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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 17, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 122

Man Wins Lottery First Prize Twice

By IsraelWire

Three years after first winning first prize in the national lottery, a Tel Aviv resident again won first prize in the lottery. Each time he won NIS 3.5 million. The winner, married and a father of five, went this week to receive his half of the first prize in the new Super Lotto. He said he did not change his lifestyle after his first win, and doesn't intend to do so now. Aside from purchasing an apartment for his daughter, the man said that he continues to live simply and will continue playing the lottery.

Clinton Intensifies Barak, Arafat Negotiations

By VOA's Luis Ramirez (Thurmont, Md.) & Ross Dunn (Jerusalem)

Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations are intensifying as President Clinton prepares to leave Wednesday for the G-8 summit of industrialized nations in Japan, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart says it is obvious to both sides that they do not have much more time to settle their differences at Camp David.

"I think everyone understands the calendar. Everybody understands what the issues are and what the schedule is. I think they understand that an intense effort is needed."

Lockhart refused to speculate on whether the talks would continue after Clinton leaves Wednesday.

The pace of talks slowed Saturday in observance of the Jewish Sabbath, but there were some informal meetings between members of the Israeli and Palestinian delegations.

Clinton had sessions with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. Later, he sat between the two at dinner - in an atmosphere described as positive.

Talks are continuing with members of the delegations breaking into groups to discuss individual issues that still divide the two sides.

The negotiators are aiming to reach a final peace agreement by Sept 13. Key issues on the table include borders, the status of Jerusalem, and the fate of thousands of Palestinian refugees.

With the media blackout still in force, officials on all sides at Camp David are refusing to give any details on the substance of the negotiations.

In Jerusalem, Foreign Minister David Levy says the Palestinians are far from making the necessary compromises to reach a framework for a final peace treaty at the Camp David summit. He was commenting after a telephone conversation with Barak.

Levy describes as completely baseless any statements claiming the two parties have been drawing closer over key issues. He says that unless the Palestinians agree to compromise, the prospects are remote for reaching an agreement on the framework for a final peace treaty.

Levy says the Palestinians must realize there is a limit to which the Israelis are prepared to offer concessions in order to secure an accord. The Israeli foreign minister's pessimism was also echoed by other Israeli politicians whom Barak called to voice his concerns.

Tommy Lapid, who heads the secular opposition Shinui Party, says Barak does not sound like the most optimistic person in the world.

The prime minister also spoke with Cabinet Minister Haim Ramon, who says he does not believe the summit will be able to reach an accord unless the two sides agree to set aside the issue of Jerusalem.

Both sides claim the city as their political and religious capital, and Ramon says he cannot see any way of solving the issue of sovereignty in the present climate.

He says it is better to delay discussion of the issue for at least five-years, rather than to place the entire summit at risk of failure.

Israel Warns Iran of Arms Proliferation

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel has warned that Iran's successful testing of a medium-range ballistic missile will accelerate a deadly arms race in the Middle East. Israel's top army officer says the Iranian missile program threatens not only the Jewish state, but also the entire region.

The Israeli army's chief of staff, Gen. Shaul Mofaz, expressed strong concerns following Iran's successful testing of the Shahib 3 missile. The surface-to-surface ballistic missile has a range of 806 miles, making it capable of hitting targets in Israel.

Mofaz says Iran also wants to acquire non-conventional weapons of mass destruction. That development would make Tehran a threat not only to the Jewish state, but also to all countries in the Middle East within range of its missiles.

The Iranian Defense Ministry told Iranian State television that the Islamic Republic had no intention of using its missiles to attack other countries. But this reassurance is not accepted by Israeli and US defense officials.

Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon says Iran's test of a medium-range missile shows its determination to build longer-range weapons of mass destruction.

Israeli defense officials predict that Iran will have nuclear weapons within five-years.

Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said his country does not have any choice but to strengthen its own missile program. He said Iran has a stated policy of wanting to destroy the Jewish state, and this means Israel should develop weapons that are two to three times as advanced as those possessed by the Islamic Republic.

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