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>Israel Faxx
>JN Jan. 7, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 4

Syria Says Israel's Government Crisis Fabricated

An official Syrian newspaper said Tuesday the Israeli government crisis involving the resignation of Foreign Minister David Levy was deliberately fabricated to block the peace process further. The English-language Syria Times said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not want to commit himself to the requirements of peace and urged President Clinton not to allow him to block the process. Levy announced his resignation Sunday, saying he no longer wanted to stand alone on the issues of peace and social welfare.

Joint Turkish-Israeli Maneuvers

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem) & Israel Faxx News Services

The controversial joint naval maneuver between Israel, Turkey and the United States takes place Wednesday, 90 miles from the shores of Israel and Lebanon. Defense Minister Yitzchak Mordechai praised Jordan's decision to send a senior observer to the exercise, and reiterated that the exercise - the rehearsal of a life-saving mission - is not directed against any state in the region. Arab countries and Greece continue to strongly condemn the mission.

The U.S. has sent a destroyer to participate, Turkey will dispatch two 4,000-ton frigates, including one with a helicopter, and Israel has allocated a Saar Five missile boat with an Atalef helicopter, as well as a Saar Four missile boat. Haaretz reports that although non-combative in nature, the exercise will demand a high level of navigating and operational competence, particularly in coordinating the landing of helicopters between participating vessels.

It is a search-and-rescue exercise -- the forces of the three nations on the high seas, more or less as usual, receiving distress calls and trying to work together to respond.

The commander of the Israeli forces in the operation, Rear Admiral Yedidiya Ya'ari said, "The objective of this exercise is to practice emergency coordinated search and rescue operations at sea, no less, no more. We sail the same seas. We may be required to respond to the same disasters. And we need to know how to work with each other."

What other countries in the region are worried about is what could follow coordination on search and rescue? That leaves the Turkish commander, Col. Husnu Dag, somewhat on the defensive in discussing this operation, which has been code-named "Reliant Mermaid."

"Turkey cooperates not only with Israel but with other countries in the region -- in the context of her military training and cooperation agreements with them. 'Reliant Mermaid' is one of the search and rescue exercises, and it is not intended against any country."

Nazi Gold May Have Ended Up in China

By IINS News Service

AFP News Agency reported that Nazi gold stolen from Holocaust victims and plundered from banks in occupied countries in the West may have ended up in China after being rerouted from Portugal to Macau.

Those claims were made by a former senior official with the Gold Import Commission of the Portuguese enclave of Macau. Fernando Brito claimed that in 1969 four tons of Nazi gold ingots engraved "Reichsbank" and bearing the eagle and swastika went through the Portuguese enclave, the South China Morning Post said.

He was cited as saying that 180 pounds of the 1,120 pounds imported each week to Macau in 1969 were Nazi gold ingots. Brito said some gold may have come through Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation, been taken to Macau and then sent to the mainland.

It is believed Portugal sold its gold after the war to Indonesia, the Philippines, China and Macau. The daily said that Israel's World Jewish Restitution Organization would "fully investigate" Brito's claims which were published in Ponto Final, a Portuguese-language magazine in Macau.

Naphtali Lavie, vice chairman of the organization said that the issue of bullion moved through Macau and Hong Kong would be raised at the next conference into missing gold in Washington next month. Lavie said that it was the first time Macau had been revealed as a beneficiary of Nazi gold.

Burial Confusion

By IINS News Service

When 48-year-old Tzion Zuderker came to the Kiryat Gat Cemetery to place a headstone on his mother's grave, he was shocked when burial society officials told him the location was not the burial site of his mother. They told him no one was buried on the site.

Tzion stated that since his mother's death in 1983, he has been visiting this site and there was no doubt in his mind that this was her burial location. He told burial society officials his mother, Rachel Shalom, was buried where he was placing the headstone. He explained that since her death, he has been saving to purchase a tombstone for her grave.

Tzion tracked down a member of the crew who helped bury his mother, along with several rabbis. Subsequent investigation into the burial of his mother proved Tzion was correct and he was on the right spot in the cemetery. A spokesman for the burial society stated that a computer error was responsible for the burial site of his mother being listed in both locations and they apologized for any grief caused to Tzion.

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