Newsletter : 0fax0613.txt
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>JN June 13, 2000, Volume 8, No. 100
Average Wage Lower in Jerusalem Than Other Cities
The average wage in Jerusalem is lower than the average wage in Tel
Aviv, Haifa, Beersheva. According to statistics published by the
National Insurance, the average wage in Jerusalem in 1999 was NIS
6,753 ($1608), in Beersheva NIS 7,230 ($1721), in Tel Aviv NIS
7,786 ($1854), and in Haifa NIS 8,527 ($2030).
Assad's Funeral Today
By Lisa Bryant (VOA-Cairo)
Syrian officials are completing arrangements for today's funeral
for President Hafez al-Assad, who died Saturday at age 69.
Thousands of Syrians have arrived in the capital, Damascus, to bid
farewell to their long-term leader.
The growing list of dignitaries expected to attend the funeral of
Assad includes leaders from France, Egypt, Jordan, and Iran.
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, who maintained rocky relations
with the late Syrian president, is also expected to delay a
Washington meeting to attend.
But so far, the guest list for Assad's funeral is considerably less
impressive than those for two of his counterparts -- King Hussein
of Jordan, and King Hassan of Morocco, who both died last year.
Leaders from the United States and several European countries are
sending their foreign ministers to attend the proceedings. Others
are sending heads of parliament.
Local news reports say Assad's body will be carried from his home
in Damascus early Tuesday to Umayyad Square, in the center of the
capital. There, hundreds of thousands of Syrians are expected to
bid a so-called popular farewell to their president. Assad will
likely be buried alongside his son, Basil, who died in a car crash
Meanwhile, Syrian officials have moved swiftly to consolidate the
position of Assad's other son, Bashar, as the country's next
leader. During the past two days, 34-year-old Bashar Assad has
been nominated for president by the Baath Party leadership, and
promoted to head of Syria's armed forces.
But Arab analysts and foreign officials have expressed doubts about
whether the leadership transition from father to son will be a
smooth one. Some speculate there may be a struggle ahead against
Syria's old guard, who may be opposed to a hereditary succession.
Others say the younger Assad will also have to win support from
Syria's minority Alawite sect, and from rivals within the larger
Assad family. Many experts say they are waiting to see how the
political dust settles.
Israeli Outlook on Assad's Death
By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli analysts predict a relatively smooth transition of power in
Syria, but say it is not yet clear if Bashar al-Assad, the son of
the late President Hafez al-Assad, will be able to hold onto the
power he is inheriting from his father. Analysts also express
cautious optimism that the new government in Damascus will be more
flexible during negotiations on the Middle East peace process.
Israeli analysts say there is virtually no doubt Bashar al-Assad
will follow in his late father's footsteps and become the new
president of Syria. They point out the 34-year-old Bashar is more
modern in style and more western in thought than his father, who
ruled Syria with an iron hand for 30-years.
King Abdullah of Jordan says he and Bashar al-Assad represent a new
generation of Arab leaders who are part of the "Internet
Tel Aviv University professor Eyal Zisser, who is considered an
expert on Syria, says Bashar al-Assad must not only inherit his
father's power, but also his "killer instinct" to crush any
"It is not enough to know the Internet. You need to show that
you are strong, that you are a leader, and you need to crush in the
first moment any signs of opposition, resentment, or independence.
If -- and this is the problem -- if he is proven to be a weak
leader, if he will show the first sign of weakness, this will be
Prime Minister Ehud Barak says the death of President Assad marks
the end of an era, and Israel now faces a new Middle East. Barak
says Israel will continue to work for a peace agreement with the
new leadership in Damascus.
Syria maintains 35,000 troops in Lebanon and is considered the main
power broker in that country. Analyst Yossi Olmert says a critical
question is whether Bashar al-Assad can control terrorist groups,
like Hizbullah, which in the past have fought against Israel.
President Hafez al-Assad died on the exact anniversary of the date
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Middle
Viagra Effective with Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables
The potency drug Viagra has been found to be effective prolonging
the shelf-life of flowers in vases, and of fruits and vegetables
such as bananas and cucumbers. Joint research by scientists at Bar
Ilan University in Israel, the University of Australia and a
technological corporation, Sun Blush, demonstrated this phenomenon,
based on the emanation of nitric oxide from the medication, its
In plants with identical enzyme systems as in humans, a sharp
result was perceived. The London newspaper "The Financial Times"
reports the method may soon reach the shelves of plant stores.
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