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>Israel Faxx
>JN Jan. 19, 1997, Vol. 6, No. 9

Yosef Favors Clemency for Prisoners

By IINS News Service

Ma'ariv reports that Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is in favor of a general clemency, to coincide with Israel's 50th birthday celebration.

Yosef met with former Knesset member Charlie Biton and others who are in favor of the general clemency. Following the meeting, Biton said, "Now that we have the blessings of the rabbi, we will begin a nationwide campaign that will drive the point home everywhere in the country."

The rabbi said he favored the general clemency, because in the Torah it is also written that those who violate the Torah be pardoned when the Jubilee year comes.

Yosef stated that here too, in dealing with those who have transgressed the laws of the state, we must extend a measure of respect and pardon them as well, "Since we are dealing with the [secular] laws of the state, which the Torah does not even tolerate."

Yad Vashem: "We Would Have Permitted Arafat to Visit"

By IINS News Service

Brig-Gen (Res) Avner Shelo, the director of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, said, "We will permit anyone to visit Yad Vashem. As long as it does not cause pain to survivors or a person who denies the Holocaust, there is no reason not to permit the visit."

The remarks came following the report of Arafat being refused permission to visit the National Holocaust Museum in Washington.

Senior officials in the PLO Authority said Arafat requested to visit the museum in Washington, and thereby become the first Arab leader to do so and acknowledge the Holocaust. Despite this, officials at the museum complied with pressure by the American Jewish leaders to bar Arafat's visit.

Officials in the museum refused to grant Arafat the security and protocol arrangements generally accorded world leaders, the Washington Post's Internet edition reported. Bloomberg reported that the museum's snub followed warnings by members of the American Jewish community that "this (Arafat) is Hitler incarnate."

The visit to the Holocaust museum was conceived by US officials as a gesture of reconciliation to aid peace talks with Israel, the paper said. Following the refusal, the National Kibbutz Movement invited Arafat to the Holocaust museum in Kibbutz Yad Mordechai.

Israel's Ambassador in Washington Eliyahu Ben-Elissar stated that there are still many senior individuals in the Arafat administration who publicly deny the Holocaust and Arafat has work to do before such a visit. Ben-Elissar stated the Arafat request was premature and perhaps in the future, such a visit might be entertained.

Moslem Student Appeals to High Court over Head Covering

By IINS News Service

A Ninth grade Muslim student in Acco, north of Haifa along the Mediterranean Sea, has appealed to the High Court of Justice to instruct school officials to permit her to remain in the school with her head covering, which she maintains in accordance to her religious beliefs.

The teenager said she has been attending the school for three-years, but has recently decided to become more observant, including the covering of her hair, as dictated by Islamic laws of modesty. The school rules specifically prohibits headgear in the school building.

A letter from the student's lawyer to the principal failed to yield positive results. The Ministry of Education responded by explaining the dress code of the school was made clear at the onset of the year. After the student failed to comply, actions were taken against her. The supervisor of education for the school district has ordered the school to find an alternative solution for the student.

Hamas Vows it Will Not be Stopped

By IINS News Service

The PA has issued a diplomatic passport to Hamas spiritual leader Sheik Achmed Yassin. He was released several months ago from an Israeli prison hospital and has continued to encourage attacks against Israel, unless the government of Israel retreats to the pre-June 1967 Six Day War boundaries and permits the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Yassin said Israel's security alert against suicide bombings will not save the nation from "God's will." He called upon the PLO Authority to reject requests by the Israeli and American governments to combat terrorism emanating from within the PA autonomous areas.

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