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More Terrorist Give Up on Hunger Strike


About 100 terrorists who are serving sentences in Israelis prisons Monday abandoned their hunger strike that began nine days earlier. Israel Prison Authority officials reported that 2,800 prisoners were still observing the hunger strike. Also on Monday, the terrorists taking part in the strike underwent medical checkups. Inspections of their cells uncovered various food items, which were confiscated.

US, Israel to Confer on Settlement Plans

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)

A team of American diplomats is due in Israel early next month for talks with Israeli officials on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plans to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. The visit comes amid reports that the Bush administration has changed its stance and now supports Israel's policy of building new housing in existing West Bank settlements.

The American team of experts is to be headed by Constance Meyer, a senior analyst with the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. She will be accompanied by experts in aerial photography whose job it will be to consult with their Israeli counterparts on setting construction boundaries in West Bank settlements that are to remain in place after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

The visit comes in the wake of a New York Times report this weekend that the Bush administration has changed its position and no longer objects to the expansion of populations in the existing settlements so long as any new housing is built within the current settlement boundaries.

So far there has been no comment from the Israeli government on the new American position on the matter beyond a statement from the prime minister's office that "the issue is under discussion between us and the Americans." There has been no public comment from Washington on the reported change in American policy. But word that a different view has been taken by the Bush administration comes following the announcement by Israel that it would begin taking bids for the construction of 1,001 new government-subsidized apartments for settlers in the occupied territories.

Previously the U.S. position has been that Israel should freeze all settlement activity, including the construction of new housing units. Israelis have referred to new units as the "natural growth" of settlements. Israel has just begun building 100 new housing units in the settlement of Har Gilo just outside Jerusalem.

According to The New York Times report, the administration made a decision this week to shift its policy so as not to complicate things for Sharon. The New York Times report also said Bush administration officials acknowledged that the last thing President Bush wants to do as he faces a tough campaign for re-election is to criticize Israel.

Migrating Storks Die in Israel Chemical Waste Pool

By Reuters

Some 200 storks migrating from Europe to Africa flew to their deaths in Israel Monday, landing in an acid-filled pool of waste outside a chemical plant, veterinary officials said.

Media reports said the chemical dump, in the Negev town of Dimona, is covered during the migration season to prevent such accidents but the storks made their stopover in Israel early this year.

Husband had Secret Life as Spy

By Agence France-Presse

THE ex-wife of a "mole" working for Israel's Shin Beth domestic security service said Monday that she was claiming damages from the state for having used her without her consent. "My ex-husband used me under order from his superiors as a cover for infiltrating (Jewish ultra-nationalist groups)," she said on Israeli public television.

The woman, a former Jewish settler in the West Bank who identified herself as Ila, said her ex-husband had not told her he was working for the Shin Beth. "Not only has he betrayed me personally, but he has betrayed the way of life in which we believed. One month before the marriage, he asked me if I would marry a Shin Beth agent, and I said 'yes' without paying much attention to the question."

At the end of the 1980s, her husband admitted he worked for Shin Beth but vowed to cut all ties with it, she said, slamming his words as "nothing but a trick." Following the divorce, she realized her ex-husband had been a Shin Beth agent paid by the state for 20 years, and she was now demanding compensation.

Friedman to Become an Olympic Medalist


Following Monday's competition in the windsurfing events in the Athens Olympic Games, Israel's Gal Friedman finished in eighth place, guaranteeing himself an Olympic medal in Wednesday's event. The question now remains; if he will become Israel's first-ever Olympic gold medalist or take the silver or bronze.

Friedman stands second overall, three points behind the leader, Ricardo Santos of Brazil and two points ahead of Nikos Kaklamanakis of Greece.

Friedman is the only one of the top three who has guaranteed himself a medal: his lowest result, which is discarded at the end of the competition, is an eighth place finish. Thus even if he finishes below eighth place in the final race, he will discard that result, meaning that the fourth placed competitor Nick Dempsey of Great Britain cannot overtake him for the bronze.

But to take the gold, Friedman will have to hope that Santos does not finish in the top three and that he manages to hold on to his advantage over Kaklamanakis. If both Santos and Kaklamanakis finish outside the top 10, Friedman will take the gold automatically. Friedman would thus become the first Israeli to take two Olympic medals, following his bronze in Atlanta in 1996.

Following Monday's races Friedman was confident he could bring home Israel's first-ever gold. "I think I'm going to do it," said the 28 year-old surfer, who was in a similar situation in Atlanta when he had to win the final race to take the bronze. "I have a good feeling and I believe in my ability. I'm going for gold."

Friedman was disappointed with Monday's races after losing his first place standing in the second race, but said he was capable of closing the gap on Santos. "I'm sure everyone in Israel will be crossing their fingers for me and I will do my best to make sure Hatikva is played in Athens on Wednesday.

Medals make Israeli Athletes Hot Marketing Items

By Ha'aretz

Gal Friedman, whose sailing successes could bring ashore Israel's first gold medal, is also considered the next hot property for marketing campaigns.

Partner, Clal Insurance, and Elite have already expressed interest in sponsoring Friedman without even knowing which Olympic medal he will win, Ha'aretz has learned. Friedman would be featured in ad campaigns and sport company products in return, according to his lawyer. Clal Insurance in particular has expressed serious interest.

Elite has sponsored Friedman for the past two years, funding his training with a $1,000 per month stipend. Elite will reward Friedman with a NIS 50,000 bonus should he take gold in Athens, NIS 35,000 for a silver medal, and NIS 20,000 for a bronze. "When Gal returns, and spirits calm down, we will sit with him and his lawyer to see how we can continue sponsoring Gal in future," said Elite Confectionery CEO Shaul Shelah.

Ariel Zeevi, who won bronze in the men's 100kg judo event, has also stirred commercial interest. Migdal Insurance has been his primary sponsor. "We have already concluded that we will continue sponsoring Zeevi for the next four years, until the Beijing Olympics," noted Migdal CEO Izzy Cohen. "We have been transfering to Zeevi $3,000 a month over the past two-and-a-half years so that he could train in peace, without economic worry. We also guaranteed him a NIS 250,000 bonus for returning with the bronze. In practice we decided to award him NIS 300,000 for his excellence," Cohen added.

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