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Jewish Journal

Briefs

by JTA Staff

May 24, 2001 | 8:00 pm

Survey: Israelis Back Freeze

A recent survey suggests that 61 percent of Israelis favor a halt to settlement construction in exchange for a truce. But some hawkish officials are warning that the governing coalition could unravel if Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agrees to a settlement freeze.

Bahai Gardens Feted in Haifa

Some 2,600 representatives of Bahai communities worldwide joined Israeli officials at a ceremony May 22 inaugurating the Bahai Gardens in Haifa. The massive project of terraced gardens was 15 years in the making.

U.S. Names Mideast Envoy

The United States named William Burns, the designated assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, as a special assistant to assess the possibility of resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The appointment came amid reports that the United States is working on a new Middle East peace initiative.

Family of Slain Teen Attacked

Palestinian gunmen fired on the house of an Israeli teenager bludgeoned to death earlier this month.

No one was hurt in the attack on the Mandell family dwelling in the West Bank settlement of Tekoa.

Soldiers. Families Plan Campaign

Frustrated by what they believe is the Israeli government. s failure to do enough to secure the release of their sons, the families of three Israelis who have been held by Hezbollah since last October plan to launch a new public awareness campaign.

The Israeli daily Ma. ariv reported Sunday that the families intend to hang large banners across from army induction centers, asking the parents of new soldiers, . Where Is Your Son? Ours Are Kidnapped in Lebanon..

Hindu Label an Eerie Reminder

Afghanistan. s Taliban rulers announced plans to make Hindus wear an identity label on their clothing to distinguish them from the nation. s Muslims. The edict, reminiscent of the yellow Star of David that Jews were forced to wear in many European countries during World War II, prompted an angry statement from India.

Divorce Laggards to Be Punished

The rabbinic organization for U.S. centrist Orthodoxy urged its synagogues to punish people who deny their spouses a Jewish divorce, or get.

The Rabbinical Council of America. s resolution, which enables communities to withhold synagogue membership or deny honors without first waiting for a ruling from rabbinic courts, is expected to help agunot, Jewish women unable to obtain a divorce.

Firms Press Schroeder on Fund

A group of German companies that contributed to a $5-billion fund for Holocaust-era slave and forced laborers urged Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Sunday to pay the aging survivors before they die.

Forty-three of the 6,000 German firms that gave to the fund said in a letter that 200 of the victims are dying each day.

Schroeder said last Friday he expects the German Parliament will clear the way for the fund to start making payments by mid-July.

Fortune: AIPAC in Top 5

Fortune magazine again ranked the American Israel Public Affairs Committee among the top five in its annual survey of leading lobbying groups.

Ranked fourth overall among the magazine. s . Power 25,. AIPAC remains the No. 1 foreign policy lobby and the only Jewish group on the list for the fourth consecutive year.

Letter Links Energy, Justice

Several U.S. Jewish religious leaders joined colleagues from other faiths in calling on President Bush to make the country. s energy policy an instrument for social justice.

In an open letter to the White House after the administration unveiled its energy policy, the 39 leaders said there is a moral obligation to choose . the safest, cleanest and most sustainable sources of energy to protect and preserve God. s creation..

. Briefs courtesy of Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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