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For those of you outside Israel who may have missed it, here is Israeli windsurfer Gal Friedman receiving the gold medal in Athens, and the playing of the national anthem, Hatikva: Http://video.nrg.co.il/lib/2004/sport/fridman_hatikva1.wmv (The clip opens in Windows Media Player). It's a small thing in the overall picture of our country and our people, but it is a great moral booster and I can assure you that there were many tears shed while watching this scene. Not seen in this film clip is the scene after the ceremony in which hundreds of Israeli spectators came down from the stands to hug and kiss Gal in a very open show of emotion.


Israeli Dedicates First Gold to Munich Victims

By IsraelNationalNews.com & Ha'aretz

Israel's first Olympic gold medalist dedicated his victory on Wednesday to his 11 countrymen killed in the Munich massacre of 1972, vowing he would visit their memorial to show them his medal.

"I'm sure they're watching us," said Athens windsurfing Mistral champion Gal Fridman, who was born three years after the Israeli athletes and coaches were killed following an attack on the Olympic village in Germany by Palestinian terrorists. "We think about them all the time. They're always in our mind," said Fridman, draped in an Israeli flag. "When I get home I will go to the memorial place for them and show them the gold medal."

Fridman's victory, the first since Israel first took part in the Olympics in 1952, brought screams of delight in shops and offices across the country. Many were glued to television sets, which repeatedly showed him crossing the finish line in triumph. "We are all excited, all the people of Israel. I think also all of the Jewish people," said Israeli President Moshe Katsav, "to see our flag displayed and hear our national anthem."

Fridman said in Athens Thursday that his plans for the immediate future were to take a month-long break from the sport, after he won Israel's first ever-Olympic gold medal Wednesday. The new national hero said that after his rest, he would start working toward the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

"I work on a four-year program, but for the next month I won't touch my surf board," the Olympic champion said at a news conference in Athens. "But I'm planning to continue doing what I'm best at. So right now I think I'll continue to the Beijing Olympics."

Wednesday's medal not only made Fridman Israel's first ever-gold medal winner, he also became the first Israeli to take two Olympic medals after winning bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Fridman said he hoped his achievements would promote sport in Israel. "I hope it will bring Olympic sports to our country. I hope we will now get more government money for sport, for both grass roots and elite sport development. Today there are kids celebrating, tomorrow they'll want to be part of it. I'm really proud to be a role model, and I hope it will inspire people to get into sport."


Roadside Bomb Explodes Beneath Public Bus

By IsraelNationalNews.com

A roadside bomb, similar to those used by the Hizbullah in southern Lebanon, exploded beneath a public Egged bus at around 10 p.m. Thursday. Miraculously, none of the passengers were injured.

The number 160 bus was traveling from Jerusalem south to Kiryat Arba and Hebron when shortly after the Gush Etzion junction a roadside bomb was detonated beneath it. The explosion occurred near El Arub, 25 minutes south of Jerusalem. The bomb exploded, heavily damaging the bus but failed to injure any passengers.

The segment of highway 60 between the Okfim and Gush Etzion junctions was closed following the attack to allow security forces to inspect the area for further explosive charges. "The Sharon government's decision to reward terrorism is leading to its natural continuation: continued terror," said a spokesman for Hebron. "The Arabs have realized that if Ariel Sharon is willing to uproot Jews from their home, killing a few more Jews can only speed the process along."


Israeli Settlers Block Army from Closing West Bank Outpost

By VOA News

Israeli settlers in the West Bank have blocked an Israeli army attempt to dismantle a Jewish settler outpost near the city of Nablus. Israeli media report hundreds of settlers stopped soldiers conducting a late night military operation from removing trailers from an illegal site.

Four people were reported arrested. The French news agency says about 20 religious students were still guarding the outpost early Thursday morning. The internationally-brokered "road map" peace plan endorsed by Israel last year calls such outposts illegal and says they should be removed.

Meanwhile, settlers are reported planning a series of legal challenges to the placement of Israel's West Bank separation barrier. Settlers claim that an earlier Supreme Court order to move the fence to avoid harming Palestinians now infringes on the settlers' property rights.

And in the Gaza Strip Palestinians say Israeli forces have blocked roads, cutting the crowded territory into three parts, after Palestinian militants fired homemade rockets from Gaza into a nearby Israeli town. No one was reported hurt in the rocket attack on the Israeli town of Sderot.

Meanwhile, in southern Gaza, Palestinians said Israeli forces were again conducting operations Thursday in the Rafah refugee camp near the Egyptian border. The camp is a frequent target of Israeli troops trying to cut off cross-border weapons smuggling from Egypt.


Arrow Fails to Hit Test Target

By Ha'aretz

The Arrow anti-ballistic missile system being developed by Israel and the United States Thursday failed a test to destroy a target missile simulating an Iranian Shihab-3 and a Scud-D of the type Syria possesses. The test at Point Mogu off the California coast came about a month after a successful test in which a Scud missile was destroyed in a direct hit.

Defense Ministry director-general Amos Yaron said Thursday night that the test was substantive. "Most of the systems tested worked. There was a malfunction that needs to be sorted out, and we will continue to prepare to meet development of any future threats.

At 10:30 a.m. California time, a C-17 cargo plane dropped the American target missile. A short while later, the missile warhead separated from its engine, at an altitude of dozens of kilometers. The aim was for the Arrow to distinguish between the missile engine and warhead, intercept the warhead and blow it up.

The Israeli monitoring center found that the Arrow succeeded in identifying the warhead in time, but the intercept failed because of an unidentified malfunction, possibly in the guidance system. Aryeh Herzog, the Defense Ministry official in charge of the Arrow project, said from California that the systemic test was a success, with the Arrow proving itself capable of dealing with a separating target - between the warhead and the missile engine.





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