Israel in the News Feb/Mar 1996

Majority Trusts Peres To Lead Country

Some 57% of the population trusts that … Prime Minister Shimon Peres will be able to lead the country and continue the peace process, according to a survey of 500 Jewish adults conducted by the Geocartography Institute. Some 28% trusted Peres completely, 29% to a great degree, 18% moderately, and 19% little or not at all.

Barak Bars Extremists’Entry

Interior Minister Ehud Barak exercised his authority in accordance with the Law of Return and the Law of Entry into Israel to prevent the entry of extremists liable to threaten the country’s security.

Meanwhile, the head of the Jewish Agency delegation to North America is calling for a change in the Law of Return, to send a message that Israel is not a “shelter for Jewish terrorists.”

“We are facing a new reality, and it is essential to change the Law of Return to say that Jews who engage in terror or are inciting terror will not be allowed to come to Israel,” Gad Ben-Ari said in an interview.

PNC “Unlikely” to Rescind Covenant

It is unlikely that Yasser Arafat will force the Palestinian National Council (PNC) to cancel the clauses in the Palestinian Covenant calling for Israel’s destruction, General Moshe Yahalon, head of IDF intelligence, said recently.

The Oslo Accords call for the clauses to be rescinded by the PNC two months after the PA elections in January 1996. One solution being mooted by the Palestinians is for Arafat to either abolish the PNC or replace the covenant with a new one, while not abolishing the original version. It is not known whether Israel will accept this solution or not.

2.5 Million Immigrants Since 1948

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, 2.5 million immigrants have arrived in the country: 59% from Europe, 19% from Africa, 15% from Asia, and 7% from the Americas and Oceania. Of them, 795,000 (32%) are from the former Soviet Union; 345,000 (15%) are from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia; 273,000 from Romania; 172,000 from Poland; 130,000 from Iraq; 76,000 from Iran; 71,000 from the US; 61,000 from Turkey, 51,000 from Yemen; 48,000 from Ethiopia; 43,000 from Argentina; and 43,000 from Bulgaria.

EU To Adopt A Holocaust Day

The European Parliament has unanimously decided to create a Holocaust memorial day in all EU countries. The decision was achieved with the encouragement of the Israeli Embassy at the European Union in Brussels and the European Jewish Congress.

First archaeological evidence of Maccabees

A sudden lurch by a tractor recently uncovered the first archaeological proof linking the Hasmoneans to Modi’in.

The Hasmoneans’defeat of the Syrian-Greek King Antiochus in the second century BCE is commemorated by the festival of Hanukkah. Though the history of the Hasmoneans—also known as the Maccabees—is documented in the Talmud, the apocryphal Books of Maccabees, and by Josephus, this is apparently the first archaeological evidence of their existence.

Antiquities Authority Director-General Amir Drori said the archaeologists, conducting excavations along the route of the expanded highway from Ben-Shemen to north Jerusalem uncovered a burial complex with three chambers and niches containing 23 ossuaries, including one that has what appears to be a reference to the Hasmoneans.

“This is the first time the word‘Hasmonean’has been found on archaeological evidence,” said archaeologist Shimon Riflin, who is supervising the excavations.

Authority spokesperson Efrat Orbach explained that what was found were the Hebrew letters het, shin, and alef, all in script from the Hasmonean period.

“The riddle of the Maccabean tombs has existed from the beginning of Zionism,” said Zohar Bar-Am, a resident of Kfar Hashmona’im, near the excavation.

(All articles are taken from The Jerusalem Post.)

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