Shorts: World

E.U. upgrades ties with Israel

The European Union agreed June 16 to upgrade its relations with Israel.

E.U. foreign ministers announced the 27-nation bloc would improve its marketing and policymaking ties with Israel, satisfying a long-standing request from Jerusalem.

The E.U. ministers said the updated ties with Israel should include encouraging a framework for “the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the implementation of the two-state solution.” — jta

Wanted Nazi criminal enjoys soccer festivities

Milivoj Asner, a wanted Nazi war criminal who was deemed unfit to stand trial by Austrian authorities due to his “failing health,” has been spotted at one of the Euro 2008 soccer championship gatherings, looking fit as a fiddle for his age, the English Sun reported this week.

Asner, 95, holds the No. 4 spot on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s most wanted Nazi criminals list. He served in the Croatian police during World War II and is believed to have taken an active part in the persecution and deportation of hundreds of Serbs, Jews and gypsies to death camps.

Asner has been living in Klagenfurt, Austria, for several decades under an assumed name.


Orthodox leader ignites debate

The first Orthodox man elected to head Argentina’s largest Jewish organization took office last week amid an angry debate about religious and cultural identity.

Guillermo Borger tried to dispel fears that he would favor Orthodox Jews and their beliefs during his three-year tenure as president of the 22,000-member Argentine Israeli Mutual Association, known as AMIA. He is the group’s first Orthodox president in its 114-year history.

Earlier this month Buenos Aires’ leading newspaper, Clarin, ignited a controversy when it quoted Borger as saying that “genuine Jews” are those who “lead a life based on everything that is dictated in the Torah, our sacred book.” — ap

Investigator seeks balance at U.N.

The controversial new U.N. investigator of Israel’s alleged human rights abuses said his responsibilities should include flagging Palestinian violations as well.

Richard Falk, an American Jewish academic who angered Israel by likening its conduct in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to Nazi tactics, said in his first address to the U.N. Human Rights Council on June 16 that his mandate should be expanded.

Diplomats said the Human Rights Council was likely to grant Falk’s request. — jta