

The ruling “means there is a strong chance that I’m right,” Karsenty said. — jta

Israel donating to China relief

The Israeli government is donating $1.5 million worth of equipment for earthquake relief in China.

The first three tons of supplies arrived last week on a commercial El Al flight to Beijing. The supplies included sleeping bags, blankets and personal water purification units.

The Israeli government is making purchases based on a list of needs from the Chinese government.

“The outpouring of sentiment in our country is deep and genuine. As longstanding friends of the Chinese people, we are committed to doing everything we can to help at this critical time,” said Israel’s ambassador to China, Amos Nadai. — jta

German council decries stabber’s sentence

German Jewish leaders expressed “surprise and incredulity” at a three-and-a-half-year prison term given last week to a man who stabbed a rabbi in Frankfurt.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany said the sentence sends a dangerous message to potential perpetrators regarding the response to bias crimes.

Sajed A., as he was identified in court papers, admitted to stabbing Rabbi Zalman Gurevitch.

Sajed A. said he had been driven by fear of the physically larger rabbi. The Frankfurt District Court agreed that he did not intend to kill the rabbi. — jta

British Jewry rises to 280,000

The Jewish population in Britain grew for the first time since World War II, University of Manchester researchers said.

According to the researchers, the number of British Jews increased in 2008 to 280,000 from 275,000 in 2005. They cited exceptionally high birth rates in ultra-Orthodox families.

The number of British Jews peaked at 450,000 in 1950 but has declined consistently since that time. — jta

Europe to get main synagogue

Europe is about to get its own main synagogue without a single stone being lifted.

La Regence, the main synagogue in Brussels, Belgium, will be rededicated as the Great Synagogue of Europe in a traditional ceremony led Wednesday, June 4 by Brussels’ Chief Rabbi Albert Guigui.

The Conference of European Rabbis, which is hosting the event, represents Orthodox rabbis in more than 40 countries.

More than 20,000 Jews live in Brussels. — jta