Israel Resource Review 4th August, 1998


Report on Palestine Authority Summer Camps
by Itamar Marcus
Director, Palestinian Media Watch

Part 1.Educating Children to Violence
Part 2.Children's Summer Camps are Military Training Camps
Part 3.Education Children to See Land of the State of Israel as Palestine and Israeli Arabs as Palestinians

1. Introduction

The Palestinian Authority runs official summer programs and activities for children that they publicize daily via their official television and newspaper. The main program is a network of summer camps run under the auspices of the PA. The declared aim of these camps is political education and military training of the children.

The child undergo training in weapons, hand to hand combat, as well as jumping through rings of fire. This training is mixed with open calls to violence, including a chant calling to push Israel into the sea. A clip broadcast tens of times tells that "they" destroyed and "took everything in 1948". Finally, the map the children are taught has "Palestine" replacing the state of Israel while the children in the camps are divided into platoons named as regions in Israel. Numerous activities are geared to teach them that all the land of Israel is Palestine and they stress joint activities with Arab children in Israel, who are also called Palestinians. The box to the above right lists educational messages from television broadcasts and news articles from the summer camps.

Part 1 - Educating Children to Violence


The Palestinian Authority openly and actively educates to violence through summer camp activities, as broadcast on its daily television program which reviews the camp's activities.

Education and Activities

* From a report on the Children's Committee on Education
Girl: "I felt like an adult I held discussions with them and I may do so in the future, until we defeat the Zionist enemy with the help of the children, supervisors, teachers and soldiers "

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 7, 1998)

* On the summer camps broadcast, the announcer says:
"Jihad is the principle belief which will never end regardless of how many fall"

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 12, 1998)

* "The camp theater group is planning to put on a play called "The Land My Land", a national play which talks about the Palestinian's devotion to his land even if it costs him his life."

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 14, 1998)

* Member of Parliament, Jamilla Zidam said: " These camps are a realization of our determination to mention the "tragedy" [Israel's creation] in light of our right of return [to land in Israel]. She stressed that "these camps come to emphasize our determined position to continue in the paths of our fallen martyrs".

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 22, 1998)


* Han Yunes Summer Camp

Boy sings:
I came to you with my sword in hand we will oust them [Israel] out to the sea. Your day is coming, conqueror, then we will settle accounts. Our accounts are unending in stones and bullets.

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 2, 1998)

Girl in other framework

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 7, 1998)

* In a Han Yunes summer camp a boy calls out and his class shouts after him:

Boy: Youth win!
Class: Youth win!

Boy: Trained with weapons
Class: Trained with weapons

Boy: Revolution
Class: Revolution

Boy: Revolution until victory
Class: Revolution until Victory

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 2, '97)

* In the program on the summer camps, on the parade grounds, one of the military trainers calls out and the children repeat after him:

"We have an obligation towards our country
We will protect her, both young and old
I am in a group of 500
My children are my redemption
My children, my children, oh, my country
are in the suicide squad

As long as the mine explodes
In a cry: Allah Akbar [battle cry "God is Great"]
I return to you, my country
The beloved land of Jerusalem

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 7, 1998)

* In the program about the summer camps, one trainee recites:

"With stones and bullets I will come to you, my country
Your soldiers and prisoners are guarding you
Young men and women and stones protect you
And where are you my country?"

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 15, 1998)

* In the program about the summer camps, one boy sings:

One day they attacked
Attacked my country,
They killed the old and slaughtered the young
They burned the Koran and destroyed the house
They marched upon my heart
You are my country

Onward, to Jihad
Onward capture my country
Alla Akbar, [God is Great], Ah
Alla Akbar [God is Great], Ah
Alla Akbar, [God is Great] Ah
Alla Akbar, [God is Great] my country

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 19, 1998)

* In the summer camp a boy recites:

"Palestine rebelled
Palestine was devoted
The belief is in its martyr
Blessed is Allah
Rebel, oh Palestine
Be devoted, oh Palestine"

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 9, 1998)

* In the summer camp, and boy sings:

"Long live the intifada,
Long live those who participated
May your father die (Israel)
All who participated in you (in the intifada) are heroes
May your father die

[Later in the song] We will yet show Netanyahu [4x]

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 7, 1998)

Part 2. Children's Summer Camps are Military Training Camps


* The atmosphere in the summer camps is that of a military camp. At the head of the camp staff is a camp commander and: "on the staff there are National Security men, military personnel and National Political Direction figures."

(PA TV, July 12, 1998)

Summer Camp Goal Military Training for Children

* "Lieutenant Mahmad Matir of the Presidential Security Forces, who is responsible for the military training in the camp, believed that military training is obligatory for all participants in the struggle of our people, until we arrive at the point where all our people are well versed in military subjects. He added: "we also teach the girls the same military commands that the soldier learns."

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 12, 1998)

* "The camp commander explained that the program has a number of aspects and among them is the focus on the military side, this is in order to create a generation which will be able to handle all possibilities. According to him: "Our people know the one truth and that is that the past is over, the present is here, and the future is open to all possibilities"

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 12, 1998)

* The camp commander said: "The purpose of the establishment [of these camps] was to promote the coming generations from the cultural, educational, health and military aspects the deputy commander of the camp said that the camps are like a mission under the auspices of the political guidance to build a generation who is capable of shouldering the responsibilities of the present and the past, who can arrive at Jerusalem, fight the settlements and build the independent Palestinian state"

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 19, 1998)

* The camp commander says: "I thank the military supervisor of the summer camps we have 9 military trainers and a training staff that are headed by 2 people holding the military ranks of lieutenant "

(PA TV, July 7, 1998)

* In the program on the summer camps, dedicated to the issue of food supplies to the camp, the narrator says: "There are those who believe that because these young girls and boys are little, they need less food, however, there are orders from the President that the quantity should be like any other soldier".

(PA TV, July 16 98)

* In the program about the summer camps, the person in charge of supplies says: " we are coming close to a state under the leadership of Arafat and then we will need all these trained young boys and girls"

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 16, 1998)

Training, Symbols and Texts:

* "Lieutenant Manzar Zwayd held a lecture on the technical and tactical characteristics of the rifle"

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 9, 1998)

* "The military trainer, Lawy Abu, gave a training session alone to children on the subject of the art of battle and self defense using samples made of tires, plaster and nails"

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 12, 1998)

* "Children scream 'commando' and jump into a burning ring."

(Three times on different days - PA TV, July 1998).

* "Mahman Alnamar, the trainer, noted that the young boys are learning many military commands such as those being learned by the soldiers"

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 12, 1998)

* "Hareb Abu Nahel, the trainer, said that he teaches the young boys about all parts of the rifle and about the way to use them militarily"

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 12, 1998)

* A huge picture of the Temple Mount is shown, covered with blood, arms and heads and with Arabian horses going up to the Mount, while the anthem is being played in the background. This picture is hanging on the wall of a school and girls are standing at attention, some of them saluting.

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 19, 1998)

Additional military activities for youth:

* The second training course in memory of the fallen soldier Halil Elwazir began yesterday. This course is military and voluntary, closed [held] in coordination with the Prevention Arm of the Security Staff at Tel Alhu Headquarters. Also, the first volunteer training course, 'Jerusalem', for ages 12-16 started yesterday and will continue for one month, in coordination with the Naval Police and with the participation of 80 young men. It has also been decided that a third training course in memory of Halil Elwazir will begin today, with the participation of 100 young men and in coordination with the Military Intelligence Apparatus and it will continue for a full month.

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 19, 1998)

Part 3. The Land of the State of Israel is Palestine. Israel's Arab are Palestinians.

A prominent message in the summer camps is that the territories of the State of Israel are part of Palestine and that their Arab inhabitants are Palestinians. This idea is expressed through activities, symbols and songs.


* Summer camp activities will begin tomorrow with the participation of boys and girls from the West Bank, Gaza and within the Green Line, with the purpose of continuing the integration among the children of our people two camps will be situated in Jaffa and Nazareth [Israeli cities]

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 14, 1998)

* (From occupied Jerusalem) "Under the title '50 years of Occupation' and under the slogan: 'we will not forget and we will not forgive', the Palestinian Training Center opened the summer camp that will concentrate its activities this year on the subject of 50 years of occupation. The activities will include visits to the destroyed villages in the Jerusalem region: Dir Yassin, Ein Karem, Malha, Amuas, Lifta and the Old City of Jerusalem [all in Israeli]"

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 21, 1998)

* A "Kite Happening" was held in Gaza under the name 'Kites with No Borders. The kites bore the names of the Arab villages [in Israeli] that were destroyed in 1948. One of the organizers: "This happening is called 'Kites with No Borders' so that the names of the villages that were destroyed will reach over the borders to the Palestinian youth."

(Palestinian Authority TV, June 27, 1998).

* "A delegation from the program: 'Children with No Borders' from the Alfuar Refugee Camp concluded its visit in the city of the fallen soldiers Sachnin [in Israel] at the request of the new party, in Lod [Israeli city] the delegation visited the mayor, the monument for the martyrs of Land Day and the villages from which they were banished the delegation also accepted an invitation to participate in the summer camps in Acre and Nazareth [Israeli cities] . . .

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 21, 1998)

* The directors of the program 'Children with No Borders, which belongs to the Palestinian Child Cultural Center in the Alfuar Refugee Camp, received an invitation from the Arab Academicians Institute in Acre [in Israel] to participate in a meeting in order to coordinate the participation of the [children of] the program 'Children with No Borders' - within the camp program 'Connection with No borders', which will take place at Acre Beach [in Israel]

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 22, 1998)


Group names:

The Children in the summer camps are divided into brigades. The brigades are named after areas in the State of Israel.

* "Abed El Aziz Abu Hatmah, the Political Coordinator gave a lecture to the "Safed" brigade, and the Political Guide Fuzy Braha gave a lecture to the Dir Yassin and Tiberias brigades on the subject of the geography of Palestine".

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 11, 1998)

* "The commander [of the camp] said they were divided into four brigades, which carry the names of the Palestinian cities that were destroyed by the occupation in 1948."

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 21, 1998)

* The commander of the 'Scientists" summer camp: "the names of the children's groups are the names of the villages and cities of before such as Dir Yassin, Dir Snin, Almajdal, etc."

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 17, 1998)

* "[The camp commander said] The directorship for political and national guidance has taken upon itself to inform the camp participants that Palestine and all its cities and villages are our property and we are hers He added that there is a committee that deals with the preparation of maps which display our Palestinian villages and cities that the occupation destroyed in the process of conquering our land."

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 12, 1998)

The map of Palestine includes all of the State of Israel:

* On a report from the summer camps displays a giant map of "Palestine", which erases all of the State of Israel. The reporter, standing next to the map, describes the self-sacrifice needed for Palestine.

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 19, 1998)

* In a report on the Children's Conference on Education, the participants wore shirts with the map of "Palestine" erasing all of the State of Israel.

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 7, 1998)

Songs and Training

Four girls sing and dance:

"My country, I love her
My home is Gaza
My roots are in Haifa"

In a report on the summer camps:

Reporter: Where are you from?
Girl: From Beer Sheva
Reporter: Beer Sheva is one of the Palestinian cities now occupied

(Palestinian Authority TV, July 7, 1998)

* Vice General Abu Salam [The General Supervisor of the summer camps] said that we will not forget the names of our cities and the villages that were destroyed by the occupation, and we say to Netanyahu and his party that we will always work for the liberation . . .

(Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 12, 1998)

* A children's television clip which was aired tens of times in the last months, depicts all of the country as Palestine and the Israelis as those who "took everything in 1948."

The following is the some of the main text:

"My Country Her Name is Palestine" (children play and sing:)

"My box in my room, the room of my house, the house of my neighborhood, the neighborhood of my country and my country is very beautiful, there are houses and oranges and neighbors and trees " [In the background there are children playing, and a multi colored model of the hills on which the children are "building" houses and "planting" trees]

One girl stops the singing and says: "Do you know what happened in 1948? They took everything! They emptied our room, they broke the house, they burned the forest, they changed the names, changed the names . . . .

"This is still my country, she is very beautiful, the name of my country is Palestine".

At the end of the clip, the children introduce themselves by first name and city, identifying their homes as places in Israel: a boy from Kfar Kassem, Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa and others.

(Palestinian Authority TV, June 4, 19, 25, 29, and July 2, 7, 10, 12, 20, 27, 28, 1998)

Palestinian Media Watch
59 King George St. Jerusalem
Phone: (+972-2) 625-4140

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The Odd Couple Fight an Odd Traffic System to Reduce Speed and Save Lives
by David Bedein, MSW
Media Research Analyst

To alleviate the many traffic concerns of the public, the Israeli government is planning to build Route 6, the Trans Israel high-speed superhighway that will connect the country from North to South. Israel's first tollway, Highway Six, planned by the Trans-Israel Highway company, has been on the maps of Israel since 1976, planned as a 135 kilometer road, reaching from area north of Acre to the areas south of Kiryat Gat in the Negev.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem suddenly sports three superhighways that criss-cross the city.

The Finance and Transportation Ministries are confident that superhighways will be the appropriate solution to an increasingly automobile dependent nation.

It is exactly this dependency on automobiles and the repercussions thereof that Zvi Weinberger - the president emeritus of Machon Lev - Jerusalem College of Technology and member of the advisory council to the Israel Ministry of Transportation's National Road Safety Authority - has been assessing.

Weinberger also heads the Center for Driver Research at Machon Lev

Also evaluating the risks is Dr. Elihu Richter, a medical doctor who heads the Unit of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Hebrew University-Haddasah School of Public Health. Dr. Richter also heads the Betts Project for Injury Prevention. also located at the Hebrew University-Haddasah School of Public Health.

Although both Weinberger and Richter are men in their sixties who both originally hail from the United States, the similarities would seem to end there.

Weinberger, always wearing distinguished dark suit, conveys a peaceful presence and character, lives in the Orthodox neighborhood of Har Nof, a man who is a scientist and Torah scholar in his own right, He stands in contrast to Dr. Richter, a self-styled secularist Jew, and a different persona altogether- conveying a very outspoken and passionate personality.

Yet Weinberger and Richter are the seemingly odd couple who have teamed up to combine their energies and scientific insight to spend now and the years to come to fight for better road transportation polcies.

When you see them together, it's like imagining Agudat Yisrael and Meretz in a coalition.

Weinberger sees nothing unusual about a physicist working with a doctor, explaining that while a physicist can analyze a factor like the impact of increasing speed on the increasing death rate on the road, Dr. Richter brings the discipline of medicine, disease control, and epidimeology to bear on the matter, viewing hundreds of people dying on the roads as you would understand the spread of a plague that would have to be cured.

In the view of Weinberger and Richter, the contagious behavior that people have learned from one another on the roads, the increase of speed limits and the government's obsessive urge to increase the amount of motor vehicles on the road are all contributing to the victims that this plague is claiming every day.

Dr. Richter has introduced the concept of The Case Fatality Rate to measure the influence of increased speed on the road that will increase the number of of people killed amongst all those injured. The studies produced by Richter and Weinberger show that any 1 percent increase in speed will translate into a 4% increase in fatality.

In other words, the Case Fatality Rate relates to likelihood of getting killed of the people involve in a crash.

For people from North American who understand baseball jargon, it is like calculating a baseball player's slugging percentage, based on how many extra-base hits he has in relation to his total amount of hits.

Only five years ago, Weinberger and Richter warned that the increase of the speed limit on interurban 'roads (from 90 to 100 on main roads and 80 to 90 on smaller interurban roads) would have the effect of increasing the fatality rate by 20%, and that is exactly what happened. The Death rate on interurban roads went up from 259 to 319 in the first year after the speeds were raised, and the rate has remained steady ever since.

This Case Fatality Rate, once increased, has stayed high.

This is what Weinberger and Richter term " a sustained impact".

This contrasts with what happened when the government lowered the speed limit following the Yom Kippur War, in 1974, you witnessed a drop in road deaths from 719 in 1974 to 399 in 1984. The point is that when you raise the speed limit, you induce people to drive faster.

The new Highway Six - the Trans-Israel Highway, will raise the speed limit to 110 kilometers per hour, while the speeds on the highway are expected to go much higher. After all, the brochure issued by the Trans-Israel Highway Company and Sonol Oil Co, promises travel times of thirty minutes between Haifa and the Sharon area, which is a distance of 65 Km, implying a speed of 130 KPH while assuring only a forty minute ride from BeerSheva to "the central part of the country", implying even higher speeds

Meanwhile, the Orthodox investor on Highway Six, Mr. Lev Leviav, does not want to collect tolls on Shabbat, recently telling Globes that this will be an incentive for people to drive faster on his road on Shabbat and spend less time on the road on Shabbat. What Leviav may not know is that there is already a 20% increase of deaths on the interurban roads on Shabbat.

To be considered too the overall economic implications and the direct additional costs to families and it is obvious why this topic has attracted such a high level of attention from a vast and varied section of the public.

Translate these new high speeds together with the resulting spillover effect onto the and similar lack Weinberger and Richter warn that Highway Six will also cause an immediate increase in fatalities on tributary roads as well as the road itself. They predict that the Highway Six will cause a rise from its current average of 550 per year to something approximating 750!

"Speed addiction has certain parallels to nicotine addiction," Dr. Richter explains. This country caters to an addiction which is deadly. The population needs to realize that the time is now to stop advertising, "the fastest" roads and cars and start educating dangerous drivers.

Weinberger and Richter sadly surmise that the government incentive to higher speed on the Trans Israel highway will therefore increase the Case Fatality Rate, on weekdays and on Shabbat. . Since the specific government-directed mandate of the National Road Safety Authority is to bring down fatalities on the road, and since the government has now embarked on a policy that will increase deaths on the roads, Zvi Weinberger took an unusual step last week.

Weinberger initiated a "rump session" of the advisory council to the National Road Safety Authority the Belgian House on the Hebrew University Givat Ram campus, and invited Richter to lead a session of experts from all fields - engineers, environmentalists, transportation specialists, concerned citizens and Ministry of Health officials.

Weinberger would not wait for the government-appointed chairman of the advisory council, Mr. Yisrael Kaz, to call a special session of experts. Mr. Kaz is the Israel representative of Volvo and also acts as the representative of the Israel car import industry on the advisory council. Only last week, when Kaz was asked by Israel radio about more cameras on the roads that would photograph speeding drivers at every possible place, Kaz responded by saying that Israeli drivers ( his customers - d.s.b) should not be harassed so much.

The presentations outlined how Route 6 will fail to meet the public's needs and will not serve their best interests.

At that session, scientist, Dr. Gary Ginsberg provided risk assessments which indicated that particulate emissions from increased vehicle transport, notably diesel, will increase death tolls by several hundred persons per year and gave person year. These risk assessments indicate that induced travel, higher speeds, and spillover effect from the Trans Israel Highway could bring us to death toll of more than 1000 or so victims by the year 2010.

Mortality from tailpipe vehicular emissions alone in Tel Aviv is around ten times that from motor vehicle accidents.

If Route #6 is built, the main avenue/mode of transportation for the next half-century will be automobile based.

This will increase the amount of car ownership which puts more and more people at risk from emissions of toxic gases. Lung diseases, bronchitis, and respiratory illnesses such as asthma will all prevail.

All the experts present concluded that only a a massive shift to rail travel, and speed restriction could bring death toll down to under 300 per year

Almost all the experts present at the meeting had pressed the Ministries of Transportation and Public Security for their own studies about the results of the rise in the speed limit. Neither government agency has been forthcoming, although the statistics speak for themselves..

Professor Gerald Ben David gave a report about the introduction of speed camera technology that was used in a project in Netanya for a period of six months, a program that reduced fatalities to zero during its test period.. Ben David detailed how the program could easily be applied throuout the country, using the five year program learned from Australia that introduced hundreds of speed cameras, combined with a brutal ad campaign. The government has not continued the funding of the Netanya program, nor will it consider the "Australian model".

I met with Shmuel Hershkowitz, recently appointed by the Israel Ministry of Transportation to direct the National Road Safety Authority. This was an opportunity to ask Hershkowitz about government transportation policy. Hershkowitz rejects any notion that lowering or raising the speed limit will affect the amount of deaths on the roads. Hershkowitz's passion is to get everyone to drive at the speed limit and a little bit above, with the thought that this will prevent collisions. He rejects the idea that corollary roads to main highways carry any spillover effect with increased collisions.

And he also rejects the notion that Israel will adapt Australia's five year program of speed cameras and brutal advertisements that reduced the deaths on the road down under by half. Hershkowitz characterized the Australian model as a "terror" policy which Israeli drivers need not fear from our government in Israel.

All you have to do to get a shudder out of Hershkowitz is to mention Weinberger and Richter, whom he characterizes as "irresponsible populists". He was particularly angry at Weinberger's initiative to call a special session of his advisory council, which has not met since January.

Herhskowitz constantly brought in Germany as a model of traffic laws. So I asked him about the rule that I had witnessed in Germany that absolutely restricted trucks to the right lane of traffic, with a maximal speed of eighty kilometers an hour. Hershkowitz's response was simple: In Israel, trucks of course drive in the right hand lane, except when they are passing.

Trucks seem always to be passing on Israeli interurban roads, and not at eighty Kilometers an hour..

Hershkovitz had little to say about another study of Dr. Richter, which shows that Israeli truck drivers are forced to drive 15 hour days, and that the Ministry of Transportation has done little of nothing to challenge the trucking contractors who force drivers to work in such dangerous conditions, with the threat that any driver who will not drive for 15 hours will lose his job. Hershkowitz spoke about going after the truck drivers, not the contractors, whose power may exceed that of the government.

A tragic case in point: In June,.1996, an unlicensed cement truck driver from Ramallah, working for the contractor, Tzvi Barashi, ran through a red light at French Hill and smashed a fiat in the oncoming lane, instantly killing journalist Michele Coraine and her visiting colleague from Belgium.

The driver was brought to trial and given a light sentence by then-judge Eli Rubenstein, now the Israeli Attorney General, on the condition that he would testify against the Barashi contractors who had hired him, knowing that he was unlicensed and unable to drive a cement truck. Despite the driver's testimony and an order from the Israel High Court of Justice to indict Barashi, the Israel District Attorney's office has dropped the case, "for lack of public concern".

It is for lack of "public concern" that Herhskovitz could not delineate any new policy of enforcement or inspection of the truck driver companies, except to say that he had invited five trucking representatives to his office to warn them that the government could use its powers to close them down. When I asked Hershovitz if this included T'nuva and the other trucking giants in Israel, he was surprised at the question.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Highway Six has been the reduction of train service in Israel, despite the fact that more than seven million train tickets were sold in the first six months of 1998. Suddenly, the forty million dollars needed to upgrade the train tracks to accommodate the new fast trains for Jerusalem were quietly transferred to the paving of Highway Six, which costs $2 million a kilometer to pave. Suddenly, on July 19, 1998. trains service that had operated to Jerusalem since 1892 came screeching to a halt.

This, despite the fact that the transportation of goods by rail rather than truck involves ten percent of the risk involved.

Meanwhile, at Weinberger's rump session of the advisory council, members heard another surprising report that toll roads have lost money all over the world. The contract for Route 6 includes a clause that the government will make up any losses on the Highway Six toll road. Mike Friedman, a road specialist originally from Southern California, explained that in all three toll roads that he is familiar with, the Dulles toll road in Virginia, the Denver Airport Connection, and the Newport Beach, California toll road, are all rarely used and have failed miserably. Even though the banks own the road, the government shoulders the responsibility of paying the Africa-Israel group. In Israel, this "subsidy" could approach $1 billion! As taxpayers, is this a sure bet? Do high taxes have to become higher? The question that people in Israel need to ask themselves is whether health and education budgets have to be slashed in order to fund a dangerous, polluting, and sprawling blacktop?

"Whoever saves one life is as if he has saved the world." The sages emphasize the value of even one human soul. The time is now and the power is in our hands to tell the government that we should reconsider our transportation future. 61% of the population think that the government should be spending money on building public transportation such as trains, subways and monorails. "Pikuach Nefesh" - the Jewish law of saving a life takes precedence of even the Sabbath.

The question that remains is whether "Pikuach Nefesh" be bought with special interest money?

In the coming weeks, Weinberger and Richter have assembled a new coalition to fight Highway Six, and the new government incentive to speed.

One new element that they are turning to is the religious sector of the country, to ask Rabbis and rabbinical courts to intervene to stop a policy that will cost lives. Most recently, the National Road Safety Authority organized a one day seminar on the Trans Israel Highway at Bar Ilan University, where they invited Rabbi Nahum Rabinowitz of Bar Ilan University to provide an invocation. Rabbi Rabinowitz, who was going to give a tepid speech in which he was going to mention the importance of highway safety and to encourage drivers to be more responsible. Yet once Rabinowitz took a look at the studies prepared by Weinberger and Richter, the Rabbi termed Highway Six as a threat to human life, and he warned that the planners of such a road must place the value of human life over the incentive to profits.

Weinberger and Richter postulate that a proper combination of environmental activists, scientific data and the Jewish moral precept of Pikuach Nefesh can still galvanize public opposition to the speed plague of death on Israel's highways.

Hershkovitz and other government employees of the National Road Safety Authority may now be affected by Weinberger-Richter induced ulcers that may be painful and that may save lives.

Next week, Zvi Weinberger and Dr. Eli Richter have an appointment with the Chief Rabbinical council of Israel, where Rehovot's chief Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook will be placing Weinberger and Richter's conclusions on the agenda of the Rabbis of Israel. Richter, who often says that skullcaps just don't fit his skull, will make an exception this time.

Human lives are at stake.

Rabbi Kook lives with the memory of his older brother, the previous Rehovot Chief Rabbi, Shlomo Kook, who lost his life, together with his wife and two of their children, all killed in a fiery collision in 1972.

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