Globe Briefs November 25
Canadian prime minister denounces anti-Semitic vandalism in Ottawa
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada condemned three anti-Semitic acts of vandalism that occurred in Ottawa.
The city’s hate crimes unit is investigating the incidents, the latest of which was discovered Thursday. It remains unclear if they are connected, police said.
“To the Canadian Jewish community, I stand with you,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter. “Our government denounces recent acts of anti-Semitism in the strongest terms.”
In the most recent incident, anti-Semitic graffiti in the form of two large swastikas were found Thursday morning on a synagogue’s front doors in an upscale neighborhood.
Two days earlier, a similar incident had occurred at a home used as a Jewish prayer center. Its rabbi, Anna Maranta, blamed Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States, saying it “emboldened” racists to act “more in a public way,” she told The Canadian Jewish News.
Former Canadian Jewish Congress head Bernie Farber suggested a more measured, wait-and-see approach before jumping to conclusions.
Another Ottawa synagogue confirmed it was defaced last weekend with graffiti containing anti-Semitic slurs.
Others condemning the incidents included B’nai Brith Canada and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa.
Jewish billionaire Kravis reportedly being considered for Treasury
President-elect Donald Trump reportedly is considering appointing the Jewish billionaire Henry Kravis as his Treasury secretary.
Trump spoke to Kravis, a private equity pioneer, following his Nov. 8 victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, the New York Post reported Nov. 17. An unnamed source told the Post that Trump had reached out to Kravis, 72, of Oklahoma, who heads the KKR & Co. equity firm.
Trump has named Kravis before as a possible candidate for the job.
In May, Kravis said: “While I’m honored to be mentioned, I love my job and can’t imagine leaving it” in commenting about speculation that he would be named secretary.
But in July 2015, Kravis, a longtime Republican who did not name a favorite in the primary campaign, said it was “scary” that Trump had mentioned him, along with Carl Icahn and former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, as a possible Treasury Department boss.
Trump adviser Steven Mnuchin, who is also Jewish, is also being considered for the position, according to the Post, as well as JPMorgan executive Jamie Dimon, who is not Jewish.
Neither Kravis nor KKR donated to any of the 2016 presidential candidates, official filings show.
Donation records show that Kravis, who is worth $4.6 billion, donated $32,400 last year to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
KKR in 2015 donated $5,000 to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and smaller amounts to several Republican senatorial candidates, including $2,700 in August to Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).
Kravis is close to former President George H.W. Bush.
Israeli army conscription rate drops 3.5% since 2010
The rate of enlistment into the Israel Defense Forces has dropped by 3.5 percent over the past five years, army sources said.
In 2016, the IDF saw the conscription of 72 percent of people who are initially listed as duty bound to serve in the military, Army Radio reported Nov. 16.
Among the 28 percent who do not enlist are tens of thousands of haredi Orthodox Jews, who once were allowed an automatic exemption from serving until a 2014 law decreed they sign up for the army or other frameworks by 2017. Others in that category include people who are exempt on medical grounds and a small minority of conscientious objectors.
The decrease in the rate of enlistment reflects primarily a growth in the haredi demographics rather than a drop in the motivation of recruits to serve, Army Radio reported.
The number of conscripts serving in the IDF is classified. Estimates in foreign publications and agencies range from 250,000 to 380,000 soldiers on active duty, plus another 400,000 reserve troops.
While many haredim still avoid military service, the army met its 2015 goal for increasing haredi participation in its ranks, according to the radio report. The news site Walla reported that the IDF last year saw at least 2,300 haredi recruits, a record, compared to 1,972 the previous year.
A steady rise has been recorded over the past five years also in the conscription of women, especially religious women who can easily receive an exemption from military service.
In 2016, the IDF recruited four times as many female soldiers than in 2010, according to Army Radio, leading to the opening of several new coed battalions. Separately, the number of religious female conscripts has increased by 50 percent during that period.
Most Arab Israelis are automatically exempt from serving but may volunteer. Men from the Circassian and Druze minorities are subject to mandatory conscription. Bedouin men are encouraged and in some cases invited to enlist, but it is not mandatory.