Choose Day Below
The Israel Defense Forces entered Ramallah today in response to the growing terrorist activity against Israel and arrested at east 20Palestinians suspected of plotting attacks against Israel, HA’ARETZ reported. Two soldiers were wounded during the counter-offensive measure.
Israeli officials described today’s operation as a limited measure aimed at "destroying terrorist infrastructure in the city," which had been rebuilt in the weeks following April’s Operation Defensive Shield. Elsewhere in the West Bank, soldiers arrested at least nine terrorist suspects in the village of Beit Awa east of Hebron, Azoun east of Kalkilya, Zaita north of Tulkarm and in the El Aroub refugee camp near Hebron and Halhoul.
Eyal Sorek, 23, and his wife Yael, 23, who was nine months pregnant, were killed early Saturday morning when Palestinian terrorists infiltrated the community of Karmei Tzur in Gush Etzion, MA’ARIV reported. St.-Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Shalom Mordechai, 35,from Nahariya, was also killed in the attack and five others were injured. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
At around 2:20 a.m., reserve soldiers, who were guarding the community, spotted two terrorists at the Tzur Shalem neighborhood, and exchanged fire with them. The terrorists split up and started shooting at the residents and soldiers. The Soreks were gunned down outside their caravan and Mordechai was critically wounded during the exchange of fire. He was taken to the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, where he died of his wounds. One of the terrorists was killed and the second was injured but managed to escape to nearby Halhoul. One of the terrorists wore an Israel Defense Forces flak jacket and pants, and was armed with an M-16,grenades, hundreds of bullets, a hatchet, and a knife.
Shalom Mordechai had been on reserve army duty for two weeks, when he was killed. He worked for the Bezeq Phone Company and lived with his wife and sons near his parents in Nahariya, where he was born. Shalom’s favorite hobby was motor sports, and he would spend weekends with family and friends traveling in the Galilee. He was buried in the military section of the Nahariya cemetery and is survived by his wife and two sons.
Eyal and Yael were married a year and a half ago and were expecting their first child. About ten months ago they moved to the new Tzur Shalem neighborhood named in honor of Dr. Shmuel Gillis, a Carmei Tzur resident who was killed in a shooting attack on February 2001. Eyal was a career soldier in a special forces unit who was going to be discharged in a week and planned to study in a yeshiva in Jerusalem. He was born in Moshav Sadot in Sinai. Eyal graduated from the prestigious Boyer High School in Jerusalem, and completed his studies at the religious pre-military preparatory school in Atzmona.
Yael grew up in the religious Moshav Kfar Pines, near Pardes Hannah. She volunteered for two years as part of Sherut Le’umi (National Service duty, an alternative to IDF service for religious women) and studied Education at Efrata College. Yael’s father, Yehuda Kandel, who received a decoration for his part in the battle for Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, heard the news of his daughter’s death on Saturday morning, as he left synagogue, but decided to keep the news to himself until Shabbat was over. Eyal and Yael were buried side by side at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres met with Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi on Sunday in Jerusalem to discuss Japan’s role in helping to end the Middle East conflict and broadening Japan’s role in helping to create a Palestinian state once terrorism is eradicated, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Peres and Kawaguchi also discussed Japan’s role in the upcoming international peace conference slated for July.
Kawaguchi said that Japan would extend humanitarian aid to the Palestinians now, hold seminars in democracy and reform for the Palestinians in the near future, and help rebuild infrastructure for a Palestinian state. In the past, Japan has given $600 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority, generally funding specific projects.
On Saturday night, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Minister of Defense Binyamin Ben-Eliezer also met Kawaguchi at Ben-Gurion airport before Sharon’s departure for the U.S. Sharon and Ben-Eliezer stressed to Kawaguchi that the main contribution the international community can make at this time is to create a united front that will present Arafat with an unequivocal demand to end terror.
Bank of Israel Governor David Klein announced on Sunday a 1.5 percentage point hike in nominal interest rates, more than two weeks before the next scheduled interest rate announcement, HA’ARETZ reported.
Economic sources in Jerusalem explained that the Governor was compelled to make the decision after the depreciation of the shekel continued unabated, threatening to ignite inflation. In a statement released by the Bank of Israel the decision to raise the interest rate was a "result of the accumulation of indications attesting to a departure from the framework of price stability, the rapid and ongoing local-currency depreciation and the increase in uncertainty as a result of the deterioration in the security situation."
* The Israeli communications services company Converse unveiled today its Instant Communications Solution, a new range of smart instant voice messaging and group messaging services that have the potential to provide a significant return for operators through increases in user data transfer, airtime, and premium charges, GLOBES reported. Comverse CEO Zeev Bregman said that the ICS "takes messaging and calling to a new dimension, both enriching and simplifying the subscribers’ quality of experience."
* Representatives of seven Israeli medical devices start-ups met last week with senior technology and business executives of American companies in Minnesota to discuss cardiovascular cooperation, GLOBES reported. The meetings, under the auspices of the Minnesota-Israel Medical Technology Business Exchange organized by the American-Israel Chambers of Commerce & Industry of Minnesota and Partners 500, were intended to examine potential synergies between the companies and their products and technologies.