(JTA) Russian officials confirmed that Hamas leaders will visit Moscow on Friday. The Russian news agency Itar-Tass quoted a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Monday saying the visit would go forward. Russia angered Israel and the United States by inviting the group in the wake of its landslide victory last month in Palestinian legislative elections. It is not clear which Russian officials will meet with the Hamas delegation, but Hamas is expected to be led by Khaled Meshaal, one of the group's most extremist leaders.

(JTA) Tens of thousands of people in Paris demonstrated against racism and anti-Semitism. Sunday's rally took place after a young French Jew was brutally murdered in what officials have called a hate crime. Police estimated the number of marchers at 33,000, although others put the number much higher. Many of the demonstrators said they marched to show a Jewish presence in Paris. "It seems that so much is going on now to try to force us to leave Paris," said Sandrine Berda, who runs a catering business. "I am here to show there are lots of Jews here and if we leave, Paris will become a pitiful city."

(JTA) An Israeli museum is honoring an Italian port whose residents helped Jews immigrate to British Mandate Palestine. An exhibition on La Spezia opens this week at the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum in Haifa. It showcases the assistance provided by residents of the port to Holocaust survivors trying to reach pre-state Israel despite an immigration blockade imposed by British authorities. Several immigrant boats went through La Spezia, the most famous one being the Exodus, whose story inspired the famous eponymous novel by Leon Uris.

(JTA) An accidental explosion at Israel’s biggest armaments plants injured 12 workers. Police blamed Monday's blast at the premises of Rafael, a heavily guarded installation outside Haifa, on a spill of combustible materials. All of the casualties were listed in good condition. The government-funded Rafael develops advanced weapons systems for Israel’s armed forces and for export.


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