Globe Briefs June 23

Globe Briefs June 23

From JTA reports Rhode Island approves anti-boycott legislation

Rhode Island’s General Assembly approved legislation that would prohibit the state from contracting with companies that engage in boycotts of allies of the United States, including Israel.

The Anti-Discrimination in State Contracts Act was passed June 16 by the Rhode Island House in a 63-4 vote and “in concurrence” two days later by the state Senate.

Gov. Gina Raimondo is expected to sign the legislation making it law.

Several states have passed anti-BDS legislation, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and South Carolina. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed an executive order opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. In total, 21 states have taken up anti-BDS legislation.

The Rhode Island legislation states: “A public entity shall not enter into a contract with a business to acquire or dispose of supplies, services, information technology, or construction unless the contract includes a representation that the business is not currently engaged in, and an agreement that the business will not during the duration of in the boycott of any person, firm or entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction with whom the state can enjoy open trade, and/or the boycott of any public agencies, entities or instrumentalities of the jurisdiction with whom the state can enjoy open trade.”

Rep. Mia Ackerman, a Democrat, introduced the bill in May.

“Today’s interdependent global economy requires that trade policy be developed both at the national and state level,” she said at the time. “One of our greatest trading allies is the State of Israel, the only democratic, non-discriminatory country in the Middle East.”   

Man identified as Jewish held in sexual assault of teen ‘gifted’ to him

A Pennsylvania man identified as Jewish in a federal lawsuit against the Amish church has been charged with the sexual assault of a teen who was “gifted” to him by her parents, who were suing their former church.

Police found 12 girls aged 18 years to 6 months in the Lower Southampton home of Lee Kaplan, 51, when it was raided June 16 based on a tip from a neighbor, according to

The 18-year-old had been given to Kaplan by her parents, Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus, when she was 14 and reportedly is the mother with Kaplan of two of the girls: the 6-month-old and a 3-year-old. The other girls living with Kaplan in the home some 20 miles from Philadelphia are believed to be the oldest girl’s sisters, the website reported.

Last Friday, Bucks County officials still were trying to determine how the other nine children came to be living with Kaplan.

Kaplan is being held on $1 million bail and is charged with sexually assaulting the teen. It is not known if he had sexual relations with any of the other girls.

The girl’s father told police he gave his daughter to Kaplan in gratitude after Kaplan helped the family financially. He said he thought it was legal, the Associated Press reported.

The Stoltzfuses also are being held on $1 million bail. He is charged with conspiracy of statutory sexual assault and children endangerment; she is charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

The couple were Amish, but renounced it amid a years-long fight with community elders, according to a federal lawsuit they filed in 2009 against the church. They said they were shunned after Kaplan helped them keep their metalworking business and the property on which their home was located because he was Jewish. The lawsuit was dismissed several months later.

The children found in Kaplan’s home reportedly are together in protective custody.

Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team wins historic gold medal at European Championships

Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team earned several medals — including a gold for the first time at an international competition — at the European Championships held on its home turf.

On Sunday, the Israelis won in the clubs and hoops category at the competition, which was held over the weekend in Holon, in central Israel.

A day earlier they won a silver for the team ribbons routine. A day before that, Israel took the bronze in the all-around category.

The team will travel this summer to Rio de Janeiro to compete in the Brazil Summer Olympics.