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Sivan-Tammuz 5759         Editor: Gwen Hamlin        June 1999


This winter’s drop in the water level of the Sea of Galilee due to the lack of rain has exposed an island that appears only once every 10 years. This little island becomes a landing spot for hundreds of birds. The lake is on a migration route of some 500 million birds headed from Europe to Africa.

BOULDERS – hundreds of thousands of tons – will be imported to Israel over the next four years from Turkey. Weighing between 3-6 tons each, the stones will be used as a breakwater in the area of the Port of Ashdod. Work on expanding the port is underway and plans to include slips that are 3.8 kilometers(about 2 miles) in length. Engineers estimate the new project will require about three millions tons of boulders. Israeli quarries are unable to supply all the boulders needed. Only about 5% of the stones available locally meet the weight requirement.

ISRAELI BEE experts will plant 100,000 eucalyptus trees by the end of the year 2,000, to offset the depletion of bees’ natural food sources caused in recent tree-cutting and building in the middle of the country. A recently developed strain of eucalyptus trees which yield record amounts of nectar will be used.

SYRIA has constructed a network of tunnels throughout the country to conceal its arsenal of ballistic missiles, which are capable of being tipped with non-conventional warheads, intelligence sources say. This has been done with the help from North Korea. Donald Rumsfeld (former US Defense Secretary and Chairman of the Committee to Assess the Ballistic threat to the USA) reveals that Iran, Iraq, and North Korea have hid their missile programs through the use of tunnels. Syria has built 5 tunnels concealing missiles capable of striking virtually any target in Israel and is building another 9 tunnels. The tunnels are well fortified and nothing short of a nuclear bomb will destroy them. Syria has produced unconventional warheads, including those filled with the nerve gas sarin.

THE NEW YORK SUPREME COURT dismissed a lawsuit against Yeshiva University over its campus housing policy at its Albert Einstein Medical School. The American Civil Liberties Union had brought the suit, charging that the school’s policy to offer campus housing to married heterosexuals and not to gay partners, is discriminatory.

THE LONDON CAB will be imported to Israel as a pilot program in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. The spacious interiors with seating in which passengers face one another will be standard in Israel. The diesel powered cars have anti-lock braking system, a requirement on all motor vehicles in Israel today. The new cars with a factory-installed partition makes physical contact with the driver impossible, for driver safety is a top priority in Israel.

ISRAEL’S AIRPORT AUTHORITY is adding four identification stations at Ben Gurion airport, allowing Israeli frequent travels to zip through immigration control by placing their hands on a machine that recognizes individual handprints.

AN AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER investigation revealed that Jewish refugees from the Holocaust were deliberately infected with malaria in medical experiments conducted by the Australian army during WW2. The 850 men volunteers included German and Austria Jewish refugees interned by Britain and sent to Australia in 1940. The anti-malarial drug was developed and later marketed by the British chemical company ICI and manufactured by the American chemical company, Winthrop. Today Australia remains the only country to which large numbers of Nazi war criminals escaped after WW2, which has failed to prosecute, expel or deport a single such criminal.

A 150 year-old Torah crown made of solid gold and embedded with diamonds, rubies and emeralds, was stolen from the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem last year. It has been recovered by the US Custom agents and returned to Israel.

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The Hebrew Root of Shalom?

The foundation of almost every Hebrew word is a root composed of [usually] three consonants, and each root has its own fundamental meaning. The other letters that fill in around the three-consonant root to make a word can be varied in many ways to make other words. However, something of the basic meaning of the root always remains in the meaning of all the other words.

The root of the word shalom is sheen-lamed-mem, transliterated in English as SH-L-M. It’s basic meaning is "wholeness" or "completeness." Literally hundreds of Hebrew words are built from the root SH-L-M, and all of them have some connection to this basic meaning. For example, ShaLEM means "complete," and is also the name of the city of Melchizedek mentioned in Genesis 14:18 (transliterated in English as "Salem"). SheLEM means "peace offering," which was part of restoring a broken relationship with God; SheeLEM means "he paid," that is, he completely fulfilled his obligation.

Hebrew is very efficient and has a relatively small vocabulary, approximately one-tenth that of English. One word can often serve a variety of functions. One sees this with the word shalom, which is usually translated "peace," but means more simply "tranquillity" or the opposite of war. A look at a number of Bible passages shows other meanings of the Hebrew word shalom – meanings that have not always been conveyed well in translations in other languages. In some of the references you may not see the connection, but the word shalom is present in the Hebrew.



Three girls swept the top three spots in the International Bible Quiz for Jewish youth, and the winner, with a perfect score, had never read a page of the Bible.

Orit Trom, an 18-year-old from Bnei Brak, who took top honors, is blind in one eye and almost blind in the other. She knows her Bible solelyorittrom.jpg (12647 bytes) from her parents who read it to her. Yet she scored a rare 100 points in the competition’s 36-year history. Her recall is apparently faultless. Orit herself modestly said she did not know the Bible by heart and was lucky in the choice of questions. But the judges said she did not suffice in short answers but embellished her answers with chapter and verse.

Her favorite books in the Bible, she said, were Proverbs and the Song of Songs.

Orit’s parents, Rivka and David, were so excited they cried. "We are so proud of her. She has an ability to learn which is amazing. Sometimes she quotes to us passages which we had no idea she knew by heart," said her father, an assistant school principal.

It wasn’t the first time a girl had won the competition, but it was the first time they took all top three places.

Orit was followed by Tami Cohen and Leah Palchik, both also from Israel. David Yaffe, who attends Yeshiva University High School in New York, took fourth place, and Liora Silk from Brussels placed fifth. Silk also won the Diaspora Quiz.

The sweep by three girls "is the best proof of the Jewish tradition that girls are equal in their ability to know and understand the Bible, and their sophisticated answers today showed us that," said Amos Hermon, head of the Education Department of the Jewish Agency.

Among the 68 semi-finalists participating were 12 students from the former Soviet Union. The demand and the interest youth is a sign of a renewed interest and the thirst to know much more about their own heritage.

An American tourist was caught trying to leave Israel with a suitcase full of ancient coins, dating from various historical eras. The man admitted to trying to smuggle 200 coins abroad, and faces up to 2 years in prison.

IN Israel a special police unit was established to combat car theft, and there has been a 30% decrease in stolen cars, taken from Israel into the territories. The unit’s operations include raids on chop shops, and illegal repair shops in the territories. It also inspects thousands of garages in Israel to determine whether they are using parts illegally obtained. Israelis are forbidden to enter the autonomous areas to repair their vehicles or purchase car parts.

Valery Kaminsky immigrated from Riga in 1977 to spy on Israel for the KGB, according to a charge sheet presented in Tel Aviv District Court.

According to TV’s Channel 1, Kaminsky worked at Tel Nof Air Base, and admitted to contacts with Russian agents. He is reportedly accused of handing over information provided by his son, who served in a secret army unit and had access to classified material.

This case is not an isolated incident. There are a few other Russian immigrants charged with spying. One said that if he had refused to work for the KGB, he would have endangered his relatives who were still living in Russia. "More than a million immigrants came to Israel from Russia," Absorption Ministry spokesman Yehuda Glick said. "If I were the KGB, I’d see this as a good opportunity. I hope nobody uses this against the Russian community. I think responsible people won’t."

Kaminsky, 54, of Rishon Lezion, denies the charges in the indictment. He says he is a Zionist Jew who worked on behalf of the Jews in Russia. He moved here out of Zionist motives and we hope that this will become clear," said Gil Dachoach, who is representing Kaminsky.

"Due to the veil of secrecy over crimes like this we can’t make his defense public." he added.

A KIT OF THREE SKIN CREAMS based on carrot oil, developed in Israel has been scientifically proven effective in repairing sun damaged skin. The three creams were developed at Natural Biological Cosmetics in Bat Yam. The three creams are mixed together and applied twice a day. The creams rejuvenate the skin cells, restores suppleness and reduces wrinkling.

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to identify lost Jewish property in Arab countries. The countries involved are Libya, Morocco, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon and Yemen. 800,000 Jews fled these countries after 1948. Palestinian negotiators will demand the right of return for refugees or compensation for their property. Israel will have to counter them with claims to property that is immeasurably greater.

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