Mideast Report

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — A videotape showing the Nov. 4 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin will be given to prosecutors for possible use during the trial of confessed assassin Yigal Amir.

An unidentified man who was standing on a roof overlooking the spot where Rabin was killed videotaped the event and later gave the footage to police, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.

A Justice Ministry spokeswoman said Wednesday the tape may be used as evidence in Amir's trial, which is scheduled to begin Dec. 19.

The tape, which she said "clearly shows the assassination," may or may not be made public, but in either case that would be only after the trial.

A state commission investigating the assassination received the tape from police shortly after the slaying, but kept it from the public out of consideration for Rabin's family, Israel Radio said.

The panel, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Meir Shamgar, is reviewing the tape, hoping to determine how Amir was able to get within point-blank range of Rabin.

Security officials said the fact that the amateur cameraman was able to get up on the roof to shoot the videotape represented another security lapse. Had he been a sniper, they said, he would have been able to shoot Rabin from that vantage point.

Israel and Jordan to form chamber

JERUSALEM (JPS) — The binational Israel-Jordan Chamber of Commerce was expected to be established this week.

The chamber is the result of initiatives made by the Israel Chambers of Commerce, which hopes to remove trade barriers and thus facilitate free trade between the two countries and encourage cultural ties.

Israelis clamoring to rocket into space

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Dozens of Israelis contacted the country's space agency this week seeking to become the first

sabra

astronaut.

The sudden interest in space travel was prompted by President Clinton's announcement Monday that NASA was considering sending an Israeli astronaut on a space mission as part of a cooperative effort with Israel.

But Avi Har-Even, director of the Israel Space Agency, said the agency is "more interested in the market for selling space equipment than in sending off astronauts."

Israel and the United States have already cooperated in space research, and the proposed joint effort in space would expand on that. Israel has won a number of contracts to build small satellites in deals with American companies, according to the Israeli daily newspaper Ma'ariv.

Eran Shenkar, a 32-year-old Israeli currently studying space medicine at the NASA center in Dayton, Ohio, has been suggested as a likely candidate to participate in an American-Israeli mission.

The Jerusalem native is learning to conduct medical experiments in a space-shuttle environment.

"When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, all these monitors were hooked up to his body. Now, 30 years later, you can find them in the emergency rooms in regular hospitals," he said.

"I would like to go back to Israel and invest the research in my country."