Choose Day Below

Israeline — Tuesday, January 14, 2003 —


** Israel, U.S. kick off liaison operations ahead of Iraq war
Terrorists Planned to Kidnap Israeli Soldier; Hamas receives RPG Launchers
** Cooking Class Unites Jews and Arabs
** New Israeli Technique improves chances of recovery in hip-fracture patients
** Economic Briefs


Israel, U.S. kick off liaison operations ahead of Iraq war
The first members of the American liaison team responsible for coordinating with the Israel Defense Forces in the event of a U.S. war against Iraq arrived in Israel this weekend, HA’ARETZ reported. The unit is responsible for setting up the infrastructure for communication and coordination among the IDF, the Pentagon and any American forces in the area during the expected war with Iraq. "As part of our contingency planning, the United States and Israel are enhancing their already-strong liaison and communications channels," an American source said. "As needed, a limited number of U.S. personnel will augment the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to facilitate this objective."

The decision to station an American liaison unit in Israel is part of a general decision to ‘raise the profile’ of military cooperation between the two countries in advance of a possible war with Iraq.


Terrorists Planned to Kidnap Israeli Soldier; Hamas receives RPG Launchers
The two terrorists who crossed the Egyptian border Sunday evening and killed an Israeli reserves soldier were armed with more than just Kalashnikov rifles and an explosive device, MAARIV reported. The terrorists also had dozens of syringes filled with anesthetics; military officials believe they planned to kidnap Israeli soldiers. According to media reports, the terrorists had at least forty syringes and an assortment of drugs. "Until we find an explanation for these medicines, we will act under the belief that the intention was to kidnap soldiers," a senior military official said.

In other news, Hamas said Tuesday it has received a large number of rocket-propelled grenade launchers and has produced a new batch of an advanced version of its Izzadine al-Qassam rockets. The group first claimed that they used an RPG launcher on Dec. 28 near Rafah in which an Israeli logistics armored vehicle was destroyed and two soldiers were seriously wounded. Meanwhile, Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin rejected a call Monday by PA Chairman Yasser Arafat to halt attacks on Israeli civilians and suggested that Hamas would kidnap Israelis as ransom for Palestinian prisoners.


Cooking Class Unites Jews and Arabs
A group of hearing-impaired young Israelis of Jewish and Arab descent, are finding common ground in a cooking class, Globes reported. The group includes a Bedouin from the Negev, Druze from the Galilee, new immigrants from the Ukraine and Ethiopia, an Arab Israeli from the north, as well as many Jewish Israelis. These students, pursuing a professional cooking certificate at the Amal Hasharon boarding school Kfar Saba, all say that their common goal and their common challenge of navigating their way in a hearing world binds them together.

"We deaf people are all brothers and we are all united," says Nassim Al-Karvani, a 18 year old Bedouin from the town of Rahat in the Negev. The cooking program currently has 50 students from all sectors and regions of Israel, and is taught by a professional cooking teacher, together with a translator, who translates the lessons into sign language.

The students learn to cook the cuisines of all ethnicities. During the holiday of Ramadan, they all joined to prepare the traditional post-Ramadan feasts. Each day of Ramadan, the Jewish students would wrap the food and send it home with their Moslem counterparts so they could eat it after sundown.

The students graduate from the program with a Grade One Israeli Cooking Certificate, which qualifies them to become a chef’s assistant in a restaurant. From this point, they are able to work their way up the ladder via a series of apprenticeships and examinations until they become qualified chefs.


New Israeli Technique improves chances of recovery in hip-fracture patients
A new Israeli-developed method which greatly enhances the chances of hip surgery patients to fully regain their pre-operative mobility is soon to be available to American patients, Globes reported. The Gotfried Percutaneous Compression Plating (PC.CP) System is a new minimally invasive method of fracture stabilization and fixation for hip-fracture surgery. The method was developed by Dr. Yechiel Gotfried, of the B’nai Zion Medical Center, in Haifa.

"Hip fractures represent a major orthopedic challenge for surgeons. This new approach is a minimally invasive method of operating on hip fractures with less pain and rehab time, and better results, for the patient," said Charlie Federico, President and CEO of Orthofix International, NV, a US publicly traded company that has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement to market the product.

Recently published papers detailing clinical results using currently available systems indicate that only 40% of patients regain their pre-operative mobility. In contrast, the PC.CP System has been shown to increase this percentage to 83%.

A memorial service was held Tuesday for the foreign workers killed in last week’s double suicide bombings in Tel Aviv, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

The service was held at the Center to Aid Foreign Workers before the bodies of four of the people were flown home.

Israel radio reported that the ceremony was attended by members of the Tel Aviv municipality, the Interior Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Workers Association.


Economic Briefs
* Ra’anana-based NICE-Systems announced that the Indiana State Police had implemented its Wordnet Series 3 advanced digital recording systems for 17 district offices. Financial terms were not disclosed, although NICE did say the installation would be completed during the first quarter of 2003. The recording systems were sold and are being installed by Word Systems, Inc., NICE’s Indianapolis-based distributor. Their primary role will be to record all inbound and outbound telephone and radio communications at the districts and store them on a computer hard disk, where officials will be able to locate and retrieve them for later use as evidence or investigative purposes as needed, NICE said.

*The Investment Promotion Center of the Ministry of Industry and Trade has approved $3.5 million in tax benefits for Comverse Technology’s expansion of its operations in Ramat Hahayal in Tel Aviv. The center also approved $23.7 million in benefits for the expansion of Marvell Technology operations in Israel, GLOBES reported.

*A study conducted on 404 patients at several U.S. sites has determined that a new drug called Rasagiline effectively treats early-stage Parkinson’s disease, GLOBES reported. The study was reported in the December Archives of Neurology and was conducted as part of the clinical trials for FDA approval. Rasagiline is now in the last stage of the approval process with a decision expected later this year. Teva Pharmaceuticals will then market the new drug.

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

Israeline — Wednesday, January 15, 2003 —


** Israeli Emissaries Begin Voting for Knesset in Australia
** Ugandan President Visits Israel
** LA Sheriff: "Heroes of the World are in Israel"
** Wolf Prizes for Mathematics, Physics, Agriculture Announced
** Economic Briefs


Israeli Emissaries Begin Voting for Knesset in Australia
Israeli emissaries will begin voting tonight for the 16th Knesset, MA’ARIV reported. The first votes will be cast in Canberra, Australia. The balloting will continue on Thursday and will take place in 91 other locations around the world, where 4,550 Israelis are eligible to vote. Eligible voters include official envoys and their family members. San Francisco will be the last ballot site.

After the voting, the ballot boxes from around the world will be flown to Israel and kept in a safe at the Knesset. They will be opened and checked only after general voting concludes on January 28, 2003, and will be counted together with the other special ballots cast by soldiers, inmates, wardens, hospital patients and medical personnel.


Ugandan President Visits Israel
The President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni arrived for a six-day visit to Israel on Monday, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Museveni, who is on a mission to promote diplomatic and defense relations, met with President Moshe Katsav on Monday and with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Minister of Foreign Affairs Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. Museveni, will also visit various Christian pilgrimage sites, including the Jordan River.

Israel’s Nonresident Ambassador to Uganda Ya’acov Amitai, who is accompanying Museveni on his visit, said that the "relations between the two states have been gradually improving." He added that bilateral trade between the two countries is on the rise, with Israeli exports to Uganda, mainly agricultural equipment, totaling some $4 million a year. In addition, Israeli imports from Uganda, mainly coffee, total about $1 million a year. Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stepped up its technical aid to Uganda last year when some 30 Ugandans completed a course in agricultural management in Israel. In addition, a delegation of Israeli doctors and nurses will fly in the near future to Kampala to teach a course on preparing for medical emergencies.

Bilateral relations between Israel and Uganda were renewed in July 1994. The Embassy of Israel in Nairobi is accredited to Uganda, and the Ugandan Ambassador in Egypt is accredited to Israel. In 1996, Uganda also appointed an honorary consul in Israel.


LA Sheriff: "Heroes of the World are in Israel"
Thirty-four chiefs of police and other law enforcement officials from the United States and Canada arrived in Israel on Sunday to participate in a first of its kind four-day seminar on "Police and Law Enforcement in the Era of Global Terror," HA’TSOFEH reported. The seminar, hosted by Israel Police Chief Insp.-Gen. Shlomo Aharonishky, included workshops on identifying terror cells, drawing public support for the fight against terror, and coping with the aftermath of a terrorist attack. In addition, the group laid a wreath at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv and toured the Dolphinarium site, where a Palestinian homicide bomber killed 21 people, and met with one of the victims’ mother. On Tuesday evening the group met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

According to THE JERUSAELEM POST, Chief of Homeland Security at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Robert Doyle Campbell said the visit stresses that terrorism is a global problem and described it as a sobering experience. "You go to places like the discotheque that was bombed in Tel Aviv, and come face to face with the damage that terrorism does to a community and to a society as a whole. Up close, it is so different than reading about it in a newspaper or seeing the pictures on TV," he said. His colleague Sheriff Leroy D. Baca declared that, "the heroes of the world are here in Israel. I cannot imagine any community as strong and as helpful as the community here in Israel. The help that victims of terror attacks, who have had their bodies torn apart by a terror explosion receive, is an act of heroism of an unprecedented level."

Among the participants are the police chiefs of Washington, D.C., Portland, and Chicago. The group also includes the police commissioners of Washington, Boston, Kansas City, Detroit, and Philadelphia, and various FBI representatives.


Wolf Prizes for Mathematics, Physics, Agriculture Announced
Minister of Education Limor Livnat, who also chairs the Wolf Foundation, announced on Tuesday this year’s Wolf Prize winners for physics, mathematics and agriculture, HA’ARETZ reported. President Moshe Katsav will award the prizes of $100,000 each in a Knesset ceremony on May 11, 2003.

This year’s Wolf Prize for physics will be awarded to Professor Bertrand Halperin of Harvard University and Professor Anthony Leggett of Illinois University. The jury said the decision was made in recognition of the researchers’ contribution to the field of condensed matter theory. Halperin and Leggett are both members of the National Academy of Sciences. Leggett is widely recognized as a world leader in the theory of low-temperature physics.

The Wolf Prize for mathematics will be awarded to Professor Mikio Sato from Kyoto University in Japan and to Professor John Tate of Texas University. In addition, the agriculture prize will go to Dr. Fuller W. Bazer of Texas University and Dr. Michael Roberts of the University of Missouri. Bazer and Roberts independently identified an array of proteins and mechanisms that regulate embryonic development, fetal growth and immune system competence. According to the Wolf Prize jury, the uterine protein, identified by Bazer, may ultimately be useful in treating diseases such as leukemia and osteoporosis.

The Israel Defense Forces began distributing the Arrow anti-missile batteries in the communities of Ein Shemer and Palmachim this week as a precautionary measure in case of a possible war with Iraq, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz, who visited the headquarters of the Arrow unit, said that he can assure the Israeli public that the Arrow system is very efficient and "will hit the target if Iraq launches missiles at us."


Economic Briefs

* The Israel-United States Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation will invest $12 million in 12 new technology ventures, GLOBES reported. Total investment in the projects will amount to $31 million, including the companies’ own investments. Six million dollars of the BIRD-F investments will be in seven life sciences projects. Four of the other projects are in communications, two are in semiconductors, and one is in electro-optics.

* BMC, the American provider of ebusiness systems management, is in talks to buy the Israeli start-up Business Layers for $80 million, HA’ARETZ reported. Business Layers’ cornerstone product is its eProvision software, which provides a process to promote digital resources and access management to employees, consultants and business partners. Business Layers was founded in 1999 and currently employs 120 in its development center in Ra’anana and its management center in New Jersey. Among the advantages of Business Layers’ technology is the complete automation of procedures that relating to the induction of newcomers or the departure of existing employees, which can help cut corporate costs. The software’s application can manage the opening of new phone lines, or blocking of old ones, and automate the sorting of new e-mail addresses.

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

Israeline — Thursday, January 16, 2003 —


** IDF Arrests Three Would-Be Homicide Bombers; Foils Two Infiltrations
** Colonel Ilan Ramon on Board Columbia Ship, To Launch Today
** Stauber Meets Briefly with Blair in London

** El Al to Cooperate With Delta on North American Route
** Economic Briefs


IDF Arrests Three Would-Be Homicide Bombers; Foils Two Infiltrations
Israel Defense Forces troops arrested three Palestinians suspected of being would-be homicide bombers early this morning, HA’ARETZ reported. One of the suspects was arrested in Qalqilyah, while the other two were arrrested east of Nablus.

Meanwhile, IDF troops also foiled two attempted infiltrations into Gush Katif communities early this morning. In the first attempt, soldiers saw a Palestinian climbing a ladder to cross the fence surrounding the community and fired at him. He surrendered himself to the troops and was found to be carrying a Kalashnikov rifle and four hand grenades. Earlier, troops fired at a Palestinian man trying to infiltrate into the Tel Katifa community and then arrested him.


Colonel Ilan Ramon on Board Columbia Ship, To Launch Today
A large Israeli contingent was on hand to watch the country’s first astronaut, Colonel Ilan Ramon, head into space at Cape Canerval today, HA’ARETZ reported. Ramon and six other astronauts embarked on a 16-day research mission.

More security measures were instituted for the flight because of Ramon. Ramon was selected in 1997 to be Israel’s first astronaut, and began training at NASA a year later. He was promised a launch as early as 1999. However, for several reasons, his flight – and the flight of an atmospheric dust-measuring experiment sponsored by Israel – kept getting delayed.

Today’s launch will mark the 113th space shuttle flight and the Columbia’s 28th mission. Among the dignitaries are former air force commanders in chief Eitan Ben-Eliyahu and Avihu Ben-Nun.

Ramon, 48, is a colonel in the Israel Air Force and a former fighter pilot and weapons specialist who fought in the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the Lebanon War in 1982.


Stauber Meets Briefly with Blair in London
Israel’s ambassador to London, Zvi Stauber, met briefly with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday, HA’ARETZ reported. Stauber went to 10 Downing Street to deliver a letter from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. While he was talking with one of the staff members, Blair, in an unusual gesture, entered the room and exchanged a few words with the ambassador. Both sides stressed that there was no disruption in ties between the two countries despite the message Blair sent last week to Sharon, asking him to reconsider his decision to prevent the Palestinian delegation from attending the conference on reform in the Palestinian Authority that was held on Tuesday in London.

On Sunday, Sharon met Britain’s Ambassador to Israel, Sherard Cowper-Coles, to explain the background for the decision which was taken in the wake of the suicide bombings near the old Tel Aviv central bus station earlier this month.


El Al to Cooperate With Delta on North American Route
El Al has signed a cooperation agreement for North American flights with US carrier Delta Air Lines, the world’s third largest airline company, GLOBES reported. Among other things, the code sharing agreement is designed to expand the list of destinations available to passengers on El Al flights to the US and Canada.

The agreement with Delta, which operates 822 planes to 234 destinations in 46 countries, is a continuation of an agreement signed several years ago between the two companies. For the first time, Delta will operate flights under a joint flight code with a foreign company on flights between Canada and the US. The previous agreement concerned only flights within the US and between Israel and the US.

El Al will operate its flight code on Delta flights from New York to eight US destinations: Atlanta, Washington DC, Cincinnati, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. El Al passengers will be able to connect with Delta flights from direct El Al flights from Israel to Kennedy Airport in New York, Newark, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and Toronto. The El Al agreement with Delta follows an agreement with Air Canada to operate joint flights between Toronto and Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Twenty-Five Israeli companies are scheduled to attend the BioScience Ohio-Israel 2003 Mission that will be held in Cleveland, Ohio on January 20-23, GLOBES reported. The aim of the mission for the Israeli counterpart is to open offices in the U.S. and sign cooperation agreements with Ohio-based companies. The Israeli attendees will meet with representatives of 40 Ohioan companies to discuss joint ventures and technology licensing agreements. Founded in 1996, the Ohio-Israel Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit economic development organization aimed at promoting joint ventures between Israeli and Ohioan companies.


Economic Briefs

* U.S. technology giant Hewlett Packard (HP) announced plans to establish a new factory in Kiryat Gat for its digital ink subsidiary Indigo, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The decision follows months of discussions between HP and officials from the Treasury and Income Tax Authority. As part of the deal, the state will provide tax breaks and financial advantages for the company’s plant in Ness Ziona. "It is not every day that a concern as large as HP comes to Israel and decides to expand its investment here, despite the security situation," Minister of Finance Silvan Shalom said. He added that the decision should boost confidence for other foreign investment. When negotiations were first reported in June, HP said it would invest $25 million in the factory, employ a staff of 70 to 100, and aim for annual sales of $50 million, primarily in exports.

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

Israeline — Friday, January 17, 2003 —

** Overseas Diplomats Cast First Ballots in Israeli Election

** Military Coordination Between Israel and the U.S. Continues to Increase
** Ramon and Crew Begin Laboratory Work in Space
** Economic Briefs


Overseas Diplomats Cast First Ballots in Israeli Election
Approximately 60 percent of those entitled to vote from overseas, participated on Thursday and Friday in the elections for the 16th Knesset, HA’ARETZ reported. A total of 2,602 Israelis cast their votes at polling stations at 92 Israeli overseas missions, from Canberra to California. Israeli missions remained open from midnight Thursday until midday Friday, to allow Foreign Ministry employees and their families, as well as other official state emissaries, to vote. According to data collated from all of the missions, the turnout was highest among members of the diplomatic corps, where some 90 percent of those entitled to vote did so.

Several Foreign Ministry officials, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Benjamin Netanyahu, have proposed changing the law, to allow any Israeli abroad to vote in the elections. The director general of the Central Elections Committee, Tami Edri, said that the ballot boxes containing the voting slips of the overseas voters would be transported to Israel in diplomatic mail boxes, and would be transferred, under close guard, to the Knesset.


Military Coordination Between Israel and the U.S. Continues to Increase
Following the increased level of military coordination between the United States and Israel in advance of an expected war against Iraq, General Charles Wald, deputy commander of the U.S. European Commance (USEUCOM) will visit Israel next week, HA’ARETZ reported. Wald, who is in charge of ties with the Israel Defense Forces, will meet with Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz and senior IDF officers. He will also probably visit the American soldiers who arrived to Israel with the Patriot missile batteries.

According to Israeli sources, talks will focus on the expected war with Iraq. "Our strategic coordination with the Americans is at a much higher level than it was during the 1991 Gulf War," a senior security source said.

Wald’s visit comes on the heels of that of Gen. Charles Simpson, who left Israel on Wednesday. Simpson, the director of air and space operations at USEUCOM, has been appointed chief liaison officer with Israel in the event of a war with Iraq. Simpson met with Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazy and other senior officers to set up working procedures in the event of a war. In addition, there are currently 600 American soldiers stationed in Israel to man the two Patriot batteries installed to participate in an air defense exercise, Juniper Cobra 3, with the IDF’s antimissile batteries. The Israel Navy and the American Sixth Fleet also conducted a joint naval exercise this week.


Ramon and Crew Begin Laboratory Work in Space
Israel’s Ambassador to Washington, Danny Ayalon telephoned Prime Minister Ariel Sharon shortly after the takeoff of Ilan Ramon and the crew of Space Shuttle Columbia on Thursday, HA’ARETZ reported. Ayalon told the Prime Minister that the takeoff was successful and "the skies were painted in blue and white." On the eve of the flight, the prime minister had also called Mr. Ramon and wished him luck. During the 16-day mission in space, Ramon is scheduled to talk with Sharon again.

Two hours into the flight, the seven astronauts removed their space suits, and half an hour later began their actual work in space. Ramon, along with Laurel Clark, a fellow astonaut, opened the laboratory area and began work. This mission, code named STS-107, is the first one in three years to concentrate exclusively on research and will not work on the space station.

Meanwhile, there was unprecedented security in the area around the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral before the launch. Local police, federal agencies and private security firms closed off the launch compound to passersby and conducted stringent checks on those who were authorized to enter. Three hours before the launch, the airspace within a 100 kilometers radius from the launch pad was closed to planes, and restrictions were also placed on ships traveling within 600 kilometers of the pad. Fighter jets and small security airplanes were placed on alert to ensure "clean skies" during the launch, while the Coast Guard kept ships away from the area. Local security agencies’ spokesmen said that yesterday’s security procedures were far more stringent than usual for a shuttle launch. The reason, they said, was the fear that terrorists might try to disrupt the first launch by an Israeli astronaut.


Economic Briefs

* Drug maker Teva announced that it received tentative Food and Drug Administration approval for carboplatin injection, which is used for the treatment of cancer, GLOBES reported. The brand version of the drug – Bristol-Myers Squibb’s paraplatin – has annual sales of about $513 million, Teva said. Bristol-Myers’ patent for the drug expires in April 2004, but Teva could market the drug earlier than that if it successfully challenges the patent in court.

* Israel start-up Business Layers has signed an agreement with U.S. software firm Netegrity. Netegrity will serve as the global distributor for Business Layers’ eProvision software, GLOBES reported. Industry sources estimated the agreement would produce several million dollars in revenue for Business Layers in 2003. It was recently rumored that U.S. software company BMC Software was negotiating to acquire Business Layers for $80 to 100 million. Business Layers cofounder, president, and CEO Izhar Shay declined to comment on the matter, but noted, "Business Layers plans an aggressive sales campaign for the coming year as a privately owned company, regardless of recent Israeli press reports." He added that the recent agreement would help the company meet this target.

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