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>Israel Faxx
>JN Sept. 14, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 158

Cabinet Minister Seeks to Declare Sunday a Day of Rest

By IsraelWire

Minister of Diaspora Affairs Rabbi Michael Melchior of the Meimad Party is proposing that Sunday be recognized as a day of rest in Israel to permit Israelis a day to take care of their personal needs such as shopping and chores. The minister feels that by providing another day off, the confrontations over Sabbath desecration would be significantly reduced.

Israeli-Arab Cells Uncovered

By Arutz-7

The General Security Service has uncovered two major Israeli-Arab cells planning violence against Israeli targets.

Some 45 Israeli-Arabs were arrested, most of them from the city of Um el-Fahm, in what is known as the Triangle, between Hadera and Afula. Northern Police Chief Alik Ron said that this was the biggest Israeli-Arab cell uncovered in more than 10 years, and that it has ties with the Islamic Movement.

The group had targeted Palestinians "collaborators" with Israel. Some of the cell members are accused of setting fire to the barber-shop of a suspected collaborator, trained with home-made weapons, and posted hundreds of posters threatening to murder collaborators if they do not reveal themselves within a month.

Yediot Acharonot's Arab-affairs commentator wrote Wednesday, "The organizing [into cells] of dozens of people planning to harm national security is no longer 'wild weeds...' It is most definitely a worrisome phenomenon. Again these are Islamic Movement members and again in Um el-Fahm...It is doubly worrisome because this was not a Hamas or Islamic Jihad initiative, but rather a home-grown initiative from among Israeli-Arabs.

"True, the first-stage targets were collaborators, but it is reasonable to assume that if the GSS and the police had not caught them, the next stage would have been Israeli [Jewish] targets."

More Than 650 SLA Refugees Have Left Israel for Lebanon

By IsraelWire

Senior officials in the security establishment have confirmed that 650 refugees of the former Israel-allied Southern Lebanese Army have left Israel, opting to return home and face criminal charges and probable imprisonment.
Critics of Prime Minister Ehud Barak insist that the continued flow of SLA refugees back home, despite the realization they will most likely be imprisoned, is a testimony to the government's failure to adequately provide for combatants and their families of the former SLA.

Officials added that they expect more SLA refugees to return home as he October start of the school year in Lebanon draws nearer. Officials acknowledge that about 50 to 70 refugees are leaving Israel daily, unable to "endure" the absorption process, which they explain is less than adequate to meet their basis needs.

The senior official added that on a more positive note, about 300 SLA refugees have already moved into their new apartments in various locations throughout Israel.

The regional school for SLA children in the Jordan Valley has opened its doors, providing classrooms for 350 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The school is employing 35 teachers, most of who are family members of the former SLA combatants.

ACRI Files in High Court on Behalf of Lesbians

By IsraelWire

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has appealed to the High Court of Justice on behalf of a lesbian mother who filed her petition against a Rabbinical Court which stated the woman's lesbian partner may not be present in the home with her children. According to ACRI, the Rabbinical Court does not have the authority to impose such a restriction on the mother and her lover.

The 36-year-old woman, who has custody of her three children, was told by the Rabbinical Court that her lesbian lover may not be with her inside or outside the home, together with her children. The court ruled that the lesbian relationship was harmful to the children and therefore, the lover may not be in the home or meet the children.

The High Court on Monday instructed State Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein to prepare a legal opinion on the case.

Female IDF Draftees Sent to Germany

By IsraelWire

Five Israeli girls, who are in their national service, became the first in the program to arrive in Frankfurt, Germany, where they are involved in a new program.

As part of their national service, the girls will be assisting in Jewish schools in Frankfurt, teaching Hebrew, Zionism and related materials.
According to Akiva Sela of the Bat Ami National Service program, the persons chosen were the result of a rigid scrutiny to ensure the candidates were suitable for the challenge. The decision was made by Sela and his associates to comply with the request by the Frankfurt Jewish community.

All of the girls speak English and Hebrew while some are also fluent in Russian and German. While in Germany, they will be assisted by the Jewish Agency emissary to Frankfurt.

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