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>Israel Faxx
>JN Oct. 6. 1997, Vol. 5, No. 181

Attempted Terror Attack in Northern Tel-Aviv

By IINS News Service

An Arab man boarded a Number 5 bus in northern Tel-Aviv, on Bavli Street, Sunday night, at the intersection of Namir Avenue. He attracted the suspicion of the driver who asked him what he had in the package he was carrying. The man threw the package in the trash receptacle. The driver immediately evacuated the bus, and shortly thereafter, the parcel exploded. No one was injured thanks to the quick actions of the bus driver.

Jewish Astronaut Marks Holiday on Mir

By IINS News Service

SPACE CENTER, Houston, - As Jews around the world celebrate the High Holy Day, for the first time a Jew marked the holidays aboard the Mir space station.

NASA astronaut David Wolf is foregoing the traditional Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) liturgies. But even without the requisite religious symbols and ceremonies, Wolf said, We can do it in mind."

During interviews before his launch aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, Wolf said he did plan to observe a traditional Yom Kippur fast Oct. 10-11. Wolf's preparations for flight included more than a year of training in Russia.

Despite the former Soviet republic's history of religious intolerance, Wolf said in a preflight interview with United Press International, he did not experience any anti-Semitism during his stay.

Said the 41-year-old physician, "A number of people warned me of that. I did not make it a secret that I'm Jewish. It just seemed to be a non-issue. They are the most gentle, kind, friendly people you could meet."

Wolf does expect to celebrate Chanukah while in orbit, with a menorah and traditional holiday gifts slated for delivery aboard a Russian resupply ship scheduled for launch Wednesday.

The astronaut has with him on Mir two Mezuzahs, encased in scrolls containing a Hebrew prayer which will be given to his hometown synagogue in Indianapolis, and to a nursing home where his aunt lives.

Netanyahu Under Fire for Botched Assassination Attempt

By IINS News Service

A failed assassination attempt in Jordan is the central item in Israel's Sunday media.

First, the background: Two Mossad agents, posing as Canadian tourists, attempted to kill leading Hamas figure Khaled Mash'al in Amman 12 days ago. After a short chase, they were apprehended by Jordanian security officials. In the meantime, the condition of Mash'al began to deteriorate, and doctors said that his life was in danger.

King Hussein phoned President Clinton to tell him that if Mash'al died, the consequences might be catastrophic. Clinton reportedly contacted Netanyahu, asking him to disclose which poison had been used so that the correct antidote could be administered. Israel then dispatched to Jordan a senior security official and a physician with a drug to neutralize the poison used against Mash'al.

In an interview with a Jordanian newspaper, Hussein said ominously, "If we had not received a treatment for Khaled Mash'al, which enabled us to restore his health, we would have taken many actions [against Israel]."

Last Sunday, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon, Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh - as well Netanyahu, according to some reports - made a secret trip to Jordan to meet with Crown Prince Hassan about the issue. Israel understood that the release of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, which occurred last week, together with the dispatching of the antidote, would gain the release of the two Mossad agents.

So far, however, the agents have not been released, and it is possible that Israel will have to free additional Hamas terrorists imprisoned in Israel. King Hussein was reportedly furious that the attempted assassination took place on Jordanian soil. It is believed that, following the peace treaty with Jordan in 1994, Yitzchak Rabin forbade Mossad operations in Jordan. It has also been reported, though, that at the same time, Rabin demanded that Hussein not allow Hamas to act freely in Jordan, and that the king in fact acceded to the request, allowing only political activities.

The opposition has widely criticized Netanyahu for his "inexperience and arrogance." Labor MK Dalia Itzik said, "He has brought us a diplomatic crisis with Jordan and Canada [which objects to the use of Canadian identities for the agents], anger from the U.S., and a situation where Hamas is pictured as being the victim of terror."

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