Bush: Iranian bomb could destroy Israel

JTA Briefs

Allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons would bring it closer to its objective of destroying Israel, President Bush said. “I want to remind you that the current president of Iran has announced that the destruction of Israel is an important part of their agenda, and that’s unacceptable, ” Bush said Friday after his first meeting with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. “And the development of a nuclear weapon, it seems like to me, would make them a step closer to achieving that objective. “


The European Union and the United States now agree that Iran should be referred to the U.N. Security Council for its failure to cooperate with nuclear inspectors, and European and American diplomats are to meet next week with their Chinese and Russian counterparts to achieve a consensus on what to do. Bush and Merkel stopped short of saying the Security Council should impose sanctions, but said Iran’s current refusal to allow full inspections is unacceptable. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful, but Western nations believe it is close to developing a nuclear bomb.

Ashkenazi ancestry studied

A new study found that 40 percent of Ashkenazi Jews are descended from just four women. The study, produced by the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, determined that the four women lived somewhere in Europe during the last 2,000 years, but not necessarily in the same place or the same country. The four women left a genetic signature that is detectable in some 3.5 million Ashkenazi Jews today.

Austrian fund fully endowed

The last obstacle to property compensation for Austrian Jews has been overcome with the full endowment of Austria’s General Settlement Fund. The fund announced Friday that the required $210 million mark had been reached, enabling disbursement of payments for properties seized by the Nazi regime in Austria. Contributions to the fund came from the Republic of Austria, the City of Vienna and Austrian companies. Initial payments were made after dismissal of the last class action against Austria in the United States and the official announcement of legal closure last month. Some 1,700 applicants whose eligibility had been determined were informed about the possibility of these advance payments. Additional payments for 650 applicants are currently in preparation.