Newsletter : 7fax1208.txt
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>JN Dec. 8, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 223
Empty Mezuzah Cases on Municipal Door Posts
When members of the Jerusalem Rabbinate inspected the mezuzot
on the doorposts of tens of entrances belonging to offices and
buildings of the Jerusalem Municipality, they were shocked to
find empty cases, without the Torah scroll that was to be inside
each case. Following the demands of Orthodox municipal employees,
inspections will be carried out on other buildings in the Jerusalem
city hall complex as well.
Israel Nationwide Strike Ends
By Mark Lavie (VOA-Tel Aviv)
In Israel, a five day general strike has come to an end with a
tentative agreement between the country's main labor union and the
government. Israel's Histadrut labor union declared victory with
the agreement to end its general strike.
For the first time the Israeli government recognizes that it must
negotiate with the workers before it makes decisions that might
affect them -- like adjusting pensions or government allocations
But the price of the five-day shutdown is being counted into the
tens of millions of dollars. Israel's finance minister says some
of the damage is irreparable. He referred to the blow to the
tourism industry -- Israel's main foreign currency earner.
Thousands of tourists, winding up their trip to Israel and
planning to go home, are finally getting out of here after the
camping out at the strike-bound Israeli airport. Many say after
this experience they are not coming back.
"Tourist on strike," read a T-shirt worn by a New York City man
who was supposed to have flown out of Israel Thursday. Although his
daughter lives in Jerusalem, he insisted he would "never return."
"For a land of milk and honey, I'm going out with a sour taste."
The walkout, which began Wednesday, shut down the main
international airport and seaports, banks, postal services, the Tel
Aviv Stock Exchange and other businesses and services throughout
The walkout was prompted in part by a Finance Ministry proposal to
roll back an election eve pension agreement signed by the previous
Labor government. Army Radio said negotiations on ways to honor the
agreement would begin as soon as the workers returned to their
The labor court's back-to-work orders, which the Histadrut had
previously ignored, covered most of more than 600,000 public sector
workers who went on strike.
The orders did not apply to workers at Ben Gurion airport, where
thousands of passengers were stranded, but it is expected
union committees would take action to alleviate the situation
Earlier Sunday, strikers agreed to reopen Ben Gurion for 16 hours
beginning in the afternoon, and El Al said it would operate 18
flights to the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Israeli Radio said more than 60,000 people in Jerusalem and Tel
Aviv continue to be without phone service.
Electric and water services were interrupted. Kindergartens closed
early. Gasoline station owners had said they would soon start
running out of gas. In Tel Aviv, garbage piled up on the street and
many automatic teller machines ran out of cash.
Israel's Army Radio said crowding was so bad that the airport,
renowned for its extensive security checks, was forgoing baggage
searches to get people onto flights more quickly.
The Israel Manufacturers Association said the strike -- the biggest
stoppage in Israel for years -- cost the economy about $32 million
French Rightist: Nazi Gas Chambers Were "Detail of History"
By IINS News Service
MUNICH, Germany - The leader of France's extreme right has
reiterated his comment that Nazi gas chambers were "a detail of
history." National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen said he regretted
that "honest people suffered" in Nazi death camps but that history
books would relegate the gas chambers to a few lines.
More than 6 million people, the majority of them Jews, were killed by
the Nazis during the Holocaust. Outright denial of the Holocaust
is a crime in Germany.
Le Pen made his comments at a news conference with the former
leader of the German Republican Party, Franz Schoenhuber, who was
a sergeant in Adolf Hitler's SS.
Both politicians called on Germany's extreme right to unite, and
Schoenhuber hailed Le Pen's National Front as an example for
Germany's right wing, consisting of small splinter groups that have
been almost completely marginalized politically.
Le Pen caused a scandal in France in 1987, when he referred to the
Holocaust as a "detail in history." A French Court later fined him
a symbolic one franc, or less than 20 cents, for the remark.
Le Pen reiterated that remark in Germany on the same day that
President Jacques Chirac turned over to a Jewish memorial center
150,000 files, which facilitated the deportation of 80,000 Jews
during World War 2.
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