SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (JTA) — The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem has formally asked the government of Costa Rica to expel an accused war criminal.
The presence of Bodhan Koziy, 73, a Ukrainian police official during World War II, "brings shame on Costa Rica," Efraim Zuroff, director of the center's Israel office, said in a recent letter to Juan Diego Castro, the Costa Rican minister of public security.
Castro said he had asked for a report on Koziy's immigration status, adding that Koziy could be expelled if he is in Costa Rica illegally and if Costa Rica receives a request for extradition.
The letter comes one month after Zuroff was in Costa Rica to meet with government officials and members of the Jewish community. During that visit, Zuroff went to Koziy's home — with a BBC television crew in tow — to approach the accused man, who turned out not to be home.
In 1982, Koziy, the owner of a Florida motel, was stripped of his U.S. citizenship. The U.S. Justice Department obtained a court order to deport him in 1984, but he fled to Costa Rica, where he apparently has been living for the last decade.
Toronto Jew files complaint to U.N.
TORONTO (JTA) — A Toronto man whose children are in Jewish private schools has filed a complaint with the U.N. Human Rights Commission, saying that Ontario's provincial government should fund all religious schools, not just those that are Roman Catholic.
Arieh Waldman spends $14,000 annually to educate his two children.
In January, the Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments on the subject from Jewish and other minority groups in the province.
The court is expected to rule soon on whether public funding of private religious schools should be extended in Ontario.
E.U. approves pact for Israeli free trade
BRUSSELS (JTA) — A European Union panel has approved a new free trade agreement between Israel and European nations.
The new accord, approved Feb. 29 by the European Parliament, replaces a 1975 trade and cooperation agreement between Israel and what was then known as the Common Market.
The accord will grant Israel special status to participate in the union's scientific and technological research-and-development projects.
The accord, which will go into effect next January, will provide for expanded free trade between Israel and the 15 nations comprising the European economic bloc.
Israel hopes that the new accord will help lessen Israel's growing trade imbalance with the European Union, which stood at some $7.6 billion last year.
Britain's Jewish men choosing non-Jews
LONDON — (JTA) Nearly half of British Jewish men younger than 40 who are married or in steady relationships have a non-Jewish partner, according to a new survey of British Jewry.
The report, conducted by the Institute of Jewish Affairs, also showed that one in three British Jews did not belong to a synagogue. And the survey indicated that British Jewish men intermarry more than women.
The survey was based on questionnaires answered by more than 2,000 people. Its authors maintain that because of the size of the sample and the methodology used, the survey provides the most representative picture yet obtained of Britain's Jewish community.
For British Jewish men of all ages, 38 percent who are married or in steady relationships have a non-Jewish partner, according to portions of the report that have been released. It will soon be released in full.
Among British Jewish men younger than 40, the intermarriage rate rises to 44 percent. For British Jewish women, the rate is estimated at between 20 percent and 25 percent.
In the United States, by comparison, the average intermarriage rate for Jewish men and women who have married during the past 10 years is 52 percent.
French Jews protest Iran visit by minister
PARIS (JTA) — French Jewish groups have condemned a visit by Transport Minister Bernard Pons to Iran, saying it was particularly offensive after Tehran praised recent Hamas suicide bombings in Israel.
"We question the reasons for the visit since Iran is notorious for being one of the pillars of international terrorism, Hamas and especially the Islamic Jihad," CRIF, the umbrella organization of secular French Jewish organizations, said in a statement.
"Following the declarations by the Tehran authorities justifying the carnage in Jerusalem, we demand Mr. Pons' immediate return as a sign of official protest by the French government," the statement added.
France-Israel, a conservative French Jewish group promoting friendship and cooperation with Israel, said that the trip this week was "an affront to Franco-Israeli friendship and represents the abandon of moral principles which [French] foreign policy boasts of."