Choose Day Below

Israeline — Monday, June 2, 2003 —

** PM Sharon to Announce Dismantling of Illegal Outposts
** Terror Warnings on the Increase
** Ceremony Honors Victims Two Years after Dolphinarium Bombing
** 100,000 New Yorkers Celebrate 39th Annual Israel Parade
** Other News in Brief
** Eco & Hi-Tech Briefs


PM Sharon to Announce Dismantling of Illegal Outposts
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plans to announce that Israel will dismantle illegal outposts during his speech at Wednesday’s Aqaba summit, HA’ARETZ reported. A draft of the speech, which was discussed with the American administration over the weekend, states that the Jewish people has a historic right to settle throughout the Land of Israel, but that since Israel is a law-abiding country, illegal outposts will be dismantled.

The summit will take place at King Abdullah of Jordan’s palace in Aqaba and will open with a meeting between Sharon and U.S. President George Bush. Bush will then meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) while Sharon holds talks with Abdullah. At noon, the four leaders will attend a joint meeting, after which they will read their concluding statements. The United Stated has coordinated the texts of the concluding statements with both Sharon and Abbas. In his speech, Sharon will call for realizing the vision of two states – Israel and the Palestinian state – and will speak of Israel’s determination to ease restrictions on Palestinian civilians. He will express support for Abbas’ government and urge him to act determinedly against the terrorist organizations.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Ambassador to India, Robert D. Blackwill, is the leading candidate to serve as President George W. Bush’s special envoy to the Middle East. He will have a special responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the road map for peace. The envoy will stay in the region permanently and will closely supervise the contacts and measures enacted as part of a deal between the two sides. An American supervisory team, which is due to arrive in the region immediately after Wednesday’s trilateral summit in Aqaba, will report directly to the special envoy.

In other news, Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is meeting today in Amman with Jordanian monarch King Abdullah, ahead of the trilateral U.S.-Palestinian-Israeli summit. Abbas met on Sunday with Ali Abu Ragheb, his Jordanian counterpart. He will leave later today for Egypt, which is hosting a U.S.-Arab summit on Tuesday. After meeting with Ragheb, Abbas told reporters he was optimistic over the possibility of reaching an agreement with Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups for "halting all" homicide bombings against Israeli targets.


Terror Warnings on the Increase
The Israel Security Agency and the security establishment have received 59 terror warnings in the past week despite Israel’s confidence-building gestures such as the lifting of the general closure in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Saturday night and the planned release of 100 Palestinian prisoners in the coming days, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

"Abu Mazen has yet to reach an agreement with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and right now we are waiting to see if he succeeds," a senior security official said. "In the past week we received 59 terrorist warnings compared to an average of between 45 to 60 a week in the past year." Security officials said that until the Palestinians proved they are able to take control and curb terrorist activity, Israel would continue operations to thwart attacks. "We will continue to deal with ‘ticking bombs’ and make arrests," the official said.

Meanwhile Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz said the army had not received any instructions regarding changes on the ground and would remain in the West Bank in order to respond to any terror threats. A week ago while visiting Ankara, Mofaz told reporters that the process would be "gradual, complex and complicated" but stressed that no compromises would be made on the security and safety of Israeli citizens.

A security official said on Sunday that there would be a period of review following every step made by Israel to ease restrictions on the Palestinians. "We will give them control of certain areas and see how they manage," the official said. "If there is no terror we will continue going further, if there are terror attacks we maybe forced to retract some of the measures."

Meanwhile, violence while on a lesser scale, continued in the region on Sunday. In the evening a Palestinian opened fire and threw grenades at soldiers near the Kissufim crossing in the Gaza Strip. The soldiers returned fire and eventually killed the terrorist. During the day, Palestinians fired three mortar shells at an Israeli community in Gush Katif. No one was wounded, but one of the shells landed in a hothouse causing damage. In the West Bank, security forces arrested a Tanzim fugitive in Bethlehem.


Ceremony Honors Victims Two Years after Dolphinarium Bombing
A ceremony marking the second anniversary of the terror attack at the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv was held on Sunday on the city’s seafront promenade, HA’ARETZ reported. The Dolphinarium homicide bombing in June 2001 killed 21 people, mostly young people, and injured around 120. The ceremony, held near where the bomber blew himself up, was attended by families of the victims, individuals injured in the attack, politicians and Tel Aviv residents. The circumstances of the attack – the large number of dead and wounded, the young ages of the victims, and the fact that most of the victims were immigrants from the former Soviet Union who were already going through absorption difficulties – turned the Dolphinarium bombing into one of the most painful symbols of the wave of terror.

"We remember the sights and the horror… Israeli society in its entirety is a partner to the same fate and struggle," Minister of Immigrant Absorption Tzipi Livni said at the ceremony. Speaking on behalf of the families of the victims, Anya Kazachkov, whose daughter, Anya, 16, was killed in the blast, said: "The pain is great and harsh. Even today, I still don’t believe that Anya is gone." Last week, Alona Sportov, 16, who was very seriously injured in the terror attack, underwent her 22nd operation, which lasted eight hours and during the course of which an artificial bone was implanted in her head to replace the smashed left portion of her skull. According to her mother, Irena, this was the last surgery in a long series of vital treatments. "Alona is recovering, and she can already say 50 words; but she is still unable to read or write," her mother explained.

But it appears that despite the all-out effort to help the victims – for example, the private fund set up by businessman Mikhail Chernoy – the assistance has not filtered through to everyone. According to welfare officials, many of the injured and their families whose lives have changed since the attack, are still encountering problems.


100,000 New Yorkers Celebrate 39th Annual Israel Parade
The 39th annual Salute to Israel Day Parade, which included this year more than 100,000 marchers, dozens of floats and marching bands and countless dignitaries, took place on Sunday under rainy skies along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Marching under the theme, "We salute the courageous spirit of the people of Israel," Zionist youth groups, police marching bands, 1948 war veterans and Hebrew day school students paraded by, as small groups of spectators waved Israeli flags and cheered. According to parade spokesman Juda Engelmayer, however, the parade almost didn’t happen because organizers were unable to find an insurer. After being refused by most carriers due to the perceived threat of terrorism at the event, the insurance company AIG finally agreed this past Thursday to insure the parade.

With the sounds of klezmer music, Israeli rock bands and peace songs in the background, a group of New York and Israeli dignitaries spoke on the Israel-US relationship from a podium set mid-parade. "Our spirits are sunny because there’s a real chance for peace in the Middle East, and the world is understanding that Israel’s battle against terrorism is the world’s battle against terrorism," Senator Charles Schumer of New York told the crowd.

Minister for Diaspora Affairs Natan Sharansky and Minister of Education Limor Livnat also attended the event for the first time. "This is the greatest parade in the world," Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, said. "The real march is the march of these two countries to freedom, and no one will ever rain on that parade."


Other News in Brief

The cabinet endorsed on Sunday a resolution proposed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condemning the campaign by overseas fundraisers to raise donations from individuals and organizations by portraying Israel as a poverty-stricken country, GLOBES reported. Sharon said this sort of portrayal of Israel was undesirable, and damaged the country’s image. "There is poverty in Israel, but no hunger. Israel must not be portrayed as a country where people go hungry," Sharon said. "This picture of Israel is bad, and harms immigration and immigrant absorption. Israel has achieved much, and is a source of pride and an object of identification for Diaspora Jews."

Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom requested that the United States allow Israel to play a role in the efforts to rebuild Iraq, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. "There is a lot of business there and Israel would like to get involved," a Foreign Ministry official said. US officials said they would look into the matter.


Eco & Hi-Tech Briefs

Brussels Airlines, the airline that replaced Sabena as the official Belgian national carrier, will start scheduling regular flights to Israel beginning Wednesday or Thursday, GLOBES reported. Four flights to Israel are scheduled each week. This is the first time any Belgian airline has flown this route since the collapse of Sabena.

Ronald J. Lauder and Shlomo Ben-Tzvi, who are among the owners of the new TV channel Techelet and the religious news weekly "Makor Rishon", acquired 80 percent of "Hatzofeh", a daily newspaper that caters to the religious community, GLOBES reported. The deal allows the remaining 20 percent of the newspaper to be controlled by Hapoel Hamizrachi. The "Hatzofeh" newspaper has been in existence for the past 66 years.

Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu plans to travel to the U.S. and Britain in mid-June in order to meet with possible investors, THE MARKER reported. In the United States, Netanyahu will meet representatives of the Bush administration and members of Congress, as well as the heads of Israel Bonds and analysts, investment banks and foreign investors in New York. Netanyahu is also expected to meet with executives from international credit rating agency Moody’s, which recently published an upbeat report on the Israeli economy and left Israel’s sovereign credit rating intact at A2. Netanyahu will end the trip in London, where he will meet with representatives of international rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, as well as British investors potentially interested in Israeli investments.

Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Shelly Revah, Dina Wosner, Jonathan Silverstein and Victor Chemtob at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Israeline — Tuesday, June 3, 2003 —

** Palestinians and Israelis Working on Confidence Building Measures
** Bush: Both Sides Have Responsibility for Achieving Peace
** Details Regarding Mike’s Place Terrorist Attack Revealed
** Israel Pays Tribute to Machal
** Other News in Brief
** Eco & Hi-Tech Briefs

Palestinians and Israelis Working on Confidence Building Measures
As part of Palestinian-Israeli confidence building process ahead the Aqaba Summit on Wednesday to advance the Middle East roadmap, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya’alon said that any new illegal outposts would immediately be dismantled and that Israel would release 90 Palestinian detainees, Israel Radio, KOL ISRAEL reported.

Ya’alon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today that there was a good chance the Palestinians would agree to a temporary cease-fire before the commencement of the Aqaba Summit. Ya’alon assessed that Hamas realized the Palestinian population was now backing an end to the armed conflict. Ya’alon also indicated that the Palestinian Authority had begun to fight terror organizations in the Gaza Strip

. In other news, United States Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation John Wolf, who over the past decade has played a central role in efforts to annul the UN resolution comparing Zionism to racism, has been appointed to oversee the implementation of the road map, HA’ARETZ reported. He will arrive in the region following Wednesday’s summit in Aqaba. His appointment indicates that the White House is interested in low-profile involvement in the region after the summit, and opted to appoint a professional envoy rather than a politician.


Bush: Both Sides Have Responsibility for Achieving Peace
Speaking at the summit in Sharm El-Sheikh today, U.S. President George W. Bush reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution and said that the Arab leaders present at the meeting had expressed their firm opposition to terror and a commitment to help the Palestinian Authority in its fight against terrorism, HA’ARETZ reported. Bush also declared that, "Israel must deal with the settlements to ensure there is a continuous territory that the Palestinians can call home."

Meanwhile, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak affirmed his support for the roadmap. "This vision means that alongside the existing state of Israel, a new state for the Palestinians will emerge and the PA should fulfill its responsibilities to end violence and to restore law and order," Murbarak said. According to THE JERUSALEM POST, Bush will initially meet separately with Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at Aqaba on Wednesday and then follow-up with a tri-lateral discussion. Also, Sharon assembled a delegation that will be accompanying him to the summit which include: Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz, Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom, Minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor Ehud Olmert, and Minister of Justice Yosef Lapid.


Details Regarding Mike’s Place Terrorist Attack Revealed
The two terrorists who murdered three Israeli’s at Mike’s Place in Tel Aviv on April 29 crossed from Gaza with the help of an Italian journalist, HA’ARETZ reported. The terrorists were British citizens of Pakistani origin, who were recruited by Hamas in Damascus, Syria. The two traveled to Israel via Jordan, crossing the Allenby Bridge on April 12, and then proceeding to travel throughout the country, as well as across the West Bank and Gaza. While in Gaza, they finalized their plans for the attack with Hamas leaders and created themselves a "cover" by posing as activists from the International Solidarity Movement. The biggest problem they faced concerned crossing from Gaza back into Israel once they were ready to carry out the attack. They solved it as an Italian journalist offered them a ride in her car through the checkpoint together with some other Italian reporters. At the time, foreign journalists were allowed to pass through checkpoints virtually without inspection, and the assistance therefore enabled the two terrorists to slip through undetected. Since then, Israel has tightened the rules regulating foreign journalists and now subjects them to checkpoint inspections.

Shortly after the attack, Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz announced that the explosives had been smuggled through the Allenby Bridge crossing in Koran books, which were obtained in Gaza. The investigation also revealed that the bomb used in the attack was assembled via a highly sophisticated technique that is used almost exclusively by armies and intelligence services, and almost never by terrorist organizations.


Israel Pays Tribute to Machal
Some 70 Machalnik men and women, who volunteered to fight in Israel’s War of Independence were honored for their service above and beyond the call of duty in a ceremony aboard the USS Intrepid, a World War II-era aircraft carrier turned the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The Consulate General of Israel in New York, together with the Intrepid Museum Foundation organized the ceremony. Machal, an Israeli acronym for Mitnadvei Chutz La’aretz, or Volunteers from Abroad, included 3,500 overseas Jewish and non-Jewish volunteers from 43 nations who fought in the War of Independence. Around 1,200 of the volunteers were Americans.

Before presenting the veterans, originally from the U.S., Canada, France, and South Africa, with proclamations on behalf of the State of Israel, Consul General of Israel in New York Ambassador Alon Pinkas said that of all the events he had participated in as consul general, this was the one he was "most honored to be a part of as a representative of the State of Israel." Pinkas thanked the Machlaniks for their service above and beyond the call of duty and told them: "You have been present at what I think is the greatest miracle in the last 2,000 years."

Paul Kaye, President of the American Veterans of Israel, told his personal story. Kaye was a 20-year-old World War II veteran from the Bronx when he received a call asking him if he "would like to help his people?" After that call he was inducted into the Haganah, risking his life and breaking U.S. law to help sail illegal immigrants to Palestine for an underground effort called Aliya Bet. When the State of Israel was established, Kaye served out the war as a member of a naval commando unit, Shayetet 13, and volunteered for the Israeli Consulate’s PR department during the 1967 and 1973 wars. Most volunteers said that they came to Israel’s aid because of solidarity with the Jewish people and the Holocaust. Si Spiegelman, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Veterans of Israel and past president said that, "for most of us, the rise of the State of Israel remains our most meaningful experience."

Representing the Intrepid Museum Foundation, President William Bryan White made note of the significance of the event taking place in the Lutnick theatre, named for Howard Lutnick, the Chairman of the Board at Cantor Fitzgerald who lost his brother and many colleagues in the September 11th attacks. White said it was fitting to honor "those men and women who made sacrifices to serve their country and Israel."


Other News in Brief

The first Druze to graduate from the Israel Air Force course is slated to become a navigator in the Israel Defense Forces by the end of June, MA’ARIV reported. His grandfather was a troop commander in the Syrian army when he decided, in the midst of the war of independence in 1948, to desert along with his soldiers and join the IDF. He made history by becoming the first Druze to serve in an officer position in the Israeli military. His son was a also senior officer at the IDF.

The local mayoral election in Jerusalem, Haifa and Or Akiva began this morning and will end at 10 PM tonight, HA’ARETZ reported. According to MA’ARIV, the voter turnout has been, up until now, low. About fifteen percent of registered voters have exercised their right to vote – only eleven percent in Jerusalem, and 4.5 percent in Haifa. The elections in the three cities are held owing to the resignation of the previous mayors who sought national offices in January. Six candidates are running for the mayoral position in Jerusalem, four in Haifa, and five in Or Akiva. A candidate must obtain at least forty percent of the vote to win in the first round. This is the first time in Israel that 17-year-olds are allowed to vote.

Member of Knesset Eyov Kra (Likud) was invited over the weekend to visit Iraq by the leaders of the country’s Kurdish parties, MA’ARIV reported. The invitation was conveyed through Moti Zaken, a former prime minister advisor on Arab issues. Zaken revealed that Kurdish leaders from Iraq secretly visited Israel last year and that they had been Kra’s guests. Kra said that he would gladly accept the invitation, making make him the first MK to visit Baghdad. According to the organizers of the visit, the trip should take place within two months provided the situation in Iraq continue to stabilize and the security situation remain stable.

A new initiative, which is part of a government plan endorsed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, allows North American Jewish students to be eligible for full, three-year scholarships to Israeli high schools, the JERUSALEM POST reported. The new "Elite Academy Program", which was devised by the Education Ministry of Israel and the Jewish Agency will enable students to enroll in grades 10-12, and also qualifies them for the matriculation exam (bagrut), which is recognized internationally for university admission.


Eco & Hi-Tech Briefs

A survey of inflation expectations by British journal "The Economist" forecasts that inflation in Israel will be less than 2 percent in 2003, among the lowest in the world, GLOBES reported. Countries expecting a 0.5-1 percent inflation rate include Taiwan, Switzerland, Singapore, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Saudi Arabia. Zimbabwe heads the 2003 global inflation forecast list with 305%, followed by Angola with 115% and Iraq with 75%.

Medical device maker Lumenis reported that it has signed two new distribution deals over the past two weeks, HA’ARETZ reported. The first is an agreement with Health Trust Purchasing Group (HPG) to supply laser devices and services to its 900 healthcare facilities across the United States. This comes just two weeks after the company signed a deal to sell laser devices to a 1,500 member not-for-profit hospital group.

Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Michal Rachlevsky, David Nekrutman, David Dorfman and Victor Chemtob at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Israeline — Wednesday, June 4, 2003 —

** Aqaba Summit: Sharon and Abbas Pledge to Implement Peace Measures
** Terror Alert Put on Maximum Due to Aqaba Summit
** Poll: Most Israelis Back Road Map, But Have Low Expectations
** Jerusalem And Haifa Elect New Mayors
** Study Reveals 42 Percent of Israeli Children Suffer From Terror-Related Stress
** Eco & Hi-Tech Briefs

Aqaba Summit: Sharon and Abbas Pledge to Implement Peace Measures
U.S. President George Bush, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas ended the peace summit in Aqaba, Jordan today with historic pledges to end violence, revive the peace process and work toward the implementation of the road map, HA’ARETZ reported. The summit started this morning as Bush met separately with Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Sharon. Sharon also held separate talks with Abdullah. The three-way talks between the U.S., Israeli and Palestinian leaders lasted for 90 minutes at the end of which the three – along with Abdullah – stood side-by side behind four identical podiums set up on the shore of the Red Sea and issued their respective statement.

Abbas called for a stop to the "armed Intifada," – a reference to the use of firearms and explosives by Palestinian terrorists – and a termination to attacks on Israelis "wherever they may be" – an allusion to violence against Israeli residents of the West Bank and Gaza and those of Israel proper. "We will exert full efforts to ending the militarization of the Intifada (uprising)," Abbas said. "The armed Intifada must end and we must resort to peaceful means to achieve our goals." He added that the Palestinians "do not ignore the suffering of the Jews throughout history," and that "it is time to bring this suffering to an end."

Sharon, speaking after Abbas, said it was not in Israel’s interest to rule over the Palestinians. "As the prime minister of Israel, the land which is the cradle of the Jewish people, my paramount responsibility is the security of the people of Israel, and of the state of Israel. There can be no compromise with terror." But Sharon said that there was now hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. "It is in Israel’s interest not to govern the Palestinians, but for the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state," he said. "A democratic Palestinian state fully at peace with Israel will promote the long term security and well-being of Israel as a Jewish state. There can be no peace, however, without the abandonment and elimination of terrorism, violence and incitement." The Prime Minister added that Israel "can also reassure our Palestinian partners that we understand the importance of territorial continuity in the West Bank for a viable Palestinian state" that "we accept the principle that no unilateral actions by any parties can pre-judge the outcome of our negotiations." Sharon said Israel would "immediately begin to remove" unauthorized settlements, out of respect for the rule of law.

Bush, closing the round of declarations, declared that the United States was committed to Israel’s security as a "vibrant Jewish state." Turning to Abbas, he stressed his "strong support" for the cause of freedom and statehood for the Palestinians. "Both (sides) must make tangible immediate steps toward this two-state vision," Bush said. Bush explained that all present shared a goal, a Holy Land shared by two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side. He also urged an end to incitement to hatred, a reference to Palestinian Authority-sponsored broadcasts and school materials with defamatory views of Israel.


Terror Alert Put on Maximum Due to Aqaba Summit
Israeli security forces went on maximum alert owing to threats of terror attacks timed to coincide with today’s Aqaba peace summit, HA’ARETZ reported. At least 63 specific alert messages were conveyed to the Israel Defense Forces and thousands of police troops and volunteers were deployed along Israel’s Green Line border with the West Bank, and at the entrances to major cities in an effort to foil attacks. Among high-profile alerts, Islamic Jihad and Tanzim terrorists planned to send a car bomb from Jenin into Israel. Several cells are trying to send homicide bombers into Israel from Nablus. A tight closure was imposed in the city late Tuesday and helicopters searched for terrorists moving in the direction of the Green Line. Reports of suicide bombers on their way to Israel, now hiding in the Tul Karm or Qalqilya area, have been issued. Several Hebron cells are preparing bombs for future attacks. The IDF attributed the increased terror threats to attempts by terrorist groups to undermine U.S. President George W. Bush’s Tuesday Sharm el-Sheikh summit with Arab leaders and today’s talks in Aqaba.


Poll: Most Israelis Back Road Map, But Have Low Expectations
A clear majority of the Israeli public supports the Road Map, a poll published in HA’ARETZ reported. While the Peace Index Poll – conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University – found that 59 percent of Israelis support the Road Map, 66 percent believe that it will not "achieve the goal of an ultimate resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2005 or close to it." Researchers were encouraged, however, that even after two years of violence more Israelis support the Road Map plan than had believed in the success of the Oslo Process.

The poll also found that Israelis draw a distinction between extending an olive branch to the Palestinians and taking a soft approach to terrorism. 69 percent feels that a more conciliatory policy by the Israeli government will not lead to a decrease in terror attacks. 61 percent does not believe that Israel should return to the negotiating table before the terror stops. The prevalent view is that the government’s policy in the war on terror is effective even though many interviewees feel that their and their family members’ chances of being harmed in a terror attack are quite or very high. In a heartening sign of national solidarity in the face of grave threats, 57 percent of all respondents believe that all Israelis face an equal danger of being harmed by terrorism – a sign that Israelis of all economic and social strata see themselves as standing together and sharing the burden against Palestinian terrorism.


Jerusalem And Haifa Elect New Mayors
Jerusalem and Haifa both have new mayors today, as Jerusalem’s acting mayor Uri Lupolianksy of United Torah Judaism and Shinui candidate Yona Yahav of Haifa were elected to the highest office of their respective cities, HA’ARETZ reported. Lupoliansky said that he saw himself as mayor of all of the capital’s residents, and called on all city council factions to join a broad-based coalition. While he will maintain the religious status quo in Jerusalem, Lupoliansky reassured Jerusalemites that restaurants, cafes, and cinemas would be free to operate on the Jewish Sabbath. "I will wave the flag of patience and tolerance," he said. "In 1967, the city of Jerusalem was reunified. And in 2003, the citizens of Jerusalem are reunified." The runner-up in the Jerusalem race, Nir Barkat, said he would work to advance the interests of Jerusalem as a member of the city council.

Yahav’s election in Haifa marks the first time since the establishment of the State of Israel that Haifa’s mayor has not been a Labor party member. He told supporters that he intended to build a "wall to wall coalition" and called his election a "Haifa victory for Haifa’s people," promising "not to anger any group" and "work with everyone." For the first time, 17-year old residents of Jerusalem and Haifa were eligible to vote.


Study Reveals 42 Percent of Israeli Children Suffer From Terror-Related Stress
A Tel-Aviv University researcher presented today survey findings according to which some 42 percent of Israeli children suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of the wave of terror attacks that began in 2000, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. In a presentation to the Knesset Committee for the Status of the Child, Dr. Avital Laufer concluded that 15 percent of children who were surveyed suffer from a moderate to serious case of the disorder. According to the study, 70 percent of children said the terror attacks had had a "direct impact" on their lives. Laufer surveyed 3,000 children aged 13 to 15 who live in Israel and Jewish communities in the West Bank and Gaza.

Reflecting on her research, Laufer said she was surprised to find that there was no connection between the level of suffering from the syndrome and the children’s place of residence – the research had identical results in Rehovot and Gush Katif. Dr. Yonatan Sabar, a Health Ministry mental health official, warned that small children, who are too young to participate in studies, might be more damaged by the attacks than older children. Sabar added that the impact of terror is likely to be the harshest when these children become parents themselves.


Eco & Hi-Tech Briefs

A team of Weizmann Institute scientists has discovered the three-dimensional structure of an enzyme called glucocerebrosidase that causes Gaucher’s disease, a genetic disorder that affects mostly Jews of Ashkenazi origin, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The solution of the enzyme structure may lead to the development of new therapies for Gaucher. First, the structural information may help design a more effective enzyme that will improve existing enzyme replacement therapy. This approach is most likely to provide effective additional treatments for Gaucher’s disease, until the development of gene therapy for this disorder is developed. Another type of therapy likely to emerge from the Weizmann findings is the design of small molecules that will supplement the damaged enzyme in the patient’s body, thereby restoring its normal functioning. Yeda Research and Development Company, which arranges for commercialization of Weizmann Institute research, has filed a patent for medical applications of these findings.

The administrative board of the Industry and Trade Ministry’s Investment Center approved 11 investment programs totaling $17 million, GLOBES reported. Among the programs is the expansion of the Negev Metal Products plant in Sderot at a cost of $5 million. Other programs include the expansion of the Marshall Isotope plant in Be’er Tuvia for the production of water containing an oxygen isotope ($3.3 million): an addition to the Sapir Plastic Industries factory in Afula which manufactures plastic boards and sheeting ($3.8 million), and the expansion of Herzliya-based Telmap, which develops mobile geographic mapping applications ($1.36 million).

Israeli companies may participate in the pending EU ?1.2 billion proposal for the joint EU-European Space Agency (ESA) Galileo Project, a global navigation satellite infrastructure (GNSS) system, GLOBES reported. Ministry of Trade and Industry Foreign Trade Spokesman Ronit Kan said Tuesday that representatives from the Israel Space Agency, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Science, Communications, and Transport, and Israeli companies attended a recent seminar on the project. Potential Israeli participants in the project include Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), BAE Systems Rokar International, and CellGuide.
Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Matthew Miller, Shelly Revah, Naomi Peled and Victor Chemtob at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Israeline — Thursday, June 5, 2003 —


** Abbas to Brief Sharon on PA Security Efforts
** IDF Strives to Control Terror Activity
** Violence Has Caused Israel’s Worst and Longest Recession
** Israeli Agronomists Develop Mini Veggies
** Israel Celebrates Shavuot
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-tech Briefs


Abbas to Brief Sharon on PA Security Efforts
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will meet in the coming days with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas – the third meeting between the two leaders in recent weeks, HA’ARETZ reported. Abbas will brief Sharon on the anti-terror steps already taken by newly appointed Internal Security Chief Mohammed Dahlan. An Israel Defense Forces officer said that the Palestinian security services were showing the first signs of clamping down on terror groups. However, military activity in the territories is slated to continue in light of continuous warnings of possible terror attacks. Dozens of threats are still reported each week.

Security officials have stated that the easing of restrictions on the Palestinian population would begin when the Palestinian leadership starts acting to foil terror attacks. Officials have also acknowledged that the recent agreements to advance the road map have led to a rise in the number of threats against Sharon. However, Israel Security Agency sources said that there was no need to increase the level of the prime minister’s personal security, as he is currently very well protected.

Meanwhile, according to MA’ARIV, about 40,000 people demonstrated on Wednesday night in Zion Square in downtown Jerusalem against the Aqaba summit and the implementation of the road map, which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian State and the evacuation of outposts in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Yesha Council of Jewish communities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which organized the rally, issued a statement calling the Aqaba summit "a humiliating ceremony in which the Israeli government celebrated its surrender to Palestinian terror."

In other news, Hizbullah and Hamas – both of which are on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations – announced Wednesday that they opposed the U.S.-backed Israeli-Palestinian peace moves, describing the road map initiative as a sellout of the Palestinian cause. Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad both said Wednesday they would not disarm, despite an explicit appeal from Abbas for an end to the "armed Intifada."

IDF Strives to Control Terror Activity
The Israel Defense Forces lifted the curfew on the West Bank city of Jenin today, thus lifting the last of such restrictions imposed on some Palestinian towns following an increase of terror threats due to the Aqaba summit, HA’ARETZ reported. Late Wednesday night in Rafah in Gaza, Israeli troops came under heavy fire while they were demolishing a number of abandoned buildings and covering tunnels used to smuggle weapons across the border from Egypt.

Meanwhile, the IDF discovered an explosive device north of the Jewish community of Nahal Oz in the central Gaza Strip. IDF troops also discovered a weapons cache in Hebron consisting of M-16 rifles, ammunition, and bulletproof vests. In other events, five Palestinians were arrested overnight – three of them in the Jenin area – and 30 bags of fertilizer used for explosives were confiscated near the West Bank town of Tulkarem.

Violence Has Caused Israel’s Worst and Longest Recession
According to economic officials, the Palestinian uprising of the past two-plus years has caused Israel’s worse and longest recession in its history, GLOBES reported. The last recorded recessions lasted only two years each: 1952-53; 1966-67, and 1988-89. While there are now initial signs of GDP growth, there has not yet been a recovery.

The violence in Israel over the past two years necessitated expanded operations by the Israel Defense Forces and other security forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It caused a substantial increase in direct and indirect defense spending to an estimated NIS 3 billion (approximately $750 Million) this year. These costs come on top of the NIS 7 billion (approximately $2.7 billion) in defense spending in 2000-01.

The IDF spent about NIS 1.5 billion (approximately $0.34 billion) on Operation Defensive Shield in April 2002, in the aftermath of the Passover bombing of the Park Hotel in Netanya. Another NIS 500 million (approximately $116 million) was spent on protective measures and defense of communities along the seam line. Civilian costs from terrorist attacks and incidents are estimated at NIS 4 billion (approximately $0.9 million), including large reinforcements for the Israel Police, and payments to victims of the terrorist attacks and hospitalization costs.

Officials in Jerusalem estimate that were it not for the violence, the steep cuts in National Insurance Institute payments could have been avoided, and the cut on civilian public consumption (education and health services and local authorities) could have been smaller.


Israeli Agronomists Develop Mini Veggies
Israeli agronomists have developed an entirely new line of mini-designer vegetables and fruits aimed at creating a new world of bite-size healthy treats, ISRAEL 21C reported.

Bite size zucchinis, baby artichokes, Tinkerbell peppers, cucumbers and personal sized seedless watermelons were all recently on show at the Agro Mashov agricultural expo at the Tel Aviv exhibition fairgrounds. The annual event, which highlights Israeli innovations in cultivation, technologies and crop development, wound up being a showcase for the latest food fashion trend, which is gaining popularity throughout Europe.

Rami Meron, Director of Research and Development at the Vegetable Marketing Board said he hoped the new line would appeal to youth, who he believed did not eat enough vegetables because they lacked a certain sex appeal. Besides the youth as potential target markets for the bite sized produce, Marom cited the single shopper who has no need for a five-pound watermelon or the elderly shopper who cannot carry large quantities from the market.

Herzl Keren, a Vegetable Marketing Board official stressed that the new designer sizes are not the result of any kind of genetic engineering, but the outcome of several years of experimentation and innovation.

Twenty-five percent of Israel’s agricultural exports are vegetables and there are 4,000 vegetable growers in Israel. Fifty percent of the farms are in the Lachish-Negev-Arava region with the rest scattered across the country from the Golan to Eilat. According to Keren, domestic consumption of fruits and vegetables is way beyond the international average. "The Israeli is one of the world’s largest consumers of vegetables and is open to innovation," he said.


Israel Celebrates Shavuot
The holiday of Shavuot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, will be celebrated throughout the country in religious and non-religious ceremonies and festivals, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. It is customary to have all-night Torah study sessions and lectures during Shavuot. Beginning tonight, these sessions will take place in synagogues and yeshivas, as well as non-traditional secular places, such as the Tzavta Theater in Tel Aviv. At dawn, tens of thousands of people are set to make the traditional pilgrimage to the Western Wall for the morning Shavuot service.

Emphasizing the agricultural aspect of Shavuot, which coincides with the harvest, some rural communities, such as Kibbutzim and Moshavim, hold traditional celebrations. In the Jezreel Valley, a weeklong Milk and Honey Festival started today with country fairs, tours and performances.

Meanwhile, according to HA’ARETZ, the Airports Authority reported that about 50,000 Israelis would fly abroad for this long holiday weekend. In addition, domestic travel is up this week, as Israelis took advantage of the extended time-off.


Other News in Brief

* Meir Vilner, the last living signatory of Israel’s declaration of independence, died this morning at the age of 84, HA’ARETZ reported. Vilner served as leader of the Israeli Communist Party and later Hadash, which he represented as a Member of Knesset for some 40 years. Vilner’s family released a statement today saying that he saw "his work as his greatest achievement, through which he and his colleagues successfully created a unique political movement in which they lived and fought, Jews and Arabs together, for a just peace, for equal rights for the Arab population and for the defense of the rights of workers in Israel."

* Or Akiva residents elected Likud Acting Mayor Simha Yossipov as their mayor on Tuesday, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Yossipov won 42 percent of the votes defeating Eli Dar, his closest opponent. Yossipov became Acting Mayor of Or Akiva three months ago after Ya’acov Edri, who was mayor at the time, accepted was elected to the Knesset on the Likud list. Dar is a former Likud party member who formed his own party, the Gahelet, after loosing to Yossipov in the primary election for mayor.


Economic & Hi-tech Briefs

* In light of the recent inroads to peace being made by the Israelis and Palestinians, Israel’s risk level has been reduced causing foreign investors to plan trips to Israel to assess the market there, THE MARKER reported. Agencies such as the Fitch rating agency, UBS, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s are sending analysts to Israel in the summer and fall of 2003 in order to rank the well being of Israel’s banks. In April, Fitch lowered the rankings of Bank Leumi and Hapoalim by one level based on their financial records from 2002. Both of these banks moved down from A- to BBB+. Fitch did however put Leumi and Hapoalim on a stable rating watch, indicating that these banks had a good prospect for improvement.