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>Israel Faxx
>JN March 16, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 52

Supermarket Defies Israeli Government

Israel Faxx Staff Report

A Jerusalem supermarket defied a Labor Ministry threat to shut it down for employing Jews on the Sabbath by staffing only with Muslims and Christians. Customers formed long lines Saturday. Ministry inspectors (who were working) showed up early Saturday but, finding only Muslim and Christian workers, did not fine the owners of "Drugstore 2000," the first supermarket to open on the Sabbath in west Jerusalem. Israeli law bans the employment of Jews on the Jewish Sabbath, from Friday evening to Saturday sundown.

Barak Exonerated of Running From Danger

By Deborah Tate (VOA-Jerusalem)

In Israel, a long-awaited report by the country's watchdog agency clears Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's main political rival -- Labor party leader Ehud Barak -- of accusations he fled the scene of a deadly military training accident when he was army chief of staff. But the report does little to end the controversy -- which has surfaced as an issue in the current campaign for prime minister.

Barak has been criticized for years for his handling of the fatal training accident in the southern Negev region in 1992. Five members of an elite army unit were killed and several others wounded when a guided missile was mistakenly fired at them during the top secret exercise. News reports -- which were never publicly confirmed -- said the troops were preparing for a mission to assassinate Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Barak's political opponents -- including members of Netanyahu's Likud party -- have accused him of abandoning soldiers injured in the exercise. But the long-awaited report by the State Comptroller's Office clears Barak -- the country's most decorated soldier -- of those allegations, and provides evidence that he remained on the scene for some time.

However, the report, citing conflicting testimony, does not rule on accusations Barak refused to help the wounded. That prompted Justice Minister Tzahi Hanegbi -- a leading Barak critic -- to call for the Labor party leader's retirement from public life, saying "The moral stain on Ehud Barak remains."

For his part, Barak says he believes he is exonerated by the comptroller's report. He accuses Netanyahu's supporters of using the training accident for political gain. "I do not expect any apology. There is nothing to do with apologies from cynical politicians who think they can use the blood of IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) training casualties as a political tool."

Netanyahu says questions still remain about the training accident, but he is refusing further comment.

More Racism in the PA: Israelis Barred from Marathon

By IsraelWire

On Sunday, Arabs in the Hebron area participated in the first International Palestinian Marathon which was arranged by members of the Temporary international Peacekeeping force in Hebron.

Organizers of the sport event acknowledged that some Israelis did attempt to register in the hope of participating in the event, but were barred due to what organizers explained as the Israeli governments continued refusal to implement the peace accords signed with the PLO Authority.

Nassim Handan, 23, won the 5-mile race in approximately 13 minutes. Although the race was 21 miles short of a marathon, organizers billed it as a marathon.

Abdel Nasser Sharif, director of the Hebron branch of the PA Ministry of Sports insisted the event was one of peace, but Israelis were barred because Israel does not want peace. Sharif added he hoped the event would bring international attention to Hebron, and increase efforts to evict the Jewish occupiers from that area.

A Minyan on the Great Wall of China

By Lubavitch News Service

Chances are no one in Beijing ever expected the millennium-old Jewish prayers to be recited atop the nation's most famous architectural monument. Nor, for that matter, did they expect more than 120 Jews from around the country to join together for a full Shabbat of prayers, song and dance.

But that's exactly what happened last weekend when Jews from Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai came together to collaborate on photographer Frederick Brenner's latest project.

Jews from each of the communities unanimously agreed to adhere to the highest levels of Kosher observance, arranged and provided by Lubavitch of Hong Kong, and to observe a traditional Shabbat led by Rabbi Mordechai Avtzon, chief Lubavitch emissary in the country.

It was an extraordinary Shabbat experience for everyone and according to several participants the event's highlight came when Avtzon encouraged and led an impromptu morning prayer service atop the Great Wall of China. The mountainous echo turned the worshippers voices to a booming rumble that could be heard miles away.

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