Newsletter : 8fax0224.txt
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>JN Feb. 24, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 35
Israeli Tension Relieved
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israelis and Palestinians were relieved but cautious Monday after
President Clinton's tentative acceptance of events in Baghdad
appeared to remove the possibility of Iraqi missile attacks, at
least for now.
Up on the third floor of a Jerusalem department store, just beyond
the toys and stuffed animals, sandwiched between the new stoves and
the luggage department, is the gas mask center. Frequent British
visitor Juliet Feffer wants to turn in her old mask, from 1991, and
buy a new one for the equivalent of $57.
It is the second day of mass distribution of gas masks to
foreigners in Israel, and it is two hours after the announcement
in Baghdad seemed to eliminate the already small chance Iraq might
launch chemical or biological weapons in this direction. But Feffer
seems surprised by the question of why she decided to get a mask
"Why not? Because you think that he is going to keep his word? In
two months time, three months time, we'll have the same business
again. He's a monster! It's going to last five minutes, until
somebody says something he doesn't like. With that monster, you
can't trust him, not farther than you can throw him."
That view reflected the thinking of many Israelis Monday, even as
much of the tension which has built up in recent weeks dissipated.
Still, the staff at the gas mask desk reported a sharp drop in
business from Sunday -- from 60 people an hour, to just a handful.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the agreement
"good news." But he is also cautious about what might come in
the future. "I think it's too early to say what the results of this
agreement are. We'll wait to see and to assess both what is
happening in the Gulf and what should happen here."
Palestinian officials welcomed the news from Baghdad, saying they
hope this will enable the world to re-focus on the stalled
Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat
called the agreement an important start toward achieving real
peace. "It was very successful step. We are appreciating it very
But Palestinian young people were not so impressed. A group of
pro-Iraq demonstrators clashed with Israeli troops on the
Bethlehem-Hebron road Monday afternoon, just as other groups have
every day in various parts of the West Bank for the past two weeks.
Parents Seek Daughter's Return
By Arutz-7 News Service
Tamara Reukiss and her husband, who immigrated to Israel with
their daughter, Leora, in 1991 from Estonia, are now in Australia,
in an attempt to retrieve their daughter from a family who refuses
to hand her over.
Arutz-7 spoke with Ada Yaalon, a friend of the family from their
kibbutz in the Arava (southern Negev), who explained the story.
"The immigrant family faced the expected social, economic, and
psychological difficulties. The mother was studying for her
profession, and arrived home only on Shabbat, and the father worked
long hours in the kibbutz, and the problem of what to do with Leora
"Her parents considered sending her to her grandmother in Estonia,
but then a cousin of the father, part of a well-to-do, non-Jewish
family living in Adelaide, Australia, offered to take her. The
family saw certain advantages to this, and decided to go along with
it, although they made certain conditions: the arrangement was to
be temporary, the girl was to be connected with the Jewish
community there, and she was to study in the Jewish school Massada
"Unfortunately, after a few months, the 'kidnappers,' as I call
them, suddenly took her out of the school, without notifying or
asking the parents, and a few weeks later put her into a Catholic
school. The parents are now in Australia, and have even gone to
court, but have been unsuccessful.
"The Catholic family is very well-to-do and influential, and if
they get a psychologist to tell a court that it's better for the
girl to say there, then what can two refugees from Estonia do to
She said that lawyers have been contacted, and although one has
agreed to work for the cause for free, he said that to return Leora
to Israel and her parents, much money would be required.
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