Newsletter : 7fax0824.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
Iraqi Jews: Holland Won't Help
The eight Jews remaining in Baghdad have accused Holland of refusing to help them
despite an immediate threat to their lives.
The eight have been attacked and are subject to constant threat from terrorist groups,
community officials said, but have been unable to obtain exit permits from Holland, the
country that officially represents Israeli interests in Iraq. According to members of the
Jewish community, officials in Holland's embassy said that the embassy was not qualified
to deal with permits, and that the Jews must travel to Amman or Damascus instead.
Baghdad's Jews, most of whom are sick or elderly, say they would be in danger if they
were to travel in Arab countries. The Jews said they currently remain in their homes
because of the danger of terrorist gangs.
Israeli School Year to Begin Under Palestinian Rocket Threat
By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli border communities are facing the new school year under the threat of
Palestinian rockets. Residents are accusing the Israeli government of failing to protect
Parents in the Israeli border town of Sderot say five out of nine schools have not been
fortified, even though Palestinian rockets fired from the nearby Gaza Strip land there
nearly every day. Furious parents say they plan to strike and keep their children home
when the school year begins in 10 days.
Alon Schuster, who heads the Gates of the Negev Regional Council in southern Israel,
told Israel Radio that the government has not kept its promises to fortify the schools in
Sderot and collective farms known as kibbutzim and moshavim. "And we will fight together,
the people of Sderot and the kibbutzim and moshavim, in order to get the basic protection
that each citizen of Israel deserves."
While some fortifications have been built in Sderot, residents say kibbutz schools have
been totally neglected. "We have two schools with about 800 students as well and we don't
have any sheltering at all," says Uri Na'amati, who heads the Eshkol Regional
Since Israel pulled all soldiers and settlers out of Gaza two years ago, the army says
Palestinian terrorists have fired some 3,000 homemade Kassam rockets across the border.
Angry residents have demanded harsh retaliation, but they have not been encouraged by the
"I think everyone understands that there's not a magical military answer to the Kassam
question," said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev. "I mean if it was an easy issue
to solve militarily we would have done it already." As a result, many frustrated parents
are sending their children to schools outside of the range of Palestinian rockets.
Rabbinate Stats: 180 Women, 185 Men 'Chained' by Spouses
A recent study of unresolved divorce cases over the past two years in the Chief
Rabbinate shows that some 180 women are "chained" to their husbands, while a slightly
higher amount of men are "chained" to their wives.
Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, the Director-General of the Rabbinical Courts, says this shows
that "the claims by women's organizations of thousands of women whose husbands refuse to
give them divorces have no basis in reality." In addition, the numbers show that men are
slightly more likely than women to fall victim to "divorce blackmail" by their spouse.
A spouse becomes "chained" when the divorce proceedings have ended, yet his or her
spouse refuses to agree to the divorce. A woman suffers more in this situation, as she is
biblically forbidden to marry again, and children she might bear to another man would be
considered bastards according to Halakhah [Jewish Law]. A man is similarly not permitted
to marry before being divorced, but the ban is much less severe, and in any event his
future children would not be considered illegitimate.
The Rabbinate considered the 942 divorce cases that were opened before 2005 and were
still unresolved by the end of 2006 - a fraction of the cases that were opened during the
period in question. Some 16,000 divorce proceedings are begun each year.
Specifically, the review analyzed nearly 350 of the unresolved cases - but which were
active in 2005 - and came up with the following numbers: Some 19 percent remain open
because the husband refuses to grant a divorce, while about 20 percent are open because of
the wife's refusal.
Another 13 percent of the cases remain unresolved because of monetary disputes between
the husband and wife. Herein is a tricky phenomenon, "How do we know that the words
'monetary dispute' do not conceal a demand by one of the sides to pay high sums of money
for the other's consent to a divorce?" So asked Arutz-7 of Haggai Seri, founder of the
"Fathers" Organization, a once-divorced, twice-married activist on behalf of husbands'
"The question is a correct one," Seri said, "and each case must be carefully checked.
There are cases where just demands are being made, and others that are simply out of
spite. For instance, I know a case where the wife stipulated a custody agreement giving
the husband three days a week of rights, compared to her four; the husband said, 'We are
parents equally, and until you recognize that, you won't get a divorce.' The very next
day, she changed the agreement to reflect a 50-50 division... That is not considered
blackmail, but rather his right to gain what he clearly deserves."
The Knesset, at the end of its recent session this summer, voted into law a bill that
allows Rabbinical courts to impose sanctions on spouses who refuse to grant a divorce.
Seri said he welcomes the law, "but only if it is imposed bilaterally, and not only on
The law authorizes the courts to issue restraining orders to recalcitrant spouses -
orders that can forbid him/her to leave the country, hold a driver's license or bank
account, or even, in some cases, to hold a job. The courts can even, in extreme cases,
order his or her incarceration or, if he/she is already in prison, their isolation. The
sanctions can also include the confiscation of monies and property, as well as the full or
partial negation of payments and stipends.
"The bill is designed to force a divorce in cases where the Court has decided that one
must be issued," said Zevulun Orlev (NRP), who sponsored it together with Likud Knesset
member Gideon Saar.
Arab Women Are Freer Today to Choose Their Spouse
Arranged marriages among Arab women are on the decline. Young Arab women are freer
today than in the past to choose their spouse. A new study conducted at the University of
Haifa found significant differences between the young Arab family in contemporary Israel
and the conservative Arab family of pre-state Israel.
"Almost 86 percent of women in the first generation had been parents who had been
involved to a large extent in choosing a spouse, in comparison to 52 percent of the second
generation and about 13 percent of the third generation," noted Dr. Nasreen Haj Yahia Abu
Ahmad from the School of Social Work, who carried out the study under the guidance of
Prof. Yoav Lavee.
The study findings showed that changes have occurred in various areas, from the method
of engagement, parental involvement in the choosing of the spouse, and the character of
the meetings with the spouse in the process of engagement. The study included 537 Arab
women, half of them Muslim and half of them Christian, from 179 different families and
from three generations.
Among many explanations, the researcher suggested one reason the young generation has
seen changes. "The more a woman finds herself intensely exposed to the Jewish population,
the more her views and behavior will be less traditional."
"Young women in Arab society are more educated than their mothers and their
grandmothers and are employed more outside the house," explained Dr. Haj Yahia Abu Ahmad,
about the trend in changes and differences among the generations.
The traditional arranged Arab marriage was common among the first generation (39
percent), but has become very rare among the second generation (10 percent) and among the
3rd generation it has almost completely disappeared.
Arab women now meet their grooms before engagement more than before. The researcher
noted there is also a significant decrease in match-making (shidduch) and getting to know
the spouse only after engagement. In the first generation, match-making occurred about 51
percent of the time, while it occurs approximately 18 percent of the time in the third
According to Haj Yahia Abu Ahmad, the data show a significant increase in acquaintance
before engagement. "This acquaintance was very rare in the first generation (less than 1
percent) and has completely turned around to be more common among the generation of
grand-daughters (61 percent)" she noted.
The University of Haifa study also indicates a significant decrease in the selection of
a partner from the same family. "73 percent from the 3rd generation married a partner not
from the same family compared to 56 percent of their mothers and 45 percent from their
grandmothers," said the researcher. This change is reflected in a decrease in marriage
among the same clan, among family relatives and among cousins.
It was also found among the youngest generation that the younger the woman, the higher
the age of marriage. Women from the first generation married on average at age 16, women
from the second generation at age 19, and women from the current generation married at age
21 on average.
Also, young women reported that the division of labor with their partner was more
shared than the division of labor had been with their parents. Husbands took on some of
the tasks associated with running the house and taking care of the children. The study
also found that the process of decision-making for more traditional couples was less in
their hands, and more with their parents.
The researcher believes that the study findings illustrate an incorrect picture of the
Arab woman as weak, inferior, dependent, and confined within traditional patterns that are
resistant to change. This description doesn't reflect the reality of Arab women's lives in
Israel. "The gloomy picture of the pseudo-depressing situation of the Arab woman and
description of her as submissive and dependent to the male and subordinate to him is not
correct," she concluded.
Report: Olmert Suggests Land Swap with PA
By IsraelNationalNews.com & Ha'aretz
The Olmert administration has suggested trading land with the Palestinian Authority
(PA) as part of a final status agreement, according to Ha'aretz. The proposal includes
granting the PA safe passage from Gaza to Judea and Samaria, giving the PA control over
the route while Israel would retain "sovereignty."
No specific areas to be exchanged were reported, and sources said details would be
worked out after the principles of the plan are accepted. Minister Chaim Ramon is one of
the prime leaders appointed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to formulate ideas and carry out
negotiations with the PA.
The final borders beginning to take shape use the separation barrier as a general line
of demarcation. Several Arab villages on the Israeli side of the barrier would be
transferred to the PA, and representatives of Judaism, Islam and Christianity would
administer the holy sites in Jerusalem, a deal that would end Israel's sovereignty over
The plan also recognizes the right of immigration of millions of Arabs living in
foreign countries on condition that they live only in PA areas and not in Israel. "There
is no secret channel and what was published about scenarios and expectations in some
Israeli media is not true," said a statement from Abbas' office.
Sources close to Abbas say the PA chairman has removed his objection to the
establishment of a state with temporary borders following the signing of the agreement of
principles, but has conditioned his agreement on international assurances of a timetable
for the end of negotiations on permanent borders.
However, Palestine Liberation Organization chief negotiator Saeb Erekat denied Thursday
that Abbas would agree to declare statehood on provisional borders.
Haifa Univ: Extracting Energy From Beneath the Ocean Floor
The University of Haifa, in cooperation with Stanford University, is embarking on a
unique, wide-ranging research effort to investigate energy production using gas lying just
below the sea floor as an alternative to oil.
The initiative will be conducted in the new School for Marine Studies at the University
of Haifa, the establishment of which was made possible through an $8 million donation by
U.S. businessman Leon Charney.
"One of the primary goals of the school is to evaluate the possibility of turning gas
lying at the sea floor into a valuable economic resource in order to eliminate dependence
on oil and change the geo-political reality in the world," said Charney. The University of
Haifa hopes that the school will become a world leader in research in this field.
The school will purchase new equipment which will enable marine research projects that
will examine possibilities for producing alternative energy from the sea.
"At a time when the entire world is concerned about the future of the planet, the
University of Haifa is spearheading new research on the subjects of water and energy,
where all of our futures lie. Our research will focus on producing alternative energy from
water instead of oil a revolution in the field. We are pleased that Stanford
University is cooperating with us in this important research," added Charney, who stressed
that this source of energy exists all over the planet and its production will eliminate
the dependence on oil that is concentrated in a number of Middle Eastern countries.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)