Newsletter : 8fax0108.txt
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>JN Jan. 8, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 5
Document Suggests Swiss Knew Source of Nazi Funds
The Swiss Army and Swiss federal financial authorities thought
in early 1945 that at least one Swiss bank was moving large amounts
of suspect money from Germany to Switzerland on behalf of leading
Nazis, according to a document released by a U.S. senator. The
Swiss Army high command was convinced some of the funds originally
belonged to French citizens killed in German concentration camps or
Life Aboard Mediterranean Flotilla
By Al Pessin (VOA-Aboard the USS John Rodgers)
Israel, Turkey and the United States conducted a controversial
joint naval exercise in the Mediterranean Sea Wednesday. Al Pessin
was on board the USS John Rodgers.
On the command bridge in international waters off the coast of
Israel, it's an unexpectedly calm and sunny morning. But one
level below in the combat information center, a red speaker mounted
on the ceiling comes to life. A distress call has been received.
"This is Deso-Romero." It is an Israeli commander on a nearby ship,
seeking assistance from US and Turkish vessels in a
The ships immediately moved toward the emergency and launched
their helicopters to join the search. It's only an exercise, and
all the ships will find are perfectly good sailboats and plastic
mannequins in the water.
The senior US officer, Commodore Joseph Sestak, says it's a routine
-- even basic -- drill. "This interoperability that we are doing is
the most basic, fundamental task we do at sea...This is something
that we do with every country in the region. And that's all that it
is. This is truly a humanitarian search-and-rescue operation.
But it is the first time that Israeli and Turkish ships have worked
together in this way, and that has made the operation a target of
criticism from several countries in the region.
Sestak says the coordination of communications, air traffic control
and search areas, is a far cry from what would be needed for any
joint Israel-Turkey combat operation -- which could worry other
But Israeli naval Commander Ron ben Yehuda says any step can be
a first step to something else. "Of course, any kind of exercise
relationship is a step towards something else, if you want it to
be. I don't know of any future exercises planned to be between
those two navies."
Wednesday's exercise with the US ship enabled Israel and Turkey
to move their growing military relationship another step forward.
They also have exchange programs, military sales and other kinds
of cooperation. Now, they've demonstrated an ability to work
together on the high seas. That is something Sestak says is
designed to contribute to the region's stability and enhance the
US's role as a Middle East peace broker. But some of the region's
countries say it will do the opposite.
Syria Rejects Three-Way Military Maneuvers
By IINS News Service
Despite repeated statements by the commanders of the Israeli, US
and Turkish forces, who are participating in joint military search
and rescue operation exercises in the Mediterranean, the Syrian
government insists the exercise will cause "instability" in the
Syrian Vice-President Abdel-Halim Khaddam said the joint naval
exercises in the Mediterranean involving Israel, Turkey and the
United States endangered regional stability.
Earlier in the week, the Arab League issued a statement against the
exercises, which includes Turkey, a Moslem nation. Egypt and Syria
took part in the Arab League condemnation but Jordan, who did not
oppose the exercise, has sent an observer.
Dan Company Driver Punches Blind Passenger
By IINS News Service
The Tel-Aviv Magistrate's Court has released 28-year-old Ze'ev
Silberman, a Dan Company bus driver, on bail. He is charged with
punching 53-year-old Nili Forminov (who is blind), in her left eye.
Nili got into an argument with Silberman (the driver) who refused
to let her off where at her usual place. He insisted she must
travel to the next stop, which was about 800 meters away. He did
not care that she was blind and other drivers usually accommodate
At one point, Silberman punched Nili in her face, knocking her to
the floor. He then continued on his way. Passengers helped the
woman to her feet and tended to her.
Silberman's lawyer maintained that the seven-year veteran of the
Tel-Aviv bus company only pushed Nili away after she attacked him.
Smithsonian Cancels 'Israel at 50' Lecture Series
The Smithsonian Institution has canceled a planned seven-week
lecture series taking a critical look at Israel 50 years after its
founding, a group co-sponsoring the talks said. The series was to
begin in April and cover topics such as the peace process, Arab
citizens of Israel, the status of Jerusalem and Zionism in the new
century, but it came under fire by Jewish groups and some
lawmakers. New York-based Americans for a Safe Israel led the
attack, calling the program "an affront to the sensibilities of
Jews everywhere" and saying it would present "a destructive,
far-left, pro-Arab picture of Israel today."
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