Newsletter : 7fax0417.txt
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>JN April 17, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 69
Jewish Prisoners on Passover
Prison Service Commissioner Amos Azani told the Chief Rabbis
that some 1,000 out of 6,500 Jewish prisoners will be allowed to be
home for the Passover seder with their families, and that 66
central seders will be held in Israeli prisons throughout the
country. He also told the Chief Rabbis that the number of
newly-observant Jews among the prisoners is growing, and that 200
of them are presently being held in special wings in four different
Closure on Judea and Samaria Follows Terror Warnings
Warnings of likely terror attacks within Israel brought Defense
Minister Yitzchak Mordechai to declare a complete closure on Judea
and Samaria (but not Gaza). Arab residents are not permitted to
enter Israel except for medical emergencies, nor are Jewish
residents permitted to enter Palestinian-controlled areas. The IDF
has also announced very stringent hitch-hiking regulations for
The U.S. Department of State issued a public announcement for
travelers to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, quoting a March 21
message from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv and the Consulate
General in Jerusalem concerning travel to Israel, Jerusalem, Gaza
and the West Bank.
According to the message, officials are "taking note of heightened
tension at the present" and reminding U.S. citizens "that the
potential for violence in the area remains high."
The statement says that although U.S. citizens have not
specifically been targeted for attack, Americans have been killed
in past terrorist actions in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
In particular, the embassy warns that terrorist attacks have
frequently taken place on Sunday morning and at rush hours, and
that violent attacks have involved passengers on buses and at
bus stops. The embassy says the U.S. government has received no
information of any impending terrorist action.
The statement strongly advises Americans to "avoid large crowds and
political demonstrations, and not remain in an area where
a demonstration or altercation appears to be developing."
Tension has been high in the region since March, when Israel began
construction on a controversial housing project for Jews in east
Scandal May Result in Netanyahu's Indictment
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli police investigators have recommended that the state
prosecutor indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of
fraud and breach of trust in a scandal involving the trading of
political favors for leniency in the case of a political ally
accused of corruption. Such a recommendation could be politically
devastating for Netanyahu.
The recommendation, contained in a secret police report, has been
confirmed by the minister of public security, who is in charge of
the police, and by Netanyahu's personal lawyer, who contends the
attorney general and the chief state prosecutor have doubts about
Those two officials have the final say on who to indict, but even
if they do not charge Netanyahu, such a recommendation from the
police could be politically devastating. Several parties could
leave his coalition, forcing new elections. If prosecutors do
indict the prime minister, he would have to suspend himself from
public office for the duration of the trial, which could be several
The public security minister says the police investigators have
also recommended indictments against Justice Minister Tsachi
Hanegbi, the leader of the Shas party, Arieh Deri, and the prime
minister's chief of staff, Avigdor Leiberman. All those allegedly
involved have denied there was any such conspiracy, and the prime
minister has called stories of the affair "nonsense."
The 995-page police report was submitted to prosecutors Tuesday at
the end of a 12-week investigation of allegations that the prime
minister appointed a political ally to be attorney general in
January as part of a conspiracy involving political favors and
abuse of the judicial system. Press reports charge that the man,
Roni Bar-On, was to give Deri lenient treatment in a corruption
trial in exchange for the Shas party's continued support for
Netanyahu's government. The issue before the government at the
time was the partial withdrawal from the West Bank town of Hebron.
Bar-On resigned after one day on the job amid widespread criticism
he was not qualified to be attorney general. Now, the fate of
the Netanyahu government could rest with the man the prime minister
appointed to succeed Bar-On as attorney general, Elyakim
Rubenstein, one of the most widely respected lawyers in Israel.
Uri Zohar to Host TV Show
Rabbi Uri Zohar, a former top Israeli comedian who became
religiously observant some 20 years ago, has signed a contract to
host 13 hour-long weekly talk shows on Israel Television. The
late-evening shows will begin after Lag BaOmer, and will feature
interviews, politics, social issues, as well as comedians and
singers. Zohar will write, direct, and act in skits on the shows.
Israel Television, according to the contract, has the right to
cancel the show after three weeks.
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