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February 14, 2003

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PAGE 2 HERITAGE JTA Weekly Summary Following are Jewish Telegraphic Agency's news briefs for Tuesday, February 11, 2003. Palestinian memo cites Hamas ambitions Hamas wants to replace Fatah as the dominant party among the Palestinians, according to a memo prepared by the Palestinian Authority's security services. Any will- ingness Hamas shows to temporarily halt attacks on Israelis is part of this strategy, according to the memo, which was cited by the Israeli daily Ha'aretz. Hamas regards itself as a "replacement for the P.A through peaceful means," the memo said. Animal fights bill causes concern A Jewish and an Islamic group in Canada joined forces regarding a new bill that would tighten ar{imal cruelty laws and impose tougher penalties on animal abusers. In a joint brief to a Senate committee studying the new bill, the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Islamic Council of Imams-Canada requested that the legislation specifically exempt Jewish and Islamic ritual slaughter. According to Manuel Prutschi, the CJC's national director of commu- nity relations, the group is"100 percent behind the intent of the legislation," but is worried that it could lead to prosecutions against Jewish ritual slaughterers. The leg- islation "puts the Jewish and Muslim communities on the defense," he said. Claims Conference announces allocations The Claims Conference said it allocated nearly $76 million last year to help needy Holocaust victims. The funds, distributed in more than 30 countries, were used for assistance including hunger relief, medical care, rent subsidies and day care centers and nursing homes. Funds totaling $8.6 million were allocated last year to organiza- tions and institutions engaging in Holocaust research, education and documentation, the group said. Most Jews see Iraq-terror link Three-quarters of U.S. Jews support the Bush administration's contention that Iraq supports Al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, according to a new poll. The poll by the San Francisco-based Institute for Jewish & Community Research found that 76 percent say Iraq has links to terrorist groups, and 62 percent have a similar view of Iran. In addition, 60 percent say Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority supports terrorism, and 53 percent say the same about Saudi Arabia. The survey of 1,002 adult Jews has a 3 percent margin of error. resume, By Naomi Segal reforms in the Palestinian Au- Palestinians preceded Israel's primaries are held, thority; and an end to terror- Jan. 28 elections, observers his chances of JERUSALEM (JTA) After ism. have suggested that Sharon is potential rivals months of inactivity, the Is- Although Weisglass was ex- interestedindemonstratinghis chairman Benjamin raeli-Palestinian diplomatic pected to hold further meet- willingness to negotiate with Eliezer, or legislators track is showing some faint ings with Palestinian officials the Palestinians as part of ef- Vilnai and Avraham signs of life. in the coming days, political forts to convince Israel's Labor Meanwhile, According to reports pub- observerswerecautioustoher- Party to join a unity govern- ued on the ground. fished this week, Israeli Prime aid any real diplomatic move- ment. On Sunday, three MinisterAriel Sharon met Feb. ment just yet. On Sunday, PresidentMoshe ians w~ 5 in Jerusalem with Ahmed Instead, they suggested, KatsavformallyinvitedSharon bombing outside an Karia, thespeaker of the Pales- there could be two factors be- to form the next government, army post in southern tinian legislative council, as hind the public disclosure of Under the law, Sharon has six Two Israeli sol part of efforts to renew high- lastweek's meetings: the loom- weekstoformanewgoverning injured in the blast and level contacts between the two ing showdown with Iraq and coalition, others were treated sides. Sharon's negotiations with Is- At the ceremony, SharonThe three Palestiniar~ In addition, Dov Weisglass, raelipoliticalpartiesaboutcre- invited "all Zionist parties" to openedfireonthe who heads the Prime Minister's ating the next government, join a broad-based coalition, their car, and then drover Office, met last week with the ThelsraelidailyMa'arivsug- He also called on Labor Party Palestinian officials in charge gested that last week's talks leader Amram Mitzna to join In the West Bank of finance and interior affairs, were held following pressure his government, saying if day, Israeli troops Some observers question the from the United States, which Mitzna carries through on his Palestinian near NablUS v significance of the meetings, hopes signs of progress on the repeated refusals to do so it they saidwas t which were followed by con- Israeli-Palestinian track will would be a "breach of public out a suicide attack. tinued violence, help generate international faith." Top Labor officials de- During his meeting withsupport for its campaign cided lastweek that the party policefounda~ Karia, Sharon offered the Pal- against Iraq. shouldnotenteragovernment belt with 33 pounds estinians a gradual cease-fire, last Friday, the U.S. State led by Sharon. sives Feb. 6 in a He proposed that the Pal- Departmentwarnedprivateciti- On Sunday, former PrimeThe belt was found estinianAuthoritychooseone zens not to travel to Israel as Minister Shimon Peres said or two cities for which it will tensionswithIraqmount.Inan thatunlessSharonchangeshis bers of Islamic assume full security respon- advisory, the United States also positions, thecontactswiththe on their way to carry sibility. If the Palestinian Au- urgedall but essential U.S. dip- Palestinians will not lead any- suicide bombing in thority takes action to halt lomats, along with their family where. Interrogation of the tw~ terrorist attacks, Israel will members, to leave Israel, Jor- In another development, withdraw its troops from dan, Syriaand Lebanon. Mitznais reportedly consider- those areas and ease restric- AlthoughArafatsaidoverthe ing calling for new leadership tions on the Palestinian popu- weekend that hewelcomed the elections in the party as early lation, renewed Israeli-Palestinian as May or June. Mitzna may viously, with In the discussions, Sharon talks, one Palestinian official, submit the proposal at an up, ing the explosive belt. reiteratedhisrefusaltonegoti- Sufian Abu Zaide, accused coming meeting of the party's Because of tight atewith PalestinianAuthority Sharon of not being serious CentraICommittee, theIsraeli however, the two hid PresidentYasserArafat. about making diplomaticdaily Ha'aretz reported, inth~ Sharon also laid out three progresswith the Palestinians. Under the Labor Party con- the Israeli Arab town conditions for the resumption Instead, he said, Sharon is stitution, elections for a new The~ of negotiations with the Pales- motivated by domestic politi- leader must be held within 14 Bank, planning to pick tinians: replacement of the cal interests, months of losing an election, explosives for an Palestinianleadership; imple- While sources close to SourcesclosetoMitznareport- may have been l mentation of comprehensive Sharon say contacts with the edly believe that the sooner Friday, police said. nity Do You Have Pre-Paid Funeral Arrangements With Another Funeral Home? We Can and Will Accept All Other Pre-Paid Plans Discount on . I ntservices and merchandise tn ,on any new n I I t Pre-need contracts, t I I t- IIWllll IImllm I IIlil i allllllll gill lille i NIP illllm I i i i illlllll ilBi illllllll i iiJ 640 Lee Rd. Orlando, Florida W.E. "Manny" Adams, LFD Marilyn J. Glenn, LFD, James R. Cardinal, Executive Director Michael Meyer, Family Pre-need Counselor Tzvi Halikman, Ritual Director O By Rachel Pomerance remaining synagogue in was thecenter Baghdad - their situation is and is credited with NEW YORK (JTA)--Joseph fragile, the greatest advances in. Dabby was caught amid the "They are a tiny, vulnerable ishhistory, winds of change.An Iraqi Jew, group and current rhetoric the Babylonian Talmud, he was twice tossed into the from the Iraqi government pleted between 500 and country's jails ontrumped- up increase their fears and ours," C.E. Itwashome to major. charges of spying for Israel accordingtoStevenSchwager, ish institutions and after the 1967 Six-Day War. executive vicepresidentofthe nent scholars. Dabby now remembers being American Jewish Joint Distri- Even in modern timeS, blindfolded by Iraqi officials, bution Committee. eral recent marched outside and frozen "As soon as circumstances rael have come from by the sounds of gunfire allow, JDC will do whatever is Atthe; around him. humanly possible to help - the 1940s- the Iraqi Eventually, Dabby was re- them." The Jewish presence community leased with the help of influ- inwhat is now Iraq is a tale of 130,000, flourishing in ential connections and money, one of the longest surviving ernment, commerce, "I was lucky," he says, re- Jewish communities, dating cine and the arts. calling what befell his uncle, back to 722 B.C.E, when the Most of them who was tied to a spinning northern tribes of Israel were Baghdad, with the ceilingfanandjoltedwithelec- defeated by Assyria and taken largest population in tbel: tricalshocks for the samebo- into captivity there, accord- city of Basra. gus charge at that time. ing to Lawrence Schiffman, In the years before While Iraq is a bitter the Edelman professor of He- WarlI memory for Dabby - now 57, brewandJudaicstudiesatNew importers and and a developer living in Los York University. Jewish, according to Angeles - he identifies with But most of the Jews came Levin, the author of the Jewish community in his to what is now Iraq in 586 Doors: The Seizure of homeland, where only about B.C.E when it was Babylon. Property in Arab 50 Jews now remain. The southern tribes of Israel Through their As America prepares for a were conquered by the trade, some possible war in the Persian Babylonians, who destroyed Iraqi Jewssetl Culf, Iraqi Jewish expatriates theFirstTemple, and enslaved such as India, Singapore are wary of the repercussions the Jews in their land.Indonesia. ofwaringeneral,andontheir That's why Jews from the Iraq, which became a former countryin particular, area often refer to themselves tion-state in1932 Just the same, they largely as "Babylonian Jews," empha- four major Jewish supportit, sayDabbyandoth- sizingtheirhistoricalconnec- Baghdad, which ers interviewed for this ar- tion to the "Fertile Crescent," dents in English, ticle, a land dominated at different French and Hebrew. "I'm scared of what this timesbypeoplesincludingthe Jews "were the crazy man can do," Dabby says, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, elite group," says referring to Iraqi leader Mongols and Turks. Nassim, trustee of the Saddam Hussein. As Dabby puts it, "We con- can Sephardi FederatiO0 "I think we're embarking sider ourselves biblical Jews. president of the on the right way," he adds, We go back to the slaves that Jewish Center calling America's initiative were brought by Great Neck, New York. "courageous." As for the few Nebuchadnezzer from thede- But life changed for ] Jews left in Iraq- about half of structionofthe FirstTemple." Jews around the turn whom are elderly and said to From the seventh century to be seeking haven in the last the 11th century, the region See "lraq" on