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>Israel Faxx
>JN June 28, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 111

Worshippers Guarded at Western Wall

Israel Faxx Staff Report

Reform Jews, lead by a female cantor, prayed near the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest shrine, Tuesday without being heckled - a rare occurrence here. Police set up two rows of steel barricades about 450 feet from the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site. They guarded the perimeter, anticipating a demonstration by ultra-Orthodox Jews, who oppose the concepts of men and women praying together and a woman chanting the service. There were no incidents.

Albright Arrives in Israel

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has arrived in the Middle East to assess whether Israel and the Palestinians have made enough progress in their peace talks to hold a summit with President Clinton.

Albright is scheduled to meet with top Israeli and Palestinian leaders. She is to then recommend to President Clinton whether to host a three-way summit with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

Such a summit would be an effort to reach a framework agreement on a final peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians. Israeli officials favor holding such a summit early next month, while Palestinian leaders say the gaps on major issues are still too wide to call such a meeting. Each side is accusing the other of failing to make the tough decisions needed to reach an agreement.

Barak faces continuing problems with his governing coalition. Last week, the prime minister diffused one crisis by keeping the ultra-Orthodox Shas party in the government. Now, Interior Minister Natan Sharansky is threatening to pull his (Yisrael B'Alyia) party from the coalition.

Sharansky says Barak is ready to go to the United States for a summit without briefing his coalition in detail about the compromises he is prepared to make with the Palestinians.

Both Israel and the Palestinians have set September as the deadline for reaching a permanent accord on issues such as the borders of a possible Palestinian state, Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

Arafat Willing to Make Concessions on Jewish Quarter

By IsraelWire

PLO Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat has said that he wants control over the entire Old City of Jerusalem, but indicated he was willing to make concessions regarding the Jewish Quarter.

Arafat and the PA made another appeal to the United Nations, demanding that Israel comply with resolutions 338 and 242, calling for a withdrawal from areas liberated in the June 1967 Six Day War.

Arafat is also calling for an Israeli withdrawal from all areas in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, insisting that Israel was bound to adhere to the Security Council resolutions, which do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over liberated portions of Jerusalem liberated in 1967.

Orthodox Union Accepts Rabbi Lanner's Resignation

By IsraelWire

The American Orthodox Union has accepted the resignation of one of its leading officials, Rabbi Baruch Lanner, following a report in the Jewish Week in which it was reported that Lanner had sexually harassed and abused many persons over his career in the National Council of Synagogue Youth, over a period of over three decades.

OU President Mandell I. Ganchrow released the following statement: "We regret and are greatly saddened by the charges contained in The Jewish Week article ("Stolen Innocence," June 24).

"Having decided, in light of the seriousness of the allegations made against him, that he can no longer continue in his position with NCSY (National Conference of Synagogue Youth), and its parent body, the Orthodox Union, Rabbi Baruch Lanner has tendered his resignation, which has been accepted, effective immediately.

"NCSY, which has an outstanding record of achievement working with the youth of the Jewish community nationwide for over four decades, has a policy of zero tolerance of any inappropriate behavior.

"We believe it to be of paramount importance that this report, grave and sad as it is for all involved, not be allowed to divert NCSY from its important work with more than 40,000 youngsters in providing summer programs and local, regional and national events in which young people learn the beauty of our Jewish tradition.

"The officers of the Orthodox Union are proud of its 100-year leadership role in the Jewish community, and will work to maintain the high standards that Jewish law demands and the public expects."

The comprehensive NY Jewish Week report is based on interviews of dozens of persons who had contact with Lanner in the past, each detailing the stories of abuse and cover-ups by senior rabbinical figures who wished to protect the name of Lanner and the organizations he was affiliated with.

The 50-year-old Lanner is considered a major personality on the US Jewish educational scene and has served as a major influence in yeshiva education and outreach programs for over three decades in the capacities of teacher, principal, and senior NCSY official.

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