Visas Denied for Israelis Hoping to Play in Saudi Arabian Chess Tournament
Seven Israeli chess players will be unable to play in a speed chess championship in Saudi Arabia because they were denied visas, JTA reported.
The visas “have not been issued and will not be issued,” Israel Gelfer, vice president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), told Reuters. Saudi Arabia does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.
Israel Chess Federation spokesman Lior Aizenberg said the organization was considering options against the World Chess Federation.
“The event is not a world championship if they prevent chess players from several countries from taking part,” Aizenberg said. “Every chess player should have the right to participate in an event on the basis of professional criteria, regardless of their passports, their place of issue or the stamps they bear.”
About 180 chess players are participating in the King Salman Rapid Blitz Chess Championship in Riyadh.
Lorde Defends Concert Cancellation in Israel
New Zealand pop star Lorde said she made the “right decision to cancel a concert slated for summer 2018 in Israel,” JTA reported.
The cancellation was announced after Lorde was criticized by pro-Palestinian fans in her native country.
“I’ve received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” Lorde said in a statement. “I pride myself on being an informed young citizen.”
Lorde’s decision was met with criticism from both Israeli officials and the New Zealand Jewish Council.
“We are deeply disappointed that Lorde has succumbed to a small but loud group of extremist bullies,” council spokesperson Juliet Moses said. “Boycotts of Israel will not lead to peace.”
Class-Action Suit Filed in Israel Against Apple
A 500-million-shekel (roughly $125 million) class-action lawsuit was filed in Israel on Dec. 25 against Apple, Haaretz reported.
The suit contends that Apple breached its duty to customers by concealing information — Apple admitted that it deliberately slowed the performance of older iPhones.
“There is no doubt that information about the device slowing is important, and cardinal, and users had the right to get [that information] from Apple before deciding whether to install the software updates,” the lawsuit said.
The company said it issued software updates designed to make aging batteries last longer. Similar lawsuits in the U.S. argue that the company’s silence on the matter prompted users to believe their only option was to buy newer iPhones.
Anarchist Group Vandalized Israeli Embassy in Greece
Anarchist group Rubicon on Dec. 25 threw bottles of red paint at the Israeli embassy in Athens, Greece, JTA reported.
The group posted a video online of the incident, which shows members riding up to the embassy and throwing the paint.
“We identify with the Palestinians, a nation that for decades has been a victim of oppression,” Rubicon said in a statement. “In reality, the Palestinians are pressured to leave their land. This is ethnic cleansing at a low-intensity level for decades.”