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>JN July 19, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 130

Man Fined for Killing and Eating a Dog

By IsraelWire

A man was fined NIS 1,000 by the Safed Magistrate's Court for killing and eating a dog. He was also given a five month suspended prison sentence for his actions. The 20-year-old defendant told the court he ate the animal because he was hungry and did not see the difference between eating a dog or a pig. He did promise the court however that he would refrain from such activity in the future.


Israel Calls for a November 2000 Peace Consensus

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)


Israel's Foreign Minister David Levy has strongly defended his country's decision to set a 15-month target date for reaching a consensus on peace with key Arab neighbors. The Israeli timetable is linked to the next US presidential elections.


Levy told Israel Radio, Sunday, he fully supports Prime Minister Ehud Barak's objective of negotiating peace accords with both Syria and the Palestinians before US presidential elections one-year from November.


The agenda suggests Barak wants to complete as much as possible before President Bill Clinton is replaced by a new American leader who may have different views about Middle East peacemaking.


Levy rejected criticism a timetable would encourage Arab negotiators to resist striking any deals in a bid to extract last-minute concessions from the Jewish state. He says that by setting a target, Israel is demonstrating that it does not want to delay the process and expects Arab leaders to also make a serious effort to bring peace to the Middle East.


Levy says Barak has made it clear to Clinton, during his current visit to the United States, that Israel will never agree to hand back territory vital to the security and unity of the Jewish state. He said Israel will not withdraw to the borders it held before capturing the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 war.


Nor would Israel ever agree to east Jerusalem becoming the capital of a future Palestinian state. He said Israel would also forbid the Palestinians from having their own army.


Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat says his side continues to dispute these points. He declined to comment on whether the 15-month timetable is realistic. He would only say Palestinians want to reach a final peace agreement with the Israelis as soon as possible.


Sharansky to Ease Immigration Process

By IsraelWire

Minister of the Interior Natan Sharansky has announced his intentions to ease the immigration process for new immigrants. Sharansky indicated his plans to drastically change the current barrage of exams and questions, as well as the burden of potential immigrants to prove their Jewishness to the satisfaction of ministry officials.


Sharansky indicated that repeated questionnaires are not necessary and one will only be required to complete forms one time and the information would then be processed and a decision made based on data available. Sharansky added that data accumulated by his ministry would be fed to a major database and be available to all government agencies seeking information on a new immigrant, eliminating the need for duplicated questionnaires and other requests for information.


Sharansky did add however that Israel will not become a nation which accepts anyone wishing to come and obtain citizenship. His new policies are catering to the problems of the many immigrants from the former Soviet Union who says are encountering significant difficulties proving their Jewishness to ministry officials.


Italian Court to Render Decision in Custody Battle

By IsraelWire

Two Israeli girls, ages 14 and 10, whose ultra-Orthodox mother lives in Bnei Brak and secular father lives in Italy are the subject of a custody suit today in an Italian court.


The Israeli couple that was living in Italy divorced in 1991. The mother became more observant and became a resident of the Bnei Brak Hareidi community.


The husband rejected requests to permit his daughters to be raised in Israel in an observant way of life. In 1996, the father filed suit in an Italian court, describing his ex-wife's lifestyle as a follower of a cult.


The father told the court the girls we being denied many basic freedoms as a result of their mother's new life and he believed it in their best interests to permit them to be raised in Italy. He pointed out that as secular girls living in Italy, they would be permitted visits to their mother in Bnei Brak but the reverse is not true.


The court ruled in the petition for custody case in favor of the father, stipulating the girls would be permitted visits to Israel during the winter. In December 1996, the mother took her daughters to Israel and they were not returned. Israeli authorities, without conducting a custody hearing, ordered the girls returned in compliance with the Hague Convention. The women went underground, assisted by the local Orthodox community, and were not found for more than one year. The girls were returned to Italy in April 1997.








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