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>Israel Faxx
>JN Nov. 18, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 212

IDF Officer Gets Jail Term for Wedding Affair

Yesterday, we reported that IDF soldier Avishai Ukshi was not permitted leave to attend his sister's wedding. The officer responsible for Ukshi missing the wedding was given a jail term for her actions. IDF officials refuse to state how long a sentence she received.

More Gas Masks Needed

By IINS News Service

In a report Monday to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, IDF officials informed MKs that the army is short some 400,000 gas masks. They are needed to equip all of the Israelis who need masks or replacements for their old masks.

Over the past few days, with the Iraqi front heating up, thousands of Israelis have been turning out at IDF Home Front Command gas mask stations for new equipment.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Lashes Out Against Reform Jews

By IINS News Service

Once again Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has captured headlines with his comments. The rabbi stated the Reform Jews are not members of the Jewish community. "They should be vomited out. They are not counted in the nation of Israel." Yosef maintains there can be no compromise with the members of the Reform Movement.

Netanyahu Addresses Jewish Federations Assembly

By Michael Leland (VOA-Indianapolis)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is urging North American Jews not to worry about a proposal that would write into law Orthodox control over religious conversions in Israel. Many Reform and Conservative Jews in North America say they feel alienated by the legislation.

Netanyahu told more than 4,000 people at the Council of Jewish Federations General Assembly in Indianapolis that the proposal merely writes into law a practice that already exists in Israel -- Orthodox control over conversions. He says it will not affect Reform or Conservative jews in North America. "No one, nobody can deprive a Jew of his Jewishness. No power on earth can rob any Jew of his or her identity. There can be no such thing as a second class Jew."
Enactment of the legislation has been delayed while Orthodox, Reform and Conservative leaders try to work out a compromise.

Some Orthodox Jews in the United States have accused Reform and Conservative branches of trying to impose a weakened standard of Jewish law on Jews in Israel. About 80-percent of the Jews in the United States consider themselves Reform or Conservative, and many people in those branches say they feel if the law is enacted, they would be so-called second class Jews. The prime minister says he hopes the matter can be settled without legislation or litigation.

Does Arafat Have Parkinson's Disease?

By IINS News Service

A senior Israeli neurologist has expressed the opinion that PLO chairman Yasir Arafat has entered the early stages of Parkinson's Disease. Speaking during a Sunday radio interview, Professor Avinoam Rekhess said he based his view on footage he had studied of Arafat at public functions.

Cautioning that a definitive diagnosis was not possible from the video films, Rekhess said however that facial tremors and other external signs seemed to indicate Parkinson's. He urged Arafat to seek treatment, saying the symptoms may be significantly reduced by medications available today.

Arafat and other PLO spokesmen have denied the reports. The PLO chief attributed his paleness, red eyes and facial tremors to overwork and a lack of sleep. His wife, Suha, accused Israel of employing what she called propaganda in a bid to remove Arafat from office.

At a press conference in Bern, Switzerland, with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Saturday afternoon, Arafat's appearance stirred whisperings among the crowd. HA'ARETZ reports that when an American journalist asked him how he felt, Arafat smiled and said, "How do I look to you?"

The journalist responded: "You look teary-eyed; your lips are shaking; you're speaking slowly; you're pale; your expression is glazed and I would like you to address the subject."

Arafat, clearly embarrassed, said in Arabic that his eye has been tearing since he survived a 1992 plane crash in the Libyan desert. "In addition, I didn't sleep well. I had to work all night and leave at 5:00 a.m. to arrive here."

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