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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 13, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 126

Who Has Stolen the Air Conditioners?

By IsraelWire

Vacation has started and officials report 260 air conditioners have been stolen from schools around the country. Police are calling the thefts a "national plague" estimating the damages at about NIS 1 million. It is believed that a gang waited patiently until the schools shut down for summer vacation and then made their move.

U.N. to Discuss Alleged Israeli Human Rights Violations

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel and the United States are calling on Palestinians to cancel a UN conference on alleged human rights violations by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But a high-ranking Palestinian official says the conference will convene as planned.

The General Assembly in February called for the conference to review alleged Israeli violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The convention deals with the treatment of civilians in occupied territories and outlaws practices such as torture, extra-judicial detainment and creation of settlements.

The conference is scheduled to begin Thursday in Geneva, and Israel has asked the Palestinians to cancel the meeting, suggesting it could undermine efforts by the new government of Prime Minister Ehud Barak to revive the Middle East peace process.

Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy told reporters Monday that cancellation of the conference would be in the spirit of peace. Levy says even if the Geneva meeting takes place, the sky will not fall on Israel. He says Israel is not moving forward on the peace process because it is being forced to. Levy says such a meeting will not advance the peace process even by a millimeter.

Levy says Barak discussed cancellation of the conference during Sunday's meeting with Palestinian Chairman Yasir Arafat.

US Ambassador to Israel Edward Walker met with Levy to discuss the Geneva conference and recent Israeli diplomatic initiatives to move the peace process forward. Walker told reporters the conference should be canceled.

"We have been opposed to this meeting on a number of different grounds, on the basic principles that we don't believe that this is an appropriate vehicle for dealing with this issue. We do think it is counter-productive at this time. We have opposed it. We will not attend it if it is held and we are continuing to work to try to avoid it."

If the conference opens Thursday, it will do so on the same day Barak is scheduled to open talks with President Clinton in Washington.

Convicted Murderer: Victim Alive, Well in Tiberias Yeshiva

By IsraelWire

Dr. Jean-Levi Tourquin, a French veterinarian serving a life sentence in a French prison for the murder of his son has told authorities that his son is alive and well, studying in a Tiberias yeshiva. According to a private detective hired by Tourquin, his son, Charles-Eduard, 16, was taken in by an ultra-Orthodox family and is living in Israel under his new identity. Tourquin has been in prison since 1991.

According to Tourquin's lawyer, his son was kidnapped and taken to Israel by his mother. The defense team is now working with Israel police in the hope of finding Charles in the hope of gaining the release of Tourquin. Israel police, who have been cooperating, do not believe that the teenager in question is the son being sought by the team working on behalf of Tourquin.

According to a report in Haaretz, in 1981, Michele Tourquin had an extramarital affair with Moshe Bar-Edelstein, an American Jew who used to live in Israel. In 1991, Michele told Jean-Levi that the father of the 8-year-old boy was Bar-Edelstein. Several days later, the boy disappeared.

Dr. Tourquin was convicted of murder based on his own confession made to his wife during a fight. She had been wearing a hidden microphone. The court ruled the confession in which he stated he murdered the boy and she would never know where the body is, was enough for a conviction despite the fact the body was never recovered.

The teenager in Israel, who has a French accent, only knows that his mother was not Jewish, which is the case here, and that his father died in prison.

Collection of Jesus Coins Found

By IsraelWire

A trove of rare, thousand-year-old coins bearing the likeness of Jesus has been discovered in an area of the Holy Land that was predominantly Muslim at the time. The 58 "Jesus coins'' - the largest such collection uncovered to date - were among thousands of bronze items discovered last October at an archaeological site near the Sea of Galilee, Hebrew University professor Yizhar Hirschfeld said.

"It's a treasure, there's nothing like it in the whole world," said Gila Hurvitz, the curator and designer of the exhibit, now on display at the university's archaeological school. "He hit the jackpot." The 82 coins are the only items among the thousands that are inscribed in Greek; others bear blessings written in the ancient square-like Kufic Arabic script.

They were hidden underground, untouched for a thousand years until October 1998, when Hirschfeld directed a 'rescue' excavation - a dig required by law before major construction takes place.

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