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>JN Aug. 10, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 146

Israel Works on Plan for Voluntary Arab Military Service

By IsraelWire

The Israel Defense Force is entertaining a new plan, which would provide a framework for Arab citizens to enlist in the IDF on a voluntary basis. It was indicated that such a move is only in the theoretical stage at this time but proponents do believe the time has come to offer such an option to the Arab citizens of Israel.


Albright Postpones Israeli Trip

By Kyle King (VOA-State Department)


Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has decided to delay a planned visit to the Middle East until later this month or early September. Albright's trip was scheduled to begin later this week, but State-Department officials say the delay was requested Friday by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.


Barak is said to want more time to resolve an ongoing dispute with the Palestinians over the implementation of the Wye River, land for peace, deal signed last October.


Albright's spokesman, James Rubin, says she plans to travel to the region at the end of this month or at the beginning of next month. That is when Barak has promised to resume the timetable for the implementation of the Wye agreement. The agreement had been put on hold by his predecessor, former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.


The State Department says Palestinian and Syrian officials have expressed understanding about the reasons for the delay in Albright's trip.


Immigrant Family Must pay NIS 6,900 for 4 Jewish Agency Beds

By IsraelWire


Immigrants who arrived in Israel in 1996 during the past weeks have been receiving letters from a subsidiary of the Jewish Agency, demanding payment for the furniture given to them upon their arrival by the agency. The furniture given to new immigrants is modest at best and generally of a lower than standard quality.


According to officials, over 1,000 immigrants received the letters demanding payment for beds, drawers and chairs. One immigrant family was asked to pay NIS 6,900 ($1,650) for the four beds he received. A 74-year-old woman living on a fixed income was sent a bill for NIS 3,652 ($873) for a bed, two chairs and simple table.



All of the immigrants insist that from the day they received the furnishings until their receiving the bill, they were never informed that they would have to make payment for the articles given to them. Many added that if they knew in advance that they were expected to make payment, they would not have accepted the furnishings that are of poor quality.


An investigation revealed that among the many Hebrew forms signed by the immigrants was one agreeing to make payment for the furnishings. The forms did not detail what pieces of furniture one received, the price to be paid or terms of payment.


Erik Elman, a spokesman for the Ministry of Immigration & Absorption said the monies owned are owed to the "Idud" company and not his ministry. Nevertheless, he added, since the matter does pertain to immigrants, the relevant information would be forwarded to the minister.

(EDITORS' NOTE: When I was living in Israel as a single during the mid-1970s, the Jewish Agency gave me one spoon, one fork, one knife and one chair. When I got married, the Agency sent me a similar letter asking for the return of those items because I had asked for another set for my wife.)


500 Closed Circuit Cameras Set for Jerusalem's Old City

By IsraelWire

The police, in cooperation with various security services are continuing to beef up security in Jerusalem's Old City. It is reported that no less than 500 closed circuit television cameras will be installed to monitor events within the walls of the Old City. Twenty-four cameras have already been installed.


This is all said to be part of the preparations for the millennium and the expected large numbers of tourists, including many Christian pilgrims making their way to area holy sites.


Muslim Boycott of Burger King

By Arutz-7 News Service

A coalition of Muslim organizations has announced a worldwide campaign to boycott Burger King restaurants. A press release circulated by American Muslims for Jerusalem explained that "Burger King ignored Muslims' concerns over the opening of a restaurant in Palestinian-territory occupied by Israel."


The restaurant in question is located in a new mall in Ma'aleh Adumim, 10 minutes northeast of Jerusalem, Ma'aleh Adumim was founded in 1982, received municipal status in 1991, and now has 28,000 residents. Prior to leaving office, former Prime Minister Netanyahu approved a plan to expand Ma'aleh Adumim's city borders up to the Jerusalem neighborhood of French Hill.


The AMJ press release writes that the restaurant in Ma'aleh Adumim, which was part of the area captured by Israel during the Six-Day War, "makes Burger King a party to illegal occupation."


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