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  Israel Faxx                                      \/ /  \/ /
  Sept 16, 1994 Volume 2, #168                     / /\__/_/\
  Electronic World Communications, Inc.           /__\ \_____\
  8916 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45215             \  /
  Internet: ewcnews@tso.uc.edu Phone: (513) 563-7424   \/
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Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin will sign a special decree in the near future that will allow Israelis with dual citizenship to visit Jordan.

Cabinet Approves Participation in Haitian Peacekeeping Force

Yediot Aharonot reports that the Cabinet decided to respond positively to a U.S request that Israel participate in a planned international peacekeeping force in Haiti. The newspaper adds that the Israeli force will not participate in the planned invasion of Haiti. The Israeli Cabinet emphasized that the Israeli force will only take part in the peacekeeping operation.

Message from Yitzhak Rabin to the Jewish Communities in the Diaspora

From Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel and the heart of the Jewish people, I extend the traditional greeting, 'G'mar Chatima Tova' - may you and the members of your families, and Jews everywhere be inscribed for a good year...

Happy New Year to you. May this be a year of peace and security, a year of prosperity, and a year in which the Jewish people is blessed with fulfillment. In the words of our traditional prayer, Grant peace, goodness and blessings, grace, loving kindness and mercy upon us and all of Israel your nation.

Yom Kippur in Israel

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israel marked the holiest day of the Jewish year Wednesday evening and Thursday amid continued progress toward peace and the potentially violent backlash against it.

Meanwhile Syria's foreign minister called on Israel to respond quickly to a conciliatory speech made last week by President Hafez al-Assad.

Israeli police are holding nine Israelis accused of planning attacks on Palestinian targets. Officials say they stopped the men just as they were about to launch an attack. And Israeli settlers in Palestinian areas and on the Golan Heights have begun a series of protests aimed at preventing the Israeli government from handing over their land to the Palestinians or the Syrians as part of any deal.

At the same time, the radical Palestinian groups, Islamic Jihad and Hamas, remain active -- and Islamic Jihad was in the position Tuesday of having to deny reports it planned a series of new attacks, with foreigners as the targets.

Still, the atmosphere on this Yom Kippur is very different than in the past. Israelis no longer face the imminent threat of war -- such as the one that broke out on Yom Kippur in 1973. And in spite of the opposition, the peace process with the Palestinians, Jordan and Syria is moving forward.

Golan Settlers Initiate Protests

By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)

Israeli settlers stepped up their campaign against an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights. The settlers responded to Israel's latest offer for a negotiated withdrawal from the Golan Heights, which Israel captured in the 1967 and 1973 Mideast wars, and annexed in 1981. The phased withdrawal plan has received a cold response from Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara, who says it falls short of the total pullout needed for full peace.

Whatever the government's strategy is on talks with Syria over the Heights, the issue has divided Rabin's own Labor Party. Several Labor members of parliament say they would join the Golan settlers in protesting any plans for withdrawal. They said Rabin's plan is a reversal of his election promise never to withdraw from the Golan, from which Syria used to launch artillery shells into Israeli towns.

The opposition Likud Party has already said that if it wins the next national elections, it will not honor any agreement by the present government calling for handing back the Golan.

Former Likud Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir is outraged by any plan to withdraw to the 1967 borders, which he says Israel considered indefensible at the time.

"All our country is very small and the Golan Heights is a very small territory, and it has no value for the Syrians; for us it is very important from the strategic point of view, and every point of view."

For his part, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk a-Shara rejects the idea of a gradual withdrawal. Syria has long demanded that Israel return all of the strategic Golan Heights as a precondition to negotiating a peace treaty. In an interview broadcast over Israeli TV, a-Shara said he could not understand why it should take as long as three years to evacuate such a small area.

Rabin has promised that any substantial withdrawal from the Golan will be put to a referendum. But that is easier said than done, since there are no Israeli constitutional provisions for a referendum.

Peres Sees Syrian Peace

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israel's foreign minister has called Saturday's speech by Syrian President Hafez al-Assad a "declaration of peace," and says Israel is ready for serious negotiations. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres says Assad's speech did not make the solution to Israel/Syria differences any clearer. But at least, he said, "the air is becoming clearer."

Peres acknowledged that Assad again called for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights -- something Israel says it is not prepared to do, at least not immediately. He called that statement a "complicated side" to the speech.

Israel has offered a small withdrawal of its forces from the Heights in return for full peace, and then further negotiations on a territorial settlement after three years.

Peres said any two parties are bound to be far apart at the start of talks. And he is particularly pleased Assad spoke about a full range of relations, which is what Israel wants.

Still, Peres said he has his doubts about the possibility of a meeting with his Syrian counterpart at the UN General Assembly in New York this month. That is the kind of direct, high-level contact Israel and US mediators believe is necessary to make significant progress toward Israel-Syria peace.

Peace Depends On Money

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israeli and Palestinian officials agree one of the key tests of their peace accord will be their ability to bring some degree of prosperity to the Palestinian territories. The main challenge is in Gaza, the densely-populated and largely-impoverished strip on the Mediterranean coast.

Gazans are quick to tell visitors that since Israeli troops withdrew from much of the Strip in May, people can go out at night. No more curfews. They also note that there are no more clashes in the streets with Israeli troops, no more random detentions and searches, and the children have returned to the schools.

But poverty and unemployment are still rampant, and people complain about the slow pace of economic change, blaming both international donors and the new Palestinian authority. Yasir Najar of the Palestinian Planning Ministry knows that must be changed or unrest will break out again in Gaza, this time against the Palestinian authority.

For some in Gaza, their way of complaining would likely be violent. And that is something both Palestinian and Israeli officials want to avoid, including Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

"The great test of this agreement will be the economic one. I do believe that in spite of all the transparent difficulties, there is also invisible potential. I do believe there are a number of important enterprises that are going to be built in Gaza, because in Gaza, the main problem is to provide employment to raise the standard of living."
Peres says Israel shares the responsibility to help develop Gaza. But even with Israeli support and an international aid effort, change has been slow to come to Gaza's economy. The Autonomy Authority has created some jobs, mainly cleaning the streets and painting the slogan-covered walls. When political and financial disputes are resolved and large amounts of international aid begin to flow, the authority will be able to do more. But officials and experts agree the long-term prosperity of Gaza depends on the development of private businesses, particularly in manufacturing.

That means getting investment money into the hands of people such as Nabil el-Jaru, a Gaza businessman who wants to expand his small factory, producing household appliances.

El-Jaru's company assembles washing machines in a small factory behind his store on the main shopping road of Gaza city. Difficulties of communications, travel and politics force him to sell most of what he makes locally, and sales have increased only very slowly. He hopes Palestinian autonomy will enable him to export, build a bigger factory, and hire more workers.

El-Jaru has managed to visit several Arab countries, and even to show his products there. He believes there is a market abroad for goods made in Gaza, if only he had the space and the money to make them.

El-Jaru's plans are big. He says the loans of up to $80,000, which might be available from foreign donors, fall far short of his needs. He wants to build a $700,000 factory -- a plan he admits might have to wait for a while.

But the initial stages of Gaza economic development cannot wait. Officials of Israel, the Palestinian area and many foreign countries agree they must move fast to bring jobs to Gaza. Some money has been moved, and this week the US announced another $87 million will be made available for loans to Palestinian businesses. But so far, from the people of Gaza's point of view, aid and investment have not moved fast at all.

The Israel-Palestinian peace accord was signed a year ago. Palestinian autonomy is only four months old. But already, the people of the refugee camps and crowded streets of Gaza are becoming impatient.

Left-Wing Calls for Amending 'Law of Return' Hatikvah News Service

Some call it Moshiach times, some just stand bewildered, but the fact is that prominent figures in the Israeli left who for years have vigorously fought against the amendment of the Law of Return known as the "Who is a Jew" law, are at the forefront calling for its amendment.

Responding to the reports that hundreds of millions of Indians considered themselves descendants of the lost tribe of Menashe and wanted to come to Israel, Uri Gordon, head of the Jewish Agency's Immigration and Absorption department, who was previously adamantly against the amendment of the law, is now calling on the government to change the law immediately.

Referring to millions of people living in poverty in Third World countries who claim they are of Jewish ancestry, Gordon said, "These are people who will do anything to reach the West. Other western countries have closed their doors to immigrants and we do the opposite. According to the Law of Return it is sufficient to have a Jewish grandfather, even if he is an Arab terrorist, in order to make aliyah," he lamented. He warned that the Law of Return in its present form will throw Israeli society into turmoil and harm the character of the Jewish state.

Israel is now also flooded with thousands of non-Jews who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union and other countries and want to undergo Reform and Conservative conversions and be registered as Jews, although according to Jewish Law, if one undergoes a non-Halachic conversion as performed by the Reform and Conservative movements, the convert remains a gentile.

According to the present Law of Return, conversions performed by Reform and Conservative rabbis inside Israel proper are not valid. Last month, the Reform movement in Israel petitioned the High Court of Justice about a gentile who underwent a Reform conversion but the Interior Ministry refused to register her as Jewish. The Court's decision, which is expected to be handed down sometimes in October, will no doubt be a landmark decision which will reverberate throughout the world.

But Reform and Conservative conversions which were performed abroad, according to the present "Who Is a Jew" law, are considered valid.

Rabbi Yehuda Etzyoni, director of the Committee for The Integrity of the Jewish Nation, an ad hoc committee that for over 22 years has been waging a vigorous battle to amend the Law of Return, He said, "Now everyone sees what the Committee had foreseen and warned about many years ago, that unless the Law of Return is repealed immediately, Israel will be flooded with thousands of non-Jews who will pose a danger not only to the religious character of the state but to the security of the country as well." Therefore, he said, "the committee urges the Knesset to immediately amend the law to read that a Jew is only one born to a Jewish mother or converted according to Halacha (Jewish Law).

Pork Fat Makes Deadlier Bullet
Hatikvah News Service

New York Times Magazine (August 28) reports that Rabbi/inventor Moshe Antleman of Rehovot has developed a singularly nasty weapon for the next war: a bullet that contains pork fat.

Antleman developed the lard-laden ammo because devout Muslims believe any contact with pig flesh robs the soul of its chance to enter Paradise.

The Times Magazine said Antleman has offered his innovation to West Bank settlers, and he also hopes to interest the Pentagon in this "refined form of military pork."

According to the Magazine, Antleman said the original idea for his bullet came from the United States military. It improvised a "Paradise Lost" tactic against Muslims during the conquest of the Philippines, burying the enemy dead in pigskins.

Brief Faxx

George Burns was admitted to a hospital this week. But his agent says the 98-year-old comedian and singer is feeling well enough to joke with the nurses. Burns was hospitalized Monday for surgery to drain fluid from the surface of his brain. The problem is a result of Burns' fall in a bathtub a couple of months ago. His representatives say he's expected to spend about a week in the hospital. Burns has often said that he can't die because he's "booked." His 100th-birthday appearances in the US and Great Britain, are only 16 months away.


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