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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 16, 1997, Vol. 5, No, 128

Tragedy Strikes Maccabiah Games

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel has suspended the "Maccabiah" international athletic competition after two participants (three according to JTA) were killed when a bridge collapsed as they were crossing to the opening ceremonies. Sixty-eight athletes from the Australian team were injured.

As the opening ceremonies were about to begin, the recently constructed pedestrian bridge snapped in half, sending a group of Australian athletes plummeting into the Yarkon River. Witnesses say at least 100 people were on the wooden bridge when it collapsed.

Police have ruled out sabotage, saying the bridge was structurally defective. The head of the Australian delegation, Tom Goldman, has demanded an official investigation into what he calls "a totally unnecessary and avoidable disaster."

Organizers decided to proceed with opening ceremonies -- including fireworks and laser displays -- while the search for victims continued. That decision provoked outrage and accusations of a lack of sensitivity. Israeli President Ezer Weizman officially opened the games. He later explained that -- at the time of the decision to continue the ceremony -- no one knew people had been killed. Organizers later called off Tuesday's scheduled events.

About 5,000 participants from more than 50 countries are in Israel for the Maccabiah Games, known as the Jewish Olympics. The 10-day events include competition in 36 sports. The games resume today.

El Al Israel Airlines announced it was providing 65 free tickets for the families of the injured to come from Australia to visit their children in hospitals here.

Israeli investigators began inquiries into the collapse of the wooden bridge that killed the athletes.

Condom Found in Can of Pickles

By SNS News Service

A consumer who opened a can of pickles was shocked to find a condom in the can, together with the pickles.

The can was purchased Monday in the Kiryat Malachi area, and were pickles from the Yavne firm. The consumer stated, "I shudder to think that a person who is HIV positive placed a condom in this can."
When asked for comment, The directors of the plant where the pickles are packed stated, "We are only required to give an explanation to the consumer, not to the press."

When questioned, the directorate of the Yavne Kibbutz, an Orthodox Kibbutz, stated, "I do not believe this was a condom. We are an Orthodox community and this is out of character. It was most likely a finger of a rubber glove worn on the assembly line"

New Laws for IDF Reservists

By SNS News Service

IDF reservists serving in combat units will receive a discharge from military service at age 41. Currently, the discharge age is 50.

In addition, the following changes have been proposed: Non-combat soldiers to be discharged at age 47-49; the emergency induction law ("Tzav 8") will be abolished. This permitted reservists to be called to duty on a moment's notice; an authorization from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will be required to issue orders to increase the maximum number of reserve days annually; reservists will serve between 25-38 days annually, a drop from the current 54; an employee may not be fired for leaving for reserve duty; and a reservist called for more days than allotted for his category, must receive NIS 100 for each additional day, in addition to regular reserve duty salary.

Sexual Exploitation in Israel: 1,770 Girls Victimized

Nearly 2,000 girls and 100 boys in Israel work in prostitution, according to a study cited in Haaretz. The study was submitted to the Justice Ministry and a parliamentary committee has used the findings to issue stiffer penalties against the pimps who employ minors in prostitution and pornography.

Most of the teenagers profiled -- both Jewish and Arab Israelis -- came from low income families with poor education levels, and often exhibiting a history of violence or involvement in crime.

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