Israel in the News Apr/May 1998

For more Israel In The News, updated at least twice each week, visit our web site at foi.org/news.

Immigration up 20%
The Absorption Ministry announced…that immigration was up more than 20% in the last six months of 1997, compared to the first six months of the year, with the majority of newcomers arriving from Ukraine and Ethiopia. Some 36,000 immigrants arrived, compared to 29,000 during the first six months.

Turkey gives IAI $75 million contract
Turkey has ignored Arab criticism and awarded a $75 million contract to upgrade its fleet of 48 F-5 fighters to Israel Aircraft Industries’ Lahav division, beating out strong French competition.

PM: No settlement to be evacuated
From a strategic West Bank overlook in Peduel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared…that all Jewish settlements must remain under Israeli control.

“We will not evacuate any settlements,” he said, adding that all the settlements should remain within security zones to be demarcated in maps being prepared for submission to US President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

“There isn’t a single settlement that was established by chance or whim,” intoned National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon, one of six ministers on the tour who addressed his colleagues as their guide, military expert and strategic mapmaker.

“We began to settle this area in 1967,” Sharon went on, as fellow-ministers peered at the colorful vista below through field glasses.

Glancing to the left and right at the sister settlements gripping the steep Samarian hills or straddling their crests as Peduel does, Sharon said that they form an Israeli demographic continuity along the former armistice line.

Pollard to Edelstein: Bring me home
In a historic meeting…convicted spy Jonathan Pollard asked Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein to persuade Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Labor Party chairman Ehud Barak to jointly call for his release. Pollard’s meeting with Edelstein at the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina—his first with an Israeli minister—lasted more than an hour, Edelstein’s spokesman said. “Just bring me home,” Pollard told Edelstein. The former US naval analyst, who is serving a life sentence on charges of spying for Israel, referred to himself as an Israeli, the spokesman said.

PA anti-semitism documented
The Palestinian news media and PA officials were accused of making antisemitic statements, many based on Nazi propaganda, in a special report issued by the Government Press Office…Referring to the instances in which Palestinians compared Israel to the Nazis and Fascists and denied the Holocaust, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: “These are violations of the Oslo Accords, which call for an end to hostile propaganda.”

Facing felafel on the front lines
How does the Israeli army pamper the soldiers who man the front lines? How do you compensate brave young men who spend sleepless nights on patrol in the bitter Lebanon cold in hunt of Hizbullah terrorists? With felafel, of course.

Those funny little fried chickpea balls that are packed into pita bread with fresh-cut vegetables, tehina and hot sauce will be appearing on the menu of soldiers on the front [soon], the army announced.

According to a report in Ma’ariv, the felafel will be dispatched in powder form to enable soldiers who are in outposts that don’t have chefs to cook them up. Just add water and stir.

If this bonus isn’t enough to spur new recruits to volunteer for the front lines, the army is also going to be distributing olive spread and chocolate milk that needs no refrigeration to units in South Lebanon.

Israeli textbook used in Jordanian schools
Another page was written in the peace process recently, when an Israeli-produced textbook was ordered by a Jordanian publisher for use in the Jordanian school system, becoming the first Israeli textbook to be used in an Arab state.

Dr. Avraham Stahl, the author of Why Don’t Different People Live in Peace?, recalled how his book ended up in Amman and in other Jordanian elementary schools.

Stahl said that the book, part of a six-book series by Opher Publishers which he developed by asking fifth- and sixth-graders to give him questions they wanted answered, was spotted by Jordanian publisher Mahmoud Alkhalili at last year’s International Book Fair in Jerusalem.

“He liked it and decided he wanted to buy it for use in Jordanian schools,” Stahl said. “I went through it and changed the material that was geared for a Jewish or Israeli audience to fit a Moslem, Arab one.”

Asked what he thought of having Jordanian elementary school children reading his book, Stahl said: “When I started working in education, in 1953, we never dreamt we’d even talk to anyone in Amman.”

(All articles taken from The Jerusalem Post.)

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