BRUSSELS (JTA) — In a departure from Belgium’s official policy, the country’s secretary of state said that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
Philippe de Backer, whose position in the Belgian government is comparable to that of a deputy Cabinet minister, made his remarks in an interview published earlier this week for Joods Actueel, the Jewish monthly of Antwerp.
“There is no doubt that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. It’s clear; it’s reality. There’s no discussion on this issue,” he said. “But we’re in a political context where Europe sees Jerusalem as subject to negotiations toward a two-state solution.”
In December, Belgian Prime…
JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said the United States was not looking to “replace” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and that reports implying he said otherwise misquoted him.
On Wednesday, the Religious-Zionist newspaper Shevii released excerpts of an interview with Friedman to be published on Friday in which the ambassador is quoted as saying, “If Abu Mazen is not interested in negotiating, I am sure that someone else will want to. If Abbas creates a vacuum, I am convinced that someone else will fill it, and then we will move forward” with the peace process.
(JTA) — Though the United States recently barred Libyan artifacts from entering the country, certain Jewish artifacts are exempt from the agreement, the State Department clarified.
Last month, the United States agreed to a request from Libya to bar certain Libyan artifacts from entering the country. Intended to prevent pillaging of artifacts and their sale on the black market, the agreement applied to artifacts dated 1911 and earlier. The original request by Libya, submitted last year, asked for Jewish artifacts to be included.
Activists decried the agreement, saying it gave ownership to Libya over objects, such as antique Torah scrolls, tombstones and…
(JTA) — Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may be using his close relationship with White House adviser Jared Kushner to send a message to his allies and enemies that his actions were backed by the U.S. government, a U.S. government official told The Intercept.
Kushner, who is the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, and the crown prince had a late October meeting in Riyadh.
A week later, Mohammed began what he called an “anti-corruption crackdown.” The Saudi government arrested and jailed dozens of members of the Saudi royal family in a Riyadh hotel – among them Saudi figures…
(JTA) — The Polish attorney general’s office described as partly unconstitutional a law passed last month that criminalizes blaming Poland for Nazi crimes.
Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro published a statement on the law Thursday. The nonbinding opinion has no immediate legal consequences, but may be taken into account by the Constitutional Court in reviewing the law.
The legislation, which was enacted earlier this month, imposes fines or up to three years in jail on anyone who ascribes “responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich.”
The attorney generel’s office published…