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Report: Argentina Sold Yellowcake to Israel for Nuclear Program

By The Jerusalem Post

Argentina helped Israel develop its covert nuclear program by selling the Jewish state dozens of tons of uranium oxide, classified documents published by U.S. magazine Foreign Policy indicated. Yellowcake is a powdered form of uranium that can be used to fuel a nuclear reactor to produce plutonium for building weapons.

How and from whom Israel purchased the necessary materials to develop a sophisticated nuclear program is a hot media topic. Jerusalem has an official policy of ambiguity and refuses to divulge any details about its nuclear program, two factors that amplify global curiosity over the reactor in Israel's Negev Desert, near the town of Dimona.

The fog is lifting on a part of that mystery, though. The U.S. National Security Archives recently released 42 previously classified documents revealing important details about Israel's nuclear program, which have been summarized by the authors of the Foreign Policy report.

In the summer of 1964, the State Department and CIA sent a joint letter to U.S. embassies in Israel and Argentina requesting that they check unverified information about an apparent deal in which Argentina agreed to sell Israel 80-100 tons of yellowcake. The American embassy in Argentina reportedly confirmed the sale, which embarrassed the State Department because its diplomats in Jerusalem should have been privy to the deal, and because Israel had agreed with the U.S. to pursue a nuclear program for "peaceful purposes only."

Though relations between Israel and the U.S. are very strong today, they were less so while Israel was building the nuclear reactor near Dimona. Israel was relying heavily on France for assistance, including a supply of uranium.

However, then-President Charles de Gaulle changed French policy toward Israel, and it appears that in 1963 he ordered that his country stop supplying uranium to Israel. Jerusalem therefore decided to reach out to Argentina, according to the report.


Hidden Trove of Suspected Nazi Artifacts Found in Argentina

By Israel Hayom

Argentinean Police believe they have found the biggest collection of Nazi artifacts in that nation's history in a hidden room in a house near the country's capital. The haul includes a bust relief of Adolf Hitler, magnifying glasses inside elegant boxes with swastikas, and even a macabre medical device used to measure head size.

Some 75 objects were found in a collector's home in Beccar, a suburb north of Buenos Aires, and authorities say they suspect they are originals that belonged to high-ranking Nazis who were in Germany during World War II. "Our first investigations indicate that these are original pieces," Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich told AP, saying that some pieces were accompanied by old photographs. "This is a way to commercialize them, showing that they were used by the horror, by the Fuhrer [Hitler]. There are photos of him with the objects."

Among the disturbing items were toys that Bullrich said would have been used to indoctrinate children, a large statue of the Nazi eagle above a swastika, a Nazi hourglass and a box of harmonicas. Police say one of the most compelling pieces of evidence of the historical importance of the find is a photographic negative of Hitler holding a magnifying glass like those found in the boxes.

"We have turned to historians and they've told us it is the original magnifying glass [that Hitler was using]," said Nestor Roncaglia, head of Argentina's federal police. "We are reaching out to international experts to deepen [the investigation]." The photograph was not released to the public, but was shown to AP on the condition that it not be published.

The investigation that culminated in the discovery of the collection began when authorities found artworks of illicit origin in a gallery in north Buenos Aires. Agents with the international police force Interpol began following the collector and, after obtaining a judicial order, raided the house on June 8. A large bookshelf caught their attention, and behind it agents found a hidden passageway to a room filled with Nazi imagery.

Authorities did not identify the collector, who remains free but is under investigation by a federal judge. "There are no precedents for a find like this. Pieces are stolen or are imitations. But this is original and we have to get to the bottom of it," Roncaglia said.

Police are trying to determine how the artifacts entered Argentina. The main hypothesis among investigators and members of Argentina's Jewish community is that they were brought to Argentina by a high-ranking Nazi or Nazis after World War II, when the South American country became a refuge for fleeing war criminals, including some of the best known.

Josef Mengele, the notorious doctor who conducted horrendous experiments on Jewish prisoners, fled to Argentina and lived in Buenos Aires for a decade. He moved to Paraguay after Mossad agents captured Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann, who was also living in Buenos Aires. Mengele died in Brazil in 1979 while swimming at a beach in the town of Bertioga.

While police in Argentina did not name any high-ranking Nazis to whom the objects might have originally belonged, Bullrich noted there were medical devices. "There are objects to measure heads -- that was the logic of the Aryan race," she said.

Ariel Cohen Sabban, president of the DAIA, a political umbrella for Argentina's Jewish institutes, called the find "unheard of" in Argentina. "Finding 75 original pieces is historic and could offer irrefutable proof of the presence of top leaders who escaped from Nazi Germany," Cohen told AP.


New Zealand Festival Omits 'Israel' from 'Joseph' Lyrics

By JTA

The long-time director of an arts festival in New Zealand has apologized for removing the word "Israel" from a song in the musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," scheduled to be performed there.

May Pritchard, who has coordinated the Artsplash festival for the last 30 years, said in a letter to Wellington Regional Jewish Council and other critics of the change that the original words would be reinstated for the performance that will take place in September, the JWire Jewish news website reported. The phrase "Children of Israel are never alone" in the song "Close Every Door," which is performed by Joseph and a choir of children, was altered to read "Children of Kindness."

Pritchard said in her letter that she takes "`full responsibility for this unfortunate and regrettable error…You have my complete assurance that this was an unintentional and innocent error on the part of one of my team, and I apologize for it. The person concerned, and myself for that matter, are religious people and would never consider intentionally doing anything racist or anti any religion," Pritchard said in the latter.

She said that the festival has "always included children of all sorts of backgrounds including Jewish. There has never before been an incident of this sort, and I don't expect there will be again." She added that: "Action has been taken over the weekend to ensure that the original song words are all reinstated, with immediate effect."

The apology came after a local resident tweeted about the lyric change to Joseph lyricist Tim Rice, who responded in a tweet to the Wellington Local Council that the change was unauthorized.


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