Israel in the News Oct/Nov 1997

For more Israel In The News, updated at least twice each week, visit our web site at foi.org/news

US Senate approves funds for embassy in Jerusalem

The Senate passed a major foreign relations bill [recently] that authorizes $100 million for construction of a new US embassy in Jerusalem. The bill has three other Jerusalem components. The proposals must still pass major hurdles before becoming law, including presidential opposition to moving the embassy. All four measures are opposed by the administration out of concern they jeopardize the US’s traditional neutrality over the future of the city and because Washington believes any US decisions should await the conclusion of Israeli-Palestinian final status negotiations.

Peled asked about Arafat tie to WTC bombing

Deputy Education Minister Moshe Peled met with US government investigators [recently], and briefed them on what he asserted was Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s link to the terrorists who bombed New York’s World Trade Center in 1993. Peled spoke of Arafat’s arrival in Khartoum, Sudan, four days before the February 26, 1993, bombing. He also pointed to a CIA report that linked Arafat to Sudanese and Islamic terrorists. Several key members of Congress have said that if Peled’s assertion proves correct, they will immediately cut the annual $100 million in aid to the PA.

Habad brings 26 more children from Chernobyl

Twenty-six children from Chernobyl arrived recently. This is the 30th group of children that Habad has brought to Israel since the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl exploded 11 years ago. A total of 1,483 children from the infected area are living in special facilities at Kfar Habad.

Thief steals bomb on Tel Aviv beach

A thief who thought he had gotten away with a bagful of valuables on a Tel Aviv beach was terrified to discover he had stolen a three-kilo bomb.

Motti Ashkenazi, 30, a known petty criminal and drug addict, was strolling along Jerusalem Beach, between Tel Aviv and Jaffa, when an unattended bag took his fancy. After checking to see whether any of the scores of bathers in the scorching heat was watching, he sneaked off with the bag.

Not wishing to open the bag, which he believed contained valuables, in front of passersby, Ashkenazi went into a stairwell in a dilapidated apartment building….But when he unzipped the bag, he saw a clock and wires connected to a cookie tin. Realizing it could be the death of him, he rushed into a nearby hotel and alerted the reception clerk, who immediately called the police.

The bomb squad arrived minutes later. Ashkenazi, who only a few days earlier was arrested for breaking into a car, showed he could be a model citizen and pushed passersby away from the scene. He warned children to keep away until bomb squad officers defused the device, which was packed with explosives and nails.

Bakshi-Doron slams Temple Mt. Prayer

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi-Doron recently criticized rabbis who call for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, and said such a move could cause many Jews to sin unknowingly…Bakshi-Doran recalled that following the Six–Day War, the Chief Rabbinate ruled that because of its holiness, it was forbidden for Jews to ascend the Temple Mount. “Each person cannot make a law for himself,” Bakshi-Doron said.

Israeli ingenuity ends need for supercomputer

Israel has virtually no need for the supercomputer the US and Japan have refused to sell it now that scientists here have developed a next-generation multi-processor parallel device, according to the Hebrew University professor who headed the 10-year project.

Prof. Amnon Barak, head of the university’s computer science institute…said he and his team developed the “unique” computer operating system, based on algorithms, for use with ordinary workstations purchased at a computer store in Jerusalem. The cost of the project was $150,000, compared to 10 to $30 million for a supercomputer.

The US and Japan have refused to sell Israel a supercomputer due to their fear that it would be used to develop nuclear weapons.

All in all, I’d rather be in…

It may not quite be Iceland, but life in Israel ain’t all that bad.

At least not according to an international ranking of quality of life published by the UN recently.

Israel was ranked 23rd, sandwiched between Hong Kong and Cyprus, according to the UN Human Development Index. Canada, France, Norway, the US and Iceland had the highest ratings.

(All articles are from The Jerusalem Post.)

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