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Sunday, 19 August 2007

Update 08/08/07

Dear Members,

This week we have another interesting array of articles. Two of these
run on a similar theme: Israel's Rabbinate gaining a tighter control on
issues to do with marriage and divorce. The first of these talks of
legislation which proposes, "for reasons of efficiency, to legalize the
preservation of information gathered at the rabbinical court regarding
the non-Jewishness of a religionless person, and information regarding a
person's eligibility for marrying in accordance with Jewish law, in a
database." There are a number of problems that this will create. The
second article refers to more legislation that will give the Rabbinical
Court even more authority with regard to divorce, another problematic
issue.

The third article is from Ha'aretz and reports on the meeting that took
place between Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas, this week in Jericho, which
brings a glimmer of hope in what has been an unstable time in the
Arab-Israeli Peace Process since the collapse of talks between Barak and
Arafat at the 2000 Camp David Summit.

In other news, the annual general meeting of KKL took place today in
Jerusalem. Arzenu was represented by Tati Schagas, an employee of the
WUPJ, and Rabbi Stanley Davids, President of Arza. At the meeting the
current Supreme Court case involving Adallah – the Legal Centre for Arab
Minority Rights in Israel was discussed, but nothing was voted upon.
The case deals with the practice by KKL of not selling/leasing land to
anyone who is not Jewish (which is part of the founding document of KKL
from 1901). KKL also reported the following:

1. The suit filed against KKL last year regarding the appointment of a
non-Jewish director has been concluded and the court upheld the
procedures and the appointment.
2. In 2006 all outstanding issues dealing with staff reductions - both
financial and personnel - were resolved.
3. Over 7500 dunam of forests have been planted in the North, after last
summers Second Lebanon War.
4. KKL has taken up the challenge of becoming a green organization in
the fight against global warming.
5. There was a 41% increase, in NIS, in donations for the first half of
2006 as a result of improved relationships with the world branches of KKL.
6. KKL is currently working on over 300 land development projects.
7. On September 18th, KKL will participate in a national effort to clean
up the litter around the country in conjunction with a similar
international/world initiative.
8. Blue boxes are going to be reintroduced in Israeli schools as part of
KKL's educational programming.

As ever your thoughts and comments are kindly received.

Shabbat Shalom,

Charlie Gluckman and all at Pro Zion

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