Shorts: World

U.N.: No direct hit on Gaza school

A U.N. official has backed off a claim that Israeli artillery struck one of its schools in Gaza.

The Jan. 6 incident, in which 43 Palestinians were killed, has been a major point of contention between Israel and the United Nations over the Gaza military operation.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Jerusalem, Maxwell Gaylord, said Feb. 2 that the Israeli mortar shells landed in the street near the United Nations Relief and Works Agency school in Gaza and not inside the school, which was sheltering Palestinian refugees, Ha’aretz reported.

In the hours following the strike and ever since, Israel has widely been accused of striking the school. Israeli officials have maintained that they did not target the school but fired in the direction of Hamas gunfire. — jta

Australia honors Jewish Everest climber and daughter

Australia presented one of its highest awards to the Jewish woman who made history when she climbed Mount Everest with her daughter.

Cheryl Bart was made an Officer of the Order of Australia — one of 536 Australians honored on Australia Day, Feb. 2. Last May, Bart and her daughter, Nikki, became the first mother-daughter duo to successfully scale the world’s tallest peak. The pair, who carried a flag of Israel to the summit of Everest, also became the first mother-daughter team to scale the highest peaks on each continent. — jta

Most-wanted Nazi died in 1992

Documents have surfaced in Egypt showing the world’s most-wanted Nazi war criminal, concentration camp doctor Aribert Heim, died in Cairo in 1992, Germany’s ZDF television and the New York Times reported this week.

The report said Heim was living under a pseudonym and had converted to Islam by the time of his death from intestinal cancer.

ZDF said that in a joint effort with the New York Times, it located a passport, application for a residence permit, bank slips, personal letters and medical papers, in all more than 100 documents, left behind by Heim in a briefcase in the hotel room where he lived under the name Tarek Hussein Farid.

Heim joined the local Nazi Party in 1935 and later became a member of the Waffen SS. He was assigned to Mauthausen, a concentration camp near Linz, Austria, as a camp doctor in October and November 1941.

While there, witnesses told investigators, he worked closely with SS pharmacist Erich Wasicky on such gruesome experiments as injecting various solutions into Jewish prisoners’ hearts to see which killed them the fastest. — ap

Sholem Aleichem house destroyed

One of Sholem Aleichem’s homes in Kiev was demolished on the eve of the anniversary of his birth.

The Kiev building where the famed Yiddish writer lived in 1905 was destroyed over the weekend by a construction company, despite city authorities’ instructions to suspend the demolition in order to clarify the case.

The site is being prepared for a new hotel for the Euro-2012 soccer tournament, according to reports.

According to Kiev historian Mikhail Kalnitzky, “the local authorities’ fault is that they didn’t put the building on the register list of state or municipal monuments of architecture. That is why the private company is destroying the building.” — jta

Israeli poet’s work published  in Ukraine

A book by an Israeli poet was published in Ukraine with the support of the Jewish Foundation of Ukraine.

The foundation is planning to distribute “I Returned,” by Irina Nerovnaya, to all Jewish communities and schools in Ukraine. Nerovnya, who is from Pryluki in the Chernigovsky region of Ukraine, now lives in Haifa and works as a journalist. — jta

Survey: 45 percent of Italians have anti-Jewish bias

A new survey finds that 45 percent of the Italian population harbors some sort of prejudice against Jews.

The survey, conducted by the Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation in Milan, identified three forms of anti-Jewish stereotypes that coexist but do not necessarily overlap. Some 10 percent of respondents appeared to harbor only “classic” stereotypes, such as “Jews are not really Italians at heart” or “Jews can’t be trusted,” while 11 percent harbored only “modern” anti-Semitic stereotypes, such as Jews control politics and the media or are more loyal to Israel than to their home countries. Another 12 percent of respondents held “contingent” anti-Semitic stereotypes, largely linked to pro-Palestinian or anti-Zionist views.

The survey found that about 12 percent of respondents shared all three of these categories and could be considered “real anti-Semites.” — jta