USA. The USA Congress approved the proposal of facilitating the procedure of granting refugee documents. Some time ago the "Specter's amendment" was prolonged for another year. This amendment guarantees the refugee status to Jews, Protestant Christians, and representatives of other religious minorities from the former USSR countries.
The Law on Labor, Medical, and Social Service includes also the financing of the Refugee Office that pays grants to the Association of Aid to Jewish Immigrants (HIAS) and other Jewish social services. These institutions help refugees from the former USSR, Iran and other countries to get everything necessary to get settled at the new place.
In 2001 HIAS received almost $8 million from this Office. The funds were spent for re-training and employment of newcomers.
USA. The Torah scroll, stolen from the Brooklyn synagogue, has been returned.
Its value makes up tens thousands dollars. Local police found the scroll in one of the apartments near the synagogue. A homeless person, suspected of stealing the scroll from the synagogue Neviot Israel, was arrested.
Belgium. Authorities of Flanders, one of the tree Belgium autonomies, decided to reject all programs of bilateral cooperation both with Israel and Palestinian Autonomy authorities. According to the autonomy administration representatives, "all contacts will be stopped and validity of all agreements will be cancelled until the armed conflict between Israelis and Palestinians continues". However, victims of armed conflicts will be provided with humanitarian aid as before. According to the all-European administration such decision will not only set up a negative precedent of EU policy in the Middle East but it can lead to a diplomatic mistake of "equalizing Israel and Palestine", which might have most undesirable consequences. The preliminary explanations were received from the Belgian part. They prove that the decision of Flanders authorities is the expression of anti-Israel public spirit prevailing in this European country now.
USA. The USA administration allotted extra $28 million to Israel. The money is assigned for purchasing necessary equipment for anti-terrorist operations. Above all, it concerns robots used for controlled detonation of detected and presumed explosive devices.
The money for Israeli needs was found in the Pentagon budget for 2001.