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>Israel Faxx
>JN Feb. 27, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 34

Device Wakes Up Sleepy Drivers

A new invention in the war against traffic accidents has been developed in Kibbutz Granot. The device sounds a tone to the driver every few minutes, who must respond by pressing a button found on the steering wheel. If his response time is slower than normal, the device signals him -- with a different, louder tone -- that he is drowsy and should pull over for a rest.

Palestinian, Syria, Call Apartments "Declaration of War"

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The Israeli Cabinet committee on Jerusalem has approved construction of a controversial new neighborhood for Jews in east Jerusalem. In an apparent effort to blunt criticism from the Palestinians and the international community, the committee also approved housing construction for Palestinians in 10 Jerusalem neighborhoods. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the controversial decision as a move toward, what he termed, peaceful coexistence for Israelis and Arabs.

"We are building much more for the Palestinians, relative to the numbers and in absolute terms. I think this is an act, in fact, of peace."

The area -- a tree-covered hill captured from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war -- covers 459 acres.

Palestinians claim the eastern sector of Jerusalem as a future capital and say Har Homa would cut off Arab sections of Jerusalem from the West Bank.

But the senior Palestinian official for Jerusalem affairs, Faisal Husseini, sees the decision in the opposite terms. "It is a violation for the agreement and I am saying it is the mentality of the war, and such a matter as a declaration of war."

And Husseini says Palestinians will respond in kind. "Yes, for sure, there will be demonstration(s), we will be there on the place. We hope the Israelis will this time peace and not to use violence against demonstrators."

Syria also warned Israel Wednesday that a decision to build a Jewish neighborhood in Arab east Jerusalem would be a "declaration of war" against Arabs and the Middle East peace process.

Netanyahu called on Palestinian leaders to encourage what he called a "calm and sober" reaction, but he says Israel is ready if the reaction is otherwise. "Of course, if we are challenged violently we will have to respond, and we will respond very firmly. But I hope it doesn't come to that, and it shouldn't come to that if leaders act responsibly."

The Israeli Security Services sent reinforcements to Jerusalem Wednesday to prepare for possible Palestinian protests in the wake of the decision.

The first phase of the housing project will involve 2,500 housing units for Jews, built mostly on land expropriated from Jewish landowners. Three-thousand homes for Arabs will be built elsewhere in the city.

Orthodox Jew Tried to Kill Peres in Jacksonville

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jacksonville)

Law enforcement officials in Florida are trying to determine how a bomb was placed in a synagogue in Jacksonsville shortly before former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres spoke there nearly two weeks ago.

Federal authorities in Jacksonville charged a local man with placing a pipe bomb in the synagogue Feb. 13. The bomb was placed in the synagogue some time before Peres spoke to a gathering of more than 1,500, but it was not discovered until nine days later.

Harry Shapiro, a 31-year-old former kosher butcher and theological student, was charged Tuesday with placing a destructive device and making a bomb threat. Police were searching his home again Wednesday.

Shapiro called 911 with a bomb threat on Feb. 13, the day Peres spoke at the Jacksonville Jewish Center. The man identified himself as "the American fringe of Islamic Jihad."

Shapiro was arrested after a rabbi, who served a different congregation, told police the suspect had told him he planned to disrupt Peres's appearance.

According to a police report issued by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Department, the rabbi did not take the threat seriously until nine days later when several children playing in the synagogue discovered the bomb.

It is unclear who was responsible for security at the synagogue or why Peres was allowed to go ahead with his speech even though police had received a call from a man claiming to have placed a bomb in the synagogue.

A bomb-sniffing dog was used to search the synagogue the day of the speech -- and both Israeli and State Department security agents were present during Peres's appearance. However, it is unclear if Peres was ever told of the bomb plot.

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