Israel in the News Feb/Mar 2000

Statisticians Say Israel May Have 9 Million People By the Year 2020
(Taken from The Jerusalem Post)

JERUSALEM—The population in Israel has reached 6.2 million, and the Jewish population is approaching 5 million, according to recent figures published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). A CBS spokesman said he expects rapid population growth to continue into the new millennium, reaching the 7 million mark by 2006 or 2007 and 8 million between 2013 and 2018. By 2020 the CBS predicts the population may reach 9 million.

Israel Awaits OK To Join UN Group
(Taken from
 The Jerusalem Report)

Israel’s request to join the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in the United Nations is now being considered by the 15 European Union member states, and Israeli officials are hoping for a positive response soon.

Israel is the only UN member country excluded from membership in any of the five regional groupings. Iran is leading opposition to Israel’s taking up its natural regional affiliation in Asia; hence the bid to join WEOG. Membership would open the way for Israel to get seats on prestigious UN bodies, including the Security Council.

All 15 EU states must approve a formal proposal for Israel to join WEOG, and after years of opposition (with France among the objectors) Israeli officials now discern a dynamic move in their favor.

Sri Lanka To Forge Bonds With Israel; Air Flights To Begin
(Taken from The Jerusalem Post)

Sri Lanka is to open diplomatic relations with Israel in the near future, according to Gemini Wethasinghe, chairman of the board of Peace Air, the Sri Lankan airline. Wethasinghe was in Israel to sign an agreement for regular, twicea-week flights from his country. Flight time, on a route circumnavigating the Arab states, is to be seven hours and forty minutes.

Weather Experts: Drought Continues
(Taken from The Jerusalem Post)

Last winter’s drought, which has caused Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) and Israel’s main underground reservoirs to drop below their respective red lines, appears to be continuing. According to the Meteorological Service, rainfall so far this season has not been much better than over the same period last year. Several places, including parts of the north, have received less rain than last year, and in all areas the precipitation is below average.

Talks With Syria Lead to Increased West Bank Violence
(Taken from The Jerusalem Post)

Since Israel announced the renewal of talks with Syria, there has been a sharp rise in the number of stonethrowing and firebombing incidents in Judea and Samaria, a senior military official said recently. The reason, the official said, is mainly the Palestinians’ concern that they are being pushed to the background.

Traffic Deaths Down
(Taken from The Jerusalem Post)

There has been a 14 percent drop in the number of road deaths over the first 11 months of the year, compared with the same period last year, the Transport Ministry has announced. However, the trend reversed itself in the latter part of the year.

Clinton Delays Moving Embassy From Tel Aviv
(Taken from The Jerusalem Post)

U.S. President Bill Clinton has again ordered a six-month delay in moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed by Congress in 1995, obligated the U.S. to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 31, 1999. A clause allows the president to invoke a security waiver to delay the move. Clinton said the delay was necessary “to protect the national interests of the United States.”

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