Newsletter : 3fax1103.txt
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Arabs attack Jews on Board Jordanian Royal Air Flight
Arabs attacked two Israeli brothers in their late twenties, Amir and Dror Gal, on a
Jordanian Royal Air flight from Thailand. One of the victims explained that about six Arab
passengers began shouting "Jew" and the mob then beat them for several minutes. At some
point, security and flight officials escorted the attackers to their seats but they did
not intervene for some time while the two were being beaten according to their version of
the attack. The Gals stated they plan to file a complaint with police, adding that
included among the attackers was at least one Hebrew speaking Arab, possibly an Israeli
Arab they explained.
59 Percent of Europeans Say Israel is Threat to Peace
By VOA News & Ha'aretz
A new survey indicates nearly six out of 10 Europeans view Israel as a greater threat
to world peace than North Korea, Iran or Afghanistan. Some of the findings of the poll,
ordered by the European Commission, were published in the International Herald Tribune
newspaper, ahead of its full release by the EC on Monday.
About 7,500 people across the European Union were given a list of 15 countries and
asked if any of them present a threat to world peace. Israel was rated first, with 59
percent saying the Jewish state is a threat. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is
dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust, called the survey's results "shocking" and
"racist," demonstrating that "anti-Semitism is deeply embedded within European society."
Other countries considered a threat would not be named until Monday's release of the full
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom rejected Sunday claims that "the greatest danger to
world peace" was proof of European anti-Semitism. He said the poll reflects the over
exposure of Israel in European media. "There's no comparing the amount of media exposure
Israel gets in Europe compared to Iran or North Korea. The images broadcast from here have
an impact, but we
should not get exerted by it," he told Ha'aretz.
Israel Readies for General Strike
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israelis filled up their cars at gasoline stations on Sunday, after trade unionists cut
fuel supplies ahead of a planned nationwide general strike. Israel's Federation of Trade
Unions, the Histadrut, warned motorists on Sunday that fuel in gas stations across the
country would run out by the end of the day.
The warning came ahead of a general strike scheduled to begin on Monday, after talks
broke down between the unions and the government over planned cutbacks in the national
budget. The planned strike is an intensification of industrial action that began four
weeks ago, when Israeli government employees stopped answering telephones, and refused to
receive members of the public at their offices. Starting Monday, the international airport
will be closed, and all public transport will come to a halt. The trade unions are also
planning to cut supplies of water and electricity.
Israel Eases Some Restrictions on Palestinians' Movement
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel allowed more than 6,000 Palestinian workers from the Gaza Strip to cross into
the Jewish state on Sunday. The decision represents a continued easing of restrictions
imposed on the Palestinians following a suicide bombing one month ago. Palestinian
laborers lined up at the Erez Crossing in the northern Gaza Strip from dawn, and submitted
to stringent security checks.
The workers, all older than 35, were given permits to go back to their jobs in Israel,
ending a month-long ban that had denied them access to their employment. The move follows
Israel's decision on Thursday also to allow more than 4,000 Palestinian laborers and
merchants in the West Bank to go to work in Israel.
The easing of restrictions on Palestinians came in the wake of strong criticism from
the head of the Israeli army, Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, who blamed the government for not trying
to improve conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He said the continuing closures on
both areas had been stirring Palestinian hatred, and setting the climate for more suicide
The strict closures began in September for the start of the Jewish High Holy Days, but
were extended following a Palestinian suicide bombing at a restaurant in Haifa in October
that killed 21 people. The restrictions meant that nearly three million Palestinians in
the West Bank and Gaza Strip could not travel to Israel, and many could not visit other
Palestinian communities. Many Palestinian farmers were also prevented from reaching their
fields to harvest olives, one of the area's staple commodities.
Israel says it has no wish to harm ordinary Palestinians, and imposes restrictions from
time to time only to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers and other attackers from harming
Plans to Bring 19,000 Falash Mura Home to Israel
Plans are in the works to bring thousands more Ethiopian Jews, currently suffering the
ravages of famine, to Israel, reported the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
In a meeting in Jerusalem this past month, Israeli government officials met with
representatives of the Ethiopian community, Jewish humanitarian organizations and North
American federation leaders who have rallied around the cause of Ethiopian Jewry - to
figure out a way to assist the thousands of members of the Falash Mura still in
The Falash Mura are the descendents of Jews who converted to Christianity, often under
duress, and have returned to their Jewish roots in the past generation. The Chief
Rabbinate of Israel has recognized the Falash Mura as Jews.
Israel's Cabinet voted, last February, to expedite the Jewish verification process of
the 19,000 Falash Mura remaining in Ethiopia so they could immigrate to Israel. Since
1998, Israel has brought about 2,500 Falash Mura immigrants each year. Since February,
though, little progress has been made and the process of bringing the Ethiopian Jews home
has stalled, prompting representatives of Ethiopian Jewry to blame Israel's interior
minister, Shinui's Avraham Poraz, for the impasse.
In Israel, advocates for the Ethiopians are pursuing legal action to force Poraz to
accelerate the emigration process.
When 4,000 Falash Mura were brought to Israel in 1998, many thought they constituted
the last group of Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia, said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president
of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and a board member of the Jewish
Agency and the Joint Distribution Committee. But then another 14,000 people turned up at
the compounds in Addis Ababa and Gondar, and the Jewish relief operations in Ethiopia
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