US/World News

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Qassam rockets hit southern Israel
(JNS.org) More than two million Israeli students returned to schools across the country on Monday as summer vacation came to an end. As school got underway, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in open territory in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council in southern Israel — midway between Beersheba and Ashkelon — causing no damage, Israel Hayom reported. Monday’s rocket came after three Qassam rockets launched by terrorists in Gaza hit Sha’ar Hanegev on Sunday morning. There were no reports of fatalities or serious injuries.

Kevin Youkilis will play for Israel
(JNS.org) Chicago White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis will play for Israel’s team in the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC) if he is healthy enough to do so, Israel Sports Radio reported August 22. Israel will be among 16 countries participating in the qualifying stage of the international tournament this September, with the top four advancing to the WBC in March 2013. Diaspora Jews are eligible to play on Israel’s team, and Youkilis told the radio station that there are other Major League Baseball players looking to take the field for the Jewish state. Already, former Jewish Major Leaguers Brad Ausmus, Gabe Kapler, and Shawn Green are assisting the Israeli squad with coaching, recruiting and fundraising, with Green possibly playing on a limited basis.
“[Israel’s Word Baseball Classic team] impacts the North American and Israeli Jewish communities more than the athletes themselves,” Kapler told JNS.org last year. “Those people are going to be psyched. It’s worth dreaming about what could happen because this creates momentum and excitement, which in turn gets more people who want to participate [in the Israeli team’s efforts].”
Israel’s first qualifying game is Sept. 19 against South Africa, and other members of its qualifying round group include Spain and France.

Israel urges Merkel to fight German circumcision ban
(JNS.org) The recent decision to file criminal charges against a German rabbi for presiding over a Jewish circumcision (brit) continues to reverberate across the world and Israel. A day after Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger met with German lawmakers to lobby against the criminalization of the custom, Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) wrote a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel urging her to protect Jews’ freedom of worship, Israel Hayom reported. Yishai sent a copy of the letter to the German justice minister as well.
“As deputy prime minister, as the interior minister and as the head of the largest religious party [in Israel], and — above all — as a Jew, I call on you to end the abuse of the [German] justice system; please make sure that Jews are once again allowed to lead a rich and proud life according to Jewish traditions in your country,” Yishai wrote.
Rabbi David Goldberg, a mohel in Hof in northern Bavaria, was recently accused by a German doctor of engaging in the outlawed practice (the ruling is binding only in Bavaria). Goldberg dismissed the allegations against him, telling Israel Hayom that the person who filed the complaint was an “antisemitic physician who filed criminal charges against me for allegedly committing bodily harm to children and maiming them. In Germany, once a complaint is filed, the chief prosecutor in the city has to decide whether to move to the trial phase; I hope he drops this case.”

South Africa bans ‘Made in Israel’ labels
(JNS.org) After months of heated debate, the South African cabinet banned the use of “Made in Israel” labels for goods originating in West Bank Jewish communities. Instead, products will be labeled as coming from “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” “This is in line with South Africa’s stance that recognizes the 1948 borders delineated by the United Nations and does not recognize occupied territories beyond these borders as being part of the state of Israel,” said South African spokesperson Jimmy Manyi, according to AFP.
It is unclear which “borders” Manyi is referring to, since the UN did not delineate borders in 1948. Manyi could be erroneously referring to either the 1947 UN Partition Plan or the 1949 Armistice Lines, which became the de-facto boundaries of Israel until 1967.
Leaders of the South African Jewish community were “outraged” by the decision, according to statements. Relations between Israel and South Africa have been deteriorating for years. Recently, South African Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim told South Africans not to visit Israel because “Israel is an occupier country which is oppressing Palestine,” according to the Times of Israel.

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