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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 7, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 122

Hotel Liable for Peach Pit

By IsraelWire

The Ganei Shulamit Hotel in Ashkelon was found responsible and ordered to make compensatory payment for a peach pit that injured a guest who was in the swimming pool about seven years ago. The then 10-year-old boy stepped on a peach pit while walking in the hotel pool, injuring his foot. The Beersheva District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, now 17. The amount of the awarded settlement was not disclosed.

Barak Sworn In As Prime Minister

By Scott Bobb (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's new prime minister, Ehud Barak, has been sworn in after being approved by the parliament late tuesday evening. Barak earlier presented his government in a speech in which he called on Arab leaders to work with him for peace in the region.

In his inaugural speech to the Knesset, Barak evoked the memory of his mentor, the late Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin. He urged Arab leaders to grasp what he called his extended hand to put an end to violence and suffering in the region.

Barak said his government's top priority is to resume talks with the Palestinians and promote negotiations with Syria and Lebanon. He indicated he intends to pursue negotiations on all tracks, saying peace has four pillars -- Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinians, and Syria and Lebanon.

Earlier, Israel Radio reported the army is preparing for possible troop redeployments on the West Bank in anticipation of a reactivation of the suspended Wye Accords.

Pope Pius Letter During Holocaust Shows He's No Saint

Israel Faxx Staff Report

A letter from Pope Pius XII to President Franklin Roosevelt during the darkest days of the Holocaust has reignited the controversy over Catholic efforts to declare the former papal figure a saint.

The Jerusalem Post recently reported it obtained a copy of the letter dated June 22, 1943, from the US Archives in which the pope expresses his opposition to allowing the Zionist movement to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

The communication, found by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, is believed to be the first explicit expression of Pius's policy against Zionism conveyed to the American government.

"It is true that at one time Palestine was inhabited by the Hebrew Race, but there is no axiom in history to substantiate the necessity of a people returning to a country they left 19 centuries before," the letter reads.

"If a 'Hebrew Home' is desired, it would not be too difficult to find a more fitting territory than Palestine. With an increase in the Jewish population there, grave, new international problems would arise."

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the letter "is an indictment of Pius XII, because it basically says that when the pope wanted a point of view expressed about how he clearly felt, he said it clearly. Where is a similar letter to Adolf Hitler, telling Hitler that the Vatican finds his policies against the Jews repugnant? But at the height of the Holocaust, the Vatican knew how to oppose the State of Israel."

There was no official response yet from the papacy following exposure of the letter's contents.

Rabbi David Rosen, head of the Israel office of the Anti-Defamation League and an expert on Catholic-Jewish relations, said that "it has been well known for a long time of the shameful policy the Holy See maintained during that period, and this is just but one confirmation of that fact."

Rosen said Pius's anti-Zionism was a continuation of long-standing Vatican policy, which all changed with the issuing of Nostra Aetate.

Hier said the letter, found during research conducted on Pope Pius XII, further spotlights the issue of the church's moving forward his candidacy for sainthood. "Many people have asked me, what is it our business who the Catholics appoint a saint?

"Normally I would agree with that. But in the presence of survivors, tens of thousands of whom are still alive in their last few years, that they should live out their lives knowing that the person whom they heard nothing from, nothing but silence, has been designated as a saint - many people around the world will say a saint was alive in the Vatican during the Holocaust. That is an insult to the memory of the Holocaust, and is an insult to the survivors."

Iran Critical of US Position on Jewish Prisoners

By IsraelWire

Iran, Monday, issued a statement of condemnation against the United States for speaking out against its arrest of "suspected spies," including 13 Jewish citizens. The US last week called the charges being leveled against the rabbis and educators as "unfounded and unacceptable."

"No country has the right to interfere in Iran's internal affairs," Tehran television quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi as saying. He added the statements made by US officials were "unfounded and baseless" and constituted "blatant intervention in Iran's internal affairs."

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