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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                     July 10, 1995, V3, #125
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Israeli Research Isolates Gene Causing Deadly Disease in Children:

A team of researchers at the Genetics Department of Tel Aviv University has isolated a gene causing the mortal illness, Ataxia Telengitaxia, a rare hereditary disease in children. The discovery is also related to cancer research. The disease is a nerve ailment appearing in children below the age of 10. It causes imbalance and then inability to walk. Later, malignant growths occur. So far, all victims have died.

Transportation Agreement Opens Israel/Jordan Travel

An Israeli-Jordanian transportation agreement signed Sunday will allow private motorists to cross the border beginning in August. The agreement provides for the opening of uninterrupted bus service between the two countries. Israeli buses will transport passengers to destinations in Jordan. Until now, those traveling between the two countries were obliged to switch buses at the border.

Lines are scheduled to run between Tel Aviv and Amman, Haifa and Irbid, Acre and Zarka, and Eilat and Aqaba. Transportation Minister Yisrael Kessar announced the addition of two bus lines from Nazareth to Amman and Irbid.

Currently, bus service between Nazareth and Amman has not been able to accommodate the large number of Arab residents wishing to visit relatives in Jordan.

The agreement also permits commercial trucks to transport shipments between the two countries, and between the territories and Jordan.

Avital Opens Dialogue with Jewish Leaders

Ambassador Colette Avital, Consul General of Israel in New York, met last week with Orthodox rabbis, heads of major Jewish organizations and other community leaders.

Although there was disagreement on the direction of the peace process, all said they opposed extremist enmity toward the Israeli government.

Participants also discussed ways in which the Israeli government could inform the American Jewish community on the expected IDF redeployment in the West Bank.
Russians will Support Advancement of Israeli-Syrian Negotiations

Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said Russia will take advantage of its special relationship with Syria to advance the peace process and that he would do his utmost to support the Israeli-Syrian negotiations.

Although Russia would join the efforts to further talks between Israel and Syria, Kozyrev told visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin that this would not interrupt or ignore the role played by the United States.

"We are among those that know Syria and Assad the best," the Russian Foreign Minister said. "I have had long discussions with [Assad], he is a knowledgeable man."

Beilin and Kozyrev agreed to establish a joint Israeli-Russian committee that will conduct diplomatic and strategic discussions twice a year. The committee will focus on fundamentalism, terrorism, and bilateral issues.

Laser Treatment Can Improve Fertility

Bar Ilan University researchers have found that fertility in sperm cells can be improved through using laser beam treatment. The experiments have been conducted on mice, not yet on humans. About 40 percent of adult males in Israel suffer from some degree of infertility. The Chief Scientist of the Ministry of the Health is sponsoring the research, which previously was based on infra-red radiation, which raised the calcium level in sperm cells.

New Hope for Heart Illness Patients

A six-hour heart operation -- the first of its kind in Israel -- was performed at the Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, and promises new hope for terminal heart-insufficiency patients. Dr. Itamar Shalit, the director of the Carmel Center, reported that the operation involved a 57-year-old immigrant from Argentina who has had two heart attacks which harmed the functioning of his heart muscle. He could not survive a heart transplant, so the surgeons removed a portion of muscle from his back, still connected to blood supply and nerves, and attached it to his heart, strengthening it, and implanting a pacemaker.

Lowering Cholesterol and Blood Sugar

An American company will produce a medical instrument to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, under a world patent, using a chemical material found in the spice "hilbeh" (fenugreek) which is widely used by Yemenites, including the Yemenite Jewish community in Israel. The Hebrew University researchers headed by Prof. Nissim Gerati and Prof. Zecharia Madad of the Agriculture Faculty discovered that this spice, grown chiefly in India and Indonesia, is especially popular among Yemenites.
Eating it reduces the level of blood sugar and cholesterol significantly. It gives an odor to the skin, but the researchers found an odorless chemical substitute.

Preserving Ancient Mosaics

A new method of preserving ancient mosaics discovered in archeological
excavations has been devised in Israel and is now in use. The idea is not to remove or dismantle the mosaics from their original sites and take them to museums. The latest major mosaic is at Tsippori in north-central Israel and represents the Nile Festival, dating probably from the fifth century of the Common Era. It contains excellent pictures of people and animals and hunting scenes, fishing, a stork killing a snake, a bird on a lotus plant, etc. The mosaic is cleaned and treated on the spot, including the use of vacuum cleaners.

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