Israel in the News Dec/Jan 1992

Israel Looks into Expanding

from Voice

Is it possible to discuss the land of Israel without getting into a political discussion about Judea, Samaria and Gaza? Let’s try.

Is expansion possible? Prospects of possible expansion to the south were surrendered by Israel when it returned the Sinai to Egypt. To the north? Israel regards its presence in southern Lebanon as a temporary security measure. The government has reiterated again and again its determination to respect the international border with Lebanon and to withdraw even token forces from that country as soon as the security situation permits. To the east? That leads to controversial ground, and we have ruled it out for the present discussion.

There is only one direction left—to the west, into the Mediterranean, but not what the Arabs have in mind.

As far back as 60 years ago, the British mandatory government took a major step in that direction. The land area of Haifa port was unable to accommodate the increased demands made upon it by the growing maritime and naval traffic, and so the British undertook a massive program of land reclamation from the sea … Hanamal Street and all the port facilities for blocks around are located in an area which was reclaimed from the sea.

Now, another non-controversial idea has been proposed by engineers at the Technion—to create a chain of manmade islands off the shores of the country, particularly opposite the big coastal cities. The physical and geographical factors are said to be highly favorable because there am no deep waters, and the coastal incline is less than one percent.

Miami Beach is a classic successful example [of such a project] … Countries like Holland and Japan also have long successfully reclaimed large areas from the sea with great economic benefit.

Israel Continues Lead in Medical Research

from the Near East Report

Doctors at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem have succeeded for the first time in transplanting a cornea into the eye of an infant born blind. The seven-month-old recipient had a rare chromosome defect and was blind in both eyes. The infant now is able to see with glasses, and his vision is expected to improve in time.

Religion: Problem & Solution

from The Jerusalem Post

The peace process will go nowhere unless the fears and suspicions that exist in Jewish and Moslem minds are dealt with.

On the Arab side, there is concern that Israelis believe in a manifest destiny that entitles them to a Greater Israel extending from the Nile to the Euphrates. This prophecy, the Arabs believe, derives from Scriptures.

Whether this belief is held by most Israelis is irrelevant. What is important is that most Arabs believe it is held by Jews. Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and the Golan are not seen as territory gained in a defensive war, but as evidence of Israel’s expansionist designs. The creation of a Palestinian state does not jibe with such a scenario.

On the Israeli side, there is fear that Islam simply cannot tolerate a sovereign non-Islamic state in its midst. How else can one explain past Arab aggression?

This also explains why even the sole Arab country to sign a peace accord with the Jewish state worked against overturning the infamous Zionism-Racism resolution of the UN, continues to support the Arab trade embargo against Israel, and works strenuously against Jewish immigration to Israel.

These fears and suspicions must be laid to rest. Until the misperceptions are dealt with, … any experiment is bound to fail.

The first step in modifying perceptions—since it is presumptuous to assume that perceptions are misconceptions—must be dealt with by the respective religious leaders, Jewish and Moslem.

From the Jewish side, a recognized convention of Jewish religious leaders should meet to address the perception of Israel’s Manifest Destiny … On the other side, a world-recognized body of Moslem clerics should convene and pronounce explicitly and unequivocally that a sovereign non-Islamic state can indeed be tolerated in the Middle East according to their interpretation of the Koran.

Here then is the challenge to both Jews and Moslems. It is a necessary first step to any process of genuine peace.

Water Resource Talks are Pragmatic

from Voice

There was an effort to play down political conflict and promote pragmatic solutions at the two-day round of multilateral talks on Middle East water resources recently ended in Washington.

Indeed, the urgency of the region’s water problems could provide an important impetus for Arab-Israeli cooperation, according to the head of Israel’s delegation to the talks, Dan Zaslavsky.

Zaslavsky, who was Israel’s water commissioner until recently, … said there was an attempt at the talks to “forego politics” and emphasize water technology to find some answers that will ultimately provide a model for the rest of the world.

“The trouble with arid land” in the Middle East is “its extreme sensitivity to misuse,” said Zaslavsky, but “humid areas will suffer from the same problems.” Experts from countries with bountiful water supplies are therefore participating in the talks because “the lessons learned in the Middle East can be transferred to the rest of the world” to “meet the coming crisis,” he said. “We all sit in the same boat.”

The experts concluded that better water management is key, he said, adding that more efficient farming techniques could increase water production as much as fivefold.

Guess Why the Reticence?

from Voice

Thirty-five Palestinian physicians from the Gaza Strip completed a two semester refresher course in medical sciences at Ben Gurion University. Photographers covering the graduation ceremony were advised that “most of the graduates did not wish to be identified, and will refuse to be photographed.”

Food Packages to Russia

from Voice

Successfully absorbed Russian immigrants in Israel are patrons of a new service which sends packages of meat chicken, salami and frankfurters to their families in the former Soviet Union.

Hungarian President Chalks up a ‘First’

from The Jerusalem Post

Hungarian President Arpad Goencz was here recently on the first visit by a Hungarian head of state.

Israel and Hungary “share a long history, composed of chapters of tolerance and coexistence, but also of tragic times of persecution and discrimination during World War II,” President Herzog said at the official welcoming ceremony.

“Let us look to the future, but not forget the past, even for a moment,” Goencz said.

More than 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed by the Nazis and Hungary’s fascist government in World War II, and there have been reports recently of growing anti-Semitism there.

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