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>Israel Faxx
>PD Dec. 19, 1994, V2, #227

Jewish Agency Evacuating Chechnya Jews

The Jewish Agency has decided to evacuate the Jewish community from the embattled Russian republic of Chechnya. Fighting broke out last week between Russian troops and Chechens who seek to secede from Moscow. Out of a group of 80 Jews from the capital Grozny, some were recently moved to a Russian city outside the republic, and others were evacuated several weeks ago to Azerbaijan.

Israeli President Visits Egypt

By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)

After 15 years of official peace, Israeli President Ezer Weizman pays a two-day state visit today to Egypt. The visit opens the way for President Hosni Mubarak's trip to Israel, expected in the first half of next year. The media in both countries are so far silent about the trip.

Mubarak's top advisor terms the visit an important gesture of good will. The Israeli President's visit marks another step toward normalizing relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors as efforts intensify for a comprehensive peace in the region.

Weizman meets Mubarak and other top Egyptian officials during his stay. He will also talk with business leaders to encourage more trade and investment.

And he will take some time for talks with former Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Khalil -- his negotiating partner in the Camp David peace talks that produced Israel's first peace treaty with an Arab state.

Khalil has said that the positive chemistry between the two helped ease tensions during Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's historic trip to Jerusalem in 1977. Weizman will lay a wreath at Sadat's tomb Monday afternoon.

King David may be Instrumental in Fall of Rabin Government

By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)

A row over the image of the biblical King David has prompted a call for a "no confidence" vote today against the Israeli government.

Orthodox rabbis in Israel's parliament are threatening to topple the government over a perceived insult to an ancient monarch who ruled the land 3,000 years ago.

It all started when Foreign Minister Shimon Peres made an uncomplimentary remark in the Knesset about the biblical King David.
When one religious legislator had made an unfavorable comparison between Peres, the conciliatory peacemaker, and King David, the brave conqueror, Peres said he did not approve of everything King David did "on the ground or on the rooftops."

The Old Testament tells that David, upon seeing the beautiful Bathsheba bathing on a rooftop, had her brought to sleep with him and sent her husband to a certain death in battle.

Peres' comment sparked a shouting match after which one rabbi member of parliament needed medical treatment for high blood pressure.

The Orthodox parties are unlikely to take Prime Minister Rabin's government down in a "no confidence" vote, but the affair will make it that much harder for Rabin to obtain their badly-needed support in the future.

Arafat Apologizes for Police Attack on Israelis

By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)

A shootout between Israeli and Palestinian security forces in Gaza has left one wounded on each side. But the incident ended in a rare apology.

An attack on Israeli soldiers by Palestinian policemen has been one of Israel's worst possible nightmares since the Palestinian force was created last May.

Such an attack occurred late Saturday in Palestinian-ruled Gaza, where Israeli soldiers guard roads leading to Jewish settlements. A Palestinian policeman approached an Israeli position, shot, and wounded a soldier. The soldier's returned fire, wounding the assailant.

While many past incidents of Israeli-Palestinian violence have escalated to the point of threatening their fragile peace accord, this time Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat quickly sent an apology.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians remain unhappy with the progress of implementing the peace accord. At a weekly Cabinet meeting, Palestinian officials said Israel's offer of a limited troop withdrawal from the West Bank, rather than full withdrawal, violates the agreement.

North Korea Agrees Short-Range Test in Iran for New Missile

Ha'aretz reports that a senior American official recently told Prime Minster Yitzhak Rabin and other senior Israeli officials that Iran and North Korea are continuing to develop missiles that are capable of striking Israel from Iran.

The Prime Minister said that he knew the United States was able to curb North Korean and Iranian efforts on this matter in the past.

Davar reports that North Korea has agreed to Teheran's request to hold a short-range test in Iran for the new missile. A senior Israeli officer said that Israel is unable to prevent North Korean and Iranian efforts to produce these missiles, but can only monitor the developments and try to prevent them through a third party.

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