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>Israel Faxx
>JN Oct. 28. 1997, Vol. 5, No. 197

Judge Ordered Police to Escort Prisoner to Feed his Birds

An Ashkelon Magistrate Court judge ordered corrections officers to escort their prisoner, suspected of burglaries, to his home to feed his birds. Gideon Buchnick, 46, of Ashkelon, told the court he was unable to bear sitting in jail while his birds remained home and without being fed.

Netanyahu Heckled as Knesset Convenes

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his tough approach to peacemaking with the Palestinians Monday, in a speech opening the winter session of Israel's parliament. Netanyahu's speech was interrupted frequently by the shouts of opposition members angry at his policies, and at his recent comment that Israeli leftists have forgotten what it means to be Jewish.

Netanyahu could not begin his speech for all the heckling by members of the opposition. Some of them held up signs saying, "I am a proud Jew," and declaring that the prime minister is "dividing the people." The raucous demonstration nearly overshadowed the prime minister's policy speech, which outlined his usual tough approach toward peacemaking.

Netanyahu said Israel is not in Disneyland, but rather is in a tough neighborhood, and therefore must be strong and must look after its own security, without relying on the Palestinian Authority or anyone else. At the same time, he said peacemaking cannot continue unless the Authority conducts a strong and permanent war on terrorism.

Opposition leader Ehud Barak, a former army chief of staff, gave a long list of fallen comrades, some of whom he said were religious and some not religious, and some leftists and some rightists. But, he said, no one can question their Jewishness. On policy, Barak said Netanyahu is leading Israel into a new Middle East war.

Barak continued his ongoing personal attacks on Netanyahu, saying the prime minister does not have the brains to save Israel from a war which he said would affect every Israeli household.

One of the key laws this session of the parliament is to consider is a new law on Jewish conversion. Non-observant Jews say the law would formally give full control over religious affairs to the Orthodox movement, and would in essence confer a second class status on the majority of Israelis, and the majority of Jews elsewhere.

The government says the law only formalizes what has been done for 50 years and accuses the leaders of Judaism's Reform and Conservative movements of trying to use the issue for political purposes.

U.S. to Israel: Stop Wasting Time

By Ron Pemstein (VOA-State Department)

The United States is losing patience with Israel's internal disagreement about how to proceed with Middle East peace talks. The United States says Israel is wasting time with its internal deliberations.

Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy has refused to travel to Washington for a three-way meeting with Secretary of State Albright and Palestinian representative Mahmoud Abbas, saying he does not have clear instructions from his government. He hopes to get those instructions by Wednesday. The United States hopes to have Israel's agreement to stop new settlement construction for the next round of peace talks.

U.S. Couple Adopts Israeli Nuclear Whistleblower

A retired American couple have legally adopted Mordechai Vanunu, the former Israeli nuclear technician who blew the whistle on Israel's secret nuclear weapons program, the new father said. A judge in St. Paul, Minn., signed the adoption decree making Nicholas and Mary Eoloff of St. Paul Vanunu's parents by adoption, Nicholas Eoloff said. Vanunu, 43, is in solitary confinement in Israel in the 11th year of an 18-year jail sentence. The Eoloffs have actively sought for Vanunu's release and have been corresponding with him since 1994.

Ultra-Orthodox School Refuses to Accept Ethiopian Student

By IINS News Service

According to Ruth Korblanik, the director of the Yavne Education Committee, a Chareidi (ultra-Orthodox) school, affiliated with the Independent Education System, failed to accept Ethiopian students into the school.

Parents of the Ethiopian students in Yavne complained of segregation and stated their children will never be accepted in the mainstream if they are kept in separate schools.

Mayor Yehuda Bruce decided, together with municipal education leaders, that the Ethiopian children should be permitted to register in all schools in Yavne, even those not in proximity of their homes.

School officials acknowledged that they received several applications from the Ethiopian community, and they acknowledged having a limited number of vacancies.

School officials explained that the Chareidi school has its special character and the applicants did not fit in. The school officials emphasized it was not a racist policy aimed at the Ethiopian community, but rather a move to protect all the children involved.

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