Jerusalem — American students at Israeli universities will get gas masks if a state of emergency is declared, Israeli Defense Minister Yitzchak Mordechai told The Jewish Week after giving similar assurances to the president of Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan.
Shya Herman of Riverdale opened the newspaper last week to learn that Israelis were lining up for new gas masks. Upon learning that his son, a student at Bar-Ilan University, did not have one, he called the Israeli Consulate.
“All I’m asking is for my son to be safe,” Herman said. “Why doesn’t the university have [gas masks] on campus?
“I’m not asking that they be distributed, only that they be nearby. If we can’t be assured of the safety for our son, Aaron, we’re going to bring him home.”
Moshe Maoz, a professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the Hebrew University and former director of the Harry S Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace in Tel Aviv, is a recognized expert on Syria and Lebanon. Maoz, 64, and the father of two, lives with his wife in Jerusalem. He was interviewed while visiting New York as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright prepared for her visit this week to Damascus.
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.
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.”
Jewish leaders have rejected the assertion of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami that he will not intervene in the case of 10 Iranian Jews convicted of spying for Israel.
“He has to use his influence to see that justice is done,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “We believe that he has to be involved when there is an injustice.”
While Jewish leaders joined in hailing this week’s announcement that the human genetic code had been deciphered, their enthusiasm was tempered by their knowledge of how the Nazis tried to use eugenics to create a master race.
As Syrian President Hafez Assad was buried Tuesday following a fatal heart attack three days earlier, all eyes shifted to his son Bashar to see if the military and political establishment that thrust him into his father’s shoes would remain loyal to him.
Leaders in several countries also expressed the hope that Bashar, 34, a British-trained ophthalmologist, would break the stalemate that has prevented a Syrian-Israeli peace treaty.
As the Jewish community awaited a verdict as early as next week in the trial of 13 Iranian Jews charged with spying for Israel, a prominent rabbi charged that a massive prayer vigil he had planned in their behalf was “sabotaged” by a major Jewish group.
As the trial of the 13 Iranian Jews accused of spying for Israel appeared to be winding down this week with another two defendants confessing, supporters of the 13 openly disagreed on whether this is the most propitious time to hold public events in their behalf.