Globe Briefs December 2

Globe Briefs December 2

France returns painting to family of Jewish couple who fled Nazis

France returned a 16th-century painting to the grandchildren of a German-Jewish couple who were forced to sell the work in Paris as they fled the Nazis.

The portrait, attributed by the French Culture Ministry either to the Dutch artist Joos van Cleve or his son, was returned Monday to Christopher Bromberg and Henrietta Schubert in a Paris ceremony. Their grandparents, Henry and Hertha Bromberg, sold the painting in 1938 as they were heading for the United States, The New York Times reported.

After the couple left France, the painting, which shows a man dressed in black clothing and wearing a fur, was held temporarily by various art dealers and collectors. Eventually it was sold in 1941 to the German government, which planned to display it in a museum in Hitler’s hometown.

Allied forces found the painting in 1945 and brought it back to France.

The painting reportedly was one of over 2,000 artworks taken from France to Germany during World War II whose owners have yet to be identified. Among those works, only 107 have been returned to the descendants of the original owners, according to The Times.

France’s culture minister, Audrey Azoulay, acknowledged that the return period had been “quite belated,” adding that the country was now being more “proactive” in trying to return the artworks.

Israel to purchase additional F-35 fighter jets from US

Israel’s Security Cabinet has approved the purchase of 17 more F-35 fighter jets from the United States.

The purchase of the stealth jets, announced by the Prime Minister’s Office following a unanimous vote, will bring the number of next-generation planes in the Israeli Air Force to 50.

Each plane costs about $100 million. The purchase falls under the 10-year, $38 billion U.S. military aid package for Israel signed by President Barack Obama in September. Most of the aid must be spent in the United States. The F-35 is built by Lockheed-Martin.

The first such plane is scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks, with two planes delivered by the end of the year. Six to seven will arrive in subsequent years, according to reports.

Only a limited number of U.S. allies have been allowed to purchase the plane. Washington has asserted that it would continue to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge, especially in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal signed last year.

Israelis displaced by fires to receive assistance from Jewish Agency, government

The Jewish Agency for Israel will provide immediate financial assistance to hundreds of families throughout Israel whose homes were damaged by fires that swept the country.

The announcement came hours after Israel’s finance minister, Moshe Kahlon, approved an allocation of about $650 per person for those who were forced to leave their homes and could not return. More than 1,000 homes reportedly were damaged or destroyed in the fires.

A grant of $1,000 from the Jewish Agency will be provided to each family “to help them address urgent needs presented by the loss of their place of residence,” the Jewish Agency said Sunday in a statement.

Funding for the grants will be provided by special contributions from the Jewish Federations of North America led by the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, Keren Hayesod-UIA and additional donors, the agency said.

“At trying times like these, world Jewry feels closely connected to what is taking place in Israel and comes to our help without hesitation,” Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said in the statement. “We are proud of our partners in Jewish communities around the world, and particularly in North America, and appreciate their solidarity when it matters the most.”

Local authorities, in coordination with Israel’s National Emergency Authority, will determine eligibility for the funds.

JFNA opened an Israel Fire Emergency Fund over the weekend, with the funds designated to help Israelis displaced by the some 200 fires that have burned throughout the country.

The Jewish National Fund also opened an emergency fund, with donations earmarked for new firefighting equipment and reforestation.

The Israeli-American Council on Friday opened a fund “to support the firefighters working around the clock to save lives and property.”