Prostitution in Israel
In early March, 1998, Diane Sawyer at CBS ran an investigative news item that exposed widespread prostitution in Israel.
Sawyer focused on women who are being lured into the "profession" to Israel from the former Soviet Union, conveying the impression that the only prostitutes in Israel are those who are "imported" from abroad - no one knows how many. And the recent few news stories that have appeared in Israel on prostitution have also focused on women "imported" from abroad
However, yet another worrisome phenomenon concerns the increasing number of homegrown native Israeli women and adolescent girls who are lured into the trade.
A 1970 study on Israeli prostitution, The Mark of Cain, by the respected Israeli criminologist, Shlomo Shoham, explored how young women and girls in Israeli development town girls had used the profession to "advance themselves in society" and to work themselves "out of the rut of development town life". Israeli social service professionals in Israel's three dozen outlying development towns continue to report that the "export" of development town prostitutes to Israel's big cities and to Arab villages in the Galilee region continues to this day on a wide scale.
Most recently, a social work professional walked me through a ten block area in the heart of Tel Aviv, passing by embassies, luxury hotels, coffee shops and businesses. My colleague pointed out more than thirty places where prostitutes now run their business. She confirmed that, yes, while there were some immigrants involved in the trade, the vast majority of Tel Aviv brothels employed hundreds of native Sabras, which involves the widespread corruption of minors, the increased spread of sex-related diseases and narcotics use, the acceleration of organized crime.
Israeli prostitution has become an integral part of a "cottage industry", with an interlocking network of those who stand to earn something - hotel clerks, coffeeshop owners, waitresses, building contractors of foreign workers & tour operators who seek women to provide customers with "perks". Who ever said that crime does not pay?
Young Israeli teenagers who are enticed by the promise of instant wealth to modeling schools and cosmetics parlors. Today, ads appear in discos and areas frequented by teenagers of 16, 17, and 18 are "encouraged" to join the "escort services" throughout the country.
The option of joining a local "escort service" for a handsome remuneration seems quite tempting. Some of these "services" advertise for students from Tel Aviv University to " work their way through college" with an easy job on the side. Pimping is a sophisticated industry in a country where there is just too much cash flow, when people can sell hovels in any major Israeli city for hundreds of thousands of dollars. And even though illegal pimping and prostitution occur in broad daylight, the Israeli police seem to be turning a blind eye to the subject.
And whenever there is a crackdown, police tend to focus more on the immigrants - and so so does the press.
Most people in Israel are not aware of the extent of the problem. The subject is hardly mentioned on the news, nor on any of the dozen investigative news features that dominate the Israeli print and electronic media.
Part of the reason that the Israeli media are not "hopping" on the issue lies in the fact that major owners of the Israeli media have placed themselves in a situation of conflict of interest that prevents them from covering the subject in any depth. How has that happened?
You see, the major Israeli media have joined this cottage industry.
Each of the major news syndicates in Israel carry hundreds of ads each day that openly advertise prostitution services throughout the country.
Even HaAretz, which prides itself as being a "clean" publication, runs a Tel Aviv weekend supplement, known as "HaIr", which runs prostitution ads with an additional feature nude pictures of the young women seeking business. HaAretz does not ask its readers whether they want to read HaIr - It gives it out for free every week. Most recently, the Israeli edition of THE International Herald Tribune also began to include HaIR wrapped up in its Friday edition, again, without asking its readers.
The three major families who own the major media in Israel, including a controlling interest in Israel Commercial and cable TV networks, prefer to advertise for prostitution rather than cover the subject.
The two daily Israeli tabloids run as many as 100 prostitution ads a day. Each tabloid demands upfront payment for such advertisements. A policy that sounds appropriate for the "profession"?
That means that each major Israeli paper grosses $10,000 a day in cash receipts this source of advertising revenue alone. At a time when the Israeli small businesses are in a slump, logic would that you do not you "bite the gland that feeds you"?
And in the late-'90's atmosphere in Israel that lavishes in neuvau riche freedom conspicuous consumption No politician, civil rights organization, or "women's organization seems to have courage to fight Israel's media moguls. Instead, the left-wing Meretz/Peace Now political faction in Jerusalem's city council suggested that the Israeli police protect prostitution, not stop it.
At this point in time, the entire matter of prostitution and pornography are often portrayed by the Israeli media as an obsession of Orthodox Jews.
Perhaps the time has come to coordinate a new coalition who could influence the police to do their job. This new group could be compromised of anyone who cares about the issue.
One legal action in the Israel High Court of Justice would be enough to order the Israel State Prosecutor to take criminal action against anyone who promotes or advertises for prostitutes.
Yes, coalitions on moral issues can work in Israel.
An encouraging precedent About ten years ago, a certain Israeli media mogul tried to "pioneer" an Israeli version of Penthouse, which she promised would be on every newsstand and in every corner of society. A creative community organizer colleague of mine raised the funds to hire a staffer who organized a unique coalition of traditional Orthodox Jews and Israeli feminists to threaten a consumer boycott of selected Penthouse advertisers. Israel's first national porno rag never made it past two issues.
Yet one need not be a feminist or an Orthodox Jew to get involved. Nor do you have to be a social work professional. I guess that some of my passion for this subject has to do with being the proud father of three daughters (and two boys). As a responsible parent, can I sit back without challenging a norm in Israeli society that suddenly and sanctions and encourages prostitution?
I find it ironic that the first letter of concern that I received from my grandmother when I first came to Israel as a student in 1970 was about her worry over prostitution in Israel. She had seen something about it in the Jewish Advocate of Boston. "You should fight such a thing in Jewish country", she wrote me. She was right.
A Battle, Not A Massacre
NEW YORK- A pro-Arab lobby group which has always claimed that 254 Arabs died during the 1948 battle of Deir Yassin has quietly changed its story, and now admits that about 100, not 254, were killed. The change comes just weeks after the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) released a study showing that the number of Arabs killed in Deir Yassin was less than half of what has been claimed, and that they were not massacred.
The "Deir Yassin Remembered" group, which is headed by Daniel McGowan of Hobart & William Smith Colleges (NY), had repeatedly claimed that 254 Arabs died at Deir Yassin. For example, in the April 1996 issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, McGowan wrote of "254 innocent men, women and children who were systematically slaughtered." A February 1998 posting on the group's web site, the "Deir Yassin Remember Online Information Center," claimed that "In all, 254 men, women, and children were systematically slaughtered."
But during the past week, the "Deir Yassin Remembered Group" has twice revised the death toll downwards. In a press release on March 22, 1998, McGowan wrote that "an estimated 100-250 Arab villagers were slaughtered." Then, in a listing of forthcoming activities, released on March 25, 1998, McGowan reported that "over 100 Palestinian men, women and children were killed."
The changes in the death toll count come in the wake of the ZOA's publication of a new study, Deir Yassin History of a Lie, a 32-page analysis (with 156 footnotes) by ZOA National President Morton A. Klein. (For a free copy, please call (212) 481-1500.)
Among other things, the ZOA study shows that the original claim of 254 dead was not based on any actual body count. The number was invented by Mordechai Ra'anan, leader of the Jewish soldiers who fought in Deir Yassin. He later admitted that the figure was a deliberate exaggeration in order to undermine the morale of the Arab forces, which had launched a war against the Jews in Mandate Palestine to prevent the establishment of Israel. Other eyewitnesses to the battle estimated that about 100 Arabs had died. Despite Ra'anan's admission, the figure 254 was circulated by Palestinian Arab leader Hussein Khalidi. His claims about Deir Yassin were the basis for an article in the New York Times claiming a massacre took place--an article that has been widely reprinted and cited as "proof" of the massacre throughout the past 50 years.
The ZOA study describes how in 1987, researchers from Bir Zeit University, an Arab university in Palestinian Authority territory, interviewed every Arab survivor of the battle and concluded that the number of civilians who died in Deir Yassin could not have been more than 120. Despite the study, the "Deir Yassin Remembered" group continued using the figure of 254 dead.
ZOA president Klein said "Now that the ZOA has publicized the Bir Zeit University findings and proven that far fewer Arabs died than was always claimed, the pro-Arab propagandists have been forced to quietly change their story. Our booklet proves not only that the death toll was falsely inflated, it also proves there was no massacre, rape, or mutilation."
Meanwhile, Dr. Hussein Khalidi is at the center of a startling new report, in which several Arab eyewitnesses to the Deir Yassin battle admitted that some of their original claims about Jewish atrocities were fabricated. The latest issue of the Jerusalem Report (April 2, 1998) reveals that in a forthcoming BBC television program, Hazem Nusseibeh, an editor of the Palestine Broadcasting Service's Arabic news in 1948, admits that he was told by Hussein Khalidi to fabricate claims of atrocities at Deir Yassin in order to encourage Arab regimes to invade the Jewish state-to-be.
According to the Jerusalem Report, Nusseibeh "describes an encounter at the Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem's Old City with Deir Yassin survivors and Palestinian leaders, including Hussein Khalidi ... 'I asked Dr. Khalidi how we should cover the story,' recalled Nusseibeh. 'He said, "We must make the most of this." So we wrote a press release stating that at Deir Yassin children were murdered, pregnant women were raped. All sorts of atrocities.'"
The BBC program then shows a recent interview with Abu Mahmud, who was a Deir Yassin resident in 1948, who says that the villagers protested against the atrocity claims "'We said, "There was no rape." [Khalidi] said, "We have to say this, so the Arab armies will come to liberate Palestine from the Jews.'"
Nusseibeh, who is a member of one of Jerusalem's most prominent Arab families and presently lives in Amman, told the BBC that the fabricated atrocity stories about Deir Yassin were "our biggest mistake," because "Palestinians fled in terror" and left the country in huge numbers after hearing the atrocity claims.
In 1948, Labor Zionist leaders initially claimed there was a massacre, in order to score points against the rival Irgun Zvai Leumi and Stern Group, the fighters who conquered Deir Yassin. But Israel's Labor-led governments have, over the years, gradually rescinded the massacre accusation. A little-known 1952 Defense Ministry judicial court ruled that Deir Yassin was a legitimate military target. Official Israeli government statements about Deir Yassin, in 1960 and 1969 (under Foreign Ministers Golda Meir and Abba Eban), formally rebuked the Labor Zionist officials who had made the false massacre accusation in 1948, describing the "massacre" charge as a "fairy tale" and a "big lie."
Meanwhile, the "Deir Yassin Remembered" group intends to hold a "50th Anniversary Memorial Conference" at the Hakawati theater in Jerusalem on April 9, 1998. On the same day, in Los Angeles, Arab activists intend to hold a "vigil" outside the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, which commemorates the Holocaust. They will also be holding a vigil at the University of California at Davis, and a rally in Washington, D.C. on May 15, 1998, the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Israel.
International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism Website
The International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, today (Sunday), 29.3.98, announces the opening of its new website at www.ict.org.il.
The site consists of a database on issues of terrorism, including terrorist organizations in the Middle East and the world, attacks, countries supporting terrorism, connections between terrorism and crime, the use of non- conventional weapons and counter-terrorism measures taken by Israel and other countries. The site is available to all interested parties.
For further details, please contact the institute at (+972-9) 952-7277 or fax (+972-9) 951-3073.
PLC Jamal Shati al-Hidi
Jamal Shati Al-Hindi is a Fatah Jenin representative in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) where he is Chairman of the PLC Refugee and Diaspora Committee.
IMRA: interviewed Al-Hindi in Hebrew on March 24, 1998
IMRA: I understand that you say that Israel should allow the 1948 refugees to return to their homes inside Israel.
Al-Hindi: Yes. In Israel.
IMRA: The Left in Israel which supports the Palestinian cause - Yossi Sarid, Shulamit Aloni, etc. say that if you allow the refugees to return to their homes then there will be a situation that there may be more Palestinians than Jews in the Knesset. That this will be a problem because if Israel is a democracy then there won't be a Jewish majority in Israel so the whole effort was for naught. How do you react to this - that even among the Israeli Left the view is that allowing the right of return wrecks the whole exercise.
Al-Hindi: This is a right of the Palestinian people for two thousand years. They lived in the land and lived in their homes. Why shouldn't they return to their homes?
There is also UN Resolution 194 calling for them to return to their homes.
The UN allowed Israel membership so that it could fulfill 194 and Israel can't take this away.
IMRA: All Israelis - I am not talking about Netanyahu - the Israeli Left including Yossi Sarid oppose this. Even if they were in power they would not allow the refugees to return within Israel.
Al-Hindi: Why wouldn't the Left say that all the refugees should return to their homes. There are Palestinians living within Israel but not in their original homes. Why shouldn't they be permitted to return to their homes.
IMRA: When I ask the Israeli Left they tell me that the Palestinian demand for the right of return is for negotiations. That in the end they will accept a compromise. Is this really just an opening position?
Al-Hindi: This is the right of the Palestinian refugees and they do not have to say yes now. There is time. A hundred years.
IMRA: What does that mean?
Al-Hindi: It may take much time for us to return to our homes. We want to live in our villages.
IMRA: So there can't be peace without this?
Al-Hindi: Maybe there will be peace if the Palestinians get the right of return.
IMRA: And if they don't?
Al-Hindi: Then there won't. There are four million Palestinian refugees who want to return.
IMRA: Israelis may say that they are willing to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza but only if the Palestinians give up on the right of return of the refugees to Israel. Don't give up on the right of return and the negotiations fall apart. Are you ready to have the negotiations fail just because of the right of return?
Al-Hindi: Israel didn't give us houses in Israel. They are Palestinian houses. Why can't we return to our homes. Would the Jews agree to the Arabs getting their homes?
IMRA: I am asking a practical question. If there is a way for you to get now a Palestinian state it is at the price of giving up on the right of return. Are you willing to pay this price?
Al-Hindi No. I won't agree to this. Nor will all the Palestinian refugees.
Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Did Israel Inject
"AIDS" to Palestinian Children?
Israel cannot allow the Palestinian Authority's incitement methods to go unchecked.
Nabil Ramlawi, the PLO's representative in Geneva, apologized last week to the UN Committee on Human Rights for the libelling the Israeli government, and retracted the complaint that he had submitted to the committee, which said that "Israel has, over the past year, injected the AIDS virus into 300 Palestinian children." However, he has still not retracted his complaint that the [Israeli] health minister "permitted Israeli pharmaceutical companies to conduct dangerous tests on more than 4,000 Palestinian prisoners."
The AIDS story has been going circulating in the committee since its last session, a year ago. Its chairman, the Czech ambassador, cast doubt on the veracity of the facts on which the complaint was based and did not allow a vote. The PLO representative responded with a letter that he sent last July "My declaration is not exceptional and it is based on various sources, including the media." However, the media was not enough of a foundation for Nabil Ramlawi, and he was forced to retract his accusations. There is reason to assume that had the committee chairman been a diplomat from an Arab or Muslim country, and not from the Czech Republic, the committee would have voted on the resolution to condemn Israel, without giving time for the PLO representative to apologize for the libel, since that is the routine for UN votes. There is an automatic majority for any condemnation of Israel. Therefore, there is still no assurance that the UN committee will not condemn Israel in the wake of the libel about dangerous medical experiments being performed on Palestinian prisoners.
Israel's ambassador in Geneva and the Foreign Ministry executive are, apparently, doing their best to stave off the Palestinian attack, but the specific handling of the libel is not enough. The government would do well to deal with this phenomenon at the root level, by presenting the libel as an overt violation of the Hebron Accord, in which the Palestinian Authority undertook to stop all incitement against Israel.
How can the government conduct quiet and substantive negotiations with the Palestinians on the arrangements for the safe passage from Gaza to Judea and Samaria, when it is constantly being forced to defend itself against Palestinian initiatives in the international arena which incite against Israel? How can Israel calmly consider the American mediation proposals on the scope of the IDF withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, when at the same time students in the schools under PA guidance are being educated to wage war for the return of Jaffa and Ramle, Lod and Haifa? And how can the government give up its demand for appropriate security arrangements at Gaza port and the airport at Dahaniya, which would prevent the infiltration of hostile elements to Israel, when at the PA's television station young Palestinians sing and declaim their readiness to be "martyrs" in the war to liberate the despoiled homeland?
These "educational" activities perpetuate the hostility for the coming generations as well, and they frequently receive support in reports about UN condemnations of Israel. The condemnations signal to Arafat that he does not have to seek dialogue with the [Israeli] government. The countries which vote against Israel, on the erroneous argument that the construction on Har Homa violates the Oslo Accords, promise Arafat that they will convince the United States, which voted against the resolution condemning [Israel], to join the international pressure on Israel. And after they ensured, with their votes and declarations, that Arafat would be convinced to delay progress in negotiations, the countries cry foul over the freeze in the political process.
At the same time, Arafat succeeds in extracting from the Iranian president a declaration of support for his demands. In fact, this is not an unequivocal assurance of a halt of Iran's support for terrorism, but rather a handing of the key to Arafat, which says that only an agreement acceptable to the Palestinians can lead to a change in Teheran, which the United States so greatly desires. We should not be surprised if this Iranian bait spurs the United States to publish its mediation proposal on the question of the scope of the IDF withdrawal.
Palestinian Christians Win U.S. Political Asylum
American courts have for the first time granted political asylum to two West Bank evangelical Christians on the grounds of religious persecution. And more West Bank Christians are about to file asylum requests in American courts.
The courts - one in Chicago, and the other in North Carolina - accepted the asylum-seekers' claims that the Palestinian Authority was persecuting Christian evangelicals, after the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service reversed its earlier skepticism and endorsed their claim. The two asylum-seekers - who won't allow their names to be published, for fear of PA retaliation against relatives still in the territories - are both converts from Islam to Christianity, who had practiced their new faith in secret.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Bak'r, a West Bank convert to Christianity who had been in a PA prison since June, was released on bail in late February. The PA accused Bak'r of selling land to Jews, though sources close to Bak'r insist the real reason for his imprisonment was his activity as a Christian missionary.
Bak'r says he was tortured in prison, at one point hung by his hands from the ceiling for two consecutive days. His release followed intervention by the Norwegian government.
Are Stolen Cars More Important Than Escaped Killers?
"Killer Watch" notes that Kahalani "neglected" to ask Arafat to arrest the killers whom Arafat has welcomed to the Palestine Authority. Are cars more important that killers?"
A new advocacy group, "Killer Watch", has emerged in Jerusalem.
It was founded by American-Israeli citizens, Joyce and Stanley Boim of Jerusalem.
David Boim, the teenage son of the Boims, was machine gunned to death at a school bus stop on May 13, 1996.
The two Arab gunman who murdered David Boim immediately sped into the area under the control of the Palestine Authority.
Within a few weeks, their identity and whereabouts were known to the Israel Defense Forces, and to the Palestine Authority.
The American embassy informed the Boims that David's killers were in custody of the PA.
The PA denied this.
It was not until the Boims sued the Israeli Minister of Justice in July 1997 that the Israeli government issued a demand that the PA arrest the murderers of David Boim.
On September 4, 1997, one of David's killers blew himself up on the Ben Yehudah Street Mall in Jerusalem, killing four high school girs and one young bank clerk who had taken his ten year old boy for ice cream.
Only after Joyce Boim testified in the US Congress and conducted a speaking tour throughout the US, did US President Clinton personally order Arafat to arrest David's other killer, whose name is Amjad Hanawi.
In February, 1998, Hanawi was finally arrested and convicted of accessary to murder in the Jericho Palestine Authority court.
Hanawi was sentenced to ten years of hard labor.
The question posed by the Boims and others remains How long will Hanawi serve? Will the PA release Hanawi after a few months, as they have in other capital crimes?
Killer Watch will keep an eye on Hanawi, to see if the PA indeed keeps him in jail.
Killer Watch will also monitor the whereabouts of thirty three other admitted killers who have found refuge inside the Palestine Authority, and keep the issue alive in the public domain of the Israeli media and political arena.
During the month of March, 1998, the Israeli police, under pressure from Israeli insurance companies, conducted widespread searches for vehicles that had been stolen and smuggled to the areas under the jurisdiction of the Palestine Authority.
The Israel Minister of Police and Public Security, Avigdor Kahalani, met with PA chairman Yassir Arafat on March 29 to demand that the car thefts cease and that the Pa hand over stolen vehicles.
Killer Watch notes that Kahalani "neglected" to ask Arafat to arrest the killers whom Arafat has welcomed to the Palestine Authority. Are cars more important that killers?
It will be the task of Killer Watch to see to it that Kahalani and other Israeli leaders feel the pressure of justice for those who have been murdered, while the killers have simply crossed the line to the safe haven of the Palestine Authority.
Otherwise, the kill and run precedent of the Oslo process will remain.
Killer Watch is now developing a systematic strategy to influence Israeli and world public opinion.
Mailing Address of KILLER WATCH
Killer Watch will appreciate contributions, active support and voluntary efforts on its behalf.
Broadcasting Corporation Children's TV Program
Video is available from "SHALOM LEDOROT" - Address listed below.
This video was shown at the March 11, 1998 hearings at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee
"All means of ... education"
The P.L.O. Covenant - Article 7
What you are about to see are clips from Palestinian Authority's Children's Club - a Sesame Street like T.V. show. These excerpts come from programs the P.A. has broadcast in recent weeks.
U.S. AID funds this T.V. children's program in a "Sesame Street" format
Palestine! Amidst the shooting of the revolution, I turn to you with my blood and the blood of my brother and of the son of my neighbours. My heart will cleanse your image. Allah is great! Allah is great!
The Children's Club, 6th February, 1998
When I wander into the entrance of Jerusalem, I'll turn into a suicide warrior in battledress! In battledress! In battledress! Thank you 'Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!'
The Children's Club, 13th February, 1998
I am the voice of the exalted martyr. I am the voice of the exalted martyr and his green fire. Oh, my homeland .... And like my father I'll live in the shadow of the heroes and echo his voice, with my blood, and his image will be upon my eyelids.
Each and every part of your soil I have drenched with all my blood. And we shall march as warriors of Jihad (Holy War). Oh, my exalted martyr, you are my example. Oh, my companion, you are beside me. Oh, my sister, sing constantly about my life as a suicide warrior how we remain steadfast. Oh, my country, you are my soul. Oh, my dawn, you are my heartbeat.
The Children's Club, 20th, 24th February, 1998
My heartfelt conviction to launch a Jihad (Holy War).
A teacher's poem 'The shout', 26th February, 1998
Oh, to those who achieved eternal glory and to the lovers of exalted martyrdom.
Chairman Yasser Arafat, honoring the exalted martyrs especially Yihyeh Ayaash
19 January, 1998
Our collective goal is to continue in their path. Indeed we are all candidates for holy martyrdom! Candidates for holy martyrdom in memory of the noble and brave exalted martyrs Abu Iyaad, Abu Alhol, and before them Abu Jihad and before them Yihyeh Ayaash and after them Yihyeh Ayaash.
All means of information and education must be adopted
in order to acquaint the Palestinian with his country
in the most profound manner ....
The P.L.O. Covenant - Article 7
Peace for Generations
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