Newsletter : 7fax0625.txt
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>JN June 25, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 114
Israel Takes sixth in Car Rally in Jordan
The International Car Racing Rally was held this year in the
Middle East for the first time in 15 years, with drivers racing
their cars in the first stage in Jordan, and Israelis
participating. 25 cars took part, and Yuval Melamed, 33, of Kibbutz
Shefayim, drove the Israeli entry. The course involved two days of
driving and was 497 miles long. Melamed finished third, but was
listed as sixth in the overall judging.
Hero-Addict-Thief Begins Recovery Program
Moti Ashkenazi, the man who found an explosive device in a
handbag he stole on Friday, has entered a drug-rehabilitation
program near Nahariyah. His mother, Naomi Ashkenazi, said, "I am
now praying to God that just like my son saved many people, He will
save my son."
Moti said "The policemen all shook my hand, and people stop me on
the street to say thanks. I feel that as a result of this story,
my life has begun anew. This morning I'm starting this new program,
and I hope that this time it will work."
He admitted that at first, he was inclined to throw the bag away
and ignore the consequences. "But then I thought to myself that if
[a tragedy happens], I would not be able to live with the feeling
that I could have prevented it. I knew that I must take the
responsibility upon myself." After he stole the bag and found in
it a hairbrush, a hat, a set of keys, and a suspicious plastic box
attached to a watch, he alerted the police.
"They didn't give me a certificate of honor," Ashkenazi said, "but
I received something better: this drug recovery program."
Bnei Brak Crime Up
An alarming increase in crime in the Orthodox city of Bnei Brak
has been registered over recent months. Robberies and violent
break-ins have been on the rise, and municipal authorities have
requested more police patrols and the establishment of a police
station in the city.
The police say they are willing to establish a station, despite the
fact that the crime rate in the largely-hareidi city of 143,000 is
still relatively low.. They say, however, that rabbinical
authorities in the city have objected. The objections stem partly
from the Sabbath desecration that will inevitably be involved in
police activity; this fear is compounded by the fact that most of
the robberies take place on Sabbath.
Known criminals, foreign workers and Arabs are suspected in the
crimes. Municipal and police representatives will meet later this
week to discuss the issues.
By Douglas Roberts (VOA-Cairo)
A Egyptian court has overturned a government ban on the practice of
female circumcision. The Cairo court ruling is being hailed as a
victory by Muslim fundamentalist groups. But human rights
activists and women's organizations are vowing to continue their
campaign to end the age-old practice, also known as female genital
mutilation. The government banned female circumcision in a decree
issued less than one year ago.
A group of Muslim clerics, led by Sheikh Yousef al-Badry, filed
suit, arguing the ban was un-Islamic. Tuesday's Cairo court ruling
was not so much about the substance of the issue as about the
government's authority to rule by decree.
Presiding Judge Abdelaziz Hamade noted the ban was announced
without parliamentary approval. He said the government overstepped
its authority and took away the rights of the medical profession.
Sheikh Yousef appeared triumphant as the ruling was read. He
called it a victory for Islam.
But human rights campaigners and women's rights activists say the
issue is far from resolved. Some are vowing to continue their
drive to ban female circumcision through the courts. Others are
engaged in a grass roots campaign, trying to persuade women who
have been subjected to female circumcision to speak out against
A social scientist who oversees the work of several
non-governmental organizations, Marie Assad, says more Egyptian
women are coming out in support of the campaign, vowing their own
daughters will not endure the pain they suffered.
"So when you have people who are so engaged and committed, this is
what we are trying to repeat. We are trying to have the women who
have experienced that to fight with us to save their daughters, and
I think we are getting a very good momentum on this."
Assad says she was not surprised by Tuesday's court ruling. She
said the issue had become too politicized, but she remains
confident of an eventual victory over what she called -- a bad
social custom that violates a woman's dignity.
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