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>Israel Faxx
>JN June 20, 2000, Vol. 8. No. 105

Syrian News Report: No Major Policy Changes

By IsraelWire

Syrian newspapers, including the English language Syrian Times, reported that with the new administration of Bashar al-Assad, there are no expectations of major policy changes.

The Baath Party held its first congress in 15 years in Damascus and it reportedly was a sign of a first step to pave the way for a new generation of leaders.

The Israel intelligence community continues to monitor the situation in Syria closely, with official statements indicating that no move was expected regarding the peace initiative with Israel, for at least several months. That will allow Bashar al-Assad time to establish himself and secure his domestic policy.

Kiryat Gat Toddler Beaten Because of Soccer Game on TV

By IsraelWire

The autopsy on the 30-month-old Kiryat Gat toddler found dead on Friday morning revealed 16 bruises to his head area. The boyfriend of the toddler's mother told police that he struck the child because his crying was interfering with his watching a soccer match on television. The autopsy revealed the official cause of death was suffocation.

The 37-year-old boyfriend, Sunday evening, reenacted his crime for police, explaining he could not hear the soccer game over the child's cries so he struck him with a belt and then held his mouth.

The mother, 35, and boyfriend are in police custody and may face murder charges as well as charges of interfering with a police investigation and other related crimes in connection with the death of the toddler.

The mother telephoned police on Friday close to midnight after arriving home, finding the lifeless infant on the sofa. Emergency medical service personnel were unable to resuscitate the child and had no alternative but to pronounce the boy dead.

The body exhibited signs of abuse but police were cautious not to make any statements prior to the autopsy which in this case, confirmed their suspicions. The body displayed signs of beatings, scratches and physical abuse.

The mother rejected allegations of abuse, telling police her son was ill over past weeks with a virus, and probably died as a result of the illness. She also explained she had a falling out with her boyfriend whom she now alleges raped her.

Police investigators indicated that the statements given by the two were full of contradictions, prompting police to continue to suspect foul play was involved in the death.

Archaeologists Call for Halt to Temple Mount Destruction

By IsraelWire

Senior members of Israel's archaeological community are continuing to call upon the government and state attorney general to immediately halt the ongoing illegal construction on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, sponsored by the Muslim Wakf Authority and the Israel Islamic Association.

The experts reiterated that the ongoing work has caused irreparable damage to the holy site, destroying artifacts that will impact the international archaeological community as well as all cultured societies. Experts are now realizing that over the past months, while the government turned a blind eye, the construction on the Mount has destroyed thousands of years of history while continuing to eradicate all traces of the Jewish right to the holy site.

One expert told Israel Radio that the work has far exceeded the reports that improvements are underway in the Solomon's Stables area, and the Wakf and IIA are working to overtake the entire Mount in violation of the law and agreements with the government and antiquities officials. Officials explained that the use of heavy construction on the most important archaeological site in Israel was a recipe for disaster and the prime minister and state attorney general must bring an immediate halt to the illegal activities.

Bibles Found in Trashcan

By IsraelWire

Tens of IDF Bibles and Passover haggadot that were taken out of Lebanon by soldiers have been found thrown next to a trashcan near Metulla.

The sacred books were found by a security officer from Metulla, Amir Shoshani, during a security check done by jeep along the border. Shoshani was shocked to find the books left by the trashcan. The area had been used in previous days as a central gathering point for army equipment removed from southern Lebanon.

Shoshani took the bibles and other books in order to return them to the IDF. According to the IDF spokesman, the incident will be investigated.

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