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>Israel Faxx
>JN Feb. 26, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 33

Government Never Forbade Temple Mount Prayer

A document presented to the Jerusalem District Court this week shows Israel never made an official decision to forbid Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. The document, which was presented by the defense lawyers in the trial of Chai V'Kayam members, was prepared by the Cabinet assistant secretary in 1986. The implications of the document are that the Supreme Court justices were repeatedly deceived when they were told that the government had forbidden Jewish prayer.

Jerusalem Jewish Neighborhood to Proceed

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will go ahead with a plan to build a new Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem -- with final approval expected today -- in spite of warnings from Palestinian officials that such a move could cause a violent reaction.

Israel says all of Jerusalem, including the areas captured from Jordan in the 1967 war, is its sovereign capital. But Palestinians want the captured area back through talks starting next month, and have reacted violently to Israeli moves to solidify its control -- most notably in bloody riots last September.

Senior Palestinian official Sa'eb Erakat says that could happen again, and much worse. "We will seek all possible, ways to stop the settlements. I think they and they alone will be responsible for the outcome of such policies."

Israeli government spokesman Moshe Fogel says such statements are threats and Israel will not be intimidated into giving up sovereignty over all of Jerusalem. "We are not going to compromise in any way, shape or form, Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. And it's better that they understand it now rather than have illusions for the future."

Scandal Rocks Netanyahu's Party

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The government scandal in Israel has resulted in an apparent conflict between the prime minister and the justice minister, one of his closest political allies. The prime minister denies there is any rift. But newspaper reports indicate the two men are trying to blame each other for the decision last month which sparked the scandal.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attorney, hired during the weekend, says the prime minister was only acting on the justice minister's recommendation, and cannot be expected to know all the details of every issue. The justice minister says he only organized some information and procedures, and the prime minister was more involved in the details than he was.

That kind of "blame game" is the clearest indication yet that there is some substance to the allegations being made, and that the scandal could have political fallout in the form of high-level resignations and possibly even the fall of the government.

Israeli police are investigating charges that senior officials conspired to appoint a man as attorney general who would give lenient treatment to some of Netanyahu's indicted political allies in return for their continued support.

Some government ministers and other members of the ruling coalition say if senior officials conspired to obstruct justice, the government will have to resign and new elections might be necessary. But Netanyahu and other officials say that will not happen.

Israeli-Palestinian Confrontation

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

A Palestinian man was killed and three others were injured late Tuesday by Israeli soldiers who opened fire near a village just north of Jerusalem.

The Israeli army says a force on routine patrol was attacked by Palestinians near the West Bank village of Hizmeh, and responded by firing at the attackers. Other reports describe the incident as "a confrontation" in which local residents were throwing stones and other debris at the Israelis. The army confirms one Palestinian was killed, and another seriously wounded.

A witness told Israel Radio the soldiers were in civilian clothing. Israel operates both uniformed and under-cover patrols in the West Bank, where it retains security control except in the autonomous cities.

A large force of Israeli soldiers and police went to the scene, and was pelted with stones by local residents. The Palestinian police commander for the West Bank was also there.

Medication for Alzheimer's Disease from Chinese Plant

A chemical found in hyssop plants grown in China may serve as the basis for the newest medication to treat Alzheimer's disease, according to Israeli researchers.

Alzheimer's is a neurological ailment which mostly attacks the elderly. Its main symptoms are the destruction of brain cells and the loss of memory. The researchers, from the Weizmann Institute of Science at Rehovot, discovered that the chemical found in the plant, called Kian-Sheng-Ta in Chinese ("ayzov" in Hebrew) is capable of linking up with an important enzyme in the brain involved in nerve communication.

The Israeli team, including Professors Yoel Zusman and Yisrael Silman, and Drs. Michal Harel and Maya Revas, discovered that this Chinese plant is capable of strengthening the memory.

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