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JERUSALEM (JPS) -- After two-and-a-half months of being in Israel in limbo, the family of Elazar Yisrael has been given a legal status, temporarily at least.
Elazar Yisrael acquired Israeli citizenship during an earlier stay in the country. But his wife and four children, as well as two grandchildren from a former marriage, had all been in Israel with no right to work, attend ulpan or be covered by health insurance.
The members of the family, who are black, were converted to Judaism by Conservative rabbis in the United States. When they arrived in the country, they were held for six hours at Ben-Gurion Airport, after which they were released with tourist visas.
On Thursday of last week, Jerusalem attorney Dan Evron, who is the legal counsel for the Conservative movement in Israel, said that the ministry had told him it would accord the family A5 temporary resident visas for two months. During that time, it will investigate the legal status of the grandchildren, who are in Israel without their parents.
Knesset committee to probe bridge fall
JERUSALEM (JPS) -- After months of lobbying efforts by Australian families, the Knesset has established a parliamentary committee to investigate last year's Maccabiah bridge collapse.
Chaired by Labor member Micha Goldman, the bipartisan committee next month will begin examining issues related to the circumstances surrounding the 15th Maccabiah, in which four members of the Australian delegation died and several were injured when a footbridge collapsed into the polluted Hayarkon River.
A deadline for the completion of the committee's work has been set for next April.
A report by the Education Ministry's Dotan Committee, headed by former IDF chief engineer Brig. Gen. Yishai Dotan, was released in July 1997, eight days after the disaster. It blamed a chain of negligence for the collapse, including faulty planning, incompetence, inferior materials, lack of coordination between construction companies and organizing bodies, and lack of technical experience.
Five of those held responsible for planning and building the bridge have since gone to criminal trial for causing death by negligence. The trial, which began Jan. 20, is being held in the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, before a three-judge panel.
Nine arrested during Tisha B'Av services
JERUSALEM (JPS) -- Jerusalem police arrested nine people in the Old City Sunday during Tisha B'Av prayer services, including three Temple Mount Faithful activists who tried to force their way onto the mount through the Mugrabi Gate.
A group of 50 people from the Temple Mount Faithful, wearing sackcloth and ashes, marched from the Western Wall to the Mugrabi Gate. Police, however, refused to let them enter to recite Tisha B'Av elegies on the mount.
Three Kach activists were arrested by the Gate of the Chains, one of the access gates to the Temple Mount, after they yelled out "death to the Arabs," which fueled heated arguments between Arabs and Jews in the area.
Romanian premier pledges to return land
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Romania's prime minister vowed during a visit to Israel to back legislation to return to Jews property confiscated during and after World War II.
Radu Vasile met last week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who praised his Romanian counterpart's sensitivity toward Jews.
The World Jewish Restitution Organization estimates that there are thousands of communal properties and as many as hundreds of thousands of private properties owned by Jews in Romania that were confiscated by the Nazis and by the postwar Communist government.
IMAX to make debut at three sites in Israel
JERUSALEM (JPS) -- The Imax Corp. has granted its first country-wide franchise to a group of North American investors, who plan to establish three mega-theaters to show the special IMAX giant-screen movies in Jerusalem, Eilat and Tel Aviv at an initial investment of $35 million, the franchise holders said late last month.
Two New Yorkers, Bennett Kaplan and Peter Israelson, head the investment group.
Kaplan said the Jerusalem and Eilat theaters, which will have the standard eight-story high screens, are scheduled to open in September 1999. The Tel Aviv theater is expected to be completed afterwards, and more theaters may be established later elsewhere in the country. They will be the first IMAX theaters in the Middle East.
Two Israeli girls win world yachting title
JERUSALEM (JPS) -- Limor Kliger, 16, and 15-year-old Vered Buskila registered a first for Israeli women's sport Saturday when they won the women's world 420 yachting title in Greece.
Kliger, of Hapoel Tel Aviv, and Buskila, of Hapoel Bat Yam, edged out 47 other duos from 16 countries in their race for the title. The 420-class yacht is not an Olympic class vessel.
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