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>JN June 21, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 106
Men, Women Separated by Rabbinical Pressure
The Maale College for cinema and communication, in Jerusalem, the
only cinema school for religious students in Israel, will hold
separate classes for males and females, beginning with the next
school year. After a decade of operation of mixed classes, the
college decided, after discussions with rabbis and yeshiva
administrators, to separate the sexes and to make the focus of the
college more religious. The reason behind the decision: the
rabbinic establishment's opposition to works and cinematic features
that were too provocative.
Barak's Government Expected to Fall
By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)
Ministers representing a major coalition partner in Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Barak's cabinet have submitted their resignations --
a move that could destroy his parliamentary majority and hurt the
Middle East peace process.
Ministers of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party submitted their
resignations to Barak, signaling their intention to leave the
coalition government. The resignations take effect in less than
48-hours, giving the prime minister some time to negotiate and try
to save his 11-month-old government.
If the Shas party leaves the coalition, it will destroy Barak's
majority in parliament and make it more difficult for him to win
approval for agreements related to the Middle East peace process.
The party holds 17 seats in parliament. Without Shas, the prime
minister faces the prospect of forming a new, narrower and more
fragile coalition. Shas is currently involved in a dispute with
Barak's government concerning funding for its system of private
schools and legalizing its network of pirate radio stations.
The Shas party, which represents many poor and working-class
Israelis who immigrated from the Middle East and North Africa, is
demanding millions of dollars for the schools. Critics of Shas say
the school system is tainted by scandal and is poorly managed.
The coalition crisis erupted two weeks ago, when Shas voted with
opposition parties in the Knesset for early elections. Then last
week the party's religious leadership ordered the ministers to
A member of the opposition Likud party, Danny Naveh, says the prime
minister should call for new elections. "There is no way that Mr.
Barak could be able to keep all the segments of his coalition
together for too long. So, unfortunately, the only solution is for
Barak to admit he has failed in his job as prime minister during
the last year, or his first year as prime minister, and to call
A member of the Arab Balad party in parliament, Azmi Bishara, says
the political poker game will continue. "Barak will try, I think
until the last moment, to keep this religious party in the
government, in the coalition, because I think he needs, or
he tends to believe, that he needs a Jewish majority in the
parliament. He does not want to be in a situation where he needs
the 10 Arab votes in the parliament."
The resignations come at a critical time in the Middle East peace
process. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is due in the
region nearly next week, in an effort to narrow gaps between
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. Her trip is designed to
determine whether enough progress has been made to convene a
three-way summit with President Clinton, Barak and Palestinian
leader Yasir Arafat.
Israel and the Palestinians are facing a self-imposed deadline to
reach agreement on a permanent peace treaty by September.
60 Years After Holocaust, Daughter Gets Dad's Will
One month ago, Batya Tiemens, a Jerusalem resident, received a
surprising phone call: the caller from Holland told her that she
had found the will written by Tiemens' father, who died 60 years
earlier in the Holocaust.
Tiemens, who was born in Holland, recently wrote a book titled
"Struggle and Victory" about her life under the shadow of the
events of the Holocaust. The book was publicized in Holland's
newspapers, and the name caught the eye of Marion Tan-Toya. Ten
years ago, when Tan-Toya and her husband were renovating their
home, they found a double bottom in a closet in the bathroom.
Hidden there was a document case with the name Tiemens written on
it. Tan-Toya made contact with Batya Tiemens, and said that she
wanted to visit Israel and personally deliver to Batya the last
remnants of her parents and four siblings, who all perished in the
During the emotion-filled meeting between Tan-Toya and her husband
with Batya Tiemens and her family, Batya told of the last time she
saw her parents and siblings. Her father had been summoned to a
work camp, and knew that meant death. Her father, mother, and four
younger brothers went into hiding in another part of the city.
Batya and her older brother went to hide in a different location.
That was the last she saw of her parents and siblings. Later on,
she heard that her family had been informed upon and were taken and
shot in the street.
When Batya opened the document case, she found tens of family
photographs, documents, and a will written by her father, in which
he divided his effects between his wife and children.
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