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Israeline — Wednesday, November 27, 2002 —

** Sharon, Nentanyahu Gear Up for Likud Primary
** U.S., Israel Continue Missile Defense Testing To Improve Technology
** IDF Continues Counter-Terror Operations in West Bank, Gaza
** Arab-Israeli With Hizbullah Ties Stripped of Citizenship
** Economic Briefs


Sharon, Nentanyahu Gear Up for Likud Primary

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will compete against former Prime Minister Benjamin Nentanyahu and Likud party member Moshe Feiglin on Thursday in the Likud Party Primary, MA’ARIV reported. According to a Market Watch poll by Israel TV, Channel One, Sharon has a 22 percent lead over Netanyahu. The poll also showed that more than 50 percent of Likud voters accept the idea of a Palestinian state as part of a political deal with the Palestinians, and more than 50 percent believe that Israeli policy should be to negotiate with the Palestinians under fire, a position Sharon opposes. Netanyahu’s camp recently denied reports that Netanyahu is considering quitting the race with only 36 hours to go. "He’ll run to the end. He has no intention of quitting. There will be a fair fight and the best man will win," a Netanyahu spokesperson said. Sharon’s camp has been focusing on pressing home the point to its supporters that the campaign is not over, fearing complacency among their voters. Hundreds of Netanyahu and Sharon supporters will be on hand to administer control of the polling stations at the outset of the primary.

Meanwhile, Sharon presented his planned ministry portfolios on Tuesday night, in thecase that he wins the general elections slated for January 28, saying that all the current Likud ministers – and Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert – would be in his government.

U.S., Israel Continue Missile Defense Testing To Improve Technology

The United States this week fired a test launch of a Scud missile in the presence of Israeli representatives, with the aim of studying the projectile’s trajectory to improve the means of defense, HA’ARETZ reported.The test was held two days ago at Vandenberg Air Force base in California as part of a series aimed at gathering information about the way the Scud behaves in an effort to improve the next generation of Patriot missiles used to combat it. Among those present were representatives of the Israeli defense establishment and the military industries. Chris Taylor, Spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, said that the U.S. would give Israel all information gathered in the tests. An interim report is expected in the spring and the final report will be ready after the summer of next year.

American sources said it was unlikely that the information gathered from the tests would be applicable in the short run if Iraq were to send a Scud at Israel in the coming months. But, they stressed, that at a later date the information would be useful in improving the operative ability of the Patriot. During the 1991 Gulf war, the Patriots (which were originally meant as anti-aircraft defense systems) shot down only four Scuds. Since then, they have been improved and are considered more effective. In the event of a missile attack on Israel, Patriot batteries are expected to serve as a back up to the newly designed Arrow missile system, Israel’s main line of defense against such an attack. The U.S. is expected to send extra Patriots to Israel, if hostilities begin, and possibly to equip Israel with a more advanced version, the PAC-3, which has not yet been tested in battle.

IDF Continues Counter-Terror Operations in West Bank, Gaza

A Palestinian man violating curfew near the West Bank town of Nablus was killed today after he ignored warning shots fired at the him and proceeded to run throughout the camp. The Israel Defense Force’s said the man was banging a drum to announce the beginning of the Ramadan fast in a refugee camp near Nablus. Also, a suspected Palestinian would-be suicide bomber was killed when the car he was driving, packed with explosives, blew up as it headed towards an Israeli military outpost near Nissanit community in the Gaza Strip, the IDF and Palestinian witnesses said. There were no other casualties in the Gaza incident.

In a separate incident on Tuesday evening, two Palestinian terrorist leaders, Ala Al-Sabag, commander of the armed wing of the Fatah, the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, and his Hamas counterpart, Immad Nasharti, who commands the Izza-din al-Kassam were killed in an explosion in the camp. The two had been on the IDF’s wanted list for some time. According to IDF intelligence officials, the fact that the two leaders from different militant organizations met was not seen as a surprise. In various parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, particularly Jenin, there has been growing cooperation between terrorists from the different organizations in an attempt to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel.

Arab-Israeli With Hizbullah Ties Stripped of Citizenship

Interior Minister Eli Yishai today informed the family of Kais Obeid, a central figure in the Hizbullah terror organization, that he will lose his Israeli citizenship, HA’ARETZ reported. Obeid is the second Israeli-Arab to be stripped of his citizenship at the administrative order of the Interior Minister. He has one month to appeal the decision. Obeid lives in Lebanon with his family and is suspected of being involved in the organization’s attacks against Israeli targets. Among other charges, Obeid is suspected of abducting Israelis and taking them to Lebanon.

A few months ago the Interior Ministry decided to strip another Israeli-Arab, Nahad Abu Kishaq, of his citizenship. After the decision, it was discovered that Kishaq had already given up his citizenship.


The foreign currency market continues to react positively to the U.S. response to Israel’s request for loan guarantees and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s anticipated victory in tomorrow’s Likud primary, GLOBES reported. The shekel-dollar representative rate fell another 0.39 percent today to NIS 4.634 per dollar, the level of three and a half months ago. The shekel has appreciated 4.7 percent since the beginning of October, rising 5.5 percent in the past four months.


Economic Briefs

* Merrill Lynch today raised its price target for Taro Pharmaceutical Industries by $10 to $46 after the company announced on Tuesday that the FDA had approved its application to market Econazole, an anti-fungal cream, GLOBES reported. Econazole is the generic equivalent of Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical’s Spectazole, which generated sales of $54 million in 2001, Taro said. "Taro is the first generic entrant to the market and we estimate the drug should generate approximately $12-13 million in sales," Merrill Lynch analyst Paul Woodhouse said in a report, titled "Thanksgiving Present". The analyst said the estimate assumed another generic entrant, meaning the potential for higher sales was much greater if Taro remained the only generic producer.

* A joint Coface-Business Data Israel (BDI) report on the payment ethic of Israeli companies towards foreign suppliers in the third quarter of 2002 indicated stability, with a slight tendency towards improvement, GLOBES reported. Israel’s payment ethic has exceeded the global average since early 2000. Israeli companies payment behavior with foreign companies is better than that of companies in most countries, even developed countries.

Israeline — Friday, November 29, 2002 —


** Six Victims of Palestinian Terror Attack in Beit She’an Laid to Rest
** Terror in Kenya: 13 People Killed at Israeli Hotel; Missiles Fired at Arkia Jet
** Israel Remembers
** Sharon Beats Netanyahu in Race for Likud Party Leadership
** Israel to Establish World-Class School of Music
** Economic Briefs


Six Victims of Palestinian Terror Attack in Beit She’an Laid to Rest

Two Palestinian gunmen parked a stolen car in front of the Beit She’an Likud Party headquarters, detonated several grenades and fired automatic weapons at close range into lines of people waiting to vote on Thursday, MA’ARIV reported. Security forces killed the terrorists. Witnesses said the gunmen circled the polling station several times in a white Mazda, ignoring the kindergarten next door, where dozens of children were waiting outside for their parents to pick them up. Six people were killed and dozens wounded in the attack. Among the wounded were three sons of Knesset Member David Levy. The wounded were evacuated to Ha’emek Hospital in Afula, Haifa’s Rambam Hospital, and one to Poriya Hospital in the Tiberias region. Four remain in very serious condition and two are in serious condition.

All six victims of the Palestinian terrorist attack were laid to rest today. Five of the victims’ names have been released. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack. The terrorists were identified as Omar and Yusef Abu Roub, both in their 20s, from Jelaboun, located near Mount Gilboa.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz said in a press briefing on Thursday that the attack was a blatant attempt by Palestinians to interfere in the electoral process. "Today the terrorists’ aim was to interfere with Israel’s democratic process. Terror will not dictate our lives." Sharon also emphasized that Israelis should continue to vote despite the attack.


Terror in Kenya: 13 People Killed at Israeli Hotel; Missiles Fired at Arkia Jet

An explosives-laden Land Rover driven by three terrorists detonated in the lobby of an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombassa, Kenya on Thursday, ISRAEL RADIO, KOL YISRAEL reported. Three Israelis, including two children, and nine Kenyans, believed to be hotel staff, were killed in the blast. At least 80 people were also wounded in the explosion. A representative of the Paradise Hotel, which was totally destroyed by the fire, said that the hotel caters to many Israelis and that a group of 146 tourists were standing at the reception desk when the attack occurred at about 7am. Kenyan Police said three men of Arabic origin were in the Land Rover and detonated the explosives after ramming through the hotel’s gate. "There is no doubt in my mind that al-Qaeda is behind this attack," Kenyan Ambassador to Israel John Sawe said. "We have no domestic problems, no terrorism in our country, and we have no problem with our neighbors, no problem whatsoever."

Earlier, two Strella shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles were fired at an Israeli Arkia airliner flying out of the Kenyan city. No damage was caused to the 757 Boeing jet and it landed safely in Israel. Flight number 582, was packed with Israeli passengers and was flying at an altitude of 1,000 meters when, shortly after takeoff from the Mombassa airport, the pilots noted a flashing white light on the left side of the plane. The pilot considered making an emergency landing in Nairobi but decided to continue back to Israel. Israeli aviation officials temporarily grounded El Al flights all over the world until the security situation was clarified.

Israel Remembers

These are the names and details of five of the victims of the shooting attack in Beit She’an.The first four were buried at 12 pm in the town’s cemetery:

Haim Amar, 56, of Beit She’an.

David Peretz, 48, of Beit She’an.

Mordechai (Moti) Avraham, 44 of Beit She’an.

Yaakov Lari, 35, of Beit She’an.

Shaul Zilberstein, 36, of Upper Nazareth, was the security guard at the Likud polling station in Beit She’an. He was laid to rest at 12:45pm today in Upper Nazareth.

These are the names and stories of the Israeli victims of the attack at the Paradise Hotel, Kenya:

Noy and Dvir Anter, aged 12 and 14, were brothers from the West Bank community Ariel. The boys’ father Rahamim, who works in a rope manufacturing plant in Ariel, was lightly wounded in the attack while their mother Ora, a clerk in an Ariel plant, was badly injured and is still unconscious and on a respirator. Their sister Edva, 8, was lightly injured. Rahamim and Ora had saved up to take their children on their first trip abroad to celebrate Dvir’s bar mitzva.

Albert (Avraham) De Havila, 60, of Ra’anana, was a retired civil servant who had started a new career as a tour guide. He specialized in taking Israeli groups to his native Morocco, but was in Mombasa on Thursday leading a group of tourists to Kenya. De Havila is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Israel also mourns the death of the nine Kenyans who were killed in the suicide bombing.

Sharon Beats Netanyahu in Race for Likud Party Leadership

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon won the Likud party leadership race on Thursday, with a 15 percent lead over Minister of Foreign Affairs Benjamin Netanyahu, HA’ARETZ reported. The final results of the primary race showed Sharon with over 55 percent of the votes, Netanyahu at 40 percent and Moshe Feiglin at 3.4 percent. Voter turnout was 46 percent. Now Sharon will face Labor Party Chairman Haifa mayor Amram Mitzna in the January 28 general elections.

After accepting the congratulations of his rival, Sharon opened his somber victory speech at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds by asking his supporters to respect the memories of the nine Israelis killed in Thursday’s terror attacks in Beit She’an and in Kenya.

He reiterated a statement he had made earlier in the day, that the terror attacks were an attempt "to influence the elections in Israel." He added that "Israel will hunt down those who have spilled the blood its citizens. No one has immunity. It is the duty of all countries not only to offer condolences when we bury our dead, but also to support us when we fight terror." Earlier, at his campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu congratulated Sharon on his victory and called on Likud members to unite around their leader to ensure that the party "wins a huge victory in the forthcoming elections." Netanyahu also vowed to help the Prime Minister and the Likud win a decisive victory in January.

Israel to Establish World-Class School of Music

Composer and conductor Noam Sheriff, currently on the faculty at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, and formerly director of the school from 1998 to 2000, is planning to establish a school of higher learning for conducting and composition, HA’ARETZ reported. The new institution, to open in September 2003, will operate out of the music academy building on the campus of Tel Aviv University, and will accept only a limited number of students. "We will select only especially talented candidates, whose studies will be covered by grants," Sheriff said. The new school will place more emphasis on conducting and composition and will also ideally limit its conducting classes to around five students and its composition classes to only slightly more. In the initial stage, Sheriff himself will teach, along with composer Yitzhak Sadai and conductor Gary Bertini.

"Our students will have a most difficult curriculum and be under close supervision," Sheriff said. "Entrance exams will be held next summer. Studies will continue for three years, and the diploma we grant will be an excellent entree to any musical institution in the world."

Economic Briefs

* According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s figures on the Israeli economy, Israel’s GDP per capita is $17,900, highest among the world’s 43 emerging markets that have extensive commercial and investment relations with OECD-member countries, GLOBES reported. Israel’s GDP per capita is 88 percent of the OECD average of $20,300, and increased by over 50 percent in the 1990s. 80 Percent of Israel’s GDP per capita growth in this period came from foreign trade and the rapid development of Israel’s high-tech industries.

* The Ministry of Finance, the Histadrut Labor Federation and the Israel Railways Union reached an agreement onThursday to split Israel Railways from the Ports and Railways Authority and turn it into a government company, HA’ARETZ reported. Under the terms of the accord, no job losses will result from the split and employees will retain their salaries, social rights and pension funds. Head of the Histadrut’s Railway Employees Division, Haim Shaib, said that turning Israel Railways into a government company would enable it to raise capital and transform it from a losing into a profit-making enterprise.