Choose Day Below

Israeline — Monday, November 4, 2002 —


** Palestinian Homicide Bomber Kills at least 2 and Injures more than 32 in Kfar Saba Mall
** Israel to Amnesty International: Palestinian Terrorism is Conducted Behind Children
** Scientific American Publishes Hebrew Language Edition
** Israeli Director Takes First Prize at Tokyo Film Festival
** Economic Briefs


Palestinian Homicide Bomber Kills 1 Injures 13 in Kfar Saba Mall

A Palestinian homicide bomber detonated explosives within an electrical appliance store at a strip mall in Kvar Saba, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. According to initial police reports there are two bodies at the scene.

According to an Israeli medical spokesman from Magen David Adom medical service, 32 were injured in the attack, 2 are in serious condition. All of the injured were evacuated to Meir and Beilinson Hospitals. Israeli authorities put a stop on all incoming cell phone calls in the area due to the alerts that terrorists might try to detonate another bomb using a cell phone. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

Israel to Amnesty International: Palestinian Terrorism is Conducted Behind Children

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman called a recent report by Amnesty International on the actions of the Israel Defense Forces during Operation Defensive Shield, "a one-sided account that ignores the fact that Israel is in the midst of an armed conflict that was imposed on it," MA’ARIV reported. "Israel is struggling to defend its citizens against Palestinian terrorism that is deliberately conducted from behind the civilian population, including the use of children and ambulances," the spokesman said. He added that "Israel regrets any harm to innocent people, and the Israel Defense Forces continue to make every effort to avoid harm to civilians."

IDF spokesman said they would have no official comment on the Amnesty report until they had fully studied it, however, they released the following statement "in its actions against terrorist infrastructure during Operation Defensive Shield, Israel was implementing its basic right of self-defense. The IDF acted with determination against these infrastructures, but took the required caution while operating among the civilian population."

The London-based Amnesty International’s 76-page report detailed what it called "unlawful killings and abusive treatment of detainees" during the Israeli army’s operations in Jenin and Nablus in April. But the report clearly states that no "massacre" was committed in Jenin and says the rumors spread when medical workers were not allowed to enter the refugee camp and relied on partial and incomplete testimonies of camp refugees. "Amnesty believes some of the acts by the IDF described are war crimes," the report stated.

The report is based on interviews with local residents, Palestinian officials, members of international humanitarian organizations, physicians, IDF officers, human rights organizations and Amnesty field workers. The report documents cases in which Palestinians were killed or injured under circumstances that suggest the IDF’s disproportionate use of force, or the failure by the army to protect those not involved in the fighting.


Scientific American Publishes Hebrew Language Edition

Scientific American has decided to issue a Hebrew-language edition in conjunction with the ORT-Israel school network, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Six Israeli researchers and doctors are serving as scientific advisers. The 72-page first issue (October-November) has a cover story on TV addiction, a scientific explanation of bad breath, and the use of phone service and Internet via electricity lines. It will reflect Israeli advances in medicine, psychology, science and technology, and include profiles of Israeli scientists in addition to covering discoveries and innovations around the world.

Scientific American was first published in 1845 and has published writings of Albert Einstein and Neils Bohr. Israel becomes the 15th country having its own native-language edition of Scientific American.

Israeli Director Takes First Prize at Tokyo Film Festival

Broken Wings, a movie by Israeli director Nir Bergman, was awarded first prize at the prestigious Tokyo Film Festival, which ended today in Japan, HA’ARETZ reported.

The Tokyo International Film Festival, which is considered one of the 10 most important festivals in the cinema world, is open to directors who have not made more than three films.

Bergman’s 87-minute film, which tells the story of a middle-class Israeli family as it comes to terms – both emotionally and financially – with the death of their father, stars Orly Zilbershatz-Banai, Maya Maron and Nitai Gvirtz, was awarded the Tokyo Grand Prix / The Governor of Tokyo Award, which includes $5000 in prize money.


Economic Briefs

*Merrill Lynch raised its price target for Teva by $10 to $90, after factoring in the positive effects of its manufacturing the generic drug Augmentin will have on its earnings, GLOBES reported. Last week the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved to market generic Augmentin. Analysts believe the drug has the potential to become Teva’s biggest generic product, and sees it boosting year 2003 sales by $150-200 million and profits by $0.40 per share.

*The Citrus Marketing Board of Israel is negotiating the sale of Jaffa orange brand rights with South American, US and Australian exporters, GLOBES reported. The negotiations followed the Board’s participation in the Fresh Summit 2002 International Convention and Exposition hosted by the Produce Marketing Association in New Orleans. PMA members include produce growers from all over the world. The Citrus Marketing Board’s participation in the Fresh Summit is part of its effort to promote the use of the Jaffa brand and extend it from citrus to other fresh fruits and vegetables.


Israeline — Tuesday, November 5, 2002 —


** Sharon Announces Early Elections; Netanyahu Assumes Position of Acting Foreign Minister
** Members of Terror Cell Responsible for Hebrew University Bombing, Convicted
** One in Five Israelis Living Below the Poverty Line
** Teenagers Crowd Convention Center on First Day of Telecom Israel
** Economic Briefs


Sharon Announces Early Elections; Netanyahu Assumes Position of Acting Foreign Minister

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced today that President Moshe Katsav had acquiesced to his request to dissolve the Knesset and call elections for early elections within three months, HA’ARETZ reported. He did not set an exact date for the new elections, but said they should be held in the first days of February. Earlier, Katsav told a press conference at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem that, "The prime minister told me that he is unable to form a stable coalition, and I was persuaded by the prime minister and was convinced that the conditions demand early elections."

At the press conference, Sharon vowed that he would not allow the new situation to destabilize the country. "I will manage to get the budget through; I will not do anything to change our special relationship with the U.S.; and I will not change the basic guidelines of the Government,"he said.

The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday. Among the issues that are still undeicided is the exact date of the elections.

Israel’s last general election was in 1999. Under a system that has since been scrapped, Sharon was elected in a separate prime ministerial ballot in February 2000. Once parliament is dissolved, Sharon’s administration becomes a caretaker government that no member can quit until after election day.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu agreed in a telephone call this afternoon that the former premier would be sworn in on Wednesday as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

At a press conference held in a Jerusalem hotel, just three hours after Sharon announced he had decided to call early elections, Netanyahu declared his willingness to serve as foreign minister, and also welcomed early elections as the "right" choice for the country.

Members of Terror Cell Responsible for Hebrew University Bombing, Convicted

The Jerusalem District Court convicted four members of the Silwan terror cell responsible for eight major terror attacks today, on 35 counts of murder and the injuring of hundreds of others, HA’ARETZ reported.

Among the attacks for which the cell was convicted was the bombing of The Hebrew University Frank Sinatra cafeteria in July, in which nine people were killed and 84 were wounded. The prosecution is demanding that the four cell members, Wa’al Kassam, 31, of Ras El Amud, Wissam Abassi, 25, of Silwan, Aladin Abassi, 30, of Silwan and Mohammed Odeh, 29, of Silwan, be sentenced to consecutive life terms in prison. The other attacks for which the four were convicted include the homicide bombing on March 9 at the Moment cafe in Jerusalem that killed 11 and wounded 58; the suicide bombing on May 7 at a Rishon Letzion billiard hall that killed 15 people and wounded 45; the May 23 Tel Aviv Pi Glilot attempted "mega-bombing" in which the cell planned to set off a bomb hidden on a fuel tanker and thereby ignite the vast fuel reserves at the site next to what is widely considered the busiest highway junction in the country, (the bomb failed to ignite the tanker), and a railroad track bombing near Lod on June 30 which was another major terror attempt, as the cell sought to derail a passenger train. Four people were wounded in the attack, though the train was not seriously damaged nor derailed.

One in Five Israelis Living Below the Poverty Line

Nearly one in five Israelis is living below the poverty line, according to official statistics released Monday, HA’ARETZ reported. The same statistics also revealed that more than half a million children – 27 percent of all children in the country – are among those living below the poverty line.

The report was based on economic standards for 2001, under which an Israeli couple is considered poor if its monthly earnings fall below NIS 2,768 ($584). The poverty line for a couple with two children was set at NIS 4,428, ($934) and with four children at NIS 5,881 ($1,241).

The figures for 2001, compiled by the National Insurance Institute [NII] and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, showed that the number of Israelis living below the poverty line rose by 81,000 last year – 50,000 of them children – bringing the total number of poverty-stricken Israelis to 1.17 million, of whom 531,000 are children.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai said the poverty report is a document presenting "a social emergency, and efforts must be made quickly and responsibly to prevent a social catastrophe."

Teenagers Crowd Convention Center on First Day of Telecom Israel

On the first day of the Telecom Israel Conference, the Tel Aviv Trade Fairs and Convention Center was packed with high-school-aged students who represented the ten best sciences students from schools all over Israel, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. In all, 3,500 students arrived in about 80 buses from all over the country. Elisha Yanay, chairman of Motorola in Israel, called the students "Israel’s exceptional human infrastructure." He said they represent Israel’s incredible human resources, which have made the country into a?"technological powerhouse."

Pelephone’s exhibition was a major attraction for many of the teenagers. A huge aquarium was placed at the center of the exhibition and young women dressed like mermaids offered explanations and danced to electronic music while aquatic scenes were projected onto huge screens overhead. At Nokia’s exhibition, Aussi Vanjoki, Finnish executive vice president of the cellular phone division, speaking from Munich, Germany, explained how he markets new technologies. At Nortel, a representative of Ghana speaking fluent Hebrew was briefed on telecommunications networking technologies.


Broken Wings, a movie by Israeli director Nir Bergman, has been awarded first prize at the prestigious Tokyo Film Festival, which ended on Monday in Japan, HA’ARETZ reported. The Tokyo International Film Festival is open to directors who have not made more than three films. The 87-minute film, which tells the story of a middle-class Israeli family as it comes to terms with the death of the father, stars Orly Zilbershatz-Banai, Maya Maron and Nitai Gvirtz. It was awarded the Tokyo Grand Prix / The Governor of Tokyo Award, which comes with NIS 25,000 (approximately $6,250) in prize money.


Economic Briefs

* TTR Technologies announced it has agreed to sell its music copy protection and Digital Rights Management (DRM) assets to U.S. – based Macrovision Corporation, GLOBES reported. In exchange, Macrovision will pay TTR $5.25 million and will return to the company 1.88 million TTR shares that it purchased in January 2000 for $4 million. At current prices, the shares are worth about $500,000. Once the deal is closed, TTR will cease to be engaged in the copy protection business, which is the only business it has been actively engaged in since its inception in 1994.

* Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plans to pass the 2003 budget in its second and third Knesset readings before December, GLOBES reported. The Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office Avigdor Yitzhaki said that the Knesset will pass the 2003 budget with no significant changes and without deviating from its framework and deficit target. "At this time, when Israel is facing a difficult economic situation on the eve of elections, all the Knesset factions should show responsibility and pass the budget in its original format," he said.

Israeline — Wednesday, November 6, 2002 —


** Two Israelis Killed in a Shooting Near Gush Katif
** Suicide Bombing Foiled near Ben-Gurion Airport
** Netanyahu Sworn in as Foreign Minister
** German Certificate of Excellence Awarded to Israeli Journalist
** Economic Briefs


Two Israelis Killed in a Shooting Near Gush Katif

Two Israelis were killed and at least one wounded today when a Palestinian gunman opened fire on agriculture workers near the Gush Katif community bloc in the southern Gaza Strip, HA’ARETZ reported today. The gunman apparently worked for some time at the farm, and managed to evade a number of searches for weapons this morning, by using a gun that had been hidden specifically for this purpose. The attacker killed one man and then ran into a textile factory where he killed a second Israeli, Israeli Defense Force Colonel Pinky Zoaretz, said. The gunman then entered the car of another Israeli and the two began fighting. Just as the Israeli gained control of the attacker, the Gush Katif security chief arrived, opened fire and killed the gunman.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, identifying the gunman as Ismail Braeff, 25, from the Gaza town of Khan Yunis. The victims were identified as 18-year-old Assaf Tsfira, from the B’Dolah community in Gush Katif and Amos Sa’ada, 51, from the Gaza Strip community of Rafiah Yam.

Meanwhile, police released the name of one of the victims killed in the homicide bombing in the Arim mall in Kfar Saba on Monday. Fifteen-year-old Gaston Perpinan, a recent immigrant from Cordoba, Argentina, and an only child, will be laid to rest today at 11am. The name of the second victim, also an Argentine, has yet to be released.

Suicide Bombing Foiled near Ben-Gurion Airport

Police arrested at least three Palestinians near Ben-Gurion International Airport early this morning at the height of an intense dragnet for terrorists planning to carry out an attack in the Coastal Plain region, HA’ARETZ reported. One man was arrested outside the airport, foiling what police believe was a planned suicide bombing. He was caught near the El Al Junction off the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway at one of the many roadblocks set up by police at the entrance to towns and on major highways. The others were apprehended in an apartment in the nearby town of Lod, after police interrogated the suspected bomber. According to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, police refrained from disclosing details of the suspect’s destination, saying that he intended to strike a target inside Israel.


Netanyahu Sworn in as Foreign Minister

Former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was sworn in today as Israeli minister of foreign affairs, The JERUSALEM POST reported. Netanyahu gave his consent to serve in the position after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called for early elections, which will be held on January 28, 2003. Within the next month, Likud Party members will select either Netanyahu or Sharon as their leader. The latest polls give Sharon a slight advantage. The Knesset approved Netanyahu’s appointment by a vote of 61 – 31, with 5 abstentions.

The Labor Party primaries are set for November 19; at that time former Minister of Defense Binyamin Ben-Eliezer will attempt to defend his party leadership against rivals Haim Ramon and Haifa Mayor Amram Mitzna. The Likud has still not set a date for its leadership battle. Sharon has called for the party to set an immediate date, possibly within two weeks, while Netanyahu has asked that the party delay its decision as late as possible.

German Certificate of Excellence Awarded to Israeli Journalist

Veteran Israeli journalist Chana Zemer received a Certificate of Excellence today from Germany’s Ambassador to Israel, Rudolf Dressler, on behalf of German President Johannes Rau, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Zemer was rewarded for her journalistic achievements and for her balanced portrayal of Germany during her twenty years as editor of the Davar newspaper.

"We, as Germans are indebted to Chana Zemer," Dressler said in a speech at the ceremony. "She, and people like her, made the German-Israeli dialogue possible after 1945." He added that people like Zemer have helped build bridges between Israel and Germany though honest and evenhanded reporting. "If the Israeli press portrays Germany objectively today, than it was Chana Zemer who paved the way twenty years ago."


The Israel Sports Betting Board announced on Tuesday that it will invest some NIS 230 million (approximately $51 million) in developing several high-quality sporting venues in the coming years, HA’ARETZ reported. Seven to ten stadiums and other facilities will be built from money earned through the Sportoto, Israel’s soccer lottery. The new projects will include a new sports center and soccer stadium in Haifa, a new soccer stadium for the Druze sector, basketball arenas in the Upper Galilee and in Jerusalem and an Olympic swimming pool complex. "Instead of investing small amounts in many projects, we have decided to pool our reserves for a small number of projects that are of national interest," ISBB chairman Yom-Tov Samia said in an announcement. "This should change the face of sports in Israel."



Economic Briefs

* Siemens Mobile Acceleration, a Siemens Wireless subsidiary launched in 2001, is looking to establish alliances with Israeli companies, HA’ARETZ reported. Matimop Industry Center for R&D, a government vehicle to help Israeli companies enter international alliances, is helping Siemens locate tech start-ups that meet its criteria for alliance or investment. SMAC investment director Dr Ingo Potthof is currently visiting Israel, on the occasion of a Telecoms 2002 conference at which Matimop and Siemens will officially announce their affiliation. During his visit, Potthof will be visiting several start-ups and investors.

* Defense company Elbit Systems announced this morning that its third quarter results beat analysts’ forecasts and the company’s net profit for the quarter was $15.5 million, 37.2 percent higher than the net profit of $11.3 million reported for the third quarter of 2001, GLOBES reported. The third quarter of 2002 net profit includes a $2.8 million reduction in tax expense, resulting from adjustment of group company tax assessments for previous years. Elbit Systems President and CEO Joseph Ackerman said, "we reiterate our expectation that the growth will continue and anticipate revenues in 2002 to exceed $800 million."

Israeline — Thursday, November 7, 2002 —

** Boycotts Against Israel Violate U.S. Regulations
** Histadrut, Private Employers Sign Agreement on Cost-of-Living Increase
** Economic Briefs

Boycotts Against Israel Violate U.S. Regulations

The United States government is seeking to implement stiffer penalties on U.S. companies and individuals who apply secondary boycotts against Israel under pressure from Arab states, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

In a statement issued by Undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Kenneth Juster, U.S. firms were reminded that they could face penalties, including fines of up to $50,000, or five times the value of the exports involved, and imprisonment for up to 10 years, if they support foreign boycotts against Israel. In addition, if an American company does business with a country that stipulates its deals on the firm refraining from doing business in Israel, the company is in violation of U.S. anti-boycott laws and regulations, and can also be denied export privileges.

Kenny Juster’s warning came after 18 representatives of the Arab League met last week in Damascus to discuss tightening the embargo. "The Commerce Department is closely monitoring efforts that appear to be made to reinvigorate the Arab boycott of Israel," Juster said, "and will use all of its resources to vigorously enforce U.S. anti-boycott regulations." In his statement, Juster also referred to the divestiture campaign sweeping across U.S. college campuses, promising "to ensure that in no way is such activity occurring in response to efforts by various foreign governments to boycott Israel."

Histadrut, Private Employers Sign Agreement on Cost-of-Living Increase

The Histadrut Labor Federation and private employers signed an agreement today on a cost-of-living increase for workers, IDF RADIO reported. Histadrut Chairman Knesset Member Amir Peretz and Oded Tira, Head of the Manufacturers Association, finalized the agreement on Wednesday night. The cost-of-living hike, which was necessary due to the rising level of inflation in 2002, will bring an end to labor sanctions undertaken by workers from government ministries over the past four weeks.

According to the agreement, workers will receive a three-stage 3.5 percent cost-of-living increase. In December, all workers will receive the first portion for the minimum monthly salary of NIS 3,260 (approximately, $724). The two other payments will take place in January and March 2004 for the portion of salaries up to NIS 7,700 (approximately $1,711). The rate of the increase was set assuming that inflation for 2002 will be at least 8 percent.


Economic Briefs

* Drug discovery company Compugen has announced that Organon and Procter & Gamble have licensed its Z4000 fully automated system for designing and controlling large scale 2D-gel experiments for proteomic research, GLOBES reported. Z4000, launched in February 2002, is based on advanced computational technologies, enabling the management and analysis of large-scale protein experiments, Compugen said.

* Macrovision, a U.S. – based provider of copy protection and digital rights management solutions, has acquired two Israeli start-ups for approximately $30 million, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The Nasdaq-traded firm paid $25 million in cash for the assets of Midbar Tech Ltd., a Tel Aviv-based developer of technological solutions that protect copyrighted digital material. In addition, Macravision acquired TTR Technologies’ music copy protection and digital rights for $5.25 million. The sale includes three issued and eight pending U.S. patents as well as a number of international patent applications.