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>Israel Faxx
>JN Feb. 2, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 19

King Hussein in Ill Health

In a letter shown on Jordanian television, King Hussein of Jordan wrote to his brother Crown Prince Hassan that he is losing weight,ctired and is ill. The 62-year old king is presently in a hospital in England, where he is being treated for an infection in his lymph nodes. Four years ago a cancerous growth was removed from his kidney.

Albright, Netanyahu Unable to Forge Mideast Breakthrough

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for more than four hours Sunday, but made no apparent breakthrough in the stalled Mideast peace process. U.S. State Department spokesman James Rubin said Albright offered revisions to peace proposals presented last week by President Bill Clinton. Rubin gave no details and made no claim of progress.

US Agrees to Supply Anthrax Vaccine

By Arutz-7 and IINS News Services

The United States has agreed, in principle, to supply large quantities of the vaccine against anthrax; a biological weapon in the arsenal of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

According to a report in Haaretz, US production of the vaccine has been significantly increased, to provide ample amounts for the US forces serving in the Gulf Region. It was reported that in the 1991 Gulf War with Iraq, Israel purchased $10 million worth of the vaccine, which has since expired.

Defense Minister Yitzchak Mordechai confirmed Sunday that Israel had requested the U.S. to supply it with hundreds of thousands of biological-attack inoculations. The American administration acceded to the request. Mordechai said that the request was made before the present American-Iraqi crisis broke out. The government's mini-security cabinet - including Ministers Mordechai, Sharon, Rafael Eitan and Matza - met after the regular weekly government meeting to discuss the preparations of the Home Front Command against chemical and biological attacks.

Most high-ranking Israeli security officers and government officials have been sending out a message of calm to the nation. It was announced that even if the United States leads an offensive attack against Iraq, Saddam Hussein is unlikely to respond with an attack against Israel.

Despite this, the country and the citizens are preparing. Lines at the nation's gas mask distribution centers are reported to be growing daily, as Israelis are preparing for the eventuality of another war.

One Israeli television reporter explained the increasing rush by citizens on Home Front Command gas mask supply stations by saying, "The more the officials say that there is nothing to worry about, the more the public starts to worry."

According to recently released figures, as many as 300,000 Israeli children may not have access to bomb shelters, in the event of an attack. Due to this shortage officials have already pointed out that school classes may not be possible, should a situation arise in which students may have to be moved to bomb shelters.

Arafat Publicly Cautious but PA Supports Hussein -- Again

By IINS News Service

Despite his public statements of support for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein during the 1991 Gulf War, PLO Authority leader Yasir Arafat is being more cautious at this time.

Arafat to date has refrained from making any bold statements in support of Saddam Hussein, while US officials are preparing for a possible military strike against Iraq. Despite this, the PA media have been making statements supporting Iraq and the PA-backed newspapers are coming out with a definitive line in support for Saddam Hussein, in opposition to American policy.

Iran To Execute German Businessman

By IINS News Service

An Islamic court in Iran has sentenced a German businessman to death for having intercourse with a Muslim woman. 54-year-old Helmut Hofer was sentenced last week for having a relationship with a 26-year-old Iranian woman, during a business trip last year.

Hofer was found guilty of adultery for having had sex with a Muslim woman. The woman was spared the death sentence, since she was not married but she was given lashes for her crime.

Legal experts in Iran said the supreme court likely would overturn the verdict. Under Islamic law, they said, the death sentence would apply only if the woman was married or if she was raped.

In Germany, Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Erdmann said the verdict was not final. He said the German government considered the decision a violation of human rights.

300 Torah Scrolls Held in Lithuania

The Chief Rabbinate is looking into a possibility of bringing to Israel 300 Torah scrolls belonging to Jewish communities in Lithuania that were destroyed during the Holocaust. The scrolls were stored in a monastery during World War 2, and were recently found. The president of Lithuania presented one of the scrolls to President Ezer Weizmann during an official visit to Israel, as a result of which the Lithuanian government legislated a law that the Torah scrolls are national property and may not be taken out of the country.

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