World Report

Friday, February 28, 1997 | by

LONDON (JPS)—The gusts of wind that swirled around Horse Guards Parade in central London Tuesday appeared to sweep away a half-century of Anglo-Israel acrimony, as President Ezer Weizman was welcomed by Queen Elizabeth on the first day of the first state visit to Britain by an Israeli president.

Amid a 21-gun salute, the sun burst out of the steel-gray sky as the Israeli flag was raised alongside the Royal Standard at the parade ground at Whitehall, and the band of the First Battalion Scots Guards played Israel's national anthem, "Hatikvah."

Then the queen introduced Weizman and his wife, Reuma, to others on the royal dais, including her husband, Prince Philip, the heads of the armed services and the police, Prime Minister John Major and two of his most senior ministers, Home Secretary Michael Howard and Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, both of whom are Jewish.

But the highlight came toward the end of the ceremony when Scots Guards Commander Major Alastair Mathewson marched up to Weizman and formally invited him, in flawless Hebrew, to inspect the guard of honor.

Evidently surprised by the Hebrew, Weizman responded with a resounding "Toda raba" (thank-you very much).

Warsaw shul struck by suspected arson

WARSAW (JTA)—The only active synagogue in Warsaw has been damaged in what appears to be an arson attack.

The Tuesday fire was caused by two cans of flammable liquid that were ignited and thrown into central Warsaw's Nozyk synagogue, police said.

The fire wrecked the synagogue's old main entrance and left a large vestibule charred and littered with debris.

Police said the cause of the blaze was probably arson. One person was treated for smoke inhalation.

Last year, a bomb smashed windows of Warsaw's kosher restaurant, also near the synagogue. The motive of that attack has not been explained.

Palestinians sign European trade pact

BRUSSELS (JTA)—The European Union has signed a trade and cooperation accord with the Palestinian Authority.

Under the accord, the Palestinians are recognized as full partners of the European Union. Several Mediterranean countries, including Israel, have similar association accords with the 15-member European Union.