Mideast Report

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — At least 10 people were killed and two injured Tuesday in a fatal road accident northwest of Jerusalem.

Police said the crash was one of the worst in Israel's history.

The accident occurred when a tractor-trailer swerved out of its lane — apparently to overtake the vehicle in front of it — and crashed into oncoming traffic, crushing and dragging at least two cars several dozen yards.

Police identified eight of the dead as Arab workers from Nazareth, who were heading in a van to a building site there. The other two who died were in a private car. One of them was identified as a male resident of central Israel. The other victim was not immediately identified.

A day of mourning was declared in Nazareth.

The truck driver, a 24-year-old Arab from eastern Jerusalem, sustained light injuries in the accident.

An initial inquiry indicated that the truck driver's negligence was the cause of the accident. Police were examining whether he fell asleep at the wheel or illegally swerved into the opposite lane.

Pollard petitions High Court to grant him Israeli citizenship

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jonathan Pollard has petitioned Israel's High Court of Justice to grant him citizenship.

Pollard, who was convicted in the United States in 1987 of spying for Israel and sentenced to life in prison, issued the petition after Interior Minister Ehud Barak rejected his earlier request a month ago.

Pollard's lawyer said at the time that Barak had used a legal loophole to get around granting the citizenship request.

Pollard will first be eligible for parole in November.

A parole hearing that was scheduled for September was postponed and will possibly be held later this year.

Israel weighing indictments against key Labor officials

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair is reportedly considering whether to issue indictments against a number of senior Labor Party officials in connection with the government's ongoing investigation into alleged misuse of Histadrut labor federation funds.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Kessar, former Histadrut Secretary-General Haim Haberfeld and former Treasurer Arthur Yisraelovitch were among the officials named.

The investigation is based on allegations that previous Histadrut officials misappropriated millions of dollars of members' dues for their political campaigns.

Israel, China sign agreement on several high-tech ventures

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel and China have signed an agreement to cooperate on a number of high-tech projects.

The agreement set up a $5 million fund for research in the areas of biotechnology, space technology and computers.

The agreement came as Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin met with China's president, Jiang Zemin, while the two were in New York on Monday to participate in commemorations marking the United Nations' 50th anniversary. Israel and China established diplomatic relations in January 1992.

U.S. establishes free trade with Palestinian Authority

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The United States has extended its free-trade agreement with Israel and has adopted a similar agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

The U.S.-Israel agreement, signed last week by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor, extends for five years the original 1985 pact that allows for duty-free imports of most goods produced by the two countries.

During his three-day stay in Israel, Kantor also exchanged letters of understanding with Israel and the Palestinian Authority that authorize a new free-trade status between the United States and the Palestinian self-rule areas.

Israel's newest newspaper, Davar Rishon, hits the stands

JERUSALEM (JPS) — The first 10,000 copies of Davar Rishon, Israel's newest daily newspaper and successor to the 70-year-old Davar, hit the newsstands Tuesday.

"The existence of a credible and serious voice responsible only to its readers is in the interest of any democracy," said Davar Rishon board chairman Zvi Efrat, introducing the paper.

According to Efrat, Davar Rishon (First Word) will be editorially independent, with no political or ideological affiliation. Its ties with the Labor Party and the Histadrut were formally cut when the workers officially took over management on June 7.

The thrust of the paper's editorial policy is to promote dialogue on pressing domestic issues and to support the peace process, "consistent with the continued existence of Israel as a democracy with a Jewish majority."

"We're looking to appeal to an educated public," said editor Ron Ben-Ishai. "We are not, and do not seek to be elitist. Plus, there's a crying need for an additional independent daily."

Like the old Davar, Davar Rishon is a broadsheet with a daily tabloid-size magazine called Davar Sheni (Second Word). The format has been redesigned to make it easier to read.

Poll: Photographs of mourners don't hurt Israel's morale

JERUSALEM (JPS) — A nationwide poll indicates that newspaper photographs showing grief do not harm national morale.

Following the Oct. 18 publication of photos showing soldiers weeping for their fallen comrades at the funerals of six Golani Brigade soldiers killed in Lebanon, the firm Geocartographia conducted a survey among Jewish adults.

Some 57 percent of those asked thought the pictures did not damage national morale, while some 30 percent of those polled said the pictures did cause harm.

Ethiopian youths match career goals of Israeli kids

JERUSALEM (JTA) — After more than 10 years in Israel, Ethiopian immigrant children who arrived here in Operation Moses have similar vocational ambitions as Israeli-born children.

Those who arrived in Operation Solomon four years ago are less likely to have such goals.

These findings were revealed in a study by the Hadassah Vocational Counseling Institute, which interviewed 218 pupils from the two waves of immigration from Ethiopia.

The level of vocational ambitions among those who came in 1984-85 was found to be much higher than that of immigrants who were airlifted at the end of May 1991 in Operation Solomon, according to chief researcher Dorit Adler.

Adler and her team studied questionnaires filled out by 125 boys and 93 girls in seventh to ninth grades in schools in various parts of the country. Of these, 124 came in the first aliyah wave, the rest in the second.

Of those from Operation Moses, 20 percent want to work in technological fields, 19 percent as administrators or bookkeepers, and 16 percent in business. The girls, said Adler, are generally want careers, similar to the types sought by Russian immigrants or native Israelis.

Operation Solomon immigrants, who have been here only four years, are more drawn to humanistic, cultural professions and less to technological careers.