Choose Day Below
Terrorists Bombs Train; Third Tel Aviv Victim Laid to Rest
** Peres: Israel Transferring Funds to Palestinians
** Over $20 Million Stolen From Israel Discount Bank
** Bread Strike Ends
** Al-Quds University Re-opens
** Economic Briefs
A crowded double-decker commuter train traveling from Binyamina to Ashdod was hit on Sunday morning by an explosive device planted on the railway tracks between Rehovot and Yavneh, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. The train’s driver suffered moderate wounds to his stomach and was taken to the Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot for treatment. The train was full of Israel Defense Forces soldiers returning to their army bases.
According to the Yavneh Police, the bombing device, which contained approximately five kilograms of explosives, was detonated by remote control. The Police also said that as part of a daily routine security check, the tracks were checked early in the morning but no device was found. Israel Railways spokesman Benny Naor said that as a result of the explosion near Lod last June the company has increased its security. "We patrol and secure train stations and train tracks across the country. We have increased security on all lines, and we will continue to do so," he said.
Meanwhile, the third victim of the last week’s homicide bombing in the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood of Tel Aviv was laid to rest on Sunday. Boris Shamis, 25, from Tel Aviv, came to Israel from Russia seven months ago to be with his parents who came to Israel four years ago. A cook by profession, Boris worked in the dining room of the Israel Electric Company. His sister remembered him as a "happy, handsome and strong person." "He told me that he is free in Israel," she added.
Boris was buried at the Yarkon Cemetery in Tel-Aviv and is survived by his parents and sister.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres announced this morning that Israel has already begun to transfer frozen tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, HA’ARETZ reported. Peres said Israel released money for the payment of Palestinian debts for water, electricity and health care, that the amount, in total, to approximately NIS 250 million ($55.5 million). The rest of the money, estimated at two billion NIS ($420 million) would be released on the condition that it is not funneled to finance terrorism. Peres said that Israel would be willing to "normalize life" in relatively quiet West Bank neighborhoods like Hebron, Bethlehem and Jericho, if terrorism and warnings of planned attacks decreased.
In addition, Peres told the Palestinians that 7,000 work permits would be issued in the coming days provided there were no attacks, and that Israel is willing to extend the permitted fishing zone off the Gaza coast and to keep open Gaza’s Karni crossing point for longer periods to allow more merchandise to pass through.
Over $20 Million Stolen From Israel Discount Bank The contents of 451 safety bank deposit boxes were stolen from the main branch of Israel Discount Bank in Tel Aviv over the weekend, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. This was the biggest bank robbery in history. It is estimated that the property stolen is worth over $20 million. Police believe bank employees may have participated in the theft and are investigating two guards who were on duty at the branch over the weekend when the theft took place. The two claim they heard nothing during their shift. Discount Bank Spokeswoman Shoshana Kimche said that she notified all clients who had boxes broken into and will meet with each one individually today to discuss their losses and claims. The bank says they are not liable for customers’ losses unless they are proven to have been negligent.
Representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, together with flourmill operators agreed on Sunday night that state-supervised bread prices will remain at the current level 2.60 NIS (.53 cents), but other bakery products and special breads will go up by 10percent, ending the one day strike of bread manufacturing, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. The agreement also included are examination of the formula for computing flour prices. Up until November of 2000, the Government and manufacturers had adjusted prices of flour according to an agreed upon scale.
However, since that time, the setting of the price of flour has fallen, under Ministry of Industry and Trade’s supervision. Minister of Industry and Trade Dalia Itzik said that bread was a vital staple and therefore, should not increase the price. Flourmill operators were calling for a 25 percent increase in the price of flour, with additional price increases needed to compensate for the shekel’s depreciation against major currencies.
Minister of Public Security Uzi Landau agreed today to Dr. Sari Nusseibeh’s request to re-open the offices of Al-Quds University on the condition that university offices will not be used as representative agencies for the Palestinian Authority, HA’ARETZ reported.
Earlier this month, Landau ordered the offices closed, saying that he had evidence of "PA governmental and diplomatic activity" being conducted there.
"We affirmed as a university that we are not part of the PA. We have no intention of being part of the PA, or being a representation office for the PA," Nusseibeh told Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL."
Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres announced today that in light of the current budgetary crisis, embassies and consulates in Canada, Europe, Africa and U.S. will permanently closed in the near future, YEDIOT AHARONOT ON -LINE reported.
*Ministry of Finance officials warn that unemployment will skyrocket to 11percent and the number of jobless will exceed 300,000unless the 2003 budget is cut by NIS 8.7 billion, GLOBES reported. The Israeli economy has lost 10 percent growth, amounting to NIS 50 billion, since the violence began in September 2000. In a briefing for economic correspondents in Jerusalem, Ministry of Finance Director General and Budget Director Ohad Marani said, "We have been in a severe and unprecedented recession for two years. Most forecasters predict that 2003 growth could be higher – above 1percent of GDP. We hope growth will be higher, and we will take all necessary steps to achieve more rapid growth next year."
*Israeli start-up Mindset Bio Pharmaceuticals and New York University School of Medicine announced today that they had signed an agreement, under which Mindset would become the worldwide exclusive licensee of a patented vaccine technology for the treatment of Alzheimer” disease, GLOBES reported. The company holds several pending patent applications dating back from 1997, which claim the new concept of using antibodies directed against the Alzheimer’s toxin for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Top Terror Mastermind Apprehended in Gaza Operation
** Dalia Rabin-Pelosoff Quits Coalition
** Transplant Survivor’s Organization to Help Save Israeli Victims
** Peres Counters Reports that Government Has Begun Funds Transfer to PA
** Economic Briefs
Israeli Air Force jets killed Hamas military commander and terror mastermind Saleh Shehadeh this morning in a strike that targeted his headquarters in Gaza, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon confirmed the pre-dawn raid and told security cabinet members, "We hit perhaps the most senior Hamas figure on the operational side, a man who reorganized and rebuilt Hamas forces in Samaria, in addition to his actions in Gaza." Sharon also expressed regret for the loss of civilian life that was incurred as a result of the strike. Minister of Defense Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said, "the information which we had was that there were no civilians near him."
Shehadeh, who co-founded Hamas with his confidant, Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, was the mastermind of hundreds of attacks against Israelis, two of the most notable being the slayings of five yeshiva students at Atzmona in March and the killing of four Israel Defense Forces soldiers at the ‘Africa’ outpost in Gaza. According to military sources, Shehadeh was also known to have recently been in touch with two other Hamas fugitives on Israel’s wanted list, Mohammed Deif and Adnan el-Ghoul.
Shehadeh was jailed first by Israel, and then by the Palestinians, from 1988to 1999. Since his release, he spent much of his time in hiding in Gaza, but was responsible for setting Hamas policy for attacks and giving orders to militants who carried them out. Shehadeh was the leader of Hamas’ military wing, Izzadine al-Qassem, the group that has carried out the largest number of suicide attacks, including the deadliest ones, in the current Palestinian uprising. Israeli security sources describe Shehadeh as having been a deeply religious man, a fervent supporter of suicide bombings and a possible successor to Yassin. Shehadeh directly commanded the top Hamas militants, drafted the group’s attack policies against Israel and upgraded Hamas fighting capability by introducing locally produced mortars.
Deputy Minister of Defense Dalia Rabin-Pelossof resigned from her position as second-in-command to Minister of Defense Benjamin Ben-Eliezer today, MA’ARIV reported. Rabin-Pelossof submitted a letter of resignation to protest the decision of the Labor Party, to which she belongs, to remain in the broad-based coalition Government that currently exists.
Rabin-Pelosoff, the daughter of the late former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, has been urging those within the Labor party to withdraw from Sharon’s government. She said Monday night, however, that she had decided to remain a member of Labor for now, and will continue her work at the Rabin Center for Peace. If her involvement there conflicted with her duties as a lawmaker, she said she will not hesitate to quit the Knesset entirely.
Rabin-Pelosoff got involved in politics in 1999 as a member of the moderate Center Party but later joined her father’s party, Labor. Rabin-Pelosoff once defended her decision to join Sharon’s government, saying that she believed the leader of the Likud party had become less hard-line in recent years and was willing to work toward peace. She has often said that Sharon and her father were close friends. Even during times of political crisis between Likud and Labor, Sharon would often come to the Rabin home.
The mother of two children, Rabin-Pelosoff is a labor lawyer, and practiced law before entering politics.
Jay Feinberg, an American Jew who raised Israeli consciousness about bone marrow nine years ago when a campaign to cure his leukemia was held in Israel, will arrive in Israel on Wednesday to deliver a vial of bone marrow donated in the US to save the life of a seven-year-old Israeli boy with the same disease, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.
Feinberg, 33, the now-healthy founder and executive director of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry (www.giftoflife.org) in Delray Beach Florida, will personally deliver the bone marrow. The marrow transplant will be performed at Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel in Petah Tikva.
Six years ago, Feinberg himself underwent a successful bone-marrow transplant, which jump-started his immune system after he underwent chemotherapy to kill the malignant cells in his blood. Bone marrow transplants replace a sick bone marrow with healthy hematopoietic stem cells. The treatment was introduced about 25 years ago, and is now a standard therapy for many diseases.
By law, the transplant arranged by the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation must be completely anonymous. International standards set by the World Marrow Donors Association maintain that the identities of both the donor and the recipient be kept confidential. If both parties agree, they may meet one year after the transplant has occurred.
For patients needing a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant, a donor with an identical tissue type must be found. Since tissue type is inherited, a patient’s best chance of finding a genetic match lies with those of similar ethnic ancestry. In this case, a donor of Jewish ancestry was found n the database of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. The organization was founded to increase the number of Jewish people registered as bone marrow donors.
In response to widespread reports on Monday that the Government had begun transferring funds to the Palestinians, Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres denied today that this transaction took place, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Peres told the Labor Party at the Knesset on Monday that Israel has merely provided NIS100 million (approximately $25,000) to Palestinian hospitals as well as to water and electric companies, in order to pay debts and ensure that the companies do not carry out threats to stop providing their services to the Palestinians. The funding came out of some 2 billion shekels that Israel owed the Palestinians from tax revenues it had frozen since the start of the violence in September 2000.
Peres made clear that any additional funding would only be released when a framework is created to ensure that the money is not used to finance terror and Palestinian Authority corruption.
A one-of-a-kind lung laboratory at The LIS Medical Center in Tel Aviv is currently working on determining the identity of the toxic substance that New York City firefighters inhaled on September 11, in an effort to cure them of a chronic cough that has plagued many of the firefighters since, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Most of the 12,000 firefighters who participated in the rescue operation on September 11 have developed this cough and experience frequent coughing fits. After hearing of this mysterious cough, Dr. Lizi Fireman of the Lung and Allergy Laboratory at the LIS Medical Center, and Professor Yehuda Lerman, Directing Manager of the Occupational Medicine Division of the Leumit (National) Health Services, approached the U.S. Fire Fighters Chief Medical specialist, and offered their assistance.
* Israeli drug company Compugen has announced that it has extended an existing collaboration agreement with U.S. drug giant Pfizer, GLOBES reported.
The agreement provides Pfizer with LEADS, Compugen’s computational biology platform for drug discovery, and Z4000 and Z3, 2D gel analysis software packages for advanced proteomic analysis. Compugen’s LEADS platform is designed to accelerate the development of therapeutic and diagnostic products by modeling complex biological processes such as alternative splicing.
* Elbit Systems will fill orders worth more than $25 million for a recently completed air pilot vision improvement technology, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.
The enhanced vision system called the All Weather Window,
projects an image onto a display that enables the pilot to detect runaways
and obstacles such as mountains, buildings and aircrafts at night. The company
said the system has minimal training requirements and no database or infrastructure
Killed Near Alei Zahav; Attacks on Jewish Communities Continue
** Peace Now Survey Concludes Settlements Not An Obstacle to Peace
** Palestinian Girl Receives Transplant Donation from Israeli Man
** Hi Tech Millionaires Go Civic-Minded for Israeli Causes
** Economic Briefs
Rabbi Elimelech Shapira was killed in a shooting attack during an ambush near the Jewish community of Alei Zahav this morning, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Paramedics came under heavy gunfire at the scene as they attempted to treat Shapira and another wounded man who was taken to the Beilinson Hospital where he was listed in a moderate condition. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, part of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s Fatah group, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Rabbi Shapira was the head of a pre-military yeshiva training course and a resident of the West Bank community of Peduel. He is survived by his wife and three children.
According to HA’ARETZ, there were several other violent incidents on Wednesday, including a shooting attack on two Israelis who were treated for injuries near Ma’ale Levonah, north of Ramallah. Also, a Kassam 2 rocket was fired at a Jewish community in the northern Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported.
In other developments, Israel’s security forces arrested 13
Palestinian fugitives wanted by Israel for their role in terrorist activities
in the West Bank and Gaza Strip today.
Meanwhile, a fourth victim of the Tel Aviv terror attack last Wednesday died of his injuries. Li Bin, 33, a Chinese foreign worker who was critically injured in the attack succumbed to his wounds.
According to a new survey published by the activist group Peace Now, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of Israelis living in the Jewish communities of the West Bank and Gaza Strip recognize the right of Israel’s democratic institutions to evacuate these areas and would comply with such a decision without a fight, HA’ARETZ reported.
The survey, conducted between April and July of 2002, queried a representative sample of 3,200 families from 127 communities living within the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Another 800 families inside the Green Line were queried as a control group. The survey was conducted by the Hope Research Company and was supervised by professors from Tel Aviv University.
Among the survey’s other findings, 77 percent reported that they chose their places of residence primarily due to reasons involving quality of life. Some 20 percent cited religion as their primary motive and 3 percent cited security reasons. 55 percent of those surveyed said that in principle, Israel should try to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. According to Peace Now, the main conclusion to be drawn from the survey is that "most of the settlers are not an obstacle to peace, as their positions are realistic and pragmatic, and in the event of an agreement, most of them are willing to be evacuated."
A blind Palestinian teenager from Jenin regained her eyesight thanks to a cornea donation from an Israeli donor, MA’ARIV reported. The successful operation took place at The Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya.
A’atzaz Amor, a sixteen year old girl from Jenin, lost sight in her left eye four years ago. "She had undergone a series of unsuccessful surgeries in attempt to recover her sight," Dr. Uri Rehani, Director of the hospital’s Eye Unit, said.
Amor underwent cornea transplant surgery last week, when she
received the donation from an Israeli male who died one day earlier. Within
a day, Amor regained full eyesight.
Deputy Director of the hospital, Dr. Moshe Daniel, said the operation was conducted on humanitarian grounds and was financed almost entirely by the hospital, along with representatives of the Western Galilee Histadrut (Workers’ Union) and the village of Yassif.
Many young Israeli milllionaires who made their fortunes from Hi-Tech ventures are now getting involved in non-profit organizations and raising funds for various community projects in Israel, HA’ARETZ reported. These young millionaires are interested in taking social responsibility by creating unique organizations that serve the needs of specific communities throughout Israel. The programs they are sponsoring range from aiding high school dropouts and helping Ethiopian immigrants acclimate to Israeli society, to setting up museums, orchestras and other cultural centers. Founded by The New Israel Fund, this initiative of linking the philanthropists with the causes has become increasingly popular in recent months, as the millionaires find themselves pulled towards societal obligations.
The Israel Venture Network, one of the larger initiatives of this donor group, will host its first major event in September in Tiberias, where over 250 philanthropists will gather to promote this cause.
Two large American companies have offered to buy the Israeli BioGAL Advanced Biotechnology, HA’ARETZ reported. BioGAL, a privately-owned company, is developing an innovative treatment for multiple myeloma (MM), an incurable hematological cancer of plasma cells.
The company has patented the use of erythropoietin (Epo), a hormone that is used for the treatment of anemia, against MM. Epo was found to stop the development of MM in anemic patients. Thus, for example, a 50-year-old patient in the terminal stages of the disease has recovered and is now functioning normally. She has even resumed her job as a bank manager.
Evergreen Partners is leading a $10 million financing round for Etagon, GLOBES reported. With headquarters in New York, and an R&D center in Israel, Etagon has developed breakthrough technology solutions for data centers.
Boaz Dinte, partner at Evergreen Partners, said that at a time when customers are making efforts to save on databases deployment, management and maintenance costs, Etagon’s Database Appliance Server is an efficient, simple IT solution for complex environments with extensive operational and human resources. Dinte added that Etagon’s product merges well with the next-generation strategy of Oracle, the database market world leader.
Israelis Killed In West Bank Shooting Attacks
** Fifth Victim in Tel Aviv Homicide Bombing Succumbs to Wounds
** Sharon Examining Possibility of Palestinian Workers Returning to Israel
** PA Chairman Arafat’s Fatah Group Issues a "Hit List"
** Tel Aviv Museum of Art Releases New Concert Series
** Economic Briefs
Four Israeli citizens, including one two-year-old child, were killed (3 of the dead are from the same family), and two were wounded this afternoon in two shooting attacks near the West bank town of Hebron, Israel Radio, KOLYISRAEL reported. Palestinian terrorists shot at an Israeli vehicle near the Jewish community of Bnei Hever, killing three of its passengers and wounding two, one of them seriously. The gunmen continued shooting at a second vehicle, near the community of Carmel, killing another Israeli citizen. The man who was seriously wounded in the attack near Hebron was immediately transferred to a hospital in Jerusalem.
Dmitri Pundkov, 33, of Bat Yam, succumbed on Thursday to wounds he suffered in last week’s terror attack in Tel Aviv’s Neve Shaanan neighborhood, HA’ARETZ reported. Pundkov died fighting for his life at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. He is the fifth person to die as a result of the attack. Pundkovis survived by his wife Helena, 29, and a nine-year-old son, Dennis.
Pundkov, who worked for an air conditioning company, immigrated to Israel with his family three years ago. His family settled in Bat Yam to be near his wife’s family. At the time of the attack, he was sitting with a close friend, Boris Shamis, who was also killed.
His family has decided to donate his organs and bury him in Israel. Pundkov’s brothers arrived from Russia on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Palestinians fired an anti-tank missile at an armored civilian bus on the Karni-Netzarim road in the Gaza Strip. The bus wa sheavily damaged but no injuries were reported. This is the first time in the current wave of violence that a missile has been aimed at an Israeli bus. Late Thursday, a rocket hit an Israeli village just outside Gaza, causing some damage but no casualties, the military said. In a separate incident, 10Palestinians were wounded in Jenin on Thursday, after their minibus drove over a mine that had been placed in the road by Palestinian terrorists to be detonated underneath an Israel Defense Force’s tank. They were taken to the local hospital.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called on Housing Minister Natan Sharansky and Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office Avigdor Yitzhaki to find solutions for the shortage of manpower in the construction industry, with the focus on allowing more Palestinians from Gaza back into Israel to work in construction. The decision was made at an emergency meeting on the subject on Thursday between Sharon, Minister of Finance Silvan Shalom and the president of the Association of Contractors and Builders in Israel, Samuel Olpiner. Sharon said that more Palestinian laborers will be allowed to enter Israel, despite closures on the territories, and told Olpiner that the possibility of letting the Palestinians spend nights at the building sites will be considered. Only Palestinians who are over a certain age and pass security checks will receive the entry permits.
Olpiner said that since the eruption of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000, there has been an acute shortage of workers in the building industry.
The details of a "Palestinian hit list" were published and aired on Hizbullah’s Al Manara television station on Thursday night, describing a Palestinian organization’s plan to target senior Israeli Government and army officials, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. A faction of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s Fatah group, known as "The Return Brigade," issued the list, threatening to respond to Israel’s intentions to expel family members of terrorists and homicide bombers from the West Bank.
In response, Israeli security forces have been placed on high alert in the last few days, and have increased their presence along the Green Line and in major Israeli towns.
In preparation for its new concert series, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art recently released its schedule of concerts for the 2002-2003 season, HAARETZON-LINE reported. According to staff members at the Museum, this year’s performances are focused on Israeli groups. While some international groups such as the Carissimi Consort from Italy will perform, an emphasis is being placed on Israeli musicians to prevent some of the cancellations that occurred last season, as a result of continuing Palestinian violence.
The museum’s staff has planned a wide array of performances with over thirty small groups of quartets, duets, and recitals performing, as well as additional events by orchestras such as the Israel Camerata and the Israel Chamber Orchestra.
John Beck, chairman and CEO of the Aecon group, whose subsidiary Canadian Highway Investment Corporation (CHIC) is partnered in construction of the $1.3 billion Cross Israel Highway and part of the Pasim group bidding on the Jerusalem Light Railway, is interested in investing more money into local infrastructure projects, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. "When I met with Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh on his recent visit to Toronto he told me of the government’s intentions to allow private sector investments in Haifa Airport. This project is right up our alley. We are in the airport development project and are currently in the process of negotiating a BOT airport in Quito Equador," Beck said on a recent visit to Israel.
Chief Scientist Dr. Eli Opper has announced that he will publish a tender for establishing a third biotechnology incubator in Israel’s outlying areas, GLOBES reported. In May, two consortia won the Ministry of Industry and Trade tender to set up biotech incubators in Einav, headed by the Ofer Brothers, and RAD Bioscience, headed by the Zisapel brothers. The first group won the right to operate an incubator in Rehovot, and the second in Jerusalem.