Newsletter : 3fax0724.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
TA Resident Arrested On Suspicion of Driving Without License for 26 Years
A Tel Aviv resident was stopped for a traffic violation and was found to be driving
without a driver's license. He has been driving without one since 1977. A 53 year-old man
was stopped on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv by police for crossing a white line. While
checking the license he presented them, a call came in on his cell phone. The caller
mentioned a different name than was written on the license and on further investigation
police discovered that he was using his brother's license - for the last 26 years.
Israel Approves Release of 350 Palestinian Prisoners
By VOA News
Israel has approved the release of more than 350 Palestinian prisoners, but says the
release of members of Palestinian militant groups will have to wait. The prisoners are to
be freed gradually in the coming days.
But Israel said a decision on releasing members of Islamic Jihad and Hamas who have not
been implicated in attacks on Israel will not come until after a debate and vote by all
government ministers. Israel's decision not to free militants from among the more than
6,000 Palestinian prisoners it holds is a political blow to Palestinian Prime Minister
Mahmoud Abbas, who had hoped to secure their release in order to ensure that a three-month
truce signed by the main militant groups halting attacks on Israel would hold.
Hamas official Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi blasted Israel's decision not to release any
militants and hinted at retaliation, saying Israel would be responsible for what might
happen. Earlier Wednesday, Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Amr said that Abbas
could face a political crisis at home if he returns from Washington empty-handed on the
prisoner issue and other parts of the so-called "road map" peace plan. Abbas has been
invited to meet with President Bush at the White House on Friday for talks on the peace
In addition to the prisoner issue, he is likely to discuss the freezing of illegal
Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Israeli troop withdrawals from Palestinian
New Standards for Rabbinical Courts Dealing with Divorces
L'Maan B'nos Yisrael International, an organization dedicated to helping Agunot and
their children, has announced two new services to Jewish families. The organization seeks
to ease the difficulties of "chained women" (Agunot), whose estranged husbands are
withholding a Jewish divorce and thus preventing them from re-marrying.
Rabbis of LBYI have issued standards for rabbinical courts that deal with matrimonial problems, with the aim of eliminating abuses that have resulted from the current practices. LBYI asks rabbis all over the world to publicize the standards - which can be seen at "www.geocities.com/lbyi2002/" - and educate their communities and Rabbinical courts regarding their importance.
In addition, LBYI has arranged for women who have received a "ptur" - proof of receipt
of a Jewish divorce - to register the document on the computers of the Rabbinical Courts
of the State of Israel. The arrangement "could prove to be invaluable," the organization
states, "in case of loss or damage of the document in the future. It will serve as an
undisputed record that your [divorce] has been accepted by Israel, and will benefit your
children and grandchildren forever by serving as proof of their legitimate status in the
Documentary Shows World's Religions Have Similar Focus on 'Heaven'
By Mike O'Sullivan (VOA-Los Angeles)
Most of the world's religions have an idea of "heaven," but the concepts are very
different. An American filmmaker asked believers from major religions what heaven means to
them, and found their distinctive visions have a similar focus.
Is heaven a destination or a state of mind? Documentary filmmaker John Scheinfeld was
curious, and teamed up with cable television's National Geographic Channel to explore the
concept. "The idea of heaven is important in many religions, but the filmmaker asked
himself how to approach the topic for a one-hour film for television," he said.
"We can't go there," he laughed. "We can't shoot there. So what are we going to do? I
didn't want to do a straight-ahead boring academic history of heaven. So I said, where
does the concept come from? How does the concept manifest itself in the five great
religions today? And then how do some people within those religions live their lives to
get there?" he said.
To look at heaven in Judaism, he turned to the mountain Jews of Azerbaijan, who find
heaven in a moral life, lived within their ancient religious tradition. "What really
fascinated me about the mountain Jews is that here's this group of people that have been
in this place for 2,500 years. And secondly, they are engulfed by a sea of Islam, and how
do they survive as Jews. And what I learned is that they have accomplished this really by
clinging to their faith. Their faith has sustained them," Scheinfeld said.
Living in a region subjected to many empires, from the Persians to the Russians, the
Mountain Jews have also embraced tolerance as a central religious tenet. The film features
worshippers and community leaders, including this town elder.
"We want the place that we live in to be peaceful and be secure. No murder, no killing, no
robbery, no gossip. This is what our community considers to be heaven," the town elder
For believers, heaven can be the focus of devotion, a foundation for moral law, or the
source of forgiveness. The filmmaker added that for most of the people he talked with,
heaven was an ideal that inspires life in the here and now.
"If there's a message of the film, it's that. For many, many centuries, blood has been
shed because of what people believe and what religion they practice. And I think what we
can see is that we're not all that different. We all have some of the same goals and some
of the same hopes and dreams, and if we paid a little more attention and we learned a
little bit about this, perhaps hate would work out of the vocabulary," the filmmaker
explained. And we would all be a little closer to the ideal of heaven.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)