Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Rabbi’s kin heldin ‘honor’ beating

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi was to be questioned by investigators yesterday about an assault on his daughter’s boyfriend that has led to the arrest of three members of his family, police said.

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, one of the most powerful men in Israel, flew back yesterday from a visit to Thailand after Attorney General Menachem Mazuz allowed police to question him — at Mr. Mazuz’s office, rather than a police station, Israeli radio reported.

The rabbi’s 31-year-old son, Meir Amar, was arrested last week for purportedly masterminding the kidnap and beating of his sister Ayala’s unnamed 17-year-old boyfriend to “save the family’s honor.” Ayala Amar, 18, who reportedly met her boyfriend on the Internet, and the rabbi’s wife, were arrested and released on bail.


Dutch lawmaker claims intimidation

THE HAGUE — Iran’s ambassador to the Netherlands was summoned to the Foreign Ministry here yesterday after a Dutch lawmaker of Iranian descent charged she had been harassed while on a trip to Tehran.

It was not clear when Ambassador Bozorgmehr Ziaran would show up at the ministry.

Farah Karimi, a Dutch Green Left member of parliament, told reporters yesterday she had been harassed by soldiers at Tehran airport late Monday as she waited to fly home to the Netherlands after a 10-day visit.

She was questioned and threatened about her contacts with human-rights activists and her papers, address book and agenda were confiscated for a short time and probably copied, she told the ANP news agency.


Parliament OKspresidential race

CAIRO — Egypt’s parliament approved a constitutional change yesterday allowing more than one candidate to run in presidential elections for the first time.

The amendment to Article 76 was endorsed by an overwhelming majority of the 454-seat lower house, dominated by President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party. Speaker Fathi Sorour announced that 405 members voted in favor of the change and two abstained.

Weekly notes

The Rev. Harry Thomas, an organizer of Christian rock music festivals in the United States, staged the first such event in the Muslim world this week in Marrakech, Morocco, the London Telegraph reported yesterday. Despite hostility among some Muslims to the performance, the white-haired preacher from New Jersey said: “We are not here to proselytize. We are here to sing.” … Israel’s population has reached 6.9 million, with 35 percent of its citizens first-generation immigrants, its Central Statistics Bureau said yesterday. Jews in the country number 5.26 million, comprising 76 percent of the population, while Arabs total 1.35 million, or 20 percent. Although 65 percent of the total population was born in Israel, 35 percent originated elsewhere, including 950,000 from the former Soviet Union.

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