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Israeline — Monday, March 4, 2002 —

Monday, March 4, 2002


Twenty-three people were killed in four separate terrorist attacks in less than 24 hours in Jerusalem, the Judean Desert, near Ofra in the West Bank and at the Kissufim crossing in the Gaza Strip on Saturday and Sunday, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

At 7:13 p.m. on Saturday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of people making their way home from synagogue in Jerusalem’s Beit Yisrael neighborhood, killing nine people, including an entire family with three young children, and wounding approximately 57 others. The wounded were taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah-University Hospital at Ein Kerem, including an unconscious seven-year-old boy suffering from second-degree burns. The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement took responsibility for the attack. A tenth victim wounded in the attack Saturday night died today. Hizbullah identified the bomber on Al Jazeera television as Muhammad Darameh, 20, of the Dehaishe refugee camp near Bethlehem.

Close to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday evening, the body of Jerusalem police detective Chief-Supt. Moshe Dayan, 46, from Ma’aleh Adumim, was discovered near the Mar Saba Monastery in the Judean Desert. He was shot a number of times while riding his motorcycle in the desert.

At 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, a Palestinian sniper perched on a hilltop overlooking an army roadblock in the Halamiya Valley north of the community of Ofra, shot and killed 10 Israel Defense Forces soldiers and civilians, and wounded four others. The gunman fired 25 bullets from his gun and escaped. Fatah’s Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack.

At close to 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, a Palestinian gunman shot at five IDF soldiers in a jeep at the outpost several hundred meters south of the Kissufim crossing in the Gaza Strip. One soldier was killed. As the four other soldiers scrambled to the jeep seeking cover, the gunman shot and lightly wounded three of them. The fourth suffered moderate wounds. The gunman then re-crossed the fence and, according to preliminary findings, got into a waiting car that sped to a nearby PA-controlled area. The four wounded soldiers were taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Over the weekend, the IDF carried out expanded military action in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in continued counter-terrorism operations. Military sources said that the actions, while more intensive, were not aimed at toppling the PA.

Twenty-three Israelis were killed over the weekend, beginning with the murder of an Israel Defense Forces soldier on Friday evening, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Following are the names of those who lost their lives:

Sgt. Ya’acov Avni, 20, from Kiryat Ata, outside of Haifa, was killed by Palestinian sniper fire in the Jenin refugee camp on Friday. Avni grew up in Kiryat Ata where he attended elementary and yeshiva high school. Four months ago, he was accepted into the Golani Brigade’s Orev reconnaissance unit, where he completed a sniper course. He was planning to marry his girlfriend, Miri, after he completed his army service. Avni was buried on Sunday in Kiryat Ata. He is survived by his parents, a brother and three sisters.

Chief-Supt. Moshe Dayan, 46, of Ma’aleh Adumim, was discovered next to his trail motorcycle, near the Mar Saba Monastery in the Judean Desert on Saturday evening. Dayan loved riding trail motorcycles and taking jeep tours, and he knew the desert well. He worked as a police officer for 23 years and for the last three years headed the Information and Detective Bureau in the Zion district. Dayan was buried on Sunday in the Israel Police section of the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. He is survived by his wife, Eti, two daughters and a son.

Shlomo Nehmad, 40, his wife Gafnit, 32, and their two daughters, Shiraz, 7, and Liran, 3, from Rishon Lezion, were killed in a suicide bombing on Saturday evening near a yeshiva in the ultra-Orthodox Beit Yisrael neighborhood in the center of Jerusalem. Shlomo’s nephew Shaul Nehmad, 15, and two of his sister’s children – Lidor Ilan, 12, and Oriah Ilan, 18 months, also died in the bombing. The Nehmad family came to Jerusalem to celebrate a family bar mitzvah at the Mahane Israel yeshiva. Shlomo and Gafnit both worked in the Rishon Lezion municipality. Shlomo worked as a sanitary worker in the veterinary department, and Gafnit worked as a secretary in the human resources department. They were married for eight years and everyone who knew them described them as the perfect family. According to her colleagues, Gafnit was a special and a bright woman, who cared for everyone. "She would come into the office in the morning, smiling. Shlomi and Gafnit were a match made in heaven. They loved each other, and were devoted to their children." Shaul died on his way to bring wine from the yeshiva for the Havdalah ceremony. His brother Eli was injured seriously. Shaul’s family said, "he was a good boy, who studied in the Or Gaon yeshiva in Bnei Brak. He had a great mind." The Nehmad family was buried together in Rishon Lezion.

Tzofia-Ya’arit Eliyahu, 23, and her son Ya’akov-Abraham, 7 months, from Jerusalem were also killed in the suicide bombing in Jerusalem Saturday evening. Eliyahu lived in the Beit Yisrael neighborhood and on Saturday, she went with her two children, Shira, 2, and Ya’akov, to her sister’s house. The two sisters went for a walk and on their way back Ya’akov started crying. According to Livnat, Tzofia’s sister, Tzofia lifted him from the baby carriage. Livnat continued walking with Shira and the carriage, when the explosion occurred. "I looked back, and I didn’t see Tzofia and Ya’akov – I just saw fire," Livnat said. The baby died in his mother’s arms. Tzofia and her husband Ofir moved to Jerusalem in search of a more spiritual life and so they could live near Ofir’s yeshiva. The mother and son were laid to rest in Moshav Noam, south of Kiryat Gat.

Avi Hazan, 37, from Kiryat-Gat, died this morning after sustaining fatal head injuries in the suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Hazan was celebrating his nephew Naveh’s Bar Mitzvah at the Mahane Israel yeshiva when the bombing occurred. He was the manager of an accounting office in Kiryat Gat. Hazan was buried today in the Kiryat Gat cemetery. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Sgt. Steven Koenigsburg, 19, from Hod Hasharon, was killed when a Palestinian gunman opened fire near the Kissufim crossing in the Gaza Strip. Koenigsburg emigrated with his father from Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1999. He lived in Hod Hasharon with his father, stepmother and stepsister. His mother and two siblings still live in South Africa. Steven attended 11th and 12th grades in the local Mosenson High School, and enjoyed computer games. As a member of the Betar youth movement in South Africa, Koenigsburg was determined to enlist in an IDF combat unit. He was inducted into the Givati Brigade one year ago, and was scheduled to start an officers training course next week. His father said, "Steven said he wanted to go into the army when he came to Israel. He wanted to be a soldier, to fight for his country." Koenigsburg will be buried on Tuesday in the military cemetery in Hod Hasharon after his family arrives from South Africa. He leaves behind his parents and two siblings.

Capt. Ariel Hovav, 25, from the community Eli in the West Bank, was killed during his army service at the IDF roadblock north of Ofra. Hovav, a paratroop officer, was slated to command a unit of basic trainees in the paratroop brigade and was on his way to a training session at the brigade headquarters. He arrived at the roadblock in a civilian vehicle and was shot when he got out of his car to try and identify the source of fire.

Hovav served as a counselor in the Bnei Akiva youth movement before his army service. He was buried on Sunday in Elkana. Hovav is survived by his wife and 3-month-old son.

Lt. (res.) David Damelin, 29, of Kibbutz Metzar in the Golan Heights, was killed when a Palestinian sniper opened fire at an IDF roadblock north of Ofra. Damelin, the platoon commander, was in the building adjacent to the roadblock when he heard the shooting. He exited the building and was shot dead. Damelin grew up in Tel Aviv and was a gifted musician who played the French horn. He was invited to audition for the IDF band but chose to join the Engineering Corps. After the army, David received his BA in psychology and philosophy from the Tel Aviv University and began studying for his master’s degree in philosophy. Damelin was an academic consultant at the pre-military training college at Kibbutz Metzar. His students said that David taught them "to love Eretz Yisrael. He taught us about leadership and good manners. We all loved him." Damelin was buried today in the military cemetery at Kiryat Shaul in Tel Aviv. He is survived by his parents, a sister and two brothers.

Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Avraham Ezra, 38, from Kiryat Bialik, was also shot by the Palestinian sniper at the IDF roadblock north of Ofra. Ezra, the reserve company’s sergeant, arrived on the scene in a patrol jeep after the soldiers at the checkpoint had radioed for help. When Ezra tried to aim at the sniper, he was shot and killed. According to his brother Hezi, even though Avi knew that his service would be dangerous, he was happy to serve with his unit. Ezra grew up in Kiryat Haim and after marriage settled in nearby Kiryat Bialik. He worked many years as a maintenance man for Rafael, the Israel Armament Development Authority, and later as an electrician in Kibbutz Ayalon. Ezra was buried today in the Haifa military cemetery. He is survived by his wife, and two children.

Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Eran Gad, 24, from Rishon Letzion, was shot at the IDF roadblock north of Ofra. Gad was a student of criminology at the Beit Berl College and worked in the duty-free shop at Ben Gurion Airport. He planned to work with adolescents after hid graduation. His mother Hannah said that Eran did "a lot of reserve duty, and never asked to be released. He was a special kid, he never complained, and never said a bad word about the army." He was laid to rest today in the military section of the Rishon Lezion cemetery. He is survived by his parents and a brother.

Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Yochai Porat, 26, from Kfar Sava, who was on reserve duty as a medic, was killed by a Palestinian sniper while trying to help his wounded comrades. Porat served as coordinator of the Jewish Agency’s Foreign Volunteers Program, which is jointly run with Magen David Adom. In this capacity, he met Senator Hillary Clinton during her visit to Israel one week ago. Clinton, who remembered their meeting, said, "I had the honor of meeting Yochai during my visit in Jerusalem. He devoted his life to help save the lives of others. My heart goes out to his family, friends and all those who are mourning during these difficult times." As part of his duties, Porat personally taught first aid to volunteers. He took into consideration the personal needs each volunteer and offered personal guidance; he gave information about aliyah possibilities and life in Israel, and did all he could to help each volunteer both while they were enrolled in the program and later on, after their return to their home countries. Porat was buried in the Kfar Sava military cemetery. He leaves behind parents, a brother and a sister.

Sgt.-Maj (res.) Kfir Weiss, 24, from Beit Shemesh, was killed while on reserve duty at the IDF roadblock north of Ofra. A family friend said that "he went to the reserves with enthusiasm, he wanted to protect the country." Weiss studied computers at Ramat Gan College, and worked in the computers department of Bank Leumi in Lod. His cousin Neta said, "Kfir was a quiet and shy person. He was a good person, who always helped everyone." Weiss was buried in the military section of the Beit Shemesh cemetery. He is survived by his parents and three siblings.

1st Sgt. (res.) Rafael Levy, 42, from Rishon Lezion was also killed by the Palestinian sniper at the IDF roadblock north of Ofra. Levy studied industry and management in the College for Management in Rishon Lezion and worked in a pharmaceutical plant in Holon. His brother Michael said, "Rafi enjoyed his service in the reserves, and understood its importance. On Sunday morning, he was supposed to finish his final shift at the roadblock and go home to attend his nephew’s circumcision." Michael added that Rafi "was killed while coming to the help of his friends." Levy was buried on Sunday in the military section of the Ramle cemetery. He is survived by his wife.

Sergei Butarov, 33, from Ariel, was killed by sniper fire at an IDF roadblock north of Ofra in the West Bank on Sunday. Butarov and his wife, Katia, emigrated from the Ukraine six years ago. They moved to Ariel in the West Bank about a year ago and worked at an herb factory in Mishor Edomim. Butarov was laid to rest in the Barkan cemetery. He is survived by his wife and a 10-month-old daughter.

Vadim Galigulov, 32, was in the car with Butarov and was also killed by sniper fire at the roadblock north of Ofra. Galigulov and his wife, Lova, emigrated from Russia to Ariel three years ago. When Vadim didn’t call Lova to say he had arrived at work safely, she started to worry and tried calling him, but there was no answer. "I kept on calling his friends until one of them told me my husband is dead," said Lova. Galigulov is survived by his wife and son.

Didi Yitzhak, 66, from the community Eli in the West Bank, was shot by the Palestinian sniper when he arrived at the IDF roadblock north Ofra. He was fatally wounded and died shortly after the attack. Yitzhak immigrated from France 20 years ago. He moved to Eli four years ago for idealistic reasons, and also because of the scenery and the peace and quiet. He worked as an accountant from his home. Yitzhak’s uncle, Richard, said Yitzhak "loved Israel so much. Because of him, many more of our family came to Israel. He went to Jerusalem every day and wasn’t afraid of anything." Yitzhak was buried today in Netanya. He is survived by five sisters.

Representatives of Israel’s civilian disabled organization officially ended their 77-day strike today, after the Government formally approved a compromise agreement reached last week between leaders of Israel’s civilian disabled and Government officials, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

The agreement, which will cost the state NIS 400 million a year (approximately $100 million), was approved by the Government at today’s Cabinet meeting. The compromise accord includes a NIS 200-300 (approximately 65-185 dollars) monthly increase in the allowances given to 100,000 of the 144,000 disabled; the allocation of an additional NIS 250- 750 (approximately $5,000-7,500) monthly allotment for the most seriously disabled who are in need of private nursing; the extension of benefits to disabled after they reach retirement age; and permitting the disabled to earn up to minimum wage without losing their disability allowance.

Minister of Finance Silvan Shalom will announce today the appointment of Ori Yogev as the treasury’s new Budgets Director, HA’ARETZ reported. The position has been vacant since July 2001, when then Director-General of the Treasury Avi Ben-Bassat left the Ministry and Ohad Marani, the Budgets Director at the time, was appointed to replace the former. Since then, Marani has officially held both positions.

Yogev began working at the Ministry in the mid-1980s, together with Marani and Accountant General Nir Gilad. Shalom interviewed Yogev for the Budgets Director position six months ago. Among those supporting his candidacy are former Directors-General Victor Medina and Aharon Fogel. The Budgets Division is considered the most important division in the Ministry.

Check Point CEO Gil Shwed, is one of the youngest billionaires in the world and is also featured on the cover of Forbes magazine this month, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. According to the Forbes article, Shwed, 34, has amassed a $1 billion fortune in less than a decade by building firewalls, software that protects networks from outside attacks and inside snoops. The company he co-founded and runs, Check Point Software Technologies, in Ramat Gan. Since its inception in 1993, Check Point has installed its products on more than 250,000 sites, including 90 percent of America’s 500 largest firms.


* As part of Leumi’s American expansion plans, subsidiary Leumi USA announced that it paid $23 million for Net First National Bank in Boca Raton, Florida, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Leumi’s acquisition follows that of Israel Discount Bank of New York, which purchased three branches of Hamilton Bank in Florida in mid-January. "This is an opportunity to meaningfully expand the bank’s activities in an area where the population has significant assets," Leumi USA managing director Zalman Segal said. He said that the acquisition of a Florida bank had been on the bank’s agenda for the last year, and after examining a number of options Leumi had opted for Net First National Bank.

* The Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry and Trade announced plans to create an extensive database of the local high tech industry to facilitate interest of local and foreign venture capital funds, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The project will map out the local high tech industry by sectors such as cellular, semiconductor, fiber optics and telecommunications and compare local activity to activity abroad.

Israeline — Tuesday, March 5, 2002 —

* Economic Briefs

Three Israeli children were wounded when Kassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip exploded next to a house in the Negev town of Sderot this afternoon, HAARETZ ON-LINE reported. A one-year-old baby was moderately wounded and two other children suffered light injuries. Magen David Adom said that the victims were being treated at Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva. Police said that two or three rockets landed in Sderot, one next to the home and another in an open field.

Five Israelis were killed and 20 others injured in three separate terrorists attacks this morning, HA’ARETZ reported. The first attack happened in Tel Aviv around 2:00 AM when a Palestinian gunman armed with an M-16 assault rifle opened fire from the Maariv bridge into to a popular mall area on Menachem Begin Road, a main Tel Aviv thoroughfare. The terrorist then pulled out a knife, and began stabbing passers-by, killing three, before he was shot dead by a police officer and a customer at one of the restaurants. The military wing of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction took responsibility for the attack. The gunman was identified as Ibrahim Hassouna, 20, a resident of the Balata refugee camp near Nablus.

Among the dead was police officer who shot the gunman, Salim Barakat from the Galilee village of Yarka. Bakarat was killed during a struggle with the gunman after he apparently shot him, and was leaning over him to administer first-aid when the terrorist stabbed him. A civilian then shot the Palestinian in his head. Barakat is survived by his wife and a three-year-old daughter. He will be laid to rest today in the Yarka Cemetery.

The second victim was identified as Yosef Haybi, 52, from Netanya and the third as Eli Dahan, 53, from Lod. Their funeral times have not yet been released. Of those wounded, one victim sustained head injuries in the attack and remains in a serious condition, three others suffered from moderate injuries,11 were lightly wounded and five others were treated for shock.

In the second incident, a suicide bomber blew himself up on a sparsely crowded bus in Afula’s central bus station, killing Ethiopian citizen, Maharto Tganya, 81, from Nazeret Illit. The bomber aroused the driver’s suspicions when he paid with a large bill and refused to take his change. A group of 30 Israeli Arab students had just stepped off the bus at the previous stop. There were just ten people on the bus 823 – traveling from Upper Nazareth to Tel Aviv – when it exploded.

Eighteen people were taken to Haemek Hospital, three of them were moderately injured and the rest were said to be suffering from shock. Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the attack, naming the bomber as 21-year-old Abdul-Karim Isa Tahayna from Jenin.

In the third attack a woman was killed and her husband lightly wounded when gunmen opened fire on their car this morning on the Tunnel Road connecting the Gush Etzion community in the West Bank to Jerusalem. The victim, Devora Friedman, 46, was a resident of the nearby community of Efrat. Her husband, Yona, was moderately injured after being shot in his thigh. He was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital for treatment. Following the attack, a gun battle between police officers and the terrorists ensued for several minutes, until they managed to escape.

The Security Cabinet decided today to continue using military pressure on the Palestinian Authority, papticularly in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement following the meeting, HA’ARETZ reported. The Cabinet convened today to discuss a proposal by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to reposition tanks near the Ramallah headquarters of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. Presently, Arafat has freedom of movement within the city.

Earlier today, Sharon said that it was necessary to take a "harsh stance," against the Palestinian leadership to force them back to the negotiating table. Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Sharon said that "anyone wishing to conduct negotiations with [the Palestinians] must first show them that they will achieve nothing through terror. If it is not made clear to them that they are overpowered, we will be unable to return to negotiations." He added that the Palestinians were familiar with his political plan and that it offered them hope, but they still believed that they could "achieve more through terror."

Meanwhile, Minster of Defense Benyamin Ben-Eliezer apologized today for the unintentional killings on Monday of the family members of known Hamas terrorist Hussein Abu Kweik. Ben-Eliezer said that the Israel Defense Forces regrets the accident and "had no intention of harming innocent civilians."

A memorial prayer service was held today at the Western Wall Plaza in memory of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was murdered in Pakistan, YEDIOT AHARONOT ON-LINE reported. The prayer service was initiated by the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism. Pearl’s family, Minister for Religious Affairs Asher Ochana, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Rabbi Michael Melchior and the Western Wall’s Rabbi, Shemuel Rabinowitz attended the ceremony.

Pearl’s grandmother said during the ceremony that Pearl had a warm Jewish heart and "all he really wanted to do is to mend the world." Rabbi Melchior, who also spoke during the ceremony, said "Pearl’s last words: ‘I’m a Jew’ touched the heart of every Jew around the world. We decided to hold this memorial prayer service in this holy place for the Jewish people in memory of Daniel, who did not receive a proper Jewish burial."

A nine-year old Palestinian boy from Hebron was rushed to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital on Friday on suspicion of having rabies, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. A saliva sample confirmed the diagnosis. The Ministry of Health, in a report issued on Monday night, said that it did not yet know the source of the fatal virus, partly because the Palestinian Authority recently cut down epidemiological cooperation with Israeli health authorities almost completely.

According to the Ministry’s report, the danger of infection is present in nearly the whole country.

Israeli-born pianist, Maestro Daniel Barenboim arrived in Israel on Monday for a three-day visit, in which he will perform in Jerusalem and Ramallah, MA’ARIV reported. Barenboim said that he feels it is his duty to perform in Ramallah to "start a cultural dialogue" between the two peoples.

Economic Briefs

* Optical component start-up Inplane Photonics announced it has raised more than $20 million in a first fundraising round from Jerusalem Venture Partners and Morgenthaler Ventures, GLOBES reported. Inplane develops and manufactures integrated optical components for small, low-cost platforms. The company says its technology will dramatically reduce systems’ costs, size, and complexity while increasing reliability in optical networks.

* Bank Hapoalim has injected another $55 million into its fully-owned subsidiary Signature Bank, in New York, bringing the total to $100 million since it opened in May 2001, GLOBES reported. Signature Bank recently launched a seventh branch in Westchester, New York. The bank has opened six branches – five in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn – and is planning to open two more branches, in Brooklyn and Long Island this spring. Signature Bank is managing 10,000 accounts with assets of $850 million. Nearly half the accounts were opened during the bank’s first month of operation.

Israel Line is a daily summary of major news items taken directly form the Israeli media.

Israeline — Wednesday, March 6, 2002 —


Israel Defense Forces Soldier Lt. Pinchas Cohen, 23, of the Givati Brigade was killed in a clash with Palestinians overnight in IDF operations in the Gaza Strip, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine took responsibility for his death.

According to IDF RADIO, Cohen’s funeral procession will leave his parent’s home in the community of Ofra this afternoon and will continue to Mt. Herzl.

A second IDF soldier was killed while patrolling the border fence with Egypt overnight when Palestinians hurled a grenade and opened fire. Soldiers in the unit returned fire and chased the gunmen, but they escaped. The soldier’s family was notified, but details have not been released.

The casualties occurred during a three-pronged operation in the Gaza Strip, launched on instructions from Minister of Defense Binyamin Ben-Eliezer who ordered the IDF to "act immediately to cease the firing of the Kassam rockets in order to make the gravity of the act clear to the Palestinians." On Tuesday, Kassam-2 rockets landed in an Israeli city for the first time, injuring a 16 month-old baby.

Meanwhile, according to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, Hizbullah anti-aircraft gunners in southern Lebanon opened fire along the western sector of the UN-delineated border with Israel. There was no damage or casualties in the Shlomi-area shelling. This is the ninth time Hizbullah forces have opened fire along the northern border over in the recent past.

Pets in Jerusalem’s southern neighborhoods are showing signs of stress and depression due to continuing Palestinian violence, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Dr. Dani Sapir, the owner of one of the largest veterinarian clinics in Jerusalem, said on Tuesday, "Recently I have been prescribing valium to many cats and dogs. The pets hear the gunfire and the tanks, they see their owners stressed out and it affects them. Today, I treated a German Shepard from Gilo who stopped eating and refused to leave the house."

Dr. Gabi Ashkar, chief veterinarian of Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo, said that many animals in the zoo have also been affected. "Two deer fainted after a fighter jet passing by sounded a sonic boom," he said. "I’ve had peacocks and cranes who jumped into the zoo’s pool, scared. They nearly drowned. Animals suffer and are stressed just like human beings. Eventually, they return to normalcy, but signs of distress are visible in their behavior."

New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall said on Tuesday night that he hopes his three-day visit to Israel this week will encourage others to visit the country, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

McCall, who came to Israel as a guest of Israel Bonds, met with Government leaders, visited an Ethiopian absorption center in Mevaseret Zion and held a dialogue with former New Yorkers now living in Jerusalem. "I wanted to show my solidarity with the people of Israel, particularly at this troubling time. Hopefully, my visit will encourage other people to come. There were a lot of people who counseled me not to come. There’s never a right time, but it’s the right thing to do," McCall said.

Ya’akov Orland, one of Israel’s most prominent poets, died on Tuesday after a prolonged illness, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. He was 87 years old.

Orland was born in Russia and immigrated to Israel with his family when he was six. He studied at Hebrew University and at the Royal Academy for Drama in London. Many of his poems were set to music and became instant Israeli popular culture classics, including Hayu Leilot, Etz Harimon and Shnei Shoshanim. Orland was also a playwright and translator. He won the Israel Prize for his contribution to Hebrew Songwriting, the Alterman Prize and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Artwork and Creation.

Eulogizing Orland, the musician Shimon Cohen said, "He was a man in full, with great knowledge. The most prominent thing in his writing was that joy and sadness were inextricably intertwined."

Twenty people remain hospitalized following the shooting attack in the Mifgash Hastekiya restaurant in Tel Aviv at 2:00am on Monday, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Three people were killed in the attack and more than 30 were wounded. Of the 20 still hospitalized, one is listed in critical condition, three in moderate condition, and the remainder in stable condition.

Economic Briefs
* High-tech entrepreneur Davidi Gilo invested in a high-tech incubator in the Arab community that the Arab Business Club has set up in cooperation with the Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development, HA’ARETZ reported. Gilo said that he planned to try to encourage other Jewish businessmen to invest in the current $1.4 million fund-raising round. The incubator is the first in the Arab community to be recognized by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Gilo said that the incubator would be able to invest between $500,000-600,000 per project, with the lion’s share coming from the Ministry of Trade. He said that the incubator was not a philanthropic project, but a base to create a partnership between Jews and Arabs.

* In its annual report on Israel, Moody’s Investors Service said the country’s stable outlook and A2 rating ceilings for long-term foreign and local currency debt and bank desposits reflect positive economic trends that are muted by the impact of ongoing violence associated Palestianian conflict, GLOBES reported. "The aggravated geopolitical variable is already factored into the rating, which otherwise would be much higher," Moody’s vice president Jonathan Schiffer, author of the report said. "It is not likely that negative geopolitical developments by themselves will be the cause of serious medium-to long-term distortions in economic development."

Israeline — Thursday, March 7, 2002 —



A Palestinain suicide bomber blew himself up today in front of the Eshel Hashomron Hotel in the Jewish community of Ariel in the West Bank, HA’ARETZ ON-LINE reported.

According to initial reports, ten people were injured in the terrorist attack. Magen David Adom reported that one person sustained serious to moderate injures and nine were lightly injured.

Police prevented a Palestinian suicide bombing attack near the German Colony’s main thoroughfare in Jerusalem today, Israel radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. According to an eyewitness report, the bomber entered the Caffit Cafe carrying a suitcase. A guard posted at the entrance spotted the suspect carrying a remote-control triggering device. The guard and a police officer standing nearby then tackled the terrorist and pushed him out of the cafe before he managed to detonate the bomb. Police caught the terrorist, reportedly stripped him, and found no additional explosive devices. There were no casualties in the incident.

Meanwhile, in response to latest suicide bombings, sniper attacks and other Palestinian terrorist activities, the Israel Defense Forces moved into Palestinian-controlled neighborhhods overnight, searching for wanted terrorists and weapons.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon released a statement on Wednesday night, saying that Israel had never declared war on the Palestinian people and that its military operations were being carried out in self-defense. "The war that Israel finds itself in was forced on it by the Palestinian Authority and its Chairman following the Camp David summit in July 2000. Israel never declared war on the Palestinians; Israel is returning fire against the terrorist organizations in the framework of its right to self-defense. He who initiated the war has the power to stop it but he continues to prefer the terrorist war. The Palestinian Authority and its leader have forced the war on Israel, and those who have initiated the war, also have the power to stop it," the statement said.

Israeli infantry, armored units and combat engineers entered Tulkarem just after midnight and took over large sections of the Palestinian Authority-controlled city and adjacent refugee camps. Israel Air Force helicopters also attacked two Force 17 compounds in Bethlehem before dawn and combined land and sea forces struck PA police targets in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli fighter jets shot missiles at the Palestinian police headquarters in Gaza City. Palestinians shot at IDF soldiers and attacked them with grenades and bombs.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday night and discussed the recent decision by UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, to suspend future matches in Israel, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

Sharon said the decision is very serious and actions must be taken to change it so the match will be held as planned. He assured Berlusconi that every security precaution would be implemented to ensure the safety of teams playing in Israel. Berlusconi told Sharon the Italian government fully supports Israel, and would make every effort to reverse the UEFA decision.

UEFA decided on Wednesday to suspend all its competitions in Israel until further notice due to the security situation. The decision relocates Hapoel Tel Aviv’s historic UEFA Cup quarterfinal first leg against Italian soccer giants AC Milan, scheduled for next Thursday, to a neutral venue, probably Cyprus. The second leg will take place in Milan.

The Ministry of Housing announced today that it is promoting a plan to grant 100 percent mortgages on purchases of new apartments in development towns in the Negev and Galilee, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported.

The marketing campaign is called the Sharansky Campaign B, a follow-up to the campaign of the fourth quarter of 2001 that awarded discounts to apartment buyers. That campaign was successful, increasing apartment purchases by 58 percent.

The Ministry of Finance still has to approve the campaign because it requires state guarantees of 20-30 percent of the mortgages’ amounts to the mortgage banks.

In view of the present security situation and in memoriam of the lives taken during this conflict, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi-Doron called upon the public to observe next Wednesday, the beginning of the Hebrew month of Nissan, as a special day of prayer and fasting, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. A special service will be held at the Western Wall.

*Cellcom’s net profit rose 18 percent in 2001 to NIS 549.86 million (approximately $124 million), GLOBES reported. Cellcom’s revenue rose 7 percent last year to NIS 4.746 billion (approximately $1 billion). Cellcom President and CEO Jacob Perry said, "Cellcom posted substantial increases in profits, despite the aggressive competition in the cellular telephony market, which intensified in 2001, and the difficult situation in the Israeli and global market."

*The Israel Export Institute reported that Israel’s exports to Arab countries rose 8 percent in 2001, reaching $128 million, GLOBES reported. Imports from Arab countries rose 3 percent last year, to $67 million. A breakdown of exports by country show that exports to Jordan, mainly of textiles, machinery and tools surged 70 percent last year, compared with 2000, reaching $66 million. Imports from Jordan rose 15 percent, reaching $42 million. In contrast, exports to Egypt, mainly of textile and chemical products fell 20 percent last year to $47.3 million. Imports from Egypt also declined 3 percent to $20 million.

Israel Line is a daily summary of major news items taken directly from the Israeli media.

Israeline — Friday, March 8, 2002 —



An Israel Defense Forces soldier was killed today and five teenagers were killed on Thursday night in a Palestinain terrorist attacks, HA’ARETZ reported.

IDF St.-Sgt. Edward Korol, 20, from Ahsdod, was killed in a gunbattle with Palestinian terrorists in the Tul Karem refugee camp. Korol and his Golani infantry brigade besieged at least 100 armed Palestinian terrorists inside the camp. In searches, soldiers uncovered laboratories for creating weapons and munition. Also, Nahal battalion troops were searching the Nur a-Shams refugee camp east of Nablus on Thursday and today, arresting dozens of Palestinian terrorists. Approximately 30 Palestinians were killed in fighting in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Thursday night’s attack ocurred as a Palestinian terrorist penetrated the Jewish community of Atzmona in Gush Katif on Thursday night, opening fire and throwing hand grenades. Five students of a pre-army academy located in the community were killed and 23 other civilians were wounded, four severely. The slain students are Asher Marcus, 18, from Jerusalem; Tal Kurtzweil, 18, from Bnei Brak; Ariel Zana,18, from Jerusalem; Eran Picard, 18, from Jerusalem and Arik Krobiak,18, from Beit El. They will be laid to rest today. The military wing of Hamas, Iz a Din al-Kassam, claimed responsibility for the attack.

U.S. President George W. Bush announced on Thursday his intention to send U.S. special envoy General Anthony Zinni to the Middle East next week to promote a new initiative for achieving a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian Authortiy, HA’ARETZ reported. Under the new initiative, the two sides would begin to implement the Tenet cease-fire plan immediately, without waiting for a drop in the violence, with the goal of then moving on to the Mitchell Report’s plan for resuming negotiations. Zinni would stay in the region to monitor execution of the PA’s commitments under the Tenet plan, which include arresting wanted terrorists and collecting illegal weapons.

Bush said on Thursday that Zinni’s mission will be to implement the Tenet and Mitchell plans. In his speech, he urged PA Chairman Yasser Arafat to take steps to end the violence. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced on Thursday that he will bring the Tenet and Mitchell plans to the cabinet for formal approval on Sunday, to remove any doubts regarding Israel’s acceptance of these documents.

Adi Gat, a Jewish Swiss millionaire, gave $5000 in cash to Shlomi Harel, a waiter in the Caffit Café in Jerusalem, after he foiled a Palestinian suicide bombing attempt at the café on Thursday, MA’ARIV reported. Harel noticed a suspicious man carrying a remote-controlled triggering device and stopped him from entering the café by pushing him outside and alerting a nearby policeman.

Gat, who flew into Israel in order to award Harel the prize, explained that from now on he intends to award a similar sum to every Israeli who foils a Palestinian terrorist attack. Upon receiving the prize, Harel said he was stunned but happy. "It is great that people are here to give me strength," he said. He added that ever since the bombing attempt, many people, including some who were at the café at the time of the botched attack, have come up to him to express their gratitude.

Minister of Education Limor Livnat unveiled several new initiatives to improve gender equality and enhance female leadership on Thursday in honor of International Women’s Day, The JERUSALEM POST Reported.

One of the initiatives is an experimental plan to separate boys and girls in Math and Science classes, to be implemented next year. Livnat said that studies have shown that girls’ achievements in Math and Science improve when they study these topics in all-female environments.

Livnat also announced the creation a monitoring committee for school textbooks. The committee has reviewed 130 books and will issue a full report of its activities soon, in an effort to determine which of the books are free of gender bias.

Other programs include a training program for 3,000 kindergarten teachers to recognize gender stereotypes, as well as self-defense classes for elementary school girls. "Female leadership can not be a unique phenomenon in a democratic society," Livnat said.

* B.G. Negev Technologies and Applications Ltd., a subsidiary of Ben-Gurion University in the Negev, has received $5 million for biotechnology and pharmaceutical research, GLOBES reported. The company has begun choosing the research projects that will benefit from the funding. The projects will be established as start-up companies and will be supervised by B.G. Negev Technologies and the university’s School of Management. Technology transfer and licensing agreements for the start-ups will be negotiated and signed by BGU.

* Accountant General Nir Gilad told the Knesset Economics Committee that the Government will offer $6 billion worth of national infrastructure projects to the private sector over the next two years, GLOBES reported. Gilad cited 25 joint Government-private sector projects that will be included in the new policy: seawater and brackish acquifier desalination facilities, natural gas pipelines, electricity production, light railways, intercity road construction – including areas of the Cross-Israel Highway – and the Carmel Tunnel.

Israel Line is a daily summary of major news items taken directly from the Israeli media.