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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 10, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 121

Officials Estimate 100,000 Illegal Aliens in Israel

By IsraelWire

Since the establishment of the Illegal Workers Administration, the government continues to deport an increasing number of illegal aliens annually. It is estimated that 6,000 illegal aliens will be deported this year, compared to 4,200 in 1997 and 960 in 1996. The IWA estimates there are about 80,000 legal foreign workers in Israel, compared with 106,000 in 1996. There are 100,000 illegal aliens compared with 130,000 in 1996.

Civil Marriage Bill Passes Preliminary Reading

By IsraelWire

A Knesset bill permitting civil marriages in cases in which the couple is of different religions, has passed its preliminary reading by a 21-11 margin. Opposing the bill were Arab and Orthodox legislators.

If the bill becomes law, it will establish a framework operating under the auspices of the Family Courts, which would permit a civil marriage service [or divorce for mixed couples. This would permit such couples to wed in Israel, which they currently are unable to do, since the marriages are now under the control of the Chief Rabbinate.

The bill will also alleviate problems faced by Kohanim (priests) who wish to marry a divorcee [which is prohibited by Jewish law]. Orthodox Knesset members say the measure will only contribute to assimilation in Israel.

Israel to Aid Refugees

By IsraelWire

The Foreign Ministry announced that in light of the large numbers of Albanian refugees fleeing Kosovo, the ministry has authorized the dispatch of humanitarian aid to the refugees.

Since the start of the fighting in the Kosovo area in February, large numbers of the Albanian residents of the area have begun to leave their homes. Out of a population of 100,000, around 50,000 refugees, mainly women, children and the aged, have fled to northern Albania.

Israel decided to help the Albanian government by instructing the Israeli embassy in Rome to purchase and transfer required materials.

IDF Officer Saves Life of Arab Laborer

By IsraelWire

Lt Dudu Ashur, 22, assigned to the Erez Crossing, in Gaza, saved the life of an Arab laborer who collapsed and went into respiratory arrest. The young officer immediately began administrating mouth to mouth resuscitation, saving the life of the 40-year-old Arab laborer.

While observing the thousands of laborers passing through from the PLO Authority autonomous area into the area under Israeli control, Ashur saw a crowd gathering and went to investigate. He saw the man collapsed on the ground and immediately took action.

Ashur added that he was pleased that he saved a life, and in this case that his soldiers and the Arabs in the terminal saw that above all, the IDF is humane.

Possible "Coke" Poisoning

>YX By IsraelWire

Three members of a Rechovot family remain hospitalized after drinking Coca-Cola that may have been contaminated, unfit for consumption or toxic.

Inspectors found a quantity of bottles of Coke in a Rechovot store -- all of which seems to be unfit for consumption, and perhaps toxic. The bottles were confiscated and taken for laboratory tests.

Health officials announced that bottles of the soft drink bearing an expiration date of Oct. 7, 1998, and lot numbers 160211 and 100141, should not be used and health officials should be notified.

There were also reports of possible contaminated bottles in Haifa and Bnei Brak. Police report that the bottle may have been contaminated with paint thinner. Members of the Rechovot family who took ill after drinking the soda experienced bouts of vomiting, abdominal pains and other similar symptoms.

Inspectors first reported that in the store where the bottles were confiscated, they also found canisters of paint near the soda but the store's proprietor insists there was no painting or renovating work done in proximity of the soda, which might have explain what took place. It is being theorized that this may be local sabotage.

The Coca-Cola spokesman said Ministry of Health officials are confident that the problem is a local one in the Rechovot store, and did not originate in the Bnei Brak plant which bottles the soft drink for the entire country.

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