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>JN July 9, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 123

Palestinian Police Beat Monks and Nuns

By Arutz-7

The Palestinian Authority police burst into a Hebron monastery this past weekend, demanding that the premises be evacuated within 24 hours. After the monks and nuns began to argue with them, the Palestinian police began to beat them and drag them out by force.

One of the nuns told Arutz-7, "First they smashed doors and windows, then they beat us brutally." Five monks and three nuns were injured, and one nun is hospitalized. The monastery is the property of The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, a legal church body incorporated in New York.


Swiss Gold Update

Switzerland's Holocaust memorial fund will soon make a first payment of $15 million to help needy victims in Eastern Europe. Of those funds, $2 million will go to non-Jewish survivors, according to Rolf Bloch, the chairman of the fund, which met in Switzerland.

Swiss banks discovered another $7.1 million in unclaimed assets from Holocaust victims, according to the Swiss banks' ombudsman. Last year ombudsman Hanspeter Haeni said he could find only $8,000 in assets. Some Jewish groups claim that Swiss banks owe Holocaust victims or their heirs up to $7 billion.


Arafat's "New Eastern Front" Against Israel

With permission of the Middle East Digest

PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat is working towards the formation of a new "eastern front" of Syria, Iran, Iraq and the Palestinian Authority, which "would be capable of pressuring Israel into accepting Palestinian demands" according to a report in Tuesday's Jerusalem Post.

Quoting "highly-placed sources", the report said Arafat was encouraging the Iranian regime to tighten its links with Syria as a first step. Iran and Iraq have also drawn closer recently.

This assessment echoes warnings by a US congressional task force last year of a combined Iran-Iraq-Syria-Palestinian military front against Israel. For many years, relations between the PLO and Iran were icy. Arafat accused Tehran of supporting the Hamas movement in opposition to his Palestinian Authority. This has changed in recent months, and the recent accession of president-elect Mohammed Khatami - said to regard Arafat as a "personal friend" - seems likely to lead to even closer ties.

Wrote the Post: "The current perception in Jerusalem is that Arafat has been using the goodwill he recently garnered with the Iranian leadership as well as his strong links to Iraq to forge a new regional alliance." The catalyst for the establishment of such a relationship would be common interest in ending the military co-operation between Israel and Turkey.

"Arafat's interest in teaming up with Iran, Iraq and Syria is believed to be motivated by his deep disappointment with the pace of the peace process," said the Post.


"Exodus 1947" Captured by the British

By Don Canaan

FOREST PARK, Ohio, July 9 (UPI) -- A Hamilton County resident in his 70s, Bernard Marks, remembers what he was doing in the French port of Sete 50 years ago.

Marks was the first mate on the President Warfield -- a ship later renamed "Haganah Ship -- Exodus 1947." He was assisting 4,515 Holocaust refugees, brought to Sete from displaced persons camps in Germany and Poland, to board the once elegant, 70-year-old Warfield.

They would unsuccessfully try to evade British warships blocking Nazism's victims from entering Palestine. The captain and Marks evaded a warship waiting in international waters.

One woman on the overcrowded ship died in childbirth and was buried at sea. On July 18, officers of the nine-ship British fleet shadowing the Warfield ordered it to stop and be towed into Haifa.

At 2:45 a.m., the Warfield raised the blue and white Mogen David -- the flag of Israel -- and changed the ship's nameboards to its new name -- Exodus 1947.

Crew members and some passengers unsuccessfully conducted a two-hour hand-to-hand battle against British sailors who had rammed and illegally boarded the Exodus in international waters.

Second Mate William Bernstein and two Holocaust survivors, including a 15-year-old orphan, died.

Marks had been an officer in Britain's wartime merchant marine and it was he who piloted the Exodus into Haifa harbor -- a British officer at his side.

The Jewish survivors were placed on three British transports, returned to France and then to the German camps. The historic voyage was later recounted in Leon Uris' book "Exodus," and in the motion picture starring Paul Newman.


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