Shorts: Mideast

Minister: Legalize prostitution

jerusalem (jta) | Israel’s interior minister called for legalizing prostitution in the country.

“Prostitution in Israel is carried out in the ugliest of conditions,” Avraham Poraz told a Knesset hearing Tuesday, July 6, referring to the illegal trafficking of foreign sex workers, for which the Jewish state is regularly rapped by international watchdog groups.

“Because there is a general ban in place” on prostitution, “there is also a sense that anything is permitted,” Poraz said.

In 1978, an Israeli government panel recommended legalizing prostitution, but the initiative did not get past religious parties in the Knesset. Poraz is a member of the secular Shinui Party.

Israel military police to get Harleys

jerusalem (jta) | Israel reportedly has ordered a fleet of Harley-Davidson motorcycles for its military police.

The head of Israeli military procurement approved the purchase of 30 Harley-Davidson Sportster bikes after establishing that they could be paid for out of the annual U.S. defense grant of $2.2 billion to the Jewish state, Israel’s daily Yediot Achronot reported on Tuesday, July 6.

Burg quits Knesset

jerusalem (jta) | Avraham Burg, the Labor Party veteran once touted as a possible successor to Shimon Peres, has quit Israeli politics.

Burg, a former Jewish Agency director and one of the architects of the “Geneva accord” peace proposal, offered his resignation Sunday, July 4, to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.

“Today’s Knesset is not at its highest point,’ Burg, 49, said in a brief speech. Israeli pundits say Burg quit to protest Peres’ apparent willingness to bring Labor into a coalition government with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s ruling Likud Party.

Burg’s next job will be as an Israeli investment consultant to a British consortium, media reports said.