August 16, 2001
Israeli Ecstacy Ring Busted
Twelve Israelis were indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on charges of operating the largest Ecstasy smuggling network in the world.
Accused of running the network was Oded Tuito, 40, whom American authorities are trying to extradite from Spain, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas P. Sleisenger.
Tuito, known to friends as "Fat Man" or "Uncle," allegedly recruited a stable of young women couriers at topless nightclubs to smuggle millions of the illegal stimulant and hallucinogenic drug, the Los Angles Times reported. Most of Tuito's 11 indicted Israeli associates, 10 men and one woman, live in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. -- Tom Tugend
Educators Return From Israel Trip
A group of teachers from Los Angeles Jewish day schools and Hebrew schools recently returned home from a remarkable experience in Israel. They took part in a 10-day seminar sponsored by Jewish National Fund (JNF) to educate teachers about JNF's curriculum, "Our People, Our Land." The teachers took part in hands-on field trips to JNF's major projects. JNF's National Education Emissary, Dr. Ben-Zion Bar-Lavie, led the teachers in Israel, and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from all those who participated. "For some of the teachers it was the first time in Israel, and for all of them, the first time to see Israel through the eyes of Jewish National Fund," Bar-Lavie said.
Judith Kirkley, a teacher from the Tarbut group from Orange County, said the trip changed her image of JNF "being a tree planting group with some past to a real ecological organization which answers the needs of the State in the present with plans for the future." -- Journal Staff
Synagogues Support Israel
This past Shabbat, Rabbi Daniel Bouskila of Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel declared the Shabbat morning service was dedicated in memory of the victims of the bombing in Jerusalem.
After the Torah reading, Bouskila proceeded to read each of the names of the victims from a list that was printed and distributed to the 400 people in attendance. After Bouskila said a few words about each victim, the congregation rose for a memorial prayer and recited the "Kaddish."
Israeli Deputy Consul General Zvi Vapni followed with a powerful address on behalf of the State of Israel.
The service closed with the singing of "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav" and "Hatikvah."
About 150 people turned out to welcome Rep. Diane Watson (D-32nd District) to B'nai David-Judea Congregation on Monday, Aug. 13. AIPAC and the Pico-Robertson-based synagogue co-sponsored the evening. Watson, who recently voted for the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act extension, spoke of her solidarity with Israel and its interests in her time of need. "She's a congresswoman who votes for our district," said Amram Hassan, B'nai David-Judea's executive director. "We wanted to hear her stand on Israel and to show our support." -- Journal Staff