September 20, 2001
Two Jews Remain in Kabul
Only two Jews currently live in the Afghan capital of Kabul, according to the Associated Press. Ishaq Levin, 72, and Zebulon Simentov, 72, live at separate ends of the same decaying synagogue. The synagogue's sole Torah scroll was confiscated by the ruling Taliban.
U.S. Pro-Israel Stance Blamed
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) condemned the recent comments of U.S. Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio), who on Sept. 12 blamed the deadly terrorist assault on America's support for Israel.
Traficant, long suspected of mob ties in his hometown of Youngstown, reportedly has accepted since 1996 more than $20,000 in campaign donations from the People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran, a group the State Department describes as a front for terrorists.
Traficant "is an embarrassment to the Congress, and his congressional colleagues should marginalize him as much as possible and say publicly that his words are beyond the pale," NJDC Executive Director Ira Forman said.
Evangelicals' Comments Blasted
The White House is criticizing remarks by the evangelical Revs. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who blamed last week's terror attacks on the popularity of abortion, homosexuality, pagans and the American Civil Liberties Union in the United States. President Bush "does not share those views, and believes that those remarks are inappropriate," a spokesman for the president said last Friday.
On Sept. 13, Falwell said on "The 700 Club," Robertson's Christian television program, that "as terrible as" the terror is, it "could be minuscule if, in fact, God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve." Meanwhile, James Robison, an evangelical preacher who advises Bush, blamed the attack on U.S. arrogance in relationships with the Third World and foreign countries.
El Al Flight First to Leave N.Y. Area
A Tel Aviv-bound El Al flight was the first passenger plane to leave the New York City area since the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States. The Sept. 13 flight departed from Newark International Airport, according to the Jerusalem Post.
French Ambassador Causes Furor
France's ambassador to Israel caused a furor when he said terror attacks against the United States are not the same as terror attacks against Israel.
Speaking Sept. 12 at a Rosh Hashana reception hosted by Israeli President Moshe Katsav, Jacques Huntzinger said the attacks in New York and Washington targeted civilians, while the Middle East conflict is between nations. Terror attacks in Israel are "linked with a situation of conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people. It is not the same situation in the United States."
3 Palestinians Killed in Fighting
Israeli forces exchanged fire with Palestinian gunmen last week in the West Bank cities of Jericho and Jenin. At least three Palestinians were killed. Israel said that incursions this week into the two cities, which lasted several hours, were intended to "root out terror."
In more fighting, Israel destroyed Palestinian security positions in the West Bank city of Kalkilya. The army said the attacks came in response to a Palestinian drive-by shooting Sept. 12 that killed an Israeli woman.
On Sept. 13, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man near a village north of Jerusalem. The soldiers opened fire when the man reportedly did not follow orders to stop his vehicle at a roadblock.