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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 2, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 115

Netanyahu, Weizman Privatize Problems

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's president and prime minister met Wednesday, after two days of making harsh public statements about each other.

After the meeting, the two men did not speak in public, but sent out their spokesmen. The prime minister's spokesman, Shai Bazak, said they had explained their positions to each other, and agreed that the good of the country requires them to settle their differences in private.

"President Weizman and Prime Minister Netanyahu, both agreed everything they have to discuss between them, they will speak about it between both of them, and not publicly."

That would be a break from recent practice, and Israeli reporters immediately put the headline on the story: "No Agreement Between the President and the Prime Minister."

In recent days, the two officials have clashed sharply over the prime minister's handling of the peace process, and the president's penchant for political statements.

President Ezer Weizman, whose role is largely ceremonial, called for early elections and said Netanyahu is out of touch with reality. The prime minister countered that the president is overstepping his authority, and strengthening and hardening the Arab position in current negotiations.

Israeli presidents and prime ministers have clashed before. But veteran Israeli analysts say the issues involved and the harshness of the rhetoric are unprecedented.

Chareidi Women Arrested in Gold Smuggling Operation

By IsraelWire

Six chareidi (ultra-Orthodox) women were arrested on suspicion of smuggling NIS 40 million (about $11 million) of gold into the country -- approximately 2,200 lbs.

Customs police, working in cooperation with police in Belgium, already arrested the six women from the Meah Shearim area of Jerusalem and two men, who are believed to be senior players in the illegal operation.

Yekeutiel Lichtenstein, a chief suspect, refused to open his home to police, and police had to use force to enter his home, only to find him hiding in a corner of his kitchen.

The entire episode began when two passengers chose to leave Ben Gurion International Airport, using the green line at customs, in place of the red line, indicating they had nothing to declare. When they were stopped and checked, customs officials found large amounts of gold.

Police report that Lichtenstein and Yosef Uziel, among the leaders of the ring, have already laundered about NIS 100 million (nearly $28 million) in Belgium. The laundered money is then returned to Israel in the form of foreign currency or gold bars.

IDF Widow Wins and Loses Caribbean Time Share Vacation

By IsraelWire

A 50-year-old woman from Kiryat Chaim, a widow of an IDF soldier, was more than pleased when she learned that she had won a vacation to the Caribbean worth NIS 11,500 (about $3,175), providing she met the contest's criteria.

According to the rules of the V.M.C. Company, Esther Fisher was a winner. She later learned that the rules according to Israel Time Sharing Ltd., stipulate a winner must be married.

Attempts to reason with the contest sponsors by Fisher and Ma'ariv, which reported the story, were in vain. Ma'ariv reports that when it called the company for a response, the person at the other hung up the phone.

Teenager Girl Abused by Multiple Family Members

By IsraelWire

Police report that a 13-year-old girl was the victim of rape by two family members, each unaware of the other's actions. The teenager went to the principal of her school one month ago, stating she thought she might be pregnant since she was feeling nauseous and under the weather.

It was the principal who uncovered the story, which involved two family members who had intercourse and committed acts of sodomy with the girl for a one-year period.

Police and government authorities were notified and they began to take action. The two family members were placed under arrest, independent of one another. They were remanded separately, and are currently in jail, without one being made aware of the actions of the other.

Police report the two met one another in the prison, but according to witnesses, both were too embarrassed to tell why they were in lock up, each unaware of the other's crime.

Both of the suspects, in separate interrogations, told police their actions were done with the consent of the teenager. The two then met one another again, this time in court, when they heard the handing down of the joint indictment against them.

74 Percent of Israelis Unhappy with Weight

By IsraelWire

Despite the large number of Israelis unhappy with their current weight, 65 percent have not attempted any diet over the past 2-years and 82 percent are unwilling to spend any money to loose the weight.

The survey was commissioned for "Modern Times. According to a Teleseker poll commissioned by the SuperFarm Pharmaceutical chain, 74 percent of all Israelis are unhappy with their present weight, while 42 percent classify their bodies as full-figured or very full-figured. Only 21 percent consider themselves "thin."

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