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SHARON LIFTS TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ON ARAFAT
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided today to lift travel restrictions on Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat allowing him to leave Ramallah, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. In a statement released by the Prime Minister’s office, Sharon said that Arafat had fulfilled the conditions of arresting the assassins of Minister of Tourism Rehavam Ze’evi and will be allowed to travel within Palestinian controlled neighborhoods, but will not be allowed to travel overseas. The statement also noted that Israel reserves the right to take appropriate reactionary steps if the PA releases one or more of the five arrested suspects. Arafat has been confined to the West Bank town of Ramallah since December for not taking actions to curb violence against Israel and not arresting Ze’evi’s murderers.
Sharon also said on Sunday that he is prepared to negotiate with the Palestinians and dropped his demand for a week of complete calm before talking about a cease-fire, but made it clear that the current Israeli military offensive will press ahead. "We want to make every effort to achieve a cease-fire," Sharon said. "At the same time, we are continuing with our operations … and if the terror continues our operations will continue."
Meanwhile, Yisrael Beiteinu faction decided unanimously on Sunday to leave the National Unity government to protest the resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians.
OF MOMENT CAFÉ LOSE THEIR "SAFE HAVEN"
Jerusalem’s Moment cafe was turned into a memorial on Sunday, as hundreds gathered to reflect on the tragedy of Saturday night’s attack, which killed 11 and wounded more than 50, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Many people laid flowers and lit memorial candles at the site. Several high school girls sat on the ground near the destroyed coffee shop, wrapped by an Israeli flag, reciting psalms.
Many of those that gathered said that Moment Cafe was an integral part of their neighborhood and that it had been their "last place of safe haven." Former New Yorker Gideon Brettler said, "Moment was the place to go after there was an attack. Where will I go now?"
Meanwhile, Moshe Malka was unable to attend his daughter’s funeral on Sunday because of wounds sustained during a Palestinian shooting attack in a Netanya hotel on Saturday night, leaving two people dead and fifty-five people injured. Two Palestinians walked into the Jeremy Hotel’s lobby, where people were celebrating a pre-wedding festivity, open fire and threw a grenade into the crowd. Moshe’s daughter, Avia, 9 months old suffered fatal injuries to the head and abdomen. Yisrael Yehiya, 27, of B’nei Brak, the second victim, died of gunshot wounds. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, affiliated with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction, took responsibility for the Netanya attack, while Hamas claimed responsibility for the Jerusalem attack.
In another incident, a Palestinian gunman opened fire at the Israel Defense Forces Netzarim checkpoint on Sunday, killing one soldier and seriously wounding another. The incident occurred around 7:00 A.M. as Palestinian laborers passed routine security checks on their way to work at the neighborhood’s greenhouses. The gunman stepped out of line, and opened fire, fatally wounding Staff Sergeant Kobi Eichelboim, 21, of Givatayim. Security officer Pinhas Seltzer returned fire killing the terrorist, but not before he was shot.
Avia Malka, 9 months, from South Africa, was killed on Saturday night in a Palestinian terrorist attack in Netanya. Avia’s family arrived in Israel a week ago to attend a wedding and visit Avia’s grandparents. She was fatally injured by a grenade and died in hospital. Her grandmother Naomi said that she waited for a long time to see Avia for the first time, "she was a beautiful baby. Avia was buried in the Yarkon cemetery in Tel Aviv. She is survived by her parents and four siblings.
Israel Yihye, 27, from Bnei Brak, was also killed in the Netanya terrorist attack on Saturday night. Yihye, a Magen David Adom volunteer medic, rushed to help the wounded and was caught in the crossfire between the terrorists and the Israeli security forces.
Yihye was a student at the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem and for the past four years he volunteered as a paramedic at the Magen David Adom station in Beit Shemesh. David Cohen, the manager of the station, said, "Israel loved helping anyone who needed his help. He was a wonderful person and volunteer, who helped without asking any questions."
Since the death of his father two years ago, Yihye assumed the position as father figure for his mother and 13 siblings. He was buried in the Yarkon cemetery in Tel Aviv.
Orit Ozerov, an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 27, from Jerusalem, was killed when a suicide bomber exploded himself at the Moment Cafe in Jerusalem on Saturday night. She graduated from the Rene Cassin High School, and following her military service, she completed her teaching degree at Jerusalem’s David Yellin Teachers College.
Orit joined the Foreign Ministry about four years ago, and worked as an office manager while studying for her Master’s degree. Her colleagues at work describe her as always having a smile on her face, possessing a contagious cheerfulness, and an aura of friendliness, which affected everyone around her. Minster of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres said at her Funeral that "Orit did not see her work in the Foreign Ministry as just a another job, but as a mission. She was loved and appreciated by everyone in the Ministry." She is survived by her parents and older brother
Danit Dagan, 24, and Uri Felix, 26, were supposed to get married on May 15, 2002. They were both killed in the Palestinian suicide bombing at Moment Café in Jerusalem. They were buried together at the Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem. Danit and Uri met six years ago, when Uri served in the Israel Defense Forces military police unit with Danit’s brother, Tomer. According to Sharon, Danit’s younger brother, "Uri wanted to annoy Tomer, so he asked his sister out. They spoke on the phone for three straight nights and then they set up a blind date in Tel-Aviv. It was love at first sight."
Danit served in the IDF’s Home Front Command. After her discharge, she studied tourism at the Open University and worked at a travel agency. Friends and family described her as a beautiful, smart, good-hearted and mature person. They also said she was a very warm person, who loved animals and kids. She is survived by her parents and three siblings.
Uri began studies in land assessment at the College of Management in Jerusalem three years ago. He also worked as a security guard at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court. Gadi Yarom, who worked with Felix, said, "he was a very big fellow who had a great sense of humor. He’d make you laugh all the time." Magistrate’s Court President, Judge Amnon Cohen, said "his presence inspired great confidence among the judges." He is survived by his parents and older sister.
Danny Imani, 23, Nir Borochov, 23 and Livnat Dvash, 28, sat together at the Moment Café in Jerusalem where a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up on Saturday night. The three of them died.
Danny’s Imani family immigrated to Jerusalem from Iran in 1980. The family lost their eldest child, Hezi, in Lebanon in 1984. According to Danny’s brother Herzl, their mother is still mourning the lost of her oldest son and he does not know how they will cope with another death. Herzl described his youngest brother as an Israeli patriot, who cared deeply for what was happening in the country. His friends said he was smart, an excellent sportsman, a wonderful person, and possessed a great sense of humor.
After completing his army service, Danny helped at the family’s clothing store. He was laid to rest in the Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem and is survived by his parents and three siblings.
Nir Borochov, from Givat Ze’ev, graduated from the Feldman high school, where he specialized in auto mechanics. In the army he served in the Combat Engineering unit. After finishing his army service only a few months ago, Nir worked as a mechanic in the Subaru garage and began studying to improve his matriculation exam results, so that he could go on to university. Nir was buried in the Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem. He is survived by his parents and four siblings.
Livnat Dvash’s mother asked her not to go out on Saturday night, after the terror attack in Netanya, but Livnat said: "Don’t worry, I am going to the safest place there is, across from the Prime Minister’s residence."
Livnat loved martial arts and studied tourism at the Hadassah College in Jerusalem. Her family remembers her as a person who was full of life, a hard worker and very independent. She was laid to rest in the Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem and is survived by her parents and two siblings.
Limor Ben-Shoham, 27, from Jerusalem, had just celebrated her 27th birthday when she was killed in the Palestinian suicide bombing at Moment Café. She was a regular Saturday night patron at the Café. Limor graduated from the Gilo high school, where she served on the student council. She was currently working as an accountant in an office supplies shop and as a make-up artist. Her friends described her as "a creative and optimistic person, who always appreciated things and didn’t take them for granted." Her father, Shlomo, said, "my best friend left my body and soul." Limor was laid to rest in the Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem. She is survived by her parents and four siblings.
Tali Eliyahu, 26, from Jerusalem, was killed on her first day as a waitress at the Moment Cafe. After a year of studying pre-school education, Tali enrolled in the Hebrew University, majoring in Middle Eastern studies. Her brother Eyal said, "Tali was full of life, who loved helping people."
Tali was buried in the
Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem. She is survived by her parents and eleven
Natanel Kochavi, 31, originally from Kiryat Ata, who was killed at the suicide bombing in Jerusalem, lived in the Katamon neighborhood in Jerusalem. According to friends and family, the Moment Cafe was his favorite place to hang out.
After graduating from the Nativ Meir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Natanel served in the IDF Golani Brigade. After his army service he studied law and computers at the Bar Ilan University, where he headed the Students Association. His unit’s Commander in the IDF, Yitzhak Zabatani, said that Netanel "was an excellent fighter, who loved the country. The soldiers followed him with their eyes shut." Natanel was buried in Kiryat Ata. He is survived by his parents and six siblings.
Baruch Lerner-Naor, 28, from Eli, was also killed at the Moment Café in Jerusalem.
Baruch served in the IDF’ Givati Brigade, both in Lebanon and in the Gaza Strip. After his army service, Baruch concentrated in Middle Eastern Studies at the Ariel Regional College. He also worked as a security guard in the Old City of Jerusalem. His mother, Roni, said, "he wanted to guard the Jewish families in Jerusalem." At Baruch’s funeral she said: "I asked you not to go to crowded places, but you said: if we’ll live like mice in holes, it will be the enemy’s victory." Baruch is survived by his parents and a sister.
Avi Rahamim, 29, was killed at the suicide bombing at Moment Café in Jerusalem. Avi worked for the Millencom computer company in Jerusalem. Avi Sasson, director-general of the company, described him as a peace-seeking person. His friends said, "He was a brilliant man, who always smiled and loved everyone." Avi was particularly close with his twin brother. "We always did things together. When I heard that he died, it was like someone cut a piece of me," Yaron said.
Avi was buried in the
Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem. He is survived by his parents and four
St.-Sgt. Kobi Eichelboim, 21, from Givatayim, was killed on Sunday afternoon when a Palestinian gunman, disguised as a worker, opened fire at the entrance to Netzarim in the Gaza Strip. Kobi was raised in Givatayim, where he attended elementary and high school. His teachers described him as modest and responsible. He excelled in sports at school and was on the Ha’poel Givatayim basketball team.
Kobi served as a combat soldier and a commander in a basic training camp in the IDF Givati Brigade. His friend, Dror Atias, said "The soldiers around him felt safe. He was tall and strong. No one believed he would ever get hurt. He took care of his soldiers, bringing them tea to their posts. The day he was killed he was supposed to go home for a vacation." Kobi was supposed to finish his army service in a few months. He was buried in Kiryat Shaul military cemetery in Tel Aviv and is survived by his parents and older brother.
GUNMEN SERIOUSLY WOUND 13 YEAR-OLD
A thirteen year old boy celebrating his Bar Mitzvah was seriously wounded by a Palestinian terrorist on Sunday in Ashdod, IDF RADIO reported. The boy suffered wounds to his arm and knee and was taken to Rehovot’s Kaplan Hospital for treatment. One terrorist from the Hebron area was apprehended by police.
Meanwhile, an Israeli trucker was moderately wounded in a Palestinian ambush near the village of Ya’abed in the northern West Bank today IDF RADIO, reported. The 24-year-old driver, an Umm el-Fahm resident, was traveling north of the village when Palestinians opened fire on his vehicle. He was taken by ambulance to Afula’s Ha’emek Hospital.
According to YEDIOT AHARONOT, security forces thwarted two attempted suicide bombings destined for Jerusalem on Sunday. According to security sources, intelligence information indicated that Palestinians were attempting to sneak a car bomb into Jerusalem from the Bethlehem area. When the driver of the car refused to stop at a roadblock, Israel Defense Forces soldiers fired at the car, setting off the explosives and killing the occupants of the car.
In the other incident, a Palestinian suicide bomber en-route to Jerusalem was killed on Sunday at the a-Ram checkpoint. The terrorist carrying a suspicious bag ignored orders to stop at the checkpoint. After failing to heed police warning shots, the terrorist was shot dead.
In a separate incident, IDF troops arrested more than 2,300 Palestinians from the neighborhhods of Qalqilya, Deheisheh and Tul Karem over the weekend, checking if any of them were on Israel’s list of wanted terrorists. Additionally, IAF helicopters fired missiles at Arafat’s headquarters in the Gaza Strip in response to the Netanya and Jerusalem Palestinian suicide bombings.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Melchior is scheduled to go to Rome next week with Sheikh Tallal el-Sidr of the Palestinian Authority and Latin Patriarch Michel Sabah to meet the Pope and other Catholic leaders, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. The meeting will be a follow-up to a January conference on religious cooperation in the Middle East, which took place in Alexandria, Egypt, condemning violence and the use of religion as a means of inciting violence.
Israel Line is a daily summary of news items taken directly from the Israeli media.
* SEVEN ISRAELIS
KILLED IN TWO ATTACKS
* IDF: RAMALLAH IS CAPITAL OF PALESTINIAN TERRORISM
* RICE: ZINNI HAS MANDATE TO IMPLEMENT TENET CEASE-FIRE PLAN
* ISRAEL EXPANDING RAIL TRANSPORTATION
* ECONOMIC BRIEFS
ISRAELIS KILLED IN TWO ATTACKS
Six Israelis, including a police officer, were killed today and seven others were injured, one critically, after shots were fired at Israeli vehicles traveling close to the Lebanese border, between Kibbutz Metzuba and the community of Shlomi, HA’ARETZ ON-LINE reported. Israeli authorities are investigating whether the suspects, who hid in undergrowth at the side of the road, crossed the border from Lebanon, or are Palestinians from the West Bank. Police sources said that a truck driver, two passengers in a second car and a person in a third vehicle were among those killed in the attack. Reports from the scene indicate that security forces killed two of the terrorists responsible for the attack after a 30-minute gun-battle close to Kibbutz Metzuba. Security forces are still conducting aerial and land searches for several members of the terror cell. Fearing further attacks along the border, the entire area has been declared a closed military zone and residents, including in Kiryat Shmona, have been told to remain indoors. School children in Kiryat Shmona were not being allowed to return home.
A senior Israeli Defense Forces officer told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee earlier today that Hizbullah was preparing to carry out a large-scale attack against Israeli soldiers or civilians.
Another Israeli was killed and one person sustained moderate-to-serious wounds in a shooting attack this morning near the West Bank community of Kiryat Sefer, east of Modi’in. Eyal Lieberman, 45, from Moshav Tzuran in the Sharon region, died at the scene of the attack. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters. He will be buried this afternoon. A Magen David Adom ambulance arrived at the scene to treat the two victims, but were unable to save Lieberman’s life. The second victim, who was hit by shrapnel during the attack, was evacuated to the Sheba medical center in Tel Hashomer.
According to an initial investigation, the gunmen shot at the men from a passing car and escaped. A large police presence arrived at the scene minutes after the attack was reported.
In a separate incident, a 16-year-old Israeli from the Jewish enclave in the West Bank city of Hebron was stabbed in the stomach this morning by a Palestinian. The attacker fled the scene. The teenager sustained moderate-to-serious injuries and was taken to the Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Karem.
IDF: RAMALLAH IS CAPITAL OF PALESTINIAN TERRORISM
Israel Defense Forces soldiers and tanks entered the West Bank city of Ramallah this morning, HA’ARETZ reported. According to a statement by the IDF Spokesman’s Office, the operation was aimed at dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in Ramallah which has become "the capital of Palestinian terrorism," in the last two months. "The terrorist infrastructure in the city, and at times in the entire West Bank, is dependent on senior Fatah leadership and senior commanders of the Palestinian security apparatus," the statement said. According to the statement, several recent suicide bombing attacks have emanated from terrorist cells in Ramallah including the attack on the Tel Aviv "Sea Food Market" restaurant, the terrorist infiltration of Ayn Arik, and the attack on civilians and IDF soldiers at the "British Police" roadblock.
Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, the wide-scale military operation in the Jabaliya refugee camp ended. IDF troops destroyed buildings in the camp, some used by Palestinian security, and blew up a metal works factory in which Kassam-2 rockets and other weapons were manufactured. According to IDF sources, several Palestinian casualties occurred as a result of the operations carried out since Monday night.
RICE: ZINNI HAS MANDATE TO IMPLEMENT TENET CEASE-FIRE PLAN
United States National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice said on Monday that U.S. Mideast Envoy General Anthony Zinni "is going [to the Middle East] with a mandate to implement the Tenet plan… not just to shuttle back and forth between the parties," HA’ARETZ reported. Zinni will arrive in Israel on Thursday, and hopes to convince Israel and the Palestinians to immediately accept a U.S. plan for a cease-fire. Zinni may also visit Jordan and Egypt during the trip, in an effort to reinvigorate the U.S. role in Mideast peacemaking.
Rice said that Zinni will push the administration’s Tenet Plan, a strategy of small steps designed to force Palestinians to lay down their arms to prevent further Israeli military response. According to Israeli and Palestinian officials, the strategy of the Tenet plan, which has not been made public, includes an immediate cease-fire, the arrest of militants and efforts to stop anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian media.
United States Vice President Dick Cheney is also headed to the region this week for a 10-day visit that will include stops in Israel, Turkey and nine Arab countries.
ISRAEL EXPANDING RAIL TRANSPORTATION
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon approved on Monday Minister of Transportation Ephraim Sneh’s $2 billion plan to expand and upgrade Israel’s railway system, GLOBES reported. The Ports and Railways Authority will raise $400 million this year from Israeli and international banks to finance the plan.
At a press conference in Tel Aviv today, Sneh said the capital raised would be in addition to the Israel Ports and Railways Authority’s budget, which currently stands at NIS 1 billion, (approximately $250,000). "The overall cost of the plan will reach NIS 18 billion," (approximately $4.5 million), Sneh said. Sneh added that the plan would be classified as a national project, which would enable the timetable to be expedited. The Ministry of Transportation believes the plan will create tens of thousands of jobs.
The main parts of the plan include upgrading the railway to Jerusalem, doubling the line to Beer Sheva, upgrading the line to Dimona and building new railway tracks on the Ashkelon-Netivot-Ofakim-Beer Sheva line.
Maccabi Health Services launched a support group for people who witnessed or suffered harm in acts of terror in Jerusalem, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. A single Hebrew-language advertisement produced 70 responses. The project was initiated by Dr. Gilat Reish, the health fund’s Jerusalem district medical director. The service also provides a 24-hour telephone hot line for people suffering from emotional trauma.
* Semiconductor packaging company Shellcase announced that it opened its necessary expanded $8 million production facility in Jerusalem, GLOBES reported. The expansion began in May 2001 following the successful closing of a $20 million private placement in April 2001. The new facility, for processing both six-eight inch semiconductor silicon wafers and packaging them in Shellcase’s miniaturization packaging technologies, is expected to increase productivity threefold by the end of 2002, the company says.
* The Ministry of Industry and Trade is planning to support the establishment of an Israeli consumer product design incubator for the development and preservation of Israeli design concepts in the toys, clothing, plastics and metals industries, GLOBES reported. The Shenkar School of Engineering & Design, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Holon Academic Institute of Technology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Office of the Chief Scientist and several manufacturers, including ZAG Industires, Delta Galil Industries, Keter Plastics and industrialist Stef Wertheimer are taking part in setting up the incubator.
Israel Line is a daily summary of major news items taken directly from the Israeli media.
ORDERS GRADUAL WITHDRAWAL FROM RAMALLAH
* PALESTINIANS DETONATE LAND MINE KILLING 3 IDF SOLDIERS
* NATIONALITY TO BE REMOVED FROM STATE ID CARDS; MKS TO BE BARRED FROM VISITING ENEMY TERRITORY
* YAMIT, 20, CROWNED MISS ISRAEL 2002
* ECONOMIC BRIEFS
ORDERS GRADUAL WITHDRAWAL FROM RAMALLAH
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon issued instructions today to Minister of Defense Benjamin Ben-Eliezer to gradually withdraw Israel Defense Forces troops from the West Bank city of Ramallah, HA’ARETZ reported. According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, Sharon instructed Ben-Eliezer to redeploy Israeli forces "with the successful completion of IDF operations."
Sharon announced on Wednesday that Israel was ready for a cease-fire and hoped that the arrival of U.S. Middle East Envoy General Anthony Zinni would help to achieve that. He also said that the IDF had almost completed its mission in Ramallah, but reserved the right to respond in any manner necessary if Palestinians perpetrated additional terror attacks. According to THE JERUSALEM POST, Palestinian Authority security forces received orders instructing them to battle IDF troops in Ramallah.
Meanwhile, according to police statistics released on Wednesday, there have been 20 suicide bombings in the last two months, 14 within the Green Line, and 55 bombings since the outbreak of violence almost 18 months ago. The statistics include both successful and thwarted suicide bombing attacks.
In Jerusalem, which has been seen the greatest number of suicide attacks, 62 people have been killed and 769 have been wounded. Nearly half of the casualties, 26 of those killed and 266 of those wounded, occurred since the beginning of this year.
The dramatic rise in terror over the past two-and-a-half months comes just weeks after police Inspector General Shlomo Aharonishsky dubbed 2001, "the year of terror," and forecast that this year would see a further increase in both the number and severity of attacks.
At a police briefing last month, Aharonishsky said the number of terrorist attacks over the past year was greater than the number of terrorist attacks in 1997-2000 combined, and represented a 337 percent increase over the number of attacks in 2000.
PALESTINIANS DETONATE LAND MINE KILLING 3 IDF SOLDIERS
Three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed and two more were wounded when Palestinians exploded a land mine under a tank on the Karni-Netzarim road in the central Gaza Strip shortly before 7:00 this morning, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Rescue forces had difficulty in freeing the bodies of the victims trapped in the tank. The families of the fallen soldiers have been informed. An IDF helicopter evacuated the wounded to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.
Terrorists hiding in a nearby mosque detonated the powerful 50 kilo (110 pounds) remote-controlled explosive charge beneath the armored vehicle. Following the explosion, the area was closed off to traffic, and a giant crane was brought to the scene to tow away the remains of the Merkava 3 tank. The force of the explosion reportedly blew the turret off the vehicle. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Fatah’s al-Aksa Brigades both claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attack took place exactly one month after Palestinians blew up another Merkava 3 on the same road, also killing three soldiers.
In a separate attack, IDF Lt. Gil Badihi, 21, of Nataf, was killed in Ramallah. Badihi was shot in the head while standing next to his tank in the A-Tira neighborhood on Wednesday morning. He was airlifted to Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein Kerem where he succumbed to his wounds hours later.
On Wednesday night, Yosef Yitzhak Primo, 40, of Nahliel in Binyamin, was stabbed in the chest by two masked Palestinians who knocked on the door of his home shortly before 9:00 pm. His wife opened the door and the terrorists burst in and stabbed Primo.
Primo was airlifted to Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer. All residents were ordered to remain in their homes as security forces conducted a house-to-house search for the attacker. They later shifted their search after trackers spotted footsteps on the western side of Nahliel leading toward nearby villages.
Benny Cohen, deputy head of the Binyamin Regional Council, said, "The terrorists broke through the fence surrounding the community and knocked on the door of a mobile home. Primo’s wife answered and they pushed by her and stabbed her husband in front of her and fled. Their children were not in the caravan at the time of the attack.
NATIONALITY TO BE REMOVED FROM STATE ID CARDS; MKS TO BE BARRED FROM VISITING ENEMY TERRITORY
The Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee voted on Wednesday night to remove the nationality article on Israeli identity cards as part of a political compromise with ultra-Orthodox parties, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The amendment followed the High Court of Justice’s decision that non-Orthodox converts must be registered as Jews.
Following an objection by Police Inspector-General Shlomo Aharonisky, who said that the nationality article should not be removed because of security concerns, Minister of Communications Reuven Rivlin told the Committee that Minister of Internal Security Uzi Landau had overridden Aharonisky’s objections, saying that it was more important to prevent a schism in the nation.
Meanwhile, according to HA’ARETZ, a new law prohibiting Members of Knesset from traveling to enemy states and Palestinian Authority-controlled territory without authorization, passed its second and third readings on Wednesday. The law was initiated after Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein was unable to take legal action against MK Azmi Bishara (Balad) for traveling to Syria.
The new law, which was approved by a majority of 49-34, prohibits lawmakers from traveling to Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Yemen.
YAMIT, 20, CROWNED MISS ISRAEL 2002
Yamit Har-Noy, 20, an Israel Defense Forces soldier from the community of Oranit, was crowned Miss Israel on Wednesday for the year 2002, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. The 52nd annual Miss Israel ceremony was held at Haifa’s Convention Center under heavy security. Haifa’s Mayor Amram Mitznah and Miss Universe 1999 Mpule Kwelagobe were guests of honor.
After her crowning, Yamit, who was born on the same day that Israel evacuated the city of Yamit in the Sinai, said that she is "the happiest person in the whole world. It’s good that in these hard days, we can find an intermission of peace, which is dedicated to beauty."
* Israir airlines will be offering charter flights between Israel and the United States for the first time this summer, HA’ARETZ reported. Israir announced that it will operate three charters per week between Ben-Gurion Airport and Kennedy Airport in New York, at $700-800 compared with $1,000-$1,200 for a scheduled flight. Israir CEO Sabena Biran said that 800,000 Israelis fly to the United States every year, and if demand warrants it, Israir will increase its number of flights.
* The Canada-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation (CIRDF) approved a grant for a joint venture between Israeli biotechnology company Compugen and Canadian company DiagnoCure, which develops, manufactures and sells cancer diagnostic products, GLOBES reported. The grant was approved after the two companies announced joint research aimed at discovering molecules for diagnosing cancer, including lung cancer. The grant marks Compugen’s entry in the lung cancer field. Development of the product will incorporate Compugen’s tools for identifying new signs for diagnosis, as well as DiagnoCure’s ability to develop, manufacture and market diagnostic products.
Israel Line is a daily summary of major news items taken directly from the Israeli Media.