Newsletter : 7fax0219.txt
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>JN Feb. 19, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 29
Nearly 1,000 people participated in a unique dinner Tuesday in
honor of the Jerusalem Temple and Jewish presence on the Temple
Mount. Samples of music and instruments that may have been sounded by
the Levites in the Temple were played, and speakers described
how Jews would ascend to the Temple with their sacrifices.
Egypt: "Spies" Used Women's Underwear
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)
An Israeli Arab is being charged with economic espionage in Egypt.
Local newspapers claim the Israeli secret service is fueling devil
worshipping among Egyptian youths. Newspapers constantly lash-out
against Israel for trying to take control of the region --
militarily and economically. While these events are not linked,
they appear as part of a pattern of tense relations between the
An Israeli Arab and an Egyptian co-worker are being charged with
spying for Israel. The two men are accused of passing business
secrets, written on female underwear in invisible ink. For the past
several weeks, Egyptians have also been mesmerized by stories about
youngsters involved in devil worship and sex parties -- many
newspaper accounts accuse Israel of plotting to destroy Egyptian
youth. Several months ago, there were stories about young girls
being led astray after chewing gum that was laced with an
aphrodisiac -- another Israeli plot, according to some newspapers.
Israel's new Ambassador to Egypt, Zvi Mazel, says he is discouraged by
all the misleading and negative press. He says it undermines
efforts to forge closer ties between the peace partners. "I was
astonished when I came here and started reading the press every
day. I could not understand why (there was) this kind of monopoly
of negativism. In the old times, you were attacking some issues
about Palestine things or other, but there was also nice news from
Egyptian columnist Samir Rifaat says Israel and America often
become scapegoats for social problems at home. "Anything that goes
wrong, somehow Israel and America will appear. They are the natural
scapegoats for anything that goes wrong, not only in Egypt but in
the region. Anything that is a bit of a crisis, you bring in
Israel and America. In the end of the day, this has no
In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty
with Israel. It was ostracized by its Arab neighbors for doing
so. The move put the government of Anwar Sadat far ahead of public
opinion at home where military defeats against the Israeli army
still burned in the memories of most Egyptians.
Yeltsin Greets Arafat as Friend
By Elizabeth Arrott (VOA-Moscow)
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat met with Russian President Boris
Yeltsin in the Kremlin Tuesday. Yeltsin greeted Arafat as "a friend
of the Russian people," then the two sat down for talks on peace in
the Middle East.
Moscow has a long relationship with the Palestinian leader, and
hopes to use this connection to increase its role in the peace
process. Russia and the United States were the initial sponsors
of ongoing talks, but the Kremlin's role has long been
While Washington has given greater support to Israel, Yeltsin
highlighted Arafat's role in peacemaking efforts, calling him the
legitimately elected leader of the Palestinian people.
Palestinian Stock Exchange Opens
By Al Pessin (VOA-Nablus)
In the West Bank town of Nablus Tuesday, the Palestinian Stock
exchange opened its doors, offering high-finance backed by
high-technology, designed to boost the Palestinian economy.
In the carpeted corridors and computer-lined offices of the
Palestine Securities Exchange there is no opening bell, no
shouting traders, no scraps of colored paper on the floor.
The windowless trading room, with cubicles for each accredited
brokerage firm, hums with the sound of fingers tapping keyboards,
high-speed printers putting out trade confirmations and whispered
conversations between traders and the computer experts helping
them get started.
Suleiman Shihadah, the exchange's manager of technical operations,
says the software used to operate the market will soon make this
brand-new trading room almost obsolete. Brokerage firms will be
able to execute their trades by linking their computers, based
anywhere, to the exchange's main computer.
As many as 60 Palestinian companies could be listed by the end of
the year, with a capitalization of $750 million -- a figure
officials say could grow to $2 billion by the year 2000. The
companies range from the new Palestinian telephone company, to a
large cigarette factory, to pharmaceutical firms, insurance
companies and financial service businesses.
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