Newsletter : 5fax1117.txt
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Suicide Belt was Empty
The suicide belt carried by an Arab teenager Wednesday afternoon was without
explosives, according to army spokesmen. Security officials estimate that terrorists
intended to fill the suicide belt elsewhere. The youth was captured at the Hawara
checkpoint near Shechem. Authorities said there was no advanced warning of a suicide
bomber in the area and that soldiers discovered the empty belt following a routine check.
A metal detector revealed there were explosive devices, but a later examination showed
that they were empty.
Israel to Ask U.S. Jewish Communities to Fund its Foreign Aid Projects
Israel is trying to persuade Jewish federations and communities in the United States to
finance Israeli aid programs in foreign countries, Ha'aretz has learned. The first
initiative of this sort was presented Tuesday at the United Jewish Communities (UJC)
General Assembly meeting in Toronto.
Some 3,600 Jews from North America, the former Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, Ethiopia
and Israel registered for the three-day General Assembly (GA) of the United Jewish
Israel's Consul General in New York, Arye Mekel, proposed to the UJC that it become an
active partner in the Foreign Ministry's projects in developing and poor countries.
The Foreign Ministry's department for international cooperation has been operating
since 1958 and is helping some 114 third-world countries with aid and technological
knowledge. The department's programs consist of courses and training foreign residents in
However, due to cutbacks jeopardizing the department's work, the Foreign Ministry
decided to appeal to the Jewish federations and communities in the United States to help
finance the projects, such as stopping AIDS from spreading in Africa or helping victims of
Israel is offering the UJC involvement in setting the order of priorities for aid
projects in Africa or Asia. In addition, every federation and community would be able to
choose independently from a list of objectives and take active part in carrying out
projects in a certain country or developing community.
Mekel told Ha'aretz that Israeli experts would be in charge of carrying out the
projects on the ground and Israeli instructors would train the local personnel. However,
the main idea is that funding some of the projects would create a partnership between
American Jews and Israel.
Senior Jewish figures told Ha'aretz that they have received positive preliminary
reactions to the Israeli initiative. "Although the Toronto GA focuses almost exclusively
on local community needs, the very fact that the leaders of the UJC agreed to give time to
present the Foreign Ministry's initiative is a positive sign," the leader of a Jewish
organization in New York said.
Israeli Court OKs Lesbian Adoption
The Be'er Sheva Family Court ruled Tuesday that a lesbian woman could adopt her female
partner's daughter. The biological mother gave birth to the child through a sperm donor
and has since taken legal action in an effort to force the State to recognize both her and
her partner as the child's parents.
Judge Pinhas Asulin based his decision on supportive testimonies describing the two
women as a family in every way. He ruled that responsibility for the child should be
placed equally on both parents, similarly to the way most families function. "They're a
family without a doubt," he ruled.
The two women, both in their 30s, are raising a second child together, whose testimony
was also heard by the court. The court legally recognized the women as a couple three
years ago, thus setting a precedent for the first same-sex couple in Israel. The High
Court of Justice set an additional precedent in January, ruling that a lesbian couple
could adopt each other's children.
The couple's attorney Ziv Zimran told Ynet there is no doubt the two women and their
children constitute a family. "The court's ruling has turned them into parents in every
regard with equal responsibilities for the child's economic, familial and physical
Tel Aviv: 'The Pink City'?
Tel Aviv is known throughout the world as "The White City" due to the many
Bauhaus-style structures that adorn its streets, but the city may soon be called "The Pink
City," as tourism industry heads are planning on transforming the city into the gay
capital of the world, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
"Tel Aviv and gay people are a perfect fit," an Israel Hotel Association (IHA) official
The idea was born when IHA Director-General Eli Ziv visited London recently to
participate in the 2005 World Travel Market exhibition. During the exhibition Ziv met with
representatives of the gay-lesbian travel industry, and discovered an audience that would
travel just about anywhere for a good party, even to the Middle East. "The gay community
has amazing consumer power, and Tel Aviv has a lot to offer to this community," Ziv
"We have the beach, sun, culture and nightclubs. To our knowledge, gays are capable of
hopping on a plane and traveling to the other side of the world just to participate in
parties and events that are related to the gay community."
The IHA in Tel Aviv, along with a local gay rights group, turned to European travel
agents who focus on the gay community and requested they prepare vacation packages to Tel
Aviv. "We are drafting plans to encourage gay tourism from Germany, England and Holland,"
Ziv added. "We plan on approaching travel agents who are aware of the gay community's
needs, launch a special website for gays and advertise Tel Aviv in gay European websites
Jerusalem is scheduled to host the 2006 World Pride Parade, but Ziv is already working
to have it moved to Tel Aviv. "This event could mark the grand opening for homosexual
events in the city," he said. "We need the boost."
Meanwhile, Tourism Ministry Director-General Eli Cohen said he would offer any
financial assistance necessary to turn Tel Aviv into the gay capital of the world, and he
is not alone: TUI, Europe's largest tourism conglomerate, has recently decided to offer
charter flights to Tel Aviv. Israeli tourism officials said they believe the decision
would facilitate the travel of thousands of gays to the country.
Today TUI offers a roundtrip ticket on a weekly charter flight to Israel for 150-200
euros (about $176-$234). "It will be helpful to our initiative if they increase the number
of flights to Tel Aviv,' Ziv said.
"Now the occupancy rate on these flights already stands at more than 80 percent for the
next few months. In February they plan to increase the number of flights to three a week.
If this will indeed happen, we will see an airlift of gays to Tel Aviv," he said.
New Spielberg Film Archive Website
The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive has announced the release of its new, updated
English website. The Archive is one of the world's largest collections of Jewish
documentary film footage, holding over 10,000 titles on film and video.
The vaults contain material shot in Israel before and after the establishment of the
State in 1948, motion picture records of Jewish communities in the Diaspora before and
after the Holocaust, and two special collections relating to the Holocaust.
In addition to its moving image holdings, the Archive maintains a documentation center
containing print materials and still photographs relating to Jewish, Israeli and Yiddish
film. More than 300 full films are available for free over the Internet.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)