Choose Day Below
Homicide Bomber Kills 3 Injures 19
** Sharon Accepts US Peace Plan But With Some Reservations
** German Embassy Postpones Memorial Ceremony for its Fallen Soldiers
** Israeli Biotechnology Company Identifies Schizophrenia Gene
** German Supermodel Claudia Schiffer Fundraising
** Economic Briefs
A Palestinian homicide bomber detonated explosives at a gas station near the entrance to the Jewish city of Ariel in the West Bank on Sunday, killing 3 and injuring 19, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. All of the victims were Israel Defense Forces soldiers. Both the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement and Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. The Palestinian Authority leadership did not issue a customary condemnation of terror attacks.
The bombing occurred at around 11:30 am, when an employee of the gas station’s restaurant spotted the terrorist entering the neighborhood’s gate and immediately informed security forces. At the same time, Ariel’s security guard David Gilboa pinned the terrorist to the ground. IDF soldiers standing nearby raced toward the terrorist, and fired their weapons and a moment later there was an explosion. The IDF commander for the Ephraim Region, Col. David Menahem, praised the vigilance of civilians and soldiers at the scene, despite the heavy price paid. "It is important to point out that the alertness of civilians and the soldiers’ quick response prevented a far worse outcome, as they prevented the terrorist from reaching a more populated area," he said. According to security officials, the bomb was made of 20 pounds of explosives and numerous ball bearings.
Meanwhile, a Kassam rocket fell this morning near a construction site at a school in the southern Negev town of Sderot. One person sustained light injuries, but no additional injuries or damages were reported. Also, Jewish residents in the West Bank attacked Palestinian olive pickers and Jewish peace activists near the village of Kfar Yassuf. Three people were injured and one person was arrested.
In other news, Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer reported this morning that to date, Israel has arrested some 175 Palestinian male and female would-be suicide bombers.
The following are victims of Sunday’s homicide bombing near the Jewish neighborhood of Ariel:
Major (Res.) Tamir Massad, 41, of Kfar Masaryk until recently served as company commander in the Golani reconnaissance unit. He and his soldiers were waiting at the Ariel gas station for transportation to their post.
Massad’s father said that "they told us he ran towards the terrorist and together with a third person they caught the terrorist’s and tried to stop him from detonating the explosive vest." He added that he was not surprised by his son’s courageous behavior, "Tamir was brought up on these values."
Massad took part in the Beaufort battle in June 1982 during the war in Lebanon. During the operation, Massad was forced to take the helm after his commanders were hit. At the time, his picture appeared on newspaper covers and television, as the young officer briefing then Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon about the previous day’s battle.
Massad was born and raised on Kibbutz Kfar Masaryk, which he recently left, when he and his wife Orly moved to Moshav Ben Shemen. Mossad worked as an electronics engineer in a high tech company. He was buried in Kfar Masaryk and is survived by his parents, Yehudit and Giora, his wife Orly, and their three children: Ro’i 14, Guy 12 and Dan 4.
Lt. Matan Zogron, 22, of Itamar was part of the Nahshon Battalion. Two weeks ago he celebrated his 22nd birthday. His friend Oded Ronsky, who had spent the last few hours before the terrorist attack with him, said Zogron’s dream was to serve in the Israel Security Agency. Zogron studied at Itamar’s high school yeshiva Hitzim and took part in the pre-military course at Hemdat in the Jordan Valley. He joined the paratroopers and then became an officer in command of the sniper platoon of the Nahshon Battalion. Zogron’s father said that his son was a serious man who did not shirk responsibility saying; he was "a leader with lots of motivation." Lt. Matan Zagron was buried in Itamar. He is survived by his parents, Benny and Varda, three sisters and a brother: Idit, Yasmin, Hayuta, and Aviel.
Sgt.-Maj. Amihud Hassid, 31, of Tapuah served as a regional defense officer for the IDF. Tapuah’s Rabbi Shmuel Cohen said that Hassid was "a humble person, quiet, nice and always had a smile He was a family man and always made sure that his wife and children got what they wanted" Rabbi Cohen said.
Hasid was buried in Rosh Ha’ayin. He is survived by his wife Orly and their five children: Dvir 8, Daniel 7, Michal 6, Doron 5 and Tomer 2.
Speaking before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that he accepts the principles of the U.S. road map for the Mideast peace process, but added that a total freeze on Jewish neighborhoods still needs to be negiogated because of the issues of natural growth within these communities, Israel Radio, KOL YISAREL, reported. The U.S. plan calls for Israel to withdraw to September 2000 lines, dismantle illegal outposts, and cease military operations in PA areas. The Palestinians are required to name a prime minister, reorganize their security forces into a single entity, and to reinstate security coordination and cooperation with Israel. A new security cooperation agreement is also envisaged. The plan would put Quartet -US, Russia,UN, and EU- supervisors in the disputed areas to judge when the sides have reached each stage, so they can move onto the next one.
The American plan also proposes convening an international conference that would lead to setting up the temporary state at the end of 2003.
After a wave of public protest, the German embassy postponed a memorial ceremony planned for next month in Nazareth that was set to honor fallen German soldiers of both World War I and World War II, including some who served in the ranks of the Waffen SS, HA’ARETZ reported. Reinhard Weimar, spokesman for the German embassy in Tel Aviv said the event was being postponed because "we understood that in the present context it leads to a public discourse in Israel that we want to avoid." Weimar also added that the entire incident was exaggerated due to a misunderstanding. "This is a memorial held every November for all of Germany’s war casualties… and it’s been held in Israel for the last 15 years without raising any protest… Apparently someone was upset with the wording on the invitation that said it would honor all German soldiers, including those from the Second World War, and he leaked it to the press. This is not a memorial for the soldiers of the SS as was published."
Invitations to the event, scheduled originally for November
17, were sent to Israeli reserve military officers researching World War I.
The officers were astonished to learn that the ceremony would honor the memory
of "the fallen and missing servicemen in both world wars" who had
served in German armies.
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yigal Shefi, who teaches military history at Tel Aviv University, called the German embassy’s military attaché, Colonel Ernst Elbers, explained his discomfort, that he was essentially being asked to honor the memory of German Field Marshal Rommel, who intended to capture Palestine.
Yad Vashem Director Avner Shalev said the German plan to hold the memorial ceremony showed, "a basic misunderstanding of Israel, where hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors and their families live… This was tactless, insensitive and it hurt," Shalev said.
Israeli biotechnology company IDgene Pharmaceuticals announced today that it has conclusively proved the link between the COMT gene and schizophrenia, GLOBES reported. The research, which will be published in the December issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics Magazine, indicates that the COMT gene may account for over twenty percent of schizophrenia cases.
The correlation was identified using IDgene’s gene discovery platform that includes well-characterized group of patients and healthy controls from a genetically homogeneous population of Ashkenazi Jews.
IDgene CEO Dr. Ariel Darvasi conducted the research as a nation-wide partnership with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and most of the psychiatric medical centers in Israel. IDgene is a population genomic company that focuses on identifying the genetic basis of common diseases.
German supermodel Claudia Schiffer has joined a campaign to raise funds for the construction of a Holocaust memorial in central Berlin, YEDIOT AHARONOT. Schiffer performed a voice over that will be televised in Germany from Tuesday, in which she recalls that six million European Jews were murdered by German forces between 1941 and 1945. "Now, 60 years later, construction has started in Berlin on a memorial for Europe’s murdered Jews," she says in the advertisement.
"This is a campaign that I am supporting proudly and above all gladly," she told the Sunday edition of Germany’s Die Welt newspaper, "I would like to encourage other people to do the same" Schiffer said.
Schiffer, 32, apparently decided to offer her services after driving past a sign in Berlin a year ago that claimed the Holocaust never happened. A plot of land has already been designated for the memorial and near Berlin’s historic Brandenburg Gate, opposite the site of the future US embassy.
The project was approved by Germany’s parliament in June 1999, some 10 years after it was first proposed, and is to be completed in 2004 at a cost of about $25 million.
* The Singapore-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation and Hewlett-Packard signed a memorandum of understanding in Singapore last week, in which Israeli cellular companies may use HP’s platform to test Israeli technology applications in the Asian market, GLOBES reported. In return, Israeli companies chosen by HP will be eligible for SIIRD research grants. Israeli exports to Singapore totaled $173 million in January-August 2002, compared with $170 million in the corresponding period last year. Imports from Singapore were $152 million in the same period, compared with $145 million in the corresponding period last year.
* Israeli engineering company Baran Group announced on Sunday that the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission approved its bid to be traded on the Nasdaq exchange in addition to its Tel Aviv registration, HA’ARETZ reported. In addition, as part of Baran’s prospectus and an agreement to acquire o2wireless Solutions of the U.S., Baran has allocated 454,166 shares to shareholders of the U.S. firm. Baran provides engineering, construction project management and consulting services primarily in the telecommunications and industrial sectors.
Labor Ministers Resignations Contingent on Budget Resolution
** Arafat Presents New Cabinet; Criticizes Israel
** Senior Hamas Terrorist Killed; Kassam Rocket Lands in Sderot
** Israeli Hostage Talks About Her Ordeal in Moscow
** Bar-Ilan Law Students Obliged to Provide Legal Aid to Community
** Economic Briefs
Minister of Defense and Labor Party Chairman Benjamin Ben Eliezer decided today that if a compromise is not found to resolve the Likud-Labor coalition crisis over the 2003 budget, then Labor ministers will tender their resignations to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon before the vote Wednesday on the budget in the Knesset plenum, HA’ARETZ reported. Sources across the political spectrum were predicting today that national elections are now likely to take place no later than May of next year.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Likud party members on Monday that if Labor left the government over the budget, he would form a narrow coalition, and that if he was not successful, he would bring forward the elections. He added that he would not delay the budget vote for "even a day" and had no intention of allowing Labor to stay in the government if they voted against the budget.
Meanwhile, former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-General Shaul Mofaz has accepted an offer from Sharon to replace Ben-Eliezer as Minister of Defense, if Labor leaves the government after the budget vote on Wednesday. Under the law requiring a 100-day cooling off period, Mofaz, who left the army on August 12, becomes eligible for a political appointment on November 19. According to sources in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mofaz has accepted the offer.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat presented a new Cabinet today and said he remains committed to internal reform, HA’ARETZ reported. Simultaneously, Arafat accused Israel of using reform demands as a pretext for destroying the PA.
The Palestinian Legislative Council was expected to approve the 19-member Cabinet, and a special session of the PLC convened today in Ramallah to vote on the new Cabinet, after Arafat had postponed the meeting Monday in protest over Israel’s refusal to allow 13 legislators to attend on security grounds. In meetings with rebellious legislators, Arafat has portrayed a vote against his Cabinet as a show of support for Israel and the United States.
Arafat brought five new ministers into his cabinet and fired three. The most important appointment was that of a new interior minister, Hani al-Hassan, a senior member of Arafat’s Fatah movement. The new interior minister will oversee reforms in the Palestinian security services. Arafat’s previous cabinet quit last month after sensing it would lose a confidence vote in the reform-minded PLC, which has criticised his government amid a two-year-old uprising for independence.
Israel’s Border Police undercover unit operating near Nablus killed Assam Sawafte, a senior Hamas terrorist on Israel Defense Forces’ wanted list, earlier today, HA’ARETZ reported.
Sawafte, 28, who was killed in the village of Tubas, recruited several suicide bombers and organized funding for Hamas’s military wing. The IDF also arrested 25 Palestinians in different operations across the West Bank overnight Monday.
Lt. Col. Mordechai, Commander
of the Golani Brigade operating in Jenin, said that some 60 Palestinians on
the IDF’s wanted list or who are wanted for questioning, had been arrested
in the course of the operation. He also said that four explosives laboratories
had been uncovered, including explosive belts ready for use by suicide bombers.
His forces, he said, had also captured two would-be suicide bombers, one of
whom "was on his way to carrying out a terror attack."
Meanwhile, according to THE JERUSALEM POST, Palestinian terrorists fired a Kassam rocket that exploded in a construction site just meters from a school in Sderot this morning. Hundreds of pupils who were attending classes were unharmed. A Romanian worker suffered shock and was taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba. Students at the Sdeh Torah School were escorted into shelters after the attack.
According to security officials, the rocket was fired from the Beit Hanun area in the northern Gaza Strip. There have been six rocket attacks in Sderot over the past year in which five people have been wounded. On September 25, three Kassam rockets hit a factory, wounding three workers and causing a fire. On July 23, three rockets fired at the town landed harmlessly. On March 5, two rockets were fired, one landed in the backyard of a home and moderately wounded a 16-month-old baby.
Valerya Lisiansky, an Israeli woman who was held hostage by terrorists in a Moscow theater for three days and rescued before dawn on Saturday, described her ordeal to Army Radio on Monday while recovering in the hospital, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.
Lisiansky, 45, was the only Israeli in the Moscow theater which Chechen terrorists took over last Wednesday night. Fearing for her safety, her family, the media, and the Foreign Ministry were quiet about her presence in the theater. According to Lisiansky, no one checked her identity. She was afraid, like all the other hostages, of the terrorists, who threatened not to let anyone leave the theater until Chechnya was liberated. "We didn’t get food. We got water and went to the toilet, but it wasn’t really a toilet. It was a stairwell," she said.
Lisiansky, a 45-year-old municipal worker for the City of Haifa, had returned to Moscow three weeks ago to visit her father and friends for the first time since immigrating to Israel in 1991, and had been due to fly home on Saturday night. Her son Stas, 14, said that he spoke with his mother on Sunday and that she was feeling fine. According to sources at the Israeli Embassy in Moscow, Lisiansky will return to Israel in the next few days, after completing her medical treatment.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on Monday that Israel and Russia are sharing intelligence information on counter-terrorism measures, adding that relations between the two countries are improving. Speaking at a session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, where he gave a report on his visit to Russia last month, Sharon said that Israel and Russia were "in contact" during the Moscow theater hostage.
Beginning this year, law students in their third year of studies at the Faculty of Law at Bar Ilan University must do volunteer legal aid work in disadvantaged communities as part of their academic requirements, HA’ARETZ reported. Students must volunteer once a week to help residents who cannot afford to pay expensive attorney fees. Every student is assigned an attorney who provides guidance. The legal aid course awards students six points of academic credit.
Dean of the law faculty, Professor Ron Shapira, explains that "the legal aid program has been in existence for close to 20 years, but Bar-Ilan University is the first to require it of all its students as part of their academic studies. The university attributes great importance to the program in the professional training of future lawyers."
Dr. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, who researches family law and feminism at Bar Ilan’s law faculty, is in charge of a group of female students – and one male student – who work on cases referred to the Na’amat women’s organization. "My goal is to help women who fall between the cracks – who aren’t poor enough to get free legal aid from the state, but don’t have enough money to hire lawyers who work for the women’s organizations," Halperin-Kaddari says. "As a result of the difficult economic situation, today there is a growing number of women who need the legal help we are offering free of charge."
Halperin-Kaddari sees great educational and social value in the legal aid workshop: "In this way I educate a new generation of male and female students who will have greater feminist awareness and readiness to go out and represent women in the field where they are still disadvantaged – family law."
Researchers and students from Haifa University’s Institute for Marine Biology recently discovered three sunken ships off the coast at Tantura beach, HA’ARETZ reported. Work to excavate the ships was carried out by divers, including both students and volunteers from a nearby scuba club. Two of the vessels are from the Ottoman period and will provide information on ships in the area during that time. The more important discovery, however, is that of a Byzantine ship which researchers estimate sunk some 1,500 years ago.
* The Israeli start-up, Nanopowders Industries, is merging with the American company, Aveka, HA’ARETZ reported. The combined company, to be called Cima Nanotech, plans to raise $5 million on completion of the merger. The new company will focus on developing metallic particles for the electronics industry and for the next generation of fuel for missiles. Nanopowders, located in the Caesarea industrial park, develops and manufactures metallic nanocrystalline powders for use in electronics, chemicals and biotechnology industries.
* The Knesset Finance Committee approved a $437.5 million grant to computer giant Intel, representing one-eighth of the $3.5 billion sum slated to be invested in a prospective computer chip production plant, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Intel representatives told the Finance Committee that the project would employ 4,400, including 2,400 in the plant and another 2,000 subcontracted employees. The annual sales volume forecast is $2.9 billion. The grant, made under the aegis of the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investments, is half of the 25-percent-of-project maximum given to business ventures made in the underdeveloped peripheral towns such as Kiryat Gat, where Intel completed its second Israeli production plant in June 1999 after building a Jerusalem-based one in 1985.
and Two 14-year-old Girls Murdered in Terrorist Attack
** Labor Resigns From National Unity Government
** Children Victims of Terror to Vacation in Belgium
** New Program Allows Visitors to Israel to Donate Blood from Hotel Rooms
** Economic Briefs
A woman and two 14-year-old girls were killed in an attack on the community of Heremesh near the West Bank city of Jenin on Tuesday evening after a Palestinian gunman infiltrated the community and opened fire in the residential area of the small enclave, HA’ARETZ reported. The victims were identified as Linoi Saroussi, 14, Hadas Turgeman, 14 and Orna Eshel, 53. Three others were also wounded in the incident.
Linoi Saroussi was laid to rest today in the Yarkon cemetery near Tel Aviv and Hadas Turgeman was also buried a few hours afterwards in the old Netanya cemetery. Residents of the small community of some 40 families said the terrorist slipped under a back gate at about 10:30 pm, opening fire in all directions. He came upon the two girls, shooting them, and was then fired on by a woman in the area. Her handgun jammed, however, and witnesses said the terrorist then entered a house, hitting a man and woman there. He continued firing until soldiers stationed near the area rushed to the site and killed him. None of the injured is in serious condition, hospital officials said.
There have been several attacks in the Hermesh area recently. About six weeks ago, Israeli civilian Yossi Ajami of Jerusalem was killed in a drive-by shooting on the nearby Ya’abad bypass road, and earlier this month, an Israeli Arab was moderately wounded in a shooting attack not far from Hermesh.
The IDF was warned on Tuesday afternoon that a terrorist might attempt to infiltrate a community in the northern West Bank, security precautions were taken in the Nablus area where residents were ordered to remain in their houses on Tuesday night.
According to Israeli security officials, the attack might represent a deliberate attempt by terrorist organizations to resume activity in the Jenin area despite the IDF’s operations in the city over the past five days. During this time, soldiers have arrested more than 60 suspects and discovered two explosives laboratories. In general, there has been a sharp rise in the level of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the last week, and there were almost 20 shooting incidents on Tuesday alone
Minister of Defense Benjamin Ben-Eliezer handed in his letter of resignation today, along with the rest of the ministers from the Labor Party side of the coalition after a last-ditch effort to save the unity Government failed in a meeting in the Knesset between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Ben-Eliezer, HA’ARETZ reported. Toward the afternoon, it appeared that a compromise deal had been worked out over Labor’s demand that funding to settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, be reallocated to the weaker sectors of society. Labor has also been demanding that more funds be allocated to students and pensioners.
While Labor’s departure from the national unity government will not topple Sharon’s coalition immediately, it will force him to rely on alternative parties, or ultimately call for early elections. Despite Labor’s requests, Cabinet Secretary Gidon Sa’ar, a close aide to Sharon, said earlier today that Sharon would make no changes to the 2003 State Budget until after the Knesset voted on the first reading of the budget proposal. Earlier today, Likud and Labor figures had joined forces to delay the vote on the first reading of the budget in the Knesset plenum in the hope that a compromise formula could be found.
Sixty-six children from families that were affected by terror in Israel are slated to arrive in Belgium on Thursday for a four-day vacation, MA’ARIV reported. The trip was initiated by the Belgium Jewish Federation and was jointly organized by the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport and the Jewish Agency. Minister of Science,Culture and Sport Matan Vilnai praised the initiative and said it will give the children an opportunity to rest from the difficult reality in which they live in.
Among the children are several who were injured in different shooting attacks on the road from Jerusalem to Gush Ezion and homicide attacks, such as the attack at Park Hotel in Netanya and at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem. The children will travel around Belgium and visit attractions in addition to meeting the local youth movements.
Meanwhile, in show of their solidarity, 400 people of the Belgium Jewish community are slated to visit Israel this weekend.
Starting next month, visitors to Israel who wish to donate blood to terror victims and other Israelis will be able to do so from the comfort of their five-star hotel or sightseeing tour, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.
"Sharing for Life," a joint initiative sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization, the American Red Magen David for Israel (ARMDI), and the Magen David Adom Blood Services in Israel, plans to dispatch up to 25 bloodmobiles to hotels and other sites around the country to collect blood donations from members of solidarity missions and other visitors to Israel, including students from the US. Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents, said that both Jewish and non-Jewish groups have expressed interest in donating blood en masse through the program during upcoming visits. "They see this as a vital undertaking that has great practical as well as symbolic significance. What could be a more personal demonstration of commitment and concern than giving blood? Hoenlein said.
According to MDA Blood Services director Eilat Shinar, blood donations will also be used to produce antibodies to smallpox vaccines that would be distributed in the event of a biological attack on the country.
In an unexpected upset victory, Maccabi Haifa beat Manchester United, 3-0 at GSP Stadium on Tuesday night, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Yaniv Katan and Raimondas Zutautas scored the goals that won the game, along with a penalty by Ayegbini Ya’akoubu. Haifa’s second win in the group stage puts them three points ahead of their next opponent, Olympiakos Piraeus (November 13th), and increases their chances of earning a UEFA Cup berth by finishing third in Group F. Manchester United is widely recognized as one of the top five club soccer teams in the world.
* Equity One Inc. announced t had agreed to acquire IRT Property Company at a value of $730 million, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The combined company will be one of the largest shopping center real estate investment trusts in the American southeast, with 181 properties in 12 states, totaling 18.7 million square feet. Once the deal is completed, Equity One will have a $1.56 billion total market capitalization, and a $766 million equity market cap. Equity One, which is publicly traded in New York, is a subsidiary of Tel Aviv-based Gazit-Globe. The company, which owns 88 properties in Florida and Texas, will increase its reach in other southeastern states where most of IRT’s 92 shopping centers, are located.
* WorkplaceIQ has acquired U.S. rival BayLogics in a $5 million stock and cash deal, HA’ARETZ reported. WorkplaceIQ Chief Executive Giora Shaked said the merged company will continue to supply services to BayLogics’ 300-plus customers, including retail giants Best Buy and Sears. WorkplaceIQ itself boasts almost 200 customers, including Cisco Systems, Fujitsu, Home Depot, Goodyear and Metro Goldwin Mayer.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on Wednesday that he is not planning on calling for elections now, and will instead try to form a narrow government that could last at least until the budget passes its second and third readings, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Sharon’s aides began talks today with the National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu party, headed by Member of Knesset Avigdor Lieberman, despite his claims a few days ago that his faction has no intention of joining the government and would instead try to topple it. National Union Member of Knesset Benny Elon, who heads the Moledet Party, is also advocating joining the narrow government.
According to HA’ARETZ, former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz accepted Sharon’s offer to serve as Minister of Defense instead of Binyamin Ben Eliezer, who gave his resignation on Wednesday. Mofaz’s appointment will have to be brought before the Knesset for approval on Monday. In addition, Sharon will likely offer Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres, who also resigned on Wednesday, the position of Special Envoy to World Leaders for sensitive foreign affairs matters. Sharon himself will assume the Ministry of Foreign Affairs portfolio.
An Israeli woman and two teenage girls were murdered Tuesday night when a Palestinian terrorist managed to infiltrate the Jewish neighborhood of Hermesh, HA’ARETZ reported. The terrorist opened fire in the residential area, injuring two Israelis inside their home. Orna Eshel later died of her wounds at Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera; her husband sustained moderate injuries.
Orna Eshel, 53 moved with her husband Hachmon to Hermesh from Kibbutz Ma’abarot several years ago, but the couple returned to the kibbutz after the outbreak of violence two years ago. They moved back to Hermesh in August, after the security situation calmed down, Hachmon said.
Yossi Ben-Shaul, Orna’s cousin, said that she was a much-loved Hebrew teacher at the Ramot Hefer School. Orna sincerely believed in peace and engaged in many educational activities promoting Israeli-Arab coexistence.
Orna Eshel will be buried at the Kibbutz Ma’abarot Cemetery. She is survived by her husband, Yuval, two sons, and a daughter.
The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace released a new report on Wednesday reviewing educational materials used in the Palestinian Authority primary schools and high schools, HA’ARETZ reported. The comprehensive report, which was initially published in November 2001, revealed that Palestinian schoolchildren are shown maps that do not refer to the State of Israel, and which omit several Israeli cities, archaeological sites, regions and mountains defined as Palestinian. This years supplementary report assessed 14 new textbooks, which were recently introduced in PA schools, along with 26 high school examinations in diverse subjects that were administered in recent years.
The present report states that textbooks "do not provide the student with scholarly information about the Jews, their history or their religion." Beyond that, the textbook portrayal of Israel and Jews is rife with stereotypes using language such as "trickery, greed and barbarity," to describe Jewish characteristics. The report also claims that textbooks "insinuate that Jews do not keep agreements and treaties as Moslems do."
Similarly, history textbooks neglect mention of Israeli and Jewish accomplishments. Jewish ties to Jerusalem are also ignored in PA school materials, which do, however, highlight Muslim connections to the city.
Schools in Israel celebrated the National Hebrew Song Day this morning, MA’ARIV reported. One hour of the school curriculum was dedicated to Hebrew songs and some schools held group song sessions and performances by children’s choirs.
The song "The Walk to Caesarea" (also known as "Eli, Eli") by famous paratrooper Hana Senesh, was chosen by the Ministry of Education as this year’s national song and was sung throughout the schools. The Ministry said the song represents Zionism, hope and the connection with Eretz Yisrael. "The love, pain, prayer and longing of the State of Israel are intertwined in our Hebrew songs," Minister of Education Limor Livnat said. "Those songs have always reflected the historic and social heritage of the people and the society in Israel."
The Ministry is slated to start a pilot program in 40 schools, where children will learn literature, history, geography and linguistics through Hebrew songs.
* Applied Materials’ investment fund is expected to make its first investment in Israel in the near future, GLOBES reported. Together with chipmaker Broadcom, the fund will invest at least $2 million in M-Stream. M-Stream develops chips to improve cellular network reception. The chips are intended to improve performance of both voice and data services.
* ECI Telecom announced that its Next Generation Telephony Solutions (NGTS) unit will merge with California-based NexVerse Networks, via a share swap deal, GLOBES reported. NexVerse, which is backed by venture capital investors, develops voice-data services over packet-based networks. ECI said it will invest $10 million and NexVerse’s current investors will $14 million in the new company, which will be called Chorale Networks. An additional $6 million will be sought from new investors, ECI added.
Continues to Rebuild Government; Mofaz Offered Defense Minister Position
** Masada Celebrates Listing as World Heritage Site
** Terrorist Thought Responsible for Karkur Attack, Arrested
** Bomb Causes Internal Explosion in Gaza Terrorist Factory
** Economic Briefs
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is slated to offer former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the position of foreign minister in the new government that Sharon plans to forge, HA’ARETZ reported. The two men met today at Sharon’s ranch in the Negev to discuss the details.
On Thursday evening, Sharon met former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz , to offer him the post of defense minister. The retired Lieutenant-General said that he would give his final answer within a few days.
Meanwhile, speaking at his farewell meeting of the IDF General Staff, outgoing defense minister, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, said today that Israel had recorded hugely impressive achievements in the war on terrorism, and that the time had now come for a diplomatic agreement that would bring an end to the tragic situation in the Middle East. He added that the war on terror was hard and complex. He also called for Israel to relaunch the peace process.
According to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, Sharon is set to begin talks with the National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu faction on Sunday in a bid to establish a narrow, right-leaning government. Sharon told Likud ministers on Thursday that he prefers a narrow coalition and that he doesn’t intend to change government guidelines. He also stated that if he does not manage to form a narrow government, he will call early elections.
An official ceremony marking the inclusion of the Masada National Park on the World Heritage List was held Thursday night at the site, in the presence of government ministers, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.
The ancient mountaintop
fortress and palace was placed on the list at the World Heritage Committee
convention in Helsinki at the end of last year, together with the old
city of Acre. Inclusion on the list brings international recognition of
a historical site’s importance and ensures protection, preservation, and
Masada was placed on the list based on three criteria: its place as a symbol of the ancient Jewish kingdom of Israel; the remains of the palace of Herod the Great; and the history of the Jewish rebels who sought refuge at the site during the Roman conquest in 70 A.D.
Minister of Tourism Yitzhak Levy, Minister of Education Limor Livnat, Minister of Environment Tzahi Hanegbi, and Director-General of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority Eli Amitai attended the ceremony. "It is an indication of the quality of the site," said Levy. "Masada is symbolic of the Jewish people’s struggle for freedom and independence."
The Israel Defense Forces arrested senior Islamic Jihad Faiz Tubasi, a terrorist believed to have been behind the Karkur junction bombing on October 21 in which 14 people were killed and 42 injured, HA’ARETZ reported.
Tubasi, who is also accused of detonating a booby-trapped car at Yagur junction near Haifa, was arrested during an operation in Jenin. According to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, an elite IDF company located him and five other wanted terror suspects hiding in an underground cellar, the entrance to which was covered by a carpet.
The IDF is pressing ahead with Operation Vanguard in Jenin, aimed at locating wanted terror suspects, and continues to make widespread arrests across the West Bank. On Friday morning, six Palestinians were arrested in Ramallah and Tulkarem, some of them appear on Israel’s wanted list.
Meanwhile, an Israeli civilian and a soldier were lightly wounded in separate shooting incidents in the West Bank.
Three Hamas terrorists were killed after a bomb exploded prematurely in a Gaza neighborhood less than a kilometer from Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s house on Thursday, HA’ARETZ reported. The three terrorists were apparently preparing a bomb. The explosion killed Samir Abbas, 37, Ahmed Dehashan, 21, and Mohammed Dahduah, 26. Six other people were wounded.
The building where the blast occurred is owned by Salah Nasser, brother of Wa’al Nasser, one of the leading members of the Hamas military wing, and considered a close associate of long-time wanted terrorist Mohammed Def. Salah Nasser and his 75-year-old father were among the wounded taken to Shifa Hospital in Gaza after the explosion. Among the wounded was also a 10-year-old girl, daughter of a Hamas militant
The main Palestinian journalists union in Gaza and the West Bank announced a boycott of Hamas immediately following the blast after Hamas members attacked journalists covering the incident. Hamas members apparently assaulted news cameramen filming the blast. Journalists planned to boycott coverage of the funeral march of the three men killed in the explosions later on Friday.
The journalists union also demanded that Hamas issue an official public apology and urged Palestinian police to take action against those who assaulted the journalists.
An asteroid discovered by a German during the Holocaust and named recently Holocaust victim Anne Frank will help US space experts prepare for an encounter with a comet in January 2004, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The Stardust spacecraft, launched by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is due to fly by Asteroid 5535 Annefrank to help prepare for a primary NASA mission in 14 months. Asteroid 5535 was discovered by prolific asteroid hunter Karl Reinmuth in March 1942 but was not named Annefrank until long after World War II. The discovery came barely three months before Frank joined her parents, sister, and four others hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam.
* Given Imaging, which makes a camera-in-pill device, announced a six-fold growth in its third quarter revenue, GLOBES reported. Yokneam-based Given said revenue reached $7.5 million in the third quarter, compared with $1.2 million in the same period in 2001. The third quarter was the company’s fourth consecutive quarter of increased revenues, following FDA clearance for its Given Diagnostic Imaging System in August 2001.
*Standard and Poor’s downgraded Israel’s local currency credit rating from AA-minus to A+, citing the break-up of the broad-based coalition government, HA’ARETZ reported.
Standard & Poor’s added that without the broad coalition, it would be "more difficult for the government to implement the budget and the reforms as planned."
*Standard and Poor’s move followed that of another international credit rating agency, Fitch, which had lowered Israel’s internal debt rating a week ago, from A-minus to A, but left the country’s foreign currency credit rating intact. Fitch noted the deterioration in Israel’s security and economic environment, and its mounting internal debt.