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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 9, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 84

U.S.A Lo Maveen Ivrit

(The U.S.A Doesn't Understand Hebrew)
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli officials and commentators are striking back at US officials, who told the Washington Post this week that Israel might have placed a high-level spy in the US government.

Israeli officials and experts on intelligence matters say the telephone conversation between israeli agents -- reportedly intercepted by the US government -- was misunderstood. They say if the discussion were really about a high-level spy, it would not have been conducted on the telephone. Rather, they say, the two agents were either discussing routine matters or their Hebrew was mistranslated.

Israeli officials have accused hostile elements in the US government of fabricating the story. And an Israeli columnist wrote Thursday that any criticism for spying on friends should be directed at the United States for tapping the Israeli phone call.

The Washington Post reported the FBI is searching for an Israeli spy code-named "Mega." A senior Israeli official said Thursday that when they find out what "Mega" means, they will realize "how false and ludicrous" the Post's story is.

Israel's Haaretz newspaper said Mega was apparently a mistaken decoding of "Elga" -- an old Israeli intelligence word for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Some Israeli media reported the Jewish state would protest its closest ally's wiretapping of what was supposed to be a secure communication.

Journalist Uri Dan, who writes about Israeli intelligence, told the radio: "If it weren't so sad a story it would be funny." He said Mega was short for the code word Megawatt.

"Whoever covers intelligence matters knows that for more than 20 years two international authorities have been operating, one of which is called Megawatt and the other Kilowatt."

He said Megawatt was an international reservoir of intelligence information shared by the United States and other countries, including NATO members and Israel.

Holocaust Memorialized at the Capitol

By Paula Wolfson (VOA-Washington)
Many of the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps of World War 2 were little more than children when they were freed and began new lives. They are grandparents now, many old and frail, and they live in fear that the world will forget and will look the other way when the warning signs of genocide reappear. They brought their fears to Capitol Hill. And members of Congress joined in a Day of Remembrance.

The Grand Rotunda of the Capitol is usually filled with tourists on spring afternoons. They lean against the marble walls, gaze at the murals, and fill the vast hall with their laughter. But on this day, the only sound was the mournful wail of a Jewish prayer for the dead.

On the day set aside to remember the victims of the Holocaust, the Rotunda became a sanctuary filled with the survivors and their families. Benjamin Meed spoke for them all. "Survivors have become witnesses who share our memories with others. We believe that in remembrance lies the hope and the protection of another generation, which might otherwise be abandoned and forgotten."

Members of Congress joined those who had seen the horror of the concentration camps. And Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, looking out at the crowd that packed the room, seemed momentarily at a loss for words. "I have no memories of parents or children or uncles or cousins caught up and destroyed by the horror. I have not even that distinctive appreciation of evil that must come from (a Jewish person) knowing that 6 million people were killed for no other reason than that they had blood like mine running in their veins."

A ceremony remembering the Holocaust is held each year in the Rotunda, and with each passing spring, there seems to be a bit more urgency among the survivors to leave a legacy -- to ensure that no religious or ethnic minority is ever forced to endure the kind of inhumanity they experienced first-hand.

They lit candles to remember the dead. There were six large cream-colored tapers -- each one ignited by a survivor and a member of Congress. The survivors included a businessman, a poet and a college professor. And it was somehow fitting that among the lawmakers was Congressman Sam Gejdenson, a Connecticut Democrat. He is the son of Holocaust survivors and was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany amidst the ashes of World War 2.

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