Y2K fears are expected to keep throngs of visitors, notably Christians, from ringing in the New Year in the official destination of the millennium. So acknowledges Israel’s commissioner for tourism in North America, Arie Sommer, despite a fare war on flights to Israel, special hotel discounts and a gala New Year’s Eve party that are expected to draw a record number of visitors to the Jewish state this year and appreciably more next year.
Rather than risk further violence from ultra-Orthodox Jews at the Western Wall, the Conservative movement is on the verge of agreeing to an Israeli government proposal to move its egalitarian prayer services to the southern end of the wall known as Robinson’s Arch.
“It’s the same wall, the same stones, the same holiness,” said Rabbi Ehud Bandel, president of Masorti, the Conservative movement’s arm in Israel.
A Hebrew version of Microsoft’s home page is expected to be up and running in early December as a result of a joint effort by the Microsoft Corp. and Internet Gold, Israel’s leading Internet service provider.
The peace process moved fitfully along this week as Israel prepared for another round of Palestinian prisoner releases, the opening of a bypass road connecting the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, and the dismantling of 15 West Bank settlements.
It was another in the endless series of calls that Ted Arison received, asking for a handout. The person on the phone a few years ago wanted a sizable sum, as he had in the past.
Mr. Arison gave the full amount.
“Why don’t you simply say, ‘No! That’s enough!’?” Maks Birnbach asked his old friend.
“He could not say no,” Birnbach says of Mr. Arison, who died last week of a heart attack in his Tel Aviv home.
by Lawrence Cohler-Esses
Just outside the city of Shiraz, in Iran’s stark and arid south, lies the gravesite of Cyrus the Great, founder of the first empire in human history to declare religious tolerance for all its peoples. Cyrus, acclaimed in the Bible for allowing the Jews exiled by Babylonia to return to their homeland and rebuild their Temple in 538 BCE, lies in an unadorned and simple stone tomb, a reflection, historians say, of the man’s humble character.