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>Israel Faxx
>JN March 25, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 59

New Apartments for Jerusalem


Israel's government announced new development plans for Jerusalem aimed at strengthening the country's claim to the disputed city. The plans call for the construction of new housing to attract new Jewish immigrants to the city. Some 120,000 housing units are to be built during the next two decades. In addition, public services are to be improved for Arab residents in east Jerusalem -- a move Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu suggests is aimed at curbing Palestinian hopes to claim the area as the capital of a future independent state.

Strike Impacts All of Israel

By Deborah Tate (VOA-Jerusalem)

A nationwide strike by public service workers in Israel is impacting government offices, airports, seaports and railways. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says politics is behind the work stoppage, which comes six weeks before general elections. The union denies the charge.

Nearly 400,000 public sector workers began an open-ended strike Wednesday after wage talks with the Finance Ministry broke down. The head of the striking union, Amir Peretz, is leading a party that is running for parliament in the May 17 election. But he denies Netanyahu's accusations that he is using the strike to win concessions from the government and boost his standing in the polls.

Peretz says the prime minister has to take responsibility. He says Netanyahu should stop dealing with political issues and should call the parties and try to solve the problem in a proper way, learning all the details and make decisions as a prime minister should do.

The strike has affected business at the country's ports and railways. Airports are open and flights are proceeding, but airport services have slowed. The labor union timed the strike just days ahead of the start of the peak tourist season in Israel.

But government spokesman Moshe Fogel says the situation has not yet reached a critical stage. "At this point, it is basically an inconvenience, bordering on actual damage to the economy. The main factor is how long will it continue."

The union is seeking a 7 percent wage hike, but the Finance Ministry is offering no more than an increase of 3.8 percent.

Ambassador Has "Intimate" Affair with SA Army Officer

By IsraelWire

Haaretz reports that Israel's Ambassador to Pretoria, South Africa, Uri Oren, was involved in an "intimate" affair with a female officer in the South African army who heads a foreign intelligence liaison unit.

Responding to the report, the Foreign Ministry has decided that Oren will continue in his position, explaining the affair was a personal matter that in no way compromised his representing the interests of the State of Israel.

Haaretz added that the ambassador admitted to the affair but denied reports the woman was an intelligence officer. Oren stated she was an educational officer.

The story hit the local SA press following a break-in into the ambassador's home. When a housekeeper was questioned as a suspect in the case, she told of frequent visits of a woman in her 40s, not the wife of the ambassador.

Take Me Off Life-Support

By IsraelWire

A new case involving the legality of euthanasia came to court Tuesday: a 91-year-old woman from central Israel has petitioned the Ramat Gan Family Court to terminate her life-support.

The woman's 70-year-old son was asked to affirm that it is his mother's right not to continue living through artificial means of life-support. The woman suffered repeated strokes recently necessitating feeding via feeding tubes as well as full life-support equipment . The woman's doctor submitted an affidavit stating that her condition is life-threatening and irreversible.

Two previous court decisions from Scotland and Britain allowing mercy killing of people who requested it were attached to the woman's request. The medical center treating the woman refused her request to end life-support and stated that their response will be given in court.

Newest Israeli Export: the Kibbutz

By Arutz-7 News Service

The Israeli "kibbutz" is moving to South America. HaTzofeh reports that a group of Argentinean entrepreneurs were impressed with the communal life they observed in Israeli kibbutzim, and have begun inquiring about ways to adapt the kibbutz model for use in their country. Roni Bochman, director of planning of the Kibbutz Industrial Cooperative, will depart for Argentina at the end of March to help with the preliminary stages in the establishment of the first kibbutz there. About 100 acres on the Argentina-Bolivia border have been designated for the project, which is to be based mainly on agriculture.

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