by Michele Chabin
Jerusalem — All they ever wanted was a child. For a decade the observant couple, who live on a moshav in the north, had been trying to have a baby, only to have their hopes dashed time after time. The wife, who could not conceive naturally, underwent numerous in-vitro fertilization treatments. Even when these proved successful, she suffered eight miscarriages due to an immunological disorder that caused her body to reject the fetuses.
Desperate, the couple went in search of a woman who could bear them a child.
Flush with success over his mediation efforts in Iraq, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan plans to fly to southern Lebanon later this month to deal with Israel’s pledge to withdraw from its self-imposed security zone there if it is cleared of Hezbollah terrorists.
Jerusalem — Manal Diab, a single, 26-year-old Arab woman who graduated in June from the Hebrew University, did not think twice before renting an apartment in Jewish West Jerusalem.
“I didn’t think whether it was an Arab or Jewish [community], it was cheap and I teach very close to here,” she said. “It has a view of the Old City that I feel I belong to. Arabs were here before ’48.”
The Israeli government is falsely telling Jewish federation leaders that the conversion crisis is over, according to the leader of the Reform movement. “We think this is a political game by the government to try to proclaim victory out of what was a failure,” said Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Reform movement’s Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
He said some members of the Knesset criticized the government this Monday during a debate on the recommendations of the Neeman Commission, which was created to resolve the conversion issue.
by Michele Chabin
Jerusalem — In the wake of this week’s agreement between the United Nations and Iraq, attention here turned to the threat posed by other countries in the Middle East with nonconventional weapons.
In addition to Iraq, “Iran, Syria, Egypt and Libya are all developing chemical and biological weapons at a rapid rate,” said Dr. Dany Shoham, a military expert at Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Affairs.
Ramallah, West Bank — Saying he feared attacks by Islamic extremists who have created a bloodbath in Algeria, Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat pleaded with representatives of the American Jewish Committee to help him revive the stalled peace talks with Israel.
“We are in need of an outside push — both of us,” said Arafat. “We are in need of mediation to rebuild again confidence between both of us. Maybe American mediation, Moroccan mediation, Arab mediation from [Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak or [Jordan’s] King Hussein.”