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>Israel Faxx
>JN Feb. 10, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 25

Palestinians Praise Saddam Hussein

By Mark Lavie (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli leaders continue to talk about their right of self-defense if Iraq again fires missiles at Israel. Meanwhile, Palestinians are demonstrating in support of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Troubled by the precedent of 1991, when Israel did not react to Iraq's launching 39 Scud missiles toward Tel Aviv, Israeli leaders emphasize their right of self-defense at every opportunity. Speaking in Jerusalem Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he doubted whether he would be put to the test by Iraq.

"We are determined to preserve our right of self-defense, and to take all actions necessary to protect our security. We do it calmly, we do it with great confidence. Not because we don't think there is a potential threat. It exists, although our assessment is that the chances of an attack on Israel are low, very low."

Netanyahu criticized Palestinians who demonstrate their support of Saddam Hussein and Iraq. The Israeli leader said it shows that the Palestinians have not yet fully accepted Israel. There were two pro-Iraq demonstrations in the West Bank Monday. Maher Desooki, head of the committee organizing the rallies, explained why they are taking place.

"The Palestinians want to show their support for the people of Iraq. It is important for us, because we too are suffering a siege, at the hands of Israel."

During Monday's march in Jenin, Palestinians chanted slogans calling on Saddam to aim missiles at Israel again. During the 1991 Gulf War, Palestinians stood on their rooftops and cheered as the Scud missiles flew overhead. Since then, three partial peace agreements have been signed between Israel and the Palestinians. But Israeli Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh says that apparently, nothing has changed.

"There are some troubling signs. At a time when Israelis are wondering whether they should be preparing their bomb shelters, there are Palestinians who are preparing their roofs again."

Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority is trying to remain neutral, although the Fatah movement organizing the pro-Iraqi demonstrations is closely linked to Arafat. And taking no chances, the PA is asking the United States to supply people in the West Bank and Gaza with gas masks.

The "Mohel of the State" Dies at 77

By IINS News Service

Yisrael Roterman, 77, known as the "Mohel of the State" died last week in Bnei Brak. Roterman performed circumcisions on at least 60,000 infants, including the children of many of Israel's notables, including: David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, Menachem Begin, Shimon Peres, Ezer Weizman and Shlomo Artzi.

He was born in Poland to a family of Mohelim (those who perform the ritual circumcision on Jewish infants). During World War I he hid out in Siberia, returning to his place of birth after the war. The first circumcision he performed was at age 23, in Poland.

In 1950, he and his family moved to Israel where he became "the" Mohel of Beilinson Hospital, in Tel-Aviv. He was said to be quick and clean, performing a circumcision in 12-seconds, on the stopwatch (it was checked, according to those close to him).

Argentina Awards Pension to Emily Schindler

By George Meek (VOA-Rio de Janeiro)

Argentina has granted a monthly pension to the widow of Oskar Schindler, the German business executive who helped save the lives of hundreds of Jews during World War 2. Emily Schindler had fallen on hard times.

The Schindlers saved the lives of 1,200 Jews by declaring them essential workers at their factory in Poland, which made pots and pans for the German army. In the advance of Russian troops, they moved the Jewish workers to safety in a factory in what is now the Czech Republic.

The Schindlers' bold act in defiance of the Holocaust might have been a footnote in history, known to a relative few, had not movie-maker Steven Spielberg memorialized it five years ago in the film "Schindler's List." The movie won an Academy Award for the Best Picture of the Year, and Spielberg won an Oscar for Best Director.

Mr. Schindler died in the 1950s. Mrs. Schindler, 90, is ill and impoverished, living in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. She told a local newspaper that she received no royalties from the movie, but did get a personal donation from Spielberg and some income from appearances in the United States, but that has run out.

To ease Mrs. Schindler's plight, the Argentine Congress passed an emergency private pension bill, calling her a heroine of the 20th century. Interior Minister Carlos Corach gave Mrs. Schindler the first of her monthly checks Monday -- $1,000.

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