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>Israel Faxx
>JN April 3. 1998, Vol. 6, No. 62

Bomb Damages Riga's Only Synagogue

By IINS News Service

A bomb exploded outside a 92-year old synagogue in Riga, Latvia, causing severe damage. The bomb was placed on the front steps of the building, tore out the 200-lb. oak door, destroyed all the windows and casings of the basement and first and second floors, and left deep gouges in the wall. "This was clearly an anti-Semitic act," said Lubavitch emissary to Latvia, Rabbi Mordechai Glazman. "Our existence and activities are well known here.

War Criminal Papon Sentenced to 10 years

By IINS News Service

Frenchman Maurice Papon was sentenced to 10 years in prison on war crimes charges Thursday as a court found him guilty of rounding up Jews for deportation to Nazi death camps. The jury, rendering its verdict after more than 18 hours of deliberation, found Papon, 87, guilty of complicity in crimes against humanity but not responsible for his victims' murder. Most of those deported never returned.

Papon, a senior official in the collaborationist Vichy government, sat motionless. He showed no emotion as the verdict was announced. Civil parties and Jewish organizations expressed their disappointment that Papon was not give life in prison. Papon's lawyers said they would appeal the conviction up to the European Court of Human Rights.

Papon's six-month trial -- the longest in French history -- represented different things to different people. For some, it was seen as the last chance for France to confront, in a courtroom, its painful collaboration with Nazi Germany.

But the defense stressed that Papon was an individual, and that his acquittal would not be tantamount to an acquittal of Vichy. That regime, the defense argued, already has been convicted in the public mind.

The 87-year-old defendant was charged with ordering the arrests and deportations of 1,690 Jews from Bordeaux while serving as deputy prefect. All but a handful died at Auschwitz. He had insisted he didn't know of the Final Solution -- the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews -- and actually tried to save some Jews.

One of the most difficult issues of the trial was the extent to which a middleman like Papon should be held accountable. The prosecution and 24 civil party lawyers presented him as "a link in the chain of responsibility" leading to the deaths of Jews.

Funeral Procession Members Clash with IDF

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Thousands of angry Palestinians have marched in the funeral of a leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas in Ramallah, and clashed with Israeli troops nearby, leaving several people injured.

The Palestinians chanted praise to God, and shouted for revenge against Israel, which they blame for the death of Hamas military wing leader Muhyideen al-Sharif. Supporters carried his body through the streets of Ramallah, its burned and disfigured upper half uncovered for the crowd to see.

The procession traveled from a mosque to a martyrs' cemetery, and after the body was buried, some of the mourners tried to storm a nearby Israeli settlement, drawing tear gas and rubber bullets fire from Israeli guards. There were also other clashes elsewhere in the West Bank, and many Palestinian businesses observed a general strike.

The mastermind of several suicide bombings died Sunday night. Israeli investigators say he was killed when a bomb exploded prematurely at a Hamas safe house in Ramallah. A Palestinian autopsy says he had been shot dead before the bomb went off, leading to speculation he was killed by Israeli agents who then staged the explosion.

Israeli newspapers quote Israeli investigators who visited the site as saying the bullets could have come from ammunition stored in the house.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally denied any Israeli involvement in al-Sharif's death. But Hamas has vowed revenge anyway. Israeli security forces are on high alert, and Police Minister Avigdor Kahalani says Israel is taking the Hamas threats seriously.

The Conspiracy to Kill Hitler

By IINS News Service

Swiss leaders did too little at the start of World War 2 to save a Swiss student from execution in Germany for plotting to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the Bern government said.

It said Maurice Bevaud deserved "Recognition and a place in our memory" for his abortive plan to gun down Hitler at a Munich rally on Nov. 9, 1938 -- the day of the "Reichskristallnacht" pogrom against Jews all over Germany.

Bevaud failed to get close enough to shoot Hitler at the rally and a week later fell into the hands of the Gestapo while still carrying the gun. He ultimately confessed his plan, was sentenced to death and died on the guillotine May 14, 1941 in Berlin.

Bavaud, born in 1916, was a Roman Catholic theology student. He defended the assassination plot in court by saying Hitler was a danger to humanity and Swiss independence.

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