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>Israel Faxx
>JN Aug. 23, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 155

Israel Earthquake Rescue

By Susan Sappir (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli rescue workers have saved a 9-year-old Israeli girl who survived 110 hours, trapped in the rubble of a building destroyed by the Turkish earthquake. Israeli rescue workers say, when they found her, the little girl was alive and in good condition. They hail the child's survival as a miracle.

The Israeli rescue workers -- who were among the hundreds of workers who flew to Turkey to help with the earthquake rescues -- pulled the girl, Shiran Franco, out of a collapsed building in a resort town where she had been staying with her family.

Until Saturday when the child was found, her mother was the only known family survivor. She had crawled out of the building, Wednesday -- 36 hours after the earthquake. She said her husband, her 9-year-old twins and her parents-in-law were trapped.

She says, when the seven-story building collapsed, she thought it had been hit by a missile. The woman -- 35-year-old Iris Franco -- told Israeli newspapers Friday she did not believe any members of her family could still be alive.

But early Saturday, rescue workers heard a child's voice calling for help in Hebrew. They managed to pull out little Shiran, who was dehydrated-but-conscious after 100 hours without food or drink. Israel television broke into its normal programming with a news flash showing the girl cradled by an Israeli Army officer, who was dabbing her parched lips with water. Shiran was flown back to Israel for hospital treatment.

Two hours later, searchers found the body of her twin brother, Aryeh.

Physicians at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer said the incident was unprecedented. They explained that it was a medical miracle for someone to survive for such a long time despite not having any food or water.

The Turkish military chief of staff, Saturday, visited with the members of the Israeli search and expressed his appreciation to the state of Israel for the swift and professional response of the Israeli military personnel working in Turkey around-the-clock.

Star of David Banned by Mississippi School Board

By IsraelWire

A Jewish student plans to file a law suit after being ordered to remove a Star of David pin from his clothing. The Harrison Central High School board in Mississippi had ruled the pin was a 'gang symbol' and it may not be worn.

David Ingebretsen, executive director of the Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union, told Reuters the ACLU will file suit in US District Court in Biloxi, Miss., on behalf of 15-year-old Ryan Green.

"Their (school board members') argument is that some gangs use six-pointed stars with other elements attached as a gang symbol," Ingebretsen said. "They say sometimes the gang members will buy Star of David jewelry."

Ingebretsen said there was talk of banning some crosses at the school board meeting, but no action was taken. "No matter what their intentions were, they singled out one religious symbol, the Star of David, to be banned. They had objections to Maltese crosses and Celtic crosses, but we're in the Bible-belt South, so that's just not going to happen here."

Superintendent Henry Arlege said he knew of no gang that was using the cross as a symbol but the board was advised by law enforcement officials that some gangs used six-pointed stars as their symbols. He said the school system forbids students from wearing any gang emblem, but may have to rethink the policy.

"I do not have any idea where it will go or what to say, for that matter. It's unfortunate," Arlege said. "We're certainly not trying to cause trouble for any group or religion, other than trying to take care of the safety and welfare of the students. That's all we're trying to do."

Ingebretsen said the boy's father is Jewish and his mother Christian, and the youngster was brought up in both faiths. During the summer, the boy's paternal grandmother gave him a Star of David pin and talked to him about his heritage, which is why he wore the pin to school when he enrolled.

"When he went to enroll he was told by a teacher that he ought to put the pin inside his shirt for his own good," Ingebretsen said. "His father said, 'He's Jewish.' When he went to school the next day, a teacher told him to take it off."

"The school board put it on the agenda, and they ruled that nobody could wear a Star of David because it was a gang symbol -- like the Israeli Crips, or something." Crips is the name used by a Los Angeles-based gang.

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