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>Israel Faxx
>JN March 10, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 48

Synagogue Vandalized in Siberia

By IsraelWire

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 products."


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

By IsraelWire


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 underway.


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