Friday, May 30, 2003 | return to: international


Mideast Report

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JERUSALEM (JPS) -- A young Israeli has been admitted to a hospital in Tel Aviv under fears he contracted SARS. He returned on a flight from Paris after spending time in Toronto.

Toronto health officials confirmed Sunday that eight probable cases of SARS had been found in a new cluster that emerged in recent days.

Muslim scholar says women can bomb

JERUSALEM (JPS) -- One of the leading Muslim scholars has issued a ruling permitting women to carry out suicide attacks.

Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian who serves as the dean of Islamic studies at the University of Qatar, issued his ruling in response to last week's bombing in Afula, which was carried out by 19-year-old Hiba Daraghmeh.

"Women's participation in the martyrdom [suicide] operations carried out in Palestine given the status of the land as an occupied territory, in addition to a lot of sacrilegious acts perpetrated by the Jews against the sanctuaries is one of the most praised acts of worship," Qaradawi said.

Abbas is Baha'i, pamphlet claims

JERUSALEM (JPS) -- Thousands of leaflets were distributed after Friday prayers on the Temple Mount, accusing Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas of being a follower of the Baha'i faith, the youngest of the world's independent religions.

The Baha'i faith is a monotheistic religion that began in the Muslim world in the 1860s, but most Muslims don't regard it as authentically Islamic.

Rumors about Abbas' affiliation with the Baha'i faith have been circulating among Palestinians for many years. His critics have used these rumors to portray him as a member of a cult who does not recognize Islam as his sole religion.

Labor sets terms for temporary leader

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel's Labor Party bureau approved a proposal to choose a temporary chairman, paving the way for Shimon Peres to take the post.

Put forward by former party chairman Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, the proposal calls for appointment of a temporary chairman for a year, after which a permanent leader will be elected.

Peres had demanded that, if chosen as acting chairman, he serve at least a year.

3-way swap proposed for releasing Pollard

JERUSALEM (JPS) -- The United States should arrange a three-way prisoner swap with Israel and the Palestinians to bring about the release of Jonathan Pollard, jailed in the United States for 18 years on charges of spying for Israel, National Union Knesset member Aryeh Eldad said Tuesday.

According to Eldad's proposal, Israel would extradite Palestinian Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, who is on trial for organizing terrorism, and the Palestinian Authority would extradite to Israel the killers of tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi, who are jailed in Jericho. The United States would release Pollard to Israel in return, he said.

Judaica collection ransacked in Tel Aviv

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Valuable silver artifacts from a Judaica collection were stolen from the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv.

Some 35 objects worth tens of thousands of dollars were stolen from a private collection of Judaica, the daily Yediot Achronot reported.

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