Mideast Report

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel's chief Ashkenazi rabbi has called for a special Knesset session aimed at protesting last weekend's massacre in Kosovo in which Serbian gunmen killed scores of ethnic Albanians.

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, a survivor of the Holocaust, said Israel bore a special responsibility to speak out against the bloodshed in the Serbian province.

"Because we blame others for not doing anything more than 50 years ago, we bear the responsibility to raise a call to the entire world," he told Israel Radio.

Kissinger takes swipe at Mideast politicians

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told young Israeli and Arab activists in Tel Aviv this week that the peace process will "succeed despite the politicians."

Kissinger, who was in Israel to attend a board of governors meeting of the Peres Peace Center, also told members of the Young Leaders Network in the Middle East to eschew "day-to-day politics" and instead "get to know one another."

40 percent of students not taught about AIDS

JERUSALEM (JPS) — Forty percent of senior and junior high school pupils have never heard any mention in school of AIDS, according to a recent survey of teenagers by the Jerusalem AIDS Project.

Of those aged 17 to 19, 36 percent never received any guidance about the subject, compared to 32 percent of those aged 20 to 22.

The survey found that students who had learned about AIDS were much more tolerant toward AIDS patients and HIV carriers than those who had not, and over half would be willing to invite an HIV carrier to their home for a social exchange; 34 percent would refuse. Those identifying themselves as religious, or haredi, were much less open to such a meeting — 55 percent of them wouldn't even consider it.

Regarding HIV testing, 26 percent said they have no interest in being tested.

Sixty percent of those aged 14 to 20 said they had not had sex during the past year; of those who had, 43 percent used a condom, 21 percent of the girls took a contraceptive pill, and 8.7 percent used no means of contraception.

Female civil servants earn 1/4 less than males

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Women working in Israel's civil service earn 25 percent less than their male counterparts, according to a survey recently presented to a Knesset member.

The discrepancy in gross salary is due largely to differences in how overtime benefits are allotted.

The acting head of the civil service commission said one way to close the gap on overtime would be to force government offices to close at 5 p.m., a move that would eliminate the benefit for both men and women.