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>Israel Faxx
>JN June 11, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 102

Iran Hangs Jew

A 60-year-old Iranian Jew was hanged last week, apparently for having ties to Israel or, according to one report, for helping Jews fleeing Iran. The news agency ITIM reports that the man was known for his efforts to help needy members of Iran's Jewish community. Since the 1979 revolution, Iranian authorities have executed at least 13 Jews, most of whom were sentenced to death for religious reasons or connections with Israel.

Wiesenthal Center: Swiss Aided Nazi Germany

By IsraelWire and Israel Faxx Staff Report

The Swiss government, while declaring itself neutral, actually helped Nazi Germany during World War 2, according to a new report by a leading Jewish organization. The report, prepared by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, was based on records uncovered in the Swiss National Archives.

According to the report, the Swiss government allowed 1,200 pro-Nazi youth to train in Switzerland and also sent medical teams to assist the German military. "The Swiss were always for the Germans," said U.S. historian Alan Schom, author of the report. "And they thought the Germans were going to win the war and they practiced no neutrality whatsoever."

According to the Wiesenthal Center, the Swiss justice minister told an anti-Semitic group during World War 2 that the country's borders would be closed off more tightly to Jews seeking refuge. The minister told the group that the policy against the Jews would have to be kept quiet.

Justice Minister Eduard von Steiger told the head of the Swiss Fatherland Association in a memo dated Oct. 17, 1942, that he would not publicize the policy aimed at restricting an increase in Jewish influence in Switzerland.

The Swiss government called upon the Germans to inscribe a "J" in the passports of Jews, to assist them in identifying them at the border. During the Hitler regime, the Swiss were reported to have turned away 30,000 Jews who were seeking refuge from the Nazi death camps.

Netanyahu Opposes New "Anti-Missionary" Bill

By IsraelWire and ICEJ News Service

The Israeli government will "pass no laws which limit freedom of religion," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's media advisor David Bar-Illan reassured Christians concerned about pending "anti-missionary" legislation.

This latest statement was elicited by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem after a new measure passed preliminary reading in the Knesset last month calling for a three-year prison sentence or an approximately $15,000 fine for anyone found guilty of "preaching with the intent of causing another person to change his religion."

In a letter sent to Netanyahu May 27, the ICEJ urged him to issue a public statement which would "serve to reassure the apprehensions of those millions of Christians who are motivated by genuine love and respect for the Jewish state and people."

"We fully understand Jewish concerns over inducements for conversion, and note that such conduct is covered adequately by current law. Concurrently, we find it difficult to defend the censorship provisions which have been offered of late as amendments to this law: These proposals present troublesome drafting, interpretation and enforcement problems, and hinder our efforts to win support for Israel abroad. At the same time, we are extremely disappointed with the stands taken by some Christian ministries who have threatened to suspend their support for Israel if such a bill becomes law."

Opponents of these legislative efforts have argued that it constitutes an attempt to impose religiously-motivated censorship and deny Christians rights generally recognized in democratic countries. It also would spell public relations trouble for Israel, which heretofore has enjoyed a good record of respecting freedoms of speech and religion.

Hamas' Chicago Connection Closed

By Michael Leland (VOA-Chicago)

Federal officials in Chicago have seized almost $1.5 million in cash and property they say was part of a scheme to fund Middle East terrorism. They say the scheme funneled money to Hamas, a radical Palestinian group opposed to Israel.

Federal officials filed court papers in Chicago, seizing property and cash from Mohammad Salah of the nearby community of Bridgeview. Salah is an Arab-American who was convicted in Israel of channeling funds to the anti-Israeli group Hamas. He returned to the U.S last year after serving nearly five years in an Israeli prison.

Government officials seized Salah's home and automobile, as well as about $1.2 million in cash from bank accounts and safe deposit boxes held by Salah and his wife, and by the Quranic Literacy Institute. The institute says it translates and publishes sacred Islamic texts, but US officials say the institute is involved in helping fund Hamas operations.
Documents filed by federal officials say the scheme dates back to 1989. They say it funneled money from Europe and the Middle East to a US-based network of Hamas supporters and then on to Hamas operatives in the Middle East. The FBI alleges Salah was involved in recruiting and training terrorists, as well as serving as a financial conduit for Hamas.

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