Newsletter : 9fax0310.txt
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>JN March 10, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 48
Synagogue Vandalized in Siberia
A synagogue in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk was the target of
anti-Semitic vandals this week who caused significant damage to the
house of worship. Furniture was destroyed, the holy books
destroyed, and graffiti, including swastikas, were spray painted on
the walls. Rabbi Berel Lazar of the Federation of Jewish
Communities in Moscow described the attack as "a pogrom."
Israel Meeting with Turkey by Deborah Tate (VOA-Jerusalem)
Turkey's speaker of parliament, Hikmet Cetin, arrived Tuesday for
three days of meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon, members of the Israeli
Knesset and others. The visit is the latest sign of warming
relations between Israel and Turkey -- a relationship prompting
concern in Syria, which may have dire implications for the Middle
East peace process.
For Turkey, the benefit of closer ties with Israel is clear: it
means more security. Turkey and Israel signed an agreement in 1996
providing for intelligence cooperation. Israel is also selling the
Turkish armed forces military equipment, including night vision
scopes and anti-rocket systems for helicopters.
Israel, too, benefits from the relationship. Prof. Ephraim
Inbar is director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies
at Bar-Illan University in Tel Aviv. "Israel sees Turkey as a very
important country. It is a regional power. It is an Islamic
country, and it has always been interested in diffusing the Islamic
dimension of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Moreover, Turkey is an
important market for Israel, for its civilian as well as military
Inbar argues the Turkish-Israeli alliance contributes to regional
stability. He cites as an example Syria's decision -- under
Turkish pressure -- to expel Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan
last October -- four months before Turkish Authorities took him
into custody in Nairobi. "The Turks capitalized on their good
relations with Israel, and compelled the Syrians to abide by their
request, and the Syrians were afraid of a two-front attack."
Although Inbar argues the Turkish-Israeli alliance is good for the
region's security, others see it differently. Syrian expert Moshe
Ma'oz at Hebrew University says the alliance is not welcome news
among Turkey's Arab neighbors, particularly Syria, which he says
feels threatened by the alliance.
"The Syrians are worried that the two countries are going to
dictate some terms to it, that Israel would not return the Golan
Heights to Syria and maybe send some messages that if it
misbehaves, Turkey can punish it --or together, they can punish it.
The strategic relationship between Turkey and Israel is not
welcome in Damascus. But former Israeli Ambassador to Turkey, Zvi
al-Peleg, dismisses such concern: "There is no reason whatsoever
why Arabs should be worried by relations between Turkey and Israel,
if they are not any more aspiring to destroy Israel. So there is
no reason whatsoever, because the main areas of cooperation between
Turkey and Israel are the economy, agriculture, technology. Israel
and Turkey are two complementary economies."
But Ma'oz says Syrian concern over the alliance is justified in
light of what he says has been recent stepped up rhetoric against
Damascus by Israel and Turkey. That, he says, does not bode well
for the Middle East peace process.
Ma'oz says Syria should be included in the Israeli-Turkish alliance
on strategic issues such as resolving differences between Iraq
and Iran, and water sharing in the Middle East. Syria he notes,
suffers from a lack of water and must rely on Turkey as a source.
Firebomb Attack Against Messianic Jews in Tiberius
Three firebombs were thrown at a home in the Migdal Colony
neighborhood, on the shore of the Galilee Saturday night. Police
assume the attack was prompted by the fact the residents of the
home are Messianic Jews.
Michael and Tirzah Sheinberg and their eight children are members
of the messianic congregation, which believes in the New Testament,
and that Jesus is the savior. The family explained this was not the
first time they were victims of attack, explaining the tires of
their car were slashed in the past.
Hadassah, the couple's oldest daughter, told police she heard glass
smashing. It turned out to be the firebomb crashing through a
window. She called the fire department, stating, "It was a miracle
from God that the entire house was not burned to the ground in the
attack." The family's car was also damaged in the firebomb attack.
Tiberias police report that an investigation into the attack is
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