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Canada-Israel Development Leases 120 Toronto Apartments to MeriStar

By Elazar Levin (courtesy of Israel's Business Arena)

Canada-Israel Development has signed a contract to lease up to 800 apartments in Toronto to MeriStar Hotels and Resorts of the U.S.. The contract was signed through MeriStar subsidiary BridgeStreet Accommodations. The apartments are owned by Canada-Israel and its customers.
The deal will generate high returns for Israelis who bought the Toronto apartments through Canada-Israel. In the first stage, 120 apartments will be leased to MeriStar in a five year lease. Rents will total $12.5 million over this period.

Israelis, Palestinians Exchange Gunfire at Bethlehem Church

By VOA News

Israeli forces and Palestinians exchanged gunfire Monday at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as a three-week stand-off continued. Each side accused the other of shooting first. There were no reports of casualties. Smoke from a small fire swirled near the church, built over the spot where Christians believe Jesus, their Messiah, was born.

Dozens of Palestinians, some armed, took shelter in the church on April 2 when Israeli troops pushed into Bethlehem as part of a West Bank offensive after a string of suicide bombings in Israel. The Israeli army said it will continue to surround the church until all wanted Palestinians inside either surrender or are captured.

Israeli forces also still surround the Ramallah compound of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, despite leaving most of the city on Sunday. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns met with Arafat in the besieged compound Monday. A Palestinian spokesman said that Arafat insisted on a total Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian towns and villages.

Arafat said a ceasefire was impossible while Israeli troops keep him a virtual prisoner. Israel said it would not relax its grip until Arafat hands over the suspected killers of Israel's tourism minister in October 2001.

In a Ramallah square, masked gunmen shot three Palestinian men accused of being informers for Israel, killing one and wounding the other two.

Israeli forces killed five Palestinians in separate incidents elsewhere. Two were killed in a clash while troops staged an arrest raid into the West Bank village of Asirah al-Shamaliyah, north of Nablus. An Israeli soldier was also killed during the raid. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli troops, reported to be an undercover unit, killed two Palestinians in a clash near the Boureij refugee camp.

And also Monday, the Israeli army seized government-issued press credentials from 17 journalists reporting on the Bethlehem standoff. The journalists, including reporters from Reuters and the Associated Press, were approaching the besieged church compound when an Israeli officer told them they were in a restricted area and demanded their press cards. The cards are essential to reporters crossing Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

An association of about 300 foreign journalists called on Israel to return the press cards and to stop impeding coverage of the standoff. Journalists have had access to much of Bethlehem the past three weeks, as the stand-off at the Christian shrine continues. But Israeli troops have repeatedly prevented them from approaching the church.

Iraq Urges Arab Oil Cut in Solidarity with Palestinians

By VOA News

Iraq urged Arab states to slash their oil exports by 50 percent in solidarity with the Palestinians while Saudi Arabia is pledging to maintain a stable oil market.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein made the appeal in a speech broadcast by Iraq's state-run television and radio. He urged Arab oil producers to cut their crude oil exports by 50 percent and deprive the United States and Israel of the half that is exported. He said an embargo should apply to any country that resells Arab oil to United States or Israel.

Definition of a Holocaust Survivor


A recent posting to the JewishGen Discussion group asked the question "What is the definition of a Holocaust survivor?" Many Jewish genealogists add a note to their family history database to identify Holocaust victims and survivors so the question is appropriate to genealogy.

Who is a Holocaust survivor was answered rather eloquently by Benjamin Meed, president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors--a Warsaw Ghetto survivor--in an incident he related some years ago. Meed travels the New York to Washington shuttle weekly in his dual role as AMG president (New York) and as a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council (Washington).

On one of the flights he happened to sit next to former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. They, of course, struck up a conversation. At one point, Meed stated to Kissinger, "You are a Holocaust survivor."

Kissinger seemed surprised at Meed's statement and reminded him that he fled Germany to the United States in the 1930s. Meed's response was to ask a question. "If you had remained in Germany what would have happened to you?" Kissinger responded, "I surely would have died." Meed concluded, "Then you are a Holocaust survivor." Kissinger thought for a moment and responded, "Yes, I am a Holocaust survivor."

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