Israeli marijuana AirBnB in the West Bank Japanese diplomats Holocaust intervention (VIDEO)

Here’s what we’re reading: The tale of a Japanese diplomat who saved thousands from the Nazis comes to the big screen; High times for Israel’s marijuana businesses; Uproar over Airbnb listings in West Bank settlements

Premiering this Sunday at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival is “Persona Non Grata,” the true story of a Japanese diplomat to the Third Reich during World War II and certified Righteous Among the Nations, Chiune Sugihara. He risked his life and career to issue Japanese visas to thousands of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. Check out the trailer above. Here’s how Tablet wraps up his tale:

Sugihara lived out his post-war life in obscurity, doing menial work to support his family. He was eventually tracked down in 1968 by one of the Jews he saved … and brought to Israel, where he received a hero’s welcome. In 1984, Yad Vashem recognized Sugihara as one of the Righteous Among the Nations. Two years later, he died.

An Israeli government plan to make medical marijuana more widely available “might create more problems than it attempts to solve,” according to TechCrunch. The plan includes an expansion of the number of marijuana growers, but it would also restrict the forms of cannabis available to patients.

“The plan is more complicated than it looks. It seems that the health ministry is going for full-control. Although the headlines about deregulation are promising, the small details claim the opposite. The government will prefer importing and for smoking alternatives like capsules and such, which eliminates 95 percent of the current strains,” said Oren Lebovitch, the chief editor of Cannabis, Israel’s leading cannabis publication.

And in the West Bank, Airbnb may have gotten itself into yet another P.R. scrape. Activists are decrying the vacation rental site for allowing listings that don’t reveal that they are located in controversial Jewish settlements in the West Bank. AP has a meaty story on the issue:

The Palestinians say that by contributing to the settlement economy, Airbnb, like other companies doing business in the West Bank, helps perpetuate Israel’s settlement enterprise. Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat sent a letter to Airbnb’s CEO last week demanding the company cease working with settlers.

David A.M. Wilensky
David A.M. Wilensky

David A.M. Wilensky is the online editor of J. and "Jew in the Pew" columnist. He can be reached at