Newsdesk February 13, 2004

Published February 13, 2004, issue of February 13, 2004.
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Melee at Knesset

Violence broke out in the Knesset last Monday, when several local Likud party activists ran amok after being denied entry to a closed committee meeting.

The dispute arose when a group of Likud Central Committee members arrived to monitor a meeting of the Knesset Finance Committee, which was to discuss privatization of an automotive parts plant, Ashot Ashkelon. When a security guard barred the activists from the meeting, the encounter quickly degenerated into shouting, pushing and shoving.

Knesset stewards allowed lawmakers, government officials and other invited attendees to enter the committee chamber, but blocked Central Committee members, including employees of the parts plant.

The committee approved privatizing the plant by a 10-to-7 vote.

Terror Trial Begins

The trial began Tuesday of two Jordanians and a Palestinian charged with planning attacks on Jews and Jewish venues in Germany. The three men, suspected members of a group that is linked to Al Qaeda, were arrested in April 2002 after tapped telephone conversations alerted German security agencies to suspicious activities. This is the second case related to the El Tawhid terrorist group. The first trial ended in a four-year jail sentence for group member Shadi Moh’d Mustafa Abdalla, 27.

Americans Back Fence

Americans support Israel’s West Bank security barrier, a new poll has found. In the poll conducted for the Alliance for Research on National Security Issues, 68% of respondents agreed that “Israel has the right to take action to defend itself by building a security fence, even if many other countries disagree.”

Nigerians Hold Iranian

Nigerian authorities are holding an Iranian diplomat who was caught staking out the Israeli Embassy in Abuja with a digital camera. Reuters quoted Israeli security sources and Nigerian newspapers as reporting last week that the man had photographed the Israeli Embassy and other sensitive buildings in the Nigerian capital, including the British Council and the Nigerian Defense Ministry.

Pilot Incident Probed

On a flight from Los Angeles last Friday, an American Airlines pilot asked Christians aboard to raise their hands, and suggested that they spend the flight discussing religion with other passengers. The pilot then called non-Christians “crazy,” a passenger claimed. The pilot apologized for his remarks later in the flight. The airline is investigating.

Official Visits School

The U.S. secretary of education visited a Jewish day school in New York City on Monday. The visit by Rod Paige came as the Park East Day School introduced an international curriculum that will focus on foreign languages and social studies. Paige told students about the bonds between African Americans and Jews during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Synagogue Attacked

Molotov cocktails were thrown at a synagogue in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on February 4, the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union reported, citing a local news agency. Three Molotov cocktails were thrown at the synagogue building and another through the window of the synagogue’s library. Neighborhood residents were able to extinguish the fire before the fire department arrived. Police have opened an investigation.

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