World Briefs

Peres to D.C.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is planning to visit Washington next week. Peres will meet with White House and State Department officials on Aug. 1. He will be in Washington at the same time as Jordan’s King Abdullah, though there are no plans for the two to meet. Peres and Abdullah will be attending an international conference in Aspen, Colo., before they travel to Washington.

Palestinians Using Fertilizer to Build

Palestinian terrorist groups have begun using a compound from fertilizers to build more powerful bombs, according to Israeli security sources. The sources said the new chemical compound can produce a more powerful blast and is less dangerous to work with than materials previously used, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported. Security officials are particularly concerned because the compound, urea nitrate, is prepared from fertilizers that Israel was exporting to Palestinian areas for agricultural purposes.

Rabin’s Daughter Resigns

Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Dalia Rabin-Pelossof resigned Tuesday to protest the Labor Party’s continued presence in the government. In her resignation letter, which has yet to take effect, Rabin-Pelossof said she could not remain in the government, charging it was not carrying on the diplomatic legacy of her father, the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin-Pelossof’s decision came on the heels of Trade Minister Dalia Itzik’s disclosure that she is considering giving up her Cabinet seat to become Israel’s ambassador to London.

State Dept. Opposes Weapon Sale

The U.S. State Department reportedly is concerned about Israel’s plans to sell its Arrow anti-missile system to India. Secretary of State Colin Powell plans to raise the issue during an upcoming visit to India, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. U.S. officials fear the sale will exacerbate tensions between India and Pakistan, the paper said. Because the Arrow missile program was developed jointly by Israel and the United States, American approval is required for the sale.

Israel Transfers Money to P.A.

Israel has transferred tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said Monday. Peres told Army Radio that in recent weeks, Israel had transferred to the P.A. tax revenues the Israeli government froze after the outbreak of the intifada in September 2000. He said Israel was ready to hand over more than 10 percent of the total owed to the Palestinians if the money is used for its intended purposes, and not diverted to fund terrorism.

Deportation Plan Rejected

Israel’s attorney general rejected a plan to deport the relatives and friends of terrorists from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. Elyakim Rubinstein said the plan amounts to collective punishment and is therefore illegal. He did, however, approve deportations on a case-by-case basis if it is proven that the deportee aided the terrorist or was involved in terrorist activity.

School Sued Over Koran

The University of North Carolina is being sued over a requirement that incoming freshman read portions of the Koran. Three students and a Christian group, the Virginia-based Family Policy Network, filed a lawsuit Monday, charging that the requirement impinges on students’ religious rights. School officials said the requirement, which was instituted because the topic of Islam is timely, was not intended to promote Islam.

Restitution Shake-up

A leader of Holocaust restitution efforts around the world is proposing an organizational shake-up. Israel Singer, the president of the Claims Conference and the co-chairman of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, is expected to suggest a partial merger of the two groups to make restitution efforts more efficient. However, some officials attending the Claims Conference meeting in Luxembourg this week worry that such restructuring would not resolve larger debates on how Holocaust restitution money should be distributed.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

A group of American Jewish singles arrived in Israel in search of Jewish partners. The 32 singles are on a 10-day trip organized by the Jewish singles Web site and Birthright Israel, which offers free, first-time trips to Israel for Jews aged 18 to 26. The American group will meet several groups of Israeli singles during their stay. The American group is two-thirds men and one-third women, an imbalance that organizers attributed to the security situation in Israel.

‘Jewish Jordan’ to Play in Israel

“The Jewish Jordan” has signed a deal to play basketball in Israel. According to the Baltimore Jewish Times, Tamir Goodman, an observant Jew, has signed a three-year contract to play with Maccabi Tel Aviv, beginning this fall. Goodman, 20, left the basketball team at Towson University in Maryland last winter following an altercation with his coach. The 6-foot-3-inch guard initially drew attention while in high school because he plays with a kippah and refuses to play on the Sabbath.

Briefs by Jewish Telegraphic Agency.