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>Israel Faxx
>PD Dec. 16, 1996, Vol. 4 No. 227

Rabbinate Beefs Up Meat Supply

Tens of teams of shochtim - ritual slaughterers - are making final preparations for their departure abroad this week. The Chief Rabbinate is sponsoring the trips for the purpose of guaranteeing the kosher meat supply in Israel. The shochtim will be working in Argentina, Uruguay, Ireland, Holland, Australia, Brazil and the United States. They received their final briefing Sunday, including the traditional examination of their ritual knives.

Arafat Says He's Not Planning Riots

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has denounced as "nonsense" an assessment by Israeli intelligence that he is planning public riots to try to pressure Israel in the peace talks, and he has again blamed Israel for the current deadlock. Arafat was interviewed by Yediot Aharonot.

Arafat called the report "cheap propaganda" backed by what he described as "dirty intentions." But Saturday, Arafat's cabinet called on Palestinians to prepare to defend their land against Israeli plans to expand settlements -- a statement some viewed as a prelude to a call to arms. Arafat described Friday's Israeli Cabinet decision to facilitate settlement expansion as a "time bomb with many dangers." The decision was sparked by the killing of an Israeli woman and her son on the West Bank last week by militant Palestinians, who fled into autonomous Ramallah.

Arafat told Yediot he would not have anything to gain by calling Palestinians to the streets. But many Palestinian, Israeli and foreign analysts believe Arafat's popularity grew after riots in September, which forced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intensify talks on the long-delayed Israeli withdrawal from Hebron.

That withdrawal has still not happened, and Arafat says he does not expect any progress on those talks soon. He says the talks are not moving "even a millimeter," and he accused Israel of engaging in delays, idle talk and provocations designed to destroy the peace process.

Israel says it is ready to withdraw from Hebron if the Palestinians would accept certain security arrangements. The Palestinians call the Israeli plan unacceptable.

Arafat also rejected the idea of a summit with Netanyahu to break the logjam, saying he needs to see some good will from the Israeli leader first. He suggested approval for the new Palestinian airport to begin operations or for construction of a Gaza seaport. Arafat also demanded the creation of a safe passage route between Gaza and the West Bank and the release of some Palestinian prisoners, as required by the latest peace agreement.

Arafat says Israel's new government seems to have forgotten Israel would not have been able to make peace with Jordan or begin to have relations with other Arab states without its peace with the Palestinians. He noted some recent relatively pessimistic comments made by Jordan's usually moderate King Hussein, and said they are evidence the peace process has reached what he called "the hour of genuine crisis."

IDF Hits Hizbullah Terrorists in Lebanon

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli warplanes hit suspected positions of the Hizbullah terrorists in southern Lebanon Sunday, in a further escalation of the conflict which has been simmering for months.

The Israeli army confirmed its planes attacked suspected Hizbullah positions in the eastern part of the zone Israel occupies in southern Lebanon. Witnesses say the planes fired rockets at remote hills believed to be Hizbullah hideouts. Israel said all its planes returned safely to base.

The air strike followed an incident Saturday in which Israeli troops foiled a Hizbullah ambush, chased the guerrillas and killed two of them. On Friday, Israel said three katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon landed in northern Israel, but did not cause any injuries or damage.

Clashes between IDF and the terrorists have intensified in recent weeks, after a period of relative quiet following Israel's south Lebanon offensive in April. The intensity of the conflict mirrors tension in Israeli-Palestinian relations, and also the lack of progress toward renewing peace talks with Syria.

Artists of the Holocaust Awarded Zussman Prize

The Zussman Prize for artists dealing with the Holocaust has been awarded to Aharon Gluska and Moshe Kupferman at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem. Kupferman's 1995 oil painting of "Splits" and Gluska's "Prisoner from Auschwitz" were the winning entries.

Gluska was born after the Holocaust and lives and works in New York, and recently did a series of portraits of prisoners of Auschwitz, photographed by the Nazis. The awarding committee said his portraits restored "the uniqueness and living quality" of the anonymous faces.
Kupferman, was born in 1926 in Eastern Galicia and was a prisoner in Nazi camps during the Second World War. "As a Jew born in Poland, as a prisoner, and as a member of Kibbutz Lohamei Hageta'ot [the Ghetto Fighters] he expressed all these in his artistic creation."

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