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>Israel Faxx
>JN April 1, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 57

Wagner Great-Grandson Haunted by Family's Nazi Past

No place has seemed safe enough for Gottfried Wagner -- great-grandson of the 19th century German composer Richard Wagner -- since he started giving lectures in Israel denouncing his family for their "unrepentant anti-Semitism" and close friendship with Adolf Hitler. He has been subjected to death threats in Germany, blacklisted by Swiss-based right-wing extremists and his music seminars in U.S. universities have been disrupted by heckling neo-Nazis denouncing him as a "traitor."

Arabs Say They'll Freeze Relations with Israel

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo) & Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Arab League foreign ministers have approved a resolution calling on the 22 member states to freeze relations with Israel, reactivate an economic boycott and pull out of negotiations until Israel implements the peace agreements it has signed with the Palestinians. The recommendations, approved by consensus, were formally adopted when the ministers closed their two-day meeting in Cairo Monday.

The resolution is the toughest response yet to Israel's controversial housing policy in east Jerusalem.

The tough resolution came after an emotional appeal Sunday from Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, who called Israel's housing policy in east Jerusalem a declaration of war on unarmed people.

Israel says it is "disappointed" at the decision by Arab foreign ministers to "freeze" relations. Israeli government spokesman Moshe Fogel says Israel is disappointed that the Arab foreign ministers did not denounce the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv 10 days ago, and also, in his view, did not give Israel any credit for difficult concessions it has made to the Palestinians. Fogel declined to say what exact impact the "freezing" of relations might be.

Meanwhile, clashes continued on the West Bank between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops Monday, but not on the extensive scale of Sunday. There have been almost daily clashes for nearly two weeks.

Also on Monday, in keeping with Israel's long-standing policy, troops demolished the West Bank home of Moussa Ghneimat, the 28-year-old suicide bomber who struck a Tel Aviv cafe in mid-March, killing three women and injuring 40 people.

Israel says the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, gave a "green light" for such attacks. But Arafat denies it, and he said Monday that Israel is responsible for the bombing because the bomber lived in a village under Israeli control and had a permit to work in Tel Aviv. Arafat also expressed hope that a new US mediation initiative will re-start the peace process, in spite of the current problems.

A Jew is a Jew, is a Jew

CINCINNATI (LNS) -- In recent days, various media reports have implied that not all Jews are legitimate members of the Jewish people. This notion is absolutely abhorrent and foreign to basic principles of Judaism.

A Chabad spokesman says they do not recognize the false labels of Orthodox, Conservative or Reform. A Jew is a Jew. One must not get carried away with adjectives. The noun is universal -- Jew. We have one Torah, we are one people, we have one God and one land. Every single Jew, regardless of his or her affiliation or level of observance, is a full-fledged member of the Jewish people, possessing all the privileges and obligations prescribed in the Torah -- the birthright of each and every Jew.

We embrace all our Jewish brothers and sisters as one people, one family. All of us should strive to cement our inherent bond, by helping to reveal the latent beauty and holiness within the essence of every Jewish soul.

Hale-Bopp Comet in for a Visit

A comet was discovered in July 1995 that has now become bright enough to be easily seen with the naked eye, even from urban sites, and will remain easily visible to northern-hemisphere observers through April 1997. The Hale-Bopp Comet orbits and is still approaching the sun, with its closest approach occurring tonight.

Daniel W. E. Green of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics stated that the latest orbital calculations indicate that the Hale-Bopp comet last passed through the inner solar system about 4,210 years ago. According to the ancient Jewish text Seder Olam Rabah, the comet's previous appearance was approximately the same year that Noah began building the ark.

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