Israel in the News Aug/Sep 1995

Ofek-3 in orbit

The Ofek-3, a scientific and commercial satellite capable of sophisticated military intelligence uses, was launched recently.

Announcing the launch, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Ofek-3 is “another great technological achievement for the State of Israel.”

The satellite transmits video signals sharp enough to “make out license plates in Baghdad,” an official at Israel Aircraft Industries told AP. The possible military missions of such a device include high-resolution photography, electronic surveillance, and measuring the electromagnetic levels of various objects.

Billion-shekel plan to grow citrus in Negev

Farmers will begin growing citrus fruit and olives in the Negev, under a new scheme launched by the Jewish National Fund and the Agriculture Ministry.

The billion-shekel plan envisions bringing large quantities of water and topsoil to the arid, saline area over the next three years, to prepare it for agriculture, JNF Chairman Moshe Rivlin said recently. Work has already begun on the infrastructure for hothouses and orchards, and the first seeds are expected to be planted in November, he said.

Egyptian mufti willing to visit Israel

Egypt’s highest religious official, the mufti, said in an interview published recently that he is willing to visit Israel because Muslims have not been able to achieve their rights by boycotting the Jewish state. “It is my view that I should go to my enemy in his house and show him he is wrong and take all means that would help me obtain my rights,” Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi told the weekly al-Mussawar magazine. “I follow the principle that I should not be judged by my visit [to Israel] but by what I would say.”

Rabin to seek pardon for Pollard

Prime Minister Rabin will ask President Clinton to pardon convicted spy Jonathan Poland, Channel 2 has reported. It said Rabin believes Pollard is unlikely to be granted parole during his upcoming hearing in November, 10 years after his arrest. Government spokesman Uri Dromi refused to confirm or deny the report, saying the Pollard issue must be “handled discreetly.”

Bible theme park planned

The Tourism Ministry and the Israel Lands Administration have issued an international tender for a theme park on “Bible Stories and Israeli Heritage” in the Adulam region, south of Beit Shemesh. The park is to combine entertainment with cultural and educational messages. The location currently being considered has 5,000 dunams, but those submitting proposals may choose to use any or all of it.

Islamic Movement may run for Knesset

The Israeli Arab Islamic Movement appears closer than ever to entering the national political arena and participating in the next Knesset elections in one form or another. Ibrihim Sarsur, spokesman for the movement, said the results of a nationwide survey clearly indicate that most followers, as well as Israeli Arabs in general, are in favor of such a move.

Settler children compared to Hitler Youth

The head of the German studies department at the Hebrew University, in an interview published recently, compared soldiers who volunteer to serve in the territories [Judea, Samaria, and Gaza] to Nazi SS stormtroopers, and settlers’ children to Hitler Youth, sparking calls for his resignation. Prof. Moshe Zimmerman was quoted in the local Jerusalem newspaper Yerushalayim as saying: “Soldiers who volunteer especially for service in the territories are seen as heroes, and one can basically compare the spirit of this volunteerism to the spirit of the German who volunteered to serve in the SS … The children of Hebron are just like Hitler Youth. From birth, they are infused with the idea that Arabs are bad, that there is antisemitism, that everyone is against us. They are turned into paranoids of a ‘superior race.’ Just like Hitler Youth.”

(All articles are from The Jerusalem Post.)

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