Israel in the News Aug/Sep 1998

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Arafat calls Oslo a temporary truce
The government intends to lodge a protest with the Palestinian Authority over an interview PA Chairman Yasser Arafat gave…in which he compared the Oslo Accords to a temporary truce, saying he envied Palestinian suicide “martyrs” and hopes to become one of them.

Officials referred to Arafat’s interview with the Egyptian Orbit satellite television channel…in which the PA chief compared the Oslo Accords to the broken truce Mohammed signed with the Koreish tribe some 1,300 years ago. The accords, the officials pointed out, contain an exchange of letters in which Arafat pledged to renounce terrorism and violence.

“Everyone must know that all options are open before the Palestinian people, and not just the Palestinian people, but before the entire Arab nation,” Arafat said in the interview. He explained his orders to stop terrorist attacks against Israel, saying that Mohammed agreed to a 10-year truce with the Koreish tribe. The agreement was opposed by one of Mohammed’s chief aides, Omar Bin Khatib, who called it the “inferior peace agreement.”

“I do not compare myself to the prophet, but I do say that we must learn from his steps and those of Salah a-Din,” Arafat said. “The peace agreement which we signed is an ‘inferior peace.’ ”

Arafat said he suggests “we maintain quiet. We respect agreements the way that the prophet Mohammed and Salah a-Din respected the agreements which they signed.”

Anti-missile radar rushed into service
The Israeli-made ballistic missile tracking radar built for the Arrow missile has been deployed six weeks ahead of schedule, the Air Force Magazine said in its recent edition. The reason for the rush was the recent crisis with Iraq, the magazine said, adding that the radar system, known as Green Pine, has been operational since late February.

Knesset library sets up Jewish sources department
The Knesset’s archives and library has established a new department to supply Knesset members with information on Jewish sources. The unit is expected to help those who are looking for an appropriate biblical quote to use in a speech or in preparing bills.

Livnat appeals for Pollard release
As part of the stepped-up campaign to secure Jonathan Pollard’s release, Communications Minister Limor Livnat…called on the US to allow the convicted spy to come to Israel. US Ambassador Edward Walker sat in the audience at the Jerusalem Theater alongside some 500 members of the Hadassah “Miracle Mission” group…as Livnat made an impassioned plea at the end of her address.

TAU researchers find deafness gene
A gene that causes gradual congenital deafness has been identified by Tel Aviv University researchers, who studied an extended Israeli Jewish family of Libyan origin carrying the defect. The discovery is to be published in an upcoming issue of Science.

Israelis split over Jewish identity
When asked whether they identified themselves as Jews, Israelis or both, about one-third of the population will pick each answer, according to a recent survey of 1,300 Israeli Jews. However, among Israeli-born 12- to18-year-olds the number identifying itself as Israeli rises to 45%. In contrast, 53% of recent immigrants from the Soviet Union identify themselves as Jews, and only 10% as Israelis, the poll found. It also found that people who are left-wing are more likely to call themselves Israelis, while right-wingers prefer to label themselves Jewish.

PM: Russian aid to Iran could hurt ties
In an interview published in Izvestia…, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the possibility of missile know-how being transferred to Iran is standing in the way of expanded Israeli-Russian ties, the Interfax news agency said. Netanyahu said that the Russian government had “issued certain instructions,” but that the time had come for practical deeds.

Israel denounces SS reunion in Latvia
The Foreign Ministry…denounced a reunion parade of veterans of Latvia’s Nazi Waffen-SS legion in Riga. “It’s puzzling and sad that in a country where most of its Jews were killed on its soil, there are those who think it’s correct to remember the murderers and collaborators,” it said in a statement. Israel, however, praised the Latvian government for not sending an official representative to the reunion.

UN publication omits Israel, mentions ‘Palestine’
The UN Environmental Program’s annual report is “profoundly flawed” for failing to mention Israel, in what B’nai B’rith has charged is “another typical UN blunder.” The 264-page Global Environment Outlook, which reviews environmental concerns such as water and deforestation, includes “Palestine” in the Western Asian section, but omits Israel, said B’nai B’rith International President Tommy Baer.

‘No more shots for diabetics’
Insulin-dependent diabetics will be freed from injections in the future, thanks to new devices that release medications into their bloodstream only when disease “markers” show they are needed. Technion scientists are now developing these systems, which will release drugs into the body in the exact dosage, at the right time and in the place they are required.

Prof. Noah Lotan, of the Technion’s department for biomedical engineering, and his colleagues are developing a biological system that will check disease conditions and supply the needed drug in a customized way.

“Controlled-release systems, suited to the disease, are likely to be a breakthrough for patients who now have to undergo constant blood tests for monitoring their condition,” he said.

In the case of diabetes, the miniature system will be implanted in the body to monitor the sugar level in the blood and supply the amount of insulin needed. This, Lotan said, copies one of the natural biological systems in healthy people, whose pancreas supplies insulin to control the body’s sugar level.

(All articles are taken from The Jerusalem Post.)

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