August 16, 2001
Beit Jalla Action Postponed
Israeli military sources were quoted as saying the army had postponed a planned action in Beit Jalla by a day. The media reports said the operation, aimed at stopping Palestinian gunfire in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, was delayed in part because of American criticism of Tuesday's military incursion into the Palestinian-ruled city of Jenin.
Palestinian Militants Arrested
Israel arrested several Palestinian militants that planned to carry out a terrorist attack near Haifa. The militants, arrested last week, were members of a suspected Islamic Jihad cell, according to details allowed for publication. Several Israeli Arabs also were arrested in connection with the incident.
Israeli undercover security forces also killed a member of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction Wednesday in Hebron. Imad Abu Sneineh was suspected of involvement in shooting attacks. Israel defends its policy of "targeted killings" of suspected Palestinian terrorists, but the international community condemns what it calls "assassinations."
Israeli Astronaut Set for 2002
Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, will blast into orbit on May 23, 2002, the prime minister's office announced Monday. The announcement followed a meeting between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and NASA administrator Daniel Goldin. The two also agreed to continue cooperation between Israel and NASA.
Stem Cell Reaction Mixed
Jewish groups offered mixed reactions to President Bush's decision to allow limited federal funding for research on existing embryonic stem cells.
Groups praised the government's first step but expressed hope that the scope of funding could be expanded in the future.
The National Council of Jewish Women, however, said it is "deeply disappointed" by the president's Aug. 9 announcement, calling it too narrow and restricting
U.N. Alters Zionism Resolution
A purported compromise on a resolution denigrating Zionism as racism at the upcoming U.N. conference in South Africa is "subterfuge," according to a Jewish official. In the current draft, the term "occupying power" simply replaces specific references to Zionism and Israel, said Jason Isaacson, director of government and international affairs for the American Jewish Committee. Still, the document "is written for no other purpose than to single out Israel," Isaacson said, contradicting comments Tuesday from a South African official who said that the Zionism-racism issue had been removed from the conference agenda.
Israel's Nude Offensive
The Israel Defense Force is using female soldiers to lure Palestinian rock-throwers to their doom, according to the Gazan weekly Al-Hayat al-Jadida. The female soldier performs a strip show, luring the Palestinians away from their piles of stones. She then produces a gun and fires on the hapless crowd, according to the paper, which did not explain where the nude soldiers hide their guns. The IDF called the story "totally ridiculous."
Jews Teach for America
Several North American Jewish organizations, including the federation system and Birthright Israel, hope to have a Jewish version of Teach for America in place by next summer, according to Ron Wolfson, vice president of the Los Angeles-based University of Judaism. The project, which Wolfson describes in the latest issue of the Jewish Life Network's magazine and which the university is spearheading, would recruit hundreds of college students and alumni of Israel trips to teach in Jewish schools and would train them in a Jewish teachers' "boot camp."
Five Jews Killed in Crash
Five Orthodox Jews from Brooklyn were killed in a helicopter crash near the Grand Canyon.
The five tourists killed last Friday were part of a group of about 20 friends and family on a four-day vacation at the Bellagio hotel-casino in Las Vegas. "They are all active in the communities, they're all friends," New York City Councilman Noach Dear said of the victims. "They were a lot of fun to be with." The sole survivor, Chana Daskai, suffered burns over 80 percent of her body.
Two N.Y. Rabbis Sentenced
Two New York City rabbis were sentenced to nearly three years in prison for embezzling $2.5 million meant for training counselors for elderly Holocaust survivors. Efroim Stein and Jacob Bronner pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy charges.
Prosecutors said Stein slipped funds to his synagogue and to subcontractors in exchange for kickbacks and falsely put his relatives on the payroll as trainers.
Shoah Denier Offers Deal
Holocaust denier David Irving offered to pay Penguin Books $210,000 if the publisher as well as historian Deborah Lipstadt drop all further claims against him. Last year, a British court ordered Irving to pay Penguin's and Lipstadt's legal costs, estimated at $3 million, when he lost a libel suit against them over Lipstadt's book "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory."
Russian Leader Slammed
A Russian Jewish leader is being attacked in the media for seeking charges against a diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church for publishing and distributing an anti-Semitic tract, according to the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union.
Church leaders in Yekaterinburg are defending the diocese's distribution of the book and accusing Mikhail Oshtrakh of "inciting antagonism toward Jews." The prosecutor's office said it is investigating the issue.
British Group Warns of Attacks
A group that monitors anti-Semitic incidents in Britain is warning that Palestinian terrorists may expand their activities to target Jews around the world.
The Community Security Trust points out that Hamas' Web site asks rhetorically, "Aren't all Jews and Zionists fighting your own brethren and targeting you all?"
A Hezbollah-controlled television station, meanwhile, reported that a group allied with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement issued a threat to attack "Zionists and their U.S. allies anywhere, inside and outside occupied Palestine."