Israeli legislators are disputing over a law changing the list of establishments that are allowed to work on Shabbat. The new law will permit entertainment institutions to work on Shabbat, while shops are to be closed. Parliamentarians from Likud, Avoda, and religious parties supported the initiative. Yosi Sarid, leader of the MEREZ party, said he would not support the law that would affect people's life standards. Now big supermarkets work on Shabbat, but if the law is adopted, they will be closed. Meir Lau, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, said that today both religious and state laws are violated in the country.
Israel is now in economic recession. The economic growth in Israel in 2001 has reached its lowest level since 1953. The gross national product in 2001 fell by 0,5%, while in 2000 it grew by 6,4%. The global economic recession and Palestinian intifade are the main reasons of the current situation. Meantime, in 2001 the Israeli population grew very little since 1980. The 2,1% population fall is connected with the aliah decrease. According to the Central Statistic Department of Israel, Israel's population makes up 6,5 million people. 5,3 million out of them are Jews, and 1,2 million are Arabs
Tel-Aviv. The conference of "Nativa" (Communication Office) representatives in the CIS countries took place in the city. It was attended by more than 30 officials, working all over the former USSR.
Yuliy Edelstein, Deputy Absorption Minister, gave a detailed analysis of the situation with repatriate absorption in Israel. He noted that despite the martial situation in Israel, there were more than 40 thousand repatriates in 2001.
Jerusalem. About 30% of the Jewish city population were born abroad. This information was received from a recently published research "Jerusalem in the Census Mirror".
Only 6% of the non-Jewish population were born abroad. 30,7% of non-Jewish families consist of 7 and more members, while there are only 8,2% of Jewish families have so many children. However, this index grows to 33% in ultra-religious quarters.
Jerusalem. A group of graduates of the Pedagogical College of the Jewish Education Center in Ukraine took a three-week refresher course in Jerusalem. They studied Jewish history and traditions for teaching in Jewish communities in Ukraine.