Israel in the News May/Jun 2004

Israel to Buy Turkish Water
ARUTZ-7—Israel has signed an agreement to buy 50 million cubic meters of fresh water from Turkey each year for the next 20 years at a minimum price of 70 cents per cubic meter. This is cheaper than desalinated water, but much more expensive than local water.

Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed the deal, saying it was too expensive. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, however, said that the importance of the deal surpasses merely the water issue and affects the strategic relationship with Turkey. Government sources have said that not only can it be a forerunner of additional large-scale deals with Turkey, but that canceling it would be liable to push Turkey towards the Arab world.

Israeli water experts continue to bemoan the lack of a large-scale desalination system. Israel consumes some two billion cubic meters of water each year, while its water supplies are replenished at a rate of only some 1.8 billion. This produces a yearly deficit of 200 million cubic meters, or four times the amount to be purchased from Turkey.

Fifty million cubic meters is roughly equivalent to 30 centimeters of height in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), Israel’s largest water source. For the first time in over a decade, the Kinneret is nearing its optimum level of 208.8 meters below sea level and stands only 28 centimeters (11 inches) short of this level.

MK wants bigger Knesset mosque
ARUTZ-7—Arab MK Ahmed Tibi has filed a request with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin to expand the mosque in the Knesset sanctuary. The Arab MK said he filed the request on behalf of the increasing number of Muslims who come to pray at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

MK Gila Finkelstein called Tibi’s request a provocation. “I pass through the corridor opposite the Knesset mosque dozens of times a day,” she said, “and never have I seen one worshipper there—not even Tibi himself.”

Muslim growth
Palestinian strategy to overtake Israel by increasing its Muslim population appears to be working. According to the latest figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Muslims number more than one million, or 16 percent of the total population.

If such growth continues, Muslims will constitute 20 percent of Israel’s population by 2020. According to a plan detailed by Dr. Wahid Abd AlMagid several years ago, Arabs “could become a majority in Israel in the year 2035, and they will certainly be a majority by 2048.”

Current statistics, reported in The International Jerusalem Post, show the annual Muslim growth rate in the last few years is 2.4 times that of the Jewish population. “This is one of the highest rates of increase in the world—even higher than that of neighboring Arab countries,” the Post said.

Greek patriarch okays terrorism
Israel’s Supreme Court has frozen the appointment of Metropolitan Irineos, a friend of Yasser Arafat, as Greek Orthodox Church patriarch until the end of legal proceedings. Although his appointment has government approval, two court suits block it Arutz-7 reported.

The news agency has copies of letters Irineos wrote to Arafat using sharp anti-Semitic terminology and openly expressing his support of terrorism against Israel

Arutz-7 reported that on July 17, 2001, Irineos wrote, “You [Arafat] are aware of the sentiments of disgust and disrespect that all the Holy Sepulchre fathers are feeling for the descendants of the crucifiers of our Lord Jesus . . . actual crucifiers of your people, Sionists [sic] Jewish conquerors of the Holy Land of Palestine.”

The appointment is particularly sensitive because the Greek Orthodox Church owns so much land in Israel.

According to Arutz-7, its extensive holdings include the land on which the Knesset stands, the prime minister’s and president’s official residences, parts of Jerusalem’s wealthiest neighborhoods, locations in the Old City and in the new Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, and land in Ramle and Lod.

Soldiers need Zionist infusion
Sentiment is growing that too many Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers don’t know what they’re fighting for.

Arutz-7 reported that a new program to imbue IDF soldiers with Jewish and Zionist values has been approved.

A creator of the program, Prof. Binyamin Ish-Shalom of Bar Ilan University, said some 20 percent of the army is composed of new immigrants, with the rate even higher among combat soldiers. “But it’s not only that; many native Israelis don’t know much about the land. We were astonished to see how many have never been to Jerusalem, and how many from the south have never been to the north and know nothing of the biblical and historical background of the areas they are supposed to defend.”

Another orphan
ARUTZ-7—Eitan Kokoyo and Rima Novikov were on their way to friends in Ashdod when Palestinian terrorists ambushed them with heavy gunfire, then made sure they were dead.

With the victims’ car totally stopped, the terrorists approached and shot the two in their heads from point-blank range. Later a passing motorist saw the bullet-riddled car and alerted security forces.

The couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Michelle, now joins the growing ranks of Israeli children left without parents due to terrorism. Eitan’s sister said she and her husband would adopt Michelle.

Terrorists plan to bypass fence
While the world castigates Israel for building a security fence to protect itself, terrorists are figuring out ways to attack Israel despite the fence.

Arutz-7 reported that Palestinian Authority (PA) Arabs are investing heavily in long-range artillery. Israeli Commander Avi Dichter said terrorists also are trying to transfer information on artillery manufacture from Gaza to Judea/Samaria to be able to attack Israel from there as well.

“The organizations are working on upgrading their materials and the destructive effect,” he said, “by using careful timing and even chemical materials in their attacks.

The controversial security fence is a 450-mile barrier of chainlink fencing, natural barriers, ditches, and watch posts, with less than 5 percent being concrete walls that Israel is erecting in and around Judea and Samaria.

Medical firsts
ARUTZ-7—Israeli fertility experts at the Hadassah University Hospital-Ein Karem have facilitated the birth of two healthy babies from embryos that were frozen for five years longer than previously thought possible. The happy parents, from Jerusalem, had their IVF (in vitro fertilization) embryos frozen in 1990 as a result of unidentified fertility abnormalities.

The Hadassah process was reported on in the February edition of the prestigious medical journal Human Reproduction. The procedure was carried out by Dr. Ariel Revel of the In Vitro Fertilization Unit of Hadassah’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a team of Hadassah physicians.

In another field entirely, orthopedic surgeons at Hadassah University Hospital-Mt. Scopus became the first in the world to perform hip replacement surgery (arthoscopy) with the assistance of a computer navigation system. Hadassah Hospital presented the results of the surgery last week, in the person of 53-year-old Amram Weiser of Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, who was the fourth patient to have undergone the computer-assisted operation.

If Rabin had only known
ARUTZ-7—President Moshe Katzav, visiting in France, said recently that the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin never would have signed the Oslo accords had he known Yasser Arafat would continue terrorism.

“Since the signing of the Oslo accords, we have not had one day of peace—while we have made far-reaching compromises,” he said. “Rabin took this historic step,” Katzav said, but “if he had known that Arafat would continue with terrorism, he would never have signed. [While] Israel has accepted the Road Map plan, the response from the Palestinians is to increase terrorism.” Rabin and Arafat received the Nobel Peace prize for having signed the 1993 Oslo accords. A

El Al to get extra protection
ARUTZ-7—El Al passenger jets are about to be fitted with an anti-missile system made by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). The first two or three systems should be installed soon on El Al’s Boeing 767s. The push for the installation of such systems on civilian aircraft intensified following Al-Qaeda’s unsuccessful attempt to shoot down an Israeli Arkia Airlines passenger plane in Kenya in November 2002.

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