Newsletter : 8fax0422.txt
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>JN April 22, Vol. 6. #75
Palestinians Send Foreign Aid to Iraq
By IINS News Service
A PLO Authority charity sent a planeload of milk and medicine to
Iraq in a gesture of solidarity with the Iraqi people. Yasir
Arafat's wife Suha, whose Palestine Future Organization led the
campaign to collect 10,000 pounds of aid, said the gift from
financially-strapped Arabs was a gesture of support for ordinary
"Despite everything that the Palestinian people are facing from
Israeli siege and closures, they are insisting to help their
brothers in Iraq," Arafat said. "It is a gesture of solidarity from
the Palestinian people, the Palestinian children, to the people and
to the children of Iraq."
The aid was flown from al-Arish airport in Egypt, south of PA-ruled
Gaza, to Iraq. Gaza has no airport. "We were very proud to get a
license by the United Nations to fly a Palestinian airplane over
Iraq," Arafat said.
Microsoft To Invest In Israeli Fund
Israel Faxx Staff Report
Microsoft plans to invest $7.5 million in the Orion Israel Fund, an
Israeli venture capital fund, Microsoft's executive vice president
Steve Ballmer said. "We will invest where we see opportunities,
particularly outside of the U.S. -- where venture capital is more
developed -- and we know that the local software industry will be
good for us."
This is Microsoft's first investment in an Israeli venture capital
fund. Microsoft will also have an option to co-invest an additional
$7.5 million in specific projects. The fund intends to raise $100
million over the next few months and plans to invest in Israeli
Internet technology companies.
Ballmer also announced that Microsoft will provide the know-how to
help Israel establish a demo of its computerized Accessible
Government project. "The Accessible Government project is working
to open up the interaction between the citizens and the government
over the Internet," he said.
The company's only research and development center outside the
United States is located in Haifa and employs about 150 people.
Software Piracy in Israel
By IINS News Service
"Israel is in first place in the developed world for software
piracy," said Ami Fleischer, the anti-piracy program manager for
Microsoft Israel. "Israel may look good relative to its neighbors
but the question is, do we want to be compared to other Middle
Eastern nations or to technologically advanced nations that we are
on par with?"
According to Reuters, software piracy in Israel cost software
companies an estimated $77 million in 1996, according to the
Business Software Association, the industry's international
More than 50 percent of business software applications in Israel in
1997 were illegally copied, according to the BSA, which has opened
an office in Tel Aviv to lobby for greater enforcement and launched
an anti-piracy hotline.
"We are already pursuing some cases," said Weitzman Hadar, the BSA
representative in Israel. "We are even investigating one software
company which itself is using pirated software."
"It is hard to understand how a country that has transformed itself
from an agricultural economy to a high-tech economy would do this,"
said Edgar Fulton, commercial counselor at the US embassy in Tel
Aviv. "It will inhibit investment in exactly what Israel is trying
to get the most investment in. Real soon it will be haunting Israel
the way it has been haunting the United States."
Copyright legislation in Israel is based on British law dating from
1911, long before the creation of the Israeli State and the
development of the first practical computers. Israel is in the
process of updating the legislation but one of those drafting it
said the revisions would not make enforcement issues any less
"The courts when faced with cases of piracy are frequently lenient.
They will convict but the penalty will not be harsh and as a result
of this there is no deterrent," said Shlomo Cohen, a Justice
Ministry taskforce member formulating the changes.
In a country of 5.5 million, there were an estimated 590,000
computers used in businesses in 1997 and another 510,000 personal
computers in Israeli homes. The majority of pirated software in the
workplace is being used in smaller businesses, said Jimmy
Schwarzkopf, managing director of the META Group consulting firm.
Israel Upset Blair Called Arafat "President"
Israel Faxx Staff Report
Israel was peeved over British Prime Minister Tony Blair's
reference to Yasir Arafat as Palestinian "president." Asked about
Blair's use of the title at a news conference with Arafat in Gaza
on Monday, Israeli Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh told Israel Radio:
"I must say very clearly he is not a president. He is in sum the
chairman of the Palestinian Authority."
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