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Israeline — Monday, December 9, 2002 —


** ISA Arrests Wanted Sniper in Hebron; Soldiers Wounded on Lebanon Border
** Vast Search for Two Missing Toddlers in Jerusalem
** Likud Elects Knesset List; Labor Votes Today
** President Katsav Visits Germany Under Tight Security
** Economic Briefs


ISA Arrests Wanted Sniper in Hebron; Soldiers Wounded on Lebanon Border
The Israel Security Agency announced today it has arrested the alleged sniper who shot 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass in Hebron, in March 2001, MA’ARIV ON-LINE reported. According to a statement made by the Prime Minister’s office, Mohammed Amaro, a Tanzim member of the Fatah in Hebron, confessed that he had received instructions for the attack from Marwan Zalom, who was head of the Tanzim in Hebron until his death in April. Amaro took up position in the Abu Sneineh neighborhood of Hebron, which overlooks the Avraham Avinu Jewish quarter and opened fire, killing Salhevet and wounding her father. According to security sources, Amaro was held by the Palestinian Authority after the murder, but was released a few hours later. In addition, Amaro confessed to planting an explosive device south of Hebron and to a number of other shooting attacks in the area.

In other news, two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were seriously wounded on Sunday when a bomb exploded near an IDF patrol on the Israel-Lebanon border, about halfway between the Zarit and Yakinton outposts. The driver of a vehicle carrying four soldiers, suffered head wounds while another soldier’s legs were pulverized by shrapnel and later amputated. An unknown Lebanese organization, the Ramzi Nahra Shahid Group, took responsibility for the attack. Head of the IDF Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Benny Ganz blamed Hizbullah for the explosion. "Hizbullah is the dominant force in southern Lebanon, and operates with Lebanese and Syrian permission and with Iranian support," Ganz said. He also suspects there was an attempt to abduct the soldiers afterward.

Meanwhile, an IDF officer was injured lightly and his driver moderately hurt on Sunday night in Kfar Shawieka near Tulkarm in the West Bank when an explosive charge was detonated in the path of their jeep and shots were fired at them. Military sources said there has been an increase in the number of incidents in the region.


Thousands of volunteers have joined Jerusalem Police and Border Police in a vast search for two toddlers missing since Saturday, MA’ARIV reported. 22-month-old Hodaya Kedem-Pimstein was last seen by her father in his home in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood in Jerusalem on Saturday morning. Five-year-old Nur Abu Tir from Umm Tuba village in southeast Jerusalem also disappeared that evening. Police do not believe that there is a connection between the two cases.

Hodaya’s parents are separated and she was with her father Eli Pimstein on Saturday morning when she disappeared. Pimstein said that the last time he saw her she was watching TV in the living room while he went to the bathroom. When he came back she was gone. After questioning Pimstein and submitting him to a polygraph test, Police said that he was not to blame. Hodaya’s mother, Ronni Kedem, went on radio television offering a "substantial" reward for her daughter’s return. "We don’t want vengeance, all we want is Hodaya back," Kedem said.

Nur Abu Tir’s parents believe she was kidnapped saying that, "among our people there is no such thing as a little girl leaving a house and just vanishing." Nur’s father, Ahmed Abu Tir said that on Saturday night, Nur went with her brother Ala to the grocery store in Umm Tuba. An hour and a half after they came back, the family noticed that Nur was gone. Nur’s father first looked for her around the house and at her grandparents’ home, but when she was not found the entire family began searching along the paths to the nearby wadis and eventually called East Jerusalem hospitals and ambulance services. Volunteers from the village continued the search and by morning, the police were involved, putting up a field post in the family’s front yard, bringing in a helicopter, Border Patrol jeeps and police personnel to scour the area. Police sources suspect that a prolonged family feud and a desire for revenge might have led to Nur’s disappearance from her home.


Ninety-five percent of some 2,900 members of the Likud central committee turned out on Sunday to vote for their 145 candidates, HA’ARETZ reported. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Minister of Foreign Affairs Benjamin Netanyahu were guaranteed the top two places.

Minister of the Environment Tzahi Hanegbi came in third place, followed by Minister of Finance Silvan Shalom in fourth. Minister without Portfolio, responsible for coordination between the government and the Knesset, Danny Naveh placed fifth followed by Minister of Education Limor Livnat, who came in sixth. Minister of Internal Security Uzi Landau came in 10th, Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz was 12th, and Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert placed 33rd. Some 110,000 Labor party members are slated to vote today for their list of nominees for the Knesset. The members will rank the 83 candidates running for a place on the Labor list. The list includes new faces such as former Cabinet Secretary Yitzhak Herzog, former Mossad Chief Danny Yatom and author Eli Amir.

According to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, 4,720,000 people will be eligible to vote in the January 28 election for the 16th Knesset. The number represents a 4 percent increase from the previous election.


During a three-day visit to Germany, President Moshe Katsav said he is convinced that Israel can reach peace with the Palestinians and urged the German people to fight against anti-Semitism in their country, HA’ARETZ reported. "Here and there voices of anti-Semitism can be heard, also in Germany. Hostility toward Jews in Europe is increasing – synagogues are being stoned. Every leading politician in the free world must recognize that democracy as a whole is attacked by such actions," Katsav said.

Katsav, accompanied by German President Johannes Rau, participated in a dedication of a new synagogue in the city of Wuppertal on Sunday, near the place where a synagogue was burned by Nazis during "Kristallnacht" ("Night of the Shattered Glass") in 1938. This is the first time that an Israeli President has attended such a ceremony in Germany.

Katsav’s visit is under particularly tight security because of a march set to be held today in Berlin by German neo-Nazis with the theme "Hands off Palestine – No German Weapons for Israel." Three counter demonstrations are also planned, protesting against the neo-Nazi display to show solidarity with Israel. Katsav is slated to meet with German political leaders, including Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and he is expected to renew Israel’s request for armored personnel carriers and to raise the issue of Israeli soldiers ‘Missing in Action.’


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Israel’s English-language debate team won a groundbreaking victory over a group from Lithuania last week at the European Debating Championship held in Stuttgart, Germany, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The head of the debate team Asher Weill, founder of Israel’s debating society known as Siah vaSig, said that "apparently Israeli kids not only know what to say, but even more important, also know very well how to say it."

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The Ministry of Defense signed a framework agreement with Microsoft that will enable the Israeli defense establishment to use Microsoft desktop and enterprise software for three years, GLOBES reported. The agreement was settled by a Ministry of Defense procurement delegation in New York, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense Procurement and Production Directorate and the Israel Defense Forces teleprocessing brigade and Central Data Processing Unit (Mamram). Israel’s military procurement from Microsoft will be financed mainly with US aid.

Start-up company Cyota, which develops solutions for secure payments over the Internet, completed an $8 million third financing round, GLOES reported. The round was led by RRE Ventures, a new investor in the company. Almost all the existing investors participated. This round brings the total amount so far raised by the company to $22 million. Cyota expects to become profitable within the next two months.

Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Michal Rachlevsky at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.