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>Israel Faxx
>PD Nov. 26, 1996, Vol. 4 No. 215

80% of U.S. Jews Haven't Visited Israel

The Ministry of Tourism is strengthening its efforts to increase American Jewish tourism to Israel. Minister of Tourism Moshe Katzav returned from the United States last week, where he met with leaders of the Jewish community and of the tourism industry. One result was a joint call upon American Jewry to come to Israel. It was revealed at the meetings that 80% of American Jewry has never visited Israel.

Golan Heights Settlements Will be Expanded

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel plans to expand its settlements on the annexed Golan Heights, a move that could further complicate efforts to get Israel-Syria peace talks going again.

The Golan Heights Settlers Association wants to add more than 2,000 new housing units during the next few years. And the Israeli government is actively working on the first 900.

The effort is still in the survey and planning stage. And the new homes will likely not be ready for occupancy for more than one year, at least.

But the political impact of the move will almost certainly be felt much sooner. Syria objects to the settlements on the land Israeli occupied in 1967, and it demands the area back in any peace settlement.

Israeli's previous government was willing to return much of the it, but talks bogged down over details. Israel's new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says Israel must keep the Golan for security reasons.

About 15,000 Israelis and 18,000 Druse Muslims live on the Heights, which unlike the West Bank, is fully integrated into Israel with no checkpoints or travel restrictions.

Syria Mobilizes Forces Along Israeli Border

A military source has revealed to the Yediot Acharonot newspaper
that Syria is preparing a military offensive option. According to the source, the plan has been in preparation for a long time, and is unrelated to the results of the Israeli elections.

The IDF is monitoring changes in the positioning of Syria's surface-to-surface missiles, as well as the many Syrian military maneuvers along the Golan Heights border. On the Israeli side of the border, the Golan Residents' Committee has congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his plans to develop the area, and calls for their immediate implementation. Government officials announced last week their intention of building 900 new housing units in the Golan. The Prime Minister's Office has clarified that the intention is to expand existing communities, as opposed to building new communities.

In an interview with Haaretz newspaper Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu related to the strategic importance of the Golan Heights. Netanyahu said, "People tell me that today, in this age of missiles, territory does not matter. It is true that missiles are a problem, but tanks are also a problem, and tanks which descend from high ground are a double problem. To a certain extent, territory in the missile age is even more vital because the enemy's land-to-land missiles can disturb the deployment of our reserves and make the defense of the borders difficult.

"Therefore, the need for strategic depth does not disappear in the missile age, rather it takes on greater importance. In addition, high places have great importance for intelligence purposes. For these reasons, the problem of the Golan is first and foremost a security problem. We must retain the basic deterrence, and for this we need sufficient security arrangements. This is the problem that stands before us and with which we must deal at the negotiating table."

Research by Israeli in China on Prehistoric Humans

The Israeli scientist Prof. Steve Weiner of the Environmental Sciences and Energy Research Department in the Weizmann Institute of Scientific Research is the first Western researcher permitted by the Chinese authorities to work on studying the prestigious "Peking Man" prehistoric research material.

The studies are examining whether "Peking Man" was the first human in history who started to use fire for daily needs. The skeleton of the prehistoric man was discovered some 60 years ago in a cave near Beijing, and identified as a special, unique, type of human.

Weiner has perfected an instrument to determine precisely what materials are found in archeological excavations.

Pope Beatifies Austrian Priests Martyred by Nazis

Pope John Paul II tapped two Austrian priests martyred under Hitler for sainthood Sunday, for their refusal "to worship the beast and image" of the Third Reich.

In a Vatican beatification ceremony, the pope said priests Jakob Gapp and Otto Neururer showed there could be "no compromise between Christianity and the Nazi pagan national socialist ideology."

The pope used a line from the Bible to compare Adolf Hitler's Third Reich with Satan. It was the second time this year the pope paid honors to priests killed for resisting Nazi rule.

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