Monday 25 January 1999

Sacked minister: I'll oust Netanyahu

January 25, 1999

Matthew Kalman

ISRAELI defence minister Yitzhak Mordechai, dismissed from the cabinet at the weekend by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has emerged as the new leader of a fledgling centre party.

Mr Mordechai pledged to "leave no stone unturned" in his determination to remove Mr Netanyahu from power. He will join former military chief of staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, former finance minister Dan Meridor and former Interior Minister Roni Milo at a Press conference today to formally announce the founding of the party, which does not yet have a name. Israelis …

Monday 18 January 1999

Midnight at the Oasis

January 18, 1999

MATTHEW KALMAN samples the Holy Land's most incongruous new attraction: the Oasis casino, Jericho's answer to Sun City

GAMBLING is not an activity traditionally associated with a trip to the Holy Land. The pursuit is illegal in Israel and throughout much of the Muslim Middle East.

Not so in Jericho, now governed by the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat. Thousands of years after the biblical prostitute Rahab helped Joshua tear down the walls of the most ancient city on earth, the streets of Jeri-cho are ringing with the cries of religious leaders warning against lewd behaviour and whoring.

The object of their concern is the Oasis, a $50 million complex which opened …

Thursday 14 January 1999

Man charged over Miss World 'rape, torture and murder bid'

January 14, 1999

Matthew Kalman; Theodore Levite

A MAN has been arrested and charged with the rape and attempted murder of Miss World, Linor Abergil.

The alleged attack took place in Italy before Miss Abergil, 19, was crowned and while she was on a modelling assignment in Milan.

Shaul Nur, a Jewish convert from Islam who has joint Egyptian- Israeli citizenship and lives in Israel, was arrested on Sunday as he flew into Tel Aviv to visit his family. Nur, 43, claims to be a former agent for the Shin Bet Israeli secret service. He now runs a travel business in Milan. A reporting ban on the case was lifted today at Miss Abergil's request by judge Uri Goren, president of the Tel Aviv District Court, allowing the details to be …

Tuesday 12 January 1999

Mideast 'Wonder Boy' has leaders' ears

USA TODAY, Jan 12, 1999

Matthew Kalman

JERUSALEM -- On the final day of the Middle East peace talks in October outside Washington, a teen-ager from Jericho received an urgent call on his mobile phone.

"He was calling to tell me my prophecy had come true. The Israelis and Americans were at loggerheads, and Netanyahu was threatening to walk out." Prophecy? Meet Moussa el-Moghrabi, fortuneteller, faith healer and unofficial spiritual adviser to Palestinian leaders.

"Moussa is a phenomenon. I don't hesitate to consult him whenever I can," the minister says. He consulted with Moussa regularly before the peace talks in Washington, and the faith healer gave him a good-luck charm.


Friday 8 January 1999

Novices enticed to seek office in Israeli election

USA TODAY, Jan 8, 1999

Matthew Kalman

JERUSALEM -- Widespread voter disenchantment with the main parties on the left and right is drawing novice politicians into the electoral arena and driving many veterans toward the center before the May 17 Israeli election.

This was underscored this week when Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, a popular general with no political experience and no party organization, announced he will run for prime minister

At the same time, Dan Meridor, widely regarded as the spiritual heir to Israel's first right-wing prime minister, Menachem Begin, announced last month he was quitting Likud, the governing party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to form a new centrist party and run for the top job.


Tuesday 5 January 1999

Israeli task force tries to avert millennial madness

USA TODAY, Jan 5, 1999

Matthew Kalman

JERUSALEM -- The month-long surveillance and arrest of members of a Denver-based Christian cult was the first public operation of an Israeli task force set up to deal with the expected influx of extreme Christian groups for the turn of the millennium.

Israeli officials fear that extreme Christian groups, like the Concerned Christians who were arrested Sunday, will perform acts that they believe will hasten the second coming of Jesus as the year 2000 approaches.

"Better late than never, the security and intelligence authorities have woken up and dealt with this group," said Rabbi David Rosen, director of the Jerusalem office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and an expert on Jewish-Christian relations. "Had there been good intelligence, they would never have got into the country in the first place."


Israel deports 11 cults members

USA TODAY, Jan 5, 1999

Matthew Kalman

JERUSALEM -- Eleven suspected cult members who call themselves the Concerned Christians were ordered to leave Israel Monday.

A statement by the Israeli Interior Ministry released Monday said the cult members believe their deaths will hasten the second coming of Christ.

The ministry said cult members arrived in separate groups in September 1998. They lived in two houses in Mevasseret Zion and Motza, two affluent suburbs on the western approach to Jerusalem.