Israel in the News Oct/Nov 1998

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

Army Rescuers in Kenya are “angels from the sky”
Israel’s high-profile rescue team in Nairobi continued to search for survivors in the rubble of the bombing of the us embassy in Kenya…, after having succeeded in rescuing a man, a woman, and her son.

The army home front command rescue teams, aided by sniffer dogs, had been able to locate 29 bodies. the U.S. and France also sent rescue teams to Nairobi, but the Israelis were doing the bulk of the work.

“We are digging wherever the Americans are asking us to dig,” said Lt.-Col. Ofer Loefler, the army spokesman on the scene. the Israeli team was concentrating on the larger wreckage.

Loefler said that they were able to get hold of a 100-ton crane that greatly helped their rescue operations.

The 170-member Israeli team included doctors who administered aide to the survivors and carried out operations at a local hospital in cooperation with local doctors, the army said.

“I have been in other tragedies,” said Loefler. “but it gives me great pride to see how our small country can lend a hand to others.”

The 150-man army rescue team landed in Nairobi and immediately began their life-saving mission.

Pictures of army sniffer dogs, wearing Star of David insignias, scrambling over the ruins as they sniffed for survivors, were beamed around the world.

The home front command units are equipped with specially designed equipment, including heavy-duty balloons, pneumatic jacks, and cutters capable of lifting and slicing through tons of iron, cement, and debris.

Syria close to producing missiles with BX nerve gas
Syria will soon be capable of producing C-Scud missiles and BX-type nerve gas, a senior military intelligence officer reportedly told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee recently.

Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai told the committee that Syria is continuing to hold military exercises and to equip itself with anti-tank weapons, which can also be used to attack.

The senior intelligence officer said there are no concrete signs that Syria is preparing for war and it appears to prefer the diplomatic rather than the military option.

Earlier, President Ezer Weizman warned that Syria remains the chief military threat to the country. “The Syrian threat is much closer than that of Iran or Iraq,” Weizman said… “It has many missiles and they have high accuracy. I hope the Arrow [missile defense system] will provide an answer to this.”

US selling Israel Patriot material for $73m.
The Pentagon announced recently it is selling Israel $73 million worth of equipment for the Patriot anti-missile system. The package includes radar sets, engagement control systems, tractors, trucks, generators and spare parts, as well as consultation and training, the Defense Department said in a statement.

Aide: Arafat is severely depressed
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has “sunk into a black cloud of depression and lost hope,” according to one of his closest aides, who says he is now “barely functioning.” The aide, who was not named by the London-based newsletter Foreign Report, denied that Arafat, 69, is suffering from Parkinson’s disease but said he might be suffering from a severe nervous disorder, noting: “It’s a combination of age and deep depression.”

IAF reveals mission of Israeli astronauts
The two Israeli astronauts in training, Col. Ilan Ramon and Lt.-Col. Yitzhak Mayo, will be testing ways to eliminate disturbances in space which affect photographs of the earth, the air force said recently. Both began training in June, and hope to participate in a future NASA space flight.

Iranian Jew sentenced to death
An Iranian Jew was sentenced to death, apparently for having ties to Israel. The man, who was in his sixties and was known for his efforts to help needy members of the Iranian Jewish community, was hanged, Iran announced recently. The man’s brother said that he was sentenced to death solely for being a Jew. Since its 1979 revolution, Iran has executed 13 or 14 Jews; most of them received the death sentence for having connections to Israel.

Israelis to the rescue
A group of Israeli army officers, on a visit to Poland, came to the aid of five Poles injured in an auto accident.

The group from the army’s Staff and Command College was on a visit to the death camps when it witnessed the accident. Many of the 80 officers got out of their buses to help extract the injured and give them first aid until ambulances could arrive.

The officers, including a doctor and former medics, even used medical equipment they had brought with them to help save the lives of the Polish travelers, the army said.

(All articles are taken from The Jerusalem Post.)

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