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Israeline — Monday, April 1, 2002 —


Three Israelis were injured, one seriously, in a Palestinian suicide bombing in downtown Jerusalem this evening, HA’ARETZ reported.

Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy said a car arrived at the roadblock and police asked the driver for his identification card, when the car exploded. Levy said that it was unclear if the blast had been caused by a suicide bomber or if the vehicle itself had been booby-trapped. According to initial police reports, the terrorist was on his way to an area of West Jerusalem with several restaurants and pubs, in order to carry out the attack. The roadblock at which the blast occurred is one of a number erected in the city over the past few days, following fears of bombings during the Passover holiday. Meanwhile, a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated an explosive wounding twenty-five people, five seriously, on Sunday night at the My Coffee Shop café in downtown Tel Aviv. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.

In another incident on Sunday, a Palestinain suicide bomber, a member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, detonated his explosive belt near an emergency medical center in Efrat wounding six.

In a televised address to the nation on Sunday night, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared PA Chairman Yasser Arafat an enemy of Israel and of the entire free world, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Sharon put the blame for the spiraling violence, which included five Palestinian suicide attacks since Wednesday, fully on Arafat. "Arafat is the head of a coalition of terrorism and employs a strategy of terrorism, Sharon said. Sharon pointed out that Israel cooperated with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. special envoy Anthony Zinni in the last few weeks by withdrawing its forces from Palestinian controlled areas and giving up its demand for seven days of quiet in order to promote a cease-fire. The Palestinians, however, responded with "terrorism, terrorism, and more terrorism." Sharon also said that Israel must continue its fight against terrorism and root out its infrastructure because "there is no compromise with suicide bombers."

Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces units redeployed in Palestinian towns and cities throughout the West Bank, including Bethlehem, Kalkilya, Beit Jala and Tulkarem, in an effort to arrest terrorists and undermine possible terror activity in Israel. Forces also took up positions in nearby El Khader, the scene of numerous shootings and firebombing attacks against Israeli motorists. Eight IDF soldiers were wounded during the operation

In a press conference at his home in Texas, United States President George Bush expressed on Sunday his understanding for Israel’s need to defend herself MA’ARIV reported. Bush said, "I can understand why the Israeli government takes the action it takes. Their country is under attack. Every day there has been a suicide bombing," he said. In response to a question regarding Israel withdrawing from Arafat’s Ramallah compound, Bush said, "Israel is a democratically elected government. And the government is responding to the will of the people for there to be more security. And Israel will make the decisions necessary to defend herself."

Bush stressed that Arafat needs to speak out clearly against terrorism and to make absolutely clear that the Palestinian Authority does not support such attacks. Bush also said Zinni would remain in the region to provide a vehicle for dialogue between the parties "We will continue to lead, to talk, and urge world leaders, particularly those in the region, to do everything they can to shut off the capacity [of terrorists]," he said.

A Red Crescent ambulance was found carrying a bomb near Jerusalem on Friday, HA’ARETZ reported. The bomb was hidden under a gurney on which a sick Palestinian child was lying. The bomb was taken out of the ambulance and detonated in the presence of representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the driver, Islam Jibril confessed to have tried to smuggle in the bomb. He admitted both that this was not the first time that an ambulance was used to transfer terrorists and bombs, and that Red Crescent workers are sent on terror missions, a charge that until now the Red Cross and Red Crescent have forcefully rejected. Jibril said the bomb – configured as a belt to be worn by a suicide bomber
– was given to him by Mahmoud Titi of the Al Aqsa Marytrs Brigades.

A Palestinian terrorist, a member of Hamas Iz a Din al-Kassam Brigades, walked into the dining room of the Park Hotel in Netanya, where 250 guests were just beginning the Passover festivities, and detonated an explosive, killing twenty two people and injuring more than 140. Here are the names of the people who lost their lives:

Shula Abramovitz, 63, from Holon, was born in Poland, and immigrated to Israel as a teenager. She worked in the accounting department of a textile plant in Holon, where she met her husband Mordechai. She is survived by her husband and two daughters. Shula was buried in the Yarkon cemetery in Tel-Aviv.

David Anichovitch, 70, from Netanya, was born in Poland and fought in World War II. In the 1950’s he emigrated from Russia and married Frieda and eventually settled in Netanya. David was buried in Netanya and is survived by his wife and son.

Sgt.-Maj. Avraham Beckerman, 25, from Ashdod, served as a flight mechanic at the helicopter squadron in the Tel-Nof Air Force base, and hoped to become an officer. He was buried in Ashdod and is survived by his girlfriend Gili Vider, mother and brother.

St.-Sgt. Sivan Vider, 20, from Bekaot in the Jordan Valley, graduated from the Ben Shemen boarding high school, where she majored in product design. She served in the Israel Defense Forces as a course instructor and was supposed to complete her army service next month. She was buried in Bekaot and leaves behind her parents and two siblings.

Shimon Ben-Aroya, 42, from Netanya worked over 20 years for the Sanitation Department in the Netanya Municipality. His work manager remembered him as a person he could depend on. "He was an outstanding worker, industrious, intelligent, and very special. He loved to work and barely missed a day of work," he added. He was buried in Netanya and is survived by his wife and three children. Andre and Idit Fried, from Netanya, immigrated to Israel from Hungary in the late 1970s. Andre, 47, was a dentist with two clinics in Netanya. Idit, 47, was a nurse in the Laniado Hospital. During the last few years, the couple celebrated the Passover Seder at the Park Hotel. Andre and Idit were buried side by side in Netanya. They are survived by their daughter Shirli and son Tom.

George (Meir-Shlomo) Yakobovitch, 76, was born in Hungary and was a Holocaust survivor. He was a well-known lawyer and notary in the community of Hungarian immigrants. Twenty years ago, he married Andre Fried’s mother Hannah, whom he had known since childhood in Hungary. George was buried in the Yarkon cemetery in Tel-Aviv. He is survived by his wife and one daughter from a previous marriage. Ernest and Eva Weiss, 80, from Petah Tikva, were survivors of the Holocaust, and married in 1946 in Romania. In 1964 the couple immigrated to Israel and settled in Petah Tikva. Ernest, 80, was in the diamond business, Eva, 75, was a homemaker. The couple celebrated the Seder at the Park Hotel. Ernest and Eva were buried side by side in Petah Tikva.

Amiram (Ami) Hamami, 44, from Netanya, was the Park Hotel manager and security officer. Ami reportedly saw the terrorist enter the hotel and chased him, but was fatally injured by the explosion and died of his wounds two days later. Family members said Ami was known for his giving nature "He was always ready to help people in need and often gave away food to poor people." Ami was buried in Netanya. He is survived by his wife and six children.

Perla Hermella, 79, from Sweden, was born in Poland. In the early 1930s, her family moved to Sweden. Perla was active in the Jewish community in Stockholm, both in Keren Hayesod and the Jewish Agency. Perla celebrated the Passover holiday in Israel for the last 25 years, even after her husband passed away six years ago. Just before the Seder, she spoke with her younger son by phone, saying "I know it is dangerous in Israel but it is precisely at such times that it is so important to be here." Perla was buried in Israel. She is survived by her two sons, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Michael and Dvora Karim, immigrated to Israel from Iran and lived in Bet Shemesh. They moved to Netanya 20 years ago. Michael, 78, was a former employee of the Jewish National Fund. He was a devoted community worker and was active in the Iranian Jewish community. Dvora, 73, was active in WIZO, and worked with young children in a Na’amat nursery. Michael and Dvora were buried side by side in Netanya. They are survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Yehudit Korman, 70, from Ramat Hasharon, attended the Park Hotel’s Seder, as she did for many years before. She and her husband said they would attend the Seder because "We mustn’t give in to them. We must continue and live without fear." Yehudit’s parents immigrated to Israel from Russia in 1931 and were among the founders of Ramat Hasharon. Yehudit, born a year later, continued to lived in her parent’s home her whole life, and her children were born and raised there. Yehudit was buried in Ramat Hasharon. She is survived by her husband, two children and five grandchildren.

Marianne Lehmann Zaoui, 77, from Netanya, was born in Germany and was a Holocaust survivor. During World War II, she fled to France where she hid under an assumed identity, attending a Catholic school together with her sister. Marianne taught English for many years in high schools in France. Marianne and her husband Lucien emigrated from France ten years ago. They have been celebrating the Passover Seder in a hotel for several years. She was buried in Netanya and is survived by her husband, three children and grandchildren.

Lola Levkovitch, 70, from Jerusalem, attended the Park Hotel Seder to make sure her friend would not spend the holidays alone. She was buried in the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem. She is survived by her daughter.

Furuk Na’imi, 62, from Netanya, immigrated with his wife Nusrat to Israel from Iran 18 years ago. He was buried in Netanya and is survived by his wife and two children.

Eliahu Nakash, 85, from Tel-Aviv, emigrated from Syria in 1948. He worked for many years as a fruit and vegetable dealer in Holon. Eliyahu devoted much of his time to the local synagogue and to his garden. Eliahu was buried in Netanya. He leaves behind his wife Geula.

Irit Rashel, 45, from Moshav Herev La’et in the Sharon area, was a secretary in the psychological counseling services of neighboring Kibbutz Givat Haim. She loved to sing and was member of the Hadera choir. She was buried in Moshav Herev La’et and leaves behind her husband and two daughters.

Yulia Talmi, 87, from Tel-Aviv, immigrated to Israel from Russia in 1933.Yulia’s brother described her as "the stable one in the family, very independent and level-headed." She was laid to rest in the Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv.

The last victim has been identified, but her name has not yet been released.

David and Rachel Gavish, 50, from Elon Moreh, their son, Maj. Avraham Gavish, 25, from Kedumim, and Rachel’s father, Yitzhak Kanner, 83, from Jerusalem died on Thursday, March 28, when a Palestinian terrorist infiltrated the hilltop community of Elon Moreh near Nablus, burst into their home, shot and killed them. David and Rachel were one of the founders of the Elon Moreh community. David worked as a teacher at the high school yeshiva in Karnei Shomron. The high school principal said "it will be hard to think of this place without David. Thousands of families are grateful for the education their children received from him." Rachel worked as an educational counselor at the Ariel Regional College and at the Academic College for girls in Elon Moreh. Avraham Gavish served as a Major in the elite IDF General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, and had begun studying at Bar-Ilan University.

He married three years ago and decided to live in Kedumim. One of his friends said Avraham was "a leader, a commander and mostly, a friend." The four family members were buried side by side in Elon Moreh. They are survived by David and Rachel’s six children, Avraham’s wife, Na’ama and his daughter, Daria.

Michael Orlansky, 70, from Tel-Aviv, was stabbed to death on Friday, by a Palestinian terrorist, on his way to the synagogue for morning prayers in the community of Neztarim in the Gaza Strip. Michael, a holocaust surviver, was spending the Passover holiday with his son Yossi and his family. Michael’s daughter-in-law Rachel remembered him as "a very special and generous man. He always used to give more than he was asked to. He loved his family, and came to visit us regularly." Michael was buried at the Segula cemetery in Petah Tikva. He is survived by his 3 children and 22 grandchildren.

Tuvia Wisner, 79, from Petah Tikva was also stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist while on his way to the synagogue for morning prayers in the community of Neztarim. He was staying with his son Hanan and his family for the Passover holiday. Hanan said that it is very difficult for the family, and especially to his mother, to accept his death. Tuvia was buried at the Segula cemetery in Petah Tikva. He is survived by his wife and son.
Lt. Boaz Pomerantz, 22, from Kiryat Shmona, and Roman Shliapstein, 22, of Ma’ale Efraim, were killed in the course of the IDF anti-terrorist action in Ramallah. Boaz celebrated the Passover Seder meal with his family on Wednesday night, and on Thursday morning he received an urgent call to return to his unit, the elite Egoz battalion. He was killed by Palestinian fire during the redeployment into Ramallah. Boaz was buried in the military cemetery in Kiryat Shmona. He is survived by his parents, a brother and a sister. Roman immigrated to Israel with his parents from Georgia six years ago, and served in the Golani brigade. He was home with his family for the Passover holiday, but was called back to his unit on Thursday night. Roman recently received a certificate of commendation from his unit. "He had a good sense of humor," said his friends. He is survived by his parents and sister.

Haim Smadar, 55, and Rachel Levy, 17, from Jerusalem, were killed on Friday and 28 people were injured when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in the Kiryat Yovel supermarket in Jerusalem. Haim, who worked as a security guard at the supermarket in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood during the Passover holidays, and prevented the bomber from going deep inside the store and killing others. Haim was born in Tunis and immigrated to Israel when he was two years old. He grew up in Jerusalem. He was well known for his diligence and good relations and received a certificate of appreciation from the Jerusalem Municipality last year, for dedication and excellence in his job as a security guard at educational institutions. Haim was buried in Jerusalem. He is survived by his wife and their five children, as well a son by his first marriage. Rachel was a senior at the Sieff High School and a lover of photography. Her school has an exhibition of her photographs on display. "She was a charming girl, always smiling and pleasant. Simply a wonderful person," said a relative. Her mother said that she "She loved books, music, and sports."

Rachel was buried in Jerusalem. She is survived by her parents and her two brothers.

Border Policeman Sgt.-Maj. Constantine Danilov, 23, from Or Akiva was shot and killed in Baka al-Garbiyeh during an exchange of fire with two Palestinians trying to cross into Israel to carry out a suicide attack near the Israeli town of Baka al-Gharbiya. Constantine immigrated to Israel from Moscow nine years ago with his parents. He joined the Border Police northern region’s Harish unit six months ago after completing his compulsory army service in the Border Police in Judea and Samaria. One of his friends said "he was a great fellow who liked to help out with everything."

Constantine was buried in the military section of the Or Akiva cemetery. He is survived by his parents.

Fifteen people were killed and more than 40 injured when a Palestinian suicide bomber entered the popular Matza restaurant in the Neve Sha’anan district in Haifa and detonated an explosive. The restaurant, which was crowded at the time of the blast, is located in a gas station complex. It is owned by Jews but operated by an Israeli Arab family from Galilee. At least one member of that family was killed in the blast. The Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. Here are the names of the people who were killed in the bombing:

Col. (res.) Aviel Ron, 54, his daughter Anat, 21, and son Ofer, 18, were killed in the attack. Carmit Ron, the mother, sustained minor wounds intheexplosion. The family was eating lunch at their favorite restaurant when the bombing occurred. Aviel was a Col. In the Artillery Corps and was one of the planners of the Merkava 3 tank. His neighbour Israel said that "Aviel was an amazing person, Always volunteering. He loved his family very much."

Anat was released from the army a year ago and was sent on behalf of the Jewish Agency to the United States to work with children with difficulties. Ofer was a high school senior, majoring in Architecture. He was supposed to recruit to the IDF in the summer and join the Golani Brigade.

Carlos Wegman, 50, was an engineer from Haifa, who emigrated from Argentina in 1973. Carlos was planning to remarry this summer. His friend remembered Carlos always saying ‘don’t stay home, go out and have fun, especially in these times.’ He leaves two daughters.

Orly Ophir, 16, was a student at the Yironi He high school in Haifa and was an excellent soccer player. "She was the most charming girl in the world," said her sister Roni.

Danielle Menchel, 22, was about to fulfill her dream to study in Rome, like her father did. "She was in her prime, it was one of the best times of her life, she worked, studied and was in love," said her mother Nurit. Everyone who knew her described her as "a wonderful person."

Suheil Adawi, 32, from Turan, was expecting his second child to be born next month. Suheil was working as a waiter at the Matza restaurant and was replacing his brother who could not make it to work. His friends said the he "was a man with a heart of gold, whose wife and son were his life." Dov Chernovada, 47, from Haifa, used to eat at the Matza restaurant daily. Dov was an architect, who believed in co-existence between Jews and Arabs and used to arrange meetings between Israelis from all over the political map with Palestinians. He is survived by three sons.

Ya’akov Shani, 53, from Haifa, was the Director General of the ABB Company in Israel. "He went to eat at the Matza restaurant, like he does daily, and when he didn’t come home… I suddenly understood," said his wife Dalia. "He was a great father and a wonderful husband," she added. Ya’akov is survived by his wife and two children.

The names of other victims were released after midnight: Shimon Koren, 55, and his sons: Ron, 18, and Gal, 15, from Haifa; Adi Shiran, 18, from Haifa; and Moshe Levin, 52, from Haifa. The name of the last victim has not been released.

Israel Line is daily summary of news items taken directly from the Israeli media.

Israeline — Tuesday, April 2, 2002 —



Sgt.-Maj. Ofir Roth, 22, from Gan Yoshiya was killed on Monday afternoon when a Palestinian sniper firing from the Beit Sahur area shot at him while he was guarding a roadblock near Jerusalem’s Har Homa neighborhood, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. A Magen David Adom ambulance team treated Roth at the scene for a gunshot wound to the chest, and took him to Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein Kerem, where he died shortly afterwards.

Roth will be buried on Thursday at the military cemetery in Netanya. Meanwhile, an Israeli motorist and three children were wounded on Monday night when shots were fired at their car a kilometer south of the Shema junction roadblock in the Hebron Hills. The family of eight was returning from Beersheba to their home in Sussiya when Palestinian terrorists waiting at the side of the road fired at the vehicle. The four were taken to Beersheba’s Soroka Hospital after sustaining moderate injuries.

According to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon fired at least one Katuysha rocket into the Galilee panhandle north of Kiryat Shemona overnight. There were no reports of injury or damage.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Shaul Mofaz asserted in a statement describing Israel’s military operation on Monday, that IDF actions are not directed against the Palestinian people, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. "Our war is not directed against the Palestinian people. We are fighting against terrorism and its perpetrators. We shall wage this war with determination and wisdom, while respecting the values of the IDF. We shall respect human dignity adamantly. We shall not harm civilians and the innocent."

Meanwhile, Palestinian gunmen and Israeli troops exchanged heavy gunfire on the edge of Manger Square, just outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem today. About a dozen gunmen taking cover behind buildings fired assault rifles at Israeli tanks deployed some distance from the square. Palestinian gunmen have frequently used the area around the church as a refuge, with the expectation that Israel would try to avoid fighting near the shrine. Israeli forces have entered Bethlehem several times in the past 18 months of fighting, but in the past kept a distance from the Church of the Nativity, one of Christianity’s holiest shrines. According to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, IDF regular and reserve forces arrested wanted Palestinian terrorists and searched houses for weapons. These actions were aimed at destroying the local terrorist infrastructure and disrupting hostile terrorist activity. A soldier sustained minor wounds in the clash.

Also today, 200 Palestinian activists who were hiding in West Bank Security Chief Jibril Rajoub’s Beitunia headquarters surrendered to IDF troops. According to the IDF, an additional 200 activists are still inside the headquarters, including individuals wanted by Israel for terror attacks. Security sources indicate that Rajoub is providing shelter to dozens of militants on Israel’s wanted list. During the last three days, IDF forces have avoided entering the building despite clear evidence that wanted terrorists were hiding inside. Many of the armed terrorists hiding in Rajoub’s compound are believed to be responsible for a number of the recent attacks that took the lives of 48 civilians and wounded over 250, among them many children.

The Israeli and Ukraine Space Agencies signed an agreement today for future cooperation between the two countries at the Marinsky Palace in the presence of President Moshe Katsav and President Leonid Kuchma of the Ukraine, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

Aby Har-Even, Director General of the Israel Space Agency, said the Ukraine Space Agency is known for its high technology, including missiles, launchers, and navigation systems. "We have in Israel technology that Ukraine does not possess, and this is one of the potentials for cooperation," Har-Even said. "Another possibility relates to communications satellites, something the Ukraine is not specialized in and Israel is."

Har-Even said the two countries will not only exchange technology, but also scientists and will plan workshops and seminars.

Hundreds of Israelis living abroad, among them people who left Israel many years ago have contacted the Israel Defense Forces requesting recruitment to military reserve service, MA’ARIV reported. While most of the requests received by the IDF are via E-Mails and fax, many Israelis have simply returned to Israel and shown up at military posts offering to help. According to a spokesman for the IDF, not all people who request to be drafted will be, as the army has a specific procedural order by which it drafts reserve soldiers. In addition to former Israeli citizens, the same phenomenon has arisen among the elderly Israeli population, many of whom have passed reserve service age but are expressing their wish to be of assistance in security missions wherever needed.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon asked former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to "join the Israeli public relations system and lend his skills to Israel," HA’ARETZ reported. Sharon personally telephoned Netanyahu with the request and agreed to meet his predecessor next Sunday at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, in order to discuss ways in which Netanyahu can be integrated into Israel’s public relations service. It will be the first meeting between the two since Sharon took office more than a year ago.


* Lufthansa’s Tel Aviv operation has continued to show an increase in passengers, despite the continuing tourism slump that has beset the industry since September 2000, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. In March, the airline carried 22,707 passengers in and out of Ben-Gurion. In comparison, El Al dropped by 18%, British Airways, which was still the leading foreign airline last year, went down by 14%, Alitalia, which came fourth after Lufthansa, had 17% fewer passengers, and Swissair, the next on the list, experienced a decline of 11%.

* Retail chains Supersol and Sakal on-line today reported increased on-line shopping as the fear of terrorism drove more Israelis to their computers to make their holiday purchases, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Supersol, which launched its e-commerce site, Netsal, five years ago, saw a 25-30% increase of sales in the past few days, a trend contrary to what usually follows Seder night, Netsal CEO Amos Baruch said. Baruch attributed the on-line sales to the overall security situation, noting the closing of the Tel Aviv-Haifa road following a suicide attack in Tel Aviv.

Israel Line is a daily summary of news items taken directly from the Israeli media.


Israeline — Friday, April 5, 2002 —


Four soldiers and seven Israeli civilians died between Wednesday and today as a result of Palestinian violence, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. On Thursday, Border Police Supt. Patrick Pereg, 30, head of operations in the Border Police undercover unit, was killed in Hebron by Palestinian terrorists. Pereg and his unit were approaching a house in the Palestinian-controlled area of the city in order to capture Hassan Kapishe, a Tanzim terrorist. A gun battle ensued, and Pereg sustained fatal injuries. Kapishe managed to fled the house, but his brother was arrested. Pereg was one of the founders of the unit established in 1992, and worked his way up the ranks from being a fighter in the unit to becoming one of its senior officers. One of his colleagues described him as an outstanding fighter and person. He is survived by his wife and 10-month-old son. Also on Thursday, three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed in firefights with Palestinian gunmen in the refugee camp of Jenin. Two of the slain soldiers are Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Einan Sharabi, 32, of Rehovot and Corp. Nissim Ben-David, 22, of Ashdod. The name of the third soldier has not yet been released. On Wednesday, Maj. (res.) Moshe Gerstner was killed in the Jenin refugee camp after being shot by Palestinian gunmen. Also on Wednesday, IDF soldier Shmuel Toledano, 19, of Kiryat Shmuel, was killed in a tank accident on the Gaza border. The youngest of nine children, Toledano took courses at the religious pre-college school on the Golan Heights before his enlistment in the army six months ago. His brother Haim said yesterday that "he could have served in the background, but he insisted on being a combat soldier."

Seven Israelis who had been injured in the recent spate of Palestinian suicide bombing died over the last two days. On Thursday, Rachel Tzarchi, 36, of Bat Yam, succumbed to her wounds. She was critically injured in the suicide bombing attack on a Tel Aviv café on March 30. She is survived by her husband and three children, aged 14, 13 and 7. Also, four people who had been critically injured in the suicide bombing attack on the Park Hotel in Netanya on Passover eve, March 27, died of their wounds. The four are Hanna Rogen, 92, of Netanya; Ze’ev Vider, 50, of Moshav Bekaot; Alter Britvich, 88, of Netanya and his wife Frieda, 86. A total of 26 people have now been killed as a result of the Netatyana attack.

Hannah Rogen was born in Kishinev and emigrated to the United States after World War II. In 1972, she immigrated to Israel with her Israeli husband Pinhas, who died several years ago. Hannah usually celebrated the seder at the guesthouse of kibbutz Shefayim. This year, however, she decided to attended the seder at the Park Hotel with her childhood friend, Yulia Talmi, who was also killed in the attack. "Hannah used to warmly hug everyone and she contributed generously," said one of her friends. She donated a recovery room and a room in the surgery department to the Laniado Hospital in Netanya. She was buried in Holon. Ze’ev Vider, a former career officer in the IDF, was working in Nigeria and returned to Israel to spend the Passover with his family. He was described by a family friend as "an officer and a gentlemen, a dedicated family man." His family donated his organs for transplants; one of his kidneys was transplanted to a 45-year old Arab woman from Jerusalem. "He loved to help anyone in a difficult situation and I think this step is in keeping with his character," his son said. Vider’s daughter, Sivan, 21, was also killed in the attack. Another daughter, Gili, was moderately injured and her fiancé, Avraham Beckerman, was killed. Vider’s wife Zahava was injured as well. Alter Britvich immigrated to Israel in the 1930s from Romania and was injured during World War II. He met his wife, Frieda, a holocaust survivor, after a long courtship by mail, married her in 1947 and settled in Netanya.

Each year, Alter and Frieda would celebrate the seder in a different location. This year, concerned about traveling, they decided to celebrate the holiday in Netanya. Several hours after Alter died, his wife Frieda, also injured in the blast, passed away. The couple was buried side by side. They are survived by two children and eight grandchildren. Meanwhile, Carlos Yerushalmi, 52, of Karkur, died on Tuesday night after being severely wounded in the suicide bombing attack on the Matza restaurant in Haifa on March 31, bringing the number of people killed in the attack to 15. Yerushalmi immigrated to Israel from Argentina with his family ten years ago, and settled first in Kibbutz Metzer and then in Karkur. He was a television producer and a teacher of electronic communications. Yerushalmi went to the Matza Restaurant with his friend Carlos Wegman, who was also killed in the attack. His family donated his organs for transplants; one of his kidneys was transplanted into an Armenian woman from Beer Sheva.

He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

United States President George W. Bush announced on Thursday that he will dispatch Secretary of State Colin Powell for a mediation mission in the Middle East next week, HA’ARETZ reported.

In his speech, Bush condemned Palestinian terrorism and accused Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat of being detrimental to achieving peace. "At Oslo and elsewhere," Bush said, "Chairman Arafat renounced terror as an instrument of his cause, and he agreed to control it.

He’s not done so. The situation in which he finds himself today is largely of his own making. He’s missed his opportunities and thereby betrayed the hopes of the people he is supposed to lead."

Bush also denounced Palestinian suicide bombers and those who aid and abet them. "They’re not martyrs," he said of the suicide bombers. "They’re murderers. And they undermine the cause of the Palestinian people. Those governments, like Iraq, that reward parents for the sacrifice of their children are guilty of soliciting murder of the worst kind. All who care about the Palestinian people should join in condemning and acting against groups like al-Aqsa, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all the groups which oppose the peace process and seek the destruction of Israel."

Bush ended his speech by reiterating his support of Israel, asking that it end its counter-offensive measures in Palestinian-controlled territory.

"Israel is facing a terrible and serious challenge," Bush said. "For seven days, it has acted to root out terrorist nests. America recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself from terror. Yet to lay the foundations of future peace, I ask Israel to halt incursions into Palestinian-controlled areas and begin the withdrawal from those cities it has recently occupied. I speak as a committed friend of Israel; I speak out of a concern for its long-term security, the security that will come with a genuine peace."

Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres issued a statement welcoming the speech and the upcoming Powell mission, and said that "there is tremendous importance to the involvement of the President of the United States in the efforts for a cease-fire in order to renew the peace process."

The National Religious Party announced on Thursday a series of steps in an effort to join Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Government, HA’ARETZ reported. NRP Chairman, MK Yitzhak Levy, resigned his position and MK Shaul Yahalom stepped aside in order to allow reserve Brigadier General Effi Eitam to head the party. The NRP will have two ministers in the Government.

The first will be Eitam, who will join the Security Cabinet as a voting member. The other minister has not yet been determined. Levy told the NRP Knesset faction on Wednesday that his decision to quit as chairman was personal, and one he had been considering for some time. Yahalom was next-in-line, but he steped aside to enable Eitam to become the party leader.

Israeli swimmer Vered Borochovsky won the bronze medal in the the final of the 50 meter butterfly swimming event at the short-course swimming championships in Moscow today, HA’ARETZ reported. Borochovsky, 17, is the first-ever female Israeli swimmer to win the distinguished honor. She competed against some of the top swimmers in the world, such as Swedish swimmers Teresa Eshsheimer and Anna Karin Kimerling.

Israeli swimmer Mickey Halika also participated in the championship, competing in the 400 meter individual medley. Despite having achieved one of his best personal times, he just missed the cut for the final round.


* German pharmaceutical giant Bayer announced on Thursday that it had sold its French generic drugs business, Bayer Classics, to Israeli Teva Pharmaceuticals for 97 million euros ($86 million), HA’ARETZ reported. The deal is slated to be completed this quarter. Bayer Classics is the third-largest provider of generic drugs to the French market. Teva said that integrating its existing business in France with that of Bayer Classics will give the company 72 generic products to offer the French market in addition to 49 products awaiting approval from the relevant drug authorities involved in marketing the drugs in France. Bayer Classics sales in the half-year ending March 31 came to over 26 million euros. Israel Makov, CEO-designate of Teva, said that the acquisition will enable Teva to become a central player in the growing generic drugs market in France, and will help strengthen Teva’s leading position in Europe.

* American company Standard Textile has announced its intention to purchase up to 30 percent of Israeli textile manufacturer Zika as a strategic investment, GLOBES reported. Standard Textile, a manufacturer of work clothes and medical equipment, announced it would invest in Zika for an allocation of shares or non-negotiable bonds convertible into Zika shares. Zika is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Excahnge at a market value of NIS 28 million (approximately $5.6 million).

Israel Line is a daily summary of news items taken directly from the Israeli media.