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>JN Nov. 6, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 204

Israel May Publish Secret Rabin Murder Findings

Israel said Wednesday it was considering making public the secret findings of a state inquiry into Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination two years ago this week. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the examination in an apparent bid to quash a surge of allegations of a high-level conspiracy to kill Rabin that might have involved an informer for the Shin Bet secret service. Netanyahu, a right-winger who swept to power six months after the assassination, described the conspiracy theories on Tuesday as "nonsense."


Israel Plans East Jerusalem Housing

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

With US mediators calling for a "time-out" in Israeli settlement construction and Palestinians demanding a permanent halt, an Israeli newspaper reports the government is planning thousands of housing units in occupied territory during the next two years.

Ha'aretz reports the government will sell land next year to begin construction of the controversial Har Homa neighborhood in east Jerusalem. It also reports planned land sales for thousands of apartments in several West Bank settlements.

The report indicates 1,000 apartments will be built initially on Har Homa, a hill in the southeast corner of Jerusalem. The start of ground work at the site, claimed by the Palestinians, sparked a six-month crisis in the peace process. The newspaper reports another 7,000 units are planned for the West Bank during the next two years.

Israel says it is limiting its settlement construction to only what is needed and only alongside existing neighborhoods. But the Palestinians say Israeli government plans such as the one reported Tuesday show Israel intends to do massive construction. A settlement slowdown or freeze is on the negotiating table during talks in Washington.


Israel Calls on International Red Cross to Recognize MDA

By IINS News Service

Starting with its first request to the International Red Cross in 1949, Israel has once again called upon the world body to accept Magen David Adom, [Israel's emergency medical service provider], and its well-known red Magen David symbol. Israel has always been rejected, having been told the symbol was not in conformance with the red cross symbol of the international body. This despite the exceptions made for Moslem countries and the Red Crescent Society, functioning in PLO Authority autonomous areas throughout Israel.


Knesset Member Upbeat on Conversion

By Don Jacobson (by permission of UPI Chicago)

A member of the Israeli Knesset committee debating the fate of a controversial religious conversion bill says the talks present an opportunity to reach a historic compromise that could affect many facets of Jewish life.

Alex Lubotzky of the small Third Way Party told an audience in Chicago a formula for satisfying Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jewry on matters such as conversion and marriage is within reach.

Lubotzky says the Neeman Committee, appointed in June by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is developing a consensus that he contends would both allow Orthodox Jews to keep the nation true to its religious roots and at the same time break their state-sponsored stranglehold on official religious life.

Lubotzky said, "I'm very optimistic, even though it's dangerous to be optimistic on such matters. We have an historic opportunity coming out of this crisis."

Reform and Conservative Jews, many of whom live in the United States and support Israel monetarily, have reacted with anger at the proposed law, which was originally supported by Netanyahu. They say it treats them as less than "legitimate" Jews and they want Israelis to someday be able to use rabbis of their choice since the nation has no civil ceremony alternatives.

Lubotzky suggests that Orthodox Jewry should be allowed to maintain their supremacy on matters of Jewish law but that in return they should defer to Reform and Conservative Jews on issues of legitimacy and recognition.


CIA Worried in 1948 About Israel

By IINS News Service

The Central Intelligence Agency warned US President Harry Truman in 1948 that the newly-created State of Israel might become a Soviet client, newly declassified documents show.

"Formation of a Jewish state in Palestine will enable the USSR to intensify its efforts to expand Soviet influence in the Near East and to perpetuate a chaotic condition there," the CIA said in a report sent to Truman on May 14, 1948, the date Israel proclaimed statehood.

The records of early CIA thinking about Israel were made public late last month, in conjunction with a CIA-sponsored symposium on early Cold War perceptions of the Soviet threat.

Published by the spy agency in "Assessing the Soviet Threat: The Early Cold War Years," the once top-secret documents shed fresh light on challenges faced by Truman in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The records reflect CIA concern over Soviet-bloc arms shipped to Jewish guerrillas battling Arab irregulars on the eve of Israel's proclamation of independence.



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