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>Israel Faxx
>JN June 26, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 111

Plane with Israeli Remains Leaves Beirut

Israel Faxx Staff Report

A plane carrying the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in south Lebanon departed Beirut for Israel Thursday as part of a deal to swap them for the corpses of Lebanese guerrillas and the release of prisoners The remains of at least three Israeli soldiers were placed aboard a French plane destined for Tel Aviv.

Israel Stages Last Airlift from Ethiopian Capital

Israel Faxx Staff Report

Israel conducted its final airlift of Ethiopian immigrants of Jewish descent Thursday and said it would shut down a compound that has housed thousands more in Addis Ababa since 1991. The Jewish state's Absorption Ministry said 60 of the Ethiopians, known as Falash Mora, were due to arrive at Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv Thursday evening. It said a few dozen more at the compound faced "bureaucratic" problems in Ethiopia and would trickle in to Israel over the coming weeks before the facility is closed.

Afghanistan Rejects Israel Earthquake Aid

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli aid for the victims of last month's earthquake in Afghanistan has been delayed for political reasons. Israel delivered the supply of tents and blankets to Dushanbe, Tajikistan last week, as requested by the International Red Cross. The material -- reported to be worth about $100,000 -- was not marked in any way, and was the kind of thing the Red Cross said was particularly needed in the earthquake-ravaged area.

Israel was pleased with the opportunity to send help, particularly for an Islamic country with which it has no relations. It invited the media to film the aid material leaving the Tel Aviv airport. That may have been where Israel went wrong.

Red Cross officials report that the Afghan embassy in Dushanbe objected to inclusion of the Israeli aid in any deliveries into Afghanistan for what the Red Cross calls "political reasons." The Red Cross reports Afghan officials say they never requested any aid from the Jewish state.

For the last three weeks, the Israeli supplies have been languishing in a Dushanbe warehouse. Israel says the Red Cross hopes to quietly distribute the material after the furor over it settles down.
Meanwhile, an Israeli newspaper reports Israel has had secret official contacts with both the Taleban government which rules most of Afghanistan, and the previous government which still controls the north of the country. Yediot Aharonot says there has been a series of meetings in Europe and at United Nations headquarters in New York, and that some Afghan officials secretly visited Israel.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry would not comment on the report, but one knowledgeable Israeli source called it a combination of "fabrication and exaggeration of a few small facts."

Chief Rabbi to Meet Iranian Religious Leaders in US

By IsraelWire

In nine days, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron will be flying to Los Angeles to meet with senior Iranian religious officials.

Several months ago, the chief rabbi requested that Iranian officials permit him to meet with leaders of the 30,000-strong Iranian Jewish community. During his meetings in Los Angeles, the rabbi is hopeful his request will receive a positive response.

The secret meetings of the chief rabbi have been going on for more than one year, in conjunction with officials in the Foreign Ministry.

14 Year-Old Girl Wants Permission to Wed

By IsraelWire

A 14-year-old two-month pregnant girl in northern Israel is requesting a court permit her to marry the 28-year-old father of her child. "We are in love and he is the father of the child. I do not feel too young and we want to be married," stated the mother-to-be.

Chabad at the World Cup

By IsraelWire

The international Chabad/Lubavitch Movement has set up a kosher food stand at the World Cup Games, taking place at the Stade de France Stadium, near Paris. In addition to the kosher foods available at the stand, one may also avail oneself of the other Jewish-related data, such as synagogue locations, general information on Judaism, and males may put on tefilin( phylacteries).

The vendor-rabbi had to arrange for the World Cup officials to meet his criteria for the stand, that it be distanced from the non-kosher vendors and that they stadium officials honor his need to close the stand on the Sabbath. The rabbi expects 200-300 persons to stop at his World Cup booth daily.

Syria Nearing Completion of Nerve Gas Production

By IsraelWire

According to a report given by a senior officer in the IDF intelligence community to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Syria is moving ahead with its manufacturing of Scud "C" missiles. The IDF assessment of the Syrian situation has not changed, and the consensus remains that Syria is not making preparations for a military offensive against Israel, but nevertheless the Syrians continue to develop military options.

The senior intelligence officer explained that the Syrians are also nearing completion of research that will enable them to produce VX nerve gas, which may be then placed in the warheads of the Scud missiles.

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