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>Israel Faxx
>JN Oct. 29, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 198

Netanyahu's Mom Hospitalized

Tzila Netanyahu, 86, the mother of the prime minister was admitted to Jerusalem's Shaare Tzedek Medical Center, for medical problems of a cardiac nature. After complaining of chest pains Monday, she was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. Tests conducted by cardiologists indicate she did not suffer a myocardial infarction but is remaining in the cardiology unit for observation. The prime minister and his wife visited Mrs. Netanyahu in the evening.

Compromise Accepted by Reform and Conservative Movements

By IINS News Service

The Reform and Conservative movements of Judaism gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a three-month reprieve Tuesday in his dispute with American Jewry over which rabbis have the authority to convert people.

The chief rabbis in Israel, adhering to strict religious traditions, have absolute control over conversions, according to understandings in effect since Israel was established in 1948.

Following the intervention of President Ezer Weizman, the leaders agreed to extend additional time to the Ne'eman Committee, to attempt to achieve a solution acceptable by Orthodox, Reform and Conservative leaders.

The agreement to return to the discussion table has pushed off the drastic moves by both sides and has averted a serious split between the various religious factions in Israel and the Diaspora.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef; "Israeli Courts are Unfit to Judge Jews"

By IINS News Service

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef called upon Orthodox Jews to boycott the secular court system in Israel, because in his words, "They are not fit to judge Jews."

Yosef explained that the Israeli courts do not hand down verdicts in accordance with Jewish law, and therefore, are not fit to hear cases involving Jews and issues of Jewish law. If a man approaches an attorney to represent him in a court of law, Yosef added, the attorney is bound to tell him the courts do not function in accordance with Torah law.

Yosef also called upon the justices of the High Court to remove themselves from hearing petitions being filed by Conservative and Reform Jews. "Isn't it absurd. They do not believe in Torah and rule by the code of laws of the non-Jews," added the rabbi. "This is an issue pertaining to religion. What are you placing yourselves in the midst of this for."

Reform U.S. Jews Threaten to Cancel Financial Assistance

By IINS News Service

Leaders of America's Reform Jews are already planning their response to the conversion law that is expected to be pushed through the Knesset by coalition parties.

Among the actions being discussed, is the cancellation of tens of millions of dollars of donations annually and boycotting all MKs who vote in favor of the conversion bill.

Israel Hears Pollard's Voice

By Arutz-7 News Service

Esther Pollard, wife of Jonathan Pollard, provided Arutz-7 Tuesday with a recording of her husband speaking to her by phone: "They know what I've been living in for years... I've had people here, non-Jews -- inmates, officers, administrators -- come up to me, and they ask me, Gee, it seems that when your government -- my government, get that? [with great irony] -- when they want to rescue an agent, it knows how to do it [referring to the two Mossad agents involved in the Mish'al assassination incident].

"And I look at them and I just smile -- and I feel [emphatically] ashamed. Not over the fact that we were able to get them out of Jordan, but that the government has refused to make an even minimal effort on my behalf. Clearly, this Mish'al affair shows that when it wants to, it knows how to do it... [Those agents] didn't have to watch their wife tormented, on a hunger strike, in our capital [emphatically] at the end of the 20th century, pleading for their lives. And they sure as hell didn't have to take their government to court, to sue them to take responsibility and to do the right thing..."

This is the first time that the Israeli public has been able to hear Pollard's voice. Excerpts of the tape were broadcast on the "What's Going On" show, and later this week, on Arutz-7's English broadcasts.

The Pollards are suing the government, demanding that it admit that he acted as their agent; the court trial begins today. Mrs. Pollard further told Arutz-7 that a television poll conducted this morning in Israel found that 92% of the respondents feel that Israel has "betrayed" Jonathan Pollard.

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