September 4, 2003
Pardons Not Recommended for Police
No pardons should be given to police officers involved in quelling Israeli Arab riots in October 2000, Israeli officials said. Both Israeli President Moshe Katsav and Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein said the next step in examining the behavior of police, who killed 12 Israeli Arabs and one Palestinian Arab during the riots, should be the investigation recommended this week by the Orr Commission. The comments followed reports that Israel's police chief is looking into "preemptive pardons."
Ehud Barak, Wife Separate
Ehud Barak and his wife, Nava, are separating. Lawyers for the former Israeli prime minister and his wife said this week that the two have agreed to a temporary split. They have been married for 34 years and have three daughters.
P.A. Freezing Charities' Assets?
The Palestinian Authority has reportedly frozen the assets of more than 30 charities, operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, linked to terrorist groups. The Palestinian Authority refused to comment on the report, which was filed by The Associated Press. But many Palestinians did not receive welfare checks Aug. 28 that normally are supplied by these charities.
Powell Raps Arafat
Colin Powell said the "road map" peace plan is making "slow progress." Speaking to reporters Wednesday, the U.S. secretary of state reiterated calls for Palestinian Authority security forces to be consolidated under the direction of a single person, who would report to P.A. Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. Powell also chastised P.A. President Yasser Arafat but did not respond to Israeli suggestions that Arafat might be expelled by the end of the year. If some Palestinians "don't like the road map, I don't know what they will like, because the road map shows the way forward to the end of violence, the end of terror and the creation of a Palestinian state," Powell said.
Arrest Fuels British-Iranian Tension
Iranian-British tensions continue to rise following the arrest in Britain of an Iranian diplomat accused of anti-Jewish terrorism. Iran withdrew its ambassador from Britain on Tuesday, and shots were fired at the British Embassy in Tehran on Wednesday. Iran is furious over the arrest of Hade Soleimanpour, Iran's ambassador to Argentina at the time of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center, which killed 85 people and wounded 200. Soleimanpour was detained in Britain last month after an Argentine judge issued a warrant for his arrest. No one was injured in the shooting at the British Embassy, but there was damage to the building.
Missionary Cleared on Israel Spying
A Lebanese court cleared a Canadian missionary of charges of spying for Israel. The court found Monday that Bruce Balfour was guilty of stirring religious strife but sentenced him only to time served. Prosecutors had accused Balfour, who was arrested in July, of spying on Hezbollah for Israel. Balfour's organization, Cedars of Lebanon, is dedicated to reviving Lebanon's cedar forests.
Navigator Arad Might Be Alive
Ron Arad, the Israeli navigator captured when his plane was shot down over Lebanon in 1986, is probably still alive, a new report says. There is no evidence to refute the assumption that Arad is still alive, Israel's Channel One reported, citing a study presented to the Israeli army's chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon. After Arad bailed out of his fighter plane, he was believed to have been captured and held by pro-Iranian troops in Lebanon. The last time a message was received that he was alive was in October 1987.
Minnesota Cemetery Damaged
Some 140 gravestones were overturned at a Jewish cemetery in Minnesota. Last weekend's vandalism at the Adath Jeshurun Synagogue in Minnetonka, Minn., caused an estimated $20,000 worth of damage. Local Jewish officials believe the incident likely resulted from hooliganism, not anti-Semitism.
Record Y.U. Group to Israel
Yeshiva University is sending a record number of students to Israel. An all-time high of 675 undergraduates are heading to 40 affiliated yeshivas in Israel for their freshman year at Y.U., the New York-based flagship institution of modern Orthodoxy. Since the freshman year-in-Israel program began in 1980, 9,000 students have participated in the academic program.
Poll: Israelis Are Happy
Eighty-three percent of Israelis are satisfied with their lives, according to a new poll. The survey, conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics for Israel's Finance Ministry, also found that 53 percent of Israelis are optimistic about the future, 33 percent said things would remain the same and 14 percent are pessimistic. The survey questioned 7,000 Israelis 20 years and older.
'Judge, Are You Religious?'
The Orthodox Union is joining Catholic groups in challenging congressional concern over judicial nominees who are religious. Nathan Diament, director of public policy at the O.U.'s Institute for Public Affairs, said Tuesday that several recent nominees with deeply held religious beliefs are being put to an unconstitutional religious test when senators and others in confirmation hearings ask whether their religious views will affect their ability to implement the law.
"This line of questioning either has to be laid to rest, or we really know what's going on here," he said.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency