Mideast Report

TEL AVIV (JPS) — Underworld kingpin Gad "Schatz" Plum was murdered Tuesday night by a hired gunman, who shot three bullets into his chest and abdomen as he sat outside a central Tel Aviv pub.

A companion of Plum, Yehuda Hazan, who is also known to police, was shot in the leg by the hit man in what police described as a settling of scores.

The murder was another in a series of underworld killings of those involved in gambling and money laundering, and police now fear a new wave of gangland warfare.

Police sources said the hit man had been hired to kill Plum, 50, because he represented a threat to other leading criminals in the city, especially over local and international gambling operations.

Hayarkon Police Chief Deputy Commander Ya'acov Shoval said the gunman, in his 20s, walked up to the pair, shot four bullets at close range, and then escaped down the city's crowded Allenby Street on a waiting motorcycle driven by another man.

Immigrant youths doing more crime

JERUSALEM (JPS) — The crime rate among immigrant youth rose in the first nine months of this year by 47 percent, Police Minister Moshe Shahal told a special Knesset forum convened to discuss growing violence among youth.

The forum was convened by the Knesset's Education and Labor and Social Affairs committees and attended by Knesset members and experts in the field.

Shahal said there had been a worrisome rise generally in violence, especially among the country's youth. The crime rate for all youth is 8 percent, he said.

While police are containing crime in general, car theft is rising, Shahal said. Every 25 minutes a car is stolen and only one-quarter of them are found. There are break-ins to businesses every 20 minutes, he said, and to homes every 28 minutes.

Every 5-1/2 hours, a sex crime is committed, Shahal said, and there is a murder every 34 hours on average.

McDonald's dispute heads to mediation

TEL AVIV (JPS) — Environment Minister Yossi Sarid tried to mediate a dispute this week at the the Golani junction outside Tel Aviv between bereaved families and the McDonald's chain, which has a restaurant at the site.

The association for the bereaved families is angry over the establishment of the eatery next to the memorial site for fallen Golani Brigade soldiers.

David Meital, father of Amir Meital, commander of an elite Golani unit who was killed in Lebanon in 1988, said the bereaved families had not been informed or asked for their views before the restaurant was built.

While the group is not against offering some amenities nearby, "our opposition is to a kind of place which has an Americanized Hollywood or circus character," he added.

"I don't think that in America, a company like McDonald's would establish a place at a memorial site for an American soldier or commando."

Film about lovesick loser sweeps awards

JERUSALEM (JPS) — "Lovesick in Neighborhood Gimmel," directed by Shevi Gviron, swept the Israel Film Academy Awards Tuesday night, winning eight awards including Best Picture.

The film will represent Israel in the race for Best Foreign Film at Hollywood's Academy Awards.

"Lovesick" tells the story of a loser named Victor who operates a cable television station that broadcasts sentimental Turkish movies to the residents of a run-down neighborhood. When an attractive yuppie woman moves in, he falls desperately in love and uses the station to deliver messages of affection, with an obsession that drives him into an institution.

Hana Azoulay-Hasfari won the Best Actress award for her portrayal of a mentally ill ultra-religious woman who befriends the lonely Moshe Ivgi in "Lovesick," in a daring performance that includes an extended nude scene.

Ivgi, who has been in nearly every Israeli film of note in recent years, continued his dominance of the Israeli acting scene by taking the Best Actor award.

Press release spat flares on `Palestine'

JERUSALEM (JPS) — If an Israeli government press release issued in New York is any indication, the peace process is moving along a lot faster than most people imagine.

"Doing Business in Palestine" is the title of the "media advisory" put out on official Government of Israel Economic Mission stationery last month.

"The first Palestinian Trade Delegation to the United States will be in New York City on October 6, 1995 to discuss `Doing Business in Palestine,'" the release states.

"The seminar will provide a forum for the discussion of increased business opportunities in Palestine as the peace process continues to evolve, as well as match business people from the U.S. and Palestine."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor dubbed the release "nonsense" and a "mistake," and then deflected criticism to the Finance Ministry, which runs the Economic Mission in New York.

Finance Ministry spokesman Eli Yosef said the release was an "innocent mistake" that won't happen again.

The release was "an error of judgment," Yosef said, because it refers to "Palestine."