BONN (JTA) — The Central Council of Jews in Germany, the umbrella organization representing German Jewry, has decided to move its headquarters from Bonn to Berlin.
The decision to make the move came at a Sunday meeting in Berlin of 71 representatives from all the Jewish communities in Germany. The vote on the move was 67-0, with four abstentions.
The move, which is expected to be completed by the end of 1997, will take place before the German federal government and Parliament transfer the seat of government from Bonn to Berlin, a move expected to occur in 1998.
Before the vote, council Chairman Ignatz Bubis emphasized the historic role of Berlin's Jewish community, a sentiment also expressed by fellow speaker Eberhard Diepgen, the mayor of Berlin.
Established in 1950, the council represents some 40 Jewish communities organized into 16 state associations throughout Germany.
The German Jewish community numbers some 50,000, a third of whom recently came from the former Soviet Union.
The Berlin Jewish community, which is the largest in Germany, has a membership of 10,000.
European Union and Israel to build political, fiscal ties
BRUSSELS (JTA) — Capping long and difficult negotiations, Israel and the European Union have signed a new accord designed to strengthen their political and economic relations.
Signaling the accord's importance to Israel, Acting Prime Minister Shimon Peres, on his first trip abroad since the Nov. 4 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, flew here in mid-November to sign the agreement, which was two years in the making.
"We look forward to seeing new European involvement in peace" in the Middle East, Peres said. "You shall see us in your councils of science. We shall see you in our councils of peace."
The new accord, which replaces a 1975 trade and cooperation agreement between Israel and what was then known as the Common Market, will grant Israel special status to participate in the European Union's scientific and technological research and development projects — the "councils of science" to which Peres referred.
The accord also expands free trade between Israel and the 15 nations comprising the European economic bloc.
Brandeis endows scholarships for Arab-Jewish cooperation
NEW YORK (JTA) — Brandeis University has announced the establishment of an endowment fund to promote tolerance and understanding between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel.
The endowment will provide complete support, including tuition, room and board, and travel expenses, for an Israeli Jew and an Israeli Arab each year of their undergraduate studies at Brandeis, said Jehuda Reinharz, Brandeis president.
"These scholarships are an important way for Arabs and Jews to learn about themselves and each other while studying at Brandeis," said Alan Slifka of New York. Slifka set up the endowment — The Sylvia and Joseph Slifka Israeli Coexistence Endowment Fund — in honor of his parents.
Israel and Mauritania move toward diplomatic relations
BARCELONA, Spain (JTA) — Israel and the West African nation of Mauritania have signed a mutual recognition agreement, marking a first step toward the establishment of diplomatic ties.
Under the agreement, Israel and Mauritania, a member of the Arab League, will set up interest sections in the Spanish embassies located in both countries.
The agreement was signed during the course of a two-day meeting held here this week at which the foreign ministers from 11 Mediterranean countries, including Israel, met with their counterparts from the 15-member European Union.
Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat also attended the conference, where he was reportedly treated as a head of state. Libya was the only Mediterranean state not invited to the conference.