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>Israel Faxx
>JN Feb. 12, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 27

Jerusalem Killing Probably a Militant Attack

An ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed to death Wednesday while walking to morning prayers in a Jewish enclave in Arab East Jerusalem has caused tensions in the volatile city to increase. Jerusalem police chief Yair Yitzhaki said the circumstances of the killing suggested the work of militants. Last Thursday, a Jewish seminary student was seriously wounded in a stabbing in the walled Old City.


Baghdad Assures Israel That It's Not a Target

By Mark Lavie (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's prime minister Wednesday called in senior ministers to discuss the crisis over Iraq. Iraq is signaling that it will not attack Israel, even if the United States leads an offensive against Iraq.

Israeli sources say Iraq delivered a message through Russia and other third parties, reassuring Israel that it would not be a target if a military confrontation develops between Iraq and the United States.

In Baghdad, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry denied sending the message, declaring Iraq would never communicate with the "Zionist entity." But Iraqi officials have insisted all along that they would not fire missiles at Israel, because they have none left.

During the 1991 Gulf war, Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel, all with conventional warheads. The Iraqis also say they have no chemical or biological weapons left. But few in Israel believe either claim.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called in senior ministers, including two retired generals, for consultations about the Iraq crisis. Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordecai estimated that Iraq still has four or five missile launchers, and is able to hide them.

"The Israeli government has all the right to do everything that is necessary for our defense now and for the future if we will be attacked by Saddam Hussein or anyone else. Only the Israeli government will decide what to do and how to do."

The Israeli defense minister also warned of what he called future dangers posed by Iran. He charged that Russia is helping Iran to build weapons systems that could threaten the Middle East and Europe, as well.

"It's no doubt that Russia is supporting now Iran to produce non-conventional weapons and ballistic missiles. And we know that Iran has a project to produce non-conventional weapons--chemical and biological weapons."


25% of Children Under Eight Lack Protective Masks

By IINS News Service

The IDF Home Front Command, which is responsible for the distribution of gas masks nationwide, says 25% of the nation's population under 8-years-old will not receive gas masks at this time because of a shortage.

The IDF has repeatedly called upon Israelis possessing masks for children that have been outgrown or masks for adults who are deceased, to return them to any gas mask distribution center or post office around the country.

Officials in the Shalom Chemicals Company have stated they only have enough raw materials to produce the masks for another two weeks, until the end of February. Shalom is the main Israeli mask producer.

Brig. Gen. Oded Ben-Ami stated that 300,000 masks are enroute from abroad and he emphasized the IDF is in control and there is no need for panic.

IDF officials stressed that there will be enough masks for all those requiring them but they now urge Israelis to call prior to setting out for a distribution centers and waiting on line. Some stations have temporarily run out of certain sizes, such as the pediatric and infant masks.

Ephraim Sneh, chairman of the Knesset Subcommittee on Military Affairs asked to know why the deaf residents of Israel are not being equipped with vibrators that will notify them of an air raid situation, since they cannot hear the sirens. Sneh stated this project alone will require several millions of shekels.

Other Knesset members have addressed what they are calling the lack of action toward the non-Hebrew speaking population, mainly new immigrants. Calls have been made repeatedly for more information to be disseminated in Russian and Amharic.

Labor Party MK Adisu Massala, the representative of the Ethiopian community, has called upon government officials to make plans to relocate the thousands of Ethiopian residents of Israel living in mobile homes, none of which can adequately be protected in the event of an attack.


Special CNN Internet Event with Netanyahu

By IINS News Service

The Office of the Prime Minister and CNN Interactive will present a first of its kind Internet chat with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hosted by CNN's senior anchor Bernard Shaw, Internet users from around the world are invited to pose their questions to the Prime Minister from the CNN Interactive web site (www.cnn.com). The questions, to be read by Shaw, along with Netanyahu's answers will be broadcast live (video/audio) on the Internet.

The chat will take place Sunday, Feb. 15 at 1:00 p.m. EST and will last for 30 minutes. For more information and the required software, go to the Prime Minister's web site at: http://www.pmo.gov.il


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