World Report

BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — The Argentine office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center is considering suing a local priest who has denied the Holocaust.

The Catholic priest, 68-year-old Manuel Quintas Barreiro, teaches ethics and philosophy in the small town of Pinto, in Santiago del Estero, a province in northwestern Argentina.

In a television interview in which he was introduced as "the Nazi padre," Quintas called Hitler "one of the greatest statesmen in human history" and said Nazism was "good for Germany at that historical moment."

Asked by his interviewer about the Holocaust, Quintas said he doubted its existence.

"Don't you think that claiming 6 million died is a bit too much?" said the priest.

Quintas also said the July 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish community building in which 86 died was "something terrible, but not as bad as the suffering inflicted on the Arab peoples by Israel."

Simon Widder, who is the Simon Wiesenthal representative in Argentina, said the center would complain to the Argentine archbishop asking that Quintas "be disciplined."

Widder said the center may sue Quintas under the 1993 anti-discrimination law, which forbids distribution of racist and anti-Semitic messages in any form.

Police foil attempt to bomb synagogue

BUDAPEST (JTA) — Police thwarted the firebombing of the main synagogue here shortly before Shabbat, catching the man who apparently intended to throw a Molotov cocktail at the structure.

The man, an unnamed, 45-year-old Hungarian, has not been charged with any crime.

Apparently, his attempt to throw the Molotov cocktail — a bottle filled with gasoline, wrapped with a rag or plugged with a wick, and then ignited — failed because police guarding the Dohany Street Synagogue saw him.

The man, who was inside the courtyard of the synagogue at that point, tried to escape. He left behind his bag, in which police found other Molotov cocktails.

After he was apprehended, he was interrogated by local police.

Police said no evidence existed that would connect the man to an anti-Semitic or racist group.

His motive also was not known, police said. "He might have wanted to commit suicide," one police officer said in an interview.

But Peter Feldmayer, president of the Jewish community, said an anti-Semitic motive should not be ruled out.

PLO flag will fly over Canadian city

TORONTO — Canada has raised the status of Palestine Liberation Organization representatives in the country. Although not yet possessing full diplomatic privilege and immunity, the PLO is now entitled to raise the Palestinian flag over its Ottawa mission, which it reopened in August after being closed for two years.

Canada also warmed diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority recently by recognizing Palestinian-issued travel documents.

Previously, Palestinians needed official papers issued by Israel to be admitted to Canada. France, Britain and the United States have already recognized the Palestinian documents.