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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 1, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 118

Secret Meeting in Eilat

An unprecedented secret meeting of defense experts and scientists took place last week in Eilat. Convened by the U.S Defense Department in the southern Israeli port and beach resort of Eilat, the meeting was called to discuss the "state of things to come" in missile warfare. Representatives of the Israel Air Force, Navy defense establishment and the CIA were present.

Jordan Court Told Soldier Might be Mentally Ill

Independent medical psychologists have told a military court that a Jordanian soldier charged with killing seven Israeli schoolgirls might be mentally ill. Two psychologists also questioned the medical soundness of evidence by military psychologists who concluded Pvt. Ahmed Daqamsa was not mentally ill but had "an anti-social personality disorder."

Daqamsa has said he was praying at Baqoura on the day of the shooting last March, when the Israeli girls started laughing at him. Witnesses said he fired off around 70 bullets, killing seven girls.

Muslim Censors Rip Belly Dancer's Costume

By Jessica Jones (VOA-Cairo)

Most belly dancers in Egypt perform their centuries-old art dressed in variations of a traditional two-piece costume. And when one of the country's most popular dancers recently switched to wearing shorts and bikini tops, there was an indignant response from Egypt's artistic community.

One of Egypt's most famous belly dancers, known only as Dina, performs in an elite Cairo nightclub several times a week. She is backed by a 40-piece orchestra, and traditional Egyptian singers. But some of her fans who stay up until 3 a.m. say her slinky form-fitting outfits are the real attraction.

However, some believe Dina's unorthodox choice of costumes has gone too far. She recently received a warning from the Egyptian Department of Artistic Censorship for improper dress and demeanor. Reports say Dina was found guilty of wearing shorts, though she claims it was actually a kind of skirt.

Still, Dina is quick to defend her style of dress. She says she just does not want to look like everyone else. "I like to be more different. I take the traditional and I put some change, like the fashion and the color of the year, and the new colors, the new materials. The traditional Bedla is no longer the same."

The news has sparked a controversy within Egypt's community of dancers, musicians and artists. A well-known costume designer, Ahmed Diaa el-Dine, now uses a site on the Internet and his English language Eastern Dance Magazine to defend the traditional flowing skirt and halter top worn by generations of performers.

He says the regular costume has a historical basis. But shorts do not. Nor does a miniskirt. Hot pants, he says, are just not appropriate.

El-Dine fears Dina's costumes could set a precedent for future generations of dancers. That could kill the spirit of the ancient dance, because, he says, Western products do not always mesh with Eastern traditions.

Other Egyptians say the real issue is that the dance should be sensual but not seductive. Government censors reinforce that notion by carefully delineating which parts of the body -- including the bellybutton -- can and cannot be shown. One of Egypt's most successful dancers, Lucy, believes bellydancing is an art form that should be subject to rules and restrictions so the historical purity of the tradition is maintained.

She says she has not departed from the traditional outfit because it is Eastern. It is the dance. These are the roots of the dance, and what is without roots is meaningless. She says she has never worn shorts, and will never wear them.

Even Dina, whose outfits are no longer so provocative, agrees that the dance itself is more important than any costume. But she claims it is not fair that government censors monitor only bellydancers and not the Western women who perform in Cairo's dimly lit cabarets.

She says Egyptians always end up paying for minor infractions of the rules. "You go to jail. It's not (an) easy thing, maybe 15 days, or one month or six months. It's up to them. It's very dangerous."

Costume designers say bellydancers in other countries always request traditional two-piece outfits and work hard in their acts to achieve an Eastern result. But Egyptian dancers, they say, like to test the limits of propriety.

Lasers Produce Blood Vessels in Heart Muscle

For the first time in Israel, doctors at the heart surgery department of the Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, employed lasers during an operation to create new blood vessels on the heart muscle. The method is also used abroad, with 80 percent success. The lasers dig fine, narrow, channels into the heart muscle and this provides it with an additional supply of oxygenated blood. The channels do not leak blood outward but operate inside the heart. This, in effect, creates new functioning blood vessels around and in the heart.

The operation is used for patients whose coronary arteries are blocked and cannot be reopened with angioplasty balloons or bypassed. The Carmel Center, headed by Professor Gidon Oretzky, treats 600 heart patients a year.

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