Mideast Report

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Want to get rid of your traffic tickets?

Perhaps it's time to make aliyah.

The vast majority of Israelis who would benefit from a general amnesty granted in honor of Israel's 50th anniversary are expected to be traffic offenders, a senior Justice Ministry source was quoted as saying last week.

According to the source, quoted by the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, about 800 to 1,000 individuals will receive an amnesty in the form of reduced fines for traffic violations and tickets and the reinstatement of revoked licenses.

In some cases, former prisoners will have their criminal records cleared.

Last week, the Knesset rejected three bills calling for a widespread prisoner amnesty as part of Israel's 50th-anniversary commemoration.

2 Israelis expected to train with NASA

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel's air force is expected to send two pilots to upcoming NASA training courses.

But given the timetable for the rigorous training process, it does not appear that an Israeli astronaut will make it to space during Israel's jubilee year.

One of the Israeli pilots chosen to undergo NASA training is an air force colonel who previously headed the air force's division of weaponry.

MK raps settlement of Ethiopian emigres

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Ethiopian member of the Knesset is criticizing a move to settle some Ethiopian immigrants in the West Bank.

Labor Knesset member Adisu Massala made his comments this week as Israel's absorption minister, Yuli Edelstein, told the Cabinet that Israel expects to conclude a campaign to bring over some 1,300 Falash Mura waiting at a camp in Ethiopia within three to four months as part of a family reunification plan.

"If the absorption minister wants to be a Zionist, he should send the Russian immigrants to the territories," Massala was quoted as saying.

Since the Israeli government made a decision two years ago to bring over the community of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity or were assimilated, some 4,200 people have immigrated to Israel.

Most of these have been settled in caravan camps near the cities of Akko, Haifa, Nahariya and Jerusalem. The Absorption Ministry recently reached agreement for the settling of families in the settlements of Ofra, Kedumim and Efrat.

New technique alters the color of produce

JERUSALEM (JPS) — Carrots don't have to be orange if their genes are changed according to a process developed at Hebrew University.

The technique, developed by Professor Yossi Hershberg, was presented last week to heads of the kibbutz industries with the aim of one of them implementing the development on a commercial basis.

Dozens of managers of kibbutz factories took part in the gathering.

In the process, the nutritional value of the products is not harmed, according to Oded Barish, head of the Kibbutz Industries Association.

He said the technique is the result of years of research, in which the genes that control color in agricultural products were isolated.

"This new technology will enable the creation of new fruit and vegetable types for which there is great demand internationally," he said.

According to Barish, colors of fruits and vegetables, such as carrots and citrus fruits, can be strengthened or changed.

This technique will also enable the development of additional means of creating natural food colorings with high nutritional value, he said.