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Israeline — Tuesday, October 1, 2002 —


** 22-year-old Soldier Killed in Nablus Gun Battle
** Israel to Host First Conference on Specific Heart Disease
** Economic Briefs


22-year-old Soldier Killed in Nablus Gun Battle

Staff Sergeant Ari Weiss, 22, was killed on Monday evening when Palestinian gunmen opened fire on an IDF position in a house in the West Bank city of Nablus, HA’ARETZ reported. Weiss immigrated with his family to Israel from Dallas, Texas in 1992.Weiss, who lived in Ra’anana, attended the Noam Yeshiva in Pardes Hanna and enlisted in the Nahal Brigade just over two years ago.Ari hated it when there were arguments and he always used to act as a peacemaker," one of his friends said. Another friend said that Weiss "did not love the army life, but he loved the people he was with in the army."

Several hours before the gun battle in Nablus, Ari called his brother Eli, also a soldier. "My dear brother, the last time I spoke to you, three hours before you were killed, we talked for a few minutes. I said that I needed to go and I’ll call you back. Never in my life have I regretted anything so much as saying those words. My dear brother, you were always there for every one of us when we needed you," Eli said at the funeral. "What I most want people to remember about Ari is his heart. They have taken the most precious soul from our family," Eli added. Weiss was buried today in the military cemetery in his home town. He is survived by his parents, two brothers and three sisters.

Israel to Host First Conference on Specific Heart Disease

In a collaborative effort of the Israeli Arteriosclerosis Society and Columbia University in New York, more than 30 scientists from Israel, Europe and North America will come together to discuss their research on a heart disease called arteriosclerosis. The conference entitled, "Frontiers in Cardiovascular Science," is the first academic convention of its kind to take place in Israel since the outbreak of Palestinian violence two years ago. Since September 2000, security concerns and internationally imposed boycotts have hindered Israel’s ability to host academic symposia and to share its wealth of expertise with the rest of the world."The success of this meeting will represent a forceful action to break the academic boycott," said Dr. Neil S. Shachter, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University and one of the organizers. "The skills, knowledge and contacts of scientists must be mobilized in defense of the free flow of ideas," he said.

The renowned scientists attending the conference will represent countries including the United States, Sweden, Germany and England. They will assemble in Israel’s resort city of Eilat from October 3 to October 6 to share their valuable expertise and research in arteriosclerosis. The discussions and findings from the conference will be published as a supplement in the journal, Heart Disease.

The ministry of Health recently set up a special committee to prepare a plan in advance for an anticipated winter influenza outbreak, HA’ARETZ reported. The World Health Organization recently asked the Ministry to step up measures in preparation for an outbreak of flu. The WHO warned of the appearance of the flu virus not included in anti-flu inoculations.

Economic Briefs

* Internet security provider Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. Announced today that NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center has presented a special commendation to the company for outstanding support in implementing Check Point solutions deemed mission-critical for secure, reliable communication between the space station and numerous sites on earth, GLOBES reported.

* Top Finance Ministry officials were optimistic after meeting in Washington with representatives of the Fitch international rating firm, expressing confidence that Israel’s credit rating would not be downgraded this year, HA’ARAETZ reported. The treasury officials also made upbeat assessments after meeting earlier in the week with two other major credit rating companies – Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. Minister of Finance Silvan Shalom, Director-General Ohad Marani and Accountant General Nir Gilad made a presentation at the Fitch meeting, highlighting the achievements of the Israeli economy during the past year and the challenges posed by the Intifada and the global economic slowdown. The Fitch representatives spoke about the ongoing crisis in the international economy.

Israeline — Wednesday, October 2, 2002 —

** Police Safely Detonate Bomb at Afula Gas Station
** Recent Survey Shows Israeli Arabs Want End to Violent Uprising
** Israeli Start-up Company Develops Product To Help Burn Victims
** First Park Equipped for the Blind Inaugurated
** Economic Briefs


Police Safely Detonate Bomb at Afula Gas Station

Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers discovered a suspicious bag placed near gas pumps at an Afula gas station overnight and summoned police to the scene, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. Police sappers discovered a mid-sized explosive device at the station and safely detonated it. There were no injuries reported.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian youth who planned to carry out a homicide attack arrived at a Nablus checkpoint and was accompanied by his family as he turned himself in to the IDF on Tuesday night. Israel Security Services’ placed the youth in custody.

In other news, trial proceedings for four men accused of being members of a Jewish terror cell responsible for planting a bomb in an east Jerusalem girls’ school in April, began today in Jerusalem. Yarden Morag, Shlomo Dvir, Ofer Gamliel and Yossi Ben-Baruch are being charged with attempted murder and illegal weapons possession.

Recent Survey Shows Israeli Arabs Want End to Violent Uprising

According to a recent survey, more than three-quarters of Israeli Arabs living in the Triangle (the region south of Haifa and between the villages of Kfar Kara, Baka al Gharbiya and Umm el Fahm) want the violence to end, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Only 15 percent of respondents from the region, considered a stronghold of the fundamentalist Islamic Movement, felt that the violent uprising should continue.

The survey, conducted between September 10-12 by Nazareth-based Yafa Research Institute on behalf of the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva, was carried out to assess attitudes of Israeli Arabs on the second anniversary of the outbreak of the "intifada." The findings were announced at a press conference in Nazareth on Tuesday.

The survey was conducted by telephone in Arabic among 509 men and women, primarily between 18 and 65. The survey found that more than 70 percent of the respondents said they would be willing to participate in joint social, economic, and political activities as a means of improving relations Jews and Arabs.

Israeli Start-up Company Develops Product To Help Burn Victims

An Israeli health care startup company named MediWound has developed a treatment that replaces surgery to cure burn wounds and can save as much as 50 percent of healthy skin generally lost by burn victims, GLOBES reported. The treatment lessens dependence on skin grafts and enabling the body to regenerate new tissue. When a person suffers a severe burn, doctors surgically remove the entire skin layer in the burned area with the patient under full anesthesia. Doctors must remove all the skin, healthy and unhealthy, because they have no way of knowing the depth of the burn, or whether some parts of the skin are still healthy.

Debridase, which was created in the form of a body lotion, "dissolves only the tissue damaged by the burn and leaves the healthy tissue undamaged," MediWound co-founder Lior Rosenberg said. He added that in some cases, skin grafts are not required, saving expensive hospitalization days and operating room, anesthesia, and surgical labor costs. At the end of the four-hour treatment, the bandages are removed and the extent of the original tissue damage may then be estimated.

The new technology has been tried on 250 burn patients to date and has yielded recovery rates of about 85 percent.


First Park Equipped for the Blind Inaugurated

The first park in Israel completely equipped for the blind was inaugurated last week in the Ben Shemen Forest near Jerusalem, MA’ARIV reported. The new park has attractions for blind people to enjoy with their sense of smell and sense of touch and has explanations written in Braille.

A raised map of the 800 meter (approximately 2625 feet) round pathway, situated at the entrance to the park, helps visitors find their way through the park’s forest. The forest, which will contain wooden statues as well as fruit and herb gardens, is meant to enhance the nature experience for blind visitors through touching and smelling. The sitting and picnic areas are also equipped for the disabled.


The Tower of David in Jerusalem and the expanse of the Old City walls, along with 200 other landmarks around the world, was illuminated by pink lights on Tuesday night in honor of the start of breast cancer awareness month, initiated by the Estee Lauder Foundation. Other famous sites also colored pink include the Empire State Building, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Niagara Falls.


Economic Briefs

* According to the Industry and Trade Ministry, some 60 South African businessmen in the fields of communications and information technology are slated to take part in a conference organized by the Israeli economic attaché to Johannesburg, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The goal of the Johannesburg conference is to expose South African decision makers to Israeli technology and to encourage them to attend Israel’s main industry convention ‘Telecom 2002’ scheduled for November. The communications market on the African continent is considered to have great potential and is expected to expand 60 fold in the next five years. South Africa is today the 30th largest consumer of communication products and services and the second largest consumer of GSM technology in the world.

*The Tel Aviv-based company SHL, a specialist in telemedicine, has come up with a new idea, teledieting, which, it claims, could change yo-yo dieting for good, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The idea is that a dieter who joins the program, Slim for Life, will go to a company dietician who will provide him with a personal program. The dieters take home a teleweight, a set of scales connected by phone to the company’s control center. Every day the patient weighs himself, and the results are sent automatically to the control center where doctors monitor them. If they do not comply with an individual’s specific program, a dietician will call and offer advice and information. This is not a quick fix, however. Customers must sign up for 18 months at the very least, and are often encouraged to stay longer. The service is a little like having your own personal dietician on call around the clock. Customers can call as often as they like and can always speak to a dietician who knows their record and is fully up to date with their progress.

Israeline — Thursday, October 3, 2002 —


** Israel Worker Hurt by Palestinian Shooting Attack
** Senior PA Religious Judge Condones Homicide Bombings Against Israel
** Sharon Meets With Officials About Western Wall Issue
** Israel and Russia Mark First Anniversary of Siberian Airlines Diaster
** Sheraton Hotel Commits With Israel
** Economic Briefs


Israel Worker Hurt by Palestinian Shooting Attack

A 45-year-old Israeli man sustained moderate injuries today in a shooting attack on workers who are building the security fence near the village of Baka a-Sharkiya, north of Tulkarm, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported.

During the past twenty-four hours, Israel also arrested about 1,600 Palestinians residing without permits in the Jerusalem area and along the seam-line. Police plan to deport the Palestinians to areas under Palestinian control.

Israel Defense Forces also arrested thirty Palestinian terror suspects overnight, among them Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists. Security forces conducted searches in the villages of Erek, Burin, Noema, Atzons and Idna, as well as in the northern Gaza Strip. Additionally, during searches last night in the village of Kafr el-Labed east of Tulkarm, IDF forces found a collection of weapons including an explosives belt ready for use, a Kalashnikov rifle and ammunition.

Senior PA Religious Judge Condones Homicide Bombings Against Israel

Sheikh Hamed Bitawi, one of the Palestinian Authority’s senior religious judges, has given his authorization to the participation of women and children in homicide attacks, and praised all those who have already fulfilled the "commandment of Jihad," THE JEUSALEM POST reported. "We hold a great deal of love towards Jihad and for the sacrifice of one’s self in honor of Allah. This situation has brought many children to compete amongst themselves regarding the carrying out of the operations of Jihad and acts of suicide," Bitawi said.

Bitawi is considered an authority on religious edicts for Hamas in the Nablus area. He was appointed head of the appellate courts in Nablus when the PA was established in 1995 and has been on Israel’s wanted list since the beginning of the intifada. Over the past two years, Bitawi has encouraged Hamas activists to carry out homicide attacks against Israel.

Sharon Meets With Officials About Western Wall Issue

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met with Antiquities Authority Director Shuka Dorfman, Minister of Internal Security Uzi Landau, Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, and Jerusalem Police Chief Mickey Levy this week to discuss the ways to ensure that the Western Wall’s southern side does not collapse during Ramadan, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. "I cannot tell you when it will happen, and I do not know what section will fall, but I can tell you that the southern wall is indeed in danger of collapse," Dorfman said last month. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs are expected to visit the Temple Mount during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan starting on November 6.

A year of intermittent, discreet negotiations with the Wakf Muslim religious trust have failed to yield an agreement over who will fix the bulge in the wall, Israel or the Wakf. Israeli officials are increasingly concerned about a potential disaster during Ramadan. Dorfman added that Wakf officials have prevented Israeli archeologists and engineers from carrying out tests on the Temple Mount to survey the damage and plan repairs.

Wakf Director Adnan Husseini publicly acknowledged the possibility of a collapse for the first time this week in an interview with the Voice of Palestine radio.

Israel and Russia Mark First Anniversary of Siberian Airlines Diaster

Ceremonies in Israel and Russia were held today marking the first anniversary of the Siberian Airlines disaster over the Black Sea that claimed the lives of 66 passengers and 12 crew members, HA’ARETZ reported. Most of the passengers were new immigrants to Israel who were on their way to visit family in Russia and Russian residents returning from visits with relatives in Israel. The aircraft, en route from Israel to Novosibirsk, was hit by an errant missile fired by training Ukrainian forces.

The main memorial service will take place tonight at Mitzpe Modi’in in the Ben Shemen forest. A cornerstone will be laid for a monument that will also serve as a type of surrogate gravesite, since most of the bodies were never retrieved. Additionally, relatives of victims of the crash, mostly from Novosibirsk as well as some from Israel, along with members of the Jewish community of Sochi, will sail from the Black Sea port to the area where the plane crashed and toss flowers into the sea.

Sheraton Hotel Commits With Israel

In a press conference held on Wednesday Starwood Hotels & Resorts EMEA President Roland Vos Sheraton announced that he will continue making long-term investments in Israeli hotels despite regional political and security uncertainties, GLOBES reported. Vos said Sheraton had no plans to sell its 25 percent stake in the Sheraton Moriah Israel hotel chain, which it currently manages.

"We saw good numbers, but I can’t comment on them, because it is a public company and cautions is necessary. If we compare our results with our competitors, we can be satisfied and feel strong," Vos said.

Sheraton Moriah Israel CEO Eli Gonen said the chain has invested $2.5 million in recent years, despite the situation.

Economic Briefs

*Bank Hapoalim agreed to finance energy company Paz’s bid to acquire Blue Square Israel for estimated $400 million, marking it the largest acquisition in Israel, GLOBES reported. Blue Square generated the revolution in Israel’s food retailing market.

*Chipmaker Tower Semiconductor announced today that it received $44.7 million, as part of the $305 million investment committed to the Fab 2 project, GLOBES reported. To date, the partners have invested $260.7 million. Of the latest installment, $14.7 million was established as a credit to be applied against future wafer purchases from Fab 2 production.

Israeline — Friday, October 4, 2002 —


** Palestinians Riot At Western Wall
** Iran Says They Posses Missiles Which Can Hit ‘Israeli Targets’
** Poll: 60 Percent of Israelis Believe Israel is Fighting for Existence
** Economic Briefs


Palestinians Riot At Western Wall

Thirty Palestinian youths threw stones today near the Kotel hiting police stationed at the entrance to a pathway leading up to the Temple Mount compound, YEDIOT AHARONT ON-LINE reported. "It was thought they were intending to throw rocks into the plaza where (Jewish) worshippers were, so police entered the (Temple Mount) compound and fired a few stun grenades," a police spokesman said. No injuries were sustained and no damage was caused during the incident. Israeli police used tear gas and stun guns to disperse the crowd.

Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces reported today that the Hamas terrorists were planning to establish laboratories in Israeli Arab villages, primarily in the ‘triangle area’ south of Afula, for the production of explosive devices. The purpose of the Hamas initiative is an attempt to bypass recent IDF efforts to shut down the terrorist infrastructure in the northern area of the West Bank.

In other incidents, Palestinians fired an anti-tank missile at IDF forces posted in the Gaza Strip and two mortar shells near Jewish neighborhoods in that area. No injuries were reported in either incident. IDF forces also arrested two Tanzim activists in the village of Dura near Hebron on Thursday night. Two additional Palestinian terror suspects were arrested in the village of Beit Awa west of Hebron.

Iran Says They Posses Missiles Which Can Hit ‘Israeli Targets’

In an interview with the London-based Al-Hayat Arab daily, Ahmed Wahid, head of Iran’s Missile development program, revealed that Iran has developed Shihab rockets are capable of hiting Israeli targets and thatIran will soon launch a spy satellite, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The Shihab rocket has a range of 1,300 kilometers and was developed in response to Israel’s Jericho missiles.

Wahid’s comments about Teheran’s ballistic missile program were made just two weeks after the Iran’s Minister of Defense announced that it was expediting of the production of short and medium-range Fajr missiles to protect Iranian territory.

Wahid said that the Shihab rocket had been developed to "hit Israeli targets in the event that Israel fires missiles at Iran."

Wahid rejected claims that Iran is trying to develop a missile with a range of 12,000 kilometers to hit the United States. "This is not true. American territory is not part of our strategic defense targets," he said. Despite the denials, Western intelligence sources are convinced that Iran is trying to attain atomic weapons and that the reactor plant could be part of this program although experts are unsure about the extent of progress.


Poll: 60 Percent of Israelis Believe Israel is Fighting for Existence

According to a poll conducted for THE JERUSALEM POST by Smith Research and Consulting, sixty percent of Israelis believe that Israel is fighting for its existence in the two-year old conflict with the Palestinian. The poll covered a random sample of 500 Israeli adults.

The poll also shows that twenty percent of Israelis believe that the war is being fought to determine the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state, and eleven percent believe that the war is being fought over the Israeli Jewish communities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Economic Briefs

* The Israeli Government will offer 3.5 billion shekels ( 1.14 million) of bonds at four auctions in October, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday. The ministry said because of high yields in the bond market, it decided to pare the weight of unlinked bonds to 48.6 percent of the overall sum. It won’t sell seven- and 10-year unlinked, fixed-rate Shachar bonds, or linked, 19-year Galil bonds, but will issue a new series of linked five-year Galil bonds.

* Internet security software company Check Point announced on Wednesday after U.S. markets closed that it had achieved third quarter targets and expected to report revenues of $103 – $104 million with earnings per share of $0.25. Deferred revenues are expected to be at the same level as the preceding quarter, the company added. Check Point chairman and CEO Gil Shwed said, "in accordance with our tradition of making full and prompt disclosures to investors, we decided to make an announcement in advance of publication of the full financial results for the quarter. We want to reaffirm to investors that our earnings are going to be in line with our prior indications. We are very proud of our team’s ability to generate strong earnings and quality results in the current economic environment."