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>Israel Faxx
>JN Dec. 4, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 222

Arafat Favors Saddam Hussein

By Arutz-7 News Service

PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat sent a letter of support this week to Saddam Hussein, in which he emphasizes the Palestinian people's support of the Iraqi nation against the Americans. The Palestinian minister of public works, who also serves as coordinator of the PA's relations with Iraq, returned to Gaza Tuesday after a few days visiting in Iraq, where he delivered the letter. A large Palestine Authority-organized rally of support for Iraq was held in Hebron this past Sunday.

Strikers Ordered Back to Work

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem) & IINS News Service

The Histadrut declared a general nationwide strike Wednesday, but were ordered back to work. The reported reason for the strike was a protest against remarks made by Finance Minister Yaakov Ne'eman Monday likening the striking workers to "exploding bombs."

An Israeli court has ordered most of the country's 700,000 striking public sector workers back to work. But the workers' union says it is not sure if it will follow the order.

The workers had threatened to stay home until the government promises to abide by existing agreements, but the court ordered to workers back to their jobs immediately. The workers are angry about the Finance Ministry's plans to privatize many industries and to limit pension benefits as part of a spending-cut program.

Many workers said that they did not want to strike, but the official workers' unions pressured them in various ways. Sectors on strike included: government offices; Ben- Gurion International Airport, El Al, foreign airlines; sea ports; the administrative staff of Kupat Holim Clalit health insurance; hospital nurses; local authorities; the electric company; the Bank of Israel, banks, and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange; the religious councils; Bezeq phone company; the Mekorot water company; Israel Railways. Egged and Dan bus services running on a partial basis; Israel Aircraft Industries, military industries, Nuclear Research Center, oil refineries; and the postal service.

Albright Plans to Meet Netanyahu and Arafat

By Ron Pemstein (VOA-State Department)

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is holding talks in Europe at the end of the week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. She will be looking to expand the Israeli offer to the Palestinians on troop redeployment.

The State Department says the Israeli offer to withdraw troops from the West Bank is too low, and the Palestinian expectation about how much is possible is too high. At the same time, the State Department is not willing to say what kind of withdrawal the United States regards as "significant and credible."

State Department spokesman James Rubin says Albright will try to narrow the differences when she meets the leaders, Netanyahu in Paris Friday, and Arafat Saturday in Geneva.

Model and Hairdresser Found Dead

By IINS News Service

Hairdresser David Afuta and nationally known fashion model Anat Elimelech were found dead Tuesday in their apartment in Jerusalem.

Afuta, 32, was found dead with two bullet wounds to his chest from a .45 caliber pistol found on the scene. Elimelech, 23, was found with one gunshot wound to her chest. Police have stated that although it appears to have been a suicide/murder, it is too early to make a definitive call.

Earlier in the day, Afuta called his parents to tell them to come over because things were getting out of hand. They arrived too late, and entered the apartment via the roof, only to find the celebrity couple dead on the floor.

Afuta was the haircutter of the prime minister and his wife, Sara, and had groomed the first couple as recently as two weeks ago. According to friends and neighbors, the lovers, who have been living together for six years, had recently been going through a most difficult period.

Concessions to Farrakhan

By IINS News Service

Despite statements made earlier this week that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was not welcome in Israel, it has already been stated that if the known anti-Semite tries to visit, he will not be barred.

The Foreign Ministry decided however, that no head-of-state would meet with him unless he would issue formal apologies over his anti-Semitic rhetoric and denial of the Holocaust.

Farrakhan's staff has already notified Israeli diplomatic officials abroad of his intentions to visit Israel in January.

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