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>Israel Faxx
>JN Nov. 25, 2003, Vol. 11, No. 205

Israeli Check Bounces

By Israel Faxx News Service

Israel bounced a check to a British man badly wounded by Israeli army fire.

The Defense Ministry sent a check for nearly $14,000 to the family of Thomas Hurndall, 22, an activist with the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, who was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier in the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza last April, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported. The check was returned for insufficient funds. In a note with the check, Israel said the payment was for repatriating Hurndall, but did not constitute an admission of liability in the shooting.

Sharon's New Plan Draws Internal Criticism

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would soon unveil a unilateral plan to get out of what he called the impasse with the Palestinians. In an interview with Israel's largest newspaper, Yediot Achronot, Sharon said he would present his new plan soon, but declined to give details.

The Israeli leader told his regular weekly cabinet meeting, Sunday, that his plan parallels but does not contradict the internationally backed "road map" peace plan.

Israeli media are reporting that the Sharon initiative will call for the evacuation of some Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories. Those settlers would be resettled in the region of the Negev Desert in southern Israel. The plan is already drawing criticism from members of Sharon's own cabinet especially expectations that it would include a dismantling of settlements.

Cabinet Minister Eliezer Zanberg of the Shinui Party said now is not the time to be withdrawing from settlements. "Evacuation of settlement[s] today can only signalize one thing to the other side, to the Palestinians, to terror organizations continue your violent struggle against Israel and at the end of the day you will reach something."

The leader of Israel's National Religious Party, Effi Eitam said his party considers the dismantling of settlements as totally unacceptable. He said the issue for Israel is not settlements but international terrorism.

"If the settlements were the problem then we could think rooting some settlements would be the solution," said Eitam. "But again, I remind what's happened in America, what's going on in Turkey now, what's going on in many other places of the world where there is no(t) any settlements, no occupation, no road blocks, nothing just very extreme fundamental terror."

Some right-wing members of the government have threatened to resign, if the plan is implemented. Palestinian officials have expressed strong skepticism, saying the plan is little more than a public-relations campaign to deflect growing criticism of the way the Sharon government has handled peace negotiations.

Mussolini: World Should 'Beg Forgiveness of Israel'

By Adi Schwartz (Ha'aretz)

"Not only Gianfranco Fini, but the entire world, including the Vatican and the pope, should beg forgiveness of Israel," Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of Italy's World War II dictator and a member of parliament for the National Alliance party, declared in an interview with Ha'aretz.

The interview coincided with the arrival of Fini, her party's leader and Italy's deputy prime minister, for his first official visit to Israel, during which he has said he intends to apologize to the Jewish people for Italy's Holocaust-era crimes.

Mussolini's statement is no small matter from someone who once declared: "My grandfather is the greatest of them all; I will continue to believe this all my life." Her father, Romano Mussolini, once said that Alessandra is "more of a Mussolini than me or the whole family put together."

In January 2002, when Fini retracted his famous statement that Mussolini was the greatest man of the 20th century, Alessandra was so angry that she demonstratively crossed parliamentary lines to sit with members of the Forza Italia party instead of her own. "In the end, he will circumcise you all," she taunted other members of her party, "so that Fini will finally be able to make his pilgrimage to Israel." Of Fini himself, she declared: "I don't like politicians who try to distort history for their own purposes."

Sunday, when asked what she thought of Fini's plan to apologize to the Jewish people, she said that, in her mind, he had already done so, at the 1995 party conference in which Fini denounced anti-Semitism. "What is important to me is that Fini listen to the people, as I did during my visits to Israel," she said.

Mussolini, then a movie actress, visited Israel 11 years ago, at which time she also visited Yad Vashem. "I saw the piles of shoes, and I was shocked. When I went outside, I saw soldiers walking around with guns, and I thought how sad it was that you are still not assured even of life itself," she recalled. As for today, "we need to develop mutual understanding, not disputes, since we are on the same side," she said.

Mussolini, a niece of movie star Sophia Loren, burst onto the political scene in 1992, when she was elected to parliament as a member of the neo-fascist party in her home district of Naples. Over the ensuing years, she made it clear that she was proud to be descended from Italy's dictator. But in an interview with La Republica earlier this month, she declared that the National Alliance has truly abandoned its neo-fascist past, and that this was a natural development.

Asked what her grandfather would have thought of Fini, she replied: "I don't want to answer that. He is already dead, and I'm a different person ... My family is one thing, and politics are another. Permit me not to answer that."

Israelis Build DNA Transistor: Are the Borg Next?

By Israel Faxx News Service

Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have harnessed human cells to power an electronic circuit. The research, published in the Nov. 21 issue of the journal "Science," shows "you can start with DNA proteins and molecular biology and construct an electronic device," Erez Bruan, lead scientist on the Technion team, said in a press statement.

Six years in the making, the project attached a carbon tube one-billionth of a meter wide onto a piece of DNA, the basic building block of living matter, and then made metal wires out of DNA molecules at each end of the tube. The result is a transistor that can be switched on and off using electricity. The project signals the day when nano-technology will produce ultra-fast, molecular-sized computer chips for medical and general use that grow like human cells and do not require assembly, Technion officials said.

Kosher is Better All Around


Opting out of kosher seemed a good option for manufacturers seeking to attract an estimated 500,000 Israelis who do not eat kosher, many from the former Soviet Union. In the past year, one of the fastest growing retailers has been a new chain that is not kosher.

But Israeli food sources say that eliminating the kosher stamp of approval has backfired on many companies as they have been unable to sell the vast majority of Israelis and have not been able to take advantage of the growing kosher market worldwide. Even winemakers, with an eye towards selling Israeli wines to the general market are acquiescing. Tzora with its 2002 vintage switched over to kashrut. It recently released its first kosher wine. The company has decided to make all its wines kosher.

Kashrut agencies in Israel say that several companies that had removed their certification in the past two years "have come back."

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