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Israeline — Monday, June 24, 2002 —

** IDF Officer Laid to Rest; Seventh Jerusalem Victim Identified
** Marketing Drive to Boost Israeli Products in US
** CNN: No Moral Equivalence between Victims and Terrorists
** Batya Arad, MIA Ron Arad, Passes Away After Battle with Illness
** Economic Briefs

IDF Officer Laid to Rest; Seventh Jerusalem Victim Identified

Israel Defense Forces officer Lt. Anatoly Krisak was laid to rest on Sunday in the military section of the Segula Cemetery in Petah Tikva, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Krisak passed away on Saturday night after being wounded by Palestinian terrorists on June15 near Dugit in the northern Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the seventh victim of Wednesday night’s attack at northern Jerusalem’s French Hill intersection was identified on Sunday as Tatyana Eglesky, 43, from the Ukraine. Eglesky arrived in Israel two months ago to visit her son, Dima, 20, who came to Israel four years ago and is now doing his compulsory military service in the IDF. Eglesky, recently widowed, left behind a 15-year-old daughter, Vika, in the Ukraine. Her body was so badly charred by the blast that her son needed to take a blood test to verify that it was his mother’s body at the morgue. "My children are the only thing I have in life," she often said.

Also, the last of the 19 victims from last Tuesday’s Jerusalem bus bombing, Raisa Dikstein, 69, was buried in Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuhot Cemetery on Sunday. Dikstein immigrated on her own to Israel from Moscow, arriving in the country just three days before the outbreak of violence in September 2000. In Russia, she was a teacher and her only relative in Israel is a nephew, Idan Dikstein. Her funeral had been delayed until the arrival of her brother, Igor, from Moscow.

Marketing Drive to Boost Israeli Products in US

A special project to boost the sale of Israeli food products in the United States was launched today in a joint effort by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and its economic attachè in New York Zohar Peri, the Export Institute of Israel, local food exporters, executives of Israeli supermarket chains and American Jewish leaders, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

Currently, the sale of Israeli made food in the US totals some $50 million annually. Behind the latest push is a growing interest in Mediterranean food by U.S. consumers, and a desire to buy Israeli food by US Jews. Peri said the marketing drive will take place in New York, Miami, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, between October and December of this year.

CNN: No Moral Equivalence between Victims and Terrorists

CNN will no longer give air time to the families of Palestinian homicide bombers "unless there is a compelling reason to do so," said Eason Jordan, CNN’s Chief News Executive, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Jordan said he issued the directive last week. "We want to make sure there is no suggestion of moral equivalence between victims and perpetrators [of terrorism]," he explained.

During a meeting on Sunday between Jordan and Minister of Communications Reuven Rivlin, the Minister said that Israel has spent the last year in a fight for its very existence and that the fight was made just that much harder by CNN’s unfair coverage. Rivlin asked that, in the future, CNN concentrate on the facts, not on interpretation, and noted that Israel’s battle against terror is one being fought by the entire free world. Specific incidents of unfair coverage were raised during the meeting including the unbalanced broadcast after the Petah Tikva bombing several weeks ago in which CNN gave 30 seconds to the Israeli woman who lost her mother and daughter in the attack, as opposed to several minutes to the Palestinian mother of the homicide bomber. Jordan apologized for the Petah Tikva coverage, saying the unbalanced broadcast was due to human error and was unintentional.

Rivlin said that he believes in freedom of the press and stressed to Jordan that he would not recommend that the satellite and cable companies remove CNN from their schedules.

Batya Arad, MIA Ron Arad, Passes Away After Battle with Illness

Batya Arad, 68, mother of MIA Ron Arad, died on Sunday from a terminal illness, MA’ARIV reported. Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad, who was taken captive on October 16, 1986 by Amal, a Lebanese Shi’ite militia group, after his Phantom fighter went down in Lebanon due to a technical fault, Batya Arad, a former teacher and school principal, led, for many years, the efforts to rescue of her son. Her friends described her as a strong woman who tirelessly fought to keep Ron as part of the political agenda in Israel so he will never be forgotten, after more than 15 years in captivity. Minister of Defense Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said that Arad was "a courageous woman that dedicated her life to bring her son home. May we be able to fulfill her wish and bring Ron back home."

Eliad Shraga, the attorney who represents the Arad family, said: "we lost a great woman, who was part of the Jewish mother ethos – a mother who fights for her son’s return from captivity."


The President of the Chambers of Commerce Association Danny Gilerman will be appointed as the Israel’s next Ambassador to the United Nations replacing Ambassador Yehuda Lankry at the end of the year, YEDIOT AHARONOT ON-LINE reported. Throughout the years, Israeli Prime Ministers used his business contacts in helping to foster diplomatic relations with other countries.


Economic Briefs

*California-based Polycom has acquired Israeli-based MeetU Inc. for an undisclosed amount, worth several millions of dollars, THEJERUSALEM POST reported. The purchase follows Polycom’s acquisition of Petah-Tikva based Accord Networks Ltd. for $339million in December 2000. Polycom provides convergence of interactive voice, data, and web communications, is planning on using MeetU’s web collaboration software to improve integration of its solutions. MeetU’s product development teams will remain in Israel and will continue working with and supporting existing partners.

* Foreign Defense Assistance and Defense Export Organization Director-General Gen. (Ret.) Yosi Ben-Hanan said that Israeli defense industries have signed new contracts for arms and other systems worth $2.6 billion this year, GLOBES reported. Ben-Hanan said, "The security market isn’t emotional. It is a market of self-interest. European governments and chiefs of staff want the best and most effective solutions for their military needs, and therefore chose Israeli products."

Israeline — Tuesday, June 25, 2002 —


** Bush: Palestinians Need New and Different Leadership
** Suicide Bombing Thwarted in Beit Shemesh Area
** New Merkava-4 Tank Unveiled
** Recycling Gets Boost With New Machines
** Economic Briefs

Bush: Palestinians Need New and Different Leadership

U.S. President George Bush gave a long-awaited policy statement on the Middle East conflict on Monday, HA’ARETZ reported. In his speech, he urged the Palestinians to replace Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat with a leader "not compromised by terror." Bush also said peace needed a "new and different Palestinian leadership" that could lead the Palestinians to their own independent state within three years. "When the Palestinians have new leaders, institutions and security arrangements, the U.S. will support the creation of a Palestinian state," he said. "If Palestinians embrace democracy, confront corruption, and firmly reject terror, they can count on America’s support for creation of a provisional state of Palestine." He added that American support for provisional statehood would only come after the Palestinians elected new leaders and built new institutions and security forces to halt terrorist attacks.
Bush also urged other nations to stop the flow of money, equipment and recruits to terrorist groups seeking the destruction of Israel. He specifically mentioned Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah. "Every nation actually committed to peace must block the shipment of Iranian arms to these groups and oppose regimes that promote terror like Iraq." He also called for efforts to bring about a peace settlement between Israel and Lebanon and Israel and "a Syria that supports peace and fights terror."

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem following Bush’s remarks said, "Israel is a peace loving nation. The prime minister has said several times in the past that when there is an absolute end to the terrorism, violence and incitement, and the PA undertakes genuine reforms under new leadership so that there is a different authority, it will be possible to discuss advancing through diplomatic channels."

Suicide Bombing Thwarted in Beit Shemesh Area

A large suicide bombing was thwarted in the Beit Shemesh area of Jerusalem on Monday evening, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Five suspected Palestinian terrorists, including the would-be suicide bomber, from the Hebron area were traveling in a commercial vehicle in the Elah Valley between Moshav Aviezer and Moshav Aderet near Beit Shemesh, at about 6:30 p.m. The bomber and his accomplices got close to Beit Shemesh but ran into a police roadblock and retreated. They were caught shortly thereafter, while fleeing toward Hebron, by police and soldiers at another roadblock. The suspects were being questioned on Monday night by Israeli security agents.

No weapons were found in the vehicle. Security officials believe the terrorists disposed of the bomb when they decided to call off the attack. The bomber apparently intended to blow himself up in a community near Beit Shemesh or in the city itself. In the early afternoon, the Israeli Security Agency had given police specific intelligence of an impending terrorist attack in the Beit Shemesh area. The warning suggested that a terrorist traveling in a car rigged with explosives was on his or her way to carry out an attack. Police deployed extra forces and set up roadblocks, and a police helicopter hovered over the area in what a police source said was a "race against time" to intercept the bomber.

New Merkava-4 Tank Unveiled

The Israel Defense Forces unveiled its new line of Merkava 4 tanks on Monday with a festive ceremony at the tanks’ factory at the Tel Hashomer armored corps base, HA’ARETZ reported. Among those in attendance were Minister of Defense Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer.

The Merkava 4 is the fourth and most advanced generation of battle tanks to be used by the IDF. The original tank was developed by Major General (Res.) Yisrael Tal, who was also present at the ceremony. Defense establishment officials say that the tank is on par with the second generation of the American Abrahams tank and the German Leopard. The head of the former Merkava tank administration, Brigadier General (Res.) Yehuda Admon, and current joint CEO of ELOP and deputy CEO of Elbit Systems, believes that the new Merkava’s level of crew survivability, mobility and fire power makes it the best tank in the world.

Recycling Gets Boost With New Machines

Recycling will get a significant boost this week in the form of 25 new automatic machines that will be placed in various supermarkets around the country, HA’ARETZ reported. Consumers will receive a 25 agorot deposit on all empties under 1.5 liters in size. In an attempt to turn the recycling experience into an everyday practice, an additional 500 machines will be stationed around the country in the coming months.

When Israel’s Deposit Law came into effect in October 2001 it was met with a relatively poor response rate, but in recent weeks, there has a been a dramatic increase in the number of bottles and cans arriving at the recycling center near Ramle, which collects plastic, glass and aluminum containers. More than 10 million containers were brought there last month, a 60 percent increase from the previous month.


Syria’s three official newspapers left out all comments that President Bush made about Syria in his statement Monday at the White House, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. In his statement, Bush declared that Syria "must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations" and called for "a final peace between Israel and Lebanon and Israel and a Syria that supports peace and fights terror."


Economic Briefs

* A special project to boost the sale of Israeli food products in the US was launched Monday in a joint effort by the Industry and Trade Ministry, the Ministry’s Economic Attache in New York Zohar Peri, the Israel Export Institute, local food exporters, executives of Israeli supermarket chains and Jewish leaders in the U.S., THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Behind the latest push is a growing interest in Mediterranean food by U.S. consumers, and a desire to buy Israeli food by American Jews.

* InSightec, which develops technology for non-invasive medical procedures, announced two agreements to set up treatment centers for its non-invasive treatment of tumors, GLOBES reported. The company has entered into an agreement in principle with the Haim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, and has signed a contract with the Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston. In addition to setting up the centers, the company will carry out clinical trials jointly with the two hospitals in the fourth quarter of 2002.

* Proneuron Biotechnologies Inc. and Craig Hospital of Denver, Colorado, will work together to develop Proneuron’s macrophage cell therapy for the treatment of spinal injuries, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The BIRD (Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development) Foundation approved a $1 million grant for the project, which will include the establishment of an R&D center in the U.S. to start Phase two clinical trials and provide treatment to patients in the U.S. The company, based in Ness Ziona, focuses on developing treatments for nervous system disorders.

Israeline — Wednesday, June 26, 2002 —


** U.S. Administration Received Intelligence on Arafat Terror Link Before Bush Speech
** Soldier to Injured Girl: You Gave Me the Courage to Fight
** New IDF Unit to Assist Shell Shock Victims
** Saudi Arabia Bans Products With Star of David
** Economic Briefs

U.S. Administration Received Intelligence on Arafat Terror Link Before Bush Speech

U.S. President George W. Bush received intelligence information regarding Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s assistance to a Palestinian terrorist organization shortly before he called for a new Palestinian leadership in his speech from the White House on Monday, HA’ARETZ reported. Bush received credible information from U.S. intelligence that Arafat helped finance the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist organization responsible for a series of suicide bombings in Israel.

According to a senior U.S. official quoted in a report in today’s New York Times, Bush received information showing that Arafat had authorized a $20,000 payment to the Brigades, an armed group linked to Arafat’s Fatah faction, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing last week in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem which killed six and wounded 35.

As a result, the Times reported, the diplomatic initiative that was supposed to follow the president’s speech on Monday, including an immediate trip to the region by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and a Middle East peace conference, will now be delayed.

U.S. officials said however that there was no direct link between the intelligence and Bush’s decision. "Arafat has failed the Palestinian people in so many ways for so long that the President didn’t really need anything more to decide it was time for new leadership," one official said.

Meanwhile, Arafat announced that he plans to run for re-election in January, a senior aide said on Wednesday, despite the call by U.S. President George W. Bush for new Palestinian leadership. Hours before Arafat’s announcement, the PA announced that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in mid-January and unveiled plans to overhaul Palestinian financial and security institutions. The announcements came two days after Bush demanded reforms and called for a new Palestinian leadership that was "not compromised by terror." Raanan Gissin, spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said Israel wants to see concrete evidence of a clampdown on terror attacks against Israelis before judging the effectiveness of Palestinian reforms. "This is how it will be tested – with action, not with words. In the meantime, all we have is words," said Gissin.

Soldier to Injured Girl: You Gave Me the Courage to Fight

President Moshe Katsav paid his respects on Tuesday to the Shabo family, which lost four of its members last week when a terrorist entered their home in Itamar and opened fire, killing the mother and three children, MA’ARIV reported. During the visit, the President was presented with a letter written by a soldier from the elite unit of the Border Police, who was part of a rescue force, to Aviah, 13, one of the siblings of the Shabo family, wounded seriously in the attack.

"Aviah, you are a very brave girl. I will never forget your face that day. You’ve captured my heart forever. We need a lot of courage to get over the bad and keep on going, you have to keep on going. We all have to. I wanted to tell you a secret and I think you are old and mature enough to understand, on that night we were suppose to go into Nablus. Unfortunately, we entered the city after the terrible incident in Itamar. The look that you gave me and the amazing courage that you displayed that night, gave me a lot of courage to go on and continue the difficult mission. I was not afraid of anything and I know it’s because of you. Aviah, I hope that you and your brother Asael will feel better soon and get back to your family. Someone told me that you have a great family that will support you and take care of you, and that is the biggest treasure a person can ask for."

New IDF Unit to Assist Shell Shock Victims

The Israel Defense Forces is in the process of establishing a new unit to assist soldiers who suffer from shell shock as a result of combat missions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, MA’ARIV reported. The unit will be part of the Mental Health branch in the IDF, and will be headed by Lt.-Col. Rami Shkalar. Shkalar, the former head of the Mental Health branch, was discharged from the IDF a few months ago, but was called back at the beginning of Operation Defensive Shield in early April to help treat shell shock victims. According to the army definition, shell shock is a mental reaction which occurs while a soldier is engaged in combat causing the soldier to become dysfunctional. During the Defensive Shield operation tens of victims were treated for symptoms.

Saudi Arabia Bans Products With Star of David

Saudi Arabia’s Commerce Ministry has launched an investigation to determine why various products bearing a "Star of David" have been brought into the country, THE JERUSALEM POST report. According to a report by the English-language Riyadh Daily, the ministry had dispatched "inspectors of commercial fraud" to various parts of the country to confiscate items such as children’s toys, candy, and laser discs because they bore the six-pointed symbol. The companies behind the products were ordered to withdraw them from the marketplace, the newspaper said.


According to an Israel Air Force Journal report, 48 percent of the last graduating class of new air force pilots are from cities, 20 percent are from moshav communities, 16 percent are from kibbutzim, and another 16 percent are from communities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. The report presents some additional statistics such as 6 percent of the pilots are religious, ten percent were not born in Israel, 20 percent have either a father or brother who were pilots, and 14 percent began their cadet training after they were already officers in other units. In addition, the second woman IAF pilot graduated from this class.


Economic Briefs

* Mul-T-Lock Ltd. won a contract to provide locks for Wimbledon Stadium in England, where the annual tennis tournament began this week, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The company will provide locks for all of the stadium complex’s tennis courts, guest houses, media centers, office buildings, ticket offices and restaurants.

* Seattle-based global shipping company Airborne Express completed a purchase contract with Motorola Israel for 3,000 locally developed mobile terminals worth $40 million, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The product provides couriers with a sophisticated tool that both reads and identifies packages, and communicates in three spectrums: GPRS, Bluetooth, and Wireless LAN. Bill Ashby, the vice president of field services for Airborne Express, said, "This new system releases our drivers from dependence on any vehicle-mounted technology, and enables us to relay information throughout the system in real time."

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

Israeline — Thursday, June 27, 2002 —


** Bush Threatens to Cut Off Financial Aid to Palestinians
** "Intifada Law" Passes First Reading
** Official PA Newspaper Labels Rice as "Dark-Complexioned Lady"
** Abu Kabir Forensic Facility Eases Wait for Victims’ Families
** Economic Briefs

Bush Threatens to Cut Off Financial Aid to Palestinians

United States President George W. Bush threatened on Wednesday to cut off aid to the Palestinians if they fail to embrace reform, stepping up pressure for the removal of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

"I’ve got confidence in the Palestinians, when they understand fully what we’re saying, that they’ll make the right decisions," Bush said. He added, "I can assure you, we won’t be putting money into a society which is not transparent and is corrupt, and I suspect other countries won’t either." The U.S. donates approximately $80 million a year in humanitarian assistance to the PA via the U.S. Agency for International Development. Congress also appropriated $15 million in supplemental disaster relief aid for the Palestinians this spring. According to an Israeli Government report released last month, the PA has used tens of millions of dollars it received from donors such as the European Union to finance terrorism.

In a meeting of key U.S. allies in the Canadian Rockies resort of Kananaskis, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was frustrated with Arafat, who has called elections for January and announced plans to run again. "We’ve got to have leadership we can negotiate with that is serious about peace and resists and totally rejects terrorism," he said. He added, "I think I’ve had 30 different meetings with Chairman Arafat over the past few years…. We’ve got a situation where we have not been able to make progress and there has been an attitude toward terrorists that is inconsistent with the notion of Israeli security."

Senior U.S. officials told The New York Times on Wednesday that Bush believes Arafat must be removed from power after receiving an Israeli intelligence report that he authorized a $20,000 payment to the Aksa Martyrs Brigades. The officials also said that Bush decided to call for Arafat’s removal after intelligence information showed that the Palestinian leader is continuing to finance the group that claimed responsibility for last week’s suicide attack at the French Hill bus stop in Jerusalem. Seven Israelis were killed in the attack, among them five-year old Gal Eisenmann and her grandmother, Noa Alon.

The US officials said this was not the sole factor behind Bush’s position on Arafat, pointing to earlier evidence such as the Iranian shipment of arms aboard the Karine A ship seized by Israel.

In addition to seeking new leadership, Bush has called for sweeping democratic reforms, a constitution, and a new security arrangement that Israel can trust. Asked who would judge whether the Palestinians have fulfilled U.S. demands, Bush said, "the free world. The people who are going to be asked to put up money." Bush added that he would use "diplomatic pressure" to get the Palestinians to reject terrorism, but said, "I’m never ruling out military. All options are available. Sometimes we’ll use military force, and sometimes we won’t. And in the case of the Middle East, obviously, the road map I’ve laid out is one that calls upon all our friends and allies to join and bind together against terror."

"Intifada Law" Passes First Reading

The proposed "Intifada Law," which will reduce the chances of Palestinians injured in the first intifada in 1987 of getting compensation from Israel, was approved on Wednesday by the Knesset’s Law, Constitution and Justice Committee, HA’ARETZ reported. The law will go to the plenum for its second and third readings.

Ten Members of Knesset from the right-wing parties voted in favor and five MKs from Meretz, the Arab factions and Colette Avital of Labor opposed it. The committee’s chairmen, Ophir Pines-Paz and Yossi Katz (both Labor) abstained.
Minister of Justice Meir Sheetrit, who invested great efforts in getting the bill passed, said the situation today was absurd because the state was paying compensation to its enemies. So far, he said, Israel had paid out some NIS 320 million (approximately 64 million) to injured Palestinians. He said the proposed legislation would come before the plenum in the coming weeks, before the summer recess.

According to the final version of the proposed law, the definition of "an act of war" – for which the state need not pay compensation – will be expanded to include action taken against terrorists and against those committing hostile acts and insurrection. In addition, the new law would place the burden of proof of damages on the injured party. Any Palestinian who wishes to claim damages will have to announce his intention of submitting a claim within 60 days.
The statute of limitations on claims will be reduced to two years, although minors will be given an extra year to submit claims. The court will also have the power to extend the period for an additional year.

According to the Ministry of Defense, 6,500 Palestinian claims for damages have so far been submitted and 4,800 have been dealt with. Another 1,500 claims are now in court. The remainder will be judged according to the new law.

Official PA Newspaper Labels Rice as "Dark-Complexioned Lady"

An article appearing this week in the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, criticizes U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice as "the dark-complexioned lady whose policies have dealt a blow to the image of the African-American in the eyes of the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants," THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

The author of the article, Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Maqaleh, wrote in the Arabic-language daily that he was excited when U.S. President George W. Bush appointed "two people from among the colored," referring to Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell. Al-Maqaleh wrote, "we said then, both in private and in public, that these colored senior officials are a part of the Third World, even if only due to the color of their skin. But what happened after that was embarrassing and astonishing, especially what happened with the dark-complexioned lady, or, more accurately: black, the National Security Advisor."

The article continues, "what compounds the astonishment is that the Black Lady always makes a point, whether the opportunity presents itself or not, of denouncing the Palestinians to the point where her positions and statements have come to be nearly daily lessons to the American people and the world, causing regret to every Arab who was optimistic about her arrival on the political scene."

The article concludes by calling Rice a "pitiful woman who has dealt a blow to the image of the African-American in the eyes of the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants."

Itamar Marcus, writing for Independent Media Review Analysis, an Israeli group that monitors the Arab press, commented that "PA verbal attacks on the United States are returning to the frequency and style common before September 11, including personal insults and demonizing of the U.S. These latest slurs against Rice indicate that the PA has now returned to its previous open statement of anathema toward the United States, presenting the U.S. to its people as an enemy of Arabs and of Islam."

Abu Kabir Forensic Facility Eases Wait for Victims’ Families

New facilities will soon be inaugurated at the Abu Kabir Forensic Medicine Institute to help alleviate pressures on families waiting to identify loved ones, HA’ARETZ reported.

Due to the large number of recent terror attacks, families arriving to identify relatives are sometimes forced to wait outside for hours at Abu Kabir’s entrance plaza, often in the burning sun and with no food or drink available. The Tel Aviv Municipality has decided to respond to the situation by supplying a mobile van that will offer drinks and television and telephone services to the families, starting tomorrow. In addition, shaded seating areas will also be installed. The improvements will cost some NIS 100,000 (approximately $20,000).

The municipality has also worked out agreements with local hotels and Tamam, El Al’s catering company, for the provision of food, should the wait prove especially long.

Economic Briefs

* Teva is about to launch generic versions of two hypertension drugs that had U.S. sales of $2.2 billion in 2001, according to a Lehman Brothers report, GLOBES reported. The report states that patent protection for Merck and AstraZeneca’s hypertension drugs Prinivil/Zestril and Prinzide/Zestoretic will expire on June 29, 2002. Currently, there are ten manufacturers who have tentative FDA approvals for Prinivil/Zestril, and four who have approvals for Prinzide/Zestoretic. According to the report, Teva is one of four companies who have tentative approvals for both drugs.

"We expect the tentative approvals for both sets of drugs to become final approvals following the June 29th patent expiration. 2001 US brand sales of these products approximated $2.2 billion," the report noted. Estimates are that Teva will gain $80 million in annual revenue from the drugs. The total annual sales from the drugs are likely to drop to about $400 million with the entry of cheap generic versions. Teva’s share of the drugs total sales will likely be 15-20 percent, according to analysts.

* Israeli start-up PassCall Advanced Technologies is raising $1 million from new and existing investors, GLOBES reported. PassCall CEO Zeev Kotzer said, "we don’t need to raise too much now, the main purpose of which would be to get a higher valuation. The round is intended to continue our business operations for the coming year." PassCall recently changed its business, no longer focusing only on WAP conversion, but turning to other multimedia fields, such as interactive voice and television applications as well.

Israeline — Friday, June 28, 2002 —

** Israel Concerned over Hizbullah Espionage Efforts
** Israeli, Italian Scientists Reach Breakthrough in Gene Therapy
** Cabinet Approves Budget to Combat West Nile Virus
** Economic Briefs

Israel Concerned over Hizbullah Espionage Efforts

The Israeli security establishment has received information of two alleged Hibullah espionage efforts in Israel and the West Bank over the last two days, HA’ARETZ reported. In one case, a 25-year-old man who arrived in Israel several months ago and later moved into the West Bank, turned himself in to Israel Defense Forces troops surrounding the Hebron headquarters of the Palestinian Authority. No other details were released about his case. In the other reported case which was made public on Thursday, charges were brought against a 34-year-old man who immigrated to Israel from Lebanon 10 years ago. The man is suspected, inter alia, of maintaining telephone ties with a senior member of Hizbullah. The court, meanwhile, has imposed a gag order on the personal particulars of the man, releasing only that his first name is Nissim, that his mother is Jewish and his late father was Shi’ite, and that some members of his family, with whom he remains in contact via telephone, remain in Lebanon.

According to the charge sheet, in 2000 and 2001, Nissim made calls to his brother in Lebanon and was told that a member of Hizbullah wanted to speak with him. The accused is alleged to have contacted the Hizbullah man, who asked him to pass on information relating to state security and promised him money in return. The indictment charges that occasionally, Nissim, who has a criminal record for theft and is in dire financial straits, would initiate calls to the Hizbullah man. During one of these conversations, the Hizbullah man put a senior official in the organization on the line.
The official asked Nissim to undertake a number of missions and then prepare for an overseas trip. According to the charge sheet, which was presented by prosecutor Dvora Chen, the senior Hezbollah official knew about Nissim’s financial condition and offered $1,000 to help pay for the overseas trip. The charge sheet also states that the Hizbullah official asked Nissim to obtain a map of Tel Aviv showing infrastructure sites such as gas and electricity installations. Nissim was also asked to provide the organization with a photograph of a relative who served in the security forces.
Several foreigners have entered Israel in the past and worked for Hizbullah while in Israel. In 1996, German citizen Hussein Makadad was seriously wounded while preparing a bomb in an East Jerusalem hotel. British citizen Gerard Shuman was arrested last year as a Hizbullah operative. Security sources say the Hizbullah seeks foreigners who do not appear Middle Eastern, lest they raise suspicions upon entering the country. They are professionally trained and once caught, said the sources, show determination under questioning.

Israeli, Italian Scientists Reach Breakthrough in Gene Therapy

After more than a decade of research, a team of Israeli and Italian doctors has successfully used genetic treatment to cure two babies suffering from the rare and fatal hereditary condition known as Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, or SCID, HA’ARETZ reported. The disease, also known as "bubble boy"syndrome, attacks the immune system so that it cannot defend the body against infection.

The two babies, a two-year-old baby girl named Salsabil from East Jerusalem and an Italian girl, received a correctly functioning gene in place of the faulty gene that causes the disease. In a report scheduled for publication today, researchers from the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center and the San Raffaele Institute for Gene Therapy in Milan will describe the genetic treatment they used to cure the two babies. According to Professor Shimon Slavin, who treated Salsabil at Hadassah Ein Karem in Jerusalem, both babies have returned to their homes and are leading normal lives. Without treatment, babies born with SCID die within their first year. The successful genetic treatment came after 12 years of great hopes that failed to materialize.

Dr. Memet Aker, Salsabil’s doctor at Hadassah, said, "Salsabil is behaving like a normal child and is completely healthy. Her laboratory and medical tests have shown no sign of any dysfunction." He added that several members of Salsabil’s family recently contracted chicken pox, a disease that in the past would have been fatal had Salsabil contracted it, but she remained healthy.

Cabinet Approves Budget to Combat West Nile Virus

The Cabinet has approved a NIS 10.5 million (approximately $2 million) budget earlier this week in order to fight West Nile Virus, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The budget, to be financed jointly by the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture, Health, Interior, and Defense, comes in response to a call by Minister of Environment Tzachi Hanegbi to take preemptive measures against the disease. Local municipalities will use the money to spray against mosquitoes, for early detection tests, and to support efforts.

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile Fever have already been found this year in the Negev. In May, a routine check by inspectors from the Environment Ministry’s division for pest surveillance and control found infected mosquitoes in Wadi Shikma, near Kibbutz Or Haner. A special team was dispatched to spray the wadi with pesticide, and the ministry says that since then, no infected mosquitoes have been found in the area. Also, municipalities have been instructed to locate and dry out pools, in order to limit mosquito numbers. The fever, which is not communicable, can be fatal to those with a weakened immune system.

Economic Briefs

* United States-based polypropylene manufacturer Applied Extrusion Technologies (NasdaqNM: AETC) announced this week that it had received an statement of interest in its acquisition from Israel’s Dor Chemicals, GLOBES reported. If Dor Chemicals does acquire Applied Extrusion Technologies (AET), it will be the third acquisition of a company in the polypropylene field since December of last year. AET trades at a value of $86 million; if the buy offer goes through, this will be Dor Chemical’s biggest deal to date. AET’s sales for the first quarter were $63.6 million, a 5.9 percent decline compared with corresponding quarter last year. Quarterly losses were $1.5 million compared with net profits of $633,000 in the corresponding period last year. Acquiring AET will turn Dor into a world leader in polypropylene manufacturing.

* International ad agency McCann Erickson will expand its stake in Kesher-Barel to 60 percent, GLOBES reported. McCann Erickson currently owns 50 percent of Kesher-Barel, and has an option on another 10 percent from mid 2003, but has decided to exercise the option by the end of 2002. McCann Erickson will buy the 10 percent stake from Nero Investments, in which Zadik Bino, Arie Ruttenberg, Zvi Friedman and Avner Barel are partners. The McCann Erickson-Kesher-Barel long-standing affiliation is based on performance-proven benefits of acquisition to both parties. McCann Erickson conditioned its exercise of the option on Kesher-Barel meeting targets set by McCann for 2002.