Mideast Report

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat reportedly has raised $2.5 million from Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy for suicide bombings.

The money will fund the terrorist activities of the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The fund-raising reportedly comes amid ongoing efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire and cut off funding for Palestinian terrorist groups.

Transsexual fights to serve in reserves

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli transsexual is fighting for the right to do army reserve duty.

Tal Isaac, who was born a woman, served the same three-year stint of compulsory service as male soldiers, including a course to become an instructor of hand-to-hand combat, Israel Radio reported.

When Isaac was discharged, he was told he would not be called up for reserve duty because he was still officially registered with the Interior Ministry as a woman, the report said.

Isaac appealed the decision, and a spokesperson for the army said Isaac's request would likely be approved. Prior to his entering the army, the army tried to disqualify Isaac from service, citing psychological unsuitability, the report said.

Soldier accused in poisoning incident

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A female Israeli soldier was charged with forcing a Palestinian woman to drink a poisonous substance.

The Jerusalem Post reported that when the woman approached a crossing point in the Gaza Strip in February, the soldier asked what was in a bottle she was carrying.

When the woman replied it was water, the soldier told her to drink it. After the woman refused, the soldier forced her to drink the substance, which apparently was a poisonous glue used as a fiberglass adhesive.

Israel tries to attract evangelical Christians

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel launched a campaign to attract evangelical Christian tourists to the Jewish state.

The campaign, which will begin Tuesday, features ads with the line, "Don't put your soul on hold."

The ads highlight Jesus' connections to the Holy Land. Israel's tourism minister, Benny Elon, and conservative Christian leader Gary Bauer announced the campaign this week.

Settlers fighting IDF burn Palestinian farm

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Settlers at Mitzpeh Yitzhar set fire to nearby Palestinian fields in an attempt to disrupt the evacuation of the outpost.

Thursday's army operation was the first in which Israel removed an inhabited outpost. Scuffles between settlers and soldiers erupted despite calls by the settlement umbrella organization, the Yesha Council, for settlers to use only nonviolent means in resisting the operation.

Settlers ignited Palestinian olive groves and wheat fields to slow the approach of army vehicles to the outpost.

About 30 soldiers and civilians were lightly injured, and seven Molotov cocktails were found in settlers' possession, Israel Radio reported. There were 15 arrests in the operation.