Israel in the News Aug/Sep 1997

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PA smuggling anti-tank arms

The Palestinian Authority is smuggling Katyusha rockets, anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, all in preparation for a future conflict with Israel, a senior Israeli security source said recently.

The source said, however, that the PA is not using the newly constructed jetty at the Gaza fishing port to bring in weapons.

“The PA has ambitions to buy weapons that are not allowed under the Oslo agreements,” the source said. “They’re trying to get anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. There’s no problem getting these things.”

The source said the PA has numerous options to buy cheap rockets and missiles. These include Russia and Eastern Europe.

Smuggling the weapons into PA-controlled areas is not difficult either, the source said. Anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, such as the Sagger, are small missiles that can fit into a suitcase. They are then brought into Gaza either via fishing boat from the Mediterranean or from Sinai through a maze of tunnels from the Egyptian side.

The tunnels were discovered with the help of sophisticated detection equipment developed by the Technion, Israel Radio said. The tunnels were about 10 meters below the surface and about 70 centimeters wide…Criminal elements traditionally dug and used the tunnels to smuggle in both directions.

Hizbullah leader scores pope for blessing Israel

A senior Shi’ite cleric recently criticized Pope John Paul II’s blessing of Israel, but welcomed his scheduled trip to Lebanon. The pope’s blessing, given during a meeting at the Vatican with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last year, and the Vatican’s recognition of Israel have angered Moslem leaders in Lebanon. “We reject the Vatican’s recognition of Israel, as well as the pope’s blessing of Israel,” Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah said…With all due respect, we consider that the pope’s move does not conform with the values brought by Jesus Christ.” Security at the pope’s public appearances at the Vatican was beefed up after Italian intelligence said he could be the target of Islamic radicals.

New Jewish university in Moscow

Education Minister Zevulun Hammer recently reached agreement with the Russian education minister on the establishment of a new Jewish university in Moscow. Hammer was in Moscow for a convention of the Jewish communities there. Hammer also reached a series of agreements with the Russian culture minister, including joint celebration of Israel’s 50th anniversary and a special exhibition in Moscow by the Israel Museum.

Arafat pulls pistol at state banquet

Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat surprised his hosts at a state banquet by pulling out his pistol after a guest wondered if he still walks around armed…A leader of a former Tamil rebel group jocularly asked the Palestinian leader: “Do you still carry a pistol as you did when you went to the UN?” A grinning Arafat pulled out a pistol and showed it to them.

Orange-loving mountain-climbers dig in

Why would nine Norwegians climb a 1,432-meter mountain? Not because it is there, but to answer one of mankind’s most burning questions: who has the better orange—Morocco, Spain or Israel?

It must have been the highest orange taste-test of all time. The judges, led by journalist Svein Myklebust of Starheim, Norway, scaled the Alps for an article for a student newspaper.

Norwegians, writes Myklebust, love oranges. During a recent two-week period, Norwegians got through about 4.7 million kilos of the citrus, an average of about a kilo for each citizen.

“Nine beauties of the orange delicacy were carefully carried through valleys, up steep hills, through mountain passes and across a glacier to the rocky peak,” Myklebust tell us. The fruit competed in four categories: best looking, easiest to peel, least mess and best taste.

And how did Israel’s Jaffas rate? According to Myklebust’s report, “one of the jury members found her Moroccan orange the best looking. Her disappointment was great, however, when she tried to peel the thing. The orange caused a juicy mess.

“The Spanish orange won the beauty category for its glossy surface, and the jury also found it easiest to peel. In spite of this head start, the Spaniard had no chance when it came to taste. Jaffa won for its ‘fantastic taste,’ as one jury member exclaimed.”

And that made all the difference, as the Jaffa wound up the all-round favorite.

New political group

The Jewish Leadership Movement was officially launched recently. The guiding principles, according to Prof. Hillel Weiss, are based on the precept of “all Jews are responsible for one another,” and of taking the initiative to create change based on Jewish values. “We are not a religious movement,” said Motti Karpel. “We were not founded to demand more funds for yeshivot or a specific sector, but to establish a leader for the whole Jewish people.”

(All articles are from The Jerusalem Post.)

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