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                             ISRAEL
                              FAXX

Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       Nov. 3, 1995, V3, #200
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Explosions Rock Gaza Strip

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Two suicide bombers set off explosions near Israeli targets Thursday in the Gaza Strip, injuring 11 Israelis, most of them slightly. A spokesman for the Israeli settlers in Gaza calls it a miracle no one other than the bombers was killed by the two explosions.

According to the Israeli army, the first bomb went off near a bus carrying childcare workers to an Israeli settlement in Gaza shortly after 7 a.m local time. The bus had just crossed into Gaza and was being escorted by two Israeli army jeeps. As the small convoy passed a Palestinian car, the bomb went off, injuring several soldiers and people on the bus.

Alerted by that explosion, Israeli soldiers guarding a nearby convoy prevented the second bomber from getting close to a bus carrying settlers. The bomber set off his charge 50-meters away, killing himself but not injuring anyone else.

No one claimed responsibility for the bombings, but the militant Palestinian group Islamic Jihad has threatened to take revenge on Israel for the killing last Thursday of its leader, Fathi Shqaqi, by unknown assailants. The killing of another Islamic Jihad leader a year ago sparked a series of deadly revenge attacks.

At first, Israeli leaders followed their usual practice -- disavowing any knowledge of the Shqaqi killing, without directly denying involvement. But Wednesday, without exactly saying Israel had carried out the assassination, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Israel would continue striking against the leaders of violent organizations. In addition, Israel's health minister told the Washington Post Israel had punished Shqaqi, but he later said he was speaking hypothetically.

The Shqaqi killing, Thursday's bombings, and a drive-by shooting of a rabbi Wednesday on the West Bank do not appear likely to slow the implementation of the latest Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. While the investigation of the bombings began, 20 Palestinian police officers left Gaza as scheduled on their way to the West Bank to take up duties in the city of Jenin, which is expected to gain full autonomy in about 10 days.

Wallenberg Honored in Capitol Rotunda

By Gary Thomas (VOA-Washington)
A bust of Raoul Wallenberg was placed in the rotunda of the Capitol Thursday. Swedish diplomat Wallenberg intervened to snatch thousands of Jews from the Nazi extermination machine during World War 2, only to disappear into Soviet hands at the end of the war. Wallenberg is only the seventh foreigner to have his likeness sit in the Capitol.

The old American hymn "Simple Gifts" resonated through the cavernous dome of the Capitol -- a fitting reminder that Raoul Wallenberg gave some 100,000 people the simple but precious gift of their own lives at a time when life was painfully cheap.

The idea of a Wallenberg bust in the Capitol came from Congressman Tom Lantos and his wife, Annette. Both escaped Nazi death camps because of Wallenberg. "We are here basically to say thanks -- thanks to Raoul Wallenberg and his family and his friends and his collaborators."

The son of a prominent Swedish banking family, Wallenberg became a diplomat and was dispatched to Budapest in 1944. Through stubbornness, ingenuity, and sheer audacity, he saved thousands of people -- issuing them Swedish passports, placing them in homes under protection of the Swedish flag, and pulling them off trains bound for death camps. Estimates are that his personal intervention saved 100,000 lives.

Chelsea Swett, granddaughter the Lantos', said it was his courage that made him an authentic hero. "You saved thousands of lives because you were brave and courageous. That is why you are a hero to me. That is why you are a hero to so many others. You stood up to the Nazis and you did what was right."

Wallenberg disappeared, however, at the end of the war. He went to a meeting with a Soviet officer and never returned. Soviet authorities said in 1957 he had died of a heart attack 10 years earlier, but there are reliable sightings of him from other released Soviet prisoners.

Mrs. Lantos has led an international campaign to free him for some 18 years. It is generally conceded, however, that he is probably dead now. There have been no sightings of him since about 1980. Were he alive, he would be 83.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich said it is important to remember Wallenberg. He noted a study that more than half of American high school seniors do not know basic history. It is that ignorance, said the Speaker, that is the enemy. "Ignorance is the breeding ground of barbarism and brutality. Being educated does not always mean that you are civilized. Surely the Nazis and the communists taught us that you can be educated and a barbarian."

The bust by Israeli sculptor Miri Margoli will sit alongside other heroes in the rotunda. It is a singular place of honor for one who handed out so many gifts -- and asked for nothing in return.

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