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>Israel Faxx
>PD Jan. 7, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 3

Knesset Condemns Switzerland

Sharp condemnations of the Swiss government and banking system were heard Monday at the first session of the new Knesset committee dealing with the return of Jewish property stolen during the Holocaust.

Committee Chairman Avraham Herschson (Likud) announced Israel would not agree to a situation of "Have you then murdered and also inherited?"

Yisrael Singer, among the leaders of the World Jewish Congress, promised to wage a bitter struggle to return the stolen property, similar to those waged against the Soviet Union and against Austrian President Kurt Waldheim.

MK Avraham Poraz (Meretz) said that the establishment of the Knesset committee would enable Israel to take strong measures against Switzerland that the government would otherwise be unable to take.

Jewish Agency head Avraham Burg said fears of anti-Semitic accusations will not deter the Agency from its efforts to recover the monies that rightfully belong to Holocaust-victim heirs and to the Jewish People.

He said the remarks of outgoing Swiss President Jean-Pascal Delamuraz calling the Jewish efforts to establish a reparations fund "blackmail," are anti-Semitic and are designed to lead to a blow-up in the talks.

Burg announced the Agency is looking into the possibility of enacting a partial boycott of the Swiss banking system. The pension funds of New York municipal workers, totalling billions of dollars, will reportedly be withdrawn from Swiss banks. When asked by a radio reporter if the Jewish people are now at war with the Swiss nation, Burg replied, "No, just a border skirmish."

Arafat Changes His Mind; Netanyahu Executes "Tactical Retreat"

U.S. mediator Dennis Ross has met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. Ross says he attempted to convince Arafat to adhere to his previous commitment regarding the opening of King David St. in Hebron.

Yediot Acharonot reports that Netanyahu has agreed to carry out the next stage of the withdrawal from the West Bank within three months after the signing of the Hebron agreement. Minister of Industry and Trade Natan Sharansky, who has been considered an "undecided" on the Hebron withdrawal, said he doubts that there would be a majority within the government for an agreement that included an Israeli commitment to withdraw from most of that area within a specified time.

David Bar-Illan, director of Policy Planning and Communications in the Prime Minister's Office, told Arutz-7 that based on his long-time friendship with Netanyahu, he knows that he often carries out "tactical retreats," but that he always keeps the ultimate goal in sight, and that in the end he achieves it.

Palestinians Pollute Mediterranean

The Palestinian Authority in Gaza dumps all of its sewage water into the Mediterranean Sea, without any prior purification processing whatsoever, according to Minister of the Environment Rafael Eitan.

He expressed "astonishment" upon discovering this phenomenon, and said that it is a violation not only of the Oslo accords but also of international environmental agreements. He promised to deal with the matter urgently.

German Brewery Taps Kosher Market

Germany's Herrenhauser brewery in Hanover has introduced Europe's first kosher beer, and its ingredients are the same as a standard Pilsner -- water, malt, hops and yeast.

The brewery hopes the idea of a kosher beer will apply to a broad group of consumers, from Jewish beer drinkers to vegetarians.

The brewery first got the idea when a Russian importer asked if a kosher beer was available. He said nobody in Europe or the United States was manufacturing a kosher beer.

Several additional steps are needed to make beer kosher, according to Rabbi M.D. Elzas, director of the kosher foods committee of the Federation of Synagogues in London.

"We investigate the ingredients, and check the production process, and after we are sure the procedure is kosher, kosher approval is given," he said.

Rabbis must verify that the malt used in the beer must not have been produced during Passover, and that the emulsifiers and filtering agents cannot contain animal products. A rabbi must also oversee the cleanliness of the production line.

Those strict guidelines suggest to many people that kosher products are more pure, and Herrenhauser hopes to capitalize off the product's pureness quotient.

Not only the Jewish community seeks kosher products. Herrenhauser believes both vegetarians and status label drinkers might also be interested in a kosher beer.

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