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>Israel Faxx
>JN Jan. 23. 1998, Vol. 6, No. 13

Palestinians Preparing for War

By IINS News Service

According to Thursday's e-mail edition of Jane's Defense Weekly, the PLO Authority is preparing for war against Israel, in the event Yasir Arafat feels the diplomatic route has failed. The report states that PA forces are preparing for Israeli troops "to re-occupy" areas throughout Judea and Samaria, currently under the control of Arafat's PA.

It's Arafat's Time to Visit the White House

By Deborah Tate (VOA-White House)

President Clinton met with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat at the White House Thursday in a stepped-up effort to try to break a 10-month stalemate in the Middle East peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Clinton Tuesday, has long criticized the Palestinian leader for not making good on his pledges to fight terrorism.

But Arafat said Palestinians have complied with their obligations under the peace accords, and said the Israelis have not. The PLO chairman is seeking a further Israeli deployment from the West Bank -- an issue he and Clinton discussed. Arafat described his meeting with the president as "encouraging" and "constructive and warm."

Clinton discussed a US proposal for another Israeli redeployment with Netanyahu Tuesday. The Israeli leader rejected the proposal, but said he would continue to discuss the matter with the United States over the next few weeks.

Clinton proposed that the Palestinian leader meet Netanyahu to try to end a peacemaking crisis. Senior PLO negotiator Saeb Erakat quoted Clinton as saying, "I don't accept what Netanyahu is offering but I can't accept what you are demanding." Erekat said Clinton had proposed an Arafat-Netanyahu meeting to try to narrow differences but no date had been set. The PLO and Israel are deadlocked over the scope and timing of further Israeli troop withdrawals in the West Bank under their interim peace deals.

No End in Sight to Feud over Conversion

By Arutz-7 News Service

An Israeli government-appointed committee set up to settle a feud over conversions, which has angered many U.S. Jews, is unlikely to complete its work before a deadline next week, a committee member said Thursday.

Failure to agree would open the way to even more heated dispute among Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jews over the current orthodox monopoly on conversions to Judaism in Israel and threaten Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's fragile coalition government. Religious parties have said they will quit unless an acceptable compromise is reached, robbing Netanyahu of his two seat majority in the Knesset.

Minister of Trade Sharansky to Visit Pollard

Minister of Trade Natan Sharansky will visit Jonathan Pollard in prison next month in North Carolina. Sharansky will be the third Israeli minister to visit Pollard over the last few months. Three other cabinet ministers have also announced their intentions to visit Pollard in the near future.

Pollard's wife, Esther, has been working tirelessly to bring her husband's case to the forefront of the Jewish agenda both in Israel and the Diaspora. Jonathan Pollard is the only person in the history of the United States to receive a life sentence for spying for an American ally. The median sentence for such an offense is two to four years.

Non-Profit Anti-Circumcision Group Blocked

By IINS News Service

The Ministry of the Interior blocked the establishment of non-profit organization defining its name as the organization to "Combat the Cutting of the Male Sex Organ of Infants."

The application to be granted non-profit status was rejected because the name was not synchronous with the explanation of the group's objectives, namely to stop the cutting of the infant's male organ as part of a religious ceremony.

The ministry responding to the applications stated the group is not dealing with the sex organs of the general public and it must choose a different name that is not offensive to segments of the population. The ministry contends the current requested name will be offensive to males and Orthodox Jews and is therefore unacceptable.

The ministry added that the Brit Milah (circumcision) ceremony is considered of paramount importance in the Jewish religion, whereby males are brought into the faith. The ministry concluded that the requested name would be understood as a direct attack against this ancient Jewish practice of circumcision.

91-Year Old Man Found Guilty in Wife's Murder

By IINS News Service

A 91-year-old Holocaust survivor was found guilty and sentenced to 7-years in prison for the stabbing death of his wife of 47-years. The man, who saw the Nazis kill his first wife and children during the war, told reporters that he never knew a minute's peace in the past 47-years.

The man, who has cancer and other medical problems, was given a light sentence, according to the judge, due to his Holocaust history and advanced age. The guilty man stabbed his wife over 60 times.

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