Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Israel/Palestine

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Israel/Palestine

Article excerpt

Hebrew University Launches Einstein Web site

The May 21 Ha'aretz reported that Hebrew University (HU), in conjunction with the California Institute of Technology, has launched a Web site presenting 43,000 never-before-published documents, articles, and photographs taken from HU's Einstein Archives in Jerusalem. According to HU professor Hanoch Gutfreund, a physicist who lectures on Einstein's theories, the site () "is of great cultural significance. We are talking about a cultural asset of the highest degree. Now, the broader public can also be impressed by the character of this enigmatic man."

At the behest of Chaim Weitzmann, Einstein joined the Zionist movement in 1919, the same year he published his famous theory of relativity, despite his reservations over the creation of a solely Jewish state. Einstein worked to establish a Hebrew university in what would become Israel, his efforts including a six-week tour of the United States to raise money for the project. After the university was established, Einstein served on its board of trustees and was the first chairman of its academic committee. He bequeathed all his assets to Hebrew University in 1950, five years before his death.

For Israel's Population of 6.7 Million, Unemployment on the Rise

According to the May 6 Ha'aretz, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics has released a report placing the population of Israel at 6.7 million, 81 percent of whom (5.4 million) are Jews, totaling 38 percent of the world's Jewish population. Of the 1.3 million Arab-Israelis, 82 percent are Muslim, 9 percent Christian and 9 percent Druze.

Since Israel was established in 1948, three million immigrants have arrived in the country, a third of that number coming since 1990. That surge may be lessening, however: only 31,000 immigrants arrived in 2002, the lowest number in 13 years.

Two weeks after releasing the population statistics, the Central Bureau sent out a report, according to the May 21 Ha'aretz, stating that unemployment in Israel has hit 10.8 percent, or some 281,400 people. That number is expected to rise to 300,000 by the end of the year, if the past few months are any indicator: the percentage of unemployed men rose to 10.6 from 9.9 percent the previous quarter, while for women the figures were 11.1 and 10.5 percent, respectively.

Israel's Prisoners Held in Appalling Conditions

The May 14 Ha'aretz cites a report by Israel's Public Defender Office alleging that prisoners and detainees in Israel are deprived of basic rights and held in appalling, harmful, and demeaning conditions. The report, based on visits to 30 police stations, detention compounds and prisons in 2002, finds that many prisoners are deprived of their right to a daily walk in the prison yard, denied family visits and meetings with their lawyers, and forced to sleep on the floor due to cell overcrowding. …

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